| General Information
Geographical position: Croatia stretches from the foot of the Alps in the north-west and the Pannonian Plain in the east, over the mountain range of Dinara in its central region, to the Adriatic Coast in the south.
Area: 56,691 square kilometres, with another 31,067 square kilometres of territorial waters.
Capital: Zagreb (1 million inhabitants the administrative, cultural, academic and traffic centre of the country).
Length of the coast: 5,835 kilometres with 4,057 kilometres of island coastline, islets and reefs.
Number of islands, islets and reefs: 1,185. The largest islands are Krk and Cres. There are 66 inhabited islands.
Climate: Northern Croatia has a continental climate, Central Croatia has a semi mountainous and mountainous climate, while the Croatian coast has a Mediterranean climate.
Population: The majority of the population are Croats. The national minorities include Serbs, Hungarians, Czechs, Slovaks, Italians and others.
Official language and alphabet: the Croatian language and Latin alphabet.
Religions: The majority of the population are Roman Catholics, and there are some Orthodox, Muslim and other Christian followers.
Money: Kuna (1 Kuna = 100 Lipa). There are 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 Lipa and 1, 2 and 5 Kuna coins and 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1,000 Kuna banknotes. Foreign currencies can be exchanged in banks, exchange offices, post offices and most tourist agencies, hotels and camping grounds. Eurocheques can be exchanged in banks. Banking hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. from Monday to Friday. On Saturdays banks are open until 1 p.m. In the larger cities some banks are also open on Sundays.
Credit cards: Most hotels, restaurants and shops accept credit cards (American Express, Diners Club, Eurocard/Mastercard and Visa).
Electricity: 220V, 50Hz
Water: Tap water is drinkable throughout Croatia.
The telephone code for Croatia is +385.
Time zone: GMT plus one hour (in summer two hours).
Travel documentation: Passport or some other internationally recognised identification document. Tourists may remain in Croatia for up to three months.
Customs: There are no customs fees for personal belongings. Foreign currency can be imported and exported freely. Domestic currency up to the value of 2,000 Kuna can be exported. Professional and technical equipment of significant value should be reported when entering the country. Pets must have adequate international veterinary certificates.
Tax return for foreign citizens: Tourists making purchases in Croatia (apart from petroleum derivatives) which exceed 500 Kuna per bill may reclaim VAT ('PDV'). When purchasing, ask the salesperson for form PDV-P, which they should then fill out and stamp. On leaving Croatia the receipt has to be verified by the Croatian Customs Service. A PDV refund in Kuna can be obtained within six months either at the same shop where the goods were purchased (in this case the tax is refunded 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.
Medical care: Medical assistance is available in hospitals providing 24 hours a day emergency service.
National holidays: 1 January New Year's Day, 6 January Holy Trinity, Easter and Easter Monday, 1 May International Labour Day, 30 May Independence Day, 22 June Anti-fascist Day, 5 August Homeland Gratitude Day, 15 August Assumption, 1 November All Saints' Day, 25 and 26 December Christmas Holidays.
Working hours: Shops and department stores are open between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., and on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. or 3 p.m. A smaller number of stores close between noon and 4 p.m. Many stores are open on Sundays too, especially in the summer, and a smaller number in the larger cities are open 24 hours a day. Public services and companies usually work from 8,30 a.m. to 4,30 p.m. from Monday to Friday.
Post and Telecommunications: Post offices are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and on Saturdays until 1 p.m. There are post offices in the larger cities which are open until 10 p.m. in the summer. Stamps are sold in post offices and at newsstands.
Public phones can be used only with phone cards. These can be bought in post offices and at newsstands, hotels and tourist complexes.
HT (Croatian Telecommunications) has a commercial arrangement with 106 GSM operators in 53 countries around the world. Guest-users of GSM can call the GSM information service on 9120 for further information.
Useful telephone numbers: Police 92, Fire Brigade 93, Ambulance 94, Public Safety Information Centre 985, Car Breakdown Assistance 987, Croatian Automobile Association (Hrvatski Auto Klub HAK), information on road conditions 01 464-0800, general information 981, tourist information 0800 200-200.
Radio programmes in foreign languages: On the first channel of Croatian Radio, on 92.1 MHz, there is news in English every day at 08:03, 14:03, and 20:03 (on Sundays, the first news begins at 09:03). On the second channel of Croatian Radio, on 98.5 MHz, from 1 July to 15 September, following the news in Croatian, there will be reports on Croatian road conditions in English, German and Italian broadcast by the Croatian Automobile Association. There will also be twice-daily reports for nautical tourists in the same languages.
