Looking for important travel information while backpacking in Croatia? Here you will find information on working in Croatia, entry visas, Croatia hostels, and much more.
Table of Contents
- Facts About Croatia
- Entry Visa Requirements for Croatia
- Work Permits and Backpacker Jobs in Croatia
- Croatia Hostels
Facts About Croatia
Croatia has one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world which stretches along the Adriatic Coast. The colourful harbours, secluded coves, and picturesque towns make it an attractive destination for beach lovers and a great alternative for those wishing to avoid the crowds.
In recent years many good quality hotels and marinas have been built which is helping Croatia to enjoy tourism again after it ground to a halt during the Balkan Civil War (1991-1995). Now the war is over, many cities including Dubrovnik have been rebuilt and travellers returning to this wonderful and unique country.
Whilst most tourists head straight for the Adriatic Coast, inland Croatia has much to offer its visitors; its cities bursting with history and character to keep the sightseers busy. Nightlife can vary in Croatia; anything from small family run wine bars to pubs, clubs and all night beach parties.
Eating out is delicious and inexpensive with a huge variety of cuisine to enjoy. Seafood features on most menus and the wine growing regions produce some great red and white wines to accompany meals.
Travellers looking for adventure have a whole host of options, from diving in the Adriatic – exploring reef and wrecks from old ships and aeroplanes to biking trips, hiking, rafting, and rock climbing; Croatia really does have it all.
- Currency Croatian Kuna (HRK) (approx 11 Kunas to 1.00 sterling)
- Time Zone GMT + 1 (GMT + 2 April to September)
- Language Croatian
- Telephone Services Country Code +385, International Access code 00
- Emergency Numbers Ambulance 94, Fire-service 93 and Police 92
Weather in Croatia
Croatia enjoys average high season temperatures of 30°C and mild, dry summers. The coastal areas have dry, hot summers and mild, rainy winters. In the capital Zagreb, the average daily temperatures can reach 35°C in July and drop to 2°C in January.
Things to do in Croatia
While backpacking Croatia you’re in store for sweeping coastal views, medieval cities that have looked the same way for centuries, and beautiful mountain landscape. Most of the country hugs the Adriatic sea, so you’ll likely spend plenty of time on the coast, but don’t forget to visit the historical cities found throughout the country.
The beautiful city of Dubrovnik is often described as the jewel of Croatia with its surrounding coastline and picturesque villages. You can take a walk along the stone ramparts of the city walls, which give spectacular views of this magnificent town, or simply relax in one of the many coastline cafes and watch the world go by.
Some of the finest monuments and ancient architecture can be admired throughout the town; the cobbled streets and narrow alleyways help to create the original atmosphere of the 12th century. The Rectors Palace, the Franciscan Monastery, the Cathedral and St Blaise’s Church are all well worth a visit.
For festival lovers, the Dubrovnik Summer festival is held each year from mid-July to late August when the town really comes alive with a host of cultural events, plus many performances of theatre, jazz and classical music.
Croatia’s capital, Zagreb, is a beautiful city, rich in medieval heritage. There is so much for visitors to see and do with various shops, cafes, theatres and museums surrounding the main square. The museum of Zagreb, the Gallery of Naïve Art and the Archaeological Museum all contain an extensive collection of exhibits and are all well worth a visit.
Plitvice Lakes National Park
South of Zagreb lays one of Croatia’s most stunning tourist attractions. The Plitvice Lakes National Park (UNESCO listed) is considered by many, one of the most beautiful natural sights in the world and should undoubtedly feature on your itinerary. The park features sixteen lakes, connected by waterfalls which cascade through the beautiful surrounding countryside.
Energetic travellers can take in the stunning scenery while kayaking through the canyons and rapids. Further information on how to book, opening time and prices can be found here www.np-plitvicka-jezera.hr.
