HOW TO: Act Like a Local in Croatia

Croatia is a beautiful country still recovering from a brutal war twenty years ago. With sweeping landscapes, comforting food, interesting history, and tons of opportunities for thrill seekers, Croatia is quickly becoming a must see destination. Here are five tips on how to act like a local in Croatia.

Sleep in

Early risers should not expect there to be many restaurants open and people walking about before 9am. Jelacic Square in Zagreb is lively during the day and absolutely festive at night, but I ended up walking block after empty block one morning searching for breakfast. If you’re getting an early start on a day trip, it would be wise to plan ahead and get provisions the day before. Otherwise, snuggle back in those covers!

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Don’t try to order food at a caffe/bar

In the US, a “café” is just another name for a restaurant, usually casual. In Croatia, a caffe or bar serves drinks only. Croatians are serious about their caffes and will spend hours lounging at a table smoking cigarettes and nursing a macchiato or cappuccino. Asking for a food menu at these ubiquitous establishments will be a dead giveaway that you’re a noob. Instead, it’s completely acceptable to stop by a local bakery for a delicious strudel and bring it to the caffe.

 

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Get lots of receipts

You’ve ordered a round of drinks and a pizza and just as you’ve taken your first sip of ice cold Karlovačko, the waiter brings you a receipt. No, they’re not hinting for you to leave! You will receive a receipt for each round of drinks or each snack you order, which will then be added at the end of the meal. Bonus Tip: the wifi password is often on the receipt!

Order a bottle of wine

Most restaurants only have a few options for wine by the glass, but have an extensive list of full bottles. If you’re like me, this isn’t a problem! If you are trying to save money or need to drive later, get the house wine, which is always local made and usually pretty good. Croatian wines are vastly underrated, so drink up and živjeli (zhee-ve-lee)!

Be friendly

I found Croatians to be quite friendly and ready to provide directions or even help lift our car off of the stump it was stuck on (yes, that happened). When thanked, it is waved off with a pleasant smile and, “It was nothing.” So, be ready to lend a helping hand when needed, learn to say some polite phrases, and be open to any invitations you might receive!

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