Population: 45.49 million(2013)
Area: 603,628 km²
Capital City: Kiev

About Croatia

Croatia officially the Republic of Croatia, is a sovereign state between Central Europe, Southeast Europe, and the Mediterranean. Its capital city is Zagreb, which forms one of the country’s primary subdivisions, along with its twenty counties. Croatia covers 56,594 square kilometres (21,851 square miles) and has diverse, mostly continental and Mediterranean climates. Croatia’s Adriatic Sea coast contains more than a thousand islands. The country’s population is 4.28 million, most of whom are Croats, with the most common religious denomination being Roman Catholicism.
The Croats arrived in the area of present-day Croatia during the early part of the 7th century AD. They organised the state into two duchies by the 9th century. Tomislav became the first king by 925, elevating Croatia to the status of a kingdom. The Kingdom of Croatia retained its sovereignty for nearly two centuries, reaching its peak during the rule of Kings Petar Krešimir IV and Dmitar Zvonimir. Croatia entered a personal union with Hungary in 1102. In 1527, faced with Ottoman conquest, the Croatian Parliament elected Ferdinand I of the House of Habsburg to the Croatian throne. During the early 19th century, parts of the country were split into the French Illyrian Provinces, and Austria-Hungary occupied its Bosnia and Herzegovina side–a dispute settled by the 1878 Treaty of Berlin. In 1918, after World War I, Croatia was included in the unrecognized State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs which seceded from Austria-Hungary and merged into the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. A fascist Croatian puppet state backed by Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany existed during World War II. After the war, Croatia became a founding member and a federal constituent of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, a constitutionally socialist state. On 25 June 1991 Croatia declared independence, which came wholly into effect on 8 October of the same year. The Croatian War of Independence was fought successfully during the four years following the declaration.
A unitary state, Croatia is a republic governed under a parliamentary system. The International Monetary Fund classified Croatia as an emerging and developing economy, and the World Bank identified it as a high-income economy. Croatia is a member of the European Union (EU), United Nations (UN), the Council of Europe, NATO, the World Trade Organization (WTO) and a founding member of the Union for the Mediterranean. As an active participant in the UN peacekeeping forces, Croatia has contributed troops to the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan and took a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2008–2009 term.


The Croatian currency is the Kuna, which is divided into 100 lipas. (The word ‘Kuna’ means marten, a weasel-like animal, whose fur Croats used as payment many centuries ago. The word ‘lipa’ means lime tree, but we don’t know the connection here!) When listed as a price, Kuna is abbreviated to Kn.
The Kuna comes in dominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1,000 as notes and 1, 2, 5 and 25 (25 Kn being largely commemorative) as coins. The Lipa comes in coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50. In Croatian, the plural of Kuna is Kune (pronounced ‘koo-neh’), although it is fine to pluralise it – as many outside of the country do – to Kunas.


Most of Croatia has a moderately warm and rainy continental climate as defined by the Köppen climate classification. Mean monthly temperature ranges between −3 °C (27 °F) (in January) and 18 °C (64 °F) (in July). The coldest parts of the country are Lika and Gorski Kotar where snowy forested climate is found at elevations above 1,200 metres (3,900 feet). The warmest areas of Croatia are at the Adriatic coast and especially in its immediate hinterland characterised by the Mediterranean climate, as the temperature highs are moderated by the sea. Consequently, temperature peaks are more pronounced in the continental areas—the lowest temperature of −35.5 °C (−31.9 °F) was recorded on 3 February 1919 in Čakovec, and the highest temperature of 42.4 °C (108.3 °F) was recorded on 5 July 1950 in Karlovac.
Mean annual precipitation ranges between 600 millimetres (24 inches) and 3,500 millimetres (140 inches) depending on geographic region and prevailing climate type. The least precipitation is recorded in the outer islands (Vis, Lastovo, Biševo, Svetac) and in the eastern parts of Slavonia; however, in the latter case, it occurs mostly during the growing season. The maximum precipitation levels are observed on the Dinara mountain range and in Gorski kotar.
Prevailing winds in the interior are light to moderate northeast or southwest, and in the coastal area prevailing winds are determined by local area features. Higher wind velocities are more often recorded in cooler months along the coast, generally as bura or less frequently as sirocco. The sunniest parts of the country are the outer islands, Hvar and Korčula, where more than 2700 hours of sunshine are recorded per year, followed by the middle and southern Adriatic Sea area in general and northern Adriatic coast, all with more than 2000 hours of sunshine per year.


