What You Need To Know - Total Croatia https://www.total-croatia.com/what-you-need-to-know?format=feed Mon, 26 Sep 2022 10:49:32 +0200 en-gb Study in Croatia: International Courses, Cost, Algebra https://www.total-croatia.com/en/study-in-croatia https://www.total-croatia.com/en/study-in-croatia Why are people coming to study in Croatia? Safety, lifestyle, affordability, beauty and English-language courses.

This page is written in partnership with the Algebra University College, Croatia's leading private education institution, offering an array of educational opportunities for international students at the undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate levels.

Why study in Croatia?

The answer to this question is somewhat similar to the answer to any question of why to come to Croatia at all. It mostly consists of the following: Croatia offers you an amazing lifestyle, exquisite natural beauty, rich cultural and historical heritage, the amalgamation of various cultures mixing in this geographical region, incredible safety and accessibility from Central Europe. Oh, and yes, two additional factors for why deciding to study in Croatia is a good idea: the long, valued academic tradition, and the fact that a majority of people in Croatia (and even more so in the academic environment) speak good English.

Study in Croatia: International Courses in English

There are well over a hundred higher-education institutions all over Croatia, and currently, there are almost a hundred degree courses offered to potential students in English, all over Croatia.

The nine public universities in Croatia (Zagreb, Rijeka, Osijek, Split, Zadar, Dubrovnik, Pula, Slavonski Brod, and Sjever University) offer numerous undergraduate and graduate programmes in English, including various IT programmes, a combined undergrad/graduate programme of medicine, lasting 6 years after which you're an MD, veterinary medicine etc.

In addition to the programmes at the universities, there are also numerous English-language programmes at the other higher-education institutions. Most of them are IT and business-oriented, so you can find programmes such as digital marketing by Algebra, tourism by VERN', sports management by Aspira, International business by RIT Croatia, international relations by Libertas and a handful of others.

Ministry of Science maintains a list of all of the programmes by the Croatian higher education institutions, so at this page you can find the list of all of the English-language programmes. You can also find the five programmes offered in Italian at the Pula University and the fact that you can study medicine in German in Osijek!

Living in Croatia

Living in Croatia is an experience quite like no other. One of the safest countries in Europe, visitors fall in love with the relaxed cafe culture lifestyle, authentic experiences and natural beauty.

With over 160,000 students, Croatia is extremely welcoming for foreign students, and there is a very well-developed network of services to cater to student needs. And with that gorgeous Adriatic and over a thousand islands just a bus and ferry ride away, Croatia really does offer the perfect combination of affordable work and play. One other important consideration for the students arriving from any of the other continents is that Croatia is located centrally in Europe, and well-connected to the most interesting cities. Studying and staying in Croatia gives you amazing opportunities to explore most of Europe in your free time.

For an overview of the realities of living in Croatia, check out this honest overview from an expat after 15 years in Croatia.

The life of a student living in Croatia while studying somewhat resembles the life of a digital nomad, so you will probably be able to find much useful advice in our article about digital nomads in Croatia.

Visas and resident permits for study in Croatia

There isn't a simple answer to the question "do I need a visa to be able to study in Croatia". As often happens in Croatia, the answer is "probably not, but it's complicated". Let get into the details:

If you're a European Union national, you (obviously) don't need a visa to come to Croatia. Furthermore, if you're staying in Croatia for less than 3 months, you don't really need any further paperwork. If you're planning to stay for more than 3 months, you will be required to register your temporary stay. All details of this are well-explained on the Ministry of the Interior website.

If you're not from the EU, there will be a bit more paperwork involved for you. To find out if you need a visa to enter Croatia, go to the Croatian Foreign Ministry website. The doyouneedvisa website also has a lot of valuable information for potential students. If you're a third party national, you will also need to apply for a temporary stay in Croatia, as per instructions on the Ministry of the Interior website. The temporary stay for the third-country nationals is usually granted for up to a year, and for those studying in Croatia, for the duration of the academic year. Keep in mind that, if you require a visa to enter Croatia, you will need to pay the total tuition fee for the educational programme of your choosing to be able to get the visa, and have proof of additional funds during your stay in Croatia. Additionally, you will have to have health and travel insurance issued in your home country before coming to study in Croatia.

Meet Algebra University College, Croatia's leading private education establishment


Established in 1998, Algebra is one of the top Croatian education institutions. It employs over 150 people, with more than 600 educators working with them part-time to provide the best possible education experience. Their headquarters are in Zagreb, but their programmes take place in almost 20 locations. Currently, they offer almost a thousand shorter educational programmes (up to 2 weeks, mostly in Croatian), 50 accredited longer lifelong learning programmes for adults (also mostly in Croatia) and 14 accredited higher education programmes.

Undergraduate courses

Algebra University offers a group of undergraduate programs/specializations which culminate with a Bachelor title. Those are Software Engineering, System Engineering, Multimedia Computing, Digital Marketing, Market Communications Design with specializations in Design, and 3D Design. All of them are also 6-semester programmes offered in English.

Graduate courses

Algebra offers seven graduate professional programmes (also known as "master" programmes), all of which lead to the Professional Master title. Those six are: Software Engineering, System Engineering, Digital Marketing, Creative Market Communications Management, Game Development, Data Science, and IoT and AI. These programmes are held exclusively in English, for both the international and the Croatian students - which is a great opportunity to meet the ambitious local students with the same interests as yours!

MBA Courses

To fully support the business community in Croatia, Algebra also has a Business school. The school offers several programmes, including the prestigious MBA programme - e-leadership. To enrol in this programme, you need to have an undergraduate degree and at least five years of managerial experience. The entire programme, all of the materials and the communication with the students are in English.

In addition to that 2-year programme, Algebra offers a so-called Mini MBA 4IR, lasting four months. It is aimed at managers, business owners and hopes to prepare them for the challenges of the fourth industrial revolution.

Numerous additional educational programmes are available through the Business school and their Executive education branch.

Summer and winter courses

For the most curious students, Algebra offers the so-called "International Schools", taking place twice a year: the Winter and the Summer edition. Both are four weeks long: the Winter School held in January in Zagreb, and the Summer School held in July in Zagreb and Zadar. The applications for the 2022 Winter School are sadly closed, but the students that applied could've chosen between the following courses: Cyber security, Digital marketing and IOT&AI. In addition to one of the main courses, the international students were also able to select the Croatian language and culture course. Completion of each of the main courses brings students 7 ECTS points, plus the additional 3 for the Croatian course. Both the Winter and the Summer schools are held in English.


You can, of course, still apply to the 2022 Summer School! It will be held in July and offers 6 main courses: Artificial intelligence, Digital marketing, Experimental drawing, Cyber Security, Data driven storytelling, and Mobile application development. Each of these will get you 6 ECTS points, and of course, there's the additional Croatian language and culture course (3 ECTS).

Algebra LAB

In 2018, a unique innovation centre helping start-up companies to develop innovative business solutions was opened by Algebra. Algebra LAB, as it is known, enables the companies to contract the services of the research and development department, with multidisciplinary scientific and expert support. Their focus continues to be on the R&D projects in the areas of technology and finding prosperous cooperation between academia and businesses.

Algebra LAB includes the longest-active start-up incubator in Croatia, which has supported over 150 projects. Getting selected by the incubator is very coveted, so well over a hundred projects usually apply - and only around ten get selected! The start-ups get mentored by some of the biggest names on the Croatian business scene, so going through the incubator all but ensures your business success!

International partners

Algebra takes pride in having over a hundred international partnerships and collaborations in their educational programmes. One of such collaborations, and probably the most prestigious one is with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). MIT is among the most renowned educational institutions in the world in the fields of science and technology. Together, the two institutions are offering the students studying data science at Algebra to obtain the MITx Certificate on top of their two-year Master’s degree program at Algebra University College.

Other notable partnerships with international educational institutions include a joint graduate study programme in Computer Science - IoT and AI with the French Epitech, one of the leading European educational institutions in the field of IT. There are also partnerships with Hanze University of Applied Sciences from Groningen and Mexican Tecnológico de Monterey.


In their over twenty years of providing exceptional education to students in Croatia, Algebra has received many awards and commendations. The awards arrive from local governmental institutions, as well as from international partners. Croatian Agency for Science and Higher Education ranked Algebra as the best University of Applied Sciences in respect to the overall quality of the educational institution, as well as in terms of their Quality Assurance system. In 2014, Algebra was chosen as Microsoft's Partner of the Year 2014, among the 3200 organizations worldwide participating in the competition. Algebra LAB scientists ranked 1st in 2017 European Big Data Hackathon organized by European
Commission, competing with data scientists representing other EU countries.

Who studies at Algebra University College?

At the beginning of the academic year in the autumn of 2021, Algebra reported that their courses are attended by students from 23 countries. The ever-changing circumstances of the global pandemic, the difficulties with travel and the additionally complex decision to travel away from home haven't stopped the fifty international students currently studying at Algrebra. They came from Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, France, Germany, India, Iran, Italy, Kosovo, Morocco, Nepal, Nigeria, North Macedonia, Portugal, Korea, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine, and the United States of America.

In 2021, 410 students overall enrolled in Algebra's programmes. That is an 11% increase compared to the last year. Overall, more than 1600 students are enrolled in the Algebra higher education programmes.

Meet the Algebra campus

In April of 2022, Algebra has opened their new campus in the neighbourhood of Črnomerec - around a kilometre to the south of the old campus. Read more about the opening in a TCN article. Although more and more students learn while being dislocated, people running Algebra feel like having an experience of studying at one location, with all your fellow students, is the best way forward. That's why they've invested 110 million kuna in the new, state-of-the-art campus facilities which have everything their students need, based on their past experience with various study programmes and formats.


Many international students have already completed their education at Algebra, or are currently enrolled in Algebra's programmes. You can find some of their experiences on the Algebra website. Get to know Dorothy Phiri from Zambia, and why she dreams of working for NASA someday. How did Nathan from the USA decide to come to Algebra to study game development, after studying at the University of California, Santa Cruz? What made Mohamed move from Kairo to Zagreb to study Digital Marketing? What did a story of moving from Ukraine to Zagreb via Poland look like for Kateryna Lelas?

Read more about Luis Vasquez's time at Algebra and life in Zagreb on Total Croatia News. Egyptian Mohamed Hafez also shared his story with TCN. Nicolas Silva from Brazil seems to be enjoying his time in Croatia!


Admissions procedure

Following the global trends in higher education, Algebra has established the International Office. The Office's key goal is to introduce the many advantages of studying in Croatia to future students. The staff at the International Office will be happy to help prospective students from the moment they start thinking about studying at Algebra. It will serve them as the main point of information and support throughout the entire enrollment process. The International Office is like a one-stop-shop, providing students with the documents needed for Visa application and temporary residence permit. All students will be in touch with the International Office until the start of the academic year. After that, all further support will be taken over by the Student Office.

Tuition Fees and Scholarships for Studying in Croatia

Tuition fees for international students are determined by the individual institutions. The price range is quite wide, so it's possible to find a year of the study programme for a thousand euros, while at the same time there are programmes with price-tags in the six figures. Make sure you do your research online carefully and read the fine-print details of all the education programmes you're interested in before applying. Also, there are numerous scholarship programmes available to help with the costs of studying in Croatia, as well as student exchange and mobility programmes.

Many Croatian higher-education institutions participate in the student exchange programmes, such as the EU's well-known Erasmus+ programme. If you're enrolled in a higher education institution elsewhere, you can apply to spend a semester or two in Croatia. The Erasmus+ website and your local Erasmus+ coordinator at your institution are your first go-tos to find more about the opportunity to study in Croatia.

There is another international exchange programme often used by international students to come to Croatia: the CEEPUS. That programme supports student mobility in the participating countries: Albania, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, North Macedonia, Moldavia, Montenegro, Poland, Kosovo, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Hungary.

Student life in Croatia

The single most important place for a student in Croatia is their university's Student Centre (rivalled only by a local bar). All of the Croatian universities have them, and they're the focal point of a student's life. That's where you'll be able to sort out your subsidized accommodation in the student dormitories (more about accommodation later), get your subsidized meals, find jobs, and find the initial student community. Student Centre is where you'll be able to get your 'iksica' card, which is the main document for a student to have, as it allows them to purchase the subsidized meals at the student cafeterias. Not all international students are eligible for the card and the subsidy, so make sure you look into that when arriving in Croatia.


International students in Croatia have some opportunities to get subsidised accommodation in the public student dormitories, managed by the Croatian universities. The dormitories in most Croatian university towns are double rooms, often with a shared bathroom. The price of such accommodation varies between universities but is usually in the range of 300 - 800 HRK per month (30 - 110 EUR). However, not all international students will be able to get subsidised dormitory accommodation, so some students will need to look for independent accommodation solutions. There are numerous internet sites which will help you find accommodation in any of the Croatian university towns (such as Njuskalo.hr, Oglasnik.hr, index oglasi are among the most popular). Keep in mind that even the cheapest rooms or apartments available on the open market will be several times more expensive than the subsidised room. Also, it will probably be easier for you to find accommodation in Croatia when you're actually here, so look into hostels or whatever's on offer on Airbnb or booking.com for a temporary stay, until you're able to find a more permanent solution. The International Office at Algebra recommends students to take their accommodation using the services of Home in Zagreb, specializing in students’ accommodation.

Working as a student

If you're an international student in Croatia and you want to make some cash on the side, you're in luck. There is a whole system in place here, dedicated to enabling the students to work legally in Croatia. It's called the "Student Service", and it's organized by every university in Croatia. The Student Service helps you find work, as they advertise the jobs offered for students. It also regulates the terms of your employment, so it's completely legal and all of the taxes and fees are paid for. Through it, the Croatian, the EU and the third-country citizens can get a part-time and temporary student gig. There is a minimum of how much you can be paid per hour, and it has recently been set at almost 30 kuna (29.30 HRK/hour or 3.90 EUR/hour). There are, of course, many much higher-paying jobs available, so make sure you check what's offered in your local Student Centre!

It is possible to get a job through other ways and types of contracts with prospective employers, but you have to limit your commitment to your job to 20 hours a week. You need to have enough time left in your week to dedicate to your studies, after all! Some students decide to get a job in order to be able to support their stay in Croatia, but also as an attempt to network with the Croatian businesses, so they could potentially stay here even after they've gotten their degree.

Just be careful, if you make over 63,000 HRK in a year (which is over 8,320 EUR), some additional income taxation rules might apply! Probably best to just stay below that figure and be on the safe side regarding taxes.

Healthcare & insurance

We mentioned already that students arriving to study in Croatia need to have health insurance in their home countries in order to be covered in Croatia. EU/EEA nationals (Lichtenstein, Iceland and Norway) are covered in Croatia if they have compulsory health insurance in their home countries - through their EHIC cards. The UK students are also covered through their EHIC or the new GHIC card.

Students from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Northern Macedonia and Turkey get their coverage in Croatia through the Bilateral treaty of their countries and Croatia. All other nationals need to have a comprehensive private health insurance policy to be able to get their residence permit - and it is a good idea to be covered, no matter how young you are!

Money and cost of living

We've covered a very broad set of topics regarding life in Croatia in our other articles on Total Croatia, and most of what's written in those articles applies to the international students studying in Croatia. Read more about living in Croatia in 2021 (with many tips&tricks), Croatian banks, how to get medical help in Croatia, weather in Croatia and two very important topics for every student in Croatia: beer and rakija (you need to know about rakija before coming here).

After Graduation?

Come for the study, stay for the career. The market for qualified talent in Croatia is extremely vibrant at the moment. For years, the employment story in Croatia was about the brain drain and emigration, but no longer.

There are a growing number of successful Croatian businesses now bringing in foreign talent to live and work in Croatia, as there are not enough qualified IT experts in Croatia to fill the growing need. Not only that, but a number of locals who emigrated in search of a better economic path in Ireland, Germany and Sweden are returning to their native country to help build a new Croatia.

The acquisition of Bugatti by Rimac Automobili was a global story, and the new Rimac campus in Sveta Nedelja, a short bus ride from the centre of Zagreb, is destined to be a major employer. The campus will open in 2023 and there will be more than 2,500 people working there. Currently, there are more than 35 nationalities working at Rimac.

Croatia's first unicorn, Infobip, is also expanding aggressively. A global player in the IT market with a presence in 70 countries and counting, Infobip is recruiting as much quality as it can find in Croatia - both local and expatriate.

And while Rimac and Infobip are the star names, there are many other Croatian businesses which are rising stars and in search of the brightest young talent. So, if your study in Croatia plans include finding employment upon graduation, you have some to the right place! Get a feel for living and working in Croatia in this excellent video by Rimac Automobili - life here really is this good!

More information about study in Croatia

To follow the latest news and features related to study in Croatia, check out the dedicated TCN page.

sarajevoliving@gmail.com (Paul Bradbury) What You Need To Know Thu, 03 Feb 2022 15:08:48 +0100
Famous Croatians: Living, Sport, Inventors, Actors & Writers https://www.total-croatia.com/en/famous-croatians https://www.total-croatia.com/en/famous-croatians Wherever you look in the world, the impact of famous Croats over the centuries will be there to see. A look at the most famous Croatians in different sections of society over the years. It is quite a contribution...

  • A tiny county with a huge global impact
  • Famous Croatians on the global sporting stage
  • A country of innovation
  • Who are the most famous Croatians living today?
  • Actors, entertainers and sculptors
  • Famous Croatians and their contribution to science
  • The world of literature, as written by famous Croatian writers
  • Celebrities with surprising Croatian roots
  • A tiny county with a huge global impact


    The play on words of the official tourist board slogan perhaps sums it up best in the video above. Rather than Croatia, Full of Life, your life is full of Croatia. From lighting the world through the genius of Nikola Tesla, to contributing the cravat to global fashion, or the mechanical pen of Slavoljub Penkala, the Croatia Effect is everywhere. Now meet the most famous Croatians of all.

    Famous Croatians on the global sporting stage

    When Croatia stormed to the World Cup Final in Moscow in 2018, many were surprised. But this was only the latest in a series of stunning sporting successes from the tiny country which dared to dream. Croatia has an enviable list of global superstars. Among the most famous and successful are:

    Luka Modric

    From herding goats, and playing football on Zadar's streets as a child, to leading his county in a World Cup Final, winning the Ballon d'Or, as well as 17 trophies as the lynchpin of Real Madrid - 4 Champions Leagues, 4 Club World Cups, 3 European Super Cups, 2 LaLigas, 3 Spanish Super Cups and 1 Copa del Rey - Modric is one of the most recognised footballers on the planet.

    Goran Ivanisevic

    The fiery giant from Split became a tennis legend in 2001 when he became the first wildcard entry to win Wimbledon. Ranked 125 at the time, and after three previous Wimbledon final losses, Ivanisevic saw off Pat Rafter in a 5-set thriller. In July 2021, he was inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame.

    Drazen Petrovic

    One can only wonder what Drazen Petrovic might have gone on to achieve had he not been tragically killed in a car accident on June 7, 1993, aged just 28. He had already achieved legendary status by then, and he was voted the best European Basketball player in history, by players at the 2013 FIBA EuroBasket. Already under his belt were 3 Olympic medals, and a gold and a bronze at the FIBA World Cup. Having moved to the States, he starred for the New Jersey Nets as one of the league's top shooting guards. He was named one of FIBA's 50 Greatest Players in 1991.

    Janica Kostelic

    Croatia does not have a marked skiing heritage, but try telling that to Janica Kostelic, who many regard as the greatest female skier of all time. And if her trophy cabinet is anything to go by, they have a point. In addition to the four Olympic golds and five World Championships golds, she won thirty individual races, three overall titles, three slalom titles, and four combined titles.

    Sandra Perkovic

    Sandra Perkovic has dominated the female discus for almost a decade. A two-time Olympic (2012 and 2016) and World (2013 and 2017) champion, Perkovic was also European champion five times from 2010 to 2018. And she remains the only individual to win 5 golds at the European Athletics Championship in one event.

    Mirko Filipovic

    Mirko Filipovic, aka Cro Cop is a professional mixed martial artist, kickboxer and amateur boxer, who many to consider to be among the greatest Heavyweight Kickboxers and MMA fighters of all time. As the 2006 Pride Open-Weight Grand Prix Champion, the 2012 K-1 World Grand Prix Champion and the 2016 Rizin Openweight Grand Prix Champion, he became only the second fighter in the world to win mixed martial arts and kickboxing championships and tournaments.

    Marin Cilic

    Marin Cilic won an impressive 19 ATP titles, including one Grand Slam (the US Open in 2014). Olympic glory also came in the form of a silver medal in the men's doubles in an all-Croatian final at Tokyo 2020. His highest career ranking was at number 3.

    Toni Kukoc

    One of the first established European stars to play in the NBA, Toni Kukoc was a versatile basketball legend who could play in all positions. Winner of the 1996 NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award, along with Vassilis Spanoulis, he was the only player in history to achieve the EuroLeague Final Four MVP honour three times. In September 2021, he became an enshrined member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

    Ivica Kostelic

    Brother of perhaps the greatest female skier of all time, Ivica Kostelic had a glittering career in his own right, with no less than 59 World Cup podium finishes. His success included World Championship gold medal in slalom in 2003, Olympic silver medal in slalom in 2010, Olympic silver medals in combined in 2006 (traditional combined), 2010 (super combined) and 2014, as well as the overall World Cup title in 2011.

    Martin and Valent Sinkovic

    Croatian sibling sporting success extends beyond the ski slopes to rowing. For this is a discipline in which the Sinkovic brothers, Martin and Valent, have excelled for years. Their Olympic dominance has spanned 3 Games, from silver at London 2012 in the quadruple skulls, gold at Rio 2016 in the doubles skulls, and gold once more at Tokyo 2020 in the coxless pairs.

    A country of innovation

    For such a small country, the global impact of innovation coming out of Croatia has been immense. You can find a much more detailed look at Croatian innovation and discoveries in the dedicated TCN guide, but here are five famous Croatians who made an immense contribution:

    Nikola Tesla

    A man who was "equally proud of his Serb origin and Croat homeland" needs no introduction. Tesla's contribution to the world was immense, with over 300 international patents on his inventions, in addition to inventing the first alternating current (AC) motor, and developing AC generation and transmission technology. A museum in his birthplace in Smiljan is dedicated to the great man.

    Faust Vrancic

    Also know as Fausto Veranzio, Vrancic was a polymath, inventor and bishop from Sibenik during the rule of the Republic of Venice. His most lasting legacy is being the first person to design and successfully test a parachute, having seen drawings by Leonardo di Vinci. Vrancic is buried on the island of Prvic, where there is a museum in his honour.

    Rudjer Boskovic

    An 18th-century physicist, astronomer, mathematician, philosopher, diplomat, poet, theologian, Jesuit priest, and polymath, Boskovic produced a precursor of atomic theory, as well as immense contributions to astronomy. These included the first geometric procedure to determine the equator of a revolving planet. He also discovered the absence of atmosphere on the Moon.

    Slavoljub Penkala

    Most famous for the development of the mechanical pen (1906) and the first solid ink fountain pen (1907), Penkala was a serial inventor with over 80 patents to his name. He also designed the first Croatian plane to ever fly, as well as the hot water bottle and a rail-car brake. He is buried at Mirogoj in Zagreb.

    Ivan Vucetic

    The man from Hvar has definitely made the world a safer place. Having emigrated to Argentina in 1882, Juan Vucetich did pioneering work in the field of dactyloscopy (that is fingerprinting to you and me), and managed to solve the world's first crime due to fingerprint evidence in 1891, when a bloody fingerprint proved to be the key evidence in a grisly murder. The Argentinian police force adopted his methods, which quickly went global.

    Who are the most famous Croatians living today?

    There are many famous Croatians who have made significant contributions in the past, but what about those still living? Here are five of the most famous:

    Mate Rimac

    A decade ago, he was tinkering in his garage, converting an old 1984 BMW 3 Series into an electric car, a car which went on to break several electric car world records. Just over 10 years later, Rimac has acquired the Bugatti brand, attracted investment and partnership from the likes of Porsche, and produced the fastest hypercar in the world. All in a country with no discernible car industry, something he is determined to change.

    Luka Modric

    Already mentioned above in the famous sporting section, Modric has penetrated new corners of the planet for Brand Croatia through his exploits for both Real Madrid and the Croatian national team.

    Mike Grgich

    Born in Dalmatia before pursuing a winemaking career in California, Grgich rocked the 'old world' order in 1976 with the so-called Judgment of Paris. His 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay stunned the established order, beating all the famous Burgundies, a seismic moment for the Californian wine industry. Grgich was inducted to the Culinary Institute of America's Vintner's Hall of Fame in 2008.

    Ante Gotovina

    A hero to many, a war criminal to others, General Ante Gotovina was easily the most high-profile soldier of the Homeland War. His role in Operation Storm helped bring an end to the war, but also earned him an international arrest warrant. After years on the run, he was arrested and tried in the Hague. His not guilty verdict was celebrated all over Croatia and he returned to a hero's welcome. Shunning politics after his release, Gotovina today runs a successful tuna business.

    Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic

    Croatia's first female president's inclusion in this list has less to do with her political achievements, and rather more with her enthusiastic exploits following the Croatian team at the 2018 World Cup. Dressed in the famous read and while chequered national shirt, Grabar Kitarovic drew huge international attention for her emotional support of the team. The most famous images were at the final trophy presentation in the pouring rain, where she stood soaking next to President Putin, the only person dry under an umbrella. Google searches for 'Croatian president' went through the roof. Currently, she's an International Olympic Committee member.

    Actors, sculptors and entertainers

    Goran Visnjic

    There is no doubting who is the most famous Croatian actor on the world stage. ER heartthrob, Dr Luka Kovac, was the famous character playing out on television screens all over the globe by Goran Visnjic. The man from Sibenik emigrated to the United States in the 1990s. He is also well-known for his role in another NBC series, Timeless, as Garcia Flynn.

    Mira Furlan

    Mira Furlan was a Croatian actress and singer. Internationally, she was best known for her roles as the Minbari Ambassador Delenn in the science fiction television series Babylon 5 (1993–1998), and as Danielle Rousseau in Lost (2004–2010). Born in Zagreb in 1955, she died in Los Angeles in 2021.

    Rade Serbedzija

    An actor, director and musician, Serbedzija is one of the most famous Yugoslav actors of the 1970s an 1980s. He also achieved international acclaim through supporting roles in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, X Men, First Class, The Saint, Mission Impossible 2, and 24. He has received Croatia's highest acting honour, the Golden Arena for Best Actor, 4 times.


    Two classically trained cellists, Luka Sulic and Stjepan Hauser, took the instrument to new levels as 2Cellos. Their unique instrumental arrangements of well-known pop and rock songs, as well as classical and film music won them global fame and audiences, as well as features on several American TV series, including Glee The Bachelor. They split in 2019, before reuniting on their 10th anniversary with a rendition of Bon Jovi's Livin' on a Prayer.

    Oliver Dragojevic

    The death of Dragojevic just a few days after the 2018 World Cup Final aroused arguably as much emotion in Croatia as the sporting exploits in Russia. Dragojevic was an icon in the region, with an illustrious singing career spanning 5 decades. His combination of klapa melodies of Dalmatia and jazz motifs wrapped up in a modern production defined his distinctive style. Well-loved far beyond Croatia's borders, he is one of the few Croats to perform at the Royal Albert Hall and Sydney Opera House.

    Arsen Dedic

    In addition to being one of the best-selling poets in former Yugoslavia, Arsen Dedic was a popular Croatian singer and songwriter, whose genre was chansons, in addition to writing and performing film music, after moving on from initial influences in Dalmatian folklore. Born in Sibenik in 1958, he remained a popular performer throughout the region until his death in 2015.

    Ivan Mestrovic

    One of the world's most influential sculptors of the 20th century, the fame of and work of Ivan Mestrovic quickly spread beyond his native Dalmatia. While tourists can enjoy his work at the Mestrovic Gallery in Split among others, his work is also on display all over the world, including the United States, where the editor of the New York Arts Magazine summed up his standing after a 1947 exhibition: "It is therefore singularly significant that he is almost unanimously revered by American sculptors of all schools as one of the greatest living sculptors."

    Famous Croatians and their contribution to science

    Andrija Mohorovicic

    Mohorovicic is often considered one of the founders of modern seismology. The geophysicist was born in Opatija, educated in Rijeka and Prague, and worked as a teacher in Zagreb, Osijek and Bakar. His first scientific interest was meteorology, but after the deadly earthquake in Pokuplje in 1909, he dedicated himself to the studies of the composition and the forces in the Earth's core. He discovered the discontinuity which separates the Earth's crust from its mante, which is named after him: Mohorovičić discontinuity (often shortened to Moho).

    Dragutin Gorjanovic Kramberger

    The Zagreb-born palaeontologist, geologist and archaeologist is best known for his discovery of a very rich Neanderthal site on Hrušnjak Hill near Krapina. It was one of the key findings of the sub-species in Europe in the 19th century, and the monograph about his research, published in Weisbaden was the most comprehensive scientific publication on the palaeontology of humans written to date. Today, the Krapina Neanderthal Museum is one of the most popular museums in Croatia.

    Lavoslav Ruzicka

    The first of the two Croatian-born chemists to receive the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Ružička was born in Vukovar in 1887. Educated in chemistry in Germany, he moved to Switzerland where he was a lecturer at the ETH and the University of Zurich. His work on the natural organic compounds lead his group to start researching hormones, and he was awarded the Nobel prize in 1939 for his work on polymethylenes and higher terpenes, including the first chemical synthesis of male sex hormones.

    Vladimir Prelog

    The second of the Croatian chemists to have received the Nobel prize was born in Sarajevo in 1906, and moved to Zagreb as a child. His chemistry education mostly happened in Prague, but in 1935 he moved back to Zagreb to lecture at the University of Zagreb. During the World War II he moved to Switzerland, where he started his career in Ružička's laboratory, and became the group leader after Ružička retired. His work was mostly focused on stereochemistry and alkaloids, so in 1975 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for his research into the stereochemistry of organic molecules and reactions.

    Inventors of Azithromycin

    The invention of azithromycin is one of the most significant achievements in the Croatian scientific history. The complicated chemical synthesis was first performed in the early 1980s, in the research institute of the pharmaceutical company PLIVA in Zagreb. The scientists working on the project are Slobodan Đokić, Gabrijela Kobrehel, Gorjana Lazarevski and Zrinka Tamburašev. After a long battle against the pharmaceutical giant, Pfizer, PLIVA was awarded worldwide patents for the compound and its production. After that, a series of licencing contracts were signed between PLIVA and Pfizer, with the American company obtaining the rights to sell the antibiotic worldwide, except in the former eastern bloc. The American Chemical Society awarded S. Đokić and G. Kobrehel with the title of "Heroes of Chemistry" in 2000, along with their Pfizer colleagues, for their discovery of azithromycin.

    The world of literature, as written by famous Croatian writers

    Ivo Andric

    Claimed as a literary genius by Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia, Ivo Andric won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1961. He beat a competitive field for the award, including Robert Frost, J.R. Tolkein, John Steinbeck, and E.M Forster. His best-known work was the Bosnian historical masterpiece, Bridge over the River Drina.

    Ivana Brlic Mazuranic

    Widely regarded as Croatia's greatest children's writer, Ivana Brlic Mazuranic is also known as the 'Croatian Andersen.' Nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature an impressive 4 times, her work has been widely translated. An animated film, Lapitch, the Little Shoemaker, became Croatia's most successful theatrical release in 1997. Born in Ogulin, she committed suicide in 1938 at the age of 64.

    Miroslav Krleza

    Regarded by many as the greatest Croatian writer of the 20th century, Miroslav Krleza was a man of all genres. He excelled in poetry, theatre, short stories, novels, even an intimate diary. His main theme was bourgeois hypocrisy and conformism in Austro-Hungary and the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.

    Marija Juric Zagorka

    Known by her pen name, Zagorka, Marija Juric was a Croatian writer, author and women's activist. She was the first female journalist in Croatia and remains one of the most-read Croatian authors. This, despite the fact that she died in 1957. In 2009, the city of Zagreb bought and converted her old home into the Memorial apartment of Marija Juric Zagorka. The Croatian Journalists' Association has an annual Marija Juric Zagorka Award for excellence in written, radio, television, online and investigative journalism.

    Tin Ujevic

    Born Augustin Josip Ujevic in 1891 in Vrgorac before adopting the name Tin, Ujevic is regarded as the greatest Croatian poet of the 20th century. Today, the Tin Ujevic Award is the most prestigious poetry award in Croatia. British poet Richard Berengarten translated many of his poems into English.

    "Although Tin's major achievement is as a lyricist, his oeuvre is much broader than lyric alone. He was a writer of profound and discerning intellect, broad and capacious interests, inquisitive appetite and eclectic range."

    Celebrities with surprising Croatian roots

    With such a large diaspora all over the world, it is hardly surprising that many foreigners claim Croatian roots. A look at some famous names who you might not have expected to have a Croatian connection.


    The Kiwi double Grammy Award winner, whose real name - Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O'Connor - indicates a Croatian connection, opened up about her Croatian family links in a 2017 interview:

    “My mother is Croatian. There are 100,000, kind of Dalmatian, Croatian, Yugoslav people in New Zealand. There’s a lot of wine; Dalmatians drink a lot of wine down there. So yeah, I am Croatian, and I have Croatian citizenship.”

    Novak Djokovic

    The Serbian tennis phenomenon is a popular figure - and frequent visitor - in Croatia. And in 2019, he revealed that he has family history in Croatia on his mother's side.

    "She was born in Belgrade, but her parents come from Croatia. My grandmother and grandfather are from Vinkovci, and actually, all of my grandmother’s family comes from there, and I still have relatives there."

    Garry Kasparov

    Croatia was not in the picture for chess world champion turned political activist Garry Kasparov, as he grew up in Azerbaijan in the Soviet Union. But circumstances - and his politics - meant that it became increasingly difficult to live in Russia. A member of Vukovar Chess Club, and homeowner in Makarska, Kasparov was granted Croatian citizenship in 2014.

    Zlatan Ibrahimovic

    One of the greatest footballers this century, Ibrahimovic has had an illustrious career with some of the best clubs in Europe and the MLS, as well as contributing many schools for Sweden at international level. Although his father is Bosnian, Ibrahimovic also has Croatian roots through his mother, as he explained in a 2019 speech praising Luka Modric:

    “Me and my mother being from Croatia, he’s Croatian so I am happy. It’s part of the blood.” His mother emigrated to Sweden from the village of Prkos, not far from Zadar. So he and Modric could have been neighbours.

    John Malkovich

    The Hollywood A-list actor and producer is a regular visitor to the country of his ancestors. Hvar and Opatija are among his favourite haunts, but his roots lie further inland. For it was from a village near Ozalj that Malkovich's grandfather emigrated to the United States.

    Diego Maradona

    Was the Argentine football legend's genius at least partly due to his Croatian genes? Maradona's grandfather was allegedly Mateo Kariolic from Korcula, who named his older daughter Dalma, Diego's mother, after Dalmatia. Maradona gave the same name to his daughter and once said that she was also named after Dalmatia

    John Kasich

    The closest a Croatian came to running The White House was in 2016 when Ohio governor John Kasich came third to Donald Trump and Ted Cruz for the Republican nomination (Kasich won the Ohio primary). His mother was Croatian and immigrated to the US, where she married his immigrant Czech father.

    Bill Belichick

    The most successful coach in NFL history is a proud Croat, often talking of his Croatian roots in interviews. His grandparents left Draganici for the US, where his grandfather worked as a gardener and butcher.

    “Father was very close to the Croatian community in Pennsylvania, his first cousin visited many times the villages we came from. When he married my mother in the Immigrant Centre, they suggested to change his name to Belichick which he did,” said Bill and added: “I am very proud of our Croatian history. I had the opportunity to visit this beautiful land and am proud of my heritage.”

    Krist Novoselic of Nirvana

    One of the greatest bands of all time has its Croatian connection in the form of Krist Novoselic. The Nirvana bassist is the son of Croatian immigrants. His father, Kristo, is from the island of Iz. His mother is from Privlaka near Zadar. Novoselic lived in Croatia for a year in 1980 and was a frequent visitor during the Homeland War.

    Marco Polo

    The greatest traveller of them all is often said to have been born in paradise - on the island of Korčula. The view across the water to Peljesac must have inspired a young Marco Polo. For he left his native island to embark on travels to the exotic east which became the stuff of legend. You can visit Marco Polo's home on your next visit to Korcula Town.

    sarajevoliving@gmail.com (Paul Bradbury) What You Need To Know Tue, 14 Sep 2021 16:40:24 +0200
    Raining in Croatia? Tips for Split, Dubrovnik, Hvar & Istria https://www.total-croatia.com/en/raining-in-croatia https://www.total-croatia.com/en/raining-in-croatia A holiday in Croatia usually conjures up images of crystal clear waters, beautiful beaches and dining on open terraces. You know what? This is usually true. Many guests come to Croatia during the summer and thoroughly enjoy the warm Mediterranean climate. Still, regardless of when you make your way to Croatia, one thing you can never count on completely is the weather. So what to do when it rains in Croatia?

  • Welcome to your rainy Croatian holiday!
  • What is the Weather Like in Croatia Year Round?
  • How Much Does It Rain in Croatia?
  • What to Do on a Rainy Day in Dubrovnik?
  • 5 Thing to do in Split when It's Raining
  • Hvar Rain is Rare, but it Happens. Here's What to Do!
  • Rainy Day on your Zagreb Holiday? Here's How to Make the Best of It!
  • How to Survive a Rainy Day in Rijeka?
  • It’s Raining in Istria! What do I do?
  • Welcome to Your Rainy Croatian Holiday

    Couldy sky Croatia

    What does a rainy day in a destination perfect for summer vacation look like? What are you to do with your flip flops, Hawaiian shirt and freshly applied sunscreen when the clouds roll in? While some of the amenities and entertainment options will be impossible to enjoy on a rainy day, there are still choices. There is plenty to explore in all major Croatian travel spots regardless of the weather. So, shake off those rainy day blues, buy a cheap umbrella and read this page before going out and enjoying your day.

    What is the Weather Like in Croatia Year Round?

    The Croatian climate is overall very pleasant. In fact, the coast especially is a part of the Mediterranean climate area with long, dry summers and mild, rainy winters. The continental part of Croatia has a typical continental European climate with cold winters and regular instances of snow. Around the higher elevated areas like Gorski Kotar region winter weather can be particularly harsh. All along the coast, especially between Zadar and Rijeka, the northern wind called Bura can be especially hard and disruptive.

    Dubrovnik Porporela

    Throughout the summer and shoulder months the coastal areas are generally very warm and pleasant. In some instances the temperatures rise so much the news encourages people to avoid prolonged exposure to the sun during the hottest parts of the day. However, the summer weather is mostly very warm and inviting.

    For more information about the weather, turn to Total Croatia News' page on weather in croatia.

    You can find current weather information on Croatian Meteorological and Hidrological Service website.

    How Much Does It Rain in Croatia?

    The amount of precipitation varies widely between regions and even micro locations. Islands far off the coast are the driest with the least amount of rain. For example, Lastovo island had 514,7mm of rainfall in 2020. Korcula town on the island of the same name had 895,9mm in the same year. The island of Krk, much further north than the previous two, had 1288,2mm. The situation varies drastically, but there is no particular place on Croatian coast that is especially rainy during the summer. Interestingly, out of all major Dalmatian cities: Dubrovnik, Split, Sibenik and Zadar, Dubrovnik is the rainiest even though it is the furthest one south. In 2020 Dubrovnik had as much rain as did the continental capital city of Zagreb.

    Exact statistical information is available here.

    What to Do on a Rainy Day in Dubrovnik?


    We know. You saw the brochures full of photos of sunny beaches and tanned people frolicking in the shallows. Now you’re here and it is starting to rain in the middle of July! This is a rare occurrence, but let’s be honest, that is hardly comforting in this situation. While many people react to rain on their summer vacation dramatically, the reality is you can still have a great time exploring the city and the surrounding area. Forget the beach or boat tours and try some of these.

    Dubrovnik’s Old Town

    The historical centre of Dubrovnik is very small, so if you are staying within the Old Town you will have plenty of indoor options. Many of the city’s museums are within the walls. Anyone even remotely interested in history and the story of the city will be able to spend hours exploring them.

    Museums not your thing? No problem. Small shops and jewellery stores are dotted all around the city’s narrow streets. Hopping around these spots, searching for a perfect keepsake or gifts for the family might be the best choice for a rainy day. Take your time with it. This might be one vacation that doesn’t end with hectic last minute shopping two hours before the flight.

    Plenty of small or big art pieces are also up for grabs in Dubrovnik’s galleries, often managed by the artists themselves. Enjoy some cultural uplifting by checking out the city’s rich arts and craft scene.

    Restaurants and bars will also be popular on a rainy day. In fact, they can get completely overcrowded in the case of an unexpected rain, so think twice about them. If we are talking about a grey rainy day with stubborn rain, then restaurants might be a great option for a long lunch or dinner where you can really relax and enjoy. Remember to make a reservation as most places have very limited seating inside.

    Dubrovnik Cathedral

    Dubrovnik Outside of the City Walls

    Newer parts of Dubrovnik have their own amenities to offer during a rainy day. Similar to the historical centre, there will be plenty of restaurants and bars that are good hiding places for when the rain comes.

    There are some museums and galleries outside of the Old Town, but there are more large shops. Several small shopping areas are unfortunately not a good substitute for a proper shopping centre which doesn’t exist within the city, but there are quite a few shops to go through. Gruz area has the biggest concentration of shops in the city. Outside the city, there is a small shopping centre in Zupa Dubrovacka area, called Sub City. It is too small to make it worth the trip just for the shopping, but it might be if you combine it with a beautiful local area with some nice cafés and restaurants.

    Wellness and spa centres await in the majority of Dubrovnik’s hotels and they provide for a fantastic option on a rainy day. Who wouldn’t want to relax in a nice pool or get a soothing massage while the rain drops tap on the window? Some spas will have feature views of the surrounding area to really enjoy the ambiance. Others, like Sun Gardens Spa will offer enough amenities to turn the visit into a day trip.

    There are many other options within Dubrovnik including gym, sports, escape room, cinemas and similar.

    Dubrovnik Day Trips

    Speaking of day trips, some are perfect for a rainy day. Popular day trips that take you to surrounding countries like Montenegro or Bosnia and Herzegovina might be a way to avoid the rain almost completely. If Dubrovnik is rainy, but the destinations on these tours are not, you might want to escape the rain and use the day to explore the surrounding area.

    Some tours like many food and wine tours will take you to places where majority of the activities are indoors. Tours taking you to many museums are also generally ok to do during a rainy day. Of course, if the rain is light, you can to majority of the tours on offer with proper clothes and shoes.  

    5 Thing to do in Split when It's Raining

    Split truly is beautiful in all kinds of weather. The ancient city of Roman pedigree is getting to be one of the most popular destinations lately, for a reason. Along with being a historical city, Split is also the biggest Dalmatian city. Meaning, there is plenty to do in Split, even if you can't go to the beach.

    Split Historical Centre

    1. Get Lost Shopping

    Unlike Dubrovnik, Split has several larger shopping malls. From Joker through City Centre One to local favourite – Mall of Split. While the rain beats down, enjoy the everlasting classic of shopping and entertainment. Shopping malls around the world provide rescue for people stuck outside during a rainy day. A visit to the mall doesn't necessarily mean spending a fortune. It can be just cheap fun with a good roof over your head. Familiar brands of apparel, cosmetics and electronics help make you feel at home. Of course, there is no visit to the mall without enjoying the offer of cafes and restaurants inside.

    2. Museum Hopping

    Split in nice weather is quite a deterrent for museums. The city is very much at its best outdoors and it will make you want to spend the day doing nothing but catching fresh air. However, that doesn't mean there are no museums that are worth your attention. For example, a good combination might be to visit Archeological Museum and Museum of Croatian Archeological Monuments. You can start exploring with local Roman history and continue with Slavic history of Split. Another great combo is to do Museum of Croatian Archeological Monuments and Mestrovic Gallery (Ivan Mestrovic – the most important Croatian sculptor) as their buildings are situated quite close to each other. If the weather does clear, you can enjoy lovely outdoor areas of these museums.

    3. Visit Old Cinemas in the Historical Centre

    There are two cinemas in the historical centre of Split - Zlatna Vrata and Kino Karaman. Their programs mix classic and modern movies from all over the world. One thing that many foreign visitors to Croatia don't know coming into the country is our cinemas show movies with original soundtracks and subtitles rather than dubbing over. This means you can still watch most of the foreign films in the original language in local movie theatres. Tickets in the historical centre cinemas are cheaper than in the bigger cinemas in shopping centers. Before or after the film, it is easy to move to one of the nearby restaurants or bars.

    Split Riva Promenade

    4. Visit a Winery or a Countryside Eatery Outside of Split

    Local countryside eateries, farms and wineries might be a bit more fun to visit on a rainy day than a regular restaurant in the city. They offer nice food, amazing ambiance, and a story worth experiencing. To get to them you have to travel to the suburbs of Split or surrounding towns. In places like Kastela and Solin you can find a few great wineries perfect for wine enthusiasts. After all, this is the birthplace of zinfandel. All over the area, like in Zrnovnica or Klis you will find farms and countryside estates that cater to guests. This is a great opportunity to taste some traditional Croatian cuisine. If the skies clear, you'll be a few steps from discovering the beauty of the local surroundings.

    5. Cancel Your Walk on Marjan and Take it Easy

    Marjan park-forest is must-see place in Split. Meanwhile, to be honest, a walk (hike) on Marjan seems a bit tiring. Amind the relaxed atmosphere of Split, it seems like a counter-intuitive activity. 314 steps are not easy to do for anyone. Therefore, it can be especially rewarding to cancel an activity like that while on your holiday. Hey, you have a valid reason. Go on, postpone your run or hike, find yourself a nice cafe and enjoy the Dalmatian philosophy of taking it slow known as pomalo.

    Hvar Rain is Rare, but it Happens. Here's What to Do!

    Hvar is known as the “sunniest island in Europe”. Still, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t get rain. While all those looking for fun in the sun and beach hopping will be disappointed, all is not lost. With the island full of picturesque villages and towns perfect for exploring, there’s always something to do. We take a closer look at the options with emphasis on Hvar Town.

    Hvar Rain

    Restaurants and Cafés

    You’ll oftentimes notice when it’s raining out that the cafes will usually be filled with people. One reason is to seek shelter from the rain, the other is to meet friends, drink, and be jolly. One thing that is particularly great about restaurants or cafes in the rain is that it brings people together, forces them to communicate, and most likely encourages a drink or two. You’ll be more inclined to meet people this way, including locals, and we can assure you that you’ll hear a good story or two.

    Visit Art Galleries and Museums

    Whether you remain in Hvar town to flock the various art galleries or museums in the town (be sure to check the opening times or call), it’s also wise to consider other galleries on the island. Stari Grad is just a short bus ride away from Hvar town, and the Stari Grad Museum is surely not one to be missed.

    Island Shopping

    What better way to enjoy a rainy day than to shop the alleyways of Hvar town? Sure, you’ll need an umbrella handy, but we think shopping in a bit cooler and crisper air prohibits better shopping decisions. Hvar town is filled with boutiques and especially creative jewellery shops - you will be sure to find one of a kind pieces here (and won’t be filled with sweat when you’re trying them on).

    Take a Hike

    The hot summer heat usually hinders you from doing outdoors activities other than swimming, but the Hvar town Fortica, aka Tvrđava Španjola, is great to take advantage of during a bit of rain. Although the sky won’t be as blue for your photos, we promise you the effort and dedication it takes you to get up there will be cut in half - an essential tourist site to see under a bit of cooler weather.

    Pamper Yourself

    If you’re in a position to do so, book a spa day. Hvar has many great hotels with spas that offer massages and beauty treatments. You can even just use the sauna to warm up if you need! A good way to kill time while the rain passes, a bit of pampering never hurt anyone.

    Sure Hvar is the place to go to for the ultimate summer holiday, but don’t let a little bit of rain kill your buzz. Embrace the architecture, enjoy that warm cup of coffee (or brandy), admire the churches and the art and try to explore as much as you can. Even book a spa day if you’re up for it! We promise you Hvar town in the rain isn’t such a buzzkill after all.

    Rainy Day on your Zagreb Holiday? Here's How to Make the Best of It!

    You have just planned out a perfect getaway to the capital of Croatia, but then you see that the weather forecast predicts rain. Does it mean you should cancel your plans? Absolutely not.  Here are 5 suggestions of what to in Zagreb (even if) when it rains.

    Guided tours of the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb (HNK) with the HNK actors

    Croatia National Theatre Zagreb

    Under the motto 'Meet HNK', The Croatian National Theatre organises guided tours of different locations within the theatre which the audience normally doesn't get to see. Walk through the underground passages connecting the Croatian National Theatre with the Academy of Dramatic Arts, sit in the emperor's loge, visit the dance halls for a chance to catch a glimpse of HNK's best ballet performers or admire the sumptuously decorated restroom built for the visit of the Austrian emperor Franz Joseph.

    You can choose between two types of tours. 'The Secret History of the Croatian Theatre', which is available two times a month, takes place on Saturdays from 11 p.m. to 3 p.m. It would be a good idea to make a reservation before 2 p.m. on Friday. Alternatively, if you find yourself in Zagreb in the middle of the week, you can still take part in The Sightseeing Tour which takes place every day from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tickets are available at the ticket counter of the theatre.


