The latest on COVID-19 in Croatia. Can you enter? What are the restrictions? Where can you get the test? Are masks compulsory? Where to find corona travel updates?

Click on your language to read this article in your language: German – Deutsch, Slovenian – slovenščina, Polish – polski, Czech – čeština, Slovak – slovenčina, Hungarian – magyar, Serbian – srpski, Italian – italiano, French – français, Spanish – español, Portuguese – português, Dutch – Nederlands, Danish – dansk, Norwegian – norsk, Swedish – svenska, Finnish – suomi, Russian – русский, Ukrainian – українська мова, Romanian – românește, Bulgarian – български, Albanian – shqip, Korean – 한국어, Chinese – 汉语, and Croatian – hrvatski.

Coronavirus cases in Croatia: the latest numbers (April 9, 2021)

There have been 2,599 new recorded COVID-19 cases in Croatia in the last 24 hours, so 13,200 cases of COVID-19 remain active. 1,768 people are still hospitalized, with 175 patients on a ventilator.

8,994 people were tested in the last 24 hours. 288,364 people have been confirmed as infected with COVID-19 in Croatia in total. 268,929 people have recovered.

6,235 people in Croatia have died with COVID-19 related deaths in Croatia in total, 50 in the last 24 hours.

Tourism and COVID-19 in Croatia: are borders open?

Technically, yes. The basic rules regarding entry in Croatia as of December 1st, 2020 are (updated on April 1st, 2021):
  • travellers, regardless of their citizenship, arriving from the ECDC “Green List” region, (the list of Green List regions is increasing with every update, so please consult the website or the map below), or from a country listed on the so-called EU “Safe list”, who can prove that they haven’t spent any time outside of those Green/safe regions while travelling to Croatia, have no symptoms or have not had close contacts with infected persons are allowed to enter Croatia without a test
  • citizens of the EU/EEA (EU 27 + Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, as well as Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, and the Vatican and including Croatian citizens) or a non-EU citizen with an EU residence permit (or a member of their family, with documents to prove the kinship) are allowed to enter Croatia no matter where they come from and are not required to provide a reason, but need to have a negative PCR or antigen test, not older than 48 hours, or get tested upon entry (at their own expense) and self-isolate until they get the results (up to 10 days); the same rule is applied to the third-country nationals travelling from an EU/EEA region;
  • third-country nationals arriving from anywhere else (except for the countries listed in the next bullet) will be allowed entry in Croatia if they have a negative PCR or antigen test, not older than 48 hours (they will also be given an option to get tested upon entry at their own expense and self-isolate until they get the results), HOWEVER, they will have to prove they are travelling for urgent personal/family reasons, business reasons or other economic interest (including seafarers). 
  • The travellers arriving in Croatia from the South African Republic, Brasil, and Tanzania (Zanzibar) need to have a negative PCR test AND they need to self-isolate for 14 days (or have their self-isolation shortened if they pay for another test, at least 7 days after they’ve entered Croatia), no matter what their citizenship is.
  • Travelers who have the documentation to prove that they’ve had COVID-19 in the last six months or that they’ve been fully vaccinated in that period can enter Croatia without the test/self-isolation.
  • Children under the age of 7 don’t need to have a negative test to enter Croatia, as the age limit was introduced. That applies to those children whose parents/guardians either have a negative PCR/antigen test, are vaccinated by both doses of vaccine, or have recovered from COVID-19 in the last 6 months.
Official document by the Croatian police

You can find more details, including some exceptions to the rules listed above in the LATEST OFFICIAL GUIDELINES IN ENGLISH FROM THE CROATIAN BORDER POLICE (they regularly update this website).

What is the entercroatia form?

Find out more about the entercroatia.mup.hr form, how it came to be and who needs to fill it in our article from last year.

We still strongly recommend that travellers fill out border entry forms at entercroatia.mup.hr. That will significantly speed-up their passage across the border and into Croatia. Visitors will only have to provide their name, place where they’re staying, mobile phone number, and email address. An additional reason to do so that is that special fast-track Enter Croatia lanes have been introduced at some borders for quicker entry. And even if you don’t get to use one of those fast-track lanes, the experiences of previous travellers have shown that having the filled form, along with the rest of the documents, speeds up and simplifies the process significantly.

ECDC Green Region Map

Where to get the latest COVID-19 in Croatia travel updates?

Official Information

The central location for most information regarding crossing the borders into Croatia is the Official Guidelines page. The page was created and is maintained by Croatian police. Use the e-mail address [email protected] if you need additional questions answered and official confirmations from them. The other most relevant source of official information is the koronavirus.hr website.

