Your Complete Preparation Kit to Croatia in Winter
I know it sounds completely wrong to visit Croatia in winter.
But I was not alone.
Croatia’s summer is packed with many tourists. Hostel rates go up. Restaurants are full. Entrance fee for national parks are more expensive. The chances of taking a human-free picture are low. There are upsides though such as watersports activities are available, more ferries running to and from islands, more vibrant night life.
I seldom go with the mainstream so I went anyway.
Transportation in Croatia
I planned to take a bus from Ljubliana, Slovenia to Zagreb, Croatia where I set my foot on Croatia’s soil. There are quite good buses connections among the cities during winter. I checked the connections here. I would recommend booking ahead in summer time. From what I have experienced, I don’t need to book in advance in winter, 90% of the buses were EMPTY.
Charges for hold luggage
If you are traveling with a suitcase or a big backpack like me, the bus driver will charge you a hold-luggage fee ranging from HRK1 to HRK8 (which is about 1 euro). Even the bus was empty, they wouldn’t allow me to bring my backpack onto the bus.
I headed from the north all the way to the south by public bus which I made stop overs at Zagreb, Zadar, Split and Dubrovnik.
Hostels in Croatia
There were not many options for hostels in winter. You can try airbnb as my Australian roommate tried it which was slightly more expensive than hostels but more options.
But I reckon nowadays hostels also put their rooms up to airbnb, in this case, booking with the hostel directly or through booking websites will be cheaper because airbnb charges booking fee.
2 nights in Hostel Day and Night. I had an empty 6 bed dorm room all by myself for one night. Function-able kitchen, good location – walkable to a big supermarket and old town. 24 hours reception, staff is flexible and friendly. It’s only €6 per night. What should I expect…? Pay in local currency in cash only.
Tequila Bar Hostel. There’s only a few hostels in Zadar and I picked the cheapest one. They have two buildings, one is closed because no guests. They have a bar which I didn’t go. Location is excellent. There were about 6 guests when I was there. Maybe it was too empty, so everything was quite dusty. Heating in my room took forever to heat up. Kitchen…still function-able but quite pathetic. Showers was a disaster as the drainage was kinda blocked. Hairdryer is the one hanged on the wall, the air blowing out was almost useless. One special feature of the bed: you can’t sit straight up because the upper bed is too low. €11 per night. Pay in local currency in cash only. Stay somewhere else!
Hostel Like me in Split. Again, the cheapest one in town. Very clean bed and bathroom. The hostel manager was very helpful and just wrote down everything that I need to do to me. There is no kitchen because he told me some disastrous things happened when a drunk guest used it. €9 per night. Pay in local currency in cash only. This hostel costs at least €30 up in summer.
Hostel EuroAdria. There’s literally only three hostels operating in town and cost about the same. This one is near the bus station so I can just walk. Bed and bathroom were clean. There are about 10 dorm beds sharing 1 shower and 2 toilets. No kitchen except a water kettle…€14 per night. Cash and credit cards are accepted.
Getting around in the cities
Stay somewhere close to the centre will make walking possible. Zagreb and Zadar – walking. You can walk around the entire Split’s old town. For going to nearby towns for example, Trogir, you can take the local bus. In Dubrovnik , this will depend on where you stay. From what I saw, the hostel reviews within King’s Landing are quite horrible. I stayed outside the old town. It took me 30 minutes to walk to the Pile Gate, mostly uphill. Bear in mind that Dubrovnik is very hilly. Buses costs €2! (!!!! It’s expensive to my standard)
Although they are part of the EU, they still keep their Croatian Kuna. I realized it is inevitable to exchange kunas because of the hostels and bus tickets. Other than that, restaurants and supermarkets accept credit card payment.