In my humble opinion, Croatia might just be the most overrated country I’ve been to in Europe and I have my reasons.
This might anger some people, so I would like to say that I have nothing against Croatia or Croatians. I found them to be very friendly and some my even agree with my points. Croatia also has its good side as Zagreb is an incredibly beautiful city and the food is really good. However, I’m going to tell you why Croatia isn’t a good destination to visit, especially if you’re a backpacker on a budget.
The Coast of Croatia is Abysmal
If you come to Croatia to expect some nice coast, then you’ll be surprised to know that it is not a good destination to go to the beach. While coastal cities of Pula, Zadar and Split are right next to the sea. These places do not have nice sandy beaches nearby. Within these places, the closest beaches are a long walk away and very rocky beaches.
If you want to find a nice sandy beach, there are some on the islands which you’ll have to pay an expensive ferry fare for. Furthermore most of the good beaches are far away that you’ll need a car for and I did actually get to visit some sandy beaches on a boat tour while in Dubrovnik, but these beaches had the danger of sea urchins.
The Prices are too High
While a lot of countries in Central and Eastern Europe like Poland have a reputation for being affordable destinations, Croatia is not one of them. It’s a nightmare for budget backpackers as even hostels can be priced up to £20 a night. If you want to eat out, expect a hefty bill as well, but what tops is the prices of some of the tourist attractions. If you want to go onto the Walls of Dubrovnik, expect to fork out £22 and Dubrovnik is ridiculously expensive. Croatia also has its own currency, the Kuna, although some people also accept euros which makes things confusing.
Croatia is Dare I Say, Boring
Although Croatia is a small country which has different kinds of regions, everywhere on the coast looks the same in my opinion. I felt I could see everything in every place in one day. Pula doesn’t really have much else to see once you’ve seen the amphitheatre. Unless you’re interested in looking at towns which pretty much look the same, the Dalmatian coast isn’t for you.
There Are Way Too Many Tourists
Because of Game of Thrones, Dubrovnik has become a cesspit of tourists. I remember being in a supermarket line and the wait was tediously long just to buy a burek. I would consider Dubrovnik as the Venice of the Balkans. This is because the Old Town of Dubrovnik as actually quite small and you can’t go anywhere which isn’t rammed with tourists.
Split also has no sense of authenticity as the streets are crowded with British, Irish and German tourists looking to just get drunk. Finding actual Croatian people can be a challenge. Most people who work in the hostels don’t even speak Croatian and people will be surprised when you say a few words of the language.
Getting Around is a Pain
Unlike neighbouring countries, Croatia is a rather difficult place to get around if you don’t have a car. Unlike neighbouring countries like Slovenia and Hungary, there is hardly any trains and no Flixbus. If you don’t have a car, you will have to rely on taking the bus, buses in Croatia are insanely uncomfortable and you have to pay for your luggage separately.
It seemed to me that every time I took the bus, the bus seemed to make 20 different stops within a 3 hour journey. Sometimes you can only take a bus at a certain time, the only bus from Dubrovnik to Mostar I could take was at 8 in the morning. I think it took a solid 4 hours even though they aren’t too far from each other.
That’s all I have to say about Croatia, what’s worth mentioning is that other Balkan countries I’ve been to like Albania and Montenegro also have really bad transport. However, they are slightly more affordable than Croatia and have less hordes of tourists. If you’re considering visiting Croatia, don’t expect to be able to find amazing beaches, what I recommend in Croatia is visiting the capital, Zagreb as it’s the best part of the country in my opinion.