Croatia is an Eastern European country that is becoming a popular tourist destination thanks to recent pop culture phenomena like Game of Thrones.
The most common question I’m asked is what to wear in Croatia, so I’ve put together this packing list along with what NOT to bring and some FAQs and seasonal information.
The country is home to more than a thousand islands, a stunning coastline, major cultural capital Dubrovnik, and loads of old castles and offbeat attractions, so get ready to explore and enjoy!
1) Gorgeous Outfit – While casual wear is the norm for daytime in Croatia, both locals and tourists enjoy dressing up a bit for evening activities. This dress is super cute and very comfortable, plus it’s universally flattering and can easily be dressed up or down depending on how nice you want to look. The affordable price makes this a perfect choice!
2) Swimsuit Cover-Up – There are opportunities for swimming in Croatia, so you’ll want to be prepared. This swimsuit cover-up is easy to throw on over your suit while you’re drying off or grabbing food. It will dry quickly and keeps its shape even when wet, so it stays flattering and fashionable.
3) Croatian Power Adapter – The Croatian power outlets are quite different from those in the US, so you’ll definitely need an adapter. It’s good to choose a quality one that works in many countries so that if you go to other destinations in Europe you will also be able to charge your devices. This one (pictured) works in almost 100 countries and has built-in device protection via a safety fuse. View on Amazon.com ➜
4) Windbreaker: Women’s and Men’s – This lightweight waterproof jacket is a must-have for any travel. You’ll need it any time there’s rain, and it is a perfect extra layer for cooler days or for when the evening chill sets in. It’s compact and easy to roll up for storage, so you can carry it with you in your daypack, that way you’ll never be without it!
5) Jet Lag Relief – Jet lag can really mess with your trip – headaches, nausea, and general discomfort will rob you of valuable time that you could be using to explore and enjoy your destination. I personally use this for any overseas travel, and any travel with a significant time zone change. I like that it’s natural, it is very easy to take without nasty side-effects, and it does a good job of preventing and treating jet lag.
6) Mesh Slip-On Water Shoes: Women’s and Men’s – When you’re taking part in activities that have you on your feet and in and out of water, these mesh water shoes are indispensable. They’re built like active shoes but breathe, drain water/sand, and grip like water shoes. I wear them any time I’m hiking or walking on the beach so that my feet are protected from the hot sand and any rocks or sharp objects on the ground. The non-slip grip is handy when walking around on wet rocks and trails!
7) Sea Bands – You’ll likely have the opportunity to do some boating or other sea-faring while you’re in Croatia, so it’s a good idea to be prepared for the possibility of seasickness. In the small inlets and bays along the coast the water can get fairly choppy, so even the stoutest of boaters may feel a little queasy. These bands work via proven acupressure to relieve nausea and dizziness associated with motion and seasickness.
8) Rash Guard: Women’s and Men’s – I’ve found that rash guards are a necessity when spending any time at the beach. They fulfil their namesake function well, keeping my skin safe from the friction and rashes that are caused by use of water sports equipment. They also offer a UV protection factor of over 50+, which means my skin won’t burn to a crisp in the powerful Adriatic sun.
9) Virtual Private Network (VPN) – A VPN is one of the most essential services I recommend. I learned the hard way in Paris that use of an unfamiliar WiFi network puts your financial and personal information at risk of being hacked. Let’s just say it’s not a mistake you want to have to pay to rectify.
A VPN provides a layer of encryption between your data and any potential hackers, thereby protecting your privacy and financial information. Additionally, a VPN can help unlock certain blocked internet sites and features when you’re traveling to a country where internet restriction and censorship are a problem. It’s such an affordable service, and can really save you a lot of hassle. I highly recommend NordVPN, as their services inexpensive and very reliable.
10) Comfortable Flats/Sandals – You’ll want to look stylish while still feeling comfortable and supported when you’re walking around all day visiting attractions. These sandals are the perfect combination of comfort and style, and are very affordable.
11) Waterproof Dry Bag – Any time you’ll be anywhere near water (like at the beach, etc.) you’ll want to be sure that your personal items and devices are protected from water damage. This dry bag can be used as its own bag, or can be filled with your most fragile electronics and then sealed inside your daybag for extra protection at the beach and from any other water sources.
12) Leave-In Hair Conditioner – The sun is harsher the closer you get to the equator, and elements like salt water and sea winds are more prevalent in this region. Protect your hair from damage and keep it under control with this conditioner. I like that it doesn’t weigh my hair down too much, and that it keeps me from having to nurse my hair back to health after a sunny vacation.
13) Travel Insurance for Croatia – Travel insurance is an absolute must for traveling to Croatia. If your flight or hotel reservation gets canceled, you could be stuck paying for the sudden changes in your plans out of pocket. Same goes for medical emergencies, urgent itinerary changes, and theft or damage to your belongings. Why take the risk of having to foot the bill for those issues when travel insurance is so affordable? I highly recommend and use World Nomads – they were created by travelers for travelers and have great customer service. View their plans at WorldNomads.com ➜
14) Vetelli Toiletry Bag – This gorgeous, supple bag just screams luxury, but at a very affordable price. A well-made toiletry bag will save you a lot of hassle when packing, using, and unpacking your toiletries and makeup, and this one will add some serious appeal to your daily travel routine. It’s the best balance of affordability and style that I’ve found!
