Eastern Europe gets a really bad reputation when it is portrayed in the media, be it on the news or in movies. Eastern Europe is often unfairly seen as a frozen wasteland scattered with third-world countries.
This is so far removed from the truth it is almost laughable. That is, if this misconception didn’t have such a negative effect on those who live in Eastern Europe. In actual fact, countries such as Croatia are not only thriving nations but are home to some of the best cities to live in Europe.
Croatia, in particular, has towns with architecture that will make you think you were in Italy, cruises that rival the Caribbean, and lakes and waterfalls comparable to the Amazon. But how safe is Croatia for tourists? Well, Let’s take a look together.
Why Visit Croatia?
Croatia is a bit of an undiscovered gem when it comes to touring paradises. We weren’t being hyperbolic earlier when we said that Croatia has cruises that could stand toe to toe with any Caribbean cruise.
The country’s beaches are pristine and, if viewed without context, could fool anyone into thinking it was some beach in Bermuda or Hawaii. For those looking to explore architecture from the medieval era, Croatia has cities such as Dubrovnik that have been around since before the 13th century.
If you’re truly adventurous at heart, Croatia even offers magical parks with lakes, trails, and scenery that will blow you away. One such park is the UNESCO-listed Plitvice Lakes National Park. We haven’t even gotten to the countless festivals or the fact that you could go on a dream Croatian island vacation. As you can see, Croatia is more than worth a spot on your next European tour.
Is Croatia Dangerous?
Usually, when discussing whether a country or city is dangerous or safe, we like to explain that statistics need to be taken within a specific context. However, with Croatia, even outside of that context, the country appears to be extremely safe.
As of 2021, Croatia has had a homicide rate of only 0.8 homicides per 100,000 people. For context, according to Knoema, The USA has a homicide rate of 6.8 per 100,000, and a country such as South Africa has a homicide rate of a whopping 41.9 per 100,000.
So the direct answer to “Is Croatia dangerous” is no. The longer answer is still a resounding no, but this does not mean all caution should be thrown to the wind when visiting the country. It still has densely populated areas which are and always will be soft spots for criminals to exploit.
Dangerous Areas in Croatia
Cakovec sports double the likelihood of crime than the rest of Croatia. According to Numbeo’s statistics, at least. This means you are still pretty safe while in the region. You just need to exercise some extra caution while exploring the city.
The city still has a low to moderate rating when it comes to the kinds of crimes that affect tourists. These are crimes such as being mugged or robbed, assault, and armed robbery.
The most likely crime to occur is vandalism and theft. So, if you are tempted to visit the collection of museums and castles Cakovec has to offer, we strongly advise some extra caution while there.
Another city that sits above the national average of crime is Bjelovar. The town has just over one and a half times the national average of crime. Bjelovar has moderate ratings for crimes such as home break-ins, items being stolen from parked cars, and the use and dealing of drugs.
Drug usage can be a touchy subject that is usually debated to death whether it should be legal or not. So concentrating on the more objectively impactful crimes, the area is still rather safe for tourists as the most common crimes do not tend to involve tourists or their possessions.
If you are hoping to explore some of the oldest temples, the world has to offer and then take a stroll on an enchanting white sandy beach. It even offers some fantastic co-working spaces. In that case, Split may be the city for you. It is also a testament to the kind of safety you can expect while visiting Croatia.
Why is it in our dangerous city section, then? Well, that’s because it still has an above-national-average crime rate. However, as we suggested earlier, statistics can be misleading.
The only crime in the city that has a moderate chance of occurring is the dealing or use of drugs. This means that direct danger or harm to tourists is actually very low, but the danger is still something worth acknowledging.
Is it Safe to Live in Croatia?
Hopefully, by now, we have made it clear to you that not only is Croatia safe, but it is one of the best places to live in Eastern Europe. If it’s cold hard facts you are looking for, then hold onto your hats because we are going to be throwing facts at you hard and fast.
Croatia is the 14th safest country in the world, according to Numbeo. The country also boasts of being amongst the safest countries where people can still walk around during the night. The only moderate and high crime ratings in Croatia nationally are corruption and bribery.
That being said, Croatia has had a worrying trend of increased crime over the past three years. Still, serious crimes in the country remain low. The increase in crimes is all non-violent crimes, such as corruption and bribery.
Safe Cities in Croatia
Dubrovnik is a must if you ever come to Croatia. The city is breathtaking at all times of day and has one of the most picturesque beaches Croatia has to offer. But how safe is it? Extremely safe.
The city has a massive 85.07 safety index score for walking around at night. This is something most cities can only hope to achieve. You can enjoy all of the cathedrals and museums in almost complete safety.
If none of this has sold you on Dubrovnik yet, then maybe the fact that the city is the real-world Kingslanding will sway you.
