How to have a great time in Croatia

You’ve got your flights and accommodation booked, you’ve got your bikini sorted and you’re busy Googling how to pronounce “Hvar”*. Almost everything’s planned for your upcoming trip but the one thing you may not have thought about is – how to have a great time in Croatia. That’s where the advice on this page comes in!

* It’s pronounced var with an h sound in front. Not Hu-var or Ha-var or anything with two syllables. Hvar. Got it? Good, there you go!

how to have a great time in Croatia

1. Make sure you’ve planned for your destination

Which sounds obvious enough, right? It’s not like you’ll be pulling your ski jacket out of the attic to go on a two-week summer holiday to Croatia. But what I mean is, make sure you’ve got all that you’ll need for your holiday to make sure it all goes smoothly. Take a look at our Croatia Holiday Essentials 2024 guide for some top tips on what to pack and remember to bring.

Yes, of course, you can buy things in Croatia. But you don’t want to be traipsing around supermarkets at 2pm on a hot day trying to find some sun cream. Pack it all in so your holiday can start from day 1!

2. Get out onto the Adriatic sea

If you’ve booked yourself onto a sailing holiday in Croatia, well – you lucky, lucky thing!

If not, I would still heartily recommend spending at least a little bit of time on the gorgeous Adriatic. You won’t regret it one bit, and there’s something absolutely magical about spending a bit of time on a boat on the sea.

There are many ways you can do this. Perhaps you’re already doing a bit of island hopping via public ferries and catamarans so you’ve got this covered already. If you can, I would recommend trying to use a ferry as part of your itinerary. Although the catamarans are certainly faster, the slower pace of the boats and the expanse of the deck for you to sit on makes watching the islands sailing by a great experience.

If you’re staying on an island, why not take a taxi boat to one of the smaller islands nearby. For example, if you’re vacationing in Hvar Town, head down to the harbour to get a taxi boat over to one of the divine Pakleni islands.

You might find there’s a local boat that for short hops up or down the coast that you can use instead of a bus. For example, travelling from Trogir to Split (with Bura Line) or from Cavtat to Dubrovnik (with Adriana Boat Tours).

Otherwise, book yourself onto a day trip that includes a good few hours on a boat.

How to have a great time in Croatia - The Adriatic Sea
The gorgeous Adriatic, sailing into Split

3. Take a day off

Go on, you deserve it. Make sure you take a day off on your holiday which is you taking some time off from your normal life.

Wait, what? What I mean by this is – don’t overplan. Whilst there’s so much to see and do in Croatia (which of course you already know about having ready through the Visit Croatia website fully…I am sure), don’t try and do it all. And, in fact, spend one day simply doing nothing. No day trips, no activities, no rushing to get the 7am bus to the next town…

Instead, have a leisurely coffee or two with breakfast, head down to the pool or beach with your holiday reading book, enjoy a long lunch with a few glasses of cola/pivo/wino (delete as appropriate) and repeat until bed.

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4. Enjoy the summer festivals

Almost everywhere along the coast – and in some inland towns and cities too – hosts some kind of summer festival during July and August, but in some cases in June and September too. The most famous and prestigious of these is the Dubrovnik Summer Festival which takes place each year from 10th July to 25th August. The Festival is really a series of different kinds of entertainment events, from live music to theatre, dance, folk performances and more. Most events are ticketed but some are free – and just walking around Dubrovnik you will notice assorted goings-on that are related to the festival.

How to have a great time in Croatia - Attend a summer festival, such as the Dubrovnik Summer Festival
The Dubrovnik Summer Festival

On a smaller scale, other towns will also have festivals that include music, live entertainment, kids’ events and more. Check locally to see what’s on, or simply stroll about town and join in!

Take a look at our Events in Croatia section to see details of events taking place all over the country. Perhaps you’ll discover an event that’s taking place when you’re in Croatia?

5. Do something unexpected

Okay, I know I’ve mentioned being properly planned for your holiday so everything goes off with a hitch.

But what about taking one day to do something totally unexpected? Here are some ideas:

  • If you’re staying on an island, what about taking a local bus over to the next town? In Hvar Town? Get a bus up to Stari Grad. In Bol on the island of Brac? See what Supetar is like instead.
  • Rent some bikes for the day, pick up a cycling trails map at the local tourist office and see what can explore on two wheels. (You could rent a moped instead if you feel comfortable doing so.)
  • Instead of (or as well as) exploring Dubrovnik by walking the Town Walls, join an organised kayaking tour and see the Old Town from the sea.
  • Head to the bus station in the town you’re staying in and see what destinations you can reach within an hour or two for an unexpected day trip. Bonus points to you if you can get over the border to (for example) Slovenia or Italy (from Istria), Bosnia (from Split or Dubrovnik) or Montenegro (from Dubrovnik).
  • Have your own wheels? Head for a drive inland (assuming you are on the coast!) and see what little village or town you can uncover. You might find a small winery or olive oil produce to enjoy too.
  • If sunbathing all day long is your cup of tea, why not do something totally bonkers such as zipline or a white water rafting adventure (see below)?
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6. Enjoy Croatia’s stunning nature

Croatia is of course home to eight stunning national parks and twelve intriguing nature parks. Whilst Plitvice Lakes and Krka National Park (rightfully) get all the attention, there is so much more fantastic nature to enjoy. Croatia’s nature parks in particular are less well known so why not head to somewhere such as the Lastovo Islands Nature Park, Telascica on the island of Dugi Otok or Vransko Lake Nature Park to really experience Croatian nature and wildlife.

Vransko Lake Nature Park
Vransko Lake Nature Park

If you are in the region of southern Istria, Cape Kamenjak is a wonderful place to spend a day.

7. Indulge in the cuisine

Croatian cuisine doesn’t perhaps have the best rep and those who haven’t tried Croatian wine may not think it’s anything worth bothering with. But that’s a shame on both counts!

Certainly, as befitting a coastal nation, there are a number of excellent fish and seafood dishes as well as hearty meat meals to try. Dishes such as brodet or gregada (fish stew), squid ink risotto, handcrafted pasta dishes (such as fuzi), pasticada (beef stew), peka (meat or fish slow cooked under a bell-shaped lid)…the list goes on. Be sure to sample local cheeses and prsut (local prosciutto).

Do also head to local food markets to see the impressive range of fresh fruit, veg and other products for sale. Markets are also a great place to pick up a quick and cheap – but super tasty – bite to eat such as a piece of burek or cevapcici.

The traditional Croatian dish, peka
The traditional Croatian dish, peka

As for wine – there are many options from wineries all along Dalmatia and Istria.

And let’s not forget a small glass or two of a local liqueur such as orahovac, travarica, sljivovica and the like. If it’s homemade (rather than produced by a drinks company), even better!

8. Climb high

Not necessarily related to mountain climbing – unless that’s your kind of thing. Personally, rough terrain, hiking boots and slight danger aren’t my idea of “a great time”. (But they may well be yours.)

By climbing high I mean climb up a bell tower. There are some excellent climbs to be had in places such as Split, Rovinj and Zadar. You will rewarded by truly fantastic views over the town or city you’re in, as well as out to sea and over to the local islands. You may even be able to spot another country (such as Italy) depending on where you are if the day is clear!

Split Photos - View
View from the belltower in Split

9. Pick up a bit of the language

Sure, learning a spot of the Croatian language before you go may help you have a great time in Croatia. But there’s no denying it’s a tricky language to master, particularly with some sounds and pronunciations that are difficult for English speakers.

So simple equip yourself with a hvala (thank you) and a molim (please) and you’re pretty much good to do. Because who doesn’t like a please and thank you said to them in their own language.

And then you can move on to dobar dan (Good day, said as a greeting) or a simple bok (hi and bye) and that’s practically a whole conversation! Well done you.

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Croatia Holiday Essentials 2024

Oh, what a time of year! The countdown to your long-awaited summer holiday is ON with only a few weeks – or maybe even a few days – left to go. You’ve packed your swimming costumes, shorts, summer dresses and sandals (and probably some other things that don’t begin with the letter S), re-read your airline’s baggage allowance three times and checked if your passport is where it normally is ten times. But what have you forgotten…? Here, I’m going to round up some Croatia holiday essentials to help make your holiday the best one ever!