15) Activated Charcoal Tablets –These tablets are like magic for an upset stomach. Food poisoning, traveler’s diarrhea, and many other digestive issues can be fixed using these gentle, natural capsules. I never travel without them, and I very often use them at home to soothe an upset stomach! View on Amazon.com ➜
16) Solid Shampoo – Believe it or not, solid shampoo can – and in this case does – work as well as liquid shampoo. This particular brand is eco-conscious and smells nice. The biggest benefits of solid shampoo are that it isn’t a liquid and can therefore bypass the quart-sized-baggie rules, and that it lasts for a very long time so it can be brought with you on all of your trips for a while.
17) Packing Cubes – We have tried so many different brands of packing cubes, and these ones are hands-down our favorites for quality and price. Shacke Pack is a trusted brand, and these multi-sized zippable (and washable!) pouches make our lives so much easier when traveling. I never have to dig around for what I’m looking for, all of my items are kept compressed and organized, and I can easily switch the smaller pouches between my luggage and my daybag when needed.
In Croatia, casual clothes are the standard for daytime wear. While styles in Europe tend toward the more modest side, Croatian styles aren’t any more modest than the rest of the continent. Nice-looking clothing is best, and nothing too revealing, but you can still dress comfortably.
If you are planning on going out to eat at a restaurant, know that although most restaurants are not very formal, tourists and locals alike tend to dress up in the evenings! This is a great reason to wear your fabulous night-out outfit or at least something nicer, like a dress or jumpsuit.
1) DON’T TAKE high heels – Leave those high heels at home. Croatia’s cobblestone streets are not conducive to wearing stilettos, and can cause a sprained ankle or worse.
2) DON’T PACK a full suitcase – Remember to leave space so that you can bring home some Croatian souvenirs and avoid paying oversized luggage fees!
3) DON’T BRING books – They’re just too heavy, and they take up a lot of valuable room in your bags. Invest in a Kindle to save space, or at least narrow it down to one paperback book and look for book exchanges at your destination.
4) DON’T TAKE too many clothes/shoes – You’ll probably want to buy things while you’re traveling. Bring dual-purpose, neutral-colored clothing that you can mix and match – “capsule wardrobe” is the key here!
FAQs about a Croatia vacation
1) What is the local currency in Croatia?
The local currency is the Kuna. Some places (most places in major cities) may accept the Euro but know that you will get a better exchange rate if you make purchases in the local currency!
2) What language is spoken in Croatia?
Croatian is the main language, but English is widely spoken. All the same, it’s a good idea to bring a Croatian to English dictionary to help you communicate and translate signs.
It surprises many travelers to learn that succulent pasta dishes are a favorite Croatian meal. Tomato sauces, mushroon sauces, and other local drizzles are common.
For the most part, cuisine should be fairly familiar to those accustomed to Italian and other European foods.
Don’t miss the native pork delicacies and seafood offerings – both are treasured local treats with rich histories and time-tested recipes!
5) Is tipping expected in Croatia?
Yes. The expectation isn’t quite as high as in the United States, for example, but it is customary to leave an additional tip even if there is a small gratuity added to your bill. If the service was excellent, be sure to show it! This is especially important if you may be returning to the restaurant – good tippers are remembered and treated accordingly. No need to go overboard, though – tipping amounts are pretty standard.
6) Is the water safe to drink in Croatia?
Yes! Good news – tap water is drinkable throughout Croatia. You may still want to carry a filtered water bottle just in case – it can help you feel more secure about what you’re drinking, and can minimize the unfamiliar taste of the water.
7) How should I greet local people I meet?
Shaking hands is a regular form of greeting and saying goodbye. Locals in Croatia are friendly and generally inviting. Don’t worry if you don’t know the language – they’ll still help as much as they can, and you should be prepared to be gracious and patient.
8) What if my flight is delayed or canceled?
It’s always good to be prepared. Make sure you pack all of the necessities like documents and medications in your carry-on, just in case, and you should be ready to tackle any airport issues. Airline counter representatives will let you know what the next step is, or try to make it easy for you to book a new flight.
This is an excellent time to have traveler’s insurance – these kinds of situations can get pretty expensive without good coverage!
9) Do I need a power adapter in Croatia?
Most likely, yes. Croatia uses 230V, 50Hz AC power with the standard European two-pronged plugs. If you’re accustomed to anything other than this, you’ll need an adapter! We recommend one with built-in fuse protection and USB ports, like this international adapter. It’ll be useful wherever you travel, and offers a lot of protection for your devices.
10) What is internet like in Croatia?
Wifi is fairly widely available, though it’s not always free. You can usually get free access in places like cafes, restaurants, and hotels, but you should never connect to an unsecured WiFi network without a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to protect you from hackers.
Elizabeth Feroze is a freelance writer, travel blogger and teacher, currently based in Nakhon Pathom, Thailand.
Originally from Texas, she calls many places home, including New Orleans, LA, Florence, Italy, Snowmass Village, CO, and Sonoma Valley, CA. She is passionate about traveling, writing, hiking, camping, teaching and creating.