Croatia is a country situated between central and south-east Europe, on the Adriatic Sea. It shares borders with Slovenia, Hungary, Serbia, Bosnia, Herzegovina and Montenegro and also shares a maritime border with Italy.
Located between cultures, Croatia is often overlooked as a central theatre of history. Croatia toiled to unite different cultural strands, contributing to historical developments all around the country and its borders to evolve, absorb, adopt and adapt to impacting cultural developments.
As a result the country is the home to impressive monuments showcasing much of European history, from prehistory via the Greek and Roman eras to the Baroque and beyond. The Republic of Ragusa (modern Dubrovnik), which existed from the 14th to the 19th centuries, was a major power in the Adriatic. The city is modelled on, and it could be argued, rivalling Venice; while also blending styles between the West and the Ottoman Empire. Zagreb, Croatia's inland capital, complex urban history dates back to the 11th century, and the same is applicable to many towns and cities, coastal and inland.
The outcome is a country that is not “typical” of any history – its evolution was often fragmented. This has resulted in a country that emulates many entities. It’s a Balkan region, a Mediterranean one and also a Central European one. Croatian history reflects all of those elements, but it exemplifies none, as the country and areas split apart. For these reasons, the cultural heritage of Croatia is fascinating.
UK: Not required for a stay of up to 3 months in duration.
USA: Not required for a stay of up to 90 days in duration.
Croatians like to take pride in their appearance. Both men and women normally adopt a business casual dress code. On the coast and countryside, the dress code is more relaxed. Croatians will not wear immodest clothes in public places. If you visit museums or churches anywhere, plan to wear tops with sleeves and trousers that go to at least down to the knee. In 2016, Split and Dubrovnik introduced laws that ensured everyone wore suitable clothing in public places – so no bathing suits or bare chests unless you're at the water.
Culture is significant in the Balkans. Croatian culture is ingrained into young people from an early age, due to centuries of occupation and having to fight for national existence. If there is one thing that is synonymous with Croatia, it is the distinct red-and-white checkerboard design called the šahovnica (chessboard).
Although close in geographic location, Croatia and Serbia have separate histories, religions, influences and desires, and it is important to respect this distinction. Croats can be extremely assertive and abrupt when talking, but don’t mistake it for rudeness or arrogance as this is simply their typical style of conversation.
Tipping etiquette in Croatia is not obligatory, but is appreciated and normal practice for tourists. That said, it is also expected that you leave a 10% gratuity, even if there is a fee included on your bill. If you found the service particularly good, it's acceptable to tip 15%. If you go to a café or bar, you can simply round up your bill, although that isn't required. Andante Travels will take care of gratuities to restaurant staff, local guides and drivers.