ABOUT Croatia is a Central European and Mediterranean country, bordering Slovenia in the west, Hungary in the north, Serbia (Yugoslavia) in the east, Bosnia and Herzegovina in the south, and has a long maritime border with Italy in the Adriatic Sea. These borders are 2,028 km long altogether. Croatia has a strange shape (similar to a croissant), like no other country in the world, which comes as a result of five centuries of expansion by the Ottoman (Turkish) empire towards Central Europe (although Croatia was never conquered by the Turks). Croatia covers a land area of 56,691 square kilometres with a population of about 4.8 million people. Over 90% of the population is Croat (the majority of whom are Roman Catholics), but there are also Serbian, Bosnian, Hungarian and Italian minorities. The main population centres are Zagreb, the capital (with a population of just over one million), Osijek in the northwest, and the ports of Rijeka, and Split in the south.
CLIMATE The weather across Croatia doesn’t vary dramatically from north to south though it is generally warmer towards the south. The climate does change from continental to Mediterranean as you move toward the Adriatic Sea and the equator. The sea has a moderating influence that keeps winters warmer and summers cooler than might be expected. The Dalmatian Coast is home to a Mediterranean climate that boasts long hot summers and mild winters.
BEWARE Crime levels are low and violent crime is rare. Some tourists have been the victims of overcharging in so-called ‘Gentlemen’s Clubs’, sometimes amounting to thousands of Euros. Victims can be threatened with violence if they refuse to pay. Take care in busy tourist areas, where pickpockets are known to operate. You can drive using a UK driving licence. If you bring your own vehicle into the country you may need to provide proof of ownership by presenting a V5 log book. If you fail to produce this when asked you will be refused entry and your car might be impounded until you can.