Since the first Covid-19 cases happen in China, and then later in Italy, the pandemic has disturbed the way we live and especially the way we travel. With many countries in and out of a lockdown constantly, it’s hard to make any travel plans.
Coronavirus in Croatia overview
Croatia got its first confirmed case of COVID-19 disease on the 25th of February 2020.
Since then we went from the exemplary country in fighting the virus to the worst European country in the terms of the number of cases per 100.000 inhabitants within a 14-day period. And we’ve also been anywhere in between. Now we are one of the European countries with the fastest slowdown of the spread of the virus.
What happened? We were one of the first countries in Europe to introduce a strict lockdown back in March. By mid-May, we had almost 0 active cases.
But as our economy depends heavily on tourism, we were also one of the first countries to open our borders. And not only to EU member states. We open them to almost all countries. From some, we required a negative PRC test not older than 48 h. But from many, we required nothing at all.
Then, we also opened all businesses, including nightclubs. So by mid-August, we had a surge in the number of cases, mainly among the young population. So neighboring countries started tightening restrictions on travels to and from Croatia. This hurt our tourism a lot especially when Slovenia, Italy, and Austria all put us on their red list and required a negative test for anybody traveling to these countries from Croatia.
Fast forward to mid-November 2020, the number of cases in Croatia was increasing by 3000 a day on average, but we still had some of the most liberal measures in all Europe, comparable only with Sweden and Switzerland. We had to keep our distance, wear masks in closed spaces, and avoid big and small gatherings. (In my opinion, add to this washing hands and ventilating all interior spaces regularly, and we would have a winning formula to keep the pandemic in check, while still not killing the economy and going absolutely hysteric. But anyway, nobody asks me what I think … so here we are!)
Anyways, by the end of November, the government, under the pressure from journalists, scientists, doctors, and some politicians introduced new strict measures. Bars, restaurants, and gyms had to be closed. And we weren't allowed to travel out of our county in the period between December 23 2020 until January 10, 2021. The last measure was lifted the day Croatia was hit by a terrible quake of magnitude 6.4. Many villages and towns south of Zagreb suffered enormously, so the Government allowed movement between the regions.
As of 15.01.2021., we have 5.200 active Covid-19 cases, out of the active cases 1.920 people are in the hospitals, and out of them, 176 people are intubated. From the beginning of the pandemic, we had 215.000 Covid-19 cases and 4.520 deaths.
How is the situation with Covid-19 in different Croatian regions?
On the map below you can see the total number of confirmed cases (since the beginning of the pandemic) in each Croatian region. For the updated map, please check the Koronavirus.hr. They update the map, on their website, daily, after 3 pm. You can check the number of active cases (this is actually what you should watch), but also the number of total cases from the beginning of the pandemic.
In Istria where we live, up until now, we had in total 5.900 confirmed cases and as of January 15, 2021, we have 170 active cases.
Is Croatia flattening the curve?
We still have an average of 900 cases a day, but we can say that Croatia is flattening the curve. In Croatian regions that had the most cases, like Varazdin, Medimurje, and Zagreb, the number of cases constantly decreases in the last weeks. And we can say that the peak of the current wave of the epidemic has passed. The other regions will follow, as they lag behind a few weeks.
More importantly, the number of hospitalized patients is also decreasing, as well as the number of people on respirators.
Covid-19 vaccination in Croatia
Croatia started vaccinating people on December 27, 2020. The first doses are distributed among infirm senior citizens, and social and healthcare workers. The Croatian government follows the European vaccination plan. So far Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccination has been approved, and the others should be approved in the following days. Vaccination is free for all Croatian citizens, but it isn't mandatory.
Current Croatia travel restrictions [LATEST UPDATE, JANUARY 15 2021]
As of November 30, 2020, entry into Croatia is restricted.
If you are coming from a few EU/EEA countries on the green list, regardless of your citizenship, you are admitted to Croatia without any Covid-19 restrictions. All you need is a valid travel document. However, these countries are few and far between. They include a couple of Greek and Norweigian provinces and Greenland. So, good luck with that :). You can check a detailed list of the countries here. (If the situation is everywhere the same, wouldn't then make sense that there are no restrictions between the countries – just a thought. Anyways ….)
