Croatia is an overlooked gem when it comes to European travel destinations, with a unique combination of scenic beaches, spectacular waterfalls, and historical sites.
Keep reading to explore some of the most popular parts of the country and narrow your search for where to stay when you visit; let us be your guide!
The Best Places to Stay in Croatia
Croatia has dozens of islands but is also home to many wonderful cities and natural sites found further from the coast, including the capital city of Zagreb.
If you want to truly experience Croatia, you’ll want to visit more than one of the following places:
- Zagreb: Best for Nightlife and Budget Travelers
- Split: Best for Shopping and Sightseeing
- Dubrovnik: Best for First-Time Visitors
- Pula: Best for History Buffs and Sandy Beaches
- Makarska: Best for Smaller Crowds
Where to Stay in Croatia: Best Areas & Hotels
Croatia has over 1,100 miles of coastline on its mainland, along with 78 islands, and dozens of cities and sites to check out. Knowing where to stay in Croatia can help you make the most of your trip. Here’s what you should know about the best cities, towns, and hotels to visit.
Zagreb is the capital city of Croatia and offers the widest selection of places to stay. Unlike many of the other top spots, it’s not on the Dalmatian Coast. It’s about 100 miles inland.
As the capital, Zagreb is one of the more popular areas and has many different neighborhoods and districts. The Old Town is where you’ll find most of the historic architecture while Lower Town has more green spaces and wide avenues flanked by shops and restaurants.
Zagreb has a variety of interesting attractions, from quirky museums to historic sites. It’s also the top destination for the younger population. You’ll find many young Croatians at the local hipster bars, cafes, and galleries in the downtown area.
Zagreb tends to attract larger crowds compared to some of the other areas of Croatia, especially during peak travel times, such as the summer. However, it’s still a relatively small city and easy to explore on foot.
Zagreb Budget Hotels
- Hotel Fala. This small, family-run hotel isn’t too close to the center of the city. The economy room is the cheapest option but doesn’t include any amenities, such as a fridge or electric kettle, which you can find in double or twin rooms.
- National Plus. This budget hotel is also far from the main square but offers convenient access to a bus stop. A bar, a café, and a restaurant are also just around the corner.
Zagreb Mid-Range Hotels
- Hotel Dubrovnik. Located in the heart of the Old Town, this towering hotel is surrounded by popular tourist attractions, shops, and restaurants. It’s also a comfortable place to stay with a variety of room types to suit your budget.
- Best Western Premier Hotel Astoria. Stay near King Tomislav Square and many of the other top landmarks and public squares at this mid-range hotel. If you don’t feel like venturing outside, you can grab a meal or drinks from the onsite restaurant or bar.
Zagreb Luxury Hotels
- Hotel Republika. This hotel is a short walk from the Museum of Broken Relationships and St. Mark’s Church. You can choose from several types of rooms, including apartment-type rentals with spacious bedrooms and living areas.
- Sheraton Zagreb Hotel. Located near the center of the city, this luxurious hotel is a convenient place to stay for those that want to explore Zagreb. The rooms are also impressively furnished with high-quality décor and furniture.
Split is one of the top places to visit in Croatia, with its affordable prices, impressive beaches, and many historic attractions. It’s the second-largest city and the largest in the Dalmatian region.
As one of the largest cities in the country, Split has a lot of places to shop, eat, and explore. The Old Town of Split has many carefully restored buildings and several historic sites, including old palaces and a cathedral.
One of the larger beaches in the country, Bacvice Beach, is just on the outskirts of the city. It offers wide open areas to play or set out your beach gear, along with crystal-clear waters.
Many visitors also use Split as the starting point for exploring more of Croatia, due to its central location on the Dalmatian Coast. You can take day trips to nearby places, such as Zadar, Makarska, or Dubrovnik.
Split Budget Hotels
- Central Square Heritage Hotel. Located in the center of the Old Town, this hotel has some of the lowest prices in the area. Along with cheap rooms, this hotel also offers fancy suites with more space and a higher price, providing options to fit any budget.
