Tourism has been almost non-existent ever since corona virus started spreading throughout Europe in early 2020. All countries closed their borders and started enforcing various measures to contain the spread of the virus.
Croatia initially had one of the most restrictive measures out of all the countries in the world. This resulted in a positive epidemic outlook in the first half of 2020, but numbers have grown since then.
This page will be continuously updated with latest information to give you an idea of what to expect if you plan on visiting Split and Dubrovnik regions in 2021.
Keep in mind:
Many international flights have been canceled. Booking flights months in advance might not be possible. Look below for more info!
Upcoming elections and a desperate attempt to salvage a struggling economy will likely open Croatia to all tourists this year.
Most of the restrictive measures that were in place have been suspended. A very good epidemic outlook and a desperate attempt to salvage our struggling economy are the main reasons why our tourist season is ramping up quickly.
Most days over the first few months of 2021 we had several thousand newly infected with COVID-19. This number is expected to (officially) drop drastically in June once our tourist season ramps up. Our government desperately needs your money and once again will manipulate numbers as required.
Current restrictions and measures:
Last update: April 1st, 2021.
Tourists need to provide proof of reservation of accommodation at border. A print-out of your booking receipt should be sufficient. You will not be able to enter the country without this. You will also need to provide your phone number to authorities.
Foreigners who travel to their own property in Croatia must show proof of ownership to border police.
Foreigners entering Croatia do not have to go through a mandatory quarantine anymore. Check with your country’s ministry of foreign affairs, State Department, or other relevant agency or institution to ensure you have up to date information.
Travelers from countries not part of the EU must provide a negative COVID-19 test no older than 48 hours. Alternatively you can go into a 14-day quarantine, or 7 days if you pay for COVID-19 testing upon arrival.
Many hotels and camps are still closed. If you have a long-standing reservation, make sure it is still valid.
Bars and restaurants are open but can only serve customers outside. These businesses need to go through extra precautions such as a set distance between tables, cleaning all tables and chairs after every customer, etc.
Tourists entering Croatia can fill out this form on entercroatia.mup.hr to provide details of their visit. This will save some time since you won’t need to fill out the form again while entering the country.
Tourists from the following countries no longer need to provide a reason for entering: Slovenia, Hungary, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Germany.
Wearing a face mask is now required in all shops, stores, government bureaus, and services such as hair salons. Masks are not mandatory for customers sitting in bars and restaurants. More below!
Face masks and disinformation
Face masks are mandatory for employees and passengers in public transport, employees and customers in stores and shops, and employees in restaurants and bars. Customers in bars and restaurants do not need to wear face masks while seated.
An interesting observation. Foreign media has frequently been “shocked” and “appalled” how Croats don’t wear face masks at all while outside. I have seen literally one person walking with a face mask during my 5-day stay in Istria’s Porec (avoid it!) last summer. It was an older gentleman, and he took it off as soon as he sat down in a restaurant.
Croats are traditionally stubborn and reckless so there’s no surprise we are not wearing masks all the time. Not something easily done in 32°C either. I’m not sure what everyone else’s excuse is, but the fact is tourists don’t care about wearing masks either.
There’s a lot of disinformation and fearmongering in foreign media right now. Countries like Austria are actively running marketing campaigns telling their residents not to visit Croatia, but instead stay (and more importantly spend money) in their own country. Their media is literally posting fake news: one year old news about polluted sea is being presented as last week’s.
Yes, our sea got polluted too many times last year. Yes, Croats do not wear face masks unless mandatory. You should not trust our corrupt and lying government and institutions and their official number of COVID-19 infections.
You should stay at home if you are truly concerned about COVID-19. However there is likely not a greater chance of getting infected in Croatia compared to many other countries.
Flights to Croatia
Cross-border air travel is close to resuming fully. Foreigners can travel to Croatia via car or ferries from Italy. Most flights have been resumed last summer as our tourist season ramped up. Many of these flights got canceled in September due to lesser demand, but are expected to return in 2021.
Most airlines do not have updated schedules for upcoming season, but we will update accordingly once information is confirmed.
Most flights to Croatia which were available in previous years are expected to return this summer. You can look up live flights from the embedded search below:
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Croatia was initially doing quite well managing the outbreak compared to many other countries. For a country of less than 4 million, having 2,000 infected before July last year was a very small number. Our neighbor Italy has struggled a lot in containing the COVID-19 outbreak and was one of the most seriously affected countries in the world. Our public health services were not nearly as overwhelmed.
As of April 1st 2021, we have 271,632 confirmed cases and 5,947 deaths. Population wise, this is 66,473 cases and 1,455 deaths per million. You can check current stats on https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/#countries.
It’s somewhat questionable how accurate these numbers were in 2020. We had an election campaign where it was in the leading party’s best interest to produce lower numbers and make the voters feel like they are doing a good job battling the epidemic. We had extremely little testing done, in fact we were one of the countries with lowest number of tests done in Europe.
