|Area||total: 56,542 sq km |
water: 128 sq km
land: 56,414 sq km
|Population||4,390,751 (July 2002 est.)|
|Language||Croatian 96%, other 4% (including Italian, Hungarian, Czech, Slovak, and German)|
|Religion||Roman Catholic 87.8%, Orthodox 4.4%, Muslim 1.3%, other Christian 0.4%, others and unknown 6.1% (2001)|
Croatia is a country in Southern Europe on the east side of the Adriatic Sea, to the east of Italy. It is surrounded by Slovenia to the northwest, Hungary to the north, Bosnia and Herzegovina to the east and Serbia and Montenegro in the northeast and south east.
- Administrative divisions
- 20 counties (zupanije, zupanija - singular) and 1 city* (grad - singular); Bjelovarsko-Bilogorska Zupanija, Brodsko-Posavska Zupanija, Dubrovacko-Neretvanska Zupanija, Istarska Zupanija, Karlovacka Zupanija, Koprivnicko-Krizevacka Zupanija, Krapinsko-Zagorska Zupanija, Licko-Senjska Zupanija, Medimurska Zupanija, Osjecko-Baranjska Zupanija, Pozesko-Slavonska Zupanija, Primorsko-Goranska Zupanija, Sibensko-Kninska Zupanija, Sisacko-Moslavacka Zupanija, Splitsko-Dalmatinska Zupanija, Varazdinska Zupanija, Viroviticko-Podravska Zupanija, Vukovarsko-Srijemska Zupanija, Zadarska Zupanija, Zagreb*, Zagrebacka Zupanija
- Zagreb - Capital
- Ports and harbors
- Dubrovnik, Dugi Rat, Omisalj, Ploce, Porec(, Pula, Rijeka, Sibenik, Split, Vukovar (inland waterway port on Danube), Zadar
- Korcula Island in Dalmatia (http://www.mediterano.hr/location.html)
- Island of Korcula (http://www.telenta.net/korcula_island.html)
Neretva River Area in Dalmatia
Northern Croatia has a continental climate. Central, semimountainous and mountainous regions, as well as the entire Adriatic coast, have a Mediterranean climate. Spring and autumn are mild along the coast, while winter can be cold and snowy in central and northern regions.
Geographically diverse; flat plains along Hungarian border, low mountains and highlands near Adriatic coastline and islands
- Highest point
- Dinara 1,830 m
In 1918, the Croats, Serbs, and Slovenes formed a kingdom known after 1929 as Yugoslavia. Following World War II, Yugoslavia became an independent communist state under the strong hand of Marshal TITO. Although Croatia declared its independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, it took four years of sporadic, but often bitter, fighting before occupying Serb armies were mostly cleared from Croatian lands. Under UN supervision the last Serb-held enclave in eastern Slavonia was returned to Croatia in 1998.
Visitors now to Croatia's more popular towns would see little physical evidence of this violence. Croatia's coastal areas are especially stunning, and have the hybrid charm of Eastern European and the Mediterranean.
For more and detailed information, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Croatia
Most Western European and North American nationals can enter Croatia with a valid passport and without a visa. For EU-citizens even entering with a valid identity card is possible. The document of identity must be valid at least three months longer than you plan to stay in Croatia.
Croatia Airlines (http://www.croatiaairlines.com/) - national carrier, recently became a partner of sky alliance - so lufthansa flights are available
Adria Airways (http://www.adria-airways.com/) - Slovenian national carrier flies from Ljubljana to Split and Dubrovnik
GermanWings (http://www.germanwings.com/) - cheap connection from Berlin, Cologne, Stuttgart and soon Hamburg, to Zagreb, Split and Dubrovnik
Sky EUROPE (http://www.skyeurope.sk/) - cheap connection from Bratislava and Budapest to Zadar, Split and Dubrovnik during summer season
HLX (http://www.hlx.com/) - flies to Rijeka, has good overview of cheaper flights (http://book.hlx.com/de/offers/tiefstpreise.jsp?currency=EU)
Adriajet (http://www.adriajet.com/) - charters from Scandinavia to Dalmatia (unchecked)
Additionaly many Croatians use Ljubljana Airport (for EasyJET flights to London-Stansted), Trieste and Graz (for RyanAir flights to London-Stansted), which are all within few hours of reach from Zagreb and Rijeka. Some also use Tivat Airport (in Montenegro) which is within easy reach from Dubrovnik.
Very good network of bus, cheap and regular.
Coming in from Trieste, Italy is popular among Europeans, for Trieste is a RyanAir destination. One crosses the Italian-Slovenian border first, and then the Slovenian-Croatian border, but they are very close to one another. Border security is high, but that's just normal.
Ferries are cheap and go regularly between various places by the coast. They are not fast but it's the best way to see the beautiful Croatian islands of the Adriatic Sea.
http://www.hznet.hr (Croatian Railways Official Site)
Hitchhiking is generally good. If you can get to a highway toll stop simply ask people to take you with them as they open their windows to pay the toll. The toll collectors usually won't mind. The tricky part, of course, is to get to the toll stop. If you are in Zagreb and you are, like most people, heading south, take the bus 111 from the Savski most station in Zagreb and ask the bus driver where to get off to get to the toll stop. Next best place to ask people to pick you up are tank stations. Unlike in the US tank stations are safe places in Croatia. And finally, just using the good old thumb will work too if everything else fails.
Many Croatians speak English as their second language, but Italian and German aren't uncommon either. People in the tourist industry most often speak quite good English, as does the younger generation, especially in the tourist areas of Istria, along the coast down to Dubrovnik, and in the capital, Zagreb. Don't count on elder people to speak English.
Croatian is not an easy language to learn, but the people like when foreign travellers use it for basic things such as greeting and thanking.
The Croatian language is not identical with Serbian, Bosnian or Bosniak, but is very similar. In the era of aggressive nationalist cultural and linguistical policies in former Yugoslavia, it was known as Serbo-Croat, although today people in former Yugoslavia do not use any more this general expression for their common language.
Alcoholic: Try many different kinds of rakija (a drink similar to vodka or schnapps). Coastal regions are famous for its wines. Non-alcoholic: Sometimes although very rarely you may find "sok od bazge" (elder-berry juice) in the continental region. Worth trying!
There is a lot of luxurious camping for ten dollars (1 tent, 2 people).
Similar to many European countries, long-distance ferries and buses in Croatia are often met by people (often little old ladies) offering rooms for rent in their apartments. It is worthwhile to bargain with them a bit, and perhaps get use of a kitchen or morning coffee as well. It is also advisable to have them show the exact location of their place on a map of the area, to ensure that it isn't in the far-flung suburbs.
There are still many landmine fields left thoughout the country. If one sticks to well-trodden trails in the west and also urban areas there is no need to worry, but poking around in the brush is strongly discouraged.
Remember Croatia used to be a war scene in the 1990-ies. One should not start debates about the war or politics, unless you are certain that the Croats are interested. But if one asks politely about the history of the country, the Croats will gladly respond.