Considering…Croatia

Croatia is a Mediterranean landscape paradise. From ancient walled cities and Roman ruins, to the many islands lining the coast, Croatia has it all. There are many well preserved Medieval towns and old forts that are worthy of Game of Thrones, just like in Ireland. Let’s check it out!

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Why do we want to go?

The landscapes and natural beauty are pretty alluring, as well as all the historical sites. We seem to find ourselves on some type of boat trip when on vacation, and this has to be the most epic place to be on the water with so many islands and warm summer weather. They have eight national parks to explore, which is much more than the one we have in our home state. As avid outdoor lovers, this has moved Croatia up on our list from zero probability to “we are going.” We really didn’t know anything about it and now we can’t wait to go.

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What are some bucket list contenders?

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Country Profile

COUNTRY | Croatia
Region Eastern Europe
Best Season June and September to avoid the huge summer crowds and strains on accommodation
Average Temp / Weather Conditions Averages are between 25°C (77°F) in July and 9°C (48°F) in January. The wettest month is November.
Key Attractions Dubrovnik medieval walls, Dalmatian islands, gorgeous national parks, and Marco Polo’s house!
Entry / Visa Requirements 90 Days no visa required, extensions can be requested (Not Schengen)

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CURRENCY | Croatian Kuna (~6 HRK = $1 USD)
Daily Budget 600-900 HRK ($100-150) USD per couple on a frugal budget (hostels, restaurant meals/cooking, local transportation)
Frugal Tips Stay on the edges of summer away from the crowds. Campsites near the coast are fairly cheap in low season (they provide tents or other accommodation). Hostels are another cheaper option, but cost is per bed. Stay in a centrally located place like Split and you can do day-trips to other areas such as Brac, Hvar, Omis, and Zadar using local transportation. If you end up in a popular destination, stay in the outskirts of the city to save money and bus in.

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THE STAY | Possible duration: 2-3 Weeks
Lodging Types Couchsurfing, hostels, budget hotels, airbnb (Entire house for 120 HRK ($20 USD) per night on the beach, just make sure it is a legal rental or you will get into trouble)
Food Meat, potatoes, root veggies, cabbage in Zagreb. Fish with greens or typical Mediterranean cuisine along the Dalmatian Coast. Pork dishes in Slavonia.
Transportation Options To get the most out of Croatia, rent a car to explore all the Medieval towns. Other options are buses, ferries, and trains.
Driving Requirements Best to have international drivers permit (IDP) and your U.S. drivers license for the duration of your 90 days to drive
Connectivity Broadband internet is available as well as WiFi in various cafes, restaurants and other WiFi hot spots

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CULTURE | Language: Croatian; other languages include English, German, Italian, Serbian, Czech, Hungarian, Slovak
Customs Mostly a Roman Catholic society, so the church plays a huge role in the life of Croats. They are nationalists and are proud of their culture. They use folklore to help preserve the culture and general life experiences are translated into dance, costumes, music, and fairy tales. They are very family-oriented, and family is a priority to business in Croatia.

First names are not commonly used except with family and friends. Unless you are invited to use their first name, just use Mr., Mrs., or Miss, plus their last name. A handshake and direct eye contact is appropriate for first meetings. Failure to greet someone is highly offensive at social events. For dining, wait until someone shows you where to sit. You will hold your knife in your right hand and fork in the left while eating. Do not start eating unless your host announces that you can begin.

Dress in business casual clothing while in cities. In rural and coastal areas, you can dress more casually.

Local Laws Carry your passport at all times and have a photocopy in a safe place. Drug offenses have serious fines and jail sentences.
Local Holidays/Festivals Festivals
Summertime: Yacht Week Croatia, INMusic Festival (Zagreb), Ultra Music Festival (Split), Dubrovnik Summer Festival, Pula Film Festival, International Folklore Festival (Zagreb), Motovun Film FestivalAutumn: Nights of Diocletian (Split), Outlook Music Festival (Pula)Winter: St. Martin’s Day – First day of Wine Season, Dubrovnik Winter Festival

Holidays
Common western holidays are observed, in addition to these national holidays:
June: Antifascist Struggle Day, Statehood Day
October: Independence Day
August: National Thanksgiving Day

English Availability Roughly half of the population can speak English and many other nearby languages such as German and Italian.
Attitudes Toward Americans Generally positive, Americans rarely visit Croatia as it is expensive to get to. So you are a pleasant surprise when you do visit and are not visiting family. Most tourisum is from other European countries. They are curious what real Americans are like and not just what is on TV.
Photography Concerns Drones cannot be flown in populated areas or areas with buildings. Check for the specific locations you are allowed to fly and the rules before going.

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SAFETY
General Safety Crime levels are low. Watch out for pickpockets and do not display an image of higher wealth. Use the same precautions you would in the U.S. Violent crime is low, except in Gentlemans Clubs where they may charge an extreme amount of money and threaten violence if you don’t pay.
Emergency Number 112 General, 192 Police, 193 Fire
Location of U.S. Embassy / Phone Ulica Thomasa Jeffersona 2
10010 Zagreb Croatia
385-1-661-2200
MEDICAL
Medical Facilities Medical care is on par with other EU countries and the health risk is low. All foreigners visiting Croatia are entitled to free basic emergency first aid at their state hospitals.
Vaccinations Needed None required. However if you are there doing caving or other adventurous activities, you are at risk for getting rabies if bitten. Always check to see if the activities you are planning put you at risk and take appropriate vaccines as needed.
Health Concerns Food and water safety is up to modern standards.
Water Quality Tap water is okay to drink and has many healthy minerals in Zagreb.

Additional Resources


Have you been?  What activities do we have to try out?  What other countries should we consider?

Photos by Dennis JarvisCreative Commons

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