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How to Make Friends with Croats and WHY You Should Do it

There’s a perfectly good reason why you should make an effort to make friends with Croats when holidaying in Croatia. Here, you’ll learn how to do it.

If you’ve been here before and had some bad experience or read about some criticism, you might be under the impression that Croats are rude and not easy to make friends with.

While the first cannot be further from the truth, the second is fact.
Croats don’t easily open up to outsiders.

Lifelong Friends
Lifelong Friends

As we said in our intro article, Croats form lifelong bonds with only a handful of friends during childhood. In most cases, we are talking about 3-5 people plus some family members. Others, outside that inner circle, may or may not exist.

What you want to do when in Croatia with Croats, is breach into that inner circle.

Because that’s where the real fun begins. Sure, you can swim and burn your skin under the scorching sun on one of over a thousand beaches. You can skydive, hike, and explore the deepest parts of the Adriatic Sea. But is it enough?
Friends Hiking and Looking at Sunset
Friends Hiking and Looking at Sunset
Is that what traveling to another country really means?

Or is it about experiencing the pulse and soul of that foreign destination?

It is. And the only way to reach that level is to connect with the local people. Just like you can’t really understand and appreciate Rio before someone walks you through favelas.

So, what’s the passcode for Croats?

Drink. In the local bar.

Croats mostly prefer hanging out in bars while drinking beer, wine, and hard liquor. This is where majority of bonds are made. This is where the best business deals are made.

Making Friends and Drinking in Croatia
Making Friends and Drinking in Croatia

So, while in Croatia, find yourself a local bar and stick with it. Just like in your country, Croats prefer visiting the same bar. There is always this same group of people. Familiar faces. You’ll be able to recognize them on day 2.

Now, here’s the trick.
Sit next to a local group of friends you find appealing and interesting.
Wait for the pause in their conversation.
Then, ask a question.

It can be anything at all but steer away from politics if you are not 100% confident in your understanding of Croatian political life and beliefs. Croats are very sensitive in that field and the wrong question may result in severe consequences.

When you get your answer, call the waiter and buy a round.
You see, unlike other countries, where a group of people split the bill among themselves, Croatians are “rounding.” Meaning that each person will buy a round for the rest of the crew. It goes in circles and may last all day long and most likely extend into the night.

Drink with Locals in Croatia
Drink with Locals in Croatia

That single round will bring you a step closer.

Shoot a few more questions and make sure to compliment something in the town you are residing in. It will be much appreciated and probably lead to, “yeah, thanks, but would you like to…”

BAM! You took a major step. They will most likely invite you to sit with them. Just make sure that you can endure many hours of drinking.

The same applies for dinners. He who calls pays. A simple rule. But it’s a strong meaning in Croatian culture. Try to split a bill while drinking with Croats and you’ll never be invited to that group again. In fact, you won’t be welcome anywhere near them.
This is where the real fun starts and it’s not that uncommon for a complete stranger, who knows only a word or two of local language, to spend a week or two accommodated for free while being dragged all over the place by his host, visiting places and doing things that never find their way into brochures. You and your family will be treated as the closest family members and your host will go an extra mile to make you feel at home. More importantly, he or she will not ask for anything in return. This behavior is not physically motivated but emotionally driven. Remember that.

For many, this experience makes such a strong impact that they permanently move here.

Today, Croatia has the largest number of foreigners to permanent residents than ever before. People from the west and north finally began realizing the core values of Croatian mentality and Croatia as a country.


Just be honest. Be sincere. Don’t patronize. Don’t underestimate or humiliate. And you’ll make a close friend for life. A friend who will do anything for you if he recognizes the sincere person in you. He’s not interested in your wealth. Only in having a good time with you.


Also, do consider the fact that Croats love football more than anything else and are very passionate about the national football team. Just a hint to give you an idea of one way to strike up a conversation.


Your CTC Team, I.K.

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