Croatia General Info.
Capital Zegrab
Min. Budget $30/day

Country Code 385 ,US $1 = 8.35KN, August 2000
$1=6-6.5KN(Aug, 2004)

Why Croatia?
While Italy is one of the most heavily touristed countries in the world, its neighbor, Croatia, is relatively unknown in comparison because it is still seen as a War torn country. Just seven years ago, the Serbian crisis killed the peace and a very promising tourist industry. However Croatia has recovered excellently, with a huge tourist network for the Germans and Italians who like a bargain. Croatian towns such as Pula, Porec, Rab Town, Hvar, Split, Trogir and Dubrovnik thrive on their Italian roots, with some structures over 2000 years old.
People are very friendly, and the youth (who have created a great music scene in Zagreb) are starting to learn English. The accommodation services and restaurants are 50% cheaper than Italy, so people are beginning to come to Croatia. Now that Yugoslavia is more stable, in ten years Croatia should be in the top ten of countries visited in the world.
Beaches: Although the water is fantastic, perhaps the clearest and cleanest in the world, there is no beach area, just sharp rocks, which tends to ruin it. There are also no waves which dissapoints Aussie/South American visitors.


Language
The Croatian people speak a south Slovak language. The tourist industry main language is German but because of Croatia's location Italian is widely spoken along the coast. English is spoken in travel agents, and by some young university students.

Climate
The best time to travel is near summer, April-September, when temperatures hover around the high 20's. The coast is famous for averaging over 7 hours of sunlight per day. In winter temperatures drop to below freezing, and the country tourism network basically shuts down.

Currency/Exchange
Latest Exchange Rate: $1=6-6.5KN
Currency - Croatian Kuna (KN), 1 kuna = 100 lipas.
Coins - 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 lipa, 1, 2,5,25 kuna.
Notes - 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000 kuna.
Cash:- Many banks and post offices exchange cash around Croatia. com 1-1.5%
T/C:- Most banks exchange American express T/C. American Express offices exist in Zagreb, Split and Dubrovnik.
Exchange rates for cash and T/C are similar.
Cash Advance- Available at Dubrovacka Banka and Zagrebacka Banka.
ATM- many ATM the towns. Even Island towns.

Basic Travel Costs
Big Mac - 11KN, Beer - 7KN, Coffee - 5KN, Water - 6KN Breakfast - 15KN, Mars Bar - 8KN, Hot Breakfast - 20KN ,
Pizza - 45KN, Film - 32KN.
Accommodation; Hotel s150, d300KN, Hostel s60+ d100+, Camping - 30+/p in tent

Opening hours
Shopping: M-F8.00-20.00, Sa8.00-15.00
Banks: M-F 9.00-17.00.

Immigration/Visa
Not required - Australians, US, EU countries, New Zealand, Japanese. Border crossing are very relaxed, rarely a passport being stamped. Possible to stay for 90 days.
Required - South Africans require a 30 day visa for US$29 which can be obtained at Croatian embassies.
Local Registration: All citizens must register with the police within two days of entering Croatia (accommodation agencies such as hotel owners, will do this, some time with fee 8KN. ).

Border Crossing
Slovenian Istria > Socerga (Slovenia) > Socerga (Croatia) then to the Gulf of Kvarner Slovenian Istria > Potoroz (Slovenia) > Umag (Croatia) then to Croatian Istria
Pecs > Barcs (Hungary) > Virovitica (Croatia) then to E.Croatia
Moster > Metkovic (Bosnia)> Metkovic (Croatia) then to Split
Ancona (Central Italy) > Split (Croatia) by ferry
Bari (Southern Italy) > Dubrovnik (Croatia) by ferry

International Transport
Air: Most flights are from Zagreb but they are quite expensive, over US$250 for one way flight to most western Europe cities. Croatian Airways, British Airways and Air France also fly to and from Dubrovnik.
Trains are the best and most comfortable option when traveling from Budapest, Venice, Ljubjlana or Vienna are slightly cheaper than the bus.
Ferries operate from Split and Dubrovnik to Italy.
Bus: Buses travel to Zagreb, Rijecka, Split from neighbouring countries such as Slovenia and Hungary. They are often more expensive and less comfortable than trains.

