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Croatia is quickly becoming one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. Tourists are flocking to Croatia, but there are a few things you need to know about solo travel in Croatia before your trip.
Before we get too deep into this post, I figure I should let you know that Croatia is an amazing place to take a solo trip.
It is very welcoming to solo travellers and easy to navigate.
Even if you’re a first time solo travellers, you can confidentially book a solo trip to Croatia and know everything will go smoothly.
If you’re planning a solo backpacking trip to Europe and visiting multiple countries, Croatia is the prefect addition.
You get a different taste of Europe while still being able to easily travel around.
Plus Croatia is less expensive than Western Europe, so your wallet will enjoy the break as well!
While Croatia is a great place to add to your itinerary, there are still some things you need to know about solo travel in Croatia before you trip.
Lucky for you, I’m sharing everything I learned during my solo trip to Croatia, so you don’t make the same mistakes I did!
1. Don’t Skip Zagreb
When I was planning my first solo trip to Croatia, every blog I read told me to skip Zagreb because it wasn’t anything special.
Seriously! Every single blog about where to go in Croatia told me to skip Zagreb!
The only thing people said was worth visiting near Zagreb was Plitvice Lakes. So, visit the lakes and then get out of town was the message.
Thankfully, I didn’t listen to what I read on the internet and booked four days in Zagreb.
There were four of the best days I had in Croatia!
There is so much to do in Zagreb outside visiting Plitvice Lakes, and it is well worth taking the time to explore what the capital of Croatia has to offer.
My personal favourite attraction in Zagreb is the Museum of Broken Relationships.
I know it sounds odd, but it is actually a very moving museum and one of only three museums I’ve ever shed a tear in.
Zagreb is just so different from the other popular cities in Croatia, and no trip to Croatia is complete without visiting it in my opinion.
2. Explore More than Just the Old Towns
When you imagine Croatia, you probably imagine wandering through all the beautiful old towns the country has to offer.
The old towns are definitely some of the best parts of Croatia, but there are countless other things to do in Croatia that you should take the time to explore.
One of the best tips for solo travel in Croatia I can give you is to get outside the old towns and see what modern Croatia has to offer.
You won’t be disappointed, and you never know what you’ll stumble on.
There are museums, gardens, palaces, food markets, shopping centres, and everything else you could dream of visiting as a tourist.
Most people who visit Croatia focus on the old towns and ignore the rest of Croatia.
That is a huge mistake I don’t want you to make!
You miss out on the majority of the country and the true culture when you focus all your attention on the old towns and none of it on everything else.
Book an extra day or two in every city and get off the beaten track and explore the city you’re in.
3. Krka National Park > Plitvice Lakes
This may cause a little controversy, but if you only have time to visit one waterfall, I think it should be Krka National Park.
Excuse me while I duck in case you’re flinging something at me in anger after reading that.
In my opinion, Krka National Park is significantly underrated. Not many tourists visit it. You get more space to explore and enjoy the natural beauty without being crammed next to a bunch of tourists.
Plus, I think the falls at Krka National Park are simply nicer than the ones at Plitvice Lakes.
Of course, if you have time, you should visit both, but a lot of people don’t have time to visit both.
Krka National Park is a short bus ride away from Split, which is one of the best cities in Croatia. You can easily visit it as a day trip without any inconvenience.
I know it is a controversial thing to say in a post about solo travel in Croatia, but I said what I said, and I stand by it.
Don’t sleep on Krka National Park.
It is probably my favourite thing to do in Croatia, and you won’t regret visiting it on your solo trip to Croatia!
4. It is More Expensive than You Think
Without a doubt the thing that surprised me the most about solo travel in Croatia is that it was more expensive than I thought.
I had spent the last month in the Balkans in places like Bulgaria, Albania, and Macedonia, so I was used to very inexpensive travel.
It was a bit of a shock to arrive in Croatia and start having to pay more than I was used to.
Not that Croatia is terribly expensive, but it isn’t super budget friendly. With the rise of it’s popularity, it will likely only get more and more expensive as time goes on.
To give you an idea, visiting Croatia costs about the same as visiting Czechia, a little less than visiting Portugal, and 25% more than visiting Poland.
