Croatia truly is "Europe’s best kept secret"; defined by blue seas, gorgeous pebble beaches, rolling green hills, golden Renaissance cities and a delightful nature – all at a considerably greater value and with far fewer crowds than most other European hot spots.
With more then 1700km of natural Adriatic coastline, hundreds of little islands and one of the sunniest climates in Europe, Croatia is a stunning place with a fascinating culture and friendly locals.
Croatia has several spectacular National Parks, five National Reserves, mesmerising historical architecture including centuries-old castles and about sixty 1,000 year old stone churches. It has vineyards and wineries, olive groves, rolling hills of lavender and flowers, beaches and mountain ranges and restaurants offering traditional Croatian cuisine as well as the world’s best seafood.
Croatia is indeed unique, not only for its crystal clear blue sea, but also for more than a thousand years of heritage. All around are elements of the country’s inheritance. Some cities maintain their medieval charm and the buildings still exude charisma of old European living.
Croatia is also a land of art. Twentieth century sculptor Ivan Mestrovic is the pride and joy of Croatia. His work can be seen in town squares throughout the country. He has also designed several imposing buildings, including the Croatian History Museum in Zagreb.
Croatian folk music is a hotchpotch of styles. The kolo, a lively Slavic round dance, is accompanied by Roma-style violinists and players of the tambura, a Croatian mandolin. While Dalmatia's gentle guitar and accordion bands have a distinctly Italian flavour.
When to Go
April to September are the best months to visit Croatia weather-wise. The high season, July and August, is the most expensive time. In April, May, September and October the prices decrease by about 20% and the crowds have thinned out. In April and October it may be too cool for camping, but the weather is usually fine along the coast. You can swim in the sea from mid-June to late September.
Along the coast line the climate is Mediterranean, meaning warm dry summers and mild winters, with 2,600 hours of sunlight on average yearly making it one of the sunniest coastlines in Europe! In the centre of the country, the climate is continental with hot summers and cold, snowy winters.
Croatia's main tourist attraction has always been its beaches. The country has an incredible 1778km of coastline; 5790km if you count the islands. The country's offshore islands are amongst the most beautiful in the world with over 1100 of them uninhabited.
Croatia has several excellent national parks. Brijuni, near Pula, is the most carefully cultivated, with well-preserved Mediterranean Holm oak forests. Mountainous Risnjak National Park is home to lynx, while the dense forest of Paklenica National Park harbours insects, reptiles and birds. At Plitvice Lakes National Park bears, wolves and deer live among the 16 terraced lakes.
From 21 March to 4 April, Zagreb snaps its fingers and nods to the groovy tunes of Spring Time Jazz Fever. If you like rhythm, try Zagreb's International Days of Jazz in mid-October. For something a little slower it's worth checking out Zagreb's Summer Festival, from early July to mid-August, where you can hear classical works by Croatian composers. Alternatively experience pop Dalmatian-style at the Split Summer Festival, which goes from mid-July to mid-August. Dubrovnik's Summer Festival, held in July and August, showcases the country's dramatic and classical music stars. In July and August, Omis puts on a festival of Acapella vocal music.
Food & Drink
Croatian cuisine is heterogeneous, and is therefore known as "the cuisine of regions" so where ever you go ask for the delicacies.
Seafood is a specialty along the Croatian coastline, unsurprisingly! Also, like in many European or Mediterranean countries pizza, pasta, meat dishes are common in restaurants everywhere.
Croatian beers are of a high quality. Try Zagreb's Ozujsko pivo or Karlovac’s pivo, brewed under license in Croatia. Virtually every region produces its own exquisite varieties of wine.
Croatian food and produce is what we would consider as organic food, being mainly home grown and farm fresh. Tap water is also clean and drinkable
The average cost of a meal out is around $8-15, whilst beer is around $3.
Gay Friendly Croatia
Click here to see the Guide to Gay Friendly Croatia
* 1 January - New Year's Day
* 6 January - Epiphany
* variable date - Easter
* 1st Monday after Easter - Easter Monday
* 1 May - Labour Day
* 60 days after Easter - Corpus Christi
* 22 June - Anti-fascist struggle day
* 25 June - Statehood Day
* 5 August - Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving Day and the Day of Croatian defenders
* 15 August - Assumption of Mary
* 8 October - Independence Day
* 1 November - All Saint's Day
* 25 December - Christmas
* 26 December - Saint Stephen
GMT/UTC +1 (Central European Time).
220- 240V, 50Hz and uses the standard European 2 point round pin plugs.
Weights and Measures
Citizens of Australia, Canada, Ireland, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, the UK, the USA and most continental European countries can enter Croatia for stays of up to 90 days without a visa. However visitors must hold a return/onward ticket, all documents required for next destination and sufficient funds.
