A cruise to Croatia on the pristine Adriatic Sea is a great way to explore this beautiful country – known for its stunning landscapes, historic towns, and picturesque islands.
The Dalmatian Coast is a must-see destination, where you’ll discover charming cities like Rovinj, Zadar, Split, and, of course, the ancient island of Brac, alluring Hvar, and enchanting Korčula.
Further south, Dubrovnik, the jewel of the Adriatic and one of our favorite destinations in Croatia, has well-preserved medieval architecture and a captivating history.
Best cruise lines for Croatia
When you want to explore Croatia’s stunning coastline, historic cities, and pristine islands, choosing the right cruise line is essential. Here are some options you can consider based on the type of experience you are looking for:
An ultra-luxury cruise option
For a high-end experience on your Croatia cruise, Silversea is an ultra-luxury cruise line and an excellent choice. They are committed to providing a luxurious and relaxed experience. Onboard their ships. You’ll enjoy the following:
- Spacious cabins with ocean views
- Fine dining with fresh ingredients
- An open bar and inclusive gratuities
These luxurious cruises often include stops at popular destinations such as Dubrovnik, Split, Hvar, and Korčula while exploring other hidden ports along the Adriatic Coast. We can recommend a fantastic 7-night cruise from Venice that includes no less than five different port stops in Croatia. Read more about Silversea Cruises and see what the cruise line can offer you.
Small ship luxury cruises
Consider small-ship luxury cruises if you want a more intimate and personal experience but do not want to pay ultra-luxury prices. These cruises usually offer:
- A smaller number of passengers makes it more comfortable and easy to make new friends
- More opportunities to explore off-the-beaten-path destinations
- A closer look at Croatia’s unique coastline and beautiful beaches
One option to consider is the Dubrovnik to Zadar cruise, which takes you on an 8-day journey along the Dalmatian Coast. Stops include:
One of the most popular small-ship cruise lines is Azamara, one of the world’s seven best luxury cruise lines. Focused on showcasing local life and culture, Azamara cruises offer late-night departures and extended stays in port for an even more immersive experience. This allows you to explore and absorb the atmosphere of Croatia’s best destinations at your own pace.
Family cruise lines visiting Croatia
Royal Caribbean offers one of our favorite itineraries among the major cruise lines. The 7-night Greece & Croatia itinerary is a cruise from Ravenna (most cruise travelers choose to spend some day in Venice before transferring to the port in Ravenna) and includes stops in both Dubrovnik and Split, as well as the popular destinations of Athens and Santorini in Greece.
Suppose time and budget allow, and you can extend your cruise vacation to 11 nights on board. In that case, Royal Caribbean also offers the ultimate itinerary that includes Dubrovnik, Split, and Zadar, a city whose centuries-old charm is as beguiling as the sparkling turquoise coast it touches.
Alongside Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Lines has a fantastic port-intensive itinerary for a 9-day cruise from Trieste in Italy, stopping in Venice and Koper and ending in Athens. Between your stops include Split and Dubrovnik, 3 of the best Greek isles, Corfu, Santorini, and Mykonos, and the cultural-rich ports of call in Turkey – Kusadasi and Istanbul. This fantastic cruise will leave you wanting to return to the Dalmatian coast sooner rather than later.
Top Croatian ports of call
When visiting Dubrovnik, you should not miss walking along the ancient city walls, offering a stunning view of the Adriatic Sea and the old town. Take your time to explore the well-preserved historic sites, such as the Pile and Ploče gates, the Sponza Palace, and Fort Lovrijenac. A visit to the charming pedestrian-only streets, including the famous Stradun or Placa, is a must. Step into medieval times as you wander through the narrow alleys teeming with cafes, shops, and restaurants.
In Split, your Croatian cruise takes you to the heart of the ancient city with the magnificent Diocletian’s Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Stroll through the lively squares and streets, and take in the views from Marjan Hill, a local natural park. Be sure to visit the Peristyle, Cathedral of St. Dominus, and the Temple of Jupiter, all of which offer a glimpse into the city’s rich history.
Your next stop should be the picturesque island of Hvar, known for its vibrant nightlife, lavender fields, and stunning beaches. Get mesmerized by the history, architecture, and Venetian influence in the Hvar town. Highlights include the Hvar Fortress, St. Stephen’s Cathedral, and the bustling harbor.
Discover the medieval town of Korčula, the birthplace of the famous explorer Marco Polo. This charming island town is known for its narrow stone streets, fortified walls, and terracotta-tiled roofs. You can visit:
- St. Mark’s Cathedral
- The Marco Polo House
- The Korčula Town Museum
- The Governor’s Tower
Finally, don’t miss out on visiting Zadar. This historical coastal city boasts a mix of Roman, medieval, and modern architecture. Take a leisurely walk around the historic city center, including the Roman Forum, St. Donatus Church, and the Sea Organ, an art installation that creates music from the waves. Enjoy the unforgettable sunset at the Monument to the Sun, a visually captivating icon on Zadar’s waterfront.
As you visit these top Croatian ports of call, you will be immersed in the country’s rich cultural heritage, stunning landscapes, and warm, hospitable atmosphere.
Shore excursions and guided tours
Historical Sites and Cities
Croatia’s history is rich, and there are many places for you to explore and discover. If you love to research the places you visit before you leave home, we recommend the official tourism website of Croatia for more tips about visiting this beautiful country.
Beaches and natural wonders
Croatia is known for its stunning coastline, and there’s no better way to take it all in than by visiting some of the picturesque beaches. The beautiful Zlatni Rat Beach on Brač Island is a must-see for crystal-clear waters and dramatic landscapes.
Natural wonders are abundant in the country. A visit to Krka National Park allows you to explore the magnificent waterfalls and emerald-green lakes. The cascading falls of Plitvice Lakes National Park are also a must-see, featuring a breathtaking collection of 16 interconnected terraced lakes.
Immerse yourself in the rich culture of Croatia by participating in local activities. In Split and Dubrovnik, you can book wine tastings at local wineries and savor full-bodied reds and dry, citrus white wines like the famous Plavac Mali.
Join a city tour or embark on a walking excursion to dive deeper into the country’s history, learning from knowledgeable local guides. Explore the grand squares and charming markets to taste authentic Croatia in destinations like Trogir.
Tips for visiting Croatia
Best time to cruise
The best time to cruise in Croatia depends on your preferences. Plan your trip between June and August if you enjoy warm weather and busy beaches. However, if you prefer a more relaxed atmosphere and low tourist crowds, consider cruising during the shoulder season (May, September, or October). During these months, you can still enjoy pleasant weather and explore Croatia at a quieter pace.
When packing for your Croatia cruise, consider the following essentials:
- Lightweight and comfortable clothing for warm weather
- A light jacket or sweater for cooler evenings
- Swimsuits for the beach or pool days
- Comfortable walking shoes or sandals with good traction for cobblestone streets
- A hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen for sun protection
- A power adapter suitable for European outlets (Type C, E, or F)
- A reusable water bottle to stay hydrated
Pack any necessary medications, toiletries, and personal items in your carry-on luggage.
Local currency and language
Croatia’s official currency is the Croatian Kuna (HRK), and you should familiarize yourself with the conversion rates before your trip. While some establishments may accept euros or credit cards, carrying some local currency for smaller purchases or emergencies is always a good idea.
The official language of Croatia is Croatian, but English is widely spoken, especially in tourist areas. However, learning a few basic Croatian phrases, such as greetings and common expressions, can be helpful and appreciated by locals.