Croatia became a member of the European Union on the 1st of July 2013, however it is not part of the Schengen Area. This means that immigration controls still take place, but travellers from another EU state are exempt from customs checks.
EU, EEA, Swiss, Andorran, Monégasque, San Marinese and Vatican City citizens can enter Croatia visa-free for up to 90 days with either a passport or a national identity card.
Foreign nationals of the following countries/territories can enter Croatia visa-free for up to 90 days with a passport: Albania, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Japan, Macedonia, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Montenegro, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Serbia, Seychelles, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan Republic of China, Turkey, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela, additionally persons holding British National Overseas, Hong Kong SAR or Macau SAR passports.
Holders of valid travel documents for refugees or stateless persons issued by an EU member state, Andorra, Canada, Iceland, Japan, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland, the United States or the Vatican City can enter Croatia visa-free for up to 90 days.
Further, as of the 1st of January 2013, holders of any of the following are exempt from the visa requirement:
residence permits issued by one of the Schengen area members
uniform visas C or long-stay visas D issued by one of the Schengen area members
Pursuant to the Government’s decision, starting with 1 January 2014 until the Republic of Croatia fully applies the provisions of the Schengen acquis, all aliens holders of valid Schengen documents do not require an additional Croatian visa for entry and short-term stay in Croatia.
Any person not covered by one of the visa exemptions listed above will need to apply for a visa at a Croatian embassy or consulate in advance. The application fee for a short stay Croatian visa is 35€.
More information about visa exemptions and the visa application procedure is available at the website of the Croatian Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs (http://www.mvep.hr/en/con...).
Very good network of buses once in the country - cheap and regular.
If you are coming from Italy there are two buses daily from Venice leaving at 11:00 and 13:45 going to Istria, with a final stop in Pula. These are operated by two different bus companies, but you can buy tickets for both buses at the A.T.V.O bus office at the Venice bus station. The office is in the bus station, but located outside on the ground level across from where all the buses park. Both buses pick up at spot b15. It is roughly a 5 hour bus ride, with stops in Trieste and Rovinj. You can also pick up the bus at the bus station in Mestre, fifteen minutes after the scheduled bus leaves Venice. Coming in from Trieste, Italy is popular among Europeans, for Trieste is a Ryanair destination. You cross the Italian-Slovenian border first, followed by the Slovenian-Croatian border, but they are very close to one another.
Dubrovnik and Split are the main destinations of international buses from Bosnia and Hercegovina or Montenegro, with daily buses traveling to cities such as Sarajevo, Mostar and Kotor some lines such as Split-Mostar operate every few hours. Seasonal lines also extend through to Skopje from Dubrovnik. Border formalities on the buses are extremely efficient, and do not involve leaving the bus previous services from Dubrovnik to Kotor involved changing buses at the Croatian border.
Osijek is a very big bus hub for international travel to Hungary, Serbia and Bosnia in addition to its local buses, and the station is located conveniently next to the railway station. Many buses heading from Zagreb north into Hungary or Austria will pass through Varaždin.
From Germany with Čazmatrans.
Currently, the only non-European flights to Croatia are from Qatar and Tel Aviv. There are occasional charter flights from Tokyo and Seoul. If coming from North America, you will have to transfer at a hub such as London or Frankfurt. From Asia, Africa or Australasia, transferring in Doha or Istanbul will be quicker than back-tracking through the main European hubs.
Croatia Airlines (http://www.croatiaairline...), the national carrier and a member of Star Alliance, flies to Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Istanbul, London, Madrid, Milan, Moscow, Munich, Paris, Prague, Tel Aviv, Rome, Sarajevo, Skopje, Vienna, Zurich and - during the tourist season - Manchester.
Adria Airways (http://www.adria-airways.com/) - Slovenian national carrier flies from Ljubljana to Split and Dubrovnik note: there are no flights from Ljubljana to Zagreb as the two are located close together and are around 2 hours by car/train/bus
Aer Lingus (http://www.aerlingus.com/) Dublin - Dubrovnik
Austrian Airlines (http://www.austrian.com/) flies from Vienna to Zagreb, Split and Dubrovnik
Alitalia (http://www.alitalia.com/) flies from Milan Malpensa to Zagreb and Split.
British Airways (http://www.britishairways...) flies from London Heathrow to Zagreb, and London Gatwick to Dubronik
CSA Czech Airlines (http://www.czechairlines.com/) - SkyTeam member; flies from Prague to Zagreb all the year, and to Split during summer.
Darwin Airline (http://www.darwinairline....) flies between Geneva and Dubrovnik Thursdays and Sundays as well as Zurich and Dubrovnik Saturdays.
EasyJet (http://www.easyjet.com/en...) has flights to the following destinations in Croatia: London Gatwick - Split
Estonian Air (http://www.estonian-air.ee) is flying every Wednesday and Saturday from Tallinn to Dubrovnik.
FlyBe (http://www.flybe.com/) operates routes between Dubrovnik and two UK destinations Exeter and Birmingham.