    Use a rainy day to shop for unique souvenirs (like Licitar Hearts or the English edition of the first Croatian novel - The Goldsmiths's Treasure - to remind you of your Zagreb adventures or go and buy a piece of Croatian jewellery just for yourself. Two usual shopping destination in the city center are Ilica, Tomićeva Street or Teslina Street.

    If you would like to go where the locals go, consider visiting one of Zagreb's shopping centres like Centar Cvjetni situated a stone's throw from the main square or branch out and go to City Centar One or Arena Centar, located a little further away from the bustling city center.

    Zagreb museums

    Zagreb is a busy city 365 days a year, and its museums host many interesting and unusual exhibitions. If you are want to explore the history of chocolate there is the Museum of Chocolate - including an edible chocolate ticket. Museum of Illusions will challenge all of your senses. For classical arts visit Klovicevi dvori Art Gallery. For modern art make your way to the Museum of Modern Art. You will enjoy a unique glimpse into the psychology of relationships in Museum of Broken Relationships, and you will learn about Croatian crafts in the Museum of Arts and Crafts. With all this and more, you are certain to find something for yourself.

    Museum of Modern Art in Zagreb

    Cooking class or food tours

    There's nothing like improving your mood with some tasty Croatian food! Whether you are an amateur cook or just a traditional food enthusiast, Zagreb has been a meeting point and a melting pot of various cultures for more than two centuries. All of them have brought unique food traditions to the table (literally).

    Beauty and spa treatments

    Take a leaf out of Audrey Hepburn's book, and just like her character in 'Roman Holiday'  treat yourself to a new haircut, a massage or a facial treratment in one of Zagreb's many beauty salons and spa centers, all staying atop of the latest trends!

    How to Survive a Rainy Day in Rijeka?

    City of Rijeka

    Rijeka is known as the „City that Flows“ in Croatia. This is, of course, a reference to the city’s name which translates to „River“. While the name itself has nothing to do with the amount of precipitation the area gets, Rijeka gets the most rain out of all the entries on this list. Rain suits this city of industrial charm and rock & roll spirit. It doesn’t seem to need sunshine to be interesting. To prove this, here's a few ideas on things to do in Rijeka during a rainy day.

    Peek & Poke Computer Museum

    Museums are impossible to avoid on lists of things perfect to do on a rainy day. Museums provide pleasant and often uplifting content that gets more interesting the more time you devote to it. To top it all up, they are often in interesting or beautiful buildings. But sometimes it is not about fancy buildings, works of inspiring art or historically important items. Sometimes museums are just fun. This is exactly what Peek & Poke Museum is. It is informative and fun with a dash of nostalgia thrown in for good measure. Two story computer technology museum in Rijeka is full of bsolete computer technology. It offers a charming look into a part of the history many who visit have actually lived through.

    Seeing how you can actually play with some of the exhibits, this place is a must-visit for all those wishing to remind themselves of how fast the world turns.

    Visit the Governor's Palace

    On the opposite end of the scale from Peek & Poke is the Governor's Palace. This is an experience of classical architecture and classical museum values. This late 19th century neo-renaissance building houses two museums, Maritime and History Museum of the Croatian Littoral. Exhibits are numerous and diverse and will take you quite a bit of time to go over in detail. Interesting collection of model ships are a real eye candy. The history of the building itself is fascinating and worth exploring as well. Governor's Palace is a must-visit place when in Rijeka, regardless of the weather.

    Get Creative with Rainy Day Photography

    We weren't kidding when we said rain suits Rijeka. The city simply looks cool when it’s raining. Unlike many coastal cities in Croatia, Rijeka still feels like the industrial centre it was and still partially is. Lead skies, rising winds and feeling of cold drizzle on your cheeks are unpleasant to some, but to artistic souls they are an invitation to create. Photography lovers will find great spots in Rijeka to immortalise on a gloomy day. For example Torpedo Factory - a symbol of glorious past of Rijeka. Today it sits in disrepair, abandoned and endlessly interesting. If you are after something more aesthetically pleasing you can't go wrong with the main street Korzo and the historical buildings around it. Get creative and make sure your camera doesn't get too wet.

    City of Rijeka

    Cafés & Bars

    Rijeka is known for interesting cafés, bars and pubs. Rainy day might just be a perfect opportunity to check out the local scene. From carefully decorated spots offering the latest and greatest craft beer to old classics of Rijeka's drinking scene, there is something for everyone in the „City that Flows“. Make sure to do your homework and get informed about the places that suit your style. Even better, don't do any research and let yourself be surprised and thrown outside of your comfort zone. Some of the names to remember are Brasserie AS, King's Pub, CukariKafè, Kavana Grad and The Beertija. Cheers!

    Catch a Performance in Croatian National Theatre „Ivan Pl. Zajc“

    The National Theatre in Rijeka is an important institution of the city. It sits in the city centre in a beautiful building designed by a Viennese design studio in 1880s. More important than the building are the performances that go on inside. Amazing theatre plays, operas and ballet performances are all on the calendar of Rijeka's Croatian National Theatre. If you are facing a rainy day during your stay in Rijeka make sure to check what's on in the theatre and enjoy the show. It just might be an opportunity for that evening of culture and art you were promising your partner for months.

    It’s Raining in Istria! What do I do?

    When it comes to precipitation in Istria, Istramet reports that on average, mountainous region gets around 1500 mm of rain per year. Coastal Istria, to paraphrase an iconic song, is „singing in the 800-900 mm (Valtura to Novigrad), just singing in the 900-1100 mm (north-west coast) of rain“. The majority of the rain falls in autumn and winter, while summer and spring offer more chance of relaxing outdoors without getting wet. But, just in case you are met with "sad clouds crying", don't let it ruin your day. Here are some of the great things you can do in Istria when it rains and pours


    Motovun Istria

    Motovun is filled with fantastic restaurants preparing all manner of Istrian specialties. Most of them are beautifully decorated so you won't miss the breathtaking outdoor looks of this historic town.

    Rain is also a great chance to head over to the local Cultural-Educational Centre Kaštel, where you can try freshly made bread and pasta. There, you can also attend a pasta-making workshop and find out about the old mill.

    Additionally, Motovun is filled with old churches. St. Stephen Church, Motovun Belltower, Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Church of St.Anthony of Padua and St.Cyprian are just some worth exploring. Available for visit is 18th century noble Palace Polesini or Loggia on the Josef Ressel Square. This square was the place where the political rulers made their decision publicly known to citizens, a practice used as early as 1331. All these locations will ensure you stay dry. Meanwhile you will soak in cultural heritage and stories of old.


    With the centre of Porec being over 2000 years old, there is much to explore even during rainy weather. Most notably, the stunning Euphrasian Basilica, registered on the list of UNESCO World Heritage in 1997. It was built in the 6th century during Bishop Euphrasius, whose name it carries. Euphrasian Basilica is famous for glittering mosaics from the 3rd century.

    Porec Euphrasian Basilica

    Another great site to visit is the Pentagonal Tower. It was erected in 1447 under the podesta Nicolò Lion on the foundations of an earlier medieval tower. There was na even older one in the same spot. All three layers of historical buildings are visible after a decision to show the structure layering in the late 20th century.

    Its also worth having a look at the mid-13th century Romanesque House (and its Ethnographic Heritage Collection on its upper floors), as well as Canonica, the two oldest preserved houses in Porec.


    When the rain starts falling on the historic Pula Roman Forum, seek shelter in the Temple of Augustus. The only survival of the three temples that stood around this central point, it is incredibly well preserved and exciting to see from the inside.

    17th-century Venetian fortress with star-shaped defensive walls known as Fort Kastel is another stunning site in Pula. To see this fascinating structure, as our Pula TC page warns, you need to do a bit of heavy climbing. So, a chilly rainy day is a great option for making the trip up to Fort Kastel.

    The most famous site in Pula, the Pula Colosseum built in the 1st century AD isn't going to shelter you from the rain. But, the fact it is the most well-preserved colosseum outside of Italy means it is worth a little rain.


    The bell tower of Saint Euphemia Church is the symbol of Rovinj. Apart from roof to shelter you from the rain, this church built in a mix of baroque and Venetian styles is rewarding for its beautiful interior with numerous altars and statues. The main altar is dedicated to the martyr Saint Euphemia, the patron saint of the city. The church also holds the sarcophagus of her relics dating from the year 800AD.

    Rovinj is also the home of some truly lovely museums. Don't miss a chance to visit the Batana House Eco Museum dedicated to the traditional wooden batàna vessel and the memory of the Rovinj community, which has chosen it as its symbol.

    For more Rovinj history don't miss the City Museum. It's located in the Baroque palace of the counts of Califfi from the 17th and 18th century. The museum was established in 1954 at the initiative of Rovinj fine artists looking to store and protect the cultural wealth of the city.  Along with regular museum exhibits, various themed exhibitons are being organised throughout the year.

    Firstly operating as the Rovinj Film Club, the Batana Center of Visual Arts is in business since 1951. Today, the association of photographers of the Batana Center of Visual Arts organizes regular public events. They provide for an amazing visual art to help you get through a rainy day. These events range from performances and exhibitions to educational and promotional programs.

    Eat & Drink Your Way around Istria

    Groznjan Istria

    Aside from these amazing historical towns, Istrian Peninsula boasts amazing local food and wine. Many of the small towns and villages in the hinterland of Istria will house wineries and eateries waiting for you to discover them. Rainy day can be a great chance for yout to plan out a wonderful wine and food tour.

    White wine variety Malvasia Istriana will be on everyone's radar as it makes the most popular wines of the region. The food is authentic and local with plenty of Italian cultural influence. Needless to say, local pastas are amazing. The king of Istrian cuisine is the mighty truffle. Truffle aromas can be felt around many of the local restaurants making die hard fans of this funghi wishing they never leave.

    All this and much more awaits anyone who wants to spend a day exploring the magical landscapes of Istria which are just as beautiful washed by the rain as they are bathed in sun.

    More information

    For more detailed information about all of these destinations, visit our dedicated pages for Dubrovnik, Split, Hvar, Jelsa, Pula, Porec, Motovun, Fazana, Rovinj, Rijeka or Zagreb

    To follow the latest news from Croatia, don't skip your daily dose of Total Croatia News

    bozidar@insiderholidays.eu (Bozidar Jukic) What You Need To Know Sat, 05 Jun 2021 06:29:22 +0200
    COVID-19 in Croatia: Coronavirus Map, Tests, News, Travel https://www.total-croatia.com/en/covid-19-in-croatia https://www.total-croatia.com/en/covid-19-in-croatia The latest on COVID-19 in Croatia. Is Croatia open for tourists? What are the restrictions? Where can you get the test? Are masks compulsory? Where to find corona travel updates? - updated on May 1, 2022.

  • Coronavirus cases in Croatia: the latest numbers
  • Tourism and COVID-19 in Croatia: are borders open?
  • Where to get the latest COVID-19 in Croatia travel updates?
  • Latest COVID-19 news from Total Croatia News
  • Can US citizens travel to Croatia?
  • Where can I get tested for COVID-19 in Croatia?
  • Croatia and COVID-19 vaccination
  • What happens if there is a lockdown while I am in Croatia?
  • What are the current travel restrictions in Croatia?
  • COVID-19 and Masks: What is the Policy?
  • What is currently open in Croatia? Hotels, restaurants, bars, museums?
  • Croatia corona maps and current info
  • The Total Croatia Travel INFO Viber Community: Get Your Answers in Real Time
  • Reflections after a year of COVID-19 in Croatia
  • {YouTube}yQ_1pn_JOTU{/youtube}

    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 (May 1, 2022)

    covid update 0804

    There are 523 new recorded COVID-19 cases in Croatia in the last 24 hours. 5,448 cases remain active. 437 people are still hospitalized, with 15 patients on a ventilator. 3,114 people were tested in the last 24 hours.

    Since February 2020, Croatia has registered 1,122,982 cases and 15,835 deaths (7 patients passed away in the last 24 hours).

    To date, 5,243,825 vaccine doses have been administered, and 2,241,917 people in Croatia are fully vaccinated.

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

    As of May 1st, 2022, the situation on all of the Croatian borders is exactly the same as it was before the pandemic. That means that there are virtually no pandemic-related limitations for crossing Croatian borders for anyone, coming from anywhere in the world. You will not be asked to provide any type of proof of vaccination, negative test or recent recovery from COVID-19 on the Croatian borders.

    Because of that, the LATEST OFFICIAL GUIDELINES IN ENGLISH FROM THE CROATIAN BORDER POLICE no longer exist online, as there are no guidelines to be followed.

    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

    On June 17th, 2021, the ECDC reported that they've modified their reporting system, which lead to major changes to the number of regions colored "green". However, very soon after that, the Croatian authorities almost completely abandoned the ECDC "green list" as a criterium for easier entry into Croatia, and now all travelers arriving from the EU need to present their EU Digital Vaccination Certificate or proofs listed above.

    2021w52 COVID19 EU EEA Subnational Combined traffic

    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 was the Official Guidelines page. The page was created and maintained by Croatian police, and is currently defunct. Use the e-mail address uzg.covid@mup.hr 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 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. 

    On June 11, Bosnia and Herzegovina relaxed their rules regarding entry: now it's possible for third-country citizens to enter the country with a negative PCR or antigen test, or certificate proving that they've either recovered from COVID-19 or have been vaccinated.

    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

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    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?


    Finally, all travelers are allowed to enter Croatia without any limitations related to COVID-19, including the American citizens.

    Welcome to Croatia!

    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.

    On April 27, it was announced that the testing facilities will be available in Zagreb and Split airports.

    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 (travel.covid@nzjz-split.hr), 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 mikrobiologija@zzjzdnz.hr, 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 narudzbenice-covid19@zjz-zadar.hr.

    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 (covidtest@zzjziz.hr) 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 epidemiologija.krk@zzjzpgz.hr; Turion 26, Cres: appointments at epid.cres@zzjzpgz.hr; Palit 143a Rab: appointments at epidemiologija.rab@zzjzpgz.hr).

    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

    As the vaccination efforts started around Europe and the world, the situation in Croatia was not great. However, as time went on, many of the problems (with the number of doses coming to Croatia and the distribution of the vaccine around the country) seem to have been solved. In mid-May, it was reported that over a million Croatian adults have been vaccinated (and over 350 thousand of them got both doses!) In a country of around 4 million inhabitants, that's quite a large fraction of the adult population.

    Vaccination passport

    There has been a lot of talk about the vaccination passports in the EU. Recently, we saw some strong signs that those might just be a reality for the tourist season of 2021!

    Croatia has introduced the so-called "EU digital COVID certificate" for their citizens, as well as some other EU countries (Bulgaria, Czechia, Denmark, Germany and Poland, so far). In Croatia, the support is there for anything which would allow the country to have anything resembling a normal tourist season, so the digital certificates are also a success, with almost 50 thousand issued in the first two days!

    The certificate will certainly help travelers and allow easier entry, so hopefully the remaining EU states will soon introduce them for their citizens!

    Can I come to Croatia and get a vaccine?

    Absolutely. Croatia has a large stockpile of vaccines and has had quite a developed vaccination tourism for those wanting to get an internationally accepted vaccine, which was not available in their countries. Any tourists wanting to get vaccinated in Croatia are welcome to do so.

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

    Unless the situation worsens spectacularly, it is extremely unlikely that there will be a lockdown in Croatia. Apart from the fact that the tourist season is coming, the numbers of the newly-infected people are dropping steadily, while the number of the vaccinated people is rising.

    In the unlikely event that another lockdown 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?


    The total number of ways to get to and around Croatia has been somewhat reduced. However, as the tourist season approaches, things are improving. There are still fewer flights, buses, ferries, trains... operating in Croatia these days.

    As of April 8th 2022, the mask mandate has also been lifted, so you will not be required to wear a mask anywhere except for the medical and similar institutions.


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

    Check if the world's leading flights platform offers you a flight to Croatia:

    Check the latest flight situation at Croatia's airport websites: Zagreb, Split, Zadar, Pula, Dubrovnik, Rijeka, Osijek, Brač 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 2022 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?

    As of April 8th 2022, the mask mandate has also been lifted, so you will not be required to wear a mask anywhere except for the medical and similar institutions.

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

    Hotels are open in Croatia. Restaurants are also open, and can seat their customers on the terraces or inside. Bars are only allowed to serve customers on the terraces. The limitation on how long bars and restaurants are allowed to be open has also been lifted.

    Cultural institutions, such as museums, movie theatres, etc. are open, without limitations.

    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).

    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!

    sarajevoliving@gmail.com (Paul Bradbury) What You Need To Know Tue, 18 May 2021 19:55:41 +0200
    Time in Croatia: Timezones, Opening Hours, Visit & Lifestyle https://www.total-croatia.com/en/time-in-croatia https://www.total-croatia.com/en/time-in-croatia Time in Croatia is relative, especially the further south you go. A look at various topics related to time in Croatia.

  • What is the current time in Croatia?
  • Which timezone is Croatia in?
  • What are the usual office hours in Croatia?
  • Croatian public holidays
  • When is the best time to visit Croatia?
  • Time in Croatia, Marenda, and time in Dalmatia
  • Fjaka, pomalo and Dalmatian timekeeping
  • What is the current time in Croatia?

    The current date and time in Croatia is

    Which timezone is Croatia in?

    Croatia is on Central European Time, the same as most of the EU. Timezone differences between important international cities around the world are as follows:

    London - 1 hour ahead

    New York - 6 hours ahead

    Los Angeles - 9 hours ahead

    Moscow - 1 hour behind

    Dubai - 2 hours behind

    Sydney - 8 hours behind

    Beijing - 6 hours behind

    Tokyo - 6 hours behind

    What are the usual office hours in Croatia?

    Croatians tend to start work early. Official institutions begin at 07:00 or 08:00 and work until 15:00 or 16:00. As a result, the early morning rush hour can be as early as 06:30.

    Stores tend to be open until 20:00 daily, apart from the weekend, with a similar early start. Saturday openings are limited to closer to 17:00, with many businesses closed on Sundays. However, the tourist season tends to ensure longer opening times in the summer.

    Croatian public holidays

    There are a number of public holidays in Croatia, and if you find yourself here during one, plan ahead. Banks and other institutions shut for the day, which can be a headache. Tourist businesses will be open, however. To learn more about the public holidays in Croatia and what they are for, click here.

    When is the best time to visit Croatia?

    When talking about time in Croatia, a popular question is when is the best time to visit? The answer, of course, depends on what you are looking for. But in order to help you decided, here is a 12-month overview on the best time to visit Croatia.

    Time in Croatia, Marenda, and time in Dalmatia

    Living on a Dalmatian island and living in Varazdin are two very different things.

    I was constantly amazed at just how early things started on Hvar, beginning with the morning ferry at 05:30 and the Jelsa catamaran to Split at 06:00. I soon learned, of course, that this is a cultural thing born of the realities of the agricultural way of life. And I learned first-hand the difference between harvesting lavender at 06:00 and 08:00, when the sun dominates the sky. Give me a 6am lavender harvest any time.

    Things also start early in Varazdin and Zagreb, but things seem somehow to be a little more professional. To me at least. Perhaps this is best exemplified by that wonderful, Dalmatian institution, Marenda.

    Marenda is essentially a morning break for a snack. Traditionally, it was a break from work, where the workers would take refreshment. The concept has found its way into official institutions. And while breaks exist in other parts of Croatia, there seems to be something special about marenda.

    I have lost count at the number of times I have gone to visit a tax office or similar institution only to be met with a closed door and a sign - Marenda 10:30 to 11:00. My watch would tell me that it was 10:25 or 11:15. The marenda that once was used to bring refreshment to workers is now abused by lazy bureaucrats with little interest in assisting the general public.

    Fjaka, pomalo and Dalmatian timekeeping

    Time in Croatia - and especially in Dalmatia - is relative. I used to be a very punctual person before I got into the Dalmatian island way of life. Meetings tended to be in cafes rather than offices, and starting times were fluid.

    Many was the time I would greet a friend on the way to a meeting for which he was already late, and yet he would find himself stopping for a quick coffee with me to say hi first. It was a practice I initially abhorred, but eventually came to embrace.

    Pomalo, bit by bit, as the Dalmatians like to say.

    I also got used to never calling anyone privately in Dalmatia after lunch until perhaps 17:00. For this was siesta time for some, and never a good thing to interrupt. All part of the fjaka lifestyle.

    Fjaka is a hard word to translate and an even harder concept to explain in a manner which does it justice. I guess it would be the art of doing nothing, which is actually a lot harder than it sounds. But something which Dalmatians do outstandingly when they choose, and which this fat Englishman would like to do better.

    sarajevoliving@gmail.com (Paul Bradbury) What You Need To Know Sun, 16 May 2021 16:14:31 +0200
    Croatia for Kids & Families: Beaches, Trips, Activities, Food https://www.total-croatia.com/en/croatia-for-kids https://www.total-croatia.com/en/croatia-for-kids What does a holiday in Croatia for kids and families look like? Some practical tips on things to do, things to know, and things to avoid. But the good news is - a holiday in Croatia for kids and families is FANTASTIC!

  • Is Croatia a kid-friendly destination?
  • Where is the best place to go in Croatia for families?
  • When is the best time to visit Croatia with kids?
  • What is the best type of accommodation in Croatia for kids?
  • Safety and the community: Croatia LOVES children
  • Beaches in Croatia with children: what you need to know
  • Eating in restaurants with kids
  • The first Croatian word your children will remember: sladoled
  • Things to do in Croatia for kids - some exciting museums
  • Croatia for kids - nature & national parks and eco-farms
  • The magic of the historic old towns in Croatia for kids
  • Waterparks and other active holiday options
  • Split for kids
  • Dubrovnik for kids
  • Istria for kids
  • Zagreb for kids
  • Rijeka for kids
  • Slavonia for kids
  • Zadar for kids
  • Sibenik for kids
  • Hvar for kids
  • Babysitting services
  • Travel with kids in Croatia
  • Baby-friendly facilities and shopping supplies for kids
  • How parents can relax in Croatia and look after the kids at the same time
  • {YouTube}GZYdZp2HF80{/youtube}

    Is Croatia a kid-friendly destination?

    Absolutely! Croatia adores children. One of the things I have appreciated most about living in Croatia is the sense of community which has been somewhat lost in more 'civilised' countries. Watching kids running around the square, intermingling with young tourists of the same age without a common language, while chilling over a cold beer, is one of my favourite memories of my time here. Generations of families do things together more than back home, and everyone looks out for kids and is ready to help. It is a very reassuring place to both travel and be a parent .

    Where is the best place to go in Croatia for families?


    That obviously depends on what kind of family you are and what kind of holiday you are looking for. The bigger hotels have great facilities for children, with great summer programmes for the younger ones.

    Other families prefer a more homely environment where they can cook, and there is plenty of quality choice of private accommodation which caters to kids. The arrival of AirBnB and similar platforms haver their pros and cons, but they have definitely raised the standard in requiring owners to provide services and facilities for families if they want the bookings.

    If you have never camped before, consider it for Croatia. For Croatian has a very developed camping scene. And camping does not mean only tents. These days, bungalows and other more fixed and luxury accommodation are on offer. And they often come with the benefit of a full entertainment programme for the kids.

    One other big growth area in recent years has been the rise in quality places to stay on eco-farms, particularly in continental Croatia. A chance to get away from the stresses of modern life, the kids are free to run around with nature, play with animals, eat healthy food, and learn a little about how life was before technology took over.

    When is the best time to visit Croatia for kids?

    The school holidays are obviously the time when kids at school can travel. Prices are understandably higher, and temperatures are also hotter in July and August. Although the beaches are packed at this time (at least in non-pandemic years), one can always find a quiet beach in a country with over 1,000 islands and almost 2,000 km of coastline.

    Prices and temperatures are lower in June and September, so a holiday as soon as school finishes or just before it restarts is not a bad option. Many hotels have special offers for half-term, and there is usually a good selection of flights at this time.


    But for something a little different, why not check out Croatia in winter? Advent in Zagreb is truly magical, and it was voted the Best Christmas Market in Europe three years in a row.


    And if you thought that Plitvice Lakes were stunning in summer, take a look at the video above.

    Learn more about what Croatia has to offer in When to Visit Croatia: Your 12-Month Guide to Paradise.

    What is the best type of accommodation in Croatia with kids?

    As mentioned above, it depends on what you are looking for. The good news is that the quality of accommodation has improved a lot in the last few years. Guests can now shop around a lot more, and there are now more facilities for families in accommodation than even 5 years ago.

    Hotels and resorts have great programmes for the kids so that the adults can relax with a cocktail by the pool. Private accommodation quality is rising constantly for those who want to self-cater. And camping and eco-farms offer a more natural experience.

    Safety and the community: Croatia LOVES children

    With the possible exception of Japan, I have never lived in a safer country than Croatia, both from a crime point of view, as well as for children. Croatians adore children, and they will often strike up conversations or hand over little gifts to kids on the street or at the next table in a cafe.

    After watching my kids like a hawk when I first took them down to a cafe on the main square, it did not take me long to realise that the whole square was also looking out for them. If one of my kids fell over, there would be typically 3-4 concerned locals who would get there first.

    Beaches in Croatia with children: what you need to know


    If you are used to sandy beaches on holiday, prepare for a totally different experience in Croatia. Get to know clear waters that you may not find in other places. Many Croatian beaches are rocky or have small pebbles. This results in much clearer water undisturbed by the sand. There are sandy beaches, but not so many. But if you haven't had the rocky/pebbly Croatian beach experience, I recommend you try it.

    Locals often wear flip flops into the water to walk across the pebbles in more comfort. Learn more about where to find the best beaches in the TC Beaches in Croatia guide.

    Sea urchins: the Adriatic's delicious foot-stabbers.

    This will be a common sight during your swims in the Adriatic. Teach your kids to keep away from them, for sea urchins taste delicious on the inside but are rather prickly on the outside. Joe Orovic wrote a brilliant piece on TCN some time ago, which I heartily recommend. Sea Urchins: Dalmatia’s Delicious Foot-Stabbers.

    Eating in restaurants with kids

    Eat early. Restaurants can get very busy in the season, and waiting times can be longer than hungry young stomachs will tolerate. More restaurants now offer kids menus, but traditionally, kids eat from the same menu. It is all delicious, and the waiter will guide you through the more popular dishes for kids.

    And if all else fails, there is always pizza.

    Some restaurants have high chairs for toddlers, but by no means all. If you need one, check before you book/sit.

    The first Croatian word your children will remember: sladoled!


    Ice cream - or sladoled - is a popular fixture on the coast. The quality is superb, the choice incredible, and the entertainment sometimes outstanding. And many cafes serve both alcohol and ice cream, which I have found to be a very civilised family combination over the years.

    Things to do in Croatia for kids - some exciting museums


    Croatia has AMAZING museums for kids. From the groundbreaking Museum of Illusions in Zagreb to the incredible Krapina Neanderthal Museum and the unbelievable Vucedol Museum near Vukovar. Looking for quirky? Have you ever seen anything quite like Froggyland in Split? Check out the option in our Museums in Croatia guide.

    Croatia for kids - nature and national parks and eco-farms


    More than 10% of Croatia has been given over to national and nature parks. The country is already so beautiful, and it is great to see that so much of it is being looked after for future generations. Many have additional activities for the kids, as well as the natural beauty. Meet the 20 National and Nature parks of Croatia in a Page.


    And don't leave Croatia without taking the kids to an eco-farm. The traditional ways of the past are hardly understood by kids these days. Croatia has some outstanding eco-farms which will take you back to your childhood and open their eyes. One of my very favourite projects like this is my good friend Mario Romulic just outside Osijek. Mario is building an unbelievable eco-resort. You can follow it on Facebook to learn more and watch it grow.

    The magic of the historic old towns in Croatia for kids


    If you are amazed at the old walls of Dubrovnik, the basement of Diocletian's Palace, or the gladiator fights at the Pula Arena, just imagine what the kids will be thinking. Croatia gives a fantastic opportunity for children to learn about history and heritage in a fun and engaging way.

    Some tourism providers are understanding this and designing tours to meet the opportunity. Among my favourite is former TCN writer Ivica Profaca, with his Diocletian's Palace walking tour of Split for kids. It is superb.

    Check with the local tourist board for the latest offers to entertain the kids.

    Waterparks and other active holiday options


    Aquaparks are obviously fun attractions for the kids, and they exist in various sizes along the coast. The biggest are Istralandia near Novigrad, Aquacolours in Porec, Cikat in Mali Losinj, and Aquapark Dalmatia in Sibenik.

    But that is just the tip of the iceberg. Ziplining, kayaking, sailing school, horseriding, cycling, climbing, scuba diving, the list goes on. Croatia is a GREAT outdoor destination for families.

    Split for kids


    Dubrovnik for kids


    Istria for kids


    Zagreb for kids


    Rijeka for kids


    Slavonia for kids


    Zadar for kids


    Sibenik for kids


    Hvar for kids


    Babysitting services

    Hotels and more luxury accommodation will have babysitting services, but what if you are staying somewhere more modest? How do you find a babysitter you can trust in a foreign country?

    One tip is to join one of the Expat Facebook groups that exist in Croatia a few months before you travel and start to ask around. You will get to know the community and a little more about those offering babysitting services. This may help you decide. Two of the best Expat groups are Expats Meet Split and Expats in Zagreb (Official).

    Travel with kids in Croatia

    I don't have to tell any parent that travelling in Croatia with kids needs a little thought. The heat, the crowds, the travel times. All can impact the success of a holiday if not thought through.

    Use sunscreen, avoid the busiest tourist hours, eat early, hydrate. All common sense.

    But know also that travel in Croatia is exotic. Kids LOVE the ferry experience, for example. And when was the last time you were on a train? Have your kids EVER been on a train.

    Baby-friendly facilities and shopping supplies for kids

    There are pretty decent baby-changing facilities in most of the bigger towns and shopping centres. And in smaller places, feel free to go local. I used to do diaper changes at the local cafe in Jelsa (much to the admiration of some of the local mothers). Breast-feeding among locals is not that common, but is generally accepted.

    Supermarkets have good stocks of supplies for things you will need for kids. The two stores, DM and Muller, have probably the best range.

    In case of emergency, the number to dial is 112. More on emergencies on the dedicated TC page.

    How parents can relax in Croatia and look after the kids at the same time

    Life on a square in Dalmatia is unbeatable. Fun for kids of all ages, under the supervision of parents able to relax over a coffee, or something stronger. And there are always certain natural props which can entertain the little ones and stop them running around for 5 minutes.

    Croatia for kids? I have never been to a country which does it better.

    sarajevoliving@gmail.com (Paul Bradbury) What You Need To Know Mon, 05 Apr 2021 08:04:58 +0200
    Croatian Flag: Origins, Tattoo, Buy, Minecraft, Emoji, Meme https://www.total-croatia.com/en/croatian-flag https://www.total-croatia.com/en/croatian-flag The Croatian red and white checkers went truly global at the 2018 World Cup, but how much do you know about the Croatian flag? there is MUCH more to it than meets the eye.

  • What does the flag of Croatia look like?
  • What does the flag represent?
  • The red and white chequers
  • What animal is on the Croatian flag?
  • The shield (grb) on the flag explained
  • Where to buy a Croatian flag?
  • How do I get a Croatian flag tattoo?
  • Learn how to draw the flag of Croatia?
  • How to make the Croatian flag in Minecraft?
  • Where to download the Croatian flag emoji?
  • Of flags and memes
  • Historical flags of Croatia
  • Other official flags of Croatia
  • {YouTube}tjqgLZ7fZY4{/youtube}

    What does the flag of Croatia look like?

    Although the flag has changed many times over the last 170 years, the three colours of red, white and blue have remained fairly constant. The red-white-blue tricolour has been used as the Croatian flag since 1848, and the pan-Slavic colours are widely associated with romantic nationalism. The current version has a chequered shield (grb) in the middle.

    What does the Croatian flag represent?

    The current flag represents the unity of Croatia, with the five historical regions of Croatia represented in the smaller shields above the chequers. The six-pointed star over a silver crescent moon on a blue shield is the oldest known symbol representing Croatia.

    The red and white chequers

    The red and white chequers of the Croatian flag became an international phenomenon in 2018 during the soccer World Cup. Croatian red-and-white chequered national team kit was recognized as outstanding even before that, since the 1998 and the national team's success in France, when the team won the bronze. However, as their heroes went all the way to the final in Moscow in 2018, the Croatian fans won the hearts and minds of the entire world.

    The chequers are an integral part of the flag, with 25 red and white squares forming the base of the shield. According to law, the top left must be red, which is not an easy subject for most Croatians, and is a throwback to the unfortunate events taking place in Croatia during the World War II and right after it.

    What animal is on the Croatian flag?

    There are three types of animal on the Croatian flag. Three leopards in the crest of Dalmatia, a goat in Istria, and a marten for Slavonia. The Croatian word for marten is 'kuna', the currency of Croatia.

    The shield (grb) on the flag explained

    The shield is in the red and white checks of Croatia. Above is a crown made of shields of its various regions. From left to right they are the ancient arms of Croatia, Dubrovnik, Dalmatia, Istria and Slavonia.

    How do I get a Croatian flag tattoo?


    Patriotic Croatis love their tattoos, and the Croatian flag tattoo is among the popular choices. Check out the fascinating history of Croatian tattoos in the video above.

    Learn how to draw the flag of Croatia?


    Looking to learn how to draw the Croatian flag? Look no further.

    How to make the Croatian flag in Minecraft?


    A sign of the times. One of the most popular searches for the Croatian flag is how to make is as a banner in Minecraft.

    Where to download the Croatian flag emoji?


    The Croatian flag emoji is growing in popularity. Where to download it, and how will it look on each device? A video explanation.

    Of flags and memes

    The flag has long been associated with the world of memes. Here are a couple of the ore polite ones - for more, click here.

    Historical flags of Croatia

    The Croatian flag has changed many times over the years. A chronological flag tour from 1848 until the present day. (Source Wikipedia)

    Flag of the Kingdom of Croatia since 1848. It was banned between 1852 and 1860
    Flag of the Kingdom of Croatia (1852–1860), similar to the flag of Monaco
    The Flag of the Kingdom of Slavonia (1852–1868)
    Flag of the Kingdom of Dalmatia (1820–1918)
    Civil Flag of the Kingdom of Croatia-Slavonia (1868–1918)
    Flag of the Triune Kingdom of Croatia, Slavonia and Dalmatia with the coat of arms, for usage in autonomic affairs. (1868–1918)
    Flag of the Banovina of Croatia (1939–1941)
    The Flag of the Independent State of Croatia (1941–1945)
    Flag of the Federal State of Croatia used by Croatian Partisans during World War II, until 1945
    The flag of the People's Republic of Croatia (8 May 1945 – 18 Jan 1947)
    Flag of the Socialist Republic of Croatia (1947–1990)
    Variation of the flag of the Republic of Croatia (25 July – 21 December 1990)

    Other official flags of Croatia

    Standard of the President of the Republic of Croatia
    Naval Ensign
    Naval Jack
    Flag of the Minister of Defence
    The Flag of the Chief of the General Staff
    Flag of the Commander of the Croatian Navy
    The flag of the Admiral of the Fleet
    Flag of the Admiral
    The Flag of the Vice Admiral

    Flag of the Rear Admiral

    The flag of the Commodore
    Pennant of the commander of a fleet of naval vessels
    The Pennant of the commander of a flotilla of naval vessel
    Pennant of the commander of a division of naval vessels
    The Pennant of the commander of a group of naval vessels
    Pennant of the most senior commander of a naval vessel
    The Pennant of the commander of a naval vessel
    Flag of the Speaker of the Croatian Parliament

    The Flag of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia
    Flag of the General of the Armed Forces

    sarajevoliving@gmail.com (Paul Bradbury) What You Need To Know Sun, 04 Apr 2021 14:40:34 +0200
    How to import a car to Croatia in 2022 https://www.total-croatia.com/en/life-in-croatia https://www.total-croatia.com/en/life-in-croatia Part of the joys of expat life in Croatia is the bureaucracy. All you need to know about importing a car to Croatia from abroad: a little patience is required…

  • Life in Croatia: Where to look to buy a car abroad
  • What happens when you bring the car to Croatia?
  • Documentation and homologisation
  • Importing a car to Croatia: tax payments
  • Insurance and registration
  • Starting a new life in Croatia with a foreign car?
  • EU citizens moving to Croatia
  • Life in Croatia: you could be fined if…
  • It remains my biggest bureaucratic triumph of my 16 years in Croatia. Left to my own devices by my very patient Croatian wife and armed only with a huge hangover, I went to do battle with Croatian customs to import a car I had bought in Germany a month earlier.

    The idea of technical inspections and going from office to office meant that I had delayed the inevitable torture until the very last minute. But I triumphed in the end. And I emerged about 4 hours later with a legally imported vehicle. You can read how I did it way back in 2014.

    That was then. I have had hundreds of emails since that article. It seems more people than ever are looking to import cars into Croatia. Here is what you need to know.

    Life in Croatia: Where to look to buy a car abroad

    First things first - buying a car in Croatia is expensive. Like many things in the country, you will get a lot more for your euro if you buy abroad.

    While most of the people searching for this article will be foreigners who want to bring a car to Croatia, the reality is that locals own the majority of foreign cars in Croatia.

    I know of several people, for example, who make their living through regular trips to Germany buying cars for friends and contacts. With 1-2,000 euro profit per trip, it makes for a very relaxed life.

    Ah, life in Croatia...

    Here are a couple of resources if you are looking to buy a car abroad, living in Croatia.

    What happens when you import a car to Croatia?

    After you buy the car, you will have temporary plates on your new purchase, which will include insurance. You then have one month after you enter Croatia to import the vehicle.

    These plates will remain until the technical inspection. You should have in our possession either a sales invoice (if you bought from a business) or a sales contract if you bought from a private person. You should also make sure you have the registration licence document (prometna dozvola in Croatian), which will outline the vehicle's technical characteristics.

    The COC (certificate of conformity) document, or manufacturer's certificate - this comes from the manufacturer - or in Croatia from the authorised representative.

    Documentation and homologisation

    If the certificate comes from the authorised representative in Croatia, a fee is due here.

    After all the documents are in place, the vehicle enters the homologisation procedure, which is done at a technical inspection station. The price for the homologisation certificate is around 600 kuna.

    This happens at the Centar for Vozila Hrvatske and the Hrvatski Autoklub, at one of 57 certified technical inspection stations.

    Importing a car to Croatia - tax payments

    The tax is determined by the Customs Administration, according to the value of the vehicle and the CO2 emission levels. The value of used vehicles is determined from the official catalogue or by estimate, while the value of new cars is determined from the invoice.

    You must take the car to the customs office. Although no tariffs are paid on cars imported from the European Union, there is a special tax.

    The customs office will inspect your documents as well as the car.

    The Customs Administration unofficial tax calculator.

    Here is the other unofficial tax calculator. The calculation formula was be changed in January 2019 and this calculator includes the changes.

    The administrative tax you can calculate here.

    How to report and pay the tax?

    At a customs office, by filling in a paper application form.

    Through an online application, by filling in the e-application.

    Insurance and registration

    The final step before registering your car is to obtain car insurance. The car will have to pass the technical inspection, and you will need to pay for the new car licence document and licence plates to be issued.

    This all happens at the technical inspection station. You need to bring with you all the documents which you have from the seller, as well as documents obtained in Croatia. At the end of the process, you will receive new licence plates.

    What you need to pay in the process

    1. special tax (amount depends on the value of the car and the CO2 emissions)
    2. car ownership transfer tax (5%)
      You'll pay this only if you do not have an invoice with VAT specified, i.e. if you bought the car from a physical person. If you bought the car from a company that issued you an invoice with specified VAT, you do not pay this tax.
    3. homologisation
    4. disposal fee around 1000 kuna
    5. registration costs (technical inspection, insurance, new car licence documents, new licence plates, and other costs) - the same as if you bought the car in Croatia

    Starting a new life in Croatia with a foreign car?

    Cars registered abroad owned by foreigners with temporary residence in Croatia or a Croatian citizen who has temporarily come to Croatia are valid with exiting documents for up to three months after they enter Croatia.

    For foreign vehicles whose owners have temporary residence, a car licence document will be issued. This is valid until the end day of their temporary residence, or for the period to which the temporary import of the vehicle has been approved, provided that the period is shorter than the temporary residence period.

    When registering a car imported to Croatia, only the Croatian technical inspection certificate is valid. This means that the vehicles of persons moving to Croatia must be technically inspected in a Croatian station before registration.

    You need to have documentation proving that you have used the car in your country (i.e. that it is not new).

    Cars registered abroad owned by foreigners with temporary residence in Croatia are valid for 3 months. This is also the case for Croatians living abroad.

    For vehicles owned by foreigners with temporary residence, a car licence document is available, which is valid until the end day of their temporary residence, or for the period to which the temporary import of the vehicle meets the rules, as long as that period is shorter than the temporary residence period.

    If you are looking for more information, here are two great resources.

    EU citizens moving to Croatia

    If you are moving to another EU country with your car, specific conditions apply to car registration. This depends on the length of your stay and the country you are moving to. (This section with thanks to Europa.eu).

    Moving for more than 6 months

    If you move to another EU country and take your car with you, you have to register it within 6 months from your date of entry into your new country. You also have to pay car-related taxes in your new country if you have your normal residence there.

    You usually have 12 months to bring your car to your new country after changing your normal residence.

    Sample story

    Cristina from Spain found a job in France and moved there. In a couple of months, she decided to bring her Spanish registered car to France but didn't re-register it there. She regularly used her car to go to work, however, the traffic police who were carrying out a routine check stopped her on one occasion.

    As she was driving with a Spanish registration plate, she received a large fine. Cristina didn't know that in France she needs to re-register her car within 6 months after changing her main residence to a French one.

    What to do if you move to another EU country:

    • register your car.
    • change your number plate.
    • show proof of car ownership and proof that the car is roadworthy.
    • pay car registration and road taxes in your new country.

    What to do when you leave:

    • deregister your car.
    • hand in the number plate.
    • show proof of car ownership and a proof that the car is roadworthy.
    • put in a claim for a car registration tax refund.

    If you have already paid car registration taxes in your previous country of residence, you may be able to apply for a tax refund there. In some cases, however, you may end up paying double taxes depending on the country you are moving to.

    Moving for less than 6 months

    If you move to another EU country and you are going to stay for less than 6 months, you don't have to register your car or pay any registration taxes there. You can keep your car registered in your country of residence. You may, however, need to pay road taxes. Road taxes are due for the use of your car, in your new country. It is a good idea to always have your car registration certificate, certificate of ownership and a proof of your permanent residency with you when driving in case you are stopped by the police and need to prove where you are subject to taxation.

    If you haven't registered your car in your new country, you may not lend or rent it to a resident of that country if you aren't in the car with him/her. You may, however, lend your car to visiting friends or family members as long as they do not have their permanent residence in the new country.

    When registering a car in Croatia from abroad, only the Croatian technical inspection certificate is valid. This means that the vehicles of persons moving to Croatia have to be technically inspected in one of the stations in Croatia before they can be registered.

    You need to have documentation proving that you have used the car in your country (i.e. that it is not new).

    Life in Croatia - you could be fined if…

    • you have to register your car but you fail to do so on time;
    • the relevant taxes go unpaid;
    • you drive with a number plate from another EU country without a proof of residency and a valid roadworthiness test.
    sarajevoliving@gmail.com (Paul Bradbury) What You Need To Know Sat, 13 Mar 2021 15:14:00 +0100
    Environment in Croatia: Facts, Laws, Initiatives & Groups https://www.total-croatia.com/en/environment-in-croatia https://www.total-croatia.com/en/environment-in-croatia Croatia is a pristine paradise, but like most of the planet these days, the environment in Croatia is under threat. A look at issues & local action groups.

  • The National and Nature Parks of Croatia
  • Land of Nikola Tesla and the EV Revolution
  • Keeping the Beaches Clean
  • Waste Management and the EU
  • Pesticides and Organic Farming
  • Useful Contacts and Information Resources
  • The National and Nature Parks of Croatia

    What better advert for the clean environment in Croatia than the fact that some 10% of the country belongs to national and nature parks?

    There are 19 of these in total, and the respresent some of the most spectacular natural beauty in all Europe. From islands to wetlands, mountains to lakes, get to know the 8 national and 12 nature parks of Croatia. All in one page, each with its own video.

    Land of Nikola Tesla and the EV Revolution

    Croatia is, of course, the birthplace of one Nikola Tesla. His genius transformed the world, and Tesla's birth village of Smiljan is set in a region of spectacular regional beauty.

    His legacy lives on in many forms, not least in the annual electric vehicle rally named after him.

    The Nikola Tesla EV Rally gets described as the 'quietest and cleanest rally in the world'. It's already had more than half a dozen of installments and so far attracted none other than Mate Rimac, Maye Musk (mother of Mr. Modern-Day Tesla, Elon), and Paul Runge, the first purchaser of Rimac's Concept One, who also took part in the 2016 rally.


    The rally is the showpiece of one company, E.V.A Blue, which has done more than any other to push the electric vehicle environment in Croatia.

    There were just 4 charging stations and 5 registered electric cars in Croatia in early 2014. That was the year the rally began. Today, there are more than 300 charging stations, including several Tesla Supercharger stations. Much more progress is on the way, and you can follow it on the E.V.A. Blue website.

    Keeping the Beaches Clean

    The beaches of Croatia are one of the country's great natural treasures (find out Total Croatia's recommendations to the best ones).

    Keeping the beaches clean is a constant challenge, however. Not only is there the issue of lazy tourists (and locals), but the tides of the Adriatic also wash up trash from the sea.

    Annual clean-ups before the season begins are now a well-established way of life in many communities. There are also several excellent initiatives to raise awareness and get visitors involved in the cleanup. One of my favourites is Blue Bag - why not get involved next time you're in Croatia?

    Waste Management and the EU

    EU entry has brought some of Croatia's environmental strategies into question. EU law enforcement is also forcing the country to adopt better practices in its environmental policies.

    One of the key areas where some change is urgent is waste management. Land fill has been the basic strategy for too long, and recycling is still in its infancy. This is slowly changing, however, and you can follow progress in our Total Eco Croatia section.

    Pesticides and Organic Farming

    Croatia has a large agricultural sector, and its potential to develop organic farming is huge. While there are certainly plenty of initiatives in this field, progress is slow. The use of pesticides is a major problem in Croatia, and elsewhere.

    The use of pesticides is one of the key areas local NGO Eco Hvar has been addressing in recent years. An epic piece on the use of Glyphosate is well worth a read, and you can follow Eco Hvar's well-researched work here.

    Useful Contacts and Information Resources

    Ministry of Environmental Protection and Energy

    Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund

    Croatian Environment and Nature Agency

    PDF with All the Latest Environmental Info

    European Environment Agency on Croatia

    Total Eco Croatia

    sarajevoliving@gmail.com (Paul Bradbury) What You Need To Know Sat, 13 Mar 2021 15:14:00 +0100
    Croatian Banks: Account Opening, Loan & Money Exchange https://www.total-croatia.com/en/croatian-banks https://www.total-croatia.com/en/croatian-banks At some point during your time here, you will have contact with Croatian banks. How to open an account, apply for a loan, change money, and more.

    Croatian banks are mostly foreign-owned these days, and there is an extensive network all over the country.

    ATMs are available in the smallest towns, and getting access to your cash through the wall is not a problem. Be aware, however, that there are usually daily limits in the region of 1,600 to 2,000 kuna.

    Opening times can catch you out, however. Perhaps I am sensitive to this after years of island living. Opening times seem to be getting shorter and shorter. In Jelsa on Hvar, for example, the banks close promptly at 15:00 (it used to be 20:00). Saturday is a half-day (midday closing) and banks are closed on Sunday as you would expect. More often than not, even the banks will have the summer schedule and the winter schedule, and be open for longer during the summer season.

    The Croatian National Bank supervises all. The main banks in Croatia are PBZ, Zagrebačka Banka, Raiffeisen, and Erste. Check out the shortcuts below to sections of this article.

    Opening a bank account in Croatia

    If you are moving to Croatia, you will almost certainly want to open a bank account.

    Even though Croatia is an EU member state, it hasn’t adopted the euro yet. To facilitate your transactions (paying rent, paying the bills) and to receive your salary, you might want to open a Croatian account in kunas (HRK), even though opening an account in foreign currency is also possible.

    However, this requires a lot of research because there are more than 30 banks in Croatia. Some of them you'll recognize by their global names like Sberbank, Raiffeisen, Erste & Steirmärkische, Addiko Bank, or OTP. There are also Croatian banks who are part of global groups, like Privredna banka Zagreb (Intesa Sanpaolo) or Zagrebačka banka (UniCredit Group). There is only one major mostly Croatian-owned bank, Hrvatska poštanska banka.

    Some companies do business with specific banks, so you might want to check with your employer if they have a preference first.

    All banks have a website in English, so you can choose a bank based on your preferences. The services offered are more or less the same everywhere, such as opening and servicing accounts, deposits, money transfers, foreign exchange transactions, asset management, credit cards, insurance, etc. The average service cost is €10-12 a year.

    Types of account and online banking

    The most typical account types are giro, current and savings account. Some banks offer automatic overdraft once you open an account, while in others you have to apply for overdraft once the account has been set up.

    Most banks offer Internet and mobile banking services, which comes in handy when paying the bills, for example, because you can simply scan the QR code that can be found on every payment slip and the payment information is filled in automatically, so you simply have to authorize the payment and that’s it.

