Do you plan to spend your holidays in Croatia? But the coronavirus pandemic makes everything uncertain and you keep your plans now on hold? If this is you, then this post is for you! Here we explain everything you need to know if you plan to visit Croatia during the pandemic.
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Covid-19 in Croatia
As of August 1, 2021, Croatia has 1.100 active Covid-19 cases, out of which 150 are hospitalized and 12 are intubated. Although the number of SARS-COV-2 positive cases in Croatia increases, like elsewhere in the Mediterranean, the number of hospitalized and intubated patients doesn't increase with the same pace, and instead, it keeps stable.
However, some people will still get infected, some of them seriously, and some of them will even die from the virus. For this reason, please be responsible and respectful of the rules, regulations, and measures regarding Covid-19 in Croatia, no matter if you agree with them or not.
We've written a more in-depth post about the current Covid-19 situation in Croatia.
Can you enter Croatia?
As of April, 1st entrance to Croatia is simplified.
If you are traveling from both – EU/EEA or Non-EU/EEA countries, regardless of your citizenship, you can enter Croatia in the following circumstances:
- with a valid EU COVID pass showing that the person has either been vaccinated, has already recovered from Covid-19, or has been tested negative in the last 48h (antigen test) or 72h (PCR test) – (EU/EEA citizens only)
- with a negative PCR test not older than 72 hours or a rapid antigen test not older than 48 hours.
- in the period of 22 to 42 days after you have received the first dose of Pfizer, Moderna, or Gamaleya vaccine, or in the period from 22 to 84 days after receiving the first jab of AstraZeneca vaccine (EU/EEA citizens only)
- 14 days after receiving the first (and only dose) of Johnson&Johnson vaccine (valid up to 270 days)
- with a certificate showing that you have been fully vaccinated (valid up to 270 days)
- if you have recovered from SARS-COV-2 in the last 270 days but not less than 11 days, and you have a positive PCR or rapid antigen test to prove it or you have a medical certificate to prove it
- if you have recovered from SARS-COV-2 and have received one jab of the vaccine, you can enter Croatia up to 270 days after the vaccination
- if you test in Croatia right upon arrival and remain in self-isolation until you obtain negative test results. If you test positive, you will need to self-isolate for 10 days.
The above rule doesn't apply to children under 12 years of age. They can freely enter Croatia without any additional documents besides travel documents.
If you travel from non-EU/ non-EEA countries, besides the above-mentioned requirements, you will also need to present evidence of accommodation paid in advance and in full or other proof that your travel is essential (property or boat owners, seafarers, family reasons, and alike).
As of July, 26 if you are traveling to Croatia from the UK, Russia, Cyprus, and India you will need to provide negative PCR or antigen test upon entering Croatia even if you are vaccinated, or have recovered from Covid-19.
If you are arriving in Croatia from Albania, Australia, Israel, Japan, Lebanon, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Rwanda, Serbia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, United States, Uruguay, China, and special administrative regions of the People’s Republic of China – Hong Kong and Macao you don't need to prove the reason of your travels in order to enter Croatia (eg. no need to have a proof of accommodation). People coming from these countries can enter Croatia in the same way as EU/EEA citizens. Here is a link to the official document.
The people traveling to Croatia from South Africa, Brasil, Zanzibar, besides negative PCR test not older than 72h, need also to self-isolate for 14 days. Self-isolation means that you can't leave the apartment where you are staying. It also means that police can, and certainly will check on you during your self-isolation term to make sure you are locked in. Self-isolation can be shortened if, after 7 days, you make another PCR test in Croatia and the test results are negative.
If you plan to visit Croatia, then fill this online form prior to your arrival in order to reduce waiting time at the border.
If your situation is specific and you need clarification, you can fill form at the bottom of this page, and get your answers from the authorities.
Covid testing centers in Croatia
If you are required to have a negative PCR test not older than 72h or a rapid antigen test not older than 48h in order to enter Croatia, but you don't have it, or it's older than the requested time, you will need to test in Croatia. You might also need to test in Croatia in order to return to your home country.
The PCR test in Croatia costs between 400 Kn (55€) to 700 Kn (95 €) in the majority of testing centers. Some testing centers charge an extra 100-150 Kn (12-20 €) to have your test results translated into English.
The rapid antigen test in Croatia costs around 150 (12€) to 250 Kn (35€), and you can do it in many private polyclinics in all Croatian towns. Some towns have also organized extra testing points, particularly for tourists. For example, in many hotel companies in Croatia (like Valamar, Maistra, Laguna Porec, etc.), hotel guests can test at the reception of many properties. Split has organized an extra testing center at the airport, and so on.
