Croatia

Croatia has recently piqued the interest of curious travellers searching for sunshine, sand and scenery. The chic cities of the glittering Adriatic coast, charming cobblestone towns, UNESCO World Heritage sites and thriving food and wine scene ensure visitors' curiosity is amply rewarded. Like many others, fall in love with the treasures of this Balkan beauty.

Croatia Tours & Travel

Top deals in Croatia

Departing Days Price AUD
18 Oct 2014 Balkan Adventure 15 $2175

All our Croatia trips

Traveller at the Royal Palace in Budapest

Balkan Adventure

15 days from
USD $2,360.00
CAD $2,390.00
AUD $2,285.00
EUR €1,730.00
GBP £1,485.00
NZD $2,695.00
ZAR R22,605.00
CHF FR2,130.00

Travel across historic Eastern Europe from Hungary to Croatia. Visit cultural sights and cities in Serbia, Montenegro...

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croatia_adriatic_sea_coastline

Croatia Sailing Adventure - Dubrovnik to Trogir

8 days from
USD $1,364.58*
CAD $1,380.42*
AUD $1,441.70*
EUR €973.50*
GBP £858.46*
NZD $1,699.11*
ZAR R13,193.81*
CHF FR1,197.63*

Sail Croatia's beautiful Adriatic coast on this aquatic adventure from Dubrovnik to Trogir. Get a taste of Croatia's...

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Split harbour

Explore Croatia

8 days from
USD $1,610.00
CAD $1,630.00
AUD $1,505.00
EUR €1,125.00
GBP £1,020.00
NZD $1,790.00
ZAR R15,455.00
CHF FR1,385.00

Visit Croatia and travel to Dubrovnik, Korcula, Hvar and Split. Experience Croatia's culture and diverse history...

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austria alps cow

Vienna to Dubrovnik

29 days from

Travel from Vienna to Dubrovnik and discover Austria, the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia, Bosnia-...

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Slovenia_bled_lake_church_view

Croatia & Slovenia

8 days from
USD $1,895.00
CAD $2,015.00
AUD $1,900.00
EUR €1,470.00
GBP £1,255.00
NZD $2,250.00
ZAR R19,070.00
CHF FR1,815.00

Travel to the cities, mountains and beaches of Croatia and Slovenia. From medieval Split, visit Zadar and the island of...

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Ohrid lake

Dubrovnik to Athens

15 days from

Explore highlights and hidden treasures while travelling through Albania, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Greece on...

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Colourful fishing boat, Syros

Dubrovnik to Santorini

22 days from

Witness the jewels of the Mediterranean, from Dubrovnik to Santorini. Explore the old towns of Montenegro, Croatia’s...

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Temple Zeus, Greece

Dubrovnik to Istanbul

29 days from

Travel from Croatia through Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia and Greece to finish in Turkey. Explore fabulous European...

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croatia_rab-island_church_sea

Dubrovnik to Bled

15 days from

Tour Croatia, visit Dubrovnik, Korcula, Hvar, Split and Pag Island before crossing the border into Slovenia to see the...

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blue dinghies in split harbour, croatia

Split to Venice

8 days from
USD $1,675.00
CAD $1,730.00
AUD $1,695.00
EUR €1,165.00
GBP £985.00
NZD $1,895.00
ZAR R16,970.00
CHF FR1,395.00

Travel from Split up to Venice, stopping to visit Zadar’s unique sea organ, World Heritage-listed Plitvice National...

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budapest citadel horse statue in hungary

Budapest & the Balkans

10 days from
USD $1,380.00
CAD $1,425.00
AUD $1,395.00
EUR €960.00
GBP £795.00
NZD $1,555.00
ZAR R13,960.00
CHF FR1,160.00

Set out from Budapest on a small group adventure down to Dubrovnik. Visit the White City of Belgrade, stop in at...