Croatia Holiday Essentials 2024

Croatia Holiday Essentials – Before you go

Passports

Firstly, make sure to check your passport…and I don’t mean “check where it is”! If you’re a Brit, since the country left the EU, some passports have fallen foul of EU passport rules meaning some travellers were denied boarding their holiday flights.

In a nutshell, your passport needs to have been issued within the last ten years. And for Brits and ALL non-EU travellers, your passport needs to have three months left on it after your departure from Croatia.

I explain it all here: UK Passport Requirements for Croatia.

Travel insurance and EHIC/GHIC

There’s no two ways about it – you must get travel insurance. If you don’t already have travel insurance (perhaps on an annual policy, or via your bank, for example), get it now. Like, right now. It’s a small cost to help cover anything that might go wrong, be it travel delays, illness or (unlikely) an accident.

And if you’re travelling from Europe or the UK, you definitely need to obtain a GHIC card prior to your travels as well. A GHIC (Global Health Insurance Card) replaces the previous EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) – in some cases, you may still have a valid GHIC card which you can use until it expires.

The GHIC card can be used to obtain free medical care on the same basis as being at home in the UK. It’s an invaluable little thing – really, just present it at the doctors or hospital when you’re there and you’ll get treatment for free.

Money

Obtaining money for Croatia is of course super easy these days, with the country now having the Euro as its currency. Whilst you can buy some Euros before you go from your favourite money exchange place (be it a bank, the Post Office, or M&S…or Uncle Dave who’s got some notes leftover from his holiday to Malaga) I believe it’s easiest to just use your own bank card.

Check with your bank before you go about exchange rates, or possibly even consider getting a special travel bank or debit card for use abroad.

Mobile Phone Usage

Check before you travel about your home network’s travel allowance for the EU. You may find that it’s included in your current deal.

Alternatively, you may find you have to buy a top-up or a special pack for a small price. My tip – buy it before you go so you don’t have to faff around with finding wifi when you land to try and buy it then.

Or, consider getting a sim in Croatia! (See below.)

Croatia Holiday Essentials for when you arrive

Money

First things first, head to the ATM at the airport to withdraw some Euros!

Sim Cards in Croatia

If you prefer to get a local SIM card to use in your phone rather than using your home network, that’s certainly possible.

The three main mobile networks in Croatia all offer SIM cards for “tourists”:

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They are all established companies and their prices are similar. The sim cards are available from newsstands and supermarkets, so your choice of what to get may depend on what you can find.

Croatia Holiday Essentials for the Beach

Have you seen the beaches in Croatia? My word, aren’t they stunning? But, for the most part, they’re pebble beaches – and whilst that means the sea water is stunningly clear, it can make for hurt feet when walking on the beach and in and out of the water.

That’s where beach shoes are essential. Try the Bravover Water Shoes (from £8.66) which come in a range of colours and sizes for adults and older children. Flexible and comfortable, they’re also quick drying so they will dry out in the sun before you know, ready for your next beach adventure.

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If you can’t find suitable beach shoes for younger kids, perhaps just stick to their regular sandals (providing their waterproof enough) or flip flops or Crocs. Just watch out for shoes floating away! (Although with the calm Adriatic, that’s not too much of a problem.)

Croatia Holiday Essentials for the Heat

It’s hot in Europe. Like, really hot. As I write today it’s 30C/86F in both Split and Dubrovnik. So you’ll need plenty of items to cope with the heat.

Sun Cream and a hat

Sun cream is an absolute must. You will likely already have your own favourite brand, but Boots Soltan can’t be beaten for value and quality (all of their items offer 5* UVA protection). The kids’ sun cream that is part of their range is top notch too and they have different bottles with different applicators – meaning they come as a cream, a spray or a roll-on. The last one is sold in a mini size which is great to pop in your bag for a day by the pool or on the beach. And older ones can also use it to apply sun cream themselves.

Don’t forget to pack your favourite hat!

Portable fan

Gone are the days when a fan for the heat would mean some giant clunky thing that sits in the corner of your hotel room, pushing hot air around. These days, you can carry a fan in your hand! Like the Rafada Handheld Fan (£14.99) which also has its own base – so you can set it down on a table – and comes with a lanyard to be worn around your neck. Best of all, it’s rechargeable via a USB cable so you won’t have to carry a vat of batteries with you.

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Croatia Holiday Essentials for the Little Ones

Many beaches in Croatia now offer beach furniture rental – sun loungers or chairs, sun umbrellas and similar. Many beaches are also located next to a small forest, usually of pine trees, which offer some shade.

Pop Up Tent

But for very little ones, keeping them cool is highly important, and you’ll need as much shade as you can. That’s why something like the Active Era Pop Up Beach Tent (£28.99) is a must to protect babies and toddlers from UVA and UVB rays. The design also allows for air to flow through the tent, so no overheating either!

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Portable High Chair

The availability of high chairs was something I found a bit hit-and-miss for babies in restaurants in Croatia. Family hotels of course have them – usually quite nice ones – but restaurants not so much. So something ultra-portable that you can take with you like Munchkin Baby Seat (£34.99) is a great solution. This one is super light and folds down to become a bag of sorts, so you can easily sling it over your shoulder or in the bottom of your pram.

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Croatia Holiday Essentials for the Not-So-Little Ones

Pool Toys

The last hotel-based family holiday in Croatia I went on (you can read about it here: Visit Croatia Review: Amadria Park Resort) had an amusing area in its stairwell that was literally (and I am using literally correctly here) full to the brim of water inflatables of every size, design and colour.

I’m totally late to the game with inflatables – who knew they were so trendy and a must for kids and adults on every summer holiday these days?

I mean, you could go for your regular lilo, but these days the bolder and more fabulous the design the better. Kids can’t help but go for unicorns, which is why this JOYIN Inflatable Unicorn Pool Float (£16.99). I mean, it’s glittery too!

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A ring is always fun, and you know what’s even more fun? One that’s designed to look like a giant donut! Very much like this one – Bestway Inflatable Donut Lounger Tube (£7.49).

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If you have water babies who jump in the pool at 9.01am and climb out at 5.59pm each day, you’ll need to get them some diving pool toys for swimming practice. This Skillmatics Seek & Splash Diving Gem Toys (£17.99) is for ages 6 and up and helps with maths whilst they’re diving to the bottom of the pool. As nonsensical as that sentence seems, it really does! The bunch of waterproof game cards offers challenges to collect particular numbers from the bottom of the pool.

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Oh and goggles are also a must. Zoggs is a great brand for all sorts of water-based toys for kids, so their goggles are good quality, fit comfortably and offer UV protection. They also come in all sorts of fun colours, and I know your children will love picking the colour they like best! Zoggs Children’s Panorama Junior Swimming Goggles (£12) Top tip – as soon as you get these, into the suitcase they go. Because goggles are always being forgotten at home, aren’t they?

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Best Package Holidays to Croatia 2024

Seeing as we’re already in June, you may have booked your summer holiday to Croatia (or could it possibly be another destination?!) long ago. But if you’re anything like me, you’re probably simultaneously opening up 23 different tabs on your laptop’s browser, trying to compare the best holiday deals. If the destination you’re typing into your browser is Croatia, this page is for you – as I look at the best package holidays to Croatia 2024.

Savings on Package Holidays to Croatia

Now, seeing as we’re already in summer, prices will of course be higher. We’re in peak season, after all. But if you’re able to jet off on holiday soon (how about this week?!) and before the school summer holidays start, you may well be able to grab yourself a bargain. Alternatively, consider looking at dates in September. The ninth month of the year is normally an excellent time of year to visit Croatia!

For extra cost savings, try to travel during mid-week (for example, a Tuesday to Tuesday holiday). You can often also make savings by booking a holiday that’s not a standard 7- or 14-night duration. I’ve just seen an 8-night stay that was cheaper than a 7-night one! (That sounds crazy, but it’s true!)

Benefits of a Package Holiday to Croatia

If you scroll down further on this page, you’ll see I talk about putting together your own holiday to Croatia. And that’s largely what Visit Croatia is for – presenting advice for independent travellers to plan their own trips.

So why would I recommend a package holiday? Well, it’s certainly an easy way of putting together a holiday. Just plug in the destination, enter your dates, type in your credit card details and (almost) away you go – you’ve got everything you need for a week (or two) in the sun. Flights, accommodation, transfers, some meals (or all) and even excursions have all been sorted out for you. That’s ideal for people who don’t want to think too hard about putting together a holiday…something that’s certainly attractive when we’re all so busy these days with our lives.