Please check here to see if you need a Visa:
4.4 Million (2001 Census)
Facts for the Traveller
This is the most common option that travellers take to get around Croatia. This gives you the freedom of seeing all the places you want to see and allows you to enjoy the magic of Croatia as you drive.
Croatia is rapidly improving its road infrastructure. There is a superb motorway from Zagreb to Split, with connections to Zadar and Sibenik. Another major road being built will connect Croatia to the Italian motorway system. If you need road assistance, the Croatian Auto Club Emergency Service will help you. Their telephone number is 987.
Our Car Hire allows you the freedom to visit other countries such as Bosnia, Montenegro, Italy, Slovenia and Macedonia with no extra charges, apart from pick up or drop off fees if you don't return to Croatia. It's a great way to get around and see everything at your own pace.
We recommend you apply for an International Driver's Licence before you go. You can get them from the NRMA or equivalent in your state. Click here for the NRMA website with more information on International Driver's Licences. You will need to show them your current licence and provide a passport photo for them to stick on the licence and pay a small fee. You will need to take your Australian licence and your International Licence with you on your travels if you are renting a vehicle.
See our Car Hire page. TravelMath can help you to work out driving time or distance between cities www.travelmath.com
The bus service is first class and even the smallest villages have some sort of bus connection. There are express buses which cover longer distances and are very comfortable.
Buses from the Zagreb region can be found here: Autobusni Kolodvor ZAGREB
Buses from (and to) the Split region can be found here: Autobusni Kolodvor SPLIT
Buses from the Dubrovnik region can be found here: Online Transportation DUBROVNIK
This is another popular mode of transport in Croatia. All railway tracks damaged in the war have now been repaired and there are several trains a day between the major towns and in comparison with Western Europe, tickets are inexpensive.
You can find some local Croatian train timetables here: Croatia Trains
Train is your best option between Ljubljana and Zagreb (Glavni Kolodvor station) or Ljubljana and Rijeka, it takes around 2.5hrs. Timetables can be found here DB Bahn Train Timetables
Ship (Ferry - International and Domestic)
If you can get where you're going by ferry, then do it!Cruising among the islands of the Adriatic certainly is anamazing experience. In the tourist season, boats and ferries sail the Adriatic connecting all major ports. The most scenic sailings are the ferries that connect Rijeka and Dubrovnik stopping off at Rab, Split, Hvar and Korcula on the way. There are restaurants aboard many ships and you can either travel on deck, reserve a reclining seat or book your own private cabin.
See our Ferries pages for information and timetables. Prices start from $60 plus embarkation fees for international ferries.
Croatia also now has regular flights from Rome, Venice, Athens, Vienna, Frankfurt, Paris, London and other European cities, to Zagreb, Split and Dubrovnik. There are also regular flights between Zagreb and Dubrovnik, Split, Pula, Rijeka (the airport is on the island of Krk) and Sarajevo in Bosnia. In the summer, there is also a service to the island of Brac.
See the Croatia Airlines website here http://www.croatiaairlines.com/
The Croatian currency is the Kuna, which is divided into 100 lipas. The Euro is also commonly used in Croatia. We suggest you travel with Euros and exchange them at the major banks or at the airport as you arrive into some local currency. You can withdraw cash in the local currency from ATM's with your credit card if you have a PIN.
Local currency (Croatian KUNA, Bosnian MARKA) is to be used in Croatia and Bosnia. Cash may be obtained on arrival at exchange offices, banks or from ATMs. Traveller’s cheques are not practical on our tours, and credit cards have limited use, although almost all shops will accept those. US Dollars bills, if used, should be in good condition (not stained or torn), and recently printed; as banks and exchange offices are very particular.
Major credit cards are accepted in some of the better outlets, but shops and restaurants generally require a minimum purchase amount when using them (so they are not appropriate for incidentals such as ice cream, snacks, etc.). You might consider bringing more than one card, as some outlets may not accept all types. Due to increasing credit card fraud worldwide, be prepared to show identification (i.e. your passport) when making a transaction with your credit card.
ATM cards: For the best available exchange rate, you will find ATM cards indispensable. We recommend you are very careful when using an ATM, as elsewhere. Avoid making withdrawals at night or in the dark areas, always protect your PIN (personal identification number) from view, and always refuse any help from the so-called helpful strangers offering help. Lost or blocked card should be reported to your bank via its 24 - hour emergency number for immediate cancellation/replacement.
The conversion between the Kuna or Euro and the Australian dollar or numerous other currencies can be found at your local bank or www.xe.com
If you're served well at a restaurant, round up the bill unless a service charge has already been added. Bar bills and taxi fares should also be rounded up. Tour guides also expect to be tipped.