Greek Islands vs Croatia

Juggling between the Greek Islands or Croatia as your holiday destination this year?

This is one tough decision as both are absolutely breathtaking, home to endless picturesque islands, unspoilt nature and ancient historical towns. Let’s take a closer look at these two amazing European countries that have stolen the hearts of so many travellers before you. 

Greek Islands Croatia
Most Popular Destination Santorini Dubrovnik
Capital City Athens Zagreb
Natural Attraction Samaria Gorge Plitvice Lakes National Park
Nightlife Destination Mykonos Pag
Population 11 million 4 million
Currency Euro ($1.07 USD) Kuna ($0.14 USD)

The stunning coastline. Whether you are visiting the Greek Island of Mykonos, or standing along the Dalmatian Coast in Croatia, every vista looks like a postcard. The stunning coral blue water is memorizing, and we find ourselves spending most of our time in or around the water. From kayaking to snorkeling, or even just doing a little sunbathing, it’s all about the sea.

Drew and Julie, Drive on the Left

Croatia and Greece share many similarities.  When I think about both countries, I’m reminded of a delightful Mediterranean climate, beautiful blue seas, arid landscapes of grapevines and olive groves, and fresh, healthy food.  Both countries share a fondness for flavor – seafood plucked right out of the sea, fresh produce and local herbs grown in the garden, olive oil pressed on nearby olive groves, a variety of organic meats, and superb wines.  Many of these delights are still produced on family-run farms and vineyards and by local fisherman who take pride in their work.  It’s not hard to meet locals while exploring the seaside or taking a hike in the hills, passing through small villages, and  stopping in cafes for a coffee or a Raki or Schnaps.

Anne Wood, Mountain Travel Sobek

Greek Islands – Highlights

Greece has no less than 6000 islands, making it the most famous island-hopping country in all of Europe. It is an enchanting destination with a long history and ancient towns full of archaeological finds and ruins. Its islands feature stunning white sandy beaches that seem to come straight out of a fairy tale. Bordered by dramatic ocean cliffs, these islands provide some great spots for cliff jumping.

greek islands vs croatia

Photo Credit: Aidan Meyer

Rhodes

Apart from beautiful beaches, Rhodes will also allow you to fully understand its past by visiting its historical sites such as medieval fortresses, castles and charming towns with narrow streets in which you will love getting lost.

Santorini

Who hasn’t heard of a Santorini sunset? Santorini is an iconic Greek islands destination popular among couples looking for a romantic getaway.

Mykonos

Mykonos is a glamorous place where the rustic charm of its streets blends in with the lively atmosphere of the nightclubs, where you can dance the night away.



Crete

The biggest of the Greek Islands and an old-time tourist favourite, Crete has beautiful beaches, delicious Greek restaurants and ecstatic nightlife!

Naxos

The idyllic sandy beaches of Naxos make this island the perfect holiday destination for families. Relaxing beach days with kids playing in the sand and swimming in the sea can be easily combined with visits to historical towns, water sports activities, shopping and oceanfront dining.

Croatia – Highlights

Croatia features a beautiful rocky coastline where gorgeous Mediterranean towns border the azure Adriatic sea. Its 1200 islands are easy to reach from the mainland, so you can go island hopping as well! Not only are there endless pebbled beaches, charming walled Venetian-inspired towns and party islands, but the country is also home to eight lush, verdant national parks with cascading waterfalls and lakes where you can go hiking and kayaking.

Rich culture, long beaches, Balkan spirit, and Game of Thrones! When I think of Croatia there’s never one thing that comes to my mind. The country has so much to offer and I’m sure one lifetime won’t be enough to explore every place in Croatia. It is one of my top destinations to travel to.

Maria Stoyanova, TravellingBuzz.com

greece

Photo Credit: Hilthart Pedersen

Dubrovnik 

This sprawling walled city dates back to the Greek and Roman eras. No wonder it was chosen as a filming set for the popular series Games of Thrones! The nearby Elafiti islands are also really worth a visit while you are there!

Mljet

Mljet features a sprawling national park with two salt-water lakes, where you can go kayaking.

Hvar

In Hvar, you can admire the magnificent Venetian-style architecture and the UNESCO World Heritage Site Stari Grad. Apart from that, this place has a buzzing nightlife to explore.



Korcula

Korcula is the birthplace of the famous explorer Marco Polo. The enchanting forests, vineyards, olive groves and beaches will make you wonder why he ever left.

Brac

Home to desolate beaches and unspoilt nature, Brac is the place to go for those seeking peace of mind (in Croatia).

Losinj

Go see those dolphins!