Croatian is the official language of Croatia, and became the 24th official language of the European Union upon its accession in 2013. Minority languages are in official use in local government units where more than a third of population consists of national minorities or where local legislation defines so. Those languages are Czech, Hungarian, Italian, Ruthenian, Serbian and Slovakian.
A 2011 survey revealed that 78% of Croatians claim knowledge of at least one foreign language. According to a survey ordered by the European Commission in 2005, 49% of Croatians speak English as the second language, 34% speak German, and 14% speak Italian. French and Russian are spoken by 4% each, and 2% of Croatians speak Spanish. However, there are large municipalities that have minority languages that include substantial populations that speak these languages. A odd-majority of Slovenes (59%) have a certain level of knowledge of Croatian. The country is a part of various language-based international associations most notably, the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie and the European Union Language Association.


Croatia has a high-income economy. International Monetary Fund data projects that Croatian nominal GDP stands at $52 billion, or $12,405 per capita for year 2017, while purchasing power parity GDP stands at $97 billion, or $23,171 per capita. According to Eurostat data, Croatian PPS GDP per capita stood at 61% of the EU average in 2012.
Real GDP growth in 2007 was 6.0 per cent. The average net salary of a Croatian worker in January 2017 was 5,895 HRK per month, and the average gross salary was 7,911 HRK per month. As of February 2017, registered unemployment rate in Croatia was 15.3%.
In 2010, economic output was dominated by the service sector which accounted for 66% of GDP, followed by the industrial sector with 27.2% and agriculture accounting for 6.8% of GDP. According to 2004 data, 2.7% of the workforce were employed in agriculture, 32.8% by industry and 64.5% in services. The industrial sector is dominated by shipbuilding, food processing, pharmaceuticals, information technology, biochemical and timber industry. In 2010, Croatian exports were valued at 64.9 billion kuna (€8.65 billion) with 110.3 billion kuna (€14.7 billion) worth of imports. The largest trading partner is rest of the European Union. More than half of Croatia’s trade is with other European Union member states.
Privatization and the drive toward a market economy had barely begun under the new Croatian Government when war broke out in 1991. As a result of the war, the economic infrastructure sustained massive damage, particularly the revenue-rich tourism industry. From 1989 to 1993, the GDP fell 40.5%. The Croatian state still controls a significant part of the economy, with government expenditures accounting for as much as 40% of GDP. A backlogged judiciary system, combined with inefficient public administration, especially on issues of land ownership and corruption, are particular concerns. In the 2015 Corruption Perceptions Index, published by Transparency International, the country is ranked joint 50th with a score of 51, where zero denotes “highly corrupt” and 100 “very clean”. In June 2013, the national debt stood at 59.5% of the nation’s GDP.


