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About Croatia

and Adriatic sea

Geographical position

Geographical position Croatia extends from the easternmost edge of the Alps in the northwest to the Pannonian plain in the east, via the Dinaric mountain range in the centre and the Adriatic coast towards the south.

Capital city Zagreb, 779 145 inhabitants

Area 56 542 km2
Area of territorial waters 31 067 km2

Coastline 5 835 km of which 1 777 km is on the mainland and 4 058 km on the islands. Croatia’s coast is on the eastern Adriatic seaboard and extends from Prevlaka in the south-east to Cape Savudrija in the north-west.


Adriatic Sea and Islands

Islands There are over 1 700 islands, islets, rocks and reefs in the internal sea waters and territorial sea of Croatia. This makes Croatia a unique location for sailing and underwater exploring. Cape Ploča divides the islands into two groups: the northern group (islands running parallel with the coast) and the southern group (islands extending from west to east). The largest islands are Krk and Cres. 67 islands are inhabited.



Population 4 437 460 inhabitants. National structure: the majority of the population are Croats; national minorities consist of Serbs, Slovenes, Hungarians, Bosnians, Italians, Czechs and others.

Religion The majority of the population are Roman Catholics; minorities are Orthodox Christians and members of other Christian denominations and of Islam.

Official language Croatian
Official script Latinic

Useful nautical info

Basic provisions from the regulations concerning security of navigation

It is forbidden:

  • to swim, windsurf, speedboat or waterski in marinas
  • to windsurf in narrow channels, within arranged beaches, nearer than 50 m from the shore of natural beaches, in navigation channels
  • to swim outside the marked area of an arranged beach or further than 100 m from the shore of a natural beach
  • to sail in a yacht or motorised boat nearer than 50 m from the shore
  • to throw into the sea any waste which may pollute the environment (plastic, glass and metal packaging, waste mineral oils…)
  • to sail or anchor in the zones of the Brijuni Islands within the sea belt defined by the lines which connect the following points
  • Zone 1 – Cape Vrbanj (Barban) – Cape Kadulja; Cape Kadulja – Islet Supinić; Cape Supinić – point A (44˚ 54.8’N, 13˚ 42.2’E); point A – point B (44˚ 52.6’N, 13˚ 45.1’E), point B – point C (44˚ 53.2’N, 13˚ 46.0’E); point C – Cape Kamik.
  • Zone 2 – the south-eastern part of the Brijuni Islands within the line connecting Cape Kavran to Cape Kozlac

It is permitted:

  • for small boats to sail at a distance greater than 50 m from the boundaries of an arranged beach and 150m from the shore of a natural beach
  • to speedboat at a distance greater than 300 m from the shore only in areas where this is not forbidden

Continuously transmitted meteorological reports
Pula Harbour Authority – VHF channel 73 – northern Adriatic (west coast of Istria)
Rijeka Harbour Authority – VHF channel 9 – northern Adriatic (eastern part)
Split Harbour Authority – VHF channel 67 – central Adriatic (eastern part)
Dubrovnik Harbour Authority – VHF channel 73 – southern Adriatic (eastern part)

VHF for emergencies

Mayday – ship is in danger and seeks emergency help
Pan-pan – we wish to transmit an emergency message relating to the security of the crew and boat
Sécurité – coastal or boat radio wishes to transmit a message containing a meteorological or navigation warning
The national rescue centre is located at Rijeka, telephone number 9155

Harbour authorities and harbour authority sub-offices, which are part of the Ministry of the Sea, Tourism, Transport and Development, are responsible for the safe navigation of all vessels within the Republic of Croatia They may be contacted for help at sea or meteorological information by telephone or by VHF radio.

Harbour authority opening hours: every day 00:00 – 24:00

Sub-office opening hours: 07:00 – 13:00; 1 April to 1 October: 07:00 – 12:00 and 16:00 – 20:00

They are on call on VHF channels 16 and 10


Only divers who have completed diving training in an internationally recognized school may dive in the Adriatic Sea. Diver certification cards are issued by harbour authorities and the Croatian Diving Federation and are valid for one year from the date of issue. The price of a diver certification card is 100 kunas. Areas where diving is taking place must be marked by the regulation dive buoy or flag. Sports diving on air are permitted to a maximum of 40 m.
Diving is forbidden in national parks, harbours, shipping lanes and approaches and near military installations and warships. It is not permitted to remove anything from the sea, and especially not cultural monuments.


