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Tips For First Time Travellers To Croatia

Tips for Travellers to Croatia

The same questions seem to come up whenever someone is looking to travel to Croatia. So today, we wanted to put together some tips for travellers planning their first holiday to Croatia.

Taxi or Transfer Service

Taxis in Croatia are widespread, and you should have no problem finding one in the major cities.  And the further from civilisation you go, the less likely there will be a meter. This means that it is highly recommended to agree the taxi fee in advance.

If you are traveling with a group or with your family, then you can book yourself on a minibus or shuttle service in Croatia with one of the online taxi companies. And remember Uber is now in Croatia and although it doesn’t yet cover the whole country, it covers the main touristic places, for sure.  

Tip: No matter what service you use, agree to the fee in advance.

Recommended Link: Octopus Transfer

Your Shopping List

There is basically a supermarket or corner store on every block. Look out for the main supermarket chains: Ribola, Tommy, Studenac, Konzum, Plodine, Spar (or Interspar for the really big stores), Metro and Lidl.Bigger supermarkets tend to stand out and look more familiar. Smaller stores are more hidden and covert and just as useful.

At any of these you’ll be able to buy everything from wine and spirits to canned goods, meat, cheese, fresh breads, cold cuts and toiletries. The larger super stores are more likely to have imported foreign foods, whereas the smaller stores generally stock what locals buy regularly.

At most of the stores, you can pay by credit card or cash, and hours are long, especially in summer. There are also small bakeries, Tisak’s (like news stands), fish markets and butchers to buy from, where shopping can create a whole new experience for you with only a few speaking English. Don’t let that scare you off. Dive right in!

Tip: don’t rely on supermarkets to show you local delicacies and products. Sometimes the best local products can be found on the side of the road or from a humble little stand.

Recommended Link: Split Markets

Split Pazar

Hire From Locals

Croatians have a long tradition of warmly hosting visitors from all over the world. As you head down the coast, you’ll get a feeling that everybody in Croatia has an apartment to rent. And you know what – they do! This is a way that many Croatians (us included!) make a living or earn extra revenue.

For tourists, these family owned accommodations are great alternatives to hotels. Not only do they offer better value for money (especially for families, or large parties), come with a fully-equipped kitchens, and offer far more space than the average hotel room. You also get the added bonus of meeting locals, having their local insight to be able to get recommendations on services close by and learn a little bit more about the area of Croatia you are visiting.

Tip: Local Agencies have intimate knowledge about the destinations and properties. Ask the person that you are dealing with what they would recommend.

Recommended Link: Golden Leaf Properties of course

Studio Zavala, Hvar Island

Buying Local

There are farmer’s markets throughout Croatia where you can buy local fruit, vegetables, cheese, and meat, as well as wine, liker and rakija, while getting amongst the locals. And don’t be afraid to stop off and purchase from road-side stalls where temptations abound.

Items like fresh home-grown fruits, local honey, olive oils, pickles, jams, local delicacies like sugared lemon peel, candied almonds… And that’s just the beginning. Most of them are family run, so friendly and very accommodating when it comes to tasting what they have on offer.

Tip: Offerings vary depending on the season and the region you are in.

Recommended Link: Fresh Produce

Roadside Stalls

Allow Time

Even if Croatia is a relatively small country, believe us when we say you cannot see the entire country or even its highlights over the weekend. For a weekend break, just choose one destination and stick to it. There’s no need to be jumping around like crazy, just so you can say you’ve been here and there or to simply check the things off your list.

If you plan to stay longer say, for up to one week, decide on a centrally located destination and make it your base to explore the surrounding area. We know you’d love to see as many places as possible, and yet spending your week in a bus, car or even a yacht travelling every minute of the day simply means that you miss out on the essence of this wonderful part of the world. Focus on a smaller area and take your time exploring it. You will find more beauty in Croatia if you make the effort and spend the time.

Tip: Make friends with the locals. Some of the best places for you to see will not be in any guide book.

Recommended Link: Nomad Living

Explore Different Ways To Travel

Driving along Croatia’s amazing coastline is an excellent way to get around Croatia, and we strongly recommend that you include a ferry or catamaran ride in your itinerary as well, as travelling by sea is both efficient and spectacular. 

That said, the numerous ferry schedules can be a bit tricky to figure out at first, especially with COVID and schedules being changed regularly. And, while there are many companies operating ferries, there is one main one, Jadrolinija. Once you get to the islands, make sure to check out the local boat taxi services on the riva.

Tip: It really is possible to arrange any type of boat transfer from most destinations on and around the islands and between the mainland.

Recommended Link: Split Ferries

Cash Is King

While credit cards are becoming more widely accepted especially on the mainland (although if American Express is your card of choice, have a back up ready as most places won’t accept AE), they are not universally accepted, especially on the islands.

Doctors, medical clinics and hospitals also do not accept credit cards, prices are reasonable and you must pay cash. Our advice is to make sure you carry both and if possible when carrying cash, keep a range of different denominations, not just a wallet full of 200HRK notes.

Tip: Get rid of those pesky coins and make your cashier smile by allowing them to choose which coins they need directly from your hand or purse.

Recommended Link: Money, Money, Money

Making Payments

You won’t find this mentioned much and yet we’ve seen this upset both visitors and locals regularly in summer. When your waiter/waitress asks “cash or card” before they bring you the bill, they genuinely need to know which you intend to use. The Croatian payment system requires your server to choose a payment method (cash or card) BEFORE they can print your bill.

It seems like such a small thing, and yet it can be really annoying to visitors to Croatia when they aren’t aware of this. We totally get this and flipping the coin, it actually causes major problems for cafes, restaurants and eateries if a customer changes their minds on how to pay AFTER the bill has been printed.

Tip: Choose cash or credit then stick to it.

Being in a foreign country can sometimes be frustrating when cultures clash. And this is totally avoidable by following the kinds of tips and insights that we have provided for you. Ensure that your holiday in Croatia is smooth and enjoyable, have a chat with the guy who sells cheese down a the local market and head home with some amazing stories to tell, and a few sneaky bottles of homemade Rakija!

Here at Golden Leaf Properties, we can’t wait to welcome you to Croatia.

Split Pazar Photo Credit: Nick Hathaway

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