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Croatia vs Greece: Which Destination Should You Choose in 2024?

Planning your summer vacation and torn between Croatia and Greece? This guide on Croatia vs Greece will help you make the ultimate choice for your dream holiday.

Both Croatia and Greece are epic holiday destinations, each offering their own unique blend of stunning landscapes, rich culture, and delicious cuisine. So if you’re planning your summer vacation and are having a hard time deciding between the two, I’m here to help!

Along with my own experiences living and traveling in Croatia for nearly my entire life (that’s 25+ years!), I’ve also soaked up a ton of knowledge about Greece—thanks to my four years working at a Greek restaurant in college, run by a 100% Greek family who treated me like one of their own.

They went back to the homeland often and generously shared all of their insights and tips with me to help create the best Greece vs Croatia travel guide. So rest assured, you’re getting the lowdown from locals of both countries, not just the usual tourist point of view.

In this travel blog, I’ll break down the highlights, attractions, and unique qualities of each country to help you make an informed choice. Whether you’re into history, culture, jaw-dropping natural beauty, or a killer combo of all three, I’ve got insights and recommendations ready for you.

So, are you Team Croatia or Team Greece? Let’s find out!

Croatia vs Greece Vacation: Which Country is Better?

🇭🇷 Croatia
Tucked away in southern Europe along the shimmering Adriatic Sea, Croatia is a dream destination for both sun-seekers and Game of Thrones fans. Known for its beautiful beaches, crystal-clear waters, orange-tiled rooftops, and amazing sailing opportunities, this Mediterranean gem is perfect for a summer getaway.

The seaside cities of Dubrovnik and Split balance modern energy with old-world charm, while islands like Hvar bring the glamour with their upscale bars and yacht-filled harbors. Let’s not forget the extraordinary natural beauty of Plitvice Lakes National Park, where cascading waterfalls create picture-perfect scenery among the endless hiking trails.

All these factors make Croatia an unparalleled summer vacation spot, offering the ideal combination of relaxation and adventure, history and natural beauty, that’s hard to beat.

🇬🇷 Greece
Located even further south than Croatia, Greece is bordered by the Aegean Sea to the east, and the Ionian Sea to the west. This sun-kissed nation has been an ultra popular European summer destination for centuries. It’s renowned for its white-washed houses, breathtaking beaches, and seriously impressive historical sites.

Greece provides a wealth of cultural experiences, from the ancient yet cosmopolitan city of Athens, to the legends and myths that surround its iconic landmarks. But it’s not just about history, the beaches are another huge draw, with islands like Santorini, Mykonos, and Zakynthos offering some of the most beautiful coastlines you’ll ever see.

Whether you’re into exploring historical sites, lounging on white sand beaches, or indulging in delicious food, Greece is the epitome of a Mediterranean summer getaway. It’s a well-rounded vacation spot that never fails to attract travelers, and for good reason!

Is Croatia cheaper than Greece?

Dubrovnik may be Croatia’s most expensive city, but venture beyond its medieval walls, and you’ll find a country that’s quite easy on the wallet. The cost of food and beverages across much of Croatia is actually pretty reasonable, especially restaurants in Zagreb.

And since the country is relatively compact, you can cut down on transportation costs when you hop from one destination to another.

On the flip side, Greece has long been a go-to holiday spot, famous worldwide. It’s easy to spend a fortune in places like Santorini or Mykonos, but you can still find good value in less flashy destinations like Corfu. However, due to Greece’s larger size, you might find yourself spending a bit more on getting from place to place.

Ultimately, the cost of your holiday in either country can be as expensive or as cheap as you make it. It really depends on the destinations you choose to visit within each country and the time of year you are traveling.

Although Croatia has gotten more expensive over the last several years and is nearly on par with Greece, it generally remains a slightly more affordable, particularly when it comes to accommodations and dining out.

🇭🇷 Croatia is cheaper than Greece.

View overlooking the town of Dubrovnik framed by blurred, purple lavender with mountains visible behind the town surrounded by the blue Adriatic Sea.

Does Croatia or Greece have better food?

Both Croatia and Greece dish out some seriously tasty Mediterranean cuisine. However, because Croatia’s history was influenced by various cultures and empires like Roman, Austro-Hungarian, and Ottoman, its food stretches beyond the Mediterranean staples.

