More than 10 years ago, I fell in love with Dubrovnik upon seeing it in Samantha Brown’s Passport to Europe. And from then on, I promised myself I would go to Croatia someday. I was jobless and got no money back then so I didn’t know what I was thinking :).
Fast forward to 2015, I finally set foot to a country I have long been dreaming of going and it did not disappoint. Even with all the problems that I encountered during my visa application, I can really say that some dreams are worth it. So here’s a quick Croatia travel itinerary guide for your first time visit in the country.
Located strategically in Europe, Croatia is at the crossroads of Southeast, Central and Mediterranean Europe, making it accessible from almost anywhere in the continent. This country is famous for medieval towns and post-card-perfect beaches and lakes. And it is is one of my favorite countries to date, not only because of the amazing sights, friendly weather and good food but also because of its extremely nice and warmth people!
Visa Requirements For Croatia
For Filipinos, we are required to apply for a tourist visa in the Croatian Consulate in Makati. However, if you have multiple entries Schengen visa, you can also use it granted that it’s still valid on your intended dates. For more details, please read this article on How To Apply For Schengen Visa. For other nationalities, you can check your visa requirements here.
Currency: Croatian Kuna
Conversion: As of October, 2018
|1 Kuna = 7.0 Php|
|1 Euro = 52.9 Php|
Best Places To Visit In Croatia
Dubrovnik is the most popular tourist destination in the country and it became even more famous after HBO used it as one of Game of Thrones’ main filming locations (Want to experience King Landing’s in person, anyone?). Famous for its picturesque medieval town and Dubrovnik City Walls, it is really a must-visit destination. And though the place is a bit touristy, there are several places worthy of visiting here. Dubrovnik is also a good base if you want to join a Croatian sailing tour which is one of the best things to do in Dubrovnik.
How To Get To Dubrovnik?
If you’re coming from Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, I would recommend to take the 10-hour bus ride (around 30 euros). If you think it is a long ride, you can split the travel time by spending a day or two in Split which is another beautiful town in Dalmatian coast. I recommend the land travel because you’ll enjoy road tripping in the Balkans. There are also several flights from different parts of Europe that fly directly to Dubrovnik – if you don’t have enough time and a ferry from Italy’s Bari Porto if you are feeling adventurous.
Plitvice National Park – considered by several travel magazines and websites as “One of The Amazing Places To See Before You Die“, this national park is truly mind-blowing. I went last summer and I was batshit crazy with its brilliant blue-green water and amazing landscape. But people are also saying, it’s equally amazing during winter when the lakes and falls are frozen. So I guess, Plitvice is awesome any time of the year! And if you are staying in Zagreb, this is one of the best day trips from the city.
How To Get To Plitvice?
From Zagreb, you can take a bus going to Plitvice. It costs around 12 euros for 2-hour trip. You can book it online here or buy it directly from the bus station.
Zagreb – I personally think Zagreb, the capital of Croatia is underrated. And you must include it on your Croatia itinerary. It might not be able to compete with Paris and London when it comes to glitz and glamour but it is charming on its own. From really good restaurants to charming local markets, medieval architectures and special museums (ever heard of Museum of Broken Relationships?), Zagreb is your vibrant city with the small-town feel.
How To Get To Zagreb?
Zagreb is easily accessible from the rest of Europe due to its good location. It’s only a few hours from Central and Eastern Europe by bus and train. There are also several flights from the other sides of Europe and even from the Middle East.
Budget For Your Croatian Adventures
Recommended Daily Budget
35-50 euros/ day
Cost of Accommodations in Croatia
Accommodations are cheap in Croatia. I was paying from 10-25 euros per night for a hostel. If you’re not travelling alone, a private room in a decent guesthouse or small hotels only cost from 15-30 euros per night. The most expensive place for accommodation is Dubrovnik which cost me 25 euros a night for a hostel outside of Old City (but with amazing view and service so I’m not complaining!). And that was during summer which is the most expensive season in Croatia. If you want to save in accommodation for up to 40%, avoid summer at all cost. You can find more info on Dubrovnik accommodation here.
Food Budget in Croatia
My food budget ranges from 2-15 euros per meal. Which is cheap in European standard. I can get really good breads and sandwiches for 50 cent to 1 euro in local bakery and 1 euro coffee in a nice little cafe in Zagreb. My biggest expense for food was when my friend and I tried Didov San – a fine dining restaurant that serves traditional Croatian food in Zagreb which cost us 14+ euros per person. But it was so worth it! It was the BEST meal I had in Europe! And according to what I have read, the place is frequented by Croatian VIPs. Not bad for 14 euros :). And if you’re like me who loves fruits, cherries and raspberries only cost from 2-3 euros per kilo! Only if I can hoard them and bring them home! 😛
Transportation in Croatia
Just like other European countries, Croatia has efficient transportation system sans the expensive fares. In the capital, a 1.5 hour one zone ticket for a tram only cost for a little over 1 euro or 4 euros for 24 hours. Taxi and city buses are also reasonable. Although regional buses is a bit more expensive in my opinion. A 2-hour ride (e.g. Zagreb to Plitvice) costs around 12 euros.
Entrance Fees In Croatian Tourist Spots
In Dubrovnik, I paid the entrance fee in the City Wall for 100 kunas or about 12 euros. I also paid an entrance fee of 110 kunas or about 13 euros in Plitvice. Some of the museums got nominal entrance fee like Museum of Broken Relationships for about 3 euros and others are entirely free during special occasion.
What To Expect
Croatians are naturally warmth people. I find them to be the friendliest and the most helpful Europeans I have ever met. Croatia is generally safe and it’s easy to travel within the country. Although as main rule of thumb when traveling, make sure to bring your common sense with you all the time. English is widely spoken so you won’t have any issues with communication especially with younger people.
Croatia is one of the countries that tops my favorite list. From gorgeous landscapes and lakes in the North, beaches in Dalmatian Coast, to impressive architecture and interesting history in Istria and Dubrovnik, to nice weather for the most part of the year, and to really amazing food – truly, Croatia has its all.
Do you have 2 weeks for Croatia? Here’s a 2-week itinerary guide in Croatia!
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Croatia is indeed such a beautiful country! I also would love to visit this place sometime soon. I have always wanted to visit King’s Landing also known as “Dubrovnik” in real life. I am practically blown away by the beauty of the city by the sea. It would be a trip of a lifetime.