I did have the chance to talk with a few locals in Zagreb but I also personally know a few Croatians. They are very warm, kind and happy people. Plus, they are very conscious and self-aware which makes them a great company for a few rakia shots.

Maria Stoyanova, TravellingBuzz.com

The Greek Islands vs. Croatia

Food & Drinks

Both Greece Islands and Croatia are meat and fish loving countries, influenced by Mediterranean spices and delights. Everyone can get a pretty good idea of what traditional Greek food is about. Gyros, Souvlaki, Moussaka and Tzatziki are no longer strange words for us. We think of Greece and we can almost taste the feta and olives, the grilled meat and freshly caught fish sprinkled with tasty olive oil, lemon, rosemary and oregano. Yummy!

When I think about my time in Greece, I think of inviting landscapes, delicious cuisine, and welcoming people. I especially loved the little town of Gialova, on the west coast. Gialova has endlessly long stretches of pristine beaches, a vibrant waterfront village full of great restaurants and bars, and some of the warmest and friendly folks I’ve met. I enjoyed long leisurely dinners overlooking the sea and tasting plate after plate of mouth-watering foods like olives, Messinian bulbs, stuffed eggplant with mushroom mousse and truffle oil, and even an epic vegan burger!

Amanda Burger, “Burger Abroad”

Croatian cuisine might still be a mystery to most travellers. The many external influences from other countries such as Hungary, Turkey, Austria or Italy pushed every region to have its own culinary traditions. As a result, the Slavic mainland is ruled by lard, pepper, paprika, garlic (think stews and goulash), while the coastal region is more Mediterranean like Greece, where fresh seafood, olive oils, and herbs can be found anywhere.

Strukli! Definitely one of the most delicious meals I’ve ever tried while I was in Zagreb. It is similar to other Balkan pastry dishes but it has its own unique flavour.  It can be prepared salty – with cheese or truffles, or sweet – with blueberries.

Maria Stoyanova, TravellingBuzz.com

The simplicity of the seafood. The Mediterranean provides such a vast array of high quality seafood, so the Greeks and the Croatians do the smart thing, and treat the seafood simply with olive oil, salt, and lemon. When the seafood is as good as it is, whether it’s a whole baked sea bream or simply grilled squid, it doesn’t need much!

Drew and Julie, Drive on the Left

croatia

Photo Credit: Alex Holyoake

When the sun goes down, it is time to try the local alcohol! Ouzo is a tasty Greek liquor, usually served with appetisers. The drink is distilled from grapes, contains 45% alcohol and it tastes like liquorice (similar to the famous drink Sambuca).

Rakija is the local Croatian brandy with an average amount of 40% alcohol and it can be distilled from different kinds of fruit. Drinking Rakija is part of the Croatian culture and is seen as a sign of hospitality.

Budget

While Greece exchanged their local currency to Euro, Croatia still has its own currency, the Kuna. This makes Croatia a cheaper holiday destination compared to Greek Islands.

Half a pint of local beer costs around 14 Kuna (approximately US$2), whilst in Greece, the price would be 3.50€ (approximately US$3.75). Food, accommodation and transport are also more affordable in Croatia, but all in all, both countries are a whole lot cheaper than many other destinations in Europe.

Greek Islands Croatia
Typical dish Moussaka Pašticada
Price of a dinner in a mid-range Restaurant 15€ ($16 USD) 200kn ($29 USD)
Price of an imported beer 4€ ($4.30 USD) 15kn ($2 USD)
Price of a McDonald’s burger 6€ ($6.40 USD) 35kn ($5 USD)
Low budget accommodation per night 15€ ($16 USD) 75kn ($11 USD)
Mid-range accommodation per night 85€ ($91 USD) 650kn ($94 USD)
One ride on public transport 1.4€ ($1.50 USD) 10kn ($1.50 USD)

We utilize Airbnb quite a bit, which we think really facilitates more of a connection to the community. Opting to stay a little further away from the typical tourist neighborhoods means there are more opportunities to meet locals and see a more authentic side of life. We enjoyed meeting the friendly neighbors at the local markets, who were all enthusiastic and more than happy to assist us in selecting the perfect ingredients for dinner!

Drew and Julie, Drive on the Left

Whether you’re looking for sandy beaches and safe swimming waters for you and your family, you seek buzzing nightlife or you’re simply addicted to Greek food, then the Greek islands are a must-see destination. Travellers who are on a tighter budget but who are also after a less crowded holiday spot with idyllic beaches, natural parks and historical cities will be more than happy with Croatia. Either way, you are bound to have an amazing time. Enjoy!