In Croatia’s central and eastern regions, expect hearty, meat-centric dishes accompanied by staples like potatoes and cabbage. Istria and Dalmatia, on the other hand, have a strong seafood culture featuring lots of cooked vegetables and literally everything drenched in olive oil.

Let’s not forget the always delicious Croatian-style pizza you’ll find all over the country.

Meanwhile, Greece is world famous for its colorful, flavorful, and incredibly delectable cuisine. Think crumbly feta cheese, creamy tzatziki, sweet baklava, and layers of savory moussaka. One of the best parts about Greek food, in my opinion, is that many traditional dishes are meant to be shared (like meze).

So while both countries have fresh and delicious cuisine, Greece boast an entire dining culture that’s hard to beat.

🇬🇷 Greece wins the category for best food.

A close up photo of a plate of various grilled meats (souvlaki) with sliced red onion and lemon wedges on top.
A plate of grilled meat (souvlaki) in Greece.

Who reigns supreme in national parks: Greece or Croatia?

Greece boasts a total of 10 national parks and an additional two marine parks, each offering its own unique slice of natural beauty. Mt. Olympus, often celebrated as the home of ancient Greek gods, is the country’s first national park and a favorite among hikers.

While these parks offer outdoor sanctuaries for nature lovers, none quite make it to the “must-see” category of a Greek itinerary.

On flip side, Croatia boasts the awe-inspiring Plitvice Lakes National Park—an essential stop for any traveler, hiker or not. Made up of over 16 interconnected, turquoise-hued lakes framed by cascading waterfalls, the park is seriously impressive.

Conveniently located, it’s easy to drive from Zagreb to Plitvice Lakes, and then continue down to the coast for an awesome Croatia road trip!

If you’re closer to Split, you can opt for the more compact Krka National Park over Plitvice, a haven of waterfalls and natural beauty in its own right.

🇭🇷 Croatia wins when it comes to national parks.

A view looking down onto a small curving wooden walkway over blue-green waters surrounded by lush green vegetation with waterfalls flowing through.
Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia, one of the most famous parks in this part of Europe.

Which country has the best islands – Croatia or Greece?

When it comes to islands, both Greece and Croatia offer stunning options. The islands are so similar that the producers of Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again chose the Croatian island of Vis as the stand-in for the story’s fictional Greek island of Kalokairi.

Despite their similarities, Greek and Croatian islands differ in scale and vibe. Greece boasts a whopping 6,000 islands, 227 of which are inhabited. Croatia, by contrast, has just over 1,000 islands and only 49 of them have year-round residents.

In Croatia, the islands lie in a neat, easily navigable line along the coastline. Most are incredibly accessible, situated just a short boat ride away from the mainland. While there are some more remote, hard-to-reach gems in Croatia, the majority are well-connected and easy to explore. Brac, Hvar, Vis, and the Pakleni Islands are all within a 2-hour ferry ride from Split.

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    Greece, on the other hand, offers a wide variety of islands, ranging from quaint, sleepy isles to bustling party spots. Santorini, Mykonos and Crete are some of the most popular destinations in Greece but even lesser-known islands like Naxos and Ithaca offer paradise-like scenery.

    The vast number of islands and their spread across different seas make Greece a haven for limitless island-hopping adventures.

    In the end, the “best” islands depend on what you’re after—whether it’s the intimate and accessible charm of Croatia’s islands or the diverse, limitless opportunities for exploration in Greece.

    🇭🇷 🇬🇷 It’s a tie!

    Who has the better beaches, Greece or Croatia?

    Croatia is known for pebbled and rocky beaches, which is part of the reason why the water is so crystal clear! Plus, the country is practically overflowing with Blue Flag Beaches (in case you didn’t know, this signifies beaches that have met strict characteristics for both environmental purposes and water quality).

    In my opinion, the best beaches are on the islands, but there are also some pretty amazing beaches around Split and Dubrovnik.

    Greece is also home to plenty of Blue Flag beaches, but what sets it apart are its diverse beach landscapes. From the moon-like rock formations at the iconic Sarakiniko Beach (pictured below) to the black sand beaches of Santorini, Greece offers a varied beach experience.

    The turquoise waters are just as mesmerizingly clear as those you’ll find along Croatia’s coastline.

    If you’re a fan of pebbly or rocky beaches and want the Blue Flag seal of approval, Croatia has you covered. But if more diverse and sandy shores appeal to you, Greece might be the better choice. Ultimately, it’s too close to call, so…

    🇭🇷 🇬🇷 It’s a tie!

