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How to survive in and even enjoy Croatia

A guide for smart foreigners

Would you like to listen to sea waves (or is it Poseidon, the god of the see himself) playing the pipe organ at the town of Zadar? Why is the US dollar still the main currency on the islands of Susak and Olib? In which century was the world’s oldest sailors´ association founded? Who dealt the formidable Ottoman war machine its very first heavy blow on European soil and where - nearly 100 years before the second Turkish siege of Vienna? Guess what was the official language in the Croatian parliament some 150 years ago and what the Croats like to brag about. What links them to the concept of encyclopaedia, to dactiloscopy and torpedo? What are the favourite subjects for small talk in Croatia and what kinds of jokes make Croatians laugh? And yes, like elsewhere, there are some DOs and DON’Ts in Croatia.

  • Have you ever wanted to learn a secret script?
  • Do you know where Dalmatian dogs got their spots?
  • Whose stupid idea was it to wear a tie anyway?
  • A cauldron for DNA mixing...
  • Do you know who won a Nobel prize to make women (even more) irresistible?
  • Are you ready to try a Croatian tongue twister?
  • Why do we hardly ever use a plain old pencil?
  • Did you know there exists a meal that gets better every time you reheat it?
  • Whom and how to kiss in Croatia...
  • The good old communism...

Experience Croatia...

Are you actually looking for something more down-to-earth? In that case it might be wise to master words like purica s mlincima (roast turkey with baked noodles), štrukli (boiled, then oven baked crêpes with walnuts, cheese etc.), kulen (delicious pork sausage), palenta (boiled maize flour, formerly a poor man´s dish), na gradele (fish grilled on grapevine wood and generously laced with locally produced olive oil and fresh rosemary).

...with all your senses

Of course, such delicacies call for suitable liquid companions – and the choice is not too bad - from slivovitz and travarica as aperitifs and digestives to dingač, the famous red or traminac almost equally well-known white desert wine.

One can hardly think of a stay in Croatia without seeing the Plitvice lakes, Dubrovnik or possibly going birdwatching, sailing etc. But you are aware of that without this guide...


Guide in PDFDo you have to spend too much time waiting for a plane? Tired of the same old boring in-flight magazines? Would you like something to read about Croatia, written by a person who has travelled the world, just as you have? Written as light reading, this Guide will give you quick insight into some of Croatia's beauties and delights, but also quick facts for both small talk and serious conversation. As well as reading it online, you can also download the Guide from here (PDF file, 2.80MB) and take it with you wherever you go, free of charge!

If you don't already have a PDF reader, you can get one from here.

To have a glance of what the Guide looks like in its printed form, why don't you visit our Preview page?

How to survive in and even enjoy Croatia - a guide for smart foreigners © Jakov Buljan, 2006
Illustrations: Dubravko Mataković     Language editor: Francesca Brizi