UPDATE: Croatia now allowing travelers to skip testing, isolation if they’re vaccinated
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Editor’s note: This post was updated on April 11, 2021, to reflect changing guidelines. The original article was published on July 9, 2020.
If the aqua lakes of Plitvice or the red-roofed city of Dubrovnik has been on your list of travel destinations, you’ll be happy to hear that the European country of Croatia is open to tourists from all countries. There are still various testing and quarantine requirements in place, however, so here’s what you need to know about traveling to Croatia in 2021.
What to expect
In April, Croatia took the next step towards fully reopening: Vaccinated travelers can now bypass the country’s COVID-19 testing and quarantine requirements. Note that travelers must be fully vaccinated, with the final dose (or single dose, for one-jab vaccines like Johnson & Johnson) having been administered at least 14 days prior to departure.
Croatia is also open to travelers who are not vaccinated, although they will have to meet specific entry requirements. Unvaccinated incoming travelers from the U.S. must produce a negative COVID PCR test taken less than 48 hours before arrival in Croatia.
Travelers can also use an antigen test, but that will have to be repeated after 10 days for visitors who stay that long. Those who tested positive for the virus within the past 180 days can be exempted from the testing and self-isolation requirements, but they must produce a certificate of recovery issued by a doctor.
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 10 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).
We’ve seen deals on flights from New York (JFK) to Dubrovnik (DBV) round trip on Polish airline LOT in the Star Alliance family, as well as business-class flights on Aer Lingus. For flights booked on points, try booking economy or business class round trip on United miles on a combination of Scandinavian Airlines, Cityjet, Croatia Airlines and LOT.
The cheapest flights from Los Angeles (LAX) to Split (SPU) have been round trip in economy on LOT, or round trip in business class on a combination of Alaska, Condor and Croatia Airlines. Points flights from JFK to SPU can be booked with United miles on Scandinavian and Croatia Airlines in economy or on Lufthansa and Air Dolomiti.
Try flights from New York (JFK) to Zagreb (ZAG) on Polish airline LOT in the Star Alliance family, or business-class flights round trip on Turkish Airlines. For points flights from JFK to ZAG use United miles on Scandinavian and Croatia Airlines in economy or on Lufthansa and Air Dolomiti.
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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