Health and safety in Croatia

santé en Croatie

What you need to know before leaving

There are no particular risks. Travelling to Croatia is relatively safe from a health point of view.

There are no compulsory vaccinations for travelling to Croatia. Local health autorities recommends vaccinations. This is a good opportunity to update your vaccination schedule (particularly for hepatitis A). The tetanus vaccine is recommended for hikers and tourists who sleep in the wilderness, as is the vaccine against rabies, typhoid and tick-borne encephalitis.

In principle, tourista should not strike holidaymakers, but slipping some anti-diarrhoea medicine into your bag may not be a bad idea. The same applies to Doliprane for headaches…

If you are taking any medication when you leave, it’s a good idea to ask your doctor about it, and it’s a good idea to take your medication with you for the whole of your stay, along with a prescription explaining the active ingredient. This document should be translated into English (Croatian is ideal, but English is easier). This improved prescription serves two purposes:

  • Be able to justify themselves to the customs authorities,
  • Be able to buy new medicines if necessary.

Medicines must be taken with their leaflets and boxes in the event of an inspection or for refilling.

Covid-19 epidemic in Croatia

The health crisis linked to the coronavirus is affecting Croatia, a tourist country with large numbers of visitors. Tailor-made health protocols are in place, as in other European countries.

The only real risk in Croatia: the Danube tick

Tick-borne encephalitis (or meningoencephalitis, TBE) is a disease with serious consequences (50% meningitis, significant after-effects and 1% death). Flu-like symptoms appear in the first 4 days.

The regions affected by the disease are Slavonia and the border region of central Croatia, particularly from April to November. If you are bitten by a tick, you should seek medical advice: an antibiotic-based treatment will be administered. It is also possible to be vaccinated directly in Croatia.

Other health risks in Croatia

Diseases and health risks

  • Vipers and scorpions are present, as in Italy and southern France. Wild animals (particularly bears) can be found in Croatia’s parks.
  • Rabies is not widespread in Croatia, particularly on the border with Bosnia and in the mountains. It is transmitted by foxes.
  • Mosquitoes are found in wetlands (Neretva, Sava) and marshy areas. Take repellent and anti-itching products. These precautions will minimise the risk of catching West Nile virus or “Nile fever”.
  • Forest fires: It’s hot in summer. Forest fires are frequent. Forest fire information telephone number: (01) 38 55 960/961
  • Not all conflict zones have been cleared of mines. It is advisable to scrupulously respect the signs, not to enter ruined houses and not to stray from the paths. More information on the official Cromac website.
  • By the sea, beware of sea urchins and slippery rocks. Use beach shoes and sandals to avoid these problems.

Drinking water

Almost everywhere in Croatia, water is safe to drink straight from the tap. The taste, particularly on the islands, is sometimes surprising – this is due to the difficulties in treating and purifying the water. As in Europe, when the water is not drinkable, a sign indicates this.

Always bring bottles of mineral water. You may be surprised by the price of bottled water: it is very expensive, and in some tourist resorts the prices are very high. The best thing to do is to take your water bottle or flask with you before each visit.

Smoking: a public health problem in Croatia

Smoking is very common in Croatia, and a real health problem. Apart from in churches, Croatians smoke everywhere (indoors and outdoors). No-smoking signs are very rare.

Health care in Croatia

Insurance in Croatia and reimbursement of healthcare costs

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) works in Croatia. However, this does not prevent you from being cautious and phoning your insurance company to check the extent of cover taken out and, if necessary, taking out additional insurance for your stay, to protect yourself against accidents and illness and to ensure that you have repatriation facilities.

To make sure you are fully reimbursed, make sure the treatment is listed on the card and keep the receipts (detailed invoices) so that you can claim reimbursement on your return to home for any expenses that may not have been covered.

Take your insurance details with you. If you need to, you’ll have the contact details to hand.

First-aid kit

A first-aid kit is compulsory in all four-wheeled vehicles. It’s the law in Croatia. If you don’t have one, now is certainly a good time to invest. First-aid kits are available from petrol stations and chemists. The contents are not compulsory. The kit is unlikely to be needed on the road, but cuts and stings are commonplace when you return from the beach or a hike.

Contacting emergency services

By telephone, as in Europe, 112 is the emergency number to dial in the event of a serious problem. The call will be passed on to the fire brigade (number 93), the police (number 92) or the SAMU (number 94). Please note that you can only speak Croatian, German, Italian and English on the other end of the line. This number operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Emergency care is free (Croatian minimum health cover).

Going to hospital

The hospital infrastructure is of good quality, and every major town has the equipment and healthcare teams to meet European health standards. In addition to the major cities, health centres exist in tourist areas and are open – at least during the tourist season. However, waiting times are generally much longer than in elsewhere in Western Europe.

Finding a pharmacy

There are many pharmacies (ljekarna) throughout Croatia. They can be found in every town and in rural areas.