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Croatia travel guide

About Croatia

Occupying a stunning stretch of the Adriatic coastline, Croatia is one of Europe's top seaside destinations. Boasting more than 1,100 islands, the country is renowned for its limpid waters and picture-perfect scenery.

But Croatia is much more than sea and sunshine – it’s home to historic walled cities and spectacular Roman ruins, as well as imposing castles and unspoiled national parks. The fantastic cuisine, including seafood on the coast and truffles in Istria, fine wines and buzzing café culture add to the appeal.

The capital, Zagreb, can be called quintessentially Central European. Everything from the architecture to the hearty cuisine reflects the region’s centuries-old ties with the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The city also makes a good base from which to explore the historic castles and vineyards of Zagorje.

One thing that has changed greatly in the last decade in Croatia is tourism. The coast was once an undiscovered, undeveloped natural wonder as beautiful as Italy's, but without the fanfare. Now tourists from Britain, Germany and beyond flock to the Dalmatian region, and many have snapped up holiday homes.

The gorgeous seaside cities of Split and Dubrovnik still maintain their charm, but tend to be crowded with tourists during the day. The evenings in these coastal hubs tend to be much quieter, and there are often classical music concerts and other events in the city centres.

Beyond the tourist zones, Croatia is full of isolated places where you can discover more traditional, local life. Head to Plitvice for its amazing, lake-strewn national park, or explore the rugged mountain ranges of Velebit and Gorski Kotar, havens for hiking.

Back on the Adriatic, Croatia offers ideal sailing conditions, scuba diving and sea kayaking. And of course, those in search of a more restful holiday can enjoy hours of sunshine on the beach. As Europe's top naturist destination, Croatia is also a place where you can even get that all-over tan.

Clothing is advised if you’re planning to explore the country’s seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites, world-class museums and festivals, which come thick and fast throughout the summer.

Key facts

Area:

56,542 sq km (21,831 sq miles).

Population:

4,218,584 (UN estimate 2016).

Population density:

79 per sq km.

Capital:

Zagreb.

Government:

Republic.

Head of state:

President Zoran Milanović since 2020.

Head of government:

Prime Minister Tihomir Orešković since 2016.

Travel Advice

Coronavirus travel health

Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Croatia on the TravelHealthPro website.

See the TravelHealthPro website for further advice on travel abroad and reducing spread of respiratory viruses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you test positive for COVID-19 whilst you are in Croatia you should follow advice from the local authorities and get in touch with the local epidemiologist. Call 113 (from a Croatian number) for general advice about COVID-19. Arrangements for self-isolation and the associated costs may vary, but you should be prepared to make your own arrangements for self-isolation and bear any related costs. If you test positive for COVID-19, do not attempt to check in for your flight, as you may be subject to a fine from the Croatian Police.

International travel

Croatia has put measures in place to limit the spread of COVID-19. You should follow the advice of the local authorities in the most appropriate way to protect yourself and others, including any measures brought in to control the virus. These measures may change at short notice either at national or at local level. You should check local guidance for further information and details about restrictions in Croatia.

Entry and borders

See Entry requirements to find out what you will need to do when you arrive in Croatia. If entering Croatia for the purpose of overland transit you should familiarise yourself with the local travel requirements and ensure you depart the country within 12 hours. Failure to comply with this requirement may result in a fine.

Returning to the UK

When you return, you must follow the rules for entering the UK.

You are responsible for organising your own COVID-19 test, in line with UK government testing requirements. Information on testing facilities throughout Croatia can be found on the government website. You should check that the test result can be provided in the correct format and language.

Be prepared for your plans to change

No travel is risk-free during COVID. Countries may further restrict travel or bring in new rules at short notice, for example due to a new COVID-19 variant. Check with your travel company or airline for any transport changes which may delay your journey home.

If you test positive for COVID-19, you may need to stay where you are until you test negative. You may also need to seek treatment there.

Plan ahead and make sure you:

  • can access money
  • understand what your insurance will cover
  • can make arrangements to extend your stay and be away for longer than planned

Travel in Croatia

There are no restrictions on regional travel within Croatia.

Face masks

It is mandatory for passengers to wear masks on public transport, taxis and in shops and other commercial premises.

Public places and services

There have been reports of a number of coronavirus cases associated with visits to bars and other busy venues. You should exercise caution and follow social distancing rules when attending busy venues.

