This post may contain compensated links. Please read our disclaimer for additional information.

Croatia is gaining the reputation as one of the hottest destinations in Europe. With fascinating cities, beautiful islands and stunning waterfalls one visit to Croatia will never be enough.

After spending some time traveling around and staying in some of the top destinations in Croatia we learnt quite a few tips that will make your first time trip a lot easier.

If you are planning a trip check out my top 10 tips for Croatia to make sure that you have the best possible holiday.

 

1. DON’T STAY IN THE OLD CITY IN DUBROVNIK

If you are going to stay in the UNESCO World Heritage city of Dubrovnik DO NOT stay in the city itself.

To say that Dubrovnik becomes overcrowded during the summer months is an understatement.

I highly recommend finding accommodation in Lapad (we stayed in Babin Kuk an area of Lapad). Getting around is easy on the buses and these areas are only about 10 minutes away from the main gate into Dubrovnik.

On that note an hour ticket for the bus costs 15 kuna if you pay on the bus (or 12 kuna if you buy from a kiosk). Make sure to validate your tickets. Often the bus driver will do it – they were on the whole really helpful. Find out about the buses here!

 

CLICK HERE TO BOOK YOUR PERFECT HOTEL IN LAPAD

bus-tickets for dubrovnik

There is a pedestrianised strip in Lapad with lots of bars and restaurants. Visit the Cave Bar at the Hotel More for a drink at sunset. Its beautiful and you get a lovely view. (Consider a meal in the restaurant too – highly recommended!)

view from hotel more in Babin Kuk Croatia

 

READ MORE
Sailing the Elaphiti Islands off the Croatian coast

 

2. THINGS TO KNOW IF YOU ARE PLANNING TO WALK THE WALLS OF DUBROVNIK

If you are planning to walk the walls of Dubrovnik (of course you are its a must) go early in the morning or late afternoon if you are there in summer.

Dubrovnik view from the walls

 

Its a gruelling 2 hour walk including lots of steps – not something to do in full on sun.Make sure to wear comfortable shoes  as there are uneven steps and cobbles to navigate along the walls and in Dubrovnik.

Take water with you – there are a few places to buy refreshments along the way but they are expensive. There is only one opportunity to get down from the walls but that is a good half way around. Keep your tickets as they checked at that point too!

walls

 

3. PLAN WHEN TO GO TO THE OLD CITY VERY CAREFULLY

Dubrovnik gets extremely crowded in summer particularly when there are a lot of cruise ships in port. Leave yourself time to get out of the city. Nearly everyone goes in and out through one main NARROW gateway. Imagine a few thousand people trying to get in and out at the same time… You get the picture.

I refused to go through the crush of people and had to wait an hour or so before it felt safe enough to leave.

 

Pile gate

 

READ MORE
Best Things to Do in Dubrovnik in Croatia

4. DO VISIT NEIGHBOURING COUNTRIES

The roads are excellent in Croatia – probably the best I have seen in Europe. We didn’t hire a car but we did hire a car and a driver for a couple of days to take us to nearby Montenegro and Bosnia. Well worth considering as they are close enough for day trips if you are in Dubrovnik. We used Cheap Dubrovnik Tours and they were excellent.

a waitress in national dress at a restaurant in bosnia herzegovina

 

READ MORE
How to enjoy a Bosnia day trip from Dubrovnik Croatia

 

a view of kotor-bay in Montenegro

 

READ MORE
A Montenegro day trip from Dubrovnik Croatia

 

6. TAKE THE CATAMARAN TO SPLIT

If you are travelling to Split consider catching the catamaran from Dubrovnik. Save on car rental and relax as you sail the Adriatic coast. Its a scenic trip and you get a great view of some of the many islands along the coast.

catamaran

If you have time stop off for a few nights on some of the islands – Hvar is a very popular choice.

hvar harbour in croatia

 

7. STAY IN THE OLD CITY IN SPLIT

If you are going to Split I would say the opposite to the advice for Dubrovnik. In Split stay IN the old city. It is like nowhere else I gave ever been a truly magical city. The atmosphere is fabulous and you are surrounded by the Diocletian’s Palace – quite literally!

It is also a fantastic city to base yourself in as it is fairly central and there are lots of great places to visit from Split.

LOOKING FOR SOME GREAT ACCOMMODATION OPTIONS IN SPLIT?

CLICK HERE TO BOOK YOUR PERFECT HOTEL IN SPLIT’S OLD TOWN

 

an evening shot of split - top 10 tips for croatia

 

8. BUY SHOES IF YOU PLAN TO GO SWIMMING

Buy shoes for swimming. The Dalmatian coast isn’t all sandy beaches but can be quite rocky in places. You will also need them if you plan to swim at Krka waterfalls! (Although more famoue Plitvice are not the only beautiful waterfalls to visit in Croatia!)

You can buy swimming shoes all over Croatia so I would just buy them after you have arrived.

 

krka-waterfalls in croatia

 

READ MORE
Visiting KrKa National Park in Croatia

 

9. TAKE SOME CASH WITH YOU

Although part of the EU Croatia uses their own currency – the Kuna – although Euros seem to be widely accepted too. There were plenty of cash machines and most places take cards too. We did have to pay cash for our apartment in Dubrovnik and in Split so check if you aren’t staying in a hotel if they accept card payments. Also for entry to some places we needed cash – Arboretum Trsteno was example.

kuna - top 10 tips for crotia

 

READ MORE
Visiting Arboretum Trsteno in Croatia - A garden with a view!

