Solo Travel in Croatia – The Ultimate Guide

solo travel croatia

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Thinking of travelling solo in Croatia? After living for 2 months in Split and spending another month travelling around locations including Zagreb, Zadar, Dubrovnik and Istria, I’m your girl!

After travelling solo in India, South Africa, Cuba and Mexico, I had zero safety concerns when booking my trip to Croatia. I’m an experienced solo traveller at this stage but I’m aware we’re all on different stages of our journies so I wanted to share this guide in case you have worries or reservations.

Perhaps you’re still wondering ‘is Croatia safe for female travellers?’ and haven’t yet bit the bullet and booked your trip.

If that’s the case, I say go for it!

croatia solo travel
Relaxed and happy during solo female travel in Croatia

CROATIA ESSENTIALS

Accommodation: Booking.com

Getting there: flight / car / bus / train

Getting around: car / bus / ferry

Activities: GetYourGuide / Viator

Read next: 101 solo female travel tips

Is Croatia a good place for solo travel?

YES! End of blog post 😉

Although I have plenty to say on the topic, the bottom line is that solo female travel in Croatia is a great idea. Here’s a quick overview.

Pros

  • Easy to get around – although trains aren’t common in Croatia (you can arrive in Zagreb from Central Europe but they don’t run down the coast), it’s easy and affordable to move around. Since I don’t drive, I always take the Flixbus which costs as little as €5 a journey
  • It’s safe – knowing a country has a positive safety rating is always reassuring when planning a trip to a new country
  • High level of English spoken – in tourist areas you can easily get by with English, although a few ‘hvalas’ (thank yous) won’t hurt!
  • It’s relatively affordable – I say relatively because Croatia gets very expensive in peak season! But provided you avoid summer holidays, you can bag affordable accommodation in hostels, take local buses and escape touristy city centres for cheaper local restaurants
  • Lots of hostels – in addition to saving you money, these make solo travel in Croatia a social and fun experience with scope to make friends and enjoy the nightlife.

Cons

  • Crowded – you may not feel very solo amid the tourist crowds often including families, couples and tour groups! Croatia is very touristic in summer so it may not be what you’re used to if you prefer off-the-beaten-track destinations
  • Highly seasonal – many destinations are empty in winter and frickin’ PACKED in summer. But provided you plan your trip well, this doesn’t need to be a downside.

Looking for more solo travel guides?

Is Croatia safe for solo female travellers

Not only is Croatia safe for female travellers, but it has a desirable safety rating overall. It was recently voted the 22nd safest country in the world (not bad out of 95) with low levels of most types of crime.

The main crime in Croatia is corruption and bribery which is NOT an issue you’ll face as a tourist.

Next topic, MEN. I know this is a source of concern for many women when deciding to travel to a new country. In my experience, men in Croatia aren’t threatening. When walking down the street at night, I felt safe and never experienced beeping or cat-calling like you do in some destinations.

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Beautiful Croatia

Is it easy to backpack in Croatia?

If you’re thinking of travelling to Croatia alone, you’ll be pleased to know there are plenty of hostels, affordable public transport and companies offering tours and excursions, helping you to see the country affordably while meeting others.

It’s a well-trodden path with many backpackers hitting up Zadar, Split and Dubrovnik. Outside of these cities, you may find places more family-orientated. In Istria for example, there were few hostels so I didn’t meet other travellers and had to splash out more for accommodation.

Basically, stay on the beaten path if you want the classic backpacker experience, but break away to other destinations if you don’t mind spending a bit more money and time with yourself.

