Croatia,  Europe,  Solo Travel,  Travel

Best Places to Travel Solo: Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast

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Solo Travel in-2

If Croatia isn’t on your dream destination list, it should be.

While the entire country has plenty to offer, the Dalmatian Coast is one if the biggest highlights. Especially for people like me: travel addicts who spend 8+ months of the year daydreaming about warm, sunny places.

In 2015 I finally got to explore Croatia’s coast. I spent just under three weeks playing in the sea and lounging on sunny beaches, exploring ancient cities and swimming in waterfalls. I visited four cities; Zadar, Split, Hvar, and Dubrovnik and would highly recommend Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast as a perfect destination for any solo traveller. Here’s why:

It’s Safe

If you were to ask me where I felt the safest travelling alone, my answer would be Croatia. Specifically Zadar (mainly because it’s mostly locals and not as busy and hyped up as Split and Dubrovnik), however I never had an issue, or even thought I may have an issue, at any point of my time exploring the country.

As a solo female traveller I am used to standing out and being harassed by the men; whether they mean to be threatening or not. But it didn’t happen once in Croatia. Sure a few said hi to me or came over to talk, but they were always respectful (even at the clubs). Maybe I was just incredibly lucky, but I’m not going to complain because it was pretty awesome.

My feeling of safety wasn’t just in terms of not being harassed. I never felt like I needed to be overly alert. Either in terms of protecting myself or my belongings. I walked around by myself at night and even went swimming in the sea alone at 1am on my last night- just because I could and I wanted to. It didn’t occur to me til after the fact that it was a dumb thing to because I was alone. It’s definitely not something I would have considered doing anywhere else.

Never felt unsafe alone

It’s Easy to Get Around

Getting around Croatia is a breeze. Renting a car is obviously an option but there’s no need to with the train and bus system. There are generally two types of buses: the fast buses and the slow ones. If you are in a rush, the fast ones are the best option. However if you have some time I highly recommend the slow ones. The drive is significantly more scenic (especially along the coast!). Buses do not have toilets but still stop for a break at a large station (just make sure you have coins as you do need to pay!)

To get to the islands you take the ferry. Again there are multiple choices, come a little faster than others but the main perk about there being so many options is that you don’t have to wait forever to get where you are going.

There are also plenty of public buses to the main attractions as well. For example to Krka (where you can swim in the waterfalls) or Plitvice National Park. You can also join tours to these sites as well but should there not be enough numbers you can always hop on a bus and go on your own. Your plans needn’t depend on anyone but you.

Krka National Park

Hostels to Fit Your Travel Style

Hostels are generally a solo traveller’s best friend: they are budget friendly and allow you to meet people. But plenty of hostels are also party palaces and can end up leaving you exhausted and frustrated. While Croatia’s cities definitely have party hostels, there are plenty of low-key options as well. One of my favourites was Helvetia Hostel in Hvar. It’s run by a family who, while encouraging you to go out and enjoy Hvar’s famous night life, are quick to enforce silence for those staying in at night. Hostels like these are a great option and allow those who don’t like the party atmosphere (or need a break from it) without having to break the bank for a private room at a hotel.

Of course is hostels really aren’t your thing there are plenty of guesthouses, hotels, resorts, and airbnbs to choose from.

Hostel with a pool? check.

Opportunities to Meet Other Travellers

Even if you choose not to stay in a hostel, you will have plenty of opportunities to meet other travellers throughout Croatia. As well as the group tour options to some of the country’s attractions, there are plenty of city walking tours and pub crawls for those looking for a night out.
Croatia’s coast is also popular for sailing tourism and plenty of solo travellers climb aboard for a multi-day sailing and island hopping adventure. Of everywhere I’ve been, I found Croatia to be one of the easiest places to make friends.

Hvar Pub Crawl

It’s (Mostly) Budget Friendly

While Croatia has definitely risen in fame over the past few years, it’s still considered to be a very affordable place to travel. Dubrovnik is probably the most expensive city (mainly due to the surge in tourism courtesy of Game of Thrones) however even this medieval city can be explored on a budget.

Here’s some simple tips for keeping costs low while travelling through Croatia’s coastal cities.
– Consider staying outside of the old city itself (I stayed in a hostel in a local neighbourhood outside of Zadar– a 25 minute walk to Old Town but right by the beach, bus station, grocery store, and beach bar!)
-Eat local; there’s lots of delicious and fresh food in Croatia but stay away from ocean-side restaurants or restaurants flaunting the view- they up the price, but not the quality!
-Check out multiple companies before signing up for an activity or tour
-Visit during the shoulder season (May/June/September) before tourist season starts, but before things start to close off for the winter. It’s cheaper and less crowded. You’ll also be thankful for the (slightly) cooler temperatures during these months.
-Plan on staying in Split and Dubrovnik during the week (there’s a major influx in tourists on weekends mainly because of sailing trips. It’s not only cheaper during the week, but it’s also less crowded).

Tip: Looking for flights to Croatia? Check Skyscanner; they are my go-to for finding cheap flights. 

Psst: Hoping to get some amazing travel photos of yourself? Have you considered booking a photoshoot with a local photographer? Localgrapher offers photoshoots around the world for solo travellers, couples, friends, and families. I did a shoot in Santorini and it was fun and resulted in amazing photos. Check out my experience here.


Must Have Travel Accessories for Solo Travel

I love solo travel, but it does mean I need to take some extra precautions. For any other solo travellers out there, especially my ladies, I highly recommend you pack the following:

Psst: Wondering what my must-have travel items are? Here’s what you’ll always find in my bag.

