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Camping in Croatia? Worthwhile! Hardly any other country in Europe offers so many possibilities to park your van directly by the sea and to wake up in the morning with the sound of waves in your ears. Travelling through Croatia with a camper means staying overnight in pine forests on beautiful campsites, diving into crystal clear water and enjoying Mediterranean flair.
Your road trip will take you through Austria and Slovenia to the Croatian Adriatic coast, which is the No. 1 destination for campers in Southern Europe. Camping holidays in Croatia – definitely a must for real road surfers!
In this article you’ll find out the best route through Croatia, which way has the most to offer and which campsites are worth to stop at.
Coming from the German motorway A8 from Munich, you will drive through the Salzburger Land to beautiful Carinthia. After you have passed the Tauerntunnel (Attention: Additional fees besides the Austrian vignette!), a first longer stop – perhaps also an overnight stay – at the Ossiacher lake is worthwhile. Here are wonderful camping sites directly on the water, for example the Seecamping Berghof. Of course, the nearby much more famous Wörthersee also impresses with its turquoise water and good restaurants. But unfortunately there aren’t many campsites.
From Villach in Carinthia you continue through Slovenia to Ljubliana. Attention: In Slovenia you need a vignette, which is very expensive. And unfortunately, you pay for the Karawanken tunnel extra fees. At least, the motorway is good to drive!
You drive over the border with Koper (Do not forget: Croatia has no Euro but the currency Kuna). Nevertheless, one can often pay with Euro at least in Istria.
A roadtrip through Croatia is especially nice if you plan to drive along the coast. Of course, you can drive directly to the Adriatic coast after crossing the border (which is sometimes connected with waiting times as the single-lane road winds through the mountains and is very busy) and drive to destinations such as Umag, Porec, Rovinj, Pula or Rijeka.
But another possibility is to drive via Maribor to Zagreb and start your tour of Croatia there (followed by Istria and Dalmatia). But one thing has to be clear: Croatia’s capital with its numerous sights definitely belongs to the duty program.
You simply drive south along the coast, make a detour to Pag and finally land in Zadar from where an excursion to the island of Dugi otok is worthwhile. Afterwards you explore the south of the country with its numerous small towns, the Dubrovnic and the oldest national park of the country.
Your roundtrip through Croatia with the camping bus can be done in 10-14 days but it will be more relaxed with a few extra days. If you limit yourself to the north of the country, Istria, camping in Croatia is worth 7 days!
We start in Croatia’s capital Zagreb! The inner city is very lovingly prepared, it offers numerous sights and you can relax in various parks and gardens. In addition, the locals are cosmopolitan and especially loving with children. The price level, however, is not particularly low but rather average European.
Zagreb is divided into an upper and lower town connected by the Ban-Jelacic-Place. From here, a cable car leads to the upper town. You’ll end up here sooner or later no matter which way you go why you should enjoy the capital flair in one of the sweet street cafés at this place.
The Kaptol is one of two hills of Zagreb. Here you won’t find a lot but the most important sight of the city: The cathedral. The upper town (Gornji Grad) lies on the western hill as a counterpart to Kaptol. Until 1850 the independent settlement Gradec still existed.
roadsurfer tip: The colorful tulip seas in the botanical gardens of Zagreb are really impressive and romantic!
Which sights you should definitely see in Zagreb (Upper Town):
The lower town is called Donji Grad. It combines numerous representative buildings and green areas. A walk through the lower town can be comfortably done in 2.5 hours.
You should definitely see here:
roadsurfer tip: Zagreb is also a great destination in winter. The nearby mountain Slimje invites you for skiing and snow hiking.
The northwestern, densely populated peninsula of Croatia is called Istria. If you know and love Italy, you’ve come to the right place because here you can experience pure Mediterranean feeling or eat wonderful pasta and pizza. Nevertheless, we recommend the delicious Cevapcici as a national dish!
You can take a wonderful swim on Istria’s coast – Mostly a beach of gravel or rocks – in the north of Pula with a view of the Brijuni National Park. Kilometers of beach, bays for snorkeling and a beautiful view of the small islands make this place really magical.
Pula is the largest and most interesting city in the area. The ancient amphitheater built by Emperor Augustus in 30 B.C. is located in the center of the city and was the sixth largest gladiator arena in the Roman Empire. The sea can be seen from the grandstands. Sometimes concerts with great rock stars also take place here!
A day trip from Pula could take you to Cape Kamenjak, where you can kayak, jump cliffs or snorkel.
Whether you visit the islands of Krk or Cres is up to you and depends on your time budget (We recommend Cres because of the short ferry ride and fewer tourists!). Our next stop is a little inland, where the Plitvice Lakes await you. They are located in one of Croatia’s national parks and belong to the UNESCO world natural heritage. The park is the largest in Croatia and the oldest national park in Southeastern Europe. Here you can not only enjoy nature, but also climb, ride horses, explore caves and admire waterfalls.
Other worthwhile national parks:
Zadar’s history has a long way back: It already starts – as often in ancient Yugoslavia – in Roman times in 186 B.C. Thus, you will find architectural sites and historical ruins of Roman ancestors at every corner. You should definitely visit the Place of Nations, the Cathedral and the Church of Sveti Donat with its mighty rotunda.