- Kastel 1700 Boutique Hotel. This affordable little hotel is right next to the main pedestrian street that runs through the city, giving you convenient access to nearby shops and restaurants. It also has an onsite bar, free breakfast, and views of the city.
Split Mid-Range Hotels
- Hotel Luxe. Just a short walk from Diocletian’s Palace, this highly-rated hotel is near some of the most popular sites. It also boasts large rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows, so you get a better view of the sea.
- Heritage Hotel Santa Lucia. This hotel is right in the center of the city, which means that you’re never far from a café, shop, or historic site. Other features include an onsite bar, terraces, and large family rooms.
Split Luxury Hotels
- Jupiter Luxury Hotel. Enjoy a stay inside Diocletian’s Palace in one of several recently renovated luxury hotel rooms. Some rooms include outdoor hot tubs and terraces that look out over the city.
- Murum Heritage Hotel. This luxury hotel is also within Diocletian’s Palace and includes many modern amenities, including air conditioning and a flat-screen TV. You’ll also have access to a 24/7 front desk, an onsite restaurant, and daily housekeeping.
Dubrovnik is a city at the southern end of the Croatian coastline with many well-preserved medieval structures, including the old city walls, churches, palaces, and other buildings.
First-time visitors looking to visit a medieval town often stay in Dubrovnik. The cobbled streets and old buildings may take you back in time several centuries. You may also recognize a few of the sites from the popular TV series Game of Thrones, which used the ancient city walls and buildings as a backdrop for many of its scenes.
Getting around Dubrovnik is easy, as most of the sites are found on or near Stradun, which is the main street that runs through the Old Town. It stretches about 300 meters and is lined with historic buildings that house many shops, cafes, and restaurants.
The historic sites make Dubrovnik one of the most popular Croatian destinations for first-time visitors, which also results in bigger crowds. If you prefer avoiding large groups of tourists, you may want to try one of the other cities.
Dubrovnik Budget Hotels
- Berkeley Hotel & Day Spa. This hotel has a mixture of high-end rooms and budget rooms, including low-cost double rooms with balconies. It also has its own bar, swimming pool, and free breakfast.
- Hotel Uvala. The economy twin room in this modern hotel offers one of the lowest prices in the area. However, you’ll still gain access to the two swimming pools, restaurant, and bar, no matter the room size.
Dubrovnik Mid-Range Hotels
- Boutique Hotel Porto. This boutique hotel is a short walk from the beach but also comes with a few perks, including a garden, an onsite restaurant, and terraces with views of the garden or the city. You can also start your day with a free breakfast.
- Rixos Premium Dubrovnik. You’ll never need to venture far for food or drinks, as this hotel has three bars and three restaurants. Other features include a large spa center with a Turkish bath and an outdoor pool.
Dubrovnik Luxury Hotels
- Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik. Located near the center of Dubrovnik’s Old Town, this luxurious hotel includes an indoor pool, wellness center, massage facilities, and more. You’ll receive top-notch service and access to a long list of amenities at this 19th-century building.
- The Pucic Palace. A short walk from Rector’s Palace and Sponza Palace, this upscale hotel is also housed in a separate historic palace but features modern furnishings and fixtures. An onsite restaurant and bar are also available to guests.
Pula is a city at the tip of the Istrian Peninsula in the northern part of Croatia. It’s mostly known for its historic sites, including an ancient Roman amphitheater. The Pula Arena was one of the largest amphitheaters of the time and is still relatively intact.
It’s often used as a venue for concerts, with a capacity of about 5,000 people. The area has sandy beaches where you can actually stretch out and relax, instead of the docks and rocky shores found along most of the coastline. After spending the day at the beach, you can explore the many shops and malls in the city.
Pula City Mall and a few other shopping districts offer everything from luxury goods and fashionable clothing to fresh food and souvenirs.
Pula is also a great place to stay for those wanting to avoid large crowds. Its distance from the rest of the coastal cities and capital keeps some tourists away. You’ll discover a charming city with many things to see and do without needing to stand elbow-to-elbow with other tourists.
