Republic of Croatia covers an area of 56,542 sq. km, and its territorial waters cover 31,067 sq. km. The coastline including the islands is 5,835 km long. It has 718 islands, 389 cliffs and 78 reefs. Out of 67 inhabited islands with 130,000 inhabitants, the biggest are Krk and Cres. According to the latest census, Croatia has a population of 4,381,352 inhabitants.
The official language is Croatian, written in the Roman script. In Croatia English language is taught in elementary school hence the most of Croatians speak English well. In the northern regions, the way of life is typically Central European, whereas in the South it is Mediterranean.
In the North the climate is continental, in the mountains it is alpine and on the Adriatic coast it is Mediterranean. Croatian Adriatic has an average of 2,600 hours of sunshine per year and an average sea temperature of 25° to 27°C. It is indeed one of the sunniest and warmest coasts in Europe. The ideal summer wardrobe consists of light summer clothes and something warmer for the evenings. It rains more often in spring and autumn, and winters can be quite harsh in central and northern areas, with considerable amounts of snow. For exact data on your destination please consult your travel agency.
Although there was an independent Croatian principality and Kingdom from the 9th to the 12th century, today’s Croatia is one of the newest states in Europe. It adopted its constitution on 22 December 1990, and was recognised internationally on 15 January 1992. After the collapse of the communist regime in the democratic elections in the spring of 1990, Croatia became a multiparty parliamentary republic. Its legal system is almost completely harmonized with the European Union. In March 2005 Croatia started negotiations on full membership in the European Union.
Croatia is rich in natural resources, and is determined to build its future on services and high technology. Its priority is the utilisation of its maritime potential: above all, tourism, shipping and shipbuilding. In recent years Croatia has developed to be one of the top destination for nautical tourism enthusiasts, hence this type of tourism is commonly experiencing a double digit growth year on year.
Croatian cuisine is a cuisine of regions, reflecting Croatian geography, history and culture. Croatia’s turbulent history, caused by its unique geopolitical position, is also evident in its dishes, which combine different eras: the ancient Greeks grew grapes on the islands of Vis and Hvar; the Hungarians brought goulash and paprikash (meat stew), the Turks left sarma (stuffed sauerkraut rolls), stuffed green peppers and rolled dough, while the Italians left their trace in various kinds of pasta.
The main feature of Croatian cuisine is great variety in a small area. A single type of Croatian cuisine does not exist because each Croatian region has »its own« cuisine. Basically, we can distinguish two types of Croatian cuisine: continental and Mediterranean.
Flora and Fauna
Croatia prides itself on its clear environment and rich flora and fauna. Today some 7.5 per cent of Croatian territory is protected within the national park system or under other regional protection. Eight national and eleven nature parks, both on the coast and in the continental part of Croatia, are popular tourist destinations. Results of analyses of sea water for bathing and recreation, done and adjusted to the criteria prescribed by the EU, show that it is of high quality of cleanness. In the most recent survey performed by the Croatian Ministry of the Environment the Croatian Adriatic Sea has been declared as one of the cleanest sea waters on the world.
History and culture
Croatia abounds in important cultural and historic monuments. The old city of Dubrovnik, the Plitvice lakes national park, the 6thcentury complex of the Basilica of Euphrasius, Diocletian’s palace in Split constructed around AD 300, the Cathedral in Sibenik built between 1402 and 1555, and the Romanesque town of Trogir are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Sports and recreation
In Croatia, tourists can practice all kinds of indoor and outdoor sports, water sports and scuba diving. Travel agencies, using quality equipment and expert guides, organize sailing, bicycling, horse riding, sea and river kayaking, canoeing, rafting, diving, climbing, hiking, soft adventure, survival and team building tours and courses. Fishing with fishermen, by day or night, renting of yachts, sailing boats, motorboats, rowing boats, as well as all kind of sea equipment are among regular offer.
The unit of currency is the kuna (KN).
Foreign currencies can be exchanged at banks, exchange offices, post offices and at most tourist agencies, hotels and camping grounds. Banking hours are 7 or 8 am to 4 or 7 pm from Monday to Friday. On Saturdays some banks are open until midday or 12.30 pm. In larger cities some banks are also open on Sundays. Major hotels, restaurants and shops accept credit cards. Cash dispensing machines accepting most frequently used international debit and credit cards are located in all major tourist destinations. Exchange offices at main railway stations and bus terminals, international airports and harbour terminals, border crossings, bigger marinas generally work 24 hours a day or are open to service the arriving and departing passengers.
Electricity: 220V, 50Hz- power outlets are the Continental two-pin type
Water: Tap water is potable in all parts of Croatia.
Telephone code for Croatia is +385.
Time zone: GMT plus one hour in winter and GMT plus two in summer
Travel documentation: Passport or some other internationally recognised identification document. Tourists may remain in Croatia for up to three months.
Customs: There are no Customs charges for personal belongings. Foreign currency may be freely taken in and out of the country, local currency up to an amount of 15,000 kunas. Professional and technical equipment of significant value should be reported when entering the country. Pets must have valid international veterinary certificates.
Purchase tax reimbursement for foreign citizens: Tourists making purchases in Croatia (apart from petroleum derivatives) which exceed 500 Kuna per receipt may reclaim VAT (“PDV”).
Continental part of Croatia: all year round; along the coast: high-July, August (Dubrovnik area July to September), shoulder - June and September/October, off-season - other months.
Travel agencies - along the coast: in high season 8 am to 8 pm or longer, Saturdays and Sundays 8 am to 2 pm, but most stay open till 8 pm; off season 8 am to 1 or 2 pm, Saturdays 8 am to 1 pm, Sundays closed. In Zagreb, all year round 8 am to 7 pm (in other continental towns mostly 8 am to 4 pm) Mondays to Fridays, Saturdays 8 am to midday, Sundays closed. In Zagreb, tourist information offices and exchange offices are also open Saturdays and Sundays. Public services and business offices usually work from 8 am to 4 pm from Monday to Friday. Shops and department stores are open between 8 am and 8 pm, and on Saturdays from 8 am to 2 pm, or to 3 pm. A smaller number of stores close between noon and 4 pm. Many stores are also open on Sundays, especially in the summer, and a smaller number in the larger cities are open 24 hours a day.
Post and Telecommunications
Post offices are mostly open from 7 am to 7 pm, and on Saturdays until 1 pm. There are post offices in the larger cities which are open until 10 pm in the summer. Using a phone card one may call abroad directly from any public phone. Phone cards, together with postage stamps, can be purchased in post offices and at newsstands. Three Croatian GSM networks have concluded roaming agreements with almost all GSM networks around the world (in some countries with several). Cyber-cafes can be found in all major cities and tourist destinations.
Foreign tourists do not have to pay for medical services if there is a signed health insurance convention between Croatia and their country of origin.