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Greece or Croatia: Which Destination to Choose?

The question on many travellers’ minds when deciding which European destination to choose for their vacation, is what sets their choices apart? Enchanting islands, picturesque beaches and a glorious climate comprise both Croatia and Greece, making them equally spectacular summer destinations. 

However, it’s the unique history, culture and sights, as well as the delectable cuisine which distinguishes them. Although equally soaked in Balkan charm, there are a few differences which may sway your mind when choosing between the two.

In this article, we’ve highlighted the best bits of each country to help you make an informed decision about whether you visit Greece or Croatia… or both.

How Far is Croatia from Greece?

Both Greece and Croatia are encompassed by the Balkans, bound by the Adriatic sea to the west, and the Mediterranean (including the Ionian and Aegean seas) to the east. They lie roughly 864 km away from each other on the Balkan Peninsula; a good distance with minimal travel time if you’re wanting to visit both countries.

If you decide to split your time between Greece and Croatia, you can travel via plane – your fastest option – or the train, although it would swallow 1 whole vacation day. Alternatively, if you’re wanting to explore what both countries have to offer in style, then you could choose the most scenic route via one of our luxury Croatia and Greece cruise tours.

Glorious Climate: Croatia vs Greece

Panorama of Santorini
Dubrovnik landscape

The sun rises high above each country all through the summer season, creating a sensational  Mediterranean climate. They each fit the picture of a sun-worshipper’s dreams, feeling very hot and dry in peak months. Even out of season, both Greece and Croatia experience relatively mild winters.


The tourist season in Greece begins early spring in May, and finishes late September as we say goodbye to the summer. Through this time, you will see the Greece weather peak to incredible heights of 35°C and above, particularly further inland. The heat in Athens can be stifling in July and August, so it may be wise to consider exploring the capital before peak months set in.  

Further towards the coastline, you feel a slightly more comfortable and relaxing climate, with the average temperature sitting between 28-32°C and a refreshing sea breeze to keep you cool. Although the forecast may seem to be a summer vacation haven, travellers should be wary of the significantly high UV index, placed between 8-10, which can be damaging to sun-soakers without proper eye and skin protection.


Although they experience very similar temperatures, Croatia’s position further north of the equator means the heat can be a little less intense than the Greek sun. 

The weather in Croatia in July is certainly the hottest all year round, with temperatures seeing highs of 30°C and lows of 22°C. Like Greece, it has certain areas that are better climatised for different activities; the Dalmatia region in particular maintains 10 hours of beaming sunshine a day, perfect for those wanting to simply lie back, relax and soak up the sun. 

If you’re needing a refreshing plunge in the ocean to cool down, the sparkling Adriatic maintains temperatures around 24°C from June to August; ideal for those wanting to cool off.

Breathtaking Beaches: Croatia vs Greece

Elafonisi beach in Crete
Zlatni Rat Beach

Enough to sell you on a visit alone, Greece and Croatia are wrapped in thousands of miles of breathtaking coastline. They each boast hundreds of beaches, from hidden gems to famous landscapes with countless activities for you to participate in.


Close your eyes and picture the most beautiful beach you have ever seen; azure-blue shades fading into crystalline waters, stretches of velvet-soft white sand, overarching palm trees offering shade and straw parasols with chic wooden sun-beds laid below.  Open your eyes, chances are you’ll be in Greece. 

The volcanic origin of Milos island has gifted Milos with a wealth of stunning beaches, namely Sarakiniko Beach. There’s scope to argue whether this actually is a beach with its limited sand space. Regardless, its unique geology has created a surreal lunar landscape, combining white rock and turquoise waters in a rare and beautiful spectacle.

Another traveller favourite is the Elafonisi beach in Crete. Famously known for the pepper-pink sand that stretches across the coastline, and its azure-blue waters that lap onto the shore, it’s a natural colourful delight that every traveller should experience. Get there early in the morning to secure your spot and an Instagram-worthy picture!


It’s very difficult to compare the beauty of Croatia and Greece’s beaches. One thing setting them apart, is that Croatia has mostly pebble beaches as opposed to sand. 

This doesn’t make them any less desirable, as it often means waters are clearer, therefore better for swimming and snorkelling. Croatia showcases over 80 Blue Flag beaches, and with all islands accounting for almost three-quarters of the country’s entire coastline, there are plenty to choose from. 

The Golden Horn Beach, more formally known as Zlatni Rat Beach, takes its name from its ever-changing unique appearance. Resembling a small peninsula, it protrudes into the turquoise waters and changes shape and position depending on the wind, tide and the current. Its profound natural beauty is what makes it one of the more famous beaches in Croatia, and with good reason.

Fascinating Culture and History: Croatia vs Greece

Panorama of the Acropolis in Athens
Corfu Old Town

Greece and Croatia each claim an intriguing balance of beauty, personality and culture. Both countries house enough museums, monuments and cultural sites to convince a traveller they’ve arrived in the past. We have recommended the best places to visit in Greece and Croatia so you can get an insight into the fascinating history of these cultural hotspots. 


Greece is firmly rooted in an enchanting story of mythology and history. Said to be the birthplace of democracy, it has perfectly preserved ruins and remnants of one of the oldest civilizations in the world for you to explore. 

