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Do’s and Don’ts For Travel in Croatia

by Andrea on September 4, 2011

Croatia was one of the most difficult places we’ve travelled to. My first draft of this post was a bit less forgiving, but then we went to Korcula and the people became friendlier, the weather cooler and the beaches more inviting. I realized that for as many unfriendly, unhelpful people as there are working in the service industry, there are just as many kind, welcoming and hard-working people who are ready to show you a good time. Chatting with our friendly taxi driver in Zagreb, we caught a different perspective. “People in Croatia don’t like to work,” he said. “Sometimes the wages are so low that you don’t have the will for a smile.”

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Holidaymakers soak up the sun on a beach in Pula.

I don’t know what to say to that. When I’m travelling in a country I take notice of the socioeconomic conditions. I’ve travelled to poor regions before, none poorer than Bolivia. And everyone there had a genuine smile on his or her face. Thailand was also full of friendly people, despite the fact that many of them live in substandard housing and I saw a few bathing in the Chao Phraya River.

Economically Croatia is nowhere near as poor as these two examples. Perhaps they feel so because of their proximity to the Schengen area countries? Is this a good excuse for such consistently rude, unwelcoming behaviour to visitors? I’d love to hear from other readers on this issue.

Those who keep up with us on Facebook and Twitter may know that we cut our time there short by two weeks. Croatia is a very beautiful country and we didn’t even get to some of the most attractive cities and areas. It isn’t cheap, however, and we’re celebrating our one-year wedding anniversary this month. We don’t want to deal with unfriendly people and a lot of nonsense. But I want to be helpful and for visitors to have the knowledge to make the most of their time. Here are my do’s and don’ts for exploring and preparing for your Croatian adventure so that you can have hopefully have a better time than we did.

 Dos and Donts For Travel in Croatia

DO Choose your accommodation carefully

Yes, you can stay in a hotel. But you’ll pay a lot more money and have a much more impersonal time than if you go on a site like HostelBookers and find an apartment. We stayed in two: one in Pula and one in Korcula. These had amenities like satellite television, free wireless internet and kitchens. At Nina we had an entire apartment to ourselves with our own kitchen, air conditioning and a table. Both times we were hosted by kind families who did our laundry, made us breakfast, gave us tips on what to see and do and we got to experience the local people. Our hotel experiences were nowhere near as nice. In Zadar we were yelled at as we checked in because the woman hadn’t bothered to check her email from the online booking site we used. In Rab we left three days early because our tiny hotbox hotel room had mosquitoes and their idea of a sea view room meant you had to stick your head out the window and look around the corner.

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Our favourite spot in Croatia was Korcula. This is a view of Korcula Town from the water.

DON’T Expect great service

You might be blown away by friendly, attentive service at a shop, restaurant or hotel, but let this be a pleasant surprise rather than an expectation. Croatians don’t exchange the normal pleasantries you might be used to elsewhere in the world (unless they know you and then they’ll chat for twenty minutes while the rest of the customers stand there waiting to be served) and quite a few of them just have no idea how to assist someone with questions. On a positive note, everyone speaks at least a little English so you’ll have no problems with language barriers. Even the tourism office is no guarantee. When we visited the one in Rab we were trying to get to Split. “Good luck,” said the guy behind the counter with a straight face. It was only after I outlined the options we’d already researched and became frustrated about the fact that we’d come to him for help (the old, ‘you’re the expert, if you don’t know who does?’ trick) that he finally became helpful, even friendly in the end. Which brings me to my next point.

DON’T Try to island hop

Our itinerary included the islands of Rab, Brac, Korcula and Hvar with plans to stay three to five nights in each place. We thought it would be a breeze to get from one to another. Wrong. Each journey involved about three legs even if the islands seemed close. Ferries don’t run from one island to the next with any regularity. In most cases you have to take a ferry (or two) and then a bus to your destination. The hubs are Rijeka, Split and Dubrovnik with connections from some of these requiring careful timing. Most of the ferries are run by Jadrolinija, but smaller operators do exist. We had some long travel days and probably would have been happier choosing our favourite island and staying there the entire time. How do you know which island you’ll like the best? You don’t until you visit. For us, Korcula was the best, but this may be simply because of the experiences we had there. It’s the gastronomic island, with great food, nice beaches and a pretty little town. Rab was our least favourite and isn’t really suitable unless you have a boat. Many people swear by Hvar but it’s the most popular and can be very expensive. We ended up forgoing travel there so we could enjoy more time in another country.

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Jadrolinija runs most of the ferry services in Croatia.

DO Bring the right gear

Croatia’s beaches are not the sandy affair you might be used to. While sand beaches do exist, most of them have pebbles or sharp rocks, so purchase some reef shoes. Don’t um and ah about it: it will make the difference between skipping happily into the water or wincing as you tiptoe for fifteen minutes out to the deep part. You’ll also probably want some snorkel gear and a beach towel as even the more expensive hotel we stayed at in Supetar didn’t provide these. Hats and sunscreen are a must.

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DON’T Visit in August

This was probably our biggest mistake. It’s stinking hot, teeming with German and Italian tourists (which is fine but you might get tired of constantly being addressed in German when you’re speaking Croatian or English) and many locals are absolutely sick and tired of foreigners. I suspect this was our biggest foible but, unfortunately, this was the only time we had this year to visit. Everything is more expensive, more crowded and more aggravating.

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DO Bring cash

Even if the door of the establishment has the Mastercard and Visa logos on the door and even if you see the credit card machine sitting there on the counter, don’t assume that your card will be accepted. We came across more ‘cash only’ businesses in Croatia than anywhere in South America. And bring plenty of money in general. The only bargains are beer and transportation.

DO Enjoy the nice local food

We didn’t have a bad meal in Croatia. From delicious grilled meats to fresh seafood to excellent Italian dishes, you can’t go wrong with restaurants. For those with a sweet tooth, you’ll find a gelato shop every 50 metres and bakeries have excellent pastries and desserts. In general, ‘caffes’ serve coffees, ice cream and specialty drinks while restaurants and takeaway shops have the food. Diversity is not common – restaurants of a similar type will offer pretty much the same menu and we didn’t find much in the way of international cuisine. Be sure to try cevapcici and the delicious fish such as Sea Devil, which is like monkfish.

Our favourite restaurants were:

Bistro Palute – Put Pasike 16, Supetar, Brac island

Vinotoka – Jobova 6, Supetar, Brac island

Kod Kadre – Arsenalska 3, Pula

Pizzeria San Marco – Rapske brigade 6, Rab island

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Laid-back Korcula town

DO Be prepared for some shocks

Some things might truly surprise you, especially if you’ve never visited the Balkans before. People sound more aggressive when they speak and it takes awhile to realize that they aren’t yelling at you. In Pula we sat through a dinner across from a pregnant woman in her third trimester smoking cigarettes and drinking beer and no one besides us was batting an eye. On a beach in Supetar I was taking pictures of the sunset when a local started throwing rocks at me because I was unknowingly in the way of his photos. Never mind the fact that there was a whole empty stretch of beach to his right. When John came over to tell him to stop, the guy became even more aggressive and grabbed his arms, pushing him away. After we went back to our table their teenage daughter followed up by giving us the finger repeatedly, making faces and yelling obscenities at us. The owner of our hotel told us that some people are a bit crazy because of the war, but that was just too crazy for me.

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A gorgeous Korcula sunset

I’m sure many people travel to Croatia and have a positively wonderful experience. The locals we met who weren’t in the service industry were lovely people, so please don’t take this review as a commentary on Croatian people in general. It’s always nice to feel welcome in a country when you’re travelling, otherwise it can be a challenge to stay somewhere for a long time. For us, it was just too aggravating to justify the cost of being there. Sometimes beauty just isn’t enough.

