Area Codes -- Croatia’s country code is 385.
Business Hours -- Banks are generally open Monday to Friday 8am to 7pm and Saturday 8am to noon. The bigger post offices work Monday to Friday 7am to 8pm, and Saturday 7am to 1pm. The smaller ones, for example on the islands, might only operate Monday to Friday 7 to 11am. Public offices are open Monday to Friday from 8am to 4pm. Shops and department stores stay open from 8am to 8pm and to 2 or 3pm Saturday without a break. Increasingly, stores in malls are open on Sunday, usually from 10am to 6pm. Most supermarkets remain closed on Sunday, as do butchers and bakeries, though in popular resorts along the coast there will often be a few small general stores open for Sunday shopping in summer.
Drinking Laws -- The minimum age for purchasing liquor in Croatia is 18, but there is no minimum age for consuming it. Croatia has strict laws regarding drinking and driving; the legal blood alcohol limit is 0.05 percent. In 2003, the country briefly implemented zero tolerance, but found it to be unworkable and amended the law in 2008. Package liquor (wine, beer, spirits) can be purchased in markets, wine stores, and some souvenir shops. Wine can also be bought directly from producers in some rural wine-making areas.
Driving Rules -- See “Getting There & Getting Around”.
Drugstores -- Ljekarne are open from 8am to 7pm weekdays and from 8am to 2pm on Saturday. In larger cities, one pharmacy in town will be open 24 hours on a rotating basis.
Electricity -- Croatian electricity is 220v, 50Hz; the two-prong European plug is standard.
Embassies & Consulates -- U.S.: Ulica Thomasa Jeffersona 2, Zagreb (www.zagreb.usembassy.gov; tel. 01/661-22-000. Australia: Centar Kaptol, Nova Ves 11, Zagreb (www.croatia.embassy.gov.au; tel. 01/489-12-00). Canada: Prilaz Gjure Dezelica 4, Zagreb (www.canadainternational.gc.ca; tel. 01/488-12-00). Ireland: Trg N.Š. Zrinskog 7-8, Zagreb (www.ie.mvep.hr; tel. 01/456-99-64). U.K.: Ivana Lučića 4, Zagreb, and Obala Hrvatskog Narodnog Preporoda 10/III, Split (www.gov.uk/government/world/croatia; tel. 01/600-91-00).
Emergencies -- tel. 112. Calls to this number are free of charge. This is the number to call if you need assistance from police, firefighters, mountain rescue, or an ambulance. Roadside assistance is tel. 1987. (When calling from abroad or by cellphone, call tel. 385-1-987.) The national headquarters for Search and Rescue at Sea is tel. 9155. Weather forecasts are www.meteo.hr and road conditions are www.hak.hr/en.
Etiquette & Customs -- Appropriate attire: Croatians, especially Croatian women, take pride in their appearance. In cities, both men and women usually dress in business casual. On the coast and countryside, the “dress code” is more relaxed. You never will see Croatians wearing immodest or sloppy clothes in public places. If you visit museums or churches anywhere, plan to wear tops with sleeves and pants that go to at least the knee.
Gestures: Dobar dan (good day) is the way Croatians generally greet each other. Handshakes are appropriate for first meetings and between business associates. Good friends will kiss on both cheeks in the European style.
Avoiding offense: Religion and politics are topics to avoid universally. In Croatia, stay away from discussing Croat-Serb relations or anything related to the War for Independence unless you know who you’re talking to, what you’re talking about, and have lots of time for debate.
Gasoline (Petrol) -- Gasoline and diesel are readily available all over Croatia and almost all stations take credit cards. In the summer of 2014, gas was running about 11.08kn per liter including taxes. One U.S. gallon equals 3.8 liters or .85 imperial gallons. That translates to 42kn or $7.37 per U.S. gallon of gas.
Holidays -- Croatian shops and banks are closed on public holidays, which are: January 1, New Year; January 6, Epiphany; March or April, Easter Monday; May 1, Labor Day; May (Thurs after Trinity Sun), Corpus Christi; June 22, Anti-Fascist Day; June 25, Croatian Statehood; August 5, Thanksgiving; August 15, Assumption; October 8, Independence Day; November 1, All Saints Day; December 25 and 26, Christmas.
Hospitals -- Zagreb: Klinička Bolnica “Sestre Milosrdnice” (Vinogradska cesta 29; tel. 01/378-71-11). Split: Klinička Bolnica Split (Spinčićeva 1; tel. 021/556-111). Dubrovnik: Opča Bolnica Dubrovnik (Toka Mišetića bb; tel. 020/431-777).
