Tourism has been struggling 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 2022.
Current restrictions and measures:
Last update: May 12th, 2023.
Masks are no longer mandatory in shops, restaurants, public transport, etc. Wearing face masks is only required in hospitals, clinics and pharmacies until June 1st. After this date you can visit health institutions without masks.
Foreigners no longer need to provide any special information on border crossings. COVID passports are not necessary, neither are proof of testing or any other certificate or proof.
Bars and restaurants, hotels and other services and businesses are fully open. There are no other restrictions or requirements in place.
Our initial COVID info/rant is below and will remain as a reminder.
Keep in mind:
Some international flights have been canceled. Booking flights months in advance might not be possible. Look below for more info!
Almost all restrictive measures that were in place have been suspended. A good epidemic outlook and a desperate attempt to salvage our struggling economy are the main reasons why our tourist season is ramping up quickly.
We now supposedly only have a few dozen confirmed cases every day. Our government desperately needs your money and once again will manipulate numbers as required.
Face masks and disinformation
Face masks used to be 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 did 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 town (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 care little about wearing masks either. Financial penalties here are significantly lower than most other countries.
There’s been a lot of disinformation and fearmongering in foreign media. Countries like Austria were 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 2022.
Many airlines do not have updated schedules for upcoming season or months in advance due to all the uncertainty. We recommend looking up flights live to see whether available for your dates.
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 only a few thousand daily infected at most 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.
Despite their otherwise dire state, our public health services were not nearly as overwhelmed.
As of April 2022, we have had over 1.1 million confirmed cases and 15,000 deaths. Over a million of us recovered from COVID-19, and vaccination rates are around 55%.
You can check current stats on https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/#countries.
It’s very questionable how accurate these official 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 may 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-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.
Split General Hospital (KBC Split):
- Address: Spinčićeva ul. 1, 21 000 Split
- Phone: +38521 556 111
- Results can be provided within 12 hours
- KBC Split does NOT provide testing for non-admitted patients and tourists
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 2022?
The question on everyone’s mind is whether they should 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.
2021 was much better and overall tourist visits were at about 90% of pre-COVID. In 2022 we expect the numbers to mostly recover and perhaps even surpass previous years, including those before the outbreak.
We will no doubt have crowded beaches, hotels and bars. 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 traveling until you feel safe.
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.
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.
Supposed lack of infections in 2021 and 2022 is mostly due to smaller number of tests done and manipulating the actual numbers. Keep that in mind.
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 fewer travelers these days you might get to enjoy your visit even more.
- Croatian National Tourist Board – COVID-19 Q&A (recommended read with good overall info)
- United States Embassy in Croatia – COVID-19 Information
- UK Government- Coronavirus travel advice
- Koronavirus.hr – Official government website for coronavirus
- With more than 600.000 foreigners in Croatia, why is the number of infected so low?