A Note on Travel Insurance in Croatia

Please, do NOT travel without travel insurance! I’ve had to rely on mine twice before (once for damaged luggage, once because I developed a lung infection while traveling). While the cost may seem annoying and better spent elsewhere, trust me when I say you’ll be sorry if you don’t have it. For just a couple bucks a day, you can save yourself a whole lot of stress and money. I like to recommend SafetyWing for travel medical insurance. With prices starting at $37 for 4 weeks, they are one of the most affordable options I’ve found. Learn more about the importance of travel insurance here. 

Looking for a great destination for solo travel? Head to Croatia! Here is why solo travel in Croatia is so amazing. #Croatia #solotravel #solofemaletravel


*this post was updated Feb 2018


  • Karlie

    Did you pre-plan what hostels you would stay at when you visited Croatia or did you fly by the seat of your pants? I’ve wanted to get an idea of how much a hostel might be for island hopping, but unfortunately I can’t find any on any hostel booking site (they maybe have 1 or 2 hostels per island).

      • George

        Hi Hannah, I’ll be solo for a couple weeks at the end of June, is it actually necessary to pre book the hostels as I don’t really know where in Croatia I will be at any certain time.. any help is appreciated 🙂

        • Hannah Logan

          Hi George, if you aren’t too picky or on too much of a budget you should be ok to book a couple days before. That being said June is high season, so things may book up quickly. It’s kinda a toss up but if you are willing to be flexible you should be ok! (PS don’t skip Zadar, its great!)

  • Haley

    My girlfriend and I are planning to go during high season (only time we BOTH could get off work) would you pre-book your ferry trips to the islands? Or would you recommend booking them when you arrive….Im just worried with it being high seasons that ferries may fill up quickly and we may not be able to get to some islands that we want to!

    Thanks in advance!

    • Hannah Logan

      Depends on where you are going. Ie there are many ferries that go out to Hvar from Split, so thats fine. But If doing Hvar to Dubrovnik like I did, book in advance. I left it till I got there and grabbed the last ticket- and that was mid Sept. Croatia is AMAZING though- enjoy!

  • Anna

    Hi Hannah
    I am thinking of going to Croatia in September alone.
    I am thinking of flying to split then doing 10 days – which places would you recommend in that time ? And is it possible to get some recommendations for hostels to meet other people ?

    Thank you 🙂


    • Hannah Logan

      Hey Anna! I went to Croatia early September and it was gorgeous- great weather, but not quite as crowded. You can easily do Split, some islands (Hvar is great) and Dubrovnik in your 10 days. If you feel like venturing out a bit more I highly recommend Zadar- its my fav (north from split but still on the coast). For Zadar I loved the Drunken Monkey Hostel, in Hvar I used Hostel Helvetia which was great for meeting others. I think in Split I stayed in Diocletian Palace hostel which was ok and I can’t remember where in Dubrovnik but it wasn’t great so no loss there. If you can, do a day trip to Krka (from Split or Zadar) you can swim in the falls- its beautiful!

      • Anna

        Thanks Hannah! Very helpful advice . I am now thinking of missing out Dubrovnik do you have any other places you would recommend going ? So I am flying to and from split. Plan to visit split, zadar, hvar at the moment and I have 10 days. Thanks!! Really appreciate it

        • Hannah Logan

          I haven’t been, but I have heard great things about Makaraska as well. That being said I think you will have lots to see and do in those 10 days even if you don’t add anywhere else. There are some great boat trips you can take from Hvar Island for the day, and Krka and Plitvice are both close to Zadar.

    • Hannah Logan

      I didn’t notice any racism. The locals are mainly caucausian but I came across a number of travellers of different races during my visit and it never came up in our discussions.

  • Cara

    Hi Hannah! I’m doing a small solo stop-over in Croatia at the end of my family Europe trip in middle-May. I was wondering if you had any recommendations of MUST-SEES since I’m there for such a short time?

    I definitely want to do hostels but wanted a mix of both party/quiet time but still want to be able to meet new people.

    Do you suggest booking tours in advance, or just wandering around the city and seeing what I run into due to my time frame? I’m so excited and am happy to hear it’s a safe place to be solo-wise. Thanks for any advice!!

    • Hannah Logan

      If you are short on time I suggest just doing your own thing and exploring a bit. Zadar and Hvar were by far my favourite spots. I found Split and Dubrovnik more expensive, touristy, and not as friendly.

  • Michelle Dean

    Hi Hannah! I am looking to do a Croatia trip in 2020. I’m debating on May, June, or September. I have decided to do something for my 50th birthday to treat myself. Would you recommend a hostel for someone in that age range, or would a hotel be better? Lodging recommendations would be appreciated! I definitely need a quiet atmosphere to sleep because I think I’m the world’s lightest sleeper, LOL. From what I’ve read, it seems that flying into Italy, and catching a connecting flight to Croatia may be a more economical option. Any advice for a first-time solo International traveler is appreciated!

    • Hannah Logan

      I can’t comment for May or June but I went in early September and it was still really hot! End of the month some more seasonal things did start to shut down though (beach clubs etc). If you need quiet I definitely don’t recommend hostels-they can normally be quite loud. I’d do a hotel or maybe an airbnb instead. Look for somewhere central in the old town areas and you’ll be close to all the attractions and good stuff. Flights to Italy might be cheaper for sure, but then consider how you will get from Italy to Croatia. Another flight? Public transit? Keep that in mind!

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