    Zagrebačka banka and Privredna banka Zagreb have the biggest number of offices and ATMs across Zagreb, so if convenience and accessibility are crucial for you, one of them might be a good choice. On the coast, other banks might be more popular than those two.

    In general, the documents you need for opening a bank account are a valid passport, residence permit and the application form that you can find online or get directly at the bank. Most of the staff speak good English, so you shouldn’t have any communication difficulties.

    Applying for a bank loan for foreigners

    Applying for a bank loan is a modern reality in a society which lives increasingly on credit. Croatia is no exception in putting things on the plastic. Many households have loans from the bank for a variety of reasons.

    I would like to say that the procedure for getting a bank loan in Croatia is simple. But unless you are armed with a ton of patience and have a passion for providing lots of documents and filling out forms, frustration will be your main companion.

    Many foreign buyers of Croatian real estate enquire want to borrow from the bank to help fund the purchase. Despite lots of promises and claims, there is still no mortgage product for foreign buyers.

    If you want to apply for a loan, here are some places to try:

    Housing loans - Erste Bank

    Housing loans - Zagrebacka Banka

    Cash loans - Erste Bank in kuna

    Loans in Cash - Erste Bank in euro

    Cash loans - Zagrebacka Banka

    Currency in Croatia

    The Croatian currency is the kuna. It is loosely aligned the euro at an exchange rate of around 7.5 to the euro. While there is much talk of Croatia joining the euro, it has not happened yet.

    Although the euro is not official currency in Croatia, many tourist businesses will accept it. And dollars and pounds as well, although this is less frequent. Total Croatia has a comprehensive overview of currency in Croatia.

    List of main Croatian banks

    Slavonska avenija 6, 10000 Zagreb, www.addiko.hr

    Petra Preradovića 29, 42000 Varaždin, www.kovanica.hr

    Roberta Frangeša Mihanovića 9, 10110 Zagreb, www.croatiabanka.hr

    Jadranski trg 3a, 51000 Rijeka, www.erstebank.hr

    Jurišićeva 4, 10000 Zagreb, www.hpb.hr

    Tolstojeva 6, 21000 Split, www.imexbanka.hr

    Ernesta Miloša 1, 52470 Umag, www.ikb.hr

    J&T banka
    Aleja kralja Zvonimira 1, 42000 Varaždin, www.jtbanka.hr

    Ante Starčevića 4, 22000 Šibenik, www.jadranska-banka.hr

    Ivana Gorana Kovačića 1, 47000 Karlovac, www.kaba.hr

    Gundulićeva 1, 10000 Zagreb, www.kentbank.hr

    Domovinskog rata 3, 23000 Zadar, www.otpbanka.hr

    Vončinina 2, 10000 Zagreb, www.paba.hr

    Opatička 3, 48300 Koprivnica, www.poba.hr

    Scarpina 7, 51000 Rijeka, www.primorska.hr

    Radnička cesta 50, 10000 Zagreb, www.pbz.hr

    Magazinska cesta 69, 10000 Zagreb, www.rba.hr

    Trg kralja Tomislava 8, 10430 Samobor, www.sabank.hr

    Varšavska 9, 10000 Zagreb, www.sberbank.hr

    Vladimira Nazora 2, 33520 Slatina, www.slatinska-banka.hr

    Draškovićeva 58, 10000 Zagreb, www.venetobanka.hr

    Trg bana Josipa Jelačića 10, 10000 Zagreb, www.zaba.hr

    sarajevoliving@gmail.com (Paul Bradbury) What You Need To Know Sat, 13 Mar 2021 15:04:00 +0100
    Property in Croatia: Buy, Sell, Papers, Lawyers & Agents https://www.total-croatia.com/en/property-in-croatia https://www.total-croatia.com/en/property-in-croatia Buying property in Croatia? There are some great deals, but BE careful. The buying process, useful websites, rental law, property management & legal advice.

  • Buying property in Croatia: an introduction
  • Development of the property market in Croatia
  • Croatian property paperwork – is it really that bad?
  • The Croatian property buying process
  • Finding the right real estate agency and lawyer
  • Legalisation of property in Croatia – usage permits, 1968 and all that
  • Can foreigners buy property in Croatia?
  • Paperwork required in a Croatian property sale and purchase
  • Zoning and urban planning rules
  • Taxes for property in Croatia
  • Buying property in Croatia: an introduction

    There is no property buying experience quite like the Croatian one. It is possible to go from viewing and pre-contract in 55 minutes and final sale the following day. Or to still not be the 100% owner several years later due to unclear situations with the paperwork and shady lawyers and real estate agencies.

    There are tales of fantastic deals, more tales of frustrating paperwork, as well as various scams. One thing is for sure – buying property in Croatia is different from many other countries and can be challenging. On the flip side, prices are still lower than in many other countries. The quality of construction is generally high, good rental income is possible, and there are amazing cities, towns and other locations where setting up your everyday life or rental business could be very pleasant and lucrative.

    And so the story begins….

    Development of the property market in Croatia

    The war and post-war years in Croatia affected the market severely and there was hardly any activity. After the war, with the privatisation of state and communal property, economic recovery, capital becoming available and the situation with the paperwork becoming more regulated, the property market exploded. The years between 2000 and 2006 were the most active, affected positively by foreign investment, the rise of local developers, easier access to capital for private persons, investors and developers, a drop in interest rates, and a rise in all macroeconomic indicators. In a positive environment, demand initially outstripped supply, construction exploded, and prices rose.

    Negative trends were already visible in 2006, and the market crashed in 2009, as it did globally. The crisis initially saw a sharp fall in the number of transactions, and only later, after Croatia joined the EU in 2013 (which forced banks to clear their portfolios of toxic loans and unprofitable property portfolios), with a drop in prices. It persisted longer than in most other countries. The market finally started showing signs of recovery in 2016. Since then, we have been seeing year-on-year increases in prices and numbers of transactions in Zagreb and the larger cities on the coast. This is due to accumulated capital, rising demand from both locals and foreigners, low interest rates, government subsidised loans for the purchase of a first property, rising macroeconomic trends, and a positive economic outlook, driven by tourism.

    2019 already indicated a need for the market to 'cool', with a drop in the number of transactions. Average income earners started putting off purchases due to unrealistically high prices and a lack of average-priced properties. The pandemic and the earthquake in Zagreb have left a significant mark, and the market is currently in a state of uncertainty.

    The Croatian market by region overview

    The Croatian market is very segmented. Zagreb, as the capital, financial and cultural centre, is always active. The last few years have seen the construction of mainly high-end new builds, lack of affordable and average-priced properties in older buildings, lack of stock in the parts of the city which have been affected by the tourism boom, with many properties being converted into Airbnbs, and a rise in prices.

    The larger cities and tourist hubs on the coast, namely Dubrovnik, as the most expensive. Split, Zadar, Pula (and the whole of Istria) have also developed over the last decade. Tourism drives the market, these cities' major source of income, and the basis of their economy. Many properties have become rentals, creating a lack of stock and thus an increase in prices. New builds are selling at above-average price.

    The situation in some continental parts, namely Slavonia and Lika, is in stark contrast to the coast and Zagreb, as these parts of the country have been experiencing a demographic and economic decline for the past decade. The pandemic has slightly shifted the focus of buyers to these rural and less developed parts of the country, but not significantly, so the number of transactions and prices are still well below the country average.

    The northern continental areas of Croatia, those around Varaždin and Čakovec, and increasingly those around smaller cities near Zagreb, namely Bjelovar, have a stable market. These parts of the country base their economy on small entrepreneurship and family businesses, and there have been no sharp changes in the numbers of transactions and prices over the past decade.

    Croatian property paperwork – is it really that bad?

    The situation with title deeds and other property paperwork in Croatia is far from straightforward due to historical reasons. A very important thing to note is that are three property registries in Croatia: the Cadastre (‘’Katastar’’), which determines the situation in space i.e. the shape and size of the plots, and what is on them, and the two registries which determine ownership: The Land Book (‘Zemljišna knjiga’) and the Book of Deposited Contracts (‘Knjiga položenih ugovora).

    The Land Book and Cadastral Registry came into being while Croatia was still in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and were later badly maintained by the authorities in Yugoslavia. After the 2nd World War, the Yugoslavian socialist government nationalised many private properties, mostly flats in buildings, houses less often, and moved in residents who became the State's ‘Tenants’, governing the scheme with the so-called 'Stanarska prava'. The state also built many buildings for the rising working and middle classes which were flocking to the cities. The Tenancy i.e. ‘Stanarsko pravo’ was in both situations registered in the Book of Deposited Contracts.

    The right of use of such properties could be inherited by first-line descendants and traded, but not sold/bought. Foreign property sales were illegal in Yugoslavia. Consequently, sales were few and far between, mainly of those properties which remained privately owned. Throughout this period, neither the Land Book, in which private ownership was still registered, nor the Cadstre, were updated.

    Updating the ownership books

    After Croatia gained independence in the early 90s, the process of de-nationalisation began. Some nationalised properties were returned to their original owners, while in parallel, the Tenants who had been living in nationalised or state-constructed properties for 50 years, were given the option to purchase the 'Stanarska prava' at affordable prices, to fill Croatia’s empty coffers.

    The updating of all the three registries, both at the point of nationalisation and de-nationalisation, wasn’t done. It still needs completing in some cases. The Book of Deposited Contracts (a completely obsolete entity, since the abolishment of Stanarska prava) and the Land Book have still not been merged completely. However, the Cadastre and Land Books have also not been fully aligned yet. Houses, and more recently constructed properties (both houses and flats), from the end of the 90s onwards, have all been registered in the Land Book, so the situation with those is clearer.

    Another major issue that muddles the waters is the inconsistent and imprecise descriptions of properties in the titles. This is due to the fact that the process of separating all the buildings into condominiums is often incomplete. It requires the agreement of all the co-owners about which ratios of the common areas belong to whom, measurement and recording of all the individual units and common parts, and the bureaucratic process of registering the actual surface areas and ratios in the titles.

    On the plus side, most of the paperwork relevant for property transactions is available online. This makes the process of due diligence easy and quick.

    Legality of properties

    The final aspect to consider is the legality of a property. Many properties were built illegally, or outside the framework of their building permits, in Yugoslavia, including some built by the State, as well as during the construction boom of the early 2000s, which is why the Law on the Treatment of Illegally Constructed Buildings was introduced in 2012., enabling owners to legalise their properties, if they were built within a construction area. The end result of the process is that properties should have a valid ‘Uporabna dozvola’ (Usage permit).

    Before purchasing a property, it is of paramount importance to check the Cadastral registry and the title. And request the Usage permit from the owner. A real estate agency and/or a lawyer should check all documentation relating to a property.

    The Croatian property buying process

    Finding a property

    You can search on your own via property advertising sites, but this comes with lots of challenges. Not all sites have English versions. As an ex-pat, you may not have a clear picture about which locations, micro-locations and local criteria add up to a sound investment.

    Very few listings in Croatia are exclusive to one agency, and are hence available several times on property advertising sites. The listing for the same property can be different from agency to agency, with even a different price advertised, making it impossible to realise that you are looking at an ad for the same property before you actually view it. Some agencies do not describe the properties precisely, so you may not have all the necessary information about them when looking at the ad, consequently leading to disappointment when you come to the viewing. You could come across the listing with an unreputable agency with little experience, thus exposing yourself to risk. It is less time-consuming and easier to hire a reputable agency whose job will include proactive search activities and filtering based on your criteria, budget and expectations.

    Making an offer

    Offers are non-binding until a Pre-Contract or Contract signature. Prices of most properties are between 5-10% above the seller’s completion price. Property prices in Croatia are pegged to the Euro, though the legal tender is Kuna, so when paying in kuna, the buyer is most often expected to pay according to the selling exchange rate for EU/KN, as this enables the seller to buy the stated amount of euros. If you are working with an agency, leave the negotiating process to them.

    Getting to a legally binding document

    A Pre-Contract or Contract will be signed once the property has been chosen, and all the paperwork, including the legal status, checked. Consult with your lawyer and agency about which is more appropriate, but in most cases, it will be the first. One of the reasons for signing a Pre-Contract is that the buyer doesn’t pay Property Transfer Tax at this point, as it is levied at the time of the signing of the Contract. A Pre-Contract does not require a notary.

    Whichever document is signed, the buyer will be expected to make a downpayment (‘kapara’) immediately after the signing, which is most often 10% of the total sale and purchase price.  If the buyer doesn’t fulfill their obligations from the Pre-Contract and doesn’t sign a Contract, the full downpayment remains with the seller. On the flip side, if the seller doesn’t do so, they must return the double amount of the downpayment to the buyer.

    The Pre-Contract and Contract will define all the other rights and obligations of the contracting parties, the sellers’ most important being the guarantee that they are the rightful owner and will not sell the property to anyone else, as well as the rhythm of payments, the date of the possession handover etc.

    Making a payment

    Laws that govern money laundering and financing of terrorism are becoming increasingly strict, especially in the property segment. Banks, real estate agencies, notaries, currency exchange offices and any legal entities, must by law conduct thorough reviews of the buyer’s and seller’s sources of income and must report any dubious transactions, persons and legal entities to the Ministry of Finance.

    Essentially, no cash transactions for purchasing property are possible and are a serious risk indicator requiring the entity witnessing it to report immediately. Buying property in Croatia, from a Croatian seller, will be via a bank transfer, in Croatian kuna. Foreign currency transfers within Croatia are against the law.

    Registering the ownership of a property

    One used to have to go the relevant land book registry office and hand in all the paperwork physically in order to transfer the ownership of a property. This step of the sale and purchase process has been simplified and can be done by the public notary in whose office the Contract is being signed and notarised. Depending on the time of year, i.e., holiday seasons, and the efficiency of the individual offices, the ownership transfer takes from within a few days to a few weeks.

    The documents which are needed for the transfer of ownership are the signed and notarised Sale Contract, the ID cards of the contracting parties, and most importantly, a signed and notarised Clausula Intabulandi, a document with which the sellers confirm that they have received the wholesale and purchase price, and which they are obligated to hand over to the buyer once the funds have been received.

    Paying the tax

    The main tax in property sale and purchase transactions is the Property Transfer Tax, which is levied on the buyer at the rate of 3% of the total sale and purchase price, once the Sale Contract has been signed and notarised. The notary does the application and the buyer doesn’t need to do anything further. Other taxes which might affect the buyer or seller differ depending on their income, legal status etc.

    Handing over possession

    In the majority of cases, handing over the possession of a property happens on the day the seller receives the total agreed sale and purchase price. The property should be handed over in the seen condition and with fittings previously agreed by the contracting parties. The handover needs to be recorded, with the utility meter numbers and readings included, as these are needed for the transfer of utility consumption agreements with the providers from the seller’s to the buyer’s name. It is very important that the buyer brings proof of payment of all the utilities up to the day of the handover of possession.

    Transfer of bills

    The Handover record, signed by the buyer and seller which states the utility meter numbers and readings, a bill for the relevant utility, a notarised and certified copy of the Sale Contract and the ID card of the buyer and seller, have to be submitted to the relevant providers. Anyone can do this, not the buyer in person, and some providers accept online or postal applications.

    Getting an OIB

    An OIB is available from the Tax Office, in person, with a valid ID document.

    Finding the right real estate agency and lawyer

    Legal agencies-the first step in finding the right partner

    Back in the late '90s and early 2000s, literally EVERYONE was a real estate agent. Lawyers, architects, construction engineers were handling property transactions If you were a foreigner visiting out of season, the restaurant waiter would come out with 5 property deals when serving your starter. There was no regulation whatsoever. Anyone who wanted to could become a real estate agent. The good news is that there is much more regulation in the industry these days, after the introduction of The Law on Property Mediation in 2007. All legal real estate agencies and agents are in the Register, which is public and available on this link.

    In order to be legal, an agency has to fulfill several important requirements: at least one of the real estate agency's employees must pass the expert exam at the Croatian Chamber of Economy, and has to be a full-time employee. The real estate agency has to operate out of adequate, professional-looking offices, with a separate space for confidential meetings, must have insurance, and must keep a so-called mediation log. The real estate agency has to display the mediation terms and conditions on a visible location, and its logo in all its adverts and online listings.

    Very importantly, the real estate agency has to check the paperwork of all the properties it lists, and inform its clients of any potential issues. Agency fees can be set freely and negotiated with the client, can be charged from either party in the sale or renting process (or both), with all the terms of the Mediation process agreed in writing. Ensure that you are collaborating with a legal agency to avoid damages, and sign a Mediation Agreement with the agency, which should outline all the terms and conditions of your collaboration.

    High quality agencies-the 2nd step in finding the right partner

    Make sure you are collaborating not just with a legal, but also a reputable real estate agency. Although all agencies have to be legal, their licence is not a guarantee of professionalism and reliability. What should you consider besides the agency's legal status?


    Make enquiries about the agency's owners, directors and agents, and what their areas of expertise are. You should have access to marketing, sales and negotiation experts. It would be an advantage if the particular agent you are dealing with has passed the expert exam. Check the real estate agency's references and client list. Make sure they have a website, and don't only list on commercial property advertising sites. Have a browse through it, because a reputable real estate agency will invest in their online presence and appearance.

    Focus on client needs

    A reputable agency will strive to understand its clients and their needs, in order to offer a service focused on finding solutions and the right property. Buyers and tenants will especially benefit from the services of a real estate agency which tries to gain an in-depth understanding of their search, gives advice and ultimately resolves one of the biggest challenges they might face finding an ideal home or investment opportunity.

    Legal Support

    Bear in mind that a legal agency does not have to guarantee this by law, but reputable and experienced agencies will have a legal team specialising in property law, so can thus guarantee legal support and protection to its clients. If you are not 100% sure the agency is reputable, seek independent legal advice.

    Market Insight

    Expert agencies have the best market insight and understanding of the trends shaping it. This means they will give you informed advice, and the longer they have been operating, the more you will be able to rely on it. An agency which has been operating for long, and has thus had many completions, will inform the owners and buyers of precise and realistic market values as it will keep its own databases, but will also have access to the Tax Office's database ''E-nekretnine'', which is not available to the public. This is important, as prices advertised on search engines are unrealistic and misleading, because they often represent the owners' wishes and not the true market value of a property.


    This is more relevant to sellers, but can also help the buyer get a clearer picture of the agency's quality. An agency has to be a marketing expert. Its website is the primary channel through which the properties present themselves, and those with good websites get more enquiries. Web sites should be attractive, user-friendly and responsive.

    They should rank well on Google, so that the listings are visible to as many prospective buyers and tenants as possible. Agencies that keep up with trends will have Facebook pages and Instagram feeds. The presentation of the flats, houses or other properties is important, as a listing with a well-written description containing all the relevant information on the property, and high quality, realistic photos, is more visible and attractive to buyers.

    Additional Services

    Besides offering marketing, useful market information and expert advice, high-quality real estate agencies will offer additional services related to property transactions. Managed handovers, energy efficiency certificates, access to architects and interior designers, construction and legalisation experts, are just some of the services or recommendations that high-quality agencies provide.

    How to find a good property lawyer in Croatia?

    Things are MUCH better now with better regulation, but back in the 2000s rush, the stories were quite astonishing. It used to be the case that you could find a lawyer who had a power of attorney for both the buyer and the seller AND was the real estate agent. The same lawyer insisted the papers were clean. And STILL there would be a problem.

    Generally speaking, lawyers often make bad mediators, as they need to predict the worst possible outcome and protect their client against it, often undermining the final goal, which is a completion. They often procrastinate and over-complicate, as the latter enables them to justify their fees. Many do not specialise solely in property law, making them inexperienced and thus unreliable.

    Do your research thoroughly before instructing a lawyer. Ask about their areas of expertise, ensure you have not been assigned to a junior lawyer without experience, but neither to a very senior one who will not have enough time for you. Enquire about whether they have any mediation experience, and try to informally check their credentials. Expat forums are a good place to start, as most foreigners living here will have had some lawyer experience. Reputable real estate agencies will also be able to recommend a lawyer focusing of property law, whose goal is to complete a transaction to the benefit of both sides, while at the same ensuring appropriate legal protection.

    Legalisation of property in Croatia – usage permits, 1968 and all that

    Croatia had lots of illegal properties, though the exact numbers were hard to ascertain. Illegal properties are those which were built after 1968 either

    1. outside of a designated building zone or

    2. in a building zone, but were over-developed in comparison to the building permit. High numbers of illegal properties, especially in the 2nd category, are the result of the combination of a historically loose legal framework and granting of planning permission, which was lengthy and expensive in Yugoslavia.

    Illegal construction was prevalent on the coast, where it started to occur in parallel with Yugoslavia's development of tourism in the '70s, and in rural areas, where the costly and lengthy permit-issuing timelines often exceeded the cost of constructing agricultural buildings. Many properties from the late 1990s, when the market was immature, demand was high and levels of stock were low, were also illegal, as developers, who were small to medium-sized, applied a very loose framework to their projects, and laws governing construction and urban planning were either unclear or not in force.

    EU accession

    With Croatia's accession to the EU, the resolution of the problem of illegal construction became a priority, and resulted in the Law on the Treatment of Illegally Constructed Buildings, passed in 2012, which enabled the owners of illegal properties in building zones to legalise them if they were recorded on aerial photos of Croatia from 2011 or earlier. Properties outside building zones were designated for demolition.

    The legalisation project had a sound goal, as legal properties have higher market values and once legalised could be precisely registered in the cadastre and land books, but the process was complicated and lengthy. For owners with lots of illegal volume, the costs were high. The process involved a multidisciplinary approach, and proved challenging both for the owners and the authorities having to deal with the applications. There are 4 types of property categorisation, with the easiest legalisation process applied to auxiliary buildings such as garages and barns.

    The legislation process, in laymen terms.

    1. Organise an architectural and geodesic plan, depending on the type of building. The architect draws up a plan of the actual building. The geodesic expert ascertains whether the building aligns with its cadastral registration. Costs of such plans depend on the size of the building, both are not requirements for all buildings.

    2. Paperwork and the legalisation request into the local authority.

    3. An inspection by the local authority.

    4. A confirmation is issued to the owner about the property being able to remain in space, subject to fines being paid and no further construction occurring.

    5. The owner pays a fine for the illegally constructed volume.

    6. The owner pays a fine for the unpaid infrastructural contributions to the local authority and utilities. This is based on the illegally constructed volume.

    7. New architectural and geodesic plans are drawn up to ensure that the owner hasn't illegally constructed further since the 1st inspection.

    8. Conformation of plans.

    9. The owner hands in the plans to the cadastral registry.

    10. The owner hands in the plans to the land books registry.

    Legalisation deadline

    Initially, the government set the deadline for the submission of legalisation requests for 30.06.2013. As many owners handed in only partial requests, and the authorities were not able to process requests efficiently enough. The government then decided in 2017 to enable all those owners of illegal properties who would have satisfied criteria for legalisation in 2012 to start the process. The new deadline for applications became 30.06.2018. The Law is no longer in force, but one can still legalise buildings under the provisions of other laws. Namely, the Law on Construction, and in consultation with the Ministry of Physical Planning, Construction and State Assets.

    Can foreigners buy property in Croatia?

    EU and Swiss citizens

    EU and Swiss citizens (private persons) can acquire most types of property as Croatian nationals and companies headquartered in Croatia, without restrictions, with an additional requirement for Swiss citizens, who, when registering their ownership, have to show proof of temporary residence. No foreign nationals can purchase agricultural land for now, and there is a moratorium in place for EU and Swiss nationals until 2023.

    Non-EU citizens, including the UK:

    There has been no indication that non-EU/EEA citizens will ever be able to purchase land in Croatia, with one exception: if they open a business in Croatia, because of which they will be employing and paying taxes, the companies will contribute to the Croatian economy, and thus become ‘Croatian’.

    For other property types, the basis of purchase for non-EU and UK citizens is the principle of reciprocity. (“uzajamnost za stjecanje prava vlasništva na nekretninama u Republici Hrvatskoj”). The principle is based on agreements between Croatia and other countries, which differ, but generally mean that if Croatian citizens can buy in a certain country, the citizens of that country can buy in Croatia. The agreements define the conditions under which the citizen of a certain country can buy property, which can be the requirement of having permanent residence in Croatia, or the property size, or the requirement for the buyer to live in the acquired property. For the US and Canada, reciprocity agreements are at the state and province levels.

    The list of agreements defining reciprocity is available on this link

    The request for purchase of non-EU and Swiss nationals goes to the Ministry of Justice, in person, or by post to the following address:

    Ministarstvo pravosuđa i uprave Republike Hrvatske
    Uprava za građansko, trgovačko  i upravno pravo
    Ulica grada Vukovara 49, 10000 Zagreb

    Paperwork required to submit as foreign buyer

    The request has to include the following paperwork:  

    • Original or certified copy of the Sale-Purchase Agreement, Gift Agreement, etc.
    • Seller proof of ownership, title deed.
    • Proof of property being in a construction area, issued by the local authority under whose jurisdiction the property is in
    • Proof of the buyer's citizenship ('dokaz državljanstva stjecatelja'). This means a notarised copy of the passport, or the proof of the legal status of the buyer. If it is a company, i.e. the registration of the company from the Trade Court registry
    • Original of notarised copy of the power of attorney, if the buyer has another person or legal entity
    • Proof of paid fees

    The legal requirement for the Ministry to approve the sale and purchase is 60 days. But most requests get approval sooner.

    Paperwork required in a Croatian property sale and purchase

    The first step in any sale and purchase process should be the due diligence of the paperwork. Most of the relevant paperwork is available online. Since 2003. the government has been working on reforming and linking the various registries. The aim is to ensure transparency and clarity in property transactions.

    Issues remain. Many properties still have a different nomenclature in the cadastre to that in the land book. For example, a certain municipality may ‘Centar’ in the land book, but ‘Grad Zagreb’ in the cadastre. The plot surface areas may also differ in the cadastre to that in the land book. The persons registered as possessors in the cadastre may be different to those in the land book title. The property may not have a precise description in the title. In order to have a clear picture and understanding of potential discrepancies, and in order to understand what is and what isn’t a hindrance to the completion of a sale and purchase, you should hire a reputable real estate agency and lawyer.

    Also, documents like building and usage permits are not available online, they should be obtainable from the owners. But if they do not have these documents, try their local Municipal office or the City.


    A very useful and user-friendly tool which represents the central information point for all geodesic information by presenting aerial photos of the whole Croatian territory with the cadastral and urban planning information superimposed.

    Documents can be printed.


    The registry shows the situation in space based on aerial photos and provides information on the plot. This includes shapes and sizes, who is in their possession and what is constructed on them. One can search via an address or the name of the cadastral municipality is in and the plot numbers.

    The cadastral excerpt and possession title can be printed.

    There is an electronic link to the land book, but not the book of deposited contracts.

    Land book

    The registry shows the ownership and legal status of properties, as well as claims by banks and third parties. And also any registered proceedings (‘plomba’) which may be a hindrance to the sale and purchase. The information needed to access the title deed is the name of the cadastral municipality the property is in and the land book excerpt or land plot numbers.

    The title deed can be printed.

    Book of deposited contracts

    A registry dating back to socialist times, into which the properties given into rent or constructed by the state for renting were registered. For years the government has planned to transfer all the properties from this registry into the land book. But the process is still incomplete.

    The title deed can be printed

    Zoning and urban planning rules

    Crucial information if you are buying land, but also if you planning to reconstruct or further develop existing properties. What can be constructed is determined by the urban plans, which are drawn up and issued by the local authorities. The urban plans are not always available online (though it is always worth searching). But zoning and urban planning information are available from the ‘Upravni odjel za graditeljstvo i prostorno uređenje’. (Administrative Department for Construction and Physical Planning). The list of all the offices by county is available here https://mpgi.gov.hr/UserDocsImages/8584

    Taxes for property in Croatia

    The table lists all the taxes which may arise from buying or renting property in Croatia. Please note that Croatia introduced and then withdrew the Property Tax and there is no clear timeline for its reintroduction. However, the EU is pressuring Croatia to introduce it, as most EU countries already have this tax.

    NATIONALVAT25%Lower on certain categories, none affecting the property market.
    All new builds will have VAT absorbed in the price presented to the buyer.
    1. 10%
    2. 18%
    1. income up to 7.5mil kn/yr
    2. income 7.5mil kn/yr or above
    COUNTYINHERITANCE AND GIFT TAX 4%Levied on cash, pecuniary claims and securities and movables,
    if individual market value amounts to more than HRK 50,000.00 on the date of tax assessment.
    CITY/MUNICIPALHOLIDAY HOUSES5-15 kn per m2Levied on m2 of property. Determined precisely by the local authority
    PROPERTY TRANSFER TAX 3%Levied on price if VAT is not charged.
    SURTAX ON INCOME TAX1. up to 10%
    2. up to 12%
    3. up to 15%
    4. 18%
    1. County
    2. City with pop < 30k
    3. City pop > 30k
    4. City of Zagreb
    Levied on income
    2. 30%
    1. up to 360k kn/yr or 30k kn/month
    2. above 360k kn/yr
    Levied on income from employment (salary and pension),​ self-employment,
    income from property and property rights, income from capital, and other income.

    More information

    The TC Property in Croatia page was a collaboration with real estate specialists, Zagreb West. drawing on their decades of experience in the industry.

    sarajevoliving@gmail.com (Paul Bradbury) What You Need To Know Sat, 13 Mar 2021 13:13:00 +0100
    Pets in Croatia 2022: Laws, Vets, Transport, Beach, Strays https://www.total-croatia.com/en/pets-in-croatia https://www.total-croatia.com/en/pets-in-croatia An information resource about pets in Croatia. Travelling with pets, transport, beaches, accommodation, vets, attitudes, and are Dalmatians really Croatian?

  • Should you bring your pet to Croatia for your vacation?
  • Transporting a pet to/from Croatia
  • What's the general situation/attitude with pets in Croatia?
  • Laws regarding pets in Croatia
  • What about accommodation with pets in Croatia?
  • Taking pets on public transport
  • What to do if you find a stray in Croatia / Dog Shelters in Croatia?
  • Veterinary services in Croatia
  • What should you worr about in Croatia?
  • Pet shops in Croatia
  • Dog beaches in Croatia
  • What Do Dalmatians have to do with Dalmatia?
  • What other breeds are Croatian, according to FCI?
  • Should you bring your pet to Croatia for your vacation?

    Mostly, the answer to that question is a heartfelt – yes. People in Croatia are mostly very friendly to well-behaved pets (which we're guessing yours are). There are numerous opportunities for your pets to have a great time in Croatia. Swimming, trekking, or doing anything else you and your pet enjoy doing.

    One small word of warning: maybe it would be best, if you plan on bringing your pet to Croatia for a vacation, to avoid the peak tourist season (that would be late June, July and August) or at least the most popular tourist places in Croatia. It tends to be hot and very crowded here in that period. Let's be honest – most dogs won't really appreciate that. Unless of course you're planning on spending almost all of your time away from any tourist-oriented places. And that won't be easy.

    Transporting a pet to/from Croatia

    The rules and regulations regarding the entry of pets to Croatia are what you'd expect from a European Union country. Pets must have a microchip, have a pet passport or authorised certificate. This must confirm a clean bill of health, and they need to be vaccinated against rabies.

    For pets younger than three months, things are somewhat more complicated. But you shouldn't really take your pet for a vacation anyway if it's less than three months old. All those rules are valid for non-commercial entry of animals to Croatia (under 5 animals), for low-risk countries (listed in the bylaw), and for dogs, cats, ferrets, birds, rabbits and some other species (also listed in the bylaw).

    There is an additional bylaw, defining which border crossings are possible for animals to enter Croatia. But it includes almost all major border crossings in Croatia, including ports and airports, so you shouldn't worry about that, as it is highly unlikely you'll find yourself passing Croatian border on any of the border crossings that are not in that bylaw.

    Similar rules apply for when an animal is leaving Croatia and going to a different country, it should be clearly identified by a micro chip and vaccinated. It is possible that any country to which you plan to bring the pet might have more stringent rules, so if you choose to do so, please make sure you know what they might be expecting.

    What's the general situation/attitude with pets in Croatia?

    Over the past several decades, the situation with (and the conditions of) pets in Croatia has drastically improved. These days in most places in Croatia dogs and cats live as spoiled pets. While, to be fair, it is still possible to run into animals that seem to have less-than-ideal lives, especially in smaller town or rural places in Croatia (which means that dogs can sometimes be seen permanently chained and cats allowed to live "freely" without any attempts to control their population, as it was done in the past).

    But, in most situations, the pets you're probably going to meet in Croatia have a good life. Most of the pets in Croatia are microchipped and vaccinated every year, most of them will be held on leashes.

    In most places in Croatia it is against the local bylaws to let pets roam around freely, without leashes. Although, to be honest, the chances are you'll meet a local dog whom everyone knows, roaming around freely, especially in smaller Dalmatian towns. And, yes, we'll get back to the topic of Dalmatians, I assure you!

    Laws regarding pets in Croatia

    We've already mentioned the most important laws regarding pets in Croatia: they should have a microchip and they should have all of the necessary vaccinations (for dogs, the most important one remains the rabies shot). There are other national laws regarding pets. The most notable one concerns "the dangerous breeds". This refers to dogs from the group of breeds usually known as bull terriers, including the miniature variant.

    There are some special conditions for keeping those animals. This includes the provision that the dogs belonging to the group can only enter Croatia if they have a pedigree issued by a member of the International Canine Organisation. These dogs should always be on the leash and have a muzzle on at all times while in public.

    In addition to national laws, there are many local bylaws telling you where dogs can be off-leash, as well as manage other pet-questions for the local community. These vary, honestly, but most are really reasonable (more on this topic here).

    Keep your pet on the leash in populated areas (unless it's a clearly marked dog-park where the dog can be off-leash). And ask if you can sit at a bar or a restaurant with your pet! In most situations, in most tourist-oriented places, the answer will be a clear "Yes!", and your companion will receive a bowl of water during the summer. And, if you get a "No", that's also OK, there are lots of places that will appreciate your business.

    What about accommodation with pets in Croatia?

    Well, you're just going to have to inquire about that. Don't assume that any accommodation will be OK with your pet. But also please don't assume that you won't be welcome anywhere with your Newfoundland dog (or something similar). Almost all camps in Croatia are pet-friendly. There are literally only a few that have a strict pet-free policy but those are in larger tourist areas and there are other camps around them where your pet will be welcome.

    With hotels, the situation is a bit more complex. Here the ratio between those accepting pets and those who do not want to accommodate such guests is a bit different. Also, numerous hotels have odd rules of accepting just "smaller" pets, without detailed explanation of what exactly they mean, so again – ask them! And if the answer is "No", there will be another hotel nearby where you and your pet will be more than welcome.

    And almost the exact same thing is true about private accommodation – if you're looking for a place to stay in Croatia through any of the well-known online services, it will clearly state that the apartment is pet-friendly, and if you're "shopping" through other means, just make sure you ask in advance and explain clearly what type of pet you plan to bring for you. You will almost certainly be able to find accommodation in your preferred location, especially if you're arriving outside of the peak tourist season, as there are more choices in that period.

    There are websites that can help you navigate Croatian accommodation and renters and look for the ones that will take your pet: while probably not completely up-to-date, you can certainly get a feel of the number of options there are www.povedi.me

    Taking pets on public transport

    In Croatia, it will often be possible to take your pet on most forms of public transportation, but the rules will often be murky, not clearly defined and your success will often vary, depending on the size of your pet, the exact time you want to travel with your pet and the mood of the driver. While that is, admittedly, less than ideal as it creates unnecessary stress for the passengers, it's just something you should be aware of.

    Pets on trains in Croatia

    On Croatian trains small animals (up to 30 cm of height) can travel in transport boxes, and dogs of that size can sit on the owner's lap – both of those options is free. Service dogs of all kinds are can also travel for free. Bigger dogs need to have their veterinary booklet, proving their bill of health, micro chip, need to be on a short leash and wear a muzzle, and you have to pay for their train ride. If you want to take your dog on a sleeping coach you have to pay for all the beds in the section.

    Pets on buses in Croatia

    For bus travel between cities in Croatia, the rules are much less clear, as there are many companies providing the service and their rules differ. It's very hard to say when you will be allowed on which bus with what kind of dog. Still, maybe your safest bet would be not to expect to be allowed on a bus with any type of dog during the high-season, and in the off-season your biggest chances to get a dog on a bus are if it's a small thing in a transport box.

    Pets on ferries in Croatia

    Dogs can go on ferries in Croatia too, with similar conditions as on the trains: either in transporters (smaller dogs, birds, cats) or on a short leash and with a muzzle (bigger dogs). Often they may not enter certain areas on ferries, such as saloons, restaurants and cabins.

    Public transportation within cities in Croatia, such as Zagreb, Split and Rijeka, also varies significantly. In Split and Rijeka your dog is welcome on public transportation only if in a transport box (so, bigger dogs are not really allowed), and in Zagreb you have the option of a box (free) of your dog can board the tram/bus on a short leash, with a muzzle and proper paperwork, and pay the full ticket. Or you can pay it for them, if they don't have the cash handy.

    As always, it's the owner's full responsibility to make sure the pet doesn't destroy, damage or soil the vehicle in which it is travelling. Have plenty of baggies and tissues ready, take a dog for a long walk before getting on any type of public transport, have water ready and if anything goes wrong, clean up after your pet.

    What to do if you find a stray in Croatia / Dog Shelters in Croatia?

    There aren't that many stray dogs in Croatia, actually. When it comes to cats, there are much more free-living cats in Croatia, and only recently has there been increased awareness of their poor quality of life. Now many towns and local communities have various Catch, Spay and Release programs for cats, and even those populations have been more or less constant and the cats living in better conditions.

    Dog shelters

    There are many animals' rights groups in Croatia, taking animals off the streets and providing them with shelter and finding them suitable homes. All of the local government units need to have contracts with a shelter, and that shelter needs to provide the service of taking care of strays. Since 2017 all animals' shelters are no-kill shelters. Before that, sometimes it was difficult for people to let strays go to shelters, because their days there were counted, but now that's not the case anymore.

    Stray dogs

    We have mentioned already that most dogs in Croatia that have owners are microchipped, so if you find a dog in Croatia that looks like a stray to you (ask around at first, especially in Dalmatia: it might just as well be a dog belonging to an irresponsible owner, who lets their pet walk around as it pleases, and the dogs knows perfectly well how to get back home when it decides to), your first course of action is to take it to the local vet.

    There, the vet will be able to determine if the dog was microchipped, and if it was, start the process of returning it to its owner. If it was not, and there's no way to find out who it belongs to, the vet will also be able to help you get in contact with the local shelter, in charge of caring for the dogs in the area. The dogs are vaccinated at the shelters, cured of any obvious diseases (unfortunately, they are not neutered/spayed at the expense of the local government, which is something that needs to change as soon as possible) and microchipped, so they're ready for adoption. So, if you're so inclined, there's a chance that you might be able to take a friend from a shelter home with you?

    Veterinary services in Croatia

    The Croatian Chamber of Veterinary Medicine has a list of veterinary practices on their website, although it doesn't seem that the list is fully up-to-date. Many veterinary practices in Croatian towns and cities are almost completely oriented towards providing care for pets, and the vets working there are experts in the field.

    Before you decide to come to Croatia for a vacation, you might want to give it a quick Google, just to make sure your chosen location has a vet nearby (which it almost certainly will), and to have their contacts ready in case you really need them.

    In bigger practices you'll be able to do the blood test, ultrasounds and other diagnostics if necessary, and the vets will be able to either sell you a drug needed or give you the prescription to get at the human pharmacy. The prices for basic veterinary services and medicines are quite affordable in Croatia.

    What should you worry about in Croatia?

    Well, actually, there aren't that many animals or insects in Croatia that can hurt your pet. The ones that you might run into while in Croatia include ticks, pappataci, hornets, horse flies and scorpions. Ticks are much more prevalent in continental Croatia, while finding one in Dalmatia during the summer will be a rarity.

    But, you will probably run into the pappataci there, and you can get several viral diseases from their bites, including leishmaniasis and pappataci fever. Some type of tick-repellent, either spot-on ampoules or collar is advisable before coming to Croatia.

    That won't help against hornets of horse flies, whose bite might require a trip to the vet to get a treatment of antihistamines and/or steroids to help reduce the consequences of the bite. (Another good reason to have the local vet's info available)

    Pet shops in Croatia

    There are numerous pet shops in Croatia, as well as other places where you might be able to buy stuff for your pet. The biggest pet-store chain is Pet Centar, with shops in 5 towns in Croatia. Zoo City also has its shops in several towns in Croatia, including in most Dalmatian towns (Zadar, Split, Šibenik). You will be able to buy some entry-level dog food in bigger general stores, such as Konzum, Lidl, Tommy or Spar as well, but the two bigger pet shop chains will have a bigger selection of well-known brands, as well as much more equipment for your pet (such as a new leash if the old one has broken as soon as you set foot in Croatia).

    Also, most veterinary practices will also be able to offer you some basic stuff, like dog food or repellents, and usually at just a bit of a premium.

    Dog beaches in Croatia

    Croatian beaches often hit the international headlines for their beauty, but one beach near in Kvarner made global headlines for an altogether different reason - some canine-loving entrepreneur had opened a beach bar... dogs.

    The concept has proven extremely popular, and it highlights the acceptance of pets in Croatia on those all-important beaches - at least some of them. TCN recently did a comprehensive guide to beaches for pets in Croatia. And you can check it out here.

    What Do Dalmatians have to do with Dalmatia?

    Well, everything! It is one of the several breeds recognised by FCI as originating from Croatia, in their case, from Dalmatia. Of course, if you've ever seen the animated Disney's film 101 Dalmatians from 1961 (and chances are you have, if you're reading this) you know exactly what the Dalmatian dog looks like: medium-sized, white with (mostly) black spots, friendly and has a lot of puppies (well, no, they don't have nowhere near that many puppies in real life!).

    Their history in Croatia is long: there's an altar painting in Veli Lošinj, which is dated to the early 17th century, where you can find a dog that looks quite like today's Dalmatians. The first mention of the name was in the early 18th century, in the continental town of Đakovo, where in the archives of the Archdiocese of Djakovo Canis Dalmaticus is mentioned. Today they can still be found in Dalmatia, as they are loyal, companion dogs, good hunters (often they help their owners get rid of vermin).

    What other breeds are Croatian according to FCI?

    The Croatian Shepherd Dog is a black small-ish shepherd dog, which is said to be exactly the same since the 14th century. It is intelligent, energetic watchdog, loyal to their master and it loves to bark!

    The Istrian short-haired and Istrian wire-haired hounds are two quite similar dog breeds, both excellent dogs for hunting of the smaller game (such as fox and rabbit) and usually kept by hunters, not as pets.

    The Posavatz hound is also a hunting dog, but originating from a different region of Croatia – Posavina is the valley around the Sava River in continental Croatia. It's a bit bigger than the Istrian, usually brownish with white markings, but also a remarkable scent hound and can also often be seen with hunters.

    Tornjak is also often considered to be a Croatian type of dog, but it's official English name gives away that it's not just Croatian: Bosnian and Herzegovinian – the Croatian Shepherd dog (just call it "Tornjak", pronounced "tornyak").

    It's a large Mountain dog breed, dedicated to the protection of the livestock against wolves, foxes or other intruders, capable of withstanding severe cold because of its thick coat. Tornjak is prohibited in Denmark, along with some other mountain dogs.

    sarajevoliving@gmail.com (Paul Bradbury) What You Need To Know Sat, 13 Mar 2021 10:11:00 +0100
    Croatian Insurance: Health, Home, Life, Car & Travel Cover https://www.total-croatia.com/en/croatian-insurance https://www.total-croatia.com/en/croatian-insurance Where to get Croatian insurance to cover you for your car, home, health and travel? A look at the options and companies in the market.

  • Health insurance in Croatia
  • Looking for travel insurance for Croatia?
  • Where to get your Croatian car insurance
  • Earthquake insurance?
  • Home contents insurance for Croatia
  • Who are the biggest Croatian insurance companies?
  • Health insurance in Croatia

    If you are moving to Croatia, you must obtain health insurance. This can be done via the state health provider, HZZO. The process is not complicated and is the next step after you have registered your stay with the police. This is what you need to do.

    Holders of the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) are covered in Croatia. They must simply present the card to the hospital or clinic they are visiting. If you do not already have one, you can download your EHIC here.

    The Croatian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has its own advice on health insurance for visitors.

    Looking for travel insurance for Croatia?

    Some travellers have it, and some travellers don't. Whether or not you buy travel insurance for Croatia may largely depend on where you are from. EHIC card holders are covered, but citizens from most non-EU companies are not.

    There are many travel insurance companies out there, but here are the best (page updated regularly).

    Where to get your Croatian car insured

    Lots of foreigners living in Croatia or having a holiday home here would like to have their foreign car in Croatia. While technically, you can insure the car via Croatian insurance (I have done it), in practice, this does not work as a long-term solution.

    The main reason for this is that the car needs to have its M.O.T. (technical inspection), and this is done in the country where the car is registered. It is a long drive back to England each year.

    It is much simpler to import your car to Croatia. A step by step guide on the car importing process.

    The Croatian insurance market is pretty competitive, and you can find a list of providers below. Annual insurance can be paid monthly.

    Earthquake insurance?

    In addition to other things, 2020 was the year that brought us the thoughts about having your home insured against earthquakes in Croatia. Two major earthquakes in 9 months will have you thinking about that, right?

    The situation after the Zagreb and Petrinja earthquakes was made even worse by the fact that most people didn't have insurance that covered their homes in case of an earthquake, and even those who did couldn't be sure they'd be able to use it. We wrote about that in early 2021.

    And while it is a reasonable conclusion that there probably won't be that many big earthquakes in this part of Croatia in the near future, it's important to keep in mind that many parts of Croatia are seismically active. So, it's probably a smart decision to protect your property, while at the same time - reading the insurance policies you're offered carefully, to avoid some of the pitfalls.

    Home contents insurance for Croatia

    A lot of foreign property owners want to insure their holiday homes. While there are Croatian options on the market, it is more cost-effective to insure through foreign companies in my experience. One company with a lot of experience in the Croatian home contents insurance market is Devon Direct.

    Who are the biggest Croatian insurance companies?

    AGRAM LIFE osiguranje

    Trnjanska cesta 108, Zagreb,  www.agramlife.hr    01/600 4400


    Heinzelova 70, Zagreb,     www.allianz.hr  01/3670 367

    CROATIA osiguranje

    Vatroslava Jagića 33, Zagreb,     www.crosig.hr 01/6332 000

    EUROHERC osiguranje

    Ulica grada Vukovara 282, Zagreb,   www.euroherc.hr 01/6004 001


    Ulica grada Vukovara 284, Zagreb, www.generali.hr 01/4600 400

    GRAWE Hrvatska

    Ulica grada Vukovara 5, Zagreb,   www.grawe.hr 01/3034 000


    Capraška ulica 6, Zagreb, www.hok-osiguranje.hr 01/5392 500

    Hrvatsko kreditno osiguranje

    Bednjanska 14, Zagreb, www.hkosig.hr 01/4591 542


    Listopadska 2/V, Zagreb, www.jadransko.hr 01/3036 001


    Ulica kneza Ljudevita Posavskog 31, Zagreb, www.merkur.hr 01/6308 333

    OTP Osiguranje

    Ulica grada Vukovara 284, Zagreb, www.sgosiguranje.hr 01/6327 944


    Antuna Heinza 4, Zagreb, www.triglav-osiguranje.hr   01/5632 777

    UNIQA osiguranje

    Planinska 13 A, Zagreb, www.uniqa.hr 01/6324 200

    Wiener osiguranje Vienna Insurance Group

    Slovenska ulica 24, Zagreb, www.wiener.hr 01/3718600

    Wüstenrot životno osiguranje

    Heinzelova 33a, Zagreb, www.wuestenrot-osiguranje.hr 01/5005850

    sarajevoliving@gmail.com (Paul Bradbury) What You Need To Know Sat, 13 Mar 2021 06:19:00 +0100
    Croatian Visas: Rules, Borders, Digital Nomads, Forms & Schengen https://www.total-croatia.com/en/croatian-visas https://www.total-croatia.com/en/croatian-visas Looking for information on Croatian visas? How and where to get one, how about the Schengen zone, and getting visas on the border.

    Visa requirements for Croatia

    Croatian visas are not required by citizens of other EU countries, the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Nationals of these countries are allowed to freely enter Croatia for a maximum 90-day stay over 180 days. After that, things are much simpler for citizens of EU countries than they are for third-country citizens.

    For the individual visa requirements of other countries, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs provides information on a country by country basis through a searchable website.

    To find out details of the closest Croatian diplomatic mission to your country, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs also provides this information, including where to go if there is no Croatian embassy in your country.

    2021 Reality: Epidemiological measures for border crossings

    Of course, the pandemic reality of 2020 is what makes crossing the Croatian (or any other) border difficult. The rules and regulations in Croatia change frequently, reflecting the situation with the number of infected people in Croatia and around it, and you can follow those changes in our Croatia Travel Update. There you'll be able to find the most recent measures and what it takes to cross the Croatian borders.

    Schengen, the EU and Croatian visas

    I have noticed a lot of confusion about Croatia's official status with tourists over the years. Is it in the EU or Schengen zone? Both have a major effect on visa requirements, of course.

    Croatia joined the EU on July 1, 2013, and it became the 28th member of the bloc that day. Regarding the Schengen zone, however, Croatia has still not joined. Tourists coming from Slovenia and Hungary to Croatia will be exiting the Schengen zone.