Health

If you feel that you have symptoms of coronavirus, you should contact the Croatian government’s COVID19 hotline on telephone number 113. Alternatively, you should contact the nearest specialist clinic – the contact details according to county, can be found here

For contact details for English speaking doctors visit our list of healthcare providers.

Your emotional and mental wellbeing is important. Read guidance on how to look after your mental wellbeing and mental health.

View Health for further details on healthcare in Croatia.

From 4 October, anyone entering a hospital or medical institution will be required to show either a digital COVID-19 certificate or appropriate proof of vaccination, proof of recovery or a negative test. This does not apply in the case of urgent or emergency treatment, or if seeking medical treatment for suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases.

COVID-19 vaccines if you live in Croatia

Wherever possible British nationals should aim to be vaccinated in the country where they live. We will update this page when the Government of Croatia announces new information on the national vaccination programme. You can sign up to get email notifications when this page is updated.

The Croatian national vaccination programme started in December 2020 and is using the AstraZeneca, Janssen (Johnson and Johnson), Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. British nationals resident in Croatia are eligible for vaccination. The Croatian authorities have issued guidance regarding how to get a COVID-19 vaccine in Croatia (this is only available in Croatian). The guidance includes information on how you can register your interest for a vaccine via your General Practitioner if you live in Croatia. You can register your interest for a vaccine through a dedicated vaccination website.

Find out more, including about vaccines that are authorised in the UK or approved by the World Health Organisation, on the COVID-19 vaccines if you live abroad.

If you’re a British national living in the Croatia, you should seek medical advice from your local healthcare provider. Information about COVID-19 vaccines used in the national programme where you live, including regulatory status, should be available from local authorities.

If you receive your COVID-19 vaccination in Croatia, you can get an EU Digital COVID Certificate from the national authorities. The Certificate proves that you have been vaccinated against COVID-19, received a negative test result, or recovered from COVID-19. It will help facilitate your travel within the EU and, in some countries, you can use it to demonstrate your COVID-19 status to businesses and other organisations. For further information visit the European Commission’s EU Digital COVID Certificate page.

Finance

For information on financial support you can access whilst abroad, visit our financial assistance guidance.

Further information

The Croatian Government Office for Public Health is publishing updates and advice (in Croatian, with some information in English).

Crime

Crime levels are low and violent crime is rare.

Some tourists have been the victims of overcharging in so-called ‘Gentlemen’s Clubs’, sometimes amounting to thousands of Euros. Victims can be threatened with violence if they refuse to pay.

Take care in busy tourist areas, where pickpockets are known to operate. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash. Don’t leave valuables unattended, particularly on the beach. Use a hotel safe if possible.

Report all incidents of crime to the local police station and get a police report.

Local travel

If you’re planning to travel outside the normal tourist resorts, beware of unexploded mines in war-affected areas like Eastern Slavonia, Brodsko-Posavska County, Karlovac County, areas around Zadar County and in more remote areas of the Plitvice Lakes National Park. For more information about mine-affected areas visit the Civil Protection website (in Croatian only) or contact the Civil Protection offices.

If you’re travelling in these areas, avoid leaving cultivated land or marked paths. If in doubt seek local advice.

If you’re hiking in the mountains, seek expert advice from local guides, however tame the mountain might seem to you. The weather in the Croatian mountains can change quickly, even in summer and temperatures can get very low overnight. There have been reports of hikers getting lost in the mountains when they have gone out alone and left marked paths. You can find tips about mountaineering and direct numbers for regional rescue teams on the Croatian Mountain Rescue page here and on Twitter HrvatskaGSS , as well as their maps. If you get into trouble, call the emergency number 112 and the Croatian Mountain Rescue Service will help you as best they can.

Road travel

In 2019 there were 297 road deaths in the Croatia (source: Department for Transport). This equates to 7.3 road deaths per 100,000 of population and compares to the UK average of 2.6 road deaths per 100,000 of population in 2019.

If you are planning to drive in Croatia, see information on Driving Abroad.

Licences and documents

UK driving licence holders may drive in Croatia on their UK licence for a period of up to 12 months. An International Driving Permit is not required.

