Croatia travel tips

17 Croatia Travel Tips for Before You Go [2023]

Traveling Croatia is a ton of fun, yet there are some Croatia travel tips that will make your trip a hundred times easier.

Croatia is a diverse nation that has some of the best natural sites in the world, is full of fairytale-like architecture, and is incredibly safe to visit. I’ve spent about a month traveling Croatia to date and can’t recommend the country more, whether you’re a first-time traveler or a seasoned expert.

Read on to discover my top 17 tips for Croatia travel!

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support us by purchasing via the affiliate links on this page, which may earn us commissions. See our Advertising Policy for further explanation. Thank you!

17 Tips for Traveling Croatia

Plan For the Shoulder Season

Taylor stands in front of the mouth of a cave in Krka National Park, Croatia
Me in front of the mouth of a cave in Krka National Park, Croatia

Planning during the shoulder season is one of the top things to know before going to Croatia. July and August are not only the hottest months in Croatia but also the busiest tourist months — seeing millions of visitors every year.

So, to get around the hordes and the heat, I recommend planning to travel to Croatia in either May-June or September-October.

Personally, I visited in June and found that the days were hot and sunny (but not unbearable), all the main attractions were open, and the crowds were minimal. Keep in mind that many of Croatia’s attractions completely shut down in the winter, so try and stick to the warmer months unless you have a specific wintertime agenda. 

Book in Advance

One of the main waterfalls in Krka National Park, surrounded by foliage
The waterfalls at Krka National Park in Croatia

When planning a trip to Croatia, booking your travel, activities, and accommodations in advance is the way to go.

Many services in Croatia book up entirely in the summer and come close to it in the shoulder seasons, so you don’t want to be left stranded once you arrive. Booking ahead is made easy as so many services are online. I was able to book accommodations, ferries, cars, and attractions with ease. 

🛏️ Still need to lock in a hotel? Search for the largest inventory in Croatia.

Carry Cash

An aerial view of Zagreb in Northern Croatia
An aerial view of Zagreb, Croatia

Though you may rely on your credit cards while at home, you’re gonna need to carry some bills when you visit Croatia. Whether it’s for tipping, purchasing souvenirs, or dining out, many services are cash-only and prefer appropriately-sized bills. 

The Croatian currency, the Euro, is easily accessible from ATMs around the country, so don’t worry too much about acquiring cash ahead of time. 

Know the Tipping Etiquette

The author Taylor Herperger, posing with a thumbs up and a big serving of mussels on the table at a restaurant in Mljet Island
Me at a restaurant in Mljet Island, Croatia

Though tipping is practiced in Croatia, it isn’t quite as standardized as it is in North America. While tips are not expected in Croatia, tipping 10%-15%, or simply rounding up your bill, is generally appreciated by wait staff.

That said, in most instances, you won’t find a line to write in a tip on a bill (if you’re paying with a card), so bring some extra Euros so you can top it up.

Visit More than Just Dubrovnik

Taylor and a friend sit on steps in the old town of Dubrovnik
My friend Cailee and I sitting on steps in Dubrovnik, Croatia

When many people think of Croatia, picture-perfect Dubrovnik springs to mind. But, while Dubrovnik should certainly be on your itinerary, there is so much more in Croatia that is worth an explore.

As some ideas, you could go island hopping, take a food tour through Istria, explore Zagreb’s unique culture, take a Croatian wine tour, hop on a sailing trip, take a day trip to a national park, or check out Split instead of Dubrovnik. To help you figure out where to go, I even put together another epic guide to the top Croatian destinations!

That said, while you’re in Dubrovnik, there are some activities you need to jump on. Like, did you know that Dubrovnik has some amazing Game of Thrones tours? Or that walking Dubrovnik’s old town walls is one of the most popular things to do in Croatia?

Check Out a National Park in Croatia

One of the travertine features at the UNESCO listed Plitvice lakes national park in Croatia
Plitvice Lakes is one of the most popular national parks in Croatia

Speaking of the best places to go, Croatia’s national parks should definitely be on your list. In fact, I’d go so far as to say the parks in Croatia are some of the most beautiful in the world.

