With its varied terrain, Croatia has essentially three climatic zones: coastal Mediterranean, inland Continental, and central mountainous. The coastal climate is similar to Italy with hot and dry summers and windy winters, temperatures therefore vary from roughly 15 to 35ºC. The temperature in the mainland, and in the capital, Zagreb is far more continental with hot summers and cold winters, there is often fog and rain in the autumn months and it is likely to receive snowfall in winter. As a result, while temperatures range between 13 to 30ºC in summer, temperatures are often below freezing in mid winter.
Croatian is not an easy language to learn and it is made even more difficult if you do not speak another Slavic language. However, Italian is spoken widely and German and English are common second languages due to the growing tourism trade. Words are spoken phonetically and use the Roman alphabet so once the basics have been learnt it is fairly straightforward to read words.
The Croatian currency is the kuna, which was introduced in 1993. One kuna is worth 100 lipa. Kuna banknotes come in 1000, 500, 200, 100, 50, 10 and 5 kuna denominations. Kuna coins come in 5, 2 and 1 kuna values. Lipa coins come in 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 lipa values, although 50 and 20 lipa coins are the most commonly used. The rate of the kuna is linked to that of the euro and while rates are generally higher than neighbouring Eastern European countries, the cost of living is still cheaper than Western Europe.
Sports and activities
Croatia boasts plenty of opportunities for outdoor and indoor activities and with the Adriatic coast, practically every water sport is practiced, including scuba diving. There are also a large amount of beautiful natural parks located around Croatia that provide the opportunity for outdoor enthusiasts to go hiking or bike riding to take in some spectacular natural sights. In winter, for a vast number of ski resorts, neighbouring Austria and Slovenia boast world renowned slopes, while in the mountains north of Zagreb, one can still find some small ski resorts.
Religion and politics
The current president of Croatia is Ivo Josipović and is the representative of the Social Democratic Party of Croatia, holding a centre-left stance. While Josipović’s popularity has steadily declined over his tenure, he remains the most popular politician in Croatia by a significant margin and thus the political situation seems stable. Regarding religion, the population are predominantly Roman Catholic although there are Christian Orthodox, Muslim, and Jewish minorities, mostly living in Zagreb. The Catholic church plays an important role in Croatian culture and Croatians are particularly devoted to the Blessed Virgin (called “Gospa”), whereby you will see many sanctuaries built in her honor. Each village also has their own patron saint which is celebrated with a procession and church ceremony.
The family is still the basis of the social structure. As in many cultures, the family provides its members with a social network and assistance in times of need. Even though it is becoming increasingly common for the nuclear family to have its own house, Croatians will take in elderly parents rather than send them to a nursing home. Weekends are considered family time. Few Croatians will allow business concerns to interfere with this important part of their lives. Consequently, if moving to Croatia, one will experience a very warm and welcoming people that are very proud of their country and long history. It is a country that has a lot to offer both culturally and aesthetically as its national parks and architecture are arguably some of the best in the world.