Croatia Practical Travel Info and Tips
Many Croatians speak English as their second language, but German and Italian are very popular too (largely because of the large annual influx of German and Italian tourists). People in the tourist industry most often speak English quite well, as do the younger generation, especially in the tourist areas of Istria, along the coast down to Dubrovnik, and in the capital, Zagreb. Elder people will rarely speak English, but you shouldn't have any problems if you switch to German or Italian. If you know Czech, you can try it as well, as Czech and Croatian are partially mutually intelligible (but some words are very different) and in many places, Croatian people are used to large number of Czech tourists.
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 110,000 landmines in Croatia. These landmines are spread over the following regions: Brodsko-Posavska, Dubrovacko-Neretvanska, Karlovacka, Licko-Senjska, Osjecko-Branajska, Pozesko-Slavonska, Splitsko-Dalmatinska, Sisacko-Moslovacka, Sibensko-Kninska,Viroviticko-Pordravska, Vukorvarsko-Srijemska, and Zadarska.
Do not stray from marked roads or known safe areas. For further advice refer to Wikitravel's war zone safety section.
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.
There are no vaccination required to enter Croatia.
If you're going camping or hiking in continental Croatia during summer, you should be aware of ticks and tick-carrying diseases such as encephalitis and lyme-disease . Approximately 3 ticks in 1000 carry the virus.
In Eastern Slavonia (particularly around the Kopacki Rit near Osijek) wear long sleeves and take insect repellent.
Tap water in Croatia is perfectly safe, and in some areas considered the best in the world. However, you can still choose from several brands of excellent bottled water (Jamnica being the most popular, and Jana, several times awarded as the world's best bottled water).
Keep in mind that 1990s marked with Serbian aggression and Croatian-Serbian bloody and brutal war is still a painful subject, but generally there should be no problem if you approach that topic with respect. Visitors will find that domestic politics and European affairs are everyday conversation subjects in Croatia.
Socially, displays of affection among the younger generation are the same as Western European standards, but the older generation (over 65) still are quite conservative.
When driving on rural roads, particularly where a driver has to pull in to allow you to pass, it is customary to wave a thanks to the other driver, by raising your hand from the steering wheel.
Most Croats will respond to "thank you" with something along the lines of "It was nothing" or "not at all" which is equivalent to English "Don't mention it".
Croatia uses the GSM 900/1800 system for mobile phones. There are three providers, T-Mobile, Vip (also operates the Tomato prepaid brand) and Tele2. Over 98% of the country's area is covered. Since 2006 UMTS (3G) is available as well. If you have an unlocked phone, you can buy a Tele2 prepaid SIM card for 25 kn (3.42 euro). GSM phones (Nokia 1200, Nokia 2610, Motorola F3, LG KG130 or Samsung C170) bundled with T-Mobile or Vip prepaid SIM cards can be found in post offices, Konzum grocery stores and kiosks at prices between 200 and 300 kn (27-41 euro).
Alternative to use of mobile phone is Calling Cards which can be found in postal offices and Kiosks, There are two providers Dencall and Hitme. you can buy cards from 25 kn (3.42 euro)
Area Codes: When calling between cities you must dial specific city area codes: (area code)+(phone number)
Zagreb (01) Split (021) Rijeka (051) Dubrovnik (020) Sibenik/Knin (022) Zadar (023) Osijek (031) Vukovar (032) Varazdin (042) Bjelovar (043) Sisak (044) Karlovac (047) Koprivnica (048) Krapina (049) Istria (052) Lika/Senj (053)
ADSL is common in Croatia. A 4 Mbit connection with unlimited downloads costs 178 kn (24 euro) per month via T-Com and just 99 kn with some other providers like Metronet or Iskon.
Internet cafes are available in all major cities. They are relatively cheap and reliable. A free Wi-Fi signal can be found virtually in every city (cafes, hotels, private unsecured networks...)