Vanlife in Croatia – Exploring Istria


When doing our research on Vanlife in Croatia before setting off, we heard mixed things. Everyone will tell you, correctly, that wild camping is illegal in Croatia but so far, two weeks in, we have had no trouble whatsoever.

We entered the country in the North-West corner near Umag. As you may or may not know, there is a dispute at the border between Slovenia and Croatia and, although both countries are now in the EU, there are fairly long delays. We queued for about an hour (almost unheard of in these modern EU times!).

Since entering Croatia there has been no more delays however. As usual we have avoided the toll road highways and stuck to the free roads, all of which are good quality. We have followed the coast and found spots right on the beach.

The first spot we stayed at, near Umag, had no camping signs but there were at least five or six other campers there and no police seemed interested in the place.

The second spot, near the city of Pula was the same, rocky coast with nobody around but a few other campers.

We have even wild-camped 1000m above sea level in a national park.

wildcamping in croatia vanlife in croatia

In fact all of our stops so far have been by the sea and completely free, wild camping. Obviously we are not legal experts on camping law in Croatia but it seems that if you stay away from the main roads and don’t get your deck chairs, awning, BBQs and other tourist tackle out, then you should be ok.

The only problem we have experienced so far is that, in what we assume is an effort to clamp down on wild campers, campsites will not let you pay for water and to empty your toilet if you are not a paying guest. In France and Germany there is lots of opportunities for emptying waste and filling up on water even if you are not staying on site but not here. We have had to get our water from petrol stations and invigorating nature poos have become necessary.

vanlife croatia wild camping croatia

The weather has mainly been good and sunny but can change in an instant and a number of times in the last two weeks we have been surprised by storms after a day of nice sun. One storm was so bad and came so quickly that it almost tore our back door off its hinges. Repair work was required the next day but all is good!

If you are looking for rocky secluded beaches and epic sunsets; vanlife in Croatia is ideal… drive your van to Istria now!

Leave a Reply