Pickpocketing, credit card use, cash withdrawals
Dubrovnik in particular and Croatia in general is comperatively a safe destination for travellers to visit and explore, even at late hours at night. Pickpocketing, theft, robbery and other crimes are almost unheard of except probably in the larger capital city Zagreb. Be extra careful when travelling in crowded local buses or in crowded areas especially at popular tourist attractions where there are many local and foreign tourists. Lock your passport (when not in use), your travel documents, expensive jewelleries and extra cash not required for the day in hotel's safe deposit box.Related to:
- Family Travel
Most of those who are...
Most of those who are traveling by car might be surprised with the 'quality' of our roads, therefore drive carefully. As most of the other Mediterraneans, Croats are convinced to be the best drivers that excisting. Another bad habbit is that in some small coastal places locals drives like crazy, pretending that roads are their property only.
Besides, in rural zone's beware on tractors, it can suddenly appear in front of your car just like a ghost!
Moreover, in some interior zones you can still notice the signs for MINE WARNINGS. Respect it!Related to:
- Family Travel
Bad blue boys.
If you go to see a football game with Croatia Zagreb, then watch out for the teams fanatics.
They are called the bad blue boys and they are some of the worst hooligans in Europe.
Their grafitti is seen all over zagreb too and sometimes in other parts of the country aswell.
These guys are real nutters and not to be played with and i strongly suggest to stay away from them if they come around as they are worse than any hooligans you will encounter in England.
Most businesses in Croatia do not have credit card machines. Make sure you always have local currency with you (kun). This includes restaurants, shops and even some hotels. Not all places will also take euros either.Related to:
- Budget Travel
Beware Navicula Yacht Tours
A chartered boat cruise can be a great way to see Croatia, but be careful when making your plans. Early in 2008, eight of us (all mid-30s) chartered a yacht for a one-week sail along the Croatian coast in late April. We booked the boat charter through Navicula (www.navicula.hr) - a company we understood to be reputable.
The day of our departure from the U.S. - literally as we boarded our flight in Boston - we received an email from Navicula explaining that our boat had been damaged and they were canceling the charter. So, with 12 hours notice, and several travelers en route from all parts of the US, Navicula canceled our charter and refused to provide alternative accommodations.
Luckily, while on a layover in London, we found a boat and captain (www.lazywinch.com & Captain Paul Scowen) that were able to accommodate us at the last second. Paul saved our trip and we will never be able to thank him enough.
But the story doesn't end there. After returning to the States we discovered Navicula never refunded our money (US $12,500). We have called and emailed dozens of time to no avail. Not even the courtesy of a response. Therefore, we highly recommend that you avoid doing business with Navicula. As an aside – in our desperate attempts to get through to these people, we noticed that they operate numerous vacation rentals, "luxury estates", boat charters, real estate investment, and car rentals in Europe under the Navicula and Tisno Tour names (available via numerous online directory postings published by a person named Natko Prosenikliev).
That said, Croatia is a beautiful country and we cannot speak highly enough of Captain Paul and his First Mate, Tea - the folks from Lazy Winch who came to our rescue. They are completely accommodating, and will cook fabulous meals on board and/or point you in the direction of the best local dining spots ashore. We elected to pick the boat up in the town of Marina and then sail south along the shore, back to Dubrovnik - spending each afternoon and evening on a different island. It was a fantastic way to experience the country.
Getting in and out of the Adriatic along much of Croatia's coast can be a bit tricky with so many rocks and stones under foot.Check my tip on"Essential purchases" about what to put on your feet! And also check my "Warning" tip about sea urchins.
Sandals on the sea shore!
Find a pair of rubber sandals on the markets or in the shops that might help with walking on the rocky shores of the Adriatic and also perhaps avoid some of the sea urchins sticking their spiky spines in your soft tender feet when going into the water. It's not difficult to see them living under the surface against the rocks. Having said this, I still got spikes in my leg when I swam one day while wearing the sandals. To remove the spines from skin it helps to use olive oil to loosen them. "If they are not removed they will become infected" says my travel book tip. I carried my little urchin spikes for a couple of weeks after my return from Croatia and they didn't become infected, they just came out naturally.
Credit Card Skimming - Dubrovnik
Just had a couple of great weeks on Croatian coast. People great, loved it. But phoning my wife 2 weeks in she asked why I was drawing lots of cash in France and Morocco! Turns out one of the two ATM cash machines I used my Visa card in in Dubrovnik must have skimmed my card and pin number then gone international. Watch the stand alone Airport ATMs and the ones in Stradun - Dubrovnik's main street. Can't say which was the problem. Visa reimbursed promptly once I told them but are NZ$7000 down. I was, I thought, alone at the machines so it must be sophisticated. May be best to go into bank branches for cash. Or check bank transactions on line frequently. Used my ordinary 'Plus' system bankcard in other machines with no problem. Visa said it seem to be a problem in Croatia.Related to:
- Women's Travel
Pay special attention to them. These small thorny creatures could ruin your vacation! If you don’t want to pick huge thorns out of your foot or find yourself in the hospital, then put on special shoes or examine sea floor.Related to:
- Water Sports
The Highway to Dubrovnik - Bring your Passport!
