Croatia has been called “Europe’s number one camping destination,” but what motivates people to forego the comforts of home during their warm weather vacation?
To understand the appeal of camping in Croatia, you have to know something about the pleasure that can come from self-sufficiency; or at least, the illusion of self-sufficiency.
Croatia’s campgrounds are not outback shanties or wilderness survival huts. For the most part they are recreation centers with tetherball, tennis, beaches, barbecues and swimming. But it still feels like you’re honing your survival skills when you sleep outside, cook for yourself and live off the land in between trips to the campground grocery store.
Croatia has over 100 campgrounds along its coast and some call it the most popular form of tourist lodging in the country. Most of those look out over the sea and put you a little farther away from civilization and the noise of the city than the resorts. It’s important that you don’t get too far from the city though, camping outside of a designated campground is illegal in Croatia and, although not many, there are still active landmines in northern rural areas.
Campgrounds are generally open during the warmer months of May thru October, but further south there are those that stay open all year long and have installed heated bathrooms and showers for when “roughing it” stops feeling like vacation.
33% of tourists stay in campgrounds on their trips to Croatia, and they stay in both tent sites and trailers. A steady procession of “caravan” trailers make the journey south from Germany and Italy each year and the practice is only becoming more popular.
Krk island is one of Croatia’s most popular destinations and the campgrounds are thick on the coasts of the island. Croatians and tourists alike flock there in the summer.
Just under half of all the campers that come to Croatia are naturists. That accounts for about 15% of all tourists to the country and a number of commercial resorts have been created for that market. Croatia claims to have been the first country to established these resorts and they are popular, but travelers will find nudists on almost any beach that isn’t in the center of a city or town.
Naturist beaches are marked “FKK” in informational materials and are a normal part of most travel experiences. Nudity is not compulsory on most of these beaches and naturists often have a claim on the most beautiful beach spots.