a city next to a body of water
Sea Walls - part of Dubrovnik military defences - defend the city from sea-based attacks.

Travel is wonderful but travel across borders can be an exception to the rule. Long queues and ever changing requirements can sour even the grandest of trips, but for decades, Europe has been one step ahead in alleviating that stress.

Within Europe, there are quite a few partnership concepts between countries, but arguably none larger than the European Union (EU) itself. Within countries that are “in” the EU, some are also part of the ‘Schengen Zone’, and those that are have effectively agreed to a borderless lifestyle, once in.

Once you’re in one Schengen Zone country, you can pretty much move from one to another, without passport checks or hassle. It’s a beautiful thing, and now, after nearly a decade of being an EU member, but not a Schengen Zone member, Croatia is about to make travel within Europe even easier, as it joins the “borderless” zone.

a harbor with boats and buildings

Croatia Invited To Schengen Zone

The Schengen Zone represents an incredible experience for travelers from all over the globe. Once you’ve arrived in one country, such as Austria, you can zip around the rest of the zone without checks.

Things like taking a train journey that starts in Vienna and ends in Budapest, without ever pulling out a passport are totally possible, and pretty much just as wonderful as they sound, at least in normal times.

Though no official “start date” has been set, ever-trending Croatia has been invited by the EU to join the Schengen Zone, meaning travelers along the stunning Adriatic coast will be able to benefit from seamless entry from other Schengen Zone countries, and vice versa.

Residents within the Schengen Zone can also live and work freely across countries.

Croatia joined the European Union in 2013, but concerns over borders with other countries and the ability to manage the Euro (€) as official currency have lead to long tail negotiations. Brussels, the home of the EU leadership, now says it’s satisfied.

Great News For Europe Trips

The only thing better than a Europe trip is one that entails multiple countries. Why just lounge along the Adriatic coast in Croatia when you can zip over to Italy for a few days, or any of the other 26 current member countries.

Croatia joining the Schengen Zone is an exciting move as the world seeks to regain its travel footing, with the pandemic becoming endemic. Europe will be more inviting than ever, whenever Croatia officially becomes a Schengen country. We’ll let you know!

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. There is a slight downside to Croatia’s inclusion into the Schengen Zone. For example, when it comes to US visitors used to spending a few weeks in Croatia during the summer and not have it count toward the Schengen Zone 90 days maximum stay within any rolling 180 day period and who otherwise were spending nearly half their time in the Schengen area without a visa, they may need a visa going forward or otherwise have to adjust habits to avoid exceeding the 90 day Schengen visitor limit within any rolling 180 day period.

    1. Ah, very good point! I hadn’t processed that consideration, which is huge. As we both know, that 180 rolling is a hard stop. Thanks as always for contributing. G

    2. Thank you for mentioning this. I’d call it a HUGE downside and I groaned when I heard Croatia was becoming part of the Schengen. Croatia had been a favorite place to spend all or part of the 90 day wait to return to the Schengen zone. But, soon no more.

  2. Well, there goes Croatia of my return list. It was always a great get out of Schengen spot for us – we’ve spent several months there over the years. But those precious 90 days go to Italy first.

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