US citizens considering travel to Croatia should also the US embassy in Croatia travel advisory.

TravelDoc.aero is a seemingly great service to check on the entry requirements for any country and nationality. Check out the website and your travel eligibility to Croatia and anywhere else.

Check the official reopen.europa.eu website for detailed information for the EU countries.

Total Croatia Travel INFO Community

If you’re looking for the real-life experiences of tourists coming to Croatia, Total Croatia Travel INFO community is the place for you (you will need to download the Viber app). This Viber community has been an excellent source of information exchange, where tourists get answers to their questions in real-time. If you have a question or some verified useful travel info to contribute, join us. Please make sure you read the pinned message and our regularly updated FAQ article before asking any questions. You can also ask the first chatbot in English answering all the FAQs from the community.

You can also find comprehensive information in the Facebook Group called COVID-19 INFO CROATIA.

Neighboring Countries

For the latest rules and information on who can enter and transit Bosnia and HerzegovinaSerbia and Montenegro please check the linked official government pages. 

More information regarding travel to Slovenia and Montenegro, is available on our sister sites: Total Slovenia News, Total Montenegro News 

For comprehensive overviews on crossing the Croatian borders, check out the Total Croatia 2021 guides: SloveniaBosnia and Herzegovina (updated on Feb 26, 2021).

You can see the current situation at the borders through the border webcams. Simply select ‘Border Crossings’ under ‘Traffic cams’ in the menu on the left.

Latest COVID-19 news from Total Croatia News

Can US citizens travel to Croatia?

Croatia was the only country in the EU which welcomed Americans and other non-EU citizens for a while last summer. Even though not many travelled, those that did appreciated the gesture. There was some great promotion to Americans back home last summer by the ABC News. They filmed 6 features in Dubrovnik of Americans travelling during the pandemic. One of them, shown on Good Morning America, showcased the beauty of Dubrovnik to more than 12.5 million Americans.

Is Croatia currently open for tourism for Americans and others?

Yes and no. This is Croatia, and nothing is straightforward.

US citizens are, obviously, in the category of third-country citizens regarding entry into Croatia currently. So are many other travellers, arriving from Canada, Latin America, most of the Asian and African countries etc.

What that means is that they can enter Croatia if they present a negative PCR test result (or they’ll have to self-isolate) AND they can prove that they’re ‘travelling for urgent personal / family reasons, business reasons or other economic interest’ (this is a direct quote from the Ministry website).

What exactly does entry for ‘economic interest’ mean?

This is an obvious question, with no clear answers. Officially, the stand was always that people can’t come from the third countries for the purposes of tourism. However, there have been many Americans who were able to enter Croatia in the last several months! They showed the border police they had reservations for the hotels or private accommodation, and claimed “economic interest” with those. You can read more about those experiences in Total Croatia Travel INFO Viber community.

Where can I get tested for COVID-19 in Croatia?

We have created a guide on how and where to get a test for COVID-19 in Croatia. Koronavirus.hr website has created and maintains a list of all of the important phone numbers (epidemiologists, hospitals etc.) all over Croatia. They also have a list of the testing centres in Croatia.

There is also a crowdsourced list (with map) of all of the available testing centres: koronatestiranje.com.

Where can I get a test for COVID-19 in Zagreb

In Zagreb, the testing is performed at different locations. For tourists, the best place to go to is the Andrija Štampar (Teaching) Health Institute, Mirogojska 16. It’s a drive-in locations (pedestrians also allowed) and you don’t need an appointment. They’re open from 8am until 4pm every day, and the price of the test is around 700 kuna.

Where can I get a test for COVID-19 in Split

In Split, you can get tested at the Public Health Institute, at the address Vukovarska 46, or at the Split hospital at Spinčićeva 1. You’ll have to make an appointment at the Public Health Institute ([email protected]), while no appointment is required in the Hospital.

Where can I get tested for COVID-19 in Dubrovnik

In Dubrovnik, testing is performed at the Public Health Institute (Ante Šercera 4a) and at the Dubrovnik Hospital (Roka Mišetića). You should make an appointment at the Public Health Institute at [email protected], and call +385 (0)20 431-731 to make an appointment at the Hospital.

Where can I get tested for COVID-19 in Rijeka

In Rijeka, the Public Health Institute at the address Krešimirova ulica 4a is where you can get tested. You don’t need to make an appointment, just show up every work-day from 7am until 3 pm.