Perhaps you don’t want to do too much research about a holiday – you just want to look at some pictures, decide on a room type and make a decision.

Other benefits come from booking the holiday. You can easily compare prices of different hotels (and other accommodation types), departure airports, and destinations when making your decision.

You can also very easily use the package holiday companies’ websites to narrow down your holiday type – whether you’re booking a holiday as a couple or for a family.

Jet2 Holidays

Visit Croatia is a big fan of Jet2 Holidays…and I promise I’m not being paid to say that! Take a look at my Jet2 Holidays review of a family holiday to a hotel close to Sibenik. It wasn’t just the destination and accommodation offered that made the holiday; the actual booking process made a big difference where I could easily compare prices for different departure dates and add in any extras (or take them off) that I wanted. Free child places are also certainly a big draw!

Jet2 Holidays presently offers holidays to the Dubrovnik Riviera (17 resorts here), which essentially means Dubrovnik itself and the other little towns and villages nearby, and locations in central Dalmatia (20 resorts here) – in and near Split. From summer 2025, they will also be offering holidays to Istria, from a selection of 9 resorts here.

I like the look of 7 nights at the Hvar Places Hotel by Valamar (departing 27th June) for £2,338 total for two adults. This hotel is part of Jet2 Holidays’ Vibe collection – places that are perfectly located for going out and having a bit of fun. And with this hotel “new for 2024”, you can be one of the first guests to stay there.

Package Holidays to Croatia - Hvar Places Hotel by Valamar
Hvar Places Hotel by Valamar (Credit: Valamar)

From their Luxe collection, you can have 7 nights at the 5-star Hotel Le Meridien Lav in Split (also departing 27th June) for £2,604 for two adults. Go on, pamper yourself!

An excellent deal is 7 nights at the Marko Polo Hotel by Aminess on lovely Korcula island (departing 27th June) for £1,356 for two adults.

If you’re holidaying with kids, take a look at 7 nights at the Amadria Park Apartments Trogir (departing Saturday 27th July – in the summer holidays) for £2,604 for two adults and two children. Or if you can travel on Tuesday 30th July, the price drops to £2,265 for all four of you.

At the moment, Jet2 Holidays is offering a saving of £200 on all summer holidays, plus an extra £10 per person if you have a myJet2 account. They’re also Which magazine’s travel brand of the year for 2024!

Note: all prices above are based on departures from London Stansted. Please don’t hate me, non-London people!

TUI

TUI is often a name that holidaymakers turn to when they’re booking a package holiday and with the vast destination network and a trusted brand, it’s easy to see why.

TUI offers holidays to Istria, the Split region (including islands) and the Dubrovnik region (also including islands) – and city breaks to Zagreb too.

If you can pack your suitcase quickly to go off on holiday in the next week or so, there are definitely some good deals to be had. 7 nights at the Rubin Sunny Hotel By Valamar in Porec in Istria (departing 25th June) can be had for just £1,196 in total for two adults – that’s on a half board basis.

A more luxurious option would be 7 nights at the 5-star Hotel Ambasador in Opatija for £1,734 in total, departing on Tuesday 2nd July.

For families? There are plenty of options in Istria at resorts such as Porec, but what about 7 nights at the relatively new Grand Hotel View on the island of Brac for £3,376 in total for 2 adults and 2 children? That’s for a departure on Thursday 15th August with return flights with Easyjet from London Gatwick.

TUI are currently running a number of promotions including savings of up to £250 on holidays and an extra £10 off if you use their app.

Easyjet Holidays

“Cheap holidays” proclaims Easyjet Holidays’ own website when you look them up. And, as with the above companies, they also offer holidays to Istria and the Split and Dubrovnik regions.

One of the cheapest holidays I could find for 2 adults in the next few weeks was 7 nights at the 4-star Hotel Mimosa – Lido Palace in Rabac in Istria for £1,346 in total. That’s for a departure on Friday 28th June from London Gatwick to Pula. This same holiday costs £1,248 for 7 nights if departing from Bristol on Thursday 27th June.

More high-end is 7 nights at the 5-star Hotel Melia Coral for Plava Laguna in Umag for £1,984 in total for 2 adults. This holiday also departs on Friday 28th June from London Gatwick.

Families might want to take a look at 7 nights at the Royal Palm in Dubrovnik for £3,698 for 2 adults and 2 children, departing on Tuesday 30th July from Bristol. That’s not a bad price for a luxury king suite in a five-star hotel; in fact, this price includes a saving of £218 off the full price.

Package Holidays to Croatia - Royal Palm Dubrovnik
Royal Palm Dubrovnik (Credit: Royal Palm Hotels & Resorts)

Adventure holidays and specialist holidays

Maybe you’re after a package holiday but anything but the norm – no lying on a beach sunbathing day in and day you for you!

Take a look at our Tour Operators page which lists all sorts of companies offering holidays to Croatia – including travel for solos, coach and rail travel, green travel, kayaking, hiking and horseback riding, walking holidays, swimming adventures and more.

Sailing holidays

Do you know what Croatia’s got lots of? Islands. Which means it has a relatively long coastline and rather calm waters. All in all, it is ideal for sailing which, in turn, is an ideal way of exploring Croatia’s islands.

Check out our Sailing Holidays in Croatia page. As well as some tips, you’ll find details of companies that offer sailing package holidays in Croatia.

A DIY Holiday?

No, not a holiday that involves you packing a hammer, a screwdriver and a cordless drill.

Seeing as Visit Croatia has all the advice for you to put together your own holiday (and if you can’t find any answer, I’m here to help you!), you may well find that putting together yourself – in other words, a do it yourself holiday – is actually preferable to you.

We’ve got all the answers for how to plan your own holiday to Croatia, from finding flights, accommodation, transfers, tours and more.

You may well find that you make a slight cost saving in putting together your own holiday. Or you may find that by putting together your own holiday, you really will get the perfect holiday to Croatia; whether it’s a specific destination, departure point, activity or other thing that’s making it perfect.

I hope you’re able to book a wonderful holiday to Croatia this summer!

May Half Term in Croatia

We’re just under two weeks away from the end of May which, for some people, means better weather, more time outside and longer days. For others, it means the dreaded…no sorry…much anticipated May half-term holiday break (certainly for school kids in the UK) which is a great time to jet off for a week-long holiday in Europe. This year, why not consider May half-term in Croatia?

May half term in Croatia

Is the end of May a good time to go to Croatia?

Absolutely, yes! What are you waiting for, start booking your holiday straight away!

To expand on that slightly, the end of May is a really lovely time to visit Croatia. The weather is near-perfect – low to mid-20s Celsius (the scorching temperatures of the summer have yet to arrive) and there will be sun sun sun practically every day. (Head to the Croatian Meteorological Service website for a more technical forecast than what I’ve written here.)

Will it be warm enough to swim in the sea? Probably. It has to be said, sea temperatures will probably only hit 19/20C which is a little on the cooler side, especially for younger family members. But more hardy souls – and kids that just don’t care and will happily splash about, whatever temperature it is – will be fine.

Generally, most amenities (accommodation certainly, but also restaurants and similar) and sights are fully open by the time the end of May rolls around. The one exception will be waterparks – but Istralandia does in fact open for the season for that last week of May.

Where to go for a May half-term in Croatia

If you’re heading on a May half-term holiday, there’s no two ways about it – you’re holidaying with the kids. In this case, you’ll most appreciate a specific family hotel of which there are many in Croatia. These hotels normally have multiple pools (including a kids’ pool), are usually close to a beach, offer a kids’ club and other children-focused entertainment (as well as entertainment for all ages), have buffet-style meals so your kids can pile their plates high with pancakes at every opportunity and provide other items that are generally helpful if travelling with kids. (I’m thinking baby cots, bunk beds, high chairs and similar.)

So where specifically should you go? The answer is…

Istria

A family hotel in Istria would be my top recommendation to you. As well as lots of hotel options available in this part of Croatia, there lots of family-friendly activities such as water parks, adventure parks, (mini) theme parks and similar.

The Valamar Tamaris Resort in Porec is located right on the beach and offers multiple pools, a large play zone, family-friendly rooms and there’s a kids’ club too. Also in Porec is the Hotel Park Plava Laguna which has excellent family rooms, pools with splash areas, sports facilities and kids’ clubs.

