Croatia Travel Checklist

Croatia Travel Checklist – are you ready?

Are you travelling to Croatia this summer? Here’s our guide to some things you might like to consider before you go!

Croatia Travel Checklist

Do I need a visa for Croatia?

Citizens of EU countries, the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand DON’T need a visa to visit Croatia. There are also many other countries whose citizens don’t need a visa for Croatia – we won’t list them all here, so please do check against the information on Croatian Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.

It is also possible to visit Croatia using a double- or multiple-entry Schengen visa – which is useful if you’re doing a fair amount of travelling around Europe this summer. Again, please check the information on the above website.

What if I do need a visa?!

If you need a visa for Croatia, please contact the Croatian Embassy in the country you’re based in – or the Embassy as advised in this list: Diplomatic Missions and Consular Offices of Croatia.

If you want to obtain a Schengen visa, you would obviously have to do this at the Embassy of a Schengen area country. Normally this would be the country in which you are spending the majority of your time when on your holiday.

What about money – what’s the currency in Croatia?

The currency is the Kuna. Plural in Croatian is Kune, but it’s fine to says Kunas. On signs, the currency is abbreviated to Kn; in foreign exchange places (outside of Croatia) it will be listed as HRK.

The currency in Croatia is not the Euro. Euros are not accepted. Croatia will not be joining the Euro anytime soon.

(Slight disclaimer: Some private accommodation places might accept payment in Euros…but really, work on the basis of the currency being the Kuna!)

See more on our Money in Croatia section.

Should I obtain Kunas before I go?

We know that travellers have many preferences when it comes to foreign currency. Our preference is to travel with debit (cash) cards and withdraw money from ATMs/cash machines as we travel. These are readily available in Croatia (even at airports) and exchange rates are normally very good. Of course, your home bank will charge fees – but these can often be quite low. (Check before you travel!)

Otherwise, there are many places to exchange money – bureau de change and banks – practically everywhere. Simply take along your home currency (Pounds, Euros, Dollars) to Croatia if you’re planning on changing money in the country. Avoid changing money in hotels as exchange rates are normally pretty bad.

You can also obtain Kunas before you go to Croatia if you like – for example, in the UK many high street banks, Travelex.co.uk, the Post Office and M&S Money all sell Kunas these days. However, the exchange rate that you get will be a bit better in Croatia than in your home country.

How much money should I take to Croatia?

For those that do prefer taking cash on holiday, this is the $64,000 question! (Although, please don’t actually take $64,000 along with you.) It’s difficult to answer because – what are your typical spending habits? Do you like to splurge for every meal and on drinks? Or will you mainly be having low-key meals? Will you be signing up for daily organised excursions? Or relying on local buses and ferries to get you to other places?

Below is an idea of some prices in Croatia during peak season. Do note that some locations (e.g. Dubrovnik and Hvar) can be pretty pricey during summer! These are all approximate prices, only to be used as a guide – please do note

  • Relatively simple meal for two (pizza/pasta) with a drink each (beer/soft drink): 150 Kunas
  • Push-the-boat meal for two with a nice bottle of wine: 500 Kunas (or more!)
  • Local beer: 15-20 Kunas
  • Glass of wine: 15-20 Kunas
  • Soft drink: 15 Kunas
  • Bottle of water (at a restaurant/cafe): 10-12 Kunas
  • Coffee: 10-15 Kunas
  • Ice cream: 9/10 Kunas
  • Buses journey – Split to Dubrovnik: 125 Kunas (Obviously, bus prices vary depending on the journey! See Bus Ticket Prices in Croatia)
  • Catamarans – Split to Hvar: 55-70 Kunas (As above!)
  • National park entrance fees e.g. Krka National Park: 110 Kunas (summer price)
  • Excursion e.g. Split to Plitvice Lakes: 500 – 600 Kunas

You can save money by buying your own food/snacks at markets and supermarkets – which are pretty cheap – ideal for a picnic-style lunch; drugstores/pharmacies usually stock a small range of snacks as well.

What cards are accepted in Croatia?

Visa and Mastercard are readily accepted in Croatia. However, you may find that some places – such as smaller, family-run restaurants – don’t accept cards at all, so do always have some cash to hand!

What electrical travel adapters do I need?

Croatia uses the standard European 2-pin electric plug. It’s best to bring one (or a few!) along with you – don’t rely on buying them in Croatia! (Technically, they’re available, but you don’t want to spend all day hunting around for one.) Or, better still, take one and a 4-way plug adapter – so you can charge a few things at once!

Travel Insurance/EHIC

As with travelling anywhere, you really should arrange travel insurance before your visit to Croatia. Shop around for the best deal.