Group tours and popular tourist attractions are going to cost more because the country is becoming more popular.
It is still a good option for people backpacking Europe on a budget though.
You get to experience a new side of Europe, and it is a very easy travel experience. And if you’re coming from Western Europe, it will definitely feel like a budget experience!
I just wanted to give you a realistic budget for solo travel in Croatia. There is nothing worse than being misled by bloggers about how much a certain destination costs and then running out of money partway through your trip or not being able to experience everything you want to.
I’ve been there are number of times before and don’t want you to go through the same thing. Because it really sucks!
5. Don’t Rush Around the Country
One of the biggest mistakes travellers make is rushing through a trip and running from place to place without seeing anything.
I’m looking at you bus trips through Europe where you see 10 countries in 12 days.
This solo travel in Croatia tip goes back to the point I was making when I said visit more than just the old towns.
While it is tempting to only go to Dubrovnik or take an island hopping tour, that is so much more to Croatia that is worth exploring.
Spend a little longer in Croatia, get off the beaten track, and see what else the country has to offer than just Game of Thrones filming locations and party islands.
Explore the history, the museums, the food, the modern side of the country.
If you have a week to spend in Croatia, only visit two cities rather than three cities and go on an island tour.
Travel isn’t about rushing around, getting a photo everywhere you go, and bragging about how many places you’ve been.
Travel should be about experiencing something new, learning, and growing as a person.
Taking the time to really explore Croatia is especially important for solo travellers. If you’re introverted and anxious like me, it is a good idea to book an extra night or two in each city in case you need to get away and go back to your hotel early.
If you’re extroverted, you may meet people in Croatia and want to spend extra time with them exploring.
No matter your travel style, you won’t regret not rushing through Croatia and actually getting to experience the beautiful country.
6. It is Super Easy to Get Around
No matter your experience level travelling alone, Croatia is a great choice.
It is super easy to travel around the country using public transportation, and once you’re in a city, you can normally walk anywhere you want to go.
If you’re nervous about solo travel in Croatia, don’t be. English is widely spoken, and people are super willing to help you out if you get lost or need advice on what bus to take.
Croatia has an extensive bus network that will get you anywhere you need to go.
The buses are super affordable and run throughout the day. Just be sure to check the departure schedule before you show up at the bus station.
The one important thing to know about public transportation in Croatia is that it doesn’t always run on time.
When I was travelling between Dubrovnik and Split, the bus was running about an hour behind.
I knew what time the bus was supposed to arrive in Split, but the bus station we arrived at during that time didn’t look right. I asked the bus driver if it was Split, and he said no, so I stayed on the bus.
My top tip for taking the bus between cities anywhere in the world is open Google maps before you leave you accommodation and have access to wifi and keep it running in the background.
The blue dot tracking where you are keeps moving and tracking you even when you’re not connected to the internet.
Keep an eye on the blue dot and get off when it says you’re in the city you want to be at.
This is a lifesaver in situations where there aren’t announcements about where you arrived at, and the bus is running late.
You don’t want to get off at the wrong stop and be stuck in a completely different city!
7. Croatia is Extremely Safe (Even for Solo Female Travellers)
Before I visited Croatia in 2015, I heard some misconceptions about the country. Some of the older people in my life were saying it was dangerous to visit Croatia because there were land mines from the Bosnian War.
Well, I went to Croatia anyways and quickly found out Croatia is safe for solo travellers.
Including solo female travellers.
There wasn’t a single moment where I felt unsafe on my solo trip to Croatia. Even when I was walking out and about alone in the evening in the dark.
I felt comfortable, confident, and secure everywhere I went in Croatia.
Safety is not something you have to consider when deciding whether or not to partake in solo travel in Croatia.
It is 100% safe.
Of course, anywhere is as safe as you make it. Something could still happen if you’re not engaging in safe behaviour.
But, for the average solo traveller, it is completely safe to visit Croatia!
8. You Don’t Have to Island Hop to Experience Croatia
A lot of what you see about Croatia on social media is island hopping. People on boats having an amazing time.
Island hopping is definitely part of Croatia, but you don’t need to island hop to experience Croatia.
