| ||INFORMATION STATION|
|Facts at a Glance|
| ||Full country name: Republic of Croatia|
Area: 56,538 sq km (22,049 sq mi)
Population: 4.437 million
Capital city: Zagreb (pop: 777,000)
People: Croats (78%), Serbs (12%), Slavic Muslims, Hungarians, Slovenes
Languages: Croatian, Serbian, Italian, Slovene
Religion: Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox
Government: Parliamentary democracy
President: Stipe Mesic
Croatia is located on the north-eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea, bordered by Slovenia and Hungary to the north, Yugoslavia to the east and Bosnia-Hercegovina to the south and east. The republic is twice the size of Belgium and swings around like a boomerang from the Pannonian plains of Slavonia, across hilly central Croatia to the Istrian Peninsula and the rugged Adriatic Coast. The southernmost portion of Croatia's Adriatic Coast, including the town of Dubrovnik, is separated from the rest of the country by a knuckle of Bosnia-Hercegovina.
Croatia's main tourist attraction has always been its beaches. The country has 1778km (1103mi) of coastline; 5790km (3590mi) if you count the islands. Most of the beaches, however, are slabs of rock rather than sand. The country's offshore islands are as beautiful as those in Greece. There are 1185 of them, 66 of which are inhabited.
Croatia has seven excellent national parks. Brijuni, near Pula, is the most carefully cultivated, with well-preserved Mediterranean holm oak forests. Mountainous Risnjak National Park is home to lynx, while the dense forests of Paklenica National Park harbour insects, reptiles and birds, including the endangered griffon vulture. At Plitvice Lakes National Park you'll find bears, wolves and deer.
The climate varies from Mediterranean along the Adriatic coast to continental inland. The sunny coastal areas have hot, dry summers and mild, rainy winters. The high coastal mountains help to shield the coast from cold northerly winds, making for an early spring and a late autumn. In Zagreb, average daily high temperatures peak at 27°C (80°F) in July and drop to 2°C (35°F) in January.
| ||GDP: US$202.6 billion |
GDP per head: US$4.566
Annual growth: 3.7%
Major industries: Steel, cement, chemicals, fertilisers, textiles
Major trading partners: EU( esp. Germany, Italy), Slovenia
Member of EU: No
|Facts for the Traveler|
| ||Visas: Citizens of Australia, Canada, Ireland, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, the UK, the USA and most continental European countries can enter Croatia for stays of up to 90 days without a visa.|
Health risks: None
Time: GMT/UTC plus 1 hour
Electricity: 220V, 50Hz
Weights & measures: Metric
|Money & Costs|
| ||Currency:Croatian kuna (HRK)|
Budget: US$4-8Mid-range: US$8-20Top-end: US$20 and upwards
Budget: US$12-20Mid-range: US$20-50Top-end: US$50 and upwards
The government deliberately overvalues the kuna to obtain cheap foreign currency. Hotel prices are quoted in Deutschemarks and thus are fairly constant, though you actually pay in Croatian kuna calculated at the daily official rate. Budget accommodation is in short supply but transport, food, and concert and theatre tickets are reasonably priced. It's not that hard to travel around Croatia on US$35 a day if you stay in hostels or private rooms - even less if you camp. Double that if you want to travel in comfort and triple it if you want to indulge in a little luxury.
There are numerous places to change money, all offering similar rates. Exchange offices charge commission but some banks do not. Banks are the only place you can change kuna back into hard currency. You can get a cash advance on your credit card at banks throughout the country, though Visa credit cards are not accepted by all banks.
If you're served well at a restaurant, round up the bill unless a service charge has already been added. Bar bills and taxi fares should also be rounded up. Tour guides also expect to be tipped.
|When to Go|
May to September are the best months to visit Croatia weather-wise, though July and August can be busy along the Adriatic coast. September is probably the optimum month since by then the crowds have thinned out, off-season rates apply and fruits such as figs and grapes are abundant. In April and October it may be too cool for camping, but the weather is usually fine along the coast and private rooms are plentiful and inexpensive. You can swim in the sea from mid-June to late September.
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