GermanWings (http://www.germanwings.com/) - cheap connection from Berlin, Cologne, Stuttgart and Hamburg, to Zagreb, Split, Zadar and Dubrovnik
Intersky (http://www.intersky.biz/) flies from Friedrichshafen to Zadar
Jat Airways (http://www.jat.com/) flies from Belgrade to Dubrovnik and Pula
KLM (http://www.klm.nl/)] connects Amsterdam with Zagreb
Norwegian (http://www.norwegian.no/) connects Oslo with Rijeka, Split, Pula and Dubrovnik; Bergen with Split and Dubrovnik; Stavanger with Split and Dubrovnik; Trondheim with Split and Dubrovnik; Stockholm with Pula, Split and Dubrovnik; Copenhagen with Split, Dubrovnik and Zagreb; Helsinki with Split and Dubrovnik; and London-Gatwick with Split and Dubrovnik
Qatar Airways (http://www.qatarairways.com/) flies daily from Zagreb via Budapest to Doha, and onwards through their network to the Middle East, Asia, Australaisa and Africa.
Ryanair (http://www.ryanair.com/) flies from Dublin and Karlsruhe-Baden to Zadar.
Scandjet (http://www.scandjet.se/in...) is a Scandinavian low fare airline that connects Sweden, Norway and Denmark with Croatia. It flies from: Oslo to Split Stockholm to Pula, Split and Dubrovnik Gothenburg to Zagreb, Pula, Zadar and Split Copenhagen to Pula, Split.
TAP Portugal (http://www.flytap.com/USA...) is flying from Zagreb to Lisbon via Bologna three times a week Wednesdays, Fridays, Sundays.
Turkish Airline (http://www.turkishairline...) flies daily from Zagreb to Istanbul.
Vueling (http://www.vueling.com), a Spanish low-cost carrier flies between Dubrovnik and Barcelona.
Wizz Air (http://www.wizzair.com/in...) flies between Zagreb and London Luton Airport
Additionally you can use airports in neighbouring countries which are within few hours of reach from Zagreb and Rijeka apart from some of the listed options in Italy: Ljubljana for EasyJet flights to London Stansted or other Adria Airways flights Graz and Klagenfurt for Ryanair flights from London Stansted Trieste for Ryanair flights from London Stansted. You can also use Venice Marco Polo for British Airways flights from the UK or Venice Treviso Ryanair from Stanstead. Ancona is also an option Ryanair from Stanstead for those who want to take ferry or hydrofoil to Zadar and Split. Ryanair also flies to Pescara which is a short drive away from Ancona. Some may decide to use Tivat Airport in Montenegro which is within easy reach from Dubrovnik.
Ferries are cheap and go regularly between various places by the coast. Although not the fastest, they are probably the best way to see the beautiful Croatian islands of the Adriatic Sea.
Jadrolinija is the main Croatian passenger shipping line that maintains the largest number of regular international and domestic ferry and shipping lines. The following international lines are serviced by car ferries:
Rijeka - Zadar - Split - Hvar - Korčula -Dubrovnik - Bari
Split - Ancona - Split
Korčula - Hvar - Split - Ancona
Zadar - Ancona - Zadar
Zadar - Dugi otok - Ancona
Dubrovnik - Bari - Dubrovnik
Blue Line International operates the international route:
Split - Ancona - Split
Venezia Lines has regular catamaran connections between Venice and the Croatian cities of Poreč, Pula, Rovinj and Rabac.
The rail network connects all major Croatian cities, except Dubrovnik you can take a train to Split then take one of the frequent buses or the more scenic ferry to Dubrovnik, the train station is at the pier. There are direct lines from Austria, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Germany, Hungary, Slovenia, Italy, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and Greece. There are indirect lines from almost all other European countries.
Tourists coming from or going to neighbouring countries should note the following EuroCity and InterCity railway lines:
EC "Mimara": Berlin - Leipzig - Munich - Salzburg - Ljubljana - Zagreb
IC "Croatia": Vienna - Maribor - Zagreb
IC "Kvarner": Budapest - Zagreb - Rijeka
NB: While Croatia paired with Slovenia is covered on some Eurail passes, staff at domestic ticket windows will tend to have no idea about validating the pass on the first day of use. There are recorded instances of staff saying that the conductor would validate the pass, and the conductor simply treating it as a regular ticket. Fortunately, the international ticket staff particularly in Zagreb are aware of how to validate the pass, and have been known to validate it retroactively where necessary. They even ask for the details of the domestic ticket seller who gave the wrong information.
The traveller is therefore recommended to have already validated their Eurail pass on arrival in Croatia, or to have it validated at an international window even if the first trip on it will be domestic.
To enter Croatia, a driving licence, a vehicle registration card and insurance documents are required. If you need road assistance, you should dial 1987. The following speeds are permitted:
50km/h - within built-up areas
90km/h - outside built-up areas
110km/h - on major motor routes
130km/h - on motorways
80km/h - for motor vehicles with a caravan trailer
80km/h - for buses and buses with a light trailer
When driving in the rain, you should adjust speed to conditions on wet roads. Driving with headlights is not obligatory during the day during Daylight Savings Time; it is obligatory during winter months. Use of mobile phones while driving is not permitted. Maximum permitted amount of alcohol in blood is currently 0.5 ‰ matching neighbouring Slovenia and Bosnia Herzegovina although this has varied recently and was down to 0.0 ‰ until that was found to not be tenable in the country. Use of seat belts is obligatory.
Hrvatski Auto Klub (http://www.hak.hr) is the Croatian Automobile Club dedicated to assisting drivers and promoting greater traffic security. Its site offers minute-by-minute updates, status of national traffic, weather, numerous maps and webcams located all over Croatia. Content is available in Croatian, English, German and Italian.