Croatia

Latest update

This Advice was last issued on Wednesday, 27 May 2015.   This advice contains new information on travelling with prescription medicines (See Entry and exit). We continue to advise Australians to exercise normal safety precautions in Croatia.

Croatia overall

Summary

  • We advise you to exercise a normal safety precautions in Croatia.
  • You should exercise common sense and look out for suspicious behaviour, as you would in Australia, and monitor the media and other sources for information on local travelling conditions.
  • Australians have been severely injured after jumping off rocks and cliffs into the sea especially in Split, Dubrovnik and off the coast of the Dalmatian islands. While warning signs and safety barriers may not be in place, the dangers are clear. Your travel insurance may not cover injuries sustained from cliff jumping and diving, or while engaging in other dangerous activities. You should carefully check the details of your insurance policy.
  • Excessive alcohol consumption has been the cause of serious accidents on 'party boats' cruising the Croatian coast. See our Partying safely page for ten top tips.
  • Drug-related arrests are increasing at electronic music festivals on the Croatian coast. Australians should not consume, purchase or sell drugs, or keep company with those who do. See our Drugs page.
  • Travellers bringing in prescription medication should carry a letter from their doctor advising that the medication is for personal use. Limitations on the amount of medications may apply. You should also check if any limitations exist for countries through which you are transiting. See Health.
  • You should avoid large gatherings of people and protests as they may become violent.
  • There is an ongoing threat of terrorism in Europe. In the past, terrorist attacks have occurred in a number of European cities.
  • There is a serious problem of unexploded landmines in many parts of Croatia. Mined areas are generally signposted. You should not stray from known roads and safe areas. You can check the latest information on known and suspected mine areas with the Croatian Mine Action Centre.
  • Driving in Croatia can be hazardous and accidents are common. Recently there have been a number of car accidents in which Australians have died, so take care on the road. See our Road safety and driving page.
  • See Travel Smart for general advice for all travellers.
  • Be a smart traveller. Before heading overseas:
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Entry and exit

As visa conditions may change, contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Croatia for the most up to date information on visas, temporary residence and work permits. While Croatia joined the European Union on 1 July 2013, it is not a member of the Schengen area.

People travelling directly to or from a country outside the European Union (EU) who are carrying 10,000 Euros or more (or the equivalent amount in another currency) are required to declare the cash at the place of their arrival or departure from the EU. Under the legislation, the term "cash" includes cheques, travellers' cheques and money orders. Travellers failing to declare the cash or providing incomplete or incorrect information will incur a fine. There is no requirement to declare cash for people travelling to or from another EU country.

All visitors to Croatia are required to register their place of residence with the nearest police station within 24 hours of arrival. Those found not to have registered may be fined and/or deported. Hotels and other commercial accommodation facilities undertake this registration on behalf of their guests; you should confirm this will be done when you check-in.

Make sure your passport has at least six months’ validity from your planned date of return to Australia.

Safety and security

Terrorism

There is an ongoing threat of terrorism in Europe. In the past, terrorist attacks have occurred in a number of European cities.

Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. See our Terrorist Threat Worldwide bulletin.

Civil unrest/political tension

You should avoid demonstrations, protests and large gatherings as they may become violent.

Crime

Petty crime, such as pickpocketing, occurs, most commonly in busy tourist areas, at bus and railway stations, on public transport and at beaches. There have been reports of gangs staging roadside emergencies and then robbing drivers who stop to offer assistance.

You should not accept food or drink from strangers as there have been incidents where it has been laced with drugs.

You should check prices prior to ordering drinks at bars and "cabarets", particularly along the coast. There have been several incidents reported in Split of some establishments charging exorbitant prices. Discussions about overcharging have been known to lead to threats of violence, and security guards may compel you to pay. Australians are encouraged to report any such incidents to local police.

Money and valuables

Your passport is a valuable document that is attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. It should always be kept in a safe place. You are required by Australian law to report a lost or stolen passport. If your passport is lost or stolen overseas, report it online or contact the nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate as soon as possible.

Local travel

Unexploded landmines and military ordnance remain a serious problem in parts of Croatia. De-mining operations will continue until at least 2019. Travellers in former conflict areas should not stray from known safe roads and safe areas. According to the Croatian Mine Action Centre, suspected landmine areas are spread over the following counties: Brodsko-Posavska, Dubrovacko-Neretvanska, Karlovacka, Licko-Senjska, Osjecko-Branajska, Pozesko-Slavonska, Splitsko-Dalmatinska, Sisacko-Moslovacka, Sibensko-Kninska,Viroviticko-Pordravska, Vukovarsko-Srijemska, and Zadarska. You can check the latest information on known and suspected mine areas with the Croatian Mine Action Centre.

Australians have been severely injured after jumping off rocks and cliffs into the sea along the coast of Croatia. Many accidents occur in Split, Dubrovnik and in the Dalmatian islands. While warning signs and safety barriers may not be in place, the dangers are clear. Your travel insurance may not cover you if you participate in cliff jumping or diving, or engage in other dangerous activities.

Accidents have also occurred on ‘party boats’ touring Croatian islands and coastal towns, with serious injuries sustained by passengers under the influence of alcohol. See our Partying safely page for ten top tips. Being intoxicated may void your travel insurance - carefully check the details of your policy.

Drug-related arrests are increasing at electronic music festivals on the Croatian coast. Australians should not consume, purchase or sell drugs, or keep company with those who do. These events are often monitored by a large number of uniformed and plain-clothed police officers. See our Drugs page.

Driving in Croatia can be hazardous, and traffic accidents are common. Recently there have been a number of car accidents in which Australians have died, so take care on the road, Individuals should exercise caution when cycling on roads in Croatia. For further advice, see our road travel page.