Have you visited Croatia? What are your top tips?

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{ 161 comments… read them below or add one }

Joe Smith February 11, 2013 at 11:21 am

Although some of the things you mention are true. MOST ARE NOT. The guy that threw stones at you was probably a tourist and by my experience most likely from Greece. People in all of Croatia are like the taxi driver you mentioned. All Croatians would like to be on a beach with the sun high up and the sea close. I lived in Croatia for 14 years and had an absolutely lovely experience. Many people do not go to the coast from Zagreb and the other big cities because of their job, but most that have children take time off to go swimming. You should have done more research before going there go find out the average temperatures, pricing and accommodations. There are good and bad B’n’B places everywhere. It took me about two hours to find out where to eat, sleep and swim in any place in Croatia. When I first got there I learnt the basics of the language in about two weeks and from there I could have a conversation that was a mixture of English and Croatian, but people understood what I was saying and I never met a person that did not smile every five minutes or less. After living abroad for a long time I got accommodated to the customs of the different countries I spent time in and found that Americans like you are stiff, strict, dumb and generally eat at McDonalds, Pizzahut and other fast food places that can be found almost anywhere. I would walk up to any person on the street that looked like they were in a good mood and I would find out anything I wanted to know. Your review will not make people want to visit Croatia, but the fact that in 2008 more then 11MILION people went there I would say that you are one of the Americans that does NOT know how to relax.


John February 11, 2013 at 4:06 pm

Joe Smith (if that IS your real name), you make assumptions that are both incorrect and outrageous. The guy that threw rocks at Andrea was indeed a Croat, because he told me when I asked where he was from. And then you assume he was Greek, so I guess that you have a basis for this assumption – maybe on YOUR personal experience? How can you say that all people in Croatia are nice? Have you met them all? We write about the personal experience that happened to us and it’s the truth. I’m glad you had a wonderful experience in Croatia for 14 years, but because you loved it has no bearing on what we encountered.

Just to enlighten you, I speak fluent Macedonian which you may or may not know is similar to Croatian. So I spoke it at every chance and NO, not everyone smiled at my questions or conversation attempts. We’ve both lived abroad and enjoyed many different cultures, but this didn’t happen in Croatia. Because you take it so personally and resort to name-calling and ridiculous generalisations about eating habits, only reflects on the sad state of mind you must have. I am actually Australian, so please feel free to hurl some more abuse my way.

Your brilliant knack of spotting people “in a good mood” must be amazing. But what if the one person behind the counter is not in a good mood and you need to pay for what you’re buying – do you simply leave the product and then find another shop?

For your information, this review was not intended to persuade or dissuade people to visit Croatia. It’s just OUR blog with OUR experiences. If you don’t like it, I really don’t care.


Pamela February 11, 2013 at 4:33 pm

As I previously wrote – the country is truly beautiful. I have personal relationships with many Croats due to being very close – like family – with a family that splits their time between California and Croatia. I am considered part of the family by the branch still in Croatia as well as the branch in the states. That all being said, when dealing with the country as an obvious tourist, I felt very taken advantage of & slightly bullied in almost every venue – restaurants, hotels, taxis, stores. As many people here have mentioned it is extremly expensive for foreigners – more expensive then any of the hassels are worth. When a 4 star hotel costs more then a 5 star hotel in Paris, something is seriously wrong with their system. I chalked alot of this up to the fact that they are relatively new to having such a large influx of tourists and see everything as merely an immediate money making situation rather then building a culture of tourism based on bring tourists back year after year. When I was with my Croatian family friends, the Croats treated me totally differently then when I was without them. They have a very strong culture patriotism towards their country, they have had to be due to their tumultuous history – and I constantly felt like they were in theory bullying me with how much better their coungtry was from the rest of the world. I actually had people say – the world does not appreciate the greatness of our country. Some of that may be true, but they still have a lot to learn on the friendly tourism scale. But as I said. it is a beautiful country. And Joe, most of the people who have spent time traveling Croatia in the last decade have not gone there looking for McDonald’s.


nino dmarni March 1, 2014 at 11:55 am

I go every year and must say you obviously didnt travel much in croatia or allowed your self to get involved with the cultures, every restaurant was friendly and yes through economic strain and change your going to get the few hotels trying to put up prices, overall I found croatia very cheap in comparison to the euro, there were visa outlets and money exchange everywhere. If you think you can go into any country in the world without pre booking hotels and accommodation through online engines, your only asking for trouble, never met more friendlier people on all my travels, you have to under stand a civil war ended to long ago and to rely on tourism is a huge change and yes it is kinda like walking into a small village in ireland if they have noy seen you before you will be treated different unless you adapt to the culture you have entered.. I have brough my English inlaws for 5 years in a row and we stay in Ciovo the old Trogir town and the markets, people and atmosphere and culture and exchange rate is brilliant , yes there is a language barrier in some places but there is always someone to assist you when you least expect. Maybe frkm now on research where your going first then maybe your experiences will be better instead of throwing assumptions on people and a culture that in many cases, are if you look closely fascinating and some what advanced.


mario February 11, 2013 at 5:44 pm

since is winter here and i have some time to waste, i have to say few words to pamela and john

first to john: macedonian IS NOT similar to croatian, no matter macedonian is also slavic language, and younger croats do not know even word of macedonian, especailly youngs born after 1990. And i, born in ex yugoslavia do know only few words of macedonian, and even i ex yu times we croats allways considered macedonia like foregin country which is somewhere far far away on east, which sucks our money earned in tourism … one more thing, some of macedonian words are like and sounds like serbian , and we do not love serbian …. so next time, just stay on english

pamela. “the fact that they are relatively new to having such a large influx of tourists” … ehhh this your statement is just not true, it is rediculous … since we have not yet reached the pre-war figures in toursim, nor in nuber of guests or in overnight stays …. only if you think that our tourism starts with you :) .. well go to my second post and read it again …

on the other hand, you can foreget all i said, simply do not come to croatia, we will not miss you :)


John February 11, 2013 at 6:01 pm

Mario, I completely disagree with your gibberish about Macedonian. The FACT is that every time I spoke it, I received a response. Once again, you make things personal and using the excuse to include Serbia in your comment is just childish.


Pamela February 11, 2013 at 6:18 pm

Mario – all you seem to keep doing is supporting all that has been written concerning the bullying culture towards tourists. In almost – and I say almost because I can’t say all – situations I was met with attitudes such as yours. I have traveled all through Asia, Europe, Eastern Europe, and Croatia rank (with a few others) at the top of my list of arrogance and bullying towards tourists. It is a beautiful country – but there are a lot of beautiful countries and cultures that are kind and appreciative towards tourism.

On the Serbia issue, I was constantly told by Croats that the EU wouldn’t accept (though it is currently in the process of) Croatia into it because of, what the Croats termed, their “bad neighbors” – Croats couldn’t understand that it was due to Croatia’s own issues and their ability or inability to get their house in order. Their distaste for Serbians is very present to tourists – which is something the country will have to learn to deal with in what they present to people who travel far to get there. Driving from Split to Dubrovnik, through the Serbian check point, is not a great tourism experience.


mario February 11, 2013 at 6:29 pm

nevermid, just forget that i said anything
simply, do not come here, problem solved

ps: it must be some other mario mangaing my tourist bussines, when my guests likes me sooo much, aussies included … or maybe i do not understand english well enough, who can tell …


Nina January 28, 2014 at 9:30 am

Dear Mario,
as a Croatian, I am embarrassed people like you work in tourism.
You are exactly the kind of person that gives Croatia a bad name.
A wise man does not tell a potential customer to “not come here” simply because they pointed out a few problems. Instead, he learns from it and improves his service.

