Touring Croatia, coastline view of Rovinj

Croatia - Best Tours & Trips 2019

Croatia is one of Europe's hottest destinations, and occupies an enviable position on the Adriatic. Its island-dotted coast makes it perfect for exploring by small ship cruise lines, which can dock at off-the-beaten-path isles like Hvar and Trogir. Medieval cities Dubrovnik and Split provide glimpses into the region's storied past, but are gastronomically up-to-date.

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Top Croatia Experiences and Attractions

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Croatia Trip Reviews

Croatia Tour Reviews - Summary
97% Recommend

4.6 out of 5
Excellent 525 Great 194 Average 27 Disappointing 6 Terrible 5
4.6 Guide
4.6 Activities
4.6 Lodging
4.6 Transportation
4.6 Meals


Does Not Recommend

Misleading and often just plain dishonest. October 2018


European sojourn

  • Value 1.0
  • Guide 3.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 3.0
  • Transportation 1.0
  • Meals 3.0
We paid for a 3 week luxury river cruise but received a large group bus trip across Europe with many days of packing and unpacking. I called our Viking representative when we received an email message just 2 days prior to departure that mentioned a possibility of problems with low river levels. I was assured that everything was "normal" In reality, as we learned later from ship personnel, nothing has been normal for at least 3 months. About 2 weeks prior to departure, we received by mail, lovely personalized booklets describing all the details of our voyage on the Viking Lif, which we were to board in Russe, Romania. Instead, we boarded the Viking Aegir but not at Russe, because the Danube was too low. Instead we rode buses upstream to a port on the Romanian side directly opposite our first scheduled stop at Nikopol, Bulgaria. We had a beautiful cruise through the Iron gate gorge, but after three more scheduled stops in Bulgaria, Serbia, and Croatia, our voyage was terminated in Mohacs, Hungary, an unscheduled place two days short of reaching Budapest. So we were herded into buses for a 1.8 hour ride each way to our scheduled stop at Kalocsa. The next day we retraced the journey to Kalocsa and continued an extra 1.5 hours to reach Budapest. We lost the entire morning in Budapest and spent the night at the Marriott hotel. The next day we lost the entire afternoon in that city because we had to take a 4 hour bus ride to Vienna. Where we were put aboard the Viking Embla. Our voyage on that ship ended two steps later at Passau Germany. After a day in Passau we went upriver for a short distance and it seemed that we had entered the canal to take us to the Main river. But much to our surprise, it was a dead end channel for an industrial port. We spent two days there with our balcony room moored tightly against another Viking ship so there was nothing to look at but the scenery at that site was even worse than looking at someone else's window and the balcony was unusable anyway due to the unpleasant odors at that site. The pattern continued with a long round trip bus ride the next day to our scheduled stop at Regensburg and a 3 plus hour trip the following day to Nuremberg where we finally boarded the Viking Lif. A crew member told us that the Lif had not traveled east of Nuremberg for 3 months. We sailed from Nuremberg to scheduled stops in Bamberg, Wurzburg, and Werthiem and then our voyage terminated for good at an unscheduled port in Mainz. Once again we endured a long round trip journey to our next scheduled stop at Koblenz, followed by a 10 plus hour bus trip (with lunch and a walking tour in Cologne) to Amsterdam and a night in a hotel. Despite a promise that our bags would be in our rooms (they did take great care to provide us with tags so they could easily keep our bags organized) all the baggage was dumped in the hotel garage and it took a good 15 minutes of searching to find it and then take it to our rooms ourselves. There is much more, but it would only be more descriptive of the misery of this trip. We know Viking didn't cause the low river levels, but they did not need to lie to us and make us suffer because of it. Read more

Operator Viking River Cruises



Mountain walking in a beautiful country October 2018


Croatia: Islands & Mountains

  • Value 4.0
  • Guide 4.0
  • Activities 4.0
  • Lodging 4.0
  • Transportation 4.0
  • Meals 4.0
The first part of the week is a whistle-stop tour of some of Croatia's top
spots (Dubrovnik old town, Bol on the island of Brac, Split, Skradinski buk
waterfalls), with a walk each day and quite a bit of travelling.