We list below Covid-19 PCR and rapid antigen testing centers for the most touristy towns in Croatia. On this page, you can find a list of Covid PCR testing centers for all towns in Croatia. The page is in Croatian, but don't worry, information is pretty simple and universally understood (address, contacts, prices, waiting time, and alike).
If you want to test privately, you will need to make an appointment by email or telephone. If certain centers do not have a prominent price for testing, it means that they do not take private users, but only test people who have a referral from a doctor. Ignore those centers, they aren't for you. Look for ones that list a price for the Covid-19 test because that means that they test people for private reasons.
- Croatian Institute for Public Health (PCR test), 500 Kn (70 €), 24-48 hours for results, only by appointment via the online form at the bottom of this page (Croatian only)
- Teaching Institute for Public Health “Dr. Andrija Štampar” (PCR test), 500 Kn (70 €), results within 24h, by appointment via the online form
- Clinic For Infectious Diseases “Dr. Fran Mihaljević” (PCR test), 501,49 Kn (70 €), results within 24h to 48h, by appointment via this online form
- Specialty hospital Sv. Katarina (Rapid Antigen Test), 250 Kn (35€), results in 30 min, by appointment via this online form
- Polyclinic Analiza Lab (Rapid Antigen Test), 250 Kn (35€), results in 30 min, by appointment via this contact page
- Zagreb Airport, Departures – check-in area, Level 2 (PCR and Rapid Antigen Test), 650 Kn (85 €) for PCR and 250 Kn (35 €), results within 24h-48h for PCR, and 15 min for antigen test. More info here!
- Split Hospital KBC Split (PCR test), 698 Kn (95 €), results within 12h, first come first serve basis
- Institute for Public Health (PCR test), 400 Kn (55 €), results within 24h to 48h, by appointment via this online form
- Polyclinic Analiza (Rapid Antigen Test), 130 Kn (18 €), results in 30 min, by appointment via this contact page
- Polyclinic Lab Plus (Rapid Antigen Test), 200 Kn (35 €), results in 30 min, by appointment via this contact page
- Split Airport (PCR and Rapid Antigen Test), 450 Kn (65 €) for PCR and 200 Kn (27 €), results within 24h, except for samples taken on Sunday (36h), More info here!
- Dubrovnik Hospital (PCR test), 650 Kn (87 €), results within 12h to 24h, by appointment via e-mail: email@example.com
- Institute for Public Health (PCR test), 650 Kn (87 €), results within 6 hours, by appointment via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Dubrovnik Hospital (rapid antigen test), 150 Kn (20 €), results within 15 min, by appointment via e-mail: email@example.com
- Polyclinic Marin Med (Rapid Antigen Test), 375 Kn (50€), results in 30 min, by appointment via this contact page
- Dubrovnik Airport (PCR & RAT), for PCR test 800 Kn (105 €), results within 9 hrs; for RAT 200 Kn (27 €), results within 20 min; more info via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Porec, Rovinj, Pula
- Institute for Public Health in Pula (PCR test), 550 Kn (75 €), results within 24h, by appointment via cell phone: 099 5298 222 or e-mail: email@example.com
- Terra Medica (Rapid Antigen Test), 200 Kn (30€), results in 30 min, by appointment via this contact page
- Polyclinic Jerkovic (Rapid Antigen Test), 200 Kn (30€), results in 30 min, by appointment via this contact page
- The Orthopaedic and Rehabilitation Hospital “Prim. Martin Horvat” (a: Luigi Monti 2, Rovinj; t: +385 91 633 32 02, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org); Sample collection: Daily, 8.00 am – 3 pm; By appointment only using contacts listed above (the best is to make an appointment a couple of days in advance); Results within 24h; Prices are as following 375 Kn (50 €) for PCR or 105 Kn (14 €) for rapid antigen test;
- Porec Covid Test Point (Parking of the Zatika Sports Hall); on Mon, Wend, Fri, and Sat from 9 am to noon with prior appointment via email: email@example.com. Prices: 375 Kn (50 €) for PCR or 100 Kn (13 €) for rapid antigen test;
All the above-listed centers offer results translated into English for no extra charge.
Do I need to wear a face mask in Croatia?
Face maks are mandatory in enclosed public spaces including supermarkets, malls, public transport, pharmacies, hospitals, government buildings, and any commercial and service businesses where the staff is in direct contact with customers.
In the accommodation, both staff and guests need to wear masks. This includes also any cafe, bar, or restaurant when you eat or drink inside. Once at your table, you can remove the mask. Should you need to use a toilet, you'll need to wear a mask from your table to the toilet and back.
You don't have to wear a face mask outdoors except where the physical distance can't be observed.
What are other restrictions in force in Croatia that concern tourists?
- You need to maintain a social distance of at least 2 m indoors, and at least 1.5 m outdoors.