Meanwhile, the Maistra Select Family Hotel Amarin in gorgeous Rovinj is a smart hotel with excellent play facilities for kids indoors and in their expansive outdoor area too. Of course, that’s for when your children aren’t enjoying one of the hotel’s seven (seven!) pools.

May half term in Croatia - Hotel Amarin, Rovinj
Hotel Amarin, Rovinj (credit: Hotel Amarin)

Or what about Dalmatia

Here are Visit Croatia we’re really big fans of the Amadria Park resort near Sibenik. This large-scale resort contains several different hotels (and a campsite) including the family Amadria Hotel Park Jakov and the kids-focused Amadria Park Hotel Andrija. Sadly, the neighbouring Aquapark Dalmatia will only open in June after extensive refurbishment and expansion, but the multiple pools, long beach, numerous catering establishments, kids’ clubs and more will definitely keep everyone occupied.

Hotel Andrija, Amadria Park
Hotel Andrija, Amadria Park

Another recommendation to you would be one of the Valamar hotel group’s options in Dubrovnik, such as the Club Dubrovnik Sunny Hotel, the Valamar Tirena Hotel or the newly-refurbished for 2024 Valamar Lacroma Dubrovnik Hotel. All three offer excellent family accommodation and are next to Maro World which offers 1,800 square metres (yes, really!) of fun for kids of all ages. There are indoor and outdoor play areas, trampolines, soft play rooms, toys, games rooms and more.

May half term in Croatia - Valamar Lacroma Hotel in Dubrovnik
Valamar Lacroma Hotel, Dubrovnik (Credit: Valamar Lacroma Hotel)

A city break half-term

Alternatively, perhaps you’re actually not looking for a beach-and-sea holiday or maybe you have older kids who need a little more stimulation than just lazing by a pool all day. In that case, you might consider somewhere like Split, Dubrovnik or Pula which would give you a perfect combination of city life with plenty to see and do – from sightseeing to museums, shopping and more – plus nearby beaches should you still need some sunbathing time.

Or, what about Zagreb? Not Adriatic Sea here at all, of course, but it’s a really excellent place for a city break with so much to see and do, excellent restaurants, cafes and bars, lots of lovely parks, unusual museums and experiences…the list goes on! Take a look at our guide to Zagreb to get the lowdown on all this fantastic city has to offer.

More options

Please take a look at Visit Croatia’s guides to Family Hotels in Croatia and Family Holidays in Croatia for many more options and ideas of where to holiday in the country.

What to see and do

Perhaps you’re not too minded about your specific destination for a May half-term in Croatia, but instead are interested in experiences and specific kid-friendly sights. Here are some of the top activities to do that will please all (or most!) of your family:

  • Zipling There are a few zipline sites in Croatia, but amongst the best is Zipline Croatia situated near Omis, high above the Cetina River canyon. The total zipline track length comes to 2,100 metres!
  • Adventure The same location – the Cetina River and nearby – provides all sorts of adrenaline-filled activities, including river rafting.
  • Nature One of Croatia’s nature or national parks will delight all ages, so head to Plitvice Lakes (and stay in a nearby treehouse at the Plitvice Holiday Resort!) or Krka National Park to gaze in amazement at the stunning waterfalls and lakes.
  • Boat trips This actually isn’t area specific, for day boat trips can be done practically anywhere along the coast, and who doesn’t love being out on the sea? Families will have fun on a pirate boat trip (from Split), for sure!
  • Semi-submarine tour This involved going a short way out onto the Adriatic on a semi-submarine (so, you are not fully submerged) and watching aquatic life from the glass-bottomed boat. Take a look at this semi submarine tour from Korcula.
May half term in Croatia
Treehouses at the Plitvice Holiday Resort (credit: Plitvice Holiday Resort)

How to book for May half term in Croatia

The easiest option would be to opt for a package holiday. Look up your favourite operator, be that Jet2 Holidays, TUI, Easyjet Holidays, British Airways Holidays or other and see what deals you can take advantage of to get your whole family gang jetting off to Croatia for the half term.

Alternatively, plan the whole holiday yourself. Use the advice here regarding location, and then book your flights and your accommodation in Croatia and you’re good to go!

Good to know

Take a look at our Travelling to Croatia with Babies and Toddlers page for advice on how best to make your holiday with the really littlest ones easy.

For peace of mind, do also look at our Safety and Healthcare in Croatia page for “things that are good to know” before you travel.

Top 5 Things to Do in Croatia in Spring

Now that we’re fully into Spring, it’s time to take a look at some of the best things you can do when visiting Croatia this season. Springtime is often one of the nicest times to visit Croatia. As we emerge from the depths of winter, the weather has changed to be warmer and far sunnier (although swimming in the sea is off the cards – unless you’re very brave!) which is ideal for so many activities and adventures in the country. Here, I’ll suggest the top 5 things to do in Croatia in spring.

Firstly…what’s the weather like?

When I first set out to write this post, I had also intended to say “…oh and by the way, it’s 25C in Croatia right now”! which a) was 100% true and b) would surely delight many of you. Unfortunately, slightly cooler temperatures are sweeping in as I write this post, but I’m sure they’ll creep up again soon enough. Keep an eye on the Croatian Meteorological Service website for up-to-date forecasts.

Croatia in Spring – Be at one with nature

What could be better in springtime than a wonderful nature setting filled with flora and fauna? When you think of “nature” and “Croatia” you surely think of one of Croatia’s eight national parks or one of the twelve nature parks – which means you’ve got a very fine selection of parks to choose from.

My suggestion would be to explore one of the lesser-known nature parks in the country to see some stunning scenery beyond the popular lakes and waterfalls in the most popular locations. If you’re on the coast, consider Vransko Lake Nature Park in North Dalmatia which is home to the largest natural lake in Croatia and a special ornithological reserve as well as a large wetland area. It’s an idea place to do some gentle walking, hiking or even cycling.

Croatia in Spring - Vransko Lake Nature Park
Vransko Lake Nature Park

Inland, I’d suggest heading east – properly east – to Kopacki rit Nature Park near Osijek. It is here that the Drava and Danube rivers meet and the Park is part of one of the largest wetland areas in Europe. Exploring by boat (the park offers a 40-minute guided boat tour) is one of the top experiences here.

If you’re after something more intense to go along with nature, opt for one of the hiking trails in the highly forested Ucka Nature Park in the northern part of the Croatian coast.

Croatia in Spring – Explore the country’s fortresses and castles

On the 10th May 2024 a special event called The Night of the Fortresses takes place. Actually held in Montenegro, Bosnia and Hercegovina, Serbia and Croatia at the same time (although most venues are in Croatia), the event aims to promote the cultural heritage of these fine fortresses and castle structures – most of which are very impressive indeed.

Some of the venues in Croatia you will have heard about – such as Revelin and Lovrijenac Fortresses in Dubrovnik or Kamerlengo Fortress in Trogir. Others you may not have and now’s the perfect time to explore these – places such as the 17th century Kotisina Castle near Makarska; the defensive fortifications in Omis; Fortress Nehaj in Senj; Brod Fortress in Slavonski Brod; Veliki Tabor Castle; and Trakoscan Castle.

Croatia in Spring - Veliki Tabor Castle
Veliki Tabor Castle

These venues will offer free entry and some may also offer free guided tours or other educational provisions. Examine the Night of the Fortresses website to see all the venues taking place and what particular offers each one will have.

Take a look at our Events in Croatia 2024 page to see what else is taking place all around the country over the next few months.

Croatia in Spring – Adventure time

Croatia allows for many an adventure, it has to be said! And by adventure, I mean activity – from hiking and cycling to white water rafting, ziplining, canyoning and more.

But one adventure that combines “fun activity” with “sightseeing” is sea kayaking. This is an unusual way of seeing some of Croatia’s most famous spots from a different perspective – from the sea!

Sea kayaking takes place in many locations all along the Croatian coast, and you can also time these outings so they coincide with – for example – sunset.

Why not try some sea kayaking in Split to explore the Marjan Hill area of the city?

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Croatia in Spring – Sightseeing without the crowds

Now’s the perfect opportunity to visit some of Croatia’s top sights without the crowds – and also without the soaring temperatures that can often make walking around in the hot summer sun a tough ask.