    Croatia has, however, for a while been very close to joining, but always one step too short. Currently, it's reasonable to expect that the entry date will happen before 2024. We will update this article as things progress, but currently having a Schengen visa does NOT mean automatic entrance into Croatia.

    HOWEVER, if you have a dual or multi-entry Schengen visa, you may enter Croatia without an additional Croatian tourist visa IF you have at least one unused entry upon entering Croatia. The same is also true for foreigners who have a residence permit in a Schengen.

    In any case, you are strongly encouraged to check with the Ministry website for the latest news before you travel.

    How to apply for Croatian visas?

    You can apply for Croatian visas online and also check on the progress of your application.

    After you complete entering the data, you must print out a copy of the application and submit it, along with the necessary documents, to the competent Croatian Embassy or Consulate, visa centre or accredited travel agency.

    Visa applications must also come with a letter of guarantee from a private person or business.

    Here is a list of all the documents and procedures you need to apply for a visa to Croatia.

    Looking to extend your visa? Here are the guidelines from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

    Croatia welcomes digital nomads

    As of the beginning of 2021, Croatia has become a destination which welcomes digital nomads. What is a digital nomad, you might ask? It's a person who does most (if not all) of their work on their electronic devices, laptops, tablets, phones, and can do their job from anywhere in the world. They can be employed in any company, a freelancer or self-employed, as long as they're able to do what they need to do without coming to "an office". And if 2020 has taught us anything (and 2021 continues to teach the same lesson) it's that a lot of jobs are like that.

    To be a digital nomad your lifestyle needs to include mobility, the desire to not spend all of your time at the same place, but to move around the world in shorter and longer stints, enjoying the lifestyle of those diverse destinations. And what a lifestyle Croatia is offering!

    Find out more about the program, how to apply and what it will mean to you and to the community in our article.

    Can you get Croatian visas at the border?

    It is possible to get a short-term visa at the border (cost 60 euro), but only in cases where the foreigner was not able to submit an a visa application via the normal procedure. More information here, but with my experience of Croatia, I would not rely on this route if at all possible.

    Passport or ID entering Croatia

    If you are an EU citizen, you can enter Croatia with just an ID card, rather than a passport. Similarly, Croatian citizens can travel throughout the EU with just an ID card, as well as neighbouring countries such as Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Hercegovina.

    Please note that if you are a foreigner with permanent residency, your ID card is NOT sufficient to cross the border. I learned this from painful experience. You must present your passport.

    sarajevoliving@gmail.com (Paul Bradbury) What You Need To Know Fri, 12 Mar 2021 16:19:00 +0100
    Digital Nomad in Croatia: Lifestyle, Paperwork & Services https://www.total-croatia.com/en/digital-nomad-in-croatia https://www.total-croatia.com/en/digital-nomad-in-croatia There will be a billion digital nomads by 2035. Guide to why Croatia is a great digital nomad destination: lifestyle, community, services & co-working guide.

  • What is a digital nomad?
  • Why Croatia is a great digital nomad destination
  • Destinations for digital nomads in Croatia
  • What services are on offer?
  • Top 5 co-working spaces
  • The digital nomad community in Croatia
  • When is the digital nomad season in Croatia?
  • Croatia and the Schengen reset
  • Bureaucracy for digital nomads in Croatia
  • Finding accommodation
  • A Dutchman asks a Prime Minister for a digital nomad visa
  • From visa to permit, a law change for digital nomads
  • Meet the first official digital nomad in Croatia, and the first on Hvar
  • How to apply for the digital nomad permit in Croatia
  • Croatia digital nomad permit application FAQs, the video
  • Dubrovnik for Digital Nomads, Croatia's first dedicated conference
  • Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence competition
  • Saltwater Nomads, looking beyond the surface
  • The world is changing, and digitalisation is providing freedom for Internet-based businesses and individuals who want to be tied to their laptop and a good Internet connection wherever they are in the world, rather than a physical office.

    Croatia is in an excellent position to take advantage of this opportunity. Here we look at what Croatia can offer digital nomads. I am very grateful to Tanja J. Polegubic, one of the co-working space pioneers of Croatia with Saltwater Split, pictured above, for her considerable input in this article.

    What is a digital nomad?

    Someone who can conduct their work on any device, any time, anywhere… and enjoy the benefits of travelling while making an income. No credit card debt waiting when you get home… if you ever go home!

    You can be self-employed, a freelancer or employee.

    Your company HQ or “National Tax Office” is not where you are working.

    You usually are moving from place to place - from a few days to monthly stints. NB Digital Nomad is different from a remote worker.

    Remote workers are based in one place - but not with the rest of the team. They either don’t live where HQ is, or move for a spouse, to care for a parent, form a new line of business, etc.

    Why Croatia is a great digital nomad destination

    Croatia has so many advantages and reasons why digital nomads should consider it as part of their lifestyle plan. These include:

    • Great connectivity. Almost every cafe in the country has free WiFi, and 5G is already here. Not everything works perfectly in Croatia, but its fibre optics are excellent.
    • English is widely spoken, as are German and Italian. It is said that more than 80% of the population speaks English.
    • A strong tradition of tourism and hospitality - more than 18 million tourists visit every year.
    • Lower cost of living than most of the EU.
    • Fantastic climate, with more than 300 days of sunshine in parts of Dalmatia.
    • Great connectivity to the rest of Europe by bus, plane, car and ferry. Split, for example, connects to more than 100 destinations by plane.
    • A superb lifestyle. From leisurely 3-hour coffees on the riva to lazy days on the beach, there are few places in Europe which can offer the relaxed lifestyle of Croatia.
    • One of the safest countries in Europe in terms of crime and security, and a wonderful place to bring up children.
    • Fantastic local wines and healthy food, with UNESCO recognising the Croatian Mediterranean Diet.

    Destinations for digital nomads in Croatia

    Choosing a destination which is right for you is a very personal decision of course, and it reflects what particular personal needs you have. One of my favourite recent examples of a digital nomad making the switch to Croatia was Domagoj, who swapped the stress of the Toronto commute for a more sedate family lifestyle on the island of Korcula.

    Dalmatian islands

    Check out his story here, and if Korcula appeals, learn more in the Total Croatia Korcula in a Page guide. I can certainly vouch for the digital nomad island lifestyle, having lived it for several years on Croatia's premier island - learn more in Hvar in a Page.


    Probably the best digital nomad destination in Croatia right now is the Dalmatian capital of Split. With its great climate, access to the islands and vibrant life, more expats are relocating to Split. Find out why in our Split in a Page guide.


    The expat and digital nomad community are also expanding in the capital, Zagreb. The city has transformed itself in recent years, and it has become a very cool place to hang out, and not just in its famous Advent in Zagreb. Learn more in Zagreb in a Page.


    Dubrovnik, Kings Landing, the Pearl of the Adriatic, whatever you want to call it, is Croatia's most famous city. It is also a magnet for tourists and foreigners wanting to hang out, including digital nomads. Find out what's on offer in Dubrovnik in a Page.


    Further up the coast, the idyllic peninsula of Istria has long attracted visitors. Sometimes called the Croatian Tuscany, Istria is a foodie paradise, and its picture postcard hilltop walled villages are a joy to behold. The proximity to Slovenia and Italy makes is even more attractive. Learn a little more in 25 things to know about Istria.


    And if being on the coast is not essential, your budget is an issue, and you want to meet the friendliest people in Croatia in a beautiful city on the Danube, I heartily recommend Osijek in eastern Croatia - a wonderful city where prices are considerably lower but the welcome is the warmest in the region. Learn more in Osijek in a Page.

    What services are on offer?

    a) MUST HAVES: Fast internet, right vibe, great coffee, desk and comfortable chair.

    b) NICE TO HAVE: Great location with enough dining variety and things to do.

    c) AN INSTANT COMMUNITY. Especially for the solo digital nomad.

    d) NETWORKING EVENTS - really key. Great way for digital nomads to get a read on the local scene, and for locals to get an international dose of … the outside world!

    This is actually the most important part. It is the community-forming side, it promotes local engagement. Also the non tourist stuff - impromptu day trips and meals together.

    e) Productive, distraction-free zone - rather than a cafe, where you have to drink a lot of coffee to justify the 4 seat table you’re taking up, unreliable wifi and people walking

    past/talking during your video call. Not to mention the poor ergonomics :) Fine for 1 hour, but if it’s an 8 hour day --- think of your physical health, too!

    f) Accommodation assistance - vital in an overpriced tourism market.

    We know what’s not online…Eg. we have a lady who convinces her older friends to go to the island earlier, to make 1000 euro by offering up their central apartment for a month.

    g) Staying/Staffing/Setting up Companies in Croatia. Tips, assistance and connections.

    h) Advice. Where to eat, where to drink, meet people, find sports groups…. Get a watch repaired! People ask everything> We already tell them where to get the best coffee in town. The Aussies love a good flat white and the Americans love their Cold Brew!

    Top 5 co-working spaces in Croatia

    A useful Facebook page to follow is Coworking Croatia. Tanja gives her thoughts on the top 5 co-working spaces in Croatia, including her own Saltwater, of course - lots of people are raving about it, so I decided to leave it in:

    1. Saltwater. Clearly I am biased!
      Female-founded, bootstrapped, local-engagement and events. Sea-view balcony overlooking Split Riva and harbour. Most central space with dedicated desk option (ie it is guaranteed yours rather than ‘hotdesking’ only).
    2. WIP - Znjan Beach in Split. Owned and operated by Remote Year USA. Large groups. Event space. Friendly people.
    3. COIN - Zadar. EU funded space with a lot of locals and good buzz.
    4. Coworking Rovinj-Rovigno - First coworking space in Istra.
    5. Zagreb - So many to choose from. From women-led, to the Rent 24 chain.

    The digital nomad community in Croatia

    This is a tricky one. It’s not a ‘sticky’ bunch. They flow in and out. That’s why spaces serve as mooring points. Marinas for digital nomads. They know they’ll find what they need here.

    Some return - most are just one-off visitors, having ticked Croatia off their list. Here is a snapshot:

    Who is coming?

    ● Digital Nomads from USA*, UK, Australia and some parts of continental Europe - especially Germany. Some for 1-3 days in Split. Some for 1 month.
    ● Month-long paid programs. These usually have Split on the same itinerary as Lisbon and Barcelona, with a coworking space, accommodation and fitness option in price.
    ● Schengen-Resetters.
    People who have outstayed 90 days somewhere and need to reset their stay.
    ● Most are single.
    ● Couples! On a pre-kid world trip, who need to be around other people as they travel, sleep and sometimes have to work side-by-side 24/7.
    ● Parents - if they have kids, it is generally a dad who needs to escape a home with young kids due to being sick/distracting/etc.
    ● Developers, software programmers, app developers, translators, web designers, copywriters, graphic designers, marketing agency owners, fitness centre owners, digital advertisers, grant-writers, corporate and IT people, development workers. ● Digital nomads from USA mention Trump as a big reason for leaving.

    Other bonuses digital nomads bring:

    They invite friends. Especially the returning nomads. They get the “nearly-local” status, as they’ve been here long enough. They promote the place to the tribe; other digital nomads.

    How do digital nomads find co-working spaces?

    ● Google maps! We are a location-based business. If someone knows the value of a coworking space, they will seek out the one closest to the area they are living in.
    ● Other nomads, social media, Total Croatia News! :)

    When is the digital nomad season in Croatia?

    When are they coming?

    The shoulder season seems popular (May-June then Sept-Oct), July-August has more short term stays, as in 1-3 days, as prices are expensive, so visits dwindle - it’s too expensive and people want to work less, swim more. October to December things pick up as it’s warmer than Northern Europe and still nice to explore the country.

    January to March is pretty dead. Nomads are probably in Asia/Pac than wintry Europe - even if it is mild on the coast.

    The mild coastal winter is something to promote more - especially to our Northern Europe digital nomads, including the Estonian e-citizens. I am discussing with a boutique hotelier winter month-long rates in an otherwise closed hotel. December is fantastic in Split/Zagreb.

    How long do they stay?

    1-3 days, 1 week to 1 month.

    Croatia and the Schengen reset

    Croatia is a member of the EU and NATO, but not yet in the Euro or Schengen zones. Both of the latter are in progress, with Croatia's likely entry into the Schengen zone being 2020 or 2021. While it remains on the border of Schengen, Croatia is a handy place to use as a temporary base.

    In every 6-month period, you can stay 90 days in Schengen zone. And it doesn’t have to be consecutive. So, for example, you can do 3 months in Switzerland (schengen) then 3 months in Croatia … or head “home” to the USA” for 2 months and do 1 month in Croatia. In 180 days the maximum number of days you can spend in the Schengen is 90 days, so people are choosing Croatia to reset the count.

    Bureaucracy for digital nomads in Croatia

    The visa requirements here are restrictive. Especially considering most of this group are non-EU and will spend daily and promote the location. Currently, they cannot stay more than 90 days. And leaving the country (especially if they have a business trip in Europe, hence their reason in choosing Croatia) proves problematic.

    Anyone looking to stay needs to fill in those ~100 forms, have police visits, etc. And must register every time they return. Even so, where do you find this information? Online? In English? We match members to a friendly volunteer who has been through the process.

    We help in other ways, such as getting a year-long rental agreement, fair priced, long-term accommodation and reputable legal advice.

    It would be better if the decision makers realised the potential here - and made this process smooth - heck invite a few skilled nomads to build the system in exchange for residency, make it easy and position this country as a digital nomad destination.

    But let's get practical with some available Total Croatia information.

    For information on visas.

    All you need to know about healthcare in Croatia.

    Opening a bank account and a general overview of living in Croatia as a foreigner, as well as groups to meet people.

    Finding accommodation

    A word on accommodation in Croatia, which generally functions as elsewhere in the world. Booking.com and AirBnB are dominating the market, and there are no special things to know when booking accommodation in Croatia.

    Apart from one - the tourist season.

    If you are looking to move here full-time, then you will be able to negotiate a good rate in most places, but be aware that the Croatian economy is about 20% based on tourism, and many families see the tourist season as a means to supplement - or even be the main source of - income.

    As the tourist season is still largely based on the peak summer months, finding a short-term rental for a month in August is going to be much more expensive than April for example. It pays to shop around, but if money is an issue and you want to enjoy Croatia when the sea is still warm, you are much more likely to get a good price from mid-May to mid-June and from September onwards.

    This is less of an issue the further you move from the islands and Adriatic coast, and rents in continental Croatia - with the exception of Zagreb, tend to be much cheaper.

    An overview of accommodation in Croatia.

    A Dutchman asks a Prime Minister for a digital nomad visa

    The digital nomad story took off in Croatia in 2020, when Dutch entrepreneur Jan de Jong - who has been living in Split since 2006 - wrote an open letter on LinkedIn to Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, asking that Croatia introduce a digital nomad visa.

    For seasoned observers of Croatian bureaucracy, what happened next was nothing short of sensational. Just 44 days later, Plenkovic tweeted a photo of himself with de Jong, committing to the introduction of the visa. Legislation was attached to amendments to the Aliens Act the following day.

    From visa to permit, a law change for digital nomads

    Changes to the tax code were made, and the legislation was introduced for the regulation of the stay of digital nomads, effective January 1, 2021. This allowed for digital nomads who met the criteria to obtain a 12-month permit to stay, based on their status as digital nomads. These requirements were published by the Ministry of the Interior.

    Meet the first official digital nomad in Croatia, and the first on Hvar

    As the authorities worked on the online application process, we were all taken aback by the news that the first digital nomad visa had been approved in Istria, when an American applied for the visa at her local police station. Find out how Melissa Paul did it in her first interview on the process, with TCN - Meet Melissa Paul, Owner of Croatia's First Digital Nomad Visa.

    Others soon followed, and I also interviewed the first official digital nomad on Hvar, Jessica Romana from San Francisco. Jess also appeared on national television with partner Thibaud on the digital nomad lifestyle in Jelsa in winter, starting from California. You can see the video in this interview with Jess.

    How to apply for the digital nomad permit in Croatia

    On March 1, 2021, the official online application process went live on the website of the Ministry of the Interior. You can apply here.

    Croatia digital nomad permit application FAQs, the video


    Tanja (who else...) published this great FAQ video on the early questions arising from the first potential applicants, together with Nick Hathaway from 45 Degrees Sailing. Great production, great info.

    Dubrovnik for Digital Nomads, Croatia's first dedicated conference


    Tanja (who else...) organised the first-ever digital nomad conference in Croatia in October, 2020, in partnership with the City of Dubrovnik, Dubrovnik Tourist Board and Total Croatia News.

    Dubrovnik for Digital Nomads was a hug success, with coverage getting as far as a mention in The Washington Post. Here are my reflections on that inaugural conference.

    Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence competition

    Tanja (who else...) also organised the world's first Digital Nomads-in-Residence competition in Dubrovnik with the same partners in April 2021, an attempt to bring 10 international nomads to Dubrovnik to work with the city to develop its digital nomad strategy. Learn more about DN-i-R here.

    Tanja Polegubic and Jan de Jong at the Dubrovnik for Digital Nomads conference in October 2020

    Saltwater Nomads, looking beyond the surface

    The digital nomad hysteria has arrived, and people are now looking at this new type of tourism as the next source of revenue. There needs to be a LOT of education for local tourism providers on the needs of nomads. Currently, many seem to thing that a clean apartment and good WiFi is all that is required to be advertised as 'digitalnomad-friendly.' It helps of course, but there is so much more than that.

    Tanja (who else...) has written some great stuff on TCN for us. Sample articles include How Can Hotels Truly Serve Digital Nomads in Croatia? and 10 Ways Croatia Will Be At The Forefront of Countries with a Digital Nomad Visa (DNV). You can follow Tanja's musings on TCN here.

    For the latest on the digital nomad scene in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN section.

    sarajevoliving@gmail.com (Paul Bradbury) What You Need To Know Fri, 12 Mar 2021 06:48:00 +0100
    Doing Business in Croatia: Culture, Traps, Investor Advice https://www.total-croatia.com/en/business-in-croatia https://www.total-croatia.com/en/business-in-croatia Doing business in Croatia has brought heartache to countless foreign investors. There are many horror stories, but success is possible. Here's how.

  • An anecdote about doing business in Croatia to set the scene
  • A land of connections and jobs for the cousins
  • A land of entrepreneurs and hope
  • Starting a business in Croatia - are you mad?
  • Setting up a company in Croatia
  • The accountant and the company stamp
  • Keeping an industry alive - feeding the inspectors and their families
  • The diaspora and doing business in Croatia
  • The Croatia Chamber of Economy or Commerce: Does it do anything?
  • Are there any useful official institutions to help do business in Croatia?
  • Where to find investment projects in Croatia?
  • Where to find business news in Croatia?
  • Trying to do business in Croatia and looking for contacts?
  • An anecdote about doing business in Croatia to set the scene

    I decided to make this section about doing business in Croatia as real as possible. By telling things how they really are, potential investors may perhaps approach Croatia with eyes a little more open. Yes, there is opportunity here - lots of it - but also plenty of pitfalls.

    My favourite story about doing business in Croatia concerns an Englishman who wanted to invest a couple of million in real estate construction. He went to see a highly recommended business lawyer in Split.

    The lawyer's fee for the initial consultation was 500 euro, which the Englishman handed over in cash.

    "My best advice," the lawyer began, "to ensure you suffer only minimal financial loss is to take a taxi to the airport and fly back to London. That way, you will only have lost the cost of travel and this consultancy."

    Outraged, the Englishman stormed out of the office. He went on to invest - and lose - a 7-figure sum.

    Of course, there are success stories doing business in Croatia. It just seems that they are few and far between. Hopefully, the tips below will help guide you on a more successful course.

    A land of connections and jobs for the cousins

    When Croatia emerged victorious from the Homeland War in 1995, it was a time for hope for all.

    The hope was short-lived for the majority, as corruption took hold. The spoils were shared among the favoured cronies, as state companies went into private ownership for a fraction of their value.

    It is said that Croatia is effectively run by 200 families. One thing is for sure - everything happens in Croatia through connections ('preko veze').

    Jobs for the cousins became standard procedure. Positions were filled (and new ones created) based on patronage, not ability. A country of cronynism known as Uhljebistan emerged from within Croatia. You can learn more about Uhljebistan and the Cult of the Uhljeb in this TCN appreciation from 2017.

    The implications for foreign investors were clear. There were two ways of doing business. Through official channels where things would get done, but you would have to remember every official along the way. More than one official became known unofficially as 'Mr 10%'.

    Or trying to do things without paying bribes and following the law. Yeah, good luck with that one!

    A land of entrepreneurs and hope

    And yet things are changing. At least I believe so. A new generation of Croatian entrepreneur is emerging. EU entry has brought at least some accountability to Croatian institutions, and that can only be a good thing.

    The digital age has also helped immensely, and now Croatian companies in the IT sector in particular are doing great things on the global stage.

    Entrepreneurs are learning how to navigate the system and to effectively do business with minimal contact with official institutions. The corrupt old system cannot continue for ever, and technology will play a part in accelerating its decline. Perhaps I am in the minority, but I am actually quite hopeful for the future of business in Croatia. But with no thanks to official institutions. Business succeeds in this country in spite of the official bodies designed to promote it, not because of them.

    Starting a business in Croatia - are you mad?

    Starting a business in Croatia may seem like a great idea from distance, but I seriously advise you to take a much closer look at expectations, goals and the daily realities before taking the plunge.

    Yes, you can be successful here, but only a small percentage of foreign businesses make it. Reaonsable expectations in a normal country should go straight out the window. The general advice is to expect the investment to cost at least three times as much, and the results three times as long as you planned.

    But if you have a good concept, patience and go into the venture with eyes wide open, you can succeed. To give you a little hope, TCN did a series on foreign entrepreneurs in Croatia. Some of their stories and businesses were fascinating, and it was a very popular series.

    Setting up a company in Croatia

    Croatia is now in the EU, and that means that having a business in Croatia run by a company outside the country is now much easier. I know of several Croatian businessmen who have moved their business to countries such as Bulgaria. The savings in tax are immense.

    If you do want to set up a company in Croatia, here is some excellent advice from a longterm expat here.

    The accountant and the company stamp

    Two of the most important aspects of a Croatian company are the accountant and the company stamp.

    Without the company stamp, you are nothing. Want to do a transaction in the bank, but forgot your company stamp? Go home with no cash. There was a major change last year, where finally invoices could be issued digitally. Previously all had to be signed and stamped or they were not valid.

    But the company stamp is needed is so many situations still. Keep it somewhere very safe, because it will be as necessary as your passport.

    Finding a good accountant is key to success in doing business in Croatia. Find a good one and you can stop stressing about the constantly changing laws and fines for non-compliance.

    Accountants play a much bigger role in Croatian companies than other countries, in my opinion. Mine is absolutely fabulous. Fluent in English, young Gordana deals with all the official stuff, handles all payments from the bank, advises me of changes and things to do, and issues all the company invoices. Please don't tell her, but I would be totally lost without her. (And I think she has a little capacity for new clients, so if you are looking for an accountant, let me know and I will put you in touch.)

    Keeping an industry alive - feeding the inspectors and their families

    One aspect of doing business in Croatia which does not attract many column inches is the subject of inspectors.

    Inspectors are a classic example of why Croatia is struggling to move forward. Rather than encouraging entrepreneurs to help grow the economy, private businesses are seen as a source of income to feed the uhljeb state.

    Visits from inspectors are a fairly regular occurrence, and an inspection rarely results in anything but a fine for some misdemeanour. Even if the business has done nothing wrong.

    One restaurant owner friend, for example, emerged 2,000 kuna poorer from an inspection. Everything he had was totally correct, but with one exception. The sign with the opening hours stated until 00:00 and not 24:00. A costly error.

    Factor in the inspector factor in your financial planning.

    The diaspora and doing business in Croatia

    Despite the slow economic situation, Croatia does have a very dedicated and wealthy potential source of investment - its diaspora.

    The population of Croatia is around 4 million these days, with more than 3 million also living abroad as part of the Croatian diaspora. The love for the homeland is real, as is the desire to invest.

    Unfortunately, many investors from the diaspora sent money to the newly independent Croatia in the 1990s, investing generously. A lot of that cash went missing, and the diaspora is naturally a little more reserved and suspicious about investing.

    Things are beginning to change, however, and there are now greater ties between the diaspora business community and Croatia's entrepreneurs. Networks are being built, and ther are several diaspora business conferences each year. Here are my impressions from the 2018 G2.4 conference in Zagreb, for example.

    The Croatia Chamber of Economy or Commerce: Does it do anything?

    Croatia has its official bodies to promote business, of course. The biggest is the Croatian Chamber of Economy, formerly known as the Croatian Chamber of Commerce.

    Membership is compulsory for all businesses in Croatia (although this looks set to change finally). Small businesses must pay 42 kuna a month for membership, and it is not clear what they get in return.

    My experiences of dealing with the Chamber of Economy over the years are explained in this article.

    Things may be improving a little, however. I have met some of the new people at the top of the Chamber of Economy, and there seems to be an appetite for change. It remains a big task, however. You can see how progress pans out by checking the official Croatian Chamber of Economy website.

    Are there any useful official institutions to help do business in Croatia?

    If you have one to recommend, please contact me with details, and I will update this section. I have none to recommend.

    Where to find investment projects in Croatia?

    The official Agency for Investment in Croatia will no longer exist in 2019. A reflection, perhaps, on its usefulness...

    It does maintain a database of flagship investment projects in Croatia. Some of them have been around for some time...

    If you are seriously looking to invest in Croatia, want to know what the opportunities are, and want to find reliable partners, I am happy to help. I have met a lot of people during my time here, and there are many I would not recommend. And several I would. I am happy to help serious investors, so contact me on paul@total-croatia.com if you need any help.

    Where to find business news in Croatia?

    For an overview of the business climate in Croatia, here is the World Bank Report on Doing Business in Croatia 2019.

    The best source of business news in Croatia is the portal Poslovni.hr, which is unfortunately only in Croatian.

    For the latest business news in Croatia, keep tabs on the TCN business section. The business section is updated 3-4 times daily.

    Trying to do business in Croatia and looking for contacts?

    You can, of course, try the official channels. The Chamber of Economy is the logical place to start.

    Alternatively, if you would like to save some time (and money) and reach serious projects and partners, contact me at paul@total-croatia-news.com for more information.

    Whatever route you choose to do business in Croatia, good luck!

    sarajevoliving@gmail.com (Paul Bradbury) What You Need To Know Thu, 11 Mar 2021 13:08:00 +0100
    Health in Croatia 2022: Insurance, Emergency, Dentists & Doctors https://www.total-croatia.com/en/health-in-croatia https://www.total-croatia.com/en/health-in-croatia All you need to know about health in Croatia. First of all, how to register for insurance, how much does it cost, emergency and evacuation. Giving blood, contact details for all the main hospitals and specialist clinics. And where to find an English-speaking doctor or dentist near you.

    What is the emergency number in Croatia?

    If you find yourself in an emergency situation in Croatia, call 112. The operators speak English and response times are generally very good.

    The Croatian Health Insurance Institute (Hrvatski zavod za zdravstveno osiguranje - HZZO) has created the National Contact Point (NCP). It is very similar to service which exists in other EU member states. Primarily, it provides information about the rights of insured persons to medical care. If you are a citizen of another EU country, you can contact it to find out precisely what are your rights to medical assistance in Croatia.

    Phone: + 385 1 644 90 90
    E-mail: ncp-croatia@hzzo.hr

    Ministry of Health
    Ksaver 200 A
    10000 Zagreb
    phone: (01) 46 07 555
    fax: (01) 46 77 076

    Health in Croatia - who needs insurance?

    The Croatian national health care system is public and regulated by the aforementioned HZZO. It is available to all Croatian citizens. However, foreigners with permanent residence in Croatia are also included. Healthcare in Croatia is generally significantly cheaper than in the USA and the UK. Additional private healthcare is also available - and often required, for various reasons.

    There are many health centres all over the country, called "dom zdravlja". You choose your primary care physician in one of them when you register for your health insurance card at HZZO. It’s, of course, advisable that you choose one that is closest to your apartment/house. Your general practitioner is going to be at the centre of your choosing, and then he/she refers you to other specialist hospitals or polyclinics if you need additional tests. This is free if you have state health insurance, and the prescriptions that your doctor prescribes are also either free, or you get a special price thanks to your state health insurance.

    COVID-19 in Croatia

    The biggest medical issue of our times is the global pandemic of COVID-19, which seems to have ground the World to a halt in March of last year. If you want to read all there is to know about the current COVID-19 situation in Croatia, including the active epidemiological measures, border-crossing, and the numbers of the positive people, read our Croatia Travel Update, which gets updated daily. If you need to get tested for COVID-19 in Croatia, we also have an article that can tell you where to go to get that done.

    How to apply for health insurance

    The process for registered for HZZO health insurance for foreigners is as follows:

    Upon arrival, foreigners are required to register their temporary stay with the local police. The police will issue a registration number (evidencijski broj) once the application is approved.

    The next step is to visit the local HZZO office. There, the previously mentioned registration number will be used as the basis of the healthcare application process. The following documents are required for the application:

    • Original and a copy of a valid travel document (including the page with the relevant visa),
    • A copy and the original of the confirmation of residence,
    • Original and a copy of the temporary stay permit (biometric stay card),
    • Confirmation on submission of the application for a temporary stay (containing registration number, evidencijski broj), and
    • Confirmation of OIB identity number.

    If your country does not have a reciprocal arrangement with Croatia (you can see the list here), the monthly cost of the insurance is 420 kuna. Payments are made directly to HZZO, after which HZZO informs the Tax authorities and Ministry of Finance. Subsequently, monthly money orders (called uplatnica in Croatian) will be sent.

    The health card can take up to three months to be issued, but the health coverage is immediate. The solution is to simply take the paperwork and your registration to the health facility you are visiting.

    Where to find your local HZZO office

    You will need to find your local HZZO office, in order to start your application for health insurance. Here is a list of the contact details of all the local offices, complete with maps.

    HZZO - Frequently Asked Questions

    HZZO have a useful FAQ page on many of the most commonly asked topics. You can check out the latest official answers to these on the HZZO website.

    European Health Insurance Card and health in Croatia

    The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is available to EU citizens and provides free healthcare to its citizens in other EU countries, including Croatia. You can apply for your EHIC card here (or here, if you're from the UK).

    Which countries have reciprocal health agreements with Croatia?

    In addition to EU countries, Croatia also has international healthcare agreements with Australia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Northern Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey.

    How to buy additional health insurance?

    If you would like to buy additional health insurance, you can do so via the HZZO website, or by calling 0800 7989. There are also numerous private additional health insurance providers in Croatia.

    Giving blood in Croatia

    Croatian hospitals are in regular need of blood donors, and there are regular calls to action. Is that making you think of becoming a blood donor in Croatia? Here is what you need to know.

    Medical evacuation and the emergency helicopter service

    If you need to organise an emergency medical evacuation, there are three main options: Air Pannonia, Doc on Board, and Lufthansa, as recommended by the US Embassy.

    There is also an emergency helicopter service, which is particularly useful on Croatia's islands. I used it for my daughter on Hvar many years ago, and the 12-minute transfer to Split hospital was very impressive indeed.

    Bringing medicines into Croatia - what you need to know

    From the US Embassy travel advice and health:

    The importation of medical drugs for the personal needs of passengers is possible in the quantities needed for treatment up to a month (provided that the medical drugs have been approved by the competent authorities (FDA) of the country of origin) with the possession of appropriate medical documentation (transcript of disease history, physician letter).

    Persons crossing the border of Croatia may possess a medical drug that contains narcotics only on the basis of medical documentation (copy of a prescription for the medicine, transcript of the disease history or a certified medical certificate issued by an authorized physician) and in the amount necessary for the person to use for up to 5 days. If it is a person who is on substitution therapy for addiction or symptomatic therapy in the terminal stage of malignant disease, the amount of medication may be up to 15 days of personal use.

    An exception to the above are persons residing or staying in the Republic of Croatia traveling to the Schengen area who may possess a medical drug containing narcotic substances in the amount necessary for personal use for up to 30 days on the basis of a certificate issued by the licensed physician (family doctor) or a physician specialized in mental health care, prevention and outpatient treatment of drug addiction).

    Health in Croatia - a list of English-speaking doctors

    English is widely spoken in Croatia, including in the health sector. While not all doctors speaking English, the majority do and you should not have any problem communicating.

    The US Embassy maintains a very useful list of English-speaking doctors, and it also included special health needs.

    Dental care in Croatia - where to find an English-speaking dentist?

    As with doctors, so too with dentists - finding an English-speaking dentist will not be a problem. The US Embassy has a comprehensive list, which covers most areas of the country.

    Pharmacies in Croatia

    Pharmacies are plentiful in Croatia, and the price of medication is very affordable. Major cities will have at least one pharmacy which is open 24/7, and even small island towns will have a pharmacy.

    If you are looking for your nearest pharmacy, this pharmacy map of Croatia will be of use.

    Medical tourism in Croatia - fantastic quality, fantastic prices

    One of the biggest surprises for me when researching Croatian tourism in more details was the potential of health tourism. I had no idea that the very best private clinics were on a par with the rest of the world.

    Here is an article I wrote for TCN on why Zagreb and Croatia are set to become the next hot spot for medical tourism.

    And the more I researched, the more surprised I became. I attended a few health tourism conferences, and I managed to interview several of the top speakers in the global industry. All agreed that Croatia had the potential to be in the top 10 in the world if the various stakeholders could unite. You can read a more in-depth analysis and a road map to Croatian medical tourism success here.

    The Top 10 medical tourism clinics by revenue

    health in croatia top 10 private clinics

    The medical tourism industry is just finding its feet in Croatia, but the potential is huge. Here are the top 10 clinics by revenue for 2017, and these numbers are set to rise considerably as the key stakeholders get more organised. There was a significant drop in those numbers in 2020, but things are starting to pick up in early 2021.

    Health in Croatia and Brexit

    What happened with health insurance for British visitors after Brexit? As with many other issues regarding the planned UK withdrawal from the EU many things were unclear.

    The UK government has a very informative page that will tell you all you need to know about health insurance for UK citizens in Croatia as of January 1st, 2021. The rules for the UK citizens are now similar to those from the third-countries, with the exception of the possibility to get an EHIC or a GHIC card.

    For the latest about health in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN page.

    Find your local health centre in Croatia

    The Ministry of Health maintains a list of local health centres in Croatia, and you can find all the contact details here.

    Contact details of major hospitals and specialty clinics

    Clinical Hospital Centres

    Klinički bolnički centar Zagreb
    Šalata 2,
    10 000 Zagreb
    Tel: 01/2368-987
    Fax: 01/2379-922

    Klinički bolnički centar "Sestre milosrdnice"
    Vinogradska cesta 29
    10 000 Zagreb
    Tel: 01/3787-111

    Klinički bolnički centar Split
    Spinčićeva 1
    21 000 Split
    Tel: 021/556-111

    Klinički bolnički centar Rijeka
    Krešimirova 42
    51 000 Rijeka
    Tel: 051/658-111

    Klinički bolnički centar Osijek
    J. Huttlera 4
    31 000 Osijek
    Tel: 031/511-101

    Clinical Hospitals

    Klinička bolnica "Dubrava"
    Avenija Gojka Šuška 6,
    10 000 Zagreb
    Tel: 01/2902-444

    Klinička bolnica "Sveti Duh"
    Sveti Duh 64
    10 000 Zagreb
    Tel: 01/3712-111

    Klinička bolnica "Merkur"
    Zajčeva 19
    10 000 Zagreb
    Tel: 01/2431-390


    Klinika za dječje bolesti (Clinic for Children’s Diseases)
    Klaićeva 16
    10 000 Zagreb
    Tel: 01/4600-111

    Klinika za infektivne bolesti "Dr. Fran Mihaljević" (Clinic for Infectious Diseases)
    Mirogojska 8,
    10 000 Zagreb
    Tel: 01/2826-222

    Klinika za ortopediju Lovran (Orthopaedic Clinic)
    Šetalište Maršala Tita 1
    51 415 Lovran
    Tel: 051/710-201

    Klinika za psihijatriju Vrapče (Psychiatry Clinic)
    Bolnička cesta 32
    10 000 Zagreb
    Tel: 01/3780-666

    Magdalena - Klinika za kardiovaskularne bolesti (Cardiovascular Diseases Clinic)
    Ljudevita Gaja 2
    49217 Krapinske Toplice
    Tel: 049/244-444

    County General Hospitals

    J.J. Strossmayera 59
    44000 Sisak
    Tel: 044/553-100

    Slavonski Brod
    Andrije Štampara 42
    35000 Slavonski Brod
    Tel: 035/201-201

    Željka Selingera bb
    48000 Koprivnica
    Tel: 048/251-001

    Svetoslava Suronje 12
    22300 Knin
    Tel: 022/641-111

    Mihanovićeva 8
    43000 Bjelovar
    Tel: 043/279-222

    Roka Mišetića 2
    20000 Dubrovnik
    Tel: 020/431-777

    Kaniška 111
    53000 Gospić
    Tel: 053/572-433

    Andrije Štampara 3
    47000 Karlovac
    Tel: 047/608-100

    Bolnička 38
    47300 Ogulin
    Tel: 047/819-700

    Aldo Negri 6
    52100 Pula
    Tel: 052/376-500

    Stjepana Radića 83
    22000 Šibenik
    Tel: 022/641-900

    I. Meštrovića bb
    42000 Varaždin
    Tel: 042/393-000

    Zvonarska 57
    32100 Vinkovci
    Tel: 032/349-349

    Ljudevita Gaja 21
    33000 Virovitica
    Tel: 033/747-444

    Bračak 8
    49210 Zabok
    Tel: 049/204-000

    Bože Peričića 5
    23000 Zadar
    Tel: 023/505-505

    Bana Jelačića 10
    31500 Našice
    Tel: 031/488-511

    Osječka 107
    34000 Požega
    Tel: 034/254-555

    Županijska 35
    32000 Vukovar
    Tel: 032/452-111

    I. G. Kovačića 1E
    40000 Čakovec
    Tel: 040/375-444

    Special Hospitals

    "Biokovka" Special Hospital for Medical Rehabilitation
    Put Cvitačke 9
    21300 Makarska
    Tel: 021/602-200

    "Kalos" Special Hospital for Medical Rehabilitation
    Obala 3 br. 3
    20270 Vela Luka
    Tel: 020/755-100

    Hospital for Orthopaedic Surgery and Rehabilitation
    Ulica Luigi Monti 2
    52210 Rovinj
    Tel: 052/811-011

    Children’s Hospital Srebrnjak
    Srebrnjak 100
    10000 Zagreb
    Tel: 01/6391-100

    Neuropsychiatric Hospital Popovača
    Jelengradska 1
    44317 Popovača
    Tel: 044/569-200

    Psychiatric Hospital
    Jankomir 11
    10000 Zagreb
    Tel: 01/3430-000

    Psychiatric Hospital
    Šumetlica 87
    35 404 Cernik
    Tel: 035/386-700

    Psychiatric Hospital
    Lopača 11
    51218 Dražice
    Tel: 051/652-200

    Psychiatric Hospital
    Kampor 224
    51280 Rab
    Tel: 051/776-344

    Psychiatric Hospital
    Otočkih dragovoljaca 42
    23 275 Ugljan
    Tel: 023/208-200

    Psychiatric Hospital for Children and Youth
    Ivana Kukuljevića 11
    10000 Zagreb
    Tel: 01/4862-501

    Special Hospital for Chronic Children’s Diseases
    Bolnička 21
    10298 Gornja Bistra
    Tel: 01/339-0018

    Special Hospital for Medical Rehabilitation “Naftalan”
    Omladinska 23a
    10310 Ivanić Grad
    Tel: 01/2834-555

    Special Hospital for Medical Rehabilitation “Daruvarske Toplice”
    Julijev park 1
    43500 Daruvar
    Tel: 043/623-000

    Special Hospital for Medical Rehabilitation Krapinske Toplice
    Gajeva 2
    49217 Krapinske Toplice
    Tel: 049/383-100

    Special Hospital for Medical Rehabilitation Lipik
    Marije Terezije 13
    34551 Lipik
    Tel: 034/440-700

    Special Hospital for Medical Rehabilitation Stubičke Toplice
    Park Matije Gupca 1
    49244 Stubičke Toplice
    Tel: 049/201-000

    Special Hospital for Medical Rehabilitation Varaždinske Toplice
    Trg Slobode 1
    42223 Varaždinske Toplice
    Tel: 042/630-000

    Special Hospital for Orthopaedic Diseases Biograd na Moru
    Zadarska 62
    23210 Biograd na moru
    Tel: 023/206-050

    Special Hospital for Pulmonary Diseases
    Rockefellerova 3
    10000 Zagreb
    Tel: 01/4684-400

    Special Hospital for Long-Term Treatments
    Jozefa Jeruzalema 7
    47250 Duga Resa
    Tel: 047/844-207

    Special Hospital for Children with Neurological and Motoric Diseases
    Goljak 2
    10000 Zagreb
    Tel: 01/4925-211

    Special Hospital for Medical Rehabilitation Thalassotherapia Crikvenica
    Gajevo šetalište 21
    51260 Crikvenica
    Tel: 051/407-666

    Special Hospital for Medical Rehabilitation Thalassotherapija Opatija
    Maršala Tita 188/1
    51410 Opatija
    Tel: 051/202-600

    Where to find spas and rehabilitation centres?

    Bizovačke Toplice
    Sunčana 39,
    31222 Bizovac
    Tel: 031/685-340

    Trg bana J. Jelačića 16
    44415 Topusko
    Tel: 044/886-666

    Veli Lošinj
    Pod javori 27
    Veli Lošinj
    Tel: 051/236-111

    Emergency medical institutes in Croatia by county

    Josipa Jelačića 13 C
    43 000 Bjelovar
    Tel: 043/225-823
    Fax: 043/225-831

    Borovska 7
    35 000 Slavonski Brod
    Tel: 035/495-462

    Ante Šercera 4b
    20 000 Dubrovnik
    Tel: 020/332-806

    City of Zagreb
    Heinzelova 88
    10 000 Zagreb
    Tel: 01/6302-920

    Zagrebačka ulica 30
    52 100 Pula
    Tel: 052/216-820

    dr. Vladka Mačeka 48
    47 000 Karlovac
    Tel: 047/804-032

    Trg dr. Tomislava Bardeka 10
    48 000 Koprivnica
    Tel: 048/641-250

    dr. Mirka Crkvenca 1
    49 000 Krapina
    Tel: 049/373-411

    Kaniška 111/a
    53 000 Gospić
    Tel: 053/560-756

    Ivana Gorana Kovačića 1e
    40 000 Čakovec
    Tel: 040/313-035

    Josipa Huttlera 2
    31 000 Osijek
    Tel: 031/531-301

    Matije Gupca 10
    34 000 Požega
    Tel: 034/311-924

    Primorje-Gorski Kotar
    Branka Blečića bb
    50 000 Rijeka
    Tel: 051/554-160

    Ulica 1. svibnja bb
    44 000 Sisak
    Tel: 044/530-481

    Spinčićeva 1
    21 000 Split
    Tel: 021/540-906

    Karla Vipauca 8
    22 000 Šibenik
    Tel: 022/244-818

    Franje Galinca bb
    42 000 Varaždin
    Tel: 042/262-287

    Ljudevita Gaja 21
    33 000 Virovitica
    Tel: 033/722-710

    Kralja Zvonimira 53
    32 100 Vinkovci
    Tel: 032/300-501

    Ivana Mažuranića 28
    23 000 Zadar
    Tel: 023/627-180
    Fax: 023/627-185

    Zagreb County
    Matice hrvatske bb
    10 410 Velika Gorica
    Tel: 01/6269-660

    sarajevoliving@gmail.com (Paul Bradbury) What You Need To Know Thu, 11 Mar 2021 01:13:00 +0100
    Accommodation in Croatia 2022: Hotels, Hostels & Villa Rentals https://www.total-croatia.com/en/accommodation-in-croatia https://www.total-croatia.com/en/accommodation-in-croatia Looking for accommodation in Croatia? Some thoughts on hotels, hostels, villas, private accommodation, camping, glamping, and the legals.

  • Accommodation in Croatia - an introduction
  • Registering your stay
  • Hotels in Croatia
  • Hostels in Croatia
  • Inside the world of luxury villa rentals
  • Private accommodation in Croatia
  • The end of 'Sobe, Sobe, Zimmer Frei'
  • Camping in Croatia
  • The rise of glamping
  • Accommodation in Croatia - an introduction

    Accommodation in Croatia has undergone seismic change in the 15 years I have been living here. The Internet has the changed the rules completely, as well as the emergence of a surge in quality accommodation for the more discerning traveller. Of course, then came the Big Disruption of 2020, and the market is still figuring out where to go from there.

    Where once all you needed was to have a 'Zimmer Frei' sign outside your apartment, today the rules are different. Booking agencies, Adwords, keywords, quality furnishing and great photography are the order of the day.

    Although progress is not as quick as some would like, more luxury hotels are now opening, particularly on the coast. The top hotel brands may still prefer Montenegro (find out why) but higher quality hotels are now springing up. Egyptians are investing more than a billion dollars into one project in Montenegro. By contrast, the biggest hotel investment in Croatia, in today's dollar terms, happened almost 50 years ago.

    There has been an explosion of hostels in recent years as well. So much so in some destinations that the profile has changed. But these are good times for backpackers on a budget to visit.

    Private accommodation remains the biggest player in the Croatian accommodation market. But the bad news for today's renters is that the quality and the competition has increased considerably. At the top of the boom tourist seasons, Zagreb had more private rooms for tourist rent than London, for example.

    Another big new player on the accommodation in Croatia scene is the luxury villa, often with swimming pool. This has been a major growth industry in recent years, and destinations such as Imotski have managed to completely reinvent themselves as a result.

    Camping has always been popular in Croatia, and many campsites have considerably upgraded their offer in recent years. Not least in the arrival of a new camping option on the horizon - glamping.

    Registering your stay and tourist tax

    You must register stay with the authorities upon arrival in Croatia. In practice, this will be done for you by your accommodation provider. Expect to surrender your passport while they go through the registration process. This is now a simple, fast online process.

    You must also pay tourist tax for each day of your stay in Croatia. This costs 1 euro a day. Almost all hotels and private accommodation will include this in the room price, but not always. If the tax is excluded, it will be stated. If the accommodation provider will not pay the tax for you, you can do so at the local tourist board.

    Hotels in Croatia

    Croatia has hundreds of hotels all over the country. These range from the very basic 2-star variety to an increasing number of opulent 5-star hotels.

    There are still many prime hotel locations in ruins after the regional conflict in the 1990s. The main problem is unresolved ownership from the Yugoslav era.

    Luxury boutique hotels are a very welcome addition to the Croatian hotel scene. The very best of them can be found under one roof - meet Stories Croatia.

    Despite the arrival of new hotels in the more luxury sector, demand used to far outstrip the supply. Even in 2020, the hotels were able to find the customers willing to stay with them. You should book as early as possible to avoid disappointment, as well as taking advantage of early saver discounts, even in 2021.

    Hostels in Croatia

    Nowhere has the accommodation sector changed as much than the availability of hostels. The first official hostel in Split opened in 2004. By the end of 2018, there were more than 110 in the city.

    Similarly in Hvar Town, which has seen its tourism dynamic transformed by the party scene in recent years. The first hostel opened in Hvar in 2008, and there are now 30 to choose from.

    Some destinations are taking action against the spread of hostels in an effort to maintain the quality of the destination. These include Stari Grad on Hvar, where the Mayor in 2018 banned any new hostels from opening.

    Inside the world of luxury villa rentals

    There is some truly exceptional luxury villa accommodation in Croatia. But again, the demand outstrips supply. Friends in the industry say that business has never been better. And even during the pandemic, the business was booming - does it get any safer than staying somewhere on your own, with a private pool? Looking to splash out for the summer of 2021? Let me hand you over to the original luxury villa specialists since 2009.

    Private accommodation in Croatia

    Private accommodation, especially apartments, is where most of the summer action is, however. Many apartments have not been upgraded in years, and owners are struggling to keep up with the change in the market.

    Whereas once bookings were guaranteed, these days there is much more competition. The battle for guests is now played out on the Internet and not at the bus station.

    One thing which is VERY important to check when booking is whether or not your dream accommodation has a rental licence. Tourism rentals have been a very grey market economy for decades, but the authorities are tightening up the rules. There have even been cases of inspectors evicting guests staying in illegal rentals. You have been warned.

    There is now a huge oversupply of private accommodation in many locations in Croatia. With the tourism boom, people assumed they could not fail by converting properties into tourism rentals.

    Perhaps this oversupply can be best explained by the Ultra Europe Music Festival. When it started in Split in 2013, there were just two rooms available for those nights for last-minute booking. The cheapest was 200 euro a night.

    accommodation in croatia ultra europe

    Fast forward 5 years, and you can see the situation at Ultra Europe this summer on the day of the festival. A lot more availabilty (and this is just Booking.com - AirBnB was not around 5 years ago). If you are not full in July during Ultra Europe, when will you be?

    The end of 'Sobe, Sobe, Zimmer Frei'

    The signs have mostly gone, and the old ladies no longer frequent bus, train and ferry terminals in the same numbers. Cardboard signs offering 'Sobe' (the Croatian word for rooms) have all but disappeared. But their era contributed to one of my favourite ever stories about Croatia - tourists complaining about the ugliness of Croatian prostitutes on Hvar.

