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Summary

 
  • Exercise normal safety precautions in Croatia. Use common sense and look out for suspicious behaviour, as you would in Australia. Monitor the media and other sources for changes to local travelling conditions.
  • Australians have been severely injured after jumping off rocks and cliffs into the sea, especially in Dubrovnik and off the coast of the Dalmatian islands. Warning signs and safety barriers may not be in place but the dangers are clear. Your travel insurance may not cover injuries from these or other dangerous activities. See Local travel.
  • Excessive alcohol consumption has been the cause of serious accidents on 'party boats' cruising the Croatian coast. Read Partying safely for ten top tips. See Local travel.
  • Avoid rowdy or drunken behaviour in public – it is socially unacceptable and could attract negative attention from locals. See Local travel.
  • Drug-related arrests are increasing at music festivals on the Croatian coast. Don't consume, purchase or sell drugs. Don't hang out with people with drugs. See Laws.
  • If you take prescription medication, carry a letter from your doctor stating that it is for personal use. Quantity restrictions are in place for some medication. See Health.
  • Demonstrations and large public gatherings can turn violent. Avoid crowds, protests and demonstrations. See Safety and security.
  • Unexploded landmines are a serious problem in many parts of Croatia. Many mined areas are signposted but there may be high risk areas that are not. See Local travel.
  • Driving in Croatia can be hazardous and accidents are common.  See Local travel.
  • See Travel Smart for general advice for all travellers.

Entry and exit

Visas

Australians travelling for tourism or business do not need a visa to enter Croatia for stays of up to 90 days within a six-month period. If you are travelling for another purpose, such as work or study, or you plan to stay for longer than 90 days in six months, you'll need a visa.

Croatia joined the European Union on 1 July 2013 but it is not a member of the Schengen zone.

Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) can change at short notice. Contact an Embassy or Consulate of Croatia for up-to-date information.

Other formalities

You must register your place of residence with the nearest police station within 24-hours of arrival. If you stay in a hotel or other commercial accommodation facility, this will usually be done for you. To be sure, confirm the hotel will register you when you check-in. If you are not registered, you could be fined and/or deported.

Contact an Embassy or Consulate of Croatia for up-to-date information on work permits and any other residency requirements.

Passport

Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months after the date you intend to return to Australia.

Your passport is a valuable document and attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. Always keep it in a safe place.

Be aware of attempts to obtain access to your passport by deception.  If you are forced to hand over your passport, contact the Embassy for advice.

By law, you must, as soon as possible:

Money

Declare cash of 10,000 euros or more (or the equivalent in another currency) if you are travelling between Croatia and any non-European Union country. This includes notes and coins, money orders, cheques and traveller's cheques. If you fail to declare your cash or you give incorrect information on entry to, or exit from, Croatia, you'll be fined. You don't need to declare cash if you are travelling to or from another EU country.

Safety and security

Terrorism

Terrorism is a threat throughout the world, including in Europe.

In recent years, terrorists have staged attacks in a number of European cities, including Brussels, Glasgow, London, Madrid, Moscow, Paris, Copenhagen, Oslo and Volgograd. Targets have included public transport and transport hubs, and public places frequented by foreigners. In addition, a number of planned attacks have been disrupted by European security services in recent years.

  • Be alert to possible threats, especially in public places.
  • Exercise particular caution around locations known to be possible terrorist targets.
  • Report any suspicious activity or items to police.
  • Monitor the news for any new or emerging threats.
  • Take official warnings seriously and follow the instructions of local authorities.
  • If there is an attack, leave the affected area immediately if it is safe to do so. 

More information: Terrorism threat worldwide

Civil unrest and political tension

You may encounter protests or demonstrations in Croatia.

  • Avoid crowds, protests and demonstrations as they could become violent.
  • Monitor the news and other sources for information on planned and possible unrest.
  • Follow the advice of local authorities.

Crime

Pickpocketing and other petty crime occur, especially in busy tourist areas, at bus and railway stations, on public transport and at beaches. Gangs sometimes stage roadside emergencies and then rob drivers who stop to offer assistance.

'Drink spiking' is a risk. It heightens the likelihood of theft and sexual assault.

Some establishments in coastal tourist centres charge exorbitant prices. Discussions about overcharging have sometimes led to threats of violence and the intervention of security guards who compel customers to pay.