Take your pick for what you consider to be the top sight that you’d like to explore at this time of year. If you ask me, however, I’d go for Dubrovnik’s Old Town Walls. Walking the walls can be chock-a-block full in the peak summer season, made even more difficult when temperatures are in the 30s Celsius as they usually are in July and August.

Two Days in Dubrovnik - Old Town Walls
Walking the Old Town walls

Start your leisurely stroll on the Walls in mid-morning and spend a good couple of hours exploring all aspects of the walls themselves and the Old Town. We have a guide to Dubrovnik’s Old Town Walls that points out interesting things to see. You could also consider a guided tour if you really want to learn all there is to know about this spectacular setting.

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Another option would be to head to one of Croatia’s most popular national parks (see the nature entry above) such as Plitvice or Krka National Park. Again, these parks get incredibly busy during the summer months, so visiting them in spring is a great idea. Spring is also when all areas of the parks are fully open and accessible as well, so you can really explore to your heart’s content.

Croatia in Spring – See what quieter island life is like

Croatia’s stunning islands (and islets) are a big draw for many visitors to the country – and that’s no surprise. But whilst the summer months draw in the island fanatics on ferries, catamarans, small boat cruises and private yachts, springtime is a great time of year to see what island life is like when there are fewer people around.

Opt for any of the Dalmatian IslandsHvar and Brac would probably be top picks as two of the most popular islands and the ones that have the most to provide visitors (in terms of amenities, accommodation, restaurants and so on) at the time of year. Or if you want your springtime island adventure to be a bit more on the quiet side, consider lovely Vis.

The view from Vidova Gora, the highest point on the island of Brac

Kapetan Luka‘s Split to Dubrovnik coastal catamaran has started operating for the season on 1st April 2024. This catamaran departs Split in the morning and stops on Brac (at Milna), Hvar, Korcula, Mljet (Pomana) and then reaches Dubrovnik at 12.30pm. (The return journey takes place in the mid/late afternoon.) It would be ideal to use for doing a spot of gentle “island-hopping”.

Getting to Croatia

Late March and April is when a good number of flight routes to Croatia from the UK, Ireland and elsewhere in Europe start. So getting to Croatia at this time of year couldn’t be easier! Take a look at our Flights from the UK & Ireland page for details as well as Getting to Split, Getting to Dubrovnik, Getting to North Dalmatia, Getting to Istria and Getting to the Kvarner Rivera.

UK Passport Requirements for Croatia

Much has been made in the UK press over the last few days about travellers having problems with their passports when travelling to the EU. Could this be an issue when you’re travelling to Croatia? And what, specifically, are the UK passport requirements for Croatia? We will reveal all on this page.

uk passport Requirements for Croatia

UK Passport Requirements for Croatia

Croatia is of course part of the EU and is also now part of the Schengen Zone. As such, Croatia’s passport requirements fall in line with the requirements for the rest of the EU.

There are two very important requirements:

  • Your passport must have been issued within the previous 10 years
  • Your passport must be valid for three months after your departure date from Croatia

Let’s take a look at these two requirements in more detail.

Ten-year passport issuance rule

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The confusion on the first part – that your passport might have been issued more than 10 years ago – lies in the fact that when UK passports were previously renewed (before October 2018) any unused months on your old passport would be added to your new passport. At a maximum, your passport could be (or could have been) valid for ten years and nine months.

From October 2018, all new adult passports that are issued are valid for exactly 10 years. So if your passport has been issued or renewed since then, you don’t need to worry.

Do note that your passport CAN be valid for more than 10 years – that in itself is not the problem. If your passport was issued on 1st May 2015 and is valid for 10 years and 4 months, you can use it to travel to Croatia as it HAS been issued within the last 10 years.

Three months left on your passport

This one’s a little more straightforward. You need to have three months left on your passport AFTER your departure date from Croatia.

What about passports from other countries?

If you are NOT an EU citizen

Generally, few other countries issue passports that are valid for more than 10 years. So if you hold a passport from another country, you are unlikely to fall foul of this “ten-year rule”. But please check your passport dates anyway, to be on the safe side.

If you ARE an EU citizen

Well then, lucky you! None of these rules apply to you. And in actual fact, you don’t even need a passport to travel to Croatia – you can travel with your personal ID card.

So what should I do?

Please check your passport’s issuance and expiry dates now! Like, right now – go and get your passport and check the dates inside it. Should there be a problem, you hopefully will have enough time before your travels to rectify the problem. Which would involve renewing your passport – and if you’re travelling soon(ish), you might need a fast-track renewal.

Do not leave checking your passport for the day before you travel, or on the way to the airport! As the recent press coverage has shown, travellers are being turned away from boarding their flights. Don’t be that disappointed traveller that gets turned away!

Even if you haven’t booked a holiday yet, it would be a good idea to check your passport anyway now. Because although your passport may be fine for travel now, by the time you go on holiday (let’s say you’re planning an August getaway) that might not be the case. And now you have plenty of time to renew your passport.

Do I need a visa for Croatia?

UK passport holders do NOT need a visa for Croatia. Citizens of countries such as the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Chile and others also do not need a visa to visit Croatia. Check on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.

UK travellers will need to obtain an ETIAS visa waiver when this comes into effect. It is expected to start in mid-2025.

Do also take a look at our Visa Requirements for Croatia page for more info.

More info

You can check passport regulations and visa requirements for Croatia on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.

Do also take a look at the UK Foreign Office – Croatia – Entry Requirements page. Although that page states the same info as I’ve written above, you may glean something extra from there.

Now go check your passport!

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The Top 10 Tours in Croatia 2024

Now that you’ve got your holiday all booked up (if you’re still deliberating, why not head over to my Plan Your Perfect Holiday to Croatia 2024 advice page) it’s time to start thinking about what day trips and tours you might like to do on your travels in the country. On this page, I’m going to suggest some of the best tours in Croatia 2024 – including some of the most popular ones, some “must-see” experiences and some that are perhaps…slightly bonkers…but are too good to miss!

For all the tours below, I’ve shown the length of the tour and whether the tours can be booked individually (meaning you join a group and can book as 1, 2 or more people) or whether they need to be booked as a group.

Please note: this post contains affiliate links, which may earn Visit Croatia revenue. All suggested tours are Visit Croatia’s own opinion, however!

The Top 10 Tours in Croatia 2024

1. Enjoy the best sunset in the world in Zadar – in style!

1.5 hours, can be booked individually

Sunsets are a pretty spectacular affair up and down the Croatian coastline, but there’s no better place to watch the setting sun than in Zadar. (Just ask Alfred Hitchcock.) Whilst sitting up on the main seaside promenade with the Sea Organ twinkling gently alongside is a superb free experience, take things to the next level on a Sunset & Night Cruise with Unlimited Sparkling Wine. (They totally had me at “unlimited sparkling wine”.)

The 90-minute small boat tour sets off from Zadar marina and makes the small journey out to sea to really make the most of the glowing sunset as it makes its way behind the local islands. After experiencing this, you’ll then be taken on a brief sightseeing tour of some of the town’s main sights by sea – including the aforementioned Sea Organ. And all the while, you’ll get to sip on sparkling wine!

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2. Zip across a zip line near Split

2.5 – 3 hours, can be booked individually

When did zip lines get so popular? And who invented them?! I’m not the biggest fan of ziplines given a slight fear of heights and “going faster than a human should be going” (I believe that’s the official technical term) but I can totally see how the thrill-seekers amongst you are beside yourselves with the opportunity to try a zip line in a new location.

There are actually a number of zip lines in locations up and down the coast, but I’ve picked out a zip line experience that’s just a short journey from Split.

The Zip Line Adventure (which also provides optional transportation) takes you to a zip line which is situated on Kozjak, a small peak slightly inland from Split. The actual zip line isn’t just one zip line, oh no – it’s six different zip lines, which comprise 2,500 meters in total length and then also include a 90-meter suspension bridge through pine trees.

The tour of course also provides a full safety briefing before participants make their way over to start their zip-lining adventure. You’ll be flying over beautiful Croatian forests with sea and island views in no time.

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3. Enjoy the tranquil island of Cres on a boat trip from Opatija

8 hours, can be booked individually

If you’re holidaying in gorgeous Opatija, you may not necessarily think about doing a boat trip to any of the local islands which is a shame as there are some real beauties in this part of the coast.