If you bring your own or rented vehicle into the country, you may be asked to provide proof of ownership by presenting a V5 log book both at the border or while driving. If you fail to produce this when asked you will be refused entry or the car might be impounded until you can prove ownership. Contact the Croatian Embassy in London if you have more detailed questions about bringing a vehicle in to the country. The British Embassy is unable to help individuals attempting to bring vehicles into Croatia who do not have the correct documents at the border.

If you’re driving to or through Bosnia and Herzegovina, including the 20km strip of coastline at Neum on the Dalmatian coastal highway, make sure that you have the appropriate paperwork for your vehicle “Zelená karta” Green card that includes cover for Bosnia and Herzegovina. You can’t buy insurance for Bosnia and Herzegovina at the Neum border crossing.

If you’re living in Croatia, check the Living in Guide for information on requirements for residents.

Driving a British car abroad

You may need a GB sticker or a UK sticker to drive your car outside the UK. From 28 September UK stickers will replace GB stickers. Check the GOV.UK Displaying number plates website for more information on what to do if you are driving outside the UK before, on or after 28 September 2021.

Road safety

Take care when overtaking and be wary of other road users unexpectedly overtaking in slower traffic. Minor roads are usually unlit at night.

Emergency road help (HAK) may be reached by dialling (385 1) 1987. This service is staffed by English speaking operators. Traffic information in English is available on 98.5FM during the tourist season only.

Driving regulations

It is illegal to drive with more than 0.05% of alcohol in the blood system.

You must drive with dipped headlights from the last weekend in October until last weekend in March, even during the daytime. You must have winter tyres on your vehicle between 15 November and 15 April. You must not use a mobile phone whilst driving.

It’s obligatory to carry a fluorescent vest in your car whilst driving in Croatia. You must keep the vest in the car and not in the boot. You should wear the vest while attending to a breakdown. All passengers must wear seat belts and special seats are required for infants. Children under the age of 12 must not sit in the front seat.

See the European Commission,AA and RAC guides on driving in Croatia.

Rail travel

Take care to guard valuables, especially at night.

Sea travel

There is zero tolerance on alcohol consumption if you are in charge of a yacht or boat. The penalties for being caught drunk in charge of a boat are heavy. Yacht/boat skippers have been arrested for entering a non-designated entry port without informing the authorities. If you are sailing to Croatia enter only at a designated port/harbour. If this is not possible, contact the local harbour master or the police before entering.

The Croatian Government requires all skippers to have an International Certificate of Competence (ICC). The recognised body for the issue of ICCs in the UK is the Royal Yachting Association (RYA).

Terrorist attacks in Croatia can’t be ruled out. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners.

UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out more about the global threat from terrorism.

There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.

We recommend that you carry your passport (or, if a resident your Croatian ID card) at all times. They are the only officially recognised form of identification in Croatia.

Keep a photocopy of the biographical details page in a safe place, including details of your next of kin. If your passport is lost or stolen you should report it to the police and get a police report. You need to do this before applying for an Emergency Travel Document; advice on how to apply can be found here

You should respect local laws and customs at all times. In some Croatian town centres, on the spot fines may be issued for inappropriate behaviour such as walking through towns shirtless or in swimwear, wearing clothing that promotes drug use, or sleeping in public areas. Most towns have signage to advise about actions that are prohibited by local law. You should take notice of your surroundings, including signage, and take local advice if unsure.

Drug related offences are punishable with fines and jail sentences.

Taking food and drink into the EU

You cannot take meat, milk or products containing them into EU countries. There are some exceptions for medical reasons, for example certain amounts of powdered infant milk, infant food, or pet food required for medical reasons. Check the rules about taking food and drink into the EU on the European Commission website.

This page reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British Citizen’ passport, for the most common types of travel.

The authorities in Croatia set and enforce entry rules. For further information contact their embassy, high commission or consulate. You may also check with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and travel documents meet their requirements.

If you are travelling to Croatia for work, read the guidance on visas and permits as the rules have changed since 1 January 2021.

Entry rules in response to coronavirus

Entry to Croatia

To be allowed entry into Croatia, all travellers from the UK must present one of the following documents on arrival:

  • proof of a vaccination, or;
  • a negative COVID-19 antigen not older than 48 hours, or;
  • a negative PCR test result not older than 72 hours, or;
  • a doctor’s certificate of recovery from COVID-19. (See ‘Demonstrating your COVID-19 status’).