Between the pristine lakes of Krka National Park, the sky-high waterfalls of Plitvice Lakes, the lush beauty of Mljet, and the dramatic canyons of Paklenica, you’ll be in nature heaven.

🎉 Fun alert! Taking a tour is one of the best ways to see the national parks. This Krka National Park tour includes round-trip travel from Split, boat rides, and local spirit tastings!

Drive Carefully

Old car on mediterranean island of Lastovo, Croatia
A car overlooking a village in Croatia

It’s no secret that I think a Croatian road trip is one of the best European trips you can take. That said, I do have to warn you about what to expect driving on Croatian roads.

Whether you’re on the Adriatic coastal highway or on one of the islands, there tend to be a lot of steep cliffs, drop-offs, and twisty roads. The locals are used to these roads but, if you’re not, then go the speed limit and stay within your comfort zone

I know how intimidating driving a car in a new country can be, so I wrote a whole article on driving tips for Croatia

🚗 Need a rental car? Be sure to bookmark Discover Cars! They’re my go-to trusted rental search engine when I’m abroad, and they have great inventory in Croatia.

Embrace the Bus

View of the people around the parked bus at the terminal platform 7 & 8 in Zadar, Croatia
Long-distance buses at the terminal in Zadar, Croatia (photo: Wandering views / Shutterstock)

In my experience, the buses in Croatia are clean, inexpensive, and an extremely efficient way to get around the country.

Sure, you won’t be able to go off the beaten path, but if you don’t have a license or just want your trip to be more hands-off, then this is definitely a good option. There are routes going to all the major hubs and sites, and you’ll often be able to book your trip day-of (in the off-season, that is).

That said, I did find it easiest to book bus tickets from the terminals themselves, opposed to online.

✈️ Still planning your trip? Check out my pre-planned 7-10 day Croatia itinerary!

Understand the Ferry System

A small boat floats in the water in Hvar harbor, Croatia
A small boat docked in the harbor at Hvar

Without a doubt, the best way to get around Croatia’s islands is by taking the ferry. Croatia has an extensive ferry system, which allows you to easily go between countless islands with ease. Island hopping in this area is definitely one of the most top attractions in Croatia.

To secure your spot on the ferries or water shuttles I recommend booking online ahead of time (especially if you have a car with you). Also, before you even get to Croatia, figure out what islands you’d like to travel to and what your ferry options are. Depending on the season, the daily number of ferries changes drastically and you don’t want to be left hanging.

Be Aware of Cruise Ship Routes

View of the Seabourn Spirit Cruise Ship at Korcula with a clear b;ue sky in the background
A cruise ship docked in Korcula, Croatia (photo: 80-20 / Shutterstock)

While Croatia attracts a lot of independent travelers, it also sees huge booms of cruise ship passengers from May through October.

Dubrovnik, which is right on the cruise ship route, sees thousands of visitors each day. Not only can this be overwhelming, but it also puts a strain on the delicate foundation of the town. In fact, because of the high number of visitors, there is a cap on the number of people that can enter Dubrovnik’s old town at any given time.

I don’t recommend skipping towns on the cruise ship routes, but rather planning accordingly. Try to avoid the throngs by visiting Croatia’s cruise ship port cities either early in the morning, later in the afternoon, or on off days. 

This Croatia cruise schedule guide is perfect for helping avoid the crowds.

Get Out on the Water

Parasailing in Cavtat, Croatia during sunset with a red sky
Sunset parasailing in Croatia was a dream!

So much of Croatia’s tourism is built on water-related activities, and you’d do yourself a major disservice if you didn’t take full advantage!

Prepare yourself for jet-skiing, sailing, parasailing, swimming, scuba diving, snorkeling, and so much more. Or, if you’re looking for a bit of a splurge, grab some friends and head out on Croatia’s infamous Yacht Week — a 7-day cruise full of sailing, hiking, partying, and swimming.

👉 Looking for more amazing activities? Then check out my picks for the 24 most epic things to do in Croatia!