National parks: Brijuni, Kornati, Krka, Mljet, Paklenica, Plitvice Lakes, Risnjak and North-Velebit.
Nature Parks: Biokovo, Kopacki Rit, Lonjsko Polje, Medvednica, Papuk, Telašcica, Ucka, Vransko Lake, Velebit and Žumberak-Samobor Highlands.
Cultural and historical monuments on the UNESCO World Heritage list: Diocletian's palace in Split, the old centre of Trogir, the Euphrasian Basilica in Porec and the city of Dubrovnik dating from the 13th century with arguably the world's best preserved Renaissance towers and walls. There are other numerous historical and cultural monuments of exceptional beauty such as: Vespasian amphitheatre in Pula, the towns of Krk, Rab, Hvar, one of the oldest public theatres in the world on the island of Hvar, the church of St. Donat in Zadar, the cathedral in Šibenik etc., as well as around 50 medieval castles in inland Croatia.
Major Cultural Events
Holy places: Mother of God of Bistrica, Mother of God of Trsat, Our Lady of Sinj,
Our Lady of the Island Solin, the Shine of our Lady of Vocin, Our Lady of Consolation Aljmaš, Mother of God of Remete, Mother of God of Jerusalem - Krapina, the Shrine of Jesus Christ's Precious Blood Ludbreg, St. Joseph's Karlovac.
Foreign diplomatic representation
The Republic of Croatia has established diplomatic relations with more than 100 states, of which half have embassies in Zagreb. Some countries also have consulates in Rijeka, Split and Dubrovnik.
Documents: It is requested that you carry a valid driving licence, automobile registration card and your green card (unless regulated differently). All damages on vehicle must be reported at the boarder when entering the country.
Speed limits: 50 km/h in inhabited areas, 80 km/h outside inhabited areas (unless otherwise stated), 130 km/h on motorways. The speed limit for cars towing caravans or trailers is 80 km/h. The maximum level of alcohol in the blood is 0.5 parts per thousand.
Road tolls: the Zagreb - Karlovac, Zagreb - Krapina, Varaždin - Cakovec, Zagreb - Slavonski Brod, and Rijeka - Kupjak motorways, Ucka Tunnel and Krk Bridge.
Petrol stations: These are open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. or 8 p.m. every day, and during the summer until 10 p.m. There are also petrol stations that are open round the clock in the larger towns and along major international routes.
Petrol: Eurosuper 95, Eurosuper 98, Normal Lead-free 91, Super 98 and Eurodiesel.
Rent-a-Car: This service is available in all the larger towns, tourist resorts and airports. There is also taxi service in all towns and tourist resorts.
Only small aircraft are allowed to land at the airports on Brac (tel. 021 524-170) and Lošinj (tel: 051 231-666).
Sports airports: Varaždin, Pribislavac (Cakovec), Lucko, Vrsar, Grobnik and Otocac.
Croatia Airlines is the national airline. Information and reservations are available on 062 777-777.
Other airlines flying to Croatia: Adria Airways, Aeroflot, Air Bosna, Austrian Airlines, Air France, Avioimpex, British Airways, CSA, Lufthansa, Malaysia Airlines, Malev, Turkish Airlines and Swissair.
International ferry lines: Zadar - Brbinj (Dugi otok) - Ancona; Šibenik - Ancona; Split (Vis) - Ancona; Dubrovnik - Bari; Pula - Venice.
Coastal ferry lines: Rijeka - Rab - Zadar - (Brbinj/Dugi otok) - Šibenik - Split - (Stari Grad/Hvar), Korcula - (Sobra/Mljet) - Dubrovnik - Bari.
Local ferry lines, connecting the mainland with the islands: Cres Lošinj, Rab, Pag, Ugljan, Pašman, Dugi otok, Iž, Šolta, Brac, Hvar, Vis, the Pelješac peninsula, Korcula, Lastovo and Mljet. There are additional lines connecting other inhabited islands without cars to the above mentioned islands and the mainland.
Jadrolinija is the main Croatian passenger ferry company, with the highest number of regular international and domestic lines. Information: 051 666-100.
There is a railway network connecting all the major Croatian cities except Dubrovnik. There are direct lines to Slovenia, Hungary, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Yugoslavia. There are indirect lines to almost all other European countries.
Information: 01 4573-253, 4573-238
Eurocity and Intercity:
EC Mimara: Berlin - Leipzig - Munich - Salzburg Ljubljana - Zagreb;
IC Croatia: Vienna - Maribor - Zagreb;
IC Kvarner: Budapest - Zagreb - Rijeka;
IC Drava: Budapest - Cakovec - Ljubljana - Venice.