To anyone considering visiting Croatia : not everyone is like Mario. There are reasonable people that understand they must treat *every* customer with respect (not just the ones you are friends with). I wish I could give you the recipe to find them, but to be honest, I sometimes struggle locating them too. I guess one hint is not to stay in places where the owner is called “Mario”. :)


mario January 28, 2014 at 11:15 am

hahahahhahahaha Nina Nina ….. ccccc

i do not want to advertise myself or my property, but there are spot on where MARIO, means me, have highest score by all reviews (i do not take in consideration properties with less than 20 reviews) and guess what, when you read those reviews you will realize that main reason for mark 10 is …. well, MARIO

little hint for you Nina: go to and type split-central dalmatia county


mario February 11, 2013 at 6:39 pm

ohh, just now i noticed “serbian check point”
well, thank god, we solved all serbian check points in croatia in 1995, once and for all

serbian issue in croatia is case closed, we do not even think about them anymore


Ana L. March 2, 2013 at 9:25 am

A pretty amusing read from a Croatian perspective. Some of your grievances sound very valid, and I’d certainly agree much has to be done to improve quality of service in Croatia, especially in parts of the country with a shorter tourism tradition. But I’d like to tackle the “genuine smiles” issue, as someone whose family has been in tourism for many decades.

Has it really never occurred to you that people in Bolivia and Thailand were so friendly precisely because they’re poorer? They’re thrilled at having tourists and ready to bend over backwards to get an extra dollar. My grandparents were the same when they started, back in the 50s. They chatted to them with mega-watt smiles, no matter how dull and irritating the tourists might have been. By the 70s they’d put their children through school and become more comfortable financially, and the impetus for pretending to always be happy and enchanted by every tourist was gone. Don’t get me wrong, my family are still polite to tourists and the service is not lacking. But the age when they had to have a smile plastered on their face at all times is long gone, thank god. The tourism industry is hell on the service providers. Especially at the ridiculously low prices necessary to stay competitive in the rooms/apartments market in all but the most elite tourist spots in Croatia. Most tourism workers can’t wait for end of season, when they get to see the backs of the tourists. Yes, even in Bolivia and Thailand. Especially there, I’d say, since people have so many other things to worry about in life.

Tourists are perfectly entitled to choose another destination for their next holiday, of course. It’s just slightly misguided when they act as if they were somehow wronged by people not being exhilerated at the sight of them. Or when they just about ask for their money back because they weren’t smiled at often enough. Also, maybe it’s because I grew up surrounded by tourism, but I can’t understand why people want those plastered on smiles anyway. They’re smiling at your money, not you. There are exceptions sometimes: some tourism workers are genuinely friendly and cheerful in the extreme, or sometimes tourists and tourism workers really do connect (I know of quite a few lifetime friendships started that way), but in most cases they’re just counting the seconds till you leave.

Also, about your room having mosquitos? A friendly tip: almost all rooms in Croatia in the summer have mosquitos from time to time (sometimes happens when parks maintenance aren’t punctual with their spraying, but can also happen despite it… either way, out of accommodation providers’ hands). If a tourist is bothered by them so greatly, they can simply pop into the nearest store and get the very affordable little mosquito-repellent machine thingy (can’t recall its name in English):

Anyway, to sum it all up: tourists are a dime a dozen in Croatia nowadays (to my perpetual grief; IMO we should focus more on building up proper, stable industries, less stressful to our people, infrastructure and environment). It doesn’t take much to figure out why they smile at tourists less than the Bolivians.


inspiringtravellers March 2, 2013 at 1:10 pm

Thanks for your insightful comment, Ana. Sorry if I gave the wrong impression – I don’t need plastic smiles when I’m travelling – that certainly isn’t the reason that we won’t be running back to Croatia. I need to re-read this post again but I think I mentioned the examples of Thailand and Bolivia simply because of the taxi driver’s comment about the fact that everyone was so unhappy was because of their economic situation. I think it has come across to you that I expected the locals to fawn all over me, which is certainly not the case. When I’m travelling I actually prefer to just blend in – and thus receive a similar treatment as any other person would. My feeling was quite opposite to that: a few people went out of their way to be unpleasant because we were foreign. That is the primary source of my dissatisfaction.

Personally, in every encounter with every human being I meet, whether I’m in a customer service situation or just on the street, I aim for a certain degree of pleasantness. Just the basic civilities. I realize that anywhere in the world you can encounter rudeness, ambivalence, whatever…the point is that to feel like nobody wants you around for two weeks when you’re visiting a place is just not appealing to me. And having travelled the world I have to say that nowhere did I feel not just fatigue towards tourism, but out and out hostility from a majority of people towards foreigners (not all), than during our time in Croatia. It is good to know from your comments that I don’t need to take this personally, it’s just the normal mode of operation. I think your idea of building up other industries is a very good one. Because certainly passion and enthusiasm for providing great service and at least a basic level of respect are in order if anyone is going to succeed in the tourism business. This is not something that any operator anywhere in the world can take for granted.


Ana L. March 17, 2013 at 3:06 pm

It is good to know from your comments that I don’t need to take this personally, it’s just the normal mode of operation

Well, I’m glad to be of any help to you, but,just to clarify, I certainly don’t mean to say that outright rudeness is the norm. There’s quite a bit of it, unfortunately, but definitely not the norm. It’s the very perfunctory attitude to dealing with tourists that’s quite par for the course (depending of course on the individual tourist worker, the region of Croatia, the season, the type of tourism in question – ie. mass vs. elite, etc. etc. ).

And from my experiences from travelling across Europe, my friendships with tourist workers from other countries (yep, mostly started while they were hosting me as a tourist, or when my family was hosting them), people’s feelings (or lack thereof) towards tourists are esentially similar (throughout Europe, at least). So I guess much really could be down to cultural peculiarities – ie. some cultures being more predisposed to smile a lot and make lots of small talk, whether they genuinely feel like doing it or not. (Not casting aspersions on people who do that, btw, I just personally don’t see the need, or miss it when other people don’t).

Of course, I don’t wish to push any issues of downright rudeness under the carpet. People like that have no excuse, but unfortunately, with the kind of unchecked, mostly mass, tourism taking place and growing on the Croatian coast, I can only realistically expect it to get worse. Take, for example, the cruisers which stop in Dubrovnik every couple of days, paralysing the entire city, only for the bazillions of tourists who stop off to spend virtually nothing in the city. All they do is lower the appeal of the city to tourists who actually do spend in the city and the quality of life for the locals. It’s a barely tolerable situation. I’m not blaming those tourists, of course, but the country’s inept administration and non-existent tourism plans and policies.

Also, I trust that you didn’t want people to fawn over you, which is great to hear. There are many who do, usually the same ones who are bitter at everything not being dirt cheap. Also, quite a few utterly uninformed people like Pamela. Unsurprisingly, can be quite frustrating for tourist workers, but also for locals not in the tourism sector (of which there are quite a few, me being one now too). Anyway, I sincerely hope you’ve had/will have a better time on your other travels. And that you’ll have better luck if for some reason you ever do find yourself in Croatia again.


Ana L. March 2, 2013 at 9:30 am

Pamela, there is no Serbian checkpoint between Split and Dubrovnik. What there is is the state border of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina (twice). Driving from Split, you cross into Bosnian territory, and soon after into Croatian territory again. It’s a historical thing, to do with the Ottoman Empire centuries ago. I won’t bore you with the details. Serbia is a coutry many, many miles to the East of that spot. It only borders Croatia (and Bosnia) on their eastern sides.


mario March 3, 2013 at 10:12 pm

i told before that im quit with this, but it keep pops up in mailbox :)

so dear americans, aussiess and all others from far far away .. here is little bolog from american living in croatia, read it, it is really funny one!/


Kathy March 22, 2013 at 7:55 pm

Look Everyone, There is bound to be a spectrum of hospitality wherever you travel. It can seem exaggerated in either direction by how much you let someone else’s behavior affect you. I live in the Mid West and have vacationed in Miami (still home, right) only to be treated like a bothersome tourist because I didn’t use fluent Spanish when conversing with the service providers. ( I knew I should have studied harder in high school!) I say this because of the obvious welcoming generousity Spanish speakers were recieving around me. Then again my time spent in Australia was incredibly hospitable. Locals struck up conversations with my American co-ed group and spontaneuosly invited my group (about 7 of us) to follow him to his place so his Aunt could have us for tea. His family greeted us kindly and put out a huge meal for us, then we ranged their farm in cars to chase kangaroo herds, they demonstrated shearing sheep for us and took us back to our hotel. My friend and I were asked to join a beauty contest on the beach in Victoria, and we were invited to exclusive clubs in KIngs Cross. Life is what you make it- just try to spread the kindness you hope to find! Good Luck!


inspiringtravellers March 22, 2013 at 9:30 pm

Great advice, Kathy – cheers!


John R March 27, 2013 at 12:37 am

I was in Croatia back in 2011 and I enjoyed it. I was in Vukovar, Osijek, Dubrovnik, Zagreb and many of the islands along the coast. I loved the country. The wine was amazing and food was so good. I would go back. I for some reason had the opposite experience then wrote here. I found people friendly and loyal. No one was aggressive except for the drivers on the road.

I did a week long sail of the Croatian islands. Was more of a booze cruise but still was nice. Enjoy swimming in the Adriatic Sea everyday. I would go back to Croatia any day. Plitivice lakes was amazing.


inspiringtravellers March 27, 2013 at 12:47 am

Thanks for sharing your experience, John – so glad to hear you had a great time in Croatia =)


Bol Croatia March 27, 2013 at 7:30 pm

I would agree with some points, but I definitely think that one should not generalize. Not all Croats are wonderful, but I don’t think that’s the case in any other country.
On the other side you just told it from your point of view, and honesty is to be appreciated.


Susan April 25, 2013 at 6:03 am

Thanks so much for taking the time to share your experience in Croatia. My husband was enjoying pictures of the beaches and I told him I really did not want to go to the Balkans because life is too short and there are so many other places I’d rather see.

Your article also convinced him that our time could be better spent in a more hospital destination.


inspiringtravellers April 27, 2013 at 6:35 pm

Many of the beaches were prettier in pictures than practical for swimming we found. Personally I prefer a sand beach…just my opinion though…


Andrew May 12, 2013 at 6:58 pm

My wife and I stayed in Lombarda for a week summer of 2011 and it was wonderful. After a couple of days in Zagreb to visit my cousin we headed to the beach. Zagreb was good, we visited the old town and market which was fun. Lombarda was wonderful. Found a 1 bd room with kitchen right by the water. We had kayaks, bikes all included. The owners, Bladzinka and Zoran, were great. Very warm and friendly. Found the rental on Air BnB. It was away from the tourist areas and very quiet. Had the beach practically to ourselves. Would go again in a heart beat but we’re heading to Bali in a few weeks!


cathy May 16, 2013 at 5:25 pm

I’m going there in a couple of weeks!!


inspiringtravellers May 19, 2013 at 9:02 am

Fantastic, Cathy – have a great time! =)


Bill May 21, 2013 at 2:51 pm

I just spent 2 weeks in Novi Sad and loved it. very romantic city with the view from Fortress. walking the river, ect.

Reading thru the comments it seems that Croatians get upset if given some constructive criticism. This could just be in their culture.

Anyways, Serbia and Macedonia has been awesome and very friendly people. Would recommend to anyone especially Novi Sad, Skopje an Lake Ohrid.

Im heading to Croatia knowing that if things suck…all I have to do in go back into Bosnia or back to Serbia. In over 1 year of travel I would put Novi Sad in my top 10 for people.


karen June 9, 2013 at 1:43 pm

me and my husband went to Porec about 4 years ago loved it would go back tomorrow but its hard to get a flight from Newcastle so me and my husband and a few friends are going to Cavtat in a few months time with jet2 can’t wait


John Doe June 14, 2013 at 7:42 pm

First of all let me say that I am Croatian and having read your post and some comments I have to say this:

We are proud and in a lot situations for no reason whatsoever e.g. the Macedonian thing. We can be VERY hypocritical and racist because. But maybe the most important thing about the Croats is that there is ALWAYS something wrong because we are lazy and we always believe someone is trying to screw us over so the dimwitted response is to screw other people over. Not all of us are like that but sadly many people are. That was kind of a stereotypical description of an average Croat. I don’t have experiences with travelling but I do with renting a flat/apartment and I can tell you that some people really have the nerve to be disrespectful f**ks when it comes to the price and the offer. They also see the Germans, the French, the English etc, as really wealthy and for some reason assume it is all right to give them absurdly high prices for something that is s**t.

As for the Serbian thing, people here hate them because they attacked us and blame us for everything, I presume that some of the Serbs hate us for a similar reason. There was a war 20 years ago and it is still fresh. But I can tell you that anyone that says ”kill a Serb” or ”kill a Croat” or ”kill a xyz” they are a t**ser.

People also don’t like tourists because everything is crowded and the weather is terrible so everyone is just stressed. But there are also morons who offend the tourists. Youths are also moronic.

But there are a lot of nice people and I don’t really understand it either. Sometimes you constantly bump into rude and obnoxious people and sometimes you meet really nice people. And also bus drivers are scum. Rudest beings you will ever meet here.

I, as a Croat, sometimes feel very very embarrassed by my own people and hope to get out of here in the near future for good.


Ana L. June 18, 2013 at 4:09 pm

Been following this comment thread in my email inbox, but John Doe’s comment made me wanna contribute a bit more. I’d have to disagree with most of his comment. IMO, most people in Croatia fall in one of two camps. Those who view the country and its people way too positively, and those who view them way too negatively. John Doe’s in the latter camp. (And Mario’s probably in the former, though I don’t feel like going through all his posts now… Mostly I just remember him being terribly rude).

I suspect that kind of polarisation is fairly common in countries in transition. Though that suspicion may be off-mark, and there may be something more specific to the Croatian mentality to it all. Who knows. In more normal economic (and therefore also societal) circumstances, I think both those perspectives would mellow with time, and become more realistic about the country and the world surrounding it. But that isn’t gonna happen any time soon, since transition has taken us nowhere, mostly due to the greedy crooks always in power here. Of course, this one’s a fairly trivial division, but many other more serious divisions in society will probably deepen in this climate of economic despair. So, though my reasons are different from John Doe’s, one thing I have to agree with him on is that Croatia’s not a good place to live. And becoming worse by the day. What a time to be entering the EU. They’ll be bailing us out in a year’s time. Things could get so bad we might take the spotlight off Greece. Anyway, just a bit of grim info and pessimism from someone on the ground here in Croatia.

P.S. John Doe mentions dishonest pricing of accommodation. An advice to tourists worried about that – just ask to see your host’s accommodation certificate. They have to show it to you. You can also check if they’ve paid tax for what they’re earning off you. That way you’ll ensure the prices are within bounds. Hope this helps!


