is an annual report produced in conjunction with the Regional Security Office
at the U.S. Embassy in Zagreb. OSAC encourages travelers to use
this report to gain baseline knowledge of security conditions in Croatia.
For more in-depth information, review OSAC’s Croatia country page for
original OSAC reporting, consular messages, and contact information, some of
which may be available only to private-sector representatives with an OSAC
current U.S. Department of State Travel
Advisory at the date of this report’s publication assesses Croatia at Level
1, indicating travelers should exercise normal precautions. Review OSAC’s
report, Understanding the
Consular Travel Advisory System.
Overall Crime and
U.S. Department of State has assessed Zagreb as being a LOW-threat location for crime directed at or affecting official
U.S. government interests. Zagreb is a safe city by
U.S. and European standards. There are no specific security or safety concerns
for U.S. businesses or U.S. nationals living in or visiting the city. The
popular Adriatic beach cities and other tourist destinations are generally safe,
but do experience a rise in petty crime such as pickpocketing and purse
snatching during the summer tourist season. Review OSAC’s reports, All
That You Should Leave Behind.
Residential burglaries constitute the most reported types of crime
in Zagreb, in which unoccupied, less secure, residences are targets. Generally,
thieves are looking for cash, jewelry, and other non-traceable small items.
Avoid "gentlemen's clubs." In the past, such
establishments have presented foreign customers with inflated bills and
threatened those who refuse to pay with violence.
It is largely safe to use credit/debit cards throughout the
OSAC’s reports, The
Overseas Traveler’s Guide to ATM Skimmers & Fraud and Taking
Cybercrime is not as prevalent as in other parts of
the region. However, spear phishing, social engineering, and other Internet
scams do exist. Review OSAC’s reports, Cybersecurity Basics,
Best Practices for
Maximizing Security on Public Wi-Fi, Traveling with Mobile
Devices: Trends & Best Practices, and Satellite Phones:
Critical or Contraband?
Road Safety and Road Conditions
Streets are often narrow and crowded, and parking is often tight,
making a mid- to compact-sized vehicle more practical. The number of cars has
been growing steadily over the last decade, so rush hour traffic can be
congested. Roads are in fair shape and undergo regular maintenance and cleaning.
During the winter, the main roads are plowed often, but secondary
and side roads are not always clear of snow and ice. The twisting roads in the
hills outside of Zagreb are often treacherous in bad weather. During summer,
roads along and leading to the coast may be congested, especially on weekends.
Croatia has a well-developed highway network that provides good
connections throughout the country. Construction work continues on the highway
extension south from Split to Dubrovnik. Primary roads are generally adequate
but may have only one narrow lane in each direction.
Pay attention to trams (streetcars) in Zagreb, which travel at
high speeds through the narrow streets. Drivers must stop for pedestrians, who have
the right of way when crossing in designated white-striped crosswalks.
Croatian radio broadcasts programs in foreign languages on several
frequencies. From mid-June to mid-September, Channel 2 broadcasts foreign news,
traffic information, and important information in English and German.
Emergency roadside assistance is available by calling 1987 or +385 1 1987.
Drivers who stay longer than twelve months must have a Croatian
driver's license. Seat belts for drivers and passengers are mandatory. Infants
must travel in child-safety seats. Children shorter than 150cm in height and
younger than 3 years may not ride in the front seat. Turning right on red at
traffic lights is illegal unless allowed by an additional green arrow. Headlight
use is mandatory from the start of November until the end of March, as well as
during fog and other inclement weather. It is illegal to talk on a cell phone
while driving unless using a hands-free device.
The maximum legal blood-alcohol limit for drivers is 0.05% (0.00%
for drivers with less than two years’ experience, drivers under 24 years of
age, and truck or bus drivers). Police routinely spot-check for drunk driving
and administer breath-analyzer tests at the scene of all accidents. Refusal to
take a breath test is a de facto admission of driving while intoxicated.
Penalties may include fines up to 2,500€ and/or prison sentences.
For traffic accidents involving a foreign-registered vehicle, the
responding police officer must issue a vehicle damage certificate to the owner
of the foreign-registered vehicle; this is necessary to cross the border out of
Croatia. Upon written request, the police station in the area where the
accident occurred will issue a traffic accident investigation record.
OSAC’s reports, Road
Safety Abroad, Driving
Overseas: Best Practices, and Evasive
Driving Techniques; and read the State Department’s webpage on driving
and road safety abroad.