The remainder of the week is at one base, with longer, mountain walks in
Paklenica National Park and a final few hours in Zadar before the plane home.

Our Croatian guide was brilliant and gave us loads of insights into the
history of the area, how the mountain people lived as well as taking us to an
authentic Croatian restaurant, a mountain refuge and visits to local houses
where we sampled local produce.
I loved the sunset at Dubrovnik old town, plus the views from the summits we
visited were absolutely stunning (my favourite was probably from Vidova Gora
on Brac island).

Zeljko, our guide, was fantastic. He couldn't have been any better. He was
extremely knowledgeable and was able to answer everybody's questions. He
loved his country and wanted to share his knowledge with us whenever he got
the opportunity. We got a real insight into the complicated history of the
country and into the way people live.

We were caught out by an unexpected storm while up on a mountain walk one
day. The Bora winds were far stronger than forecast and we had to get off the
mountain as it was dangerous. Zeljko was calm and professional, got everyone
to safety and managed to organise alternative transport for us all to get us
to our destination on the island of Brac. He also made sure that everyone got
to where they needed to be at the end of the week (as not everyone was
travelling home on the group flight).

If you want to swim, the sea around Dubrovnik was lovely and warm but at
Starigrad Paklenica it was chilly (to say the least)! This could just be
because of the weather but it's possibly more protected around Dubrovnik.
Also the opportunity to swim around the Skradinski Buk waterfalls was not
quite what I had imagined. It's fairly touristy and the area for swimming is
quite restricted. Also, if you want to wander around the waterfalls on the
wooden walkways you won't have time to swim as well.

Many of the mountain paths are rocky and loose. If you are used to mountain
walking you won't have a problem but some people in the group found this
more difficult.

We went at the end of September and it was chillier than expected on some
days (but very hot on others). As well as light hiking gear, make sure you
take a waterproof jacket AND trousers, take some long trousers - not just
shorts, and possibly even a pair of light gloves and a hat.

Croatia is a beautiful country. This trip gave me a really good overview and
insight into the Dalmatian coastal region (as well as some very enjoyable
walking). I definitely want to go back!

Read more

Operator Exodus Travels



Blown away! October 2018


Croatia: Islands & Mountains

  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Our week in Croatia was a very enjoyable mix of hiking, sightseeing,
socialising, food and wine. It also included perhaps a little too much
adventure when the bora winds struck. On our second hike the winds, gusting
at record speeds, literally blew several of us off our feet. Luckily injuries
were limited to bruises and scrapes. Our leader, Zeljko Zarak, managed to get
us all safely back despite road closures and emergency conditions.
Otherwise the weather was beautiful, the hikes challenging but satisfying and
the companionship of the group very pleasant. Some beach time was also
included, as well as historical and architectural experiences in Dubrovnik,
Split and Zadar.
Zeljko provided very interesting and informative background on the history
and politics of the country.
I liked the fact that dinners were on our own but also appreciated Zeljko
arranging several optional meals, particularly a bean soup lunch at the
midpoint of one hike and a superb dinner at a family farm in Bol. My
girlfriend and I are vegan/vegetarian and were initially concerned by what we
heard was a heavily meat-based diet in Croatia. But we were very pleased with
the options available to us.
We were also told the hotels were very basic but all of them were excellent
and each was better than the last as we moved from Dubrovnik to Bol to
Starigrad and then Zadar.
When adversity struck in the form of record bora winds I was impressed with
the way the group pulled together, helping my girlfriend and I with first aid
for our bumps, scrapes and shock. And our leader, Zeljko Zarak, kept everyone
together, safe and calm. He got us into a sheltered space and then shepherded
us to a nearby inn for warm drinks and comfort while he organised
transportation. This wasn't easy as this was a real emergency in that part of
Croatia. We heard later about an emergency rescue for other hikers and
reports of a windsurfer missing and presumed dead. All the locals said this
was very early for the bora winds and that they were stronger than anything
in the past 100 years. Roads were closed but Zeljko was able to arrange vans
to get us safely back to our hotel.