How to meet people in Croatia

There are many ways to meet people while travelling solo in Croatia not limited to the following:

  • Hostels – the obvious one! Many have private rooms if you’re not enamoured by the idea of sharing with 8 snoring strangers. Keep an eye out for hostels hosting shared dinners and group activities
  • Facebook groups – groups like Girls Love Travel are handy for finding new travel buddies. You can also check out Croatia expat and digital nomad Facebook groups if you’re staying a bit longer
  • Couchsurfing – not just for staying in local’s homes, this platform connects travellers via events happening in cities around the world. They have a website and mobile app
  • Take free walking tours – I love these! Most European cities tend to have them. Hostels often advertise them or you can check FreeTour.com or trusty Google
  • Use mobile apps like Bumble BFF to make connections in your location
  • Use EatWith to find fun & social dining opportunities hosted by local chefs and foodies
  • Stay in a room within a local’s home on Airbnb or Homestay. Not only is this cheaper than renting a whole apartment but I find the hosts are usually keen to offer advice and even show you around.
Friends in split
Friends I made in Split

Best time of year for Croatia travel

Whether you’re travelling solo in Croatia or not, it’s important to time your trip well: Croatia is not a year-round destination!

Winter (November-February): the middle of this season is the coldest time in Croatia. It rarely snows but it can be cold, rainy and windy. Direct flights don’t service the coastal cities from most European destinations so there’s little tourism.

Spring (March-May): the weather gets warm once the boras (winds) of March have passed. Tourism starts to unlock as flight schedules increase at the beginning of April and businesses closed for the winter reopen by May at the latest.

Summer (June-August): June can be a great month to visit Croatia as a solo female traveller because prices aren’t yet crazy yet things are becoming fun and lively. July and August are way too busy and expensive for my liking.

zadar solo travelling croatia
Croatia in off-season = more room in photos!

How to get around

It’s easy to get around Croatia as a solo traveller and won’t break the bank. I would recommend…

Bus

This is how I usually travel around Croatia. The Flixbus connects major hubs like Zagreb, Zadar, Split and Dubrovnik. It also connects Croatia with neighbouring countries like Bosnia & Hervegonia and Slovenia.

Where the Flixbus doesn’t run, you can find alternative networks. In Istria, I caught Arriva buses which I booked via the Omio website. For some Split day trips to Omis, the Mosor mountains, Trogir and Klis Fortress, I rode local buses paid for in cash from the bus station or bus stop.

Local buses commonly don’t show on Google Maps so it’s best to find the timetable online or better yet, at the bus stop. I spent ages trying to understand the Klis bus timetable online and, in the end, had to go there and ask. It’s an adventure!

Car

Hiring a car in Croatia can be a great way to get around with all freedom to you. But first, consider your destination. You don’t need a car in Dubrovnik as it’s so congested with little parking. In fact, most historical Croatian cities are pedestrianised at least in the Old Towns.

For solo travel in Croatia (and countless other places) hiring a car may not be the best option because you’ll have to front the whole cost yourself. Public transport is way cheaper.

If you still want to hire a car, I’d suggest using Rentalcars.com because they have competitive prices and great customer reviews.

Taxi

In larger cities, Uber and Bolt are readily available. You can even hail them to out-of-town destinations like Klis Fortress (a 20-minute drive from Split). In smaller places, you may have to get regular taxis which are of course, more expensive.

Best destinations for solo travel in Croatia

Here are the places I visited and can vouch for as excellent places for solo female travel in Croatia…

Solo travel in Split

split travelling alone in croatia
Solo meal at Villa Spiza in Split

After 2 months living in Split, I’m happy to tell you I never experienced any danger and generally had a wonderful time! Since I was working online, I made friends with other digital nomads and wasn’t technically alone that much. However, I did live alone (which was super affordable in off-season) so I feel confident that it’s a super-safe, solo-friendly destination.

The photo above was taken at Villa Spiza, one of my favourite Split restaurants. I was so comfortable by myself that I stayed for dessert and got the waiter to take a photo of me enjoying my own company (and food!).

sunset split
I often used to eat cheese, drink wine and enjoy sunset solo at this Split viewpoint!

Fun things to do solo in Split:

  • Go hiking in Marjan Park – with beautiful views and places to swim, it’s the perfect place for some me-time in nature. You can either walk around the flat circumference of the park or take the uphill hike to Marjan viewpoint
  • Head for a bar crawl to meet new people and enjoy the nightlife
  • Wander the majestic Diocletian’s Palace complex and imagine the city in days gone by
  • Take a Split food tour, cooking class or go on an organised wine tasting tour
  • Have a beach day. Bacvice gets busy and dirty so I prefer Kasjuni
  • Visit Klis Fortress if you’re a GOT fan!