As Croatia is now in the EU, the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is recommended for EU citizens as this will help you get state medical healthcare for free/reduced rates. An EHIC card is free – apply for one (or renew one) online.

Phones/Internet

If you’re travelling from the EU, many mobile phone providers now offer rather cheap data and phone plans if you plan on using your phone abroad. For example, UK-operator o2 let you use your phone in other EU countries for £1.99 a day which includes unlimited data (upper restrictions apply); you can making/receive calls for 50p then no more for the first hour, and send texts for just 5p. Contact your own network to find out how much it’ll cost you to use your phone – it may be cheaper than you think. (But it’s always best to double-check!)

Wifi is readily available in Croatia these days – almost all accommodation places offer it (normally for free), as do many cafes/restaurants. You may also find free hotspots in some towns and cities.

Guidebooks on Croatia

Why do you need a guidebook when you have Visit Croatia?!

We’re just kidding, of course, for we also love travelling abroad with a trusty travel guide! (Although Visit Croatia is now fully mobile-optimised!)

Check out our Books on Croatia section to see what’s available.

Accommodation in Croatia

We’ll assume many of you have already sorted out your accommodation for Croatia. If not, head to our Accommodation section!

If you’re planning on leaving until you get to Croatia – wanting to go the ‘private accommodation’ route – that’s fine too. However, because summer is peak season, availability is low – though you should still be able to find a bed for the night somewhere. If you’re not that bothered about accommodation amenities or how basic a place is (although everywhere should be clean and safe – don’t worry about that kind of thing), that’s fine. If you have specific requirements/wants, or wouldn’t be best pleased to stay somewhere basic and with a 80s-style bathroom, then think about booking ahead!

If you ever get stuck looking for accommodation, head to the local tourist office. They should be able to help you find somewhere.

Should I learn some Croatian before I go?

Pretty much everyone that works in the tourist industry – hotel staff, waiters, tourist office works – speaks English, with the younger generation speaking it excellently. (Older waiters, for example, probably speak better German, but they’ll still understand you!)

It wouldn’t hurt to learn a few basic phrases – see our Croatian for Travellers guide and below – but don’t worry too much about learning Croatian!

Basic phrases in Croatian

  • Good morning – Dobro jutro (doh-broh you-trow)
  • Good day – Dobar dan (doh-bar dan)
  • Good evening – Dobra vecer (doh-bra veh-cher)
  • Hi! – Bok! (bok!) Note: quite informal – use one of the above, normally!
  • Goodbye – Dovidenja (doh-vee-jen-ya)
  • Yes – Da
  • No – Ne
  • Thanks – Hvala (Hva-lah)
  • Please – Molim (Mo-leem)

Visiting Croatia in September

Who would have thought it? We’re over halfway through August, which means we are most definitely hurtling towards the end of summer. (Although, personally, I definitely think summer runs until the seasons change in September. But then, I like to be an optimist about the weather.)

Some of you who are perhaps yet to take your summer hols, or are looking for a late summer trip to ease yourself back into autumn ways, may be thinking of visiting Croatia in September. You may be pleased to learn that September is considered the best month to visit amongst those in the know – the weather is still good (yes, you will – most probably – still be able to swim in the sea!), the high season crowds will have departed for home by the end of August, but everything – tourist-related – is still very much open.

Visiting Croatia in September

The island of Vis

However, you probably have a whole list of questions – what’s there to do? Where shall we go? We’re here to help you with these questions and more if you’re considering visiting Croatia in September!

The weather in Croatia in September

First things first. This is something we always get asked – is the weather in Croatia still good in September? Yes, very much so. It may come as no surprise really – as a Mediterranean country, the summer weather continues long into September. The last few years have seen very hot summers in Croatia, and this glorious weather definitely hung around in the ninth month of the year. (In fact, even into early October too!) This year there’s also been a rather hot summer in Croatia with temperatures in so many places reaching the very high 30s celsius. In fact, during July, temperatures for practically the entire country were classified as being “very warm” or “extremely warm” (poor Vis was the only place in Croatia to simply be “warm”), whilst most of the country was considered to be either “dry” or “very dry”.

All in all, we expect the weather in Croatia to be great this September! The Croatian Meteorological Society has plenty of forecasts in English – at the moment, they obviously don’t show much data for September, but take a look at their seven-day forecasts a little closer to the time.

The sea off the coast of Croatia – having had all summer to warm up – will be great, temperature-wise, in September. Yesterday, for example, temperatures reached around 23/24C for many places, with the sea a few degrees colder in the north of the coast.

Disclaimer: Yes, of course, the weather everywhere is starting to turn a little crazy. So don’t hold it against us if conditions in Croatia inexplicably turn winter-y during September. That’s definitely not supposed to happen. And it’s very, very unlikely to happen. But if anything insanely crazy, weather-wise, happens…don’t blame us! 

