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Customs To Observe When Walking in Croatia

One of the worst impressions to make in the course of a holiday is that of an impolite, clueless outsider (or, as some would call it, a tourist.) As such, travellers wishing to avoid being labelled and generally given a cold shoulder by the locals should take pains to familiarise themselves with some of the local customs and rules of etiquette prior to leaving their home base.

Some will, of course, have it easier than others. The further removed from Western culture the country is, the more the visitor needs to adapt to his or her surroundings in order to avoid any slip-ups. In this regard, guests walking in Croatia, for example, are likely to have a much simpler time of it than someone going to China or Saudi Arabia.

That does not mean, however, that foreigners visiting Croatia should neglect to do their research. Walking in Croatia is no different from walking anywhere else in the world, in that you will need to spend quite a bit of time interacting with and getting help from the locals; as such, it is recommended that you have at least a basic idea of what constitutes politeness in that Balkan country to avoid offending its native inhabitants.

If you are planning to go walking in Croatia at any point in the near future, know, then, that while the Croats are a relatively easy-going people, there are a couple of topics of conversation to avoid. Comparisons between Croats and Serbs (and sometimes Bosnians) are heavily frowned upon, for example, and should be avoided at all costs. Likewise, controversial topics such as economics or politics should be kept away from polite conversation, at least until the acquaintance is deepened.

Shy people should also be aware that, in Croatia, a soft tone of voice is seen as a sign of a weak personality. As such, when visiting that country, more soft-spoken individuals should make an effort to speak up, even if they feel uncomfortable doing so at first.

Finally, one of the most important things to bear in mind when walking in Croatia is to never, under any circumstance, do the hand signal used in Britain to signify ‘three’ (the thumb and first two fingers held out.) In similar fashion to the two-fingered hand sign in Britain, this has an entirely different meaning in Croatia, being linked to Serbian nationalism and very heavily frowned upon. Brits visiting the country should therefore take pains to signal ‘three’ the international way, with the second, third and fourth fingers of their hand.

It is clear, then, that while by no means as extensive as it is for other countries, some research on Croatian etiquette is necessary prior to a holiday there. Making sure to know some basic do’s and don’ts could spell the difference between a dreadful holiday and a delightful one.