General information about Croatia and Serbia.
A holiday in Croatia and Serbia has more to offer than is generally realised. The time of war and destruction has now ended. Many places are gradually being rebuilt and are shiny and new. Croatia the "pearl of the Adriatic" as this beautiful country in South-Eastern Europe is enthusiastically called, not only by its admirers, has developed into one or the most popular holiday countries in Europe over the past few years. The wonderful Adriatic coast is very reminiscent of the popular Côte d'Azur in France. However it offers more unspoilt nature and has up to now been far less developed for tourism. Dream beaches, breathtaking coastlines, attractive islands, the expanse of the sea and lots of sunshine not only have their own individual flair, but also provide the ideal conditions for a unique holiday.
Without doubt, the touristic highlight is the metropolis of Belgrade, which has many places of interest to offer. Even if Serbia lacks an attractive coastal region, travellers will not be disappointed, because Serbia has much more to offer. Attractive nature reserves and national parks with lush forests whose unspoilt nature and density are unparalleled in Europe are set next to impressive gorges and extraordinarily beautiful caves. The many isolated monasteries are an immeasurable heritage. Their architecture and the way they are blended into the natural surroundings are magnificent to see. The treasures which they contain are never fail to surprise, with colourful and deeply moving paintings. These historical fortresses and monasteries are just as worth visiting as the monuments from the prehistoric age, almost 7,000 years age, to the present day.
Croatia and Serbia are part of the Balkan region and border on Slovenia, Hungary, Rumania, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Albania and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
The Croatian climate is characterised by the Dinar mountains, which run almost parallel to the coast in a northwest – south-easterly direction. This divides the country into two areas, with a continental climate in the interior, characterised by a cold winter, a rainy spring and a hot summer. On the Adriatic coast of Croatia with its islands, a Mediterranean climate dominates, with lesser extremes and Mediterranean temperatures.
During the daytime we recommend casual functions clothing and comfortable shoes. In the evenings and on cooler days, a jacket and pullover are advisable. For sunny days we recommend a sun hat, suncream and a good pair of sunglasses with UV protection.
Croatian cuisine is characterised by a wide variety, due to the various historical and geographical roots of the country. It includes meat dishes, fish specialities, substantial soups, bacon, cheese, ham and local wine or herb spirit (travarica). The culinary "landscape" changes from north to south and from east to west, and due to its variety and heterogeneous nature is often termed the "Cuisine of the Regions".
Serbian cuisine is included in the so-called Balkan cuisine. The most prominent feature of this rural cuisine is the great selection of grill and meat dishes. Serbian cuisine was mainly influenced by Greek, Hungarian, Italian and Turkish cuisine. Dishes such as Serbian bean soup (Serb.: Pasulj Čorba), Sarma, stuffed cabbage rolls, Serbian rice meat (Serb.: Đuveč) or suckling pig (Serb.: Pečeno Prase) can be found all over the Balkans in many variations, however, they are rarely to be compared with the "Serbian Original".
The cooking methods of Serbian cuisine vary according to the region, so that the oriental influence is more strongly felt in the east, while in the west the Italian influence can be tasted.
The hotels in Serbia have to some extent been privatised and lavishly renovated. All categories are available, from luxury hotels to two-star hotels. Usually, in the case of two-star hotels in the interior of the country, compromises must be made with regard to quality.
The currency in Croatia is the Kuna (1 Kuna = 100 Lipa). €1 ~ 7.25 Kuna. Currency can be exchanged in banks, bureaux de change, at post offices and in most travel agents and hotels. Payment can be made with credit cards in most hotels, restaurants and shops (American Express, Diners Club, Eurocard/Mastercard and Visa).
The official currency in Serbia is the Dinar. €1 ~ 80,- Din. You are strongly recommended to take cash with you (Euro) and exchange it in the country. As the Euro is no longer considered to be an unofficial means of payment in Serbia, sufficient Euro should be exchanged for Dinar at the border. Cash must be declared on entering the country. Exchange of the national currency into foreign currency is not possible. At present credit cards and travellers' cheques are no longer accepted.