- A limited number of people in enclosed spaces including supermarkets, churches, cinemas, and alike. Basically, this means that sometimes you will need to wait outside in line to enter a supermarket or another enclosed space you intend to visit.
- You won't be able to buy booze from midnight to 6 am.
- The gathering of more than 100 people (in coastal Croatia 50) isn’t allowed unless it is an event or gathering attended only by persons with an EU digital COVID certificate or other proof that the person has either been vaccinated, have already recovered from Covid-19, or has shown a negative PCR or rapid test not older than 72h (PCR) or 48H (antigen)
- All public events need to end by midnight except the events attended only by persons with an EU digital COVID certificate (or other certificates mentioned above)
Can I move freely within Croatia?
Fortunately, you are free to move from one part of Croatia to another. Although, you are advised to avoid any unessential travel.
Are tourists welcome to Croatia during the pandemic?
The livelihood of many Croatians depends on tourism and tourists. So, many Croatians, while maybe mistrustful and slightly concerned, are very happy to see tourists around.
In fact, Croatia is the closest Mediterranean country for many European holidaymakers like Austrians, Germans, Czechs, Hungarians, Slovaks, Slovenians, Polish, and alike. This gives us a great advantage as many people today avoid taking a plane, and instead decide to travel by car. Croatia is within 6 hours drive from many European cities. Here is our full post on why to visit Croatia post-pandemic.
Croatian hospitality and tourism workers are working hard to implement all the regulations. They also go above and beyond to ensure a safe environment for their guests. Croatian tourism workers have already been massively vaccinated in order to guarantee their own safety as well as the safety of their guests.
So, let's hope that with warmer weather, natural or vaccine-acquired immunity, and basic measures we should all respect (avoid big gatherings, keep social distance, wear mask where distance can't be maintained, ventilate enclosed spaces often, and wash your hands regularly), we can put this disease behind us, and we can see lots of tourists in Croatia in the years to come.
What businesses are open in Croatia?
Below we will explain the situation with the businesses and services you might need in Croatia and the way they operate according to the current set of rules, regulations, and measures.
Food and convenience stores, pharmacies, and “non-essential” businesses
All food and convenience stores, pharmacies as well as shopping malls, or just any type of commerce are open. They have restrictions regarding the number of people that are admitted in a store per square meter. So, it can happen that when this limit is reached, you need to wait outside until somebody goes out of the store. However, this doesn't happen often, and when it does, the waiting time is not too long. At least for now.
Gas stations are open as usual.
There are no restrictions on accommodation in Croatia. There are some health requirements, like available hand sanitizers, cleaning protocols, social distancing, the distance between tables in the restaurants, etc. Many hotels, resorts, and campsites are closed due to seasonality, and not because of the Covid-19.
Some hotels, resorts, and campsites that are open year-round even have special deals for guests who would like to spend the winter in Croatia. And many people from various European countries decided to do so, especially taking into account the strict lockdowns en vigor in their home countries. You can check Istra Premium Camping Resort in Porec, Ježevac Premium Camping Resort on Krk Island, Porto Sole Camping in Vrsar, Hotel Marvie in Split, and many more for these long-stay offers.
Tours and activities
Activities and tours are allowed as long as you follow general rules where they apply. Similar to accommodation, many tours and activities aren't available due to the seasonality and not because of the Covid-19.
Public transport operates normally and all passengers and staff need to wear masks at all times.
Intercity buses are operating, but bear in mind that at the moment many lines are either suspended, or they run less frequently.
Taxis and Ubers, as well as private transfers, are allowed to operate. Wearing a mask is mandatory.
National parks and beaches
All national parks, nature parks, and beaches are open for visitors.
Bars, restaurants, cafes, casinos, and nightclubs
In all Croatian regions, restaurants and cafes serving food are open and can serve guests inside and outside. Bars can only serve guests at the outdoor terraces. They are allowed to remain open from 6 AM to midnight. Delivery is available at later hours.
Casinos are open, but can't serve food or drinks inside.
Nightclubs, night bars, and disco clubs can only serve clients on the outside terraces. They can only serve clients who have a valid EU Covid certificate (or other proof that they have either recovered from Covid-19, have been fully vaccinated, or had a negative Covid-19 test). Under these circumstances, these premises can stay open longer than midnight.
When and if Croatia will lift or ease measures regarding nightclubs and working hours?
The measures have been eased as of July 1, 2021. Now, the night bars and clubs can remain open in later hours as long as they only admit and serve clients with one of the following proofs: negative rapid antigen or PCR test not older than 48h (antigen) or 72h (PCR), have recovered from Covid-19 in the last 270 days, or have been fully vaccinated. They can also only serve the customers on the outside terraces.