    A mars-like beach on the island of Milos made up of huge smooth white rocks surrounded by the beautiful blue sea.
    Sarakiniko on the island of Milos in Greece, made up of volcanic rock formations.

    Which destination is better for a road trip?

    Croatia is more compact and because of this, its easier to reach more destinations in a short amount of time. With a coastline stretching over 1,000 kilometers, you could comfortably cruise from Zagreb down to Dubrovnik in about 10 days, hitting most of the country’s highlights along the way.

    And even if you want to add a few islands into a mix, a quick car ferry will get you there in no time.

    Alternatively, you could take to the Istrian peninsula (my favorite road trip destination in all of Croatia – similar to Tuscany) where you can meander through medieval hilltop towns and discover charming villages and secluded coves.

    Greece, by contrast, is huge. Its sprawling landscape is nearly three times the size of Croatia, which means you’ll need more time behind the wheel. While road tripping on mainland Greece is entirely possible, island exploration can require some serious travel time—think a six-hour journey from Athens to Santorini.

    Plus, the Greek islands are so diverse that you could literally spend days exploring a single one.

    While both countries offer unforgettable experiences, Croatia’s manageable size and diverse landscapes make it the ideal choice for those looking to pack a lot into a short amount of time.

    🇭🇷 Croatia wins when it comes to best road trip destination.

    Woman leaning out of a car window with a bunch of yellow flowers in hand. The ca is stopped on a road surrounded by greenery with a small hilltop town visible in the background and the tower of an old castle.
    On a road trip through Istria, Croatia.

    Which has more interesting history?

    Both countries are steeped in history, but each tells a different story.

    Croatia’s past is a fascinating blend of influences, and it even shares historical ties with Greece—the Greeks founded colonies in places like Korčula, Vis, and even Trogir.

    The country is world-renowned for its architectural marvels like Dubrovnik’s medieval walls, Diocletian’s Palace in Split, and the Pula Arena (the only remaining Roman amphitheater with all four side towers preserved).

    Greece is, without a doubt, one of the heavyweights of world history. Not only were the Greeks true pioneers in various fields like philosophy, mathematics, astronomy, and medicine, they were also highly skilled in sculpture and architecture.

    Besides that, the country itself is dotted with ruins from ancient Greece and historic sites—19 of which are UNESCO World Heritage sites, compared to the 10 in Croatia. Athens itself is practically an open-air museum!

    If you only have one day in Athens, don’t miss the Acropolis, Monasteraki Square, or Lykavittos Hill.

    While both nations offer a deep dive into history, Greece’s influence and contributions to the world give it a more globally recognized historical status.

    🇬🇷 Greece has the edge when it comes to history.

    A view looking up to the Parthenon in Athens with a beautiful blue sky above.
    The Parthenon in Athens, Greece, an ancient temple dedicated to the Greek goddess, Athena.

    Croatia vs Greece: Which is better for luxury travel?

    Croatia has been rapidly climbing up the luxury travel ladder, with hotspots like Dubrovnik and Hvar earning themselves worldwide recognition. Five-star properties like Palace Elisabeth on Hvar or Hotel Excelsior in Dubrovnik have infused each of these locations with an unrivaled level of luxury.

    Up north, the Istrian Peninsula, popular among European tourists, is also home to some truly impressive luxury hotels. Some of my personal favorites include the sophisticated Kempinski in Savudrija, the stylish design hotel Roxanich in Motovun, and the jaw-dropping Grand Park Hotel overlooking Rovinj, just to highlight a few.

    However, when it comes to classic luxury resorts, Croatia has fewer options than Greece.

    Greece has a long-standing reputation for luxurious hospitality. The country boasts tons of world-renowned luxury properties, ranging from intimate adult-only havens to sumptuous boutique hotels and lavish all-inclusive beachfront estates like the opulent Four Seasons in Athens and the W Costa Navarino in Pylos.

    In the end, both countries offer amazing upscale experiences, but Greece has a more established and diverse luxury travel scene.

    🇬🇷 Greece takes the cake for best luxury experiences.

    A view over white buildings crowded onto the edge of a cliff in Greece with a gorgeous multi-colored sky behind them as the sun sets over the Aegean Sea.

    FAQs

    Which is nicer Greece or Croatia?

