Time in Croatia: Timezones, Opening Hours, Visit & Lifestyle

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Time in Croatia is relative, especially the further south you go. A look at various topics related to time in Croatia.

What is the current time in Croatia?

The current date and time in Croatia is

Which timezone is Croatia in?

Croatia is on Central European Time, the same as most of the EU. Timezone differences between important international cities around the world are as follows:

London – 1 hour ahead

New York – 6 hours ahead

Los Angeles – 9 hours ahead

Moscow – 1 hour behind

Dubai – 2 hours behind

Sydney – 8 hours behind

Beijing – 6 hours behind

Tokyo – 6 hours behind

What are the usual office hours in Croatia?

Croatians tend to start work early. Official institutions begin at 07:00 or 08:00 and work until 15:00 or 16:00. As a result, the early morning rush hour can be as early as 06:30.

Stores tend to be open until 20:00 daily, apart from the weekend, with a similar early start. Saturday openings are limited to closer to 17:00, with many businesses closed on Sundays. However, the tourist season tends to ensure longer opening times in the summer.

Croatian public holidays

There are a number of public holidays in Croatia, and if you find yourself here during one, plan ahead. Banks and other institutions shut for the day, which can be a headache. Tourist businesses will be open, however. To learn more about the public holidays in Croatia and what they are for, click here.

When is the best time to visit Croatia?

When talking about time in Croatia, a popular question is when is the best time to visit? The answer, of course, depends on what you are looking for. But in order to help you decided, here is a 12-month overview on the best time to visit Croatia.

Time in Croatia, Marenda, and time in Dalmatia

Living on a Dalmatian island and living in Varazdin are two very different things.

I was constantly amazed at just how early things started on Hvar, beginning with the morning ferry at 05:30 and the Jelsa catamaran to Split at 06:00. I soon learned, of course, that this is a cultural thing born of the realities of the agricultural way of life. And I learned first-hand the difference between harvesting lavender at 06:00 and 08:00, when the sun dominates the sky. Give me a 6am lavender harvest any time.

Things also start early in Varazdin and Zagreb, but things seem somehow to be a little more professional. To me at least. Perhaps this is best exemplified by that wonderful, Dalmatian institution, Marenda.

Marenda is essentially a morning break for a snack. Traditionally, it was a break from work, where the workers would take refreshment. The concept has found its way into official institutions. And while breaks exist in other parts of Croatia, there seems to be something special about marenda.

I have lost count at the number of times I have gone to visit a tax office or similar institution only to be met with a closed door and a sign – Marenda 10:30 to 11:00. My watch would tell me that it was 10:25 or 11:15. The marenda that once was used to bring refreshment to workers is now abused by lazy bureaucrats with little interest in assisting the general public.

Fjaka, pomalo and Dalmatian timekeeping

Time in Croatia – and especially in Dalmatia – is relative. I used to be a very punctual person before I got into the Dalmatian island way of life. Meetings tended to be in cafes rather than offices, and starting times were fluid.

Many was the time I would greet a friend on the way to a meeting for which he was already late, and yet he would find himself stopping for a quick coffee with me to say hi first. It was a practice I initially abhorred, but eventually came to embrace.

Pomalo, bit by bit, as the Dalmatians like to say.

I also got used to never calling anyone privately in Dalmatia after lunch until perhaps 17:00. For this was siesta time for some, and never a good thing to interrupt. All part of the fjaka lifestyle.

Fjaka is a hard word to translate and an even harder concept to explain in a manner which does it justice. I guess it would be the art of doing nothing, which is actually a lot harder than it sounds. But something which Dalmatians do outstandingly when they choose, and which this fat Englishman would like to do better.


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