Croatia is located in Central-Eastern Europe, bordered on the west by the Adriatic Sea and the countries of Slovenia, Hungary, and Bosnia and Herzegovina to the north, northeast, and southeast. Croatia once belonged to a portion of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. After the First World War, the region became known as Yugoslavia. After the Second World War, Yugoslavia became a federally independent communist state.
In 1991, Croatia declared its independence, initiating four years of violent fighting that resulted in occupation and expulsion of large populations of ethnic Serbians. Croatia joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in 2009 and was admitted into the European Union in 2013. Since then, Croatia has grown into a popular tourist destination for central and western European travelers. Her geography is diverse, with flatlands bordering Hungary and a combination of low mountainous and highland regions near the Adriatic coastline.
Languages and Religion
Croatian is the official language of the country, although minority languages are found in numerous regions and include Hungarian, Serbian, Czech, Slovakian, and Italian, among others. The majority of Croatians practice Roman Catholicism, Orthodox Christianity, and other Christian religions, with a very small percentage practicing Islam.
The climate in Croatia offers typically continental weather conditions that range between moderately warm and rainy. In the forested regions and elevations, snowy, wet, and cold weather is typical in winter. Along the Adriatic coastline, Mediterranean climates and temperate weather conditions are enjoyed.
Places and Cities to Visit
Croatian roadways encompass over 30,000 km of expressways, offering travelers driving through Croatia access to every portion of the country. As one of the oldest countries in Central Europe, Croatia offers a blend of geographic wonders, magnificent architectural structures, historical landmarks, and entertainment for visitors. Croatia’s coastline along the Adriatic Sea offers numerous locations and spots to enjoy lazy seaside vacations. Croatia also offers a wide range of regional parks, events, and sites to see. When in Croatia, visit:
- The ancient city walls and forts of Dubrovnik, built between the 13th and 16th centuries.
- Check out Diocletian’s palace in the amazing Roman ruins in Split.
- Take a tour of the Cathedral of St. Domnius (originally intended as Diocletian’s mausoleum).
- Visit the portal of the Franciscan Monastery and Museum, constructed in 1498.
- Take in the wonder of Trsat Castle, a 13th century fortress with a beautiful view of the Rječina River Valley.
- Explore the best that nature has to offer inside Plitvice Lakes National Park, a World Heritage Site that contains 16 beautiful lakes connected by cascading waterfalls.
- Visit Medvedgrad Fortress, the capital city of Zagreb’s medieval monument, built between 1249 and 1254 and designed to protect city inhabitants from Tartar invasions.
Croatia is filled with a number of other options for vacationers, whether you want to lounge on her sun-baked beaches or visit her large number of cathedrals, fortresses, and museums. Driving through Croatia provides options for stopping at any point along the way to find something interesting to see or do.
Car Hire Services
Renting a car in Croatia is not complicated, but be aware of your responsibilities and obligations as a driver. Due to heavy tourism travel in summer months, be sure to book a rental car well in advance of your planned vacation. Most major international and domestic car rental agencies are located in major cities in Croatia. Compare rates and options with some favorites:
- Enterprise – http://www.enterprise.com/car_rental/deeplinkmap.do?bid=019&cnty=HR&language=en&cm_mmc=MSN-_-Category-_-MS_SE_Outbound_C_INT_E_HR-_-rental_cars_in_croatia
- Auto Europe – http://www.autoeurope.com/go/car-rental/croatia/
- Carhireairport.co.uk – http://www.carhireairport.co.uk/croatia/airport-car-rental-croatia.php
- Croatia Rental Cars – http://www.croatiarentalcars.com/
It is recommended that foreigners bring along an international driving permit or license in addition to your domestic license. You must be over 18 years of age to drive in Croatia and carry required car insurance as stipulated by various car hire agencies.
In Croatia, drive on the right hand side of the road and always wear seatbelts. Seat belt wear is compulsory for every passenger, front and back. If you get caught driving without your seatbelt, you can be fined 500HRK. Follow speed limit rules as follows unless otherwise posted:
- Cities – 50 kph
- City outskirts – 90 kph
- Major roadways – 110 kph
- Motorways (freeways) – 130 kph
If you’re caught driving over the speed limit, you can be fined. Do not use cell phones while driving unless they are hands-free systems or you may be fined up to 500HRK.
Do not drink and drive in Croatia. If you have a blood-alcohol level of over 0.0 5%, you face stiff fines. Be aware that if you’re under 24 years of age, your blood-alcohol content must be 0% at all times when driving. Also be aware that it is compulsory that headlights are turned on at all times, day or night, and that children under 12 years of age must sit in the back seat.