    Camping in Croatia

    Camping has been a very important accommodation option in Croatia for decades, particularly in Istria. With its close geographical location to Germany, Austria, Italy and Slovenia, it is little wonder that the Croatian coast is so popular with campers.

    The Croatian Camping Union does a much better job than I ever could at providing an overview of camping in Croatia.

    The rise of glamping

    Glamping is also on the rise in Croatia if you are looking to upgrade your camping experience. Keep up to date with the latest arrivals on the glamping scene.

    sarajevoliving@gmail.com (Paul Bradbury) What You Need To Know Thu, 11 Mar 2021 00:58:00 +0100
    Disabled in Croatia: Access, Beaches & City Guides https://www.total-croatia.com/en/disabled-in-croatia https://www.total-croatia.com/en/disabled-in-croatia Information for the people with disabilities in Croatia is hard to find online. An overview of some city guides, blog impressions and useful numbers.

  • How many people with disabilities are there in Croatia?
  • Who advocates for the disabled in Croatia?
  • The best wheelchair accessible beaches in Croatia
  • A guide to Zagreb for disabled visitors, including maps of user-friendly institutions
  • Split for the disabled
  • How easy it is to get around Dubrovnik as a disabled tourist?
  • Visiting Zadar with disabilities
  • Disabled resources in Pula
  • Disabled facilities in Rijeka
  • People with disabilities in Croatia - How Many Are There?

    According to the Croatian Public Health Institute, there are more than half a million (11.9%) of people with registered disabilities in Croatia. These are broken down into the following sections:

    150.000 (30%) are people with movability issues

    130.000 (25%) mental illness

    120,000 (23%) other organs

    93,000 (18.2%) nerve system damage

    25,000 (4.8%) intellectual disability

    23,000 (4.4%) voice communication disability

    17,000 (3.4%) sight disability

    13.000 (2.6%) hearing disability

    150.000 (30%) multiple disabilities

    Who advocates for people with disabilities in Croatia?

    There are a number of institutions dealing with disabled affairs in Croatia. Here are the most useful contacts:

    The best wheelchair accessible beaches in Croatia

    There is sadly little information currently available. But perhaps the blogging experiences of disabled travellers do the best job at explaining the situation. Here is a great one, even though it is from 2007

    However, more efforts have been made in recent years to improve beach access for people with disabilities in Croatia. You can find the 7 recommended beaches for the less mobile here.

    A guide to Zagreb for visitors with disabilities, including maps of user-friendly institutions.

    The most comprehensive guide of information about visitors with disabilities to Zagreb was published in early 2017, by Total Zagreb.

    In addition to using the city as a traveller with a disability, there are several Google Maps. These maps show, for instance, the institutions, museums etc., that are accessible for the less mobile traveller. There is also information about public transport help. Learn more about Zagreb for persons with disabilities

    Split for people with disabilities

    A holiday guide for a guest with disabilities in the Dalmatian capital.

    You might also want to read another interesting article on the topic: Travelling in a wheelchair in Split?

    Another really great piece was written by a Split expat resident after she was visited by her father who uses a wheelchair: Wheelchair travel in Split, Trogir, Krka, Brač, Salona and Croatian Ferries

    How easy it is to get around Dubrovnik as a tourist with a disability?

    To find out more about how you might enjoy the Pearl of the Adriatic, take a look at what is possible with reduced mobility in Dubrovnik.

    Visitors with disabilities in Zadar

    Similarly, here's a guide to Zadar for the people with disabilities

    Resources in Pula for person with disabilities

    What to see and how to get around in Pula.

    Facilities in Rijeka to help people with disabilities

    Getting around Rijeka as a traveller with disabilities.

    Finally, to get the latest news on issues related to the people with disabilities in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN page.

    If you have any more links or information to help add to this page as a resource, we would love to hear from you. Contact paul@total-croatia.com Subject Disabled in Croatia.

    sarajevoliving@gmail.com (Paul Bradbury) What You Need To Know Wed, 10 Mar 2021 17:46:00 +0100
    Emergency in Croatia: Numbers, Agencies & Advice https://www.total-croatia.com/en/emergency-in-croatia https://www.total-croatia.com/en/emergency-in-croatia Who to call in case of emergency in Croatia? An overview of the important numbers, agencies and advice in case of some an unplanned disaster on holiday.

    Emergency in Croatia - the most important numbers

    The most important numbers if you find yourself in an emergency in Croatia are:

    112 is a single emergency call number used in the Republic of Croatia, and it is accessible free of charge from all public telephone networks.

    In addition to the mentioned single emergency call number, other emergency call numbers are in use:

    112 – General emergency number

    192 - Police

    193 - Fire brigade

    194 - Ambulance

    195 - Rescue at sea

    1987- HAK – road assistance

    All emergency call numbers are available from any telephone device, including all public pay-phones.

    112 calls can be answered in English, German, Italian, Hungarian, Slovak & Czech.

    The average time to answer a 112 call is 5 seconds. An SMS service is also available for those with disabilities.

    Croatian Mountain Rescue Service (HGSS)

    The Croatian Mountain Rescue Service (HDSS) does sterling work around the year, particularly in summer, when may tourists leave their brains behind when on holiday. Hiking in flip-flops, floating out to sea on air mattresses, and a host of other ill-advised escapades have kept the team at HGSS very busy.

    In order to highlight these issues in recent years, HGSS embarked on a hilarious social media campaign to encourage tourists to think before putting their lives in unnecessary danger. You can catch a little of the flavour of the campaign on the TCN HGSS page.

    You can reach HGSS in emergency via 112, and in calmer times via the HGSS website.

    Here are the contact details for the local HGSS offices, but please note these are not for contact in case of emergency in Croatia.

    Croatian Fire Brigade

    Croatia has had huge problems with forest fires in recent years, particularly in the summer of 2017, when must of Dalmatia was ablaze. The fires even came to the gates of Split. PLEASE be careful and thoughtful while visiting Croatia. A careless cigarette butt or barbecue out of control can have huge consequences.

    Croatian firefighters do a magnificent job, and their emergency number is 193. You can learn more about the history of the Croatian Fire Service, as well as life today on this English-language website. The Croatian Firefighting Association also maintains its own website.

    HAK (Croatian Automobile Club) - latest road conditions

    Life on the roads is overseen by HAK, the Croatian Automobile Club. The emergency number is 1987.

    Among the various services offered by HAK, a particularly useful one for tourists is the English-language update on current road conditions. The service also includes updates on border queues and ferry delays. Keep up to date with the current situation when you are travelling in Croatia.

    Contacting the Croatian police

    The emergency number to contact the police in Croatia is 192. Alternatively, you can contact them online via the Ministry of the Interior.

    The Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre

    195 is the number you need if you get caught out at sea, and you can learn more about the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre.

    The Croatian Meteorological and Hydrological Service

    The weather can change quickly in Croatia, and the famous bura wind has a habit of interrupting even the best-prepared holiday plans. If the weather is key to your travel or holiday plans, then it makes sense to keep an eye on weather conditions. You can also check out the latest weather forecasts and warnings.

    Croatian Emergency Medicine Institute

    The Croatian Emergency Medicine Institute has a number of offices around the country. You can find the office closest to you from this list.

    sarajevoliving@gmail.com (Paul Bradbury) What You Need To Know Wed, 10 Mar 2021 15:08:00 +0100
    Croatian Olive Oil: Taste, Buy, Harvest & Istria v Dalmatia https://www.total-croatia.com/en/croatian-olive-oil https://www.total-croatia.com/en/croatian-olive-oil Croatian olive oil is among the best in the world. Where to buy it, how to taste it, olive harvest opportunities, and Istrian oil compared to Dalmatia.

  • Croatian olive oil, a tradition dating back millennia
  • How is olive oil made?
  • Olive oil in Istria, the world's best region
  • Dalmatian olive oil, part of the UNESCO Mediterranean Diet
  • The majestic ancient olive groves of Lun on Pag
  • Where is the oldest olive tree in Croatia?
  • Meet the world's most expensive olive oil... from Hvar!
  • Buying Croatian olive oil online
  • Where to taste Croatian olive oil
  • Picking the family olives: a harvest of memories
  • Chiavalon, my favourite Istrian olive oil story
  • Hvar Gourmet, my favourite Dalmatian olive oil story
  • Meet the fabulous olive oil museum in Skrip on Brac
  • World Olive Picking Championships on Brac
  • Croatian olive oil, a tradition dating back millennia

    Before I moved to Croatia, I had probably only consumed about half a litre of olive oil in my entire life. Ask me to identify what an olive tree looked like, and I would have struggled.

    Fast forward 15 years, and olive oil is in my blood (literally), an essential staple of life these days. The Mediterranean Diet is one of the healthiest in the world, and olive oil is one of its essential components.

    Istria has just been named the world's best olive oil region in the world for the sixth year running (not that we're counting), while Dalmatia's olive oil is also highly sought-after. Traditions dating back thousands of years are waiting for your visit.

    How is olive oil made?


    From the tree to the press, but in which way? The basic concept is simple. Take the olives from the tree, then press them to produce the oil. There is much more to that, of course, including decisions on modern methods versus traditonal.

    Check out examples of both in the videos above and below. Above, a very traditional experience, complete with horse, in Orašac near Dubrovnik. Below, the amazing Chiavalon in Istria, named among the top 15 olive oils in the world.

    And then the moment the liquid gold arrives... Read the full story of being at the first press of one of the world's best olive oil producers during the 2017 harvest.

    Olive oil in Istria, the world's best region


    Istria truly is a gourmet paradise. Home to some of the world's best truffles and outstanding indigenous wines, its olive oil has been voted the best region in the world for the sixth year running.

    Olive oil, and agro-tourism, in general, is increasingly big business in Istria, and it is rightfully known as the gourmet capital of Croatia. Learn more about the exceptional Croatian olive oil of Istria.

    Dalmatian olive oil, part of the UNESCO Mediterranean Diet

    The other main olive-producing region in Croatia is Dalmatia. More laid back and a lot less organised than their Istrian brothers, Dalmatian olive oil is also of exceptional quality.

    It is thought that olives came to Dalmatia from Ancient Greece after the Ancient Greeks sailed into what is today Stari Grad on Hvar in 384 BC. They brought with them vines and olive trees from the island of Paros and planted them in a fertile field next to their first settlement.

    Today that same field is known as UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Stari Grad Plain. Olives and grapes thrive there, in much the same way as they did 2,400 years ago.

    The majestic ancient olive groves of Lun on Pag


    No olive story about Croatia is complete without a visit to the majestic and ancient olive groves of Lun on the island of Pag. They are certainly one of the most impressive sights I have seen in all my time in Croatia.

    More than 1,000 olive trees over 1,000 years old, all growing wild. And they are surrounded by plenty of younger trees. Check out this TCN report on a recent guided tour of this exceptional piece of Croatian natural heritage.

    Where is the oldest olive tree in Croatia?

    croatian olive oil hvar

    So how old are the existing olive trees in Croatia? Some say the oldest is in Kaštela at 1,600 years old, while Lun has great claims of longevity. One tree which rarely makes the news is this one in eastern Hvar. Official experts have dated is back to about 500 BC. Around the time those Ancient Greeks sailed into Stari Grad. Learn more about Hvar's oldest olive tree, which has been protected since 1964.

    Meet the world's most expensive olive oil... from Hvar!

    Croatian olive oil may be among the world's best olive oils, but it is also the most expensive. Just ask shoppers at elite London store, Harrods.

    And when I say expensive, I mean expensive. Learn more about the Croatian olive oil which sold for a cool £3,750 a litre in one of the world's most exclusive stores.

    Buying Croatian olive oil online

    All this reading about quality Croatian olive oil must be getting you reaching for your credit card. So where can you buy Croatian olive oil online?

    I have three sources for you: one of the best producers in Istria, one of the best producers in Dalmatia, and the best online selection of olive oils from Croatia.

    Where to taste Croatian olive oil

    Olive oil tasting is still in its infancy in Croatia, but there are several specialised agencies who can organise individual tastings. I need to research this area a little more and will update this section, but one tasting I can heartily recommend is this one in Istria.

    Picking the family olives: a harvest of memories

    Tasting and buying olive oil is one thing, but you really have to live it.

    In order to that, you need to marry into a Croatian family which has olive trees. Once you have found a girl to take pity on you, the fun starts. The annual olive harvest is one of the great family occasions in Dalmatia (where I experienced it).

    Extended family answer the call of the fields in late October and early November. It is a time of joy, as well as upholding ancestral traditions. There is a grill or two with copious amounts of wine to keep morale high. And the end result is hundreds of litres of liquid gold, enough for family needs for the year ahead. Get to know the olive harvest experience close up.

    Chiavalon, my favourite Istrian olive oil story


    Imagine a 13-year-old boy being given 30 olive trees to look after by his grandfather. What do you think happens next?

    A little time, a lot of application, and those (and many other) olive trees help produce one of the top 15 olive oils in the world. From 30 trees to an annual production of 16,000 litres of liquid gold.

    And with such a smile on his face, clearly a man who loves what he does. Here is my first visit to Chiavalon in Istria.

    Hvar Gourmet, my favourite Dalmatian olive oil story


    For my favourite Dalmatian olive oil story, I will tell you in advance that Barba Jure is the younger brother of my father-in-law. That fact only makes the story even cooler. Meet the olive producer from Hvar, whose olive oil had the second highest level of anti-oxidants out of 3,000 oils at a special olive oil conference in Greece this year. And then book dinner in his olive grove - it is sensational.

    Meet the fabulous olive oil museum in Škrip on Brač

    With such a wealth of tradition, the only thing missing was a quality Croatian olive oil museum. And then in 2014, one absolutely fabulous museum opened in the historic village of Škrip on Brač.

    And what a museum it was!

    As with most of the best tourism initiatives in Croatia, the Škrip Olive Oil Museum was a private venture. It was opened by the Cukrov family in the same building that used to be the local mill generations before.

    So many original features, so many stories, so much love. This was my first impression. I really encourage you to visit.

    World Olive Picking Championships on Brač


    The only thing remaining to complete the Croatian olive oil story was a championship of sorts.

    And so began the story of the latest world championship, in rather an unlikely sport - olive picking.

    Hosted on the island of Brač, the World Olive Picking Championships have already happened four times, including in the pandemic year of 2020. Check out the video above for part of the sizable global media coverage the event enjoys.

    sarajevoliving@gmail.com (Paul Bradbury) What You Need To Know Wed, 10 Mar 2021 13:01:00 +0100
    Croatian Food: Restaurants, Recipes, Traditions & Festivals https://www.total-croatia.com/en/croatian-food https://www.total-croatia.com/en/croatian-food Croatian food made global headlines when Anthony Bourdain discovered it in 2012. Recipes, regions, restaurants, festivals, traditions and UNESCO heritage.

  • This is world-class food - Anthony Bourdain
  • Bourdain - This is world-class wine
  • This is world-class cheese - the late, great Bourdain
  • The power of the regions - is there such a thing as Croatian food?
  • If it grows, celebrate - the food festivals of Croatia
  • Grandma knows best - ancient recipes
  • Food regions of Croatia - Slavonia
  • The food regions of Croatia - Istria
  • Food regions of Croatia - Dalmatia
  • 5 Croatian specialties you may not have come across
  • Where to find recipes for Croatian dishes?
  • The Mediterranean Diet and UNESCO heritage
  • Restaurants in Croatia: Michelin guide to something more simple
  • Croatian gourmet tourism: where to find culinary tours?
  • This is world-class food - Anthony Bourdain


    I remember watching the programme at the time, and I was already a veteran of 10 years in Croatia.

    The Anthony Bourdain 'No Reservations' episode on the Travel Channel back in 2012 was totally mesmerising. It was also arguably the finest Croatian tourism promotion initiative I have ever seen. Renowned foodie Bourdain was blown away by the food, the wine, the cheese. Was Croatia finally on the global food map?

    Bourdain - This is world-class wine

    He was also stunned by the quality of Croatian wine, which was entirely new to him. Well, perhaps not quite entirely new. For Croatia is home to the original Zinfandel, of course, just one of 130 indigenous grape varieties which are just one small part of the incredible Croatian wine story.

    This is world-class cheese - the late, great Bourdain

    The final thing Bourdain paid tribute to after the food and wine in that famous sentence was cheese. This is world-class food, this is world-class wine, this is world-class cheese. And the cheese is world-class indeed. Especially from the island of Pag, whose cheeses regularly win international gold. Learn more about the fantastic cheese story from a recent TCN visit to the two main cheese factories on Pag.

    And, in among all the superlatives, Bourdain forgot to mention Croatian olive oil. Another world-class performer, with Istria winning the title of best olive oil region in the world. Four years in a row!

    The power of the regions - is there such a thing as Croatian food?

    What exactly is Croatian cuisine?

    In many ways, it does not really exist. By that I mean that there is no real national cuisine, or even national restaurants. Croatia has some very striking and very distinctive regional cuisine.

    The main three are Istria, which is dominated by truffles and Italian influences; Dalmatia with its seafood and simple, fresh vegetable base; and Slavonia, with its meat dishes and fish paprika. The three have little in common with each other, and yet they are all Croatian.

    One of the things that has always struck me as strange about Croatian food are the restaurants. Not only is the food very regional and territorial, but so too are the restaurants. It is relatively rare to find an Istrian restaurant in Dalmatia, or a Slavonian one in Istria. This is not due to lack of love of another region's cuisines. Seeing the joy at the arrival of a kulen from Slavonia or truffles from Istria in our Dalmatian kitchen is proof of that.

    If it grows, celebrate - the food festivals of Croatia

    I have eaten some weird and wonderful things in my time on this planet, but Croatia has taken things to a higher level. The simple truth here is that if it grows, Croatians will celebrate it.

    Grilled dormouse, lavender ice cream, whole frogs and even fava bean ice cream. It is grows or lives, it will be celebrated. Croatia has an incredible number of food festivals throughout the year.

    As crops are seasonal, so too are the festivals. Paprika, chestnuts, lavender, dormice, snails, pumpkin, potatoes and fava beans. They all have their moments of glory. To learn more about the weird and wonderful world of Croatian food celebration, check out 25 natural food festivals not to miss.

    Grandma knows best - ancient recipes

    A little like the ubiquitous rakija in Croatia, each family claims to make the best version of a dish, based on an ancient family recipe, which has been handed down by generations of grandmothers.

    It is one of the things I love most about living in Croatia. This adherence to past traditions continues even in the modern world, and home cooking in Croatia is as good as anywhere I have lived.

    In many communities in Croatia, you will come across cooking competitions, where people are invited to submit their efforts for a local dish. Everyone goes off to cook, using their ancient grandma recipes. And there is considerable pride at winning such competitions. It is a very nice tradition.

    Food regions of Croatia - Slavonia

    There is currently no TasteAtlas section for Slavonia, but choose the Croatia map and zoom

    The Food regions of Croatia - Istria

    Croatian food - TasteAtlas map of Istria
    TasteAtlas map of Istria

    Food regions of Croatia - Dalmatia

    Croatia Food - TasteAtlas map of Dalmatia
    TasteAtlas map of Dalmatia

    5 Croatian specialties you may not have come across

    There are some weird and wonderful things to try in Croatia, which you may not have heard of, and almost certainly will not have tried elsewhere.



    It was the ultimate peasant food, but today is one of the most sought-after Dalmatian culinary delicacies. The ingredients are very simple - flour, water, olive oil, salt, pasley, Swiss chard and garlic.

    You can see how soparnik is made in the video above - check out more about this most traditional Dalmtian dish.

    croatian food dormice

    Puh (dormouse)

    One of the most unusual discoveries on Hvar while researching my guidebook was the discovery of an annual dormouse festival. Not only that, but it seemed that the Puhijada was actually the biggest festival on the island.

    I was curious and so I went to see what the fuss was all about. I ended up trying a couple of grilled dormice. The verdict? Extremely tasty, but very fiddly. And you certainly do not get much meat on a dormouse.

    The village of Dol on Hvar and Dol on Brac are famous for their hunting and eating dormice. They are generally served grilled. There is one other place where dormice are a delicacy. The dormice in Gorski Kotar generally end up in a stew rather than on the grill.



    If offal is your thing, then head to the island of Brac. For here you will find one of Croatian food's most unusual dishes, which requires special skills in preparation to avoid causing illness. Learn more about vitalac, skewered and roasted lamb offal.

    croatian food monkfish tripe

    Monkfish tripe

    Full disclosure on this one - I have never tried monkfish tripe. And I really hope I can get through the rest of life with that being the case. Tripe is really not my thing, but it is much loved by many in the Croatian dining world.

    Monkfish tripe is apparently a particularly rare way of preparing tripe, and I confess to not knowing much more than that. A Croatian foodie friend suggested it deserved to be included in this section. There is also very little online about monkfish trip, and the best I can do for you is this recipe in Croatian.

    croatian food bikla


    Several years ago, I saw an old man drink what looked like strawberry milkshake, which he had poured for a plastic Coke bottle. Everyone else was drinking wine and so it struck me as somewhat strange.

    I wish I hadn't asked. For the man was drinking 'bikla', which is a mixture of red wine and goat milk. Yes, you read that correctly.

    Bikla is apparently very common in parts of Dalmatia, and it is even served to kids. And if you happen to be near Vrgorac in October, you can pop in to the Biklijada festival. Never added goat milk to red wine directly from a goat before? Now is your chance...

    Where to find recipes for Croatian dishes?

    So where to go to find the recipes to make all this yummy Croatian food? There are numerous resources online. Or check out an increasing number of cookbooks dedicated to Croatian cuisine. Among some suggestions I would recommend:

    The Mediterranean Diet and UNESCO heritage


    What can be healthier than having your diet protected by UNESCO? This is what happened to both Hvar and Brac back in 2013, as their respective Mediterranean diets were put on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The two Dalmatian islands joined several other Mediterranean destinations, and here is what UNESCO had to say:

    The Mediterranean diet involves a set of skills, knowledge, rituals, symbols and traditions concerning crops, harvesting, fishing, animal husbandry, conservation, processing, cooking, and particularly the sharing and consumption of food. Eating together is the foundation of the cultural identity and continuity of communities throughout the Mediterranean basin. The Mediterranean diet emphasizes values of hospitality, neighbourliness, intercultural dialogue and creativity and plays a vital role in cultural spaces, festivals and celebrations, bringing together people of all ages, conditions and social classes.

    Restaurants in Croatia: Michelin guide to something more simple

    When I moved to Croatia back in 2003, there was a joke doing the rounds among the expats. There was a factory somewhere in Croatia producing restaurant menus. Once printed, all the restaurants had to do was add their name and prices. And yes, the restaurant menus really were that similar just 15 years ago.

    How times change! There has been so much innovation, experimentation and new trends to the Croatian wine scene. Restaurant menus are now almost indistinguishable from that factory-produced menu of the past. A generation of celebrity chefs has added even more glamour to the Croatian gourmet scene as well.

    There has also been a (for me, at least) very welcome influx of international cuisines options into the major cities (as well as some rather unusual regional additions, such as a Palestinian fast-food outlet in Sisak). This Croatian food may be wonderful, but variety is very much the spice of life.

    The international gourmet guides are noticing, and Croatia is appearing in greater depth with gourmet recommendations. The first Michelin stars have been awarded to restaurants in Croatia.

    And while fine dining may be on the rise, nothing beats the romance of a simple waterfront locale. A place where the wine is local, and where the menu is dictated by what is available.

    Croatia has an exceptional range of restaurant experience these days, with authenticity and freshness of local ingredients at its cornerstone.

    Croatian gourmet tourism: where to find culinary tours?

    Croatian food and wine tourism has SO much potential. With such incredible variety and regional diversity, Croatia's gourmet tourism should be on a par with France, Italy, Spain and Germany.

    Sadly, and even despite Anthony Bourdain's massive boost to the Croatian gastro scene, foodie tourism is still in its infancy here. It is something which has the potential to develop into a serious business. And with 12-month potential, gourmet tourism can help extend the tourism season.

    There are several innovative foodie tour operators, who offer some great programmes. One idea which is gathering traction in recent years are cooking classes. There is nothing more authentic than picking your ingredients from the field or local market, and then cooking them.

    I have not tried all the companies obviously, but three I can warmly recommend are Culinary Croatia, Taste of Croatia, and - for Hvar - Hvar Tours.

    sarajevoliving@gmail.com (Paul Bradbury) What You Need To Know Wed, 10 Mar 2021 12:59:00 +0100
    Croatian Wine: Buy, Taste, Tours, Grapes & Regions https://www.total-croatia.com/en/croatian-wine https://www.total-croatia.com/en/croatian-wine Home to 130 indigenous varieties including the original Zinfandel, an overview of the fascinating world of Croatian wine.

    croatian wine hvar tour

    Croatia has some spectacular wine tasting experiences. Check out this speedboat wine tour to a waterfront cave on Hvar, for example.

    Meet the grapes of Croatia, 130 indigenous varieties

    Did you know that the original Zinfandel was from Croatia? DNA testing at the University of Davis showed that Tribidrag from Kastela near Split was, in fact, the original Zin.

    It is just one in a number of fascinating facts about the wines of Croatia, which boast a reported 130 indigenous grape varieties.

    Some, such as Grk on Korcula, only grow in one location. Other islands, for example, Hvar, have a number of varieties which only grow there. Hvar has Bogdanusa, Prc, Darnekusa, Mekuja, Palarusa and others.

    Total Croatia Wine did an introductory summary of the main indigenous wine varieties.

    For a more comprehensive look at the individual varieties, check out the indigenous grapes section.

    The wine regions of Croatia

    croatian wine regions

    Croatia has a number of very diverse wine regions. Dalmatia, Istria, Zagorje, Slavonia and Baranja are the most important, as well as tiny Plesivica near Zagreb, home to Croatia's best sparkling wine. For an overview of all the regions of Croatia by county, check out the Total Croatia Wine overview.

    Which grapes are the most commonly planted in Croatia?

    croatian wine grapes planted

    Grasevina is by far the most planted grape variety in Croatia, accounting for almost a quarter of all vineyards. It is followed by two giants from Istria and Dalmatia respectively - Malvazija and Plavac Mali. Total Croatia Wine took a look at the changing trends in Croatian grape planting.

     Wine fairs and festivals in Croatia

    croatian wine fairs

    Croatia has an increasing number of wine fairs, most of them local and regional. Among the most important are Zagreb VinoCOM and Vinistra.

    There are also many wine festivals throughout the years, and this is a wonderful way to get to know local wines and traditions. Check out wine fairs and festivals map above. And do check with your local tourist board on arrival what is happening.

    Map of all Croatia's winemakers

    croatian wine map

    So, how to find the winemakers of Croatia? Although wine is a very popular tourist accessory, I was more than a little surprised to find there is no official website in Croatia. Surprise turned to shock when I received a database of winemakers from the Chamber of Economy. It was more like a tired spreadsheet with hardly any contact information at all. Similarly, there was no information on wine roads. And so we decided to build some. You can find the most comprehensive map of Croatian winemakers, complete with contact details here. Or if you are looking for more regional detail, check out the TCN virtual wine roads below.

    A British Master of Wine: Hands from London, Grapes from Hvar

    croatian wine mw

    There was a quality foreign addition to the Croatian wine scene in 2014, when Jo Ahearne MW moved to Hvar. Jo became the first Master of Wine ever to make wine in Croatia. And she did so using the indigenous grape varieties of her adopted island of Hvar. One of her whites, Wild Skins, was named in the top 10 wines in Croatia in its first year. Jo is already exporting as far away as the USA, Japan and Australia. Learn more about Jo Ahearne MW on Hvar, and make sure you pop in for a tasting at Ahearne Vino.

    Where to taste Croatian wine

    the best place to taste Croatian wine, of course, is at the winery. Check out our map of the winemakers of Croatia to find out where they are. While some welcome people dropping in, many are small businesses. As such, they are not geared up to spontaneous wine tastings. So you are advised to contact them in advance, to avoid disappointment.

    Another great place to catch tutored tastings are wine bars, and many wine bars now host evenings with the individual winemaker.

    Wine tours in Croatia

    Wine tourism is on the rise in Croatia, but if you are looking for Western standards, be patient. While some wineries such as Bibich put on a real show, many others are small producers not geared up for tastings.

    There are more specialist wine tour agencies now, and the wine touring experience is improving quickly. Among the best in my experience are Secret Dalmatia and Hvar Wine Tours. If you are looking for a wine tour, please contact us on news@total-croatia-news.com Subject Wine Tour.

    Wine bars in Croatia

    The wine bar scene has exploded in recent years all over Croatia, as bar owners see the potential in Croatia's wine story. In Split, for example, the first wine bar only appeared 6 years ago. Paradox Wine and Cheese Bar was revolutionary at the time, but many others have followed. For more information, and a map, of the wine bars in Croatia, visit the Total Croatia Wine page.

    Can you buy Croatian wine online?

    Yes! Finally!

    croatian wine buy online

    You have fallen in love with a Croatian wine and you want to buy it online. Sounds simple, right? Nothing is quite that simple in Croatia, but online shipping of Croatian wines finally happened a couple of years ago. Shipping can be done all over the EU, as well as, more recently, the United States. You can even mix your own cases, and prices are very competitive. The shipping becomes very affordable with orders of two cases or more. So what are you waiting for...

    Meet the Winemakers of Croatia

    Croatia has some outstanding and very eclectic winemakers. Meet a selection of them in our Total Croatia Wine series getting to know the winemakers of Croatia.

    Prosek v Prosecco

    croatian wine prosek

    One is a sparkling Italian wine, made popular 50 years ago, and the other is a sweet dessert wine dating back thousands of years. Croats got a rude awakening to the realities of EU membership when they were told they would have to stop using the name Prosek upon joining.

    Whatever it is called, Prosek is delicious, and it is one of Dalmatia's most sought-after wines. Learn the unique and traditional process of Prosek production.

    Bevanda, Bikla and Gemist

    croatian wine bikla

    Croats like to mix their wines with other drinks. Red wine is often consumed with ice, with red wine with still water (bevanda) and white wine with sparkling water (gemist) in continental Croatia are part of Croatian culture.

    If you want to go really niche, however, head to Vrgorac in October for the Biklijada. This is when a local drink, bikla, is celebrated - red wine and goat milk. Don't knock it until you have tried it...

    Another unusual combination I have come across in Dalmatia is prosek with a raw egg. This was traditionally given to children to boost their immunity.

    croatian wine gemist

     1. Red Istria wine road

     2. Grey Istria wine road

     3. Peljesac wine road

     4. Hvar wine road

     5. Korcula wine road

     6. Vis wine road

     7. Krk and environs wine road

     8. Baranja wine road

     9. Plesivica wine road

     10. Medjimurje wine road

    Books about the wines of Croatia

    cracking croatian wine

    Information about Croatian wines are becoming more readily available in print, even in English. Two very good recent additions include Cracking Croatian Wine by Dr. Matthew Horkey and Charlene Tan, and Dalmatian  Wine Stories by Zeljko Garmaz, who also runs the Vinske Price blog. Zeljko has also recently written a book about the wines of Slavonia.

    croatian wine dalmatian wine stories

    Websites and Blogs about Croatian wines

    There are a growing number of websites and blogs about the wines of Croatia. Among those worth checking out, apart from our very own Total Croatia Wine:

    Wines of Croatia

    Taste of Croatia

    The Wine and More

    Women on Wine (WOW)

    Exotic Wine Travel

    G.E.T. Report

    Bakhov Sin Vino.hr Blog 

    Vinske Price


    Want to get a quick overview of the highlights of the Croatian wine scene? Here are 25 things to know, written by Zoran Pejovic from Paradox Wine and Cheese Bar in Split.

    The 1947 vintage Croatian wine served at the Queen's Coronation, yours for $8,000

    One of the most amazing stories about Croatian wine concerns a 1947 Traminac from Ilocki Podrum in eastern Croatia. Some 11,000 bottles were ordered for the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, and there are still around 150 bottles of this vintage left, which can be yours for around $8,000 a bottle.

    The fact that these bottles are still available is due to an incredible story during the Homeland War in the 1990s, when the Serbs took control of the winery and started turning the wine into rakija. A dedicated employee built a fake wall in the main cellar and hid 8,000 of the most precious bottles, all of which survived. You can learn more in my report on a visit to the fabulous cellars of Ilocki Podrum.

    Meet the Peljesac wine served at President Biden's inauguration

    Wine for the Coronation of a British monarch, wine for the Inauguration of an American President. President Joe Biden's big day included a touch of Dingac magic from the Peljesac Peninsula.

    Learn more about the wines of Croatia by following our Total Croatia Wine portal.

    sarajevoliving@gmail.com (Paul Bradbury) What You Need To Know Wed, 10 Mar 2021 12:36:00 +0100
    Croatian Politics and History since 1990: an Overview https://www.total-croatia.com/en/croatian-politics https://www.total-croatia.com/en/croatian-politics A look at the turbulent Croatian politics and history of this newly independent state. Just over 30 years old, modern Croatia has had quite a start.

  • Croatian politics and history since 1990: introduction
  • Tensions in former Yugoslavia
  • The Serb minority in Croatia
  • The Homeland War
  • UN Peacekeepers, Operations Flash and Storm
  • Peace and the building of a modern state
  • Illness and death of President Tudjman
  • Croatian politics after Tudjman
  • War Crimes Tribunal
  • The path to EU entry
  • The global economic crisis
  • Jadranka Kosor and Slovenia
  • Croatian politics moves left in 2011
  • Croatia enters the EU
  • A new political party and an unknown Prime Minister
  • A new HDZ coalition
  • Plenkovic consolidates power in 2020 election
  • Croatian politics and history since 1990: introduction

    The history of independent Croatia began in the early 1990s. Croatia entered the decade as part of multi-ethnic and still socialist Yugoslavia, which came into being in 1918, first as a kingdom under the rule of Serbian kings and later as a socialist federation after the Second World War, ruled by the Communist Party and legendary Yugoslav WWII leader, Josip Broz Tito, who himself was half-Croatian from the Hrvatsko Zagorje region and of a Croatian father and Slovenian mother.

    Importantly for Croatia, Yugoslavia was a federation, a union of six federal republics which could retain some features of their statehood. While in the most of Yugoslavia’s history this was just a formality, towards the 1970s and later it became a more prominent feature of the country’s politics and eventually allowed Croatia to proclaim its independence legally, recognised by the international community. The first significant step towards independence took place in the early 1970s, with the “Croatian Spring” movement.

    The Croatian leadership at the time, all members of the Communist Party, started demanding greater rights for individual republics. Numerous Croatian intellectuals, university professors and members of the public added their voices. However, their demands did not succeed, and they lost their jobs as a result, with some ending up in prison for their alleged anti-Yugoslav activities.

    Tensions in former Yugoslavia

    croatian politics tito

    However, just a few years later, Josip Broz Tito, the undisputed ruler of Yugoslavia, realised that more rights for individual republics was the right direction. In 1974, a new Yugoslav constitution became law, which gave republics a right to self-determination. For a while, the political life in Yugoslavia came to a standstill, with everybody preparing for the post-Tito period. When he died in 1980, tensions between republics started growing, with Croatia and Slovenia, the two westernmost and most developed republics, demanding more autonomy, and Serbia trying to use the fact that it was the largest individual republic to dominate Yugoslavia.

    Yugoslavia entered the late 1980s in a political and economic turmoil. When Communist regimes started falling in Eastern Europe in 1989, Yugoslavia would inevitably follow. In early 1990, the (in)famous 14th Extraordinary Congress of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia occurred in Belgrade, which marked the effective end of Yugoslavia as a communist nation. The Slovenian and Croatian delegates on the one side and the Serbian-led delegates on the other went their separate ways, and the break-up of Yugoslavia became unavoidable.

    Soon the first multiparty elections took place in each of the republics. On 22 April and 6 May 1990, there were elections in Croatia. The newly-formed HDZ, led by Tito’s former general and later Croat dissident Franjo Tudjman, winning a majority. The Communist Party went into opposition for the first time in 45 years. The new government immediately adapted Croatia’s constitution, erasing “Socialist” from the name “Socialist Republic of Croatia”. Several months later, in December 1990, a whole new constitution came into force. The same constitution exists today.

    The Serb minority in Croatia

    Serbs in Croatia, who comprised 12% of the population (mostly in parts of inland Croatia and Slavonia), did not accept the new authorities. They were partially under the influence of the propaganda which claimed that the new government was a continuation of the fascist Ustasha regime from the times of the so-called Independent State of Croatia in the Second World War.

    While the new government was definitely not Ustasha-like, it did make moves which made the job easier for those who wanted to convince Serbs in Croatia that they should try to break away. In August 1990, Serbs started blocking roads connecting northern and southern Croatia.

    The first armed conflict took place on Easter 1991, which some believe was the start of what would later become the Homeland War. In 1991, the so-called Serbian Republic of Krajina established itself in the Serb-held parts of Croatia. This eventually covered a third of Croatia’s territory.

    In 1991, numerous conferences and meeting took place to discuss the future of Yugoslavia, but it soon became apparent that the country had no future and that individual republics (except for Serbia and its partner Montenegro) would try to go their separate ways. Croatia and Slovenia proclaimed their independence on 25 June 1991. And so began a short war in Slovenia and the beginning of the full-scale war in Croatia.

    Under international pressure, implementation stalled for three months, until 8 October 1991. In an atmosphere of near total war in Croatia, Parliament again proclaimed Croatia’s independence. These two dates are today are public holidays: Statehood Day (25 June) and Independence Day (8 October).

    The Homeland War

    The Homeland War marked the first five years of Croatia’s existence as a multi-party democracy. It started for real in the second half of the year, with Serb rebels assisted by parts of the Yugoslav National Army. In four years, more than 20,000 people on both sides would die, with hundreds of thousands displaced. The worst phase of the war for Croatia was autumn 1991. Eventually, the frontline held, but with a third of territory being occupied by Yugoslav/Serb forces.

    croatian politics vukovar

    The most infamous battle of the war took place in November 1991 for the town of Vukovar in eastern Croatia. The town was under siege for months, with many civilians trapped inside. The devastated town fell on 18 November. What followed were massive war crimes against both Croatian soldiers and civilians.

    The largest individual massacre took place on 20 November at Ovcara near Vukovar, where more than 250 people brutally lost their lives. This phase of the war continued for more than a month. Many other Croatian towns came under attack, most notably Dubrovnik.

    Even though the international community did not immediately recognise Croatia's independence, it soon became apparent that, partly due to the gruesome images of the aggression against Croatia, the international community would have no other choice. The critical decision came on 15 January 1992, when the European Community decided to recognise Croatia and Slovenia. In the next few months, many others followed. These included the United States, Russia, and China, and in May 1991 Croatia became a member of the United Nations. After many centuries of being part of various arrangements with Hungary, Austria and Yugoslav nations, Croatia again became an independent and internationally recognised state. What just a few years earlier seemed utterly impossible had become a reality.

    UN Peacekeepers, Operations Flash and Storm

    Early 1992 also brought the arrival of UN peacekeepers to Croatia, which helped freeze the conflict. While large areas of the country remained occupied, at least the number of victims decreased substantially. The fragile ceasefire would more or less hold until 1995. Croatia used this time to grow its army and prepare for the liberation. While there were several smaller military operations in the meantime, the main operations began in 1995. In early May, in operation called Flash, Croatia liberated Western Slavonia, re-establishing direct road links between Zagreb and Eastern Slavonia.

    croatian politics operation storm

    This was just an introduction to a much larger operation Storm. This took place in early August, quickly bringing the liberation of most of the remaining occupied areas. The resistance of the Serb forces was not particularly strong, and their forces withdraw almost immediately. So too did hundreds of thousands of civilians, to the Serb-controlled parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina and further to Serbia.

    The operation remains controversial to some to this day. While Croatia rightly describes it as the liberation of parts of its previously occupied internationally-recognised territory, Serbian government describes it as the largest ethnic-cleansing operation in Europe since the Second World War, noting that hundreds of thousands of ethnic Serbs fled Croatia, where their predecessors lived for centuries, never to return.

    War in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina officially ended in late 1995, with the signing of the Dayton Peace Agreement. An accompanying agreement dealt with the issue of Eastern Slavonia, which was still occupied by Serb forces at the time. It provided for the peaceful return of the area to Croatian control in early 1998. This eventually took place without further incident.

    Peace and the building of a modern state

    After the war, Croatia turned to domestic affairs. One problem was the economy, which was in terrible shape. This was not least because of the criminal privatisation process of state-owned companies, which happened during the war. Many companies traded hands for next to nothing to murky “entrepreneurs”. In most cases, they took the funds from the companies and sold their real estate. Unemployment was the only reward for the workforce. The effects of this organised pillage are still in evidence today.

    croatian poltics tudjman

    The other issue was the democratic deficit. While Croatia was formally a multiparty democracy, in reality, Tudjman and his HDZ ran the country autocratically. One of the most infamous examples of Croatian-style “democracy” occurred in autumn 1995. The opposition had won the elections for the Zagreb City Assembly. Using a provision of the law that the president had to confirm the mayor, Tudjman rejected several opposition mayoral candidates. This was even though they had majority support. The so-called Zagreb Crisis continued for months. It ended only after HDZ managed to buy two opposition councillors, thereby gaining a majority in the assembly.

    Another important event for Croatian democracy occurred in November 1996. The government tried to shut down Radio 101 in Zagreb, one of the few media outlets which criticised the authorities. The decision prompted protests, and 120,000 people took to the streets of Zagreb on 21 November 1996. The government relented under pressure, and the radio station continued with its broadcasts.

    Illness and death of President Tudjman

    At the same time, Tudjman mysteriously disappeared from the public eye. International media reported his disappearance a few days later. He was in the United States, receiving treatment for cancer. Although the public knew, he never admitted his illness. He also never allowed his medical team to issue statements about his health, despite him being visibly unwell.

    The situation in the new few years resembled those near the end of Tito’s life. While Tudjman responded to the treatment better than initially expected, everybody wondered what would happen after him. With Tudjman getting weaker and weaker, his associates started behaving more freely. They used the opportunity to enrich themselves and use their power for personal gain while they still could. This caused widespread resentment and the growing dissatisfaction among the public. Due to this and numerous other issues, Croatia was also becoming more and more internationally.

    After winning several elections during the war, HDZ now faced the genuine possibility of losing the 1999 elections. Tudjman’s health situation complicated things further. Despite all his flaws, many saw him as the founder of independent Croatia. For them, he was the reason why they still voted for HDZ. Without him, the party was in danger of losing masses of votes. This is precisely what happened. Tudjman's last public appearance was in early November 1999. He became ill and went to hospital, where he died on 10 December. The first phase of Croatia’s independence was at its end.

    Croatian politics after Tudjman

    croatian politics mesic

    On 3 January 2000, parliamentary elections took place. HDZ suffered a heavy defeat and went into opposition for the first time. The new government comprised six opposition partners, led by SDP. It also included the reformed Communist Party, under the leadership of Ivica Racan. Racan had been the last secretary general of Croatia’s Communist Party, and he became the new prime minister. A month later, presidential elections to elect Tudjman’s successor took place. HDZ’s candidate lost in the first round, with Stjepan Mesic, former Tudjman’s associate and later sharp critic, becoming the president.

    croatian politics ivica racan

    The first significant decision of the new government was to change the constitution. The aim was to replace the semi-presidential political system with the parliamentary system. At the time, the role of the most powerful politician in Croatia moved from president to prime minister. Racan’s government was weak, under pressure both from internal disagreements between the six parties. It also suffered attacks from the right-wing parties led by HDZ, which would not accept a role in the opposition. They accused the government of being traitorous and anti-Croatian. This is a well-tried recipe for anyone who dares to advocate any other opinion than the officially sanctioned HDZ one.

    War Crimes Tribunal

    The major political issue at this time was Croatia’s cooperation with the International War Crimes Tribunal in the Hague. While Tudjman’s government initially supported the establishment of the UN tribunal, this did not last long. The government thought initially that the tribunal would try just Serbian leaders. The Croatian government changed its opinion after it realised that the Croatian leadership would also be under investigation. The first indictments started arriving from the Hague, and the government was slow to comply. Compliance with the tribunal was not patriotic.

    In 2001, a massive protest against the SDP-led government took place in Split.
    Leader of the opposition and HDZ president, Ivo Sanader, accused Racan of being a traitor. Interestingly, just a few years later, after he became the next prime minister, Sanader extradited anyone the tribunal demanded, without anybody accusing him of anything.

    The path to EU entry

    Another important political event was the decision for Croatia to begin the process of entering the European Union. In November 2000, a large European summit took place in Zagreb, with European leaders promising they would support Croatia on its road to membership. The process formally started in 2001 with the official application but was delayed many times, due to the issues of cooperation with the Hague tribunal, lack of reforms and the relations with Slovenia. Croatia would not enter the European Union until 2013.

    Under the Racan government, the economy started to recover, and one major infrastructure project began – the construction of the motorway network. In a few years, all the major towns in the country except for Dubrovnik had a motorway connection, which remains one of the few successful major infrastructure projects completed in independent Croatia.

    croatian politics ivo sanadar

    Parliamentary elections held in late 2003 brought about a change of government. HDZ returned to power after just four years in opposition, and Sanader became the prime minister. He finished the motorway system construction project and promptly extradited everybody to the Hague, which enabled Croatia to start the negotiations to join the European Union. Under Sanader, who won another election in 2007, Croatia entered NATO, developed its economy and drew closer to the European Union.

    The global economic crisis

    However, in early 2009, the first signs of the impending economic crisis could be felt. Before the real crisis hit, there was a sudden and unexpected change in leadership. Prime Minister Sanader resigned without proper explanation on 1 July. The real reasons for his resignation are still awaiting proper explanation. He nominated as his successor Deputy Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor, who he thought he could control. A few months later, it became evident that Sanader wanted to remain in charge behind the scenes, but Kosor became increasingly independent.

    In early 2010, he tried to depose Kosor but did not succeed. This marked the beginning of the end of his political career. Soon, articles in the press appeared alleging that Sanader had amassed immense wealth while in office. With his waning influence, various investigations and trials against him and his associates were launched. He was eventually arrested in Austria after an unsuccessful escape attempt and deported to Croatia. He spent many months in remand prison and was later released. The court proceedings are too numerous to be listed here, but not a single one of them has so far ended with a final decision.

    Jadranka Kosor and Slovenia

    The main task for Jadranka Kosor, in addition to fighting Sanader’s attempts to depose her, was to conclude the accession negotiations with the European Union. The main issue as the end of the process was the decision of Slovenia to block Croatia until the border between the two countries was defined.

    croatian politics jadranka kosor

    The solution came in arbitration proceedings which should have solved the issue forever. Although Slovenia did lift its blockade which enabled Croatia to conclude negotiations in 2011, the arbitration dragged on for years. In 2015, Croatia left the proceedings after secret recordings showed that Slovenia was trying to influence the supposedly independent arbitrators.

    Still, the arbitration proceeded without Croatia, eventually ending with a ruling which attempted to find the middle ground between the two sides. Now, in 2019, Slovenia is insisting on the implementation, while Croatia proposes new negotiations. Almost 30 years after the two countries gained their independence, the border issue remains unsolved.

    Croatian politics moves left in 2011

    The growing number of corruption affairs which hit Sanader, his ministers and HDZ meant that the party had no chance of winning the parliamentary elections which took place in late 2011. HDZ once again went into opposition and another coalition came to power led by SDP and its president Zoran Milanovic, who became the prime minister.

    croatian politics zoran milanovic

    The new government did not seem to do much. The economy started to recuperate from the crisis very slowly on its own, in accordance with the Milanovic’s (in)famous motto: “Even if we do not do anything, something will happen.” SDP’s government was again inevitably accused of being traitorous by the right-wing groups, which again could not accept anyone else being in power.

    Soon, various veterans’ associations organised a series of protests against the “Yugo-nostalgic” government, which culminated with a protest tent in front of the Ministry of Veteran’s Affairs for many months. The government clumsily tried to defend itself, including giving concessions to the protesters, but the outcome had already been deciced. It alienated its own voters without gaining new support.

    Croatia enters the EU

    While the EU accession negotiations ended under the Kosor government, it was Milanovic who had the honour to preside over the official entry to the European Union on 1 July 2013, undoubtedly the most significant foreign policy achievement of Croatia since gaining independence. While the expectations were high, the reality of the EU membership has been somewhat more ambiguous.

    The economic revival failed to materialise, while the main effect of EU membership is mass emigration of young and educated people, who left the country in their hundreds of thousands to find a better life in Germany, Ireland and other countries. Still, there is little doubt that Croatia would be in an even worse position outside of the Union.

    Another major story of the Milanovic era was the refugee crisis which hit Croatia in late 2015 when hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants from the Middle East and other parts of the world came to Croatian borders wishing to reach Germany and beyond. The government sensibly rejected proposals about sending the army to the border to stop the migrants, opting instead for organising their transport from the eastern border to Hungary and Slovenia. While the wave of migrants has subsided substantially, the debates about what to do on the borders continue.

    A new political party and an unknown Prime Minister

    croatian politics tim oreskovic

    With few results to show and under pressure from right-wing protesters, SDP lost the elections held in late 2015. While for a while it seemed they might form a coalition government with MOST, a new, hard-to-define political party. In the end, MOST as expected opted for a partnership with HDZ, but with one very peculiar condition: it insisted that the new prime minister had to be a politically independent candidate.

