Is Croatia Safe For Expats? Advice, Scams, And Warnings On Safety In Croatia

09/11/2021

Overview: How Safe Is Croatia?

QUICK SUMMARY- IS CROATIA SAFE FOR EXPATS

  • The US State Department normally considers the country a Level 1 (lowest) risk.
  • Statistically the safest country in Europe with the lowest crime rate
  • Safe for solo females and LGBTQ travelers

Whether you are excited about Split's Game of Thrones filming locations, Dubrovnik's city walls, or the country's beaches and national parks, Croatia is easily the most popular tourist destination of all the Eastern European countries in the EU. The popularity is well deserved. It is a beautiful country. Even better, you've read Croatia is accepting visitors right now.


If you are coming to Croatia but are wondering what safety precautions are, this article will help answer your questions on crime rates, scams, dangers, and warnings for visitors traveling in Croatia. Additionally, there I cover specific tips on how to stay safe for expatriates living in Croatia.

Is Croatia safe for expats to live in?

Croatia is a very safe country. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the US State Department placed the lowest travel warning on the country. A Level One Travel Advisory means

"Level 1 - Exercise Normal Precautions: This is the lowest advisory level for safety and security risk. There is some risk in any international travel. Conditions in other countries may differ from those in the United States and may change at any time."

To the US government, there is literally "no safer" European country than Croatia. However, levels change frequently due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Check the State Department website for updated Travel Advisories.

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Quick Croatia Dos And Don'ts

Don't use Euro. The best way to save money in Croatia is by using Wise to transfer money and make payments in Croatia Kuna. Wise offers you the best exchange rates and lowest bank fees.

Do Get Travel Health Insurance. Your home insurance will not cover emergency healthcare overseas, but you can find affordable travel insurance for less than $50 that will cover your medical bills in Croatia.

Do learn some basic Croatian phases. 49% of Croatian people speak English. Learning some basic Croatian language helps. Get a FREE Language Lesson using the same learning technique used by the US State Department, FBI, and overseas military.

Don't stay more than 183 days in Croatia. Staying long-term may trigger income tax in Croatia. Get a FREE consult with an expat tax specialist to understand how taxes in Croatia can impact you.

The Cost of Living in Zagreb-$1300 a Month As An Expat In Croatia’s Capital
Dos and Don’ts In Croatia- What Not To Do and Cultural Mistakes To Avoid in Croatia
Retire to Croatia- The Expat Guide To Retirement in Croatia (Costs, Visas, Health Insurance, and Process)
The Ultimate Guide To Living In Croatia For Expat Retirees and Digital Nomads
The Cost of Living in Split- $1400 a Month To Live a Mediterranean Dream In Croatia

Is Croatia safe for travel?

Current Travel Advisory is Level 3- Reconsider travel. However, there are no travel restrictions, and entry requirements for Americans are currently straightforward.

Foreign citizens must present one of the following:

  1. A negative PCR test
  2. A vaccination certificate
  3. Quarantine for 10 days or until a negative test result.

Conditions can change at any time. The Croatian Government's Ministry of Interior Webpage has the most updated entry requirements.

How bad is crime in Croatia?

eurostat showing Croatia is safe

Safest country in Europe with only 2.7% of the population reporting a crime

According to statistics, Croatia is the safest country in the European Union. However, like all countries, the crime rate increases in the city center of major cities and during peak season, when pickpockets and petty theft are more common in crowds around a tourist attraction.

Keep your guard up and use common sense during tourist season to avoid petty theft.

  • Avoid flashy jewelry.
  • Don't wave your phone around
  • Keep your wallet in your front pocket.
is croatia safe for expats to live. yes, but use caution.

I can keep my valuables safe when walking around Trogir with my Loctote day pack.

I use a lock-able slash-resistant daypack when I am walking around town to keep my stuff safe.

RELATED POST ON EXPAT LIFE IN CROATIA

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Do I need travel insurance in Croatia?

Yes. Your health insurance from home will likely not cover you for any injuries sustained outside your home country.

