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Croatia Travel Guide - Travel S Helper


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Croatia, formally the Republic of Croatia, is a sovereign state located between Central and Southeast Europe, as well as the Mediterranean. Its capital city, Zagreb, is one of the country’s main subdivisions, along with the country’s twenty counties. Croatia has a land area of 56,594 square kilometers (21,851 square miles) with a variety of climates, mainly continental and Mediterranean. The Adriatic Seacoast of Croatia is home to over a thousand islands. The country has a population of 4.28 million people, the majority of whom are Croats, with Roman Catholicism being the most prevalent religious affiliation.

Croats first came in the region that is now Croatia in the early 7th century AD. By the ninth century, they had divided the realm into two duchies. By 925, Tomislav had become the first monarch, raising Croatia to the status of a kingdom. Croatian sovereignty was maintained for almost two centuries, peaking during the reigns of Kings Petar Kreimir IV and Dmitar Zvonimir. Croatia and Hungary formed a personal union in 1102. Facing Ottoman invasion, the Croatian Parliament elected Ferdinand I of the House of Habsburg to the Croatian throne in 1527. Croatia was included in the unrecognized State of Slovenes, Croats, and Serbs that seceded from Austria-Hungary and united into the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1918, after World War I. During World War II, a fascist Croatian puppet state supported by Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany existed. Croatia became a founding member and federal component of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, a constitutionally socialist state, after the war. Croatia proclaimed independence on June 25, 1991, which became fully effective on October 8, 1991. During the four years after the proclamation, the Croatian War of Independence was waged effectively.

Croatia, a unitary state, is a republic ruled by a parliamentary system. Croatia is categorized as an emerging and developing economy by the International Monetary Fund, and as a high-income country by the World Bank. Croatia is a founder member of the Union for the Mediterranean, the European Union (EU), the United Nations (UN), the Council of Europe, NATO, and the World Trade Organization (WTO). Croatia, as an active member of the UN peacekeeping forces, deployed soldiers to the NATO-led operation in Afghanistan and had a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2008–2009 term.

Croatia’s economy is dominated by the service sector, which is followed by the industrial sector and agriculture. During the summer, tourism is a major source of income, with Croatia ranking as the world’s 18th most popular tourist destination. With significant government spending, the state controls a portion of the economy. Croatia’s most significant trade partner is the European Union. Since 2000, the Croatian government has been investing heavily in infrastructure, particularly transportation routes and amenities along Pan-European corridors. In Croatia, internal sources generate a major part of the energy; the remainder is imported. Croatia has a universal health care system and free basic and secondary education, as well as many governmental institutions and corporate investments in media and publishing that promote culture.

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Croatia - Info Card




Croatian kuna (HRK)

Time zone



56,594 km2 (21,851 sq mi)

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Official language


Croatia | Introduction

Tourism in Croatia

Tourism dominates the Croatian service sector and contributes up to 20% to Croatia’s GDP. The annual income of the tourism industry was estimated at 7.4 billion euros in 2014. Its positive impact is felt throughout the Croatian economy, as evidenced by increased business volumes in the retail sector, orders in the manufacturing industry, and seasonal employment in the summer. In the period since the end of the Croatian War, the travel industry experienced significant and rapid growth, with tourist numbers increasing 4 times, reaching more than 11 million tourists per year. The largest number of tourists comes from Germany, Slovenia, Austria, Italy and the Czech Republic, and from Croatia itself. The average length of a tourist’s stay in Croatia is 4.9 days.

Most of the tourist industry is concentrated along the Adriatic coast. Opatija was the first resort since the middle of the 19th century. At the end of the 19th century it became one of the most important European health resorts. Later, a number of resorts developed along the coast and on the islands, ranging from mass tourism to gastronomy and various niche markets. The most important is nautical tourism, as there are numerous marinas with more than 16 thousand berths, and cultural tourism, based on the attraction of the medieval coastal towns and the numerous cultural events that take place during the summer. In the interior there are mountain resorts, agrotourism and health resorts. Zagreb is also a major tourist destination competing with major coastal cities and spas.

Croatia is blessed with unpolluted seaside areas, which are reflected with numerous nature reserves and incredible 116 Blue Flag beaches. Croatia has been ranked as 18th most popular tourist destination of the world. About 15% of these visitors (over one million per year) engage in naturism, an industry for which Croatia is world famous. The country has also become first European country to have developed commercially nudist resorts.

Weather & Climate in Croatia

Most of Croatia has a temperate warm and rainy continental climate according to the Köppen climate classification. The average monthly temperature ranges from -3 °C (in January) to 18 °C (in July). The coldest areas of the country is Lika and Gorski Kotar. The warmest parts of Croatia are located on the Adriatic coast and especially in the immediate hinterland, which is characterised by a Mediterranean climate, as temperature peaks are tempered by the sea. Consequently, temperature peaks are more pronounced in continental areas – the lowest temperature of -35.5 °C was measured in Čakovec on 3 February 1919, and the highest temperature of 42.4 °C was measured in Karlovac on 5 July 1950.

Average annual precipitation ranges from 600 millimetres to 3500 millimetres, depending on the geographical region and the prevailing type of climate. Lowest precipitation has been recorded on the most remote islands (Vis, Lastovo, Biševo, Svetac) and in Eastern Slavonia. The highest amounts of precipitation are observed in the Dinara Mountains and in Gorski kotar.

Inland, the prevailing winds are light to moderate northeast or southwest and in the coastal area, the prevailing winds are determined by the local conditions in the area. Stronger winds are more frequently recorded in the colder coastal months, typically as bura or, more rarely, as sirocco. Among the sunniest areas of the country are the outer islands, Hvar and Korčula, with over 2700 hours of sunshine per year, which is followed by the central and southern Adriatic in general as well as the northern Adriatic coast, which all have over 2000 hours of sunshine each year.

Geography of Croatia

Located in Central and Southeastern Europe, Croatia is bordered by Hungary to the northeast, in the east with Serbia, in the southeast with Bosnia and Herzegovina, to the southeast with Montenegro, in the southwest by the Adriatic Sea and in the northwest with Slovenia. It lies mainly between latitudes 42° and 47° N and longitudes 13° and 20° E. Part of the territory at the far south around Dubrovnik is a practical exclave linked to the rest of the mainland by territorial waters, although separated on land by a short coastal strip belonging to Bosnia and Herzegovina around Neum.

It covers an area of 56,594 km2 and is made up of 56,414 km2 of land and 128 km2 of water. The country is the 127th in size. Altitude ranges from the mountains of the Dinaric Alps with the highest point of Dinara Peak at 1,831 meters (6,007 feet) near the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina in the south to the Adriatic Sea which forms its entire southwestern border. Insular Croatia is made up by more than a thousand islands and islets of different sizes, of which 48 are permanently inhabited. The biggest islands are Cres and Krk, each of them having an area of about 405 km2.

The hilly northern parts of Hrvatsko Zagorje and the flat plains of Slavonia in the east (part of the Pannonian Basin) are crossed by large rivers such as the Sava, Drava, Kupa and Danube. The Danube, the second longest river in Europe, crosses the town of Vukovar in the far east and is part of the border with Serbia. The central and southern regions close to the coast and islands of the Adriatic consist of low mountains and wooded highlands. Among the natural resources found in the country in sufficient quantities for production are oil, coal, bauxite, low-grade iron ore, calcium, gypsum, natural asphalt, silica, mica, clays, salt and hydropower.