    The solution came in the shape of one Tihomir Oreskovic, an unknown businessman who left Croatia as a child and could barely speak Croatian. With Oreskovic being just the nominal prime minister and with HDZ and MOST fighting in the background, it was evident that the government would not last. The coalition fell apart, and the government was voted out of office by the parliament, for the first time in modern Croatian history. Early parliamentary elections were scheduled for September 2016.

    HDZ again won the most votes and decided to once again enter a coalition with MOST, this time with a clear understanding that the new HDZ president, Andrej Plenkovic, would be the prime minister. Still, the disagreements between the two parties continued, and the coalition once again fell apart in spring 2017.

    A new HDZ coalition

    However, HDZ this time managed to find a substitute coalition partner and the new elections did not take place. MOST was replaced by HNS, a supposedly liberal party which was until then a long-time coalition partner of SDP. Many understandably described this as cheating the voters, given that MPs elected by left-wing voters would now support a right-wing government. Despite a small majority in parliament, the coalition has proven to be quite resilient and managed to cling on to power until the 2020 elections.

    croatian politics andrej plenkovic

    Plenkovic announced that he would try to “de-dramatise” Croatian politics, but does not seem to be very successful in achieving that goal. He is under constant pressure from the right-wing party faction, which views him with suspicion, accusing him of being a liberal pretending to be a conservative. In return, Plenković seems too careful not to disturb the fragile party equilibrium and therefore delays making decisions on any and all controversial issues, including those regarding extremist historical revisionism, which has been on the rise in the last few years.

    The main economic story of the Plenkovic’s era was a near collapse of Agrokor, the largest privately-owned company in Croatia, which found itself on the brink of bankruptcy in 2017. Under still secretive circumstances, the government prepared a special law which helped prevent the collapse and the whole affair seems to be heading to a happy ending, accompanied by inevitable scandals about who and how profited from the operation. While a deputy prime minister had to resign, Plenkovic survived the scandal mostly unharmed.

    Plenkovic consolidates power in 2020 elections

    The 2020 general election took place against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic. While Plenkovic was fighting that battle and his traditional SDP adversaries, a strong challenge also came from the right, from Miroslav Skoro's Homeland Movement.

    Opinion polls indicated that it would be impossible for Plenkovic to form a government without a coalition with Skoro, but on the day, the SDP vote failed to materialise as expected, and Plenkovic was able to form a tight majority with the aid of minority parties, thereby excluding Skoro.

    At time of writing (March 2021), the pandemic continues to dominate politics, as does the growing discontent of the private sector through the increasingly vocal Glas Poduzetnika (Voice of Entrepreneurs Association). The devastating earthquakes in Zagreb (March 2020) and Petrinja (December 2020), as well as the sudden death of long-time Zagreb mayor, have also contributed significantly to political developments.

    While it is hard to predict what the future will bring, we can only hope that the next three decades of Croatia’s independence will be more successful and less dramatic than the first.

    For the latest in Croatian politics, follow the dedicated Total Croatia News section.

    sarajevoliving@gmail.com (Paul Bradbury) What You Need To Know Wed, 10 Mar 2021 06:19:00 +0100
    Living in Croatia 2022: Costs, Lifestyle, Permits & Meeting People https://www.total-croatia.com/en/living-in-croatia https://www.total-croatia.com/en/living-in-croatia Living in Croatia is a much different experience to a summer holiday. Some tips of paperwork, finding a home, job, friends, bank account, internet and more.

  • Thinking of moving to Croatia? Some things to consider
  • Registering your stay and residence permits
  • Finding an apartment
  • Health insurance
  • Living in Croatia - what are the costs?
  • Bank accounts, Internet, phones and personal ID number (OIB)
  • How easy is it to find a job in Croatia?
  • Living in Croatia: successful expat experiences
  • Digital nomads and co-working spaces
  • Living in Croatia: International schools in Croatia
  • Learning the language: is it necessary?
  • Making friends in Croatia: some online groups
  • The three stages of learning: Love, Hate, and Nirvana
  • What is an 'uhljeb': an introduction to the Mighty State of Uhljebistan
  • The Croatian lifestyle versus Western Europe
  • Thinking of moving to Croatia? Some things to consider

    You have just returned from a fortnight on the Croatia coast, and you have fallen in love. Living in Croatia would be a dream! What is it like, and how to make that dream a reality?

    As a Brit living in Croatia full-time since 2003, I can honestly say that now I could no longer live anywhere else. The Croatian lifestyle, for better or worse, is in my blood. And once there, a little like malaria, it is there for life. Having said that, living in Croatia and coming for a holiday are as different (perhaps more so) than chalk and cheese.

    Croatia is fantastically beautiful, its people hospitable and its lifestyle the envy of all stressed executives. BUT if it was such a paradise, why is Croatia plagued with mass emigration, its youth in particular?

    Although I would recommend that people come and live in Croatia if they are looking for a lifestyle change, they should do it with their eyes wide open. For this is a country of bureaucracy, corruption and limited job opportunities through conventional channels. Especially for foreigners.

    Nowhere is perfect in the modern age, but the pros far outweigh the cons. I would strongly recommend you try living in Croatia for 6 months before committing your life. It is not for everyone, and once the summer beach tan fades, the reality can be a little harsh. Here are my reflections after 15 years in the country.

    Registering your stay and residence permits

    Your introduction to the joys of Croatian bureaucracy will undoubtedly start with registering your stay, which you must do by law. Go to your local police station, fill out some forms, and enter the system! Total Zagreb did an overview of the procedure, including a link to the online form. It is the same in the rest of the country.

    If you are staying for a longer period, then you will require a residence permit. Residence permits in Croatia are one of the great complications in life. Each expat will have his own story, and few will be straightforward.

    In my case, I applied for a temporary one-year residence permit each year for four years. After this (and after taking a simple Croatian language test), I received my permanent residency. This theoretically entitles me to the same rights as locals. It is renewable every ten years.

    From talking to other expats, however, it seems that my case was very smooth. Others have had huge problems, with official advice varying from office to office. There is also a HUGE difference on residence permits for EEA citizens and the rest.

    For some reason, Americans seem to endure more hardships than any others when it comes to residence permits in Croatia. TCN featured several examples recently, including how hard it is for American retirees to live in Croatia.

    My TCN colleague Lauren did an excellent overview of residence permits in Croatia. All I can say is... good luck!

    Finding an apartment

    Finding a place to stay is obviously an early priority. If you are being hired by a company, they may well help with the accommodation search. But if you are on your own, this can be a daunting task, particularly if you do not speak the language.

    You should also be aware of the effect that the tourist season has on the rental market. Short-term summer holiday rentals are waht keep many families afloat, and it is not uncommon for long-term rentals to exclude the summer months. Having said that, the possibility of year-round income is attractive, as the tourist season is short.

    Here is an overview of what you need to know when searching for an apartment in Croatia.

    Health insurance

    If you are living in Croatia, you must have health insurance. Once you have registered your stay with the police, your next stop will be to the local HZZO office. Here is what you need to do to get your health insurance. For a more comprehensive overview of health in Croatia, check out the Total Croatia health overview.

    Living in Croatia - what are the costs?

    While it is certainly true that Croatia is not as cheap as it used to be, it is also a pleasant change to prices in the UK, for example. After years of paying about £1.50 for my late morning pint on Jelsa's idyllic main square on Hvar, a business trip to London came as quite a shock back in 2016.

    But that is only part of the story. Wages in Croatia are much lower than the UK. It is also true that many families grow at least some of their own food. Much of our family's needs - olive oil, wine, fruit and vegetables - came from the family field.

    The reality is that Croatia is very affordable for tourists, but increasingly expensive for locals. Items which should be the same price in neighbouring countries always seem to be more expensive in Croatia, and the summer season sees a hike in supermaket prices.

    Imported goods are also a lot more expensive if bought in Croatia. In almost all cases, from buying a computer to buying a car, it makes financial sense to buy something elsewhere and then bring it into Croatia. Even if that means dealing with the bureaucratic joys of importing a car into Croatia.

    Looking for a more comprehensive overview of prices in Croatia, from the price of milk to apartment rental?

    Bank accounts, Internet, phones and personal ID number (OIB)

    The boring bit about living in Croatia - how to get those daily essentials set up. Learn more about how to open a bank account, getting your newly-found home connected to the Internet, choosing a mobile-phone package, and getting a personal ID number (OIB)

    How easy is it to find a job in Croatia?

    If it was easy to find a well-paid and fulfilling job in Croatia, not so many young people would be emigrating.

    The sad truth is that a lot of work is seasonal and poorly paid. Where jobs do exist, they are usually reserved for friends and family. Nepotism is a huge part of daily life in Croatia, and connections are all. This includes getting a doctor's appointment, sorting a permit, even tickets to the theatre. Croatia runs 'preko veze' (through connections).

    Now that Croatia is in the EU, there is freedom of labour. While this means that EU citizens can freely work in Croatia, the net result has been Croats moving to Germany and Ireland to start a new life.

    Salaries in Croatia are very low compared to the rest of the EU (about 800 euro a month), and this is another reason for emigration. I now live in Varazdin, which is close to Austria and Germany. Everything from an electrician to a web developer is hard to find, for the wages are so much higher a little further West.

    If a company has not brought you to Croatia, the best way of finding work is through word of mouth in my experience. Get active on expat forums (see below), network through LinkedIN, and just generally get yourself out there.

    Or start your own business. Being self-employed in Croatia comes with a whole new layer of that lovely bureaucracy, but if you can find your niche, it can work.

    Living in Croatia: successful expat experiences

    So can foreigners succeed in business in Croatia? The simple answer is YES!

    TCN had a series recently looking at successful foreigners who had made the move to Croatia, as hundreds of thousands were heading in the opposite direction. I was stunned to see the diversity of experiences, as well as the niches people had found for their Croatian paradise. Looking for some inspiration - check out the TCN series of successful foreign entrepreneurs in Croatia.

    Digital nomads and co-working spaces

    There has been a significant increase in the number of foreigners moving to Croatia in recent years. Looking at Split, for example, ten years ago, I would be able to name most of the foreigners living there full-time.

    These days, however, there are new arrivals every week. A significant number of these seem to be digital nomads. Online living and the Croatian lifestyle is a very attractive way of life (just ask this blogger after 7 years at the keyboard, mostly from waterfront cafes).

    Another reason why this is a winning combination is because it fulfils the Croatian dream. Living in Croatia and earning your money abroad - perfection!

    While Zagreb as the capital is the biggest magnet for foreign workers, Split is certainly competing. The number of co-working spaces which have popped up in recent years is meeting that demand. It is an issue that TCN featured recently. And if you are looking for a co-working space in Zagreb, here are 5 of the best.

    Co-working spaces are also very social and a good place to meet people if you are new in town.

    The new digital nomad visa for Croatia came into effect on January 1, 2021, an exciting opportunity for non-EU/EEA remote workers to be able to come and work in Croatia for 12 months. And several have already taken advantage of the opportunity.

    Meet Melissa Paul, Owner of Croatia's First Digital Nomad Visa.

    And if you want to see just how awesome the lifestyle possibilities are with the new visa, meet the first official digital nomad on Hvar, a marketing professional from San Francisco in Americans in Croatia: From Short Hvar Stay to Digital Nomad Visa Success.

    Looking to apply for the visa? You can now do so online.

    Living in Croatia: International schools in Croatia

    If you are planning on living in Croatia and have a young family, then your international schooling options are limited to Zagreb. That having been said, there is nothing quite like immersing the kids in the local school system (great for learning Croatian!), but international schools are limited to the capital for now. There are also international kindergarten options.

    In February 2021, the opening of the first international school in Split was announced.

    Learning the language: is it necessary?

    Can you survive in Croatia without learning the language? Yes. Should you learn at least some Croatian? For sure.

    Apart from the issue of politeness, not speaking at least some of the local language means that you will miss out on the living in Croatia experience.

    Almost all young people speak English to a pretty decent level, and you will be able to get by no problem in bigger urban areas. The exception is in those lovely bureaucratic offices as you chase your papers. These are often ruled by the old guard, whose English is not so good. Or perhaps it is, but they don't feel the need to be helpful.

    A few words of Croatian will go a long way in locals appreciating you making the effort, even if you are not a language genius.

    Learn more about learning Croatia in our language in Croatia section.

    Making friends in Croatia: some online groups

    How to meet people in a new country?

    Meeting people in Croatia is very easy. I have found it to be a very sociable country with its coffee culture. But I think it is best summarised by young TCN contributor Mira Maughan. Mira recently wrote an excellent first article for TCN called Life in Croatia: Reflections of a Foreign Teenager One Year in Zagreb. The article gives a very nice introduction to the ease of meeting people.

    There are, of course, plenty of other resources for meeting people. Total Zagreb has a good overview for finding expat groups and events online.

    A simple Facebook search for expat groups by city or region in Croatia will give you several options. Special mention to the Expats meets Split and Expats in Zagreb Official Facebook pages, which are very active and welcoming. There are several regular contributors who selflessly give free advice and help to newcomers.

    The 3 stages of learning for a foreigner in Croatia: Love, Hate, and Nirvana

    For the first ten years of my life in Croatia, I lived in an idyllic bubble on the tourist island of Hvar. I couldn't understand why the locals were complaining all the time, with many emigrating. This place was Paradise!

    And then I got to know the real Croatia. I would say that 80% of foreigners, if not more, fall in love with Croatia and see only the beauty (mostly tourists). About 15% engage in the country, start businesses, and then get bogged down by the bureaucracy and corruption. This is the category where one might here the description of Croatia as 'perfect for a 2-week holiday, but a terrible place to live.'

    And then there is the 5% who go through all that and find Nirvana, make peace with Uhljebistan, and focus on the very best this country has to offer. Which is a LOT. It took me 15 years to get there, and you can read more in The 3 Stages of Learning for a Foreigner in Croatia: Love, Hate, and Nirvana.


    Do not try and change Dalmatia, but expect Dalmatia to change you.

    The default negative mindset in Croatia

    Much as I love Croatians, they are Olympic champions when it comes to complaining. Having been downtrodden with corrupt leadership and limited economic opportunity, few dare to hope for the best each days.

    New initiatives are often ridiculed and attacked without being given a chance. There are MANY positive stories of success in Croatia, but it is a true saying that 'a Croatian can forgive you anything but success.' As a result, a lot of the successful people keep their positive stories under the radar. The result is that there is a perception that everything in daily life in Croatia is negative. It is a vortex of negativity which does not have to be that way. Good stories need to be celebrated more.


    What is an 'uhljeb'? An introduction to the Mighty State of Uhljebistan

    It took me 13 years here until I first heard the word 'uhljeb' and heard of Uhljebistan, the nepotistic State within the State here in Croatia. And once I learned more about Uhljebistan, I understood a lot more the negative mindset of many of my Croatian friends.

    First-time visitor to the Mighty State of Uhljebistan? Learn more in Welcome to Uhljebistan: A Foreign Appreciation of the Cult of Uhljeb.


    The Croatian lifestyle versus Western Europe

    A few years ago, a schoolfriend I had not seen in 25 years sailed into Stari Grad. It was great to catch up and to meet his family. Life for him was good. He was a partner in an accountancy firm, had his own boat and a big house outside of London, obviously earning a LOT more than me.

    And yet, as he told me of his weekly routine and the 6 am commute to London, the cost of travel, mortgage and childcare, I realised how lucky I was to have found my Croatian paradise.

    Croatia is a very laid-back country, where life can be perfect if you can shield yourself from bureaucracy and corruption. You may not get rich her in material terms, but in terms of quality of life, it has no equal in Europe. Think the billionaire and the fisherman. If you prepare yourself for its quirks and set your expectations correctly.

    Why not give it a try?

    sarajevoliving@gmail.com (Paul Bradbury) What You Need To Know Wed, 10 Mar 2021 03:09:00 +0100
    Rakija, Disconnecting People: Production, Flavours, Types https://www.total-croatia.com/en/rakija https://www.total-croatia.com/en/rakija Rakija is one of the great fabrics of Croatian society. Hard liquor made from various fruits, made better by adding so much other stuff, such as herbs, mistletoe, figs... All you need to know about Balkan healthcare.

  • Disconnecting people since 1273
  • Is rakija as healthy as they say?
  • Etiquette for saying no
  • How do you make rakija?
  • Šljivovica
  • Lozovača and/or Komovica
  • Travarica, Smokvica, Medica, Biska - What else is there?
  • Rakija festival in Slavonia: what could possibly go wrong?
  • Pelinkovac
  • And the winner is...
  • Disconnecting people since 1273

    When I moved to the former Soviet Union in 1992, I met some local colleagues in Yekaterinburg for a quick drink.

    Or so I thought.

    The Russians had a toast they used when clinking those 200-gramme glasses of vodka - Pod stolom!

    This literally translates as 'Under the Table!' (both in Russian AND Croatian). I was to find out why about one hour later when at least three litres of vodka had disappeared in a rapid round of toasting. It was my baptism of fire to the Slavic ways of hospitality.

    For Russians vodka, for Croatians rakija. Whatever the local firewater in this wonderful part of the world, there is no escaping it. You can only embrace it and hope for the best.

    rakija eastern europe

    Is rakija as healthy as they say?

    If I believed everything I heard in Croatia, I would probably be dead. The medical prowess of rakija is unbelievable. A shot every morning boosts the immune system, rubbing it into your back relieves muscle pain. It reduces cholesterol, as well as the chances of having a stroke or heart attack. I have never seen any medical evidence to back up these claims. But what I can say is that I have seen some very old people in Croatia who look very healthy, and who swear by their daily rakija medicine.

    I can, however, confirm that drinking too much rakija contributes directly to a reduction in consciousness.

    Croatians most often consume rakija as an apéritif, as it supposedly improves digestion. That means that there will be a "čašica rakije" (a glass of rakija) before any meal, which will often translate into "as soon as you enter someone's house".

    Etiquette for saying no

    One of the things you quickly learn about rakija in Croatia is that every family seems to make their own. Even worse than that, every family which makes rakija insists that not only is theirs the best rakija, but you have to try it so that you can agree.

    Not all of them are correct in their claims. In fact, almost none of them are.

    My experience has been that once the rakija bottle comes out, you might as well write off the rest of the day. Polite appreciation of home-made rakija only encourages them and leads to continued topping up of your glass. Again and again, and now you realise why those Russian talk about life under the table when they say Cheers!

    Saying no is hard! You can try to say that you have to drive, but this is a tough sell if you live across the street. Although I have not taken antibiotics for about 30 years, I seem to be constantly taking them in Croatia. It is a perfect excuse.

    The other option is to check for house plants and show them a little love when nobody is watching.

    How do you make rakija?


    Full disclosure - I have never tried. But here is a man who has, and who went to the trouble of producing a very informative video about the process. He was even sober enough to get the camera pointing in the right direction.

    Croatian purists among you may complain that this rakija video is about making rakija in Macedonia. It is, but trying to find good quality (and sober) videos explaining how to make this miracle medicine in English is not that easy. Besides, people in the know tell me that the process in Macedonia is pretty similar to Croatia.

    The basic process is described in the video above: you get the fruits or grapes, ferment the chopped fruit and then distill the fermented fruit. The fruits most often used in Croatia are plums (to make šljivovica), apricots (rakija od marelice/kajsije), pears (often called Viljamovka and there'll be a pear fruit within the bottle itself!), quince (rakija od dunje) and extremely rarely figs. There are various versions (and names) of rakija which is made from grapes. The length of fermentation varies greatly, since what you have is yeasts from the fruit creating the actual alcohol. After the fermentation, the rakija master often needs to add some water, to make rakija of acceptable strength.

    And then, after the completion of that process, comes the second step. That is the stage in which different fruits, condiments, herbs and other spices get added to the basic rakija, to make the more complex flavours.


    But is there is one fruit which symbolises rakija, it is surely the plum (šljiva in Croatian, thus the name). The modest plum is synonymous with rakija is some places, especially in eastern Croatia. It's often aged in old barrels, so when you're offered a šljivovica and it's yellowish, it's a safe bet that it's been aged. Or at least someone added edible colouring to appear as if it's been aged.

    Lozovača and/or Komovica

    Both of these are made fermenting the grapes, let's be clear. The key difference is that in the production of lozovača (often called just "loza") you ferment the ground-up grapes, while komovica is made from what's left-over AFTER you've used the grapes to make wine. It's obvious that the drink made from the entire grape tends to be of higher quality. But, there's lot to be said about the higher-end komovica (sometimes also called tropica) and you will often not be able to tell the difference.

    Komovica is the rakija you'd use as a basis for other drinks, made by adding sugars and stuff to loza or komovica to make more complex flavours.

    Travarica, Smokvica, Medica, Biska - What else is there?

    Croatians make rakija out of just about anything they can lay their hands on. One of the most fragrant I have tried was rose petal rakija at the Olive Garden Resort in Jadrija near Šibenik. It's not made by fermenting roses into rakija, which obviously wouldn't work, but by creating the syrup using rose petals and sugar, and then adding the syrup to base rakija (usually lozovača or good komovica) to add the flavour.


    Croatia has a wide variety of wonderful and very flavoursome rakijas, which I do encourage you to try. Here is the non-comprehensive list, where you will get to know the most popular and some weird ones:

    Travarica is one of the most ubiquitous, literally herb liqueur, which has a variety of herbs, including sage. Smokvica or smokovača pays alcoholic homage to the humble fig, most often figs are added to loza after the fermentation to create the sweet fragrant flavour - if you're ever offered rakija made by fermenting figs themselves, make sure you try it! Medica (or medovica or medovača) takes your appreciation of honey to the next level, as it's honey (and often some herbs) added to the basic lozovača. Rogačica is made from rogač (carob), a fruit often seen in Dalmatia and used in cakes and to make rogačica. Višnjevac and orahovac are usually much sweeter drinks, made from sour cherries (višnjevac) and walnuts (orahovac) added to rakija with quite a lot of sugar.

    Biska is one of the most sought-after delicacies. Among its four ingredients is mistletoe. An Istrian speciality, biska shines at the Istrian Grappa Festival each October. It is held in Hum, which is officially the world's smallest town.

    Rakija festival in Slavonia: what could possibly go wrong?

    Slavonia is without doubt the heartland of Croatian rakija. If you think you have a chance of escaping some brandy appreciation on the coast, you have no chance in the eastern heartlands. There are times when I feel that rakija is more ubiquitous than water there.

    And what would Croatia be without a rakija festival? And where better to hold it than in Slavonia? As you can see from the video above, the village of Vardarac was the proud host of a Slavonian festival celebrating the hard stuff, but it sadly closed down in 2015 'for bureaucratic reasons'.



    While Pelinkovac is technically NOT a rakija, it is among the famous international faces of hard liquor in Croatia. Why can't it be considered rakija? Because it's made using, and I'm quoting a document prepared by the Croatian Ministry of Agriculture, "ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin", which usually means potatoes or grains, not fruit. In addition, Pelinkovac will usually be around 31% alcohol content, and proper rakija is much stronger than that.

    Pelinkovac is a traditional drink, with more than 150 years of tradition. There are various versions of Pelinkovac available on the Croatian market. The base of the Pelinkovac's flavour is common wormwood, with added fennel, sage, mint and other stuff. It is not dissimilar to Jagermeister, if that is your thing, and is also mostly served as a digestive. Its history is fascinating, and you can learn all about it in the video above.

    And the winner is...

    rakija snake

    There are many, many more types of rakija all over the country to be enjoyed. I fondly (well actually not so fondly) recall one make from olives by the local priest on Hvar many years ago.

    Last year, for a bit of fun, I asked my Facebook friends for their most extreme rakija experiences for an article I subsequently wrote.

    The winner was undoubtedly this gentleman, whose poison (possibily literally in this case) is shown above and below.

    And you thought there were no snakes in Croatia...

    See you under the table!

    rakija snake slavonia
    sarajevoliving@gmail.com (Paul Bradbury) What You Need To Know Wed, 10 Mar 2021 01:04:00 +0100
    Beer in Croatia: 2022 Prices, Brands, Festivals, Craft, Driving https://www.total-croatia.com/en/beer-in-croatia https://www.total-croatia.com/en/beer-in-croatia How much is a beer in Croatia? What are the best local brands? Where are the festivals and what is the craft beer scene like? Meet the Croatian beer scene.

  • The all-important question: How much is a beer in Croatia?
  • Draught or bottled beer in Croatia?
  • Buying beer in supermarkets and recycling.
  • A beer-drinking tradition dating back 5,000 years.
  • What are the most popular local brands?
  • Beer festivals in Croatia.
  • The Croatian craft beer scene.
  • Beer and driving.
  • Some of the best Croatian beer adverts.
  • The all-important question: How much is a beer in Croatia?

    It is one of the most-searched questions for tourists coming to visit as they make their preparations - how much is a beer in Croatia? Rightly or wrongly, the price of a beer is taken by many as a barometer of affordability on holiday, with much of the spending money allocated to beer and other alcohol consumption. So let's get straight to the crux of the matter.

    Compared to the UK and much of Western Europe, the good news is that beer in Croatia is very affordable. How much you pay depends partly on the brand you choose, but much more on the location where you drink it.

    The most expensive (0.5 litre) beer I have had, perhaps not surprisingly, was on Stradun in Dubrovnik, which was 55 kuna (about US$8.25), and the cheapest I have paid have been in numerous locations in continental Croatia - Osijek, Karlovac, Varazdin and - rather surprisingly - Zagreb.

    Location, location, location. If you are looking for a cheaper pint, the obvious advice is to stay away from the tourist traps. In a rather unorthodox overview of the price of a pint, TCN's Joe Orovic came up with an intriguing formula for beer prices and location last year:

    3.2 kunas per .1L of draft beer, prices increasing with proximity to hotspots.

    My experience is that the standard price on the coast is between 15 and 25 kuna. This increases in more popular spots. Apart from the 55 kuna on Stradun, I once paid 38 kuna on the Hvar waterfront.

    Two little tips that might help you stretch the beer budget a little further. Many bars in Croatia reward loyalty, with the house bringing the table a round of free beers after you buy the third round. And the best sentence you can learn in Croatian if you want to try and reduce the bar bill is - Ima li popusta za domace? (Is there a discount for locals, the last word pronounced do-ma-cheh). Obviously your ability to enunciate the sentence as though you have lived in the town all your life will increase your chances of success. And while this will not work every time, the fact that you know of the possible existence of a local discount can only help.

    Draught or bottled beer in Croatia?

    Beer generally comes in two sizes in draught form - the trust half-litre or the 'tri deca', or 0.3l. I have seen it served on request as a 'dva deca', or 0.2l, but I have never figured out what to do with a beer that small.

    The bottled versions usually come in 0.5l and 0.33l, as well as the famous Karlovacko Twist Off, whose 0.25l contents are just enough to refresh you after you twist off the cap without the need for a bottle opener. As in most places in the world, the fancier the location, the smaller the bottle.

    So is it better to order bottled or draught beer in Croatia? It is, of course, a very individual choice, but one should note that many bars on the coast only have draught beer on offer during the tourist season. I personally have found the quality of draught beer in Croatia to be very erratic and am very much a bottle fan. But that is just me.

    Buying beer in supermarkets and recycling

    Buying beer in bars is one thing, but what about the supermarkets? There is a good range of choice when it comes to the supermarket offer, with many Croatian and international brands available in both cans and bottles.

    Cans tend to be more expensive, starting around 9 kuna a piece, which bottles start at around 6 kuna, BUT you need to pay a refundable deposit of around 1 kuna for each bottle (the amount varies). If you are buying a case of beer in bottles, you will also need to pay a refundable deposit in the region of 30 kuna as well.

    Recycling is still not very well-developed in Croatia, but you can now bring back bottles and cans to supermarkets and other outlets for a recycling refund - 50 lipa per can.

    A beer-drinking tradition dating back 5,000 years

    The tradition of drinking beer in Croatia dates back a surprisingly long time, some 5,000 years in fact, according to this beer pot found in Vucedol in eastern Slavonia.

    And a few millennia later in Roman Pannonia, as the region was then called, beer was very popular. Historian Ammianus Marcellinus noted that Emperor Valens, born in Cibalae – Vinkovci today, loved the beer so much that he was called Sabaiarius (beer drinker or beer belly). You can read more about the fascinating Slavonian beer story of 5,000 years here, including the oldest brewery in Croatia, which is still producing goodness to this very day in Osijek.

    What are the most popular local brands?

    Enough history - I can see you are thirsty. So what are the most popular local brands? We will look at the craft beer scene in a minute, but let's deal first with the biggest mainstream brands:


    The biggest brewery in the market is Zagrebacka Pivovara, which was established in 1892 on Ilica, and which produces the most widely drunk beer in Croatia, Ozujsko. Known affectionately as 'Zuja' I will confess that I am not a fan at all, and I usually order tea when it is Zuja or nothing. But that is, of course, a personal opinion, and I invite you to try Zuja and come to the same conclusion. They have a huge marketing budget as well as generous deals of free awnings for cafes, in exchange for market presence, which helps explain why they are the best-sellers.

    But their promotional adverts (see below) are awesome. But then they have to be...

    And while I am not a fan of Zuja, Zagrebacka does actually have a good range of other beers which they brew under licence. These include StaroPramen, Niksic, Becks, Stella Artois, Leffe, Corona, Hoegaarden, Lowenbrau, and Miller Genuine Draft. The range also includes Tomislav dark beer, which many consider to be the best beer in Croatia. The brewery joined the MolsonCoors group in 2012.


    The pride of Karlovac is Karlovacko, Croatia's second most popular beer, and one which managed to position itself very well with football through its Karlovacko Corner concept during major football championships.

    Speaking of football, Karlovacko gets my vote for the best billboard advert for this one below back in 2004 during its 150-year anniversary. Heineken bought Karlovacko recently. Karlovacko is also the official beer partner of Hajduk Split. This has helped increase its popularity in Dalmatia.


    The biggest brewery in the north of Croatia is Pan in Koprivnica, which is now owned by Carlsberg. I was there a few years ago on a foodie tour which included a visit to Vegeta across the road. I was surprised to see just how automated the whole process was. Just four people operating production, where over 100 had been working there not too long ago. While Pan is the main product, Zlatni (or Golden) Pan is a much smoother product.


    A Slovenian beer, but widely available in Croatia, Lasko was also recently bought by Heineken. My favourite beer here by a country mile, Lasko used to have a production facility in Split until about 10 years ago.


    Part of the Zagrebacka Pivovara portfolio, Tomislav is a powerful dark beer. At 7.3%, it is the second strongest beer in Croatia after Gricka Vjestica at 7.5%.


    One of Croatia's more popular beers, which takes its name from the Velebit mountain. Brewed in Gospic, Velebitsko comes in light (5.1%) and dark (6.0%) varieties.

    Beer festivals in Croatia

    The craft beer revolution has really taken off in Croatia (see more below), and an explosion of festivals has followed suit. Beer festivals are appearing all over the country, with over 20 in Croatia this year alone. Here is a link to the biggest and most interesting. Some are very localised, and the good news is that they are nicely spread all over the country.

    The Croatian craft beer scene


    The traditional beer seen may have changed little in recent times (apart from the acquisitions by the likes of Heineken and MolsonCoors), but there has been a quiet revolution in one previously non-existent part of the industry - craft beer.

    I didn't follow the early origins of the craft beer revolution in Zagreb, but a key early catalyst was the success of Zmajska Pivovara in Zagreb. Soon after starting in 2014, Ratebeer named it 9th best beer in the world. Not a bad start!

    My first proper experience of Croatian craft beer was in Istria where I visited the San Servolo brewery in Istria. Their red, light and dark beers quickly took off all over Croatia, and the restaurant was quite an experience. Beer soup, beer goulash and a most unusual dessert - beeramisu!

    And then I heard of a Polish lady living on the same island as me on Hvar. She was apparently making her own beer, the first craft beer on a Croatian island. And so it proved - Anna's range of Vunetovo beers are increasingly popular. Not far behind on the island craft beer scene were two Norwegian brewers with property on Vis.

    Perhaps the biggest addition to the Croatia craft beer scene in recent years is The Garden Brewery. Linked to the iconic Garden Festival, its British owners have not only built an impressive portfolio, but they also now export to more than 25 counties.

    My favourite craft beers? Although not an expert, I concur with RateBeer on their choice of best craft beer in Croatia. Barba in Split, from LAB Barba, who also do a great one called Englez (Englishman). Nova Runda is always a good bet, and I adore Plavusa (the Blonde) from the two Zadar ladies at Brlog.

    International beer site Rate Beer has come up with its top 50 Croatian beers. Did your favourite make the list? There is information on each beer on the list. A great way to start with your Croatian craft beer journey.

    Craft beer bars in Croatia

    As one would expect with the expanding craft beer scene, dedicated bars have followed. Among the best in Zagreb are Tolkein's House and Craft Room, both on Opatovina in the Upper Town. Leopold's and To Je To are good bets in Split. The aforementioned San Servolo in Buje is a great choice for Istria. If anyone has any additional recommendations, please send to paul@total-croatia-news.com and I will add.

    Beer and driving

    Don’t drink and drive. The law has a zero-tolerance policy for drivers under 25 so the blood alcohol level (BAC) limit is 0%. The BAC limit for drivers over 25 years old is 0.5%. Recently, there has been a bigger focus on drink driving in Croatia, with more checks and higher fines. There is one good way to ensure you do not fall foul of the law...

    Some of the best Croatian beer adverts

    The beer may be terrible, but there is nothing to compare to the genius of Ozujsko advertising. Croatian beer adverts in general are very creative - here is a selection of the very best.

    sarajevoliving@gmail.com (Paul Bradbury) What You Need To Know Tue, 09 Mar 2021 03:27:00 +0100
    Where is Croatia? Location, Economy & Fun Facts (2022) https://www.total-croatia.com/en/where-is-croatia https://www.total-croatia.com/en/where-is-croatia Where is Croatia? Geographically, politically, economically? Where does it rank globally on transparency, press freedom, competitiveness, LGBT rights & more.

  • Where is Croatia? An introduction
  • EU, Euro, NATO, and Schengen
  • Where are Croatians? Homeland population and diaspora
  • UN Human Development Index
  • Index of Economic Freedom
  • Corruption Perception Index (Transparency International)
  • Economic Indicators (Trading Economics)
  • World Press Index (Reports Without Borders)
  • Global Peace Index (Institute for Economics and Peace)
  • Croatia within EU (Eurostat)
  • Sustainable Development Goals
  • World Talent Ranking
  • Eurostat regional yearbook 2020
  • World Competitiveness Ranking
  • World Digital Competitiveness Ranking
  • Accepting Migrants
  • Confidence in Courts
  • EU Membership
  • NATO
  • Religion
  • LGBT
  • The tiny country which dared to dream - sport
  • Where is Croatia? An introduction

    Where is Croatia? It was the second most-searched destination in the world in 2018, according to Google Insights. Not only that, it was the most-searched country in the world.

    The incredible soccer World Cup success, coupled with the passionate support of the travelling fans wearing THAT iconic shirt had millions wondering the same thing: just exactly where IS Croatia?

    Rather than just giving an explanation of where the country is geographically, I thought it was a good opportunity to answer the question with a look at where Croatian society fits in on various global factors.

    But let's start at the beginning. Although Croatia has a rich and proud history and heritage, the modern state is just thirty years old.

    Previously, it had been a federal republic of former Yugoslavia. A war of independence from 1991-1995 devastated much of the country, but it brought hard-won freedom.

    Even though Croatia is perceived as being in Eastern Europe, its capital Zagreb is further west than Vienna.

    With more than 1,000 islands and almost 2,000 km of coastline, Croatian tourism is understandably focused on the Adriatic Sea. But it has several land neighbours too (and territorial disputes with all but one - see this TCN overview).

    The neighbours include Slovenia to the west, Hungary to the north, Serbia, Bosnia and Hercegovina, and Montenegro to the east. The President of Liberland would also consider his country a peaceful eastern neighbour too, but Croatia does not recognise the tiny self-proclaimed republic.

    EU, Euro, NATO, and Schengen

    More confusing than the question 'where is Croatia' is the country's status in various institusions.

    It IS a member of the EU, becoming its 28th member on July 1, 2013. It IS a member of NATO, joining with Albania in 2009. But it is NOT a part of the Schengen zone yet, although entry was expected to happen in 2020. It will probably join in the next several years. It is also NOT a part of the eurozone currently, although again this is a stated goal, one which can't happen before 2023.

    Where are Croatians? Homeland population and diaspora

    It is a sad reality that almost half of all Croatians live outside of the country. The country has a history of emigration over the centuries, mostly for economic and political reasons.

    The currently population inside population is diminishing at a rapid rate and recently fell below 4 million.

    There are more than 3 million Croats living in the diaspora. The latest official information I have come across with a breakdown of how many Croats are where is in this official information from a few years ago. The top 6 countries by population are:

    • United States 1 200 000
    • Germany 350 000
    • Argentina 250 000
    • Australia 250 000
    • Canada 250 000
    • Chile 200 000

    It should be noted that these numbers do not take into account the latest crushing wave of emigration. One of the most popular new diaspora destinations is Ireland, which was for a long time the only English-speaking country to allow Croats entry without any work restrictions upon EU entry. Ireland's economic benefit is very much the Adriatic region's loss.

    UN Human Development Index

    And so let's take a look at where Croatia stands compared to the rest of the world. There are a number of global indicators covering different aspects of a country. But I have never seen them grouped together for this country. So let's try!

    The UN Human Development Index is an overview of various indices, from homicide rates (low here) to life expectancy (high - thank you, olive oil). Check out where Croatia stands on a range of indices.

    Index of Economic Freedom

    It came in 79th in the 2021 Index of Economic Freedom (compared to 86th in the 2019). Here is what they said about Croatia:

    "Croatia’s economic freedom score is 63.6, making its economy the 79th freest in the 2021 Index. Its overall score has increased by 1.4 points, primarily because of an improvement in the tax burden score. Croatia is ranked 38th among 45 countries in the Europe region, and its overall score is below the regional average but above the world average.

    Again in 2021, Croatia’s economy moved a little higher in the moderately free category and set a new record high for its economic freedom. For further progress, the government needs to accelerate implementation of its long-delayed structural reform package so that it can sell off burdensome state companies and reduce government spending. Further improvements are also needed in the judicial system and labour laws.

    IMPACT OF COVID-19: As of December 1, 2020, 1,861 deaths had been attributed to the pandemic in Croatia, and the economy was forecast to contract by 9.0 percent for the year."

    Check out the full report.

    Corruption Perception Index (Transparency International)

    I would be lying if I said that corruption was not an issue in this country. But don't take my word for it, there are websites which track this kind of thing.

    The annual Transparency International Perception of Corruption Index has Croatia in 63rd place in 2020, with the score exactly the same as Cuba, Belarus, and a bit better than Montenegro.

    Economic Indicators (Trading Economics)

    A healthy economy can cure almost all ills, but how is Croatia doing? Trading Economics monitors a number of factors, from GDP growth and unemployment, to Croatia's balance of trade and current account. A look at some of the current economic indicators in Croatia.

    World Press Index (Reports Without Borders)

    Reporters Without Borders produce an annual report on press freedoms, with a ranking and brief overview for each country. Croatia came in at 59 in 2020, a year in which the largest problem was the situation at the public TV broadcaster.

    Global Peace Index (Institute for Economics and Peace)

    Vision of Humanity publishes an annual Global Peace Index. Iceland is consistently leading the list, and Croatia is ranked 26 in 2020. Find out more about the details and methodology.

    Croatia within EU (Eurostat)

    Croatia has been in the EU since 2013, but how is it doing? The 2020 Eurostat Statistical Book of Key Figures on Europe makes for fascinating reading.

    Eurostat regional yearbook 2020

    Eurostat produces a regional yearbook. Find out how Croatia is performing on a number of key issues.

    Sustainable Development Goals

    Sustainable development is one of the buzz concepts these days. Croatia is ranked 19th in the world in 2020.

    World Talent Ranking

    The IMD World Talent Ranking is based on countries’ performance in three main categories — investment and development, appeal and readiness. The three categories assess how countries perform in a wide range of areas. These include education, apprenticeships, workplace training, language skills, cost of living, quality of life, remuneration and tax rates. In the 2020 rankings, Croatia has maintained the 53rd position.

    World Competitiveness Ranking

    How competitive is Croatia in the global economy? The IMD World Competitiveness Ranking table is out, and the news is not so good for Croatia. It came in 60th out of 63 countries, which is the similar position Croatia has had for years.

    World Digital Competitiveness Ranking

    The world is an increasingly digital place, but how is Croatia coping with the transition? Not that well, coming in 52nd out of 63 countries in the IMD World Digital Competitiveness Ranking, losing several spots in the last couple of years.

    Accepting Migrants

    The migrant crisis has been a huge European issue over the last few years. With its geographic location, Croatia has been at the forefront of the crisis at various stages. A Gallup poll in 2018 of migrant acceptance in the EU featured Croatia, but how did Croatia score?

    There was considerable regional variety, with Albania by far the most accepting regionally, with Macedonia at the bottom of the table, with Croatia towards the bottom of the accepting league table. Interestingly, one of the Croatian emigration hot spots in recent years, Ireland, came in second.

    Confidence in Courts

    The Croatian judicial system has come under scrutiny recently, with some rather unusual verdicts. But how did confidence in Croatian courts compare to other countries in 2018?

    Given some of the dubious verdicts in Croatian courts during my time here, I was a little surprised that Croatia came as high as it did.

    EU Membership

    Where does Croatia stand with satisfaction compared to its regional neighbours?


    Croatia joined NATO in 2009. A Gallup poll from 2016 tells us how Croatians feel about that.

    Perhaps understandably, Kosovo tops the list at 90%, with Serbia - equally understandably at the bottom on 6% - with feelings in Croatia pretty favourable.


    Croatia is a very conservative country, and religion is an important part of the social fabric. There are 15 recognised churches in the country, although the country is overwhelmingly Catholic (about 86%). Learn more about religion in Croatia.


    The LGBT scene is growing slowly in Croatia, but how are feelings towards it in Croatia, compared to elsewhere?

    European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights performed a large study throughout Europe in 2020 to see what the status of those rights are in each member country. You can find the country data for Croatia on this link (opens a .pdf document).

    The survey's subtitle for Croatia says that there's a long way to go before equality. Some steps have been made in recent years, including the introduction of the "life partners" legislation. That law gives same-sex couples rights which are similar to married heterosexuals, but still denies them certain rights such as adopting children.

    The tiny country which dared to dream - sport

    For many, however, Croatia is the land of sporting dreams. This tiny country has a consistent record of punching above its weight in a number of sports. None will forget the magic of Croatia's magical run all the way to the World Cup Final in Moscow in 2018.

    The bright sports history started in 1992, with the first Croatian Olympic medals (including the glorious finale in the basketball tournament against the original USA Dream Team). There were many successes in the following years, numerous medals and titles.

    Learn more about the incredible sporting pedigree of Croatia in the Total Croatia introduction to Croatian sports.

    sarajevoliving@gmail.com (Paul Bradbury) What You Need To Know Thu, 04 Mar 2021 12:48:00 +0100
    When to Visit Croatia: Your 12-Month Guide to Paradise https://www.total-croatia.com/en/when-to-visit-croatia https://www.total-croatia.com/en/when-to-visit-croatia When to visit Croatia? Croatia is Full of Life, 12 months a year. Find out which month is for you, depending on your personality.

  • Visit Croatia in April: Easter Traditions and the Start of the Season
  • Let the Swimming Season Begin! May in Croatia
  • June in Croatia: Summer without the Crowds
  • Visit Croatia in July: Peak Season Beach Heaven
  • Festivals, Beaches, and Parties: Croatia in August
  • For Gorgeous Weather and Emptier Beaches, Visit Croatia in September
  • An Indian Summer in Europe: Croatia in October
  • Olive and Wine Heaven: Visit Croatia in November
  • Advent in Zagreb and Elsewhere: December in Croatia
  • A Tourism Giant in Its Quietest Month: Croatia in January
  • The Best Time to Visit the Pearl of the Adriatic: Dubrovnik in February
  • Emerging from Winter Hibernation: March in Croatia
  • Visit Croatia in April: Easter Traditions and the Start of the Season

    Although the calendar year starts in January, for me at least, the Croatian tourism year begins in April.

    For this is the month when the country is finally alive again after the long winter. And it is also invariably the month which hosts one of the greatest celebrations in Croatia - Easter.

    Being a staunchly Roman Catholic country, Easter is an extremely important time of year for locals. It is a time of joy when extended families come back home for the long weekend, reconnecting with their families and communities.

    It is also a time of immense tradition, and nowhere more so than on the island of Hvar. There are religious processions all over the country, but the 'Za Krizen' (Behind the Cross) procession on Maundy Thursday in 6 villages and towns on Hvar is like no other.

    Now performed every year for more than 500 years and inscribed as UNESCO intangible heritage since 2009, Za Krizen is 6 simultaneous processions through the night over 22km, following a barefoot cross bearer walking to the other villages before arriving back where he started at 07:00 on Good Friday. Check out the official UNESCO video below for more.


    Easter apart, April is the month when many of the major airlines servicing the country get going with their seasonal schedules. This makes it a great time to take advantage of some excellent shoulder-season flight prices, and cities such as Split, Dubrovnik, Zadar and Pula make for ideal and affordable city breaks.

    Let the Swimming Season Begin! May in Croatia

    May in Croatia is simply one of the greatest times to be alive. It begins with the traditional May Bank Holiday, and all the coastal hotels are packed. It is the first taster of what is to come with the imminent tourist season.

    Look a little deeper, and you may find some rather enjoyable festivals to entice you. One big discovery for me in 2018 - and without doubt one of the highlights of the year - was Korculanske Pjatance, the Korcula Spring Food and Wine Festival.

    Many of the top restaurants on the island come together to promote the authentic and indigenous food and wine through a series of themed dinners, workshops and presentations. The setting is idyllic and, if the weather is anything like this year, the perfect time to open the swimming season.

    The beaches in May are almost deserted, but the water is warm enough to swim and the temperatures usually decent enough for a day at the beach. Enjoy the peace and quiet before the hordes arrive.

    June sees the annual lavender festival on Hvar - Romulic and Stojcic

    June in Croatia: Summer without the Crowds

    While May is the month when tourists start to arrive in serious numbers, June is the time when everything is fully open. School has not yet finished, and so the surge of family holidays is yet to take hold.

    Temperatures are very pleasant, in their mid-20C, and for many, it is the best month to visit. Everything is open, there is a full entertainment programme, the beaches are not too crowded, and the temperatures are ideal.

    Visit Croatia in July: Peak Season Beach Heaven

    And then school finishes! And suddenly Croatia is full. The motorways, the beaches, the restaurants, the hotels and the private apartments. Every local is seemingly doing five jobs at the same time, for this is the time when the year's money is made.

    If you are looking to experience Croatia at its most vibrant, then July 15 - August 15 is the time for you. There is a festival seemingly every day, even in the smallest of tourist settlements. The weather is hot, and the azure blue skies of the Adriatic are a constant for the sun-worshippers on the beaches of the Adriatic and islands.

    If you are looking to avoid the crowds and still enjoy the very best of Croatian beaches, there are places to go. But it might make more sense to visit Croatia in June or September if at all possible.

    Festivals, Beaches, and Parties: Croatia in August

    For August, eat, sleep and repeat July. Music lovers will adore the Croatian coast in these peak summer months, as more and more festivals are popping up. The Guardian recently named Croatia as the new festival capital of Europe, and it is not hard to see why. It remains to be seen how things will develop regarding festivals in 2021, due to the pandemic.

    All day at the beach, all night at the party - a winning combination for the increasing number of young tourists who are discovering the magic of Croatia. But there is also plenty of cultural activity for the older generation, or for those looking for something other than partying. And not just on the coast. One of the most interesting cultural festivals in Croatia takes place in August, far from the Adriatic. Spancirfest in Varazdin is the largest street festival in Europe, with more than 400 events in the gorgeous Baroque old town in 10 days. Looking for a flavour of what to expect? This was my first visit a few years ago.

    For Gorgeous Weather and Emptier Beaches, Visit Croatia in September

    And as quickly as the masses came, the quicker they disappear. Peak season madness ends abruptly at the end of August, as kids return to school, their parents to their jobs.

    The temperatures come down to something altogether more pleasurable, and there is a lot more space along the coast and inland.

    Although the beach and swimming is still a premier activity in September, there is a subtle change in the tourist makeup. Scooter renters make way for cyclists, as the adventure tourists arriving in greater numbers. It is a perfect combination of temperate climate and fewer tourists.

    It is also the month of the grape harvest. Croatia has a fantastic wine story (check out the Total Croatia introduction), with more than 130 indigenous grape varieties, including the original Zinfandel. The summer's waiters become the autumn grape pickers? Why not go and lend a hand and discover another aspect of this lovely country?


    An Indian Summer in Europe: Croatia in October

    As northern Europe already turns its thoughts to the long winter ahead, Croatia coast is usually enjoying an Indian summer. There has been a noticeable increase in late season flights from Scandinavia in recent years. Croatia is a much closer sun alternative to Thailand and the Far East.

    It is also the month when locals can finally relax after yet another busy season. Personally, I find October a great time to visit, as locals have one commodity which is missing in the season.

    Time. Time to share a glass of rakija with you and to explain a little more about the heritage and history. More time to show you how a dish is made. A little time to show you true Croatian hospitality without any stress.

    Olive and Wine Heaven: Visit Croatia in November

    November is the month of the olive. I am perhaps blinded by my connection to the family field, but this is now one of my favourite activities in Croatia. Successful business executives in Zagreb abandon their busy lives for the call of the field.

