Travel to Croatia: latest Covid rules and practical guidance once you are there

While some countries closed their borders to UK visitors over the past couple of months, Croatia has been more open to tourists, and even dropped its requirement for a pre-departure Covid test for fully vaccinated travellers. But although there has been a downward curve in Covid cases, the country’s relatively low vaccination rate means the Croatian government is still keeping certain restrictions in place, including the use of the EU Covid certificate in some locations including nightclubs.

“Croatia has a reason to be cautiously optimistic, and expects decreasing numbers to result in a continued safe stay for all visitors and perpetual tourism growth in the year ahead,” said Darija Reić, director of the Croatian National Tourist Board in London. 

“There are 45 per cent fewer daily new cases week on week, and this is the sharpest fall in the fifth wave of the epidemic. A mild fall was also recorded in hospitalisations in the past few days, including fewer patients in intensive care units,” she added. 

The rule on the maximum numbers of people in indoor and outdoor gatherings has had an effect on Croatia’s winter festivals. Two hundred people are allowed at outdoor events, and indoor ones are limited to 100 people. All have to show the EU Covid certificate. Anything larger than 200 people needs special approval. Dubrovnik was able to put on its February 3 festival celebrating its patron saint, St Blaise, where spectators were more conscious of social distancing throughout the outdoor processions. On the other hand, the organisers of one of Croatia’s biggest carnivals, the Rijeka Carnival, decided to postpone its two largest parades until the summer, although smaller carnival events will still be taking place throughout February.

Entry requirements and restrictions are reviewed every two weeks, and the changes are implemented on the following first and 15th of the month. 

Can I go to Croatia?

Britons who are fully vaccinated can enter Croatia without taking a test as long as their last vaccine took place no longer than 270 days previously. Otherwise, those from the UK can enter by showing a negative PCR test (taken within 72 hours before arrival at the border), an antigen test (taken within 48 hours of arrival), or a positive test result, confirming that the traveller has recovered from coronavirus (the test must be less than a year old, and taken more than 11 days prior to the date of arrival at the border). Children under 12 are exempt from these requirements if they are travelling with a parent or guardian who has one of these documents.

Travel is permitted within defined purposes, including, but not limited to, residence, business and tourism. In addition to evidence of your negative Covid-19 status, those travelling under the tourism exemption are required to hold a valid accommodation booking or proof of property ownership in Croatia.

What are the rules for children? 

Children under 12 are exempt from testing requirements if they are travelling with a parent or guardian who can prove they are fully vaccinated or show evidence of a recent negative test or recovery from Covid. 

Are flights operating?

Direct flights between the UK and Zagreb are running. Flights to the likes of Split, Dubrovnik and Pula have also resumed.

Will I be insured if I go?

The Foreign Office has lifted its advice against non-essential travel to Croatia, making it easier to obtain travel insurance.

Do I need to take a test before travelling to Croatia?

Britons who are fully vaccinated can enter Croatia without taking a test as long as they were vaccinated at least 14 days before. Otherwise a test is required; if you opt for an antigen test it needs to be from the EU list of mutually recognised tests. 

Do I need to fill in any forms?

The Croatian government has introduced a new online entry form to expedite the entry of foreign visitors. You must also carry a copy of your accommodation booking or proof of ownership of holiday homes/boats when arriving in Croatia. If you are travelling to Croatia for business, you are advised to carry evidence of a business invitation or meetings.

Do I need to self-isolate on arrival? 

If you are unvaccinated and choose to take a PCR or rapid antigen test after arrival in Croatia (rather than before departure) you will be obliged to self-isolate until the results of a negative test are received. Upon entry to Croatia, you will be handed instructions regarding the conditions for self isolation, which will include details about ending your self-isolation through a negative test. If you stay in Croatia for longer than 10 days, a rapid antigen test must be repeated within 10 days from the date of issuing the first test.

Do I need to wear a mask?

Masks are mandatory in indoor spaces such as shops, restaurants, bars, public transport, museums, hospitals, shopping malls and government buildings. They’re not compulsory outdoors, although the official advice is to wear one where a distance of 1.5m cannot be maintained. 

What are the rules on beaches?

Masks are not mandatory on beaches. In theory, people are asked to maintain social distancing – 1.5 metres outdoors – but this isn’t always possible. Some group activities such as scuba-diving have had their numbers limited to give time to have the equipment cleaned and to keep group numbers small.

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