What’s on in Croatia in September?

Croatia has established itself as something of a prime festival destination in the last few years, with more and more dance festivals being added all the time to each year’s calendar. September is when the festival season winds down, but there’s still a couple of events taking place, both in Istria. The brand-new-for-2013 Unknown is being held in Rovinj from 10th to 14th September, with names like Jessie Ware, The Horrors, Jamie xx and SBTRKT all on the bill. Now in its second year, the electro festival Dimensions will be on in Pula from 5th to 9th September, making use of Fort Punto Christo that’s close to the town. (Dimensions is the “little sister” of Croatia festival favourite Outlook, which is on itself in Pula from 29th August to 2nd September.)

For the less dance music type events, there’s the Split Film Festival on from the 14th to the 21st September. The historical festival Gioistra – now in its seventh year – will be held in Porec from 13th to 15th September, with assorted costumes, revelry, sports, street entertainers and products on sale, all re-enacting 18th century times. The second Korkrya Baroque Festival is an international music festival on the island of Korcula, being held from 7th to 13th September. Zagreb hosts both the general entertainment festival RujanFest (literally, ‘SeptemberFest’) from the 13th to the 22nd September, as well as the 46th edition of the International Puppet Theatre Festival (9th to 14th September).

For those more keen on sports events, Croatia will host the Davis Cup tie against Great Britain in Umag (which means clay!) on the weekend of 13th to 15th September. And yes, Wimbledon champ Andy Murray is expected to play. Tickets can be bought on the ticket portal Eventim.hr.

Be sure to pop into the tourist office of wherever you are to ask for events taking place locally!

Where should I go in Croatia in September?

As we’ve covered so far, the weather will be great in September, so it’s hard not to pick a location on the coast. Dubrovnik should be as busy it always is, and there’s certainly a large number of cruise ships scheduled to dock during that month, bringing thousands of (day trip) passengers at a time. Split has had a great season so far, so it wouldn’t be any surprise to see this place as bustling as it has been. (Seeing as it’s Croatia’s second largest city, it is relatively lively all year round!) Some of the more popular islands, such as Brac and Hvar, and other popular locations on the coast (the Makarska Riviera) are still likely to receive a good number of visitors, even whilst the season starts to wind down.

If you’re after something a little quieter, perhaps consider the most outlying of all the larger Croatian islands – Vis. As a quieter and slightly mystical destination any time of year, we think this place would be divine in September. Other islands to check out include those in the Kvarner bay  such as Krk, Cres, Losinj or Rab, all of which are perhaps not as well known amongst non-Continental European visitors.

Istria is of course one of the most popular destinations in the whole of Croatia, with delights such as Porec, Rovinj and Pula all located here. The county has suffered a slight fall in visitor numbers this year, but will still see good numbers overall. If you’d like to visit, why not consider something like a foodie or activity-based holiday – two things the region does very well! Check out Istria Tourist Board’s guides to gastronomy and sport.

From a logistical point of view, almost all flights from the UK to Croatia still operate in September – and well into October too. The one exception to this is Ryanair’s flights from London Stansted to Rijeka Airport stopping at the end of August. See our Flights to Croatia page for details of all routes to Croatia from the UK.

Do note that in almost all cases, ferry schedules will still be running to summer timetables until the end of September. Certainly, almost all of Jadrolinija‘s local routes remain the same until the end of September, as does their twice-a-week coastal route that runs Rijeka – Split – Stari Grad (Hvar) – Korcula – Mljet – Dubrovnik and vice versa. The exception lies with some of their international sailings (to Italy) that reduce in frequency in September, and again further in October. Venezia Lines‘ sailings between Istria and Venice will only operate from Porec and Rovinj during September.

Or check out Adriagate – they offer last minute discounts on accommodation for destinations all over Croatia!

All in all, if you’re visiting Croatia next month, we hope you enjoy your stay! Why not drop us a line on email, Twitter or Facebook to let us know how it went – we’d love to hear from you!

Looking for something different in Croatia this summer? Why not go on an activity holiday!

We at Visit Croatia are certainly not the only ones to be very excited by the imminent arrival of summer and all the delights it brings! One of the wonders of this great season is, of course, the summer holiday; picture it – sunbathing, swimming in the sea, indulging in fine food and drink, a bit of culture and sightseeing, all done in great weather!

Yes, of course we’re biased – but we think Croatia perfectly fits the bill for anyone looking for any (or all) of the above! However, if you’ve already been to Croatia before and are looking for something a little different – or if you’ve never been before, and want to experience the country in a slightly more unusual way, why not consider an activity holiday?

