Croatia is an incredible country that people like to visit to explore its rich culture and stunning scenery. It’s best known for its stunning Adriatic Sea coast and the charming medieval cities of Dubrovnik, Split, and Zadar.
There are some spectacular national parks, beaches, and mountain ranges to explore in Croatia. This country can offer something for everyone, whether it’s a beach holiday in the sun or a more adventurous experience.
It definitely appeals to many international travelers, from solo explorers to group trip party people to adventurous families. But is Croatia safe to visit?
Despite the beauty and cultural richness here, many people are concerned about whether or not Croatia is truly safe. Before you plan your trip, it’s essential to be aware of the safety concerns of traveling to Croatia.
Keep reading to learn about Croatia’s safety and how you can gear up for a wonderful visit!
Is Croatia Safe to Visit?
Yes, in general, Croatia is a very safe place to visit. Croatia has a Level 1 travel advisory, the safest level from the U.S. Department of State.
Croatia is ranked number 15 on the Global Peace Index out of 163 evaluated countries. It’s ranked 48 out of 195 countries for its Global Health score, both of which are promising numbers for potential travelers.
The crime rate in Croatia is low. You can feel safe walking around during the day or night. However, as with any destination, crime can occur here. Some areas of Croatia can be more dangerous than others.
With sensible precautions like avoiding bad neighborhoods and keeping your valuables secure, you can ensure a safe trip to Croatia.
Crime in Croatia
The most common types of crime that occur in Croatia are pickpocketing and theft. To ensure your safety, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings and keep any valuables you have close to you.
Note that Croatia has a strict drug policy. Possession and consumption of illegal drugs is a serious offense here and can result in sizable fines or even jail time. Don’t bring or purchase drugs to avoid breaking the law during your stay!
Some further tips to avoid crime in Croatia include:
- Avoid walking alone late at night
- Use secure ATMs in well-lit areas
- Carry a copy of your passport when traveling
- Keep valuables out of sight
- Avoid displaying signs of wealth, such as expensive jewelry or watches
- Check your change after purchasing something
Avoiding Bad Neighborhoods
There are some areas of Croatia that are known to be dangerous and should be avoided. One such area is Varazdin, a former industrial city northeast of Croatia.
This area is known to have a higher crime rate than the rest of the country and it’s best to avoid it if possible. Some tips to avoid bad neighborhoods in Croatia include:
- Research the area before you travel
- Avoid walking alone after dark
- Stick to well-lit and populated areas
- Don’t accept rides from strangers or enter unfamiliar buildings
On the other hand, the safest areas in Croatia include the cities of Dubrovnik and Zagreb. However, although there isn’t much violent crime in these cities, petty crimes like pickpocketing can still occur.
Spiked Food and Drinks in Croatia
Croatia has a lively nightlife scene that tourists love to enjoy! Still, it’s important to know the dangers of spiked drinks and food if you plan to be out and about at night.
You should only purchase food and drinks from reputable restaurants and bars. It’s also best to keep an eye on your beverage at all times.
Never accept drinks from strangers and be mindful of anyone trying to distract you from your drink while you’re out.
Landmines in Croatia
Tourists should take note of a special safety concern in Croatia in more remote areas: Landmines. There are still a number of undetonated landmines in Croatia leftover from the Croatian War of Independence.
These landmines can be extremely dangerous, so it is important to only stick to paths and roads that have been cleared. There’s little to worry about as long as you don’t go too far off the beaten path.
Many of the areas with suspected land mines will be marked with red warning signs, but don’t solely rely on those. Stick to areas with clear signage or follow a guide group.
Scams in Croatia
Scams in Croatia are common in more populated cities like Dubrovnik, Split, and Zagreb. These cities attract more tourists, which create additional opportunities for criminals and scammers to operate.
One of the most common types of scams involves people offering to pay for items with counterfeit money. Be vigilant when accepting payments from strangers and always check your change after making a purchase.
Other scams common in Croatia include:
- Free gifts. Avoid accepting gifts from strangers as they may be linked to a scam and are usually a way to distract you while someone else pickpockets or steals from you.
- Taxi scams. Be aware of taxi drivers who overcharge, make additional stops you didn’t request, or take you on a longer route than is necessary.
- Fake WiFi networks. Be cautious when connecting to free WiFi networks, as they may be fake and designed to steal your passwords and other information.
Be aware of Croatian tourist traps where you may end up paying far more for a service or item than it is worth. To detect a tourist trap, ask locals for their opinion before entering a shop or restaurant. You can also check guides online for traps to avoid.
Demonstrations in Croatia
Demonstrations and protests in Croatia can occur. As with any country, it’s wise to exercise caution if you find yourself near one of these gatherings.
Avoid any demonstrations, especially political demonstrations, as these can quickly turn violent. It’s also crucial to follow the advice of local authorities at all times because they can provide information on the safest areas to visit.
If you notice a large gathering forming, it’s best to move away and reduce your risk of being caught in a potentially violent demonstration.
Getting a Visa to Travel to Croatia
Depending on your home country, you may or may not need a visa to travel to Croatia. For U.S. passport holders, a visa is not required for stays up to 90 days.
However, if you plan on staying longer than 90 days or working in Croatia, you must obtain a visa before traveling.
