Croatia has one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world which stretches along the Adriatic Coast. The colourful harbours, secluded coves and picturesque towns make it an attractive destination for beach lovers and a great alternative for those wishing to avoid the crowds.
In recent years many good quality hotels and marinas have been built which is helping Croatia to enjoy tourism again after it ground to a halt during the Balkan Civil War (1991-1995). Now the war is over, many cities including Dubrovnik have been rebuilt and travellers returning to this wonderful and unique country. Whilst most tourists head straight for the Adriatic Coast, inland Croatia has much to offer its visitors; its cities bursting with history and character to keep the sightseers busy. Nightlife can vary in Croatia; anything from small family run wine bars to pubs, clubs and all night beach parties. Eating out is delicious and inexpensive with a huge variety of cuisine to enjoy. Seafood features on most menus and the wine growing regions produce some great red and white wines to accompany meals.
Travellers looking for adventure have a whole host of options, from diving in the Adriatic - exploring reef and wrecks from old ships and aeroplanes to biking trips, hiking, rafting and rock climbing; Croatia really does have it all.
- Currency Croatian Kuna (HRK) (approx 11 Kunas to £1.00 sterling)
- Time Zone GMT + 1 (GMT + 2 April to September)
- Language Croatian
- Telephone Services Country Code +385, International Access code 00
- Emergency Numbers Ambulance 94, Fire-service 93 and Police 92
Croatia enjoys average high season temperatures of 30° C and mild, dry summers. The coastal areas have dry, hot summers and mild, rainy winters. In the capital Zagreb, the average daily temperatures can reach 35° C in July and drop to 2° C in January.
Things to see and do
The beautiful city of Dubrovnik is often described as the jewel of Croatia with its surrounding coastline and picturesque villages. You can take a walk along the stone ramparts of the city walls, which give spectacular views of this magnificent town, or simply relax in one of the many coastline cafes and watch the world go by. Some of the finest monuments and ancient architecture can be admired throughout the town; the cobbled streets and narrow alleyways help to create the original atmosphere of the 12th century. The Rectors Palace, the Franciscan Monastery, the Cathedral and St Blaise’s Church are all well worth a visit. For festival lovers, the Dubrovnik Summer festival is held each year from mid-July to late August when the town really comes alive with a host of cultural events, plus many performances of theatre, jazz and classical music.
Croatia’s capital, Zagreb, is a beautiful city, rich in medieval heritage. There is so much for visitors to see and do with various shops, cafes, theatres and museums surrounding the main square. The museum of Zagreb, the Gallery of Naïve Art and the Archaeological Museum all contain an extensive collection of exhibits and are all well worth a visit.
South of Zagreb lays one of Croatia’s most stunning tourist attractions. The Plitvice Lakes National Park (UNESCO listed) is considered by many, one of the most beautiful natural sights in the world and should undoubtedly feature on your itinerary. The park features sixteen lakes, connected by waterfalls which cascade through the beautiful surrounding countryside. Energetic travellers can take in the stunning scenery while kayaking through the canyons and rapids. Further information on how to book, opening time and prices can be found here www.np-plitvicka-jezera.hr.
Split is the second largest city in Croatia and has numerous road and sea connections to Dalmatia’s summer resorts. For history lovers there are several museums, monuments and cathedrals to visit including the Treasury of the Split Cathedral which includes a great collection of religious art. The Marjan Forest Park, a just a fifteen minute walk from the city and gives a stunning view of both the old and new parts of Split. The park also includes nature paths, vista points, promenades, playgrounds and the Split Zoo. Split also hosts many water sports and other sports, from tennis and mountain climbing, to rowing and water skiing. For details of companies offering organised activity trips that include caving, river rafting, paragliding and sea kayaking; check out the following website.
Croatia’s national carrier is Croatia Airlines and has regular flights from Zagreb to Dubrovnik, Pula, Brac, Zadar and Split. For further details check www.croatiaairlines.hr
Croatia has an excellent bus network which is reasonably priced. Service is efficient and fast with regular services to destinations all over the country. The major bus companies are:
However, for those of you not in a rush to explore this wonderful country, the trains are cheaper and more comfortable than the bus, but are much slower. There are the faster, new 160kph “tilting trains” if you are travelling from Zagreb to Split. The following site has timetable and prices information for Croatian Railways in English: www.hznet.hr.
Ferries link several offshore islands with major coastal towns and ports. They run from four to eight times a day depending on the season. www.jadrolinija.hr provides further information and the schedules for the local ferries.
The standard of hotels in Croatia is quite high, and they generally offer good value for money. The more luxurious hotels can be found in Dubronnik, Opatija and Zagreb. Staying in private accommodation is becoming increasingly popular among tourists. Small inns and guesthouses along the coast offer visitors a real Croatian experience.
It is even possible to stay in some lighthouses. A ferry from Split to the Island of Lastovo will take you to a lighthouse located 70m above sea level at the very edge of a steep cliff. The lighthouse has one 4-bed apartment and one 6-bed apartment which have spectacular views of the surrounding areas.
For those travellers on a tight budget, there are plenty of youth hostels available in most main cities. The following website if the Croatian Youth Hostel Association this provides information on all hostels in Croatia and is in affiliation with the Hostelling International. This website also includes some useful links if you want to hire a car and other travel tips.
If you fancy camping, there are also 148 campsites in Croatia with some naturist camps.
The standard of health in Croatia is high. There are clinics and hospitals in all of the larger cities and pharmacies and first aid clinics in all places. No vaccinations are required and tap water in Croatia is chlorinated and safe. However, it is advisable to drink bottled water throughout your stay.
Hospital, medical treatment and dental treatment are normally free on the presentation of a UK passport. Although prescribed medicine must be paid for. It is always recommended however that you take out travel insurance.
Croatian National Tourist Board Iblerov Trg 10/4, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia Tel: (1) 469 9333. Fax: (1) 455 7827. Website: www.croatia.hr
Ministry of Tourism Prislje 14, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia Tel: (1) 616 9180. Fax: (1) 616 9181. Website: www.mmtpr.hr
Embassy of the Republic of Croatia 21 Conway Street, London W1T 6BN, UK Tel: (020) 7387 2022 or 1144 (consular section). Fax: (020) 7387 0310 or 0936 (consular section). Website: uk.mvp.hr
Croatian National Tourist Office 2 The Lanchesters, 162-164 Fulham Palace Road, London W6 9ER, UK Tel: (020) 8563 7979. Fax: (020) 8563 2616. Website: www.croatia.hr
British Embassy Ivana Lucica 4, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia Tel: (1) 600 9100. Fax: (1) 600 9111. Website: www.britishembassy.gov.uk/croatia