Considering travel to Croatia and wondering if it’s safe to visit? Not only have I traveled Croatia extensively without incident, but I’ve also done a ton of research on Croatia travel safety.
While there are certainly things you should be aware of, which we’ll cover below, Croatia has a relatively low travel advisory level and even ranks #26 on the Global Peace Index.
In this article, we’ll cover (click to jump around):
- ⚡ Is Croatia Dangerous?
- 😷 COVID-19 in Croatia
- 👮 Crime in Croatia
- ⚠️ Petty Theft & Scams
- 💣 Unexploded Landmines
- ✅ 10 Croatia Safety Tips
Let’s dive in!
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Is Croatia Safe?
Let’s start by directly answering the question on everyone’s minds: is Croatia dangerous?
Croatia is very safe for travelers in terms of violent crime, which is quite rare in the country. However, the covid-19 pandemic continues to present safety concerns for travelers to Croatia and, as of May 2021, the US State Department still has the country under a Level 4 (“Do Not Travel”) advisory.
Before we expand upon these safety risks, we should note that it’s always a good idea to get travel insurance coverage for Croatia. We at Travel Lemming love World Nomads, but be sure to compare policies and read the fine print.
Covid-19 in Croatia
Like much of the world, the COVID-19 situation in Croatia is ongoing and in flux. As it stands, you’ll have to present a negative PCR test within 48 hours of arrival in Croatia, have your accommodations fully booked, and have a certificate of vaccination.
I recommend staying up to date by checking out the US Embassy in Croatia’s page on travel to Croatia during Covid-19.
Crime & Terrorism in Croatia
Crime and terrorism are both relatively low in Croatia. In fact, the homicide rate there has been in steady decline since the Croatian War of Independence ended in 1995, and terrorist attacks are exceedingly rare.
That said, some tension does remain from the war, and occasional ethnically motivated crimes and political demonstrations have been known to occur.
Additionally, while the threat of terrorism is present in all of Europe, the US State Department does consider Croatia to be minimal risk.
Petty Theft and Scams in Croatia
As with most popular destinations in Europe, pickpocketing and petty theft can occur in Croatia. In particular, be hyper-aware of pickpocketing in crowded tourist attractions such as Dubrovnik, Split, Zagreb, and while in a National Park.
👉 Pro Tip: While the threat of being pickpocketed in Croatia isn’t as high as in Italy or Spain, I do still recommend bringing along a slash-proof bag or anti-theft backpack, keeping expensive items stowed away, and being aware of your general vicinity.
Unexploded Landmines in Croatia
Leftover from the Croatian War of Independence, unexploded landmines are a concern in off-the-beaten-path areas.
While demining efforts are constantly underway and the country is hoping to be landmine-free in as little as five years, it is estimated that there are as many as 17,000 unexploded mines.
Honestly, you don’t have to worry about these if you stick to marked hiking trails and popular locations, but still, if you see signs warning about the mines, take them seriously. For example, some remote areas of Plitvice Lakes National Park still have some unexploded mines, so don’t venture too far off-trail.
If you’re unsure about the landmine status of the Croatian regions you’ll be visiting, don’t hesitate to ask the locals for guidance.
12 Croatia Safety Tips
Safety Tip #1 – Buy travel insurance
While not mandatory to visit Croatia, purchasing travel insurance for your trip is a smart idea.
If you have coverage and suffer a covered loss, travel insurance could save you a ton of money (and give you peace of mind) in case of a COVID-19 infection, travel interruptions, loss of personal items, injury, and so much more. I’ve purchased travel insurance for multiple destinations around the world and have never regretted it.
Safety Tip #2 – Drive within your comfort zone
I’ve said it before in my tips for driving in Croatia article, but stay within your comfort zone when behind the wheel.
While I highly recommend a Croatian road trip, the highways tend to be narrow and have relatively high-speed limits. Not to mention, some of the most popular, and scenic highways, are along the Adriatic coast.
The locals are used to these conditions, and they tend to drive accordingly.
But, if you’re not comfortable with this, then stick to the speed limit. Yes, people will pass you, but it’s a small price to pay for staying safe on the road.
And, while you’re driving, make sure you have a reflective vest in your car. Croatian law states that every driver must wear a reflective vest if they exit their car on the side of the road, so it’s best to be prepared (most rental cars will come with this, but ask when you pick up the car).
💡 Hot Tip: Looking to book a rental car in Croatia? Then check out Discover Cars! They are my go-to service when reserving cars abroad, they have excellent customer care, and they have plenty of vehicle options.
Safety Tip #3 – Be aware of nightlife scams
Did you know that Croatia is one of Europe’s premier party destinations? With tons of clubs, music venues, and parties all over the country, the nightlife is abundant during Croatia’s party season.
Yet, with all the good comes some bad, as there are a few nightlife scams to look out for.
In particular, don’t accept free drinks or food from people you don’t know (spiking is common), avoid gentlemen’s clubs, pay upfront at the bar instead of keeping a tab (tabs have been known to get peculiarly pricier), and be vigilant against pickpockets.
Safety Tip #4 – Know the emergency numbers
Nobody plans on things going wrong abroad, but if you need help, being as prepared as possible could be game-changing.
