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Home » Europe, Expat Life, Relocations, country profiles

Relocation: Croatia

From accommodation to public holidays - all you need to know about relocating to Croatia

By Balkans Insider
January 19, 2012
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As relocation experts, at Move One we understand how important it is to familiarize yourself with your potential new home before making the big move, and of course to have a seamless transition when settling in to your new destination.

Therefore, to make your relocation as hassle-free as possible, Move One profiles a country every month, providing an in-depth look at Relocation, Immigration, Moving and Pet Transportation issues.

This month, we take a closer look at relocation to Croatia.

Due to its geographic position, Croatia seems to be a gateway to Eastern Europe. It lies along the east coast of the Adriatic Sea and shares a border with Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, and Slovenia. This boomerang shaped republic extends from the Pannonian Plains of Slovenia between the Sava, Drava, and Danube rivers, across hilly, central Croatia to the Istrian Peninsula, then south through Dalmatia along the rugged Adriatic coast. Croatia consists of 20 counties plus the city of Zagreb and 1,246 islands in the Adriatic Sea, 67 of which are inhabited.

The population of Croatia is around 4,491,600 people (information from 2007), out of which around 780.000 live in capital Zagreb. The majority of the inhabitants are Roman Catholics, and in addition a number of those are of Orthodox faith, as well as Muslims and Christians of other denominations.

Once the wealthiest Yugoslav republic, Croatia’s economy suffered badly during the 1991-95 war as economy collapsed and the country missed the early waves of investment in Central and Eastern Europe that followed the fall of the Berlin Wall. Since then, Croatian economy has recovered and still is recovering, which reflects in moderate but steady GDP growth between 4% and 5% mostly thanks to the rebound in tourism. Basic features of Croatia’s economy are industry, agriculture, forestry, fishing industry and food, drink, and tobacco production, construction, transport and communication, and trade.

Property Market in Croatia

The global economic crisis has also affected the property market in Croatia. Still, it seems to be recovering quickly, mostly due to a new law which allows sale of property in Croatia to EU citizens under the same conditions that the Croats have. The new regulation is a part of the EU chapter on free movement of capital. This law entered into force in early 2009, and applies to all property except the agricultural land. Until 2009, EU citizens were allowed to buy property only upon approval of the Croatian Ministry of Justice.
Being open to property investors, Croatia has a strong potential to recover from the crises, taking into account the strong tourism market which is likely to attract additional investors. Still, the real-estate prices in Croatia are increasing approximately at 10% each year.

As for the rental market, the districts of the most interest to expats with the highest quality housing are in the city center, Pantovcak, Salata, Tuskanac, Bukovac, Jarun, Mlinovi, and Sestine. All of these, excluding the city center, are quiet residential districts with lots of green areas and easy access to public transport. Depending on the number of bedrooms, the rental fee for unfurnished apartments in Zagreb is between 550 and 1,800 EUR, while for  furnished apartments one should expect to pay a bit more. Most of the properties have a parking lot available for tenants, (again excluding the city center), and if you wish to bring your pet along you need to ensure that pets are allowed in the property.

The tenant is not responsible for any payments to the real-estate agency, it is the responsibility of the property owner to pay the amount of one months rent to the agency, in most of the cases. The standard security deposit amount is usually equal to 1 – 3 months rent.

To watch a video on expats opinions of the housing market in Zagreb – click here

Health Care in Croatia

Health care for expats in Croatia should be provided under the same conditions as for Croatian citizens. Nevertheless, for now it mostly depends on each individual case. The important fact to note is whether the country of origin has or has not signed the Agreement on Social Security with Croatia. If such an Agreement of the two countries exists and if the expat is validly insured in his home country, then this insurance is also valid in Croatia.  One should visit the health insurance authority of their country of origin to recieve a document entitling the foreigner to health care while in Croatia. Health care facilities, doctors and hospitals may expect up-front cash payment for medical services.

