Etiquette & Customs (in short)
The Croatians have a formal and reserved attitude to practices and attitudes.
Try to learn as much Croatian you can before you arrive, or at least so many simple words you can, like “Hello”: Bok (bohk), “Thank you”: Hvala (HVAH-lah) or “Goodbye”: Doviđenja (doh-vee-JEH-nyah) or Zbogom (ZBOH-gohm)
This shows, that you are willing to learn their language. You can learn more here.
- A handshake, direct eye contact and the appropriate greeting for the time of day are standard
- Address people with their honorific titles and surname. If you are unsure of titles, use “Gospodin” for Mr., “Gospodja” for Mrs. and “Gospodice” for Miss)
- Only close friends and family members tend to use first names. Never jump to first names terms without being invited to
- Close friends may greet each other with an embrace and a kiss on each cheek. Again, wait until the Croatian initiates this form of greeting
- At social gatherings hosts introduce guests, usually starting with the women and then moving on to the men in a rough approximation of age order, oldest to youngest
Gift Giving Etiquette:
- If invited to someone’s house, bring flowers for the hostess. The host may be given a box of chocolates or a bottle of good wine.
- Do not give chrysanthemums as they are used at funerals and for gravestones
- When giving flowers, make sure there are an odd number of stems
- Gifts are generally opened when received
- Wait to be shown where to sit
- Table manners are Continental, i.e. the fork is held in the left hand and the knife in the right while eating
- Put your napkin on your lap as soon as you sit down
- Do not begin eating until the host signals to begin
- Leaving a small amount of food on your plate indicates that you are finished eating
Should you leave a tip in restaurants or bars?
You can leave a tip, but you don’t have to.
As in many European countries, the bill includes a service charge. So make sure to check the bill itself; there is no need to leave any extra tip in addition to this amount. A service charge is not the same as a tip.
People sometimes give 5 or 10% of the bill as a tip or round up to an even number. It depends on how happy you were with the service.
Croatia is generally a peaceful country, but there can always happen thefts of mobile phones, cameras and other valuable things. Be aware of pickpockets around various sights – especially around cathedrals and other places where tourists gather.
Most travellers will not experience any issues or problems on their holiday in Croatia. It can happen, but it can also be prevented by some simple precautions as:
- Do not “flash” cash or expensive items
- Visit only the cash machines during the day or early evening
- Do not leave expensive items visible in the car
Places you should avoid in Zagreb :
- Ribnjak Park – Avoid after dark, it is not safe
- King Tomislav square/park – Use caution, you do need to be careful after dark
Places you should avoid in Split:
- Old town – Use caution, you do need to be careful after dark
Places you should avoid in Rijeka:
- Željeznički kolodvor Rijeka (central station) – Use caution, you do need to be careful after dark
Emergency numbers in Croatia (free call)
In case of any emergency call:
- 112 – National emergency number
- 192 – Police
- 193 – Fire brigade
- 194 – Ambulance
The caller must:
- State the location where assistance is needed
- State their name and telephone number
- State what happened and if it is still happening
- State how many people need help
- State, if there are weapons involved