Croatian institute of Public Health has the following recommendations and instructions for travelers. See if you can spot which of their advice we changed with our own honest views.
- Practice good hygiene, keep a 1.5 meter physical distance from others, and wear a mask covering both your nose and mouth when outside.
- Avoid using public transport.
- Avoid grouping and public gatherings.
- Prepare your own food, or use delivery services.
- Avoid using cash – use online services or credit card payments when possible.
- It’s recommended to stay at home or your accommodation if your body temperature exceeds 37.2 degrees.
- If you have any coronavirus symptoms such as coughing, sore throat, high temperature, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, you should stay at your accommodation. They also recommend contacting a local epidemiologist, but even if you can manage to get them to answer the phone they will likely be of no help.
- If you have sudden onset of life-threatening symptoms, you should contact emergency medical services. Make sure to avoid telling them if you suspect the corona virus, otherwise they are likely to ignore your call and never come. This is not a joke.
Split COVID-19 testing locations
Map below will show you where to get COVID-19 test in Croatia:
COVID-19 test in Split can be done in three different locations:
Split General Hospital (KBC Split):
- Address: Spinčićeva ul. 1, 21 000 Split
- Phone: +38521 556 111
- Results can be provided within 12 hours
Split-Dalmatia County Public Health Institute (NZJZ Splitsko-dalmatinske županije):
- Address: Vukovarska ul. 46, 21 000 Split
- Working hours: 7:30h – 15:30h
- Drive-in testing available, results in 24-48 hours
Mertojak Health Center (Dom zdravlja Mertojak):
- Address: Doverska Ul. 2, 21000 Split
- Phone: +38521 669 264
- Working hours: 7h – 15h
- Drive-in testing available. No information available on wait time.
Prices of coronavirus testing at these locations in Split Croatia range from 500-700kn (€66 – €93). I highly recommend bringing cash and Croatian Kunas.
Dubrovnik COVID-19 testing locations also has three different sites:
Dubrovnik-neretva county Public Health Institute (ZJZ Dubrovačko-neretvanske županije):
- Address: Ul. dr. Ante Šercera 4a, 20 000 Dubrovnik
- Phone: +385 20 341 000
- No drive-in testing available, results within 6 hours.
Dubrovnik General Hospital (Opća bolnica Dubrovnik):
- Address: Dr. Roka Mišetića 2, 20 000 Dubrovnik
- Working hours: 8h – 9h
- Phone: +38520 431 731
- Results can be provided within 12 hours
Dubrovnik Health Center (Dom zdravlja Dubrovnik):
- Address: Dr. Ante Starčevića 1, 20 000 Dubrovnik
- Working hours: 8h – 20h
- Phone: +385 99 52 91 888, +385 20 641613
- Testing will not be done if you just show up on this location. Drive-in testing is done on a different location. Mandatory call and appointment is required here!
Coronavirus testing in Dubrovnik is priced at €200.
Generally you shouldn’t expect your COVID testing results the same day so plan accordingly.
Should you travel in 2021?
The question is, should you even travel to Split or Dubrovnik while corona is still posing a threat. The truth is, many people will be traveling regardless. Tourism will resume as soon as borders open and restrictions loosen. The numbers will be significantly different and we will certainly not see yet another record season, but a vacation is exactly what many need in this rough time.
In June 2020 overnight stays dropped 76% compared to 2019. July was around 50% of 2019’s results. August is usually our biggest month and we saw a 30% drop in tourist numbers. Visitors were coming but it also means there is greater risk in traveling.
In 2021 we expect this number to be even lower. Whether that means you are more or less safe to visit this year compared to previous is up to you.
Healthy individuals in most cases do not get serious complications due to corona virus. If you have preexisting conditions, a compromised immune system or are otherwise at risk it might be best to avoid travel this year.
For everyone else, Croatia should be just as safe as any other country. Visit Croatia at your own risk, just remember not to trust any official numbers coming from our corrupt government institutions.
Regardless of what our public health or interior affairs officials say, be cautious and understand that unless you received a vaccine you are still at risk. And of course not even that is a guarantee.
That being said, initially extremely restrictive measures did result in a fairly good epidemic outlook in Croatia in the early months of 2020. But an election campaign, reckless government and corrupt institutions with politically motivated decisions means we were slowly being added to many countries’ do-not-visit lists. COVID-19 infections have been rampant for months and visiting Croatia is not without risk.
One bright side of the epidemic is that the streets of Split and Dubrovnik are relatively empty compared to previous years. Normally these cities would be packed with tourists, but with so few traveling these days you might get to enjoy your visit even more.
- United States Embassy in Croatia – COVID-19 Information
- UK Government- Coronavirus travel advice
- Koronavirus.hr – Official government website for coronavirus
- Croatian National Tourist Board – COVID-19 Q&A
- With more than 600.000 foreigners in Croatia, why is the number of infected so low?