The standard of health care in Croatia is generally high. Hospitals and clinics can be found in all larger cities, while the first aid clinics and pharmacies can be found anywhere in Croatia. For emergencies there is emergency transportation available by air (helicopter) or sea (speedboat). There are no particular risks or health concerns associated with living in Croatia. Food is of a good quality and tap water is safe to drink throughout Croatia.

Main hospitals in Zagreb:

Central Polyclinics – the Sun
Trnjanska cesta 108, Zagreb
+385 1 3046 666

University hospital Sisters of Charity
Vinogradska cesta 29, Zagreb
+385 1 3787 111

General Hospital Sveti Duh
Sveti Duh 64, Zagreb
+385 1 3712 111

Children’s Hospital Zagreb

Clinic for Traumatology

Clinical Hospital Center Zagreb

Clinical Hospital Dubrava

Polyclinic for the Rehabilitation of Listening and Speech Suvag

Psychiatric Institution Vrapce

University Hospital for Infectious Diseases Dr Fran Mihaljevic

Vuk Vrhovac University Clinic for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases

Dental Care in Croatia

Zagreb Dental

Varga Dental Clinic

24 Hour Pharmacies in Croatia

Central Pharmacy
Trg Bana Josipa Jelačića 3
+ 385 1 481 6198

Other pharmacies in Zagreb:

Grižanska 4, phone: +385 1 2992-350

Ilica 43, phone: +385 1 4848-450

Ilica 301, phone: +385 1 3750-321

Ozaljska 1, phone: +385 1 3097-586

Avenija V. Holjevca 22, phone: +385 1 6525-425

To watch expats discuss healthcare in Croatia – please click here.

Cost of living in Croatia

Comparing the costs in Croatia with other European countries, you will find Croatia is approximately  30% to 40 % cheaper. Prices vary between regions, and Dubrovnik and Zagreb regions are considered the most expansive in the country.

Product Price
($ USD)
Price
(HRK)
Restaurants
Meal for 2, Inexpensive Restaurant 20 120
Meal for 2, Mid-range Restaurant 29 170
McDonald’s BigMac 2,5 15
Medium Latte @ Starbucks/Costa 2,5 15
Consumables
Fresh Milk (1 liter) 1,18 7
Eggs (Dozen 10pcs) 1,7 10
Sugar (1 kg) 1,35 8
Tomatoes (1 kg) 2,7 16
Chicken filet (1 kg) 10 60
Apples (1 kg) 1,7 10
Evian Water (1.5 liter bottle) 1,35 8
Domestic Beer (Ozujsko) (1 bottle) 1,1 6,5
Heineken (330 ml bottle) 1,26 7,5
Pack of Marlboro Red $3,71 22
Snickers Bar $1,01 6
Lipton Tea (25 bag box) $2,02 12
Transportation
One-way Ticket (local transport) 1,7 10
Monthly Transport Pass 49 290
Taxi (5km, downtown) $5,90 35
Gasoline (1 liter) $1,68 9,95
Recreation
Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult 50 300
Cinema, International Release, 1 Seat 6 35
Grooming
Male Haircut $8,43 50
Female Haircut 16,85 100
Pair of Men’s Levis 501 101 600
CoverGirl Lipstick 11,8 70
Old Spice Deoderant (stick, 2.25 oz) 3,4 20
Manicure 15,17 90
Pedicure 25,28 150
Household Goods
Palmolive Soap (Bar, 80g) $1,52 9
Colgate Toothpaste (reg. tube) $3,03 18
Johnsons Baby Shampoo (15 oz.) 5,9 35
Tide Detergent (Powder, 1kg.) 2,53 15
4 x Duracell ‘AA’ Bateries 6,74 40
Windex Window Cleaner (32 oz) 3,4 20

The Croatian Language

The Croatian language is a South Slavic language which is used primarily by the inhabitants of Croatia, but also by Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina and, to some extent, in Vojvodina. The main difference between Croatian and Serbian is that Croatian is written in the Roman alphabet while Serbian is written in Cyrillic. Linguists consider Croatian, Serbian and Bosnian the same language, still the political difference among the groups makes the language issue a continuous debate. Croatians, Serbians and Bosnian’s normally do understand each other.