National Transport
Buses are the best option because they are more common than the train system which rarely has more than two trains to any destination. Trips are long (Zagreb to Dubrovnik 14 hours), so it is better to break up your journey.
Trains: They are more comfortable and sometimes cheaper, but less frequent and time of the trains are very inconvenient.
Planes: Flights are fairly expensive and since the longest distance is only 12 hours from Dubrovnik to Zagreb it is not really needed.
Slow ferries make a cheap and scenic option down the coast. Croatian airlines often have youth fares (under 25) for national flights to and from Zagreb.

Local Transport
Because of the small size of the towns often local transport does not exist. In Zagreb there is a good tram network, while Dubrovnik has a good local bus service to and from the ferry/ bus stations.
Rental bike?

Tourist Information
will be provided soon.

Telephones/Mail
Country code: 385
Local Phone: 1KN/5min.Card phone exist everywhere. Cards can be purchased at kiosks and cost 10KN, 20KN, 50KN.
Phone cost/min USA - 6KN, UK 4KN, Australia 9KN, Japan 9KN.
Important phone numbers: Police-92, Fire - 93, Ambulance - 94
USA UK Japan AUS
Postcard 5.00 4.50 4.70 5.50
Letter 30g 6.50 6.00 6.20 7.00
Parcel 1 kg 248 198 218 238
Parcel 2kg 438 538 378 538
Home Country Direct
AT&T Direct:0800 22 00 44
BT Direct :008 00 22 01 01
Police 92, Fire Brigade 93, Ambulance 94, Automobile Club Road Assistance Service 987.

UNESCO World Hertiage Listing
Dubrovnik: The old city - founded in the 7th century
Split: Diocletian's Palace,Former home to the Roman Emperor
Plitvice Lake National Park:A long series of lakes joined by waterfalls. This is in the half way between Zagreb and Zadar, 2.5 -3 hour by bus from either direction. It can be reached from Rab city by bus.
Porec: The Episcopal Complex of Euphrasius' Basilica - 6th century - Best example of mosaic art in Europe.
Trogir Old town: - 10min N from Split by bus . Founded in the 3rd century, Trogir has buildings representing Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and baroque periods.

Accommodation
Private accommodation is the best option in Croatia. Often they are run by old ladies living alone, so they love to have company and are very friendly. In large cities, such as Split and Dubrovnik agents can find you a room, but mostly women come up to you on the street.
Hostels are very rare and hotels (although a good standard) are incredibly expensive trying to entice the German and Italian tourists.

Food
Often what is eaten depends on what time of the year it is and what region of Croatia you are eating it.
A very popular dish all over the country is Pork, especially on religious holidays when pork-and-potato stew is eaten through out the country . On the coast, seafood is very popular and considering the Adriatic sea is the cleanest in the Mediterranean, it is magnificent. Codfish is especially popular on Christmas Eve and Good Friday.
Croatia offers excellent desserts, like Pinca cake and "hrostule" a doughnut? like dessert. Croatia like Hungary has excellent wines. In the south they drink Bevanda a heavy red wine mixed with water, while in the north they drink Gemist which sour grapes are mixed with mineral water. Ozujsko is the most popular and best beer.

Customs
Tipping is uncommon except in fancy restaurants.

Shopping/Souvenir
Traditional hand knitted vests are popular in rural towns, while Germans love to buy the lace that is sold at nearly every market. Sestine umbrellas and penkala pens are popular with Italian tourists.

Health
Croatia offers free medical care to many European citizens. Hospitals are at a reasonable standard. Tap water is ok. Medical Insurance is highly recommended for those who are not EU citizens.
Tap water is drnkable.

Safety
Generally very safe. However Croatia is still thought of as a war ridden country because of the Serbian crises just 8 years ago. Today only bullet holes and ruined walls give evidence to this and the country is as safe as any other Eastern European one. However, tourists should not mention any Serbian/Croatian religious differences as some of the older generation will get mad.

Entertainment
Cinemas show latest Hollywood products, with Croatian subtitles. Like the Italians, 32KN
Croatian's on the coast love to party at night, have naps in the afternoon and barely work in the morning.
The night life is more pub orientated than nightclub/rave type so popular in Hungary.

Festivals/National Holidays
January 1: New Year
January 6: Epiphany
End of Mar or beg of Apr: Easter Monday
May 1: Labour Day
May 30: Statehood Day
June 22: Day of Antifascist Victory
August 5: Homeland Thanksgiving Day
August 15: Assumption of Mary
November 1: All Saints Day
December 25, 26: Christmas


Miscellaneous
Electricity 220V,
Time: GTM + 1hour

Internet
The internet exists in every town mentioned in the city information section. Prices are slightly higher than in other Eastern European countries, but the connection is very fast.

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