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Family kayaking, Croatia

Croatian Family River Adventure

8 days from
USD $1,575.00
CAD $1,595.00
AUD $1,660.00
EUR €1,155.00
GBP £995.00
NZD $1,970.00
ZAR R15,110.00
CHF FR1,425.00

Journey to Croatia for a wet and wild family adventure. Travel to Trilj for a week of rafting, kayaking, cycling,...

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Croatia trip reviews

Our Croatia trips score an average of 4.84 out of 5 based on 50 reviews in the last year.

Croatia Sailing Adventure - Dubrovnik to Trogir, May 2014

Croatia Sailing Adventure - Dubrovnik to Trogir, June 2014

Articles on Croatia

Top 10 aquatic adventures

Top 10 aquatic adventures

Posted on Fri, 2 Aug 2013 by Sue Elliot

As a holiday destination, we reckon the sea gets a bit of a rough deal. Together with its buddies (lakes, rivers and bays), the ocean makes up 70 percent of [...]

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Bad boys at sea in Croatia

Bad boys at sea in Croatia

Posted on Mon, 22 Jul 2013 by Sue Elliot

Unless your numbers came up in the lottery or your BFF has a VBB (very big boat), chances are you think a yachting holiday is out of reach. Ah but [...]

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Marathon effort in Croatia

Marathon effort in Croatia

Posted on Thu, 13 Dec 2012 by Sue Elliot

"I stepped off the train from Zagreb and was greeted by my good friend Ivan, with news that I was in time for Surduk..."

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family ties to pupnat

family ties to pupnat

Posted on Thu, 8 Dec 2011 by Sue Elliot

When Tony Bloomfield booked an Intrepid trip in Croatia he had one special wish, to find out more about his father...

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Transport

Intrepid believes half the fun of experiencing a new country is getting there, and getting around once there. Where possible, Intrepid uses local transport options and traditional modes of transport - which usually carry less of an environmental impact, support small local operators and are heaps more fun.

Depending on which trip you're on while in Croatia, you may find yourself travelling by:

About Croatia

At a glance

Trips Available: 9
Capital city: Zagreb (population 930,000)
Population: 4.4 million
Language: Croatian
Currency: HRK
Time zone: (GMT+01:00) Sarajevo, Skopje, Warsaw, Zagreb
Electricity: Type C (European 2-pin) Type F (German 2-pin, side clip earth)
Dialing code: +385

Best time to visit Croatia

Croatia's peak season runs between July and August, with temperatures in the high 20s or 30s on the coast. But in this region you can expect plenty of sunshine from May to October, which are the best times to visit if you want to take advantage of Croatia's beautiful beaches and islands. The inland areas are also hot in the summer but can get cold in the winter with low temperatures and snowfall. Winter on the coast is milder and frequent rain can be expected.

Croatia weather chart

Culture and customs

Generally, Croatians are very proud of their country and cultural heritage. While this may not be obvious in everyday life, the Slavic heritage of Croatian people becomes more evident during festivals and national holidays, where cities and villages come to life with traditional costume, folk music and feasts. While most of Croatia's population are Roman Catholic, there are also groups of people who identify as Serbian Orthodox, Muslim, Protestant and Jewish. Having endured war, hardship and frequent earthquakes, the people of Croatia have a great amount of national pride and connection to their country and family. It's quite common for extended families to live together and children to remain close to their parents well into adulthood. Time with family is viewed as a necessity of life, so work and business affairs rarely encroach on family time, meaning most people spend weekends and holidays with family and friends.

Eating and drinking

Croatian seafood

Intrepid believes that one of the best ways of experiencing a country is by eating! Whether you're sampling street food, savouring a cheap eat or indulging in a banquet, there are endless options to choose from wherever you are in the world.

Croatia's location ensures that its food options are phenomenal. With loads of fresh seafood, fruits and vegetables, visitors will be able to taste Greek, Italian and Hungarian influences in many of their meals.

Things to try in Croatia

1. Seafood

When in the coastal cities or on the islands, you'll be able to sample fresh seafood at its finest. Prstaci is a good choice for shellfish fans; while brodet is a hearty fish stew you'll be able to find almost everywhere. Octopus, squid, cuttlefish, pilchards and lobster are all easily found too.

