Useful information : When to go, Getting around...
When to go
If the idea of laying out your beach towel next to hundreds of others and paying top prices doesn’t put you off (or if you have no choice), the Croatian Rivera is lovely in the summer. A sea breeze makes the heat bearable and many of the major cities stage festivals. On the other hand, avoid the inland regions that are invariably stifling, except up in the mountains, and beware of violent storms at the end of August.
The shoulder seasons, which enjoy the Mediterranean climate, have much to recommend them, particularly in autumn. These seasons are ideal for walking and hiking, swimming from June and up until late October in the south; even better the hotels are less crowded and they stay open until late in the season. After October, the weather becomes humid and the north bora wind leads to a stunning drop in temperatures.
There is abundant snowfall in winter, particularly around Zagreb and the frozen waterfalls of Plitvice are spectacular. Forget the islands and Istria however: it is the low season and you will probably find them drab and gloomy, except during the carnival in February.
Formalities and useful addresses
No visa is required for stays under 90 days. Passport should be valid for three months past the date of departure.
All foreign citizens staying with friends or in private accommodation must register with the local police within 24 hours of arrival and inform them of any change in their address. Failure to register is a misdemeanor and tourists have been fined and/or expulsed for failing to register.
Croatian National Tourist Board – www.croatia.hr
Money and budget
Exchanging money is carried out in post offices, banks, travel agencies, hotels (beware of commissions) and sometimes in big stores in big cities.
Main international credit cards accepted in most shops and hotels. If you're staying with locals, be sure to have cash to pay the bill. ATMs are easy to find.
On the coast during the high season, your outings budget will be similar to that of your country of origin. Restaurants, take-aways, cafés and grocery stores however remain affordable.
1 double room with a local: Kn 500 (£55).
1 meal (meat + dessert + beverage): Kn 150 (£11).
1 draught beer: Kn 8/12 (£1-1.30).
1 bottle of mineral water (1.5l): Kn 10 (£1.12).
Health and safety
Before leaving, be sure to consult the British Foreign Office or U.S Department of State websites for any last-minute information:
Mined Areas – Despite the bomb disposal work underway, some mines remain. Mined areas are generally indicated by warning signs. Be especially careful not to stray from the waymarked paths in the following areas:
- Eastern Slavonia and Baranja (Vukovar, Osijek and Vinkovci regions);
- Quadrilateral area demarcated by the Bosnian border to the south (between Jasenovac and Nova Gradiška), and by Virovitica and Slatina (area of Daruvar, Pakrac and Lipik) to the north;
- outskirts of Sisak (Glina region);
- area from Gospić to Sinj, going through Gračac and Knin.
Don't stray from the main roads on the Karlovac-Plitvice-Gračac-Zadar and Gračac-Knin-Split itineraries.
Generally speaking, in former combat areas, don't camp outside authorized zones and don't go into abandoned houses that could be booby-trapped or mined, or simply unstable.
European Emergency Number: [TEL] 112
Medical Emergency: [TEL] 194
Fire brigade: [TEL] 193
Police: [TEL] 192
Current is 230 V; plugs feature 2 rounded pins.
An AC adaptor is recommended for US travellers.
Religious festivals are important events in Croatia, notably Easter and, especially, Christmas (a number of businesses take a few days off between Dec 25 and Jan 1). Local festivals are frequently celebrated, often tied to the town's patron saint.
Accommodation is quite diversified but unevenly spread throughout the country: a wide range of options is available on the Dalmatian or Istrian coast and far less in the inland towns and cities.
Staying with the locals offers unbeatable value for money, especially for small groups or families.
Post offices are generally open Mon-Sat 7-8am to 7-8pm, and sometimes Sunday mornings. Post offices in the big cities are sometimes open 24/7.
Zagreb International Airport – http://www.zagreb-airport.hr/