The karst topography represents about half of Croatia and is particularly important in the Dinaric Alps. There are a number of deep caves in Croatia, of which there are 49 with a deepness of more than 250 m, 14 with a deepness of more than 500 m and three with a deepness of more than 1,000 m. The best known lakes in Croatia are the Plitvice Lakes, a system of 16 lakes with waterfalls connecting them by cascades of dolomite and limestone. The lakes are famous for their special colors, which range from turquoise to mint green, gray or blue.

Demographics of Croatia

With an estimated population of 4.20 million by 2015, Croatia ranks 125th in the world. The population density is 75.9 inhabitants per square kilometre. Total life expectancy at birth in Croatia was 78 years in 2012. The overall fertility rate of 1.5 children per mother is among the lowest in the world. Since 1991, the mortality rate in Croatia has been consistently higher than the birth rate. According to the 2013 United Nations report, 17.6% of the Croatian population was made up of immigrant immigrants.

The population decrease was also a consequence of the Croatian War of Independence. The war displaced a significant proportion of the population and led to an increase in emigration. In 1991, more than 400 000 Croats and other non-Serbs in predominantly Serb areas were removed from their homes or fled the violence by Croatian Serb forces. During the last days of the war in 1995, more than 120 000 Serbs, and perhaps as many as 200 000, fled the country before the Croatian forces arrived during Operation Storm. Within ten years of the end of the war, only 117 000 Serbian refugees returned from the 300 000 displaced throughout the war. Most of the remaining Serbs in Croatia have never lived in areas occupied during the Croatian War of Independence. The Serbs have only partially resettled in the areas they previously inhabited, while some of the settlements previously inhabited by Serbs were established by Croat refugees from Bosnia and Herzegovina, mostly from Republika Srpska.

Croatia is predominantly inhabited by Croats (90.4%) and is, ethnically speaking, the most homogeneous among the 6 countries of the former Yugoslavia.

Religion in Croatia

Croatia has no official religion. Freedom of religion is a right enshrined in the constitution, which also defines all religious communities as equal before the law and separated from the state.

The 2011 census showed that 91.36% of Croatians identify as Christians. Islam takes second place (1.47%). 4.57% of the population describes themselves as non-religious. The majority of Croats consider religion important in their daily lives.

Language & Phrasebook in Croatia

The main language is Croatian, a Slavic language very similar to Serbian and Bosnian.

Many Croats can speak English to some extent, but German and Italian are also very popular (mainly because of the large annual influx of German and Italian tourists). Older people rarely speak English, although they can converse in German or Italian. If you know Polish or Czech, these languages have some similarities with Croatian. Some people also speak French or Russian. Many older people can speak Russian, but among the younger generation this language has been largely displaced by English

Internet & Communications in Croatia


Croatia uses the GSM 900/1800 system for mobile phones. There are three providers, T-Mobile (who also operate the prepaid brand Bonbon), Vip (who also operate the prepaid brand Tomato) and Tele2. More than 98% of the country is covered. UMTS (3G) has also been available since 2006, and HSDPA and LTE from 2013. If you have an unlocked phone, you can buy a prepaid SIM card for 20 kn. There were promotions where SIM cards were distributed for free with newspapers (7 kn) and sometimes even literally on the street. GSM phones with prepaid SIM cards from T-Mobile or Vip can be found in post offices, grocery shops and kiosks at different prices.

An alternative to the mobile phone is the phone card, which is available in post offices and kiosks. There are two providers, Dencall and Hitme. You can buy cards from 25 kn.

Area codes: When calling between cities (actually counties) or from a mobile phone, you must dial certain area codes: (area code)+(phone number)

Zagreb (01) Split (021) Rijeka (051) Dubrovnik (020) Šibenik/Knin (022) Zadar (023) Osijek (031) Vukovar (032) Virovitica (033) Požega (034) Slavonski Brod (035) Čakovec (040) Varaždin (042) Bjelovar (043) Sisak (044) Karlovac (047) Koprivnica (048) Krapina (049) Istria (052) Lika/Senj (053) Mobile phones (091) (092) (095) (097) (098) or (099)


ADSL is widely available in Croatia. A 4 Mbit connection with unlimited downloads costs 178 kn (€24) per month with T-Com and only 99 kn with some other providers like Metronet or Iskon. Cable internet is available on with a wide range of speeds and prices.

There are internet cafés in all larger cities. They are relatively cheap and reliable. A free Wi-Fi signal can be found in almost every city (cafés, restaurants, hotels, some libraries, schools, universities). Unsecured private networks have become rare.

Postal service

The Croatian postal service is generally reliable, if sometimes a little slow. Every town and city has a post office.

Television, radio and print media

HRT, the public TV channel, operates four channels, while the commercial channels RTL and Nova TV have two channels each. Foreign films and series are broadcast with sound in the original language (English, Turkish, German, Italian…) and with Croatian subtitles. Only children’s programmes are dubbed. Many hotels and private residences offer channels from other European countries (mainly Germany).

Radio stations that broadcast pop/rock music in English are HRT-HR 2, Otvoreni and Totalni. They all have occasional traffic reports, but only HR 2 translates them into English, German and Italian in summer. The other national stations are HRT-HR 1 (news), HRT-HR 3 (mainly classical music), Narodni (Croatian pop music) and HKR (Catholic radio).

Newspapers and magazines from Austria, Germany, Italy, France, Great Britain, Russia, Slovenia, Serbia and other countries are available in Croatia. In Zagreb and the northern coastal areas, some foreign newspapers arrive on time, elsewhere they are delayed.

Economy of Croatia

Croatia has a high-income economy. According to data from the International Monetary Fund, Croatia’s nominal GDP is USD 52 billion, or USD 12 405 per capita for the year 2017, while the purchasing power parity GDP is USD 97 billion, or USD 23 171 per capita. According to Eurostat data, Croatia’s GDP in PPS per capita was 61% of the EU average in 2012.

Real GDP growth in 2007 was 6.0%. In February 2016, Croatian workers’ average net salary was 5,652 HRK per month and average gross salary was 7,735 HRK per month. In March 2016 the registered unemployment rate in Croatia was 17.2 percent.

Economic output in 2010 has been dominated by the service sector, which represented 66% of GDP, while industry accounted with 27.2% and agriculture with 6.8% of GDP. The employment rate in agriculture was 2.7% of the labour force, 32.8% in industry and 64.5% in services, based on 2004 data. The industrial sector is dominated by shipbuilding, food industry, pharmaceuticals, information technology, biochemistry and the wood industry. In 2010, Croatian exports amounted to 64.9 billion Kuna (€8.65 billion) and imports to 110.3 billion Kuna (€14.7 billion). More than half of Croatia’s trade is with other Member States of the European Union.

Privatisation and the pursuit of a market economy had only just begun under the new Croatian Government when war broke out in 1991. As a result of the war, the economic infrastructure has suffered enormous damage, particularly the tourist industry, which is rich in income. The Croatian state still controls a significant part of the economy, with public expenditure amounting to up to 40% of GDP. An overdue judicial system, combined with inefficient public administration, especially in the areas of land ownership and corruption, is a particular cause for concern. In 2011, the country ranked 66th in Transparency International, with a corruption index of 4.0. Corruption is one of the main causes of this backlog. In June 2013, public debt stood at 59.5% of the country’s GDP.

Entry Requirements For Croatia

Visa & Passport for Croatia

Croatia has committed to implementing the Schengen Agreement, although it has not yet done so. For citizens of the European Union (EU) or the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) (i.e. Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland), an officially recognised identity card (or passport) is sufficient for entry. For other nationalities, a passport is usually required.