Sports fishing may be conducted only by people who have a permit from the Croatian Federation of Sport Fishing on Sea, which is valid for 1, 3, 7 or 30 days.
Separate daily permits are issued for fishing with angling equipment and for fishing with a harpoon gun. However, the charges are the same: 60 kn – 1 day; 150 kn – 3 days; 300 kn – 7 days; 700 kn – 30 days.
Fishing with a harpoon gun is only allowed from sunrise to sunset.
It is strictly forbidden to use equipment which gives the ability to remain beneath the surface of the sea without the use of one’s own power, and to use artificial lights.
Annual permits are only issued to Croatian or foreign citizens with permanent residence in the Republic of Croatia. The price of an annual permit is: 30 kn for children up to 18 years; 60 kn for pensioners and persons older than 60 years; 400 kn for persons from 18 to 60 years.

Big game fishing is organised in the central Adriatic, in the area of Murter, where the majority of fishing boats equipped for this type of fishing are located.

Adriatic Sea

It belongs to a group of warmer sea with mixed type of sea shifts

Sea temperatures

The Adriatic Sea belongs to the group of warmer seas with a noticeable annual change in the surface temperature of the sea. The average annual temperature is 11°C, maximum temperatures are in July and August, and minimum temperatures in February. The lowest winter surface temperature of the sea is around 7°C but on rare occasions can be even lower. Temperatures rise in spring and reach around 18°C, and in summer rise to 22°C-25°C and in the southern Adriatic to 27°C. The lowest sea temperatures are in river mouths or by underground sources of fresh water.

Depth of the sea and the sea bed

The Adriatic Sea is shallowest in Istria where its depth does not exceed 50m. From Pula the seabed drops down to the Jabuka Pit where the greatest depth is around 240m. From the Jabuka Pit the seabed again rises up to the Palagruža Sill where the greatest depth is around 130m. South of the Palagruža Sill the seabed drops steeply towards the South Adriatic Pit where the greatest measured depth is around 1300m.

The Adriatic seabed is rough as a consequence of tectonic movements which occurred several million years ago. In certain places the seabed has been smoothed by sediment but river mouths make the seabed muddier.

Sea tides

The sea tides of the Adriatic Sea are of the mixed type, which means that they have a half daily rhythm during full and new moons, and a daily rhythm in the first and last quarters. High and low tides have relatively low amplitudes, which increase from the south towards the north. Thus in the southern Adriatic the difference is around 40cm while in Istria it is about 1m. In narrow channels and inlets the tide can rise significantly during a strong Bura.

Sea currents

The sea currents in the Adriatic Sea do not change dramatically and do not have a significant influence on the safety of shipping. They are mostly felt when manoeuvring a boat in harbours or near river mouths. The average speed of sea currents is around 0.5 knots but they can reach a speed of 4 knots near river mouths and in narrow channels.

Salinity of the sea

The salinity of the Adriatic Sea is on average 38.30%, i.e. 38.30g of salt can be obtained from 1kg of water. Near the coast and near river mouths the salinity is somewhat lower that this figure, and it is lower in the northern compared to the central and southern Adriatic.

Winds and Climate

The Adriatic coast has a Mediterranean climate


The Adriatic coast region has a Mediterranean climate whose main characteristics are dry and warm summers and humid and mild winters. The warmest month is July and the coldest is January. The average hours of sunshine per year is 2600 especially in the central Adriatic islands. Summer temperatures in July are 34°C in the northern Adriatic and can reach 38°C in the southern Adriatic. The coldest recorded temperature during winter in the northern Adriatic was -16°C while in the southern Adriatic this has not been lower than -6°C. Global warming during the last five years has increased these average temperatures.


The most common winds in the Adriatic are the Bura (NNE to ENE) and the Jugo (ESE to SSE) which are prevalent in autumn and winter months, and the Maestral (WNW to NW) which is prevalent in summer. Other than these, there are also winds which blow from the following directions: S (Oštro), SW (Lebić, Garbin), W (Pulenat), N to NW (Tramontana), E (Levanat), and coastal breezes (Burin and Zmorac).

