When you hear ‘Croatia’ what do you think of?
I without a doubt wanted to start my May Europe trip post(s) with Croatia of the 6 countries I visited..for that reason. Out of all the countries, a lot of people asked about Croatia.
Most known for where Game of Thrones was filmed, theres a lot of interesting quirks to Croatia that makes it very unique. I have some amazing tips from my experience, surprising things I bet you didn’t know about this country and some epic information- super ecstatic to share this post!!
Best feedback..Croatia was my SECOND CHEAPEST COUNTRY YET! Bali is my cheapest thus far.
Currency is called, Croatian Kuna. This currency rates are always changes so google before, as of now,
1 Croatian Kuna equals 0.15 United States Dollar.
So, my pizza was 25 kuna.. it was $3.78… it was the single best moment of feeling the USD currency to date. The hotel I stayed in that was city center/on water I had was around $50USD a night. Croatia is most defiantly one of those countries that the dollar *depending on where you are from too.. goes far.
Where to begin? I mean just about everything is really genuinely, cool about Croatia.
The food and the restaurant set ups within towns like Split was (sorry but) better than even Italy in my opinion. The food is made from the heart here, interesting spices,meats, a lot of gelato, pizza- being so close to Italy.
The actual restaurants, are hidden back to back (like one after another) within the endless stone streets and buildings of Split. This country was my favorite food out of all of them I visited on this Europe trip, I went really local with the food and this part of the trip was completely alone and enjoyed every little moment.
The people were helpful and Split was extremely easy to navigate (kind of ;) - just keep walking, you’ll never go down the same little streets twice). The alleys are seriously so beautiful, touching the stone and feeling such good energy being here.
My favorite part of Split was the streets have lights so, it is super easy to walk in the evening (sunset was at almost 9pm and I was in before 10pm). There was music playing and so lively even on weekdays, also because there was a cruise ship in port that day too.
My thoughts first arriving into Croatia was… what was I thinking? I was extremely excited and nervous being alone. It was beautiful with all the mountains behind the town (and snow capped by the way!), on the really blue water with the white/red topped buildings.
These buildings though- coming into Split, Croatia was filled with graffiti. I wanted to really touch on this subject because I noticed it in Croatia, I noticed in parts of south Italy (Naples especially), Barcelona defiantly too.
There is a lot of graffiti in Europe period, I asked sometimes when I felt comfortable with people I met along the way- “why?” And, theres no actual reason, they just don’t paint over it because it happens again. There is no ‘danger’ or anything, but was taken back by this in all 3 I listed above.
Time from Split airport into actual city center Split was under 25 minutes, very easy airport but customs got packed and I ran (always run if you see a ton of people, sorry it does save a lot of time!)
Made reservations with Booking.com, absolutely in the best spot- off to the side of city center, on the water and tucked away. I would recommend maybe being a touch off city center.
City center of Split I would consider where the walk along the water is, GPS would be Balote Varos (parking there too). I stayed right next to the Balote park where the flag is, easy 5 minute walk into the main part. This walking area is pictured below and has such South Beach Miami vibes honestly!!
Split is a very charming place, I am extremely happy I made my way to Croatia and how comfortable I really felt too. I walked around in the evening (sunset was actually after 9pm in Europe) and took a lot of my pictures then. I would recommend trying pictures in the morning, and evening as the sun is setting due to the buildings/shadows and the lighting was p.e.r.f.e.c.t.
Note: It can get cloudy fast I noticed, again this is just island weather and get the pictures when you can.
Krka Falls (closer to Split) If you wanted to do the falls, put an entire day aside for this. They have only full day tours.
There is a ton of tour options and really take advantage, they are very well priced and you won’t regret them! I have a few noted as well below..
What did I do to take advantage of my time? A 10 hour island hopping tour.
It was a blast and highly highly recommend! It was 5 islands and the blue caves- the day I went out, there was a chance of rain and did actually rain in Split but not on the islands, they cancelled blue caves due to the tide. This tour, do not take lightly on the boat, it is actually a blast but do not try to use your phones, cameras; I would even put away and hold onto your things in front of you and strapped, it was really rough and absolutely did not use any phones between islands. Bring motion sickness bracelet (off amazon) if sensitive because a lot of people were.
