Why you should cruise to Croatia

With entry to the EU in 2013, Croatia achieved a spectacular turnaround; the War of Independence devastated the country in the early 1990s and the subsequent breakup of Yugoslavia broke the country politically and economically. Over the ensuing years Croatia has repositioned itself and built a new identity around its natural and cultural heritage, marketing itself as ‘the Mediterranean as it once was.’

Hip and happening Croatia combines the best of Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean to devastating effect. Wooded hills, traditional villages, idyllic islands, walled medieval cities and Roman ruins are among the attractions in region’s such as Dalmatia and Istria. Then there’s the stunning, unspoilt coast and the archipelago of islands lying offshore, which provide abundant highlights for the many luxury cruise lines that sail this idyllic corner of the continent.

Dubrovnik, dubbed the Pearl of the Adriatic, is a city of terracotta roofs, Baroque churches and winding cobbled streets that conceal all manner of historical treasures. To the north is Split, a seaside city built around the magnificent Roman-era Diocletian’s Palace. This lively, cosmopolitan centre is full of Venetian-Gothic stone buildings, charming street cafes and a dramatic location between towering coastal mountains and the crystalline waters of the Adriatic. Those who make it to the capital, Zagreb, will find a city that dates back to the Middle Ages; one full of mesmerising monuments and fine buildings. It’s a vibrant, bustling place that’s well worth a visit if time permits.

Elsewhere it’s all mountains and forests, waterfalls and lakes, encapsulated by the gorgeous Plitvice Lakes National Park near the pretty coastal town of Zadar. Then there are the islands, more than 1,000 of them, spread across 2,000 kilometres of pristine coastline, each one competing for attention; each one offering its own unique atmosphere and attractions. From traditional Brac with its peaceful harbour and famous beach, Zlatni Rat, to the fashionable bars and super-yachts of glitzy Hvar; from the history and beauty of Korcula to the pristine reefs and untamed islets of the Kornati National Park, these are Croatia’s real stars; 1,000 very good reasons to visit this magical country.

When to go to Croatia

The best times to explore Croatia are the shoulder season months of May-June and September-October, when you can look forward to warm weather, plenty of sun and all of the tourist facilities functioning, but without the busy crowds that can affect some areas during the height of summer, when the coastal resorts in particular can become busy and both temperatures and hotel rates soar. These ‘shoulder season’ months are also ideal for outdoor activities, including hiking, mountain biking, rafting, sea kayaking and more.

Who to cruise with to Croatia

Many of the major cruise lines sail to the Adriatic, but our favourites are Crystal Cruises, Azamara Club Cruises, Seabourn, Silversea and Regent Seven Seas Cruises. A typical itinerary will include stops in Split, Zadar, Hvar, Kotor, Korcula and Dubrovnik, while also incorporating other Adriatic cities such as Venice in Italy and Kotor in Montenegro.

Scott Anderson is General Manager at The Luxury Cruise Company. The Luxury Cruise Company is your port of call for incredible cruise holidays.

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Comments (15)

  1. Sam Cho says:

    There’s definitely some kind of charm with Croatia as many cruise lines that ply the Adriatic Sea make this as one of the ports of call. And this post makes it clear what those qualities and features are.

  2. Bob says:

    As I age, or become more mature as I like to put it, I’ve become rather tired of airports. Increasingly you are herded about, that’s if you are not queuing for this or that.

    Cruising to Croatia appeals. On planes I usually wangle an aisle seat for my arthritic knees so I am nowhere near a window and get to see nothing. I like the idea of seeing the coastline develop as I approach. To cruise is such a civilised way of travelling.

    • Hello Bob – thank you for the comment. Yes a cruise really is a relaxing way to see places with no airport hassles, only unpacking once and having all the ship facilities on hand too!

    • Sally Arnold says:

      I think my husband would get on well with Bob, they are two of a kind. He gets very grumpy at airports. He is not a patient man. While cruising brings out the best in him. He likes his food and cruise cuisine is right up his street, he’s not a man to eat with a plastic fork from a plastic tray! Nor is he good at being cooped up. On a ship he can get up and go for a stroll and a breath of fresh air whenever he wants.

    • Hi Sally – I like the sound of your husband! What cruises have you been on? Where’s your favourite destination?

  3. Caroline Bartlett says:

    There’s a hint of that oft misquoted Robert Louis Stevenson quote about this epic journey. “It is often better to travel hopefully than to arrive.” I’m sure arriving in Croatia will be superb but the journey to get there will be very special and spectacular indeed.

    • Hello Caroline! Sailing into any port in Croatia is truly wonderful – seeing the islands in the distance get closer then finally revealing themselves is stunning!

  4. Steve says:

    I think this is the era of Slow Travel. Sitting in a metal tube for a few hours is losing its appeal. We want to enjoy the journey. We want to know how we got there.

    • Hello Steve. Yes a cruise is certainly the best way to travel and to slow down and take it all in. Many ships also have on board lecture programmes too to enhance your visit to Croatia.

  5. First off, gorgeous photos! We absolutely LOVE Croatia! It’s a place we recommend to everyone. We’ve been to Zagreb and Plitvice Lakes National Park. Plitvice is one of the most beautiful places we’ve ever been. We didn’t cruise there, but it looks like a good option for the future. Thanks!

    • Hi Mike and Becca – thanks for your comment and kind words and good to read you love Croatia as much as I do! Do look into taking a cruise to discover those islands and islets around the coast!

  6. Sam says:

    I have never thought about cruising to Croatia, but that is a great idea! Croatia looks so beautiful and it’s now firmly on my list of places I want to travel to – thank you for sharing your stunning photos!

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