Learn some helpful tips whilst visiting Croatia for your first time. Sight see and explore most of Croatia’s historic architecture whilst enjoying the clean beaches!
Interesting things to keep track for your first time in Croatia
Even if you’ve been to Croatia before hopefully you’ll learn some new misconceptions, common concerns and general tips to explore this beautiful country. Croatia is, after all, a popular destination choice for many over the last couple of years 🙂
Make sure to be in the center
What I mean by this is that you should choose a location that you can call your base of operation from where you can make day trips from, since you won’t be able to visit the whole country in a week or two. No matter how small Croatia might seem, it’s long, having to travel from Dubrovnik to let’s say Umag you’ll need to cover aprox. 700 km. Besides, Croatia has a plethora of places you can explore whilst not missing out on many.
One of the locations you might enjoy staying at and making your daily itineraries from would be Split. Split is a town located in Dalmatia. Centrally located, offering the opportunity to visit the surrounding Dalmatian towns with ease.
Another great location to visit would have to be Poreć, a town in Istria. Poreć makes for a great base to explore the sights of Istria due to being centrally located in the region. And on the plus side, it’s a cheaper alternative to Rovinj.
Zagreb is also a great alternative, offering a chance to explore the main city and the surrounding mountainous region. The town also offers a closer point to travel to Plitvice Lakes, offering an enjoyable ride to the nature preserve.
How to travel in Croatia
Whether you are travelling with bus or walking throughout the environment, there’s no denying it that renting a car gives you a lot of freedom to explore at your own pace at any given time. If you do decide to go on a road trip you will surely enjoy the experience of driving on high quality roads and enjoying breath-taking sights.
One of the best road trips you can take would be along the Adriatic coast line and throught the mountainous regions. The sights providing incredible experiences to admire along your journey, perfect for anyone backpacking across the country as you’ll get to enjoy the sights and get a chance to camp out in the forests in a couple of locations.
You can read more about backpacking across this gorgeous country here.
One of the most popular and loved things of any country would have to be it’s cuisine. Croatia is a popular country, gaining a boost in it’s popularity due to being the filming location of Game of Thrones. But what truly excels as being an attraction personally would have to be the varying cuisine, ranging from mostly sea food to some very interesting and delicious dessert meals.
Just some of the dishes that Croatia is famous for are: Peka, a slow cooked meal consisting of usually lamb, octopus or veal with a side of potatoes. A staple meal among many Croatians with beer/wine accentuating the taste even more. There’s also a dessert dish called Fritule, small dough fluffy balls that are often sprinkled with powdered sugar or chocolate; making a great dish to serve during the holidays.
You can read more about what food/cuisine Croatia has over here
Island hopping from Split
Most people when they think about Croatia they think of the clean beaches and tranquil islands from which they can hop from one to the other. Whilst that thought is enticing it isn’t necessarily completely true as you can’t really travel from one island to another as the lengthy travel ports from Split don’t run constantly. The islands are also not connected between each other so it makes travelling between each one basically impossible unless you take a private yacht or going on a cruise along Dalmatia.
If you are curious for going on a charter cruise, look here
Whether it is being used as a filming location for Game of Thrones or as a dungeon for dragons, Croatia is filled with historical beauty. Some bigger cities having so called “Old Towns” in them that add to the charm of everyday life. Notable examples being Split and the Diocletian Palace, an ancient monument that served as Emperor Diocletian’s Vacation home. Dubrovnik’s historical walls that served for defense against invasions, most notably famous for being in Game of Thrones.
Some of the things you can do in Croatia can be seen here
Whether it is being used as a filming location for Game of Thrones or as tourist attraction, Croatia is beautiful. Some bigger cities having so called “Old Towns” in them that add to the charm of everyday life. Notable examples being Split and the Diocletian Palace, an ancient monument that served as Emperor Diocletian’s Vacation home. Dubrovnik’s historical walls that are most notably famous for being in Game of Thrones.
Croatia is littered with beauty. The forests and natural wonders decorating this small country, attracting numerous visitors each year. Some of the most popular ones would have to be Krka Waterfalls and Plitvice Lakes, but don’t worry, if you aren’t a fan of big parks you can always check out some smaller ones like Risnjak or Paklenica National Parks
Language in Croatia
You might be feeling intimidated by visiting a new country because you fear you won’t be able to understand the people, well, don’t worry because Croatians know their english language 🙂
Croatia’s mother tongue is Croatian, but English is also their mandatory second language. You can also relax knowing that some people also know german and italian, seeing as how they are the most popular languages to learn after english.
Accommodation in Croatia
Tourism is a big subject, especially in Croatia. Tourism earning a pretty substantial amount throughout the Summer season. Every passing year more and more apartments, studios and villa’s open their doors to visiting tourists. Whilst the prices aren’t necessarily cheap (especially during the Summer), you can be sure that you’ll feel like you are on an actual vacation. Even if you were planning to visit Croatia during the off season, you might loose access to swimming and water based activities, but you will sure gain more quiet time and opportunity to explore the country with no commotion. 🙂
If you are in need of finding accommodation go ahead and check this out.