Insurance -- Information on traveler’s insurance, trip-cancellation insurance, and medical insurance while traveling is at www.frommers.com/planning.
Language -- Most residents of major Croatian cities speak English. Most movie houses and programs on Croatian TV are in English with Croatian subtitles. For more specific vocabulary, see the “Langenscheidt Universal Croatian Dictionary.”
Legal Aid -- Consult your embassy if you get into legal trouble in Croatia.
Mail -- It costs 4.60kn to send a postcard to the U.S., and 7.60kn to send a letter weighing up to 50 grams ( 1.76 oz.). The post office is fairly reliable, but very slow. It takes about 10 days to 2 weeks for postcards to arrive in the U.S. from Croatia and up to a month for regular mail and packages. Other carriers are available (DHL, FedEx, UPS) in major population centers, but the cost is prohibitive.
Newspapers & Magazines -- English-language newspapers and magazines are a rarity at Croatian newsstands, even in Zagreb. Some of the better hotels supply select U.S. and U.K. publications. Algoritam bookstores in Zagreb, Split, and Dubrovnik are the only common outlets for English-language publications. Look for the “International Herald Tribune” and “The Guardian” if you crave English-language news.
Passports -- Allow plenty of time before your trip to apply for a passport; processing normally takes three weeks but can take longer during busy periods (especially spring). Keep in mind that if you need a passport in a hurry, you’ll pay a higher processing fee.
For residents of the United States: Whether you’re applying in person or by mail, you can download passport applications from the U.S. State Department website at www.travel.state.gov. To find your regional passport office, either check the U.S. State Department website or call the National Passport Information Center toll-free number (tel. 877/487-2778) for automated information.
For residents of Australia: Applications are available at local post offices or at any branch of Passports Australia, but you must schedule an interview at the passport office to present your application materials. Call the Australian Passport Information Service at tel. 131-232, or visit the government website at www.passports.gov.au.
For residents of Canada: Passport applications can be made online (www.passport.gc.ca); by post (Passport Canada Program,
Gatineau QC K1A 0G3,
Canada); or directly at a Passport Canada Office.
For residents of Ireland: You can apply for a 10-year passport by referring to www.dfa.ie/passports-citizenship. If you are traveling on short notice (3–10 days) and need a passport urgently, go to www.passportappointments.ie. Once your passport has been processed, you will be able to collect it directly from either the Dublin or Cork Passport Office.
For residents of New Zealand: Pick up a passport application at any New Zealand Passports Office or download it from the website. Contact the Passports Office at tel. 0800/225-050 in New Zealand or 04/463-93-60, or log on to www.passports.govt.nz.
For residents of the United Kingdom: To obtain an application for a standard 10-year passport (5-year passport for children under 16), visit the nearest passport office, major post office, or contact the United Kingdom Passport Office at tel. 0300/222-00-00 or refer to www.gov.uk/government/organisations/hm-passport-office.
For more information, see www.frommers.com/planning for information on how to obtain a passport.
Police -- Call tel. 192.
Smoking -- In May 2009, Croatia passed a law banning smoking in all public buildings. However, that was modified four months later to give small bars and cafes the option of allowing or not allowing on-premises smoking. The ban still applies to restaurants and larger bars and cafes. However, it is normal for people sitting at outdoor tables to smoke, especially if they are drinking or have just finished their meal.
Taxes -- Croatia’s PDV (VAT) was raised to 25 percent from 23 percent in March 2012. Refunds of VAT are made to non-E.U. citizens (when they leave the country) for goods purchased in Croatia for amounts over 740kn with a tax check form. Salespeople will provide this form when you make a qualifying purchase. For further information, go to www.carina.hr.
Time -- Croatia is 1 hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time, 6 hours ahead of New York (Eastern Standard Time), and 9 hours ahead of Los Angeles (Pacific Standard Time). Daylight saving time is observed from late-March to late-October, when clocks are advanced 1 hour.
Tipping -- A 10 percent to 15 percent gratuity is expected in upscale restaurants. Otherwise, it is considered polite to leave any coins from your change on the table in cafes and restaurants. A 10 percent tip for other service providers (taxi drivers, hotel personnel, and others) is the norm, as is a tip for anyone who helps you carry your luggage or conducts a tour.
Toilets -- There are no freestanding public restrooms in Croatia, but most restaurants and public buildings have them and will let you use them if you make a purchase.
Water -- Tap water is potable throughout Croatia.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.