The 10 best and 10 worst things about Croatia

The 10 best and 10 worst things about Croatia
Foto: 123RF/Hrvoje Jelavic/PIXSELL

CROATIA is a beautiful place and there is a lot one could write about its natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and its people.

At the same time, one must be critical and point out some things that may not be as good. At the end of the day, there’s always two sides to everything – that’s the case anywhere in the world. We will tell you all about it and invite you in.

1. We have top sportspersons

Although many already knew about this one, football has shed a new light on this topic. Croatia has an incredible number of successful sportspersons who often win gold medals, which, taking into account the number of its inhabitants, is quite an amazing and unbelievable fact.

Be it football, basketball, tennis, handball, martial arts, ski racing or achievements at the Olympics, Croatia has at least one name it can be proud of in each of the categories. This is something we sometimes take for granted.

1. But we also have our deal of crooks

Unfortunately, this kind of success usually attracts some shady people too; those who want to unfairly use the success of others. Be it managers or politicians who want to use someone’s talent for their political profit, there are lots of shady characters in Croatian sports who cast a dark shadow on the amazing results of our athletes.

2. We have beautiful nature

The first thing many will notice is the beautiful Croatian nature, which might be the main reason Croatia is such a popular tourist destination. Just passing through Croatia on your way to the seaside, you will see a line of beautiful forests, national parks, mountains, flatland, vineyards and basically everything else you could possibly think of. You might be here for the sea and islands, but while getting to those you will see much more.

2. But it sometimes seems that we don’t know what to do with it

The problematic relationship of humans and nature isn’t a new thing – you will see that regardless of where you are, America, Africa or Southern Europe. But, while the rest of the world destroys nature to make use of it, Croatians seem to be devastating it out of pure negligence. Destroying a national park that does 90% of the work for you simply by being beautiful sounds impossible, but trust us on this one, Croats will find a way to make it happen.

3. Small country, great party

Sometimes it seems like each village in Croatia has its own music festival, and we aren’t exaggerating. Be it in Slavonia or the central part of the coast, there will be at least 10 festivals worth visiting. True, we might be exaggerating a little bit, but still, we are on the list of the greatest party destinations in the world.

3. But we need to start acting accordingly

We might still be adapting to the status of a party destination, but we could do a lot to secure this status. One of the first steps would be to stop thinking of Croatia as a pensioners’ and family heaven, because this is only one small portion of what we have to offer. It’s obvious that we have the possibility to use the reputation we are currently enjoying and to reinforce it, but it sometimes seems that all we do is long for the times when we had older tourists, which came in lesser numbers and spent way less money.

Also, it would be fair if we slowed down a bit and stopped “robbing” tourist with the crazy prices. One should know when to stop, even when it comes to robbery.

4. We’re proud of what we can offer to tourists

There is no situation in which we won’t list our tourism as our strongest weapon. And this really is the case, we are proud of our tourism and that is exactly how it should be. We could be even more convincing in this area, since Croatia basically has unlimited tourist potential.

4. We don’t know how to deal with tourists

Since we are this focused on tourism (which, from the standpoint of economics might not be the smartest move), we should start acting accordingly and show that we care about tourists. Sometimes it seems that tourists are a necessary evil, something we endure just for some other cause. Each year, you can read many “humorous” articles about workers in tourism ranking
their guests by their negative traits. It seems no guest is good enough and that it would be best if tourists would just send over their money and stay home.

5. We are sociable and open

Although from time to time there will be a blogger who will give us a negative review for this or that, it’s a fact that generally we are quite a likeable and open bunch. One shouldn’t generalise, but there’s a reason why so many people keep coming back, because it’s not very likely that anyone would be eager to come back to a land of assholes. If you ask for help, you will most probably get it. This openness varies from region to region, but in the majority of cases we are good hosts.

5. Except when we’re not

But now, if you dig a little deeper, there is this xenophobic trait we have, which we aren’t really proud of. It might sound paradoxical when compared to what is written above, but because of our not-so-ideal economic situation, we tend to sometimes lose our course and we end up seeming like a country full of primitive idiots. The culprits aren’t difficult to identify, it’s the "usual suspects" – politics and religion, but the optimist within all of us likes to believe that this wouldn’t be the case if we had a little more money in our pockets.

6. We value the collective spirit and we’re always there to help

It’s enough to see how we act in crises and celebrations to know that Croats are ready to help when it’s necessary, and that we know how to celebrate something we all really care about. Regardless of whether it is humanitarian action or natural disasters, we have showed our kind side many times. Also, it’s enough for us to reach the quarter-final of the World Cup and the whole country will unite in celebration.

6. We are divided in stupid matters

At the same time, we will be divided when it comes to completely stupid stuff. Be it religion or politics, we will find a way to turn that into a huge problem. The same things that unite us might on a different occasion become the reason for a great divide.

7. We are the homeland of many great scientists

Ruđer Bošković, David Schwartz, the Seljan brothers, Slavoljub Penkala, Nikola Tesla, Dragutin Gorjanović Kramberger, Nobel Prize laureates Lavoslav Ružička and Vladimir Prelog, and many more are proof that Croatia has been the home of many important scientist who changed the world, one way or another.

7. But this sometimes seems so unbelievable

Taking into account what was just written, and moving fast-forward to the present day, it seems almost unbelievable that any scientific discipline would flourish in a country which, today, does not care about science at all. A country where so much energy goes into determining whether Tesla is “ours” or “theirs” and where the Government seems to be doing everything to turn this era into a dark one.

8. Our coffee breaks are the longest

If you ever stroll through any Croatian city (and you’re not from here), you will see something very interesting. In the middle of their working hours, Croatians will enjoy a several-hours-long coffee break. Just this time, we will suppress our need to criticize that, and tell you that if you’re looking for a laid back place where you can just stop and smell the rose…, uhm… coffee, you’ve
found your heaven on earth.

8. Unemployment

One of the reasons we have so much time to drink coffee is unemployment, which gives you a lot of free time, but also a lot of reason to be frustrated. Another thing that enables people to carelessly drink coffee all day long is the fact that many people are employed in state owned companies, where they leech off tax payers, while spending more time in cafés then at work.

9. It’s one of the sunniest places in the world

We are not exaggerating when we say that Croatia is one of the sunniest countries in the world, or at least in this part of the world. Okay, there are far sunnier places, but you won’t really just decide to go to Phoenix, Arizona for holidays. Hvar has a nice 2762 sunny hours per year, and that’s more than enough a reason to visit Croatia, where you will enjoy many sunrises and

9. We are burdened by our dark past

No matter how sunny it is outside, we find a way to return to our dark past. We always focus on the absolute worst, which we re live again and again, instead of at least trying to learn something from our previous mistakes. The Second World War and the Homeland war are our favourite "go to" places and not one day can pass without there being at least one piece of news in the media about things that we have absolutely no use for anyone anymore.

10. Everyone wants to go to Croatia

If it is not clear by now, there are a million reasons why so many tourists visit us each year, and after the World Cup there will be even more, as many people still don’t even know Croatia exists. However, it is enough to throw a quick glance at Croatia to realise just how beautiful and safe the country is, since e.g. Germany and Great Britain rank behind us when it comes to safety estimates. We’re not among the top 10 but being 24 th is not bad either.

10. Croats want to go abroad

And while tourists are looking to visit Croatia, Croats are doing everything they can to run away. There are many potential culprits for this situation and there are many we blame and have been blaming since Croatia’s independence. However, appointing guilt to this or that political party is not going to make the situation any better. It’s obvious that the ruling party is not able to offer a solution to Croats. We have great potential, but we keep ruining it by making bad decisions on elections.

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