WHERE TO STAY IN CROATIA – BEST AREAS AND HOTELS FOR ALL BUDGETS
Are you planning a trip to this beautiful country and wondering about where to stay in Croatia? Then this post is for you, as you will find out about the best places to stay in Croatia – the best areas for all budgets.
Croatia has become a top travel destination in Europe – for many good reasons. Beautiful beaches, stunning landscapes, lively and fun cities and islands, cute towns, friendly locals, and the Mediterranean climate are just a few of them.
When I planned my Croatia road trip, I definitely felt overwhelmed. There is just so much to see and, because of Croatia´s geography, it can take forever to get from one place to another.
The country is very stretched out, with another country (Bosnia-Herzegovina) crossing it, which means you must cross borders if you want to get from Split to Dubrovnik, for example (unless you travel by ferry).
You should consider this when planning in which area to stay: Do you want to road trip or do you want to stay in one or two places and do day trips?
This is particularly important as the country is – as mentioned before – so stretched, and getting around is not always fast or easy.
That is why I have divided this post into the best places to stay when road tripping Croatia and the best areas to stay when planning to do day trips.
If you road trip, choosing hotels and places might be easier, and you can get around quicker than if you need a base.
However, road tripping can also be overwhelming. When not road tripping, my tip is to change areas 1-3 times (depending on the length of your stay) and do day trips.
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Rovinj in Istria is a beautiful coastal town very high in the north of the country. The town is lovely, and the area reminded me more of an Italian coastal town than the rest of Croatia. The influence of the Venetians is clearly visible here.Rovinj is a good place to stay in Croatia if you want to stay in the northern part of the country, or if you road trip and want to see as much as possible.
For Rovinj, you will probably need one day, and then you could do a few day trips, e.g., visit Pula.
So, if you want to explore Istria, choose that as your base.
Apart from that, other main tourist attractions are quite far from it, and it is not the best place to stay in Croatia for longer – and I suggest changing locations after a few days.
Possible day trips:
- Pula – about a 45-minute drive
- Trieste (Italy) – about a 90-minute drive
- Rijeka – about a 90-minute drive
Where to Stay in Rovinj
In general, I suggest staying in or near the old town.
- I picked a little B&B near the old town. The prices were good. They allowed dogs (which isn’t always the case here in Croatia) and offered free parking. Within a few minutes, I was in the old town, and I was thrilled with my choice. However, there are not many rooms, so book early or check out one of the many other options, as there are many places to stay. Find out more about the little B&B I stayed at – Rooms Barbieri.
- For a more luxurious stay – just 10 minutes from the old town – check out the Grand Park Hotel Rovinj rates.
- Hotel Adriatic is a very well-rated boutique hotel in the old town. Find out more about the rates.
Zagreb is another good place to stay in North Croatia. It is a good option if you want to explore the city in one or two days.
However, while Zagreb is interesting, I have to admit that I would probably skip it with less than 10 days in Croatia.Due to its “remote“ location, getting to Zagreb takes time, and you cannot do many day trips from Zagreb.
Whether you travel by car or public transportation, most main tourist attractions are quite far away, so this is why Zagreb would not be my top choice as your base.
Zagreb could be used as a base to get to the Plitvice Lakes, which are a 2-hour drive away, but that’s basically it.
But if you have more time and want to explore Zagreb, then the city is a good starting or endpoint of your Croatia trip.
For exploring the city, I recommend staying in or near the Upper Town so that you can see the main attractions easily.
Possible day trips:
- Plitvice Lakes National Park – a 120-minute drive
Where to Stay in Zagreb:
- I stayed at an Airbnb but here is one of the best-rated hotels in Zagreb that you can check out.
Plitvice National Park
Plitvice is one of the main attractions in the country. Many tourists come here to see the many, many waterfalls in the Plitvice Lakes National Park. It is the oldest and largest national park in Croatia and has also held UNESCO World Heritage status since 1979. This alone makes it one of the best places to stay in Croatia.So, it gets busy here in the summer months, and I recommend booking in advance.
It is great to stay for one night – there are not many tourist attractions close by, so I would not make it your base, to be honest.
Where to Stay at Plitvice Lakes National Park:
- I stayed at a clean, tidy, and nice (though simple) pension a few kilometers near the lakes. The owners were really nice, too. So definitely a place I recommend staying at. Check out the rates for the Pansion House Prijeboj.
Zadar is a coastal town and quite central and a good choice for staying in Croatia for a few days.While I have to openly admit that Zadar was my least favorite place in Croatia, it is a good place to stay in Croatia for one night to explore the city, but it is also a good place for other day trips to Split, Sibenik & Trogir, and the Plitvice Lakes.
However, getting to Dubrovnik from Zadar is too tedious. In my opinion, and I cannot recommend doing many day trips from Zadar.
So, if you road trip, I suggest staying one night here. And if you don’t road trip, I suggest staying here for a few days to do a few day trips.
Split is probably one of the best places to stay in Croatia – I like the city, but I think that 1 or 2 days is definitely enough unless you want to take it easy.
