CROATIA- USEFUL INFORMATION
Welcome to Croatia!
You are just about to take one of the most memorable trips to beautiful country that for many years was under the radar. Croatia is truly wonderful destination and offers almost everything: rich history, culture, arts, architecture, ancient monuments (7 UNESCO sites), beautiful countryside, Adriatic Sea with its beautiful and rugged Dalmatian Coast and more than 1 200 islands, ideal Mediterranean climate, gourmet food, excellent wines and wonderful, warm and friendly people. Until 1991 Croatia was part of former Yugoslavia along with 6 other new countries: Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Slovenia and Kosovo. Bloody Balkan conflict of 1991-95 that took more than 250 000 lives, caused the break-up of Yugoslavia and 7 new countries were born. Croatia and Slovenia eventually became part of the EU while the other 5 are still struggling and trying to meet EU’s strict admission criteria.
Slovenia converted to Euro currency while Croatia stayed on its original monetary system and “Kuna” (HRK) is still the official currency.
You will be surprised how inexpensive and how beautiful Croatia is. Typical comment by first time visitor is: ”WOW! I did not know that Croatia is so beautiful and that has so much to offer.”
We hope you will find our country beautiful and will enjoy your trip. Mediterra and its staff will do utmost everything to make your trip one of the most memorable ones. Thank you for trusting us your travel arrangements.
- Croatia in Croatian is called “Hrvatska” ( hur-wat-ska).
- Croatian alphabet is Latin. You will have no problems reading signs. You might have problem reading street signs for they are in most cases written in small lettering which are posted somewhere on corner buildings and hardly visible especially if driving.
- Many buildings or houses, specially in rural areas don’t even have house numbers and thus very hard to identify.
- Your GPS is pretty good tool but sometimes can take you to wrong address. Make sure to properly enter all information in address.
- Reading tip: Croatian letters “š”=sh, “ž”=zh, “č”=ch and “j” is always pronounced as “y”.
- Croatia used to be a part of former Yugoslavia together with Slovenia, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Macedonia and Kosovo. It gained its independence on June 25, 1991.
- Croatia is today an independent democracy governed by a National Assembly, President and Prime Minister.
- Virtually the entire eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea, which is called Dalmatia with its more than 1,200 islands, belongs to Croatia.
- Croatia joined EU on July 1, 2013 as 28th EU nation but will not accept Euro as official currency.
- Croatian currency is called Kuna ( koo-na), official exchange code designation: HRK.
- Approximate Exchange rate: 6:50 HRK=1 US$ (6.48 in July, 2017) or approximately 100 Kunas =US$15. Kuna consists of 100 lipa (pron: lee-pa).
- The only currency officially accepted in stores and restaurants is Croatian Kuna. All prices are posted in Croatian Kunas including menus in restaurants.
- Make sure to retain receipt and bill for everything you purchase. As consumer, you may be held liable if you cannot produce proof of payment for a purchased item or service. Croatian IRS inspectors are trying to stop wide cheating and non reportin cash transactions by some merchants pocketing cash and not reporting sales.
- All major Credit Cards are widely accepted by better restaurants and hotels. Be prepared to pay cash in smaller establishments; taxis, small restaurants, small merchants, farmers markets.
- Most US issued ATM cards can be used to withdraw cash from Croatian banks. Suggest you notify your bank before departure to prevent fraud.
- Good buys in Croatia: wine, olive oil, crystal, embroidery, leather goods (purses), processed truffles, handicrafts.
- Notable Croatians: Nikola Tesla (scientist), Ivan Mestrovic (sculptor-thought sculpturing at Syracuse and Notre Dame), Mario Andretti (Indi car racer), Leo Hedrick Sternbach (chemist-inventor of valium), Slavoljub Penkala (inventor of pen).
- Good food and dishes in Croatia: prosciutto (one of the best in the world), home-made cheeses, olive oil, Croatian ice cream (on every corner), strukli (cheese dumplings), chevapchichi, roast lamb, roast veal and truffle dishes.
- English is widely spoken at all tourist points, hotels, attractions and restaurants. Young Croatians in particular are well versed in English, German or Italian.
- Wi-Fi Internet access is widely available. In most hotels it is usually free of charge while in Internet cafes there is a small fee to access Internet.
- Facebook, phone texting and Twitter are in wide use in Croatia, especially by the younger generation.
- Internet country code: .hr (for Hr-vatska).
- To call Croatia from any country in the world, dial country code (385) + city code + phone number.
- Dialing from Croatia to the US: 01 + area code+ number. Most US cell phones can be used in Croatia. Suggest you notify your wireless carrier before departure.
- Most hotels regardless of category provide standard amenities: towels, soap, shampoo, lotion, hair dryers, iron and ironing boards, laundry service. Breakfast is always included in your hotel rate unless otherwise specified.
- Tipping suggestion: 10-15% of total. IMPORTANT: Restaurant bills cannot include a tip in the total if paying by credit card. Therefore, tipping in cash in any currency is welcomed. Tip waiters 10-15%, Tour Guides $20-30 for 2.0 hour guiding and about $70-100 for full day (groups $5.00 per person). Drivers $10 per hour for driving up to 3 hours and $50 for full day.
- Dinner reservations are highly recommended at better restaurants in peak season (June, July, August & September). In off-season, chances are good for immediate seating without reservation in most restaurants. If your hotel does not have a concierge, any reception/front desk person will gladly help you make reservations. Mediterra local Croatian staff will do it gladly for you.
- If you are satisfied with your meal, you will make great impression and savor a memorable moment by offering a drink to the chef who prepared your food. Many times they will come out to greet guests in their cooking garbs, join you at the table and offer a complimentary dessert or something very special that is not on menu.
- Pretend you are a restaurant critic. Make brief notes of your experiences at each place. We would love to hear from you. Please share your impressions and experiences with us upon your return.