Where can I get a test for COVID-19 in Zadar

In Zadar, you can get tested at the Public Health Institute, at the address Ulica Ljudevita Posavskog 7. The testing site is open every day, and you should make an appointment by writing to [email protected]

Where can I get tested for COVID-19 in Istria – Poreč, Rovinj, Novigrad

The central testing location for COVID-19 in Istria is the Public Health Institute in Pula, Nazorova 23. You will need to make an appointment, either by email ([email protected]) or on the phone +385 (0)52 529-063.

Where can I get tested on Croatian Islands: the options for Krk, Cres, Rab, Hvar, Brač, Korčula

The northern Croatian islands of Krk, Cres and Rab all have the sites where you can get tested (Vinogradska 2, Krk: appointments at [email protected]; Turion 26, Cres: appointments at [email protected]; Palit 143a Rab: appointments at [email protected]).

As for the Dalmatian islands, the only place where you can currently get tested at your request is on Hvar. It’s in Jelsa at the Health centre and you need to make an appointment by phone: +385 (0)91 151 2010. If you need to get tested on Brač or Korčula or Mljet, you will probably need to go to Split, Makarska or Dubrovnik.

Where can I get tested in Makarska

Health centre in Makarska at Stjepana Ivičevića 2 street is the place to go to get tested there, you need to make an appointment by phone +385 (0)21 616 061

It is, however, important to keep in mind that the situation is continues to change rapidly. Many more of the testing sites were available for tourists during the summer season of last year. It’s entirely possible more locations will be testing foreigners on the coast this year as well. We’ll try to keep you updated on all the relevant changes.

Croatia and COVID-19 Vaccination

Vaccination situation

If you’ve followed the news in the last weeks, you know that things have not been good in the European Union overall regarding the number of vaccination shots administered. It should not come as a surprise to anyone to find out that Croatia is on the bottom of the list of EU countries, when it comes to the percentage of population getting the vaccination, too. At the moment of this writing, in late March, Croatia has vaccinated less than 7% of their population, while the EU averages at almost 9% (with some countries being in the upper teens).

Vaccination passport

There is a lot of talk about the vaccination passports in the EU, but, to be fair, we’re not seeing much in terms of their introduction. And, as the tourist season of 2021 approaches, this is probably the only window during which such a document would make any sense.

In Croatia, the support is there for anything which would allow the country to have anything resembling a normal tourist season. As of April 1st, 2021, your vaccination status can help you gain easier entry into Croatia. All travellers who have the documentation to prove they’ve been fully vaccinated within the last six months will be allowed to enter Croatia without getting tested. That is true for all vaccines, including Moderna, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and even the Russian Sputnik V and Chinese CoronaVac!

Can I come to Croatia and get a vaccine?

While we’d love for a way to have a “yes” to this question, currently, that’s just not a realistic scenario. There aren’t enough vaccines in Croatia to vaccinate everyone who wants to have the shot here, so you can’t expect to be able to find a vaccine floating around and waiting for you. Even if you’re willing to pay premium for it, don’t expect that to be something that’s available to you.

What happens if there is a lockdown while I am in Croatia?

Unless the situation worsens considerably it is extremely unlikely that there will be a lockdown in Croatia. Apart from the fact that the tourist season is coming, so too are local elections in May. Sadly, politics and COVID-19 in Croatia are never far apart.

In the unlikely event that this does occur, the right to repatriation to one’s own country will exist, as it did globally during the 2020 lockdowns.

What is the current travel situation in Croatia?

New coronavirus restrictions introduced on April 1st (published on March 30, 2021)

Restrictions?

The total number of ways to get to and around Croatia has been significantly reduced. There are simply fewer flights, buses, ferries, trains… operating in Croatia these days. Hopefully, as the tourist season approaches, things will improve.

As for those who still operate, the provider can’t sell more than 40% of their usual occupancy. They must clearly state how many passengers are allowed. They must also ensure that the passengers are able to maintain social distancing throughout the journey. Passengers (as well as staff) must wear facemasks for the entire journey.

Flights

Croatia Airlines is now operating a number of international flights to European cities. Domestic flights are running daily.

Check the latest flight situation at Croatia’s airport websites: ZagrebSplitZadarPulaDubrovnikRijekaOsijekBrač and Lošinj.

The Croatia Airlines contact center is available on the following numbers: 0800 77 77 (toll-free calls from Croatia), 072 500 505 or +385 1 66 76 555. More info and Live Schedule.

Find out more about the flights to Croatia in 2021 in our feature article, as well as in the dedicated TCN’s latest flight news section. Find out more about flights to and from Croatia from Skyscanner, the world’s leading flight reservation platform.

Roads, Ferries, Buses, and Trains

Latest information on the roads from HAK.

Latest ferry information from HAK.

Jadrolinija ferry and catamaran timetable.

Krilo catamaran timetable

For the latest on the trains from HAK.