Travel to or from another country (Schengen or non-Schengen) from or to Croatia is (from now on) subject to the usual immigration controls, but customs controls are abolished for travel to or from another EU country.

Check with your travel agent or the Croatian embassy or consulate.

Those who are not exempt from the visa requirement must apply for a visa in advance at a Croatian embassy or consulate. The application fee for a Croatian short-term visa is 35 EUR.

For more information on visa exemption and the visa application procedure, please visit the website of the Croatian Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs [www].

How To Travel To Croatia

Get In - By plane

The only flights from outside Europe are from Tel Aviv and Doha, and occasional charter flights from Tokyo and Seoul. If you are coming from North America, you will need to change to a hub such as London or Frankfurt.

  • Croatia Airlines, the national carrier and member of the Star Alliance, flies to Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, London, Madrid, Milan, Moscow, Munich, Paris, Prague, Tel Aviv, Rome, Sarajevo, Skopje, Vienna, Zurich and – during the tourist season – Manchester.
  • Adria Airways – Slovenia’s national airline flies from Ljubljana to Split and Dubrovnik (note: there are no flights from Ljubljana to Zagreb, as the two cities are close to each other and about 2 hours away by car/train/bus).
  • Aer Lingus Dublin – Dubrovnik
  • Air Serbia flies from Belgrade to Dubrovnik, Pula and Split in summer
  • Austrian Airlines flies from Vienna to Zagreb, Split and Dubrovnik.
  • Alitalia flies from Milan Malpensa to Zagreb and Split.
  • British Airways flies from London Gatwick to Dubrovnik
  • CSA Czech Airlines – member of SkyTeam; flies year-round from Prague to Zagreb and in summer to Split.
  • Darwin Airline flies between Geneva and Dubrovnik (Thursday and Sunday) and Zurich and Dubrovnik (Saturday).
  • EasyJet offers flights to the following destinations in Croatia:
    • London Gatwick – Split
  • Nordica flies from Tallinn to Dubrovnik.
  • FlyBe operates routes between Dubrovnik and two UK destinations, Exeter and Birmingham.
  • GermanWings – low-cost connections from Berlin, Cologne, Stuttgart and Hamburg to Zagreb, Split, Zadar and Dubrovnik
  • KLM connects Amsterdam with Zagreb
  • The Norwegian language connects Oslo with Rijeka, Split and Dubrovnik.
  • Ryanair flies from Dublin and Karlsruhe-Baden to Zadar.
  • Scandjet is a Scandinavian low-cost airline connecting Sweden, Norway and Denmark with Croatia. It operates from :
    • Oslo will separate
    • From Stockholm to Pula, Split and Dubrovnik
    • From Gothenburg to Zagreb, Pula, Zadar and Split
    • From Copenhagen to Pula, Split.
  • TAP Portugal operates the Zagreb-Lisbon route via Bologna three times a week (Wednesday, Friday, Sunday).
  • Vueling, a Spanish low-cost airline, operates between Dubrovnik and Barcelona.
  • Wizz Air flies between Zagreb and London (Luton Airport).
  • In addition, you can use the airports of neighbouring countries that are only a few hours away from Zagreb and Rijeka (with the exception of some of the listed options in Italy):
    • Ljubljana (for EasyJet flights to London Stansted or other Adria Airways flights)
    • Graz and Klagenfurt (for Ryanair flights from London Stansted)
    • Trieste (for Ryanair flights from London Stansted). You can also use Venice Marco Polo (for British Airways flights from the UK) or Venice Treviso (Ryanair flights from Stanstead). Ancona is also an option (Ryanair from Stansted) for those who want to take the ferry [wwwor hydrofoil [www] to Zadar and Split. Ryanair also flies to Pescara, which is a short drive from Ancona.
    • Some choose Tivat Airport (in Montenegro), which is easily accessible from Dubrovnik.

Get In - By train

The railway network connects all major Croatian cities except Dubrovnik (you can take the train to Split and then catch one of the frequent buses or the more picturesque ferry to Dubrovnik, the station is at the pier). There are direct lines from Austria, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Germany, Hungary (currently suspended due to the immigration crisis), Slovenia, Italy, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia. There are indirect lines from almost all other European countries.

Tourists coming from or going to neighbouring countries should pay attention to the following EuroCity and InterCity lines as well as the EuroNight lines:

  • EC “Mimara”: Frankfurt – Munich – Salzburg – Ljubljana – Zagreb
  • IC “Croatia”: Vienna – Maribor – Zagreb, also with EuroNight train
  • DE 414: Zurich – Zagreb – Beograd (can be booked online with SBB or by telephone with any other rail agency).
  • IC “Adria”: Budapest – Zagreb – Split (currently suspended due to the immigrant crisis, direct connection with Split only in summer)

Deutsche Bahn has a Europe Special/Croatia where they offer Munich-Zagreb from EUR 39.

NB: Although Croatia is covered by some Eurail cards, staff at domestic counters usually have no idea how to validate the card on the first day of use. There are recorded cases where staff stated that the driver would validate the card and the driver simply treats it as a normal ticket. Fortunately, the staff at the international counters (especially in Zagreb) know how to validate the pass and are known to validate it retroactively if needed. They even ask for the contact details of the national ticket seller who gave the wrong information.
It is therefore recommended that travellers have their Eurail pass validated upon arrival in Croatia or have it validated at an international counter, even if the first trip with this pass will be a domestic one.

Get In - By car

To enter Croatia, you need a driving licence, registration card and car insurance documents. If you need roadside assistance, you must dial 1987. The following speeds are allowed:

  • 50 km/h – in built-up areas
  • 90 km/h – out of town
  • 110 km/h – on main roads
  • 130 km/h – on motorways
  • 80 km/h – for motor vehicles with caravans
  • 80 km/h – for buses and coaches with a light trailer

When driving in the rain, you must adjust your speed to the wet road conditions. Driving with headlights is not compulsory during the day (during summer time; it is compulsory in the winter months). The use of mobile phones while driving is not permitted. The maximum permitted blood alcohol level is currently 0.05% (in line with neighbouring Slovenia and Bosnia and Herzegovina), although it has fluctuated recently, being lowered to 0% until it was deemed unbearable in the country. Wearing seat belts is compulsory.

Hrvatski Auto Klub [www] is the Croatian automobile club dedicated to supporting motorists and promoting greater road safety. The site provides up-to-the-minute updates, national traffic conditions, weather, numerous maps and webcams throughout Croatia. Content is available in Croatian, English, German and Italian.

Get In - By bus

Very good bus network once in the country – cheap and regular.

If you are coming from Italy, there are two buses per day at 11am and 1.45pm from Venice to Istria, with a final stop in Pula. These buses are operated by two different bus companies, but you can buy tickets for both buses at the A.T.V.O. office at the bus station in Venice. The office is in the bus station, but outside, at ground level, in front of where all the buses park. Both buses pass the position b15. The journey takes about 5 hours, with stops in Trieste and Rovinj. You can also catch the bus at the bus station in Mestre, fifteen minutes after the scheduled departure from Venice. From Trieste, Italy is very popular with Europeans, as Trieste is a Ryanair destination. You first cross the Italian-Slovenian border, then the Slovenian-Croatian border, but they are very close to each other.

Dubrovnik and Split are the main destinations for international buses from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro. There are daily buses to cities like Sarajevo, Mostar and Kotor (some lines like Split-Mostar run every few hours). Seasonal lines also run between Dubrovnik and Skopje. Border formalities on the buses are extremely efficient and do not require leaving the bus (previous connections from Dubrovnik to Kotor required changing buses at the Croatian border).

