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Croatia: Dubrovnik and the Dalmatian Coast - FAQ
With such a rich and varied itinerary and so many aspects to touring Croatia, it's easy to feel overwhelmed and unsure about where to start preparing for your Dubrovnik and the Dalmatian Coast tour. We are here to help. Below, you'll find some useful information you'll need as you get ready for your Croatian adventure.
Croatia is 6 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time in the United States. Like most European countries, Croatia has daylight savings time which lasts from late March to late September. It moves its clocks ahead an hour in late spring and an hour back in the fall, corresponding roughly to daylight saving time in the United States, but the exact dates vary. When it's noon in Croatia, it's 6 a.m. in New York and 3 a.m. in San Francisco.
There are many great souvenirs to bring back with you from Croatia, so make sure you have space left in your suitcase and pack light. You do not need formal clothing for this trip. We'll be visiting several islands off the Dalmatian Coast, so you should bring mostly "beachy" style clothes, as well as a swimsuit.
Visitors from the US, Canada and Australia need a valid passport, but visas are not required for Americans, Canadians or Australians visiting for less than 3 months. If you are a citizen of another E.U. country, you do not need a passport, only an identity card. Your passport must be valid for at least 3 months after the date you intend to leave the European Union. Before traveling abroad it's a good idea to make two photocopies of your passport, your driver's license and your credit cards. Leave one copy at home with a trusted person and another in your suitcase.
|ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE INFORMATION |
This tour starts at the Zagreb International Airport (airport code ZAG) and ends at the Dubrovnik International Airport (airport code DBV). The tour starts in Zagreb on Friday, May 24, 2019 at 4:00PM, and your flight should arrive no later than 1:00PM. That means that you'll probably depart North America on Thursday, May 23, 2019. If you are prone to jet lag and travel fatigue, we recommend arriving a day early. We have arranged for private airport transfers on arrival in accordance with your flight arrival time, and you will be met by a chauffeur on your arrival. The tour will end in Dubrovnik on Sunday, June 2, 2019, and we'll arrange for a private airport transfer in accordance with your flight departure time. If you need help with your flights to Zagreb or from Dubrovnik, please feel free to give us a call.
To avoid jet lag, drink plenty of nonalcoholic fluids and eat light meals during your flight. Upon arrival, get exposure to natural sunlight, exercise and readjust your schedule (for meals, sleep and so on) as soon as possible.
The Croatia tour group is limited to the maximum of 16 women + the tour director. The minimum group size is 6 women + the tour director. However, because we have only 12 rooms available on this tour, if there are a lot of people requesting a single room, we may have a smaller group. In addition to the tour director, the travelers will be assisted by private local guides, museum docents, boat captains and bus drivers, who will be sharing their insights about Croatia with the group throughout the tour.
No special vaccinations are required to enter Croatia, and mosquitoes generally do not carry malaria. Bees and wasps are commonplace, especially on some islands and where beekeeping is an industry. Croatian food generally is not spicy, so gastric sensitivities are rarely triggered by the national cuisine. However, if you have fish or shellfish allergies, be sure to ask about ingredients, especially when dining on the coast. Restaurants serving vegetarian choices are becoming more commonplace, especially in larger cities, but you can find cheese burek or plain pasta almost anywhere. Sea urchin needles and sharp rocks pose the greatest health hazards to swimmers in Croatia, especially around rockier beaches. It is best to wear rubber swim shoes both on the beach and in the water. Summer in Croatia can be very hot, especially in the southern regions. Be sure to drink lots of water and use sunscreen.
Tap water is potable throughout Croatia. Alternatively, you can easily buy inexpensive bottled water throughout the country.
Croatian restrooms are equipped with the standard Western-style toilets. There are very few free-standing public restrooms in Croatia, but most restaurants and public buildings have them and will let you use them if you make a purchase. Public restrooms can be found in bus and train stations, and you will usually pay 2 to 3HRK to the attendant, so you should always have some coins in the local currency with you to pay for them.
Croatia generally is very safe for travelers. Theft and crimes against persons are not commonplace. However, you should exercise caution anytime you're out and about in an unfamiliar area after dark wherever you are. Visitors should carry limited cash and credit cards and should leave extra cash, credit cards, and personal documents in the hotel safe. Taking a few simple precautions will minimize travelers’ chances of being targeted. Photocopy your passport, credit cards, plane tickets, driver’s license, and other important documents – leave one copy at home and keep another one with you, separate from the originals. Take only what you need on busy sightseeing days and use the hotel safe.
Women do not face any particular travel difficulties in Croatia. They are treated with courtesy and respect in both big cities and small towns. However, female visitors who go out in public looking unkempt might earn a few disapproving looks because Croatian women take great pride in their appearance and what they wear. If any church visits are planned, remember that women are expected to wear tops with sleeves and bottoms that fall beneath the knees. Churches and some museums post their dress codes and they will turn you away if you are not in compliance. Carrying a light weight scarf in your purse can come in handy to cover your shoulders or tie around your waist as a skirt.
During the Dubrovnik and the Dalmatian Coast Tour, we will travel by private bus. We will also be walking quite a bit. To be able to fully enjoy the tour and participate in scheduled activities, you need to be able to walk, at a leisurely pace, up to 5 miles throughout the day, sometimes on cobbled streets and uneven surfaces. You should be able to stand unassisted for up to 30 minutes, you should be able to climb stairs, get in and out of vehicles, including boats, without assistance and manage your own luggage without assistance. Overall, this trip is not strenuous, although it is busy. You must be prepared for a couple of full days and some early starts.
