Croatia (Hrvatska) EU, not Schengen
This country is very well organised to receive and host visiting yachts, with clear instructions about regulations readily available from many sources. Immigration/visa rules are in line with EU practice. Croatia applied to join Schengen zone in July 2015, hoping for a result in 2016.
A good summary of boating regulations from the Tourism ministry is at http://www.marinadalmacija.hr/en/pdf/Information%20for%20boaters%202013.pdf
newChanges due are recorded at http://croatia.hr/Documents/719/100701-vignette-fees.pdf
Managing Life Aboard
- Time zone: - UTC +1, summertime UTC +2
- Dial codes: inbound: +385 , then omit the zero in-country prefix; outbound to UK: 0044, omit the zero in-country prefix.
- Mobile network GSM widespread.
- Broadband availability: The two major mobile phone operators - VIP and T-Mobile - offer mobile broadband dongles very cheaply. Broadband (3G) speeds are available on the mainland but on some of the islands speed drops to the older GPRS standards but still OK for email and web surfing.
- Currency: Oct 2013 - £1 = 9 HRK (Croatian Kuna) ; €1 = 7.6 HRK
- ATM widespread, but in some remoter places the withdrawal limits can be quite small.
- Credit cards are in moderate use. Medical facilities, smaller business, shops, and restaurants do not accept them.
- Visas. EU passport holders must show passports on arrival and departure from the country, and will not requuire visas. Non-EU citizens will obtain a tourist visa, valid for 90 days out of any 180 days. Some Non-EU citizens have to apply for this visa before entry - check with your embassy. If you have an entry stamp in your passport, ensure you also have an exit stamp when you leave.
- Registration with Police. Whenever non-EU citizens are in Croatia, they will need to register arrival and departure with the police, whether staying in a hotel or on a boat. Hotels arrange this on your behalf, and some marinas will also do so.
- EU Membership. Croatia is in the EU, and will join Schengen in 2015.
- Health. Croatia has a reciprocal health agreement with the UK.
Boating regulations, limitations
Regulations bring the treatment of EU registered yachts into line with the way Croatian yachts are treated. See the attached file. The following text needs to be reviewed for errors in the light of changes caused by joining the EU:
- Ports of Entry. All vessels must enter Croatia at the first possible port of entry, or risk a fine. Year round ports of entry are: Umag, Rovinj, Pula, Rasa, Rijeka, Senj, Mali Losinj, Zadar, Sibenik, Split, Korcula, Ploce (formerly Kardeljevo), Dubrovnik (Gruz), Lastovo (Ubli). Additions in summer are: Novigrad, Porec, Opatija, Punat Rab, Kornati islands (Ravni Zakan), Primosten, Hvar, Cavtat.
- Arrival Routine. You will need the usual papers (registration, insurance).In particular, you must have a certificate of competence and a VHF operators certificate (see this list). Customs frequently ask for proof that a yacht has free circulation within the EU; for this purpose, they require a "T2L" endorsed by UK Customs. If you are a skipper, but not an owner, a letter of appointment is necessary.
- Chart 100 Info is handed to the yacht’s representative after entry. One side shows locations of authorities, ports of entry and restricted areas. The other gives rules and regulations, telephone numbers, radio and weather services. A restricted area is noted around the Brioni islands adjacent to the coast North of Pula, and restrictions concerning water ski and swimming areas are described.
- Marinas and Ports. All marinas are listed on this page of the Ministry of Tourism site. Popular places are expensive. Fees range from €2 to €5 per metre. Water and electricity are sometimes additional charges. The vignette and crew list will be required to be handed over to all marina/berth operators. In peak season ports and marinas are very busy; arrive early to find a berth, and have an alternative plan in case the place is full.
- Moorings. All mooring concessions, prices and facilites are listed on this page of the Ministry of Sea, Transport and Infrastructure website. Prices range from 10 to 20 Kuna per metre, and are chargeable for anchoring within mooring concession boundaries. Laid moorings not on this list are not permitted to charge for nearby anchoring (see this document) , so it is useful to print the list, keep it aboard, and challenge any non-listed places which attempt a charge.Departure. Border control applies on departure, both for immigration and customs. If you have an entry stamp on your passport, ensure you get an exit stamp. Once clearance to leave is obtained, the vessel must depart promptly.
- References. Adriatic Pilot is published by Imray (Trevor and Dinah Thompson - 5th edition 2008). '777' is used by most charter companies, and is a comprehensive harbour and anchorage listing. "Croatia Cruising Companion" edited by Jane Cody and John Nash has more emphasis on shoreside activities.
- Links. Useful websites include croatia.hr the website of the Croatian tourist board, http://www.aci-marinas.com/?lang=en (gives details of all the ACI marinas in Croatia), and www.croatiaonline.blogspot.com (sailing and non-sailing news)
- Working hours: There is no siesta. Boat yard workers tend to start at around 0800 and finish by about 1700.
- Shopping hours: Shops; tourist season, 0800 to 2000, often weekends too; official premises 0800 to 1600 Mon to Fri.
- Mealtimes: In tourist areas restaurants are often open all day. Many locals lunch late, having had a meal break mid-morning. Restaurant food is often described as "dull" for the price paid, and Serbian service is often as dull as the food.
- National holidays: mainly Catholic country, observes Christian holidays
- Languages in common use: Croatian. In the Istrian peninsula: Italian (road signs are in Italian as well as Croatian). In tourist areas throughout Croatia: English, limited German and Italian.