60 Interesting Facts About Croatia

Last updated on June 10th, 2016 at 05:11 am

Croatia, officially the Republic of Croatia, is a country in central and southeastern Europe. Croatia provides: breathtaking beauty, delicious sea food, incredible wine and great sunshine for most part of the year. With these 60 interesting facts about Croatia, learn more about its culture, history, people, economy, tourism and more…

Croatia’s history and culture

1. The origin of the name Croatia is uncertain.

2. The Croats are believed to have arrived in what is today Croatia, from southern Poland, south of Kraków in the early 7th century. However, this claim is also disputed by many.

3. Croatia was once a kingdom in 925 under the kingship of Tomislav, the first king of the country.

4. The first native Croatian ruler recognized by the Pope was Duke Branimir.

5. In northern Croatia, the fossils of Neanderthals have been unearthed. The fossils were found to be dating back to the middle Palaeolithic period.

6. Kingdom of Croatia and Kingdom of Hungary in 1102 were ruled by the same King, Ladislaus I. Hungary plays a significant role in contributing towards Croatian tourism. Hundreds of thousands of Hungarians visit Croatia every year.

7. Croatians are also some of the best conversationalists. Believe us that dating a Croat will keep you away from boredom.

8. Bog! Is a friendly and very common greeting among the Croats in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. The greeting stands for both Hi! And Bye!.

9. Because of a variety of dialets that are spoken in the country, it is common to find people having difficulty in understanding each others’ language and intention.

10. During the World War II, the Croats murdered between 70,000 and 100,000 people. This mass killing was done while pursuing a policy of racial and ethnic persecution.

11. Because of its unique patterns and designs, lacemaking in Croatia has been recognized as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.

12. The remains of a German WWII ship can be seen in just a few meters of clear water in Zavratnica bay.

13. Lonely Planet, one of the world’s leading travel site has described Croatia as the country of glittering waters.

14. In 2011, FORBES magazine ranked Croatia in the top 12 world best retirement haven. One of the reasons for this could be that the retirees in Croatia are exempted from paying income tax.

Map of Croatia with bordering countries
Map of Croatia with bordering countries

Croatia’s economy and tourism

15. Croatia is identified by the IMF as an emerging and developing economy.

16. As per the World Bank, Croatia is a high-income economy.

17. Tourism plays a significant role in the country’s economy, which is also dependent on agriculture.

18. Around 11 million tourists visited Croatia in 2009.

19. Cres and Krk are the largest islands of the country.

20. Vis, which is the farthest inhabited island from the Croatian mainland; was named the top beach in Europe for 2016.

21. Out of the numerous deep caves in Croatia, at least three are deeper than 1,000 m.

22. The country also has a system of lakes with distinctive colors including mint green, grey or blue.

23. As per some statistics, Croatia is among the top 40 famous tourist destinations in the world.

24. Tourism contributes 15% to the nation’s GDP.

25. The European Union is Croatia’s most important trading partner.

26. The Sea Organ is an architectural object located in Zadar, Croatia. It is an experimental musical instrument, which plays music by way of sea waves and tubes located underneath a set of large marble steps.

27. Croatia underwent economic recession between 2008 and 2015. The economy however, is recovering from the loss.

28. Croatia spends almost 8% of its GDP on health.

29. Croatia is a hot-spot for celebrities and business giants to invest their money in property in the country. Superstars including Steven Spielberg, Andre Agassi, Gwyneth Paltrow, Beyonce and Jay Z, Madonna, Clint Eastwood and businessmen including Bill Gates, Roman Abramovic, Deripaska,  Melnichenko, Zeleznjak, and Bernie Ecclestone have all purchased properties for residential and business.

30. For safety and security, Croatia is ranked above the U.S. by the Institute for Economics & Peace.

31. Impressed by the beauty of the Dubrovnik, George Bernard Shaw has said “those who seek paradise on Earth should come to Dubrovnik”.

32. The city (Dubrovnik) has also been described as “the pearl of the Adriatic”.

People and natural resources 

33. Croatia is a rich country in biodiversity.

34. Croatia has a total of eight national parks. One of these–Plitvice Lakes National Park– is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

35. There is a museum in Croatia dedicated to Frogs doing some people work. Froggyland has 507 stuffed frogs arranged in 21 cases. The frogs in the museum are stuffed with cork and are doing a variety of things that people do during daily life.

36. The smallest town in the world–Hum–is in Croatia. With a population of 21, the world’s smallest town is situated in the centre of Istria. The town also has a mention in Guiness World records. Some regard the Vatican City as the smallest city in the world; however, it is a country. You can have a tour of the city through this video below.

