Am I crazy to consider Croatia?

Nov 1st, 2007, 11:43 AM
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Am I crazy to consider Croatia?

My husband and I have talked of traveling to Croatia for several years. Now with the euro to dollar exchange so bad we think we will actually travel to Croatia this May.
I have read the travel chat on Fodors and done some research on other sites. I have not heard a word of this area being unsafe for tourists but every time I talk to "outsiders" (nonFodors folks) they say "are you crazy, it is not safe to travel there". These are people who have have traveled in other European countries. So I ask you "is it safe?" From what I see there is not a problem but I just want to ask my "trusted Foders folks". Thanks for your advice. Also,we are interested in coastal towns, not really into hiking and camping. We have traveled in Europe over the past 9 years so are not strangers to travel...just looking for something new.
aj is offline  
Nov 1st, 2007, 11:49 AM
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Yes, its safe. Type Croatia to seach, and you get tons of questions and answers. European package tour agents have had Croatia in their programme for almost ten years. The war ended 12 years ago.
elina is offline  
Nov 1st, 2007, 11:54 AM
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We are going to Croatia in late April and we frequently hear the same types of comments when people ask where we are going. These comments are usually from people that haven't done a lot, if any, research on Croatia but they do remember there was a recent war.
We are not the least bit uncomfortable with our decision and are looking forward to the trip.
Judy is online now  
Nov 1st, 2007, 12:35 PM
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Yes, Croatia is perfectly safe.

I am a single woman, just hit 50, and only 2 weeks ago I was alone in southern Croatia, driving a hire car frome Split to Dubrovnik via Mostar (in Bosnia and Herzegovinia which was much more affected by the conflict of the early 1990s), and then from Dubrovnik back to Split via Korcula. I had no problems with ferries or border crossings, or with the driving and walking alone anywhere, even after dark and late-ish at night. I never even felt unsafe or threatened at any time. Mind you, it is recommended to be careful wandering away from the minor roads in Bosnia as there are still some uncleared minefields, but few of us would be doing that anyway, and you are not into hiking so it is not really relevant.

I have only seen the Dalmatian coast of Croatia, but it is beautiful, so is Montenegro, but nothing compares to Mostar which is stunning, and I loved it. Click on my name to find my Mostar trip report and pictures.

julia_t is offline  
Nov 1st, 2007, 12:38 PM
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It's completely safe. The people are friendly and the roads are good.

We went to Mostar, in Bosnia, for a day...also completely safe and quite interesting. The border guard in Bosnia was quite amused that we wanted to visit Mostar. I'm not sure why. He just laughed and waved us through.

Keep in mind that Croatia is not France or Italy. It doesn't have the polish of those countries, or the art, or the monuments, or the lifestyle.

It's still a bit rough around the edges, but worth a trip.
Jim_Tardio is offline  
Nov 1st, 2007, 12:53 PM
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You are certainly not crazy! Croatia is a great place to visit. I spent nearly a month travelling through Croatia, Bosnia and Montenegro last summer and never once felt unsafe. I travelled by myself (20 year old female) relying solely on public transportation and had no major problems. While Croatia is lovely, it was at times too crowded with tourists for my liking (granted this was in August during the peak travel season). I also found that many places in Croatia were not that much cheaper than more "traditional" destinations in Western Europe. Nonetheless, it was a fantastic trip and I wouldn't hesitate to return. Personally, I would recommend spending some time in Bosnia and/or Montenegro as well. The coastal scenery between Dubrovnik and Kotor is stunning and Mostar is also worthy of a visit.

Happy travels!
mdm585 is offline  
Nov 1st, 2007, 01:18 PM
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Great to know that I am not "crazy". Can we get by on English only? We are used to using
"sign language" for what we need if we don't speak the local language.
We usually travel by Train in Europe but it looks like this may be hard to do here if not at all. We are looking for towns that fit the Italian Rivera style. Any suggestions. Should be fly into Dubrovnik and go up? Any ideas welcome.
aj is offline  
Nov 1st, 2007, 01:31 PM
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You'll be fine with English only. As far as towns with the "Italian Riviera Style", I think the ones in Istria come closest. These are Rovinj, Pula, Piran. Rovinj was my favorite.

Dubrovnik was great also. Personally, if I went again, I would only visit Rovinj & Dubrovnik. But don't let that deter you from visiting more areas. Plitvice National Park was also great.

I think a car is the best way to travel there. Good roads & good signage.

I have some photos here:
Jim_Tardio is offline  
Nov 1st, 2007, 02:05 PM
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pjsparlor is offline  
Nov 1st, 2007, 02:18 PM
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Thank you to all. Jim the photos are great! From what I can see the prices are adjusted to the euro so things are not cheap. Most prices are quoted in relation to Euro so even though the currency of Kuna to dollar is better my guess is that the hotel and food will cost about the same as a trip to Italy? Any thoughts on that or advice on how to go cheap? I guess there is just no way to get around the fact that travel is getting more expensive but I just do not want to quit!
aj is offline  
Nov 1st, 2007, 02:20 PM
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We traveled to Croatia several years ago, before the big boom in Croatia travel and loved it. We stayed mostly in Istria in Porec and Rovinj. We then drove to Trogir, where we stayed 2 nights and decided to head back to Istria which we enjoyed very much. It was safe and a couple of the Croations we met asked if we were American, after we told one we were not Isrealis. He told us how much he like Americans and gave us a hug. In Istria then we met mostly german and British with a couple of Canadien tourists. It wasnt until Trogir that we met Americans. This was in 2003. I want to go back.
aeiger is offline  
Nov 1st, 2007, 02:29 PM
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You will have no trouble with English in Croatia. We were told while there a couple of years ago, that English is a compulsory subject in Croatian schools. Everyone under about age 50 has had at least some exposure to English, and if they can't answer in English they will quickly give a shout to someone who can.

