Croatia (Croatian: Hrvatska) is a country in the Balkans on the east side of the Adriatic Sea, to the east of Italy. It is surrounded by Slovenia to the northwest, Hungary to the north, Bosnia and Herzegovina to the southeast, Serbia in the east, and Montenegro to the south.
The Croats settled in the Balkans in the early 7th century and formed two principalities: Dalmatia and Pannonia. The establishment of the Trpimirović dynasty ca 850 brought strengthening to the Dalmatian Croat Duchy, which together with the Pannonian principality became a kingdom in 925 under King Tomislav. In 1102, Croatia entered into a personal union with the Hungarian Kingdom. After the 1526 Battle of Mohács the "reliquiae reliquiarum" (remnants of the remnants) of Croatia became a part of the Habsburg Monarchy in 1527. Croatian lands were part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until the latter's dissolution at the end of World War I. In 1918, the Croats, Serbs, and Slovenes formed a kingdom known after 1929 as Yugoslavia. Following World War II, Yugoslavia became an independent communist state under the strong hand of Marshal Tito. When Croatia declared independence in 1991 it took four years of sporadic but bloody war before Yugoslav army left Croatia. Under UN supervision the last Serb-held enclave in eastern Slavonia was returned to Croatia in 1998. The conflict resulted in a mass exodus of the native Serbian minority (to Bosnia and Serbia) which had inhabited portions of Croatia for centuries. Prior to the war of independence, Croatia's Serbian minority made up around 15% of the overall population.
Visitors now to Croatia's more popular towns would see little physical evidence of this violence. Croatia's coastal areas are especially stunning, and have the hybrid charm of Eastern European and the Mediterranean.
There are three regions of croatia: Lowland Croatia (croatian: "Nizinska Hrvatska"), Littoral Croatia (cr. "Primorska Hrvatska") and Mountainish Croatia (cr. "Gorska Hrvatska").
Littoral Croatia is made of north and south Croatian coastline: Northern coastline consists of:
Istria (cr. "Istra") - a peninsula in the northwest, bordering Slovenia
Kvarner - seashore and highlands north of Dalmatia Southern coastline consists of only:
Dalmatia (cr. "Dalmacija")- a strip of mainland and islands between the Mediterranean and Bosnia and Herzegovina
Lowland Croatia consists of:
Zagreb - the capital and largest city.
Dubrovnik - historic coastal city and UNESCO World Heritage site.
Split- ancient port city with Roman ruins.
Pula - biggest town in Istria with the Roman amphitheater (commonly called Arena)
Osijek - capital of Slavonia and an important city.
Slavonski Brod -
Rijeka - Croatia's largest and main port
Varaždin - Croatia's former Baroque capital.
Zadar - biggest city of north-central Dalmatia with rich history
Omiš - coastal jewel built by the Pirates
Ruskamen - most beautiful beaches on Adriatic.
Novalja - on the Island of Pag
Njivice - on the Island of Krk
Bol - island Brač
Krka National Park - a river valley near Šibenik
Kornati National Park
Island of Hvar
Island of Brač
Vrbovec, a small town near Zagreb
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has included the following Croatian sites on its World Heritage List:
North Americans, Australians and many other nationals can enter Croatia with a valid passport and without a visa. Citizens of EU member countries and Bosnia and Herzegovina can even enter the country with a valid identity card. The document of identity must be valid at least three months longer than you plan to stay in Croatia.
Transport services Whether you arrive in Croatia by air, ferry or a cruise boat and you need transportation to your final destination (hotel, apartment or private accommodation) you can use taxi service by calling 970. Taxi usually comes within 10 to 15 minutes from the call except in busy summer season where it depends on how much business they have. You can also book the transportation in advance which is great when you are in a hurry or have a larger number of people in need of transportation, or you just want everything organized in advance.
Croatia Airlines , the national carrier and member of 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 - Slovenian national carrier flies from Ljubljana to Split and Dubrovnik (note: there are no flights from Ljubljana to Zagreb as the two are located close together and are around 2 hours by car/train/bus)
Austrian Airlines flies from Vienna to Zagreb, Split and Dubrovnik
Alitalia flies from Milan Malpensa to Zagreb and Split.