  • Pay close attention to your personal belongings, particularly in crowded areas.
  • Carry only what you need. Leave other valuables in a secure location.
  • Never accept food or drinks from strangers. Never leave food or drinks unattended.
  • Be wary of requests for you to stop at apparent roadside emergencies.
  • Check prices prior to ordering drinks at bars and "cabarets", particularly along the coast.
  • Report to local police any incidents of extreme overcharging and associated threats or violence.

Local travel

Delays at Borders

Since April 2017, there have been delays at land border crossings between Croatia and Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro and Hungary due to enhanced border controls. Clashes between asylum seekers and border authorities are possible. Avoid large groups and follow the advice of local authorities. Monitorborder conditions by checking local news sources and asking transport providers directly.

Unexploded ordnances

Unexploded landmines and military ordnance are a serious problem in parts of Croatia. Clearance operations are ongoing. According to the Croatian Mine Action Centre, known and suspected landmine areas are spread over the following counties: Brodsko-Posavska, Dubrovacko-Neretvanska, Karlovacka, Licko-Senjska, Osjecko-Branajska, Pozesko-Slavonska, Splitsko-Dalmatinska, Sisacko-Moslovacka, Sibensko-Kninska,Viroviticko-Pordravska, Vukovarsko-Srijemska, and Zadarska.

If you visit former conflict areas, don't stray from known safe roads and safe areas. Check the latest information on known and suspected mine areas with the Croatian Mine Action Centre before you travel.

Cliff jumping

Australians have been severely injured after jumping off rocks and cliffs into the sea along the coast of Croatia. Many accidents occur in Split, Dubrovnik and in the Dalmatian islands. Warning signs and safety barriers are not always in place. Your travel insurance may not cover you if you participate in cliff jumping or diving, or if you engage in other dangerous activities.

Partying

Croatia is a popular party destination but partying carries additional safety, legal, financial and security risks.

  • Accidents have occurred on 'party boats' in Croatia, resulting in serious injuries, particularly to passengers under the influence of alcohol
  • Drug-related arrests are increasing at electronic music festivals on the Croatian coast. These events are often monitored by a large number of uniformed and plain-clothed police officers.
  • Being intoxicated may void your travel insurance - carefully check the details of your policy.
  • Rowdy and drunken behaviour in public places will attract negative attention from locals.

If you plan to party in Croatia, read Partying safely for ten top tips.

Road travel

Driving in Croatia can be hazardous, and traffic accidents are common. Drive defensively and cycle carefully.

Familiarise yourself with local road rules, including:

  • motor vehicles must have a fluorescent vest on board; the vest must be worn while attending to a breakdown
  • using a mobile phone while driving is prohibited
  • drivers and cyclists involved in accidents may be fined, even when there are no third parties involved.

More information: Road travel

Motorcycles

Check with your travel insurer whether your policy covers you when using a motorcycle, quad bike or similar vehicle. Your policy may not cover you for accidents that occur while using these vehicles. Wear, and ensure your passenger wears, a correctly fastened and approved helmet.

Drivers' licence

You'll need a valid international driving permit (IDP) along with your current Australian driver's licence to drive a vehicle in Croatia. Driving without an IDP could void your travel and vehicle insurance.

Taxis

Only use registered taxis and authorised limousines, preferably those arranged through your hotel. Avoid flagging down taxis in the street, and consider sitting in the back seat rather than the front.

Public transport

Bus and rail services operate throughout Croatia. Take care of your belongings on public transport as petty crime does occur.

Sea travel

Several accidents have occurred on 'party boats' in Croatia, resulting in serious injuries. Before embarking on a ferry or other vessel, ensure that appropriate safety equipment is carried. A number of international cruise lines stopover in Croatia. See our Cruises page for more information.

Air travel

The Australian Government does not provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. See the Aviation Safety Network website for information on aviation safety in Croatia. More information: Air travel

Laws

You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling, especially for an extended stay.

If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.

Court staff take leave over summer. If you're detained (even for minor offences) during summer, you may face delays in having your case processed. This may result in prolonged detention and may prevent you from departing Croatia until the matter is finalised.

Drug laws

Possessing, using or trafficking drugs is illegal in Croatia. If you're arrested for a drug offence, you could be detained for the duration of the investigation process. Penalties include imprisonment. More information: Drugs

Other laws

Carry identification, such as your passport, at all times.

Foreigners purchasing property have been involved in disputes about the validity of property titles, resulting in lengthy legal proceedings. Seek independent legal advice before signing any kind of contract. Further information (in English) can be found under the real estate section on the Croatian Government website.

