Travel guide to Croatia

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Croatia has experienced its share of turmoil and dramatic change. Today the visitor is met by a thriving Croatia overflowing with awesome natural scenery and many fascinating historical attractions. For the traveller who elects to explore this country in the former Yugoslavia a true wealth of enjoyable experience is assured.

Facts

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Local name
Republika Hrvatska
Capital
Zagreb (1,000,000)
Size
56,538 sq. km.
Principal Languages
Croatian
Principal Religion
Roman Catholic
Inhabitants
4,800,000
Government
Republic
Geography
The coast along the Adriatic Sea is very mountainous, especially in the Southern part. Inland the terrain is flatter, but interspersed with smaller mountains.

Travel preparation

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Best time to visit

The climate in Croatia varies from summer to winter and from North to South. In the South temperatures are largely Mediterranean, while the Northern part of the country is more like Central Europe in terms of climate. Winters can sometimes be quite cold, but generally the temperatures stay just above freezing.

Local conditions

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Currency

Kuna (HRK)

Net cafes

The capital of Zagreb, as well as several other larger cities, now has Internet cafés, and more are opening up all the time.

In case of emergency

To call for help in Croatia you dial the following numbers: Police: 92 Fire: 93 Ambulance: 94 Roadside assistance: 987

Tipping

You'll normally be expected to tip about 10 per cent in hotels and restaurants. The same percentage is the norm in taxis.

Timezone

You'll normally be expected to tip about 10 per cent in hotels and restaurants. The same percentage is the norm in taxis.

Weight and Measures

Croatia uses the metric system with kilos, metres, and litres.

Photography

It's always good to remember not to photograph people while they are practicing their religion. Also, military installations should be avoided. But other than that there are no special rules.

Drinking water

It is not unsafe to drink the water in Croatia, but it does not always taste so good.

Electricity

220 Volts AC/50 Hz

Behaviour

There is no need to take special precautions concerning behaviour in Croatia.

Business Hours

Shops are open from 8 am to 7 pm Monday to Friday and from 8 am to 2 pm Saturdays. Banks and offices are open from 8 am to 4 pm Monday to Friday.

Food and drink

Croatian cooking is influenced by many of the surrounding countries' traditions. Among the specialties are Sarma, stuffed cabbage leaves, spicy sausages known as Kulen, and various dishes involving fish and pork. In addition, there are regional specialties unique to different parts of the country. The hearty Croatian meals are complemented by the country's own wines.

Holidays

New Year's Day: January 1 Epiphany: January 6 Labour Day: May 1 Independence Day: May 30 Antifascism Day: June 22 National Thanksgiving Day: August 5 All Saints Day: November 1 Christmas: December 25 and 26 Movable holidays: Easter: March or April

Accommodation / Hotel

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Camping

Croatia has more than 200 camping grounds throughout the country - not only in the tourist centres. All camping grounds fulfil certain minimum requirements, and some even rent out camper vans.

Hotels

Hotels in different price ranges can be found in virtually every city in Croatia. At times, the rates can seem unreasonably high, but if you book ahead through a travel agency or shop around it is usually possible to match price with quality.

Bed og breakfast or guesthouse

Private board is the cheapest form of accommodation in Croatia. Booking is arranged by the local tourist offices, who also grade the rooms to make it easier to choose between them.

Hostels

There are six youth hostels in Croatia affiliated with the international Youth Hostel Association, five in the major cities along the Adriatic Coast and one in Zagreb. Look for more information at http://www.nncomp.com/hfhs

Other Accommodation

Croatia has about 30 motels scattered around the country. These too are graded with one, two, or three stars. The standards are usually good and the prices are reasonable.

Local transport

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Planes

There are regular flights between Zagreb and the four largest cities, but due to the compact size of the country, flying isn't very attractive.

Bus

Croatia has an excellent bus system that covers most of the country. The buses are generally in good condition and the prices are relatively low, making them a good alternative to trains and planes.

Trains

Trains are a lot cheaper than buses, but take longer as well. If you are not in a hurry then this is not necessarily a bad thing though: Croatia is a beautiful country, not least when seen flying past it through a train window.

Taxi

Taxis are readily available in all major cities. They usually charge according to a meter.

Car rental

All the major rental companies are represented in Croatia. Some cities also have locally based rental companies.

Boat or Ferry

A number of ferries run along the Adriatic Coast. This is an excellent way to see the beautiful coastline, and is highly recommended. Some ferry companies offer discounts if you buy tickets for several sections. Ask around at the harbour or tourist office.

Good links

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Look for additional information at: http://www.htz.hr/home.htm http://www.croatia.hr

Special conditions

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After the war of independence from Yugoslavia some parts of Croatia - tourist centres no exception - were in a miserable state. In many cases Yugoslav forces had fired shells at centuries-old landmarks in Dubrovnik and elsewhere. But today most, if not all, have been rebuilt to such a high level of quality that some people insist they are even better than before.

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