Visiting Croatia is different in 2023 – two important things you need to know

Croatia is celebrating two historic events. Firstly, the border control to Slovenia is no more. Free passage between Croatia and Slovenia was established on 1 January 2023, when Croatia joined the Schengen area, the largest area for the free movement of people (and goods) worldwide.

In another historic event, Croatia became the 20th member of the eurozone this year – 10 years after joining the European Union (EU) in 2013. This currency bureau is key to smoothing monetary transactions across the EU.

Andrej Plenkovic, Croatia’s prime minister, said that Schengen membership would “mean a lot for Croatia as a tourist country, which is largely a destination where tourists travel by car”. He added that “the fact that we will also be in the Eurozone gives a different signal to all those who visit Croatia.”

According to Plenkovic, Croatia – formerly a Yugoslav republic – fought for independence in the 1990s and has “achieved its strategic, state and political goals” as a result of the two historic changes.

Croatia and Slovenia celebrate the open border

Plenkovic was speaking at a ceremony at the Bregana border crossing with neighboring Slovenia. At midnight on 31 December 2022, Croatian and Slovenian officials raised their countries’ barriers and turned on green lights to indicate free passage at the former checkpoint.

At the border, Croatia’s interior minister, Davor Božinović, said that “tonight’s action was more than lifting border controls: it is the final confirmation of our European identity, which generations of Croats had fought for and finally achieved”.

Schengen area

The Schengen area includes all members of the EU except Bulgaria, Romania, Cyprus and Ireland. In addition, four countries that are not EU members – Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway – are part of the Schengen area. The agreements that define the Schengen area allow 400 million people to move freely between countries.

Croatia joined the EU

Croatia committed to joining the eurozone when it became an EU member in 2013. With this year’s addition of Croatia to the eurozone, there are now 20 countries in the organization. In Croatia, the euro is already widely used. It is expected that official changeover to the euro will help protect Croatia’s economy at a time of worldwide inflation.

What do these events mean for travelers?

Travelers no longer need to show ID to enter Croatia from another country in the Schengen area. This includes visitors from 22 EU countries. Tourists, who mainly travel across Europe by car, will no longer experience long queues of cars waiting to cross.

The switch to the euro means that travelers have an easier time with monetary standards when moving from one country to the next. In addition, EU membership increases Croatia’s ability to improve travel experiences, promote cultural and sustainable travel, increase accessible travel and expand low-season tourism.

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