The best resource we have found for bus timetables is GetByBus.

The situation is constantly evolving, and for the latest on travel updates and all other coronavirus developments, we recommend you follow the dedicated TCN COVID-19 section.

COVID-19 and Masks: What is the Policy?

The policy regarding wearing facemasks in Croatia is quite simple: you must wear your mask in public at all times in any closed spaces (including all types of public transportation, stores, supermarkets, etc.). If you’re unable to maintain proper social distancing while in the open, you must also wear a facemask.

What is currently open in Croatia? Hotels, restaurants, bars, museums?

Hotels are open in Croatia. Hotel restaurants are, however, only allowed to serve meals in their closed restaurants to the guests of the hotel.

Bars and restaurants can also only serve their customers on their terraces, but not inside. They can’t work after 22:00.

Most cultural institutions, such as museums, movie theatres, etc. are open, but only to a limited capacity. There are clear restrictions for the number of people allowed. Each venue has to make clear the number of people it allows in at any moment, to allow for social distancing. Masks are compulsory at all times.

The expectation is that these measures will ease as we approach the season.

Croatia corona maps and current info

An awful lot has happened since TCN produced the first map for COVID-19 in Croatia on March 9, 2020 (see above). These days, there are many maps and charts covering all possible angles of the pandemic. The daily map at the top of this article is from the official Koronavirus.hr website. The daily update happens around 11:00.

In addition to this official resource, the Croatian Tourism Association (Hrvatska udruga turizma) has created a helpful tracker of active COVID-19 cases in various Croatian regions –  https://www.croatiacovid19.info/ (the color-coding they use is similar to what ECDC has been using, and is indicative of the 14-day average). For more day-to-day visualizations of COVID-19 situation in Croatia, follow Velebit.ai.

The Total Croatia Travel INFO Viber Community and chatbot: Get your answers in real time

While the National Civil Protection Headquarters were extremely communicative, and the Koronavirus website and Viber community was very informative, official travel information was almost impossible to come by. So bad was the situation in May 2020, that I decided to go with Krešimir Macan to visit the Slovenian border at Bregana to see who could – and who could not – cross the border. It was a highly educational trip.

Macan suggested we start the Total Croatia Travel INFO Viber community, in order to help potential tourists with information. Working with two of his interns, we had the community live within an hour. One hour later, the first infographic was available. By the end of the day, the community had the infographic in 12 languages. And by the end of the week, the Croatian COVID-19 Daily Travel Update was available in 25 languages. More than half a million people have visited the page since. Thousands were able to visit Croatia as a result, and we even helped two international weddings (maximum 6 attendees) to take place. How a Viber Community Helped a Slovenian American Couple Wed in Istria.

The Total Croatia Travel INFO Viber community is still live today (you will need to download the Viber application). It also includes the first chatbot in English answering all the FAQs from the community.

Reflections after a year of COVID-19 in Croatia

How seriously are people taking the pandemic in Croatia?

When the lockdown came in March, 2020, everyone impressed me with their discipline and responsibility of everyone. There was a real feeling of solidarity, and people followed the rules religiously.

It did not last for long.

The double standards of those in power quickly led to a two-tiered system along the lines of ‘don’t do as I do, do as I say.’ Mass gatherings at important events for the Croatian soul (Vukovar Remembrance Day, Operation Storm, and Holy Mass to celebrate Cardinal Stepinac), as well as the decision to close all bars and restaurants (thereby crippling businesses) but allowing churches to remain open, told their own story.

Perhaps the best example I can give was in Knin at the 20th anniversary of Operation Storm (Operation Storm: Foreign Reflections on a Visit to Oluja 2020 in Knin). With more than a 1,000 maskless marchers barred from entering the main event waiting in nearby streets for hours in close proximity, the government and dignitaries kept impressive distance on the main square.

There were impressive speeches from the main players, including General Ante Gotovina, President Zoran Milanović and Prime Minister Andrej Plenković. A soldier disinfected the lecturn after every speech. All good so far. But then…

As both Gotovina and Plenković returned to their seats after their speeches, Milanović shook the hands of both. That summarises the attitude to COVID-19 in Croatia, for me at least.

From hero to zero? The National Civil Protection Headquarters

Living in Croatia last year was a surreal experience on so many levels. Watching the brutal efficiency with which Croatia locked down, confining people to their local districts, wasboth disconcerting and comforting in equal measure.