Public Transportation Conditions
Zagreb boasts an efficient, extensive public transportation system
that is inexpensive, reliable, convenient, and safe. Purchase tickets individually
or in booklets at most kiosks and newspaper stands, or buy a ticket on-board
the tram/bus (single ticket costs 15 kuna). Tickets are good for 90 minutes of
travel in one direction regardless of the number of transfers, but you must validate
them upon entry. Plainclothes inspectors randomly check passengers, and fines
for riding without a validated ticket are steep (500-800
Trains are not generally the most efficient method of travel,
because some routes may cross national borders multiple times. Other rail
routes are infrequent, slow, or more expensive than comparable bus service.
Domestic bus service is more frequent and far less expensive than
Taxis are available at taxi stands throughout Zagreb or reachable
by phone. Taxis and rideshares are safe and plentiful. The most well-known are
Uber, Radio Taxi Zagreb, Cammeo, and Eko Taxi.
Average meter rates are 9.90 kuna to start and an additional 4.90 kuna per
kilometer. Rates are 20% higher from 2000 to 0500 hours, and on Sundays or
holidays. Most taxi companies do not charge an additional fee for luggage.
OSAC’s report, Security
In Transit: Airplanes, Public Transport, and Overnights.
Other Travel Concerns
Passenger and car ferry services serve Croatia's coastal towns frequently.
A "coast-hopper" ferry runs regularly along the coast from Rijeka to
Dubrovnik, and there are links to Croatia's 66 inhabited islands, though
inter-island links are few. During the summer tourist season (late May – late September),
ferry sailings are much more frequent and include fast hydrofoil services. The
largest passenger ferry terminals are in Rijeka, Zadar, Split, and Dubrovnik.
International lines include connections to Ancona, Pescara, Bari, and Trieste
(Italy), and Igoumenitsa (Greece).
U.S. Department of State has assessed Zagreb as being a LOW-threat location for terrorist activity directed at or affecting
official U.S. government interests.
Croatia is not a major source country for foreign fighters traveling
to the conflict areas of the Middle East. The Ministry of Interior reports only
a few (non-fighting) Croatian spouses of Bosnian fighters who have traveled to
conflict areas in the Middle East. However, it is quite possible that terrorists
use Croatia as a transit country.
Political, Economic, Religious, and Ethnic Violence
The U.S. Department of State has assessed Zagreb as being a LOW-threat location for political violence directed at or affecting official U.S. government interests.
Ethnic discrimination is the most prevalent form of discrimination, particularly against Serbs and Roma, whose populations suffered several violent episodes in 2019. Some Jewish community leaders reported anti-Semitic rhetoric, including the use of symbols affiliated with the Ustaša, a Croatian fascist and ultranationalist group, and continued instances of historical revisionism.
Croatia is seismically active, and the State Department’s Bureau
of Overseas Buildings Operations rates Zagreb as high (3) on its seismic risk scale.
Exercise due diligence when considering purchasing real estate in
Croatia. Consult with an attorney before undertaking a real estate purchase,
and be careful to understand the implications of all parts of a real estate
contract. Hiring a translator can help protect your rights. There is little the
U.S. Embassy can do to assist U.S. citizens who enter into private land or
business disputes, which may end up in local courts. Review U.S. Embassy webpage
on real estate in Croatia.
Review the State Department’s
webpage on security for female travelers.
There are no legal restrictions
regarding same-sex sexual relations in Croatia. Although LGBTI+ individuals have
full rights in Croatia, same-sex couples may face legal challenges in the areas
of adoption and next-of-kin determinations. In 2014, Croatia allowed for formal
registration of same sex unions. Anti-discrimination laws protect the LGBTI+
community, and there are no legal or governmental impediments to the
organization of LGBTI+ events. However, there have been incidents against LGBTI+
groups, notably during annual pride events, both in Zagreb and Split.
Individual cases of attacks on members of the LGBTI+ community have also occurred.
Review the State Department’s webpage on security for LGBTI+ travelers.
Croatian law prohibits discrimination
against persons with disabilities. It also mandates access to transportation,
communication, and public buildings for persons with disabilities. However,
there is a marked difference in new construction compared to old construction,
where access can still be limited. Croatia’s geography is hilly and often
steep, particularly along the coast, and it can present challenges to persons
with disabilities. Access to public transportation may not always be available.
Outside urban areas, accessibility worsens significantly. Review the State
Department’s webpage on security for travelers with disabilities.
