In Croatia, you’ll find all kind of accommodation: from 5star luxury hotels, wonderful apartment rentals, to seaside campsites. n this post we attempt to give you a good overview of various types of accommodation you can find in Croatia, and to help you find a right accommodation for you.
We’ve been working in a Croatian hotel industry for over ten years, and we know it inside out. Having our own apartment to rent in Porec, and our family’s apartments to rent in Komarna, we know first hand what visitors can expect when renting an apartment in Croatia.
If I have to define Croatia based on country’s accommodation offer, I would say it’s a 4* family destination. However, different towns have a different feel when it comes to accommodation: Dubrovnik, Zagreb and Rovinj offer many 5star hotels; Split lacks large hotels, but has instead many cool apartments to rent, and hostels; Porec is full of 3star and 4star family-friendly hotels and campsites; etc. In general, there is a little something for everybody’s taste and style.
All accommodation in Croatia, regardless of a type, have to obtain a tourist categorization, expressed through the number of stars. This ensures that a property meets the minimum requirements imposed by the Ministry of tourism, but also that the owners pay tax.
I find that rental requirements in Croatia are pretty strict. You’ll generally get much more comfort in, let’s say, a Croatian 3star property than in a Italian or French 3star property.
Tip: All legal rental properties must show in a prominent place a dark blue plate with a type of property and a number of stars received.
Another curiosity in Croatia, each and every guest when staying in Croatia needs to be registered with a local tourist office within 12 hours from entering Croatia. A property owner needs to pay a tourist tax for every guest above 12 years of age. The amount of a tourist tax varies according to a destination and a season.
Contents For A complete guide to accomodation in Croatia
Accommodation Croatia: Overview
Hotels in Croatia
You’ll find hotels in Croatia just about anywhere. They range from 2star to 5star. Hotels in Croatia usually offer a complimentary breakfast, and often a complimentary dinner. You can check our guides on best family hotels in Croatia, Croatian luxury hotels, and best wellness hotels in Croatia.
Advantages of staying in a hotel:
- 24h reception ensures a feel of a safety
- Your stay comes with a meal plan (complimentary buffet breakfast, and often a dinner)
- On-site activities
- Free parking
- A shuttle service to and from an airport
Disadvantages of staying at a hotel:
- Hotels can get pricey
- Fix eating hours
- Hotels can feel impersonal, and often crowded
Practical info on booking a hotel in Croatia:
- The most popular booking site in Croatia is the Booking.com.
- It’s worth checking hotel’s own website for a deal. While Booking.com is widely used, and keeps a rate parity with hotels own sales channel, you can often find a better deal if booking directly with a hotel. They sometimes offer an added value, like a complementary transfer, a dinner or a massage, or they offer an economy room type you won’t usually find on agency’s site (economy room is just a standard room sold for less).
- Hotels usually accept all credit cards, although some don’t take American Express.
- While majority of hotels won’t charge you in advance, you’ll need to leave your credit card data in order to guarantee your booking.
- The most common cancellation policy is 48 hours before the arrival (pretty flexible, you must admit!).
As you head down the coast, you’ll get a feeling that everybody in Croatia has an apartment to rent. And you’ll be right. This is a way that many Croatians (us included!) make a living, or earn an extra revenue. Jobs are scarce in Croatia, salaries are small, and costs of living are pretty high. This is the reason why so many people turn their homes into rental units. Apartment rentals would be my choice of accommodation in Croatia. You often get a chance to meet people and learn a little bit more about country you are visiting.
Advantages of renting an apartment in Croatia:
- Apartment rentals are cheaper than hotels
- You get much more space for your money
- Apartments come with a fully-equipped kitchen and other facilities
- You can meet locals and learn a bit about their way of life
Disadvantages of renting an apartment
- No maid service (a property owner usually offers a complimentary weekly cleaning; this means that meanwhile you clean an apartment yourself)
- You can find yourself in a mercy of a bad owner (while majority of property owners are lovely people, sometimes you can stumble upon a cheap owner who’ll pretend that the A/C broke down
- just to make you spend less electricity)
- No meal plan with your accommodation (you’ll either need to cook yourself, or to eat out that can add a cost to your stay)
Practical info when booking an apartment
- Do your research before booking an apartment. Check photos and read traveler’s reviews. In Croatia, the most popular sites for apartment rentals are Booking.com, Homeaway, and AirBnB. Each of them offers traveler’s reviews.
- Try to contact a property owner directly. You can often make a better deal this way. However, with intermediary you are often covered if things go bad.
- Most of apartment rentals are cash-only. You can pay either in Kuna (a local currency) or Euro.
- To book an apartment rental, you’ll usually be asked for a small deposit (normally 20-30%) at the moment of booking. The rest is paid on arrival. You can avoid this if you book through sites like Booking.com>.
