Unlocking the World

Travel to Croatia during Covid-19: What you need to know before you go

CNN staffUpdated 10th September 2021
The historic city of Dubrovnik is one of Croatia's highlights.
(CNN) — If you're planning to travel to Croatia, here's what you'll need to know and expect if you want to visit during the Covid-19 pandemic

The basics

Croatia has had one of the highest death rates in Europe from Covid-19, but has reopened to tourists for the 2021 summer season.

What's on offer

Its coastline and myriad islands have helped make Croatia the perfect summer escape for travelers keen on something a bit less obvious than Greece, Italy or Spain. Dubrovnik, with its historic old town and ancient walls, is a key stop off for cruise liners, but the whole coast is a joy, from Roman remains in Pula and Split to picture perfect islands such as Korčula.

Who can go

The borders are now open, although travelers need either an EU Digital Covid Certificate, or proof of vaccination, recovery from Covid-19, or a negative test. Arrivals from some destinations are subject to quarantine -- see below -- and anyone coming from a non-European destination will need a confirmed accommodation booking.

What are the restrictions?

Passengers arriving from EU and Schengen-associated countries, whatever their nationality, are allowed into Croatia on the production of an EU Digital Covid Certificate. If you don't have one, you must produce either a vaccination certificate (of a vaccination approved for use in the EU), with vaccine completed within the past 270 days; a certificate of recovery from Covid-19, along with proof of at least one dose of vaccine within eight months of contracting the disease; or a negative PCR test or a rapid antigen test recognized by the EU (see here for a list) taken within 72 or 48 hours respectively.
Otherwise, you can opt to get a test on arrival and then self-isolate until you get a negative result, or for 10 days. The same rules apply for third-country nationals resident in the EU, or EU nationals resident abroad.
However, if the country or area you are arriving from is listed as "red" or "dark red" by the European Center for Disease Control, there are extra restrictions -- see below.
The borders are officially closed to third-country nationals, but tourism is a valid exception. You must bring a certificate of paid accommodation (in a hotel, private rental, campsite or rented boat), in addition to the paperwork above.
There are additional measures for arrivals from the countries listed as high risk by the Croatian Institute of Public Health, regardless of vaccination status. Those from South Africa, Zanzibar, Tanzania and Brazil must produce a negative PCR test taken within 48 hours of arrival, and then must self-isolate for 14 days.
Arrivals from Great Britain, Cyprus, Russia and India must present a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours or an antigen test taken within 48 hours.
Countries or regions which are on the "red" or "dark red" list of the European Center for Disease Control must abide by the same rules as the UK, Cyprus, Russia and India. As of August 10, these include Spain, Portugal, most of Greece, and parts of Italy and France, among other destinations. For a full list, see here.

What's the Covid situation?

Croatia has seen Europe's eighth highest death rate per capita, just below Italy. The country missed its goal of vaccinating half all adults with a single dose by July 1 -- as of September 10, just over 40% have been vaccinated. As a result, it is seeing a growing number of cases linked to the Delta variant, and officials have warned of further restrictions being imposed from autumn. As of September 10 there had been over 380,000 cases and 8,405 deaths.

What can visitors expect?

While Croatia has reopened, many restrictions remain in place. Masks are mandatory indoors and in all enclosed spaces, as well as outside where social distancing of 1.5 meters cannot be maintained.
Cafes, clubs and restaurants are open but are subject to curfews and capacity rules, while events are capped at 100 people.

Useful links

Our latest coverage

Croatia is so keen to welcome back tourists that it's even offering them the chance to go and live there full time with a new digital nomad permit. If that seems a bit extreme, this gallery of the country's most beautiful places should amp up your wanderlust.