Croatia does, of course, have plenty of choice for accommodation – with something for all budgets and tastes, all over the country! But what about if you’re looking for something a bit different? Here we present you with the top picks for unusual places to stay in Croatia – including a few accommodation offerings that you’ll only find in Croatia!
Unusual Places to Stay in Croatia – Types of Accommodation
Given its beautiful coastline, it is no surprise that Croatia is home to a number of lighthouses and – these days – you can actually stay in an apartment in one of them. With most situated on a small, remote island (of course), you will be transferred to the lighthouse by boat as well as provided with supplies for your week’s stay. Certainly, this type of accommodation is a wonderful way of spending a laid-back week in Croatia in a more remote location, and a great idea if you want to get away from the crowds.
Examples of some of the lighthouses you can stay in:
- Lighthouse Villa Korkya (near Korcula) Located on the small island of Vela Sestrica, this lighthouse has been converted into a modern ‘villa’ that sleeps 8. There’s even a pool!
- Lighthouse Villa Lanterna (island of Vir) Originally constructed in 1881, this lighthouse has been stylishly renovated and features a private beach area, hot tub and sauna. It sleeps 8.
- Villa Lighthouse Vis (near Vis) On the islet of Host, this lighthouse accommodation features beautiful interiors as well as a hot tub and private beach area. It sleeps 6 + 2.
- Lighthouse (island of Krk) Located close to Omisalj on the northern part of the island of Krk, the lighthouse tower was built in 1860 and now features a holiday home that sleeps 6.
- Lighthouse Grebeni (near Dubrovnik) Located on Greben, this lighthouse offers 5 bedrooms and a small pool.
If you’re thinking that this type of quirky accommodation in Croatia means the country must have huge forests populated by large treehouses for this to be an option, that’s not quite the case! (Although, how cool would that be?) In fact, we’re referring to the treehouses that you can stay in at the Plitvice Holiday Resort near (of course) the Plitvice Lakes National Park. There’s only a handful of these treehouses – placed high up in the pine trees – and they sleep 5 people. They’re fully equipped with 2 bathrooms and a kitchen, plus mod-cons such as air conditioning and wifi. Best of all, they’re available for stays all year round so you can also enjoy them in snowy winters!
It may come as no surprise to you that Croatia is a very popular sailing and cruising destination. But what about, in your search for unusual places to stay in Croatia, you want a bit of the boat and sea experience, but don’t actually want to ‘go’ anywhere?! There are now some possibilities for staying on static boats in locations along the Croatian coast – you can get a slice of cabin life for a bit of fun and for an unusual place to stay!
For example, the Botel Marina, moored in central Rijeka, was converted from a large ship into hostel accommodation in 2013. There are single, double, triple and quadruple rooms, plus beds in mixed dormitories,
Depending on where you’re from (and I’m talking to the Brits amongst you, perhaps scarred by these kinds of holidays in your youth), you may think – “urgh, a camping holiday?! No thanks!”. But Croatia has a plethora of campsites all over the country, and they’re not just about pitching your own tent and showering in communal blocks.
So far, so normal…right? You may be wondering why we’ve decided to add campsites on a list of unusual places to stay in Croatia. Well, many campsites have a very wide range of facilities – as well as beautiful settings (in amongst pine forests, for example) and with private beaches (for those on the coast, of course) they also have pools, restaurants and bars, sports facilities and things to keep the kids occupied such as ‘fun clubs’ and playgrounds. So you may not have ever considered staying in a campsite in this country.
And if you’re not a bring your own tent or caravan kind of person, many campsites also have ‘mobile homes’. Essentially, a static caravan on site, these are fully kitted out with all features (their own kitchens and bathrooms) and these days can be quite modern indeed. Some campsites also have villas and apartments for rent.
There are some campsites in Croatia that are open year-round, so you can enjoy them whatever month you visit.
