This 6-letter fancy word, became a pure necessity for a large number of people around the globe. Travel enables us to do things differently from our daily routine, it encouraged many people to step out from their comfort zone to a different environment which made them become more responsible and gave a sense of independence. No doubt we all fell in love with travels which is precisely why we are lacking it so much right now. This global coronavirus pandemic took its toll and made us feel cut off, not only from the rest of the world, but also from our very own family and friends. Being stuck within 4 walls for 2 months or so, doing our utmost best to make it through the self-isolation phase safe and sound has only stirred up our human nature to seek our paradise outside our homes. To explore new places, to admire its sunsets, to feel gentle summer breeze whipping salt unto your skin or to finally read that book you always wanted while basking in the Croatian sun. Summer. Vacation. Carefree. It is not just you. Welcome to the club of vacation-mode-on fans.
In the not so distant past, rocking in "corona-free world" seemed somewhat dreamy, yet unrealistic, case scenario. Slowing infection rates in a number of European countries are raising hope that strict social distancing measures are curbing the spread of Covid-19 - the disease caused by the virus and that soon enough will we all be able to live more relieved and start getting used to the "new normal", as they call it.
Is it safe to travel to Croatia?
Luckily for all intrepid travelers out there, if there is something Croatia can brag about, apart from its turquoise-blue sea, historic cities, beautiful beaches, and more than 1,200 islands, is handling the coronavirus pandemic. The number of coronavirus cases in the country is relatively low. Currently, there are only about 2237 diagnosed infections in Croatia, and fewer than 100 people have died of COVID-19 so far. The majority of cases - 1,946 - have recovered. But, we should not give in to the misconception that there can be a quick return to travel as usual.
The upcoming summer season will be far from the normal tourist season. It will be a tourist season in the shadow of the pandemic. Social distancing rules, strict hygiene regulations, and restrictions for hotels and restaurants will be in place in holiday destinations.
On May 9, the government decided to reopen the country to citizens of member states — without a coronavirus test or quarantine requirements — for an expanded list of reasons. But holidaymakers are yet to arrive. When there are valid reasons to travel which include essential business travel, foreign citizens will also be able to enter the Republic of Croatia in compliance with the recommendations of the Croatia Institute of Public Health, along with foreign citizens who travel for urgent personal reasons.
Entry into the Republic of Croatia for foreign citizens
If the foreign national intends to cross the state border, it has to meet one of the following conditions:
Possesses documentation with which he can prove ownership of real estate located in the Republic of Croatia, or vessel (lessee is also permitted), or is attending a funeral in the Republic of Croatia (possesses appropriate documentation which proves this). After meeting the conditions, such foreign nationals are allowed to cross the state border, they are registered and the location/address where they will stay, or where the real estate/vessel is located, is entered as well as the contact telephone number and duration of stay-when they plan leaving the Republic of Croatia.
They possess documentation with which they prove that they were invited to the Republic of Croatia by an economic operator, the economic operator’s interest for them to enter into Republic of Croatia, or a business meeting invite. For these passengers, it is necessary to enter the place / address where they will stay and the contact phone number and duration of stay - when they plan to leave the Republic of Croatia.
All other foreign nationals who have a certain business reason, which cannot be foreseen at this time, and do not have the appropriate documentation, should be instructed to announce their intention to cross the state border (enter into the Republic of Croatia) at email@example.com and they will receive an answer as soon as possible.
Moreover, feel free to read more about the recommendations and instructions of the Croatian Institute of Public Health for Croatian and foreign nationals who are crossing the state border and entering the Republic of Croatia.
Croatian and foreign seafarers crossing the state border
Vessel charter, and/or using the accommodation service on ships, yachts and boats coming to the Republic of Croatia that has to be evidenced by the List of crew and passengers entered in the eNautika system either by the charter company. The status of the document „Under preparation“shall also be acceptable.
The arrival of representatives of recognized foreign organizations (Lloyd's Register of Shipping, Bureau Veritas, DNV GL; RINA…) in Croatian shipyards and ports for the purpose of extending the validity of existing certificates or issuing new ones to ships and yachts, shall be allowed upon presentation of an invitation from the respective Croatian shipyard, ship owner or agent.
When Will Croatia Open Boards to Tourists?