2. Local Wine

Croatia's climate is near perfect for vine-growing, so take the chance to try locally-made wines produced from traditional grape varieties. Try Dingac, Plavac, Malmsy and Babic.

3. Meat

Vegetarians may struggle in Croatia as meat is very popular in this part of the world. Those who favour meat will love trying roast lamb, cured ham, spicy pork sausages and grilled skewers of beef and chicken.

4. Truffles

For those with expensive tastes, Croatia is a large producer of rare truffles, in particular white truffles. You'll find them in salads and cooked in pasta dishes in Croatia's more upmarket restaurants.

5. Cheese

Croatia produces many top-quality artisan cheeses that travellers will be able to find in markets, shops and restaurants all over the country. Paski sir is a sharp, sheep milk cheese from the island of Pag and is the most famous and awarded of Croatia's cheeses.

Geography and environment

Dubrovnik port
Sharing borders with Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Hungary, Serbia and Montenegro, Croatia benefits from more than 5,000 km of coastline that spans along the Adriatic Sea. In addition to the mainland, Croatia also has many islands, some inhabited, some not. Croatia's terrain is very diverse and varies from flat plains to low mountains and highlands, limestone karst cliffs, wetlands, lakes and forests of cypress. Nature reserves and wetland areas are home to large populations of migratory birds, deer, bats and bears. Visitors will also see much of the land is used for agriculture with vineyards, lavender fields, olive groves and orchards being prevalent in rural areas. Croatia's cities, while developed, have managed to maintain a high level of charm with cobblestone streets, ancient housing, historic squares and heritage buildings being preserved and still used by the current population.

History and government

Tourism in Dubrovnik harbour

Early History

Archaeological evidence suggests that the land now known as Croatia has been occupied by humans since the Stone Age. Croatia's geographical position in Europe allowed a great amount of influence from neighbouring regions, with tribes and people from different cultures and groups making their mark. Over the centuries, Greeks, Romans, Celts, Huns and Goths have all occupied the territory, with Croats arriving by the 7th century. The first Kingdom of Croatia was formed in 925 but by the 12th century Croatia had formed a union with Hungary, with a Hungarian King instated as leader of both territories. During the 15th century, Croatia lost territory to the Ottoman Empire and, in later centuries, once again came under Hungarian rule. Evidence of these many cultural influences can be seen in the architecture, cuisine and archaeological ruins of contemporary Croatia.

Recent History

Croatia, Slovenia and Serbia formed a union in 1918 to create the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, but the occupation of Axis forces during World War II lead to the creation of the Independent State of Croatia, which only lasted a couple of years during the war. By the end of the war in 1945, Croatia had become a Socialist Republic (within the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, together with Bosnia, Serbia, Slovenia, Macedonia and Montenegro), with the constitution of 1963 attempting to alleviate tensions surrounding the balance of power between Serbians and Croats. By 1980, after the death of President Tito (founder of modern Yugoslavia), economic and political difficulties (in addition to regional tensions in other parts of Yugoslavia) resulted in a near collapse of government. What followed was years of conflict, polarity and political turmoil. The referendum of 1991 resulted in an overwhelming vote for independence, with Croatia and Slovenia declaring independence from Yugoslavia in June of the same year. Much armed conflict followed and lasted until 1995, leading to great loss of civilian life and displacement, creating large populations of refugees. The last two decades have been a time of peace and reconciliation for the people of Croatia. Tourism has opened up and the government has focused on ensuring further economic growth for the country. Currently, Croatia is poised to join the European Union by 2013.

Top Picks

Colourful Croatian buildings Folk festival in Croatia

Top 10 Historic Buildings of Croatia

1. Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary

One of Zagreb’s most visited historic sites, this grand neo-Gothic cathedral has been renovated and reconstructed many times since it was originally built in the 13th century. With massive twin spires, a marble interior and 800-year-old treasury, this is a monumental masterpiece.