If you are looking for one of the best places to live in Croatia, especially for English-speaking expats, then look no further than Zagreb. Not only is its crime rate below the national average it is also home to some of Croatia’s best attractions.
You will find the Cathedral of Zagreb, Lotrščak Tower, and the unique Museum of Broken Relationships all within city limits. When you have had enough of city life, you can always take a wistful walk through the botanical gardens.
Perhaps you aren’t looking to move to Croatia full-time. Instead, you may be a digital nomad looking for your next temporary home, but Split being on our dangerous list has put you off. In that case, Osijek is the perfect stand-in, as its crime rate is well below the national average.
Osijek has a unique mixture of nature and old European city that is unmatched. You can expect to enjoy walks in the Javna Ustanova Park or explore the Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul during your downtime.
Warnings & Dangers in Croatia
There are a handful of risks outside of the usual crimes and dangerous weather. In Croatia, crime is low and dangerous weather can be an issue for those looking to go hiking in the Croatian mountains. We recommend seeking expert advice before venturing on a mountain hike and avoiding doing it alone.
The other major warning that travelers in Croatia would do well to heed is the fact that there are still many unexploded mines in previously war-affected areas. These areas include but are not limited to Brodsko-Posavska County, Karlovac County, areas around Zadar County, and more remote areas of the Plitvice Lakes National Park. We will cover this in more detail in a minute.
Overall Travel Risk
Every country has its own unique things to look out for. In some countries, there are specific scams run on the streets that target unsuspecting tourists. In others, there is just a general danger of tourists being mugged or pickpocketed.
Croatia is no different in that regard, even if it is a fairly safe country. So we have collected the four most dangerous scams and situations that may happen while you are exploring this amazing country.
Road Safety Danger 8/10
Croatia has an alarmingly high death rate when it comes to its roads. It reports a staggering 71 road deaths per 1,000,000 people. We recommend trying to avoid driving yourself in Croatia and perhaps sticking to trains and other public transport systems.
Being Overcharging in “Gentlemen’s Clubs” 4/10
There have been reports of tourists being overcharged when using “Gentlemen’s Clubs.” In some cases, the victims have been threatened with violence if they did not pay the sometimes thousands of Euros being charged. This can be a very dangerous situation, but it gets a low score because it is rather easy to avoid.
Unexploded Mines 7/10
As we mentioned before, the main areas affected by the unexploded mines are Brodsko-Posavska County, Karlovac County, Zadar County, and Plitvice Lakes National Park.
This is why we strongly recommend staying on pathed walkways, cultivated land, or marked paths while exploring Croatia. If you have any doubts whatsoever, seek out the help of locals.
Ah yes, the lowly pickpocket, the scourge of any densely populated area. No city or country is free of their tyranny.
When visiting any city or popular attractions, it is always to your own benefit to keep aware and make sure all of your valuables are in a secure place. A theft-proof backpack is always a good idea when traveling abroad.
Tips for Staying Safe in Croatia
There is always so much to keep track of when traveling. Do you have your passport? Do you need a Visa here or not? What clothes should you pack? Allow us to make your life a little easier by giving you five easy tips to keep you as safe as possible.
- Try keeping your cash to an absolute minimum. Plan out your day and budget This will minimize the likelihood of you being pickpocketed.
- If you do decide to drive yourself in Croatia, it is worth knowing that you must have a reflective vest in your car as per Croatian law.
- If you are partaking in the many, and we mean many, music festivals, you should never accept open drinks or food from strangers. Spiking food and drinks is all too common at events like these. Buy your own food and drinks, and it’s even safer if you only buy drinks that come in sealed containers such as cans or bottles.
- In Croatia, you could be fined if you are not wearing the appropriate clothing. So keep your bathing suit for the beach and pool.
- Croatia, on occasion, can have political demonstrations. We recommend you stay well away from any and all political demonstrations.
Is Croatia Safe | Frequently Asked Questions
What Language is Spoken in Croatia?
The national language in Croatia is Croatian. However, a large part of the country is bilingual, and an equally large portion of that can speak English. It is handy to learn some basic Croatian before visiting, as it can help you identify potentially dangerous situations.
Can Females Travel in Croatia Alone?
Croatia is ranked amongst the safest countries for women to travel solo. It never hurts to take some precautions while traveling, though. Send loved ones your plans for the day and maybe a copy of your itinerary. That way, in the unlikely case of something happening, it can help authorities to look for you.
Can You Walk at Night in Croatia?
Yes, you can. Croatia is actually one of the few countries where this is possible. However, we still recommend taking some precautions. Never walk alone at night, and avoid any dark or badly lit streets while walking around.
Are There Any Natural Disasters in Croatia?
Yes, Earthquakes can happen, and they are no joke. Infrastructure can be damaged, and they can lead to the loss of life. The CDC has a great list of tips on how to stay safe during earthquakes.