FlyBe operates routes between Dubrovnik and two UK destinations Exeter and Birmingham.
Intersky flies from Friedrichshafen to Zadar
Additionally you can use airports in neighboring countries which are within few hours of reach from Zagreb and Rijeka (apart from 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 from Stanstead). Ancona is also an option (Ryanair from Stanstead) for those who want to take ferry or hydrofoil to Zadar and Split. Ryanair also flies to Pescara which is a short drive away from Ancona.
Some may decide to use Tivat Airport (in Montenegro) which is within easy reach from Dubrovnik.
The rail network connects all major Croatian cities, except Dubrovnik. There are direct lines from Austria, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Germany, Hungary, Slovenia, Italy, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and Greece. There are indirect lines from almost all other European countries.
Tourists coming from or going to neighboring countries should note the following EuroCity and InterCity railway lines:
NB: While Croatia (paired with Slovenia) is covered on some Eurail passes, staff at domestic ticket windows will tend to have no idea about validating the pass on the first day of use. There are recorded instances of staff saying that the conductor would validate the pass, and the conductor simply treating it as a regular ticket. Fortunately, the international ticket staff (particularly in Zagreb) are aware of how to validate the pass, and have been known to validate it retrospectively where necessary. They even ask for the details of the domestic ticket seller who gave the wrong information.
The traveller is therefore recommended to have already validated their Eurail pass on arrival in Croatia, or to have it validated at an international window even if the first trip on it will be domestic.
To enter Croatia, a driver's license, an automobile registration card and vehicle insurance documents (including Green Card) are required. If you need road assistance, you should dial 987. The following speeds are permitted:
50 km/h - within built-up areas
90 km/h - outside built-up areas
110 km/h - on major motor routes
130 km/h - on motorways
80 km/h - for motor vehicles with a caravan trailer
80 km/h - for buses and buses with a light trailer
When driving in the rain, you should adjust speed to conditions on wet roads. Driving with headlights is not obligatory during the day (during Daylight Savings Time; it is obligatory during winter months). Use of mobile phones while driving is not permitted. Maximum permitted amount of alcohol in blood: 0.5 per ml! Use of seat belts is obligatory.
Hrvatski Auto Klub is the Croatian Automobile Club dedicated to assisting drivers and promoting greater traffic security. Its site offers minute-by-minute updates, status of national traffic, weather, numerous maps and webcams located all over Croatia. Content is available in Croatian, English, German and Italian.
Very good network of buses once in the country - cheap and regular.
If you are coming from Italy there are two buses daily from Venice leaving at 11AM and 1:45PM going to Istria, with a final stop in Pula. These are operated by two different bus companies, but you can buy tickets for both buses at the A.T.V.O bus office at the Venice bus station. The office is in the bus station, but located outside on the ground level across from where all the buses park. Both buses pick up at spot b15. It is roughly a 5 hour bus ride, with stops in Trieste and Rovinj. You can also pick up the bus at the bus station in Mestre, fifteen minutes after the scheduled bus leaves Venice. Coming in from Trieste, Italy is popular among Europeans, for Trieste is a Ryanair destination. You cross the Italian-Slovenian border first, followed by the Slovenian-Croatian border, but they are very close to one another. Border officers will board the bus to see passports, but you do not have to exit the bus.
Dubrovnik and Split are the main destinations of international buses from Bosnia and Hercegovina or Montenegro, with daily buses traveling to cities such as Sarajevo, Mostar and Kotor (some lines such as Split-Mostar operate every few hours). Seasonal lines also extend through to Skopje from Dubrovnik. Border formalities on the buses are extremely efficient, and do not involve leaving the bus (previous services from Dubrovnik to Kotor involved changing buses at the Croatian border).
Osijek is a very big bus hub for international travel to Hungary, Serbia and Bosnia in addition to its local buses, and the station is located conveniently next to the railway station. Many buses heading from Zagreb north into Hungary or Austria will pass through Varaždin.
Ferries are cheap and go regularly between various places by the coast. Although they are not fast they are probably the best way to see the beautiful Croatian islands of the Adriatic Sea.