Read next: 35 things to do in Split

Solo travel in Dubrovnik

Srd hill dubrovnik
Srd Hill to myself in off-season

With lots of highly-rated hostels, bar crawls and free walking tours, Dubrovnik is a popular destination for solo female travel in Croatia with opportunities to meet others. Thanks to group activities and excursions organised by GetYourGuide and Viator, it’s easy to get around so you don’t need to worry about hiring a car or navigating public transport alone.

Things to do solo in Dubrovnik:

  • Meet new people during a bar crawl – there are plenty to choose from
  • Take the cable car or hike up Srd Hill for sunset
  • Spend a day on Lokrum Island
  • Walk the famous City Walls
  • Visit the beaches – Banje gets very busy so walk around the coast to Sveti Javok beach instead
  • Spot filming locations on a Game of Throne walking tour
  • Take a kayak tour; companies usually pair up solo travellers so you won’t be paddling alone.

Read next: 35 things to do in Dubrovnik

Lunch in dubrovnik
Eating in Dubrovnik with Singaporean friends I met in Split

I travelled solo in Dubrovnik in March 2022 and although I felt totally safe, the city was super quiet because it was off-season. If you need me-time and have no problems entertaining yourself, it could be a great experience.

However, if you prefer meeting other travellers and enjoying the nightlife, I would recommend Dubrovnik solo travel from April-September. I’ve visited in this season before (although not solo) and can confirm it’s a busy, lively city with lots to do and see, plus excellent cafes, restaurants, bars and nightlife.

Just beware in July and August, it gets insanely crowded (even more than other Croatian destinations)! In my opinion, April-June and September-October are the best times to visit Dubrovnik.

Zadar

zadar croatia

It’s not as well known as Split or Dubrovnik but I’m a huge fan of Zadar. This mid-sized city on the Croatian coast feels less crowded than tiny Dubrovnik Old Town or Split’s Diocletian’s Palace complex. With well-preserved Roman ruins, ocean views and public installations celebrating the power of nature, Zadar blends history, technology and nature perfectly.

Zadar is a great place for day trips to the Kornati islands, Dugi Otok and Pag Island.

Things to do solo in Zadar:

Read next: things to do in Zadar, Croatia

Istria

Colourful houses rovinj
No photos of me from Rovinj which tells you it wasn’t such a social place to backpack

I wouldn’t say Istria is the best place for solo travel in Croatia because it’s frequented mainly by families and couples who commonly arrive by car from Germany and other nearby destinations. It’s not known as a backpackers destination so you won’t find too many budget hostels.

Still, I managed to make it around Istria solo without going bankrupt or getting too lonely! It was worth it: Istria is absolutely stunning and one of my all-time favourite Croatian destinations!

Some places to visit include:

Zagreb solo travel

plitvce lakes nat park croatia female travel
On a day trip from Zagreb to Plitvice Lakes

As a capital city with a fantastic safety rating, Zagreb is a great place for solo female travel in Croatia. It’s a pleasant, relaxed city of 800,000 that makes a refreshing alternative to cities like Dubrovnik where tourism has fully taken over. Zagreb is big enough that you can rub shoulders with the locals and get stuck into the culture.

Compared to Dalmatia, it’s much cheaper! I was delighted to find meals in restaurants for as little as €2 (this was at MERAK, a Balkan restaurant with no English spoken, a 20-minute walk from town. I believe they close at 9pm).

The best hostel in Zagreb is Swanky Mint. It’s a cool, modern venue with a seasonal swimming pool and an Asian fusion restaurant onsite.

Fun things to do solo in Zagreb:

  • The Museum of Broken Relationships – I promise I’m not saying that single travellers should go and cry about breakups! This museum is a unique place that’s funny, poignant and thought-provoking. Don’t miss it!
  • Spot some of the impressive Zagreb street art
  • Learn from a local guide during a free walking tour
  • Take a day trip to Plitvice Lakes Nat Park – either by public bus or organised day tour. I did the latter and met some fun travellers to hang out with after. I also highly recommend the tour for the quality of the guides and the wonderland that is Plitvice!
  • Enjoy the thriving Zagreb cafe scene
  • People watch, visit outdoor cafes and catch live Music on Tkalčićeva Street
  • Eat delicious cheesy štrukli at La Štruk restaurant.

