UPDATE: Croatia now requiring US travelers to pack negative COVID tests, face masks to enter the country
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Editor’s note: This post was updated August 10 to reflect changing guidelines. The original article was published on July 9, 2020.
As the travel industry reopens following COVID-19 shutdowns, TPG suggests that you talk to your doctor, follow health officials’ guidance as well as the State Department’s travel advisory and research local travel restrictions before booking that next trip. We will be here to help you prepare, whether it is next month or next year.
If the aqua lakes of Plitvice or the red-roofed city of Dubrovnik have been on your list of travel destinations, you’ll be happy to hear that the European country of Croatia has reopened for tourists from all countries.
Here’s what you need to know about traveling to Croatia in 2020.
What to expect
Incoming travelers from the U.S. must produce a negative COVID PCR test taken less than 48 hours before arrival in Croatia. This new requirement supersedes the previous one, which stated that travelers hoping to avoid quarantine could produce a negative test swabbed 48 hours or less prior to departure from the original country.
You can still enter the country with a negative test taken before that 48-hour window, but you’ll be required to take another COVID test and quarantine upon arrival until you receive the negative results.
Travelers who arrive in Croatia without test results will be required to quarantine for 14 days, but this can be reduced to seven if you test negative in the country after you arrive.
The European Union has decided not to allow U.S. travelers into the E.U., but individual nations can decide to ignore that decision, and it appears that Croatia has done just that in regards to Americans.
You’ll need to show your hotel receipt when you arrive
Tourists must provide proof of paid local accommodations, such as a hotel receipt. If you’re staying with family members, share the address so that officials can reach you if needed.
Social distancing and face masks are required in public settings
- Respect all social distancing requirements, and observe a home quarantine if COVID-19 symptoms appear during your stay in Croatia
- Masks are required in all public settings, including on public transportation
Other than the requirements above, entry into the country appears to be very easy, with no further visas or special requirements needed.
How to get there and Where to stay
There are a number of flights available into Croatia’s main airports: Zagreb (ZAG), Split (SPU) and Dubrovnik (DBV).
For dates between September 12 to 26, flights from New York (JFK) to Dubrovnik (DBV) are just $523 round trip on Polish airline LOT in the Star Alliance family, albeit with a long layover in Warsaw on the return flight home. Business-class flights are $2,543 round trip on Aer Lingus.
For flights booked on points, you can book economy class round trip on 63,000 United miles and $86 in cash on a combination of Scandinavian Airlines, Cityjet, Croatia Airlines and LOT, or business class with 132,000 United miles and $148.15.
The cheapest flights from Los Angeles (LAX) to Split (SPU) are similarly priced at $635 round trip in economy on LOT in August, or $2,530 round trip in business class in mid-October on a combination of Alaska, Condor and Croatia Airlines.
Points flights from JFK to SPU are 66,000 United miles and $73.85 in cash on Scandinavian and Croatia Airlines in economy for late August, or 143,000 miles and $77.95 on Lufthansa and Air Dolomiti for the same dates.
For dates September 12 to 19, flights from New York (JFK) to Zagreb (ZAG) are $674 round trip on Polish airline LOT in the Star Alliance family, albeit with a long layover in Warsaw on the return flight home. Business-class flights are $2,756 round trip on Turkish Airlines.
For points flights from JFK to ZAG are 66,000 United miles and $85.25 in cash on Scandinavian and Croatia Airlines in economy for mid-September, or 132,000 miles and $114.05 on Lufthansa and Air Dolomiti for the same dates.
There are many lovely hotels in Croatia, and some are even bookable on points. Don’t forget that even cash-only properties can be paid with points by using a credit card that allows you to “erase” charges off of your statement using your existing points balance.
The world’s largest chain has a number of properties in the country, including the Category 6 Le Meridien Lav Split (from $257 or 50,000 points per night); the Category 5 Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera (from $167 or 40,000 points per night) or the Category 3 Westin Zagreb (from $111 or 17,500 points per night).
Hilton has three points properties in Zagreb: The Canopy by Hilton Zagreb City Centre (from $119 or 32,000 Hilton Honors points per night); the Hilton Garden Inn Zagreb — Radnicka ($107 or 20,000 points per night); and the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Zagreb (from $119 or 27,000 points per night).
There are only three Hyatt properties in Croatia: The Boutique Hotel Alhambra (from $348/night), the D-Resort Sibenik (from $125/night) and the Hotel Vestibul Palace (from $116/night). All three properties are Small Luxury Hotels of the World.
The only one that accepts points reservations is the D-Resort Sibenik, from 25,000 Hyatt points per night.
With additional reporting by Clint Henderson.
Featured photo by Shutterstock.
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