What to know about Croatia

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Croatia is a beautiful country with a lot of untouched nature and many island. When you visit Croatia, you should really explore at least a few islands to make your trip complete.

Emergency numbers:

  • General emergencies: 112 (all over Europe)
  • Police: 192
  • Ambulances: 194

General information about Croatia

Croatia is officially Republic of Croatia which is ‘Republika Hrvatska’ in Croatian, which is why you will see ‘HR’ on the license plates.

Some general information about Croatia:

  • Capital: Zagreb
  • Currency: Croatian Kuna (HKR)
  • Official language: Croatian and Italian in province Istria
  • Largest religion: Roman Catholic (Christianity)
  • Neighbouring countries: Slovenia, Hungary, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro
  • Independence: 25th June 1991

Best time to visit Croatia is in May, June, September, and October. In July and August, it’s crowded with tourists, and it can get really hot.

Must know before you go

Before you go to Croatia there are a few things you need to know.

  • Croatia is relatively safe to visit with not much crime. Of course, you always need to watch out for pickpocketing in touristic areas.
  • A road trip is the best way to go around the country but always watch out when driving in another country.
  • If you visit Croatia by car and you pass by Slovenia and Austria, you’ll need to buy a vignette. You can buy this in front online or at the gas station before the border.
  • Never ask about the wars. A local started talking about the war and told us that Croatia had many wars not that long ago even back in the nineties. They had wars with the countries nearby like Turkey because they all wanted a piece of the Adriatic Sea. Croatia fought back and was strong which they are very proud of but there are also many other stories. You can read about the history here, but don’t talk about it and be careful what you say if they start to talk about it. Also some Croatians don’t like it when you call them Yugoslavians or Balkans but this depends on the person you are talking to.
  • Dress appropriate when you’re visiting religious places. You need to cover your shoulders and knees if you go in a church and take of your hat. There are also some laws against walking around in the cities in swimwear or bare chested so dress modest.
  • Some places you need to book in advance. In high season it can happen that tickets and accommodations are sold out. If you go in high season, you can book your accommodation, car rental, ferries, and some touristic attractions in advance.
  • There are many Naturist beaches and topless bathing is common in Croatia, just so you know.
  • Tipping is not expected but it is appreciated to round up your bill or give 10%.
  • ‘Bok’ is hello in Croatian and ‘Dovidenja’ means goodbye.
  • ‘Voda’ means water and tap water is safe to drink.

Tip: bring water shoes because most beaches are with painful rocks.

Must visit in Croatia

This country is known for the scenic beaches, the many islands, and the famous city Dubrovnik but there is much more to discover than just this city. Read about all the nice places you can visit in Croatia in the blog Road trip through Croatia.

Food and drinks

Croatia has a lot of good food and drinks, but it can be difficult if you are vegetarian or vegan. Some food and drinks you should try out:

  • Ajvar: spread made of red paprika, eggplant, salt, oil and herbs.
  • Strukli: pastry filled with cottage cheese and sour cream, in Zagreb
  • Surlice: a specialty pasta from the Island Krka
  • Peka: a method of preparation. Typically with octopus, meat roast from veal or lamb paired with potatoes and veggies
  • Paski Sir: cheese you can find on island Pag (sir means cheese)
  • Best fresh oysters can be found in Ston
  • Truffles are best eaten in Istria
  • Pasta and pizza influences from Italy
  • Crni rizot: black risotto with squid ink
  • Gregada: fish stew from island Hvar
  • Njoki: Croatian version of gnocchi
  • Absmalcane Mahune: traditional Croatian dish made form boiled green beans with butter and breadcrumbs. Used as a side dish with meat of fish.
  • Dalmatinski Prsut: cured, smoked, and dried ham

There are many more Croatian dishes that you can try out.

Nin or Ston are the two places where salt is produced. You can visit the salt pans and see the process. Ston is the oldest salt production from Europe.

Must do: visit a vineyard, an olive farm and a fig farm.

Tip: Masvin is a nice vineyard close to Zadar and Biograd. You can walk around between the trees and take pictures. Everything is organic and some horses are roaming free.

In the blog Road trip through Croatia you can read all about what you should definitely visit in Croatia.

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