Planning a trip to Croatia, but you are still not sure where to go? Well, you have come to the right place! Here, you will find everything you need to know about Croatia tourism. Welcome to Hrvatska!
What to visit in Croatia?
To help you plan your vacation, here is some important information about the main destinations in Croatia.
The capital of Croatia is a lovely town full of parks and cafés. It is a great starting point for those who come from neighboring countries and plan to continue traveling to the south of Croatia. Even though it is the capital of Croatia, Zagreb does not have that feeling of a big city, the atmosphere is very welcoming. It is possible to visit all the main sights in the city center on foot.
While in Zagreb, do what a local does. Sit in a coffee shop and enjoy your coffee for hours, chatting with friends and enjoying the moment. If you have more time in the capital and want to go beyond the center, visit the Maksimir Park and Zoo; the famous Mirogoj Cemetery; and the Sljeme Mountain.
Zadar is internationally known for its beautiful sunset, considered the most beautiful one in the world. Its major attraction is the first and only Sea Organ, a construction that combines architecture, urbanism, and nature. The result is a harmonious melody created by the sea waves. Next to the Sea Organ lies another modern installation called Greeting to the Sun. The installation
Besides these contemporary works, Zadar is also full of history. Make sure to visit the Roman Forum, St. Anastasia Cathedral, and the Church of St. Donatus.
The city of Split is the “capital” of Dalmatia and Croatia’s second-largest city. It is home to one of the most important heritage sites in the country, the Diocletian’s Palace. The Roman Emperor Diocletian built his marvelous palace in the 4th century BC to spend his last years there. Several centuries later, the palace has grown into a city of Spalatum (today’s Split).
Besides the impressive history and valuable architecture, Split has a vibrant atmosphere, as well. It is a city of sport, music, and fashion. The narrow streets of the palace hide a new surprise at every step and every turn – numerous cafés and restaurants, souvenir shops, galleries, etc.
The island of Hvar is the favorite summer destination of many travelers. The island is belowed by young people thirsting for festivities and fun, as well as by couples or families who seek a vacation on a beach.
With its historic towns, great natural beauty, hidden bays, and clear blue waters, the island of Hvar is always a good choice. It is the perfect destination if you are in search of small towns with unique charm, stone alleyways, and amazing cuisine.
Other islands worth a visit are Korčula, Brač, Mljet, Rab, Krk, and Lošinj.
Located on the very south of the Croatian coast, the city of Dubrovnik is known as the Pearl of Adriatic. The centuries-old town unites rich history, unique culture, unbelievably beautiful architecture, lovely nature, and great gastronomy. Whit all that, it’s no wonder the city is a favorite setting for famous series locations.
To make your visit complete, do not forget to visit the city walls that make Dubrovnik so special. If you have more time to spare, take the cable car to get an extraordinary aerial view of the medieval city, or take a boat ride and see the beauty of Dubrovnik from the sea.
Pula is one of the great attractions of Istria, the largest peninsula in the Adriatic Sea. Istria is also known as “Croatian Italy”. The resemblance is such that the city even has its own Colosseum, the Arena of Pula, one of the best-preserved Roman amphitheaters in the world. The Arena offers guided visits, a permanent exhibition, and also houses concerts and other cultural events. The atmosphere of the place is incredible. Besides the Arena, there are many other Roman monuments in the city.
If you wish to see more of Istria, visit one of its many acropolis towns. Motovun, Hum, Grožnjan, Višnjan – all these are beautiful little towns built on the hills across the peninsula.
km os coastline
UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Croatia is part of the European continent, located in the region considered as Eastern Europe, or the Balkans. The country borders with Slovenia, Hungary, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro. It also has a maritime border with Italy on the Adriatic Sea.
The country is part of the European Union since 2013. However, Croatia is not yet part of the Schengen zone, so passports are required when passing the border with another country.
Croatia has around 4 million inhabitants. Zagreb, the capital of the country, has approximately 800.000 inhabitants and is the largest Croatian city. Split, located in the region of the Dalmatia, is the second-largest city in the country with half of the capital’s population. The dominant religion in Croatia is Catholicism.
Tourism is so relevant to Croatia that it represents no less than 14% of the national GDP. So, the infrastructure that the region offers to visitors is significant and only tends to improve. Hundreds of hotels, award-winning restaurants, protected nature, wineries, etc., are waiting for you! Another point for Croatia is that most Croats are fluent in English. Service providers in the hospitality industry usually speak other languages as well, mostly German and Italian.
While in Croatia, make sure to take a guided tour in some of the cities you plan to visit. That way you will get all the insights, learn the history of a place, understand the culture of its people, maybe learn a word or two of the Croatian language. But, what is just as important, you will get to know all the best spots and souvenir shops!