- During a main season (July-August) many apartments still keep strict arrival and departure days (usually Saturday) and they insist on a length of stay of at least 7 days. However, this has been rapidly changing in the last years.
- Short stays are usually 30% more expensive than longer stays (stays of 7 and more days).
Villas to rent in Croatia
In many ways similar to apartment rentals, villa rentals in Croatia are growing in popularity. Instead of renting one unit in a house or an apartment building, you can actually rent an entire villa.
Villas are fully furnished, often located in a rural setting, and come with great facilities like a swimming pool, and an outdoor kitchen.
If you have money to spare, you can also hire staff during your stay at one of villas in Croatia.
Villas to rent are especially popular in Istria. Some companies specialize in villa rentals, like Villas.com, a Booking.com’s own site for villa and apartment rentals. You can also reach directly to property owners through sites like Homeaway.
Advantages of renting a villa in Croatia:
- Renting entire villa ensures you a full privacy.
- Many villas are located in a quite rural setting.
- Although a daily rent is high, if you are a large party (couple of families, a group of friends) and you want to split a cost, this can be a great and a very affordable accommodation for you.
- Having your own swimming pool is always an advantage.
Disadvantages of renting a villa in Croatia:
- You’ll need a car as most of villas to rent are located away from the town center.
- Rent is high. It can especially get expensive if you are a small party.
Practical info on villa rentals:
- Villas book quickly; so if this is your kind of accommodation, you need to act quickly, especially for high season.
- Villas have a very strict booking conditions. You’ll need to book a blocks of 7, 14, 21 days, often with strict days of arrival and departure (usually Saturday). Bear this in mind when searching for a perfect villa for you on booking sites.
Camping in Croatia
Camping is another type of accommodation Croatia that I enjoy. And I often do. Campsites are well fitted, many with swimming pools, nice toilets, bars, restaurants and children playgrounds. If you are not as equipped as I am to go camping, many campsites in Croatia offer high-end cottages to rent.
Campsites in Croatia are awesome. They are also everywhere. Even Dubrovnik, that’s not perceived as a camping destination, has one campsite in Babin kuk neighborhood, within town limits.
With various facilities, like large swimming pools, tennis courts, and children playgrounds, and awesome accommodation choice, including detached cottages with their own hot tub, and shared pools, campsites in Croatia are more luxurious holiday parks than your typical back-to-nature basic campsites.
We actually love camping. If we go for a longer vacation and plan to stay in one place for longer time, we often pitch our own tent (Yeah, we are fully equipped to go camping in Croatia anytime). But for a weekend escape, we rather rent a mobile home. It’s just more convenient that way.
Advantages of staying at campsites:
- Campsites offer a variety of accommodation: you can pitch your own tent, or park your RV, but if you have no time or prefer a bit more comfort and privacy, you can rent different types of mobile homes.
- Campsites can be really cheap, especially if you camp in a tent.
- Campsites are great for family vacation with small children. If your kids are early at sleep, you can still enjoy it outdoor, and not be forced to stay in your hotel room.
- Campsites are pet-friendly.
- Lots of organized activities on-site.
Disadvantages of staying at campsites:
- You’ll need to use shared toilet facilities.
- Some campsites are way too big, like Lanterna in Porec, that can accommodate up to 10.000 people on-site. In a high season this means lots of queues.
- People who sleep light can find it difficult to get a full night sleep at campsites.
Practical info on staying at campsite in Croatia:
- Prices can be confusing. All prices are shown separately, and need to be added to get a total price for your stay (pitch, adult, kid, electricity, etc.).
- A price for pitch usually includes all utilities available at the pitch (electricity, water, drainage) and one tent or RV or a trailer.
- While many people still don’t book their campsite spot in advance, we highly recommend you do so. The best places sell out quickly, and as a walk-in guest, you are usually left with places that nobody wanted in a first place (unless you get really lucky).
- Curfew is usually at midnight.
- We strongly encourage you to stay at designated camping areas when camping in Croatia. While you can sleep in your RV on parkings, and wild beaches at your own risk, this is strictly prohibited.
- Many campsites in Croatia are by the sea. It’s worth paying more for a seafront spot.
Hostels in Croatia
Hostels in Croatia are booming in the last years. And they look much better than back in 90s when I was crashing into hostels around Europe. Hostels range from dorm style ones to hip and cool hostels often better than many hotels.
We’ve written this post long ago, but decided to improve it after reading a similar post from our friends Sammi and Yeison, from MyTanFeet. These guys have an awesome travel blog about Costa Rica. You should definitely check it if planning to visit this wonderful country. Thanks for inspiration, MyTanFeet!
Some of these links are affiliate.