Is Croatia a safe country?
In a word – yes!
However, no country is 100% risk-free for travelling, so it’s always “good to know before you go” all the dos and don’ts on staying safe when exploring this European gem.
The perception of Croatia as an unsafe country can still occasionally crop up, particularly amongst older people (Gen X and Boomers) who remember the series of Balkan wars in the 90s and early 2000s. Although it has been 30 years since the end of Croatia’s particular war of independence that lasted from 1991-95, it can take a while shake off that stigma.
Croatia’s image has improved drastically, particularly in the past decade. Over the past 10 years, its reputation as a fearsome competitor in all manner of sports (football, tennis, water-polo, handball, archery, skiing to name a few) has been firmly established, while millions of tourists from all around the world have flocked to this tiny nation to enjoy its sunshine, glorious coastline, festivals, wine and stunning national parks.
This has all been achieved in tandem with a steadily decreasing crime rate and according to the Global Peace Index, Croatia is now the 14th safest country in the world, out of the 163 countries evaluated in that list! This rates Croatia as a much safer destination as many major Western nations such as Australia, Sweden, UK, Belgium and Norway. See the full list here: https://www.visionofhumanity.org/maps/#/.
The Global Peace Index factors in aspects of safety and security such as conflicts, violence, homicides, political stability, terrorism, military expenditure, and social safety. Croatia scores well on all those fronts.
Of course, we are very biased but we know from years of visiting and living there that Croatia is a destination where you can take a stroll anywhere in the country in the late evening/night without any concern for personal safety. It is common (and heartening!) to see small children playing on the streets without parental supervision, especially in the smaller towns and villages. In such close-knit communities, people know each other and tend to leave their bikes, cars, and even houses unlocked.
With all that said, there are still situations where you can make a local upset (intentionally and unintentionally) and feel a bit intimidated by their reactions. Here are our top 5 tips for avoiding such a scenario:
- Never, ever insult Split’s football team, Hajduk Split! Especially when in that city or one of its neighbouring towns. Hajduk is revered with almost religious fervour, as demonstrated by the countless murals around that part of the coast that dedicate undying love for the club.
- Avoid discussing the 90s war if you can. If you can’t, simply listen and nod without offering any opinions that might counter the speaker’s.
- Don’t take advantage of the seemingly limitless Croatian tolerance to the antics of many tourists in their country. Croats understand that people on holiday want to have a good time, and let loose. But have some respect and don’t push it too far – you might find a local will stop holding back at some point….
- Under the tourism layer of coastal parties, music festivals, bars and pubs, Croatia is quite a conservative country. So it is a good idea to respect their religious buildings, national days and traditions.
- Never make fun of the Dalmatian youth national dress, which seems to be made up of an all-in-one Adidas track-suit, a chain, big white sneakers, huge D+G sunglasses and a cigarette hanging out the side of the mouth! Actually, don’t worry about this one – the locals also make fun of this type of fashion choice.
That’s it! Please join us on the Croatian coast this coming summer on one of our many sail routes and enjoy this enchanting, beautiful, and of course very safe, country.