This 8-hour Boat Trip to Secluded Beaches on Island Cres tour sees you head off to one of Croatia’s quieter islands – just the kind of place to have hidden beaches. You’ll be able to enjoy three beach stops as well as visiting the charming village of Porozina. The tour offers plenty of time for swimming and snorkelling, and generally just having a relaxing time on lovely Cres!

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4. Views for miles on Biokovo Skywalk via tuktuk (from Makarska)

2.5 hour tour, can be booked individually

One of the more modern sights in Croatia is the Biokovo Skywalk experience on Mount Biokovo. Opened in 2020, this horseshoe-shaped glass platform extends 11m over the cliff face at a height of 1,228m, offering amazing views out across the Adriatic Sea to nearby islands such as Brac and Hvar.

The Biokovo Skywalk isn’t far from Makarska at all but it is up high (of course!) and getting to it is a little tricky if you don’t have your own transportation. That’s where the Skywalk Biokovo Sunset Tour by TukTuk comes in.

You’ll get picked up from your hotel (there are a number of pick-up points along the Makarska Riviera) and then taken to Biokovo Nature Park in a little tuk-tuk. (Not perhaps the most authentic of transportation in Croatia, but the open nature of the vehicle works perfectly to allow you to enjoy the nature all around you and the views!)

Having skipped the entry queue, the two-and-a-half-hour tour gives you time to enjoy parts of Biokovo National Park on a guided tour (with scenic stops for photos) whilst also offering 30 minutes on the Biokovo Skywalk at sunset. Glorious to enjoy at any time of day, sunset will be a wonderful time to experience it. You’ll then be driven back through the Nature Park and returned to your hotel.

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5. Food and wine in Dubrovnik

3 hours, can be booked individually

If you’re in Croatia, you’re going to have to indulge in all sorts of local gastronomic specialities – and where better to do so than if you’re visiting Dubrovnik?

The 3-Hour Food and Wine Tour is a walking guided tour that takes in many of Dubrovnik Old Town’s top sights, whilst also offering the chance for you to sample some little treats at the city’s top restaurants. And treats that come with a wine pairing! The culmination of the tour – as any good tour should – is dessert comprising of a traditional Dubrovnik cake.

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6. Private Boat Tour from Dubrovnik

8 hours, group booking

“Oh la-dee-dah” – you’re probably thinking – “private boat tours are how the other half live, but there’s no way I can afford them!” Well, perhaps you can – providing there’s a big enough group of you. A number of private boat tours can cater to large groups of say 6 to 12 people and when you divide the total cost of the boat tour by 6, 8, 10 or even 12 that ends up being…not too much at all.

Of course, there are a wide variety of private boat tours from ports such as Zadar, Trogir and Split, but take a look at this Full Day Elafiti Islands Private Experience for six people. The tour gives you 8 hours of exploring time on the three main Elafiti islands, Kolocep, Lopud and Sipan allowing you to explore beaches, bays and the islands’ tiny villages. The tour can be customised as per your group’s wants so if you prefer to explore as much as possible you can, or if you want to devote a good chunk of time on a secluded beach, that’s possible too.

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7. Get your kayak on and explore Dugi Otok

11 hours, individual booking available

Once you’ve explored your Croatian destination to the fullest on foot or by transport of some sort, why not do the same…by sea? And not just on some kind of boat tour – why not put the effort into it yourself by powering your own sea vessel? Before I start going too cryptic, I’m referring to sea kayaking.

The island of Dugi Otok near Zadar is one of the lesser-known Croatian islands – often referred to as an “off-the-beaten-track” kind of place – and is ripe for exploring. On the Full-Day Kayaking Tour in Dugi Otok, you’ll be transferred to a bay to start your sea kayaking adventure – an adventure that will lead you to all manner of secret coves, bays, caves and even past soaring cliffs. You’ll then get transferred to the north part of Dugi Otok for lunch and where the second part of your kayaking adventure will commence – one that will take you to a sunken ship which will give you the opportunity to do a spot of snorkelling.

The final bit of the tour offers a spot of fun on Sakarun Beach, one of the best (sandy!) secret beaches in Croatia.

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8. Night-time kayaking from Pula

2 hours, individual booking available

If you’ll be further up the coast but want to indulge in a spot of sea kayaking, why not try this rather inventive trip based in Pula? Because what’s better than just regular sea kayaking? Night-time kayaking. And what’s better than that? Night-time kayaking in a transparent kayak. (Yes, really!) And one that’s equipped with LED lights so you can see into the sea.

This 2-hour Night-time Sea Kayaking in a Transparent Kayak tour sets off from the Verudela resort area of Pula to explore the Adriatic Sea and all that it contains – by which I mean marine life. Should you tire of looking at the little fishes (unlikely) then simply look up and do a spot of star-gazing instead.

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9. Visit the Plitvice Lakes from Split

12 hours, individual booking available

How could I not include visiting the truly amazing Plitvice Lakes in this list of the best tours? Visiting them yourself is relatively straightforward – it’s just an easy public transport bus ride up from cities such as Zadar or Zagreb. But if you’re in Split and want to visit Plitvice, things get a little more complicated because of having to rely on (the not so frequent or well-timed) buses.

The 12-hour Plitvice Lakes National Park Full-Day Tour transportation to and from the Plitvice Lakes as well as a 4.5-hour guided tour inside the National Park. After the tour, you’ll have time to take one of the short boat rides or simply take a breather amongst the beautiful nature.

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10. Hop over the border to Slovenia from Zagreb

11 hours, individual booking available

When you’re in Croatia, there are quite a few chances to hop over to a neighbouring country for a day trip – to Montenegro from Dubrovnik, Bosnia and Herzegovina from Split or Dubrovnik and Italy from Istria, for example. But you may not know that it’s a very short journey up to Slovenia and Ljubljana from Zagreb. And not just Ljubljana but the magical Lake Bled too.

The 11-hour Ljubljana with Funicular, Castle, and Lake Bled tour offers a great chance to take in some of Ljubljana’s best sights, including the impressive Ljubljana Castle. And no visit to Slovenia is complete without enjoying the tranquil Lake Bled, which is also included on the tour.

All transport is included, and you’ll get a guided walking tour of Ljubljana too. Just remember to bring your passport!

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Other Top Tours in Croatia 2024

Narrowing down all the wonderful tours you can do in Croatia to just ten was impossible. So here are a few more tours that are absolutely worthy of a mention:

Plan your perfect holiday to Croatia 2024

Plan Your Perfect Holiday to Croatia 2024

If you’ve never taken the leap to holiday in Croatia but have decided that this year will be your year, this page is for you! Alternatively, perhaps you’ve been to Croatia a number of times before and would like to try something a little different this year or need a bit more guidance. Either way, let Visit Croatia help you plan your perfect holiday to Croatia 2024!

Plan your perfect holiday to Croatia 2024

Step 1 – Decide when to go and how long for

Most people approach holiday planning by deciding when they’d like to go away – summer holidays for a week or two break? Half-term hols with the kids? A weekend city break in late Spring or early Autumn?

Think about when you’re able to take a holiday abroad, or perhaps need to if you’re constrained by school summer holidays. Then take a look at When to Go to Croatia page to see if it tallies up with your plans.

All in all, there’s no bad time of year to visit Croatia – but it really depends on your plans. You can’t sit by the Adriatic sipping a fruity cocktail in January whilst you won’t get peace and quiet on Dubrovnik’s pretty cobbled streets in August!

Perhaps you also need a little convincing to go to Croatia. (Erm…why?) If so, we set our Why you should go to Croatia as well.

When to Go to Croatia
Why Go to Croatia?

You will need also to have in mind how long you wish to travel for. A week or two? (Or ten days?) A short break? The whole summer? Give it some consideration – and then look at our guides for itinerary advice.

A weekend break in Croatia
Three Weeks in Croatia
One Week in Croatia
Two Weeks in Croatia
City Break in Croatia

Step 2 – Think about your budget

Of course, another major issue to keep in mind is your holiday budget. Are you going to blow the budget or keep it as low as possible? If it’s the latter, take a look at our How to do Croatia on a Budget for some cost-saving ideas. At the other end of the scale, our Luxury Hotels in Croatia page might tempt you into something very special indeed.

If you’re not sure, perhaps skip this step for now and do some further research – on flights and accommodation – to see what you can come up with and how much it will cost.