Osijek is a very large hub for international transport to Hungary, Serbia and Bosnia, in addition to local buses, and the train station is close to it. Many buses from Zagreb to northern Hungary or Austria pass through Varaždin.

Get In - By boat

Ferries are cheap and regularly connect different parts of the coast. Although they are not the fastest, they are probably the best way to see the beautiful Croatian islands in the Adriatic.

Jadrolinija [www] is the main Croatian passenger shipping company, operating the largest number of regular international and domestic ferry and ship routes. The following international routes are served by car ferries:

  • Rijeka – Zadar – Split – Hvar – Korčula -Dubrovnik – Bari
  • Split – Ancona – Split
  • Korčula – Hvar – Split – Ancona
  • Zadar – Ancona – Zadar
  • Zadar – Dugi otok – Ancona
  • Dubrovnik – Bari – Dubrovnik

Blue Line International [www] also covers the international line:

  • Split – Ancona – Split

Venezia Lines [www] offers regular catamaran lines between Venice and the Croatian towns of Poreč, Pula, Rovinj and Rabac.

How To Travel Around Croatia

Get Around - By plane

The national carrier Croatia Airlines connects Croatia’s main cities with each other and with foreign destinations. Due to the relatively short distances and the relative difficulty of air travel – especially when travelling with luggage – domestic flights are mostly used to reach end points – for example from Zagreb to Dubrovnik (see map) and vice versa.

Another popular flight (only available in summer) is between Split and Osijek, which avoids a long return journey through Croatia or the middle of Bosnia.

Get Around - By train

Rail transport in Croatia is improving significantly and money is being invested in modernising infrastructure and ageing rolling stock. The trains are clean and mostly on time.

The Croatian railway network connects all major Croatian cities except Dubrovnik. If you want to visit Dubrovnik, you have to take the train to Split and then take the bus to Dubrovnik. Trains to Pula are actually connected via Slovenia due to a historical accident, although there are designated connecting buses from Rijeka.

Rail remains the most convenient connection between the interior and the coast, even if it is not the most frequent. Since 2004, the new 160 km/h “tilting trains” connecting Zagreb with Split and other major Croatian cities such as Rijeka and Osijek have been gradually introduced, improving comfort and speeding up travel times between the cities considerably (Zagreb-Split now 5.5h instead of 9, Osijek 3, while other trains take about 4.5h). If you book early enough, you can get a considerable discount, or if you have an ISIC card, etc.).

Information about trains can be found on the website of Hrvatske željeznice – Croatian Railways [www] in Croatian and English, including timetables and prices.

Tickets are not usually sold on board, unless you board the train at one of the few stations/stops where tickets are not sold. However, only local trains stop at these stations. In all other cases, a ticket bought on the train costs significantly more than one bought off the train.

Get Around - By bus

An extensive bus network connects all regions of the country. Bus services between major cities (intercity lines) are relatively frequent, as are regional services. The most frequent bus terminal in Croatia is the bus terminal in Zagreb (in Croatian “Autobusni kolodvor Zagreb”). Despite recent improvements in the rail network, buses are faster than trains in intercity traffic.

  • AutobusnikolodvorZagreb – Zagreb bus station, timetable information, content in Croatian, English
  • CroatiaBus – Bus company – information about timetables, prices, content in Croatian and English.
  • AutotransRijeka – Bus company – information about timetables, prices, content in Croatian and English.
  • AutobusniprometVaraždin – Bus company – information about timetables, prices, content in Croatian, English and German.
  • Contus – Bus Company – Information about timetables, prices, content in Croatian and English.
  • Libertas Dubrovnik – Information about the bus station and companies in Dubrovnik, with international and national information. Content mainly in Croatian.

Get Around - By boat

Croatia has a beautiful coastline that is best explored by ferry to reach the hundreds of islands.

In many cases, the only way to reach the islands is by ferry or catamaran. If you plan to use either, you should consult these websites as they contain the usual information about ferries and catamarans.

  • Jadrolinija [www] – Jadrolinija is the national Croatian ferry company. In addition to connections between major cities and islands, it operates a ferry along the Adriatic coast from Rijeka to Dubrovnik (and then to Bari, Italy), stopping in Split, Hvar, Mljet and Korčula. Check the timetable [www] as the schedule is seasonal. The boats are large and have sleeping facilities as the Rijeka-Split leg is overnight.
  • SNAV is an Italian company that connects Split with Ancona and Pescara. Consult the timetable [www] as timetables are seasonal.
  • Azzura lines, is an Italian operator that connects Dubrovnik with Bari. Check [www] as timetables are seasonal.
  • Split Hvar taxi boat service that operates from 0 to 24 hours and can take you wherever you want.
  • Yacht Charter in Croatia, a charter company with one of the largest fleets, based in ACI Marina in Split.
  • A Yacht Charter Croatia offers a variety of sailing yachts, schooners and catamarans.
  • Antlos offers a range of skippered holidays in Croatia, including Split, Hvar, Brac and the entire Dalmatian coast.
  • Navi’s yacht charter service is for those who want to explore the coast and the bays hidden by the sea for a week or more.
  • Europe Yachts Charter Europe Yachts Charter offers charter services in Croatia and some other Mediterranean countries.
  • Croatia Cruise Cabin Charter Discover a whole new cruising experience that gives you the freedom to sail individually or in small groups.
  • Crewed Yacht Charter enCroatieLion Queen Charter offers Gulet Cruises Croatia as one of the leading specialists in this field.
  • If you are travelling as an individual or in a small group, tour operators such as Med Experience offer individual tickets for a yacht excursion along the coast.
  • Map with Croatian marinas There are 6 main regions where you can rent a yacht: Istria, Kvarner Gulf, Zadar region, Sibenik region, Split region and Dubrovnik. All these regions are well served by Croatian airports.

Outside the summer months, it is often difficult, if not impossible, to make a day trip to the more remote islands. This is because ferry schedules are designed to accommodate commuters who live on the islands and travel to the mainland, not the other way around.

Get Around - By car

Roads in Croatia are generally well maintained, but they tend to be very narrow and full of curves. Some local roads in Istria have been reduced to a smooth surface due to normal wear and tear and can be extremely slippery when wet. It is difficult to find a true motorway with more than one lane in each direction, the only exceptions being the links between Rijeka, Zagreb, Osijek, Zadar and Split. Speed limits are therefore low (60-90 km/h) and it is not recommended to drive faster (although most people do), especially at night. Watch out for animals crossing the road. If you want to overtake a slow vehicle on a narrow road, drivers in front of you will often switch on their yellow right-turn lights and drive on the right-hand side to signal to drivers behind them that overtaking is allowed. But at your own risk.

Renting a car costs about the same as in the EU (from about 40 euros). Almost all cars are equipped with a manual transmission. Most car rental companies in the Balkans allow you to rent a car in one country and drive in the neighbouring countries. However, try to avoid renting a car in Serbia and driving it to Croatia (or vice versa) to avoid negative attention from nationalists.

Tolls are charged on the newly built Croatian motorways (and can be paid in HRK or EUR). The A6 motorway between Zagreb and Rijeka was completed at the end of 2008, while the main A1 motorway from Zagreb to Dubrovnik is still under construction (the current destination is Vrgorac, which is 70 km from Dubrovnik). Note that to reach southern Dalmatia, including Dubrovnik, you have to cross a short stretch of Bosnia and Herzegovina. So check if you need a visa or other special requirements to enter Bosnia (EU and US citizens do not need a visa). Another important motorway is the A3, which connects the Slovenian border (not far from Zagreb) with eastern Croatia and the Serbian border (120 km from Belgrade). The general speed limit on motorways is 130 km/h (81 mph). You will probably meet cars going much faster, but it is of course very dangerous to follow their example.