Wine & Olive Oil
If you weren’t already amazed by the amazing architecture and beaches, you surely will find it a joy to realise that Croatia has a long standing tradition of producing some of the best olive oil available. Whilst it is mostly produced in small quantities and sold off to local vendors. The oil is top quality compared to the rest of the world. Attracting tourists and locals to get a taste of this divine liquid; developing a couple of wine tasting and olive oil tasting tours.
UNESCO World heritage Sites
This country doesn’t lack in historical architecture and cultural sights. Having a stable 7 of em all across Croatia, from Natural forests to historical architectural works of art. The sites include:
- The Diocletian Palace in Split, the Emperor Diocletian built his massive palace in preparation of his retirement on 1 May 305 AD. It’s one of the most memorable sights in Croatia that is easily accessible to everyone. The locals being used to walking and meandering through the narrow streets by now. The palace also serves as a make-shift “Old Town” on it’s own.
- The Euphrasian Basilica, located in the town of Poreč. The basilica, for the most part, has kept it’s original shape, but accidents such as fires and earthquakes have altered a few details of the building. Being the third church to be built on the same site. Because of the basilica’s exceptional value, it has been written on an UNESCO World Heritage list since 1997.
- Šibenik Cathedral, located in…well…Šibenik. The cathedral is a triple-nave basilica with three apses and a dome, aprox. 32m high inside. It is a Catholic church and the see of the Šibenik diocese. The basilica is also the most important architectural monument of the Renaissance in the entire country. Becoming a UNESCO World Heritage site in the year 2000.
- Plitvice Lakes, the oldest National Park in Croatia. This natural beauty attracts numerous visitors throughout the year due to it’s immense beauty and relaxing sights. The water in the park flow from one lake to the other by a series of small waterfalls. Plitvice Lakes are surrounded with a dense forest, giving it’s visitors a feeling of comfort away from the city.
- Old Town Trogir, is a historical town and harbour on the Adriatic coast. The town is situated on a small island between the Croatian mainland and the island Čiovo. The town gained a spot on the UNESCO World Heritage list due to it’s Venetian architecture.
- Dubrovnik’s outer walls, famous for being a staple sight due to being a filming location of Game of Thrones. The town gained a boost in popularity after it had it’s beauty turn into King’s Landing, the fictional city of Game of Thrones.
- The Stari Grad Plain, located on the island Hvar is an agricultural landscape that was set up by the ancient Greek colonists somewhere around the 4th century BC, the landscape being used to this day. The plain was put on the UNESCO’s world heritage site list in 2008.
- Stećci Medieval Tombstone Graveyards, around 70 000 medieval tombstones lie scattered across Bosnia & Hezegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia. Appearing in the mid 12th century, having the first phase happen in the 13th century, the tombstones ended up reaching their peak in the 14th and 15th century. The site gained a UNESCO World heritage site spot in 2016.
- Venetian Works of Defence, a common name of multiple fortificated structures that were built by the Republic of Venice between the 15th and 17th century, being spread across 1000 kilometers from Italy to the Adriatic sea. In the year 2017. the Forts have gained acknowledgment on the UNESCO World Heritage site list.
- Ancient and Primeval beech Forests, located in Carpathians and other Regions of Europe is a transnational composition of UNESCO World Heritage sites, having a series of forests in 12 European countries.
Best time to visit
Croatia is a country that truly shines during the Summer time, offering tourists and locals to relax and get
sunburned a nice tan on the beach before cooling off in the refreshing water. Summer is also the time of year when the popular Ultra music festival happens in Split. If you’re a music fan it’s definitely worth checking out. 🙂
Whilst Summer does seem like an appealing time to visit, Croatia doesn’t purely rely on it. Winter has shown to be a great time to visit Croatia due to the snowfall, skying, holidays and the more quiet and relaxing season, away from the ruckus of Summer.
Some little things
When you are visiting a newfound country, you surely wonder what sets the country apart from the rest. Wondering what makes this country famous, well, plenty of things make Croatia popular. Croatia’s currency is Kuna, it’s true that Croatia is a member of the Europic Union but it’s not a member of the Euro Zone (Countries that use Euro as their standard currency) so make sure to always have some Kuna on you since most restaurants if not all don’t accept Euro. The exchange rate is about 7.5 kn = 1€, 6.5 kn = 1$.
Croatia is a safe country but you can never be too careful. The streets are sometimes filled with scam artists that operate illegally so be careful who you give money to. Some interesting things you should also know is to pack light, only bring necessities; especially mosquito repellent. Simmer is a feast for mosquitos in Croatia.
All in all if you are certain of visiting Croatia, go for it. Whether the Summer beauty attracted you or the Game of Thrones filming locations. Croatia is positive that you will enjoy your time here.