Should you head to a picture-perfect Greek island or a remote, uninhabited rocky islet off the main coast of Croatia? Are Greek beaches better than those on the Dalmatian coast? Which country has better food?
We’ve covered all of that, plus everything else that matters about these two Mediterannean countries right here! Read on to learn more about the history, coastline, attractions, nightlife, and food in Greece and Croatia, and decide which country is the better destination for an exhilarating island holiday!
When it comes to history and iconic historical attractions, only a few countries in the world can give Greece a run for its money. With countless ancient Greece attractions, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and incredible ancient buildings, Greece has a major lead over Croatia. Athens alone has more historical landmarks than half of Croatia, so it’s barely even a contest.
To be fair to Croatia, it’s not like the country doesn’t have any historical landmarks. Croatia has about 10 UNESCO World Heritage Sites that are spread throughout the different regions.
The town of Dubrovnik is famous for its ancient city walls, Istria has some of the oldest archeological sites in the country, and Zagreb is absolutely mesmerizing when it comes to old architecture and landmarks. It’s just that Greece has remnants of one of the oldest civilizations in this world, and that’s something amphitheaters and fabulous facades can’t really compete with.
A trip to Athens alone will provide you with an opportunity to discover more historical landmarks than you would see in a week in Croatia. Visit the ancient Acropolis and the museum next to it, head to the National Archaeology Museum, wander around the Ancient Agora, and discover the Temple of Olympian Zeus.
You can do all that before lunch, and you’ll still have plenty of time to discover about a dozen other testaments to the 3,000-year-long history of Greece!
But the best thing is that you don’t even have to go so far inland to experience Greek history. Head to one of the towns on the gentle east coast, or just visit one of the more popular islands – ancient ruins are abundant virtually everywhere in Greece, as are museums and historical landmarks.
Verdict: We have to give this one to Greece for obvious reasons. Although Croatia has its fair share of historical landmarks and attractions, they still don’t come close to the historical attractions of Greece.
Greece has around 8,500 miles of coastline while Croatia has just some 2,500. The islands make up around 40% of the coastline in Greece, but in Croatia, they account for almost three-quarters of the country’s entire coastline. That’s
Both Croatia and Greece have some fabulous islands that are worth exploring. Greek islands are usually known for sandy beaches, fabulous nightlife, and great resorts, and the same can be said for Croatia’s islands.
It’s uncanny how similar the islands in these countries are, in fact, they’re so similar that the producers of Mamma Mia decided to film most scenes on the Croatian island of Vis, which was supposed to represent Kalokairi, the story’s fictional Greek island.
It’s mostly a matter of personal preference, whether you want to explore the sandy beaches of Brac or the fabulous nightlife of Zakynthos. However, it is important to note that island hopping in Croatia is much better and easier than in Greece, and it’s not because the rugged eastern seaboard harbors of Greece are more difficult to access.
Croatia islands are all closer together and closer to the mainland, and it generally takes less time to travel between different towns on the coast. Greece has a much bigger coastline with some islands so far out that they’re a stone’s throw away from Turkey, so it’s not really the ideal destination if you’re trying to quickly travel between different towns in a sailing boat.
On the other hand, Greece is by far the better destination if you prefer sandy beaches. Most of the country’s islands boast miles and miles of sandy beaches, whereas Croatia’s coastline is better known for rocky and pebbly beaches. Greece is also the second country in the world by the number of sandy blue flag beaches and most of those are in the Halkidiki region.
Skip the over-commercialized Greek islands if you want to experience untouched nature and uncrowded beaches, otherwise, you might be a bit disappointed.
It’s a matter of personal preference, but it’s worth noting that Croatia has a few sandy gems worth checking out, most notably the Golden Horn on Brač’s sunny south coast.
Verdict: We’re inclined to give this one to Croatia, mostly because it’s so much easier to explore more of the coastline. But if you’re a sucker for sandy beaches, Greece is definitely better, so it’s ultimately a draw.
Both countries boast a Mediterannean climate on the coastline and a bit colder climate inland. Greece and Croatia both have fairly similar weather with hot and dry summers, but wet shoulder seasons.