Company used for island hopping: Getyourguide
Hvar: Really cool! This is one of the islands you have a choice of staying on, you could for 2 days I would maybe recommend. I was fine with 3 hours- had incredible calamari, walked up to the castle fortress, went around the shops and walked around more of the beach side of the island. Decent shopping, nice food options right along the water.
You have to pay to get into the fortress and absolutely worth it- you can’t get better views than that. There is a lot to look at inside, the dungeon too (be mindful of stairs, I fell down them). You get a guide on all the history behind it and its really, a gem to Hvar- very special historic landmark. It’s incredible and be mindful where you take pictures, there is part of the castle you can go right to the edge, great picture spot but be extremely careful :)
There was 3 other smaller islands. I’ve grown to appreciate smaller islands throughout traveling. Its funny because some are easier to get to than others, some are.. not the most wealthiest off, very very few shops and food options. They were all a great ‘escape’ and just soak it all in, you get about an hour each island.
Croatia, is known for yachting, boating- ‘summer’ along with other amazing unique things like, Croatia has the most natural grown lavender in the world.
There is a lot of very little local lavender stands throughout the islands as well.
I found everyone I met spoke pretty good english as well too. Ultra Music Festival is held there, house music is really popular here. Croatia in some parts gets extremely busy due to Summer months. It’s known for its red topped buildings too along the ocean side (it is just as beautiful in person too!)
I did go in mid May to Croatia and it was low 70’s, a touch of clouds.
I would recommend beating the crowds before summer, exact best weekends..end of May and even beginning of June. It does get hot here so look what time of year is best (July/August), it also gets cooler temperatures - there was snow on the mountains behind Split while I was there!
Be really mindful going on off season depending on what/where you are wanting to go. There is a peak season here defiantly for yachting season (of corse Summer), but there is also very off season times. May is just beginning of the season I was told by locals, there is a ton of cruises that come into ports like Split so they said it can range crowds wise too pretty quickly.
It can get very cold in Croatia too, I mean if you look at some of the pictures- there is still snow capped mountains in a few shots. Be really mindful, research ahead before going and know what areas are in really big busy season. For example: Ultra Europe is here in Split in the month of July so that is extremely busy. I would say August could also be pretty busy since that festival is even at the end of July.
September is better but a lot start shutting down weirdly enough in some areas. October is also not the greatest time, its beginning to really cool down. Bring a sweater, likely jeans in mid-end. So, pretty much May-June are really good times to visit without a ton of crowds/not too expensive and easy to sell out on hotels wise.
Google past years weather in destinations too *actually hasn’t been too far off when iv’e tried.
Recommendations: How long to stay? Depending on what parts you are going to.
If you are going to Croatia and want the full experience..
I would honestly suggest over 3 weeks as it’s both mainland and island- Its one of those countries..a lot of options. If you wanted very specific sections, break it up and can make a trip custom for you. But, it’s not worth going to Croatia (in my opinion) for only 4 days, period.
Split: Solid 4 days minimum
(Town for full day/evenings, out to islands 1 full day, the famous waterfalls need an entire day to get to* (add extra for weather incase because its not a rainy friendly place) *You can take a boat to Hvar from there as well.
Dubrovnik: ..Have you looked on the map? Look below…
Hate to break it to you, its in the most weirdest spot..ever. It is beyond south, theres another country in between Croatia.
If you are planning to do this, make it the last part and go north to south or opposite and make it south to north. I would recommend likely 4 days minimum here since its so far south to get to.
Zadar is very north. Zagreb, Roving, and again- Hvar, all other other islands nearby there that are very small- easy to get to! The options are endless and really research into what appeals to you. If you love beaches, more tropical and these island feels- then island hopping and staying on the coast is defiantly best.
You can also do (drumroll please….) YACHT WEEK in Croatia island hopping!!
This is a VERY good option, I am very happy to explain why.. it’s actually very well priced. All done out, I requested pricing on going the 3rd to last weekend of August and it was around $750 USD for 7 nights. That includes stay on the yacht, food (I believe 2 meals) and what an experience of a lifetime. You can bring friends, you can go solo and meet people, go as a couple who love to party, childhood best friend trip, literally… it is a fantastic option!
Croatia was the single most COOLEST country I have ever been to, most truly interestingly shaped country, and the most ..surprising loving one.
I did this trip SOLO mind you and felt so welcomed, safe, happy and really am thankful I was able to stop in Croatia on my trip!