Bura (Bora)

The best-known wind in the Adriatic coastal region which blows from the mainland to sea. It is an exceptionally strong, dry and cold wind which lasts for 2-3 days. The Bura arises with the flow of cold air from the Pannonian plain over the Dinaric Alps and onto the coast. The Bura’s strength and speed are particularly noticeable at Rijeka, Senj, Maslenica, Split, Vrulja and Makarska. The strongest Bura arises at passages through mountain passes through which the cold air is channelled, and its frequency diminishes from the northern to the southern Adriatic.

Jugo (Scirocco)

The Jugo usually blows from the south-east. It arises as a result of the southerly airflow which occurs due to a Genoa cyclone or Adriatic cyclone and also sometimes from the air mass from northern Africa crossing the Mediterranean and gathering moisture so that it arrives in the Adriatic as a warm and humid wind which can also bring with it dirty (muddy) rain. It usually blows over the whole Adriatic and creates high waves at sea. It is also a common phenomenon that the Jugo blows in the central and southern Adriatic while the Bora is blowing in the northern Adriatic. Similar to the Bura, the Jugo lasts on average 2-3 days. The Jugo’s windspeed ranges from 10m/s to 30m/s and never rises suddenly but gathers its strength after 24 to 36 hours of blowing, and as a rule reaches storm strength on the third day from when it started to blow.

Maestral (Mistral)

A wind which appears in the summer months and arises because of differences in pressure over the Mediterranean. It only blows along the coast and rarely reaches more than 20m inland and is very much a surface wind (up to 300m in height). It starts to blow at about 10am and at around 2pm the Maestral reaches its maximum and always dies down before sunset (generally by 6pm).The Maestral is followed by pleasant weather and also significantly lessens the summer sultriness on the islands and along the coast.


A local, dry, short-lived and cool wind; not as strong or fierce as the Bura. It is followed by clear weather and high barometric pressure. Further away from the coast it is stronger, longer and creates fully-developed waves. It is more frequent in the southern Adriatic.

Zmorac and Burin

These arise as a result of the unequal warming of land and sea; the Zmorac blows during the day and the Burin at night.

Traveling information

Opening hours

Shops and shopping centres are open from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday, and on Saturdays from 8am to 2pm. A few shops work in two shifts (they are closed between 12pm and 2pm). It is always possible to find shops which are also open on Sundays, especially in summer, and some shops in larger cities are also open 24 hours a day. Public services and commercial offices work from 8am to 4pm from Monday to Friday.


The currency of Croatia is the kuna (1 kuna = 100 lipa). There are coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 lipa, and of 1, 2, 5, and 25 kunas; and notes of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000 kunas.

Foreign currencies

These may be exchanged in bureaux de change, banks, post offices, and in most tourist agencies, hotels and camps. We recommend that you change your money in bureaux de change which have the most favourable rates. Bank opening hours are from 7am to 7pm from Monday to Friday, on Saturdays to 1pm, and in larger cities some banks are also open on Sundays. Cash machines are also available.

Important telephone numbers

00385 194 – ambulance
00385 193 – fire brigade
00385 192 – police
00385 1987 – assistance on the roads
00385 18981 – general information
00385 1888 – telephone directory
00385 18166 – weather forecast and road conditions
385 – international dialling code for Croatia

*Public telephones only operate with telephone cards which can be bought at kiosks, in hotels or at post offices..

Radio news in the tourist season (foreign languages)

Channel 2 of Croatian Radio broadcasts reports on road conditions in English, German and Italian; also information for sailors several times a day in English and Croatian. Every hour on the hour news and reports of road conditions are broadcast alternately from the following stations: Channel 3 of Bavarian Radio, Channel 3 of Radio Austria, RAI Uno, British Virgin Radio and Czech Radio.

National holidays*

1 January – New Year
6 January – Epiphany
1 May – May Day
4 June – Corpus Christi
22 June – Anti-Fascist Struggle Day
25 June – Statehood Day
5 August – Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving Day
15 August – Assumption of Mary
8 October – Independence Day
1 November – All Saints
25 and 26 December – Christmas holidays