Step 3 – Decide where to go

“Oh, sure”, you’re thinking, “why are you getting me to do the difficult stuff?! Is that what Visit Croatia is for?!”

Well, yes! We absolutely can tell you where you should go on holiday in Croatia. How? Take a look at the following pages:

Where to Go in Croatia
The 11 Best Islands in Croatia
Top Sights in Croatia
What Not To Miss in Croatia FB

Step 4 – Book your flights (or get yourself a package deal)

Now that you’ve decided where in Croatia to go, you’ll need to…get there! Take a look at our Flights to Croatia from the UK & Ireland page to see which airlines fly where. We’ve got full timetable information of all scheduled flights to the country from (what’s now) a very wide range of UK and Irish airports.

As you will see, although there are some year-round flights to the country and some flights only operate from June to September, a very good number of flights fly from the end of March to the end of October.

If you’re not flying from the UK or Ireland, see our pages on U.S. to Croatia Flights and Flights from Asia to Croatia for details of flights from these regions.

Or simply check out our pages on Getting to Zagreb, Getting to Split, Getting to Dubrovnik, Getting to Istria, Getting to the Kvarner Riviera and Getting to North Dalmatia for information on flights to these places from all over Europe.

Alternatively, you might prefer to go for a package holiday to Croatia which includes flights and accommodation (and usually transfers) all as one deal. This sort of thing is just the thing if you’re after a particular type of holiday – one that’s good for kids, one that’s adults only, a holiday that’s super luxe, for example. We recommend Jet2Holidays (and no, we’re not being paid to say so) as a package holiday operator although other companies, such as TUI Holidays, are of course available.

Step 5 – Book your accommodation (or…get yourself a package deal)

Okay, so if you’ve got yourself a package deal then you’re sorted for accommodation!

If not, you’re best to head to one of the accommodation booking portal websites, such as Booking.com, to peruse what sort of things are available for your chosen destination.

Or take a look at our Accommodation in Croatia section which shows hotels, apartments, villas, campsites and more in all destinations in Croatia, large or small.

Accommodation in Croatia
Luxury Hotels in Croatia
Unusual Places to Stay in Croatia
Campsites in Croatia
Boutique Hotels in Croatia

Step 6 – What day trips will you make?

Now, are you the kind of person who likes to alternate lazing by the pool with lazing by the beach when you’re on your holiday? Only pausing to chow down on a leisurely lunch, order another cocktail or perhaps a refreshing iced cocktail? Or will you be trying to cram in as much sightseeing and experiences as you can when you’re on holiday in Croatia?

If you’re the latter, it’s worth researching what day trips are possible from your destination. Take a look at some of our guides below. You’ll find that some day trips may be a short bus (or boat) hop up or down the coast whilst others may be whole-day affairs. You could even consider hopping over the border to Slovenia, Italy, Bosnia & Hercegovina or Montenegro – to which country obviously depends on where you’re staying!

If you’re a planner, you may even like to book some day trips before you go. This would be especially beneficial if you’d like to “timetable” your holiday days with specific activities set out for each day and then some days devoted to taking it easy.

Guided tours are available for all sorts of sights in Croatia, but you can also rely on public transport to make the trip yourself – for example, taking a 1-hour catamaran from Split to Hvar Town, or one of the small ferry boats from Dubrovnik to the Elafiti islands.

Day Trips from Istria
Day Trips from Zadar
Day Trips from Dubrovnik to Montenegro

Alternatively, you absolutely can leave booking for day trips once you’re in Croatia. Just pop along to a local agency (many set up stalls in the main promenades in towns and cities during the summer) to see what’s available.

Do also take a look at GetYourGuide’s guide to some of the best-rated tours in Croatia:

Step 7 – Countdown to the big H – holiday!

Now that you’ve got everything sorted in terms of booking your flights, accommodation and day trips, mark it up on your calendar (or 21st-century version: in your smartphone) and start counting down the days to your holiday to Croatia 2024).

Then make sure to tell all your friends and family that you’re off to Croatia this year. No doubt they’ll say “ooh, wow, how nice” and some might even say “can I come?”. (We’ll leave it up to you to decide whether or not to say yes.)

The best travel apps for Croatia

These days, most travellers to Croatia travel in possession of a smartphone. Let’s not beat around the bush, we’re practically glued to them at all times, aren’t we? If we’re not messaging or taking selfies for the ‘Gram (but obviously not using them for calls – who does that these days?), we’re using smartphones for the myriad of useful apps that make every day that little bit easier for us. But what are the best smartphone travel apps for Croatia to use when you visit the country? Let’s take a look at some of the apps that may help you during your travels.

The best travel apps for Croatia

Obviously, all of these apps require a wifi or data connection. Many of them are best used when you’re out and about – meaning it’s a data connection that you really need to rely on. Do make sure you have an appropriate amount of travel data from your home mobile phone network, or buy a cheap sim once you land in Croatia to use in the country. Take a look at our mobile phones in Croatia advice page.

All the apps I’ve talked about here are free!

Jadrolinija – Free

Jadrolinija is the main ferry company in Croatia,

Of most use to travellers, the Jadrolinija app lets you buy tickets through it and then displaying the resulting ticket (when boarding) on your phone. The ‘Buy Tickets’ feature is also useful to anyone just wanting to look up timetables – just a few taps and typing in your departure and arrival ports, as well as selecting the dates, will bring up all sailings for your chosen day. That’s just as well because the actual schedules section in the app is a little poor – it just brings up the PDF timetables that are displayed on the main Jadrolinija website, which aren’t formatted particularly well for mobile devices.

These are the main features of the Jadrolinija app that most travellers will use, although looking up weather for all of Jadrolinija’s destinations is useful, whilst the port webcams button comes in use if you’re trying to see how busy they may be.

The best travel apps for Croatia - Jadrolinija

The ‘Fleet’ section is a nice touch – you can see where any of Jadrolinija’s ferries, catamarans or boats are sailing at that exact moment! Maybe not the most useful bit of functionality for the standard traveller, but absolutely delightful for a travel nerd like me!

HAK – Free

Developed by HAK (Croatian Auto Club), this app will come in most use to those of you who are doing a fair amount of driving in Croatia.

It’s a little long-winded in its presentation, but there’s some helpful content here. The nearest gas stations feature will tell you exactly that, whilst also showing you the prices of the different fuel types at the stations. Places of interest (or POIs) tells you the location of things such as ATMs, post offices, parking lots and garages and supermarkets. You can also look up prices for tolls, although you do need to know the names of the entry and exit toll booths (as opposed to just typing in e.g. Zagreb and Split).

The road conditions part of the app is useful, although quite dry in the sense that it’s just a written report on stuff like road traffic, border crossing info and ferry and rail traffic issues – none of this is displayed on a map, which might be more useufl.

You can even use the app to tell you where you car is (after you’ve parked it, that is) but you do need to press a button to “set the location”…it’s not automatic!

Hopefully this won’t be something that you’ll need when on your travels, but you can also call for roadside assistance via the app.

HAC

Seeing as I’ve told you drivers about the HAK app, I may as well tell you about the HAC app. Wait, what?

The app of HAC – Hrvatski autoceste (Croatian Motorways) – relates to the ETC motorway toll device. Whilst most of you are unlikely to buy this – you can just pay tolls as you exit the motorway you’re driving on – if you’re in the country for any length of time and will be doing a considerable amount of driving, you might want to look into getting this device and accompanying app.

Uber and Bolt

You’ll likely already have the Uber app on your phone which is great – it’ll be fully up and running for when you’re in Croatia. It’ll be an invaluable app if you need to make short taxi journeys on holiday for a very reasonable price indeed. Uber doesn’t work everywhere in Croatia, but it does work in Zagreb, Rijeka and in towns and cities along the Dalmatian coast. You can even use the app for trips from and to airports.

In a similar vein, Bolt is another taxi app that’s used in Croatia that essentially works the same as Uber. You may even receive a special deal on rides if you’re a new Bolt customer.

GetByBus

We’re sure many of you travellers have come across the invaluable GetByBus website to look up bus timetable and buy tickets. Guess what – they have an app too! It’s a pretty slick app and makes quick work of bringing up timetables; you can buy tickets through it too.

Once you search for bus timetables, you’re presented with a list which clearly displays the bus company operator, the length of the journey, price and review scores. You can also find out what stops your bus will be making on route and if any tickets offer special discounts.

This app is a must – download it now!