Activity Holiday in Croatia - Sea Kayaking

Sea Kayaking

Active Holidays Croatia offer a very wide range of such holidays in the country for several different skill levels. (So don’t worry if you’re a total beginner!) They can arrange holidays in some of best locations in Dalmatia, on the southern part of the Croatian coast, based around rafting, canyoning, sea kayaking (something that I’ve always wanted to try in Croatia), trekking, free climbing, canoeing, paragliding, wind surfing…and even bungee jumping! Their holiday packages are either seven or ten days long, and all accommodation is also included, with options to stay both in hotels and private accommodation.

Activity Holiday in Croatia - Rafting

Rafting

Now, whilst this might sound very attractive to you, you might think that perhaps you’d be missing out on seeing some of the best things Croatia has to offer. Don’t fear – for excursions and sightseeing trips are in fact included in all their itineraries. Whether it’s a fish picnic on the island of Brac; sightseeing in the bustling city of Split or the pretty little town of Trogir; enjoying the picturesque Krka National Park or spending a day in “Pearl of the Adriatic”, Dubrovnik, there’s plenty of cultural and rest time in between activities.

Activity Holiday in Croatia - Canyoning

Canyoning

But wait a minute, wait a minute…what if you’re definitely NOT the type for an activity holiday, and would rather someone else did all the “hard work”? Yeah, we hear those of you out there too! Active Holidays Croatia also offer a selection of luxury yachts and gulets for hire. These all come with a professional crew (so you won’t have to do a thing!), and are perfect for groups of ten to fourteen people. A sailing holiday is definitely one of the best ways of enjoying Croatia – sailing from the mainland to the islands, enjoying the wonderful coast, whilst also being able to anchor wherever takes your fancy – for a refreshing dip in the sea – is something akin to a dream.

Activity Holiday in Croatia - Nostra Vita

The gorgeous Nostra Vita

If you want a once-in-a-lifetime experience, Active Holidays Croatia also offer a fourteen-day holiday on their most luxurious yacht – the Nostra Vita – that starts in Dubrovnik and ends in Venice, taking in many of the top destinations on Croatia’s beautiful coast along the way. Sounds absolutely amazing!

Full details of activity holidays, and luxury yacht and gulet hire in Croatia can be found on Active Holidays Croatia.

Fancy a break in the New Year? How about a 3 night mini-break in Dubrovnik for under £200!

British Airways are currently running their “Goodbye Winter” sale and, although perhaps we in the UK haven’t (luckily) had the harshest of winters this year, it’s always nice to have something to look forward to for next year – right?

Amongst their deals to many of their destinations, I’ve noticed that they’ve also listed mini-breaks to Dubrovnik for some really rather excellent prices. As the airline fly year-round to this wonderful Croatian city (even in winter they fly four times a week – Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays) a mini-break is more than do-able. They’re advertising a deal that includes a return flight plus three nights in a three-star hotel (on a half board basis) from only £169 per person, which is based on two sharing.

I keyed in a few dates, and personally couldn’t find that price (although I’m not saying it doesn’t exist!); however, the best deal I could find was still a pretty amazing £193.50.

If you fancy ramping up the glamour, I’ve also come across the same flight + three nights package – but in a five-star hotel! – for only £247.

Their flights to Dubrovnik didn’t seem to be part of their sale, although they are offering one-way flights to the city during January, February and March from only £61.

In general, Croatia has had a particularly mild winter so far, especially so in Dalmatia, which is expected to continue into the New Year. Without all of the summer crowds, early 2012 could be a great time to visit!

Note: The BA sale ends on 24th January 2012.

Split Tattoo Art Studio

Fancy a tattoo AND a trip to Split? This could be right up your street!

News reaches us of a company that are offering a short break to Split and the surrounding area – with a slight twist. The company in question are offering travel (whether you’re travelling from outside or inside Croatia) and accommodation entirely free, plus discounts to some local restaurants, for a stay of 2/3 or 5 days. There is, of course, a catch – though not everyone might view it that way! To benefit from this offer, you must pay to have a tattoo done at one of Croatia’s best tattoo studios. So for those who are tattoo aficionados, or anyone who’s always thought about having a design inked onto their skin, it’s really not much of a catch at all!

ST Tattoo Art Studio
ST Tattoo Art Studio

For around €1,000 for a tattoo, you can enjoy a 2-3 day stay in Split with your travel arrangements, transfers and accommodation paid for. For more than €1,000 for a tattoo, you can benefit from the same package but for a 5-day stay. Additional items, such as sightseeing tours, can be arranged upon request.

The St Tattoo Art Studio employs the best tattoo artists from all over Croatia, so you can be certain that your tattoo will be of the highest quality. Full details of the studio, and its offer, can be found at ST Tattoo Art Studio.