Croatia has one of the most modern telephone networks in Europe (mainly digital), bottlenecks and waiting times as several years ago are a thing of the past. Telephoning is possible either from your hotel or with mobile phones. Croatia has set up almost complete GSM mobile telephone network coverage, and has concluded roaming agreements with most European countries. The appliances must be declared at the border.
In Serbia there are many card-operated telephones. Telephoning to Europe is simple and can be done from the hotel. The mobile telephone network does not yet provide complete coverage and is only possible with restrictions.
The dialling code for Croatia is 00385, for Serbia 00381. To telephone to Germany from Croatia, you first dial 0049, and from Serbia 9949. The emergency number in Croatia and Serbia is 94, and the police number is 92.
Medical treatment in Croatia is good and widespread. Increasingly, apart from the medical centres and hospital, there are also private outpatients' departments and surgeries, where there are German or English-speaking doctors. Hospitals (Bolnice) have a 24 hour emergency service, where you can receive medical treatment in an emergency.
Medical treatment of German standard is not available in Serbia. Even hospitals do not always have adequate equipment and are sometimes unable to provide adequate treatment to patients with particular diseases. Only in the capital city of Belgrade are there a series of public and private clinics and surgeries with satisfactory equipment.
It is advisable to check your general vaccination status – diphtheria, tetanus and polio. We also recommend vaccination against hepatitis A and B, typhoid and possibly rabies. If you need any daily medication, please ensure that you have an adequate supply with you.
Travellers should obtain information about infection and vaccination protection in good time and seek medical advice. Please refer to to the general information available from health authorities, doctors experienced in travel medicine, specialists in tropical medicine, travel medicine information services or the Federal Centre for Health Education [Bundeszentrale für gesundheitliche Aufklärung].
The mains voltage is usually 220 Volt, frequency 50 Hz.
Similar restrictions of quantity apply to imports of food from Germany to Croatia as for imports to Germany from other countries outside of the EU area, i.e. 2 l of wine per person, 1 l of high percentage alcohol, 8 cans/bottles of beer, 1 l UHT milk, 1 kg cheese, 1 carton of cigarettes. Due to the occurrence of fowl pest in Germany, at present the import and transit of poultry meat through Croatia is prohibited. Up to 1 kg of fresh meat can be imported, however this is subject to a veterinary inspection at the border, for which a fee is charged. The value of imported goods must not exceed 300 Kuna per person.
Baggage and goods for personal use may be temporarily imported to Serbia duty free. However, they must be re-exported. To avoid problems with re-export it is recommended that valuable items are declared on import and the customs authorities requested to provide a certified list of imports.
In Serbia the restrictions for the duty free import of the following groups of goods still apply: alcoholic beverages (2 l of wine or 1 l of spirits over 22%); tobacco goods (200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250g of smoking tobacco), 1 l of perfume or Eau de Cologne. Radio equipment may only be imported and used with the prior permission of the responsible Serbian authorities.
The normal greeting and farewell is a handshake. Normally smoking is allowed, except in public transport and in the majority of State Institutions. In some restaurants, clearly designated non-smoking areas have been set up. Service in restaurants is not included in the price and it is therefore appropriate to reward satisfaction with the service – normally 10% of the bill. Monasteries and churches can generally be photographed from the outside, but only from the inside in exceptional cases. Caution is advised at military installations and special areas designated with prohibition signs. Before photographing people, permission must generally be asked.
In the areas of East Slovenia, West Slovenia and the western and south-western border areas to Bosnia, which were fought over until 1995, there is danger from landmines. Therefore you should not depart from the roads and tracks in this region.
It this information is observed, both Croatia and Serbia are safe countries for travellers. However, to avoid theft, you should not leave anything lying around unobserved. Valuables should be carried close to your person and you should keep your eyes open with regard to what is going on around you.
Routes through Croatia
This information has been compiled to the best of our knowledge, however this may be subject to change. We are not liable for the accuracy of the stated information.