Croatia is one of the most beautiful and under-appreciated countries in Europe, and if you’ve never been there, you’re certainly missing out. However, the rising tourist prices here mean that a trip to Dubrovnik or Zagreb isn’t quite as cheap as it once was. But that doesn’t mean you can’t go. Here are some useful tips for keeping those travel expenses down, so you don’t miss out on your dream trip to Croatia.
Watch for ticket sales
Flight tickets can be expensive, but there are times when airlines offer sales on tickets to specific locations. Ideally, you can set up some alerts or sign up for notifications from airlines that fly to Croatia so you can jump online as soon as the sale starts. You’ll need to be quick though.
Of course, there are times when an incredible sale on flights doesn't quite coincide with payday. But you can't miss out on those all-important savings. Instead, you can put the tickets on your credit card or if you don't have one, consider a short-term loan. Although you will need to pay interest on the money you borrow, it still may be cheaper than paying full price for your tickets.
Stay in a hostel
There aren’t too many massive hotel chains in Croatia, but that doesn’t mean that hotels are cheap. This is possibly the biggest expense on your trip, so it makes sense to look for cheaper accommodation if possible. While staying in a hostel may sound like something reserved for backpackers, they’re actually a wonderfully cheap alternative to hotels.
Many hostels now offer private rooms so you may not even have to sleep in a dorm, but you may have to share bathroom facilities. The added benefit of staying at a hostel is that you’ll meet more fellow travelers while hostel owners are often known to be quite helpful and friendly.
Take the bus
If you plan to visit several areas in Croatia, then a coach is your best bet. They usually have quite comfy chairs, and many have free wi-fi on board which is a nice bonus. Trains are more expensive and sometimes crowded while buses go pretty much anywhere and give you the chance to enjoy the local countryside.
Eat like a local
You’ll want to eat like a local anyway (how else can you experience the real Croatia?) But doing so can actually help you save quite a lot. Forget the touristy-looking places with English menus and head for the lesser known local spots. Most restaurants will offer brunch which is known locally as Marenda. This is an incredibly filling yet cheap meal that will see you through the entire day. Croatians like a hearty meal so no matter what you have, it’s probably going to fill you up.
You can also head to the local supermarket for supplies. Food in the market is cheap, and you can stock up on cheese and bread for a packed lunch for the day. If your hostel stay doesn’t include breakfast, then this is also a cheap option for the first meal of the day.
Check out free attractions
Some museums will waive the entrance fee on a museum night, but there are also many free attractions in the country that you can visit. Zagreb Cathedral, the Botanical Gardens, or even Old Town Dubrovnik are all interesting ways to spend a few hours, and they won’t cost you a penny.
And don’t forget the many street festivals and events held throughout the year. Check out the local tourist authority’s website for information on upcoming events and try to time your trip around the most interesting ones. Just make sure they’re free of course.
There’s no doubt that Croatia is an incredible country and as we said, although there are many tourists visiting here each year, it’s still somewhat under-appreciated as a holiday destination. So if you’re looking for an incredible holiday that won’t cost you the earth, then perhaps a trip to Croatia is exactly what you need.