Starting strong with the capital, Athens is home to the archaeological ruins of the Acropolis where you will find the World Heritage registered sites of the Parthenon, the Temple of Athena Nike, the Erechtheion, and the Propylaia. A short bus or car journey away will land you in Delphi, which UNESCO characterised as “a unique artistic achievement”. Walk in the footsteps of Goddess Athena through the Sanctuary of Athena Pronaia, and explore the Archaeological Site of Delphi for a fully immersive experience. 

The islands of Santorni and Mykonos are home to instantly recognisable whitewashed walls and blue-domed roof buildings. The Cycladic architecture sits strikingly against the stunning Greek landscapes, although it’s actually as political as it is beautiful. During wartime, the Greek military mandated blue and white as standard colours for homes to boost patriotism.

There is so much culture and history at every turn in Greece, it’s no wonder it draws history hunters and mythology lovers by their millions every year. 


Although Croatia doesn’t possess as many ruins and monuments as Greece, it certainly showcases some spectacular sites which shouldn’t be overlooked. 

The famous old town of Dubrovnik itself is UNESCO verified and ranks as one of Croatia’s greatest cultural attractions. Despite it being the foreground for political unrest in the 1990s, many of its beautiful buildings still stand proud and make for excellent sightseeing. 

Just outside of Dubrovnik’s mediaeval city walls sits Fort Lovrijenac. A most impressive structure, it guards the entrance to the city from the Adriatic sea. Game of Thrones fans will recognise this as the Red Keep in the King’s Landing. 

Pula Arena, more formally known as Pula Amphitheatre, is an impressive spectacle of historical preservation. Originally built in the 1st century AD, it was used to host gladiatorial battles under the Romans and tournaments of knights in Mediaeval times. After restoration, it comfortably seats 5000 people and generally presents operas and film festivals.

Mouthwatering Cuisine: Croatia vs Greece

Charcuterie board in Croatia

Taking influences from the Mediterranean, Greece and Croatia offer an equally delectable selection of foods. We have highlighted the specials for you to save you the difficult decisions. 


There are a few native dishes that have become increasingly popular to replicate outside of Greece, and for good reason. Moussaka, gyros, souvlaki, tzatziki and feta cheese sit at the top of the Greek cuisine list to try for a delightful gastronomic experience. 

There are lots of romantic seafood tavernas dotted along the coastline, where you can expect to see lots of fish and vegetables on the menu. Restaurants like to use fresh produce which they can gather locally to cook up their delightful creations. 

If you’re looking for the perfect accompaniment to your meal, Santorini boasts its own impressive selection of wines which shouldn’t be overlooked. Its unique climate and mineral content of the volcanic soil creates a full bodied, aromatic flavour profile, which is as distinct as it is delicious.   


One for the foodies, each region throughout Croatia has its own delicacies, meaning there is a larger palette variety than in Greece for you to really discover the diverse flavours of Croatian cuisine. Similarly to Greece, you will find lots of seafood on the menu along the coastline as it’s the freshest produce restaurants can acquire. A seafood special is the black risotto – a squid ink rice dish, served with delicious shellfish. 

Away from the coastline, particularly in the eastern area of Slavonia, they have a heavier hand with spices and like to experiment more boldly with various different herbs and spices. They are particularly renowned for their spicy sausages – a must try!

Further inland and north, you’ll notice more Hungarian and Turkish influences with plenty of spit-roasted meats on offer.  You will see the Italian influence shining through in the peninsula of Istria, who pride themselves highly on their truffles and cured pork.

Bustling Nightlife and Entertainment: Croatia vs Greece

Athens at night
Croatia at night

As if you didn’t have enough reasons to visit Greece and Croatia, the thriving nightlife scene is suitable for all ages. Get ready to dance the night away in the most vibrant and exciting settings.


Greece reigns supreme as an incredible party destination. Famous for an unforgettable night of drinking and dancing, Mykonos and Santorini claim first place for a more glamorous evening out. Celebrity DJs are regular attendees at the many cocktail lounges and classy clubs dotted around the islands, successfully coaxing music-lovers from near and far for years. 

Alternatively, you could also visit the renowned party islands like Kavos or Malia, where sleeping all day and partying all night is a common practice for travellers who stay here. Expect lots of fun and very little rest from these islands. 


Though the rest of the world may not know it yet, Croatia is certainly an up-and-coming party destination in Europe. When the yachters start to fill the harbour early summertime, this is when the party starts to kick in. Hvar seems to be leading the rally in becoming Croatia’s party island, offering a plethora of both thumping clubs and chic beach clubs and bars.

Croatia has already established itself as Europe’s go-to festival destination, offering 20 different types of music festivals for you to find your groove. It hosts Ultra Europe, one of the largest electronic dance music festivals in the world, where celebrity DJs take centre stage and perform to crowds of over 160 000 people from over 140 countries.


When comparing Greece and Croatia you have two diamonds of the Mediterranean to choose from – both of which are bursting with character, beauty and culture. It would be a shame to deny yourself experiencing one of them! Whether you are wanting to embark on an adventure, or indulge in a state of blissful relaxation, both Croatia and Greece have a palpable sense of allure, enough to appeal to all kinds of travellers. 

Does experiencing the best of both countries seem like your dream vacation? Cruise Croatia offers a luxury selection of tours to Croatia and Greece for you to choose from, suitable for a wide range of vacation aspirations. Contact us now to find out more!

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