Croatia won international praise for its rapid and effective response. The ‘Stožer’ quartet of Interior Minister Davor Božinović, Health Minister Vili Beroš, Alemka Markotić and Krunoslav Capak provided a calm and reassuring united voice in those early uncertain days. Markotić and Beroš, who only came into the job in late January, came in for particular praise at the time. Back in March 2020, I wrote Vili Beroš, Croatia’s New Health Minister Bringing Calm, Order to COVID-19 Crisis. Followed by Alemka Markotić, the Healthcare Heroine Trying to Save Croatia from COVID-19.

And all was well – or as well as things could be in a pandemic – for the focus was on health and protecting lives. But this is Croatia, and only a matter of time before something more than health entered the equation…

Politics of COVID-19 in Croatia

I remember it clearly. In March, it was all about health. Then came the first clash between health and the economy. That is a debate which is impossible to resolve, with polarising opinions depending on circumstance and interest.

And then came politics.

Elections were coming, and lockdown was not a vote winner. The focus went from health, firstly to health v economy. And then to health v economy v politics. And politics always wins. Especially in Croatia. And then PM Plenković tapped the shoulder of Novak Djokovic at an ill-timed and very ill-fated tennis tournament in Zadar. I knew it would be a telling moment.

Quite what Croatia was doing hosting such a tournament if not for a pre-election PR campaign is anyone’s guess. But then things got even worse: it emerged that not only was Djokovic COVID-19 positive, but so were some of the others. The Prime Minister simply decreed that he did not have to self-isolate. It happened a fortnight before the elections, and it was clear who had won. The battle lines had been drawn, and nine months later, they were only worse.

A TCN editorial, As Gym Owner Faces Prison, the Virus Must be Laughing at Croatia’s Inconsistent Measures.

One rule for those who matter, another for those who don’t

And so it started. Stringent measures for all, but fabulous justifications for those from the chosen few who go around freely, breaking the rules. They obviously were not. Cafes and restaurants banned from selling drinks to go, while casinos could open, bakeries could sell coffee to go but cafes could not, and you could buy drinks from the supermarket and sit next to the cafe on a park bench without a problem. It was insane.

In truth, things have not been so bad here. Deaths never exceeded 100 a day, and from memory, the largest number of daily cases was less than 6,000. Add to that the fact that lockdown measures were a lot less stringent in Croatia than elsewhere.

I remember a lot of tourists expressing their shock at how relaxed they found things in Croatia last summer. It will be different in 2021, as we’re seeing much stricter enforcement of the rules than they were last year. The mandatory wearing of masks in certain public places is a case in point. With tourism so important to the Croatian economy, the issue of (perceived) safety will be on top of more minds for the 2021 season.

The previously credible Civil Protection Headquarters worked hard to explain away the (overly) well-attended funerals of Miroslav Tuđman and Milan Bandić. And then the week of infamy happened for Alemka Markotić. She spoke at a large gathering at the Mass to commemorate Cardinal Stepinac. That same week, her mother had miraculously been prioritised for the vaccine. By then, the March 2020 credibility of the Civil Protection Headquarters looked the misnomer that it has sadly become.

A personal story

Everyone has their own coronavirus story, and their individual experience has undoubtedly shaped their own view. I personally can’t imagine what it must have been like in Lombardy, in Queens in New York City, or the last 12 months in the UK.

When schools shut for two weeks in March 2020, we made the family decision to go from our current home in Varaždin back to Jelsa on the island of Hvar where my wife’s family lives.

I knew that two weeks would be at least two months and that the island would be safer and have more space. We were nervous on arrival, for Varaždin was one of the three locations in Croatia which had cases. At that point, there were 12 overall in the country.

I didn’t have contact with anyone outside the immediate family for over a month. I worked 18 hours a day, took 30 blissful minutes by the Adriatic, and felt safe from the pandemic on my Dalmatian island.

I got a permit from the Hvar police to do some reporting around the island. I felt all the more safe when I went to report on how safe the Hvar police were keeping us from the pandemic threat at the ferry terminal. Just two cases on the island in total back then – both islanders working in Austria. Both self-isolated responsibly, and the threat disappeared.

And then, some 63 days after arrival, and what I can honestly say was the most beautiful time of all my 13 years on the island, back to the mainland. I fully appreciate – and totally recognise – that my lockdown experience was a lot more pleasurable than most. And it has no doubt helped to shape my thinking in the same way, perhaps, as those locked in city apartments may be influenced in the opposite direction.

I was nervous coming into Split, wondering if I would catch the virus. Desperate to see friends in Zagreb after the earthquake, I arrived in the capital in the evening, and the first thing I saw was a bar full of young people packed like sardines. And yet nobody died.

Corona has confused me ever since.

Does rakija prevent or cure COVID-19?

No, no it does not. But it does many other things, and you should check them out!