The good news is healthcare in Croatia ranks 30th out of 195 countries, only one place below the US at 29. To stay covered and safe in Croatia, you have two options for protection:

  • Travel Health Insurance- This will cover you for unexpected medical issues while overseas. However, the coverage requires you maintain insurance in the United States or your respective home country. I pay roughly $50 per month for complete coverage with no deductible.
  • Expat Medical Insurance- If you retire abroad, expat health insurance is a more complete option. Expat Medical Insurance is the "normal" insurance you are familiar with to from home. Coverage is built for people who live in a country versus traveling. While more expensive than Travel Medical Insurance, premiums are still cheaper than the US. 

Transportation Safety Tips- Advice when traveling around in Croatia

Traveling abroad can be exciting and fun, but it isn't always safe. Being in a foreign country can be dangerous if you ignore safeguards. Whether you're traveling by air, train, bus, boat, or car, take safety precautions at every stage of travel. Here's what you should keep in mind while traveling around Croatia

Is it safe to drive in Croatia?

Yes. I've made two road trips along the Adriatic Sea. Driving rules and road safety are up to European Union standards. The paved roads are easy to navigate. There are no crazy narrow single-lane roads where three cars try to overtake you near a cliff (looking at you, Nepal).

 INSIDER TIP : If you travel by car or bus from Dubrovnik and Split, you will need your passport. The country's Adriatic coastline is divided in two by Bosnia-Herzegovina. You will need to pass through two border checks going from Split to Dubrovnik.

Is public transportation in Croatia safe?

Public transport in Croatia is safe. But there are situations when you should be more aware. If traveling by tram, train, or bus, pay close attention to your bags and wallet. Be especially alert late at night when bag snatchers or pickpockets prowl bus stations and target foreign tourists.

Are taxis safe in Croatia?

While expensive, taxis in Croatia are safe. You'll find taxi drivers waiting at most city centers, bus stations, and ferry terminals. Always take official taxis and pay attention to the meter. Taxi drivers here do not have the notorious reputation of Romania or Bulgaria, but taxi scams are not unheard of, even among locals.

Consider using the cheap public transportation or ride-sharing or taxi booking apps Cammeo or Eko. Uber is available in major cities along the Dalmatian coast, though you are out of luck on a Croatia island.

Scams in Croatia- Keeping your money safe in Croatia

Use official banks to exchange or take out money

Using official local bank ATMs (PBZ, Zagrebačka Banka, Raiffeisen, and Erste are the biggest) will charge smaller fees or commissions than non-bank ATMs (EURONET and Auro Domus are the most common).

 INSIDER TIP : Legal ATM Scam- Foreign Exchange Conversion at the ATM. Some ATMs (EURONET is notorious) will give you the option to convert your ATM transaction to US dollar (or whatever your home currency is) before dispensing your cash. The exchange rate is terrible. You can lose up to 20% of your money on the currency exchange rate. Always complete the ATM transaction using Kuna. 

stay safe in Croatia and watch out for common ATM scams

Don't fall for this common, but legal exchange rate scam.

Always choose to pay in Croatian Kuna instead of Euros

Especially near tourist attractions, restaurants, hotels, and shops accept Euros instead of Kuna. Stick with Kuna, as merchants will always give you a terrible exchange rate.

RELATED POST ON COST OF LIVING IN CROATIA

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Personal Safety- Tips for Staying Safe in Croatia

If you are ready to sail the Adriatic coast to a Croatian island, wander through an ancient walled city, or explore a UNESCO World Heritage Site, then Croatia is a safe destination. But you are still a little hesitant to book your ticket. Maybe it's your first time abroad, or perhaps you are just cautious given how crazy international travel has been in the last two years.

Let's answer some common questions on whether Croatia is safe to visit.

Is Croatia safe to travel alone?

Yes. Croatia is one of the safest countries in Europe. While there are rarely any reported cases of violent crime, be aware of pickpockets and petty theft. Croatia is safe for solo travel, but where tourist crowds go, petty crime always follows.

RELATED POST ON CROATIAN VISAS

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Is Croatia safe for solo female travelers?

Yes. There is less street harassment of female tourist here than in some countries in southern Europe, like Italy or Spain. But the risk of sexual assault increases at all-day, all-night party islands. Be more aware when you are out enjoying Croatia's nightlife.

  • Don't walk alone and avoid poorly lit streets
  • Don't accept drinks from strangers.
  • Only accept rides from officially marked taxis. Official taxis are readily available at main squares, ferry ports, and bus stations.
women should be careful when partying alone in Croatia

Female travelers should be alert when drinking at Croatia's beach bars at night. 