 

10. REFILL YOUR WATER BOTTLES AT THE FOUNTAINS

Save yourself some money and help the environment and reuse water bottles – there are lots of fountains around for you to refill your bottles for free!

bottle-filling at a fountain in dubrovnik


And my biggest tip of all?

Go there!  (though preferably not on a cruise ship)

YOU MAY ENJOY THESE POSTS ABOUT TRAVEL IN THE BALKANS

CROATIACROATIAN ITINERARY DUBROVNIK TO ZAGREB * TOP TIPS FOR CROATIA * VISITING KRKA WATERFALLS * VISITING ARBORETUM TRSTENO * BEST BOOKS TO READ BEFORE YOU VISIT CROATIA * A GUIDE TO TROGIR AND SIBENIK * UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE CITIES TO VISIT IN CROATIA * HOW TO TRAVEL CROATIA BY FERRY AND CATAMARAN

BOSNIAA DAY TRIP TO BOSNIA FROM DUBROVNIK * MONTENEGROA DAY TRIP TO MONTENEGRO FROM DUBROVNIK

SLOVENIAVISITING LJUBLJANA CITY OF DRAGONS * A GUIDE TO VISITING LAKE BLED

EUROPETOP 20 BEAUTIFUL DESTINATIONS IN EUROPE PART 1 * TOP 20 BEAUTIFUL DESTINATIONS TO VISIT IN EUROPE PART 2

 

PIN FOR LATER – TRAVEL TIPS FOR CROATIA

 

Top 10 tips for visiting Croatia | Tracy's Travels in Time

Top 10 tips for visiting Croatia with a photograph of Dubrovnik

YOU MAY ENJOY THESE POSTS TOO!

 

 

READ MORE
Best Things to Do in Dubrovnik in Croatia

READ MORE
Essential European winter packing list (plus printable PDF)

READ MORE
Ultimate Buying Guide to the Best Anti Theft Travel Bags

 

CLICK FOR EXCLUSIVE ACCESS TO MY RESOURCE LIBRARY

subscription box




Author: Tracy

Over the last 50 years I have lived and worked in 7 countries on 4 continents and travelled to many more. I enjoy exploring and learning about new places and meeting people on my travels. History, reading, photography, nature and wildlife are my interests and I am ALWAYS researching and planning my next trip (preferably by train)

With a lifetime of travel experience, and a network of friends all over the world, I share genuine insider guides, recommended best book lists and train journey inspiration to help YOU travel authentically to some of the most beautiful places on earth.

Come and join me as I travel the world one country (and train journey) at a time!

This post may contain compensated links. Please read our disclaimer for additional information.

38 thoughts on “My ultimate top 10 tips for Croatia to make the most of your trip

  1. Esther says:

    I completely agree with most of your advice here! Husband and me also stayed in Lapad and loved it, and were totally mesmerized by Split. We stayed a couple of days in Korcula, which is an amazing island and stayed in Trogir near Split, what a gem!
    #FarawayFiles

    • TracyJane says:

      One day it was really scary and took a good hour to get out – the police turned up even TV cameras it was that bad – and it felt unsafe. Avoid going in when cruise ships are in – I should have added that as a tip.

  2. Clare (Suitcases and Sandcastles) says:

    Good tips, Tracy. Every time I see those crowds in Dubrovnik, I shudder – it really puts me off visiting. Wish I’d gone in the late 90s when I had the chance. I’d love to explore more of Croatia so these tips will come in very handy. Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles

  3. Lolo says:

    Great tips about getting up early to walk the walls and in general explore the city! It does get terribly crowded there! We also didn’t stay directly in the Old Town and loved out hotel with a watering hole! #FeetDoTravel

  4. Ashley says:

    Lovely! We went to Dubrovnik last May and luckily managed to avoid the crowds a bit. Still busy, but not packed like in summer! At any rate, it’s gorgeous! Glad you enjoyed. 🙂 #FarawayFiles

  5. Trippin' Turpins (Kelly) says:

    Great tips! Especially about the water – that is really handy to know! I can’t believe the amount of people in that photo – I hate crowds, but I am definitely going to Croatia one day. Have pinned this post for use then! Thanks

    • TracyJane says:

      It was terrible especially when the cruise ships turned up and regurgitated a few thousand people into the old city – try to check what days they are due in and avoid Dubrovnik on those days!

  6. Amanda says:

    We stayed in Dubrovnik and it was a good way to avoid the crowds, there are lots of airbnb’s there. It’s much less crowded in the morning/evening when the cruise crowds aren’t there! #FarawayFiles

    • TracyJane says:

      I am sure you will really enjoy it Angie. The only problem are the numbers mainly caused by the cruise ships. If they could stop them or restrict them it would be better – and safer

  7. Katy says:

    Great tips Tracy. That gate going into Dubrovnik was a nightmare and exactly how it is in your photos. We were in Istria in September and definitely needed the water shoes there. Croatia is a wonderful country to visit isnt it? Thanks for sharing on #farawayfiles

  8. James says:

    This is a very useful post for me as I’ll be visiting Croatia this winter. The tip about not staying in Dubrovnik but in Lapad a short bus ride away is invaluable! I can’t believe how many people were in your picture trying to walk through the city gate!

  9. Pingback: Visiting Arboretum Trsteno near Dubrovnik Croatia

  10. Pingback: A guide of things to do in Dubrovnik in Croatia

  11. Pingback: Croatia Itinerary from Dubrovnik to Zagreb

  12. Pingback: A guide of things to do in Dubrovnik in Croatia

  13. Pingback: A guide to Visiting Trogir and Šibenik

  14. Pingback: Visiting Arboretum Trsteno near Dubrovnik Croatia

  15. Pingback: Sailing the Elafiti Islands Croatia

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.