Almost all Croatians speak at least one foreign language. The second language in the north of the country is likely to be German while along the coast, it is mostly Italian. English is widely spoken. Around 40% of the Croatian population speaks English to certain extent. For young people English is now the second language of choice.

ENGLISH CROATIAN
Good morning/ afternoon Dobro jutro/Dobar dan
Good evening Dobro večer
Hello Zdravo
Good night Laku noć
Good bye Zbogom (doviđenja)
yes da
no ne
Mr. gospodin
Mrs. gospođa
Miss gospođica
Man muškarac
Woman žena
Son sin
Daughter kćer
Please molim
Thank you hvala
How are you Kako ste?
My name is Moje ime je
Nice to meet you Drago mi je (što smo se upoznali)
Monday ponedjeljak
Tuesday utorak
Wednesday srijeda
Thursday četvrtak
Friday petak
Saturday subota
Sunday nedjelja
This is my passport To je moja putovnica
I have a transit visa Imam tranzitnu vizu
Where can I buy a ticket (train/plane) Gdje mogu kupiti kartu?
To the airport, please U zračnu luku, molim.
To the Central railway station, please Na glavni kolodvor, molim.
This way, please Ovim putem, molim.
Do you speak English/ French/ German? Govorite li engleski/francuski/njemački?
How much is it Koliko košta?
Take me to the Sheraton hotel Do hotela Sheraton, molim.
Please tell me how to get to… Molim vas, kako da dođem do…
Left lijevo
Right desno
Straight pravo
Where is it Gdje je
Where is the closest gas-station Gdje je najbloža benzinska pumpa
Where can I change money Gdje mogu razmijeniti novac
May I? Mogu li?
one jedan
two dva
three tri
four četiri
five pet
six šest
seven sedam
eight osam
nine devet
ten deset
January siječanj
February veljača
March ožujak
April travanj
May svibanj
June lipanj
July srpanj
August kolovoz
September rujan
October listopad
November studeni
December prosinac

Education in Croatia

Education in Croatia is free, and is compulsory for children age 7 to 15. Elementary education lasts eight years, followed by four years of secondary education. State universities in Croatia also offer education free of charge,  Zagreb University is one of the oldest universities in Europe, opened in the 17th century.
There are many international schools available for expatriates in Zagreb.

International schools in Zagreb:

American International School of Zagreb
address: Voćarska 106, Zagreb
phone: +385 1 4680 133
fax.: +385 1 4680 171

Deutsche Internationale Schule Zagreb
address: Fratrovac 36, Zagreb
phone: +385 1 234 7655
fax: +385 1 234 7664

French School Zagreb
address: EuroCampus, Fratrovac 36-38, Zagreb
phone: +385 1 234 7710
fax: + 385 1 234 7696

XV Gimnasium – (IB Diploma)
address: Jordanovac 8, Zagreb
phone: +385 1 230 2255

Matija Gubec Primary School

address: Davorina Bazjanca 2, Zagreb
phone: +385 1 383 6571
fax: +385 1 364 9134

Preschool:

International Kindergarten Horizons


Montessori School Srceko- Kindergaten

Climate in Croatia

There are two types of climate in Croatia: typical Mediterranean along the Adriatic coast with hot, dry summers and mild, rainy winters, and the second one – Continental, with very cold winters and warm summers. Northern Croatia has a continental climate; Central Croatia has a semi-highland and highland climate, while the Croatian coast has a Mediterranean climate. Winter temperatures range from -5 to 10°C in the continental region and 5 to 15°C in the coastal region. Summer temperatures range from 22 to 26°C in the continental region and 26 to 30°C in the coastal region.

Expat Life – Living in Croatia


Crime

The violent crime rate is relatively low in Croatia, and this county is considered one of Europe’s safer destinations. Nevertheless, just like in any other city in the world, there are cases of petty crimes in Zagreb and other bigger cities in Croatia.

