Why Croatian Health Tourism Could Also Reach the World Cup Final

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July 20, 2018 – As the world wonders at the achievements of Croatia at the World Cup, and with unprecedented interest in this nation of 4 million people, a look at a different part of Croatia, also unfancied, which could pull off a major surprise in its own World Cup – health tourism. 

Croatia, a small footballing nation which rose to the biggest stage of all, then losing the World Cup Final to France but not before capturing millions of hearts all over the globe. They achieved the impossible, not only taking silver medal, but also producing the player of the tournament in Luka Modric. 

Luka Modric of Real Madrid. European Champions. 

That is the thing about this Croatian team – although the country might be small and Croatia not expected to do that well in the World Cup, if you looked at the individual talent on display – Modric, Rakitic, Lovren, Madukic and others – one might question why Croatia really were so unfancied. 

And so it is with another sector of Croatian life, where Croatia is even more unfancied and unheard of, but where the world-class quality is there, and if it came to a World Cup in that, Croatia would pull off one or two shocks for sure – the field of health tourism. 


Yes that is correct – I am saying that Croatian health tourism is world class, with star performers doing to health tourism what Modric and co do with a football. 

There is no denying that the World Cup has been the biggest ever promotion of this young country. As previously reported, more than 60 BILLION article views online due to the World Cup meant that Croatia got more international coverage during the tournament than the entire 28 years of the existence of the modern Croatian state. It was the finest promotion ever, and I hope that Croatia’s PR gurus cash in on this unique opportunity. Somebody asked me the other day what, in my opinion, was the best promotion of Croatia before this gift from FIFA, and my answer surprised them. 

I sent them a link to a blog written by an American woman who had travelled to Zagreb with her good friend for medical treatment at Bagatin Clinic in Zagreb. The friend had disastrous teeth, so bad that they were affecting his whole personality. He could not afford to get them fixed and even if he could, the procedure in the States would have taken two years. After searching for options abroad, she finally managed to persuade to come to Zagreb to Bagatin, in December last year. In addition to enjoying the fabulous Advent in Zagreb event, a truly magical time to be in Croatia, the patient’s entire teeth were done in under two weeks, not the two years he was quoted back home. And, even throwing in the flights and the stay, with a stop over in Scandinavia, the savings came to a staggering US$90,000. I really do encourage you to read the blog – it is heartfelt and emotional, a magnificent read, and a shining advert for this high-quality field of Croatian tourism people know little about. Read Carl’s story and personality transformation, courtesy of one Zagreb clinic, here.

Tiny Croatia. WIth outstanding health tourism options, a chance to combine with a holiday to this beautiful country, where the medical savings would cover the cost of the trip. Who would have thought?

The more I looked into the Croatian health tourism story last year, the more I was amazed. Did you know, for example, that organised tourism in Europe began 150 years ago this year, with the start of organised health tourism on the island of Hvar way back in 1868? Or that Croatia is a world leader in organ transplants? Just ask the young Israeli boy who came to cheer for Croatia in Moscow with his new Croatian heart

The more I delved, the more fascinated I got, and I ended up writing a couple of articles on the subject – 25 Things to Know about Health Tourism in Croatia (with some truly astonishing facts) and Why Zagreb and Croatia are Set to Become the Next Health Tourism Hot Spot

Because they are.

Croatia the underdog, but take a closer look and – a little like looking at the teamsheet and seeing Modric and co – the very best of Croatian health tourism has some significant competitive advantages. The standard of expertise and quality of equipment is as good as anywhere in the world, but the prices are significantly lower (just ask Carl, above), it is located within a major tourist country offering the chance to combine cost-saving care with a holiday, and its location in central Europe and excellent air connections make is accessible to many. 

So how would the Croatian health tourism team line up at the Health Tourism World Cup? Something like this, perhaps?


1) Bagatin Clinic – dermatology + cosmetic surgery – NO1. dermatology Clinic in Europe by GCR for 2018 + “Best Cosmetic surgery Clinic” in 2017 by the International Medical Travel Journal (IMTJ). No less than three Zagreb dermatology clinics finished in the top 6. Learn more about Bagatin Clinic here.


(Prof. Nikica Gabric, founder of Svjetlost)

2) Svjetlost Specialty Hospital – ophthalmology – the first private university clinic in Croatia + leading ophthalmic institution in the region. Learn more about Svjetlost here.


(Luka Modric at St. Catherine’s Specialty Hospital)

3) St. Catherine Specialty Hospital – orthopedic – all leading Croatian athletes are being treated with confidence in the Special Hospital of Sv. Catherine, while Croatian coach Zlatko Dalić emphasized that the Special Hospital of Sv. Catherine has been recognized worldwide as a top health organization and that his whole team feels safer when behind such an institution. Could there be a connection with Croatia’s World Cup success in Moscow… Learn more about St. Catherine’s Specialty Hospital.


4) Arithera Specialty Hospital –  Following the main world trends, Arithera Clinic has a leading role in specializations in the field of Physical therapy and rehabilitation, Spine diseases, Orthopaedics, Phlebology, Proctology, Esthetic surgery, General and Abdominal surgery, Dental medicine, Dermatology and Venereology and Internal medicine.



5) Lege Artis Polyclinic – the only modern and advanced clinic in the east of Croatia specialising in vascular surgery.


6) Kalmar Dental – According to the GCR’s latest analysis of dental clinics in Croatia, Kalmar Implant Dentistry ranks as the leading clinic, when it comes to overall international clinic reputation. A total of 166 dental clinics were included in the study. The average GCR dental clinic quality score was 2.8. This evaluation demonstrates the huge range of rising healthcare standards available in the country.


7) Radiochirurgia Polyclinic – Radiochirurgia Zagreb is a private clinic that specializes in diagnostics and tumor treatment. The clinic has the most modern tumor diagnostics and treatment equipment for radiotherapy and radiosurgery at its disposal. Our expert team consists of top Croatian and international experts with several decades of experience in various tumor treatment techniques.


8) Identalia Polyclinic – Identalia is equipped with four up-to-date surgeries adequate for all dental therapies in accordance with the highest standards, latest generation CT that produces precision 3-D teeth images and enables high quality diagnostics, a spacious waiting room with a reception desk as well as other additional facilities necessary for top of the art service.


9) Rident Polyclinic “Best Dental Clinic” in 2017 by IMTJ + 2nd by GCR ranking in Croatia for 2018 by 4 „pillars“


10) Bagatin Clinic dental center – In the competition among 290 dental clinics from all around the world, Bagatin Clinic’s Dental center received a prestigious award in the most challenging category – full mouth reconstruction. This award is given by an American platform ‘Dental Implants Friends’ and gives recognition to the achievements of dental clinics and their leading dentists + listed in top 10 dental clinics in Croatia for 2018 by GCR.


11) Arena Polyclinic – ARENA dental polyclinic is a specialized healthcare institution with ISO 9001:2015 certification of quality for periodontology, implantology, prosthetics, orthodontics and oral surgery.

A very strong team which could cure anyone on its day… 

Croatia, a tiny nation full of surprises, and it is not just its football players which are full of excellence. Health tourism is on the rise, as the word is slowly getting out. Why not check out this little underdog before it reaches its own World Cup Final and then the secret will be out?



If you didn’t manage to read Carl’s story above, here it is again. Nothing more to add (except thanks to Ognjen Bagatin for the World Cup parallel idea, first mooted at the 3rd Croatian Diaspora Congress in Osijek last month). 


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