It can’t have escaped the attention of many who visited Croatia in 2013 that a big, momentous event took place on 1st July 2013…the country finally became part of the EU.
If you’re interested in more about the process of the country joining the EU or the political side of things, the BBC News website featured a great series of articles and video reports in 2013 under the series Croatia Direct.
Incidentally, here’s a fun little Visit Croatia tale for you. On our Croatia Today page, we used to have a brief sentence stating that “Croatia is not currently in the EU, but is in talks to join. It is expected to join the EU in the year xxxx”. We first put that sentence up in the early 2000s with the year given as 2005, and as each year went on, we had to amend it! So today, we feel very lucky that we no longer have to amend that sentence…
Croatia in the EU – Currency
Croatia did not join the Eurozone on 1st July 2013, but did finally adopt the Euro on 1st January 2023 – yes, almost ten years after joining the EU. Croatia also joined the Schengen Zone on the same date. (See more on this below.)
Read more about Euros in Croatia on our Money in Croatia page.
Croatia in the EU – Visas
As of 1st January 2023, Croatia is now also part of the Schengen Zone.
Visitors from many non-EU countries do not need a visa to visit Croatia (or the rest of the Schengen Zone) – this includes visitors from the UK, North America, Australia, New Zealand amongst many other countries. However, visitors can only stay for 90 days in any 180-day period.
Visitors from other countries many need a visa to visit Croatia/the Schengen Zone. Please check on the website of the Croatian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and to find out how to apply for a visa.
Croatia in the EU – Mobile phone usage
On 15th June 2017, roaming charges in the EU were scrapped. This means that EU citizens can use their ordinary mobile phone allowance to make calls and send texts, and use data, in any EU country. It now costs the same to use your phone abroad (in the EU!) as it does at home.
As part of the EU, it won’t cost you any more to use your phone in Croatia then it would at home. But please do check with your home mobile operator to make sure you don’t get any nasty bill surprises…just in case!
If you’re travelling to Croatia from outside the EU, it would probably be best to contact your home network provider to see if there are special roaming packages available for the EU. You might also find a company offering SIM cards for travel that will also help you keep costs down.
Alternatively, once you’re in Croatia, you could purchase a local SIM card to use in your phone (providing it is unlocked), or a data SIM for your tablet. See our Telephones and Mobile Phones in Croatia page for a few more details.
Croatia in the EU – Health
As the country is now part of the EU, the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is now valid in Croatia. If you’re the citizen of an EU country, we would highly recommend that you obtain a EHIC card; it is free, after all. However, we would still of course advise travellers to take out a travel insurance policy as well.
Croatia does also have reciprocal health arrangements with some non-EU countries. We advise you to check with your country’s Foreign Office for more information.
Croatia in the EU – Free wi-fi
Although not especially linked to joining the EU, on the 1st July 2013 Croatia set up around 270 free wi-fi hotspots across the country, with 244 hotspots in coastal regions. Utilising these will definitely help you save on data roaming charges! There’s more on this on the Ministry of Tourism‘s site, although at present the info is only in Croatian.
Croatia and the EU – Celebrations
Understandably, joining the EU was marked by a number of celebrations around the country on the stroke of midnight on the 1st July 2013. Celebrations were perhaps more muted than might have been expected, what with a general mixed mood surrounding the country joining the union, but there were still fireworks and ceremonial activities nevertheless. To give you an idea, here’s a video report from The Guardian: Croatia celebrates joining the EU.