Conde Nast Traveller named Croatia one of Europe’s hottest tourist spots. And they’re not alone. In fact, crowds of tourists from all over the world who pour into Croatia every summer seem to agree with the above claim. After all, Croatia’s popularity has been on a rise for a few good reasons (which may surprise you!).
But before we lure you in with dreamy Croatian beaches, award-winning wineries, stunning landscapes, picture-perfect towns, sapphire waters, and mouthwatering gastronomy, we invite you to have a quick look at how to visit Croatia in 2021: the basics you need for a vacation you didn’t expect to plan at all!
Where is Croatia?
Located in Eastern Europe, more specifically in the Balkans, Croatia is well-connected to the rest of the world. For a more specific outline of the country, have a look at a map of Croatia below and start exploring its whereabouts from the comfort of your couch before you visit
tips: we suggest Google maps/we suggest you start here
In short, Croatia borders five countries, namely Slovenia to the north, Serbia and Hungary to the East, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro to the south.
How to get to Croatia?
Getting to Croatia is easy; there are many airlines with direct flights to major towns in Croatia. You can fly to one of the following Croatia cities:
Another option of how to visit Croatia is by bus from the neighboring countries. There are a few airports near Croatia in case you can’t find a suitable direct flight to Croatia:
- Ljubljana (Slovenia)
- Venice or Trieste (Italy)
- Graz or Vienna (Austria)
Top experiences to have in Croatia
Now you know where Croatia is and how to get there. But why bother and visit Croatia in 2021? After all, what’s there to do in Croatia?
Let’s get one thing straight: Croatia isn’t an off-the-beaten-track destination. It’s been very popular with tourists for the past years, and for a good reason. The country boasts with a diverse landscape, mouthwatering cuisine, and picturesque towns and villages that overlook sapphire waters, and more than 1,000 islands to choose from.
Here’s a quick, yes, quick (there’s no way to fit everything to know about Croatia in one short article), overlook of what Croatia has to offer.
1. Take a walk through history
Whether it’s mysterious bunkers, distant remains of Yugoslavia, charming fishing towns and villages, scenic old town centers, magnificent palaces, or impressive churches, the country is a real treat for any history buff. Stroll along the narrow cobblestone streets, follow the footsteps of Marco Polo or Nikola Tesla and immerse yourself in the stories of old.
2. Spoil your taste buds
Croatian cuisine is diverse, fresh, local, and delicious. Whether you’re looking for cheap street eats or exclusive Michelin star experience, Croatian food is evolving regularly, with more emphasis on small-scale fishing, using fresh and local ingredients, and the best meat. Each region has its own specialties which you can’t find elsewhere. For the real foodies out there, the Istria region in the north is a must as it has been claimed a paradise for all food lovers since it boasts with its unique typical dishes and cooking techniques.
3. Get lost in a national park
All the nature lovers, outdoorsy people, photography amateurs, and hiking aficionados will be pleased to discover that Croatia has eight different national parks and one UNESCO Geopark! The most popular is Plitvice Lakes National Park, but that doesn’t mean the other seven aren’t worth your time. For a complete Croatian experience, visit at least one during your vacation. Here are our top tips on the best Croatian National Parks.
4. Taste award-winning wines
Croatia’s wine production is diverse, extensive, and many of the wines are award-winning. The vineyards and wineries can be found all over the country with more than 300 wine-growing regions. Croatia is a home to the longest continually cultivated vineyard on the island of Hvar, in Stari Grad Plain, which is also a UNESCO Heritage Site.
5. Explore picturesque islands
There are many islands in Croatia (more than 1,000!), which can easily seem slightly overwhelming when it comes to picking the one for your vacation. The good news is that all of the islands are connected to the mainland with ferries. What’s more, many agencies offer day island hopping tours to make your life slightly easier.
If tourist crowds and waiting in line isn’t your thing, rent a private boat and explore the islands yourself. Which ones to choose? In a quick overview, Conde Nast Traveller top choices are Hvar, Brač, Korčula, Lošinj, and Veliki Brijun, among others.
6. Discover UNESCO Heritage Sites
The diversity of Croatia continues with its ten UNESCO sights which are popular with the crowds, but worth a visit. You can find the entire list here, but some of the most well-known include the Old City of Dubrovnik, Plitvice Lakes National Park, the historic city of Trogir, Palace of Diocletian in Split, and The Cathedral of St. James in Šibenik.