Learning The Local Language- Here is the "Secret" method that the US State Department, FBI, and overseas military uses to learn new languages quickly and effectively- The Pimsleur Method

Avoid hours doing mindless repetitive vocabulary. Pimsleur focuses on quick, easy-to-digest organic learning to get you conversational as fast as possible.

Is Croatia safe for LGBTQ+ travelers?

Croatia legalized homosexuality in 1977. An anti-discrimination law passed in 2008 provides additional protections for sexual orientation and gender. Yet, improvements still need to be made.

The country scored a C+ and ranked 39th out of 150 countries for LGBTQ safety.

The capital city Zagreb is the hotspot with the most prominent gay scene and gay nightclubs. Split is also gay-friendly and hosts its own Pride parade.

A pride parade answering the question, is croatia safe for LGBQT expats

Croatia is ranked 39th in countries globally for LGBT travel safety Image Source

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Food Safety

Is the food in Croatia safe?

Food here is safe and delicious. As part of the EU, you can expect sanitary food handling and cooking standards. In addition, unlike Southeast Asia or South America, Croatia does not have a large "street food" scene with suspect food safety. 

Is tap water safe to drink in Croatia?

Yes. You can drink water straight from the faucet. The rare exception is after heavy rains. In some cities, like Split, you may need to buy bottled water for a few days if there are several days of heavy rains.

If there is a long storm, the storm drains can overflow, mixing the drinking supply with storm runoff. It rarely happens and only lasts a few days if it does.

Places to Avoid— Travel safety in Croatia

I wouldn't avoid any popular tourist destinations or any major Croatian city because of safety fears. With the exception of any areas blocked off because of landmines.

Landmines in Croatia

Yes, unexploded landmines from the Croatian war exist, but you are unlikely to be in any landmine danger traveling the country. The minefields are primarily in forested areas or agricultural land. These areas are marked with close to 12,000 warning signs to keep people away. Since the war ended, there has only been one landmine incident involving a tourist

a croatian safety sign for landmines

Mine warning sign in near Primislje Image Source

FAQs: Safety In Croatia

What do I do if I get robbed in Croatia?

You should report the incident immediately by calling 112. If you have lost money or valuables, contact the nearest police station. Do not try to recover the stolen goods yourself if the thief becomes violent. Your health and safety are more valuable than your wallet, purse, or cell phone.

I'm in trouble. Who can I call in Croatia for help?

Call your home country's embassy or consulate in Zagreb in a crisis. The embassy or consulate can provide you information on Croatia's legal system and a list of local attorneys. Note that the embassy cannot "get you out of jail," pay your bail or any legal fees, or provide you any legal advice.

The number for the United States Embassy in Croatia is

  • During business hours +385-1-661-2300
  • Outside business hours +385-1-661-2200
  • Outside of Croatia: +385-1-661-2200

Help, I'm hurt and in a hospital in Croatia. What should I do?

Call your travel insurance company. Depending on your coverage, they may only pay for emergency services if they pre-approve the incident.

Next, call your embassy or consulate, who can help inform your family of your medical emergency. If needed, the embassy can help facilitate a money transfer from your family to help pay for medical care bills. If a life or death medical emergency, the consulate may arrange a short-term loan.

Is Croatia safe for US citizens?

Yes and No. There are no specific entry requirements for American tourists. However, the US State Department currently has a Level 3 Travel Advisory on Croatia. The US government is telling US citizens to

"Reconsider Travel- Avoid travel due to serious risks to safety and security."

What are the phone numbers for emergency medical services in Croatia?

If you need emergency assistance, call these numbers first.

  • European emergency number: 112
  • Police: 192
  • Ambulance: 194
  • Fire: 193

About the author

Hi, That's me. I'm Marco Sison. I am a survivor of the corporate rat race. I started Nomad FIRE to show you an alternative to the stress and grind of 70-hour weeks to pay off a mortgage, student loans, and countless bills. After getting laid off in 2015, I said screw it all and retired early at 41 years old. I have traveled the last five years to over 40 countries to show you the best ways to save, invest, and live in amazing countries for 70% less cost than the US. I have been featured in: US News & World Reports, Huffington Post, MSN Money, USA Today, ABC Network, Yahoo Finance, Best Life, CW Network, Dr. Wealth, and others. [view press...]

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