Unlike its ability to handle the coronavirus pandemic in a successful manner, an update on important travel information in Croatia media is relatively bad so please be advised to contact official sources for 100% confirmation. Croatia has closed its borders to foreign nationals, with limited exceptions through June 15 and there will be no need to for a PCR test for COVID-19 to enter Croatia.
There is a big interest in opening borders but there is no finalized list of visitors who can / can't enter the country since is to expect that the decision of opening the borders within the EU is to be agreed bilaterally. Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli announced that Croatia will open the border to citizens of Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Austria on May 29. "The citizens from these countries, for economic reasons, owners of houses, ships and the like, can come to Croatia, similarly to Slovenes, without being quarantined," Cappelli explained.
There is some confusion as to whether or not you have to have a stamped confirmation of your accommodation and/or business meeting but we would advise to get written confirmation just in case.
The confirmation of accommodation booking in an accommodation establishment includes:
Confirmation of accommodation booking of all accommodation service providers / all types of accommodation
Camp lease contract
Permanent berth contract in a nautical tourism port
Confirmation of berth reservation in a nautical tourism port
Travel agency voucher etc.
Travelers from non-EU countries?
There were no detailed information on this matter, so please keep a close eye on the national tourist board with coronavirus Q&A page which is now being updated daily or official Koranavirus website which also contains important information for visitors.
Flights to Croatia during pandemic
Croatia Airlines: From May 25, Croatia Airlines will fly Zagreb – Amsterdam – Zagreb daily. Croatia Airlines has announced that flights could also be available to and from London Brussel.
British Airways: The carries announced its start June 15 with regular flight to Zagreb and Split. London – Heathrow – Zagreb 3 times per week, and London – Heathrow- Split 4 times per week.
RyanAir: Unfortunately, Ryanair Group announced that it has fully “abandoned” its plans to operate a base in the Croatian coastal city of Zadar due to its policy of aggressive cost cutting in order to prolong its liquidity during the current aviation crisis. Out of more than 30 routes that Ryanair operates to Croatian coastal airports Pula, Rijeka, Zadar, Split and Dubrovnik, every single one is seasonal so please be advised to catch up the lates indormation on RyanAir official website.
British Airways : the latest updates.
Croatian and foreign nationals entering the Republic of Croatia must comply with the recommendations and instructions of the Croatian Institute of Public Health which can be found here.
Important information about masks and facial coverings
Beginning Monday, May 4th 2020, all passengers are required to bring and wear face masks/facial coverings aboard all Croatia Airlines flights.
Acceptable facial coverings include:
double layer cotton face masks
filtering half masks with or without valve
Hotels, cafes & restaurants during COVID-19
Hotels, restaurants and campsites are open, as are beaches. The rule of social distancing of 1.5 meters (5 feet) applies, and waiters must wear masks. The ferries to the islands are running again, but it is unclear how exactly the social distancing rules will be implemented there.
To avoid traffic jams at the borders, Croatia is preparing an app for tourists. Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli said the app was intended to enable travelers to register with the authorities prior to their arrival. Among other things, the app would allow tourists to indicate their destination and accommodation in Croatia.
Go or No Go? - What my summer vacation in Croatia may look like
It is vitally important to keep in mind that nobody has been in this situation before, and it's a process where boundaries are constantly changing. As always, it is up to you to decide whether or not to proceed with your summer vacation plans.
If you do decide to leave the fear aside this time, and to seek your sanctuary in Croatia this summer, bear in mind you are opting for some of the least dangerous travel ideas. Croatia showed excellent defense against the corona virus and Croats have been extremely disciplined in carrying out all the prescribed measures.
What can Royal Dalmatia do to ensure your safety ?
First of all, all Royal Dalmatia tours and packages are private and tailor-made, which means you are privileged to navigate through the Adriatic coast coupled by close group of family and friends. Royal Dalmatia offers you as an opportunity to fully familiarize yourself with Dalmatia in all its beauty, letting you experience the very best of both the sea and the land. We offer a unique combination of a top-notch sailing itinerary that goes along with land itineraries that perfectly suit your preference and travel style. There is an opportunity for you to explore Dalmatia at your travel pace, without being forced to join group tours and crowded places. Rest-assured your Royal Dalmatia crew is a group of travel professionals with years-long expertise and hand-on experience in providing tailor-made packages. Let us introduce you to well-hidden local gems firmly off the tourist trail and join us on exploration journey of mesmerizing scenery, fascinating history and great food & wine of Dalmatia. 😊