Drinking in Croatia - Beer

If you’re intrigued about what you’ll find when drinking in Croatia, you’ve come to the right place! Here, Visit Croatia presents some of the wines, beers, spirits and other drinks that you may encounter on your visit to Croatia.

Drinking in Croatia – Beer in Croatia

As an Eastern European country, it may come as no surprise to learn that beer is pretty popular in Croatia. There are numerous beers in Croatia for you to try whilst on your holiday – perhaps the best known are Karlovacko (brewed in Karlovac – hence the name), Ozujsko and Pan.

You may also encounter Osjecko (in fact, the oldest beer in Croatia – first brewed in 1697 and from Osijek, again hence the name); Velebitsko; the dark beer Tomislav and the Slovenian-produced Lasko.

Drinking in Croatia - Beer
A pint of Pan in Split

In the last few years, flavoured beers (beer mixed with lemon or grapefruit) have appeared in Croatia. Look for Ozujsko Limun or Ozujsko Grejp (flavoured with lemon or grape) or Karlovacko Radler. These are generally less alcoholic than normal beer.

These days, craft beers are also becoming more and more popular in Croatia (as they are everywhere!). Check out beers from breweries such as Zmajska Pivovara (the first Croatian craft brewery!) and The Garden Brewery, both from Zagreb; Dubrovacka Pivovara from Dubrovnik and San Servolo from Istria.

Oh, and the most important bit of information – the Croatian word for beer is pivo (pronounced pee-voh). Try asking for “Dva piva, molim Vas!” (dva pee-vah moh-leem vas) – two beers, please!

Drinking in Croatia – Wine in Croatia

Croatia isn’t perhaps all that well known for its wines, but we put that down to people simply not having much of an opportunity to taste them outside of Croatia. This is something that’s rapidly changing, as more and more wines are being exported. You can often find a small selection of Croatian wines (perhaps a couple of different types) for sale from “wine clubs”, in some supermarkets or shops such as Majestic Wines (who sell this Plavac Mali).

When you come to Croatia, we really urge you to try some of the local wine – we have no doubt that you’ll enjoy it. (When you’re not trying the beers or joining the locals in brandy drinking, that is.) Some of the most famous Croatian wines include the red Plavac Mali from the Peljesac Peninsula and the whites Posip (Korcula/Peljesac Peninsula); Grk (Korcula); Malvazija (Istria); and Grasevina (Croatian interior). Prosek is a sweet dessert wine, most common in Dalmatia.

Wherever you are, ask your restaurant to recommend a Croatian wine to you.

You can also visit local wineries and wine producers whilst in Croatia. In particular, there’s a great number to tour on the Peljesac Peninsula, Istria and Slavonia. Take a look at our Wineries in Croatia page for more details of these.

Drinking in Croatia – Spirits in Croatia

If you’ve ever been to any Eastern European country, you may have found that spirits are big. Not so much that everyone just drinks spirits and mixers all the time (who needs a mixer?!), but that everyone and their dog distills some kind of fruit brandy (rakija) at home – or at least knows someone that does and has a ready supply of a bottle of some “fine” liqueur.

Drinking in Croatia - Croatian liqueurs
A fine selection of Croatian liqueurs

It will be very rare to not encounter a Croatian spirit during your stay in the country – restaurants will often serve you up a little something before or after your meal. If you’re staying in private accommodation or with friends – well, then, you’ll barely be able to escape.

Yes, these drinks are VERY strong. Try and sip them slowly.

Anyway, you’ll most likely encounter sljivovica (plum brandy), travarica (herbal brandy), kruskovac (pear brandy), orahovac (walnut brandy) or lozovaca (grape brandy). Maraskino/maraschino is also made in Croatia, in the Zadar region.

Try some of the spirits made by the following producers to sample some Croatian-made drinks:

  • Maraska
    One of the best-known producers of Croatian spirits, be sure to pick up a bottle of their maraschino
  • Badel
    Produces a wide range of wines and more standard spirits, try their pelinkovac (a herbal liqueur) or sljivovica
  • Kostelac Distillery
    Produces gins inspired by Papuk Nature Park

Drinking in Croatia – Other Drinks in Croatia

One of the weirdest drinks that you may encounter in Croatia is Bambus. This drink actually “exists” in many countries around the world, but in Croatia and the other former Yugoslav republics…this is the name that it goes by. What is it, you may wonder? It’s red wine mixed with cola and served with ice. We’ll leave you to decide whether you actually want to partake in some bambus…

Not an alcoholic drink but something oh-so-Croatian that we had to mention here, is Cedevita. This is a “instant” vitamin drink meaning it comes in powdered form and must be mixed with water; the classic flavour is orange, but these days comes in other exciting flavours such as lemon or lime. According to Croats, it’s the perfect drink to keep you healthy and an absolute must if you’re suffering with a cold.