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Summer Travel Capsule Wardrobe: What to Pack for Croatia in June

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I feel like I always spend a lot of time considering what to pack for a trip. Sometimes it works out well, sometimes I realize I’ve forgotten a key piece or woefully underestimated my need for a certain type of clothing. For our trip to Croatia, I did a little of both!

Fortunately I still managed to clothe myself, but if I was packing all over again I would have made a few tweaks to my list. Our trip was a fairly active one (check out these great ways to explore Croatia outdoors!), with four days of adventurous activities interspersed with low-key days of strolling. We spent six days in Dalmatia and four days further inland in Plitvice and Zagreb, where in theory it’s cooler (though that didn’t materialize in our case).

What to wear in Croatia really depends on your agenda – museums, hiking, or island hopping (perhaps all three). Read on for my suggestions on what to pack for Croatia in summer so you avoid my mistakes.

My challenges for packing for Croatia in summer:

  • Activities included beaching, biking, hiking and sailing… but also wine tasting and city exploration
  • Appropriate for carrying kids potentially covered in dirt and/or peanut butter
  • (Almost) everything in one medium-sized packing cube since we like to pack light
  • Enough variety not to be bored after two weeks
  • Try to look somewhat put-together

Related: Why you should pack light and how to do it

How to pack for a summer trip to Croatia

Read more Croatia articles or get Europe travel inspiration

My strategy was to create a travel capsule wardrobe for the trip from items that I already owned. If you haven’t heard of a capsule wardrobe, the basic concept is to come up with a limited set of clothes, shoes and accessories that all mix and match to create a wide variety of outfits (check out the full travel capsule wardrobe how-to). Sounds simple enough!

I selected black as my neutral with some blue accents, then added a few strips and florals to mix things up. Some of my staple pieces are pulled from my Ireland travel capsule wardrobe, and I didn’t buy anything new specifically for this trip.

The packing list I show here is pretty close to what I brought. That said, I underestimated how many activity-friendly options I needed and under-packed a bit there. It was a little hotter than I expected so the dresses got lots of mileage while an extra pair of jeans sat on the sidelines (a bummer since they’re heavy and bulky to pack).

Based on my mistakes, here’s my suggested Croatia packing list for June:

Croatia packing list for summer
Croatia packing list for summer

What to pack for Croatia in summer – minimalist packing list

Read more: Our best travel packing tips

-5 tops (short sleeve white tee, short sleeve blue tee, short sleeve stripe tee, long sleeve breton stripe tee, chambray)

The chambray is lightweight and can be worn on its own, as a swim coverup or open over a t-shirt or dress as a lightweight layer for evenings. Sadly, I didn’t pack it! It got lots of use in Ireland and I’ll bring it on our next trip, I promise. I missed it several times!

-light-weight floral kimono

Perfect for layering over my black dress or a solid color tee, adds both texture and pattern. It would even work for the beach or sailing.

-black skinny jeans

These are dressier than blue jeans for a dinner out but I also wore them for hiking in Plitvice when it was cool and shady.

-black skort

Great for warm-weather hiking and biking.

-2 dresses (black tee shirt dress, Athleta sundress in packable fabric)

I love this Athleta dress! The fabric wicks moisture and dries in a flash, and it has built-in support. I’ll definitely consider getting another similar dress from them. If you’re a new customer, you can get 20% off your first order here. There’s even a whole section of travel-worthy clothes.

-3 shoes (black Saucony Bullets, cork/gold Vionic Lizbeth sandals, black Teva Olowahu flip flops)

Confession: I also brought my black TOMS Avalon slip-ons. I know I could have left them at home, but they’re comfortable and cute. The Vionic sandals were a different level of comfort! I wore them touring all day and had zero pain. They’re designed by an orthopedist and you can tell when you’re wearing them.

-blue tote bag (If you prefer a backpack-style travel daypack for women, don’t miss these great options!)

-2 necklaces (short hot pink/crystal statement necklace, short gold/white necklace)

-1 scarf (blue/pink floral)

-3 bras

-5 underwear

-2 pairs of socks (Smartwool Super Sleuth)

-swimsuit (Athleta aqualuxe)

I actually brought a one-piece instead of my Athleta tankini, and as soon as I put it on I remembered why I stick with two-piece suits.

-hat (sadly forgotten at security at LAX) and sunnies

Everything fits on my body or inside a medium packing cube. The trip was a great test-run for my new Thule Versant 60L, which can handle four medium packing cubes with room to spare. If you wanted more variety or didn’t want to do laundry as frequently, you could consider adding another skort or perhaps some shorts (though I rarely see European women wearing them and don’t love them for myself); if I wanted more, I would probably add another Athleta dress to the list.

Related: How to Choose the Best Women’s Travel Backpack

I used the Stylebook app to help me put outfits together and keep track of everything. Here are some sample outfits I wore during the trip:

Check out these great ideas for road tripping through Croatia

What are your best packing strategies? Do you travel light or bring the whole closet?

Stuck on what to pack for Croatia in June? Check out our travel capsule wardrobe for summer in Croatia. Pack light for easier travel.
Croatia packing list for summer

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20 thoughts on “Summer Travel Capsule Wardrobe: What to Pack for Croatia in June”

    • The day we were on the boat, we were literally in suits ALL day. I can’t even remember how many times I had to untie and retie the halter neck with the boat rocking back and forth while trying to keep my balance ?

      Reply
  1. Great packing list for keeping it light! I have to admit I love my Longchamp totes for travel. My large one even fits my laptop! And, they keep everything dry when it rains. 🙂

    Reply
      • My bag has one hole at the bottom corner, but it isn’t from normal wear and tear. I had set my tote atop my suitcase, and when I went over a curb, the Longchamp came crashing down to the cement. My laptop was inside, so it tore through the bag. Otherwise, the bag has held up really well for being five years old and being used as my primary travel tote.

        Reply
  2. Ooh, I love that you included photos here! My friend is leaving for Croatia in a couple of weeks and I’m going to share this with her since I’ve never been there. Wish I were going with her!

    Reply
  3. I definitely pack light also. I’m not afraid to wear the same outfit twice or to wash something and wear it again. I figure I’m never going to see the same people from day to day anyway (because we’re always on the move!). I love to pack lightweight tunics that can double as a blouse or a swimsuit cover-up. And I always wear the outfit that weighs the most when flying, so that I don’t have to pack it at all. Looks like you have a good minimalist list here for Croatia.

    Reply
  4. I wish I were organized enough to do the capsule packing. But then again, I usually end up packing the same items for each trip (varied by season, of course) so maybe I’m doing the capsule packing and I don’t even know it? 😉

    Reply
    • Hi Pat, thanks for your comment! For better or worse, it was a small boutique run a few years ago! I’ll take a look later to see if I can find something similar for you.

      Reply
  5. Melissa, this is awesome advice. Am off to Croatia in August (back to my roots as I’m only 2nd generation here). We’re headed to Dugopolje (just outside of Split) to visit my cousin and attend her daughter’s wedding. I’m an over-packer to the max!!!! Always prepared for ANYTHING. I’m on a quest to attempt to pare it down this trip – even though we have a formal wedding and dinner party to attend. Will be taking all your tips to heart. BTW – I LOVE your distressed neck red and white striped tee. Where did you get it?

    Thanks so much, Laurie

    Reply
    • It took me a minute to figure out which shirt you were talking about ? That one is actually black and white, and I think it’s from Old Navy two years ago. You could definitely pull in a more colorful striped shirt, but that’s the one I had on hand!

      Reply

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