This is a guest post by Olivia Loren, a Croatian travel blogger.
If you’re a solo female traveler contemplating an adventure in Croatia, you’ve clicked on just the right post.
As a woman that has been living in and traveling throughout Croatia for the last decade, I feel especially qualified to offer insight and advice about solo female travel in this gorgeous Mediterranean nation I call home.
Located in southern Europe, Croatia is a dream destination for any independent traveler seeking the perfect blend of nature, culture, and adventure. Not only is the country picturesque and charming, but the feeling of freedom and safety it offers solo female travelers simply can’t be beat.
In this post we’ll be covering all you need to know about solo female travel in Croatia, including must-visit destinations that will steal your heart, the best time of year to go there, how to navigate the country, and of course, tips on connecting with like-minded travelers:
Why Choose Croatia for Solo Female Travel
Croatia has a lot to offer. Aside from its obvious beauty and jaw-dropping locations on the surface, there are a number of other reasons this country is ideal for women who want to wander solo.
It’s easy to communicate
While the official language of Croatia is, of course, Croatian, you’ll find that most people know some level of English, and many actually speak it fluently. This is partially because Croatia is a popular tourist destination, so in all of the major cities, like Zagreb, Dubrovnik, Split, and Zadar, you’ll find it easy to communicate with the locals.
On top of that, English is taught as a second language in elementary schools starting from the first grade, and most programs on television are in English with Croatian subtitles. So overall, English is a language that’s widely understood and spoken, making it easy for solo female travelers to get around.
However, it’s still a good idea to get familiar with some basic Croatian phrases, as the locals will truly appreciate your effort.
Did you know that Croatia ranks among the top 15 safest countries in the world? It’s true — the nation is peaceful, with a very low crime rate. This makes it a great destination for solo female travelers, or anyone looking to dip their toes into the world of independent travel.
It’s easy to navigate
Unlike much of Western Europe, where train travel is a common mode of transportation, in Croatia, you’ll want to use the buses. Flixbus is the cheapest way to get around the country — we’re talking one-way tickets for as low as €4. The buses are newer, clean, and most importantly, air-conditioned; they also have Wi-Fi.
While Croatia may not be the cheapest destination in Europe, it is still possible to explore the country without breaking the bank. If you plan carefully and visit outside of peak season, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to discover that it is relatively affordable. From cheap public transportation and an abundance of hostels in major cities to low-cost meals and discounts on attractions (even more if you’re a student!), there are plenty of ways to save.
When to Go and What to Bring
The best time to visit Croatia depends on what you’re looking to get out of your trip. Here is a quick breakdown of what to expect from each season:
Summer is arguably the most popular time to visit if you want to spend your days sailing, relaxing on the beach, and island-hopping. However, this is also the most expensive time of year and the busiest. Despite the spike in prices and number of visitors, summer is the best season to meet other solo travelers along Croatia’s coast.
Spring and fall
If you want to avoid the crowds (and prices) that come during peak season, spring and fall are better times to visit. The temperatures are still mild, and it’s easier to score affordable accommodation. You’ll still have opportunities to meet other like-minded travelers in places like Zadar, Split, and Dubrovnik.
If you prefer solitude and are looking to take a trip that will allow you to enjoy lots of alone time, it might be better to visit in the off-season (November, January, and February) when there are far fewer tourists. Alternatively, you could seek out lesser-known destinations, but know that those places also usually come with less infrastructure and support.
Croatia’s capital city of Zagreb is a solid option as a year-round destination. There are events and festivals going on all the time, and the Christmas market is one of the best in Europe! It’s the place to be if you plan to travel to Croatia in December.
What to Bring to Croatia
Once you’ve decided what time of year you want to travel to Croatia, the next step is packing! Croatia has four seasons and a mild, Mediterranean climate. While you can generally get away with wearing what you want, you should know that Croatian women love to dress up. If you want to blend in with the locals, leave your athleisure at home and opt for nicer outfits and sandals or clean white sneakers.
Summers are typically hot and dry, with temperatures usually hovering around 30°C (85°F). Dresses are always great pieces to have in your luggage, because they are versatile and will help keep you cool on hot days. Winters can be quite cold and wet, so make sure to bring plenty of layers and warmer items like sweaters and a waterproof jacket.
Fall and spring temperatures vary, so it’s a good idea to bring lightweight items that you can mix and match depending on the temperature. No matter what season you are visiting Croatia in, a comfortable pair of walking shoes are an absolute must.
Don’t worry too much if you forget something on your Croatia packing list — you should be able to purchase most items in the country.
Best Places in Croatia for Solo Female Travelers
For a European capital city, Zagreb is incredibly safe for solo female travelers. With just around one million residents, it is small enough to feel local, yet large enough to have all the amenities and resources you need. The city center is well connected by a tram system, but also so walkable that you likely won’t even need public transportation.
Compared to other major cities in Croatia, Zagreb is by far the cheapest. You can sip coffee for less than €2 in most cafés, and find affordable food options all around town. If you’re working remotely, you’ll be pleased to know that Zagreb has a number of digita nomad–friendly cafés where you can find reliable wifi and good drinks.
Plus, you’ll never run out of things to do! Aside from hosting a large number of festivals each year, Zagreb is bursting with museums, galleries, and gorgeous green spaces worth exploring. While most people spend only two days in Zagreb, I promise you’ll want to stay longer!