Literacy in Croatia stands at 99.2 per cent. A worldwide study about the quality of living in different countries published by Newsweek in August 2010 ranked the Croatian education system at 22nd, to share the position with Austria. Primary education in Croatia starts at the age of six or seven and consists of eight grades. In 2007 a law was passed to increase free, noncompulsory education until 18 years of age. Compulsory education consists of eight grades of elementary school. Secondary education is provided by gymnasiums and vocational schools. As of 2014, there are 2,055 elementary schools and 707 schools providing various forms of secondary education. Primary and secondary education are also available in languages of recognized minorities in Croatia, where classes are held in Czech, Hungarian, Italian, Serbian and German languages.
There are 132 elementary and secondary level music and art schools, as well as 120 schools for disabled children and youth and 74 schools for adults. Nationwide leaving exams (Croatian: državna matura) were introduced for secondary education students in the school year 2009–2010. It comprises three compulsory subjects (Croatian language, mathematics, and a foreign language) and optional subjects and is a prerequisite for university education.
Croatia has 8 public universities, the University of Dubrovnik, University of Osijek, University of Pula, University of Rijeka, University of Split, University of Zadar and University of Zagreb, and 2 private universities, Catholic University of Croatia and Dubrovnik International University. The University of Zadar, the first university in Croatia, was founded in 1396 and remained active until 1807, when other institutions of higher education took over until the foundation of the renewed University of Zadar in 2002. The University of Zagreb, founded in 1669, is the oldest continuously operating university in Southeast Europe. There are also 15 polytechnics, of which 2 are private, and 30 higher education institutions, of which 27 are private. In total, there are 55 institutions of higher education in Croatia, attended by more than 157 thousand students.
There are 205 companies, government or education system institutions and non-profit organisations in Croatia pursuing scientific research and development of technology. Combined, they spent more than 3 billion kuna (€400 million) and employed 10,191 full-time research staff in 2008. Among the scientific institutes operating in Croatia, the largest is the Ruđer Bošković Institute in Zagreb. The Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts in Zagreb is a learned society promoting language, culture, arts and science from its inception in 1866. Croatia has also produced inventors and two Croatians received the Nobel Prize.


Croatia has no official religion. Freedom of religion is a right defined by the Constitution which also defines all religious communities as equal in front of the law and separated from the state.
According to the 2011 census, 91.36% of Croatians identify as Christian; of these, Roman Catholics make up the largest group, accounting for 86.28% of the population, after which follows Eastern Orthodoxy (4.44%), Protestantism (0.34%) and other Christianity (0.30%). Second largest religion is Islam (1.47%). 4.57% of the population describes themselves as non-religious.
In the Eurostat Eurobarometer Poll of 2005, 67% of the population of Croatia responded that “they believe there is a God”. In a 2009 Gallup poll, 70% answered yes to the question “Is religion an important part of your daily life?”. However, only 24% of the population attends religious services regularly.


Croatia has a universal health care system, whose roots can be traced back to the Hungarian-Croatian Parliament Act of 1891, providing a form of mandatory insurance of all factory workers and craftsmen. The population is covered by a basic health insurance plan provided by statute and optional insurance. In 2012, annual healthcare related expenditures reached 21.0 billion kuna (€2.8 billion). Healthcare expenditures comprise only 0.6% of private health insurance and public spending. In 2010, Croatia spent 6.9% of its GDP on healthcare.
Croatia ranked around the 40th in the world in life expectancy with 74 years for men and 81 years for women, and it had a low infant mortality rate of 5 per 1,000 live births.
There are hundreds of healthcare institutions in Croatia, including 79 hospitals and clinics with 23,967 beds. The hospitals and clinics care for more than 700 thousand patients per year and employ 5,205 medical doctors, including 3,929 specialists. There are 6,379 private practice offices, and a total of 41,271 health workers in the country. There are 63 emergency medical service units, responding to more than a million calls. The principal cause of death in 2008 was cardiovascular disease at 43.5% for men and 57.2% for women, followed by tumours, at 29.4% for men and 21.4% for women. In 2009 only 13 Croatians had been infected with HIV/AIDS and 6 had died from the disease. In 2008 it was estimated by the WHO that 27.4% of Croatians over age of 15 are smokers. According to 2003 WHO data, 22% of the Croatian adult population is obese.