2. Church of St Donatus

Considered one of the most impressive examples of early Byzantine architecture, this church in Zadar was built way back in the 9th century. With much historical value, its simplistic, circular design is quite unlike other buildings in Croatia, making it a standout, must-see church in a country with so many churches and cathedrals to see.

3. Croatian National Theatre

Built in 1895, this national treasure located in Zagreb is an elegant example of neo-Baroque style architecture. Visitors lucky enough to catch an opera, ballet or classical music concert here will be able to revel in all the fine details, from the luxe furnishings to the excellent acoustics.

4. Diocletian’s Palace

One of Split’s main attractions, this UNESCO World Heritage monument is considered one of the best-preserved Roman palaces in the world. The sprawling complex is home to many fine examples of Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architecture, so visitors will be able to admire open air courtyards, marble arches, columns, gates and walls from a variety of different periods.

5. Cathedral of St Lovro

This cathedral located 30 minutes from Split is well known for its distinct Romanesque portal crafted by one of Croatia's most celebrated sculptors, Radovan. Mythological creatures and biblical figures all feature heavily, with saints, lions, sirens and centaurs all gracing the spectacular doorways.

6. Rector’s Palace

Also known as Dubrovnik Museum, Rector’s Palace is an impressive building in itself. With soaring arches, period furniture and a dramatic staircase, this structure steals the show from the museum exhibits it holds within.

7. Dubrovnik Synagogue

Reported to be the second oldest synagogue in Europe and the world’s oldest Sefardic synagogue still in use, Dubrovnik’s synagogue is still a place for the local Jewish community to worship on holy days. Sustaining damage from earthquakes and wars, this small but well cared for structure stills stands today due to its historical value and unique design.

8. Marco Polo Tower

While not the most elaborate or opulent building in Croatia, the Marco Polo Tower of Korcula has much historical significance. It is believed that Marco Polo was born in this medieval, walled city and this tower named in his honour rises above the town as a reminder of his legacy. Climb to the top for phenomenal views and panoramic photo opportunities.

9. Franciscan Monastery

Featuring 14th century cloisters, intricately carved columns and a striking, sculptured facade this Dubrovnik wonder is also home to the third oldest pharmacy in Europe, so you can get a prescription filled while seeing the sights.

10. Trakoscan Castle

This lovely castle located in northern Croatia was inhabited from the 13th century right up until the 1940s. Featuring all good things a castle should have - including a dungeon, hunting room and tower - visiting here is like stepping back to a time where castles weren’t just historical monuments, but valid places to live.

Shopping

Local produce

Croatia has an interesting mix of quaint outdoor markets, modern malls and hip clothing boutiques. There's plenty of options that make better souvenirs than the usual lurid magnets or tourist t-shirts.

It's a good idea to check with your local customs officials to ensure that you are able to bring certain items back into your home country. Australia and New Zealand generally have strict quarantine laws.

Things to buy in Croatia

1. Local produce

If you're able to take food products back to your home country, then Croatia's markets are filled with delicious gourmet produce. Honey, olives, cheese, wine and lavender products are good choices which help to support local farmers and the rural economy.

2. Traditional Handicrafts

Embroidered table cloths, handmade dolls and lace from the island of Pag make authentic gifts for friends back home.

3. Natural cosmetics

Croatia has many brands of natural soap, body butter and shower gel derived from ingredients like olive oil, goat's milk, lavender, almond oil and seaweed.

Festivals and Events in Croatia

Dance Week Festival

This celebration of dance and movement hits Zagreb each year. Featuring a diverse range of contemporary and traditional dance from local and international dancers and choreographers, the eclectic program highlights the artistic vision of many coming together to celebrate their love of dance.

Dubrovnik Summer Festival

Classical music, theatre, dance and opera combine to create an enriching program of events performed in open air venues around Dubrovnik. Held every year since 1949, Croatia's temperate summer climate ensures the perfect conditions for outdoor performances.