Croatia remains a transit point for illegal drugs
trafficked along traditional Balkan smuggling routes. Heroin and high-quality
marijuana move westward, while precursor chemicals and synthetic drugs
originating in Europe move eastward. Few illegal drugs originate in Croatia. Cocaine from South America moves
to Croatia, then to Western Europe. The availability
of illicit drugs in Croatia has increased in recent years, partly resulting
from liberalized customs controls and the increased movement of goods and
people through the country due to EU integration. Croatia continues to
strengthen border controls in an effort to join the Schengen area.
Some substances used
as recreational drugs, although legal in the United States, may be illegal in
Croatia. The Government of Croatia maintains a list of illegal narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and plants that can be used for
preparation of narcotic drugs.
There is minimal threat of
kidnapping in Croatia. Review OSAC’s report, Kidnapping: The Basics.
While there are still some mines and unexploded ordnance (UXO)
left over from the wars of the 1990s, extensive U.S. and internationally funded
de-mining programs as well as robust Croatian demining efforts have ensured that
99.4% of Croatian territory is clear of mines and UXO. However, there are still
355.6 square kilometers of mine suspect areas, which are located mostly in
former conflict zones. Mine suspect areas usually have very clear markings.
Drivers traveling through possible mine areas should stay on paved roads to
reduce the risk of encountering leftover mines or unexploded ordnance. For
more information, see the website of the Croatian
Center for Demining, which includes an interactive map of mine-suspected areas.
general emergency line in Croatia is 112. The countrywide
police emergency service number is 192. The police have adequate resources and usually respond to
calls for service. English-speaking operators are on duty at the Zagreb
emergency center, but that may not be the case in all regions.
Croatia has a national police service service that falls under the
Interior Ministry, with Uniformed Police, Riot Police, Criminal Investigation,
Special Police, General, Crime, Terrorism, and War Crimes units.
the State Department’s Crime Victims Assistance brochure.
general emergency line in Croatia is 112. The countrywide medical
emergency service number is 194. Adequate medical care is readily available in Zagreb and
other major cities, but the condition of hospital facilities and facilities in
rural areas may be below U.S. standards. There are shortages of medical
staff (nurses, doctors) throughout the country that produce long waiting lists
for exams, imaging, surgeries, etc. at public healthcare centers. Occasionally
shortages of special medications may occur. Medical
staff may speak little or no English.
Public medical clinics may lack advanced resources and specialized
medical supplies. Generally, only minimal staff is available overnight in
non-emergency wards in public hospitals. Psychological and psychiatric services
are limited, even in the larger cities, with hospital-based care only available
through government institutions.
Ambulance services are not widely available, and training and
availability of emergency responders may be below U.S. standards. Ambulances do
not carry state-of-the-art medical equipment.
There are pharmacies in almost all Zagreb neighborhoods, which
carry reliable medication.
contact information for available medical services and available air ambulance
services on the U.S.
U.S. Department of State strongly recommends purchasing international health
insurance (including medical evacuation) before traveling internationally.
Review the State Departments webpage on insurance
test water quality daily throughout the country according to internationally
accepted standards. Water in Croatia is of high quality, with potable tap water
available in most places. Some rural areas rely on private wells that may not
be subject to quality testing standards. Some older buildings in major cities
may have lead-laced piping leading to increased levels of lead in the drinking
Croatia has several elective/cosmetic surgery facilities that are on par with
those found in the United States, the quality of care varies widely. If you
plan to undergo surgery in Croatia, make sure that emergency medical facilities
are available and that professionals have proper qualifications and
in Croatia for more than three months, especially hiking, camping, or participating
in other outdoor activities in forested areas, should get a vaccination for tick-borne
encephalitis (TBE). TBE vaccine is not available in the United States, but is
available from local doctors in much of the region. Use insect repellent and
inspect your body for ticks after spending time outdoors.
is prevalent during the winter season. The CDC offers additional information on
vaccines and health guidance for Croatia.
Review OSAC’s reports, The Healthy Way, Traveling with Medication, I’m Drinking What in My Water?, Shaken: The Don’ts of Alcohol Abroad, Health 101: How to Prepare for
Travel, and Fire Safety Abroad.
OSAC Country Council
An OSAC Country Council program is active and looking to increase
interest and participation. Contact OSAC’s Europe team for more information or to join.
U.S. Embassy Contact
Thomasa Jeffersona 2,
Regular hours: 0800 –
you travel, consider the following resources: