Croatian Culture


Primary Author
Chara Scroope,

Basic Etiquette

  • People tend to dress neatly and modestly. Wearing overly casual clothing in public may be considered inappropriate.
  • There is a strong coffee culture in Croatia. Many people socialise over a cup of coffee.
  • Greet people as you pass them casually around the workplace or in public. Croatians will often acknowledge strangers in passing as a sign of respect.
  • Croatians tend to be extremely punctual and expect others to be on time. That being said, punctuality has more importance in a professional setting than in social ones. Friends will forgive tardiness so long as it is not a recurring behaviour.


  • Croatians often enjoy visiting and socialising with one another. It is common for Croatians to visit friends and family unannounced.
  • Croatians are quite hospitable and will try to be exceptional hosts. They will make an effort to overcome language barriers and show their warmth through their hospitality.
  • If offered food or coffee, it is best to accept the offer. Refusing the offer may be interpreted as refusing the host’s hospitality and can cause offence.
  • Visits tend to be arranged in advance, but unexpected guests are generally welcomed.
  • In terms of punctuality, it is considered good manners to be punctual. A 15-minute ‘grace period’ is socially acceptable in most situations. This is known as 'akademska četvrt'.
  • Guests are expected to bring a gift for the hosts. Appropriate gifts are usually a bottle of wine, sweets or an odd number of flowers (an even number of flowers is for the deceased).
  • It is considered impolite to refuse refreshments from the host.
  • If the purpose for visiting is a dinner party, guests should wait for the host to show them where to sit.
  • Often, Croatians will offer multiple servings of food to their guests. The polite way to indicate to your host that you do not want any more food is to say ‘nema više’ (‘no more’) and they will usually comply.


  • It is considered rude to place one’s hands below the table. Rather, Croatians tend to keep their hands above the table.
  • In informal settings, the napkin is unfolded and placed on the lap.
  • It is very common for a glass of wine to accompany the meal.
  • In Croatia, lunch is considered to be the main meal of the day and may consist of multiple courses. Many Croatians will go home to have their lunch, then return to work or school.
  • Croatians tend to avoid wasting food. This does not prevent them from being generous and offering an abundance of food to guests.
  • To politely request no more food, guests usually say ‘Hvala, ne mogu više’ (Thankyou, but I am full).
  • When consuming alcohol, it is common for people to toast. They will raise their glasses and say ‘živjeli’.
  • When dining with Croatians, it is polite to wait for a moment to see if someone will say a prayer of thanks prior to eating the meal. With a majority of Croatians being Catholic, it is often customary to say ‘grace’ before a meal, only if one knows that everyone would like to join in the prayer.
  • Rather than say ‘grace’, some families will make the sign of the cross across their chest and say ‘amen’ before eating.
  • If eating in a restaurant or cafe and your Croatian counterpart insists on paying, let them pay.

Gift Giving

  • Croatians often give simple rather than lavish gifts.
  • If the gift is large, a Croatian may distribute the gift among family members.
  • Some good gifts for your Croatian counterpart may be a selection of jam, honey or alcohol.
  • Avoid giving an even number of flowers to someone. In Croatia, only the deceased are given an even number of flowers.
  • Gifts are typically opened when received unless otherwise specified.

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