You should have absolutely no trouble in Croatia from a security standpoint, either. I have seldom met a friendlier of more helpful population. It was explained to me by a family we stayed with, that the war had deepened the bond that Croatians already had for others, as they supported each other throughout that terrible war. That spirit of going the extra mile is extended to visitors to their fine country.

Enjoy your stay!

nukesafe is offline  
Nov 1st, 2007, 02:32 PM
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You'd be crazy NOT to go to Croatia. Croatia and Scotland are my two favourite countries in the world. It is extremely safe. May is a wonderful time to go - it can get very hot.

You can certainly get by in English. We did encounter several people who did not speak English but we were way out in rural Istria. We love "speaking" with people and do not consider it a drawback but a great adventure. Just memorize some key phrases.

Dubrovnik is not particularly cheap but other parts of the country are. For example, my husband and I stayed in a gorgeous pension for only 30 euros per night (not each, for two of us together) and we had the entire house to ourselves in the country. We were able to pick fresh grapes, pears and veg from their garden. Fresh cheese, olive oil, wine, etc. can easily be picked up at food stands on road corners cheaply. If you do your research you certainly can do it on a budget. Their fresh seafood is out of this world!

We love it so much we are actually looking at properties as we would like to move there.
travel2live2 is offline  
Nov 1st, 2007, 02:52 PM
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Of the 20 or so countries I have visited in Europe, Croatia probably had the most English spoken (with the exception of the UK and Ireland, of course) of any of them. You will be absolutely fine. We found it easier to travel around in then Italy. Its actually become quite a popular tourist destination, especially on these boards. We went last year and had a blast.

tcreath is offline  
Nov 1st, 2007, 03:44 PM
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I agree with all the previous posts - Croatia is a fantastic place to travel: beautiful scenery, friendly people and easy public transportation all help.

About the expenses -- compared to other European destinations, food and transportation seemed relatively inexpensive, but shopping seemed more expensive to me.

mcm3f is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2007, 05:41 AM
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Thanks to you all. This just confirms what I have know to be true for the past 8 years I have visited this site. People here love to travel and are very willing to give their valued advice. It really makes me angry when other "outsiders" try to pass their fear of the "unknown" to others. I am talking of highly educated people. Not those who spend their entire life living under a rock. That said I am excited to see Croatia. I now need to narrow down the are and the cost of the trip before I can decide. I will let you all know what happens. Keep sending advice if you like I love to read it.
aj is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2007, 10:36 AM
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aj, I understand where you are coming from. Although Croatia has become more popular, and we on fodors know its safe because we love to travel, many still consider the former Yugoslavia countries to be war-torn and perhaps dangerous. I had all kinds of interesting questions and comments from people when I told them I was going to Croatia. And I just took a war and terror class where we discussed the media's role in manipulating our thoughts on a particular country or region and many admitted that they too would be nervous to go to Croatia because of this. So what did I do? I took my pictures in and showed them that Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro and Bosnia are not scary but beautiful and just explained how wonderful these countries were.

Go and have a great time!!

tcreath is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2007, 11:23 AM
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May I chime in with my comments....I began travel to all of Eastern and Central Europe long before it became popular (70's and 80's..all by automoble. As for the former Yugoslavia (and specifically Croatia), when the roads were potholed and there was little or no tourism, wife and I felt as comfortable as in any other European country...only knowing a few words and phrases. The people, especially, were welcoming and helpful. After the war, when the relative peace returned, we also returned to Slovenia, Serbia, Bosnia and Croatia...found nothing changed except the influx of tourists...and new red tile replacement roofing in Dub (due to the shelling of the 90's)

I say, go! and you will enjoy every aspect of the country (try Slovenia, also). Please consider's the far better way to see it all in an independent, more carefree manner.

Stu T.
tower is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2007, 11:26 AM
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Just another ditto here--I've been three times and Croatia is a leave your doors unlocked kind of place (of course don't really do that). You will actually be surprised how crowded and popular it is.
As far as costs, it is not "cheap" by any stretch, but with the private accomodations system you get a lot more for your money (wonderful apartments with amazing views at a pittance--especially compared with western europe).
If you prefer public transportation, I have zero complaints about the bus and ferry systems. You only need a car if you are exploring the interior in my opinion, for a first trip hitting the coastal highlights, it is not a necessesity. I recommend: Dubrovnik, the Peljesac peninsula and Korcula, Lastovo island (veeeery quiet), Vis, Trogir/Split, Hvar.
Definitely learn at least the pleasantries in Croatian--it is appreciated.

yorkshire is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2007, 11:40 AM
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Go! Run to your computer and book your flight!

I spent 10 days in Croatia last year and absolutely LOVED it. It's high on my "return to someday" list!

You mentioned staying along the coast, but I also recommend at least seeing Plitvice National Park. It was simply beautiful.

I also stayed on the island of Hvar for 4 nights and wouldn't hesitate in recommending that as a nice place to spend some time. I stayed right in Hvar town, and got to see some of the "jet set" lifestyle
The remainder of my time there was spent in Dubrovnik with a day trip to Montenegro...I would go back in a heartbeat!
LowCountryIslander is offline  

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