There is a very comprehensive coach network connecting all parts of the country. There are regular international coach services connecting Croatia with all the neighbouring countries, as well as Austria, Switzerland, France, Italy, Germany and Slovakia.
Information: 060 313-333
Accommodation: Croatia offers accommodation in numerous hotels, tourist complexes, private accommodation and camping grounds.
Naturism: There are numerous well-established naturist camps. There are also naturist beaches near some hotels and camps.
Health tourism: There are a large number of health spas sited on thermal and mineral springs. Around Zagreb there is Tuheljske Toplice, Krapinske Toplice, Stubicke Toplice, Varaždinske Toplice, Ivanic Grad (Naftalan) and Topusko. In Slavonia there is Daruvar, Lipik and Bizovac. On the coast there is Vela Luka, Šibenik, Duga Uvala and the Istrian spas. There is also thalassotherapy in Opatija, Crikvenica, Veli Lošinj, Hvar and Makarska.
Nautical tourism: Croatia has 43 marinas with about 12,300 berths on the sea and about 4,200 on land. The larger marinas have technical services, derricks, petrol stations and various commercial and catering services. In most marinas it is possible to hire sailing boats, and there are also sailing courses available.
Diving: In Croatia there are over 120 diving centres.
Information: Tel. 01 4848-765
Conference tourism: Croatia has 75 fully equipped conference halls. The largest conference centres in Croatia include Zagreb, Opatija, Dubrovnik, Pula, Rovinj, Cavtat, Porec, Brijuni, Crikvenica and the Plitvice Lakes.
Hunting tourism: There is a long tradition of hunting tourism in Croatia, and there are a large number of hunting resorts. In central Croatia and Slavonia one can hunt deer, wild boar, martens, foxes, hares, pheasants, wild geese and wild ducks. In Gorski kotar and Lika there are also opportunities for bear hunting and, in Dalmatia, chamois and mouflon.
Youth tourism: There are youth hostels in Dubrovnik, Pula, Šibenik, Zadar and Zagreb.
Winter tourism: There are three major ski resorts with many ski lifts and ski runs: Medvednica near Zagreb, Platak near Rijeka and Bjelolasica near Ogulin.
Sports tourism: Most hotels and camps have tennis courts (ATP tournament in Umag, WTA tournament in Bol), as well as facilities for basketball and beach volleyball. It is possible to rent boats, fishing and scuba-diving equipment, and there are also scuba-diving and sailing schools. One can go rafting on the Dobra and Cetina rivers, and whitewater rafting is organised on the Kupa, Korana, Mrežnica, Cetina and Una rivers.
Culture: In Croatia there are 4 opera houses, 29 theatres, 151 museum and gallery and 147 cinemas. The theatres are generally closed in summer, although a number of them hold series of summer performances both in Zagreb and on the coast.
Entertainment: Most better quality hotels have night clubs and the major tourist resorts have discos. There are dancing evenings on the terraces in the summer, along with other entertainment and cultural events.
Gambling Casinos: There are 14 casinos in Croatia, 6 of them in Zagreb and the rest in the following towns: Buje, Novigrad, Porec, Umag, Opatija, Cavtat.
Souvenirs: Folk and artistic ceramics and numerous home-made souvenirs.
Where to eat?
Hotels that offer bed and breakfast accommodation are usually located next to restaurants, taverns, wine cellars, pizzerias, or fast food restaurants. One can also find traditional Croatian sweets in pastry shops and coffee houses.
What to eat?
Besides standard European cuisine, the following meals are also widely available: grilled meat, Dalmatian smoked ham (pršut), salted pilchards, sheep's cheese, paprika-flavoured salami (kulen), Slavonian spicy sausages and so on. In mainland Croatia, the most famous dish is turkey with a type of pasta (mlinci) and strukli. On the coast, naturally, there are fish specialities, the most famous of which is Dalmatian brodet (a kind of fish broth), and pašticada (beef braised in herbs).
What to drink?
Croatia is famous for its excellent wines, which are the result of an ancient wine-growing tradition. There are famous red wines on the coast, including Teran, Merlot, Kabernet, Opolo, Plavac, Dingac and Postup. The best-known white wines from the coast include Malvazija, Pošip, Pinot, Kujundžuša and Muškat, while inland areas of the country offer Rizling, Graševina, Burgundac and Traminac. As for spirits, we recommend Šljivovica, Travarica and Lozovaca. Popular dessert drinks include Prošek and Maraschino.