International Folklore Festival

This important festival held in Zagreb each year helps to preserve cultural diversity by promoting traditional dance, costume, music and handicrafts from all over the world. Visitors can see everything from African drumming performances to traditional Croatian dancing and Bulgarian bands.

FAQs on Croatia

Tipping isn't mandatory in Croatia, although feel free to round up the bill or leave spare change for wait staff. Tip more if the service has been particularly good. Some restaurants and cafes will already include a 10-15% margin in the bill, to account for taxes and tips. In this case, generally no further tip is required.
Travellers will be able to access the internet at internet cafes and hotels in Croatia's large cities and tourist-orientated towns. Expect less internet accessibility in rural areas.
Mobile phone coverage is generally very good in Croatia's large cities and urban areas. Islands and remote areas may have less reliable service. Ensure global roaming is activated with your service provider before arrival.
Western-style, flushable toilets are the norm in Croatia's cities and urban centres.
Cup of coffee in a cafe = 5-15 HRK
Beer in a pub = 20 HRK
Short bus ride = 20 HRK
Simple, budget meal = 50-80 HRK
Tap water is considered safe to drink in Croatia; however, due to the different mineral content, some people may get stomach upsets from the drinking water if they aren't used to it. A better option is finding filtered water rather than relying on bottled water.
Large hotels, restaurants and tourist sites will most likely accept credit cards. Always carry enough cash for smaller purchases and when shopping at vendors like market stalls and smaller cafes and hotels, which may not have credit card facilities.
ATMs are readily available throughout Croatia. Cities and large towns will have more ATM access than small villages or rural areas, so prepare accordingly if travelling out of urban areas.
Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of their trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.

For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance
Jan 1 New Year's Day
Jan 6 Epiphany
Mar 31 Easter
May 1 Labour Day
May 30 Corpus Christi
Jun 22 Anti-Fascist Resistance Day
Jun 25 Croatian National Day
Aug 5 Victory Day and National Thanksgiving Day
Oct 8 Independence Day
Nov 1 All Saints' Day
Dec 25 Christmas Day

Please note these dates are for 2013. For a current list of public holidays go to: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/Croatia/public-holidays
CROATIA:
Australia: No - Not required
Belgium: No - Not required
Canada: No - Not required
Germany: No - Not required
Ireland: No - Not required
Netherlands: No - Not required
New Zealand: No - Not required
South Africa: Yes - in advance
Switzerland: No - Not required
UK: No - Not required
USA: No - Not required

Health and Safety

Intrepid takes the health and safety of its travellers seriously, and takes every measure to ensure that trips are safe, fun and enjoyable for everyone. We recommend that all travellers check with their government or national travel advisory organisation for the latest information before departure:

From Australia?

Go to: http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/

From New Zealand?

Go to: http://www.safetravel.govt.nz/

From Canada?

Go to: http://www.voyage.gc.ca/

From US?

Go to: http://travel.state.gov/

From UK?

Go to: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/

The World Health Organisation

also provides useful health information:
Go to: http://www.who.int/en/

Responsible Travel

Croatia Travel Tips

Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.

Top responsible travel tips for Croatia

1. Be considerate of Croatia’s customs, traditions, religion and culture.

2. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Instead, fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water.

3. Always dispose of litter thoughtfully, including cigarette butts.

4. When bargaining at markets, stay calm, be reasonable and keep a smile on your face. It's meant to be fun!

5. Learn some local language and don't be afraid to use it - simple greetings will help break the ice.

6. Shop for locally made products. Supporting local artisans helps keep traditional crafts alive.

7. Please ask and receive permission before taking photos of people, including children.

8. When on community visits or homestays, refrain from giving gifts or money to locals.

Further reading

Recommended reading

Title Author
April Fool's DayJosip Novakovich
Zagreb, Exit SouthEdo Popovic
Croatia: Travels in an Undiscovered CountryDr Tony Fabijancic
Marco Polo's Isle: Sketches from the Dalmatian Island of KorculaMichael Donley
Gold, Frankincense and MyrrhSlobodan Novak