Pula Budget Hotels
- Hotel Galija. This family-run hotel is close to the center of the city and a short walk from several historical sites. The rooms are comfy and affordable, and include access to a restaurant on the ground floor.
- Ribarska Koliba Resort. Located on the opposite side of the harbor, this resort is further from the action but offers a quiet place to unwind. The rooms are spacious and include views of the sea, along with costing a fraction of the price of the rooms found in the city’s center.
Pula Mid-Range Hotels
- Park Plaza Histria Pula. Found just steps from the beach, this hotel is a popular place to stay for those wanting to spend time in the water. The beachfront hotel also boasts two swimming pools, a spa, and a bar.
- Hotel Scaletta. This hotel is a short stroll from Pula Arena and a few other landmarks, making it a great place to stay for history buffs. The rooms are also wonderful, featuring common modern amenities, such as views of the city and a minibar.
Pula Luxury Hotels
- Hotel Milan. This upscale hotel isn’t too close to the center of the city but is a short walk from one of the beaches. If you don’t feel like exploring the city, get drinks or meals at the onsite bar or restaurant.
- Boutique Hotel Oasi. This high-priced retreat offers a majestic view of Pula from its private terraces and premium suites. Each room has a seating area, a minibar, and a large private bathroom.
Makarska is another place to try if you don’t like crowds. It’s between Split and Dubrovnik but shielded from the Adriatic Sea by several small islands. As with many of the coastal cities, everything is centered around the harbor.
The seafront promenade has many small shops, restaurants, and clubs. Beyond the harbor are sprawling residential areas with the same Mediterranean-style architecture found throughout most of the region.
Makarska doesn’t really stand out, which is part of its attraction. It’s a secluded seaside destination that people tend to overlook when planning trips to Croatia. The city also has some of the best beaches in the country. You’ll find some sandy areas and access to various water activities, including boat rentals.
You can relax and spend more time in the water when staying in Makarska compared to staying in other coastal cities, such as Split or Dubrovnik. However, if you want to check out historic sites or spend time shopping, you may want to stay in one of the other cities.
Makarska Budget Hotels
- Hotel Biokovo. Located near the center of Makarska, this hotel is a popular destination for those looking for the best value. It’s close to many attractions, nightclubs, and restaurants. It even has a restaurant and bar onsite.
- Hotel Park Makarska. This affordable little hotel is just steps from the beach and a couple of restaurants while the lighthouse and main square are within walking distance. Along with a great location, this hotel offers low prices and stylish rooms.
Makarska Mid-Range Hotels
- Boutique Hotel Mirjam. Enjoy a view of the city and coastline from an infinity pool at this four-star hotel. It’s a boutique hotel with exceptional customer service, large rooms, and amazing views that you won’t find at many other hotels.
- Heritage Hotel Porin Makarska. Located on the promenade, this hotel places you near many of the city’s shops, restaurants, and cafes. You’re never far from a place to drink, eat, or shop.
Makarska Luxury Hotels
- Aminess Khalani Beach Hotel. This five-star hotel stands out from the pack for offering beach access, a garden, a bar, and a restaurant. It also has an outdoor swimming pool, sauna, terrace, and some of the most luxurious hotel rooms available in the city.
- Aparthotel Amfora Katy. This condo hotel has several units available for rent, each with two bedrooms, a living room, and a full kitchen. You can enjoy a life of luxury with an outdoor swimming pool overlooking the city.
So, Where Should You Stay in Croatia?
Croatia is found on the eastern side of the Adriatic Sea, opposite Italy, nestled between Slovenia and Bosnia. It includes many coastal cities with historic old towns built near the water and even more great areas to stay.
|🎉 Best for Nightlife
|🛍️ Best for Shopping
|🏆 Best for First-Timers
|🏛️ Great for History Buffs
|🧘♀️ Least Crowded
So, with so much to see and do and several great areas, what are you waiting for — book your trip today and experience for yourself all that Croatia has to offer. Happy travels!