Jadrolinija is the main Croatian passenger shipping line that maintains the largest number of regular international and domestic ferry and shipping lines. The following international lines are serviced by car ferries:
Korčula - Hvar - Split - Ancona
Zadar - Dugi otok - Ancona
National airline company Croatia Airlines connects major cities in Croatia to each other and foreign destinations. Due to the comparatively short distances and relatively high hassle of air travel - especially when you travel with luggage - domestic air travel is used mostly for getting to end points - e.g., Zagreb to Dubrovnik (see map) and vice-versa.
Another flight which is popular (available in the summer months only) is between Split and Osijek, saving a long trip back through Croatia, or alternatively through the middle of Bosnia.
Train travel is definitely improving in Croatia, with money being spent on updating the aging infrastructure and vehicles. Trains are clean and mostly on time.
Croatia's rail network connects all major Croatian cities, except Dubrovnik. If you want to visit Dubrovnik, you will have to travel by train to Split, and then go on the bus for Dubrovnik. Trains to Pula are actually connected via Slovenia due to historical accident, though there are designated connecting buses from Rijeka.
Rail is still the cheapest connection between inland and coast, though not the most frequent. As of 2004, the new 160kph "tilting trains" that connect Zagreb with Split and other major cities in Croatia such as Rijeka and Osijek have been progressively introduced, resulting in higher levels of comfort and significantly faster journeys between cities (Zagreb-Split is now 5.5hrs from 9, Osijek is now 3 when other trains take around 4.5hrs). If you make a reservation early enough you can get a substantial discount, or if you are a holder of an ISIC card etc.
Tickets are not usually sold on-board, except if you happen to get on the train on one of the few stations/stops without ticket sales. However, only local trains stop on such stations. In all other cases, the ticket you will buy from the conductor will cost considerably more than the one bought outside the train.
A very comprehensive coach network connects all parts of the country. Bus service between major cities (intercity lines) is quite frequent, as well as regional services. The most frequent bus terminal in Croatia is Bus Terminal Zagreb (in Croatian "Autobusni kolodvor Zagreb").
Croatia is blessed with a beautiful coastline which is best explored by ferry to access the hundreds of islands.
In many instances, the only way to get to the islands is by ferry or catamaran. If you plan on using either you should check these web sites because they have the regular ferry and catamaran information.
Jadrolinja - Jadrolinija is the Croatian National ferry company, and as well as routes operating from the major cities to the islands, operate a ferry along the Adriatic Coast from Rijeka to Dubrovnik (and then across to Bari, Italy) calling at Split, Hvar, Mljet and Korcula. Check timetables as the schedules are seasonal. The boats are large and have sleeping facilities as the Rijeka-Split leg goes overnight.
Roads in Croatia are usually well maintained, but usually vey narrow and full of curves. It's difficult to find a true highway with more than one way per direction, the only exceptions being the ones connecting Rijeka, Zagreb, Zadar and Split. Speed limits are thus low (60 - 90 kmh), and it's not recommended to drive faster (although most locals do), especially at night. Be aware of animals crossing the road.
Renting a car is around the same price as in any other EU country (from around €40). Most rental agencies in the Balkans allow you to rent a car in one country and drive in the neighboring countries however try to avoid a renting a car in Serbia and driving it into Croatia in order to avoid negative attention from locals.
On the resently build Croatian Motorway toll fees apply, the motorway A6 between Zagreb and Rijeka was finished end of 2008, the main motorway A1 from Zagreb to Dubrovnik is still under construction the current ending point is in Ravča, which is 140 km from Dubrovnik.
Hitchhiking is generally good. If you can get to a highway toll stop simply ask people to take you with them as they open their windows to pay the toll. The toll collectors usually won't mind. The tricky part, of course, is to get to the toll stop. If you are in Zagreb and you are, like most people, heading south, take the bus 111 from the Savski most station in Zagreb and ask the bus driver where to get off to get to the toll stop. Next best place to ask people to pick you up are gas stations. And finally, just using the good old thumb will work too if everything else fails.