Zeljko Zarak was excellent, very personable and helpful. He also provided
excellent on the area, its history and politics.

Read more

Operator Exodus Travels



A great mixture of being active, sight seeing and relaxation October 2018


Croatia: Islands & Mountains

  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
All the reviews provide great advice and insights - I recommend reading them
and I'll try not to duplicate their excellent advice.

It is a Level 3 hike, so it's not a stroll in the park on flat surface.
You'll enjoy the trip more if you've put some training before hand. Look at
Exodus' training advice. As Kathryn mentioned, the Dalmatian Coast is
limestone so lots of different size rocks, and lots of going up, and down.
Take good hiking boots and poles are really helpful.

For the going up, work on your cardio so you're not winded and you can enjoy
the views.

For going down, work into you daily routine going down stairs. Forward and
backward lunges using a bosu is also good to help strength your knees/quads
for the descents.

All of the hotels had access to swimming, so bring a bathing suit. There's
nothing better than going for a swim after a long hike. The beach in Bol is
lovely and it was so nice to just relax.

Seeing Dubrovnik, Bol, Split and Starigrad were a nice "taste" of Croatia.
It was also great to have a couple of nights in each location so you didn't
always feel like you arrived and then had to pack up and go.
A lot of people have asked me this and I have a hard time picking one thing.
The trip is a great blend of many, many elements from traditional sight
seeing to the hiking. I love being active during the day and then going back
to the hotel for a swim and a lovely meal at a local restaurant.

The people on my tour and our conversations were also a highlight. We were a
diverse group (Canada, UK, US and Germany) from mid 30s to 60s, with
different backgrounds (artist, engineers, health professionals, IT, lawyer,
marketing, publishing, teachers, etc). I know I've made some new friends on
this trip.

Ivan is awesome and it's easy to underestimate how good he is.

Herding 16 adults is a challenge and he did it with skill and diplomacy. As
I mentioned, we're a diverse group and we all had different ideas of what we
wanted out of our holiday and he took into account.

This was my first Exodus trip and I'm looking to do another trip in part
based on Ivan.

As noted above, put in time before hand to do some training so you can enjoy
the trip. While going up is harder for cardio, most people have more
challenges with going down.

A couple of months before add going down stairs. It will help to build up
your quads and strengthen your knees. I did this leading up to the trip and
I didn't have any problems. I was given this advice before going to do the
Inca Trail and I didn't listen to it. On the Inca trail I was stiff but in
Croatia I didn't have any issues. (Exodus also rates their Inca Trail trip a
Level 3.)

It's a great trip. Highly recommend it.

Read more

Operator Exodus Travels



Absolutely amazing..... October 2018


Croatia: Islands & Mountains

  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
The trip was amazing - made so by the friendliest and most accommodating tour
guide, great tour group, and the beautiful trails and amazing food.
I have done group tours before and this was my first with Exodus, and
honestly was the best tour group I could have asked for. Everyone clicked and
we all got along and enjoyed our hikes and chats along the way. Needless to
say the Dalmatian Coast did not disappoint. I enjoyed our hikes, the picnics,
the breakfasts together, the beautiful sea. The van rides were very
comfortable too.

The tour guide Ivan, was simply the best. He paid attention to each and
everyone of us and listened to what we had to say. He sang and chatted with
us along the trails, on the bus and the meals. He took care of specific needs
and requests as well. It will be tough for future guides to get a better

Yes, do this trip!!!!

I hope that the other Exodus trips are equally good.

Read more

Operator Exodus Travels

Croatia Tours and Travel Guide

Croatia Attractions & Landmarks Guide

If any country has played a role as a crossroad of history, it’s present-day Croatia.  Because of its key location spanning Eastern and Western cultures, this West Virginia-size nation, along with neighbors which comprised the former Yugoslavia, provided a bridge and melting pot of peoples over the centuries.  Among those who came, went and left their influences were ancient Greeks, Romans and Venetians. 

