Croatia

Latest update

This Advice was last issued on Friday, 08 November 2013.   It has been reviewed and reissued with updates to the Summary, Entry and Exit (due to accession to the European Union), Crime (nightclub safety), Local Travel (dangerous coastal activities), as well as Health (West Nile virus information) sections. We continue to advise Australians to exercise normal safety precautions in Croatia.

Croatia overall

Summary

  • We advise you to exercise normal safety precautions in Croatia.
  • Exercise common sense and look out for suspicious behaviour, as you would in Australia.
  • Australians have been severely injured after jumping off rocks and cliffs into the sea especially in Split, Dubrovnik and off the coast of the Dalmatian islands. Your travel insurance may not cover injuries sustained from cliff jumping or diving while engaging in dangerous activities. You should carefully check the details of your insurance policy.
  • You should avoid large gatherings of people and protests as they may become violent.
  • There is an ongoing risk or terrorism in Europe. In the past, terrorist attacks have occurred in a number of European cities.
  • There is a serious problem of unexploded landmines in many parts of Croatia. Mines are generally signposted. You should not stray from known roads and safe areas. You can check the latest information on known and suspected mine areas with the Croatian Mine Action Centre. You should not travel away from known safe areas.
  • Be a smart traveller. Before heading overseas:
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Entry and exit

As visa conditions may change, contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Croatia for the most up to date information on visas, temporary residence and work permits. While Croatia joined the European Union on 1 July 2013, it is not a member of the Schengen area.

People travelling directly to or from a country outside the European Union (EU) who are carrying Euros 10,000 or more (or the equivalent amount in another currency) are required to declare the cash at the place of their arrival or departure from the EU. Under the legislation, the term "cash" includes cheques, travellers' cheques and money orders. Travellers failing to declare the cash or providing incomplete or incorrect information will incur a fine. There is no requirement to declare cash for people travelling to or from another EU country.

Travellers not staying at a hotel are required to register their place of residence with the nearest police station within 24 hours of arrival. Hotels and other commercial accommodation facilities undertake this registration on behalf of their guests. Those found not to have registered may be fined and/or deported.

Make sure your passport has at least six months validity from your planned date of return to Australia. You should carry copies of a recent passport photo with you in case you need a replacement passport while overseas.

Safety and security

Terrorism

Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. You can find more information about this threat in our General Advice to Australian Travellers.

There is an ongoing risk of terrorism in Europe. In the past, terrorist attacks have occurred in a number of European cities.

Civil unrest/political tension

You should avoid large gatherings of people and protests as they may become violent.

There have been isolated attacks targeted at specific persons and/or property as a result of lingering ethnic tensions following the war, which ended in 1995 (also see Local travel).

Crime

Petty crime, such as pickpocketing, occurs, most commonly in busy tourist areas, at bus and railway stations, on public transport and at beaches. There have been reports of gangs staging roadside emergencies and then robbing drivers who stop to offer assistance.

You should not accept food or drink from strangers as there have been incidents where it has been laced with drugs.

You should check prices prior to ordering drinks at bars and "cabarets" – particularly along the coast. There have been several incidents reported in Split of some establishments charging exorbitant prices. Discussions about overcharging have been known to lead to threats of violence, and security guards may compel you to pay. Australians are encouraged to report any such incidents to local police.

Money and valuables

Before you go, organise a variety of ways of accessing your money in Croatia, such as through credit cards, travellers' cheques and cash. European currencies, US dollars and Australian dollars are easy to exchange in Croatia. However, you may be unable to exchange some other currencies. Check with your bank whether your ATM card will work in Croatia.

Make two photocopies of valuable documents such as your passport, tickets, visas and travellers' cheques. Keep one copy with you in a separate place to the original and leave another copy with someone at home.

While travelling, don't carry too much cash and remember that expensive watches, jewellery and cameras may be tempting targets for thieves.

As a sensible precaution against luggage tampering, including theft, lock your luggage. Information on luggage safety is available from Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority.

Your passport is a valuable document that is attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. It should always be kept in a safe place. You are required by Australian law to report a lost or stolen passport. If your passport is lost or stolen overseas, report it online or contact the nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate as soon as possible.

You are required to pay an additional fee to have a lost or stolen passport replaced. In some cases, the Government may also restrict the length of validity or type of replacement passports.

Local travel

Although hostilities ended in 1995, unexploded landmines and military ordnance remain a serious problem in several parts of Croatia. De-mining operations will continue until at least 2019. Travellers in former conflict areas should not stray from known safe roads and areas. According to the Croatian Mine Action Centre, 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. You can check the latest information on known and suspected mine areas with the Croatian Mine Action Centre.