7. Explore Game of Thrones Sights
Unless you’ve lived under a rock for the past decade, then you know that HBO’s popular fantasy series Game of Thrones was partially shot in Croatia: Dubrovnik, Split, and the Lokrum Island. There are a number of tours, museums, and other options for the GoT fans to experience in Croatia, but you can easily reach all the filming locations by yourself.
8. Sunbathe on Croatian beaches
The entire coastline of Croatia counts close to 1800 kilometers. In case you’re wondering Where to go for Croatia beaches, the answer is simple: you can go pretty much anywhere. The country boasts with diverse beaches and swimming spots for every taste, just pick your poison: long sandy beaches, hidden coves, rocky islands, pebbled paradise, crystal-clear waters, rocky cliffs, dreamy sunsets, white shores, and beyond.
Allegedly, Croatia’s best beach is the Golden Horn (Zlatni Rat), and it’s located on the island of Brač. It’s breath-taking without a doubt. But from so many beaches to choose from, we’ll let discover your best beach in Croatia.
9. Take part in unique activities
Croatia has some magnificent options for all demands and tastes, and you can easily personalize your trip with unique activities that’ll allow you to make the most of your visit to Croatia in 2021. Go rafting on the Cetina River, take a ride on the fastest zip line in Croatia, in Omiš, or have dinner in the sky, in Zagreb. If adrenaline sports aren’t your thing, get messy with a Croatian cooking class or discover the cultivation of oysters in the Peljesac Peninsula, while indulging in the freshest oysters you’ll ever taste. Or, experience the Croatian culture even further by going truffle-hunting in Istria.
FAQ On Croatia Visit:
Is Croatia EU and Schengen?
Croatia is a member country of the European Union, but it’s not yet a part of the Schengen visa regiments as of January 2021.
Do you need a visa for Croatia?
There is no visa required for visitors from the UK, the USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. They can enter and stay in Croatia for 90 days within a 180-day period.
European citizens can enter the country with their valid ID card.
Croatian currency and exchange rate
Croatian currency is Kuna and the exchange rate is (as per January 2021) is 7,58Kn per 1 €, 6,23 per 1$, and 8.51 per 1£.
ATM machines and credit card payments
You can find ATM machines all over Croatia. Keep in mind that while credit cards are accepted in many places around the country, there are certain smaller businesses, such as shops, bars, and restaurants, where you aren’t able to pay with a card since they accept cash payments only.
Getting around Croatia
The best way to get around Croatia is by renting a car. While public transportation is reliable and quite efficient, it won’t allow you to make detours and visit smaller places you want to discover.
To get to most islands, you have to take a ferry, whether you’re traveling on foot, by car or by motorcycle. The main ferry ports are Zadar, Rijeka, and Split, but there are many smaller ports along the coast as well.
Croatia travel warnings: is Croatia safe to visit?
Whether you’re traveling alone or with a group, Croatia is a safe country with little street crime. Just like with any other travel destination, don’t flash your iPod in the dark alleys during nighttime and keep your belongings close when fighting through tourist crowds on popular spots and public transport. What’s more, don’t leave your valuables unattended on the beach. We suggest that you leave all the important documents in a safe or a hotel room, and bring with you only small cash for a few drinks or a quick bite.
What language is spoken in Croatia?
In Croatia, people speak Croatian. But don’t worry; most Croatians speak at least a little English, and other foreign languages (German and Italian) are spoken in the tourist spots around the country.
What is the best time to visit Croatia?
The best time to visit Croatia is in June and September. The high season is in July and August; that’s when the weather is hottest and the sights and beaches are most crowded.
Coronavirus in Croatia
Currently, you have to wear a mask in all public spaces, churches, government buildings, public transport, and in cases when you can’t keep a social distance. For more information on the current virus situation, visit the Croatian coronavirus website. You can also check the official EU website here with the current situation updates on all European countries.
Visiting Croatia: a recap
Whether you’re looking for an exclusive vacation package, adventure, nature retreat, or beach holiday, Croatia has got it all. There’s not one single best Croatia travel itinerary since the country has a lot to offer for any taste and preference.
The country is easily accessible from the rest of Europe with its six airports, including Dubrovnik, Zagreb, and Split. What’s more, you can visit Croatia by booking your luxury vacation packages or multi-country travel packages with a tourist agency, find direct flights to a more convenient airport of your choice (such as Venice, Italy), and let the agency take care of the rest for you. It’s an excellent option for a stress-free vacation with experienced guides that will enable you to make the most of your Croatia visit in 2021.