June-September is the ideal season to visit both Greece and Croatia. July and August are the busiest months, but if you want to have a good time in either of these countries, you’re better off traveling in June or September.
July and August get extremely hot with temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius pretty much every single day, so it’s not quite as easy to enjoy traveling, especially if you’re trying to walk around and explore tourist attractions.
If you’re looking to travel in late September or October, Greece is hands down the better destination. It has many islands that are further south than those in Croatia, which means that the summer season lasts longer. You’ll experience a warm climate perfect for sunbathing and swimming in the Greek Mediterranean even in October, which isn’t the case in Croatia.
Verdict: Although these two countries have very similar weather and climate, we’re giving this one to Greece. The reason is simple – the country’s islands extend further south in the Mediterranean, which means you’ll experience better weather in the shoulder seasons.
Both Greece and Croatia have their fair share of big cities, but they’re not necessarily beautiful or exciting. Sure, there’s Athens with a myriad of different historical attractions, but if you’re looking for beautiful architecture and spectacular parks, you’ll be left wanting more in Greece.
Croatia, on the other hand, has several astonishing cities right on the coast, and even more if you venture further inland. There’s Zadar, which was named the prettiest city on the Adriatic Coast, Split with its iconic Diocletian palace, Pula with the mesmerizing amphitheater, Sibenik with its majestic fortresses, and the capital of Zagreb, with too many landmarks to count.
And let’s not forget about Dubrovnik, which is perhaps the most famous city in all of Croatia with its Game of Thrones filming sites, A-list celebrities, and fabulous old town. But Croatia doesn’t win this one that easily. Although Greece is better known for its villages and the island’s small harbor towns, the country has many bigger cities that will absolutely wow you.
Thessaloniki boasts remnants of Ottoman, Roman, and Byzantine history, Sparti is built on the site of actual ancient Sparta, Corfu is famous for the pastel-colored Venetian buildings, and Corinth is full of ancient ruins and fascinating landmarks. The only problem is that all these cities are very far apart, and public transport throughout the country is very limited.
Verdict: This one goes to Croatia. Although Greece has some interesting cities, they’re not quite as exciting (or easy to get to) as the ones in Croatia.
Greek food or Croatian food – which is better? It’s impossible to pick a favorite and it mostly comes down to what your personal preferences are. Also, it’s worth noting that both countries have olive groves for days, so you’re going to see lots of olives and olive oil in their staple dishes.
Whether you end up in Greece or Croatia, it’s a good idea to bring home a bottle or two of local olive oil – it might just be the best olive oil you’ve ever had.
Croatia has a Mediterannean cuisine, with different influences in different parts of the country. The coastal regions are known for seafood-based cuisine, with lots of fresh veggies, fruit, and delicious pasta. The cuisine in Istria is influenced by Italian cuisine, so there’s a heavier emphasis on cured pork and truffles.
The more inland you go, the heartier the cuisine gets. The regions of Slavonia and Zagorje are best known for the slow-cooked stews, which are usually wavy on meat, fat, and starchy vegetables.
Greek cuisine is also traditionally Mediterranean, but it’s got a heavier emphasis on red meat than Croatian cuisine. Moussaka, stuffed eggplants, and popular Greek stews are all made with red meat, usually beef or lamb.
Pasta isn’t quite as ubiquitous as it is in Croatia, but you’re still bound to find it on offer in most restaurants. Seafood is also common in Greece, and grilled fish, in particular, is a common menu item.
Greek cuisine is also known for some lighter dishes that are easy on the stomach. They’re particularly popular in the warmer months, when it can get so hot you can barely bring yourself to drink a cup of coffee, let alone eat something. Salads, yogurts, and light pastry pies are staples of Greek cuisine, and they’re all perfect bites to get you through hot summer days.
Honorary shoutouts go to tzatziki, feta cheese, and gyros – traditional Greek dishes that have become so popular over the decades that you can have them pretty much anywhere in the world.
Verdict: It’s a draw. The food in both countries is absolutely delicious and it ultimately comes down to what your personal culinary preferences are.
