Why Visit Croatia? What to Expect From This Mediterranean Gem

Aerial view of Dubrovnik and it's walls

Sunny beaches with warm teal waters, rich history at your fingertips, and fresh and colorful cuisine known to support a long healthy life…

There’s a lot to love about Croatia, which is why you’re suddenly hearing about this European destination all the time.

But let’s be honest: Croatia doesn’t have the only beautiful coastline on the planet, or even in the Mediterranean. So why visit Croatia specifically?

Since we first launched our Croatia Yoga Adventure, we’ve learned what makes the country’s vibrant seas and ancient cities special – and the best ways to explore them. Without fail, we see adventurers come home sun-kissed and blissed out. 

Coincidence? We think not.

In this article, we’ll do our best to put our finger on Croatia’s magic. But let’s start with the essentials.

Croatia Visa Requirements & Essential Information

Croatia is part of two overlapping regions: 

  • The Mediterranean Basin: the area surrounding the Mediterranean Sea.
  • The Balkans: a southeastern European region that also contains Greece, Serbia, Albania, and several other countries. 

Oh, and one more thing: the arm of the Mediterranean where you’ll find Croatia is called the Adriatic Sea. Got it? If you’re less geographically inclined, it’s best to look at a map

The official language is Croatian. Here’s a crash course.

Visa Requirements

The practical matter of how to visit Croatia changed in January 2023, when Croatia joined the European Union. 

Residents of the Schengen Area (the majority of EU countries that have done away with passport requirements between their borders) can get into Croatia easily and without a visa. 

If you’re a US citizen, you can enter Croatia for up to 90 days with a simple passport stamp. 

But remember, you’re limited to 90 days within a rolling 180-day period. This might be for the best, in case you’re tempted to forsake all your responsibilities and stay in Croatia forever.

Since it joined the EU, Croatia’s currency is now the Euro rather than the Kuna. So break out those coins you’ve had tucked away since your last visit to Italy or France!

Best Time to Visit Croatia

In recent years, more people have discovered the seaside idyll of Croatia. While the nation definitely deserves attention, crowds can be crazy in the peak summer season – especially in cities like Dubrovnik! 

We’re willing to bet that crowds are not what you’re searching for on the Adriatic Coast. Plus, the heat can be oppressive in the height of summer!

Luckily, there’s a simple solution: visit Croatia during a shoulder season.

If you ask us (you are, right?), the best time to visit Croatia is during the spring and fall: April, May, September, and October.

Sure, some seasonal summer businesses may be closed, but you’ll be rewarded with perfect temperatures and a more authentic cultural experience. 

Pro tip: if swimming is a priority, choose fall over spring: the water will still have some of its summer warmth!

What is Croatia Known For?

Aerial photo of a boat in the waters near Dubrovnik, Croatia by Inera Isovic via Unsplash.

Ask most people what Croatia is known for, and they’ll talk about its picturesque beaches, gem-hued waters, sailing opportunities, and history-rich cities including Dubrovnik, Split, and Hvar. 

That’s all true, but it only scratches the surface. Croatia is a country that will reward anyone who ventures inland from the beaches and into smaller enclaves. 

  • Love the culture of the coastal cities? Leave the crowds behind and visit a small inland town. Meander down ancient paths and beneath olive groves.
  • Those same rocks that give the Dalmatian Coastline their photo-worthy cragginess create other natural wonders in the interior of Croatia. National parks and waterfalls, anyone?
  • Croatia has over 78 islands – plenty of opportunity for private relaxation! Be sure to venture off the island beaches – you might find an ancient ruin or a blue lagoon.

Why Visit Croatia? Just Ask Diocletian

Now, we’d be remiss if we didn’t talk a bit more about that rich history we mentioned. 

Croatia’s mild climate and fruitful coastline have made it irresistible for thousands of years (the natural beauty might’ve had something to do with it, too!)

The Roman Empire expanded into Croatia beginning around 168 BC and stayed until its collapse. Plenty of ruins remain today, including Diocletian’s Palace, a stunningly well-preserved UNESCO world heritage site in Split.

Since Roman times, Croatia has been the site of many struggles between Eastern and Western European cultures. The Venetians, Ottomans, and many other powers left their mark. 

Croatia struggled for statehood until almost the 21st century. Fortunately, peace followed the end of the Bosnian War in 1995. 

This complex legacy flows close to the surface today: from ruins to museums to the people themselves, Croatia holds enough stories to last any history buff a lifetime.

Our Favorite Things to Do in Croatia

Waterfall in Krk National Park by Piotr Musiol via Unsplash.

As you can tell, there’s no shortage of things to do in Croatia. The key is to follow an itinerary that tastefully combines hype-worthy tourist attractions with plenty of authentic activities that’ll immerse you deep into the Mediterranean lifestyle.

That’s how we designed our Croatia Yoga Adventure – here are some of our favorite highlights! 

  • Dive into history by visiting Diocletian’s Palance and other Roman ruins in Split, a Venetian Piazza in Hvar, and baroque architecture in Dubrovnik.
  • Join a local family harvesting oysters and mussels in the town of Ston, and feast on your bounty later (with plenty of fresh-pressed olive oil and wine!).
  • Hike past rolling lavender fields and buy fragrant soaps from nuns in the small town of Stari Grad.
  • Take a private boat to swim and sunbathe on Šolta Island, the “island of olives.”
  • Walk the wooden paths of Krka National Park and uncover emerald pools, stunning waterfalls, and unique limestone canyons.
  • Dine on plenty of fresh fish and seasonal produce, and savor local white wine that’s rarely exported.
  • Stay in luxury – Croatia is a boutique hotel lover’s dream! Hop from historical to modern accommodations, take in panoramic views, and enjoy a swimming pool at every stop. 
  • Practice yoga. No, that doesn’t mean giving up experiential travel for a yoga retreat – quite the opposite! There’s nothing like a little yoga to get ready for (or rejuvenate from!) a long day of walking or sunbathing. Oh, and it’ll help you stay present as you immerse yourself in the Croatian experience.

So, is Croatia a Good Place to Visit?

Ultimately, it’s a subjective question. 

Do you like turquoise water and warm pebbly sand? Leisurely boat rides? Fish so fresh that needs nothing more than a squirt of lemon and a drizzle of olive oil? Dramatic rock formations and Roman ruins?

If that doesn’t sound like your thing, you should probably plan a trip someplace else. 

But if you’re already daydreaming about snacking on figs on the deck of a boat as you pass picturesque villages high on the cliffside, Croatia is calling your name. 

[Adventure Well in Croatia]