Children under 12 and accompanied by a parent or guardian are exempt from these requirements if the parent or guardian has one of the documents set out above.

You should not use the NHS testing service to get a test in order to facilitate your travel to another country. You should arrange to take a private test.

Details of further exemptions from the requirements set out above are available here and include for example passengers transiting Croatia in under 12 hours.

If you are arriving in Croatia from countries other than the UK, Cyprus, Russia, South Africa, Brazil or Zanzibar and do not have one of the documents listed above, and are not subject to a specific exemption, you will be required to take a PCR test or rapid antigen test upon arrival in Croatia. You will need to self-isolate until the results of a negative test are received. Upon entry to Croatia, you will be handed instructions regarding the conditions for self isolation, which will include details about ending your self-isolation through a negative test. See more information about testing centres in Croatia.

If you travel to another country after receiving a negative PCR (72 hours validity) test or rapid antigen test (48 hours validity) in Croatia and return back to Croatia within less than 48 or 72 hours (for PCR) from the date of testing, you will not be required to provide a new test from the country you travelled to.

Additional documents for entry

You will need to complete an online entry form before you travel to Croatia.

You should carry a copy of your accommodation booking or proof of ownership of holiday homes / boats when arriving in Croatia. If you are travelling to Croatia for business, you should carry evidence of a business invitation or meetings.

Demonstrating your COVID-19 status

Croatia will accept either certificate of completion of a two dose vaccine course (Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Gamaleya, Sinopharm) or a certificate of receipt of a one dose vaccine (Janssen, Johnson & Johnson). In both cases immunization must have been completed 14 days prior to arrival.

Alternatively, Croatia will accept a doctor’s certificate of recovery within the previous 8 months, alongside proof of a first dose of the vaccine.

Croatia will accept the UK’s proof of COVID-19 recovery and vaccination record. Your NHS appointment card from vaccination centres is not designed to be used as proof of vaccination and should not be used to demonstrate your vaccine status.

Travelling to Croatia from South Africa, Brazil, India or Zanzibar

There are additional restrictions if you are travelling to Croatia from South Africa, Brazil, India or Zanzibar. In addition to holding a negative PCR test result taken within 48 hours prior to arrival, permitted travellers must also undergo a mandatory 14 day self-isolation period on arrival to Croatia. The isolation period can be reduced to 7 days if a subsequent PCR test confirms a negative result.

Details of eligibility to travel, possible exemptions, and instructions for arrivals including approved rapid antigen tests are available from the Croatian Ministry of Interior. PCR tests are available at most Croatian airports – travellers should check this with the specific airports they are travelling to. Those seeking a test on arrival will need to contact a clinic directly and may temporarily leave their accommodation to attend a test appointment. See more information about testing centres in Croatia. Tests cost approximately 700 Croatian Kuna and results are generally available within 48 hours.

Regular entry requirements

Visas

The rules for travelling or working in European countries changed from 1 January 2021:

  • you can travel to Croatia for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa. This applies if you travel as a tourist, to visit family or friends, to attend business meetings, cultural or sports events, or for short-term studies or training
  • visits to other EU or Schengen countries do not count towards your 90-day limit in Croatia as it is not in the Schengen area. Visits to Croatia do not count towards your 90-day visa-free limit in the Schengen area
  • to stay longer, to work or study, for business travel or for other reasons, you will need to meet the Croatian government’s entry requirements. Check with the Croatian Embassy in London as to what type of visa and/or work permit you may need
  • if you stay in Croatia with a residence permit or long-stay visa, this does not count towards your 90-day visa-free limit

Any time you spent in Croatia before 1 January 2021 does not count towards the 90-day visa-free limit.

When queuing at the Croatian border control, you should use different lanes to those specifically designated for EU, EEA and Swiss citizens. Your passport may be stamped on entry and exit.

You may also need to:

  • show a return or onward ticket
  • Show proof of accommodation
  • show you have enough money for your stay

There are separate requirements for those who are resident in Croatia. If you are resident, you should carry proof of residence in addition to a valid passport at all times whilst in Croatia and when you travel. For further information on these requirements, see our Living in Croatia guide.

Passport validity

Check your passport is valid for travel before you book your trip, and renew your passport if you do not have enough time left on it.

