Traveling to Croatia
Do’s and Don’ts of traveling to Croatia
With approximately 1,200 islands, pristine waters and picturesque villages rich in history, Croatia is drawing more and more travelers to its shores. Croatia has become the Mediterranean’s fastest growing destination, luring travelers with its beautiful national parks, adventure sports, Game of Thrones tours and UNESCO World Heritage sites such as the medieval Old Town of Dubrovnik. While travel in Croatia is very easy, there are a few do’s and don’ts to help you navigate the country’s culture and offerings a little easier.
Don’t be afraid of the bus
Croatian train travel is not always the easiest way to get around. Even though Croatian Railways, the national train company, does connect many cities, there is no service in the south to Dubrovnik, which is Croatia’s most popular travel destination. The answer to this issue is to simply hop on the bus. The bus company has many buses that travel to Dubrovnik every day. It runs to many other cities as well and is easier than driving by car.
Do take ferries and boats
If you are looking to swim in clear blue waters then the Croatian islands are for you. Most of the residents of the Croatian islands have their own small boats to travel between islands and the coast. It’s the easiest way to get around. You can island hop using public ferries and there are many of them.
Don’t walk the walls with everyone else
If you plan on traveling to Croatia during the peak tourist months of July and August you are going to want to avoid the crowds if you can. The biggest tourist activity in Dubrovnik is to walk atop the famous City Walls that run for over a mile around the Old Town. This is where a lot of scenery was shot for the HBO epic show, Game of Thrones and many people come here for that. Stay away from the walls during the middle of the day when it gets very hot and crowded. Consider taking a tour from Tour the Game of Thrones. They have a few tricks up their sleeve to avoid the crowds as well.
Do remember the Patron Saint
90% of Croatians are Catholic. So keep in mind that each village and town has a patron saint whose feast day will be celebrated with processions and ceremonies and probably a day off from work. Croatians are especially devoted to the Virgin Mary. Keep your eye out for little shrines built throughout the countryside to honor her.
Don’t call it Yugoslavia
Croatia has long fought with invading forces and external governments like Hungarian, Habsburg, Ottoman, Venetian, Serbian and Yugoslav. The country only just gained independence in 1991 and was immediately thrust into the devastating Bosnian War of the early 90’s. Now, Croatians are free, with a well-deserved sense of national pride. With that said, steer clear of calling them Yugoslav.
Do call it Croatian
The Croatian language is very close to Serbian, except that Croatian is written in the Roman alphabet while Serbian is written in Cyrillic. Comparisons to anything Serbian can still be a touchy subject for some.