During summer make sure you use adequate SPF to protect yourself from sunburn. There are no ozone holes over Croatia but it’s fairly easy to burn in the sun. If this happens make sure you get out of the sun, drink plenty of fluids and rehydrate your skin. The locals will often advise covering the burnt spot with cold yogurt bought from the supermarket.
In case of an emergency you can dial 112 – responsible for dispatching all emergency services such as fire departments, police, emergency medical assistance and mountain rescue.
Since the hostilities ended in 1995, there remain an estimated 90,000 landmines in Croatia. However these are not to be found in areas visited by tourists. If you plan to hike consult locals before you go. The mine suspected areas are marked with 16.000 mine warning signs.
Do not stray from marked roads or known safe areas. For further advice refer to Wikitravel’s war zone safety section.
Watch out for Bura wind danger signs. Bura is known in Velebit area, can blow up to 200 km/h and is known to have thrown lorries on the sides.
Avoid strip clubs at all costs. They are often run by very shady characters, and often overcharge their guests. Recent cases include foreigners that were charged 2000 euros for a bottle of champagne. These clubs overcharge their customers to the extreme, and their bouncers will not have any mercy if you tell them you are unable to pay. You will soon find yourself in a local hospital. Using common sense is essential, but due to the nature of the clubs this may be in short supply, and you may be better advised simply to steer well clear of these clubs.


National airline company Croatia Airlines connects major cities in Croatia to each other and foreign destinations. Due to the comparatively short distances and relatively high hassle of air travel – especially when you travel with luggage – domestic air travel is used mostly for getting to end points – eg, Zagreb to Dubrovnik (see map) and vice-versa. There is a daily link between Pula and Zadar (continuing to Zagreb) – the 20 minute flight saves a long road journey, though has very awkward flight times.
Another popular flight (available in the summer months only) is between Split and Osijek, saving a long trip back through Croatia, or alternatively through the middle of Bosnia.
Train travel has definitely improved in Croatia, with all the money that has been invested in updating the aging infrastructure and train cars. Trains are clean and mostly on time.
Croatia’s rail network connects all major Croatian cities, except Dubrovnik. If you want to visit Dubrovnik, you will have to travel by train to Split, and then go on the bus for Dubrovnik. Trains to Pula are actually connected via Slovenia due to historical accident, though there are designated connecting buses from Rijeka.
Rail is still the cheapest connection between inland and coast, though not the most frequent. As of 2004, the new 160kph “tilting trains” that connect Zagreb with Split and other major cities in Croatia such as Rijeka and Osijek have been progressively introduced, resulting in higher levels of comfort and significantly faster journeys between cities (Zagreb-Split is now 5.5h from 9, Osijek is now 3 when other trains take around 4.5h). If you make a reservation early enough you can get a substantial discount, or if you are a holder of an ISIC card etc.
Information for the trains can be found on the Hrvatske željeznice – Croatian Railways site in Croatian and English has timetable and prices.
Tickets are not usually sold on-board, except if you happen to get on the train on one of the few stations/stops without ticket sales. However, only local trains stop on such stations. In all other cases, a ticket bought on the train will cost considerably more than the one bought outside the train.
A very comprehensive coach network connects all parts of the country. Bus service between major cities (intercity lines) is quite frequent, as well as regional services. The most frequent bus terminal in Croatia is Bus Terminal Zagreb (in Croatian “Autobusni kolodvor Zagreb”). Despite the recent improvements in the railway network, buses are faster than trains for inter-city travel.
All major cities in Croatia are served by taxi. They should be reasonably easy to pick up at airports, bus stations, and city centres. Hotels, hostels, and the apartment you are staying in will call the cab company for you, if they have one with which they work closely, but check first. You can also find the phone numbers for taxis in any city on internet. See taxi prices Some taxi companies, particularly in larger towns, require the cab to be ordered online. It is recommended to call a cab company in advance, if possible, and give them time to pick you up. Prices may vary from company to company, but the average price is 3 euro per km. + 0.70 cent every next kilometre. To avoid being overcharged always ask for the price before you get in cab.
The best situation for choosing a taxi service is certainly in the form of airport transfers and transfers from all travel terminals, where is always a circulation of a large number of passengers.Taxi Croatia service and transfer have evolved substantially in the last 10 years and spread throughout the major croatian cities, which are visited by many tourists from around the world. In most cases taxi is a the better choice of public transport, with which over the years had become almost equalized in the price.

Comments are closed.