Read next: the best Zagreb attractions

Tips for Croatia travel

Here are a few quick tips for travelling solo in Croatia…

Dress up to blend in

Ok, this isn’t a tip you HAVE to follow. Women should never have to dress any certain way! However, if you want to fit in with the locals, know that athletic leisure wear is NOT the vibe. In Croatia, people get dressed up at weekends to stroll the promenades and drink coffee. It’s a fun tradition so why not join them?

Do your research for veggie or vegan food

Croatian food is traditionally meaty. Cities like Zagreb, Dubrovnik and Split have options (although not as many as other major tourist cities in Europe) but smaller towns and villages may not. It might be worth packing a picnic when visiting islands where you suspect there will be nothing veggie.

You can do most things without a tour

Group tours reduce the hassle of travel and help you meet other travellers. I often use Viator and GetYourGuide to visit places that public transport doesn’t service. But know that you rarely NEED tours: you can visit national parks like Krka and Plitvice by Flixbus, and most of the islands are accessible by ferry.

You can also hop between islands meaning you don’t have to go back to the mainland in between.

Avoid the cruise ships

By working out when the cruise ships dock, you can calculate when NOT to visit somewhere! Usually, the best time to explore a city is early in the morning before they arrive or in the late afternoon once they’ve left.

Highlights from my solo trip to Croatia

Travel usually isn’t about ticking off destinations; it’s about the experiences. These were a few of my best moments…

Listening to the Sea Organ in Zadar

sea organ zadar

The Sea Organ is a public installation by Zadar harbour combining the power of the waves and a set of underground tubes. The result? Beautiful music coming up from the ground as if by magic! Beside it lies the Greeting to the Sun: a 22-metre solar panel that converts the sun’s light into captivating light shows at dusk.

These installations are wonderful in their own right but the sense of community they provide – accompanied by spectacular sunsets – is unforgettable! I’ll always have fond memories of spending my evenings here.

Getting off-grid in Imotski

Ever heard of Imotski? Thought not.

Near the border of Bosnia and Herzegovina, this lesser-visited region is about striking nature and rich culture unchanged for decades… Oh, and wine! During my solo trip to Croatia, I was lucky to visit on a day tour with Cromads who offer off-the-beaten-path Croatian adventures.

We visited the jaw-dropping Red and Blue Lakes, cooked a traditional peka meal at Agroturizam Grabovac village and sampled local wines at Vinarija Glavota and Grabovac. It was such a fun and different day, and I loved meeting the locals at the agrotourism village and learning about their lives.

The lakes can be visited independently but the others venues require a reservation. You can take an Imotski wine tour or contact Cromads to custom-book a complete Imotski tour.

Eating truffle scampi pasta in Opatija

Ružmarin pasta
Not sharing pasta = a highlight of solo travel in Croatia

One of the best meals of my life was at Ružmarin restaurant in Opatija, my first stop in Istria. Truffles are commonly harvested here meaning they’re served fresh at restaurants all over the region. I’m not exaggerating when I say I ate truffle pasta every day for a week!

The best portion was for €15 at Ružmarin. I also ate truffle bruschetta washed down with white wine. The staff were friendly and the restaurant was stylish yet chilled at lunchtime so I didn’t feel awkward dining alone. I would crawl over hot coals to go again!

Wandering the backstreets in Rovinj

Rovinj town
Adorable!

Rovinj is heaven! I loved getting lost down the colourful alleyways, stumbling across craft stores and cute cafes. The views from the church of St. Euphemia are spectacular.