I recommend stashing a small piece of paper with emergency numbers both in your wallet and your suitcase just in case.
The emergency numbers in Croatia are:
- Police, Ambulance, and Firefighters– 112
- U.S. Embassy in Zagreb – (385) (1) 661-2200
Safety Tip #5 – Keep bathing suits for the beach
Did you know that wearing a bathing suit in Croatia’s towns is against the law?
It’s true! Despite a ton of Croatia’s tourism being sea and beach-based, if you’re not in the water, on the beach, or on a boat, you could be fined up to 1000 Kuna (160 USD) if you’re caught bearing only your bathing suit.
So, stay respectful of the local customs and cover up when walking around in town.
Safety Tip #6 – Be aware of sea urchins
Something I wasn’t aware of before I went to Croatia was just how many sea urchins dot the shores of the Adriatic Sea.
And they are spikey.
👉 Pro Tip: In order to protect your feet against the urchins, I recommend wearing water shoes, like these ones, every time you go in the water and staying very alert as you’re walking along the shores.
Safety Tip #7 – Stay away from drugs
While staying away from drugs is more or less common sense while traveling, I recommend you take this to heart in Croatia.
In Croatia, most drugs are treated as the same level of offense, and the amount you’re allowed to have on you isn’t set in stone — meaning that, if you get caught, much is left to the police officer’s discretion. Generally, getting caught carrying means either a ticket or a day in court. To make matters easier for yourself, just stick to other kinds of recreational activities and you should be good to go.
Safety Tip #8 – Learn some basic Croatian words
While many Croatians who work in tourism speak English, it’s always a good idea to learn some of the local language while traveling.
From being able to read maps to asking for help and calling authorities, learning basic Croatian will show respect from the locals and keep you safe on the road.
This is a great list of Croatian words to learn before your trip.
Safety Tip #9 – Steer clear of political demonstrations
Despite its long-standing status as a peaceful country, political demonstrations do happen on occasion in Croatia and, as a visitor, it’s best to steer clear of them.
While mostly peaceful, demonstrations can turn violent or rowdy on a dime. And given the emotional nature of such events, your presence may not be entirely welcome.
Give these demonstrations a wide berth and you should be good to go.
Safety Tip #10 – Check the weather daily
Being a coastal region, the weather in Croatia can be fickle, and this can make simple activities, such as driving along the coastal roads or boating in open water, more risky.
Though most days in summer are clear and sunny, no matter when you go to Croatia, check the weather report every morning to know if rain or storms are expected and then plan your activities accordingly.
Safety Tip #11 – Be aware of potential earthquakes
Resting on top of a collision zone of tectonic plates, the Adriatic tectonic micro-plate and the Eurasian Ivica Sović plate, Croatia is very used to earthquake activity.
While not excessive, earthquakes do happen and, though rarely serious, have been known to cause damage.
If you feel an earthquake, stay calm. If you’re outside, stay where you are, if you’re inside, avoid doorways, and if you’re driving, pull over and park.
👍 Have a week to travel? Then check out our 10 day Croatia itinerary!
Safety Tip #12 – Don’t draw too much attention to yourself
As a visitor, drawing attention to yourself is going to happen. However, to avoid the risk of scams or pickpocketing, try and be as discreet with your presence as possible.
Don’t flash expensive items around, try not to get overly inebriated, and treat everyone with respect.
FAQ About How to Stay Safe in Croatia
How safe is Croatia for female tourists?
Croatia is generally safe for female tourists. In Croatia, women are treated with respect, there are plenty of well-lit areas in the major cities, and violent crime is low. In particular, I felt as safe in Croatia, if not more, than any other country in Europe, or my home country of Canada.
Do they speak English in Croatia?
While the dominant language in Croatia is Croatian, you’ll find that most people living in the major cities, as well as those who work in tourism, do speak English. During my month-long trip, I primarily spoke English and connected with locals easily. Do learn a few words in Croatian though, the effort is always appreciated by locals!
Is Croatia expensive to visit?
Relative to western-European countries, Croatia is an inexpensive country to visit. Situated in the Balkan region, $1 Croatian Kuna (the local currency) equates to roughly $0.16 USD. Of course, how much you spend will depend on how you choose to travel, where you stay, and how you spend your days.
Is it safe to travel to Croatia alone?
Croatia is an excellent and safe country for solo travel, including solo female travel. There is a robust tourism infrastructure, as well as plenty of group tours, hostels, and other opportunities to meet people on the road. In fact, I’d say Croatia is one of the best countries for solo travel in the world.
Is public transportation safe to use in Croatia?
Public transportation is very safe to use in Croatia. The buses are clean, maintained, and air-conditioned, and tend to run on schedule. Keep in mind that the Zagreb bus terminal has been known to be a bit seedy after dark, so try to book transport during daylight hours. Alternatively, there are always taxis and shared rides! I found taxi drivers to be nice and accommodating, and I even had an Uber driver sing karaoke to me the whole ride.
That’s it for my top Croatian safety tips! So, is Croatia safe? Generally, yes, it is about as safe a destination as you’ll find (just be sure to do your research on the latest situation there right before going).
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Have fun traveling to Croatia!