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Ein Mann und eine Frau arbeiten an einem Lagerfeuer
Ein Mann und eine Frau arbeiten an einem Lagerfeuer

Wild camping in Croatia – What's allowed?

Autorin Melanie
Article from Melanie

A road trip by camper van through Croatia is a fantastic idea. Croatia not only offers dreamy beaches, national parks and waterfalls but also a wide range of different campsites.

And yet: sometimes the appeal of camping lies in the concrete opposite of official campsites and fancy sanitary facilities. Sometimes travelling in a van is the answer to a need for “being alone”, adventure for individual places and very personal experiences. A chance to experience nature and find peace in solitude.
If you’ve taken the cognitive step up to this point you’ve probably caught yourself thinking “let’s just park somewhere. Let’s just stop where the view is nice and camp in the wilderness”.
Blick auf eine Bucht in Kroatien
Unfortunately, it's not always that simple. The list of special regulations for wild camping is long and varies from country to country. But don’t worry: We have summarized everything you need to know about wild camping in Croatia. Here you'll find all our tips for your camping vacation.

Is wild camping allowed in Croatia?

In Croatia - as almost everywhere in the EU - wild camping is officially not allowed. This law affects campers as well as tents and bivouacs, private land as well as state land and makes no exception for “free standing”.
Although this ban has certainly taken away the long-awaited spontaneity of many trips the protection of plants and nature has the highest priority.
Nevertheless, there are clear gradations in the consequence and enforcement of this regulation. Wild camping in coastal areas and national parks is discouraged. Camping in undesignated areas is strictly punished by Croatian authorities and penalties are consistently enforced. These can include up to 400€ – travel budget that can most certainly be better invested!
Ruinen im Meer in Krraotien
In contrast to the popular regions by the sea violations against local wild camping rules are handled very differently in rural regions. Here, controls are much less frequent and controls often only lead to expulsions with the request to look for an official place to camp.
Locals and residents are very hospitable and forgiving in most cases so that spontaneous camping and free standing in rural areas is often tolerated. Nevertheless, it is always worth asking permission from private individuals or the municipality to avoid possible conflicts. And who knows… you might even leave this place with a new friendship.

Where can I park my camper?

Especially in the area around the coast, there is no way around official campsites. Nevertheless, you still have some flexibility when it comes to camping in Croatia. In addition to isolated “parking lots” for vans and motor homes, idyllic “mini campsites” can be found here and there. These usually have a more personal, less touristy character and are well suited for spending the night.
Bergsee in Kroatien

How do I find good camping grounds?

Those who long for the feeling of wild camping in Croatia, for nature and individuality: We recommend you to better avoid Istria when planning the route. Large campsites and tourist infrastructure are very common here. Unfortunately, these are not exactly affordable especially in the main and vacation seasons.
Lakes, forests and quiet idylls can be found in Dalmatia. Just like at the popular Plitvice Lakes there are some private nature and mini campsites to be discovered here. These are rarely free of charge but you can still get close to the feeling of wild camping for little money (around 20€).
In our blog article “Camping in Croatia” you will find not only tips for the trip but also recommendations for our top 5 campsites which will certainly facilitate your search.

Is wild camping dangerous in Croatia?

Apart from possible fines camping on unmarked sites in Croatia is as safe as in most European countries. Neither attacks nor wild animals are a factor here. Nevertheless, there are some tips that should be followed especially when staying in remote areas.

Be prepared

Although Croatia is not a large country the distances in between places can be surprising. Especially in comparison with densely populated Germany. Be sure to have enough water, food and fuel before you set off for your next destination. The distance between suppliy possibilities can be long. And let’s face it, nothing ruins a road trip faster than secretly calculating the ratio between fuel gauge and planned miles.

Pay attention to risk warnings

There's another important thing to take into consideration when travelling around Croatia. Although thorough recovery operations have been carried out since the end of the Balkan war there are still areas marked as mine risk areas by triangular signs. Here you should be careful not to leave roads and paved paths. Also look out for signs and other markings!
On the website of the German Foreign Office you can find more detailed information about which areas are affected. It is best to gather information on this in advance.
Mittelmeer Bucht in Kroatien
Mediteranes Haus in Kroatien

What should you pay attention to?

Most of us camp for the love of nature and the incomparable feeling of freedom. Unfortunately, in many cases this harms both nature and the local economy. Here are a few tips that you should keep in mind when wild camping.

  • Leave the place as clean as you found it!

  • Be careful not to disturb animals and nature through noise or fire!

  • Dispose of gray water at designated stations!

  • Be considerate of residents and fellow campers!

  • Support the local tourism and give back to your vacation destination!

Conclusion wild camping in Croatia

With or without the wild camping privilege Croatia offers all the prerequisites for a successful trip. The country holds rocky coasts and sandy beaches, sea, sun, lakes and mountains.
Whether in a camper, motorhome or tent inland or on the coast: when going camping and wild camping in Croatia you're guaranteed to not only having a wonderful vacation but also an unforgettable time.

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