It is advisable to take precautions when carrying money, especially in busy tourist areas or in public transportation, as pickpocketing can and does occur. Do not leave personal and valuable items unattended, particularly in public areas such as the beach. Any outward display of wealth may increase the chance of being targeted by thieves.

Driving

Driving in Croatia is relatively easy as long as you follow the rules. Still, local drivers tend to be aggressive, passing on curves or in oncoming lanes. Nevertheless, road conditions in Croatia are rather good. Motorways connect all major cities, and are well maintained.

If visiting Zagreb or Split, it might be worth avoiding rush hours from 07:00 to 08:00, and from 15:00 to 16:00. In addition, during tourist season from May to September, there might be some heavy traffic on Croatian roads, to include traffic jams and long waiting at borders.

Headlights should be used at night and during daylight if visibility is less than 100 meters. Dipped headlights are obligatory during daylight from the end of March until the end of October. It is mandatory to wear ones seat belt in the front and back seat as well. It is illegal for children under 12 to sit in the front seat. Usage of mobile phone while driving is also forbidden and is a subject to a fine. The blood alcohol limit is 0.05 percent for drivers over 24 years of age. A zero tolerance policy applies for those younger than 24 and to all professional drivers. Nevertheless, in the case of an accident, a zero tolerance policy applies to all drivers involved. If an accident occurs, call 112 and wait for the police to arrive.

A foreign driving license accompanied by an International Driving Permit, is valid in Croatia for a period of up to one year. After 12 months of residency in Croatia, foreigners must obtain a Croatian driving license.

Places to visit in Croatia

There are eight national parks in Croatia, all equally beautiful. The oldest two are Paklenica and Plitvice Lakes. The National Parks of Croatia offer visitors a chance to see nature at its finest.

National parks: Brijuni, Kornati, Krka, Mljet, Northern Velebit, Paklenica , Plitvice Lakes, and Risnjak.

Croatia has ten nature parks. Nature parks are areas around Croatia with exceptional ecological, cultural, historical, aesthetic, and educational characteristics. They are: Učka mountain, Velebit mountain (containing two national parks), Žumberak-Samobor mountains – on the Croatian side of Žumberak mountain, Medvednica mountain, Lonja Field, Papuk mountain, Kopački Rit, Biokovo mountain, Vransko Lake and Telašćica.

Historical center of Zagreb in Gornji Grad (Upper Town) is another place to visit in Croatia. The Upper Town was built in the Middle Ages. Here, a labyrinth of peaceful cobblestone streets links the city’s oldest and finest monuments: the Cathedral, St Mark’s Church (noted for its red, white and blue tiled roof) and the Sabor (the Croatian Parliament). Just a five minute walk from the Upper Town you will find Trg Bana Jelacica (the main square), and Dolac, the colorful open-air market.

The Old City of Dubrovnik is without a doubt one of the most popular place to visit in Croatia, and this part of town is famed for its cobbled limestone streets and architecture.
The main attractions in the Old City are the maritime museum, the Atrium and the Lindo Folk Ensemble where visitors can enjoy traditional Croatian performances.

National Holidays in Croatia

1 January – New Year’s Day
6 January – Epiphany
Easter Monday – March or April – check current calendar
1 May – International Labor Day
10 June – Corpus Christi
22 June – Day of Antifascist Resistance
25 June – Croatian Statehood Day
5 August – Croatian Victory Day
15 August – Assumption
8 October – Croatian Independence Day
1 November – All Saints’ Day
25 and 26 December – Christmas

If you are considering moving to Croatia, Move One’s relocation services include city orientation, home and school searches, immigration as well as door to door moving services worldwide and cover packing of personal effects, warehousing, pet transportation and fine art shipping. Should you need help with your corporate or individual relocation needs, or if you would like to receive a free moving quote, do not hesitate to contact us at relo@moveoneinc.com.



Rest of the series:

Moving: Croatia
Immigration: Croatia
Pet Transportation: Croatia

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