Croatia: Guide for The Smart Traveler

Thinking about visiting Croatia? Good choice! Croatia is becoming a popular tourism destination. It offers beaches, bars, restaurants, a rich old culture, and all that at a decent price.

With a little planning, Croatia can be the trip of a lifetime. Here is a quick guide to get started.

Plitvice Lakes

Plitivce Lakes are a national park in Croatia, renowned for its spectacular views of the lakes. A camera is a must-have in to capture these beautiful views. Nonetheless, the Plitvice Lakes are far from most urban centers so plan for a long trip.

A more accessible alternative would be Krka, which is another national park with breath-taking scenery, just an hour away from Split. If you travel by car to Krka, ditch the highway – A coastal ride is a rewarding sightseeing experience.

Personally, I disagree with people who claim Plitvice Lakes are much more beautiful than Krka. Krka has a more convenient location; close to the town of Split and the attractive isles of Hvar, Brac and Solta.

Croatia’s Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik has to be the most popular attraction in Croatia and for good reason. This old town is gorgeous and definitely worth visiting. The only drawback? Costs. You can expect 30-40% higher prices than in Split, for instance. Hotel prices are also higher than elsewhere in the country, but the view alone is worth the extra for those who can afford it.

For those on a tight budget, head to Split or Rovinj, old towns blessed with a charming culture and a fascinating history. For instance, only in Split can you visit the Diocletian’s Palace: a monument more than 1700 years old.


Hvar, Brac, Cres, Korcula are some of the best islands in Croatia. It would be a shame to visit Croatia and not visit at least one of them. They are beautiful and easily accessible from nearby towns. My advice would be to combine old towns and islands in your discovery itinerary.

However, do not make the mistake of trying to see everything; you might not have the resources. Remember that the only way to visit these islands is by ferry, which is time-consuming.

I recommend these these itinerary combinations: Split and Brac/Hvar/Solta, or Rovinj/Pula/Opatija and Cres/Rab.

Zlatni rat

Zlatni rat, located on the island of Brac, is the most famous beach in Croatia (and thus popular with tourists). It is also very difficult to access  – you need to travel by ferry to get to Brac, and by bus from there to get to this remote beach. While this is a problem for some tourists, others find it to be worth the trouble.

If you decide to go there, make sure to climb the Vidova Gora mountain and enjoy an elevated spectacular view of this beach.


You will love Croatian Mediterranean food! Try the fish, vegetables, and a variety of meat. My personal favorites are octopus salad or grilled squid. If you do not like seafood, you can try lamb or mixed meat. Restaurants in Croatia have a rich decor.

The general rule is, if the restaurant looks good from the outside, the food will be delightful.

Rent a sailboat

Anyone could handle these large engine-powered boats. They are one of the best ways to explore Croatia. You can go to a cove of your choice and those heavenly beaches inaccessible by car.

Make your journey stress-free by taking advantage of the many coves and town harbors available. By day, explore towns and islands; by night, enjoy a safe and quiet night aboard your boat.

Ride along the coastline

Stay away from inland roads and embrace the Croatian coastline. Most cities are on the coast, so it’s perfect for a visit. For example, ride from Zadar and visit Sibenik and Split. Then you can go to island Brac or Hvar (Ferries accept cars). At the end of your holiday, you can drive from Split and see Dubrovnik.

Visiting Croatia needs planning. There is so much for everyone to enjoy – yet, so little time to do so. Exploration is the best way to make your holiday memorable.

About the author

Neno Vukasovic is a huge fan of traveling and exploring new cultures and traditions. He writes on behalf of Webadvice.