Pamela June 19, 2013 at 11:45 am

Ana – your post is very acurate & informative. I also questioned the extremley high hotel rates. I was on Hvar and in Split – both places rates were over $400.00 for a room. The Hvar accomondations were very pretty in Hvar City, but I could not imagine how hotel prices were that high. I had no idea to ask for a certificate. Does the cartificate have to list the room rates?
I have also watched Croatian business practices, through my friends who live there who continually talk of “having to have lunch with the mayor” to get anything done there. I have assumed from how they say it, it is a lunch full of seafood and bribes.

Many places in Croatia were beautiful – just as beautiful as Italy or France – but the large number of Russian tourists lent it an unusual vibe which was not welcoming. One on one the people were lovely, but if you were entering a situation as just a tourist, you continually felt like you were being ripped off and when you would question things you were basically, agressively dismissed.

Obviously one of the key to Croatia’s financial woes, is tourism from western countries. I hope it develops more friendly practices of inclusion rather then continuing to emit an air of exclusion towards tourists from the west.


mario June 19, 2013 at 3:42 pm

pamela, as i told you before, western guests were, are and will be majority in croatia
russians (and all others from ex east block countries) just recently starts to travel around, croatia included, and there is not so much of then, they are just little noisier :)


for ana L. also, as you agree with john doe that croatia is not good place to live, what REMOVED BY EDITOR are you still doing here? go away, as fast as you can, and let us live alone here in this awful, horrible place inhabited with rude savages who thrives only on blood ruthlessly taken from those few tourists who accidentally shows here


Vraana June 23, 2013 at 9:39 am

Everyone have rights to express own experience – for example:


Arlene Ainslie-Kennedy June 30, 2013 at 1:51 pm

I have no wish, as one woman said to ever go to Croatia….life is too short. 23 years ago I mistakingly fell in love with a Croatian…and life has been a road to hell ever since. As a Canadian I was not brought up on rudeness. As the previous writer said my partner is lazy, supsicious that everyone is going to screw her over. She is superior in her thinking of Canadians and anyone not Croation. It is not uncommon for her to come into the house and ignore you like you were a potted plant. If you get her a gift she doesn’t like…she will say so. Her demeaner is very aggressive…even if you have the nerve to ask her what she might be thinking….stand back….. Her children are just the same as are any of her family members. In addition they have no problem stero typing Canadians as nothing more than McDonalds Eaters, fat, dirty pigs who cannot keep a clean house. They teach their children to act superior and the favorite family saying is…I would rather my daughter marry a Croatian Sheep Farmer than a Canadian Doctor. They lie, steal cheat ….do not pay their taxes. seem to have incredible love of drinking and have no problem driving drunk. When I read these posts, I for one will be only too pleased to rent a huge boat, round up all I know and send them back to the place just as you described. ONLY AS YET…I have not had stones thrown at me for standing in camera view but I have had a door slammed in my face…been made to eat in the kitchen when others sat in the living room…and listened for hours of Croatian when they could speak English. Thank you very verifying what I wish I had known before letting my heart lead me to hell…because that is what my experience has been with the Croatian culture that I have been introduced to. One of the worst moments was to attend one of their funerals and being the only non Croatian Immigrant….I was peered at, sneered at, and basically felt so unwelcome that I felt forced to leave as it seems that even in my own homeland of Canada, I as unwelcome as if I stepped on their shores. Thanks for letting me tell my experience in Canada with Croatians….no way will I pay big money for more emotional and physical abuse!


Pamela July 8, 2013 at 9:54 am

I have watched this same dynamic at work with one of my friends who is married to a Croatian who, when the english speaking Croatian family (they live in the major cities of the US) is around, they specificially speak croatian though they realize she doesn’t understand a word. It is a very agressive gesture which speaks volumes – basically telling her no matter how many years she spends with this family she will never really be one of them. It is a very superior attitude.


mario July 8, 2013 at 2:01 pm

well, we are superior :) … your friend is married to croatian, and she does not speak nor understand even a bit of croatian? hahahahahhahahahahahahhah, well that is brutal ignorance and deserves the deepest contempt

ehhh, maybe problem is not in croatian family and croats, maybe problem is in her


mario July 8, 2013 at 2:07 pm

:) how did you sustain for 23 yrs? held in home prison, forced to serve, unable to break free? should we call police to save you? :) :) :)


mario July 1, 2013 at 3:22 pm

hahahha, just now i realize that i was censored


Expertmom July 8, 2013 at 3:00 am

What an interesting post :-)
I think that it is understandable that people get fed up with all of the tourist. Looking at pictures of some of the sandy beaches available I can’t imagine going there, where will I sit?
I haven’t been to Croatia and it is not at the top of my list, but if I would go it would have to be off season when one can actually see some of that magnificent landscape…
Also, I found that comment on the reaction to low wages very interesting considering your experiences in countries that are much poorer. I wonder why this could be…. Usually countries in the Mediterranean have happy people no? I thought the sun and mild winters did their trick :-)


inspiringtravellers July 8, 2013 at 6:09 am

The happiest Mediterranean people I’ve met are in Turkey – if you want gorgeous beaches, a relaxing atmosphere and friendly folks, head there!


Pamela July 8, 2013 at 9:48 am

The beaches ar not sandy. They are pebbles and stones – pretty in their own right – but I also was naive and thought there would be sandy beaches meeting the stunning sea (which is stunning) – they aren’t bad, you just have to get use to them. There are a few sandier spots around the country but most have been built up by resorts.


mario July 8, 2013 at 2:17 pm

next time do not be naive, go to tropics, enjoy sandy beaches, sharks, poisonous jellyfish, poisonous other fish, malaria mosquitoes, deadly spiders, undrinkable tap water etc … :)

but fyi, we do have sandy beaches and they are natural, but you have to find them, or kindly ask us to show it to you


Brian Padilla July 14, 2013 at 5:13 pm

My wife and I are just wrapping up our 3 week vacation. The first week and a half were spent driving in Turkey. The second half were spent driving around Croatia. My experience is remarkably similar. I have adopted the term for Croatia (The land of long faces) I guess the welcoming attitude from the Turkish people versus the unwelcoming, step aside on the sidewalk attitude of the Croations. Makes the difference between the two, so much more profound.
My comments to my wife when leaving Turkey, was Wow, the people we met, made it all so wonderful. I have not seen this in Croatia. And I am not one to stay on the beaten path. I drove through so many small towns, looking for a smile. A simple gesture of Welcome. No I didn’t get it.
The country is beautiful yes. Maybe I have set my expectations too high. I will be spending my tourist dollars elsewhere on my next trip abroad.
Signed, Shellshocked !!!


kashtan August 22, 2013 at 9:06 am

We went to Turkey last year and just came from Croatia. And I would completely disagree with your comments. People in Turkey are very slimy – when you spent your money they smiling to you, when you walking by the day after – they don’t want to know you and making a jokes behind your back(especially if you a woman). Don’t fair to generalise all the nation, but it was like this everywhere(hotel, markets, places we visited). We’ve travelled a lot! but Turkey was our worst experience ever. In Croatia it was different situation – very proud people, but at same time very helpful and hospitable. And we would prefer to have it like this rather than faked “Turkish” smiles.