Prepare for Rocky Beaches

A boat sits in the harbor near Split, Croatia
A small boat in the waters near Split, Croatia

While it’s certainly not the rule, Croatia is home to a ton of rocky beaches. Sure, you’ll find some sandy beaches if you look for them, but in general, beaches full of pebbles are standard.

To prepare for this, bring along a pair of water shoes (they’ll also protect you from sea urchins), and quick-dry towels. And, while you’re hanging out on the rocky shores, I’d also recommend you bring your own snorkel set to explore with.

If you’re looking for some great sandy beaches, then definitely check out Lojena Beach in the Kornati Islands, Mlaska Beach on Hvar, and Uvala Lapad Beach in Dubrovnik.

Look into Travel Insurance

Taylor stands in front of a view of Krka National Park, with boardwalks, lakes, and waterfalls
Me in front of a waterfall in Krka National Park, Croatia

While only you can make this decision, I personally like to get travel insurance covering Croatia.

Croatia is a very safe country to visit, but things can happen anywhere (especially these days). You can get dozens of quotes in minutes through the handy VisitorsCoverage website.

Travel Lemming's Pick
Need Insurance? Compare Quotes with VisitorsCoverage

VisitorsCoverage is a travel insurance marketplace where you can quickly compare quotes from hundreds of insurers -- all it takes is a minute to enter your details!

Check Your Visa

Taylor stands in front of small waterfalls in Krka National Park, Croatia
Me in front of a waterfall at Krka National Park, Croatia

As of 2023, Croatia is part of the Schengen area. So if you’re planning to visit Croatia as part of a broader Euro trip, be aware that your days in other Schengen countries will accumulate against each other.

Be sure to look up the visa requirements for entering the country before you get there, as it does change depending on your specifics.

Learn Some Croatian

Turquoise sea of Hvar island, franciscian monastery view in Dalmatia, Croatia
Small boats docked in a green-blue harbor in Croatia

Don’t speak Croatian? Well, then you’ll be happy to know that many Croatians are fluent in English, especially in the major hubs. That said, out of respect for the locals, it’s always a good idea to learn some words in the native language when you travel.

For Croatia, some key phrases will do the trick such as “Hello (bok)”, “Goodbye (dovidenja)”, and “Thank you (hvala)”. Oh, and because you’re going to see it everywhere, “Hrvatska” is synonymous with “Croatia”.

📚 Pro Tip: take Lonely Planet’s Croatian phrasebook with you! It’s loaded with phrases you’ll use on your trip.

Take Day Trips

The Dubrovnik harbor in Croatia with sailboats, yachts, and houses in the background
How pretty is the Dubrovnik harbor?!

If you have a week or less in Croatia, then I’d recommend picking a central location from which you can take day trips. This will cut down on logistics planning immensely.

Split is great for this, as you’ll be able to take day trips to Krka National Park, Hvar, Bisevo Island, Trogir, and more.

Pack Light

Taylor sits on steps above a waterfall in Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia
Me sitting on a boardwalk over a waterfall in Plitvice National Park, Croatia

Whether you base yourself in one place, take a Croatian road trip, or island hop in Croatia, packing light is one of the top travel tips for Croatia. Dragging heavy bags on cobblestone streets may destroy your luggage wheels, and getting bag storage on buses and ferries isn’t always as easy as it may sound.

Just take the essentials and you’ll be golden. I recommend this carry on packing list to get you started.


That’s it for my top 17 travel tips for Croatia! Be sure to check out our full Croatia travel guide, or get planning with our most popular European travel articles:

Have fun in Croatia! 

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate (you can leave feedback after clicking submit)

Help us help you travel better!

Your feedback really helps ...

What did you like about this post? Or how can we improve it to help you travel better?


  1. In terms of research for future thank you Taylor. Transportation is a key and being there less than 2 weeks I feel that having a key Island to hang out on travel to the islands of your choice by ferry should be a good way to go.

Leave a Reply

All comments are moderated for compliance with our community guidelines. Most importantly be kind & be helpful!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.