With its beautiful blue sea, numerous lovely towns and unique places to see, it’s no wonder Croatia is more and more popular each year. However, it seems as if summer 2023 is going to be the biggest ever when it comes to Croatian tourism. As a local and someone who travelled a lot around Croatia, here are some of my tips with things to know before visiting Croatia this summer.
Things to know before visiting Croatia this summer
Croatia is a country you should put on your travelling bucket list. Located on the Mediterranean Sea, on the border between Central and Eastern Europe, it offers an exciting mix of cultures, architecture and surprising cuisine. Although it’s a safe and easy country to travel around, there are still some things to know before visiting Croatia this summer. Here are some of my top tips for travelling to Croatia.
Weather in Croatia in Summer
Summer is HOT in Croatia. Global warming is real, and as someone living in Croatia almost all my life, I can feel the summer being warmer each year. The average summer temperature in Croatia is 25 – 30 degrees Celsius (77 – 86 Fahrenheit), but it often goes above 30 degrees Celsius. We have a few heat waves each summer, during which the temperature could be around or over 35 degrees Celsius (95 Fahrenheit).
Summers in Croatia are usually the most pleasant on the coast and in the mountains. The heat is the worst in the Slavonia region, in the town of Knin and its surroundings. It’s good to be aware of that when planning your trip to Croatia this summer. Avoid being in the sun between 11 am and 5 pm on hot days, stay in the shadow, apply sunscreen and drink a lot of water.
⤷ TIP: Water is safe to drink in all of Croatia. Have your water bottle with you and refill it regularly. You can fill it in at some of the public water fountains. But, it’s also common to ask in a cafe to refill your water bottle. They’ll do that free of charge.
Where to go in Croatia during the summer
Summer in Croatia is best to be spent on its coast. The temperatures are much milder there. And it’s a perfect time to enjoy swimming, island hopping, and just walking by the beach. It’s also the time when life in Croatia moves to its coast. Numerous concerts, festivals, theatre performances and many other events are organised all over the coast.
Gorski kotar, Hrvatsko zagorje or Lika regions could also be a good choice for a summer trip to Croatia. They are located more inland but filled with vast forests, hills and mountains, making them a hidden gem for visiting Croatia in summer.
Food in Croatia
As a Croatian, I had numerous discussions with my friends and family about the Croatian national dish. And although we are trying hard to find one, we always conclude there is no national dish in Croatia.
The country is a mix of geographical regions and cultures, and that’s very much visible in its food, too. You’ll find influences of German and Austrian cuisine in the Zagreb region and the northern part of the country. At its east, you’ll find traditional Turkish and Hungarian cuisine influences. While the coast is all about the Mediterranean food. And that’s what Croatian food is all about – diversity.
Currency in Croatia
As of 1 January 2023, the official Croatian currency is euro. Croatia is a part of the Schengen area now, meaning there are no border controls with other EU countries. And that you can pay anywhere in the country with euros.
You can pay with a credit card in most restaurants and shops. However, I advise having some cash with you, too. Especially if you’re paying at the market, a cafe, or smaller shops and restaurants.
Prices in Croatia
How expensive is Croatia? It’s a tricky question to answer. The coast is more expensive during the summer months than the Croatian inland. The most costly are the islands and, of course, Dubrovnik.
The price of a nice 4-star hotel room on the Croatian coast is equal to that in Western Europe (it could sometimes be even more expensive). However, dinner or drinks are cheaper than in France or the Netherlands. Still, check the menu before ordering because the prices could be pretty high in some tourist places.
⤷ TIP: My advice for saving some money during your holiday in Croatia would be to avoid small shops at campsites and hotels and go to larger supermarkets. Also, check the menu before ordering at cafes and restaurants because prices could vary greatly.
Language in Croatia
In Croatia, we speak the Croatian language, which is similar to most Eastern European Slavic languages. However, you shouldn’t worry if you don’t speak Croatian (which I believe most of you aren’t) because most people in Croatia speak very good English. A lot of people speak some German, as well. And in the coastal area, the majority of people speak Italian.
You’ll often find menus in English (and other major languages) in restaurants on the coast, but also in Zagreb and other towns in Croatia.
Emergency numbers in Croatia
I hope you won’t need any of these during your trip to Croatia. However, good things to know before visiting Croatia this summer are the official emergency numbers. As in the majority of Europe, the main emergency number in Croatia is 112. If you want to dial the police directly, the number is 192. For a medical emergency, the direct number is 194, and for the fire brigade, it’s 193. For the rescue at sea in Croatia, call 195.
⤷ Read more: 10 Fun things to do in Zagreb in the summer
Hiking in Croatia in Summer
Many tourists decide to explore some of the mountains during their summer vacation in Croatia. They are beautiful and green and look like a great way to spend some of your holidays actively.
However, a few people get lost or even die in the Croatian mountains each summer. As a hiking enthusiast who spends a lot of time in the mountains, I advice avoiding hiking during your summer vacation in Croatia. It could get very warm on some of the mountains like Velebit, for example. It’s easy to get lost, and many of those mountains require proper hiking equipment you probably won’t have with you.
If you still decide to go hiking during your summer trip to Croatia, bring a lot of water, good hiking boots and a fully charged mobile phone with you. And read some of the safety instructions from these guys.
Driving around Croatia
Croatian roads are pretty good, and you can get to most of the main touristic places via some of the highways. However, during the summer months, they could get swamped. My advice is to avoid travelling during summer weekends and instead drive between Monday and Friday.
⤷ Read more: Istria travel guide
Croatia is a beautiful country, and these things to know before visiting Croatia this summer will definitely make your trip even more enjoyable.
Do you have any tips to share? Let us know in the comments below.
Cover photo by Inera Isovic on Unsplash