Some of the top rated campsites in Croatia include:
- Stella Maris Campsite (Umag, Istria) With restaurants, a pool, beaches, a large sports complex and entertainment for children there’s something for everyone at this four-star resort
- Bi Village (Fazana, near Pula, Istria) Set in pine forests by a Blue Flag beach, there’s tent pitches, mobile homes and apartments and villas available. The village also has pools, sports and water sports facilities, shops, restaurants and cafes and more.
- Lanterna Premium Camping Resort (Porec, Istria) With plenty of pools and a variety of beaches (even a dog beach for your furry friends!), an aquapark, a water playground, a sports park, mini golf, cycling tours, four restaurants, five bars and plenty more, you definitely won’t get bored here! Pitches, mobile homes and luxury camping are also possible here.
- Zaton Holiday Resort (Nin, North Dalmatia) Apartments, mobile homes, glamping and tent pitches are on offer here, along with an acclaimed 1.5 km-long sandy beach, a large pool complex, a sports complex where you can also take lessons (tennis, horse riding, diving, swimming), entertainment for kids and adults, and a variety of dining options (restaurants, cafes, bars, pizzeria).
- Solaris Camping Resort (Sibenik, Central Dalmatia) Home to the Solaris Beach Resort that features no less than five beaches (including a sandy one!), you won’t be surprised to find out there’s also a beach club here! This camping resort also has a large aquapark, a spa and wellness centre, a number of restaurants, mini golf and entertainment for kids and adults. Tent pitches, mobile homes and apartments can be rented out.
Of course, there are many more campsites all over Croatia than just the ones mentioned above! To find out more on camping in Croatia, take a look at the very information Croatian Camping Union. You can search for sites by area/location and camp and accommodation type.
In a similar vein, if you’re after a camping sort of feel but still want touches of luxury and mod-cons (not to mention a comfy bed!), glamping may be what you’re after. This is obviously something that has taken off in may countries around the world, not least in Croatia.
One of the newest glamping resorts is the Arena One 99 Glamping Resort, close to Pula in Istria. Gorgeous lodges, tents and safari tents sleeping 2, 4 or 6 people are kitted out with kitchenettes and shower rooms (and some have hot tubs!); the resort is located on its own beach that’s suitable for all ages. There’s also a spa, yoga lessons, a windsurfing centre and a restaurant and beach bars.
‘Regular’ campsites do sometimes also have glamping option. Again, take a look at campsite details on the Croatian Camping Union website.
Farmstays or ‘agrotourism/agritourism’
Popular in other southern European countries too, agrotourism offers you the chance to stay on a (working) farm in inland Croatia. In almost all cases, your accommodation is separate to where your hosts live on the same site. You will be able to interact with them and learn more about the farm, its produce and its animals.
The Ruralna website offers detailed listings of some of the farmstays in Croatia that welcome guests.
‘Robinson Crusoe’ Tourism
Not quite as dramatic as the actual book (this type of holiday isn’t about spending decades trapped on a truly deserted island), you will be left to your own devices in a house on a small island. These houses are often without the usual type of electricity or water connections (but do normally have solar panels and rainwater tanks) so tend to be more basic and traditionally styled than other types of accommodation. But that is, of course, the point!
These types of secluded houses are often found in the islands of North Dalmatia, although can also be found on other Croatia islands. Check out some options for this type of quirky accommodation in Croatia with Tourist Agency Lori; they can offer these types of houses in the Kornati islands region of North Dalmatia.
Other types of unusual places to stay in Croatia
How about staying in a mini fairytale castle near the Krka National Park? Officially labelled as a tent, this place sleeps 4.
RI Rooms in central Rijeka is a capsule hotel offering compact but well-equipped single and double rooms with ensuite facilities in a superb location.
The Cottage in the City is a wooden chalet located in Zagreb – experience something different when staying in this city!
The Countryside Vacation House Tilia in Medvednica Nature Park (close to Zagreb) is a house on a large site that sleeps 6 people (4 adults + 2 children). The garden features all manner of quirky objects and statues; the pool (really a mini-lake!) is perfect for the hotter months.
On Korcula, the Pirate’s Nest Stone House is an unusual little place for two that even has its own pool!