    I will confess that picking olives is a joy that came to me late in life. But for a way to meet Croatians in their natural habitat, there is little to beat it. Families come together nad pick the way their ancestors die. And the result? Liquid gold, for Croatian olive oil is among the best in the world.

    There are two dates in November to be aware of in the Croatian calendar. Both are very sombre and both are observed religiously.

    All Souls Day on November 1 is the day when ancestors and the family deceased are remembered. People return to their home towns to remember their departed loved ones, and Croatia's cemeteries are awash with flowers and candles. It is a spectacular sight, especially in places such as Miragoj in Zagreb.

    A more recent commemoration date is November 18, the date that the Hero City of Vukovar fell in 1991. After a brutal siege, Vukovar's defenders were overrun. Candles are lit all over the country. Most towns have a Vukovar Street, and these become temporary shrines of remembrance.

    Advent in Zagreb and Elsewhere: December in Croatia

    December used to be a quiet time to visit Croatia. No longer!

    The astonishing success of Advent in Zagreb has transformed tourism in what was once a very quiet month. Named Europe's Best Christmas Market three years in a row, Zagreb now has a December tourism product to rival any city in Europe.

    And not only that, but Zagreb's success has trickled down to the rest of the country. Here is an overview of Advent in Croatia 2018 from the Croatian National Tourist Board.

    For more information on the main event, Advent in Zagreb.

    A Tourism Giant in Its Quietest Month: Croatia in January

    As elsewhere in Europe, January starts with a bang in Croatia. New Year celebrations are spectacular, and everyone gets into the mood. There are major events and concerts in all the major cities.

    The seasonal holiday continues to include the public holiday on January 6. After this, it is time to return to work and see what the new year brings. As such, January after the New Year celebrations is not the liveliest time to visit Croatia. But if that suits you, many cultural attractions are available year round. You will have them more or less to yourself at the beginning of the year.

    The Best Time to Visit the Pearl of the Adriatic: Dubrovnik in February

    Living on Hvar for 13 years, I had the feeling that winter went on forever in Croatia, and that nothing ever happened.

    And then I went to Dubrovnik in the first week of February a few years ago. I was stunned.

    Dubrovnik truly is one of the great cities of the world, but its popularity makes it increasingly hard to enjoy. Come in the winter and little is open, but come in the summer, and it is too crowded.

    My advice? Come in the first week of February to celebrate the Feast of St. Blaise. The beloved patron saint of Dubrovnik is revered by its citizens, who put on quite a show of affection. Processions, traditions, concerts, fabulous food, and unbridled joy. The Feast of St. Blaise is the time of year when locals reclaim their city from the tourists, and I heartily recommend a visit at this time. How is the experience? Well, something like this.

    Emerging from Winter Hibernation: March in Croatia

    March is an interesting time to visit Croatia, for the country is waking up from its annual winter sleep. This is particularly true on the coast, where many resorts close down for the summer.

    If Easter falls earlier, March will be a little livelier. Don't be put off by coming in March, however. You are much more likely to have an authentic experience with locals, who are fully recovered from the previous tourist season.

    It is also a great month for adventure tourism, city breaks and general exploring. The temperatures are agreeable in the coastal areas, the crowds are non-existent, and the first seasonal flights are in operation.

    Visit Croatia 12 months a year. There is plenty to see and do, whatever the month, and Croatia is one of the most diverse destinations in Europe. All that remains is for you to decide which Croatia is the one for you.

    sarajevoliving@gmail.com (Paul Bradbury) What You Need To Know Wed, 03 Mar 2021 16:00:00 +0100
    Croatian Language: How, Where to Learn, Dialects & Idioms https://www.total-croatia.com/en/croatian-language https://www.total-croatia.com/en/croatian-language The Croatian language is not an easy one to learn, but why not try? How and where to learn, a look at those pesky dialects and some common mistakes.

  • The Croatian language: an introduction
  • Croatian language and Serbo-Croat
  • Common mistakes foreigners make speaking Croatian
  • Common mistakes Croatians make speaking English
  • It is the Croatian dialects which will kill you
  • How to speak the Croatian language using only vowels
  • Just when you thought it could not get any more incomprehensible - meet Bednja
  • Learning the Croatian language: courses and schools
  • Croatian tongue-twisters - wrap your head around these
  • The Croatian language: an introduction

    Even though a lot of Croatians speak fluent English and you probably could survive without learning Hrvatski (that’s how Croatians call their language), it would be a shame if you didn’t try, if nothing else, just to marvel at the vast number of barely pronounceable consonant clusters that this Slavic language has in store for you.

    Standard Croatian is based on Shtokavian (štokavski) dialect, used by most speakers in Zagreb as well, and there are two additional dialects spoken in Croatia: Chakavian (čakavski) and Kajkavian (kajkavski). The dialects got their names on the basis of the word for “what?” used in that respective dialect, which is što in Shtokavian, ča in Chakavian, and kaj in Kajkavian. The dialects are very different, hence the standardisation, otherwise a person from the Dalmatian islands and a person from Zagorje would find it very difficult to understand one another.

    Croatian is a Slavic language, so it might be easier for you to understand and learn it if you have had some previous experience in learning Russian or Polish, for example, which are part of the same language family. It’s going to be hard at the beginning because the language is so different than English, which is a Germanic language, and you’ll have to grasp some totally unfamiliar concepts. The most difficult part for most people is the gender (there are 3), which determines the suffixes of many words in your sentence, and the cases (there are 7), which, roughly based on prepositions in front of words, determine an even greater number of suffixes that you need to add to words.

    Croatian language and Serbo-Croat

    Is there a difference between the Croatian language and Serbo-Croat? And if so, what is it?

    Yes! If you moving around Croatia asking it people speak Serbo-Croat, you will find yourself pretty unpopular. Serbo-Croat was the official language of former Yugoslavia. As with other symbols of the newly independent Croatia, efforts have been made to shed the country of memories of its former Yugoslav past.

    In Croatian language terms, this meant talking up the differences between Croatian and Serbian. The two languages are essentially the same (apart from the fact Serbian also uses Cyrillic), but independence has made them increasingly different.

    An airport (aerodrom) became 'zracna luka' (literally an air harbour) in Croatian, for example. And Oktober became 'listopad' (literally leaves falling).

    There are much bigger differences between the dialects of Croatian than between standard Croatian and standard Serbian. Bosnian and Montenegrin are also essentially the same language. Macedonian and Slovenian (also from the former Yugoslavia) are Slavic in nature, but not understood as easily.

    So if a Croat applies for a job and claims to speak Croatian, Bosnian, Serbian and Montenegrin fluently, he may not be the polyglot he appears. But he is certainly enterprising...

    Common mistakes foreigners make speaking Croatian

    Where would we be without making mistakes in a foreign language? I have committed my fair share of linguistic faux pax over the years. From trying to cross the Black Sea by spoon in Russian to urinating a book in Croatian. If you don't have a go, you will never learn.

    So what are the most common mistakes foreigners make when learning Croatian? We asked a Croatian language teacher who specialises in foreigners learning. That article inspired a particularly useful contribution from a foreigner who was learning Croatian. 25 tips on learning Croatia from a foreigner who is trying.

    Common mistakes Croatians make speaking English

    And while this article is about how to learn Croatian, it seems that there might also be a place for the reverse article. 25 common mistakes Croatians make when speaking English.

    It is the Croatian dialects which will kill you

    I have tried, mostly unsuccessfully, to learn a number of foreign languages in my time. Being reasonably fluent in Russian before I moved to Croatia meant that I did not find Croatian to be that complicated. I had already been through my Slavic baptism of fire with Russian.

    In fact, the more I looked at Croatian, the more I realised it was the most logical language in the world. Yes, really.

    Yes, there were some exceptions you had to learn, such as 'k' plus 'i' equals 'ci' (so Afrika, but u Africi) but there were few in number. After that, it was all pretty regular IF you got the hang of the Slavic language formation.

    Nowhere is this more true than reading. I watched in awe at my 4-year-old daughter, as she learned the letters of the Croatian alphabet with ease. The next day she was able to read any Croatian word I gave her. And I mean anyone. What you hear is what you get.

    And then she started learning the English alphabet and the joys of spelling. I think she has had the impression that her British dad is a little odd ever since.

    But, as logical as the Croatian language is, it is the dialects which will kill you. Hvar, for example, has no less than 8 words for chisel. And the big joke is you cannot find a chisel on the island for love or money.

    While the UK has dialects, it seems at times that Croatia has entirely different languages, and levels of comprehension between Croats is minimal at times. What hope for us poor foreigners...

    How to speak the Croatian language using only vowels

    Croatian is a language of extremes. Some of its finest wines are starved of vowels - the majestic Grk on Korcula and Prc from Hvar, for example.

    But in other situations, especially Dalmatia, consonants are superfluous, and vowels reign supreme. Never had a conversation with someone who speaks only in vowels? It goes something like this video below.


    Just when you thought it could not get any more incomprehensible - meet Bednja

    And just when you thought you might have mastered all forms of Croatian dialect, along comes a slice of intangible UNESCO heritage. Meet Bednja, the Croatian dialect/language spoken in the hills around majestic Trakoscan Castle in Varazdin County.

    Learning the Croatian language: courses and schools

    Most private foreign language schools offer Croatian for foreigners and you can learn it within a group, which is less expensive, or you can have individual lessons, which is more expensive, but also more personal and it can be adjusted to your learning style and speed.

    You can find some schools and choose the one closest to you on the map below:

    The leading institution in learning Croatian is Croaticum. In addition to semester and monthly courses which cost €700 (A1-C2 levels), this centre also organizes Little Schools of Croatian Language and Culture (€450) in winter, summer, and autumn.

    Contact details:

    Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (Filozofski fakultet)
    Ivana Lučića 3, Zagreb

    Administration: Sara Semenski

    Room B-103 (Department for Croatian Language and Literature)

    Office hours: Mon – Fri: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
    Phone: +385 (1) 6120-068
    Email: croaticum@ffzg.hr

    There is also an e-learning course organized by the University of Zagreb, intended for beginners. It consists of 24 interactive teaching hours with experienced native speakers, over Skype or Webinar. The cost of a semester is €500.

    For all detailed information and application form, send an email to: 

    or contact

    Marija Bošnjak / Lidija Cvikić
    University of  Zagreb
    Croatian e-learning course 
    Email: ecroatian@gmail.com

    Lada Kanajet-Šimić
    Croatian heritage foundation, Zagreb 
    Phone: (+385 1) 61 15 116
    Email: lada@matis.hr

    Loecsen is a very useful website to get you started, or even to practice your Croatian while you learn it. There are quizzes, tests, and mp3 files that you can download and learn and revise wherever you are.

    Croatian tongue-twisters - wrap your head around these

    With this tongue twister you can practice the rolling R:

    Riba ribi grize rep.
    A fish bites another fish on the tail.

    With this tongue twister you can train pronouncing the V in Croatian as W:
    Voda vod do voda!
    This is difficult to translate properly, word for word it is “water-tap-till-tap”.

    If you can master this tongue twister, then you can pronounce Č without any problems:
    Cvrči, cvrči cvrčak na čvoru crne smrče.

    The leafhopper chirps, chirps on the branch of the black pine.
    Literal translation: Chirp, chirps the leafhopper on the knot of the black pine.

    With this tongue twister you can practice the difference between Š and Ć:
    Na štriku se suši šosić.
    On this washing line a miniskirt is drying.

    Here is a tongue twister to practice lj sound:
    Ljubim Ljubu i Ljubu i ljuljam se.
    I kiss Ljubo and Ljuba and sway by.

    Petar Petru pleo petlju pokraj puta po sto puta.
    Petar has braided Petar a hundred times with a ribbon next to the path.

    Na vrh brda vrba mrda.
    On the summit of a mountain a willow is swaying.

    Četiri čavčića na čunčiću čučeći cijuču.
    Four small jackdaws whistle crouching on the boat.

    Svaka svraka skakala na dva kraka.
    Every magpie hops on two arms.

    Ja znam da znam da ti ne znaš ono što ja znam da znam.
    I know, that I know, that you don’t know, that what I know, I know.

    Četristo četrdeset četiri čavke čuče na čamcu.
    Four hundred and forty four jackdaws crouch on the boat.

    Hrvoje sa Hvara hrani hrčka.
    Hrvoje from Hvar feeds the hamster.

    sarajevoliving@gmail.com (Paul Bradbury) What You Need To Know Wed, 03 Mar 2021 13:10:00 +0100
    Religion in Croatia: Catholics, Politics, Education & Diversity https://www.total-croatia.com/en/religion-in-croatia https://www.total-croatia.com/en/religion-in-croatia A look at religion in Croatia, a very Catholic country. Other faiths, holy days, religious education in school, politics and the Catholic Church.

  • Religion in Croatia, an overwhelmingly Catholic affair
  • Which other faiths have status in Croatia?
  • English-language religious services in Croatia.
  • Religious education in Croatian schools
  • Politics and Religion in Croatia
  • The main religious holidays in Croatia
  • Religion in Croatia, an overwhelmingly Catholic affair

    Croatia is an overwhelmingly Catholic country, and religion is an important part of the national psyche. According to the 2001 census, the religious faiths of Croatians were broken down as follows - Roman Catholic 87.8%, Orthodox 4.4%, other Christian 0.4%, Muslim 1.3%, other and unspecified 0.9%, none 5.2% (and 57 people claimed Hajduk Split as their official religion in the 2011 census, but that is another story).

    religion in croatia faiths

    The Catholic Church has a very strong connection with the State. Indeed a billion kuna leaves the Ministry of Finance each year for the Catholic Church.

    Croatia's strong affiliation to its religion is all the more understandable when one looks at the country's history and neighbours. Aggressive armies from Orthodox and Muslim countries have attacked Croatia throughout history. Add to that the Communist era of former Yugoslavia. Croatia's Catholic church was not only religion but an essential part of its national identity.

    Despite its laid-back lifestyle, Croatia is a very conservative country. Sunday mass is attended by many, and religious holidays are observed, well, religiously.

    There are many religious processions throughout the year, as Croatians celebrate various events and patron saints. These are often spectacular in character, but it should be remembered that they are not tourist attractions. What to do if a procession passes through the square where you are enjoying a well-earned cocktail? You should stand in silence, putting the drink out of sight if possible, until the procession has passed.

    Which other faiths have status in Croatia?

    Despite being overwhelmingly Catholic, there is considerable religious diversity in Croatia. Did you know, for example, that there is both a mosque and a synogogue within the walls of Diocletian's Palace in Split?

    Total Split did an overview of non-Catholic services in the city a few years ago.

    In line with the concordats signed with the Roman Catholic Church and in an effort to further define their rights and privileges within a legal framework, the government has additional agreements with the following 14 religious and Faith communities:

    Serbian Orthodox Church/Patriarchy (Canonical) (SPC), Islamic Community of Croatia, Evangelical Church, Reformed Christian Church in Croatia, Protestant Reformed Christian Church in Croatia, Pentecostal Church, Union of Pentecostal Churches of Christ, Seventh-day Adventist Church, Union of Baptist Churches, Church of God, Church of Christ, Reformed Movement of Seventh-day Adventists, Bulgarian Orthodox Church, Macedonian Orthodox Church, and the Croatian Old Catholic Church.

    religion in croatia map

    English-language religious services in Croatia.

    There is a very active Anglican church community in Zagreb, and they meet regularly to worship. You can learn more on their website. I am sure they will be helpful for people looking for other forms of English-language worship in Croatia.

    You can also try some of the contacts in this overview of non-Catholic worshipping options in Split.

    Religious education in Croatian schools

    Religion is taught in Croatian schools from the first grade. In reality, this means - at least in the early years - religion from a very Catholic standpoint.

    Religious instruction, known as vjeronauk, is a voluntary subject. If parents decide not to enrol their kids in the subject, there is usually no alternative subject on offer. Kids therefore spend that lesson in the library.

    Having been educated in a Jesuit boarding school in the UK for 9 years, the approach to teaching religion in Croatia is a lot more intense than anything I experienced.

    If you want to enrol your child in religious instruction in Croatian schools for another religion, that option is currently not available.

    The extent of religious education in Croatian schools is often a national debate. In this modern era where more practical subjects are required to equip kids for the modern world, some feel that there is too much emphasis on religion and not enough on more practical subjects.

    Religious also spills over into the way of life in the community. Sunday Mass is always full. The morning coffees on the main squares of Croatian towns and villages afterwards are an opportunity to catch up with friends.

    I have noticed in recent years just how much more money and show goes on what were once very simple religious events, such as First Communion and Confirmation. These now almost resemble small weddings, and there is considerable social pressure on the child in question.

    Politics and Religion in Croatia

    Is there a separation between Church and State in Croatia?

    You will get a different answer depending on who you speak to. But one thing is for sure: the relationship is very close. Conservative politicians have become adept at using the power of the Church for their own political ends.

    The Church has been very active on subjects such as the referendum on gay marriage and the Istanbul Convention. And it is always a joy to watch elections taking place on a Sunday. Some priests are very political, and the congregation often goes straight from the sermon to the voting booth before sitting for that coffee.

    The main religious holidays in Croatia

    As you can see from the public holidays in Croatia, celebration religious holidays is important.

    Of the 13 national public holidays each year, no less than 7 are religious. These are the Epiphany (January 6), Easter Monday, Corpus Christi (June 20), the Assumption (August 15), All Saints Day (November 1), Christmas and Boxing Day.

    sarajevoliving@gmail.com (Paul Bradbury) What You Need To Know Wed, 03 Mar 2021 06:21:00 +0100
    Croatian Diaspora: Emigration History, Locations, Homeland https://www.total-croatia.com/en/croatian-diaspora https://www.total-croatia.com/en/croatian-diaspora The Croatian diaspora is spread all over the world. A history of emigration, the size of emigre communities & a complicated relationship with the homeland.

  • The Croatian Diaspora: an introduction
  • The Diaspora in former Yugoslavia and Eastern Europe
  • The Croatian Diaspora: Western Europe and Beyond
  • Croatian Diaspora institutions and conferences
  • The Homeland and the Croatian Diaspora: a complicated love affair
  • The Croatian Diaspora: an introduction

    While the exact numbers of Croats living outside Croatia are hard to determine, the numbers are significant. The number of persons of Croatian origin living abroad being almost equal to the number of Croats living in Croatia. According to some estimates, about four million Croats are residing in other countries.

    The diaspora members come roughly in three groups: countries in which they are one of the constituent nations (Bosnia and Herzegovina); states in which they are officially or unofficially considered to be a national minority (Austria, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Czech Republic, Italy, Kosovo, Hungary, Macedonia, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Serbia); and other countries to which Croats emigrated in smaller or greater numbers throughout the history.

    The first significant wave of “emigration” occurred in the 15th century, with the expansion of the Ottoman Empire. The consequences of this are Croat national minorities in Austria, Hungary, Slovakia and Italy. The second wave took place in the second half of the 19th and early 20th century, with a large number of Croats moving to North and South America, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

    Emigration and World War II

    The Second World War prompted a new wave of emigration. It consisted of different groups of people: refugees, persons who remained abroad as prisoners of war or forced laborers and, in 1945, members of the defeated military forces who withdraw from Croatia together with the occupying German and Italian forces. According to the relevant sources, about 157,000 persons emigrated from Croatia between 1941 and 1948.

    Some went immediately after the war in order to avoid reprisals by the winners (mostly to Argentina and other South American countries). In the years immediately after the war, about 85,000 people moved to other parts of Yugoslavia, mostly as part of the organised “colonisation drive.”

    The next wave happened in the late 1960s and early 1970s when several hundred thousand Croats emigrated due to economic and political reasons. In recent years, another major wave occurred after Croatia entered the European Union in 2013, which lifted restrictions on employment in Western European countries, primarily Germany and Ireland.

    Politics and economics: emigration drivers

    Croats have left Croatia left for economic and political reasons. The older Croat population abroad, primarily "economic emigrants," still demonstrate an interest in events in the homeland. The younger generation has been more assimilated, but is still interested in its Croatian roots. A particular group of Croatian immigrants consists of "economic immigrants". These largely emigrated in the 1960s and mostly live in Western European countries.

    Some of them are well integrated into their new homelands (especially the younger Croats). Others, meanwhile, still consider themselves to be temporary emigrants and want to return to Croatia.

    Croatian emigration during the 1990s was mostly refugees from the war-torn areas. Most emigrants in this period moved to Western European countries and the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Some of them have since returned to Croatia.

    After Croatia entered the European Union in 2013, there has been massive emigration to Western European countries. While the numbers are still somewhat vague, there is little doubt that they are in the hundreds of thousands. According to recently published data, far more people than previously thought have left Croatia since it entered the EU. While official Croatian statistics for the period from 2013 to 2016 report 102,000 emigrants, foreign sources say that the number of emigrants was significantly higher and reached 230,000 Croats.

    Politics in Croatia and the diaspora

    The diaspora is nowadays represented in parliament by three MPs. These are elected by Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina and all around the world. The MPs are invariably members of either HDZ or other right-wing political options. The right of these MPs to have a seat in parliament, despite being elected by people who do not live or pay taxes in Croatia, is a topic of constant debates in Croatia.

    However, since the diaspora members faithfully vote for HDZ, and the constitution cannot realistically be changed without HDZ’s support, the chances of diaspora ever losing the right to vote for parliament (or for president) is virtually non-existent. Previously it was even worse, when the diaspora had as many as 12 seats.

    The Croatian Diaspora in former Yugoslavia and Eastern Europe

    Majority of Croats moved to Germany, more than 71 per cent, as well as to Austria and Ireland, a country which practically did not even appear on the list of countries to which Croats were moving until just a few years ago.

    Apart from freedom of movement within the EU, the main reasons for emigration are the perception of emigrants about better living conditions in other EU member states, as well as a higher degree of economic development. It is worrying that many say they will never return and have moved abroad together with their families.

    Bosnia and Herzegovina

    According to the Bosnian constitution, Croats are one of the three constituent peoples in the country. They are not actually emigrants since they settled in the area starting from the 7th century when Croats came to what is today Croatia as well. During history, they sometimes lived in the same country with Croatia and were sometimes separated by borders of various countries which sooner or later disappeared. According to the 2013 census, 544,780 Croats were living in the country, making up 15.4% of the population. For comparison, in 1961, Croats comprised 21.7% of the population of Bosnia and Herzegovina, while in the 1991 census, there were 760,852 (17.4%) Croats.

    Croats as a National Minority

    Croatians are an indigenous minority community in 12 European countries. These are Austria, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Czechia, Italy, Kosovo, Hungary, Macedonia, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Serbia.

    The status of members of the Croatian national minority is regulated differently in individual countries. Legislation is in accordance with local legislation and international or bilateral obligations. The scope and level of these rights are very different. There are still no solid and binding international legal documents in the area of protection of national minorities.

    Croats have been living in these 12 European countries for centuries. Despite various difficulties and challenges they face, they have managed to retain their language, cultural and national identity. The government is undertaking a number of activities to develop the Croatian minority communities. This includes encouraging them to keep awareness of being an integral part of the Croatian people and their cultural space.

    A diaspora in Austria for 500 years

    There are some 27,000 and 50,000 of the so-called Burgenland Croats (Gradišćanski Hrvati) living in Austria. Their predecessors moved there during the 16th century, and the main centre is the town of Eisenstadt (Željezno). In addition to them, Austria also hosts a large, more recent Croat emigrant community.

    As for Bulgaria, Croats started moving there in the 18th century, with the most significant number coming in the early 20th century from what is today Kosovo. There are between several hundred and several thousand Croats living in Bulgaria.

    In Montenegro, Croats mostly live near the Adriatic coast, in Tivat, Kotor, Herceg Novi, Budva and Bar. At the time of the latest census in 2011, some 6,000 Croats were living there.

    Croats started moving to what is today Czech Republic in the 16th century, to the region of Lower Moravia. There are some 2,000 Croats and their descendants living there.

    A diaspora in Italy for 600 years

    The Croat minority has been living in the Molise region in Italy since the 15th and 16th century when their forefathers fled from the Turks. The group consists of some 2,000 people.

    Croats in Kosovo are descendants from traders and miners from Dubrovnik and Bosnia and Herzegovina who moved there in the 14th century. While in 1991 some 8,800 Croats were living in Kosovo, by 1998 the number had fallen to just 1,800 and is much lower now.

    Croats have been living in Hungary for centuries, moving there from the 15th to the 18th century. At the 2011 census, 26,000 people in Hungary said they were ethnic Croats.

    In Macedonia, some 2,600 Croats mostly live in Skopje, Bitola and Štip, according to the official figures.

    Croats started moving to Romania in the 14th century, with the latest census figures showing that the community has some 5,400 members.

    Croats came to Slovakia in three major waves: in the mid-16th century, in the mid-17th century and late 17th century, again fleeing the Turks. In 2011, 1,234 Slovak citizens reported their ethnicity as Croatian.

    In Slovenia, Croats live mostly in the Bela Krajina region, in the Slovenian part of Istria, and near the border with Croatia. Estimates of the number of Croats in the neighbouring country is around 35,000.

    Croats have been living in Serbia for centuries, mostly in the northern Vojvodina province and in Belgrade. In 2011, 57,900 Croats were living in Serbia, down from 70,600 in 2002.

    The Croatian Diaspora: Western Europe and Beyond

    Based on the estimates of Croatian diplomatic missions and consular offices, Croatian Catholic missions, as well as censuses in the countries where Croatian emigrants and their descendants reside, and on the basis of estimates by the Croatian communities themselves, the best estimate is that about three million Croatian emigrants and their descendants live in other countries. Based on these estimates, the number of Croats and their descendants is as follows (according to the Central State Office for Croats Abroad):

    Argentina: 250,000

    Australia: 250,000

    The Croatian Diaspora in Australia

    Australia is a traditional immigrant country to which Croatian settlers first came in the second half of the 19th century. The first immigrants from Croatia, mostly from Dalmatia, moved to Western Australia. The centre of early emigration was Perth, together with Fremantle. After the Second World War, people from other parts of Croatia started moving to Australia, though inhabitants of the coastal area and islands remained a majority. In the second half of the 20th century, there was a significant increase in the number of Croatian emigrants to Australia.

    Austria: 90,000, Belgium: 6,000, Brazil: 20,000, Bolivia: 5,000, Chile: 200,000, Denmark: 1,000, Ecuador: 4,000, France: 40,000, Italy: 60,000, South Africa: 8,000 and Canada: 250,000

    The Croatian Diaspora in Canada

    Most Croats live in the provinces of Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta, Quebec and Manitoba, and in cities Toronto, Mississauga, Vancouver, Montreal, Winnipeg, Calgary. Croatian emigration falls into four generations, or waves.

    The first generation of Croatian emigrants arrived in Canada between 1890 and 1914. The second generation arrived in the period between the two world wars from the monarchy of Yugoslavia. The third generation are Croats who came from Socialist Yugoslavia in the years immediately after the Second World War. The fourth generation are immigrants who arrived in Canada during the 1990s.

    Luxembourg: 2,000, The Netherlands: 10,000, Norway: 2,000, New Zealand: 40,000 and Germany: 350,000

    Croats started settling in Germany in the 19th century. Due to the major industrial development after the Second World War, when there was a great need for labour, Croats again started moving to Germany. The emigration of the 1960s and 1970s was largely economic-based.

    Paraguay: 5,000, Peru: about 6,000 and the United States: 1,200,000

    The Croatian Diaspora in the United States

    The largest Croatian communities are located in Chicago with around 150,000 members, in St. Louis (40,000), Detroit (7,000), San Pedro (35,000), San Jose (5,000), New York, New Jersey and Connecticut (80,000). The arrival of Croats in America was part of the European migration process.

    Croats were some of the first Europeans in America. According to historians, several sailors from Dubrovnik sailed on Columbus’ ships. The colony at Ebeneezer, in Georgia, was probably the site of the first mass immigration of Croats to the United States.

    The so-called modern colonisation started from Dalmatia and the Croatian Littoral region. Most immigrants were concentrated along the Mississippi River, the Pacific Ocean's shore and in the New York City.

    The more massive emigration period from Croatia to the United States began in the late-19th century, between 1890 and the First World War (around 500,000 people). Croats were employed in coal mines, railways and on the road network construction. About 150,000 people moved to the United States between the two world wars.

    Sweden: 35,000, Switzerland: 80,000, Uruguay: 5,000, Great Britain: 5,000 and Venezuela: 5,000

    Croatian Diaspora institutions

    There are two main bodies which work on developing ties between Croatia and its diaspora. One is the Central State Office for Croats Abroad (with the Council of the Government of the Republic of Croatia for the Croatians outside the Republic of Croatia), and the other is the Croatian Heritage Foundation.

    There are various initiatives to bring the diaspora together and encourage greater connection with the Homeland. These include two major conferences, which take place each year. The Croatian Diaspora Congress will take place for the fourth time in Split in 2019. The G2.4 Conference in Zagreb is more focused on investment, and it is growing in importance each year.

    Croatian diaspora conferences are fascinating things to witness if you are a foreign fly on the wall. Here are some of my impressions now that I have attended a few.

    The Homeland and the Croatian Diaspora: a complicated love affair

    One of the most complicated relationships in Croatian society is between the Homeland and the diaspora. As described above, the waves of emigration took place at various times and for various reasons.

    The economic impact on ordinary households in Croatia from the diaspora is an important factor is making ends meet. Some 2 billion euro arrived from diaspora relatives in 2017, a significant percentage of the country's economy.

    During the Homeland War, diaspora cash was an essential source of revenue, even more so after the war. Diaspora money poured in to support the young independent country, as love of the homeland and a willingness to help took precedence.

    Sadly, that trust was abused by unscrupulous people in Croatia, and a lot of that money simply disappeared. A level of mistrust about investing in Croatia has been the result. This is a tragedy, as Croatia is in desperate need of investment, and the diaspora is a natural partner.

    Things are changing slowly, however, and the new generation of entrepreneurial diaspora businessman is engaging with its counterpart in Croatia. The future looks very bright indeed in that regard.

    One of the most vocal sections of the diaspora are the descendants of the 1945 wave in Australia. Largely descended from grandparents who emigrated for political and economic reasons after World War II, their view of Croatia is a little distorted as a result.

    Some of the greatest Croatian patriots, despite many not able to speak their native language, the solution to Croatia's problems lies in lustration and rooting out all the Communists. As one Facebook commentator put it recently, when talking about this section of diaspora talking about Croatia:

    "It is like llamas born in St. Petersburg zoo talking about Peru."

    For the latest about the Croatian diaspora, follow the dedicated TCN section.

    sarajevoliving@gmail.com (Paul Bradbury) What You Need To Know Wed, 03 Mar 2021 06:17:00 +0100
    Croatian Inventions & Discoveries: From Tesla to Rimac https://www.total-croatia.com/en/croatian-inventions https://www.total-croatia.com/en/croatian-inventions Croatia may be a small country, Croatian inventions and discoveries have shaped the world over the ages. From Nikola Tesla to Mate Rimac and much more.

    The current tourist board slogan of Croatia, Full of Life is a fine setting for the topic of Croatian inventions and discoveries. For the truth is that, while one of Europe's hottest tourist destinations may be full of life, have you ever stopped to consider how much your life is full of Croatia?


    The one and only Nikola Tesla

    Let's deal first with the elephant in the room. Was Nikola Tesla a Serb or a Croat? Along with everything else in this proud region, different countries claim their bragging rights.

    The truth is that Tesla was an ethnic Serb born in the village of Smiljan, which is located in modern Croatia near Gospic. He seemed to be equally proud of his dual heritage, but more concerned with his life's work, which was considerable.

    With around 300 patents for his many inventions, Tesla is perhaps best know for inventing the first alternating current (AC) motor and developed AC generation and transmission technology.

    Learn more about the genius that was Nikola Tesla.


    A modern-day electric genius: Mate Rimac

    He may be just 30, but Mate Rimac is already one of the greats in the world of Croatian inventions. In a country where there is no car industry whatsoever, Rimac Automobili has taken the global car industry by storm, attracting multi-million dollar investment from the likes of Porsche in the process.

    croatian inventions mate rimac
    With Mate Rimac and Concept One at the 2016 Nikla Tesla EV Rally

    Producers of the fastest electric supercar in the world, initially Concept One, but now Concept Two, the core business of Rimac Automobili is in supplying battery and other technology to other automotive businesses.

    With plans also to open a factory in China, the sky is the limit for the young entrepreneur, and you can learn more about Rimac and his plans in this 2018 excellent article in the Financial Times. Fast forward a couple of years, and here is Rimac on the BBC homepage.

    Forensic fingerprinting: Ivan Vucetic

    Croatia is an extremely safe country, and this is one of the many things which attracts millions of tourists each year.

    The country has a strong tradition of safety, for it was a man from Hvar who discovered the importance of fingerprinting in fighting crime.

    croatian inventions ivan vucetic

    Ivan Vuctetic emigrated to Argentina at the end of the 19th century, where he became a police officer called Juan Vucetic. A bloody handprint in a murder case propelled Vucetic to global prominence, and people know him today as the grandfather of dactyloscopy. Learn more about Ivan Vucetic and the art of fingerprinting.

    Slavoljub Penkala: from the pen to the hot water bottle

    Born in Hungary, Eduard Penkala in 1871, Eduard Penkala moved to Zagreb in the kingdom of Croatia-Slavonia at the turn of the century. He decided to become a naturalised Croat out of loyalty to him new homeland. He also took the name Slavoljub (slavophile).

    Penkala was prolific, and among the Croatian inventions he gave the world, he is most famous for the first mechanical pencil in 1906, as well as the first solid-ink fountain pen in 1907. He was a partner in the Penkala-Moster Company, which was one of the biggest pen and pencil factories in the world.

    Penkala's genius extended far beyond pens. He built the first Croatian aircraft in 1910, which was the first to take off from Zagreb's first-ever airport. Among the 80 patents he held, other inventions included the hot water bottle.

    Croatian style in Paris: the cravat

    croatian inventions cravat

    Croatians are very stylish, and their fashion puts this poorly-dressed Englishman to shame. It comes as no surprise, therefore, to learn that Croatia has made an elegant sartorial contribution to the world - the cravat.

    From 'The Art of Tying the Cravat' by H. B. LeBlanc in 1828:

    "In 1660 a regiment of Croats arrived in France — a part of their singular costume excited the greatest admiration, and was immediately and generally imitated.

    This was a tour de cou, made (for the private soldiers) of common lace, and of muslin or silk for the officers.

    The ends were arranged en rosette , or ornamented with a button or tuft, which hung gracefully on the breast. This new arrangement, which confined the throat but very slightly, was at first termed a Croat, since corrupted to Cravat.

    The Cravats of the officers and people of rank were extremely fine, and the ends were embroidered or trimmed with broad lace.

    Those for the lower classes were subsequently made of cloth or cotton, or at the best of black taffeta, plaited: which was tied round the neck by two small strings."

    International Cravat Day takes place in Croatia on October 18. Schoolchildren wear ties to school, and many people make an effort to celebrate this part of Croatian heritage. Some even tie a cravat around the sixth largest Roman Amphitheatre in Europe, the Pula Arena. Back in 2003, the biggest cravat in the world came to Istria, as you can see in the video below.


    SMS parking: made in Zagreb

    I remember looking for parking in Zagreb soon after I moved to Croatia. It was more than impressive to find a new mobile phone service on offer - paying for parking by SMS. Zagreb really was catching up with the rest of Europe, I remember thinking to myself.

    A couple of months later, I was on business in London and, surprisingly, the British capital did not have the same parking technology on offer. It was only several years later that I realised that not only was Zagreb the first city in the world to offer SMS-parking services, but the technology was in fact Croatian. SMS parking technology is now popular in many countries around the world. Just one more contribution from Croatia to the world.

    Croatian inventions from the air: Faust Vrancic and the parachute

    Perhaps not quite as prolific as Nikola Tesla who followed him, but Faust Vrancic made a superb contribution to the world during his life in Sibenik in the 16th and 17th centuries.

    croatian inventions parachute

    He is credited with, among other things, the invention of the first functional parachute, the suspension bridge, and the wind turbine. Vrancic's life and work is available to explore at the Faust Vrancic Memorial Centre on the island of Prvic close to Sibenik.

    When music meets nature: Nikola Basic and the Zadar sea organ

    Croatia is a natural paradise with a long tradition in music. So what happens when you combine the two with a little architectural flair from one of Croatia's most renowned architects?

    The sea organ (Croatian: Morske orgulje) is an architectural sound art object located in Zadar. It is an experimental musical instrument, which plays music by way of sea waves and tubes. The tubes are located underneath a set of large marble steps.

    Architect Nikola Basic designed the sea organ, which has become a firm tourism hit. Learn more about it and see it in action in the video below.


    Saving lives and protecting health: Quarantine and the Dubrovnik Republic

    Dubrovnik may be the real-life Kings Landing for Game of Thrones fans today, but the Pearl of the Adriatic has quite some history of its own (you can learn a lot of it from TCN's 25 things to know about Dubrovnik). But did you know that Dubrovnik was the first place in the world to introduce the concept of quarantine?

    Quarantine was first introduced in 1377 in Dubrovnik on Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast, and the first permanent plague hospital (lazaretto) was opened by the Republic of Venice in 1423 on the small island of Santa Maria di Nazareth.

    croatian inventions quarantine

    Miroslav Radman and the SOS response

    From SMS parking to SOS response. Back in 1975, Croat Miroslav Radman discovered and named SOS response, which Wikipedia perhaps explains better than I can:

    The SOS response is a global response to DNA damage in which the cell cycle is arrested and DNA repair and mutagenesis is induced. The system involves the RecA protein (Rad51 in eukaryotes). The RecA protein, stimulated by single-stranded DNA, is involved in the inactivation of the repressor (LexA) of SOS response genes thereby inducing the response. It is an error-prone repair system that contributes significantly to DNA changes observed in a wide range of species.

    Of torpedoes and water cannon

    Croatian inventions have played a prominent part in military operations as well. The home of the torpedo, for example, is in Rijeka.

    croatian inventions torpedo

    Giovanni Luppis came upon the unfinished plans of an unknown Austrian Marine Artillery officer for a small self-propelled boat loaded with explosives that could be deployed against enemy ships and steered from land. Luppis developed a prototype but was unsatisfied, but approached British engineer Robert Whitehead with the idea in Rijeka.

    Whitehead developed the concept into a successful self-steered explosive device which would strike below the waterline. Though the device was heavily modified from Luppis' concept and became known as the Whitehead torpedo, Whitehead credited Luppis as its inventor.

    Croatia also played a major role in the arrival of the water cannon. After the Second World War, Croat John Miskovich was working in Alaska as a gold miner. His Intelligiant water cannon invention put his mining days behind him forever.

    Miskovich's technology in today's world is in water cannon technology in the fields of mining and fire-fighting.

    Josip Belusic and the electric speedometer

    Perhaps it was fate that Mate Rimac invented the world's fastest electric supercar. For it was a compatriot some 130 years ago who invented the world's first electric speedometer.

    Josip Belusic from Labin in Istria designed and patented his electric speedometer in 1888, and he called it a velocimeter. His design beat 120 other patent entrants as the most accurate and complete at the Exposition Universell in Paris in 1890, thereby becoming officially accepted.

    The Boskovic atomic theory

    The Dubrovnik Republic produced many inspriational characters over the centuries. None more so that Rudjer Boskovic in the 18th century.

    croatian inventions boskovic atomic theory

    Boskovic produced a precursor of atomic theory and made many contributions to astronomy. These included the first geometric procedure for determining the equator of a rotating planet from three observations of a surface feature and for computing the orbit of a planet from three observations of its position. In 1753 he also discovered the absence of atmosphere on the Moon.

    Darko Pervan and laminate flooring

    Sweden is the European king of home furnishings thanks to IKEA. So it is perhaps no surprise that the invention of laminate flooring came from Sweden back in the 1970s. But the man who invented it was Swedish Croat, Darko Pervan.

    Diazepam and other tranquilisers from Leo Sternbach

    Croatia has a rich health tourism tradition, and indeed, organised tourism in Europe began in 1868 with the founding of the Hvar Health Society.

    Opatija is also a magnet for health tourism, and so it is perhaps no surprise that Opatija also plays an important role in drug development. For Opatija was the birthplace of one Leo Sternbach in 1908.

    Sternback would go on to earn global recognition as the man who discovered benzodiazepines. These include Diazepam, Benzodiazepine, Chlordiazepoxide, Flurazepam, Nitrazepam, Clonazepam, Flunitrazepam, and Trimetaphan camsilate. He died in 2005. Another Croatian inventor is related to the discoveries in this field of pharmaceutical discoveries: Franjo Kajfež held many patents for the synthesis of those compounds, and he even bacame a minister in Croatian government!

    Freedom! Abolition of slavery in Dubrovnik and Korcula

    croatian inventions slavery abolition romulic and stojcic
    Copyright Romulic and Stojcic

    Croatia has contributed so many things to the world, but perhaps none more surprising than the abolition of slavery. It is more than 600 years since the Dubrovnik Republic abolished slavery, but a Croatian island beat them to first place. That honour falls to the island of Korcula some 200 years earlier.

    sarajevoliving@gmail.com (Paul Bradbury) What You Need To Know Sat, 27 Feb 2021 06:20:49 +0100
    Currency In Croatia (2022 Travel Guide) https://www.total-croatia.com/en/currency-in-croatia-guide https://www.total-croatia.com/en/currency-in-croatia-guide The currency in Croatia is Croatian kuna (HRK), but since Croatia is a tourist country many businesses also accept the euro (EUR). In this article you will find an overview of everything related to Croatian kuna: where to convert money, cash, credit card payment options, advice for travellers and other useful information.

    Need specific info? Here are shortcuts to everything you will find in the text: About Kuna - Croatian Currency, Can You Use Euros in Croatia, Money in Croatia: Cash or Credit Card; Exchanging Kuna Currency: Best Rates, Exchange Offices, ATM's and Banks, Croatian Kuna: Dormice, Haircuts and Other Interesting Facts.

    What currency is used in Croatia?

    The unit of currency in Croatia is the Croatian kuna, which was introduced to the newly independent country in 1994, replacing the Croatian dinar (which was introduced to replace the Yugoslav dinar) at a rate of 1 kuna for 1000 dinar. The current plans are for the Croatian kuna to be replaced by Euro at the beginning of 2023, when Croatia enters the Eurozone. The official rate at which the exchange will happen will be 7,53450 kuna per euro.

    Kuna literally means 'marten', a throwback to earlier times when the currency of the region was animal skins, and marten pelts were considered valuable.

    It is often abbreviated to KN or HRK (Hrvatska kuna). One kuna is sub-divided into 100 lipa (which means linden tree).

    One theory about the naming of the lipa is that linden trees were traditionally planted around marketplaces.

    Banknote kuna come in denominations 5 (now discontinued), 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and (if you are very lucky) 1,000, as well as coins of 1, 2 and 5 (and very, very often one might come across the octangular 25 kuna coin, but don't get your hopes up - most Croatians haven't seen it either!).

    Lipa come in 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 coins, although the smaller ones are hardly seen these days, and indeed shops will often round the bill down to avoid dealing with them.

    Can you already use euros in Croatia?

    Yes… and no. OFFICIALLY, it is still illegal to do any transactions in anything but the national Croatian currency, the kuna. Until January 1st, 2023, when the euro will be introduced in Croatia. In practice, as is often the way in Croatia, there are ways around this.

    Property sales, for example, are often done in euro, and contract prices are often written in euro, but with a clause saying the euro price can convert into kuna at the day's rate of the Croatian national bank.

    Tourism plays a major part in Croatia's economy (20% of GDP), which means there is accordingly certain flexibility from tourist businesses in accepting foreign currencies.

    Shops, restaurants, bars and hotels may well accept foreign currency (euro is best, then probably US dollars and British pounds), although the rate will often be poorer.

    For example, the euro to kuna exchange rate normally hovers around 7.5 kuna for one euro, and shops may round that down to 7.0 (the official rate of exchange once the euro is introduced will be 7.53450). Credit cards in Croatia are changing.

    What is the best currency to take to Croatia?

    While the kuna is the best currency to have in Croatia as the only legal tender, the best foreign currency undoubtedly by far is the euro, followed by US dollars and British pounds.

    Please note that you cannot change not all currencies in Croatian banks, so also check before you travel.

    I was a little surprised to find that I could not exchange my excess dirhams after a trip to Dubai, for example.

    Banks usually have a list of the major currencies they access on the wall of the bank.

    Money advice for cruise ship travellers to Dubrovnik

    Cruise tourism is big business in Croatia, with up to a million people every year cruising to Dubrovnik alone.

    Often this is the only stop in Croatia, and there are plenty of Google searches from cruise tourists asking if they can use euro in Dubrovnik, especially as it is the legal tender in neighbouring cruising countries.

    The answer is above, that officially everything is in kuna and must be done in kuna, but major foreign currencies, in particular the euro, are readily accepted by tourist businesses catering to the cruise tourism business.

    Balance the money you will lose with a poorer conversion rate with the hassle of physically changing the money to decide whether or not you want the euro or kuna to be your currency in Croatia.

    Croatian Currency converter options

    There are many online converter options for currency in Croatia. I always use xe.com. Click here to get your latest rates.

    Money in Croatia: cash or credit card?

    Cash or credit card - the eternal question: which then is the best to travel with in Croatia?

    The best answer is a combination of the two.

    In general, credit cards are widely accepted in Croatia, but not as widespread as one might think for such a major tourist destination, and some restaurants even in top destinations such as Hvar and Dubrovnik do not accept credit cards, so it is wise to check before you sit and order.

    It used to be quite common in Croatia to be offered a better cash price for goods and services, although this is less the case these days.

    Also, keep in mind that tipping in Croatia (read more about it in our article) should always be done using cash money, as it's not possible to add the tips to your credit card.

    Can you exchange kuna outside Croatia?

    Yes… and no.

    The general rule is that if you can change kuna outside Croatia, you will get a significantly worse rate.  In many cases, you will not be able to change at all.

    Travel bureaux in places like London will accept them at poor rates, but I have been surprised at how hard it is to exchange kuna much closer to home.

    Montenegro, for example, has some banks which will accept them, but more which will not.

    But for the help of a friend in Prague a couple of years ago, I would have been in real trouble as all I had in my pocket were kuna. And no amount of cool haircuts on the banknotes managed to persuade anyone to exchange.

    I did, however, have better luck in Budapest.

    One country where the currency in Croatia is more widely accepted is the Croatian part of Bosnia and Hercegovina.

    Until recently, it was common to pay for services in kuna in Hercegovina, although things have tightened recently. But there is no problem exchanging kuna for Bosnian marks in banks.

    The best advice then - change your kuna before you leave Croatia.

    Where to find the Croatian National Bank exchange rate?

    All official money exchanges are according to the daily rate of the Croatian National Bank, which publishes a buying, selling and middle rate for all major currencies. Check out the latest official exchange rates from Croatian National Bank.

    Exchanging kuna currency: best rates, exchange offices, ATMs and banks

    In general, banks will give you a better exchange rate than exchange offices, and both may or may not charge a commission accordingly (or build their profit into a lower rate).

    ATMs are another option for dispensing cash, although please note that ONLY kuna will be dispensed. There are a couple of euro ATMs in Zagreb, but only for clients of that bank with a euro account.

    ATMs in Croatia all have an English-language option. ATMs in Croatia have various exchange rates and/or commissions, so beware when you're taking your money - some of them will give you far worse terms than any ATM by any 'proper' Croatian bank. Also, you can get your funds from your Revolut, Curve or Monese account from them as well. Just make sure you refuse the "DCC" (Dynamic Currency Conversion) when prompted in order to get the good conversion rates.

    Please note that daily withdrawal limits of between 1,600 and 2,000 kuna apply on most ATMs, however.

    If you want more, you will need to have to take your card into the bank and request assistance.


    If you are exchanging kuna to buy foreign currency in Croatia, plan ahead as the banks do not always have reserves of even the most mainstream currencies.

    I was shocked a couple of years ago that I could not buy £3,000 of British sterling at a major bank in the centre of Diocletian's Palace in Split. They only had £10 in the bank in pounds sterling. As a result, they told me to come back 24 hours later, which was too late. And this was before Brexit!

    Fortunately, the private exchange offices managed to get the cash, but not without a few phone calls. Banks can usually react to bigger foreign currency transactions within 24 hours, but it pays to check and plan ahead.

    Where to get the best rate for Croatian kuna? At home or abroad?

    In general, you will get the best kuna exchange rate on arrival in Croatia, but many tourists prefer to be more organised and have their local cash already sorted out.

    Although kuna are not widely available beyond Croatia's borders, they can be bought in advance, including a growing number of online options.

    This money comparison website has ten online options, for example, showing exchange rates, but also home much cash you will be left with once any commissions are taken into account.

    Bitcoin in Croatia

    No guide on money and currency in 2021 would be complete without mention the option of dealing with Bitcoin while in Croatia. As most people who own and deal with Bitcoin know already, there are ATMs which allow you to buy and sell your Bitcoin (so-called 2-way ATMs). At the moment of this writing, there aren't that many of such Bitcoin ATMs available in Croatia. Several different websites provide the lists and maps of various Bitcoin ATM's, and we direct you to check some of them: CoinATMRadar or honorarniposao.net (Croatian-language site). What both of those sites will tell you is that you can sell or purchase Bitcoin in Croatia on ATMs in Zagreb, Pula, Rijeka and Split. The commissions for the transactions are as per usual, and you will need your smartphone to finish the transaction.