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. Your travel insurance may not cover you if you participate in cliff jumping or diving, or engage in other dangerous activites. Intoxication can also void your travel insurance. You should carefully check the details of your insurance policy.

Driving in Croatia can be hazardous, and traffic accidents are common. Individuals should exercise caution when cycling on roads in Croatia. For further advice, see our road travel page.

For assistance in an emergency, dial the general emergency number 112 from anywhere in Croatia.

Airline safety

The Croatian national carrier, Croatia Airlines, is enforcing European Union (EU) security standards which limit the quantity of liquids that may be carried by airline passengers in their hand luggage.

Please refer to our air travel page for information about aviation safety and security.

Laws

When you are in Croatia, be aware that local laws and penalties, including ones that appear harsh by Australian standards, do apply to you. If you are arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you but we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.

Information on what Australian consular officers can and cannot do to help Australians in trouble overseas is available from the Consular Services Charter.

Penalties for possession of even small amounts of 'soft drugs' include fines and suspended sentences.

Homosexual activity is not illegal in Croatia. However, public displays of affection between same sex couples have been known to provoke violent reactions. See our LGBTI page for more information.

It is prohibited to use a mobile phone while driving.

It is compulsory to keep a fluorescent vest in the cabin of motor vehicles. The vest is to be worn while attending to a breakdown.

You are required by Croatian law to carry identification, such as your passport, at all times.

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

Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, child pornography, and child sex tourism, apply to Australians overseas. Australians who commit these offences while overseas may be prosecuted in Australia.

Australian authorities are committed to combating sexual exploitation of children by Australians overseas. Australians may be prosecuted at home under Australian child sex tourism and child pornography laws. These laws provide severe penalties of up to 25 years’ imprisonment for Australians who engage in child sexual exploitation while outside of Australia.

Information for dual nationals

Although Croatia recognises dual nationality, Croatian law allows dual nationals to be treated as Croatian citizens only. Australian/Croatian citizens should ensure they ask officials for consular assistance from the Australian Embassy if they are in need, for example if arrested or detained.

While military service obligations are no longer compulsory, all male Croatians (including dual nationals) must report to the relevant Croatian defence authorities to register their details. Failure to report is considered an offence. Australian/Croatian dual nationals should seek further advice from the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Croatia on the specific registration requirements well in advance of travel.

Our Dual Nationals page provides further information for dual nationals.

Health

We strongly recommend that you take out comprehensive travel insurance that will cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before you depart. Confirm that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away and check what circumstances and activities are not included in your policy. 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.

It is important to consider your physical and mental health before travelling overseas. We encourage you to consider having vaccinations before you travel. At least eight weeks before you depart, make an appointment with your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and any implications for your health, particularly if you have an existing medical condition. The World Health Organization (WHO) provides information for travellers and our health page also provides useful information for travellers on staying healthy.

While the standard of health care is generally good, services on Croatian islands are limited and serious illnesses or accidents would require emergency transport to the nearest regional centre. Public hospitals in Croatia are under severe budgetary constraints and the standard of facilities and availability of pharmaceuticals can be limited. Private medical facilities provide a better quality but often more costly alternative to public hospital treatment. Doctors and hospitals usually expect immediate cash payments for treatment.

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

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. There have been three confirmed and several unconfirmed cases of West Nile Virus, a mosquito-borne infection, in Croatia in September 2013. The majority of cases were in the Zagreb area. For more information, see Croatia’s Institute of Public Health.

Where to get help

In Croatia, you can obtain consular assistance from the:

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

If you are travelling to Croatia, whatever the reason and however long you'll be there, we encourage you to register with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. You can register online or in person at any Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate. The information you provide will help us to contact you in an emergency - whether it is a natural disaster, civil disturbance or a family issue.

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

In Australia, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra may be contacted on (02) 6261 3305.

Additional information

Natural disasters

Croatia is in an active earthquake zone. If a natural disaster occurs, follow the advice of local authorities.

For parents

For general information and tips on travelling with children see our Travelling with Children page.



While every care has been taken in preparing this information, neither the Australian Government nor its agents or employees, including any member of Australia's diplomatic and consular staff abroad, can accept liability for any injury, loss or damage arising in respect of any statement contained herein.

Maps are presented for information only. The department accepts no responsibility for errors or omission of any geographic feature. Nomenclature and territorial boundaries may not necessarily reflect Australian Government policy.