Croatia needs to be at the very top of your backpacking agenda- it’s an absolute dream to travel. The country’s tourism levels are nowhere near the level of Italy or Spain so many places remain untouched-the towns are real working towns and you feel like a local when frequenting bars and cafe’s. Croatia remains to be one of my all time favourite countries as there’s something really unique about it compared to it’s European neighbours- it has a special energy that is simply indescribable and the people there are the most friendly I’ve ever come across.
Places to See
- Kornati Islands
- Peljesac Peninsula
- Plitvice National Park
- Walls of Dubrovnik (or King’s Landing for all of you Game of Throne’s fans)
- Lokrum Island
- Museum of Broken Relationships
- Krka National Park
- Zadar Cathedral
Local Currency- Croatian Kuna
Croatia; as with all European countries who have their own currency, is relatively cheap. This country is great for those who want to save a few pennies as travel, accomodation and food are all really affordable. Opt to stay in Croatia much longer than you would in Italy, France or Spain if you’re on a tight budget.
Big Spender-£30-£35 p/p a day. This would include staying in luxury hostels, eating in restaurants at least 2 meals day, visiting all top attractions and experiencing the nightlife.
Sensible Thinker-£25 p/p a day. This would mean staying at good hostels-possibly private rooms, eating out for at least one meal a day, visiting some top attractions and sometimes experiencing the nightlife.
Shoestring-£15 p/p a day. Staying in dorms in okay hostels, cooking your own food the majority of the time and getting local transport.
How to get around
Croatia is not as easy to get around as it’s neighbours, but it’s not too difficult. The only way to get around is by bus- there are really limited train links but they’re not as good quality as the buses. Make sure you get to bus stations early- they are most confusing places. There are no signs (of any kind, not just no English) no staff to ask questions, you’re just expected to know where to go as the locals do, don’t worry, don’t stress and have patience and you will find your way. Buses in Croatia are really cheap but make sure you book your tickets in advance; as they’re the only way to get about (and are really popular with locals as well) they do get sold out really quickly-especially in peak season. Joe and I had to get two separate buses to get to Dubrovnik as the buses were almost full.
There is some fantastic scenic views in Croatia so the bus journeys can be really enjoyable- you also get to ride through a different country; Bosnia if you travel from Split to Dubrovnik because of the strange borders. Make sure you take your passport on the bus with you, rather than stow it away- there are plenty of Passport control officers along the way.
- Make friends with the locals
Croatian locals are the friendliest people I’ve ever come across- so make the most of having them around. There are so many places across the globe where locals treat foreigners like outsiders and you simply don’t feel welcome- this couldn’t be farther from the case in Croatia.
- If you’re planning on going to Lokrum island- check the weather first.
You could be in Dubrovnik on the most perfect day, not a cloud in the sky and I would still recommend to check the weather forecast. When I was on Lokrum I was stranded on the island for hours, when it begins to rain the boats stop immediately. Despite the weather being absolutely beautiful earlier in the day, the clouds soon rolled in and we had to run for cover with the island’s peacocks until we could leave. It’s a funny story to tell but wasn’t so funny at the time.
- Avoid peak times at Plitvice. The most beautiful waterfalls I’ve ever seen are at Plitvice national park and I would return in a second if I could. The waterfalls on offer have only just been made available to the public thanks to new bamboo walkways. The only downside is that is gets EXTREMELY busy. Constantly at a stand still you could be shuffling over the walkways for hours, just to get to the first fall. Try and get there as soon as it opens to make the most of it.
- People watch in Dubrovnik. Dubrovnik is the most expensive part of Croatia-thanks to Game of Thrones, tourists come in their thousands each Summer which has driven prices up incredibly. My favourite part of Dubrovnik was sitting on the steps in the main square, enjoying the sunshine and people watching for hours. You will see so many characters, it’s actually really entertaining.
- Check where and when you can drink on the streets. One of the best things about many places in Europe is that you can drink alcohol wherever you like; Croatia is one of those great places. Make sure you check street signs before you crack open a tinny though, as there are some regulations including hours and locations you can’t drink.
Best Time to Visit
Summer is the best time to visit Croatia- even in high summer the heat doesn’t compare to Southern Spain or Italy and the sea breeze is really enjoyable. Throughout the summer months there are also various music festivals all over the country which can be a really good experience. Try visiting late spring to avoid school holidays.
Best Vegan eateries
- Nishta Dubrovnik
- Vegehop Zagreb
- Makrovega Split
How are you?
Kako ste? (kah-koh steh?) Formal
Kako si? ( kah-koh see?) Informal
I’m fine, thank you
Ja sam dobro, hvala (doh-broh sahm, hva-lah)
Nice to meet you
Drago mi je (dra-goh mee yeh)
Dobro jutro (doh-broh you-troh)
Dobar dan (doh-bahr dahn)
Dobra večer (doh-brah ve-cher)
Laku noć (laa-koo notch)
Doviđenja or Bok (doh-vee-jen-yah / bok)
Thank you / Thank you very much
Hvala / Hvala lijepa (hva-lah / hva-lah lee-pah)
Nema na čemu (neh-mah na che-moo)
Excuse me / Sorry
Žao mi je (zhow mee yeah)
Croatia is still a hidden gem in Europe- but this won’t last for very long. One of my all time favourite countries, you must visit this affordable, working country with the friendliest locals you’ll ever meet.