If you’re like me and don’t like water or socializing, your solo trip to Croatia may not include island hopping. And that’s perfectly okay!
Don’t feel like you have to island hop during solo travel in Croatia.
You can having an amazing trip to Croatia without stepping on a boat or visiting an island.
Your solo trip to Croatia should be what you want it to be not what you think it has to be based on what other people are doing.
Plus, island hopping can get quite expensive (especially as a solo traveller), and you may not have the budget for it.
For me, I would choose visiting Zagreb over island hopping any day of the week.
But the choice is yours!
Make sure you’re having the trip of your dreams and do what suits your personality and interests best.
9. Visit Dubrovnik Old Town in the Morning or Evening
This isn’t just a tip for solo travel in Croatia but travel in Croatia in general.
Old Town Dubrovnik is absurdly busy basically all year around now.
It is packed wall to wall with tourists hunting Game of Thrones filming locations, and it can feel claustrophobic at times.
Shoulder to shoulder with other tourists.
If you want to get the most out of Old Town Dubrovnik, it is best to visit it either first thing in the morning before the rest of the tourists are up for the day or in the evening after dinner.
It will still be busy, but it will be significantly less busy than it is during the height of the day. You’ll be able to wander the old town without feeling rushed by the crowds.
You’ll also be able to snag one of those Instagram pictures on the stairs between the old buildings that are so popular nowadays!
If you do visit Old Town Dubrovnik at the height of day, consider doing things that most other tourist aren’t doing.
There are a number of small, hidden museums throughout the old town that many tourists don’t even know exist.
You can purchase a pass to all the old town museums and explore then while the rest of the tourists are exploring the more touristy things to do in the old town.
The same suggestion of visiting the old town during off-peak times applies to every other old town in Croatia.
They just aren’t as busy, so it isn’t as necessary as it is in Dubrovnik.
The Importance of Internet Safety While Travelling Alone
Everybody talks about physical safety when travelling alone but not enough people talk about the importance of internet safety.
Internet safety is so important when travelling.
You rely on public wifi networks to access the internet, and that leaves your online data, information, and privacy at real risk of being stolen.
And, yes, a hotel or restaurant wifi network with a passcode is still considered a public wifi network since anybody and everybody can get access to the password.
As a solo traveller, it is extra important you take precautions to keep your online information safe.
You’re all alone, and you don’t have anybody to help you if your information is stolen.
What are you going to do if your banking information is stolen, and you have to shut down your credit cards and debit card?
You don’t have a travel companion who can lend you money. You’re all alone and have to figure a way out of a bad situation.
Everybody who travels should take internet safety seriously.
The only way you can be safe and secure while using a public wifi network is by installing a VPN on your devices.
A VPN essentially puts a forcefield around your devices and makes using public wifi as safe as using your home wifi where you’re the only person who knows the password.
Not being internet safe isn’t worth the risk!
My Favourite VPN
As you can probably imagine, I’ve used a lot of different VPN providers during my many years of solo travel.
Time after time I ended up cancelling my VPN subscription after the first year. VPNs are known to slow your devices down, and I would get so frustrated at how slow my internet was that I’d stop using the VPN altogether and put myself at risk.
That all changed when I discovered NordVPN.
NordVPN is the fastest VPN on the market, and that’s why I recommend them to travel lovers.
You get the best of both worlds.
Your devices are protected, but your internet isn’t slowed down.
In my mind, there is no excuse not to install NordVPN on your devices. It costs less than the price of a latte per month, and you can install it on up to six devices.
The peace of mind you get knowing your online information and privacy is protected is worth every single penny (and many pennies more).
My philosophy is that if you can afford to travel, you can afford to protect your online information!
If you’re on the fence about whether solo travel in Croatia is right for you or not, I hope this is the sign you needed to know that it likely is!
Croatia is an amazing country, and nobody I know has ever regretted visiting it.
It is a unique mixture of architecture, history, museums, nature, and modern culture. It is impossible to find anywhere else like it!
Just be sure you keep the tips and tricks included in this post in mind on your solo trip to Croatia.
They’ll help you have the best trip possible and get the most out of your holiday to Croatia!