Ed Allegretti July 19, 2013 at 10:22 pm

Huh I just got back to the US from a 3 week solo tour of Croatia. I stayed mostly in Split and Dubrovnik and didn’t want to leave. Everyone I met was super friendly and found time to chat with me about their culture and history. Most offered me a drink and a seat and shared conversation and cigarettes with me. If your in a rush then go somewhere else, that’s the beauty of Croatia – the people take it easy and have warm hearts. It’s not like rush around NYC. I avoided the places frequented by cruise ship tourists, I imagine if I had to deal with these folks I’d be unfriendly too. It is true that there are some that have issues with the neighboring countries, learn the history and you’ll understand. Croatia for me was the nicest place I’ve ever been to. For the record I stayed in sobe’s and hostels and ate from the local street vendors and small shops. A few grams of prosciut or mortadella, a fresh roll, maybe some chevapi and avjar, some cabbage, I ate well for less than 20 kuna per meal. I did enjoy home cooked meals at some of the places i stayed that were absolutely incredible. A half liter bottle of good beer for 7kn in the tourist district? I thought it was very reasonable if not insanely cheap to travel there. The best part is I felt safe everywhere I went in Croatia. I wasn’t at all worried about my personal safety or someone robbing me in the cities. Next time I’m going to travel inland to Zagreb we’ll see how it is.


Ivo Horvat July 30, 2013 at 10:11 am

This blog sounds pretty fair. Although after spending some time in Hungary I can say for a fact that Croatians leave Hungarians for dead when it comes to being friendly so in comparison with another East Euro country, as a generalisation Croatians are friendly. I had an experience though where an Asian man was asking for help and he was brushed off and told to read information on a noticeboard while I was given much better treatment, which hinted at some prejudice as I have Croatian heritage therefore look like a local. As far as Croatians and Serbians not liking each other I can also say for a fact that this is a load of rubbish, usually proclaimed by those who were neither born there or have ever set foot there and have no idea about the truth in what people really think. This utter crap filled belief stems from those who were personally affected (which is understandable) or those who never set foot there but think they are supposed to hate each otherbbecause of the war. The only hatred Croatians and Serbians have is when a football game is on.


Dara July 31, 2013 at 8:08 am

Could not agree more. Thankyou for your honest post – my partner and I feel exactly the same about Croatia. We are here right now in fact, and just can’t wait to get on a plane to somewhere where we feel welcome. There are of course the VERY few exceptions – people that treat you like normal humans – but on a whole the “Croatian Gruff” is an attitude that we want to avoid.

Stunning country, unwelcoming people. Such a shame. Great blog!!


Omis August 1, 2013 at 7:03 am

Good and intriguing post, you can see it by comments. I don’t understand why people take someones travel experience so personal. You had some negative experience, but you still menage to write good post.
And that story about taking photos, and guy throwing rocks on you was hilarious. It sure was very shocking for you :))). Damn, it was for me, and I’m from Croatia.


Fla August 8, 2013 at 9:45 am

I totally agree with your post! I’ve just come back from Croatia and I will never go there again! I met so many rude people and had such an awful experience… Besides, there are a lot of beautiful beaches where we fell much more welcome! :)
Thanks for sharing your experience!


emma August 8, 2013 at 11:18 am

really saddened by this post – I have travelled Croatia for 9 years now and love it so much I decided to get married there two years ago. I LOVE the people there so much, they are quiet, humble, friendly and down to earth in my experience. I have stayed in a mixture of hotels, B&Bs, guest houses and peoples homes, all of which I have loved. I hope your post doesnt put people off as Croatia really has my heart.


Željko August 8, 2013 at 4:03 pm

Google translate! Limited English, thank you for allowing me to read this blog and comments how did you spend in Croatia and I understand completely, but you have to realize that different cultures as well as the people I was in Slovenia when I went hiking, Kostanjica where I was drunk slovenac stab in my plastic box of food, as well as for us as svagdije else has a rude and stupid people, I hope that next time will be better and that you will be great to spend as a small smile and a word the Croatian opens all doors.,


Maria August 9, 2013 at 12:39 pm

Macedonian is not similar to croatian! I agree with Mario …..that is NOT gibberish ….in my opinion it is very rude to say that.
It can be considered arrogant or rude to speak macedonian with the croatians and expects that everyone understands …as if we don’t have our own language! I think that might be a reason why people reacted unfriendly.

“Some things might truly surprise you, especially if you’ve never visited the Balkans before. People sound more aggressive when they speak and it takes awhile to realize that they aren’t yelling at you.”

Croatia is croatia not the Balkans…..


Uningnorant Traveler August 12, 2013 at 11:00 am

I enjoyed your article because after being here for only a few hours, I’m a bit hesitant on the hospitality. I normally give a place 2-4 days to get into the country’s groove, but like the two of you, I have roots here and speak one of the former Yugoslav languages but I am American. Thank you for your honest post of what you experienced, both good and bad.

Maria and others disagreeing that Croatian is unlike Macedonian, Bulgarian, Russian, etc., shame on you. Sram na vas. There are many aspects which are wildly different among all of the countries, and those differences run deep. But to deny that there is basically any link and to pretend that it is offensive to speak a similarly rooted language, I find that painfully ignorant.

I have traveled extensively and upon meeting people with a Slavic background abroad, they are actually the ones to initiate conversation with me. They speak their language, I speak mine and we manage to communicate. Both parties can speak English but there is a bonding that happens while speaking our “native” languages that doesn’t happen when speaking English.

Additionally, I have watched countless people speaking Brazilian Portuguese who communicate with Spaniards, Italians and other members of the romantic Latin languages that have a similar root. Do you think that they think it offensive to speak to each other in their language, yet understand each other conversationally?

I could be a strong pain on the *** and say that I’d rather someone speak to me in ANY language rather than broken English, like Mario… Like you. But I do not.

I understand Croatian enough to communicate. The vice versa should be equivalently true.


Grace Ocampo August 14, 2013 at 12:26 pm

First of all, I understand that as travelers we all have our own personal experiences about a place, both positive and negative, so this is just my experience, not a judgement on yours. We literally just got back from Croatia, and both my fiance and I are already planning on going back. We fell in love with the country, food, the wine, and the people.

Next time we will plan to go back after the tourist season, but even in August we found uncrowded beaches, art museums, and great restaurants. We love food and wine, and we found that this was a great ice-breaker with our servers. We also would ask how the locals felt about Croatia’s recent admission the the EU, which gave us great insight on how people felt about current politics. People love talking about themselves, and if you are genuinely interested, they will typically open up; this is true in Croatia, as well as any other country. This is not to say we did not encounter any unfriendly people, but those experiences were nothing compared to the rude service I’ve experienced in my own tourist hometown (San Diego). At a restaurant in rural Hvar, we became so engaged in conversation with the family that the chef’s son Marco remarked, “You are not like the other kids who come here drunk.” Who wouldn’t be annoyed with the spoiled brats who invade the Hvar Town port on their mega yachts, and do not give a damn about the local culture?

This was a last minute trip that I planned with a great Dubrovnik based travel agent. When I finally met her in person, during our conversation she told me that many people mistake the Croatian attitude as being stand-offish or down right rude, but she described it perfectly when she said, “It may take a while for a Croat to warm up to you, but once they see you are interested they are friends for life.” That just resonated with us, I love Croatia, the place really made an impression on us.


Paul M August 18, 2013 at 1:19 pm

Nice read. It’s nice to hear from personal experiences rather than a generic one.
It is also amusing to read the comments from Joe smith, mario and ana L which reinforce a few points you made about the locals and their patriotism.
If ana L reads my thread: Saying that in poor countries people smile at you for your money, shows that you don’t understand AT ALL different cultures and whether you have traveled or not has not in any way enriched your understanding of other cultures!


