Traveling is a rewarding and enriching experience. However, it’s more important than ever to think about the environmental impact of heading abroad.
By pledging to travel more sustainably, we can minimize the negative effects on the local surroundings and the planet. Sustainable tourism is also about having a positive impact on the places you visit, whether that’s by volunteering or opting to buy locally-made goods.
If you’d like to make greener choices on your next trip, consider traveling to Croatia. With accommodation options that are respectful of the environment and plenty of eco-friendly activities to enjoy, Croatia is the ideal destination for the sustainable traveler.
In this article, we cover topics including accommodation, transport, and food to help you make more environmentally conscious decisions.
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What You Should Know Before You Go
Before you get started planning your eco-trip, there are a few things you should know about the requirements to travel to Croatia. Croatia has become the latest country to join the Schengen Area, becoming a full member in January 2023.
This means there are no border controls between Croatia and the other 26 Schengen countries, this includes passport checks—great news if you plan on visiting several European countries on the same trip. Croatia borders Hungary and Slovenia and shares a sea border with Italy, all 3 countries are Schengen members.
Croatia now fully applies the Schengen visa policy. This means that, if you are a citizen of a visa-exempt third country you can travel to Croatia short-term without a visa. Remember that, starting in 2024, visa-free visitors including US citizens will need ETIAS to travel to Europe.
Tourists from non-exempt countries should apply for a Schengen visa. Whether you’re traveling with ETIAS or a Schengen visa, you can stay for up to 90 days in any 180-day period.
Choosing Eco-friendly Accommodation in Croatia
Croatia offers various sustainable accommodation options for the environmentally conscious traveler. These are some of the places you can stay.
Croatia is taking steps towards environmental friendliness in its hotel industry. The Association of Employers in Croatian Hospitality (AECH) runs a program certifying hotels that comply with international sustainability standards.
These hotels have implemented eco-friendly practices such as reducing energy and water consumption and using renewable energy sources and environmentally friendly cleaning products. When searching for hotels in Croatia, be sure to look out for those that are certified as eco-friendly.
Villa and apartment rentals
If you’re looking for a bit more space during your stay in Croatia, you can find some fantastic villas and apartments to rent that prioritize eco-friendly living.
In the Croatian countryside, you can find villas with vegetable gardens to encourage self-sufficiency. Prepare dinner with 0 km products fresh from the garden.
In cities such as Split and Dubrovnik, there are modern apartments with the latest smart technology designed to minimize carbon footprint. Look for properties with solar panels or even roof gardens.
Camping is a popular way to experience Croatia’s natural beauty, and there are several eco-friendly campsites in the country. For example, the Eco Camp Rizvan City is located in a forest near the town of Gospić and offers sustainable accommodation options such as wooden bungalows and glamping tents. The campsite also offers a variety of eco-friendly activities, such as hiking and cycling.
Minimizing the Environmental Impact of Transportation
If you’re traveling to Croatia from within Europe, consider taking the train instead of flying. If you’re arriving from further afield and that’s not an option for you, you can offset the carbon emissions for your flight to reduce the negative impact.
Once you arrive in Croatia, you can opt for greener ways to get around.
Public transport in Croatia is efficient and affordable. The country has an extensive network of buses, trains, and trams that can take you almost anywhere you want to go, including all major cities and tourist destinations. Taking public transport is a better option than a private vehicle when it comes to prioritizing the environment.
If cycling is more your style then Croatia has plenty of options for bike enthusiasts! Many hostels and hotels have bicycle rental services. There are also several companies that offer guided tours throughout Croatia by bike: a fantastic way to see the sites without harming the environment.
What you’ll do during your stay in Croatia is another important consideration if you want to travel more sustainably.
Croatia has a rich natural environment and a range of eco-friendly tourist activities to choose from. Here are just a few:
Visit national parks
Croatia has 8 national parks, which are home to a diverse range of flora and fauna. Some of the popular ones include Plitvice Lakes National Park, Krka National Park, and Brijuni National Park. These parks offer a range of activities such as hiking, biking, and wildlife watching.
Cycle along the coast
Croatia’s coastline offers stunning views and is perfect for cycling enthusiasts. You can cycle along the coast and explore charming fishing villages, historic towns, and beautiful beaches.
Visit organic farms
Croatia has a growing number of organic farms that offer tours and tastings. You can visit olive groves, vineyards, and other organic farms and learn about sustainable agriculture practices.
Hiking is one of the best ways to experience Croatia’s natural beauty. Marked trails lead through forests and past waterfalls, lakes, caves, and more. You can also find many hiking clubs in Croatia that organize weekly hikes throughout the year.
Sustainable Food Options
Croatia has a rich culinary tradition that relies heavily on locally sourced ingredients. Sustainable food options in Croatia include traditional dishes made with local, seasonal produce, as well as seafood, caught using sustainable fishing practices. If you’re looking for organic options, head to one of the many farmer’s markets in Croatia or visit an organic farm.
Many restaurants in Croatia are committed to using locally sourced, seasonal ingredients. Look for restaurants that advertise their use of local ingredients and ask your server about the origin of the food. There are also a growing number of vegetarian and vegan eateries in Croatia where you can enjoy a plant-based meal.
When you’re shopping, look for souvenirs made from recycled materials, such as glass and ceramic items. Also, check out local artisans who make jewelry or other items using natural materials like wood and leather.
If you’re searching for vintage clothing, Croatia has an abundance of secondhand stores where you can find some stylish pieces at affordable prices.
Got other ideas for a sustainable trip? Leave a comment below. Want more advice for planning your stay? Check out these travel resources to help you prepare for your next adventure.