May is one of the most beautiful months in Croatia, abundant in spring flowers and blue skies. June, on the other hand, is one of the warmest months of the year on the Dalmatian Coast. During the day, average temperatures can reach a high of around 72°F, with lows of 55°F and an average of 12 hours of sunshine per day. The average rainfall during May is only 62mm over 8 days, so you are very likely to experience warm, dry weather during your stay. Split has a Mediterranean climate with dry, hot summers and is characterized by rising daily high temperatures increasing from the 60's to the 70's over the course of the month. Temperatures in Zagreb are similar, although the climate is warm, humid and temperate with no dry season.
Croatia's cities have Internet access available in internet cafes, hotel lobbies and in some public places. Internet access in rural areas may be available, but it varies widely. Cellular phone coverage is generally very good in Croatia's cities and metropolitan areas, although expect limited coverage in remote or mountainous areas. All hotels where we’ll be staying have WiFi Internet available for their guests.
Voltage in Croatia is 220 volts AC (50 cycles) and the plug is the typical European plug with two round prongs. If you are bringing only "travel" electronics, such as a smart phone, a camera, a laptop, a Kindle or an iPad, they are dual voltage, and only need an adapter. Electronics which are not "meant for travel", may need a converter, as well. Many stores in North America sell the appropriate converters and adapters, and they can also be purchased on arrival at the Zagreb airport. Converters are sometimes referred to as "transformers". If you bring a hair dryer, it should be a dual-voltage one, and you'll need an adapter plug. Any heat generating appliances that you bring (curling iron) will need a voltage converter, and they may still not work properly with the different voltage.
Croatian is a Slavic language spoken by around 7 million people. It is the official language of Croatia and one of the official languages of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Croatian is almost identical to Serbian. Most residents of major Croatian cities speak English, and since tourism is such a big part of Croatian economy, everyone who works in hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions also speaks English.
The Croatian national currency is the Kuna (kn or HRK), which comes in notes of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, and 1,000. One Kuna equals 100 lipa, and coins with values of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 lipa and 1, 2, 5, and 25 Kuna are in circulation. Croatia became a member of the European Union on July 1, 2014, so many Croatian businesses are beginning to list their prices in Euros and Kuna, though Euros are not yet widely accepted. Foreign currency can be exchanged at post offices, banks, and exchange offices. Numerous hotels and travel agencies also will exchange currency, but beware of the service charges, which can be as high as 3% - 5%. Warning: Kunas and Euros are very similar in looks but dissimilar in value: One Euro is worth seven times as much as one Kuna. Be sure you separate the two and keep the currencies in separate compartments of your wallet. The easiest and best way to get cash in Croatia is from an ATM (automated teller machine, aka Bankomat in Croatia). Be sure you know your 4-digit personal identification number (PIN) before you leave home, and be sure to find out your daily withdrawal limit before you depart. Also keep in mind that most banks impose a fee every time a card is used at another bank's ATM, and that fee can be higher for international transactions ($5 or more) than for domestic ones. On top of this, the bank from which you withdraw cash may charge its own fee. Credit cards are a safe way to carry money: they provide a convenient record of all your expenses, and they generally offer relatively good exchange rates. In Croatia, credit cards are accepted by most hotels and restaurants in larger cities, but they generally are not accepted in rural areas. In addition, some establishments that accept credit cards will offer a discount if you pay in cash.
Restaurants', drivers' and guides' gratuities are included in the Dubrovnik and the Dalmatian Coast tour price. While dining on your own, a 10% to 15% gratuity is expected in upscale restaurants. Otherwise, it is considered polite to leave any coins from your change on the table in cafes and restaurants. A small (5HRK - 10HRK) tip for other service providers (taxi drivers, hotel maids, bellmen) is the norm.
As a member of the European Union, Croatia imposes a 25% value-added tax on most goods and services. The VAT is already included in the displayed price. Visitors from outside the EU can get a VAT tax refund at the airport when departing, but the minimum that you must spend at one store to obtain the refund is 500HRK. The VAT refunds are not made for services. To get a VAT refund on purchases that qualify, present your passport to the salesperson and ask for the special stamped form. Present the form with your purchases at the booth marked IVA Tax Refunds at the airport, as you leave EU. Your refund should arrive by check or be credited to your credit card within a few weeks. Not all stores participate in this, so it pays to ask first, particularly for major purchases.
Croatia has a long handicraft tradition that has resulted in a wealth of distinctive and original souvenirs. The red Croatian embroidery (red representing fertility) is highly valued and shows the Ottoman influence in the north and a Venetian influence along the coast. The Samobor crystal is of high quality and treasured among connoisseurs around the world. Croatia is the home of the tie (cravat), a style which was once the rage of Louis XIV's court at Versailles. Croatian silk ties are beautifully made and sold throughout the country. Croatian wine makes a wonderful souvenir but even more unusual is a bottle of homemade Croatian rakija. By far the most popular Croatian rakija is travarica concocted from grape brandy marinated in an assortment of herbs: rosemary, chamomile, lavender, rose hips, mat-grass, juniper, thyme, currants, mint or sage.