The old town itself is quite small and “doable“ in one day – but you can do a trip to one of the smaller villages close by or take the time to swim and enjoy some beach time.
Possible day trips:
- Plitvice National Park
Where to Stay in Zadar:
- I stayed at Apartments Aria. I love to cook my own food and had my dog with me, and I needed free parking, so it was great for me (plus super clean and a nice but basic little apartment). It was a bit too far from the main tourist attractions (about 14-minutes), but this was a good place other than this.
- Here is one of the best-rated hotels in Zagreb
Looking for more places while wondering where to stay in Croatia? Then consider adding Split as a base for a few bases. What I like the most about Split is its central location. It is so easy to do day trips from here, and if I had to name only one area/city in which to stay in Croatia, I would recommend making Split your base and go on day trips from Split.Dubrovnik is a great city to stay in Croatia, but prices for accommodations are quite hefty – especially in the high season.
Also, food and parking prices (speaking of, it is up to 240€ for 24 hours of parking if you choose the most convenient parking spot in the city center) are high. But while Dubrovnik is very touristy, I still loved it, and I think it must visit.
If you make Split your base, you should/could make a day (or two-day) trip to Dubrovnik. But if you road trip Croatia, then I would stay here for a night at least, as its location makes a trip here quite time-consuming.
Possible day trips:
Where to Stay in Split:
- I stayed at Apartments Hani. It surely is nothing fancy here but it is quite close to the old town, it had a washing machine and a small kitchen (there are not many rooms, so if you want to stay here, you must book early). Check out rates and availability at Apartments Hani.
- For more luxury, check out the Hotel Park Split by Bačvice Beach – it is one of the most luxurious places to stay in Split.
- If you are looking more for a mid-range hotel in the old town, then Golden Gate Dreams Rooms might be a perfect choice. It is located in the old town and has great ratings. Find out more about rates and availability here.
This city is a must-see place in Croatia, and I suggest staying here at least one night – as, even with the crowds – it is one of the very best places to stay in Croatia.
In Dubrovnik, I recommend staying in the old town of the city. Prices are high, but you can take your time strolling the city’s unique old town without the crowds early in the morning or in the evening.
Because what you will find plenty of in Dubrovnik is tourists. Seriously, Dubrovnik gets crowded as heck, and you will enjoy the quietness when the day tourists are not there yet. The TV show Games of Thrones has done its part, but Dubrovnik has been a popular destination even without the show.
I stayed at two different places in Dubrovnik and enjoyed both – one was directly within the city walls and just outside the city walls.
Each had its perks – and one had a kitchen included, which is great if you want to self-cater. However, many hotels in Dubrovnik are small, and accommodations are quickly booked, so especially if you travel during high season, book in advance.
Possible day trips:
Where to Stay in Dubrovnik
- Villa Flora: A good choice in the old town, just a minute from Stradun. Not super modern, nor extremely fancy, but a nice hotel if you do not want to spend a fortune. Click here to check out prices for Villa Flora.
- Rector´s Villa: It is located just outside the old town (one minute from the Pile Gate and next to Fort Lovrijenac). This is great for those who want to self-cater, as it provides a little kitchen in each room. Find out about the rates for Rector´s Villa here.
- Hilton: If you are looking for a more luxurious hotel near the old town (just 200 meters outside the old town), you may want to check out the Hilton in Dubrovnik.
I, very, unfortunately, had to skip Hvar. The weather was terrible, and I decided against visiting (I book very spontaneously, but I also visited off-season). However, according to my friends and family that visited, it is a great place to stay for one night.
Hvar Town is Croatia’s premier party town! But there is more to it than that.
The town is known for its beautiful old town, perfect for getting lost in and party the nights away. Since it is an island and you need to get to Hear via ferry, it is not the best place to base yourself on many day trips.
Where to stay in Hvar:
- While I did not stay in Hvar myself, this hotel seems like a great place to stay when visiting Hvar. Keep in mind that Hvar is quite expensive.
Neum is actually not located in Croatia, but the now southern point of Bosnia-Herzegovina. The history is complicated – however, if you want to visit Dubrovnik from most other places in Croatia (like Split, etc.), you have to cross the border in Bosnia and drive through Neum.
If you take the ferry, you will not cross borders, but you could stay in Neum if you travel by bus or car. Neum is a little beach resort that is, honestly, less beautiful than the Croatian beach towns, but it is also much more affordable.
So, if you are on a budget and are looking for a more affordable place to stay in Croatia (or, in this case, a place to stay near Croatia) and want to get from Split to Dubrovnik, Neum is a great place for a stopover.
Possible day trips:
SUMMARY: BEST PLACES TO STAY IN CROATIA
Croatia is such a diverse country with so many beautiful places to stay. Whether you are a beach or city (or town) person – or you enjoy the mountains – you surely find the best places to stay in Croatia for your Croatia trip. Whenever you are headed to Croatia – hopefully, this post will help you figure out where to stay in Croatia.