Especially extraordinary: You will find the sun salutation, in Croatian “Pozdrav suncu” by the architect Nikola Basic in the harbor. This is a huge circle consisting of 300 solar collectors. The evening light effects are a fascinating spectacle. So stay here until the sunset and enjoy the play of colors!
Another highlight is the sea organ. Sit down on one of the numerous steps and enjoy the view. Depending on the waves and the wind, you will hear very loud or very soft sounds. 35 plastic tubes have been dug into the seabed and as soon as the water flushes into, you will hear different sound sequences.
roadsurfer tip: Take the ferry from Zadar to the island of Dugi otok, which crosses three times a day. Here you will find beautiful beaches and bays with Caribbean flair, the cave Strašna peć, as well as its relatives Vlakno, Kozja pećina and Badanj. They may have served as a temporary habitat for early human populations on the island. This is not yet fully documented, but a flint stone and a small knife from the Stone Age were found.
Photographers get their money’s worth in Sibenik: The small narrow streets bear witness to the almost 1,000 year old history of the city. Enjoy a relaxing walk at the harbor promenade and take a glimpse to the city, where the Jakobs-Dom and the oldest fortress, the Sveta Ana, will catch your eye.
roadsurfer tip: Right next to the car-free zone is a parking lot offering a really lucrative park for your camper for only one Euro per hour. Unfortunately, it is usually very crowded.
If you want to go all the way to the south of Croatia, you should be aware that you are driving a very short distance of 20 minutes through Bosnia-Herzegovina. With roadsurfers, however, the insurance applies everywhere.
Once you have arrived, you will understand why the city is also called “The Pearl of the Adriatic”. The history of the pearl goes back to antiquity, from which the splendid medieval old town tells of.
You should definitely see the following sights in Dubrovnik:
Long camper tours require a good rest. That’s why we’ve chosen the 10 best campsites in Croatia, which all have “that certain something”. We are sure, one or the other meets your requirements as well.
Charcoal oven, elder juice and local wines are on the daily agenda. Horse lovers have the possibility to book an organized panoramic ride around the nearby Rakitje lake and experienced riders can gallop along the Sava to the metropolis of Zagreb. Cyclists will also get their money’s worth: Mountain bike trails lead to the mountains near Samobor or to the Žumberak nature park. Website: www.campzagreb.com
This campsite is only a few minutes’ walk from the old town of Novigrad in Istria. Especially for nature lovers it is a great spot because you can spend the night very close to the sea and in peace of the pine trees. A water park by the sea offers some extra fun. Website: https://adriacamps.com/de/campingplatz/aminess-sirena-campsite/
Located in Istria, too, this campsite near Rovinj offers both a unique sea panorama as well as seclusion. Here you can dive, swim and enjoy the view of Rovinj in a relaxed and familiar atmosphere. Website: https://adriacamps.com/de/campingplatz/campingplatz-porton-biondi/
This is the ideal campsite for sports lovers. It is a quiet and relaxing paradise for divers near Labin and Rabac. You have a unique view of the Kvarner Bay and if you don’t want to jump into the sea, just try a test dive in the pool or relax with breathtaking views. Website: https://adriacamps.com/de/campingplatz/camping-marina/
You can experience camping in its most free form at this campsite on the island of Krk. Touching the white beach, the pitches of the nudist campsite Bunculuka stretch along the pine forest which is protected by huge and mighty rocks. A great atmosphere paired with a free attitude to life. Website: https://adriacamps.com/de/campingplatz/naturist-camping-bunculuka/
This campsite near Zadar offers truly nature. The nearby beach has medicinal mud, which is particularly suitable for the treatment of skin diseases and rheumatism. There are also surrounding national parks and numerous neighboring islands to explore. Website: www.kampkarin.com
Camping lovers will admire this idyllic place. The campsite is situated in a rural area on an agricultural estate in the hinterland of Šibenik, only 15 minutes from Skradin. The motto of the operators: “Living in harmony with nature”. You are completely undisturbed at the foot of a large vineyard and surrounded by a fruit and vegetable garden. Website: http://www.camping-robeko.com/pocetna-stranica/
Kozarica is surrounded on one side by the sea and on the other by Lake Vransko, and has a stone as well as a pebble beach. It has a surf school, a diving school, beach volleyball, mini football with artificial grass, badminton, water polo, bicycle and boat rentals. Finally, Zadar and Šibenik are not far away for party animals. Website: www.adria-more.hr
Camp “Puntica” is situated in Ražanac, 23 km from Zadar. It offers a beautiful view of the Velebit massif. Small but nice: It has accommodation for 80 people. Ražanac offers a pebble beach with many untouched bays in the immediate vicinity.
Intimate, familiar atmosphere is combined with organized festivities: Guests are offered local wines and salty anchovies. There are also several excursion possibilities in this area, such as the national parks Nordvelebit, Krka, Kornati and Paklenica. Website: www.camping-puntica.hr
Situated in the Dalmatian hinterland near the town of Drago, this small campsite offers a great view of the Zrmanje gorge and the Velebit Mountains. It has only space for 50 people, which guarantees you peace, quiet at night and a relaxing holiday. But there are also numerous possibilities for exercising in the gorge or in the mountains for activity lovers. Website: http://www.terra-tedania.hr/