For assistance in an emergency, dial the general emergency number 112 from anywhere in Croatia.

Airline safety

The Croatian national carrier, Croatia Airlines, enforces European Union (EU) security standards which limit the quantity of liquids that may be carried by airline passengers in their hand luggage.

The Australian Government does not provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. See instead the Aviation Safety Network website for information on aviation safety in Croatia.

Please also refer to our general air travel page for information on aviation safety and security.

Laws

You are subject to the local laws of Croatia, including ones that appear harsh by Australian standards. If you’re arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail. Research laws before travelling, especially for an extended stay.
Travellers bringing in prescription medication should carry a letter from their doctor advising that the medication is for personal use. Limitations on the amount of medications may apply. Check with your nearest Embassy or Consulate of Croatia for further advice. You should also check if any limitations exist for countries through which you are transiting.

Penalties for possession of even small amounts of 'soft drugs' may include arrest and heavy fines. Drug related arrests may result in prison sentences or detention for the duration of the investigation process. See our Drugs page.
Homosexual activity is not illegal in Croatia. However, public displays of affection between same sex couples have been known to provoke violent reactions. See our LGBTI page for more information.

Using a mobile phone while driving is prohibited.

It is compulsory to keep a fluorescent vest in the cabin of motor vehicles. The vest is to be worn while attending to a breakdown.

You are required by Croatian law to carry identification, such as your passport, at all times.

Foreigners purchasing property in Croatia have been involved in disputes about the validity of property titles, resulting in lengthy legal proceedings. Before signing any kind of contract, you are advised to seek independent legal advice. Further information (in English) can be found under the real estate section on the Croatian Government website.

Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, child pornography, and child sex tourism, apply to Australians overseas. Australians who commit these offences while overseas may be prosecuted in Australia.

Australian authorities are committed to combating sexual exploitation of children by Australians overseas. Australians may be prosecuted at home under Australian child sex tourism and child pornography laws. These laws provide severe penalties of up to 25 years’ imprisonment for Australians who engage in child sexual exploitation while outside of Australia.

Information for dual nationals

Although Croatia recognises dual nationality, Croatian law allows dual nationals to be treated as Croatian citizens only. Australian/Croatian citizens should ensure they ask officials for consular assistance from the Australian Embassy if they are in need, for example if arrested or detained.

While military service obligations are no longer compulsory, all male Croatians (including dual nationals) must report to the relevant Croatian defence authorities to register their details. Failure to report is considered an offence. Australian/Croatian dual nationals should seek further advice from the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Croatia on the specific registration requirements well in advance of travel.

Our Dual nationals page provides further information.

Health

We strongly recommend that you take out comprehensive travel insurance that will cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before you depart. Confirm that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away and check what circumstances and activities are not included in your policy. Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government will not pay for a traveller's medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs.

It is important to consider your physical and mental health before travelling overseas. We encourage you to consider having vaccinations before you travel. At least eight weeks before you depart, make an appointment with your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and any implications for your health, particularly if you have an existing medical condition. The World Health Organization (WHO) provides information for travellers and our health page also provides useful information for travellers on staying healthy.

While the standard of health care is generally good, services on Croatian islands are limited and serious illnesses or accidents would require emergency transport to the nearest regional centre. Public hospitals in Croatia are under severe budgetary constraints and the standard of facilities and availability of pharmaceuticals can be limited. Private medical facilities provide a better quality but often more costly alternative to public hospital treatment. Doctors and hospitals usually expect immediate cash payments for treatment.

Decompression chambers are located in the towns of Dubrovnik, Split and Pula on the Adriatic coast.

Travel in inland forested areas brings the risk of exposure to Lyme disease and tick-borne encephalitis. Ticks are most numerous and active in warmer months from March to September. For more information, see Croatia’s Institute of Public Health.

Where to get help

Depending on the nature of your enquiry, your best option may be to contact your family, friends, airline, travel agent, tour operator, employer or travel insurance provider in the first instance. Your travel insurer should have a 24 hour emergency number.

If the matter relates to criminal issues, contact the local police at the nearest police station, or call the national emergency number on 112. You should also obtain a police report when reporting a crime.

The Consular Services Charter explains what the Australian Government can and cannot do to assist Australians overseas. For consular assistance, see contact details below:

Australian Embassy, Zagreb

Centar Kaptol
Third Floor, Nova Ves 11
10000 Zagreb, Croatia
Telephone: +385 1 489 1200
Facsimile: +385 1 489 1216
Email: austemb.zagreb@dfat.gov.au, consular.zagreb@dfat.gov.au
Website: www.croatia.embassy.gov.au

See the Embassy website for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision.

If you are travelling to Croatia, whatever the reason and however long you'll be there, we encourage you to register with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. You can register online or in person at any Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate. The information you provide will help us to contact you in an emergency - whether it is a natural disaster, civil disturbance or a family issue.

In a consular emergency, if you are unable to contact the Embassy you can contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305, or 1300 555 135 within Australia.

Additional information

Natural disasters

Croatia is in an active earthquake zone. If a natural disaster occurs, follow the advice of local authorities.

Additional Resources

For additional general and economic information to assist travelling in this country, see the following links:



While every care has been taken in preparing this information, neither the Australian Government nor its agents or employees, including any member of Australia's diplomatic and consular staff abroad, can accept liability for any injury, loss or damage arising in respect of any statement contained herein.

Maps are presented for information only. The department accepts no responsibility for errors or omission of any geographic feature. Nomenclature and territorial boundaries may not necessarily reflect Australian Government policy.