So you want to know what to pack for Croatia? Croatia is packed full of natural beauty, history, and so many amazing things to see and do. It’s also pretty diverse, going from island life, to national parks, to cities. So if you plan to see different parts of Croatia (which you absolutely should if you can), then there are a few things to keep in mind to pack perfectly. So here’s what to pack for Croatia, and as we love packing light, here’s our Carry-on only version.
Things To Consider When Packing For Croatia
So the first thing you need to think about is where are you going? Packing for the Dalmatian Islands is going to be a little different to what you will pack for say, the capital city, Zagreb. In Croatia, you have the islands, beach towns, country towns, national parks, hikes and waterfalls, cities. We covered most of these in our trip to Croatia, including Dubrovnik, Split, the Dalmatian islands, Krka National Park, Plitvice National Park (staying in Rastovaca) and Zagreb. And lets just say the thongs (flip-flops) and shorts got a big work-out in the islands and beach towns and stayed firmly in the bag once we got to Zagreb.
Next, what season are you travelling to Croatia in? We spent 3 months in Croatia over Summer and Autumn, where the weather varied greatly from over 30 degrees celsius, to about 2 degrees celsius towards the end of Autumn. But, it was still really easy to pack for both. We packed items that could be layered, I always pack jeans, and although we both packed light jumpers, we just bought jackets along the way to stay warm.
When To Visit Croatia
Summer is peak season for Croatia and very busy. Obviously a great time to visit the islands and beaches with excellent swimming weather. There will be a lot of crowds, higher prices and the need to book in advance for accommodation and boat tickets etc.
I would prefer to visit inland Croatia in early Autumn or late Spring as it’s more comfortable temperatures to explore and go to National Parks.
Winter is more mild along the Adriatic Coast, however inland and in the North temperatures fall below freezing and snow is common.
What To Pack For Croatia
I always try to pack no more than 4 pairs of shoes, but 3 or less is even better. For the islands and beach towns I found thongs (flip-flops) to be pretty useful. For the National Parks and every walk I went on joggers were essential. Every day in Zagreb I wore my favourite ballet flats that are so comfortable and you can easily walk in all day. And for going out to dinner or other more dressy things I would wear my sandals or ballet flats when it got colder.
Shoes For Warmer Months
Shoes For Colder Months
The main clothing variations were between beach towns where clothing was more relaxed, national parks where you need clothing appropriate for walks and the capital city, Zagreb, where people dressed up a little more. And then of course, the different seasons change what you pack.
Clothing for the warmer months: Summer can be pretty easy to pack for, and is an especially easy time to pack light. Summer on the islands and along the coast is perfect for light dresses, shorts and tops, and then slightly dressier for Zagreb.
Clothing for the colder months: Late Autumn and Early Spring can be quite cold in Zagreb in particular. They definitely warrant some warmer accessories (see accessories below) and clothing. If you happen to be visiting Zagreb in winter, when temperatures are freezing and it’s potentially snowing, then of course you would need to pack serious winter clothes. Think thermals, layers, boots, jeans, waterproof jackets etc.
Accessories for the colder months: A scarf, beanie and gloves become more and more essential as Autumn progresses. Autumn in Zagreb was pretty much the same as winter in Australia temperature wise, although I actually think the end of Zagreb Autumn would be even colder. Autumn is definitely a beautiful time to visit Croatia and Zagreb, as I’m sure Spring would be similar.
I find toiletries don’t change too much from trip to trip, with the exception of what medications are available on the ground. We found most normal medications to be readily available. Having said this, I usually always pack the basics like paracetamol, Ibuprofen, cold and flu tablets, Imodium, simple first aid (bandaids, tweezers, Betadine/antiseptic). Of course, you will need to pack your prescription medications as well.
If you pack carry-on only, you need to keep toiletries to below 100ml, or you can buy certain toiletries once you get to Croatia. Things like toothpaste, shampoo and conditioner can be easily bought in Croatia, or you can pack travel size or decant your own from home. Other things to pack include hairbrush, hair ties and makeup.
Swimwear is obviously necessary when visiting the Croatian Islands and anywhere along the coast. But even if you’re staying inland, you might be able to take a dip in the hotel pool, and you never know when plans might change. Two pairs of swimwear is usually plenty so as one dries you can wear the other.
Another thing that you can buy in Croatia very readily is reef shoes. In Croatia, there can be more sea urchins and rocky areas, and trust me, once you sea the clear blue water you’re not going to want to let a few sea urchins stop you. But these are easy enough to buy there rather than pack.
How To Pack For Croatia Carry-On Only
If packing light is new to you, the simplest guide that helps me pack light is to stick to 20 clothing items (including shoes), not including underwear. Usually, as long as you mix and match, 20 items gives you both lots of different outfits as well as keeping it light. Find all my absolute favourite tips about packing light and how to get in the packing light mindset here.
Croatia Packing List (Printable)
Here is a PDF Croatia Packing List that you can print out and use for your trip ;)