Ask for the toll receipt at the exit of a toll motorway if you do not receive it, to make sure you are not overcharged (you may receive an unexpected change from the verbally quoted price with the receipt).

If a stranger shows you their car lights, it may be a sign that they have just passed a police unit checking speed limits. Make sure you obey all traffic rules to avoid being pulled over and fined.

Looking for a parking space near the old Croatian coastal towns can be a futile endeavour in summer. Although prices range from 7 kuna in Split to 30 kuna per hour in Dubrovnik, spaces fill up very quickly. Outside the old towns, however, parking is convenient and often free in shopping centres and large supermarkets, in sports halls, near residential towers and in restaurants (free for customers).

Get Around - By taxi

You can use a taxi service by calling 970, or sometimes another number for a private company – check the articles for each city. The taxi will usually come within 10 to 15 minutes of calling, except in the summer season, when it depends on the service. Croatian taxis are usually quite expensive.

You can also book transport in advance, which is very convenient if you are in a hurry or have a large number of people to transport, or you simply want everything organised in advance.

For even more convenience and to save money, you can also arrange a taxi service by email in advance, as these taxis are cheaper than regular taxis.

Get Around - By thumb

Hitchhiking is usually good. If you make it to a motorway toll station, just ask people to give you a lift by opening their windows to pay the toll. The toll collectors will usually not object. The hardest part, of course, is getting to the toll booth. If you are in Zagreb and heading south like most people, take bus 111 from Zagreb’s Savski most station and ask the bus driver where to get off to get to the toll booth. Petrol stations are the second best place to ask people to pick you up. Last but not least, just use your good old thumb and everything else will work if all else fails. Hitchhiking is not allowed on some roads. Roads where you are not allowed to hitchhike are usually marked with a sign with the word “hitchhike” crossed out (“trampen” is the Croatian word for “to hitch”).

Destinations in Croatia

Regions in Croatia

There are three different areas in Croatia: lowland Croatia (cr: Nizinska Hrvatska), coastal Croatia (Primorska Hrvatska) and mountain Croatia (Gorska Hrvatska), which can be divided into five travel regions:

  • Istria (Istra)
    A peninsula in the northwest bordering Slovenia
  • Kvarner
    The coastline and highlands north of Dalmatia comprise sub-regions: Kvarner Bay and Highlands (Lika and Gorski Kotar)
  • Dalmatia (Dalmacija)
    A strip of mainland and islands between the Mediterranean and Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Slavonia (Slavonija)
    Including the sub-regions of Slavonija and Baranja (north of the Drava), a north-eastern area of forests and fields bordering Hungary, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  • Central Croatia (Središnja Hrvatska)
    North-central highlands, location of Zagreb

Cities in Croatia

  • Zagreb – the capital and largest city
  • Dubrovnik – historic coastal city and UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Split – ancient port city with Roman ruins
  • Pula – the largest city in Istria with the Roman amphitheatre (commonly called the Arena).
  • Osijek – capital of Slavonia and an important city
  • Sisak – largest river port, city on three rivers and the city that stopped the spread of the Turks in Europe in 1593, formerly Siscia.
  • Slavonski Brod – once an important star in the Ottoman defence line
  • Rijeka – the largest and most important port in Croatia
  • Varaždin – the former baroque capital of Croatia
  • Zadar – the largest city in north-central Dalmatia, rich in history

Other destinations in Croatia

  • Krka National Park – River Valley near Šibenik
  • Island of Cres
  • Island Hvar
  • Island Brač
  • Island Krk
  • Island Šolta
  • Makarska on the Makarska Riviera
  • Plitvice Lakes National Park
  • Žumberak – a mountainous region stretching from the border between Slovenia and Croatia

Things To See in Croatia

Croatia has an impressive history, which can best be seen in the multitude of places worth seeing. Most towns have a historical centre with typical architecture. There are differences between the coast and the mainland, so both areas are a must-see. The most famous city is probably Dubrovnik, a perfect example of coastal architecture, but it is not the only one worth visiting. Equally important is the capital and largest city, Zagreb, with a population of around 1 million. It is a modern city with all the modern features, but it has a relaxed look. To the east, the Slavonia region is a source of inspiration, with the regional capital Osijek and the war-torn city of Vukovar. Vineyards and wine cellars are scattered throughout the region and most of them offer tours and wine tastings.

There are many cultural places worth seeing all over the country. Croatia has 7 UNESCO protected areas, 8 national parks and 10 nature parks. In total, the country has 444 protected areas. The beautiful Adriatic Sea stretches over 1,777 km of coastline, there are 1,246 islands to see, making Croatia an attractive nautical destination.

Things To Do in Croatia


Sailing is a great way to see offshore islands and networks of small archipelagos. Most charters depart from Split or the surrounding area on the north or south course, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. A good option is to book a package with a local company, although many Croatian companies also offer crewed or uncrewed charters.

The reservation of a chartered vessel is essentially made in two parts. Half of the charter price is paid immediately, after which the reservation is confirmed. The remaining fifty per cent is usually paid four weeks before the charter date. Before making the first payment, you should ask to see the charter contract at the agency where you have chartered a boat. Be aware of cancellation fees, because if you cancel your holiday, you often risk losing the fifty per cent you have already paid at the time of booking. After that, you are ready to go on your sailing holiday.

When you arrive at the marina where your chartered yacht is moored, you will need to check in (usually around 4pm on Saturdays) and do your shopping for the charter holiday. Don’t neglect the shopping as the sea is unpredictable and you don’t want to be stuck on the boat without something to eat or drink.

You can shop at a marina (although prices are much higher there) or you can order from boat supply services, which usually deliver the products to your charter boat at no extra charge. This is convenient because it takes the pressure off you and the things you have to do when you arrive at the marina for your boating holiday.

Naturist resorts

Croatia was the first country in Europe to tackle the concept of commercial naturist resorts. According to some estimates, about 15 % of all tourists visiting the country are naturists or nudists (more than one million per year). There are more than 20 official nudist resorts as well as a very large number of so-called free beaches, which are unofficial nudist beaches sometimes controlled and maintained by the local tourism authorities. In fact, you are likely to find naturists on any beach outside the city centres. Naturist beaches in Croatia are marked “naturist”.

The most popular naturist destinations are Pula, Hvar and the island of Rab.

Medical tourism

Increasingly, Croatia is becoming a popular place for health tourism. A number of dental practices have experience in treating short-term visitors to Croatia. Croatian dentists study for 5 years in Zagreb or Rijeka. Harmonisation of training with EU standards has begun, in preparation for Croatia’s accession.


Lighthouses are one of the “wildest” holiday options in Croatia. Most of them are located on a deserted coast or on the open sea. Their special feature is that you can isolate yourself from the rest of the world and take the time to “smell the roses”. Sometimes the best way to relax is to join a Robinson Crusoe holiday.

Croatia has 11 rental lighthouses along the Adriatic coast: Savudrija, Sv. Ivan, Rt Zub, Porer, Veli Rat, Prisnjak, Sv. Petar, Pločica, Sušac, Struga and Palagruža.