Things to do in Zagreb:
- Join a free walking tour
- Explore the vibrant café scene
- Get your international food fix on Tkalciceva Street
- Wander around the charming Upper Town
- Take a day trip to Plitvice Lakes National Park
- Go hiking or skiing on Sljeme
Split, Croatia’s second largest city, is a popular spot for visitors to base themselves in when exploring southern Croatia. If you’re short on time and want to make the most of your stay, Split is the perfect jumping-off point for visiting Croatia’s most popular islands and attractions.
While it has less going on than Zagreb does in the off-season, it’s a great place to stay during the fall or spring, when the weather is more favorable and there are more opportunities to meet people.
Things to do in Split:
- Take a guided tour of Diocletian’s Palace
- Hike around Marjan Hill Park
- Take a dip at one of the city’s many beaches
- Go on a tour to the breathtakingly beautiful Blue Lagoon
- Join a boat party tour to explore the nearby islands
- Visit Klis Fortress for panoramic views from above
Dubrovnik is one of Croatia’s most stunning destinations — the walls are seriously impressive in real life! Not only that, but its Old Town is packed with lots of bars and great options for hostels, plus there are tours galore, making it super easy to meet other travelers. Also, its manageable size makes getting around a piece of cake.
Things to do in Dubrovnik:
- Walk the city walls
- Grab a drink at the cliffside Buza Bar
- Spend a day exploring Lokrum Island
- Discover filming locations on a Game of Thrones tour
- Go on a pub crawl
- Take a day trip to Bosnia & Herzegovina or Montenegro
Zadar is not as popular as the other destinations on this list, but it is a favorite among digital nomads and solo travelers. This seaside town is located about halfway between Zagreb and Split and feels much more local than busy spots like Dubrovnik or Split.
The city boasts a unique blend of ancient Roman ruins and modern architecture, and is the first in Croatia to have its own Digital Nomad Village. So if you’re looking to base yourself in Croatia for a bit and want to be near the coast, Zadar could be the perfect spot for you.
Things to do in Zadar:
- Check out the free public art installations: the famous Sea Organ and the Greeting to the Sun
- Join a walking tour to learn more about the Roman ruins scattered around the Old Town
- Go island-hopping around the nearby Kornati Islands
- Take a day trip to Krka National Park
Where to Stay in Croatia
When searching for accommodation in Croatia as a solo female traveler, try to stay in or close to the city center. Not only will this make getting around easier, it’s also where most of the action is, and you’ll have more chances to meet people. While staying in a residential area can be nice, usually there will be more locals and families going about their daily activities rather than nomads and travelers.
If it’s your first time traveling solo or you just want to be able to meet people more easily, consider staying at a hostel. Zagreb, Split, Dubrovnik, and Zadar all have hostels that are well located and safe for female travelers. Some even offer private rooms, which allow you to get the social experience of a hostel without having to share close quarters with strangers if that’s not your thing.
How to Stay Safe as a Solo Female Traveler in Croatia
Be aware of your surroundings
Even though Croatia is considered a safe country, you’ll still want to keep your wits about you. Be aware when walking alone at night, use the buddy system, and if you plan to party, keep an eye on your drink at all times. While it’s unlikely you’ll run into any issues, better safe than sorry!
This all is not specific to Croatia but goes for traveling anywhere in the world, especially as a solo woman.
Know where your possessions are at all times
Generally speaking, it’s not smart to carry large amounts of cash with you, or even your physical passport. Unless you’re crossing the border, having a copy of your passport should be sufficient.
There have been reports of pickpocketing in Split, especially during the month of July, when Ultra Europe takes place. At this time, there is usually a huge influx of tourists, making the city more crowded and allowing for more opportunities for petty theft.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Most Croatians are kind, friendly, and willing to help. Whether you’re lost or confused about directions, or are in immediate danger, don’t be afraid to ask for assistance. If you have a serious emergency, you can dial the emergency number for Croatia, which is 112.
How to Meet Others While Traveling Solo in Croatia
There are tons of ways to meet people while traveling solo in Croatia:
- Facebook groups – This is the easiest way to get started before you even land in Croatia! Join groups like Girl Gone International or Gals Who Travel to connect with other female travelers in Croatia. If you are staying in Croatia longer, you may even want to seek out local expat or digital nomad groups. Doing a quick search on Facebook should give you some great options.
- Hostels – Many hostels offer fun activities like pub crawls, boat trips, and city tours, giving you the chance to meet lots of people from all over the world and start making friends right away. Hostels also usually have common areas where you can socialize in a relaxed setting.
- Free tours – Most major cities have free walking tours, and if you’re staying at a hostel, they might even have one of their own!
- Apps – BumbleBFF, Meetup, and Eatwith are just a handful of apps you can use to meet new friends while traveling in Croatia and beyond.
As you can see, Croatia is practically made for solo female travelers! Not only is the country safe, but it also offers an abundance of opportunities to meet new people, discover incredible destinations, and immerse yourself in exciting cities.
Whether you’re a seasoned solo traveler or just getting started on your journey, Croatia is the perfect place for your next adventure.
About the author: Olivia is an American with Croatian roots who moved to Zagreb in 2014 for a study-abroad program and never looked back. She has been living in Croatia ever since and enjoys helping other people plan epic vacations to the country she now calls home. She created the blog Inspired by Croatia to share itineraries, local tips, and exclusive insights for discovering Croatia off the beaten path.
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