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Split may be the largest city on the Dalmatian Coast but it feels quite small within the old palace walls.
Croatia runs on Central European Summer Time (CEST). It’s six hours ahead of New York — non-daylight savings time — and one hour ahead of London.
If you are a U.S. passport holder, you do not need a visa and can stay in Croatia for up to 90 days. European Union (EU) regulations require that U.S. passport holders have no less than three months validity when they depart the country.
All foreign citizens must register with the local police within 24 hours of arrival and inform them of any changes in their address. If you are staying in a hotel or renting through an accommodation company, the hotelier or housing company will register you automatically.
If you are not a U.S. passport holder, you will need to apply for a Tourist visa under Croatian governance, otherwise your entry will be denied. And though Croatia is a part of the EU, its yet to become a member of the Schengen Agreement, so you will need a passport to travel to other European countries.
Travelers are not required to present an EU digital certificate nor any other proof of vaccination when entering Croatia.
The Split Airport is the second busiest airport in Croatia, after Zagreb Airport. It is easily reached by private cars, taxis, and shuttles. The airport is also linked onto the Split suburban railway with a bus line running as well.
The most important mean of transport in Split is bus, as the city is not optimized for trams because of its hilly geography. The Split Suburban Railway network opened in late 2006, and currently has one line, which runs from the Split city harbor to Kaštel Stari. The line is expected to get a second track and be fully electrified in the near future.
Generally, Split is safe for female travelers. Violent crime is rare, and overall crime levels are quite low, making it extremely safe to travel throughout its borders. Still, it’s better to be cautious than risk being a victim of a tourist-aimed attack.
Here are a few safety tips:
- Never leave your drink at night clubs.
- Stay vigilant when walking the streets at night.
- Leave your valuables in a room safe in your hotel.
- Carry a form of identification with you at all times.
Like most Croatian islands, the warmest time of the year is between the summer months of June and August. July is the hottest in Split, with an average high temperature of 86 Fahrenheit (30 Celsius) and low of 74 Fahrenheit (23 Celsius).
The coldest months are between December and February, which is considered the island’s rainy season. Throughout that time, there’s an average rainfall of 10 days in the month of December and January.
Croatian is the official language in Croatia, it belongs in the South Slavic family. Although it may sound very similar to Serbian or Bosnian, but it’s important not to lump them all into one. The accents may not be similar and they may use different vocabularies but due to the past between these countries, you should recognize that Croatians speak Croatian.
English is also widely spoken in Croatia, making it easy for travelers to communicate with locals.
Here are some keywords to know during your trip:
Thank you: Hvala
I’m sorry: Žao mi je
- Don’t walk any Old Walls during peak tourist hours. One thing you’ll notice is that almost every major city has an Old Wall (or Bell Towers in Zagreb and Split.) These stairs are quite narrow and difficult to climb, imagine having to hike and squished with massive tourists in heat. Not fun and quite dangerous.
- Be careful of what you say about Serbia. Since the fall of Yugoslavia, Croatian War of Independence left harsh feelings between Croatians and the Serbs.
- Don’t call Croatia Yugoslavia. Prior to its independence in 1991, Croatia had to fend itself from outside forces including: Hungarian, Habsburg, Ottoman, Venetian, Serbian and Yugoslav. Croatia became truly free after the Bosnian War in the early 90’s. So calling it Yugoslavia would be quite an offense to locals.
- Refer to local language as Croatian, even if it may sound like Serbian, Bosnian and other languages spoken in nearby countries. In general, they can all sound similar but the accents are different. But call it Croatian, not Serbian-Croatian or anything else.
- Avoid the mines. Towards the end of the war, hundreds have been killed due to mine fields. Croatia isn’t expected to be mine-free until 2019. Even if most touristic areas don’t have mines now, if you visit Eastern Slavonia, Brodsko-Posavska County, Karlovac County, or Zadar County, stay on popular paths. Veering off means you may run into mine fields.
The Croatian Kuna is the currency of Croatia. The most popular Croatia Kuna exchange rate is the HRK to EUR rate. The currency code for Kunas is HRK, and the currency symbol is kn.
Tipping ! Tipping roughly 10% is pretty standard in Split, even if there’s a fee tacked on to your bill. If the service exceeded your expectations, placing a 15% gratuity is ideal Croatian etiquette.
During your trip, if you make a purchase of more than 740 kunas then you’re eligible for VAT tax return at the airport. All you have to do is:
- Ask for PDV-P form.
- Fill it out on the spot, then have it stamped by the person you made the purchase from.
- At the airport, show the receipt to the Croatian Customs who will verify the form.
- Your refund will be returned to you in kunas within six months.
Or you can simply buy items that are labeled “Croatia Tax-Free Shopping” in shops.
Electrical supply is 230 volts and 50 hertz AC. Croatia uses the standard European (round-pronged) plugs. Your converter should look like this:
The tap water in Croatia is perfectly safe and drinkable.
Your local cafes and hotels will usually have free and fast internet Wifi. Here are a list of cafes and restaurants in Split that offer free Wifi.
The main cell carriers in Split are T-Hrvatski Telekom (T-HT), Vipnet and Tele2. T-HT is the leading service provider, with almost half of its users in Croatia. Both T-HT and Vipnet offer affordable, short-term and date-heavy tourist packages. You can purchase these packages at the carrier’s official stores, as well as in several convenience stores, souvenir shops and electronic stores around the city.
Taxis are prevalent in most major cities, although once you’re in popular cities including: Split, Hvar and Dubrovnik; you won’t need cars to get around since everything is within walking distance. In many cities, taxis are far more expensive than Uber (such as: Dubrovnik) so check the prices first before choosing one over the other. Before getting in taxis, always ask for the estimate price first to prevent from being overcharged.
Uber is used, in addition to taxi apps like:
LGBTQ rights all around Croatia have expanded vastly in recent years. The gay scene is tolerated highly, if not widely accepted in the city. But even with many recent efforts, LGBTQ members may still face some social challenges. Though not permitted, showing extreme public displays of affection (PDA) are better to be limited.
Split is located on a peninsula between the eastern part of the Gulf of Kaštela and the Split Channel. Marjan, a frequently visited site in Split, is a hill on the peninsula of the city. It is covered in a dense Mediterranean pine forest and completely surrounded by the city and the sea, making it unique and quite gorgeous.
FOR THE PLANNERS:
Try to stay within the palace walls, or Old Town. It'll make walking around to explore easier.
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