However, local restrictions still apply. For example, all public events where it is not possible to verify the status of attendees regarding the Covid-19 in Zadar county have been canceled until further notice.
So what happens if I get Covid-19 while in Croatia?
If you suspect a Covid-19 infection, inform the staff of the accommodation you are staying at. They will know what doctor to call, and the doctor will assess if you need a Covid-19 test or no. Meanwhile, keep self-isolating until you get a negative test.
If you test positive or are suspected of having the Covid-19, for 10 days, you will be placed under quarantine.
If you test positive and you would rather go home, you will need to arrange that through the doctor in charge. The doctor will communicate with your country's authorities in determining the conditions of your return home.
Hospitalizations aren't very common, but if you do need one, you will be directed by the doctor to the nearest hospital. Many hospitals in Croatia are equipped to deal with Covid-19 patients. For EU citizens, hospital stays are covered by their home country's health insurance, through mutual agreements between member states, and your insurance back home should pay for it. However, make sure that you have a European Health Insurance Card. It's easy to apply and free to get it. The procedure is just simpler. Last year in Spain, we didn't have our card, and we could only get treated in the emergency room, and we had to pay with our own money. If we have had the European Health Insurance Card, we would avoid all those problems.
If you are a non-EU citizen, you will need to pay for the hospital treatment yourself, and then your insurance back home (if you have one) should reimburse you if you are covered. The exact cost of a hospital stay is hard to predict because it depends on many factors, but you can roughly take into account that for Covid-19 it can cost you anywhere between 50.000 Kn (6500 €) to 100.000 Kn (13500 €). It all depends on if you need to stay in the ICU, or if you need mechanical ventilation.
Tips for visiting Croatia during the pandemic
- Avoid public transport, rent a car instead!
- Keep social distance, avoid shaking hands, and wear masks in enclosed spaces.
- Plan your activities in advance! Reach out to businesses to make sure they address all your concerns. Make sure you are comfortable with health and safety protocols for a particular activity or tour.
- Avoid hotels, stay in vacation rentals, mobile homes, or villas in Croatia. You get much more privacy and way fewer social contacts in these types of accommodation.
- Do something different, travel by RV, trailer, or camping van. Campsites in Croatia are awesome, like luxurious resorts providing full comfort and tons of facilities. Seriously, you won't regret it!
- Avoid eating indoors in restaurants. So what if it is a little cold or a little hot?! Better be safe than sorry.
- Do as locals do! Follow the recommendations of the Croatian Institute for Public Health.
- Benefit from the flexible cancelation policies when booking accommodation, activity, or tour.
- Rates are a bit down, but not as much as you could expect given the situation. This is especially true for the high-demand periods (like Whitsun holidays, or August).
- Enjoy beaches, parks, and all the outdoor activities in Croatia.
- Choose smaller villages and less-known destinations for your stay in Croatia. Peljesac peninsula, small islands off the coast of Zadar, coastal villages like Komarna, are all great places to spend your holidays in Croatia during pandemic worry-free.
Should you visit Croatia during the pandemic?
Well, yes, of course! Croatia is a small country, underpopulated, with lots of open spaces, and not too many crowds. Zagreb is the only big city, with 800.000 people living there. Split has 180.000 inhabitants, Rijeka 130.000, and Osijek 110.000. No other place reaches even close to 100.000 people.
I know that the only comparable measure is the number of cases per 100.000 inhabitants, but if you ask me, I would still rather chose a smaller place for my holidays than the big one. So, Croatia, in my opinion, fits the bill perfectly!
Rates are also a bit lower than in previous years, and we'll see fewer tourists this summer (even if we do believe that tourists will return, we will hardly reach the pre-covid numbers). We don't expect crowds, or lines, or traffic jams, or anything alike. There will be plenty of places on Croatian beaches too. In that sense, it is a perfect time to visit Croatia.
Also, many people have already had Covid-19, and they have natural immunity. There are some speculations that in Croatia that number is over 30% of the population. Besides, we started vaccinating our citizens, and that will add another layer of people who are immune to the virus. In summer, as we spend more time outdoors, it's harder for the virus to spread. And don't forget that we all should still respect the basic epidemiological measures. With all this in place, I believe that you can safely book your travel to Croatia.
But, in the end, it all depends on you. I think that Croatia as a country is ready to receive visitors and whatever happens with the virus, we should be able to handle it. But, you know the best if you feel safe traveling in these times.
Also don't forget that some countries still have a mandatory 14-day quarantine, meaning that you will need either to self-isolate when you come back home from the vacation, or you will need to take and pay for the COVID-19 test to prove you are not contaminated. We hope that this condition will be removed by spring as it will additionally ease international travel.
Do you have any other questions regarding visiting Croatia during the Covid-19 pandemic? Let us know in the comments below!