Food & Drinks in Croatia

Food in Croatia

Croatian cuisine is very diverse, so it is difficult to say which dish is most typically Croatian. In the eastern continental regions (Slavonija and Baranja), spicy sausages like kulen or kulenova seka are a must. Čobanac (“shepherd’s stew”) is a mixture of different meats with lots of spicy red paprika. In Hrvatsko Zagorje and central Croatia, cheese-filled pasta called štrukli is a famous delicacy (it is said that the best štrukli in Croatia are served in the restaurant of the Esplanade Hotel in Zagreb), as is purica s mlincima (turkey baked in the oven with a special kind of pastry). Sir i vrhnje (sour cream with cottage cheese) can be bought fresh at the main market in Zagreb, Dolac. Croats love a little oil and you will find plenty of it in piroška. In the mountainous regions of Lika and Gorski Kotar, dishes based on mushrooms, wild berries and game meat are very popular. One of the typical dishes in Lika is police (jacket potatoes covered with bacon) and various cheeses (smoked cheese and škripavac).

The coastal region is known for its truffle delicacies and maneštra od soup bobić (Istria), Dalmatian pršut and paški sir (cheese from the island of Pag). Dishes based on fresh fish and other seafood (squid, octopus, crabs, langoustines) are not to be missed! Many places serve fish delivered the day before by the local fisherman – find out which ones!

Croatian cuisine has yet to find a representative of Croatian fast food. The market is dominated by hamburgers and pizzas, which are ubiquitous around the world, but you will also find “burek” and “ćevapčići”, which were imported from the medieval Ottoman Empire that stretched from Turkey to neighbouring Bosnia. These last two dishes are very popular throughout Southern and Eastern Europe. The burek is a type of cheese dough, while the ćevapčići are seasoned finger-shaped minced meat served in bread and often covered with onions. Although not a quick meal (it takes several hours to prepare), the sauerkraut or sarma rolls filled with minced meat and rice are also foreign in origin. For those returning from the nightclubs at 4 or 5 am, it is popular, as it is in Croatia, to go to the local bakery and get fresh bread, burek or krafne (Croatian donuts with chocolate filling) straight from the oven. Delicious! As for fast food, who needs it when you can buy delicious prsut during the day and warm bread to go with it in the evening. Most Croatians generally look down on fast food.

Desserts: What the fast food section lacks, Croatia fills with a variety of desserts. The most famous is probably its delicious cream cake called kremšnite, but various types of gibanica, štrudla and pita (similar to strudel and cake) such as orehnjača (walnut), makovnjača (poppy seed) or bučnica (pumpkin and cheese) are also highly recommended. Dubrovačka torta od skorupa is delicious but hard to find. It is said that paprenjaci (pepper biscuits) reflect Croatia’s tumultuous history because they combine wartime harshness (pepper) with natural beauties (honey). They can be bought in most souvenir shops, although fresh biscuits are always a better choice. Rapska torta (cake from the island of Rab) is made with almonds and the famous Maraschino cherry liqueur. It should be noted that this list is by no means exhaustive and that a simple look in a Croatian cookbook might also be worthwhile. The chocolate sweets “Bajadera” are available in all shops in the country and, together with the “Schattenmorelle”, are among the best-known products of the Croatian chocolate industry.

An essential ingredient of many dishes prepared in Croatia is “Vegeta”. It is a spice produced by “Podravka”.

Olives: Many people claim that Croatian olives and their olive oil are the best in the world, which is not even known in Croatia and even less in the world. There are many brands and some of them have received several world awards. Try to buy olive oil from Istra (although Dalmatian oil is also excellent) and when it comes to olives, choose only Croatian brands (especially Sms, which is rarely awarded as the best in the world). Try to read the declaration before buying to make sure you are buying Croatian olives and Croatian oil, as there are many imports (mostly cheap products from Greece). All of these can be found in most supermarkets, but you really have to watch out for the imports, most Croatians are not experts and prefer cheaper products, so they dominate. Olive oil is an irreplaceable ‘ingredient’ in coastal cuisine, but you should be aware of using cheaper, non-Croatian oil in restaurants, as most tourists don’t notice the difference and restaurants don’t find it profitable to use an excellent oil; they use cheaper Spanish or Greek oil instead. It usually helps to ask the waiter for a better oil (and to look like an expert), and soon he will get you a first-class oil from a hidden place.

Drinks in Croatia

Alcoholic: Rakija, a type of brandy that can be made from plums (šljivovica), grapes (loza), figs (smokovača), honey (medica) and many other fruits and herbs, is the main distilled drink in Croatia. Pelinkovac is a bitter herbal liqueur popular in central Croatia and has a similar taste to cough medicine. The famous Maraschino, a liqueur flavoured with Marasca cherries grown around Zadar in Dalmatia.

Croatia also produces a wide range of high-quality wines (up to 700 wines with protected geographical origin), beers and mineral waters. On the coast, people generally serve “bevanda” with meals. Bevanda is a heavy, richly flavoured red wine mixed with ordinary water. Its counterpart in the northern regions of Croatia is “gemišt”. This term refers to dry and flavoured white wines mixed with mineral water.

Two popular local beers are “Karlovačko” and “Ožujsko”, but “Velebitsko” and “Tomislav pivo” have acquired a semi-cult status in recent years. It is served only in certain places in Zagreb and Croatia. Many well-known European brands (Stella Artois, Beck’s, Carling, Heineken and others) are produced under licence in Croatia.

Non-alcoholic: mineral water, fruit juice, coffee (espresso, Turkish or instant), tea, Cedevita (instant multivitamin drink) and yoghurt drink. Sok od bazge (elderflower juice) is sometimes, but very rarely, found on the mainland. It is worth a try! In Istria there is also a drink called “pašareta”, a red sparkling drink with plant extracts. Very sweet and refreshing! In some parts of Istria (especially in the south) you can try “smrikva” in local cellars – a non-alcoholic refreshing drink made from berries growing on a kind of pine tree. The taste is a little sour, but very refreshing.

Alcoholic beverages may not be sold or served to persons under the age of 18, although this rule is not strictly enforced.

Money & Shopping in Croatia


The official currency of Croatia is the Kuna (HRK). Although many tourist shop owners can accept euros, they are not legal tender in Croatia. Any amount of kuna remaining at the end of your stay can be exchanged for euros at a local bank or exchange office.

Prices are about 10-20% lower than in most other EU countries. Tourist destinations and tourist items are much more expensive.


ATMs (in Croatian Bankomat) are easily accessible throughout Croatia. They accept various European bank cards, credit cards (Diners Club, Eurocard/MasterCard, Visa, American Express etc.) and debit cards (Cirrus, Maestro, Visa electron etc.). Read the stickers/instructions on the machine before using it.


Tipping is not particularly common, although it may be given in restaurants and bars. Prices are usually already adjusted upwards and labour legislation guarantees a minimum wage for all workers, so tips are generally not expected.

Taxi drivers and hairdressers often receive tips by rounding up the quoted price to the nearest multiple of 5 or 10 kuna.

A unique practice of tipping exists among pensioners who receive their pensions by post in rural areas. They may leave any coin with the postman, who hands it over as a token of appreciation.

Tax-free shopping

If you buy goods worth more than HRK 740, you are entitled to a VAT return (POS) when you leave the country. Note that this applies to all goods except petroleum products. Ask the seller for a PDV-P form at the time of purchase. Fill it out and have it stamped on the spot. When leaving Croatia, the receipt will be checked by Croatian customs. You can get a refund of the tax on petroleum products in kunas within six months, either at the shop where you bought the goods (in which case the tax is refunded immediately), or by returning the verified receipt to the shop, together with the account number to which the refund is to be transferred. In this case, the refund will be processed within 15 days of receipt of the request.