Croatia has an impressive history, a fact that is best explained through the vast array of sites worth visiting. Most towns have an historical center with it's typical architecture. There are differences between the coast and the continental part, so both areas are a must. The most famous is Dubrovnik, a prime example of the coastal architecture, but by no means the only one worth visiting. Equally important is the capital and largest city, Zagreb, with a population of about 1 million. It is a modern city with all the modern features, yet it has a laid back feel. In the east, in the region of Slavonija with it's regional capital Osijek and the war torn Vukovar are awe inspiring. Scattered throughout the region are vineyards and wine cellars, most of which give tours and tastings.
Sailing is a good way to see the coastal islands and networks of small archipelagos. Most charters leave from Split or the surrounding area on the North or the South circuit, each offering its own pros and cons. A good way is to book a package with a company at home, but many Croatian companies also offer both bareboat and crewed charters:
Booking of a charter vessel is basically done in two parts. Fifty percent of the charter price is paid right away, after which the booking is confirmed. The other fifty percent of the charter fee is usually paid four weeks before the charter date. Before the first payment of the charter fee you should request to see the charter contract from the agency where you chartered a boat. Pay close attention to cancellation fees because many times if you cancel your charter vacation you could lose the initial fifty percent you already payed when you booked a charter so take a close look at that in the charter contract.
After that you are set for a sailing vacation. When you arrive to marina where your chartered yacht is situated you need to do the check in (usually Saturday around 04:00 PM) and you have to do the shopping for the charter vacation. Don't neglect the groceries shopping because the sea is unpredictable and you don't want to get stuck on the boat without anything to eat or drink. You can do the shopping in a marina (although the prices are much higher there) or you can order from yacht provisioning services who usually deliver the products to your chartered yacht at no extra fee. In Jam Yacht Supply online provisioning catalog you can order from a large selection of groceries and other products months in advance and everything you order awaits for you in the marina. This is convenient because it takes the load of you and the things you must do when you arrive at the marina for your sailing holiday.
A number of organizations run adventure holidays in Croatia:
Great Explorations offers cycling tours beginning in Dubrovnik visiting Mljet, Korcula, Hvar and Brac and finishing in Split. Staying in 3&4 star hotels, with private transfers between islands makes this a unique and comfortable way to experience the best of Croatia, actively. Custom trips are also available.
Croatia Adventures offers custom designed group travel programs & itineraries in the most attractive destinations for business and leisure trips. As a part of a wide range of destination management services, they provide various activities such as 4x4 offroad, sailing, cultural tours, scuba diving, horseback riding, canyoning, etc.
Live aboard Croatia, . Live aboard scuba diving adventure. The Beluga live aboard fleet is the is the ONLY live aboard fleet in Croatia, that provides luxury of classy live aboard but at the same time comfort and cosines of sharing the ship with only 20 people!
Croatia was the first country in Europe to start with the concept of commercial naturist resorts. According to some estimates about 15% of all tourists that visit the country are naturists or nudists (more than one million each year). There are more than 20 official naturist resorts as well as a very large number of the so-called free beaches which are unofficial naturist beaches, sometimes controlled and maintained by local tourist authorities. In fact, you are likely to find nudists on any beach outside of town centers. Naturist beaches in Croatia are marked as "FKK". The most popular nudist destinations are Pula, Hvar and island Rab.
Increasingly Croatia is becoming a popular place for health tourism. A number of dental surgeries have experience in treating short term visitors to Croatia. Croatian dentists study for 5 years in Zagreb or Rijeka. Harmonization of training with EU standards has begun, in preparation for Croatia's accession.
One of Croatia's more "wild" holiday offers are the lighthouses. Most of them are situated on a deserted coastline or in the open sea. The specialty of this is that you are able to cut yourself off from the rest of the world and take the time to "smell the roses". Sometimes the best way to relax is to take part in a Robinson Crusoe style holiday.
Croatia has 11 rent-a-lighthouses along the Adriatic coast: Savudrija, Sv. Ivan, Rt Zub, Porer, Veli Rat, Prisnjak, Sv. Petar, Plocica, Susac, Struga and Palagruza.
