HOW TO BLEND IN: TIPS FOR TOURISTS VISITING CROATIA

BY: MARITA LOVRIC


Croatia has become a world-famous tourist destination in the past decade. For visitors who live far away, the relaxed lifestyle of Croatians might come as a surprise. If you are planning to visit the Croatian coast or islands any time soon, I am sure these tips will help you to blend n and understand Croatian culture a bit better.


1. COFFE COMES FIRST

Croatians love their coffee, but not in the ways you would imagine. There is no such thing as a Starbucks here, simply because nobody wants to drink their coffee in a rush, or God forbid while standing up.

When you come into a coffee shop on the Dalmatian coast or one of the islands, do not expect to order a double mocha frappuccino with extra whipped cream. We like our coffee strong and in small amounts. We also love to take hours drinking it. For a Croatian, there is probably nothing more relaxing than sitting on a sun-filled terrace and sipping a strong coffee while talking to a friend or reading newspapers.

The waiters are happy to serve you and even happier when you tip them, even though it is not a necessity. Croatians rarely tip much and don't usually expect tips, which is why they appreciate a couple of extra euros.


2. DRESS TO IMPRESS

If you have visited Croatia already, you might have noticed this. Croatian women care about their looks a lot. It is almost impossible to see a local heading somewhere other than a gym in athleisure.

Makeup, nails, hair, and just about everything else need to be in tip-top shape. It's just a way of life. Women love to follow fashion trends and take pride in their appearance. Don't expect to walk down the main square of a Dalmatian city at any time of day and see many people not dressed up. If you do, don't stare, they are probably embarrassed and in a rush.

3. NO NUMBER

Picking up a Croatian woman takes skill. If you are a single foreign man looking for love in Croatia, you will need some luck. Don't take offense to the occasional side-eyes you might get while trying to make conversation with Croatian women.

Stanger-danger mentality is instilled in them from a very young age, so Croatian girls rarely trust strangers, especially tourists. Also, when it comes to rejecting men, women in Croatia don't sugarcoat anything. If a girl does not like you, trust me, it will be easy to tell. So next time you try to pick up a Croatian girl, don't take it too hard if you get rudely rejected.

4. CLOTHES ON!

One thing to remember while enjoying the warm Mediterranean climate while drinking a cocktail on the Dalmatian beach is when you come into the city, you need to put your clothes back on. It sounds pretty self-explanatory, I know, but you would be surprised. Plenty of articles in the Croatian media express concern with tourists who walk around Croatian cities almost naked.

It does get hard to remember people might be disturbed by the sight of you in your bathing suit on the city's main street, especially when you feel like you are in a paradise and when temperatures reach almost 40 degrees celsius. Croatians are used to the warm weather, which is why they still wear clothes when outside.

Imagine if I came to Canada on a ski trip and walked into a bar in the city center wearing full-on ski attire. Sounds weird, right?


5. TIME IS RELATIVE

Are you having coffee with a Croatian? You might need to wait for them to arrive. See, Croatians don't take time very seriously. When we are late, we don't mean any harm. We don't like to rush anywhere.

The relaxed Meditarennean mentality plays a big role in our punctuality. Nothing seems to be quite urgent in Croatia, which is why nobody seems to ever be in a hurry.

Just keep this in mind if you ever get invited to parties or events. If you arrive 10 minutes earlier, you might not find anyone there.