Hotel room prices in Croatia vary considerably with location and time of year. Generally, hotel prices in inland cities and towns are the most stable, while hotels in tourist areas along the coast sometimes publish as many as seven rate schedules based on time of year.
In this guide, we have quoted prices for August (or sometimes Jul–Aug), as this is peak season, when the majority of visitors come to Croatia. You can expect prices to be approximately half that in winter (if the hotel stays open all year), and 30 percent lower in spring and fall.
Also note that although the official currency in Croatia is the kuna (kn), most hotel prices are posted in euros (€), so as to make them quickly translatable for foreigners.
Croatian hotel rates almost always include breakfast (usually a continental buffet), while private accommodations almost always do not. Private accommodations rented through individuals are the least expensive and can cost as little as $20 per person per night. In a word: bargain.
BB, Don’t Forget My Number
BB means bez broja (without number). This is quite common in Croatia, particularly if the place is a well-known church or restaurant. If you’re tracking down an address with a street name followed by bb and you’re having trouble finding it, you may need to ask a local for directions.
The cost of one night in a double room at a 5-star hotel in central Zagreb will compare favorably with the cost of a similar room in either New York or London. But all the same, bear in mind that Croatia is no longer a cheap option.
Croatia now has more than 600 star-rated hotels that are a combination of ‘60s and ‘70s high-rises; stately, ornate, turn-of-the-20th-century buildings; and, more recently, family-run boutiques. Since 2000, Croatia has been in a “renovate and rebuild” mode, and many establishments have completed or are now undergoing updating and upgrading.
Hotels -- Most hotels in Croatia carry international star ratings from 1 to 5, which relate primarily to amenities—in some cases, the star ratings can seem a little arbitrary. In reality, 1-star hotels are non-existent and 2-star properties are few and far between. An en-suite bathroom is now a requirement for 2-star hotels, which generally offer basic but comfortable accommodation. A 3-star room has a private bathroom (usually with a shower, not a tub), TV, and perhaps other amenities, though this category is unpredictable and can be a value or a rip-off depending on management. Most 4-star hotels will offer a room with a larger bathroom, possibly with a tub; good-quality furnishings; little extras, such as toiletries; and other facilities like a fitness center, restaurant, and pool. In the luxury category, the number of 5-star hotels has increased since 2000, most notably in Dubrovnik. These of course offer the highest level of comfort, amenities, and contemporary design, and in some cases rival the best the U.S. has to offer.
Almost all rooms and apartments in Croatia now have Wi-Fi, and most have air-conditioning, though this should not be necessary in traditional Dalmatian buildings, where thick stone walls keep interiors cool even in summer.
Croatian chains tend to be local: Arenaturist in Pula, Maistra in Rovinj, Solaris in Šibenik. These generally manage either package hotels in resort areas or former grande dames in various stages of repair that range from crumbling to completely refurbished.
For more information about the small family-run hotels, visit the Association of Family and Small Hotels of Croatia website (www.omh.hr).
Private Accommodations -- Private rooms and apartments are found in most tourist destinations in Croatia and generally offer good deals. These are now strictly controlled, and divided into four categories, with star ratings. Some proprietors will refuse to rent for fewer than four nights, or if they do, they will charge extra. Licensed private accommodations are best booked through local tourist agencies, but you can find and book private villas and rooms via www.adriatica.net, too. Alternatively, the international booking site Airbnb (www.airbnb.com) lists a host of properties in Croatia.
Sobe -- Another tier of accommodations in Croatia is the soba (room) or sobe (rooms) in private homes. These generally are cheaper than those procured through agencies, but they are unregulated and can be anything from a suite of rooms with a private bathroom to a bed in an attic. Sobe signs are often found outside houses in smaller towns. Sometimes they’re “advertised,” usually by older men and women who await new arrivals at ferry, bus, and train stations, shouting “sobe, rooms, camera!”
Campgrounds -- Camping is very popular in Croatia, with over 300 registered campsites, 90 percent of which are on the coast and islands, close to a beach. Some of the larger campsites include restaurants, sports facilities, laundries, and general stores. Campsites are rated with a star system from 1 to 4. For a full list of registered campsites, visit the Croatian Camping Union website at www.camping.hr.
FKK Campgrounds -- Croatia has more FKK campgrounds (nudist camps) than any other European country. Most of these camps are outside cities in the northern Adriatic resort areas (Vrsar, Rovinj, Poreč, and Krk). You will find them on www.camping.hr under “Naturist.”
Youth Hostels -- The Croatian Youth Hostels Association (www.hfhs.hr) has a network of youth hostels in Zagreb, Zadar, Dubrovnik, Pula, and a few other locations. Most of these are rather basic and usually have check-in and checkout times and rules similar to those enforced in college dorms. Since 2010, an increasing number of boutique hostels have opened, offering a more contemporary approach to design and management, and often including private en-suite rooms in addition to dormitories. Several of these hostels are listed in this guide.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.