The 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.
Overall Crime and Safety Situation
The U.S. Embassy in Zagreb does not assume responsibility for the professional ability or integrity of the persons or firms appearing in this report. The American Citizens’ Services unit (ACS) cannot recommend a particular individual or location, and assumes no responsibility for the quality of service provided.
Review OSAC’s Croatia-specific page for original OSAC reporting, consular messages, and contact information, some of which may be available only to private-sector representatives with an OSAC password.
There is low risk from crime in Zagreb. Zagreb is a safe city by U.S. and European standards. There are no specific security or safety concerns for U.S. travelers living in or visiting the country. Pickpockets and purse snatchings are not as common as in other European cities. The popular Adriatic beach cities are safe, but do experience a rise in petty crimes during the summer.
Residential burglaries are infrequent and generally target unoccupied, poorly secured residences. Generally, thieves take only cash, jewelry, and other non-traceable small items.
It is generally safe to use credit/debit cards throughout the country. For more information, review OSAC’s Report, The Overseas Traveler’s Guide to ATM Skimmers & Fraud.
Cybercrime is not as prevalent as in other parts of the region. However, spear phishing, social engineering, and other internet scams do exist.
Other Areas of Concern
While there are grenades and other unexploded ordnance (UXO) left over from the wars in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s, a buyback program has removed many explosives and weapons from circulation. Some of this ordnance appears during domestic incidents, but such incidents have not targeted U.S. citizens. Drivers traveling through former conflict areas should stay on paved roads to reduce the risk of encountering leftover mines or UXO.
For more information, review OSAC’s Report, Security in Transit: Airplanes, Public Transport, and Overnights.
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 make streets very congested. Roads are in fair shape, and are maintained and cleaned regularly.
During the winter, authorities clear snow wel from main roads, but side roads are often a secondary consideration. The twisting roads in the hills outside of Zagreb are often treacherous in bad weather. During summer, major congestion occurs along roads on and leading to the coast, especially on weekends.
Croatia’s has a well-developed highway network that provides good connections nationwide. Construction 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.
Public Transportation Conditions
Zagreb boasts an efficient, extensive public transportation system that is inexpensive, reliable, convenient, and safe. Patrons purchase tickets individually or in booklets at most kiosks and newspaper stands, or on-board the tram/bus (single ticket costs 10 kuna). Tickets are good for 90 minutes of travel in one direction regardless of the number of transfers; patrons must validate them upon first use. Plainclothes inspectors randomly check passengers; fines for riding without a validated ticket are steep (500-800 kuna).
Trains are not generally the most efficient method of travel, because some routes cross and re-cross national borders. Other rail routes are infrequently serviced, slow, or more expensive than comparable bus service.
Domestic bus service is more frequent and far less expensive than rail service.
Taxis are available at stands throughout Zagreb, and are available by phone. Taxis are safe and plentiful. The best-known providers are Radio Taxi Zagreb, Cammeo, and Eko Taxi. Average meter rates are 9.90 kuna to start, with an additional 4.90 kuna per kilometer. Rates are 20% higher overnight between 2000-0500, and on Sundays or holidays. Most taxi companies do not charge an additional fee for luggage.
Other Travel Conditions
Passenger and car ferry services serve Croatia's coastal towns well. A "coast-hopper" ferry runs regularly along the coast from Rijeka to Dubrovnik, with links to Croatia's 66 inhabited islands; however, 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).
Local, Regional, and International Terrorism Threats/Concerns
There is minimal risk from terrorism in Zagreb. Croatia is not a major source country for foreign fighters traveling to the conflict areas of the Middle East. The Ministry of Interior reports that only a few (non-fighting) Croatian spouses of Bosnian fighters have traveled to conflict areas in the Middle East. However, it is quite possible that extremist travelers use Croatia as a transit country; however, its placement outside the Schengen area makes it a less desirable location for such transit.
Political, Economic, Religious, and Ethnic Violence
There is minimal risk from civil unrest in Zagreb. Croatia has undergone significant changes since emerging from the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s. Its entry into NATO in 2009 and EU accession in 2013 followed the work of successive governments to implement political, economic, and social reforms. There were no major incidents of political, economic, religious, or ethnic violence in 2018.
Croatia is seismically active, and Zagreb is rated 3 (“high”) on the State Department’s Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations’ seismic risk scale.
Croatia remains a transit point for illegal drugs trafficked along traditional Balkan smuggling routes. Heroin and high-quality marijuana are trafficked westward, while precursor chemicals and synthetic drugs originating in Europe are smuggled eastward. Cocaine from South America is smuggled to Croatia, then to Western Europe. The availability of illicit drugs in Croatia has increased in recent years, due to liberalized customs controls as well as the increased movement of goods and people through the country that comes with EU integration. Croatia continues to strengthen border controls in an effort to join the Schengen area.
The police have adequate resources and usually respond to calls for service quickly and professionally. English speaking operators are on duty at the Zagreb emergency center, but that may not be the case in all regions.
Crime Victim Assistance
The nationwide police emergency service number is 192; the general emergency number is 112.
Croatia has a national police service that falls under the Ministry of Interior with Uniform Police, Riot Police, Criminal Investigation, Special Police (SWAT), General, Crime, Terrorism, and War Crimes units.
Adequate medical care is readily available in Croatia, but the condition of hospital facilities may not be comparable to U.S. standards. There are pharmacies carrying reliable medication in almost all Zagreb neighborhoods.
Contact Information for Available Medical Services
For medical assistance, please refer to the Embassy’s Medical Assistance page.
Travelers should consider purchasing supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation (medevac) should it become necessary.
Country-specific Vaccination and Health Guidance
Stay up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The CDC offers additional information on vaccines and health guidance for Croatia.
OSAC Country Council Information
The Croatia Country Council program began in 2017, and is currently looking to increase interest and participation. Interested private-sector security managers should contact OSAC’s Europe Team with any questions.
U.S. Embassy Location and Contact Information
Embassy Address and Hours of Operation
Thomasa Jeffersona 2; 10010 Zagreb
Business hours: 0800-1700
Embassy Contact Numbers
Post 1: 385-1-661-2400
U.S. Embassy Zagreb recommends travelers enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) program and research country specific travel requirements at www.travel.state.gov when visiting Croatia.
Croatia Country Information Sheet