A reminder: Why Visit Croatia


With a 5,835 km long coastline, of which 4,058 km surrounds islands, cliffs and reefs, located in the south of European continent, Croatia is evidently the closest warm sea for many Europeans. Mild climate, remains of cities founds by ancient Romans and Greeks, and developed by the taste of later times and rulers (Venetians, Austro-Hungarian monarchy and the local population, remains of ships from all historical periods on the bottom of the Adriatic, natural beauties with which Croatia has been blessed and which have been preserved by the proactive environment protection policy, thermal spas and inland hunting attracts not only visitors who come only for a beach vacation, but also those who want to learn about the culture of other peoples or take part in different sports. No wonder organised tourism started in Croatia 160 years ago, and the tourist boureau (like the one in Zagreb), started in 1911 handling accommodation for foreign visitors.

With an experience of over 150 years in tourism, Croatia ranks among Europe's prime holiday destinations, boasting one of the most dramatic stretches of coastline that the continent has to offer, with almost 6000 km of shoreline and over 1000 islands, reefs and cliffs (67 inhabited islands). Over-exploitation of the coast has been kept in check, and there are still enough sparsely populated islands, quiet coves and stone-built fishing villages to make you feel you're visiting one of the Mediterranean's most unspoilt areas - in fact the Mediterranean as it used to be!

Much of the Croatia's individuality is due to its geographical position. Here the sober central European virtues of hard work and order blend with the spontaneity, vivacity and taste for good things in life that characterized the countries of Southern Europe - a cultural blend of the Mitteleuropa and the Mediterranean which gives Croatia its particular flavour.

Within an easy reach by air, sea, rail or road for all European visitors, Croatia offers a variety of accommodation capacities and free-time activities in a very preserved environment. Classic hotels and hotel settlements interchange with top-quality camping sites, farm houses, (apartments) in lighthouses, huts on isolated islands for Robinson Crusoe type holidays and numerous - Croatian speciality - private accommodation. Those are family owned lodging facilities, all supervised and ranked by the local authorities, with up to 20 beds in each, rented to tourists as rooms units, apartments or stand-alone houses. The hosts family caters for the tourists, which brings an additional touch to the holidays as they often include some extras, even taking the tourists to fish with them.

Though Croatia, among the tourist who have been there earlier, is often remembered as a very safe beach vacation destination with an interesting cultural heritage, protected environment, excellent facilities, cuisine and wines, in recent years great effort has been done to provide all sorts of sporting activities and special interest programmes for the tourists, stressing the activities characteristic for Croatia. Thus the Adriatic coast has become a synonym for yachting tourism, cruising with the wooden oldtimer motorsailer boats, scuba diving and sightseeing of ship remains from all historical periods, wind surfers paradise, with excellent facilities for all kind of recreation and soft adventure, ATP tournaments, bicycling tours in Istria and hopping from an island to another, rafting, team building activities, hunting and angling in the continental part of the country. Wellness and spa treatments, both recreational and medical, are popular throughout the year both at the 18 mineral spas and numerous hotels on the coast and inland. Numerous festivals, events, sports encounters, church festivities, night parties/entertainment for the young in spirit, together with a vast offer of day excursions and organized tours attract tourists of all ages and interests.

Many tourists know about Dubrovnik and its Summer Festival, Istria, Adriatic islands, the Diocletian Palace in Split, diving and sailing on the Adriatic, the Plitvice Lakes National Park, the world traveller Marco Polo, tennis player Goran Ivanisevic, skier Janica Kostelic, cravat, maraschino, wines, tartuf mushrooms, and even Vegeta, additive to food, but they do not know that all these are found in Croatia or originate from it. Even though Croatia is a new state, its people have participated in much of the history of the Old Continent

General Info

Geographical position
Croatia extends from the farthest eastern edges of the Alps in the north-west to the Pannonian lowlands and the banks of the Danube in the east. Its central region is covered by the Dinara mountain range and its southern part reaches the coast on the Adriatic Sea.

Climate
Northern Croatia has a continental climate. The central part of the country is predominantly mountain or alpine and the coast is Mediterranean. The Croatian Adriatic has an average of 2,600 hours of sunshine per year and an average sea temperature of 25 to 27 °C. It is indeed one of the sunniest and warmest coasts in Europe. The ideal summer wardrobe consists of light summer clothes and something warmer for the evenings. It rains more often in spring and autumn, and winters can be quite harsh in central and northern areas, with considerable amounts of snow. For exact data for your destination please consult your travel agency.

See also:
Croatian Meteorological and Hydrological Service

Independence
Though the first independent Croatian kingdom was recognised in 925, the Republic of Croatia is a young democratic European state. The Croatian Parliament declared independence in 1991 (having previously broken off all state and legal ties with the former Yugoslavia). On 15 January 1992. the member states of the European Union recognized Croatia as an independent state, and the country was admitted to the UN on 22 May 1992.

Area
56,542 square kilometres of land and 31,067 square kilometres of sea.

Length of the coast
5,835 kilometres, with 4,058 kilometres of the island coastline, reefs and cliffs.

Islands, reefs and cliffs
1,185 (718 islands, 389 cliffs and 78 reefs). Out of 67 inhabited islands with 130.000 inhabitants, the biggest are Krk and Cres.

Population
4,381,352 (according to the 2001 census). Most of the population are Croats. The ethnical minorities include Serbs, Bosnians, Italians, Hungarians, Albanians, Slovenians , Czechs, Romanies and others.

Capital
Zagreb - 779,145 inhabitants (according to 2001 census) - the cultural, academic, administrative, economic and transportation center of the country.

Official language and alphabet
The Croatian language and Latin alphabet.

Religion
The majority are Roman Catholics. There are some of the Orthodox, Muslim and other Christian denomination followers.

State system
Multiparty parliamentary republic.

Time zone
GMT + one hour from Saturday before last Sunday in October to last Saturday in March,
GMT + two hours from last Saturday in March to Saturday before last Sunday in October.

Electricity voltage
220 V; 50 Hz.

Water
Tap water is safe for drinking in all parts of Croatia.

Currency
Kuna (1 Kuna = 100 Lipa). There are 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 Lipa coins, 1, 2, 5 and 25 Kuna coins and 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1,000 Kuna banknotes.

Working Hours & Holidays

Travel agencies

Along the coast: in high season 8 am to 8 pm or longer, Saturdays and Sundays 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., but most stay open till 8 p.m.; off season 8 a.m. to 1 or 2 p.m., Saturdays 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Sundays closed. In Zagreb, all year round 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. (in other continental towns mostly 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.) Monday to Friday, Saturdays 8 a.m. to midday, Sundays closed.
In Zagreb, tourist information offices and exchange offices are also open Saturdays and Sundays. Public services and firms usually work from 8 am to 4 pm from Monday to Friday.

Working hours

Department stores and groceries are open continuously from 7.30 or 8 am to 8 pm, while some shops and groceries close from noon to 4 or 5 pm. On Saturdays most shops are open from 7.30 am to 2 pm. In major cities megastores stay open late on Saturdays and work until 1 or 6 p.m. on Sundays. Some work 24 hours a day. In tourist destinations, in high season, most shops stay open longer, including Saturdays and Sundays. Public services and companies usually work from 8.30 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. from Monday to Friday.

Travel agencies along the coast in high season work 8 am to 8 pm or longer, Saturdays and Sundays 8am to 2pm, but most stay open until 8 pm; off-season 8 am to 1 or 2 pm, Saturdays 8 am to 1 pm, Sundays closed. In Zagreb, all year round 8 am to 7 pm (in other continental towns mostly 8 am to 4 pm) Monday to Friday, Saturdays 8 am to noon or 1 p.m., Sundays closed. In Zagreb, tourist information offices and exchange offices are also open Saturdays and Sundays.

Public services and business offices work Monday to Friday from 8. a.m. to 4 p.m. but on the coast working hours vary with the seasons.