There is another, much easier way to get the refund. Buy your goods in shops with the label “CROATIA TAX-FREE SHOPPING”. This label is displayed at the entrance of the shop, usually next to the credit and debit card labels that the particular shop accepts. By using an international voucher, reimbursement is possible in all member countries of the international TAX-FREE chain. In this case, the service fee will be deducted from the amount of the tax refund.

Croatia now uses the Global Blue System. They make the refund and collect a commission. You can do this at the airport or send it by post after your return.

Natural cosmetics

The ingredients used (herbs, olive oil, etc.) are grown in Croatia. Compared to some world-renowned beauty products, Croatian natural cosmetics have a very interesting price-quality ratio.

Ulola makes soaps, bath salts, body butters and much more. Everything is natural and comes in combinations like: Orange and cinnamon, goat milk and almond oil, and so on.

S-Atea produces soaps, shower gels, body butters and much more. Seaweed, olive oil, rosemary and lavender are some of their main ingredients.

Bracfinisapuni (Brac Quality Soaps) produces a wide range of natural soaps. The latest addition to their bath line is Aurum Croaticum made from virgin olive oil and fine 23 carat gold leaf!

Croatian clothing designers

There are many Croatian designers and clothing specialists.

Etnobutik “Mara” (designs by Vesna Milković) offers a range of truly unique garments and accessories with the inscription “glagoljica” (glagolitic script; ancient Slavic alphabet). Some of her designs are protected as genuine Croatian products.

I-gle Fashion Studio by two Nataša designers Mihaljčišin i Martina Vrdoljak-Ranilović. Their clothes are sold at Harvey Nichols in Knightsbridge (London);

Nebo (“heaven”) is a fashion house that makes very pretty and funky clothes and shoes.

Nit (“Thread”) is certainly not very well known, even among Croatians, but it is really worth a visit as they have some “funky and artistic but serious” clothes that are “good value for money”.

Borovo is a stylish and affordable shoe company that makes everything from flip-flops to desert boots and high heels.

Festivals & Holidays in Croatia

Public holidays in Croatia are regulated by the Act on Public Holidays, Memorial Days and Days Off (in Croatian: Zakon o blagdanima, spomendanima i neradnim danima).

Date English name Local name
1 January New Year’s Day Nova Godina
6 January Epiphany Bogoyavljenje, Sveta tri kralja
Easter and the day after Easter and Easter Monday Uskrs i uskrsni ponedjeljak
1 May International Workers’ Day Međunarodni praznik rada
60 days after Easter Fête-Dieu Tijelovo
22 June Anti-fascist struggle day Dan antifašističke borbe
25 June State Day Dan državnosti
5 August Day of Victory and Thanksgiving of the Fatherland and Day of the Croatian Defenders Dan pobjede i domovinske zahvalnosti i Dan hrvatskih branitelja
15 August Assumption Day Velika Gospa
8 October Independence Day Dan neovisnosti
1 November All Saints’ Day Dan svih svetih
25 December Christmas Božić
Boxing Day Saint Stephen’s Day Prvi dan po Božiću, Sveti Stjepan, Štefanje

Note: Citizens of the Republic of Croatia who celebrate various religious holidays have the right not to work on these days. These include Christians celebrating Christmas on 7 January according to the Julian calendar, Muslims on the days of Ramadan Bayram and Kurban Bayram, and Jews on the days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

Unofficial holidays

  • Shrove Tuesday (Pokladni utorak) is the occasion for celebrating carnival in most towns and villages.
  • Some cities also celebrate de facto holidays on the occasion of the feast of their patron saints. For example, Split celebrates Saint Domnius (Sveti Duje) on 7 May, while Dubrovnik celebrates Saint Blasius’ Day (Sveti Vlaho) on 3 February.

Traditions & Customs in Croatia

Don’t forget that the 1990s were marked by ethnic conflicts and that the bloody and brutal war in Croatia is still a painful topic, but in general it should not be a problem if you approach the subject with respect. Visitors will find that domestic politics and European affairs are daily topics of conversation in Croatia.

Visitors should avoid referring to Croatia as a Balkan country, as Croats prefer to see their country as Mediterranean and Central European and some will take offence at the word “Balkan”. Geographically, southern and coastal Croatia is part of the Balkans, while the regions north of the Sava and Kupa rivers are not.

Socially, the expressions of affection of the younger generation are the same as in Western Europe, but the older generation (over 65) remains quite conservative.

On country roads, especially when a driver has to stop to let you pass, it is customary to thank the other driver by raising your hand from the steering wheel.

Most Croatians will respond to a “thank you” with something like “it was nothing” or “not at all”, which is equivalent to “don’t mention it”.

Culture Of Croatia

Due to its geographical location, Croatia represents a mixture of four different cultures. Since the division of the Western Roman Empire and the Byzantine Empire, it has been a crossroads of influences from Western and Eastern culture, as well as from Central European and Mediterranean culture. The Illyrian movement was the most significant period in the national cultural history, as the nineteenth century proved decisive for the emancipation of the Croatian language and saw unprecedented development in all areas of art and culture, producing a number of historical figures.

The Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia is responsible for the preservation of the nation’s cultural and natural heritage and for monitoring its development. Other activities that support the development of culture are carried out at the local government level. There are seven sites in Croatia on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The country is also rich in intangible culture and has ten of the UNESCO World Intangible Cultural Masterpieces, which surpasses all European countries except Spain, which has the same number of listed objects. One of Croatia’s cultural contributions to the world is the necktie, derived from the headscarf originally worn by Croatian mercenaries in 17th century France.

In 2012, there are 60 professional theatres, 17 professional children’s theatres and 60 amateur theatres in Croatia, which are visited by more than 1.8 million spectators per year. The professional theatres employ 1,121 artists. There are 23 professional orchestras, ensembles and choirs in the country, attracting 294,000 spectators annually. There are 162 cinemas with an attendance of more than 4 million spectators. Croatia has 175 museums, which were visited by almost 2.2 million people in 2009. There are also 1,731 libraries with 24.5 million volumes and 18 archives.

In 2009, more than 7,200 books and brochures were published, as well as 2,678 magazines and 314 newspapers. The country also has 146 radio stations and 21 television channels. In the last five years, film production in Croatia has produced up to five feature films and 10 to 51 short films, in addition to 76 to 112 television films. In 2009, there are 784 amateur cultural and artistic associations and more than 10,000 cultural, educational and artistic events organised every year. The book publishing market is dominated by a few large publishing houses and the flagship of the industry, Interliber, held annually at the Zagreb Fair.

Croatia has established a high level of human development and gender equality in relation to the Human Development Index. It promotes the rights of persons with disabilities. Recognition of same-sex partnerships in Croatia has gradually improved over the last decade, leading to the registration of civil partnerships in July 2014, which grant same-sex couples equal inheritance rights, tax deductions and limited adoption rights. However, in December 2013, Croats voted in favour of a constitutional referendum supported by conservative groups that defined marriage as a “life covenant between a woman and a man”.

Art and literature

The architecture in Croatia reflects the influences of neighbouring countries. Austrian and Hungarian influence is visible in the public spaces and buildings in the northern and central regions, while the architecture on the Dalmatian and Istrian coasts shows a Venetian influence. Large squares named after cultural heroes, well-kept parks and pedestrian zones are characteristic of these orderly towns, especially where large-scale Baroque urban planning took place, for example in Osijek (Tvrđa), Varaždin and Karlovac.The later influence of Art Nouveau is reflected in contemporary architecture: along the coast the architecture is Mediterranean, with a strong Venetian and Renaissance influence in large urban areas, exemplified by the works of Giorgio da Sebenico and Niccolò Fiorentino, such as the Cathedral of St James in Šibenik. The oldest surviving examples of Croatian architecture are the 9th century churches, the largest and most representative of which is that of Donatus of Zadar.