37. The Walls of Ston, Croatia, is the longest fortress system anywhere in the world. The great walls protected the city from Ottomans for the last 500 years. The walls are 5 kilo-meter long and aptly surround Ston and its neighbor Mali Ston.

38. Croatia has only one Noble Prize winner so far. That too was born in Austria-Hungary at that time. Leopold Ruzicka won the Noble Prize in Chemistry in 1939.

39. Croatia also has a city continuously inhabited for the last 8000 years – Vinkovic, in eastern Croatia.

40. Croatia has the second highest rate of immigration in the world. Ireland is on the number one spot.

Related: Interesting facts about Slovenia

41. 47% of Croatia’s land and 39% of its sea is designated as specially protected areas and areas of conservation.

42. The 6th largest amphitheater in the world is in Pula, Croatia.

43. Croats are also accredited with inventing the necktie. They did it in the 17th century.

44. Croats like to play football the most. However, the countrymen also follow water polo, basketball and handball as well.

45. Kids pay attention here: Nikola Tesla, the famous inventor of alternating current was born in Serbia ( now Croatia.) Tesla’s birthplace was opened as a museum on July 10, 2006.

46. Some famous people from Croatia include: Filthy Frank (Pop Singer), Luka Modric (Soccer player), Mario Andretti (Race Car Driver) and Jelena Rozga (pop Singer).

47. Adult Eagle owl found in Croatia can have a wing span of up to 2 meters. It is the largest European owl. There are around 1200 pairs of these living in Croatia.

48. Croatia became the 28th member state of the EU on 1 July 2013.

49. Kolinda Grabar-Kiratovic is Croatia’s first female president.

50. Dalmatian dog is a well known breed from Dalmatia. However, this name was given in the 19th century in USA. Previously it was known as the “Dubrovnik hunter”.

51. There is a Museum of Broken Relationships in Croatia. Heartbroken people donate the remainders of their loved ones in the museum. Nearly 1,000 people visit the museum every week.

Croatia facts for children

52. By geographical area, Croatia is 127th largest country in the world.

53. Parachute was also invented in Croatia by Faust Vraneiae in 1617.

54. Azithromycin: A world best-selling Antibiotic, was also invented in Croatia by Pliva, a pharmaceutical company headquartered in Zagreb.

55.Croatian currency is named after a lime tree.

56. Remember: Croatia is called Hrvatska in Croatian. 

57. Primary and secondary education is free in Croatia.

58. You can have a majestic look of Dubrovnik city from a loft 405 m while riding on a cable car which takes you from just north of the city walls to Mt Srđ in under four minutes.

59. Croatia has 1165 islands on the Adriatic Sea of which 66 are inhibited.

60. Croatia’s largest mountain, the Velebit, lies in Paklenica National Park.

Quick/fast country facts Croatia

Capital CityZagreb
45°48′N 16°0′E
Largest CityZagreb
45°48′N 16°0′E
Total area56,594 sq km
Population4,313,707 (July 2016 est.)
Official LanguageCroatian
BordersBosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Slovenia, Hungary and Montenegro.
CurrencyKuna (HRK)
Average Life Span76.92 Years (2012)
ClimateMediterranean and continental; continental climate predominant with hot summers and cold winters; mild winters, dry summers along coast
Terraingeographically diverse; flat plains along Hungarian border, low mountains and highlands near Adriatic coastline and islands
Natural resourcesoil, some coal, bauxite, low-grade iron ore, calcium, gypsum, natural asphalt, silica, mica, clays, salt, hydropower
Agricultural land23.7%
Birth rate9 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Death rate12.1 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Sex ratio0.93 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
Government typeparliamentary republic
Independence25 June 1991 (from Yugoslavia)
National symbolred-white checkerboard
National colorsred, white, blue
National anthem"Lijepa nasa domovino" (Our Beautiful Homeland)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$21,600 (2015 est.)
Industrieschemicals and plastics, machine tools, fabricated metal, electronics, pig iron and rolled steel products, aluminum, paper, wood products, construction materials, textiles, shipbuilding, petroleum and petroleum refining, food and beverages, tourism
Exports$11.91 billion (2015 est.)
transport equipment, machinery, textiles, chemicals, foodstuffs, fuels
Imports$19.28 billion (2015 est.)
machinery, transport and electrical equipment; chemicals, fuels and lubricants; foodstuffs
Internet country code.hr
Time ZoneCET (UTC+1)
Summer (DST) - CEST (UTC+2)
Calling Code+385
Drives on theRight