Public holidays

Non-working days in Croatia are:


2002
2003
2004

New Year's Day
1 Jan 1 Jan 1 Jan

Epiphany
Catholic
6 Jan
6 Jan
6 Jan

Easter Monday
Catholic
1 Apr
21 Apr
12 Apr

International Labour Day
1 May
1 May
1 May

Corpus Christi
Catholic
30 May
19 Jun
10 Jun

Anti-Fascist Resistance Day
22 Jun
22 Jun
22 Jun

Statehood Day
25 Jun 25 Jun 25 Jun

Victory Day and National
Thanksgiving Day
5 Aug
5 Aug
5 Aug

Assumption
Catholic
15 Aug
15 Aug
15 Aug

Independence Day
8 Oct
8 Oct
8 Oct

All Saints' Day
Catholic
1 Nov
1 Nov
1 Nov

Christmas Holidays
Catholic
25/26 Dec
25/26 Dec
25/26 Dec


The first term of all primary and secondary schools in the 2002/2003 school year lasts from 9 September to 20 December 2002, the winter vacation is from 21 December to 12 January 2003, the second term starts 13 January and ends 18 June. There is Easter vacation from 17 to 27 April 2003. Schools normally operate from Monday to Friday.

When national or religious holidays are on a Tuesday or Thursday, there is a long weekend and very often no school on the Monday or Friday between the holiday and the weekend. These are the most popular times for travelling to the coast or abroad.


Tax-Free Shopping

Tourists whose purchases exceed 500 Kuna may claim a PDV (VAT) tax return for all goods except petroleum products when leaving the country. At point of purchase the sales person will provide on request a PDV-P form, which should be filled out and stamped on the spot. On leaving Croatia the receipt must be verified by the Croatian Customs service. A PDV refund in Kunas can be obtained within six months, either at the same shop where the goods were purchased (in which case the tax is refunded immediately), or by posting the verified receipt back to the shop, together with the account number into which the refund should be paid. In this case the refund is dealt with within 15 days of receipt of the claim. An easier way is to purchase goods in shops with a "CROATIA TAX-FREE SHOPPING" label. Using an international coupon, refund is possible in all countries-members of the TAX-FREE international chain. In this case the service charge is deducted from the tax refund amount.

Safety & Medical Care


Personal Safety

It is quite safe to travel all over Croatia and mugging and thefts are not a problem. You can safely walk in any town at night.


Medical Care

There are hospitals and clinics in all major towns, and health centres, as well as pharmacies, in all smaller places. For patients whose lives are in danger, there is emergency transport by air (helicopter) or sea (speedboat). On weekends and public holidays in high season, when highest density of traffic is expected, police helicopters with medical teams supervise the major roads.

Foreign tourists do not have to pay for medical services if there is a signed health insurance convention between Croatia and the country of origin. If the Convention stipulates that traveller should have a form covering medical insurance, the form must be provided when requesting free medical service. Tourists from a country that does not have a signed convention with Croatia pay their health care costs directly in accordance with the listed prices.

Pursuant legal provisions, tour operators in all countries recommend buying a travel insurance package, specially a health insurance policy, which will enable you to use quality health protection abroad, regardless of the fact whether the health service in your country has signed a bilateral convention on free medical care with the country where you are travelling. It would be advisable to buy the appropriate insurance. Please check whether this insurance is already included in your travel package. Upon arrival to Croatia, visitors can also buy short-term health insurance policies issued by Croatian insurance companies.

Members of ADAC and OAMTC can also contact their local representative at 01 34 40 666 in high season Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., in other months Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Help & Support

International telephone code for Croatia: 385

Information about local and intercity phone numbers: 988

Information about international phone numbers: 902

General information: 981

Police: 92

Fire Brigade: 93

Ambulance: 94

Notification and alarm centre: 985

Weather forecast and road conditions: 060 520 520

Coast guard: 9155

Croatian Automobile Club (HAK) -
www.hak.hr - phones: +385 1 46 40 800 and 45 54 433

Air traffic: Croatia Airlines information: +385 1 48 19 633 - reservation +385 1 48 72 727 - for callers from Croatia: Croatia Airlines information - toll free - 0800 77 77 777 and reservations 062 77 77 77

1 comment:

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