This rich kaleidoscope of cultures, ethnicities and religions, along with its storied history, natural beauty and other attractions, has elevated Croatia into a major magnet for travelers seeking an authentic experience. The result: While the country ranks only 127th in size, it’s the world’s 18th most popular tourist destination.

Croatia’s cities, towns and villages serve as living history museums that immerse visitors in centuries past.

Dubrovnik, “Pearl of the Adriatic”

Dubrovnik, a World Heritage Site, was a major city-state and maritime trade center from the 14th through 18th centuries. Its reach and power throughout the Mediterranean and Adriatic Seas rivaled that of Venice. 

The intact fortress walls that surround the old city, its wealth of stunning architecture, historic monuments and maze of narrow streets transport visitors back to those heady times -- one of the main reasons it has served as a shooting location for the HBO TV series Game of Thrones

Dubrovnik suffered heavy damage in the early 1990s, when Croatia sought to become a sovereign country following the breakup of Yugoslavia but was opposed and attacked by local Serb forces and the Serb-controlled Yugoslav People's Army. 

Since then, the historic core of the city has been restored to its former splendor.  The city walls, accentuated by three forts, 16 towers and other fortifications, are among the best-preserved and most beautiful in Europe. Built over a span of 600 years beginning in the 12th century, they create a 1-1/4-mile long defensive ring around the old city, and a “walk on the walls” is a favorite activity for visitors.     

Zagreb, Split, and Beyond

Zagreb, Croatia’s capital, claims architectural treasures that echo the charms of Vienna, Budapest, Prague, and other great European cities. Many historic monuments grace the Lower Town and Baroque Upper Town. More contemporary touches include the seemingly wall-to-wall cafes and coffee houses that are packed with people throughout the days and evenings.

Split boasts Roman ruins – the 4th century Emperor Diocletian’s Palace -- built right into the center of the city. (Remnants of Roman structures are grouped along the coastline, dotted throughout the countryside and preserved in cities.) A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Split also contains medieval and Renaissance architecture. Tiny Trogir,  another World Heritage Site along with coast, is a medieval gem.

The defensive walls that encircle the medieval hill hamlet of Hum (pronounced Hoom) are distinctive because houses were built into them. Tiny Hum consists of just two short streets, has been listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the smallest town in the world, and locals claim a current population of 17, 18 or “about 20.”

The adjacent seaside resorts of Lovran and Opatija (oh-pah-tee-uh) have a history of tourism dating back to Roman times, when both were popular with patrician families who built impressive villas. At the end of the 19th century, the towns once again became fashionable vacation destinations for aristocratic families, whose elegant homes still grace the setting.

Mother Nature at Her Best

The main natural attraction is Plitvice Lakes National Park, which encompasses a series of 16 lakes linked by waterfalls and rivulets that cascade from one to another.  The lakes themselves reflect the colors of their surroundings, from emerald green and turquoise to blue and gray.

Another popular setting is the line of beaches strung out along Croatia’s long coastline on the Adriatic Sea.  While most are pebble beaches, there also are inviting sandy stretches – and 97 of them have Blue Flag status, an international award based upon water quality and other standards.

The Croatian coast is also lined with a thousand little islands like Korcula and Hvar, which combine medieval architecture and natural beauty. Small ship cruises often stop there. 

Related Guides



Local Attractions: 

Dubrovnik, Hvar, Split, Plitvice National Park, Rovinj, Pula Arena, Diocletian's Palace & Many More

Top Activities:

Small-Ship Cruises, Sailing Cruises & Historic Sightseeing

Similar Destinations:      

ItalyFranceSpain & Greece

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Things to Know Before You Go

All Croatia tours, river cruises, expedition cruises, and adventure trips. Find the best guided trips and expert planned vacation and holiday packages. Average rating of 4.6 for all Croatia trips.

438 trips from 93 tour companies with 612 reviews

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