    You can also buy or sell your Bitcoin in one of the three Bitcoin Stores in Croatia.

    Bitcoin and Croatian Post

    In addition to that, The Croatian Post has introduced their Crypto Center, a service which allows you to exchange your Bitcoin into Croatian Kuna in 55 of their offices. Their commission is around 6%, and the transaction cannot be anonymous (you need to identify yourself in order to receive the Croatian currency from them). Please take a look at the map below to find the offices where it's possible to do this:

    Purchasing Goods Using Bitcoin in Croatia

    If you want to use your Bitcoin wallet to purchase stuff directly with Bitcoin in Croatia, you will have options to do so. There just won't be that many options.

    You will be able to buy a car using Bitcoin in Croatia. Additionally, more than 25 different companies in Croatia have subscribed to the FimaPay. All of those merchants will allow you to pay for the goods and services using cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin and others. Several other significant coin exchanges have entered the Croatian market as well, but that happened just before the pandemic so they haven't been able to get a larger market share. At some point it was possible to pay with Bitcoin in Croatia in several hotels, such as Hotel Navis in Opatija. Other than that, there are many places where you'll be able to pay using your Bitcoin wallet directly: MP Elektronika and UziShop, and several others.

    Will Croatia join the Eurozone?

    Is Croatia in the EU, Schengen or Eurozone? These are topics which confuse many visitors.

    As of time of writing (December 2018), Croatia has been in the EU since July 1, 2013, is not yet in the Schengen zone, and it is currently not in the Eurozone. However, it is expected that Croatia will join the Eurozone, thus adopting euro as the official currency, on January 1st, 2023.

    For the latest news follow the TCN dedicated section.

    Currency in Croatia - interesting facts

    A mildly interesting curiosity about Croatian coins is that those minted in odd years are named after plants and animals in Croatian, whereas those in even years are named in Latin.

    Even years in Latin

    Currency in Croatia 5 kuna Croatian
    Odd years in Croatian

    Is this the coolest haircut EVER on a banknote?

    There are many things you can do with a 500-kuna note, which is also worth about 70 euro. One thing is just to admire surely the coolest haircut on a banknote ever. More details on the (all men) people on Croatian banknotes below.

    Croatian money – who is on the banknotes?

    Looking at Croatian banknotes, it might seem that this is a very male-dominated society, where facial hair is a sign of power.

    Only famous Croatian males are on the banknotes of the currency in Croatia, and the larger the banknote, the more facial hair.

    So while some may see this all-male portrayal as sexist, another explanation could be... There are no famous Croatian women with beards…

    So who is on the notes and what are the locations on the back of the banknotes?

    1000 kuna Ante Starčević (Statue of King Tomislav and Zagreb Cathedral)

    500 kuna Marko Marulić (Diocletian's Palace in Split)

    200 kuna Stjepan Radić (The army building in Tvrdja, Osijek)

    100 kuna Ban Ivan Mažuranić (St. Vitus Cathedral in Rijeka)

    50 kuna Ivan Gundulić (Old City of Dubrovnik)

    20 kuna Ban Josip Jelačić (Eltz Manor in Vukovar)

    10 kuna Bishop Juraj Dobrila (Pula Arena and Town Plan of Motovun)

    5 kuna Fran Krsto Frankopan and Petar Zrinski (Old Town Fort in Varaždin) - this note is no longer available.

    Euro to kuna exchange rates over the last 10 years

    The kuna is closely aligned to the euro, as you can see from this 10-year historical look at exchange rates. 

    For the latest exchange rates for the Croatian kuna and all historical data on exchange rates, visit www.xe.com

    Pounds to kuna exchange rates over the last 10 years

    I bought my house in Croatia in 2002, when the rate was 11.5 kuna to the British pound back then. Ah, those were the days.

    Dollar to kuna exchange rates over the last 10 years

    And the dollar, too, has had its ups and downs, affecting the amount of tourist spending power from visitors from the United States, who will number about 600,000 in 2018

    A Croatian currency especially for the edible dormouse

    So is the kuna the only currency in Croatia? Well. yes… officially. But if you find yourself on the island of Hvar one August, you can attend one of the country's strangest festivals, complete with its very own money.

    The Puhijada, or edible dormouse festival, is a week-long celebration of the traditions and heritage of the inland village of Dol.

    Dol is one of three places in Croatia (Dol on Brač and Gorski Kotar are the others) where locals hunt and eat the edible dormouse ('puh' in Croatian), and the final night of the festival also includes dozens of dormice on the grill.

    You can buy dormice with the Superpuh currency (Super Dormouse), where the fixed exchange rate is 5 kuna to one superpuh. Never been to an edible dormouse festival then? It is something like this video below.


    Currency in Croatia: the one thing money cannot buy

    And you thought money can buy everything. Well, not in Croatia, and perhaps a fitting way to end this thorough guide about the currency in Croatia would be with a well-known Croatian phrase, which locals often use to admire the beauty of this extraordinarily gorgeous country. When looking at yet another spectacular view or sunset, locals often exclaim:

    Ko to more platit - Who can pay that, or, quite simply, priceless.

    Photo by Romulić & Stojčić

    But there are not enough banknotes in the world to be able to buy that beauty.

    sarajevoliving@gmail.com (Paul Bradbury) What You Need To Know Fri, 26 Feb 2021 16:31:45 +0100
    Public Holidays in Croatia 2021, and What is Open? https://www.total-croatia.com/en/public-holidays-in-croatia-2021-and-what-is-open https://www.total-croatia.com/en/public-holidays-in-croatia-2021-and-what-is-open When are the public holidays in Croatia 2021? Learn more about the specific Croatian holidays and which facilities around the country close or remain open. 

    Public Holidays in Croatia 2021 - What closes and what stays open?

    You are enjoying a perfect holiday and just want to pop into the bank to change some money to go on that fabulous boat trip. But what's this? The bank is not open in the middle of the week and the middle of the summer!

    There is nothing worse than being far from home on a public holiday when things do not work as you want them to (ok, there are worse things...). But to be forewarned means you are prepared, so here is a quick list of the public holidays in Croatia 2021.

    Some of them are very international and need no explanation, while others are very specific to Croatia. Find a brief overview of the Croatian holidays below.

    So what will happen on a public holiday in Croatia 2021? Well, the good news is that tourists will not see much of a change. This is a tourist country after all, which is an industry which generates 20% of GDP. Therefore it would make little sense for the tourism sector to take the day off. 

    In general what happens is that banks and official institutions do close, but exchange offices and ATMs are open. And if you need to get that document for a residence permit... Well, you really should get used to 'come back tomorrow.'

    One thing to bear in mind is that Croatians love to extend their public holidays when there is an option, so if the public holiday occurs on a Thursday, it is not uncommon for companies or institutions to include the Friday as well. 

    Having said all that, here are the 13 official public holidays in Croatia 2021.  

    2021 Reality - Epidemiological Measures

    Shops, bars, restaurants all stay open on public holidays. In early 2021, the bars and restaurants are closed all over Croatia to fight the pandemic. They can serve you drinks and food to-go. We can only hope that the bars and the restaurants will open fully soon. Once they open, the bar and restaurants will remain open for the holidays, possible exceptions are Easter, Christmas and New Year's Day, but you will always find somewhere to find a drink in a reasonably-sized town - if nothing else, on a gas station. 

    1 Jan Tue: New Year's Day

    6 Jan Sun: Epiphany

    4 Apr Mon: Easter Monday

    Easter and Easter Monday are both public holidays in Croatia, so expect that it will not be easy to do any shopping in Croatia during the two days. Almost all stores will probably be closed on the Easter Sunday, with some of them opening on Monday for a shorter period during the day.

    1 May Sat: Labour Day

    30 May Sun: Statehood Day

    May 30th has been the biggest national holiday for years. A few years ago the statehood/independence celebration has been moved to June 25, but now it's back to May 30. On that day, the Croatians commemorate the first time the democratically elected Croatian Parliament had a session in 1990.

    3 Jun Thu: Corpus Christi

    22 Jun Tue: Anti-Fascist Resistance Day

    Anti-Fascist Resistance Day dates back to the 1941 uprising of anti-fascist Partisans against German and Italian occupying troops. 

    5 Aug Thu: Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving Day

    Another relatively new public holiday for the Croatian calendar, Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving Day dates back to 1995 and the final push to end the Homeland War. It was an operation known as Operation Storm. 

    15 Aug Sun: Assumption Day

    1 Nov Mon: All Saints' Day

    18 Nov Thu: Remembrance Day for All Victims of the Homeland War

    Often known as the Vukovar and Škabrnja Remembrance Day, the Croatians remember all of the victims of the Homeland war.

    25 Dec Wed: Christmas Day

    26 Dec Thu: St Stephen's Day

    sarajevoliving@gmail.com (Paul Bradbury) What You Need To Know Tue, 23 Feb 2021 06:21:09 +0100
    10 Things Croatia Does Better than Anywhere Else https://www.total-croatia.com/en/10-things-croatia https://www.total-croatia.com/en/10-things-croatia It may be a relatively small country, but Croatia punches above its weight on the world stage in so many ways. Here are ten things Croatia does better than anyone else.

  • Celebration - in life and in death
  • Relaxation - fjaka anyone?
  • Nature - a country with 10% of its land given to parks
  • Sporting success
  • From Tesla to Rimac, an engine of invention
  • The best love story in the world
  • Islands, islands, islands
  • European civilisation before Europe knew what civilisation was
  • The quietest rallies in the world
  • Coffee - enough said
  • Celebration - in life and in death

    The World Cup in Russia in 2018 will live long in the memory of every Croat. But not just the incredible success on the pitch of this tiny country which dared to dream, but also for the phenomenal support the nation put behind the team.


    Where else in the world would you get some 15% of the ENTIRE country on the streets of the capital to welcome home their heroes. And without one single incident. More than 550,000 people lined the streets of Zagreb to welcome home the beaten finalists. They had won millions of hearts along the way.

    While Croatia knows how to party in the good times, the nation's hearts were captured for very different reasons a few days after the World Cup with the death of its most beloved singer, Oliver Dragojevic.


    Dragojevic got quite a send-off, with an incredible show of love and appreciation as he made his final journey by catamaran from Split to Vela Luka on Korcula. My news article at the time took a closer look. In Life and in Death, Croatia are World Champions at Celebration was probably my most popular article ever on TCN.

    Relaxation - fjaka anyone?


    'Pomalo' - an essential word to learn for your visit to the coast. 'Take it easy' would be a loose translation. 'Take it really easy' would be a more accurate loose description.

    While there are many chilled spots around the world, the Dalmatian coast does it differently. After all, where else in the world do you have to actively work to do nothing? Often mistaken for laziness by frustrated foreigners, learn more about the fjaka state of mind.

    Nature - a country with 10% of its land given to parks


    Croatia is a stunning country which truly takes your breath away. Its fabled 1,770 km of coast and 1,000 islands may be the highlights, but the beauty does not stop there. UNESCO World Heritage Site Plitvice Lakes attracts more than a million visitors annually, one of 19 national and nature parks.

    Incredibly, in an era where overdevelopment and greed are the norm, no less than 10% of Croatia's land mass is given over to those parks. Think you can handle so much natural beauty in one go? Check out the Total Croatia guide to the national and nature parks of Croatia.

    Sporting success


    Reaching the World Cup Final in Moscow was just the latest sporting success for Croatia, a country of 4 million, whose sporting achievements outshine countries with populations 100 times larger. Modric, Rakitic and co. went one better than the Class of 1998, who finished in third in France, but you name the sport, and Croatia will have made its mark. So much so, in fact, that it is said that Split has the most Olympic medals per capita of any city in the world.

    No tennis fan will forget the magnificent achievement of wildcard Goran Ivanisevic at Wimbledon. That was followed by two Croatian Davis Cup victories, as well as US Open and Roland Garros triumphs for Marin Cilic and Iva Majoli respectively.

    Olympic golds in handball (twice), water polo, rowing, shooting, javelin, 4 skiing Olympic golds for Janica Kostelic, while Sandra Perkovic dominates the discus discipline. World Championship golds in the high jump, gymnastics and taekwondo. And a very creditable Olympic silver in basketball at Barcelona 1992. Learn more about Croatian sports in our Total Croatia guide.

    From Tesla to Rimac, an engine of invention


    Sporting overachievers Croatians may be, but so too in the world of invention and discovery. Of course, it helps if one Nikola Tesla was born in your country, but Tesla's genius was in very good company.

    Want to learn just how much your life has been improved by Croatia? In a nice play on words of the official Croatian National Tourist Board slogan, Croatia Full of Life, find out how your life is full of Croatia in the video above.

    And then find out just how much more Croatia has contributed to the world of invention and discovery in our Total Croatia guide to the topic.

    The best love story in the world


    Move over Romeo and Juliet, your love story pales into insignifance by comparison.

    One of the greatest love stories of all time, the Croatian storks of Klepetan and Malena are reunited each year as Klepetan returns to the nest of his beloved Malena each year after the migration. She, with her injured wing, cannot join him on the journey south, but absence makes the heart go fonder. No less loving in this story is the Croatian man who has taken such good care of them over the years. Check out one of the greatest love stories of all time above.

    Islands, islands, islands


    Croatia has more than a thousand islands, the exact number being somewhere between 1185 and 1244, depending on who you talk to. And while there are several other countries which boast island beauty on a par with Croatia, who can boast such beauty and diversity?

    Visit the islands of Croatia and you can find, among other things: a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the oldest public theatre in Europe, hidden military tunnels and submarine bases, the birthplace of Marko Polo, national parks, an olive grove with 1000 trees each more than 1000 years old, rare griffon vultures, an inaccessible monastery with a grand piano, the world's best cheese, a concentration camp, a beach where a naked British king started naturist tourism in Croatia, islands famous for their coral and natural sponges, and a dictator's private park of exotic animals from zebras to elephants. Learn more about the magic and diversity of Croatia's islands.

    European civilisation before Europe knew what civilisation was


    Move over Athens, move over Rome, for one of the biggest surprises of discovering Croatia was to learn that the oldest continuously inhabited town in Europe - dating back some 8,400 years - was in Croatia.

    And nowhere near the coast. Vinkovci stands proudly in the lesser-known, but equally beautiful, eastern Croatia. Take a tour of the oldest continuously inhabited town in Europe.

    The quietest rallies in the world


    As a brand for a country, I can't imagine a better scenario than this. An electric car rally through the country which was the birthplace of Nikola Tesla. A country which has 10% of its land mass given over to national and nature parks. A country whose car industry consists of just one company which has so far produced less than 10 cars, but they happen to be among the world's most powerful - and electric.

    And on this rally, participants have included Maye Musk, mother of the modern Mr Tesla, Mate Rimac, the Croatian electric car supremo who is slowly taking the automobile industry by storm not only with his cars, but more so with his technology, and the first owner of Rimac's $1 million Concept One.

    If there is a better rally story than that - or a quieter one - I have yet to hear it. Check out the Nikola Tesla EV Rally in the video above.

    Coffee - enough said


    If Starbucks is your thing, you are perhaps visiting the wrong country. There is no Starbucks in Croatia, and I would be surprised if there will ever be one.

    Coffee is a religion here, a way of life which is as important as eating and sleeping. I personally am a Neanderthal when it comes to coffee, enjoying a morning Nescafe at home, which I usually finish in ten minutes maximum.

    Not so with the locals! Meeting for a coffee one of the nation's top things to do, and I am constantly in awe not only with the complexity of the ordering process and range of coffee options, but also just how long Croats can make a coffee last. It truly is an art form!

    Many has been the time when I have met a friend for a 'coffee', then managed to get through four beers while they consume one tiny espresso. The cafe and coffee culture is one of the most important components of the fabric of society in Croatia, and also one of the most attractive aspects of life here. No country does it better.

    sarajevoliving@gmail.com (Paul Bradbury) What You Need To Know Mon, 22 Feb 2021 20:14:56 +0100
    Weather in Croatia: Sun, Snow, Winds, Forecasts & Stats https://www.total-croatia.com/en/weather-in-croatia https://www.total-croatia.com/en/weather-in-croatia A look at the weather in Croatia: What will the sea and air temperature be on your holiday, weather records in Croatia, and meet the bura and jugo winds.

  • Weather in Croatia: Mediterranean v Continental climates
  • How to check the sea temperature by month in Croatia?
  • Meet the sunniest island in Europe, or is it?
  • Resources for checking the weather in Croatia
  • The famous winds of Croatia: bura and jugo
  • Bad weather and travel in Croatia: motorways, flights, and ferries
  • Weather in Croatia facts: hottest, coldest, wettest, windiest
  • Climate change and Croatia
  • Resources for more information about the weather in Croatia
  • Weather in Croatia: Mediterranean v Continental climates

    The weather in Croatia can be divided into two very distinct sections - Mediterranean versus continental climate.

    The weather in coastal Croatia

    Most tourists will be interested in the Mediterranean climate, heading to the coast beaches and more than 1,000 Croatian islands, but an increasingly number are now discovering continental Croatia, particularly Zagreb.

    Summers in Croatia are very warm indeed on the coast, and temperatures in the above 90 F (33 C) are not uncommon. The sun is very strong, and so don't forget your sunscreen. Coastal areas offer a breezy relief from the heat, particularly Korcula Town, which was stunningly designed to take advantage of the wind conditions surrounding it.

    The shoulder months of May and September bring with them cooler temperatures, and this is the preferred time for pensioners to visit, and the roads are noticeably fuller with cycling tourists.

    Snow is rare on the coast in winter, although it does happen, and while temperatures rarely fall below zero, the effects of the northern bura wind can make it seem very cold indeed.

    The main swimming season is from May to October, although you will find some crazy people who swim all year round.

    The weather in continental Croatia

    The weather inland is a lot less welcoming, especially in winter. I fondly remember driving my things from the UK to Hvar in January 2003, for example. Having driven through the snow along the old road from Zagreb, the descent to Split with its greenery, sun, islands, palm trees and sea is a memory I will never forget.

    Winters in continental Croatia are COLD, and temperatures have plummeted rarely to below -30 C in extreme years (if you look more carefully, you'll notice that the last time that happened was in 2003, which is the winter I mentioned before!). In general, things are not that cold, however, and snow tends to come for a few weeks in January, with night temperatures lower than -10 C relatively rare. Bring gloves, a hat and a warm jacket and you will be more than fine.

    Summer temperatures in continental Croatia are much more agreeable, and they often match those on the coast. While most tourists head to the coast, a summer on the Danube under blue skies is equally agreeable.

    How to check the sea temperature by month in Croatia?

    For some, the most important temperature in Croatia is not the air, but the sea. People have come to swim, after all! If you are planning your holiday to Croatia and want to check the weather in the destination you are planning to visit , there is a great resource guide.

    Croatia's beaches undergo inspections every fortnight from May to September by the ministry. Among the information they record and publish online, you can find air and sea temperatures for the corresponding period last year, as well as an overview of beach cleanliness and facilities.

    You can also zoom right in and see how far a particular beach is from civilisation if you are looking to escape the crowds. Check out the sea temperatures and beach quality here.

    Meet the sunniest island in Europe, or is it?

    When I moved to Hvar back in 2002, I knew almost nothing about the island. My house purchase was entirely be chance.

    But I soon learned that my change purchase had been very fortuitous indeed. For here was an island which Conde Nast named among the top 10 most beautiful in the world.

    Not only that, but it was also apparently, but it was also the sunniest island in Europe. This was good news to this Manchester boy, who was born in the rain, and I came to love my average of 2,724 hours of sun each year.

    So good was the weather on Hvar that it was said that guests would enjoy a free stay in the island's hotels in case of rain.

    As with many things in life, reality was a little different. When the huge snowfall of February 2012 covered Hvar so much that a Slovakian managed to ski from the island's peak to the beach in Dubovica, I checked with the hotels about the free rooms.

    "Only if it has been snowing for 7 days, then the guest gets a free extra night," came the reply. Not quite the same.

    And while Hvar will always be the Sunshine Island for me, its crown has been taken by another in recent years - Lastovo.

    Resources for checking the weather in Croatia

    Current Weather

    Croatia Today

    Zagreb Today

    Croatia Tomorrow

    Zagreb Tomorrow

    Three-Day Outlook

    Seven-Day Outlook

    Maritime Forecast


    The famous winds of Croatia: bura and jugo

    Croatia has several winds, but none affect the weather quite as much as the north-south combination of the bura and the jugo. If you want to read more about the winds of Croatia, there's a TCN story about maestral that you might find interesting.

    Blowing from the north - the bura

    I LOVE the bura. Of all the 95 countries I have visited, there is nothing quite like the biting wind from the north as it rips through everything in its way.

    It is perhaps the most cleansing experience the weather can bring, and I love walking into its embrace in short sleeves, blowing away all the cobwebs.

    I realise that I am in a minority of one on this.

    Living on an island, one feels the full force of the bura. Catamarans are cancelled (and sometimes ferries too), everyone is huddled inside, and the waves lash against the rocks and boats in the harbour.

    The bura can cause chaos with sea, flights and motorway connections (see below), as well as uprooting trees and damaging buildings. But one of its most wonderful characteristics is that then the bura ends, the most gorgeous blue skies and calm seas ensue. It is, however, usually bitterly cold during this time, but Croatian housewives love it as the very best conditions to dry laundry.

    Chasing the bura has become quite a thing in recent years, and many head to Pag Bridge, one of the fiercest locations to meet the bura head on. With speeds regularly in the 200 km/h, perhaps I would put a jacket on for that...

    If you are looking or a more technical explanation of the bura. The bura can also play havoc with sailing, of course. Some useful advice if you are sailing in Croatia and confront that strong breeze from the north.

    Blowing from the south - the jugo

    The southern jugo could not be more different to the bura. Not only does it blow from the opposite direction bu it is usually accompanied by rain and clouds. Traditionally, it brings with it an air of depression, and Dalmatians insist that it affects their moods.

    So much so, in fact, that council meetings and another official business were postponed in the time of the Dubrovnik Republic, as the jugo was thought to affect decision making. Criminals have even used the jugo as part of the defence - I don't know what came over me, blame it on the jugo.

    The jugo is not great news for catamarans either, particularly south-facing Hvar Town.

    Bad weather and travel in Croatia: motorways, flights, and ferries

    Although the stereotype of weather in Croatia is one of endless sunshine, azure skies and pristine beaches (and very accurate is summer months), bad weather is obviously a fact of life.

    This is especially true in continental Croatia, where temperatures can plunge below -20C. But the bura wind can also play havoc with ferry, motorway and flight options, even during the season.

    The bura and the A1 Split to Zagreb motorway

    The A1 motorway between Split and Zagreb has transformed life and tourism in Croatia. But Croatia's most important road is also at the mercy of the bura wind. For when the bura blows, the stretch from Zadar to Sveti Rok tunnel is impassable.

    On such occasions, the motorway is closed, and a lengthy diversion cross country put in place. While the drive is spectacular through the Croatian hinterland, it will also add at least an hour to your journey. You are advised to check the English updates on the official HAK website for the latest information.

    Flying to Croatia during the bura

    Croatian airports are also not immune to the mighty bura. This is especially true of Dubrovnik, where flights divert to Split in times of high winds, and a bus transfer put in place.

    This can be especially frustrating for your holiday plans if you had no prior knowledge, so again, please check in times of bad weather to minimise that frustration.

    Catamarans, the bura and making early morning flights

    But nowhere does the bura reign more supreme than on the Adriatic. Catamarans are particularly susceptible to the powerful northern wind (and its southern playmate, the jugo).

    It is rare that the main Jadrolinija ferries do not sail - indeed this only happened 3 times in 13 years for the Stari Grad to Split ferry while I lived on Hvar - but it is MUCH more frequent on catamarans.

    This can be especially stressful if you are leaving an island for a morning flight home. Check if the catamaran will go, and if you are in any doubt, there is the option on islands such as Hvar of an earlier car ferry.

    Weather in Croatia facts: hottest, coldest, wettest, windiest

    Let's look at some records in this land of weather extremes.

    The highest temperature ever recorded in Croatia

    Ploce, 4 August 1981 42,8 C
    Karlovac, 1950, 42.2 C
    Knin, 22 August 2000, 41.4 C

    What is the lowest temperature ever recorded in Croatia?

    Gracac 13 January 2003 -34.6 C
    Gospic 17 February 1956 -33.5 C
    Zalesina 6 January 1985 -33-4 C

    The strongest wind ever in Croatia

    23 December 2003 Bozici viaduct, A1 motorway, near Velebit, 307 km/h
    Maslenica Bridge, 21 December 1998, 248 km/h

    The highest snow cover in Croatia

    Zavizan (1594 m - highest meteorological station) 320 cm, 6 March 1984
    in Zagreb, 28 February 1895, 84 cm

    Where is the wettest place in Croatia?

    Risnjak, around 3600 mm of rain a year.

    Climate change and Croatia

    Climate change is a sad reality in the modern era, and no country is immune from the global effects.

    I have noticed a change in the weather patterns during my 13 years on Hvar, for example. Where once there were four distinct seasons, these days it seems to have gone closer to two, with the summers feeling a little hotter than they used to.

    There are various studies of the effects of climate change in Croatia. Here are a couple of links to reports on the subject, which has been published in English. The Ministry of Environment and Nature Protection as well as a UNDP report on climate change in Croatia.

    Resources for more information about weather in Croatia

    Learn more about the history of meteorology in Croatia.

    More information about the climate in Croatia.

    The Croatian Meteorological and Hydrological service.

    sarajevoliving@gmail.com (Paul Bradbury) What You Need To Know Mon, 22 Feb 2021 15:00:48 +0100
    Tipping In Croatia: Etiquette, Policies & Guidelines https://www.total-croatia.com/en/tipping-in-croatia https://www.total-croatia.com/en/tipping-in-croatia Tipping in Croatia - should you? How much, when and where? A look at tipping culture from both the customer and the waiter, and meet the Book of Complaints.

  • Do you tip in Croatia?
  • Tipping in Croatia - the restaurant etiquette
  • Tips in bars, cafes, taxis, hotels and other services
  • Leaving a tip - the Croatian waitress viewpoint
  • The epic Croatian waiter rant: a tipping league table by tourism country
  • Dissatisfied with the service? Meet the Croatian Book of Complaints
  • Do you tip in Croatia?

    Although modern tourists are generally accomplished travellers who know more or less what to expect in a new country, certain things are not so clear when travelling to a new country.

    I am constantly amazed by the number of people who find TCN by searching 'tipping in Croatia'. It seems that there is an appetite for more detailed information on this subject, so here goes. The simple answer regarding tipping in Croatia is - yes, you do. If you are happy with the service, or course.

    Tipping in Croatia - the restaurant etiquette

    I could try and flesh this advice out into a long article, but I would much rather pass on my knowledge and then take you to exlore some far more interesting topics on the subject.

    Tipping in restaurants is standard procedure. The amount is usually in the range of 10-15%. Things to realise include the fact that service jobs come with low salaries. Tips, therefore, are an important source of income for waiters.

    You should also pay tips in cash if you want to ensure that the waiter receives it. The bill normally comes in a wallet and you leave the tip inside when you leave. if you are paying by card, there may be the option to leave a tip, but this is not standard. And even if you do, there is less chance that the money will go to where you intended.

    Tips in bars, cafes, taxis, hotels and other services

    The general rule for most other services is to round up the bill to the nearest round number. Or if you that seems a little too generous (two coffees for 22 kuna, for example), add 2-3 kuna as a tip.

    This is the case in bars, cafes and taxis. 10-15 kuna for a chambermaid, luggage porter or bellboy is common. Tour guides vary according to the group, but a guide who has done a great tour will leave with 10% extra in the pocket.

    Leaving a tip - the Croatian waitress viewpoint

    There are different viewpoint on the culture of tipping in Croatia. I asked one of my TCN colleagues to write a guide to tipping some time ago. I gave her free reign on the content. Here was her approach - from the viewpoint of a former waitress.

    The epic Croatian waiter rant: a tipping league table by tourism country

    Nothing, however, beats the epic summer rant of Jozo the waiter in Split. By way of background, peak season on the coast is hot and stressful. Working long shifts with lots of demanding tourists all day on low wages is not fun.

    And something clearly snapped with young Jozo one day in August 2017. In a Facebook rant which went viral in the Croatian media, Jozo not only told it how it is. But he also offered his thoughts on tipping culture and behaviour by visiting nationality. Check out Jozo's observations and see if you agree.

    Dissatisfied with the service? Meet the Croatian Book of Complaints

    There are some insane laws in Croatia, such as the one where one cannot be served alcohol in a bar before 08:00 - as if getting people to hold off until eight will solve the drinking problem.

    There are some really infuriating laws regarding the bureaucracy, of which my favourite used to rear its ugly head with the annual renewal of the residence permit. Each year I had to produce a copy of my birth certificate which was no more than 6 months old. No matter that I had been on the planet for 40 years (and could prove my birth via an original certificate), only a recently obtained certificate would do.

    And then there is the book of complaints.

    tipping in croatia book of complaints

    Every bar has one, and every customer has the right to see it. The non-appearance of the Knjiga Zalbe brings an automatic 2,000 kuna fine to the owner. I have never used, or see someone use, the book of complaints, but they have to be on display. I asked my local cafe owner in Jelsa - who has never had an entry in 25 years - if I could have a look at his a few years ago.

    The English instructions could be better (if there was a Complaints Book, I might complain), but here are the instructions for using the complaints book.

    tipping in croatia complaining procedure

    The Book of Complaints - the procedure

    1. The service user has the right to state his complaint in the Complaints Book, if he considers himself inconvenienced with regard to the service he required or obtained. If he has been offended by the behaviour of the personnel, and in other cases in which he considers he suffered incorrect behaviour as a service user.
    2. The service user enters his complaint in the Complaints Book in his language.
    3. The service user must sign his written complaint and enter the date and his full address in the Complaints Book. The supplier will reply to the service user in connection with his complaint immediately, or 15 days after the date of the complaint entered into the Complaints Book at the latest.

    All good things come to an end, it would seem. A restaurant owner friend tells me that the Book of Complaints is no more, at least in its original format. Now he must post information on the procedures for filing a written complaint. This he has displayed in a shiny glass case on the restaurant wall. One of the options is to ask for the Book of Complaints.

    Asking around, I seem to be unable to find anyone who has actually ever written in the Book of Complaints. If you have, and you are happy to share your experiences, please contact me on paul@total-croatia.com

    sarajevoliving@gmail.com (Paul Bradbury) What You Need To Know Mon, 22 Feb 2021 13:06:46 +0100
    Why Croatia? Top 10 Things to Do in 2022 https://www.total-croatia.com/en/why-croatia https://www.total-croatia.com/en/why-croatia Why Croatia? The hottest tourist destination in Europe has something for everyone. Culture, food, wine, tradition, festivals, UNESCO, nature, party and adrenaline tourism!

  • Beaches in Croatia: Heaven on Earth
  • Anthony Bourdain: If You Haven't Tried Croatian Food...
  • The Original Zinfandel and 129 Other Indigenous Grapes: Meet Croatian Wine
  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites and Intangible Heritage
  • Croatia, the Festival Capital of Europe?
  • Culture, Culture, Culture
  • Nature & National Parks: 10% of Croatia
  • Adventure Tourism: Kayak, Sail, Run, Cycle
  • Safety: Life as It Once Was
  • Tradition, a Land Like No Other
  • So Why Croatia when there are so many other amazing places on the planet? Having lived in Croatia for 16 years, I could sit you down for a week and tell you why you should visit, but let's agree for now on 10 things to focus on in this gorgeous country.

    Beaches in Croatia: Heaven on Earth

    'The Mediterranean as It Once Was' was arguably one of the most successful tourist slogans of all time. Recovering from a devastating war of independence from former Yugoslavia as a new country few had heard of (and fewer could find on a map), The Croatian Tourist Board slogan was an absolute hit.


    Sun, sea and endless beaches - Croatia was (and is...) an absolute hit. A new country in Europe with outstanding beaches.

    Family beaches, romantic beaches, isolated beaches. With almost 2,000 km of coastline and over 1,000 islands, Croatia is arguably the top beach destination in Europe. Find the beach which suits your needs in the Total Croatia beach section.

    Anthony Bourdain: If You Haven't Tried Croatian Food…

    "This is world-class food, world-class wine, world-class cheese. The next big thing is Croatia! If you haven't been here yet, you are an idiot!"


    What to tell you about Croatian food? A nation which has no national cuisine, and yet with some of the most outstanding and authentic dishes on the planet.

    A country whose healthy Mediterranean Diet is protected by UNESCO on the island of Hvar and Brac.

    From truffles in Istria to oysters in Ston and dormouse on Hvar, Croatia excels in original and outstanding cuisine. The olive oil of Istria has been named the best olive region in the world, while Croatian wines continue to amaze the global industry. This after the 2001 discovery that the original Zinfandel hails from Croatia, very close to Split.

    Croatia has fantastic gourmet experiences, 12 months a year. Learn more about the very unique food festivals all over the country.

    Restaurants in Croatia are becoming more diverse, slowly embracing international influences, while the emphasis remains on traditional cuisine. To learn more about Croatian cuisine, recipes, restaurants, and things not to miss, visit the Total Croatia food section.


    The Original Zinfandel and 129 Other Indigenous Grapes: Meet Croatian Wine

    One of the things that amazes first-time visitors the most is the quality of the wine. And then, after a few glasses, they wonder why they have not heard about Croatian wine before.

    In a homogeneous world of international grape varieties, Croatia is proving to be a refreshing change. In 2001, the University of Davis showed that the Zinfandel grape originated near Split.

    Just one more reason to visit this beautiful country. And with 129 other fabulous indigenous varieties, Croatia is attracting serious attention in the international wine community. One British Master of Wine has even moved to Hvar to make wine from local island grape varieties.

    Don't leave Croatia without tasting the wine or visiting at least one winery. Click here to learn how to do that, and everything else about Croatian wine.


    UNESCO World Heritage Sites and Intangible Heritage

    Wherever you are, it will not take you long to realise that this is a country of immense culture.

    This tiny country of just 4 million people has a history dating back millennia. As well as a UNESCO footprint to reflect that heritage. For there are no less than ELEVEN UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

    Add to that an astonishing amount of intangible UNESCO heritage, and the 'Why Croatia' question suddenly becomes a lot more understandable. Learn more about Croatia's UNESCO heritage.


    The Festival Capital of Europe?

    Choose an area of interest and I will give you a festival. Croatia has become know as a hot destination for music festivals in recent years, and with good reason.

    But it is also a destination with festival pedigree in so many other areas.

    Food, literary, dance, theatre, art music - the choice is yours, but one thing is for sure. Croatia is a county of amazing festivals.

    The pandemic put the Croatian festival scene on hold in 2020. Will it be back in 2021?

    Culture, Culture, Culture

    What to say? A country with the oldest public theatre (which is reopening in 2019). A country which has the world's sixth biggest Roman amphitheatre, which today is used for tourist gladiator fights and music festivals.

    Wherever you look, the past is never very far away. It is a county which will stun you with its heritage, culture, and traditions. Learn more about the culture of Croatia.


    Nature & National Parks: 10% of Croatia

    Imagine a country which gave over 10% of its territory to national and nature parks. A country which was also the birthplace of Nikola Tesla, perhaps the biggest genius born on this planet.

    Croatia is naturally beautiful, but nowhere more so than its natural beauty. Discover the nature and national parks which make up an astonishing 10% of the county.


    Adventure Tourism: Kayak, Sail, Run, Cycle

    You heard about this tiny country and its sporting success, right? A county of 4 million that reached the World Cup Final in Moscow in 2018? The city of Split with more per capita Olympic medals than any city in the world?

    Croatia is one of the top sporting destinations in Europe. Sailing, kayaking, cycling, climbing, hiking - it is all here. And more! Adventure tourism is very much 'in' these days. It is refreshing to see the efforts being made to develop 12-month adventure tourism.

    Click here to learn more about sport and adventure tourism.

    Safety: Life as It Once Was

    In many ways it seems like an oxymoron. One of the safest countries recovering from a brutal war less than 25 years ago.

    And yet Croatia, which emerged victorious from the Homeland War in 1995, is incredibly safe.

    I remember reading in the local paper that 50 litres of olive oil had been stolen form a village on Hvar. This was regional news!

    Life is so safe that tourists leave with envy, not so much for the beauty of the country, but more for the safety it offers. Come, experience it, and then tell me that life in the West is 'progress'. Croatia has a lot to teach the modern world, if the modern world wants to listen.


    Tradition, a Land Like No Other

    Easter on Hvar includes a UNESCO tradition dating back more than 500 years, as barefoot cross bearers from six towns and villages simultaneously lead their acolytes and pilgrims 22km through the night on Maundy Thursday.

    The in-depth Total Croatia guide to the traditions of Croatia will appear shortly, but in the meantime, get a flavour from the complete Croatian UNESCO World Heritage Site and intangible heritage list. It is quite impressive!

    sarajevoliving@gmail.com (Paul Bradbury) What You Need To Know Mon, 22 Feb 2021 12:52:59 +0100
    Filming in Croatia: Oscars, Orson Welles, Game of Thrones https://www.total-croatia.com/en/filming-in-croatia https://www.total-croatia.com/en/filming-in-croatia Filming in Croatia has a tradition which pre-dates Game of Thrones by almost a century. Many a famous movie was shot here: a look at locations and movies.

  • Filming in Croatia: a century of tradition
  • The first foreign movies filmed in Croatia
  • Jadran Film, a titan of its era
  • Oscar-winning films in Croatia
  • The Dirty Dozen, Kelly's Heroes and the 2017 Airsoft reenactment
  • Game of Thrones
  • The Romantic and other tourism-promoting reality shows
  • Star Wars, Mamma Mia, Robin Hood, and the future
  • Croatia as a filming location
  • Filming in Croatia: funding, registration, and incentives
  • Filming in Croatia: a century of tradition

    Croatia may be known to millions around the world as one of the main filming locations for hit HBO show, Game of Thrones, as well as blockbusters such as Mamma Mia 2: Here We Go Again, but its tradition of foreign filming dates back more than a century.

    Not only that, but some VERY famous films, including a triple-Oscar winner, were shot here. And even not many locals know about this and other famous movies filmed here over the last few decades. Let's meet a few of them, and see how many you knew about.

    The first foreign movies filmed in Croatia


    The first foreign movie shot in Croatia was The Sunflower Woman, directed by Michael Curtiz, starring Ivo Badalic, Jeno Balassa and Lucy Doraine. The Hungarian movie was shot on location in Dubrovnik in 1918, almost 100 years before the Pearl of the Adriatic would be transformed into Kings Landing.

    Dubrovnik may have been the obvious choice for a stunning filming location, but it was certainly not the only one.

    The Grand Duke's Finances (German: Die Finanzen des Großherzogs) was a silent Germany which premiered in Berlin in 1924. It was shot on location in Split, Zadar, Kotor and Rab, and it has even survived online. Check out the Dalmatian coast through 1924 German cinematic eyes in the video above.

    Jadran Film, a titan of its era

    Foreign movies continued to be filmed in Croatia through the 1920s and 1930s, but the Croatian film industry got a real boost in 1946 with the opening of the Jadran Film Studios.

    One of the biggest and most influential film studios in eastern Europe during its time of prominence, Jadran Film attracted not only some of the top Hollywood actors, but outstanding directors too.

    Orson Welles, for example, was a regular in Croatia during the 1960s, both as a director and an actor. He was not alone.

    During the 30-year heyday from the 1960s to the 1990s, some 124 feature films and 145 international co-productions were shot by Jadran Film. Cheaper production costs, cheaper accommodation costs and some fantastic, varied terrain for film sets made Croatia a very attractive place.


    Oscar-winning films in Croatia

    When I moved to Hvar, there was so much that I did not know about the island. After several years of living there, I began to discover some rather incredible things about Croatia's premier island.

    I had not realised, for example, that Hvar had more UNESCO heritage than any island in the world. That is home to the oldest public theatre in Europe. Or that it was the birthplace of organised tourism in Europe, dating back to 1868. Or that it possessed an olive tree which was 2,500 years old.

    As with Hvar, so too with filming in Croatia. Ask a Croatian which movie shot in Croatia won no less than 3 Oscars, and he will look at you blankly.


    The shooting of 'Fiddler on the Roof' in Lekenik back in 1971 is almost like a dirty secret. It is VERY hard to find any online references or promotion of the iconic Jewish film.

    TCN took a road trip (successful) to try and find the famous house. It was quite a trip, just 30 minutes from Zagreb and yet almost totally ignored by the tourism powers that be.

    'Fiddler on the Roof' was not the only Oscar winner in Croatia. Alan J. Pakula's 1982 drama Sophie's Choice (starring Meryl Streep) and the German film The Tin Drum (directed by Volker Schlöndorff, winner of the 1979 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film) were both in part filmed in Zagreb.

    Orson Welles' screen adaptation of Kafka's 'The Trial' takes place in Zagreb. It was just one of a number of contributions from the screen icon. Others included Welles as King Saul in 'David and Goliath' in 1960, as well as his direting 'The Deep' in Hvar Town.

    The Dirty Dozen, Kelly's Heroes and the 2017 Airsoft reenactment

    And the more I looked, the more I got amazed: some of 'The Dirty Dozen' movies were filmed here. And so too was 'Kelly's Heroes', in the picturesque Istrian inland village of Vizinada.

    Not only that, but some REAL fans returned to the Istrian village in 2017 for an airsoft reenaction of the film which brought Clint Eastwood and others to Croatia. Check out the 2017 version below, and read more about Kelly's Heroes in Vizinada.


    Some very famous actors came to Zagreb to shoot some ultimately rather forgettable films. These included Patrick Stewart in 1993, a time when the country was of course at war.

    I include the video below, simply because his 1993 restaurant experience in Zagreb was so brilliant. It starts at 2:26, and I encourage you to watch.


    Game of Thrones

    And then, one day, winter came.

    There is no denying that the arrival of Game of Thrones is the biggest event in the history of filming in Croatia. The HBO hit show was simply the biggest show on the planet, and a new tourism industry sprung up on the back of its locations.

    Chief of these, of course, was Dubrovnik. The Pearl of the Adriatic to many, Dubrovnik transformed itself into Kings Landing. More than one fan found it hard to believe that Dubrovnik was more than just a filming location, as TCN discovered with its 15 dumbest tourist questions asked in Dubrovnik.


    Learn more about Game of Thrones in Croatia with the Total Croatia guide.

    The Romantic and other tourism-promoting reality shows


    Global fantasy shows may be one way to bring attention to Croatia, but it was certainly not the only one.

    There was much surprise at the surge in tourism from South Korea a few years ago. It was all rather inexplicable.

    Until, that is, someone realised the reason behind a jump in tourism numbers. From 16,000 a year in 2011 to 400,000 and direct flights to Zagreb from Seoul with Korean Air in 2018 - reality TV.

    It started with a show called 'The Romantic', where 5 good-looking male and 5-good-looking females visited a romantic country in Europe called Croatia. The narrator was a heartthrob pop singer, the footage was amazing.

    And the rest was, as they say, history. The Romantic was just the first in a number of Korean reality shows which took place in Croatia. A very 21st Century way of attracting new tourism markets.

    The Korean initiative has been followed by other countries. It is not a genre I follow myself, but I hear that 'Made in Chelsea' on Hvar is particularly cringeworthy.

    Star Wars, Mamma Mia, Robin Hood, and the future


    When you have Game of Thrones beaming your beauty into every corner of the planet, it is hard to keep your beauty a secret. Interest in Croatia as a filming location intensified.

    Dubrovnik was, perhaps not surprisingly, the star. A bit part in the latest Star Wars superceded Jamie Foxx and co. transforming southern Dalmatia's iconic city into Nottingham for the filming of 'Robin Hood.'

    Even more interestingly, perhaps, the movie chiefs chose the idyllic island of Vis to replicate Greece. Filming of the sequel of global hit 'Mamma Mia' took place on the Dalmatian island in September 2017, even though the story was in Greece.

    Croatia, the filmset is no longer a secret. There is growing experience in dealing with big international productions, and the potential to exploit this for tourism purposes is huge.

    Croatia as a filming location

    Croatia is, of course, a natural paradise, and it is little wonder that it is attractive as a filming location.

    But one of the great advantages Croatia possesses is its sheer diversity. From the windswept settings for cult classic Winnetou in the 1960s to the seemingly endless Games of Thrones locations half a century later, Croatia has a myriad of movie sets to appease the most demanding movie director.

    Add to that the experience of Jadran Film over the decades, the traditional warm hospitality, and its favourable geographical location in Europe, and it is little wonder that more producers are taking a closer look at what Croatia has to offer.

    Filming in Croatia: funding, registration, and incentives

    And Croatia has plenty to offer. After perhaps a slow start, the country has woken up to the possibilities which filming can bring.

    There are now plenty of incentives for film companies looking to produce the next Hollywood blockbuster in Croatia.

    Learn more about that with the latest filming guide to the country. And for more information on funding and support available for companies looking to invest their production in Croatia, this website provides a very useful guide. If you are looking for more personal contact with filming professionals, please contact me with an outline of your proposal, and I can make the appropriate introductions.

    To follow the latest about filming in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN section.

    sarajevoliving@gmail.com (Paul Bradbury) What You Need To Know Mon, 22 Feb 2021 06:17:55 +0100
    Residence, Work Permits & Opening a Croatian Company https://www.total-croatia.com/en/croatian-company https://www.total-croatia.com/en/croatian-company Looking to get a work and residence permit, or open a Croatian company? A journey through the bureaucratic minefield with a foreigner who managed to do it.

  • Before we start, welcome to Croatian bureaucracy
  • Before we continue, no two experiences are the same
  • How to get a residence permit in Croatia
  • Work permits in Croatia
  • Opening a Croatian company: a look at the options
  • Before we start, welcome to Croatian bureaucracy

    Whatever you learned in your home country, leave it behind. Croatian bureaucracy is like no other I have some across in my 50 years on this planet. I have lived in Rwanda, Georgia, Somaliland and Russia. Paperwork there was often complicated, but there was usually at least an element of sense.

    Not so in Croatia.

    I think my favourite requirement from Croatian bureacracy over the years is the requirement to produce an original birth certificate not more than 6 months old. Every year.

    The expense of getting my one-year temporary residency renewal always included 500 kuna to the online agency which would send me my fresh birth certificate. I was born in 1969. The fact that I had an original birth certificate dated 2012 in 2014 mattered little. For it was not 6 months old.

    Dealing with Croatian bureaucracy is all about holding your nerve and being patient. After 15 years, I have learned that the only way to embrace it is with humour and sarcasm. It helps to pass the time and numb the pain. Good luck!

    Before we continue, no two experiences are the same

    The next thing to take on board is that no two experiences are the same.

    What worked in 2012 for an expat in Croatia will not necessarily work for another in 2018. A Canadian may get a permit for something that an American won't. Permanent residency may be granted before lunch but not after. Exactly the same application in Split will have a different outcome in Zagreb.

    Some expats will tell you how everything is simple and this is how to do it. It worked for them. Others will tell you the situation is impossible, and you will never work. It did not work for them.

    Perhaps you will be lucky, perhaps not. Welcome to the show! Your best chances are to follow the advice and application processes. But be prepared for some little complications along the way.

    How to get a residence permit in Croatia

    Residence permits cause the most discussion in Croatia, particularly among non-EU wannabe residents.

    For some reasons, Americans seem to have the most problems of all. Perhaps it is because they are more vocal at complaining, but there is more to it than that. TCN did a recent feature on resident permit problems. This is what it is like trying to retire in Croatia as an American.

    TCN recently did an exhaustive overview of the residence permit requirements and procedures for EEA and non-EEA citizens in October 2018. It is a resource we will update as best we can. Ready to enter the minefield?

    Work permits in Croatia

    Getting a work permit in Croatia depends very much on which country you are from. EU entry opened up the rest of Europe to Croats, and Croatia to the rest of Europe in return.

    Some countries, such as the UK initially, had restrictions on Croatian workers coming to the UK, and UK citizens enjoyed reciprocal treatment. Those restrictions are no longer in force in the UK, although it remains to be seen how Brexit will affect things. The only EU country with current restrictions is Austria.

    Croatia is undergoing a demographic crisis, and mass emigration of its youth is a sad reality. The reality is that more foreign workers will come to Croatia. There is an employment crisis in many sectors, but it is particularly acute in the crucial tourism sector.

    For an overview of how to get a work permit in Croatia, check out the TCN guide.

    Opening a Croatian company: a look at the options

    Opening a Croatian company is not a consideration one should take lightly. It exposes you to Croatian bureaucracy on a whole new level.

    Many foreigners formed a Croatian company in order to buy property. This strategy is still the only was non-Croatians can buy agricultural land in the country.

    Having a Croatian company comes with a number of requirements, but it you plan to go ahead, here is what you need to do:

    1. Reserve Company’s Name
    2. The notary prepares the memorandum of association
    3. Register the company with the Commercial Court
    4. Order official seal
    5. Apply for statistical registration number
    6. Open a bank account
    7. Register for VAT and employee income tax withdrawals
    8. Register with the Croatian Institute for Pension Insurance and the Croatian Institute for Health Insurance

    Sounds simple, right? Good luck...

    There is no need to reinvent the wheel. Here is an awesome blog on the joys of opening a Croatian company.

    sarajevoliving@gmail.com (Paul Bradbury) What You Need To Know Thu, 20 Dec 2018 15:07:21 +0100