In addition to architecture, which comprises the oldest works of art in Croatia, there is a long history of artists in Croatia dating back to the Middle Ages. The stone portal of Trogir Cathedral was made by Radovan at the time and is the most important monument of Romanesque sculpture in medieval Croatia. On the Adriatic coast, the Renaissance had the greatest influence, as the rest of Croatia was embroiled in the hundred-year Croatian-Ottoman war. With the decline of the Ottoman Empire, Baroque and Rococo art flourished. The 19th and 20th centuries saw the rise of many Croatian craftsmen, supported by some patrons such as Bishop Josip Juraj Strossmayer. Croatian artists of this period who achieved world fame are Vlaho Bukovac and Ivan Meštrović.

The Baška tablet, a stone with the Glagolitic alphabet found on the island of Krk and dated to 1100, is considered the oldest preserved prose in Croatian. The beginning of a more vigorous development of Croatian literature is marked by the Renaissance and Marko Marulić. In addition to Marulić, the playwright of the Mariner Renaissance Držić, the Baroque poet Ivan Gundulić, the poet of the Croatian National Revival Ivan Mažuranić, the novelist, playwright and poet August Šenoa, the poet and writer Antun Gustav Matoš, the poet Antun Branko Šimić, the expressionist and realist writer Miroslav Krleža, the poet Tin Ujević and the novelist and short story writer Ivo Andrić are often mentioned as the greatest figures of Croatian literature.


Freedom of the press and freedom of expression are guaranteed in the Croatian constitution. Croatia is ranked 62nd in the Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index 2010. The state news agency HINA operates a news service in Croatian and English on politics, the economy, society and culture.

Nevertheless, despite the provisions enshrined in the Constitution, freedom of the press and freedom of expression in Croatia has been rated as partially free since 2000 by Freedom House, the independent non-governmental organisation that monitors press freedom worldwide. The country was ranked 85th (out of 196 countries). Freedom House’s 2011 report noted an improvement in relevant legislation reflecting Croatia’s EU accession, but also pointed to cases of attempts by politicians to obstruct investigative journalism and influence the content of reporting, difficulties in public access to information, and the fact that most of the print media market is controlled by the German Europapress Holding and the Austrian Styria Media Group. Amnesty International reports that in 2009 there was an increase in the number of physical attacks and killings of journalists in Croatia. These incidents were mainly perpetrated against journalists researching war crimes and organised crime.

As of October 2011, there are nine free-to-air DVB-T television channels nationwide, two of which are operated by Croatian Radio and Television (HRT), Nova TV and RTL Televizija, and the other three by the Croatian Olympic Committee, Kapital Net d.o.o. and Author d.o.o.. In addition, there are 21 regional or local TV channels in DVB-T. HRT also broadcasts a satellite television channel. In 2012, there were 146 radio stations and 25 television channels in Croatia. Cable and IPTV networks are on the rise in the country, with cable TV networks already serving 450,000 people, or 10% of the country’s total population.

There are 314 newspapers and 2,678 magazines published in Croatia. The print media market is dominated by Europapress Holding and Styria Media Group, which publish their flagship dailies Jutarnji listVečernji list and 24sata. Other influential newspapers are Novi list and Slobodna Dalmacija. In 2013, 24sata was the daily with the highest circulation, followed by Večernji list and Jutarnji list.

The Croatian film industry is small and heavily subsidised by the government, mainly through grants awarded by the Ministry of Culture, with films often co-produced by HRT. The Pula Film Festival, the national film awards ceremony held annually in Pula, is the most prestigious film event showcasing national and international productions. The greatest achievement of Croatian filmmakers was made by Dušan Vukotić when he won the Oscar for the best animated short film for Ersatz (in Croatian: Surogat) in 1961.


Traditional Croatian cuisine varies from region to region. Dalmatia and Istria draw inspiration from the culinary influences of Italian and other Mediterranean cuisines, which include various seafood, cooked vegetables and pasta, and spices such as olive oil and garlic. Continental cuisine is heavily influenced by Hungarian, Austrian and Turkish cooking styles. Meat, freshwater fish and vegetable dishes predominate in this region.

There are two distinct wine-growing regions in Croatia. The mainland region in the north-east of the country, especially Slavonia, is capable of producing high-quality wines, especially white wines. Along the northern coast, wines from Istria and Krk resemble those from neighbouring Italy, while further south, in Dalmatia, Mediterranean-type red wines are the norm. Annual wine production exceeds 140 million litres. Croatia was almost exclusively a wine-consuming country until the end of the 18th century, when more massive beer production and consumption began. In 2008, annual beer consumption was 83.3 litres per capita, which placed Croatia 15th among countries in the world.

Stay Safe & Healthy in Croatia

Stay safe in Croatia

In summer, make sure you use an appropriate sun protection factor to protect yourself from sunburn. There are no ozone holes over Croatia, but it is quite easy to get sunburnt. In this case, you should protect yourself from the sun, drink plenty of fluids and rehydrate your skin. Local residents often advise covering the burnt area with cold yoghurt bought at the supermarket.

In an emergency, you can dial 112 – it is responsible for dispatching all emergency services such as the fire brigade, police, emergency medical assistance and mountain rescue.

Since the end of hostilities in 1995, there are an estimated 46,317 landmines still lying in Croatia. However, they are not in areas visited by tourists. If you are planning a trek, consult the locals before setting out. Areas suspected of being mined are marked with 13,274 warning signs. Although mines are still a problem for Croatia, it is very unlikely that you will see minefields in Croatia today.

If you are in an area that may be contaminated by mines, stay near marked roads or known safe areas.

Watch out for the danger signs of the bora wind. The bora can be particularly strong in the Velebit region, where it can blow at up to 200 km/h and knock over trucks. However, if the wind is strong enough to pose a significant danger to all traffic on a section of road, that section will be closed. Avoid all activities on the sea when the bora wind is strong. Accidents caused by the wind occur every year and lead to deaths among tourists in Croatia. These range from sailing accidents to drowning due to high tide.

Avoid strip clubs at all costs. They are often run by very shady characters and often overcharge their customers. Recent cases include foreigners who were charged 2,000 euros for a bottle of champagne. These clubs overcharge their customers to the extreme and their bouncers show no mercy if you tell them you can’t pay. You will soon find yourself in a local hospital. Common sense is important, but due to the nature of the clubs, there may be a shortage of this type of product and it may be best to just stay away from these clubs.

Abuse of LGBT persons is possible in Croatia, so travellers should avoid public displays of same-sex affection.

Stay healthy in Croatia

No vaccinations are required for travel to Croatia.

When camping or hiking on the Croatian mainland in summer, be aware of ticks and tick-borne diseases such as encephalitis and Lyme disease. About 3 out of 1000 ticks are carriers of the virus.

In Eastern Slavonia (especially around Kopački Rit near Osijek) people wear long sleeves and take insecticides.

Tap water in Croatia is perfectly safe and in some areas is considered the best in the world. However, you can always choose from several brands of excellent bottled water (Jamnica is the most popular, and Jana, which has been awarded several times as the best bottled water in the world).

Although the water is some of the best in the world, you should avoid drinking the homemade wine sold in plastic jugs at many local farmers’ markets as it can cause intestinal upset.



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