Australian laws

Some Australian criminal laws apply overseas. If you commit these offences, you may be prosecuted in Australia. Laws include those relating to:

  • bribery of foreign public officials
  • child pornography
  • child sex tourism
  • female genital mutilation
  • forced marriage
  • money laundering
  • terrorism.

More information: Staying within the law

Dual nationals

Croatia recognises dual nationality but, under Croatian law, dual nationals are treated as Croatian citizens. If you're an Australian/Croatian dual national and you're arrested or detained, ask for consular assistance from the Australian Embassy.

Military service is no longer compulsory in Croatia, but all male Croatians (including dual nationals) must report to the relevant Croatian defence authorities to register their details. Failure to report is an offence. If you're a male Australian/Croatian dual national, seek advice from an Embassy or Consulate of Croatia on the specific registration requirements well in advance of travel.

More information: Dual nationals

Local customs

Homosexual activity is not illegal, but is not widely accepted in Croatian society. Public displays of affection between same sex couples can provoke negative reactions. More information: LGBTI travellers 

Health

Travel insurance

Take out comprehensive travel insurance before you depart to cover overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation.

Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government will not pay for a traveller's medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs. This can be very expensive and cost you many thousands of dollars upfront.

Confirm:

  • what circumstances and activities are and are not covered under your policy
  • that you are covered for the whole time you will be away.

More information: Travel insurance

Physical and mental health

It's important to consider your physical and mental health before travelling, especially if you have an existing medical condition.

  • At least eight weeks before you depart, see your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and implications for your health.
  • Get vaccinated before you travel.

More information:

Medication

Not all medications available over the counter or by prescription in Australia are available in other countries. Some may even be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.

Take prescription medicine with you so you remain in good health. Always carry on your person a letter from your doctor stating what the medicine is, how much you'll take and that it's for personal use only. There are limitations on the amount of some medications that can be taken into Croatia.

Before you leave Australia, check if your medication is legal in each country you're travelling to and seek advice from an Embassy or Consulate of Croatia on any quantity restrictions that may apply.

More information: Prescription medicines

Health risks

Travel in inland forested areas brings the risk of exposure to Lyme disease and tick-borne encephalitis. Ticks are most numerous and active in warmer months from March to September.

Medical facilities

The standard of health care is generally good, but services on the islands are limited.

Public hospitals in Croatia are under severe budgetary constraints and the standard of facilities and availability of pharmaceuticals can be limited. Private hospitals and clinics provide better quality facilities and services but are often more costly.

Doctors and hospitals usually expect immediate cash payment for treatment.

Decompression chambers are located in the towns of Dubrovnik, Split and Pula on the Adriatic coast.

If you become seriously ill or injured in a remote area, you may need to be evacuated to a regional centre for treatment. Emergency transport costs could be high.

Where to get help

Depending on what you need, your best option may be to contact your family, friends, airline, travel agent, tour operator, employer or travel insurance provider in the first instance. Your travel insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.

Emergencies

  • Fire: 112
  • Medical emergencies: 112
  • Criminal issues, contact police:  112 or contact the nearest police station

Always get a police report when reporting a crime.  

Tourism services and products

For complaints relating to tourism services or products, contact your service provider directly.

Australian Government

Read the Consular Services Charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.

For consular assistance, contact the Australian Embassy in Zagreb:

Australian Embassy, Zagreb

Centar Kaptol
Third Floor, Nova Ves 11
10000 Zagreb, Croatia
Telephone: +385 1 489 1200
Facsimile: +385 1 489 1216
Email: austemb.zagreb@dfat.gov.au, consular.zagreb@dfat.gov.au
Website: croatia.embassy.gov.au

Check the Embassy website for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision.

If you are unable to contact the Embassy in a consular emergency, contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305, or 1300 555 135 within Australia.

Additional information

Natural disasters

Croatia is in an active earthquake zone. More information: Earthquakes

Forest fires are common in the dry and hot coastal areas and on the islands in Croatia from June to September.  Avoid affected areas.

If there is a natural disaster:

  • secure your passport in a safe, waterproof location or carry it on you at all times (in a waterproof bag)
  • contact friends and family in Australia with regular updates about your welfare and whereabouts
  • closely monitor the media, other local sources of information and the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System
  • follow the advice of local authorities.

 Additional Resources