Dubrovnik Airport

A few Croatian airports have their own app, and Dubrovnik Airport – or Rudjer Boskovic Airport to give it it’s proper name – doesn’t miss out.

Of most use to travellers is the departures and arrivals boards in the app which gives live information about flights – useful if you want to learn the latest status of your flight.

The best travel apps for Croatia - Dubrovnik Airport

There are also details of how to travel from and to the airport by various transport means including by shuttle bus, local bus and taxi.

Finally, you can also use the app to check in for your flights.

LibertasApp

Another useful Dubrovnik transport app is the Libertas app which deals with local buses in and near the city. It’s useful for those of you who’re planning on using the buses to get around…and let’s face it, sometimes it’s a little difficult to make head or tale of the bus maps and timetables.

The app shows bus lines with their different colours and live bus departures. Bring up the app wherever you are in Dubrovnik and it’ll show you the nearest bus stop, which lines service it and when the next buses to arrive are.

The app is also great for anyone wishing to take the suburban buses to destinations outside of Dubrovnik, perhaps using bus number 10 to Cavtat or bus number 15 to Ston.

Secret Zadar

I was struggling a bit to find a reputable and useful local guide as an app – there are many available in the app stores, but few are actually much use to travellers!

One that I would recommend is the Secret Zadar app which…in fact…isn’t actually a standard guide to this gorgeous town but a collection of little-known facts and, well, secrets about Zadar. It’s a nice accompaniment to visiting the place and offers a slight more behind the scenes look – learn about the ill-fated city bridge, how to tell time in Zadar and about Jackie Kennedy visiting the town. There’s also a video section featuring recent clips, and a chance to hear some traditional music from Zadar – klapa singing.

Dalmatia AI

Fire up the app and select your areas of interest for Dalmatia – are they adventure? Shopping? Nightlife or culture? Once you’ve selected, the Dalmatia AI app will display locations related to your preferences and info about each place. You can favourite the places that sounds particularly interesting to you, meaning you’re creating your own little guide to the area of Dalmatia you’re visiting. If you’re not sure what to explore, simply fire up the map and see what’s near you!

The best travel apps for Croatia - Dalmatia AI

Of particular interest, you can draw up local beaches. Because what’s better than finding a beach that you didn’t know about before?

Mondly – Free

There are not many language apps that are useful for learning some Croatian words and phrases, it has to be said. Those that do exist tend to be a little thin on the ground in terms of content or are…just a little dull!

One which is anything but dull is Mondly. With its series of interactive game-style lessons, it’s a great basis for learning some helpful words to use in Croatian and the way lessons are structured repetitively means that hopefully you’ll take on board for good some of what you’re learning.

https://sigurnestaze.hr/

Citymapper – Free – iOS and Android

We sure hope you’ve come across Citymapper before. It’s an invaluable transport planning tool that offers routes using myriad different transport methods (depending on the city, of course) – trains, buses, taxis/cabs, carsharing, ferries/boats, trams, cycling and walking, to name the most obvious ones. The app also displays transport maps, and shows live departure times.

You can set it to use only certain types of transport – say if you want to travel by bus instead of train – or get it to tell you the fastest, cheapest or “simplest” options. There is also a very helpful step-free filter for those who are travelling with wheelchairs, buggies or perhaps have mobility issues. What it doesn’t share is any driving routes, of course, for this is a public transport-only app!

As I write, Citymapper is only available for one Croatian city, Zagreb. However, I would thoroughly recommend that you download it if visiting Zagreb. It makes light work of the sometimes complicated tram and bus network.

Waze – Free – iOS and Android

But what if you’re planning on doing a substantial amount of driving in the country? Ditch the expensive GPS system that your car hire company might want you to rent and opt for a free substitute.

Of course, there’s always the ubiquitous Google Maps, but for what I feel is a cleverer “sat-nav” give Waze a try. Waze will offer routes based around live traffic conditions, roads that have snarled due to traffic jams. It will also warn you of upcoming roadworks, incidents (such as car collisions), blocked lanes, hazards, road closures and even reported police vehicles. Very helpfully, it also shows the current road speed limit to help you adhere to it when driving.

Waze benefits from user-generated content for much of the above (i.e. people can report traffic accidents or hazards when they’re seen) so you can too. Just not when you’re driving, of course!

Instagram

Instagram isn’t anything Croatia-specific, but OF COURSE you must share all your amazing photos of stunning Croatia on your account and make all your friends jealous…right? Make sure to tag us up too (@VisitCroatia) and we’ll share your images on our account too!

Doodle Jump 2

When you need a little downtime from all that sightseeing and lazing by the pool, seek out the Doodle Jump. What’s this got to do with Croatia, you might think? Well, the app was developed by Croatian programming studio Lima Sky. Just the thing to while away the hours on a longish bus or ferry journey.

Travel question: the best places to stay from Zadar to Dubrovnik

Hi, we are planning to fly into Zadar in late June for approximately 14 nights, working our way to Dubrovnik and flying back from there. Looking for about 6 or more places to stay over on our way down, we will be travelling by bus so don’t want long bus transfers, so could you give me some ideas of some nice places where we could stay or when travelling down, please?

J.P.

14 nights from Zadar to Dubrovnik sounds truly wonderful, lucky you! That’s a great amount of time to see Dalmatia. Travelling by bus is no problem, and I would also actually add some catamarans (or ferries, where applicable) into the mix as this trip would also be a good chance to see and experience some islands. However, I’ll also give you an option to stick to the mainland only if you prefer.

Zadar to Dubrovnik - Trogir
Trogir

Zadar to Dubrovnik – Travelling on the mainland, by bus, only

  • Start in lovely Zadar with so much to explore and enjoy here!
    …1 hour 30 minutes by bus to…
  • Sibenik – a charming old town, with its two UNESCO World Heritage sites (definitely visit the fortresses!), and a lovely harbourfront 
    30 minutes to…
  • Skradin to visit Krka National Park, a gem of a national park with its gorgeous waterfalls and lakes, plenty to explore on a day or two here
    …just over 1 hour to… (N.B. Only one bus a day at 17.30 with Best Line)
  • Trogir – a gorgeous little town, lots of tiny cobbled streets, good restaurants and cafes
    …only 30/45 minutes to…
  • Split – Croatia’s second city, a must-visit on your way down from Zadar to Dubrovnik! So much to see and do here, plus excellent restaurants, bars, shopping, beaches…the list goes on!
    …just over 1 hour to…
  • Makarska – another highlight on this part of the coast, a popular holiday destination with great amenities and rather impressively loomed over by Mount Biokovo
    …2 hours 30 mins/3 hours to…
  • Dubrovnik – the pearl of the Adriatic!

So, the above is actually only 5 places to stop off at when travelling down from Zadar to Dubrovnik. I think this is a good amount as you can base yourself in any one place and then make additional bus trips to nearby locations.

I would have liked to add in an extra place between Makarska and Dubrovnik for you, but this part of the coast thins out a little in terms of towns to visit. One place to explore would have been somewhere on the Peljesac Peninsula e.g. Ston but it is only possible to travel there from Makarska (if travelling by bus) via Dubrovnik, which wouldn’t make much sense.

The GetByBus website will help you look up bus timetables and book tickets.

From Zadar to Dubrovnik - Korcula Town
Korcula Town

Zadar to Dubrovnik – Mainland by bus to Split and then by catamaran down to Dubrovnik

Now for the second option. The start is as the above itinerary, for the Zadar to Split portion, and then from there: 

  • Split
    …1 hour by catamaran…
  • Hvar Town on Hvar – a popular island town with great restaurants and interesting sights (the Spanjola Fortress on the hill is a must-see); taking a taxi bro to the Pakleni islands on a day trip is also recommended
    …1 hour 10 mins by catamaran to…
  • Korcula Town – a mini-Dubrovnik, a delightful place
    …just under 2 hours to…
  • Dubrovnik

Or two other islands you could do instead would be Brac (home to the famous Zlatni Rat beach) or Mljet (with its beautiful greenery and nature). Or any combination of two – Hvar and Mljet, Brac and Korcula…

Kapetan Luka and Jadrolinija run these catamarans; there are quite a few sailings on these routes (some – e.g. Split to Hvar – more than others) so the best advice would be to look up tickets on the ferry company websites to see what time the sailings are.

Enjoy your travels from Zadar to Dubrovnik!