Make sure your passport is:

  • valid for at least 3 months after the day you plan to leave Croatia
  • less than 10 years old

The 3 months you need when leaving a country must be within 10 years of the passport issue date.

If you renewed your current passport before the previous one expired, extra months may have been added to its expiry date. Any extra months on your passport over 10 years may not count towards the minimum 3 months needed.

UK Emergency Travel Documents

UK ETDs are accepted for entry, transit and exit from Croatia and are a valid ID document in Croatia.

Coronavirus

Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Croatia on the TravelHealthPro website.

See the healthcare information in the Coronavirus section for information on what to do if you think you have coronavirus while in Croatia.

At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.

General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist is available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.

The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or purchased in the UK can be different in other countries. If you’re travelling with prescription or over-the-counter medicine, read this guidance from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines. For further information on the legal status of a specific medicine, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.

While travel can be enjoyable, it can sometimes be challenging. There are clear links between mental and physical health, so looking after yourself during travel and when abroad is important. Information on travelling with mental health conditions is available in our guidance page. Further information is also available from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).

Healthcare

You should apply for a free UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) or European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before leaving the UK. If you already have an EHIC it will still be valid as long as it remains in date.

GHIC or EHIC cards entitle you to state provided medical treatment that may become necessary during your trip. Any treatment provided is on the same terms as Croatian nationals. If you don’t have your EHIC with you or you’ve lost it, you can call the NHS Overseas Healthcare Team on +44 191 218 1999 to get a Provisional Replacement Certificate.

It’s important to take out appropriate travel insurance for your needs. A GHIC or EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance and you should have both before you travel. It does not cover all health-related costs, for example, medical repatriation, ongoing medical treatment and non-urgent treatment.

Read more about what your travel insurance should cover.

If you are resident in Croatia, you can also find more information on healthcare for residents in our Living in Croatia guide.

UK prescriptions are not recognised in Croatia. You should ensure that you bring sufficient supplies of medication with you, and if you need medication while travelling, you should speak to a pharmacist who will tell you if you need a prescription from a local GP.

From 4 October, anyone entering a hospital or medical institution will be required to show either a digital COVID-19 certificate or appropriate proof of vaccination, proof of recovery or a negative test. This does not apply in the case of urgent or emergency treatment, or if seeking medical treatment for suspected or confirmed COVID-19.

If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 112 for an English speaking emergency service and ask for an ambulance. If you are referred to a medical facility for treatment you should contact your insurance/medical assistance company immediately.

Earthquakes

Small tremors are recorded several times a month throughout the year. Most pass without consequences. To learn more about what to do before, during and after an earthquake, visit the website of the US Federal Emergency Management Agency.

On 29 December 2020, a 6.4 magnitude earthquake hit the region of Petrinja near Sisak, in central Croatia, causing extensive damage to buildings and infrastructure and loss of life. Common sense should be used around damaged buildings, which may not always be signposted, to avoid any falling brickwork.

Forest fires

Forest fires are very common during Croatia’s hot and dry summers. Take care when visiting or driving through woodland and forest areas. Make sure cigarette ends are properly extinguished, do not light barbecues outside of designated areas and do not leave any rubbish, particularly empty bottles behind, as these are known to start fires.

Floods

Flash floods can occur with very little warning and can lead to dangerous water flows and disruption to transport and other networks. You should keep a close eye on weather forecasts and follow the advice of local authorities.

Monitor media reports and follow the advice of the local authorities if a forest fire, earthquake, floods or other natural disaster occurs in your area.

The currency of Croatia is the Croatian Kuna.

Major credit and debit cards are accepted in most banks and hotels. There are plenty of ATMs that accept standard international credit and debit cards.

Pounds sterling, US dollars and euros are easily exchanged for local currency. Only exchange money at reliable places such as banks and currency exchange bureaux.

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the FCDO in London on 020 7008 5000 (24 hours).

Foreign travel checklist

Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.

Travel safety

The FCDO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can’t provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.

When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCDO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.

Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.

Refunds and cancellations

If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can’t offer a refund to their customers.

For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Registering your travel details with us

We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.

Previous versions of FCDO travel advice

If you’re looking for a previous version of the FCDO travel advice, visit the National Archives website. Versions prior to 2 September 2020 will be archived as FCO travel advice. If you can’t find the page you’re looking for there, send the Travel Advice Team a request.

Further help

If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.

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