Croatian cuisine is quite diverse so it is hard to say what meal is most typically Croatian. In the eastern continental regions (Slavonija and Baranja) spicy sausage such as kulen or kulenova seka is a must-try. Čobanac ("shepherd's stew") is a mixture of several different kinds of meat with a lot of red spicy paprika. In Hrvatsko Zagorje and Central Croatia pasta filled with cheese called štrukli is a famous delicacy (it is said that the best štrukli in Croatia is served in the Esplanade Hotel restaurant in Zagreb), as is purica s mlincima (baked turkey with a special kind of pastry). Sir i vrhnje (sour cream with cottage cheese) can be bought fresh on the Zagreb main market Dolac. Croats love a bit of oil and you will find plenty of it in piroška. In mountainous regions of Lika and Gorski Kotar meals made of mushrooms, wild berries and wild meat are very popular. One of typical dishes in Lika is police (oven-baked potatoes covered with bacon) and several kinds of cheese (smoked cheese and škripavac).
The coastal region is well known for truffle delicacies and soup maneštra od bobić (Istria), Dalmatian pršut and paški sir (Pag-island cheese). Dishes made of fresh fish and other products of the sea (calamari, octopus, crabs, scampi) shouldn't be given a miss! Many places serve fish delivered from the local fisherman the night before - find out which ones!
Croatian cuisine has yet to come up with a Croatian fast food representative. The market is dominated by globally ubiquitous hamburgers and pizzas but you will also find "burek" and "ćevapčići" imported from the medieval Ottoman empire which stretched from Turkey to neighboring Bosnia. The latter two dishes are widely popular in the entire South and Eastern Europe. Burek is a type of cheese-pastry whereas ćevapčići are seasoned minced meat shaped in finger-size portions served in bread and often covered with onions. Although definitely not a fast meal (takes several hours to prepare) also foreign in origin is the so-called sarma or sauerkraut rolls filled with minced meat and rice. For those coming back from nightclubs at 4 or 5AM as is common in Croatia, it is popular to go to the local bakery and get fresh bread, burek or krafne (croatian chocolate filled donuts) straight out of the oven. Delicious! As far as fast food goes, who needs it when you can buy delicious prsut during the day and warm bread at night to compliment it. Most Croatians generally look down at fast food.
Desserts: What it lacks in the fast food department Croatia makes up with a myriad of desserts. Probably the most famous is its delicious creamy cake called kremšnite but different kinds of gibanica, štrudla and pita (similar to strudel and pie) such as orehnjača (walnut), makovnjača (poppy) or bučnica (pumpkin and cheese) are also highly recommended. Dubrovačka torta od skorupa is delicious but hard to find. Paprenjaci (pepper cookies) are said to reflect the Croatian tumultuous history because they combine the harshness of the war periods (pepper) with the natural beauties (honey). They can be bought in most souvenir shops though fresh-made are always a better choice. Rapska torta (The Rab island cake) is made with almonds and locally famous cherry liquor Maraschino. It should be noted that this is hardly an exhaustive list and even a casual glimpse in any Croatian cookbook is likely to be worth the effort. Chocolate candy "Bajadera" is available throughout shops in the country and along with "Griotte" is one of the most famous products of the Croatian chocolate industry.
An unavoidable ingredient in many meals prepared in Croatia is "Vegeta". It is a spice produced by "Podravka".
Olives: a lot of people claim that Croatian olives and their olive oil are the best in the world, which is not even well known in Croatia and less worldwide. Many brands exist and some of them have several world awards. Try to buy olive oil from Istra (although oil from Dalmatia is also excellent) and choose only Croatian brands for olives (most notable sms, few times awarded as the world's best!). Try to read the declaration before buying to ensure you are buying Croatian olives and oil, since there are a lot of imports (usually cheap products from Greece). All of this can be found in most of the supermarkets, but you should be really aware of the imports, most of the Croatian people aren't experts and prefer cheaper products, so they dominate. The olive oil is a irreaplaceable "ingredient" in the coastal cuisine, but you should be aware of the use of cheaper, not Croatian, oil in restaurants because most of the tourists don't notice the difference so the restaurants don't find it profitable to use excellent oil; they rather use cheaper Spanish or Greek. Usually, asking the waiter for a better oil (and looking like an expert) helps, and soon he gets you a first-class oil from a hidden place.