Daniel August 22, 2013 at 4:38 am

I live in Australia and am of Croatian background. I have also travelled all over the world. What people have to realise is that Anglo Saxon culture ie Aussie, English, American is very fake and structured. You go to shops and you get the same cliché greeting “how are you, how may I help you, how was yr day”. THE REAL TRUTH IS THEY COULDNT CARE LESS ABOUT YOUR DAY BUT ARE TAUGHT this from a customer service perspective as it gets you to spend more money. Croatian people generally do not do this and what you also have to remember in countries with so many tourist like Croatia they have no idea where you are from or what language you speak so they just tend to be quiet when serving you in a supermarket. The Anglos expect everyone to speak English but please realise you are in their country now. Croatians on the other hand are very real people, who say it as it is and don’t just make idle chit chat for the point of it. However if they are your friend and you earn their trust the Balkan people are the best of friends, loyal, and will do everything for you. Their relationships with family and friend are a lot closer than what they are in the listed countries above. Croatians are not rude they are just real and do not put on the fake customer service acts. They are more likely to welcome you in their home when you get to know them than what Americans are. The Americans will be nice and smile but they will stand and talk to you on the front garden. A Croatian is likely to ask you to join him for dinner whereas an American will say goodbye my dinner is waiting.


Julie September 25, 2013 at 3:19 pm

We just got back from a 10 day Croatia trip and this is all still very accurate. Wish I had read it before we left, so my expectations would have been adjusted appropriately!


Joanne October 1, 2013 at 6:49 am

I am an American married to a Croatian for 40 years and have been back to Croatia EVERY YEAR for 40 years. There are many differences today from the “yougoslave” times under Communist (Read Serbian) control. It was ONLY 20 years ago that Croatia was invaded by Serbs and have every right to be mad about how they were ingnored by the whole Western World. So, when going to Croatia, do your research and understand that it is part of the West. The tourist season lasts only 3-4 months which doesn’t give them much time to make a living for the whole year. Therefore, if you want to enjoy the beauty and pristine conditions of the sea and coast, you must pay the price.

I have never had people treat me rudely in Croatia in the last 40 years! Maybe its because I love the country and they can feel it!

The tourist tradition in Croatia goes back over 100 years! In the 1890′s there were Austrian and German tourists coming to the Island of Rab! So, please get your facts straight before making statements…..


amarko October 7, 2013 at 5:36 pm

Wow,so much diversity in each post,Croatia sounds like marmite,you either love it or hate it!I am thinking about going their next month and even though i read all these posts im stil going to go,why not?? Im going to do some volunteering so il be with people from all parts of the globe and some locals so im sure to get a mixed review of the country.Oh and DANIEL i think you are wrong about “anglo saxon people” we dont have to be like that “in a shop” the point is its nice to be nice to people and it makes most people feel good about themselves when somebody does acknowledge you and says hi how are you,i have lived in aussie and nz and i would go to work and say that to people,walk down the street and say it,meet people at a bar and say it,its called communication and being friendly.Also we do not expect every body to speak English its just that so many people do so it makes it harder for native English speakers to chose a second language,i learnt french at school,i have never been to france and never planned to,so you say you travelled the world?did you learn the language of every country you went to or did you use your secong language???English maybe? So it has nothing to do with us expecting people to speak english,its just a fact that most people do.If they dont then theres always ways to communicate without knowing the language,it just takes time.I have been to places to hopfully learn another language but when people know i speak native English they would only speak it to so they could improve on it aswell.Anyway you made some invalis points but i kind off understand your meaning…………I hope i enjoy Croatia.


Pamela October 7, 2013 at 7:51 pm

You will have a fabulous time. It is a very interesting country. It just isn’t up to the level of tourism in theory, that it presents itself to be. It will get there, it just takes time. I felt a serious level of distrust from the croatians to myself and my family – even though we were there wiith Croatians – but mainly in the large cities and destinations. The kindest people I found were way outside of the economic centers. One day we were driving on the top of an island and stopped in a little village that didn’t even have electricity, a group were cooking dinner over a fire and invited us to stay and eat. We could not communicate at all but it was a lovely time. Once I was back in towns I felt very hustled and felt like I was constantly trying to not be taken advantage of as the American. You will have a lovely time, it is a beautiful country – but it has had a rough history which it is still trying to shake off.


Morana October 8, 2013 at 7:37 pm

Oh come on people, no one likes Croatia. The comments are postet by the toothless Croats themselfs. Croatia is a terrible country, the coast once belong to slovenian people. Croats as gypsy like as they are stole that coast. We have a lot of Croats in our country and we just wanna make them go back to where they came from, no good from those people. They are not educated, they do not like to work, they do not have teeth and they are violent pretenders.


Kanannie October 15, 2013 at 7:10 am

Thanks for sharing your honest views on Croatia. We have been in the country for 10 days and we have another 10 days to go. So far, I agree with most of your observations on the service and tourism industry. At first I thought it had something to do with us being a gay Asian couple, but now I just think that most people in the service industry here are just plain old indifferent and in some cases, blatantly rude. Dealing with unpleasant service people doesn’t make my experience in a foreign country bad, but it certainly doesn’t make it good either. It’s too bad that some commenters took your post the wrong way and can’t seem to understand that you were discussing your personal views based on your personal experiences. We’ll see how we feel after we finish up the second half of our trip here. Good luck on your future travels!


myan October 23, 2013 at 11:51 pm

Hello to you,
First of all thank you for sharing your experience with us.
I came across this while looking for 10 things you should never do or say while in Croatia….
I am a Croat who is planning to open a private accommodation for tourists in Croatia, so that is one of my interests to help me offer the best I can to tourists.
As a future employer , I do understand the stress employees are going through during the summer in Croatia, but that’s not the reason why they should be rude to tourists since it is their job to smile and be polite. They are paid for it. If they are not ( as they often say) paid enough, they should look for another job. …
I make sure that my future employees are happy working for me, but in case they are not keeping up to my expectations, they will lose their job immediately.
In my experience, most of Croatian people like to moan and groan about everything, but when the time comes to do something about it, they almost always fail. Moreover, if we don’t persuade the tourist to feel sorry for us then we get aggressive. A horrible personality in general, I must say, which I am not proud of. I hope it is changing with me. ?
When one goes to visit another country no one can guarantee the attitude of locals one will come across, so having a bad experience with that it’s just a bad luck. …you can get that anywhere in the world.
But the facilities that are meant for tourist should ALWAYS BE FRIENDLY AND NICE. No matter what. The people working there should leave their problems as soon as they enter the working premises.
I wish you a great life and hope that in the future you will only experience great moments during your visits to other countries.
Wishful greetings: m.m