Split is the second largest city in Croatia and has numerous road and sea connections to Dalmatia’s summer resorts. For history lovers there are several museums, monuments and cathedrals to visit including the Treasury of the Split Cathedral which includes a great collection of religious art.
The Marjan Forest Park, a just a fifteen minute walk from the city and gives a stunning view of both the old and new parts of Split. The park also includes nature paths, vista points, promenades, playgrounds and the Split Zoo. Split also hosts many water sports and other sports, from tennis and mountain climbing, to rowing and water skiing. For details of companies offering organised activity trips that include caving, river rafting, paragliding and sea kayaking; check out Get Your Guide or Viator. They work directly with local tour operators, so you won’t have to scour the internet or roam around town trying to find the best deal.
Unique activities in Croatia
How to Travel Around Croatia
If you’re flying to Croatia or plan to take short flights within the country, we recommend using a few different flight comparison search engines. Kiwi is a new favourite among travellers. On average, we have found the cheapest flights with them compared to the other websites out there.
Of course, it is always worth checking Skyscanner to guarantee you’re getting the best deal. Both websites offer great flexible search options, allowing you to search the whole country of Croatia to find the cheapest airport to fly into, and also see prices for a full month if you’re flexible on travel dates.
Croatia’s national carrier is Croatia Airlines and has regular flights from Zagreb to Dubrovnik, Pula, Brac, Zadar and Split. For further details check www.croatiaairlines.hr
Train and long-distance bus are the standard modes of transport for getting around the country. Buses are the more economical option, nevertheless, they are well-equipped with the usual modern conveniences that expect when travelling in Europe. Train travel, on the other hand, is the fastest way between two cities and the train stations are conveniently located right in the center of town.
It depends on your preference, and certain routes are better suited to one mode of transport than the other. To compare your options for journeys from A to B, you can try Omio. They compare trains, buses (and even flights) so you can decide for yourself the tradeoff between cost and travel time.
Train travel in Croatia
The country is a part of the Eurail network, which is a good choice if you plan to take multiple train journeys in a short period of time. Eurail offers both multi-country passes and One Country Passes. To decide whether you should buy individual tickets from A to B, or whether you should purchase a Eurail pass, read our Travelling Europe by Train guide.
The trains are cheaper and more comfortable than the bus but are much slower. There are the faster, new 160kph tilting trains if you are travelling from Zagreb to Split. The following site has timetable and prices information for Croatian Railways in English: www.hznet.hr.
Bus travel in Croatia
Croatia has an excellent bus network which is reasonably priced. Service is efficient and fast with regular services to destinations all over the country. The major bus companies are:
These websites provide times and prices, but you are not able to book your bus tickets online.
Ferries in Croatia
Ferries link several offshore islands with major coastal towns and ports. They run from four to eight times a day depending on the season. www.jadrolinija.hrprovides further information and the schedules for the local ferries.
Driving in Croatia
If you want the flexibility to stop in smaller towns between the major cities, check AutoEurope or Europcar to compare offers from the major car rental agencies in the region. Before deciding, read more about what to expect of driving in Europe.
Backpacker tours in Croatia
Though part of the fun of backpacking is exploring on your own, there are situations, especially when venturing off the tourist trail, when it does make sense to go with a guide or a small group. For these times, a popular option among backpackers is G Adventures. They hand-select local guides to ensure authenticity and quality. This is especially a good option for those travelling alone who would like to meet up with like-minded travellers. Their most popular tours in Croatia are their 15-day Croatia and the Balkans tour spanning Budapest to Split, or their 8-day Sailing Croatia trip from Split to Dubrovnik.
Health and Safety in Croatia
The standard of health in Croatia is high. There are clinics and hospitals in all of the larger cities and pharmacies and first aid clinics in all places. No vaccinations are required and tap water in Croatia is chlorinated and safe. However, it is advisable to drink bottled water throughout your stay.
Hospital, medical treatment and dental treatment are normally free on the presentation of a UK passport. Although prescribed medicine must be paid for. It is always recommended however that you take out travel insurance.