With so much pasta, pizza and gelato, I felt like I was in Italy and that’s NOT a complaint 😉

Hiking Srd Hill in Dubrovnik

srd hill travelling alone women croatia

I visited Srd Hill by cable car in September 2017 and although it’s a beautiful viewpoint, it was packed. When I came back in March 2022, the cable car wasn’t yet open so I hiked to the top. I had the whole place to myself. The hike was very rewarding with great coastal views the whole way.

Better yet, it’ll save you an extortionate 200 kuna (€27)!

Where to go next?

Another fantastic thing about solo travel in Croatia? It’s surrounded by other fantastic countries that are easily accessible. These include…

Bosnia & Herzegovina

Bosnia day trip from Dubrovnik

Although Croatia and Bosnia are neighbours, they’re surprisingly different. Bosnia & Herzegovina receives far less tourism than Croatia and prices are cheaper. If you’re travelling on a budget, it could be an even better option!

With Ottoman influence, B&H is different from Croatia in other ways, too. You’ll see more mosques than churches and the food has more of a Middle Eastern influence. Highlights include the cool capital of Sarajevo, historic Mostar, the ‘open museum’ that is Pocitelj village, and the natural wanderlust of Kravice Falls.

I’ve only visited as part of a Bosnia & Herzegovina day trip from Dubrovnik but watch this space because I’ll be back VERY soon.

Slovenia

solo travel in slovenia
Solo in Slovenia

I had a fantastic first trip to Slovenia in May 2022. Although Slovenia is known for its spectacular nature, nothing about it is overhyped. Lake Bled and Lake Bohinj are two of the most beautiful places I’ve been!

Ljubljana is Slovenia’s lively capital, reminiscent of Zagreb, with hostels, nightlife and countless cafes and restaurants. Solo travellers will be pleased to learn Slovenia is a super safe country with almost no crime. It’s not the cheapest country in Europe but not the most expensive, either. Hostels start from €15 a night and main dishes in restaurants cost €7-12.

Italy

Gelato in venice italy
In my element in Italy

Despite it being the most expensive of these locations, I had a great time travelling solo in Italy. There are so many world-class destinations packed with history, culture and food. Major cities in Italy have hostels and decent public transport networks.

With Italy, it depends where you go. Certain destinations where you need a car, like the Dolomites, may not be budget-friendly destinations for solo travellers. Likewise, small but very touristic locations around Cinque Terre and the Amalfi Coast may leave you out of pocket.

Hungary

Hungary parliament
Cold in Budapest

Budapest can easily be reached from Zagreb on the Flixbus within 5 hours. It’s one of Europe’s coolest cities with loads going on for backpackers, plus it’s relatively safe (apart from a bit of pickpocketing in touristic areas) and affordable.

Three days in Budapest is a great amount of time to spend. Another benefit of visiting Hungary is getting stuck into the hearty local food and cheap drinks!

Don’t forget insurance!

Although Croatia is safe for solo travel, I would never advise travelling without travel insurance. World Nomads cover 150 countries, including Crotia, and offer 24-hour emergency assistance. Get a quote.

Thanks for reading my guide to Croatia solo travel

General:

Split blogs:

Dubrovnik blogs:

Zadar blogs:

Zagreb blogs:

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solo travel croatia

TRUSTED RESOURCES FOR VISITING CROATIA

Getting around by air – I use Skyscanner and search by month to see the cheapest dates.

Driving in Europe – use Rentalcars.com to compare car rentals in European countries (and all around the world).

Confused about visas? I use iVisa to check visa requirements and apply for visas online.

For trains, I use RailEurope. The search feature allows you to compare prices, and they show live departure times on the website.

For buses, I use FlixBus. Find journeys between European countries from €1! 

Use Omio to compare trains and buses in one search. It’s so handy!

For hotels and self-catering apartments, I use Booking.com. You can filter by review score and price to find the best-rated budget places. For hostels, I use Hostelworld.com.

To save money on accommodation, I use Trusted Housesitters, a website that connects homeowners going away and travellers who can sit their homes & pets.

Browse tours and activities on GetYourGuide.

Need travel insurance? I use World Nomads. They cover 150 countries and have 24-hour emergency assistance.

Check out my resources page for more travel discounts and budget tips from my 10+ years on the road!

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