Croatia

Croatia is a land whose rich cultural heritage is discovered not only from within the walls of museums, galleries and churches, but also where even the shortest stroll becomes a journey down a staircase thousands of years old which takes one through a history that is at the same time turbulent, exciting and glorious. Whether walking the intricate grid of narrow white stone streets, revelling in the teeming life of port towns or climbing the fairy-like fortresses and castles, each step is a fresh experience.

When to Visit

Although Croatia's peak season is in July and August, the coast is gorgeous in spring and early autumn: the Adriatic is still too cool for plunging into in April, but it can be good during a warm May and in September it is almost guaranteed that the sea's temperatures will climb up to 23ºC! May and June are great months for most outdoor activities. September is perhaps the best month in Croatia. The sea is warm, the crowds are sparse and everything becomes cheaper.

Highlights

DUBROVNIK Often referred to as paradise on earth, Dubrovnik basks in a warm Mediterranean climate with groves of lemon and orange trees, sumptuous palms and flowering gardens of medieval palaces.

KORCULA Korcula enchants with its timeless beauty and casts an everlasting spell on those who tread upon its ancient stones. It is as famous as the birthplace of Marco Polo as it is for its streets and architecture.

SPLIT Lying at the heart of the Dalmatian coast, the old town has a palm-lined harbour and boasts the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Diocletian’s Palace. Steeped in history, modern Split is a fusion of antique heritage and modern architecture.

PLITVICE LAKES NATIONAL PARK Home to one of Croatia’s most amazing natural phenomenas the 16 lakes are joined together by over 90 waterfalls created by the sedimentation of travertine, a special type of limestone.

CRUISING CROATIA'S ISLANDS Sprinkled like pearl drops across the crystal clear blue of the sea, the 1,244 islands, isles, cliffs, reefs and rocks that comprise the Croatian Adriatic provide 1,244 unique reasons to dream of a sailing adventure.

HVAR TOWN The centre of Hvar, the queen of the Croatian Dalmatian islands, Hvar Town offers visitors a truly spectacular blend of stunning location, luxury and layers of cultural and historical heritage.

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Useful Information

Visa's

Official travel advice regarding visas is available by calling 04 439 8000 or visiting their website www.safetravel.govt.nz

Customs

People stand close to one another and talk loudly. Strangers stare openly at one another. Formality is maintained in language and behavior when people do not know each other well. Strangers nod their heads in passing. In stores, offices, and places of business, people use formal language for greetings and good-byes. Failure to greet someone in a context that requires a greeting and an overly familiar greeting are serious breaches of etiquette. People who are on friendly terms greet each other more informally and usually kiss on both cheeks. Men and women kiss, women and women kiss, and men kiss other men who are family members or very close associates. Young people are expected to offer the first greeting to older people, and women to men. The formal "you" is used unless people are age mates, good friends, or coworkers or have reached a stage where the dominant person invites the person of lesser status to address him or her informally.

Health

The following information is intended as a guide only and in no way should it be used as a substitute for professional medical advice relative to a travellers individual needs and vaccination history. No guarantee is made as to its accuracy or thoroughness. For further information, please contact The Travel Doctor on (+64) 9 373 3531.Vaccination against Hepatitis A is recommended for travellers to Croatia. Vaccination against Hepatitis B and Rabies (particularly if working with animals) should be considered by frequent or long stay travellers. Tick-borne  ncephalitis is present throughout many areas in Europe, predominately in forested regions. Whilst no vaccine is available in New Zealand, travellers visiting risk areas and planning outdoor activities during summer might consider vaccination once in Europe. Regardless of destination, all travellers should be up-to-date with their routine "background" vaccinations, including a recent annual Influenza vaccination. Please consult a medical practitioner or contact The Travel Doctor for your specific risk to these preventable diseases and the appropriate avoidance  measures. New Zealanders travelling to Croatia should ensure that they have adequate travel insurance to cover the length of their stay.

Electricity

Electrical Socket type: European Voltage: 220-240 volts (same as New Zealand, no voltage/frequency converter required). Modem Plug: US (Croatia also uses the Yugoslav telephone system). Source: Korjo Travel Products. To purchase electrical/modem adapters, or for further information on this matter, please view the Korjo adapter guide at www.korjo.com.

Communications

Country Code for Croatia: +385 Directory Assistance: Domestic - 11888 / International - 11802 Offical Travel Advice: Visit www.safetravel.govt.nz Emergency Services: 112 (General - operators should be able to speak English. ) Fire: 93, Ambulance: 94, Police: (1)92 

Shopping

Shopping hours in Croatia are currently unregulated after the Constitutional Court struck down a ban on Sunday shopping, which had been in effect from mid-2008 until mid-2009. Most large out-of-town supermarkets are open between 07:30/08:00-21:00/22:00, Monday to Sunday. Shopping malls usually open at 09:00 and also close at 22:00, every day. Smaller supermarkets close earlier on Sundays, typically at 13:00. Other shops in urban areas are generally closed on Sundays. Bakeries and newspaper kiosks often open very early in the morning, at 05:30 or 06:00, and open every day but not 24 h. Gas stations and convenience stores along major roads as well as some pharmacies (at least one in each major city, five in Zagreb) operate 24 h.

Tipping

Tips (napojnica, manča, tip) are sometimes expected, mostly in restaurants – but they are not mandatory. Restaurant tip is around 3-5%[12] (or more if you are really satisfied with overall dining experience). In clubs or cafe bars, on the other hand, it is common to "round up the bill". It is not common to tip taxi drivers or hairdressers, but it's up to you.

Getting around

Getting around Croatia can be tricky and definitely requires careful planning, largely because of Croatia's unusual geography. First: Croatian islands are a large part of its appeal but getting to them means paying careful attention to local ferry schedules. Island-hopping sounds like a breeze but can be extremely complicated to plan. Second: unmissable Dubrovnik is perched awkwardly on the country's tip; getting anywhere else in  Croatia involves either backtracking along the coast, driving up through  Bosnia or taking a flight to Zagreb. Nevertheless, the quality of the transport infrastructure is generally good: ferries are reliable, buses are remarkably comfortable and efficient, trains connect major towns, flights are cheap, and driving is made easier by the modern and well-maintained road network.

Language

Croatian (official) 96%, Serbian 1%.

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