Entry visa requirements for Croatia
For entry, a passport is required which is valid for 3 months after the date of departure from Croatia. A return ticket is usually required for entry although proof of sufficient funds may suffice. It is advisable to contact the local consulate before travelling to verify these restrictions. Visas are not required by EU or USA nationals for tourist visits of up to 30 days. If you wish to stay longer or intend to work whilst you are in Croatia you should contact the local Croatian consulate.
Foreigner work permits and backpacker jobs in Croatia
Opportunities for foreign workers in Croatia are fairly limited due to the high unemployment rates. However, the tourist industry is rapidly growing and some opportunities can be found in the coastal resorts in water sports and hospitality.
There are private language schools in Croatia which can involve work teaching English. To find such a job, the TEFL qualification is essential. Visit the TEFL website for information about these courses.
Volunteering work is available in Croatia. UNA Exchange is an independent charity which works on social, environmental and renovation projects. These are hosted by local community organisations such as Zagreb’s Volunteers Centre and Green Action Workcamps. Travel expenses and a registration fee is paid by the volunteer and in return food and accommodation are provided by the host organisation. For further Information see https://zelena-akcija.hr/en.
If outdoor of work is what appeals most, WWOOF is a voluntary organisation that provides work on organic farms and includes board and accommodation for membership of €10 per year, check their website for more information.
Croatia Hostels and Budget Accommodation
The standard of hotels in Croatia is quite high, and they generally offer good value for money. The more luxurious hotels can be found in Dubrovnik, Opatija and Zagreb. Staying in private accommodation is becoming increasingly popular among tourists. Small inns and guesthouses along the coast offer visitors a real Croatian experience.
It is even possible to stay in some lighthouses. A ferry from Split to the Island of Lastovo will take you to a lighthouse located 70m above sea level at the very edge of a steep cliff. The lighthouse has one 4-bed apartment and one 6-bed apartment which have spectacular views of the surrounding areas.
For those travellers on a tight budget, there are plenty of youth hostels available in most main cities.
We have had good experiences finding hostels on HostelWorld. They have the largest inventory of hostels worldwide, and with over 10 million reviews and ratings from other travellers you know exactly what to expect.
Another good way to find accommodation in Croatia is by checking hotels.com and booking.com. With both sites, you’ll not only find hotels, but also homestays, hostels, and other unique accommodation. We have discovered some great finds and have appreciated the ability to book ahead. You can use their advanced filtering to narrow your results by budget, location score, overall review score, and amenities. Many of the places on booking.com also offer free cancellation, which takes the pressure off the planning phase of your trip.
If you fancy camping, there are also 148 campsites in Croatia with some naturist camps.
Useful links for travel in Croatia
- Eurail – Rail Passes for travellers who plan on doing lots of train travel in a short period of time. Single-Country and Multi-Country passes available
- Omio – Train, bus, and flight search for all of Europe. Offers online booking and mobile tickets
- Auto Europe – Find a rental car in Croatia
- Kiwi, Skyscanner, and Opodo – Flight comparison search engines to find the cheapest flights to Croatia and within the country
- GetYourGuide and Viator – a collection of local tours and activities in Croatia. Also offers Skip the Line tickets for crowded attractions
- Tiqets – Website selling entrance tickets and skip the line tickets for major attractions
- G Adventures – guided small group tours, great for solo travellers or for those interested in a more adventurous trip which would require a guide
- HostelWorld – #1 hostel search website to find accommodation while backpacking Croatia. Thousands of hostels and millions of reviews from fellow travellers
- Booking.com – commonly used booking site to find accommodation in Croatia. Hostels, hotels, and other unique accommodation with advanced filtering and millions of reviews
- Travel Insurance – read our comprehensive overview of Travel Insurance and some recommended providers for backpacking Croatia
There you have it, the ultimate Croatia backpacking guide. We hope you have found all the information you need for backpacking around Croatia.
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