Call it ignorance, or call it what you want, but read this tip and don't get screwed like we almost did.
There is a strip of about 5KM between Makarska and Dubrovnik that leaves the country and entered into Bosnia. It is because there is a coast town called Neum that is part of Bosnia Hercegovina. There is a border crossing and they check passports.
We passed through because our rented car had Dubrovnik plates...going one way, but we were checked the other way....so not having the passports and getting caught could have turned our day trip to Dubrovnik into a nightmare.
Not many sandy beaches
We did not find Beaches in Croatia to be particularly good. The coastline, lined with a miriad of islets and inlets, is indeed beautiful, but disappointing if you are looking for the classical sandy beach. Some seaside resorts have built a sort of concrete terrases where people can sunbathe, but it can never compare to a real beach.
During the Homeland War (1991-1995), millions of landmines were scattered along the conflict zone by both Croatian and Serb forces. The Croatian government has done a good job of demining the major tourist areas and the main routes to them. Unfortunately, the plans to make the country mine free by 2009 are a dream; some estimates now place the end of the job after 2050. Zagreb and the Adriatic coast are safe, but portions of some of the national parks in Northern Dalmatia and areas along the road from Karlovac to Plitvitce are still thought to suffer from mine contamination. The A1 autoroute from Karlovac to Split runs along the conflict zone for many miles, which should be kept in mind if you're tempted to get off the autoroute and explore a bit. Western and Eastern Slavonia also are heavily contaminated, especially places like Lipik and Pakrac in the former and Vukovar in the latter. When in doubt, ask the locals about "mina" or "razminiranje" (demining) and keep your eyes peeled for signs with skull-and-crossbones on a red triangle with black lettering saying "NE PRILAZITE" ("No Entering," which appeared in large numbers only after 2000). The Croatian Mine Action Centre is the best resource for travelers determined to get off the beaten track. Church yards, cemeteries, and wells seem to have been favorite places to set landmines. A good rule of thumb is NEVER to venture into overgrown areas or abandoned/war damaged structures and certainly not onto unbeaten tracks in known conflict zones!Related to:
- Road Trip
- Hiking and Walking
If you intend to go swimming in the Adriatic here's a warning for you. There are hardly any sandy beaches but mostly pebbled (or even concrete) beaches. If you - like me - are a whimp when it comes to walking on big spiky pebbles, get yourself some swim shoes. They are also helpful to avoid contact with sea urchins...
No need to get them before you come here, the cheap version of them is sold everywhere on the street markets in the coastal towns. If only I had read my own tip before trying to walk into water. Ouch! (In the end I survived by wearing my flipflops!)
Oh and, don't worry because of the pebbled beaches, I actually liked it because you don't have sand in your eyes, between your teeth and in your camera after having been to the beach... plus the water is crystal-clear!Related to:
Having vivsited Croatia - Zadar,Split,Viz, Komiza,i was constantly amazed by the rudeness of the people which was above all shocking and never ever let up.I was so taken aback that we retreated to out apartment and cooked in as the service was so bad and to add the food so appalling.It was maybe the only time I have toatally regretted a holiday.For the most part it is an ugly country,the food is bad, the wine is undrinkable and the people are foul.My advice - do not gto there.Related to:
- Family Travel
- Luxury Travel
Politics/Nationalism: Avoid discussions
Don't discuss politics or history with people you don't know well, especially outside of urban and tourist areas. The war may be over, but under the surface there is raw and sometimes extreme nationalism throughout a large part of society. In some people, there still seems to be an active and violent hatred of the former war opponents (especially Serbs), and it's possible to meet people openly praising the horrific Ustasha regime of WW2 (which was basically the local Nazi branch) and the convicted war criminals of the recent wars.
Be friendly, nod, smile, but don't let anyone draw you into discussions about the wars in the 1990s or even WW2 -- you may be in for very emotional and even aggressive exchanges. Never call the local language "Serbo-Croatian" (it's now "Croatian"), be careful about mentioning if you're going to or coming from Serbia and Montenegro.
You certainly will meet lots of very nice, open-minded Croats, but don't take chances, and don't let this kind of stuff spoil your vacation.Related to:
- Road Trip
- Budget Travel
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