Croatia — The Basics
Luscious lakes, beautiful beaches, and a host of UNESCO world heritage sites await anyone with sense enough to travel to Croatia! Like many of the Balkan states, Croatia has a stunning range of sites and attractions. Anyone who plans to travel in Europe should take some time to visit this incredible country. Whether you travel to Dubrovnik or island-hop on the Adriatic, you don’t want to overlook all the extraordinary Croatia travel opportunities!
Sights and Attractions
The natural beauty of Croatia cannot be overstated. Plitvice Lakes National Park and Krka National Park will both make your jaw drop. Imagine a beautiful blue lake in the midst of a vibrant, green, forested valley. Sounds like a fantasy? Well, it’s not. Such sights are commonplace at Plitvice Lakes National Park. There are no sights like this anywhere else in the world.
Croatia is known for its charming islands spread off the Croatian coast. The Adriatic Sea is warm, clear, and clean. There are few better places to cool off. The island of Hvar is the epitome of Adriatic beauty. Medieval walls overlook dazzling little villages right by the seaside. Such beauty makes it easy to kick back and forget about your troubles.
Built in the 300’s AD, Diocletian’s Palace still stands to this day. For how much time has passed, it is in absolutely remarkable condition. That’s not the only marvel you’ll encounter in Split, Croatia . The Saint-Dominus cathedral was built around the same time, and it remains intact and functional centuries later. The ancient, light-brickwork is a sight to behold, taking visitors back to a time of legionnaires and gladiators!
Croatia Travel Tips
Croatia Currency Considerations
Croatia is a part of the European Union, but Croatia uses the Croatian Kuna. Fun fact: “kuna” means “marten” in Croatian. The Kuna is named after the marten’s pelts, which were a historical store of value. It’s a lot like the term “bucks” for US dollars. Like most small country’s currencies, the Croatian Kuna is not legal tender anywhere else.
The Euro will take you through 19 countries and several overseas territories. The Croatian Kuna won’t. If you bring kunas home, you essentially have nothing more than a collection of colorful money. Of course, a few kunas might be a fun novelty to show your friends back. Hundreds of dollars worth? Not so much.
If you don’t want a bunch of unusable, but pretty, foreign money lying around, don’t exchange for too many Kunas at a time. Just exchange for what you’ll need for a few days. Then, when you run out, exchange for more. This will prevent you from ending up with too many leftover Kunas at the end of your trip.
Those extra Kunas will burn a hole in your pocket, or you’ll exchange them. When you exchange them, you’re basically paying for your own cash. Since you’re exchanging them back, that means that you’ve lost value two times. Estimate your costs carefully to avoid this, and don’t be too exchange-crazed.
When you exchange currency, you do it at a specific rate. You’ll see wildly fluctuating rates between different providers and services. Before exchanging, you’ll want to budget your fixed costs: hotel, average food cost per day, fixed transport expenses. Once that is determined, you’ll want to exchange for that amount of kunas. Anything else, you can exchange as you go. Any exchange service or kiosk near a tourist destination will give you an unfavorable rate. Always try to exchange at the best rate; otherwise, you’re losing your hard-earned money!
You won’t have a problem finding lodging in Croatia. If you travel to Dubrovnik, you’ll find that hotels are a dime-a-dozen. Even outside the capital, almost all small towns and villages have at least one hotel or hostel. As Croatia is one of the cheaper places to travel in Europe, Croatia travel costs tend to stay pretty low. You won’t have to save up for months or years to have an incredible experience when you travel to Croatia.
Flights and Transportation
If you’re taking a flight to Croatia, then you’re either going to land in Dubrovnik or Osijek. People are very friendly, and staff members will point you in the right direction as you arrive. When you travel in Europe, you can almost always expect effective transit.
Croatia’s public transit system is pretty solid. Transportation around the country is rather inexpensive. Buses are usually on time, and they get around relatively quickly. You’ll find more buses if you plan to travel to Dubrovnik as opposed to a more rural area.
Croatians speak Croatian, a language that is mutually intelligible with Bosnian and Serbian. Almost 50 percent of Croatians can speak a functional level of English. Getting around Croatia as an English speaker shouldn’t be too difficult.
Like English, Croatian uses the Latin alphabet. You’ll be perfectly able to read the signs when you travel to Croatia! A few Croatian words always help, and locals will be happy to hear someone put in the effort to say “thank you” or “hello” in their language. If you have any difficulty in English, be sure to have a reliable translation app on your phone. With a little work, you should be able to get the basic point across, and Croatians are always happy to help.
Croatia Travel Considerations
After the dissolution of Yugoslavia in 1992, things got ugly for a little while. Croatia had already declared its independence from the Serb-dominated Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1991. Things continued long after Yugoslavia dissolved. Many Serbs, both within and outside of Croatia, weren’t too excited about this. A vast number of people were displaced. Many innocent civilians met horrible fates in the crossfire. Naturally, talk of that time is a very sensitive subject.
Maybe you’ll hear someone bring it up. Under no circumstances should you ever take sides on that conflict. Many of these people were there, and it wasn’t pleasant. The younger generations want to move beyond this legacy. This deep wound has yet to heal, so it’s best to leave the subject be. Besides, you’re on vacation. Why bother the Croatians with a disturbing, morbid look into their past?
On that note, don’t call Croatia “Yugoslavia.” They’re past that. They’re not Yugoslavia, and many feel that they were never properly represented in Yugoslavia. Don’t tell them that they’re basically the same as Serbs, Bosnians, or Montenegrins, either.
Even asking, “What’s the difference between you guys?” is incredibly insulting. Croatians are very proud of who they are. They love their culture, and they love their national identity. While the differences may not be so obvious to a foreigner, they’re night and day to someone who lives in the Balkans.
Cathedrals, parks, and Islands — oh my! Croatia is 100 percent unparalleled when it comes to the dense abundance of beautiful destinations! Gather your kunas and make your way over. An adventure in Croatia is an unforgettable experience.
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