Interested in more than just the beaches and the resorts? You won’t be disappointed no matter which country you end up visiting. Greece and Croatia both have a varied relief with a fabulous coastline, but also tall mountains and countless national parks.
Greece is known for its historic mountains that were made famous by the ancient Greeks, countless waterfalls, and a plethora of hiking trails. It’s full of eastern Mediterranean gems that are absolutely breathtaking, and because there are so many of them, you rarely experience massive crowds while exploring the natural attractions of Greece.
However, the attractions are spread out through the entire mainland and at least a dozen Greek islands, so it’s not like you can explore many of the natural attractions during a single short trip.
It’s worth noting that each Greek island has something unique to offer to the visitors, whether we’re talking about the epic hiking trails of Naxos or the mesmerizing landscapes of Crete, Greece’s southernmost island.
But it’s the same with Croatian islands, plus you’re rarely more than an hour away from the mainland where even more fabulous natural attractions await. Croatia is famous for its impressive national parks, which are usually just a short drive away from the coastal cities.
Plitvice Lakes, Krka National Park, and Northern Velebit National Park are just a few of the popular NPs close to the coastline, with spectacular waterfalls, caves, tall mountain peaks, and a myriad of hiking trails.
Verdict: Both countries have their fair share of spectacular natural landmarks and attractions, but we’re giving this one to Croatia. Some of the country’s national parks are world-famous, plus they’re closer together so it’s possible to explore more than one during a single trip.
If you’re all about the nightlife and parties, you should definitely visit Greece. The country is known as a popular spring break destination, with party towns and rocky islands where the music never stops. Traditional nightlife is superb in Greece, especially if you travel to one of the towns that are famous for being a party destination.
Croatia has its fair share of party towns and beaches, but they’re not as abundant as the ones in Greece. Also, bars and clubs in Croatia tend to be pricer than those in Greece, so they attract a different clientele. Greece is more popular with younger crowds, especially those on a tighter budget, whereas the clubs and bars in Croatia usually attract only those with deeper pockets.
On the other hand, it’s worth noting that Croatia is by far the better destination if you’re into music festivals. It’s famous for hosting the Ultra Europe festival every year, and that’s just one of many.
Verdict: Greece wins this one by a mile thanks to cheaper and more abundant clubs and bars. However, Croatia is the better destination if you’re into music festivals.
If you want to go island hopping or you just want to explore more than one city during your stay in the country, you are better off traveling to Croatia. It’s a smaller country so it generally takes less time to travel from one point to another. Also, Croatia has an elongated coastline, and most of the seaside towns are just a short drive away from one another.
That’s the recipe for an epic road trip! If you’ve got plenty of time, start in Dubrovnik. Rent a car there and make your way north to Istria. You can hop to most of the islands from Split or Ploce, and from Pula, it’s just some three hours on the highway to Zagreb.
Greece is a much bigger country so it’s nowhere near as easy to get around it. There’s also a serious lack of train services and domestic flights, so driving or riding the bus is the best way of getting around most of the country.
On the other hand, Greece has more ferries and passenger boat connections, but travel times to its islands are longer.
Verdict: Croatia wins this one, hands down. It’s both easier and quicker to get around Croatia, plus it’s a great destination for some epic seaside road trips.
Both Croatia and Greece are generally affordable, especially when compared to the likes of Spain, Italy, France, and some other destinations in the Mediterranean. Accommodation prices depend on the location and season, but it’s still possible to find 10-Euro beds in both countries.
Both countries offer a variety of campsites and affordable destinations for travelers on a budget, but there’s no shortage of high-end destinations for those with deeper pockets. A-list celebrities are often spotted in both Dubrovnik and Santorini, which have their fair share of expensive resorts, clubs, and restaurants.
Verdict: It’s a draw. Both countries are fairly affordable, but see a spike in accommodation prices during the high season. It’s possible to travel to both countries on a budget, and it’s also possible to indulge in the luxuries of the more high-end destinations in both Greece and Croatia.
Anna is the co-owner of expert world travel and can't wait to share her travel experience with the world. With over 54 countries under her belt she has a lot to write about! Including those insane encounters with black bears in Canada.