We’ve been tracking news related to the coronavirus pandemic and Croatia since the country entered its lockdown March, but now we enter a new phase. Croatia has eased lockdown, is recording very new (or no) new cases and is now allowing foreign visitors to enter the country once more. But what does this all mean in a practical sense, if you’re planning on visiting Croatia in summer 2020?
Coronavirus in Croatia
Croatia has actually dealt with the outbreak very well indeed – with a lockdown earlier than other nations (the UK, for example) and travel within the country very limited during this time, for example. As of 26th May, there have only been 2,244 cases overall with, sadly, 101 deaths in the country. For the second day in a row, no new cases have been recorded; in the last four days, there has been only one new case. Additionally, there are currently only 97 active coronavirus cases across the whole of Croatia.
Croatia has also been easing out of lockdown in the first part of May. Over successive weeks, shops (aside from supermarkets) and services could reopen, public transport has resumed in towns/cities, and inter-county/city transport has been allowed to restart.
Can I visit Croatia in summer 2020?
There are two parts to this question, really.
The first part is – can I enter Croatia?
The second part is – can I reach Croatia?
Can I enter Croatia?
Yes, you can…providing you follow certain rules as displayed on the government Koronavirus.hr website. For most visitors, the very last point on that page is most valid. This states that anyone that is an EU/EEA citizen that has confirmation of an accommodation booking in Croatia can enter. Examples of confirmation include:
- 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.
You must provide this proof of accommodation booking on entering. It is expected visitors will soon be able to submit details of their accommodation booking online, pre-arrival to Croatia. This should speed up the border check when you enter.
If you have any questions regarding entry to Croatia, you can fill in a inquiry form on the Ministry of the Interior’s website.
Can I reach Croatia?
Many of Croatia’s visitors each year – in any ‘normal’ year – reach Croatia by car for their summer holidays. If you’re in a neighbouring/nearby country then it’s relatively straightforward for you to jump in your car and head down right now. And that’s definitely one of the ‘safest’ options in terms of social distancing and minimising interaction with others.
If you’re travelling from further afield, then you’ll likely have to rely on flying. At present, only Croatia Airlines are operating international flights connecting Zagreb with other cities in Europe. They fly twice daily to Frankfurt and return, and once to Amsterdam and return. From 1st June, they will also resume flying to Copenhagen and return.
When will airlines start flying from the UK and Ireland to Croatia?
There’s no concrete answer to this at the moment, but it appears unlikely to before July.
British Airways‘ London Heathrow to Zagreb route is bookable once again from 1st July, as is their long-running London Gatwick to Dubrovnik route.
Some Easyjet routes to Croatia are likewise also bookable from July.
Ryanair‘s routes from Dublin to both Split and Dubrovnik are also bookable from July. Routes from the UK to Croatia are not being offered at all, however.
Flights may be bookable from July, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that these flights will operate. So much could still change but, hopefully, they will restart.
Don’t forget that the UK is planning to introduce a 14-day quarantine for all international arrivals from 8th June. At present, the only country exempt from this rule is Ireland. So you could possibly go on holiday from the UK and be required to self-isolate for 14 days on your return. However, there is still a suggestion that ‘air bridges’ with certain countries could be created.
Essentially, it’s still a case of ‘watch this space’ to see what will happen with flight routes and UK government regulations.
Do I have to enter a 14-day quarantine upon entering Croatia?
No, you do not. On entering Croatia, “border police officers will provide you with a leaflet containing instructions and recommendations issued by the Croatian Institute of Public Health which you have to comply with in the following 14 days”.
If I’m visiting Croatia in summer 2020, what can I do?
As per the easing of lockdown in mid May, restaurants and cafes are permitted to open. Obviously those on coastal resorts that normally cater to visitors may have delayed their opening until they have more guests.
More and more hotels are reopening to welcome the increasing numbers of tourists (both domestic and foreign) that are now starting to travel to the coast. (Hotels weren’t required to close during the outbreak, but obviously many did due to low guest numbers.) The “majority of hotels” are expected to be open by June. (Source)
Many of Croatian’s popular sights are open or reopening. For example, national and nature parks reopened on 11th May, the Arena in Pula reopened on 25th May; more such attractions are sure to reopen too (if not already opened).
One thing that definitely won’t be happening this summer is any sort of music festival. Almost all the festivals in Croatia due to take place this summer in places such as Zrce Beach, Tisno, Zagreb, Split and elsewhere have been postponed to 2021.
Should I be visiting Croatia in summer 2020?
We’re still in May and there’s still so many unknowns with regards to international travel this summer. Whilst I’m sure many of you may be itching for a break (myself included!) I would say it’s still a little early to be considering booking a holiday to Croatia…there’s still enough time to wait and see how things develop. On the other hand, perhaps you’ve got an existing booking for later this summer? Again, keep your fingers crossed and hope that you will be able to take up that holiday.
Things, at the moment, are looking promising. Let’s all keep our fingers crossed.