To get a visa to Croatia, you must provide proof of identity, a valid passport, and a travel itinerary. You’ll also need to fill out an application form and pay the relevant fees.
Natural Disasters in Croatia
Croatia is also prone to a few natural disasters, such as earthquakes and floods. It’s in a seismically active spot. While these disasters are infrequent, they can still occur.
Stay tuned to local news and sign up for emergency alerts if possible when you visit Croatia. If you feel tremors or believe an earthquake is happening, get away from windows, walls, and objects that could fall on you. Hunker down inside until the quake is over.
Flooding can make some roads impassable, so make sure your location is easy to access with paved roads before you attempt to get out after heavy downpours.
Transportation in Croatia
Transportation in Croatia consists of trains, buses, boats, and domestic flights. The public transportation system is reliable and generally safe.
Remember eep an eye on your belongings when traveling via public transportation, as pickpocketing and theft can occur.
Weather in Croatia
Croatia is known for its hot, dry summers and cold, wet winters. The temperatures vary greatly throughout the country, so check the weather forecast and general Croatian climate information before traveling.
It’s also important to bring appropriate clothing for the specific time of year you’re visiting.
For example, make sure to pack sunscreen and light clothing if you’re visiting in the summer. Warm layers, hats, and comfortable shoes that keep your feet warm are ideal in the wintertime.
Health and Disease Concerns in Croatia
Croatia has a strong healthcare system and reliable medical care is available throughout the country. However, it’s still important to ensure you have adequate travel insurance in case of any medical emergencies when traveling to Croatia.
Be aware of potential diseases you can catch in Croatia. Tick-borne encephalitis is one to watch out for. Tick-borne encephalitis is an infection spread by ticks found in parts of Eastern Europe, including Croatia.
To avoid potentially contracting this disease, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants during hikes. This is also an excellent way to prevent mosquito bites!
Croatia doesn’t have an issue with dog rabies, but you can potentially get rabies from other types of wildlife. The CDC doesn’t recommend getting a rabies vaccination unless you plan on directly working with wildlife during your stay.
Dangerous and Poisonous Animals in Croatia
There are some dangerous and poisonous animals in Croatia. These include venomous snakes, insects, and spiders. You may run into poisonous vipers, black widow spiders, ticks that carry diseases, sharks, bears, and sea urchins.
While this list might sound frightening, these animals are usually found in remote areas and rarely come into contact with humans.
If you encounter any of these creatures while hiking or exploring the outdoors, stay clear of them and walk away slowly.
It’s also a good idea to research the wildlife in Croatia before you go and take precautions such as wearing sturdy shoes and long pants during hikes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Croatia is full of wonder and is generally safe, but you might have a few more questions about how safe it is. Check out the most frequently asked questions to learn more!
What should I not do in Croatia?
In Croatia, don't walk alone at night, carry large amounts of cash, get into physical altercations, or leave your belongings unattended.
In addition, there are also things you should avoid doing so you won't be seen as a disrespectful traveler. Littering, not learning a few basic Croatian words, being loud, and eating on public transportation are considered rude.
Do they speak English in Croatia?
Yes, English is widely spoken in Croatia. However, it's always helpful to learn a few basic Croatian words if you plan on traveling there. Knowing some Croatian is also a great way to show respect for the country and its people.
Common Croatian phrases include "Dobro jutro" (Good morning), "Hvala" (Thank you), and "Živjeli" (Cheers).
Is it safe to walk in Croatia?
It's generally safe to walk in Croatia during the day. However, we recommend avoiding walking alone at night and always being aware of your surroundings.
Avoid walking through poorly lit or deserted areas. Be sure to bring a map (or download the location on Google Maps) in case you get lost, and always let someone know where you're going.
Is it safe to travel to Croatia because of the Ukraine war?
The Ukraine war is an ongoing conflict in Ukraine, not Croatia. Therefore, it is safe to travel to Croatia and is unrelated to the conflict in Ukraine.
Still, it's important to remain aware of potential terrorist and political activities that could affect the region. The best way to stay safe is to stay informed and follow the advice of your local government officials.
Is Croatia part of NATO?
Yes, Croatia is a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) member. It joined in 2009 and is an active participant in this organization.
Can you drink the water in Croatia?
Croatia has excellent water quality and you can safely drink water from the tap. This level of water quality isn't the case in all European countries, so take advantage of Croatia's high-quality water.
What is Croatia known for?
Croatia is known for its stunningly beautiful coastlines, diverse cultures, and delicious cuisine.
Some of the most popular tourist attractions include the city walls in Dubrovnik, the Plitvice National Park, Hvar Town, and the Diocletian Palace.
So, Is Croatia Safe to Visit?
While there are some safety concerns in Croatia, it’s still a safe place to visit with low crime rates and friendly, welcoming locals.
You should feel comfortable and secure in the knowledge that it is safe to travel to Croatia. The country is beautiful with a great climate and plenty of attractions and unique sights to discover.
Keep your wits about you, protect and secure your belongings, and don’t let scammers distract you out in town. Stay on the beaten path here to avoid potential landmines in remote areas and always obey signage!
By following these tips and staying informed, you can ensure that your trip is safe and enjoyable. It might be one of the most beautiful countries you’ve ever visited!