Although being a small country, Croatia is a very diverse one. Traveling from the interior to the coast, you will see the seasons shifting, the landscape transforming, the smells, flavors, and architecture changing. Croatia is a place of long history and tradition, and great natural beauty. There are 10 UNESCO Heritage Sites in Croatia, and much more protected intangible cultural heritage. When it comes to preserving nature, Croatia counts with 8 national parks, 11 nature parks and several other protected areas.
A very interesting aspect when traveling in Europe are the differences (and similarities) in local food and drink. Due to its location, Croatia has received influence from different sides of the world and different countries. The interior of Croatia has always been under German and Hungarian influence, while the coast has been influenced by Mediterranean and Italian cuisine. The whole Balkan peninsula has several traditional meals in common, and it mixes with all the influences that come from abroad, such as Turkey, for example, since the Ottoman Turks were in the region many years ago.
Croats are very proud of the local cuisine and beverages. Despite the similarities in the region, Croatia has a number of specific food and drinks that are considered protected cultural goods. The Mediterranean diet was inscribed in the UNESCO list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2013. The countries that were recognized as the representatives are Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Cyprus, Morroco, and Croatia.
Along the coast, from Istria all the way to Dubrovnik, the cuisine is based on olive oil, wine, pasta, seafood, and fish. But Istrian and Dalmatian cuisine also includes a lot of red meat (pork, veal, beef, and lamb), as well as a variety of vegetables. Each meal is enriched with aromatic herbs that grow in the region, such as rosemary, lavender, sage, basil or capers. Some of the local specialties are pašticada (a spicy dish of braised beef stuffed with dried plums and bacon, served with gnocchi), brudet (a cooked dish of spiced fish, served with polenta), octopus or lamb roasted under the bell (originally called peka), grilled fish served with mangel and potato, black risotto, tuna steak, oyster soup, octopus salad, different kinds of pasta, truffels, Istrian prosciutto, sheep milk cheeses, etc.
Interior of Croatia is mostly influenced by Austro-Hungarian cuisine and has many similarities with central European countries. Traditional dishes include meat dishes with potatoes or rice, minced meat dishes, mushroom dishes, sausages with cabbage, vegetable and meat stews, freshwater fish, cottage cheese, kulen (smoked spicy sausage), štrukli (pastry filled with cottage cheese and sour cream), sarma (ground beef and cooked rice; rolled inside a cabbage leaf and served with lots of sauce), etc.
Traditional Croatian desserts include fritule (round fried pastries ), krafne (doughnuts), rožata (caramel flan), orahnjača (nut roll), makovnjača (poppy seed roll), as well as different types of pies and strudels.
Rakija is a national alcoholic beverage, similar to Russian vodka or Brazilian cachaça. Rakija is made through the distillation of fermented fruits, for example grapes, plums, pears, apples, apricots or figs. The most typical rakija in the interior of Croatia is šljivovica (from plums). Another common type, mainly on the coast of the country is lozovača (from grapes).
Liquor is a common alcoholic drink throughout the world, but here, in Croatia, the liquor is made from rakija. The most famous liquor in Croatia is Pelinkovac, recognized by the bitter taste of absinthe, from which it is made. In Dalmatia, the most widely known is the Maraschino liqueur (made of marasca cherry that only grows in Croatia).
Wine production also has a long tradition in Croatia. Vineyards and wineries are widespread in all parts of the country. Therefore, in Croatian restaurants, local wine is always served. White wines are mostly grown in the continental region, while red wines predominate in the coastal region. In the continental part, the most common white wine is graševina (Riesling). Other well-known white wines are traminac and pinot, while the most praised red wines are frankovka and portugizac. In Istria, the best known are malvazija, a white wine, and teran, a red wine. Despite having many good quality wines, Croatians still like to mix and dissolve the wine. The most common beverages you’ll get by mixing wine are gemišt (white wine and sparkling water), bambus (red wine and Coca Cola), and bevanda (red wine and water).
Visa regime in Croatia:
Information about the visa regime between Croatia and other countries is available on the page of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs.
Croatian Kuna (HRK)
Money can be exchanged at exchange offices, banks, post offices, and hotels (1 EUR = +/- 7,5 HRK).
Most restaurants, hotels, and shops accept credit cards.
GMT +1 hour
Standard European two-pin plug
1 January – New Year’s Day
6 January – Epiphany
Easter (moveable feast)
Easter Monday (moveable feast)
1 May – Labour Day
30 May – Statehood Day
Corpus Christi (moveable feast)
22 June – Anti-Fascist Resistance Day
5 August – Homeland Thanksgiving Day
15 August – The Assumption of Mary
1 November – All Saints’ Day
18 November – Remembrance Day
25 December – Christmas
26 December – St Stephen’s Day
Important telephone numbers:
112 General Emergency
193 Fire Department
195 Sea Rescue
11802 International Information
Country code +385