Croatia, Europe - Stein Travel
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Croatia

After more than a decade of civil and ethnic unrest, Croatia is once again emerging as an attractive tourist destination. With its magnificent coastline boasting 1,185 islands, islets and reefs; and countryside scattered with Roman ruins and picturesque medieval villages, Croatia is fast becoming a rival to the magical Greek islands in luring lovers of fun, sun, local colour, great food and history.

After centuries of fighting for independence, and being sliced and diced geographically to suit political and ethnic divisions, Croatia has ended up arc-shaped. Its long Adriatic coastline forms the western leg, tapering to the unique ancient seaport of Dubrovnik in the south, while the land between the rivers Drava and Sava form the northern section. The capital, Zagreb, sits in-between.

The most prominent feature of Croatia's tourist industry is its Dalmatian coastline, which is indented with rocky cliffs, peninsulas and small inlets. Numerous good quality hotels and marinas have been resurrected or constructed in the past few years, and the Croatian province is once again beginning to enjoy a tourist boom reminiscent of its heyday in the 1930s. There is a special atmosphere to Croatian towns and villages, many of which are built on the sites of ancient Greek settlements dating from the 4th century BC. This, coupled with a welcoming and determined population, Mediterranean climate, scenic beauty and lush vegetation, is aiding Croatia's rise from the ashes of war into one of the world's best tourist hotspots.

Information & Facts

Attraction Overview

One of Europe's fastest growing tourist destinations, Croatia has much to see and do along its magnificent coastline on the Adriatic Sea boasting 1, 185 islands, islets and reefs while enjoying a welcoming Mediterranean climate.

Many of Croatia's cities are built on the sites of ancient Greek settlements dating from the 4th century BC. Explore the Roman ruins in Zagreb and Split, stroll through the cobblestone streets of the fairytale medieval villages or just enjoy taking in the great food and history. The Croatian History Museum in Zagreb features an impressive display of Neanderthal remains while culture vultures will enjoy a trip to the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb.

Dubrovnik, and in particular its medieval old city, is one of Croatia's top holiday destinations, boasting exquisite beaches and coastline. Split is a great base for exploring the Dalmation coastline and is a breathtakingly beautiful old town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and boasts some exciting sights such as the city of Trogir and Brac Island just off shore.

Spring and autumn are the best seasons to visit as milder weather, less crowds and cheaper prices mean tourists can explore the country quite freely. Travelling by bus is an economical mode of transport, while ferries and catamarans are the only mode of transport to the islands and a way of life on the coast. For a more relaxed but slightly more expensive option, hire a car and drive yourself round this breathtaking country - the best way to experience Croatia!

Business

Business in Croatia is conducted in a formal manner; punctuality is key, dress should be smart and conservative (suits and ties are the norm) and polite greetings are made with a handshake. Titles and surnames are usually used unless otherwise indicated and business cards are exchanged at the beginning of a meeting. English and German are widely spoken, but any attempt at speaking some Croatian will be appreciated. Women tend to hold high positions in business and are well respected. Building a good working relationship is important in Croatia and it is useful to work with a reliable local partner. Although Croatia appears typically European in its dealings, business can take some time to conclude. Business hours are usually 8am to 4pm Monday to Friday.

Climate

The coastal region enjoys a Mediterranean climate with hot dry summers and mild winters. Minimum winter temperatures are around 39 °F (4 °C) and summers average around 79 °F (26 °C). Inland a continental climate is predominant with hot summers and cold winters.

Communications

The international access code for Croatia is +385. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0044 for the United Kingdom). The city code for Zagreb is (0)1 and (0)20 for Dubrovnik. Public phones take phone cards, which can be bought in post offices and hotels. GSM operators have active roaming agreements with most international networks, and cover most of the country. Internet cafes are available in the larger towns and cities.

Customs

Passports, or some form of identification, should be carried at all times.

Duty Free

Travellers to Croatia can enter the country with the following items without incurring customs duty: 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco; 1 litre wine and 1 litre spirits; 250ml of eau de cologne and one bottle of perfume. Regulations apply to firearms and radio instruments. No item of archaeological, historical, ethnographic, artistic, cultural or scientific value may leave the country without a license issued by the appropriate authorities.

Electricity

Electrical current is 230 volts, 50Hz. European style round, two-pin plugs are standard.

Health

No vaccinations are required, however there is a risk of tick-borne encephalitis for those travelling in forested areas during the summer months. The bird flu virus was found in dead migratory swans and stringent measures have been taken by the Croatian authorities to contain the virus. Travellers to Croatia are unlikely to be affected, but should avoid any contact with live birds and ensure poultry and egg dishes are well cooked. Medical care is fairly good, with free emergency medical care available to UK citizens with a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), though some medicines are in short supply in public facilities. Non-UK nationals are advised to invest in health insurance.

Language

The official language is Croatian.

Money

The official unit of currency is the Kuna (HRK). One Kuna is divided into 100 Lipa. ATMs are plentiful throughout the country and banks, authorised bureaux de change, post offices or most hotels will exchange foreign currency or travellers cheques. Banks open Monday to Saturday and some banks also open on Sundays in the main cities. Major credit cards are widely accepted at the main hotels and restaurants, and may be used to draw cash from ATMs, which are widely available throughout the country.

Passport Visa

All foreign passengers to Croatia must hold return/onward tickets and the necessary travel documentation for their next destination, and proof of sufficient funds to cover their stay in the country (at least EUR 100 or equivalent per day of stay in Croatia; or EUR 50 per day, if in possession of a tourist voucher or confirmed invitation). NOTE: It is highly recommended that your passport has at least six months validity remaining after your intended date of departure from your travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.

Safety

Most visits to Croatia are trouble-free, and there is no particular threat of terrorism. Busy tourist areas are prone to petty theft. Outside the normal tourist routes travellers should be aware that unexploded mines might remain, particularly in Eastern Slavonia and the former Krajina. Tourists are urged to be cautious in former conflict areas, including Eastern Slavonia, Brodsko-Posavska County, Karlovac County, areas around Zadar, and in more remote areas of the Plitvice Lakes National Park, and stay on known safe roads and areas.

Time

Local time is GMT +1 (GMT +2 from last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October).

Tipping

In tourist or upmarket restaurants a tip of 10% will be appreciated, but otherwise it is usual to round up the bill if the service has been good unless a service charge has already been added. Tour guides expect to be tipped. Most other services receive a small tip by rounding up the bill.

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