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Planning your trip and wondering do they speak English in Croatia? I’ve got you covered!
I’ve been living in Croatia full time since 2014 and have been traveling to the country my entire life, so I know a thing or two about the local scene here. I even attended high school in Croatia for a few years and am familiar with the education system.
One of the most common questions I get from readers, especially those making their first trip to this stunning Mediterranean country, is, “Do they speak English in Croatia?“
And I get it; language barriers can be intimidating. But I’m here to tell you that you can stop worrying right now.
Because the answer is yes, many Croatians do speak English, especially in popular tourist destinations like Dubrovnik, Split, and Zagreb (where you’ll probably be traveling to).
However, don’t expect every Croatian you encounter to be an English speaker. Keep reading to learn just how widely spoken English is in Croatia, if you can get around without knowing any Croatian, and more tips to navigate the country’s linguistic landscape.
Is English Widely Spoken in Croatia?
While the official language in Croatia is Croatian, you may be surprised to learn that most of the younger generation, can communicate in English pretty well. This is due to two main reasons:
The first is that the majority of the younger generation grew up watching television and movies in English with Croatian subtitles, and listening to songs with English lyrics.
The second reason is that children are required to learn English as a second language when they start elementary school (around the age of 7). Other foreign languages commonly taught in schools, in addition to English, are Italian and German.
On top of that, most people that work in the tourism industry also speak English very well, as they communicate with foreign guests on a regular basis. But don’t just take my word for it. Let’s take a look at the results from a recent study conducted by Education First, the world’s largest ranking of countries and regions by English skills.
In 2022, Croatia came it at number 11 on the list for English proficiency based on test results of 2.1m adults in 111 countries & regions.
The Netherlands, Singapore, and Austria are at the top of the list of countries where the level of knowledge of the English language is considered to be Very High Proficiency. Croatia earned a spot in the same category, coming in just after Germany.
Croatia English Speaking Percentage
Croatia, with its population of around 4 million people, is a country that values multilingualism. Impressively, 78% of Croats speak at least one language in addition to Croatian. English is the most commonly spoken second language, with around 60% of the population being comfortable in it.
So, your chances of finding English speakers while you’re exploring Croatia are pretty good!
As for other languages, German and Italian also have a strong presence, thanks to heavy influence from the previous empires that once ruled the region. These languages rank as the second most commonly spoken, making Croatia a fairly diverse place linguistically.
Not All Croatians Speak English
While statistics show that a significant number of Croatians speak English, don’t expect everyone and their grandma to be fluent. In smaller towns and villages, you might find that fewer people speak English. But don’t let that deter you. Using English to communicate isn’t the only way to make local Croatian friends!
A smile and a few basic phrases go a long way. If you’re wondering how do Croatians say hello, goodbye, and thank you, here’s a list of common Croatian words that will help bring you closer to the locals you meet on your trip.
- Hello – Dobar dan (sounds like doh-bar dahn)
- Goodbye – Doviđenja (sounds like doh-vee-jen-yah)
- Please – Molim (sounds like mow-leem)
- Thank you – Hvala (sounds like hva-lah or fala for easier pronunciation)
- Yes – Da (sounds like da)
- No – Ne (sounds like n-eh)
- Sure – Može (sounds like mow-zh-eh)
Do they speak English in Dubrovnik?
Yes, English is widely spoken in Dubrovnik as it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. Rest assured that the majority of hotel, restaurant, and cafe staff are very proficient in English.
Do they speak English in Split?
Absolutely! English is commonly spoken in Split, particularly in locations popular with tourists like the Old Town area around Diocletian’s Palace, hotels, restaurants, and bars.
Can you visit Croatia if you only speak English?
Yes, you can definitely visit Croatia if you only speak English. Most tourist destinations and services are accustomed to English-speaking visitors. It is helpful to learn a few basic Croatian phrases though.
Is Croatia friendly to foreigners?
Yes! Croatia are generally friendly and warm to foreigners. However, it’s a good idea to learn a few basic phrases as the locals really appreciate the effort!
Is English well known in Croatia?
Yes! In fact, English is the most commonly spoken second language in Croatia, with around 60% of the population being comfortable speaking English.
How widely spoken is English in Croatia?
English is fairly widespread in Croatia, especially among the younger generation and in touristy areas. Around 60% of the population is comfortable speaking English.
The Verdict: Do They Speak English in Croatia?
Yes! And their spoken English is very good.
So if you’re in the midst of planning a trip to Croatia and wondering about the language situation, you can put your mind at ease. About 60% of Croatians are comfortable speaking English, and this is particularly true among younger people and those working in the tourism sector.
Go ahead an pack your bags knowing that you’re well-covered language-wise for your Croatian adventure!
Before you go, make sure you’ve got the right things on your Croatia packing list.
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Croatia Travel Planning Guide
💸 What is the currency in Croatia?
As of January 1st, 2023, the official currency of Croatia is the Euro and NOT the Kuna (which is also the name of the national animal of Croatia).
🇭🇷 What language do they speak in Croatia?
Croatian is the official language of Croatia. Learn some phrases in Croatian before your trip with the Ling app!
🚑 Should I buy Croatia travel insurance?
10000% YES – Seriously, don’t leave home without it. You never know what can happen on the road. I like SafetyWing because they provide excellent coverage for as little as $1.50 a day.
📱 Will my phone work in Croatia?
Maybe – check with your provider to see if you’ll have service while traveling Croatia. If you don’t have service (or it’s too expensive) I recommend getting an eSIM like Airalo. Airalo allows you to have data while traveling without the high costs of roaming. They have super affordable plans available for 190+ countries, including Croatia. Download the app and get your plan before you leave home so that you have data as soon as you touch down in Croatia!
🏨 What’s the best way to book my Croatia accommodations?
For Croatia hotels, Booking is by far the best site.
🛫 What’s the best site to buy Croatia flights?
I always use Skyscanner to find the cheapest flights.
🚗 Is it safe to rent a Car in Croatia?
Yes! – In fact, renting a car in Croatia is one of the best ways to see the country! I recommend Discover Cars because they check both local and international rental companies to ensure you get the best deal. (Get your Croatia road trip itinerary here)
💦 Is it safe to drink the water in Croatia?
Tap water in Croatia is completely safe to drink, so bring your reusable water bottle and fill up!
Do I need a visa for Croatia?
Depending on where you are coming from you may or may not need a visa to enter Croatia. Check the official Republic of Croatia Ministry of Foreign Affairs website for more information on who should apply for a visa.