    “Nice” is subjective and really depends on what you’re looking to get out of your vacation. Croatia is known for its gorgeous coastline, pebbled beaches, historic towns like Dubrovnik and Split, and the famous Plitvice Lakes. Greece, on the other hand, has long been a favorite for Mediterranean getaways, offering iconic islands, ancient ruins, and phenomenal food. Both countries are unique, and what may be “nice” for one person may not be the same for another.

    Is Greece more popular than Croatia?

    Globally speaking, Greece tends to be more popular than Croatia, thanks to destinations like Athens, Santorini, and Mykonos, as well as its long-standing history in world culture. Croatia, although not as globally famous, has been rapidly growing in popularity, especially since starring in “Game of Thrones” and hosting international music festivals like Ultra.

    Is Santorini or Dubrovnik better?

    Choosing between Santorini and Dubrovnik is really a matter of personal preference. Santorini is known for its charming white buildings with blue rooftops, dramatic cliffs and black sand beaches, while Dubrovnik offers a unique blend of medieval architecture, pebbled shores, and a slew of nearby islands. Both locations offer stunning views and plenty of cultural activities, so it often comes down to what type of experience you’re looking for.

    Is Croatia hotter than Greece?

    Greece generally has a longer, hotter summer season than Croatia due to its southern location. While Croatia also enjoys a Mediterranean climate, the weather tends to get cooler sooner, especially as you move north along the coast.

    Is Croatia more expensive than Greece?

    Both countries offer a range of options to suit various budgets, so your overall spend will heavily depend on your travel style and choices. But if budget is a concern, Croatia is slightly cheaper than Greece.

    Final Thoughts: Croatia vs Greece

    Deciding between Croatia and Greece for your next dream holiday is no easy task. Both countries boast spectacular coastlines, rich histories, and mouth-watering dishes making the decision all the more challenging.

    If you’re tight on time and want a combination of historical charm and natural beauty in a compact setting, Croatia is the destination for you. With its well-preserved medieval towns, breathtaking national parks, and a coastline that’s perfect for sailing and road-tripping, Croatia makes it easy to soak up a variety of experiences in a shorter period of time.

    But if you’re drawn to age-old traditions, killer cuisine and endless options for island hopping adventures, then Greece could be the better option for you. Its wealth of UNESCO World Heritage sites is hard to match, and its beaches and islands are world famous for a reason.

    In the end, the best destination depends on what you’re looking to get out of your trip. Whether it’s Croatia’s proximity and budget-friendly options or Greece’s ancient history and luxurious accommodations, both countries promise an unforgettable summer vacation.

    If you do decide on Croatia, be sure to grab my island hopping guide to make sure you don’t miss any of the amazing hidden gems!

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    Croatia Travel Planning Guide

    💸 What is the currency in Croatia?
    As of January 1st, 2023, the official currency of Croatia is the Euro and NOT the Kuna (which is also the name of the national animal of Croatia).

    🇭🇷 What language do they speak in Croatia?
    Croatian is the official language of Croatia. Learn some phrases in Croatian before your trip with the Ling app!

    🚑 Should I buy Croatia travel insurance?
    10000% YES – Seriously, don’t leave home without it. You never know what can happen on the road. I like SafetyWing because they provide excellent coverage for as little as $1.50 a day.

    📱 Will my phone work in Croatia?
    Maybe – check with your provider to see if you’ll have service while traveling Croatia. If you don’t have service (or it’s too expensive) I recommend getting an eSIM like Airalo. Airalo allows you to have data while traveling without the high costs of roaming. They have super affordable plans available for 190+ countries, including Croatia. Download the app and get your plan before you leave home so that you have data as soon as you touch down in Croatia!

    🏨 What’s the best way to book my Croatia accommodations?
    For Croatia hotels, Booking is by far the best site.

    🛫 What’s the best site to buy Croatia flights?
    I always use Skyscanner to find the cheapest flights.

    🚗  Is it safe to rent a Car in Croatia?
    Yes! – In fact, renting a car in Croatia is one of the best ways to see the country! I recommend Discover Cars because they check both local and international rental companies to ensure you get the best deal. (Get your Croatia road trip itinerary here)

    💦 Is it safe to drink the water in Croatia?
    Tap water in Croatia is completely safe to drink, so bring your reusable water bottle and fill up!

    🪪 Do I need a visa for Croatia?
    Depending on where you are coming from you may or may not need a visa to enter Croatia. Check the official Republic of Croatia Ministry of Foreign Affairs website for more information on who should apply for a visa.

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