Travelling to Croatia: Tips and advice for exploring this new Eurozone

Travelling to Croatia: Tips and advice for exploring this new Eurozone

Croatia has been gaining popularity as a must-visit destination, thanks to its charming walled cities and beautiful Adriatic islands.

And if you’re planning to go this year, you’re in luck because you’ll be able to spend your euros there. That’s right, as of January, Croatia swapped the kuna for the euro.

Croatia is also now a member of the Schengen area, which means no more border checks if you’re driving or taking the train between Croatia, Slovenia, and Hungary.

However, for all my fellow UK travellers, post-Brexit travelling to Croatia requires a little more preparation.

But don’t worry. We’ve got you covered with a checklist of everything you’ll need for your epic Croatian adventure in 2023.

Go with euros

Croatia has adopted the euro from 1st January 2023, making life simpler for holidaymakers. Prices will be displayed in euros and kuna throughout 2023, so you’ll see both currencies listed in shops and restaurants.

You can find good rates for euros at bureaux de change in the UK. Most hotels, shops, restaurants, and ATMs in Croatia accept international debit and credit cards, which is often more convenient than exchanging cash.

But here’s a little tip: check how much your card issuer charges for use abroad to ensure you don’t get any nasty surprises. We advise you to compare deals so you can get the best exchange rates for your travel money!

Your passport should be valid

As exciting as it is to explore new countries and cultures, it’s always a little stressful when it comes to navigating the rules and regulations.

So, let’s take a look at what you need to know when visiting Croatia and the EU post-Brexit.

First, you need to ensure your passport meets the requirements.

There are two key criteria your passport needs to meet if you’re planning to travel to Croatia or any other EU country (except Ireland):

  • It should have been issued less than 10 years before the date of your arrival
  • No less than 90 days validity after your departure

The good news? You won’t have to take your visa to travel to Croatia. Still, from May 2023, UK passport holders must have their fingerprints and a photo taken when entering the Schengen Area, including Croatia, from January 2023.

Here’s what you should keep in mind about the EU’s new entry-exit system:

  • It will replace passport stamping and requires all non-EU citizens to provide biometric information.
  • Children under 12 will be exempt.

The Schengen Area includes most EU countries, including Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein.

Keep your passport with you

You’ll want to keep your passport close by at all times while you’re in Croatia. It’s the only form of ID the Croatian authorities officially recognise, so make sure it’s always within reach.

But just in case the unthinkable happens, and your passport gets lost or stolen, the UK Foreign Office (FCDO) has got your back. They suggest keeping a copy of the page with your biographical details in a safe place – that way, you’ll have a backup to help you sort things out.

So, keep your passport in your pocket, purse, or backpack, and enjoy all the Croatian adventures that await you.

Take your GHIC or EHIC

If you’re planning to hit up any EU countries, ensure you’ve got your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) in tow.

These cards are free and give you access to state-provided medical care at a reduced cost or even for free!

But hold up, since Brexit, most UK citizens are only eligible for the GHIC, which provides access to ‘necessary healthcare’ in EU countries, like emergency medical treatment.

So make sure you apply for your GHIC up to six months before your current card expires through the NHS website.

Here’s the thing, though – don’t get too carried away with just your GHIC or EHIC. It won’t cover you for any medical treatment at a private hospital or clinic, travel disruption, lost or stolen luggage, or repatriation to the UK.

Bring your UK driving licence

If you’re planning to hire a car in Croatia, you don’t even need an International Driving Permit. You can use your UK license for up to a whole year!

But if you’re driving your own ride, be sure it’s sporting a number plate with the letters ‘UK’ or a UK sticker (FYI, ‘UK’ replaced ‘GB’ in 2021).

While you won’t need an insurance green card, you will need to pack your vehicle logbook (V5 registration certificate) and a motor insurance certificate.

Did you know?

Since Brexit, British tourists have been allowed to stay in the Schengen area for up to three months without a visa. That means you can visit Croatia for up to three months or other Schengen countries for three months.

But starting from November 2023, you’ll need to complete an online application and pay a small fee of €7 for a visa waiver before travelling to the Schengen Area, including Croatia.

Don’t worry; this new European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) will be valid for three years or until your passport expires.

Safe travels, friends!

James Bellis