Alcoholic: Try many different kinds of wines. Also worth trying is rakija, a type of brandy which can be made of plum (šljivovica), grapes (loza), figs (smokovača) and many other types of fruit and aromatic herbs. Pelinkovac is a bitter herbal liquor popular in Central Croatia, but is said to resemble cough-medicine in flavor. Famous Maraschino, a liquer flavored with Marasca cherries, which are grown around Zadar, Dalmatia. Non-alcoholic: Sometimes although very rarely you may find "sok od bazge" (elderflower juice) in the continental region. Worth trying! On a more general note, Croatia produces a broad palette of high quality wines (up to 700 wines with protected geographic origin) and brandies, fruit juices, beers and mineral water. On the coast people usually serve "bevanda" with meals. Bevanda is heavy, richly flavored red wine mixed with plain water. Its counter-part in northern parts of Croatia is "gemisht". This term designates dry, flavored wines mixed with mineral water.
Two most popular beers are "Karlovačko" and "Ožujsko", but "Velebitsko" and "Tomislav pivo" have received a semi-cult status in the recent years. It is served only in some places in Zagreb and Croatia.
Private accommodation is the right choice for the independent traveller or holiday-maker. Apartment-style accommodation offers a flexible alternative to hotels while private rooms are a great option for shorter stays.
You can find ads for apartments and holiday homes online. These are often more expensive than those you could get directly, but they are generally much nicer and more comfortable than what you will usually get on the spot from the people at the ferry or bus terminal when you arrive. Use local agencies or check the property before you accept the deal. In high season, a reservation is highly recommended. For the last 10 years, more summer tourists go to Croatia than to the French Riviera.
In Croatia there are 4 major types of accommodation:
Croatia's official currency is the kuna. In many tourist places prices will be also given in euros. Although some business owners may even accept euros they will usually not be authorized to do this. Use the near-by cash-point or a bureau de change to obtain the needed amount of kuna and note that whatever amount of kuna you have left at the end of your stay you can convert to euros at a local bank or exchange office.
Prices are around 10% to 20% lower than other EU countries. Touristic destinations and articles shoot prices up, though.
ATMs (in Croatian bankomat) are readily available throughout Croatia. They will accept various European bank cards, credit cards (Diners Club, Eurocard/Mastercard, Visa, American Express etc.) and Croatian debit cards (Cirrus, Maestro, Visa electron etc.). Read the labels/notices on the machine before using.
If you buy goods worth more than 500 kuna you are entitled to a PDV (VAT) tax return when leaving the country. Note that this applies to all goods except petroleum products. At point of purchase ask the sales person for a PDV-P form. Fill it out and have it stamped on the spot. On leaving Croatia the receipt will be verified by the Croatian Customs service. A PDV refund in Kunas can be obtained within six months, either at the same shop where you bought the goods (in that case the tax will be refunded to you immediately), or by posting the verified receipt back to the shop, together with the account number into which the refund should be paid. In this case the refund is dealt with within 15 days of receipt of the claim. There is another, much easier way to receive the refund. Buy your goods in shops with a "CROATIA TAX-FREE SHOPPING" label. This label is displayed on the shop's entrance, usually next to the labels of credit and debit cards this particular shop accepts. Using an international coupon, refund is possible in all countries-members of the TAX-FREE international chain. In this case the service charge is deducted from the tax refund amount.
See Croatian phrasebook
Many Croatians speak English as their second language, but German and Italian are very popular too (largely because of the large annual influx of German and Italian tourists). People in the tourist industry most often speak English quite well, as do the younger generation, especially in the tourist areas of Istria, along the coast down to Dubrovnik, and in the capital, Zagreb. Elder people will rarely speak English, but you shouldn't have any problems if you switch to German or Italian. If you know Czech, you can try it as well, as Czech and Croatian are partially mutually intelligible (but some words are very different) and in many places, Croatian people are used to large number of Czech tourists.
Croatian is not an easy language to learn, but the people like when foreign travelers use it for basic things such as greeting and thanking.
Keep in mind that 1990s marked with Serbian aggression and Croatian-Serbian bloody and brutal war is still a painful subject, but generally there should be no problem if you approach that topic with respect. Visitors will find that domestic politics and European affairs are everyday conversation subjects in Croatia.
Socially, displays of affection among the younger generation are the same as Western European standards, but the older generation (over 65) still are quite conservative.