Dan November 30, 2013 at 11:37 pm

I have travelled to Croatia on numerous occasions. It would have to be one of the most beautiful countries I have ever seen. just stunning. But you will notice a different customer service in different parts od the countries. Istria up north is extremely friendly as is the capital Zagreb and the islands of the Coast of split ie Hvar, Brac, Korcula and Vis. Central Croatia is also friendly but if you have been to Croatia more times you learn more about the dynamics of the people. Europe is a diverse regions and even different regions of countries differ quite a bit in their make up. The Central coastal people are very proud and tall striking people with very defined jaw lines they can seem intimidating whilst at the same time seem almost too good looking . What one must realise is in the smaller villages and not so developed tourist towns the ladies normally only speak their native language thus when you have all these myraids of cultures passing through your town it is intimidating for them as they know they are not locals and sometimes find it difficult to know how to respond and in what language.
What does frustrate me is that Of all the travellers I have met the Americans leave a sour taste in the mouths of locals and other foreigners like myself. They for some reason feel they are the chosen ones and need to be treated like they are royalty. They often make ill uninformed comment and are extremely uneducated travellers. I was on an international flight and I had a man from Chicago standing in front of me saying to his son, now they are going to herd us off like cows into a communist Croatian plane- and he said that at the top of his voice not realising most Croatians speak good English. When flying out of Croatia I was sitting with a group of Americans who were in Zagreb for two weeks, I asked them if they have been to other parts of Croatia or seen Dubrovnik. They had no idea what I was talking about and only knew they were in the city of Zagreb and after two weeks in the country didn’t know the name of the country or that Croatia had a beautiful coast. There were ten in the group- I was gobsmacked.
I give the above examples as the comment above about having to cross a Serbian checkpoint in Croatia when infact all it was the Bosnian border is just a typical American comment and so ill informed and arrogant. I have noted that a lot of the Australians and British do some research to where they are travelling and are a lot more laid back and thus better received. No Croatia doesn’t have McDonalds on every corner. There are sandy beaches, quite a few infact but look at the map and you will realise that the Croatian coastline is a big one. The islands of Rab, Paradise beach, Saharun Beach and even Bacvice Beach in Central Split are sandy but people need not expect sand everywhere. The pebble beaches makes this region one of the most beautiful and indented coastline in Europe. The waters are normally very calm due to the very consistent tides. For sandy beaches you need changes in tide levels. The water is so blue and clear it almost looks photo shopped and in some places you want to drink it looks so good. There are bays and islands everywhere and no shortage of stunning views and places to swim. But please people don’t expect every culture to be the same, Croatians are not generally people of fake smiles to strangers but that does not mean they will not go out of their way to help you or if you learn about their culture you might actually really learn to appreciate them. there is good and bad in every race but I think travellers need to relax and not be so judgemental. When I travel it is sights, food, entertainment opportunities that shapes whether I like a place. Whether people greet me with a smile everywhere is not going to shape my opinion of a place. Sure it is nice every now and then but really if this is the reason you travel then you should stay home or go to a third world country where smiles , a cheap-tshirt, a long sandy beach and a cheap massage is mostly what they have to offer.


Monna Innominata January 29, 2014 at 2:57 pm

I read the whole thread and found it very interesting. I understand everyone’s points of view and there were many valid ones. As a Croatian living in the uk for longer than home I also have a mixture of criticisms as well as patriotic defence. My (black British) husband would agree with some of the stand-offish points made about people but he feels this is an initial attitude with majority of Eastern Europeans towards him.
There is a dichotomy in Croatians between not wanting to invade your privacy, giving you personal space and at the same time being too familiar, telling you all their troubles (neither good nor professional in hospitality).
I’ve come to a conclusion that travelling and experiences are vastly a subject to one’s attitude. Everywhere I/we’ve ever travelled we had more than positive experiences from people we’ve met; from those employed in tourism to people on bus stops we’d ask directions from.
For example, I flew back to Croatia and took a road trip to Belgrade/Serbia with a friend last year and although we had Croatian number plates and had clear, unmistakable accents, everyone was incredibly friendly to us, especially random people we’d ask for help when we’d get lost on numerous times. When my husband comes to Croatia, everyone ends up wanting to talk to him, be his friend or flirt, so don’t believe Croats and Serbs all hate each other and that we are all racists.
Dan reminded me of what we often notice about American tourists in Europe (I have many American friends and was engaged to an American, so am not prejudiced) is that they are the loudest and, as he says, uninformed (a lovely euphemism). I have many more examples similar to his but have also met Americans who told me they loved Croatia and moved there permanently. I am aware there are very different standards of customer care in the States and I personally dislike that uniformed over the top friendliness (I’m a moody Croat after all !) :-)
Want to thank everyone for sharing their impressions. I met loads of people who’ve been to Croatia and all raved over it which surprised me since I see so much room for improvement – but whenever I point this out, am reminded of how bad the economic situation is at the moment.
It will be another generation or two for the attitudes to ‘die out’ so please make some allowances and come with an open mind.


Polkabike February 28, 2014 at 6:52 am

Croatian inability and refusal to even consider that someone might be sincerely genial in their dealings with tourists and others, as showcased here in the comments, reveals a lot about our culture and social climate, which is that of cynicism and resentment. There are many warm and loving people in Croatia, but there are even more which are bitter, spiteful and cold.


CAROL February 28, 2014 at 10:31 am

MARIO IM TRaleving to your beloved country tomorrow N


mario February 28, 2014 at 11:17 am

Carol you are welcome :)
if you are anywhere close to Omiš or Makarska or between them, send message here, you can visit us :)

i hope you will have good time in our beautiful :) … if you will be on south, and you find people little nervous, it is nothing, just southern air flow keeps us little off balance :)


LCroatia March 18, 2014 at 4:09 pm

I assume your exeperience wasn’t that well,but I assure you it’ rare.There are many let’s say “impulsive” Croats, but generally we are friendly and famous for being relaxed- maybe even too much.Good assuption though that in august people are maybe fed up with tourists.
I’ve been working in catering industry for many years now (all over Croatia) , and wherever I’ve been colleagues and I tried to maximize our service, and it’s not really hard to be friendly if our guests are “not-expecting-world-to-stop-because-of-them”. And you have to understand that I don’t own restaurant – I’m just normal person who works 12h (and we all do -a girl who sold you an icecream and a women who sold you fresh fruit and a fisherman who got up in 4 a.m. so you could eat a fresh fish) a day during summer and I still have a smile for you,as do my colleagues,as do Croats! As a matter a fact I ended up in this page because I wanted to maybe invite someone interesting and help him-her-them to explore Croatia by providing them advices,homemade organic food,even accomodation-which is humble,but everything else is breathtaking. I will get back to this page in a few days,to check if there is anyone interested,so we can exchange data.
Sadly,this is my last summer in Croatia, because summer does not lasts long enough,and we eat food and get bills, and there is no room for non-rich people anymore. Please excuse my english, it’s a bit rusty.


Liz April 17, 2014 at 4:45 am

I lived in NY, Germany and France. Now regarding people: NYorkers in general: rude, stressed and riddled with crime. france: beautiful history and architecture and terrible service, if you want to compare rude waiters to Criatian waiters it would be reduculous. By the way the Croats work more than the French and have a very tiny salary. Beaches in Francr don’t compare to the beauty of Croatia. If you want to talk about overpriced food and drinks go to France! Now Germany: weather sucks, people are generally rough and I would not call them welcoming. Regarding the beauty of their mountains, palaces and architecture yes it tops Croatia. When you are speaking about Croatia you really mean Dalmatia and that a different world. Just focus in swimming and eating fresh fish: the locals are proud but they are honest and yes once you meet them they have a SOUL and believe me it is a lot purer than a lot of the other “developed” countries. How crazy to say that Croatia is more expensive than other European countries. No is not “sophisticated” but the population speaks more English than they do in France. Mario you are a bit too proud but I get you; I will continue to visit “rude ” Croatia where the last taxi driver gave us a bottle of wine and figs to take on our trip. We only met her twice! Neve would that happen in Germany or ny. Maybe in France people would be a little kinder for they are also proud but once you respect their language and customs you can get by but I still prefer the Dalmatinski people! I’ll take a cheap cofee by Bol anytime than an 8 euro cofee in the center of Paris invaded by rude tourist thrown by a rude waiter. What nonsense this blog: I understand the people who wrote it because I felt like that in Tunisia but once I realized that I had to respect their prayer times and fact they follow you everywhere to sell you something and even joke with them about it I could enjoy their incredible culture. Mario is right: don’t go back but if you do put on a different mindset. Observe the old people getting together outside their villages to chat (never in Ny, Germany) or people fishing for their daily fish! May I suggest you bask on the beauty of its people and listen to their music and try to understand it! I’ve been going to Dalmatia for 25 years and I feel blessed by its beauty and their clean water. Try florida with jellyfish, sharks and crime! Mario you didn’t express yourself well, your emotions got the best of you as it does for most Dalmatians so calm down but I get you.


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