If you are coming from other EU/EEA countries (except these on the green list), regardless of your citizenship, you can enter Croatia, but you will need to have a negative PCR Covid-19 test not older than 48 hours. If you don't have a negative PCR test, you will need to self-isolate for 10 days in Croatia, or you can take a test in Croatia and self-isolate until you get the results. The PCR test in Croatia costs about 750 Kn (in Zagreb you can find places where it costs around 500 Kn, but in Dubrovnik, on the other hand, it will cost you over 1000 Kn (Don't even ask! I don't understand it myself.). Here is the list of all testing centers in Croatia (it's in Croatian only, but it's easy to understand and you have all contacts, and prices there).
Anybody, regardless of their citizenship, coming from non-EU/non-EEA countries can't enter Croatia at the moment. Exempt from this rule are healthcare workers, transit workers, students, diplomats, and their families.
Seafarers and persons traveling for urgent personal, business, or other economic reasons are also exempt from the above restrictions given that they present a negative PCR test not older than 48 hours.
As long as you won't be staying in Croatia, you can always transit through Croatia regardless of the country you are traveling from.
The above restriction also doesn't apply to the travelers arriving from Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Uruguay, China, and special administrative regions of the People’s Republic of China – Hong Kong and Macao. People coming from these countries can enter Croatia in the same manner as pre-Covid. They don't need to present a negative PCR test, nor they need to self-isolate upon arrival. All this, of course, considering that they haven't been in close contact with an infected person and show no signs of disease.
We recommend that you fill-up the online questionnaire, through the Enter Croatia website, prior to your arrival. This can help speed up the border-crossing procedure.
The current restrictions are valid until January 31, 2021.
Below we give answers to some of the most common questions regarding Covid-19 in Croatia.
Is there a lockdown in Croatia?
Although some services are limited, we don't have a complete lockdown like many other European countries. Bars, restaurants, cafes, nightclubs, casinos, gyms, fitness centers, and other sports facilities are closed. No operas, music, and dance performances, weddings, trade fairs, and amateur sporting events are permitted. Alcohol can't be sold from 10 pm to 6 am, and all gatherings, celebrations, and public events must end by 10 pm.
Other measures include keeping a social distance of 2 m indoors and at least 1.5 m outdoors, wearing masks in closed public spaces, and stores, limiting private gatherings to a maximum of 10 people from two different households, and limit on the number of people in cinemas, galleries, churches, and stores.
Do you need to wear a mask?
You need to wear a mask in enclosed public spaces, like churches, stores, government buildings, public transport, etc., and where social distancing can't be maintained. You aren't obliged to wear a face mask outdoors.
Do I need to go through mandatory self-isolation?
If you can enter Croatia (as explained above), and you bring with you a negative PCR test, you don't need to self-isolate. If you haven't had a negative test with you, you will need to test in Croatia. In that case, you will need to self-isolate until you receive negative PCR test results.
Is movement within Croatia restricted?
You are free to move within Croatia as you please. However, people are asked to refrain from all unessential travel.
Best resources for coronavirus info
You can get daily updates about the Covid-19 situation in Croatia at Koronavirus.hr website. It is interesting to check it if you travel to a specific region in Croatia and would like to know what's the situation like in that particular area. They have a map with the number of active cases in each Croatian county.
You can consult Croatiacovid19.info website, although it might become more accurate and interesting as the summer season approaches.
You can also check the official EU website – Reopen Europe – where the current situation in various European countries, as well as measures, are presented in a very simple and clear way. This is a good resource of information regarding Covid in all EU countries.
What if I get coronavirus while in Croatia?
If you don't feel well while in Croatia and you suspect Covid-19, you should let know people in charge of the accommodation you are staying at. They will contact a local doctor and a doctor will decide if you need to be tested for Covid or not. If you need to be tested, you will need to self-isolate until you get your results. If your results are negative, your self-isolation will automatically be terminated. But if you test positive, then you will need to self-isolate for 10 days. Last summer, every town, every municipality had a location set-up for people in that situation. However, if you feel better going home but your self-isolation is still going on, you will need to communicate with a local doctor who will further communicate with your country's authorities to agree upon the conditions of your return home.
Ask us anything you would like to know regarding the coronavirus in Croatia!