When driving on rural roads, particularly where a driver has to pull in to allow you to pass, it is customary to wave a thanks to the other driver, by raising your hand from the steering wheel.
Most Croats will respond to "thank you" with something along the lines of "It was nothing" or "not at all" which is equivalent to English "Don't mention it".
There are no vaccination required to enter Croatia.
If you're going camping or hiking in continental Croatia during summer, you should be aware of ticks and tick-carrying diseases such as encephalitis and lyme-disease. Approximately 3 ticks in 1000 carry the virus.
In Eastern Slavonia (particularly around the Kopacki Rit near Osijek) wear long sleeves and take insect repellent.
Tap water in Croatia is perfectly safe, and in some areas considered the best in the world. However, you can still choose from several brands of excellent bottled water (Jamnica being the most popular, and Jana, several times awarded as the world's best bottled water).
During summer make sure you use adequate SPF to protect yourself from sunburn. There are no ozone holes over Croatia but it's fairly easy to burn in the sun. If this happens make sure you get out of the sun, drink plenty of fluids and rehydrate your skin. The locals will often advise covering the burnt spot with cold yogurt bought from the supermarket.
In case of an emergency you can dial 112 - responsible for dispatching all emergency services such as fire departments, police, emergency medical assistance and mountain rescue.
Since the hostilities ended in 1995, there remain an estimated 110,000 landmines in Croatia. These landmines are spread over the following regions: Brodsko-Posavska, Dubrovacko-Neretvanska, Karlovacka, Licko-Senjska, Osjecko-Branajska, Pozesko-Slavonska, Splitsko-Dalmatinska, Sisacko-Moslovacka, Sibensko-Kninska,Viroviticko-Pordravska, Vukorvarsko-Srijemska, and Zadarska.
Do not stray from marked roads or known safe areas. For further advice refer to Wikitravel's war zone safety section.
Avoid strip clubs at all costs. They are often run by very shady characters, and often overcharge their guests. Recent cases include foreigners that were charged 2000 euros for a bottle of champagne. These clubs overcharge their customers to the extreme, and their bouncers will not have any mercy if you tell them you are unable to pay. You will soon find yourself in a local hospital. Using common sense is essential, but due to the nature of the clubs this may be in short supply, and you may be better advised simply to steer well clear of these clubs.
Croatia uses the GSM 900/1800 system for mobile phones. There are three providers, T-Mobile, Vip (also operates the Tomato prepaid brand) and Tele2. Over 98% of the country's area is covered. Since 2006 UMTS (3G) is available as well. If you have an unlocked phone, you can buy a Tele2 prepaid SIM card for 25 kn (3.42 euro). GSM phones (Nokia 1200, Nokia 2610, Motorola F3, LG KG130 or Samsung C170) bundled with T-Mobile or Vip prepaid SIM cards can be found in post offices, Konzum grocery stores and kiosks at prices between 200 and 300 kn (27-41 euro).
Alternative to use of mobile phone is Calling Cards which can be found in postal offices and Kiosks, There are two providers Dencall and Hitme. you can buy cards from 25 kn (3.42 euro)
Area Codes: When calling between cities you must dial specific city area codes: (area code)+(phone number)
Zagreb (01) Split (021) Rijeka (051) Dubrovnik (020) Sibenik/Knin (022) Zadar (023) Osijek (031) Vukovar (032) Varazdin (042) Bjelovar (043) Sisak (044) Karlovac (047) Koprivnica (048) Krapina (049) Istria (052) Lika/Senj (053)
ADSL is common in Croatia. A 4 Mbit connection with unlimited downloads costs 178 kn (24 euro) per month via T-Com and just 99 kn with some other providers like Metronet or Iskon.
Internet cafés are available in all major cities. They are relatively cheap and reliable. A free Wi-Fi signal can be found virtually in every city (cafés, hotels, private unsecured networks...)
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|Area||56,542 sq km|
|Electricity||230V/50Hz (European plug)|
|Population||4,493,312 (July 2007 est.)|
|Religion||Roman Catholic 87.8%, Orthodox 4.4%, Muslim 1.3%, other Christian 0.4%, others and unknown 6.1%|