Americans can now travel to Croatia

WWhen we started to see reports that Croatia was allowing Americans to visit this beautiful Mediterranean country, we had to blink a few times and then had to confirm all the details to make sure we weren’t led on another path of the coronavirus bound false hopes.

It turns out to be true.

At the end of June, European Union leaders announced that when Europe opened its external borders on July 1, American travelers would not be allowed in due to the current coronavirus crisis in the United States. Currently, only travelers from this list of 14 countries are now allowed to enter Europe.

But this decision was not legally binding. When the announcement was made, EU leaders said member countries should not stray from the list so that the lifting of travel restrictions can be done in a coordinated fashion. But there have already been some deviations, notably Germany, which is only allowed in 8 of the 14 countries on the list, and now in Croatia.

Although Croatia is a member of the European Union, it is not yet part of the Schengen area without borders, which means that travelers cannot cross Croatia’s borders to other European countries without being submitted border controls. This means that travelers entering Croatia will not be able to easily or automatically enter other European countries.

“There is no diplomatic repercussion for Croatia if it allows American travelers to enter the country. The country’s tourism industry players have taken all possible precautions, ”says Ina Rodin, North America director of the Croatian National Tourist Board, a division of the Croatian Government’s National Tourist Board.

For return journeys (entering the United States from Croatia), it should be noted that a American presidential proclamation restricts travelers from the European Schengen area, but the Schengen area does not include Croatia. Nevertheless, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is asking all travelers coming from overseas to the United States to self-quarantine for 14 days after arrival.

What are the conditions for traveling to Croatia?

On July 10, the Croatian Institute of Public Health came to decision that non-EU citizens, including those from the US, entering Croatia as tourists, business travelers or students can do so freely as long as they provide proof of a diagnostic chain reaction test polymerase (PCR) negative (also called the nasal swab test) for COVID-19. The result must have been obtained within 48 hours of arrival at the Croatian border. Alternatively, there is a mandatory 14-day self-isolation (at the expense of travelers), which can be shortened to one week for travelers who take a COVID-19 test within 7 days of entering Croatia and receive a negative test result. COVID-19 tests in Croatia cost around $ 230 and results can be expected in 1 to 2 days, according to the U.S. Embassy Zagreb.

The embassy also warned travelers that Croatian health authorities monitor and enforce quarantine orders, and that they are allowed to impose fines on those who violate the orders ranging from 8,000 Croatian kuna (approximately US $ 1,200). for a first violation up to 120,000 Croatian kuna (or US $ 18,000) for repeat offenders.

Prior to arrival, visitors must complete an available travel form in line. On this form, they must provide proof of their confirmed hotel or accommodation reservation. After completing the form, travelers will receive confirmation that it has been submitted, and they will receive instructions regarding the rules and regulations for traveling to and within Croatia at this time.

How can American travelers get to Croatia?

There are no direct flights to Croatia, but there are connecting flights through major European hubs including Frankfurt, Paris, Amsterdam, London, Vienna, Warsaw, Zurich, Berlin and Oslo. European Union travel restrictions include an exception for transit passengers. U.S. citizens and permanent residents are allowed to enter the United States from European countries in the Schengen area, but they must go to one of 13 U.S. airports when they do so, according to guidelines provided by the US Department of Homeland Security.

Connecting flights between the United States and Zagreb are available on American, Delta, United, Air France, British Airways, Lufthansa, Turkish Airlines and other carriers. The majority of airlines now require travelers to wear a mask during their flight.

The 186-room ultra-luxury Kempinski Hotel Adriatic Istria is open and welcomes travelers from abroad.

What is open and is it safe in Croatia?

Croatia began easing its coronavirus restrictions on April 27. Since then, restaurants and bars have reopened with permitted outdoor seating, and public facilities such as beaches, swimming pools, national parks and nature reserves are open with social distancing protocols in place. Attractions like the famous Dubrovnik City Walls also greet visitors with social distancing measures implemented.

Currently, there are 395 campgrounds and 786 hotels open across the country. Among them is the ultra-luxury of 186 rooms Hotel Kempinski Adriatic Istria. The property is located on the Adriatic coast, with two swimming pools, a 30,000 square foot spa and an 18 hole golf course. At Kempinski hotels, staff wear gloves and masks, and improved sanitation and social distancing measures have been put in place. Another option is the Maslina Hotel, a charming, sustainability-focused property that opens on the Croatian island of Hvar on August 10. With 33 rooms, 17 suites and 3 villas, the luxury resort includes olive groves, terraced vineyards and views of the Adriatic Sea.

Regardless of where travelers stay, the Croatian Institute of Health recommends that citizens and visitors maintain social distancing measures, wear face masks on public transport and indoors, and to wash your hands frequently. Social gatherings should be limited in size and scope. Those who work in the hospitality industry and those who serve or prepare meals and drinks are required to wear masks.

Visitors who develop symptoms of COVID-19 are asked to stay in their accommodation and contact a doctor.

As of July 15, Croatia had recorded a total of 3,953 coronavirus cases and 120 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Is it possible that travel to Croatia from the US will be restricted again?

According to Rodin, the fluidity of the coronavirus pandemic means that decisions can always change and that new restrictions affecting travel to Croatia could be put in place. But Rodin hopes that the current entry requirements and conditions will remain in place in Croatia for the foreseeable future.

“We hope for the best because things are improving,” says Rodin. “The global pandemic caused by the coronavirus has posed enormous challenges for the whole world. The virus will put our lives in danger until a vaccine is found and, in the meantime, we must learn to live with it. “

Croatia welcomed 20.6 million travelers in 2019, of which 655,000 were from the United States. The beautiful Adriatic destination has been a rising star in the travel scene as an increasing number of globetrotters have discovered its charms, including the UNESCO-listed Old Town of Dubrovnik, the charming Dalmatian Coast and the Istrian peninsula, and the arts and cultural center Zagreb.

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