boats in a harbor

The European Union just made seamless travel to a traveler favorite even easier. No one likes passport queues. Even fewer people like getting asked questions by scary people in uniform — So why bother, if you don’t need to?

It starts with a “C” and people love its coastal towns and starting in 2023, it’ll be easier than ever to access. Yes, Croatia is joining the European Union Schengen Zone!

The European Union is one of the most fascinating places to explore, not just because of the diverse and rewarding cities, cultures and regions offering the best in food, wine and history, but because of its Schengen Area.

Whereas most regions of the world require require passport and visa checks at each border, once you’re in Europe’s Schengen area, borders proverbially disappear. You can drive from France into Spain, or Hungary into Austria without a pause. Amid a fair bit of controversy, Croatia just got voted in, so here’s what it means for your travel.

a city on the cliff

Croatia Joins Schengen Area

Romania and Bulgaria had applied for Schengen Area access, but despite fitting the general requirements for Schengen inclusion both were denied this time around. But Croatia, a country which joined the EU long after both, is now in.

Starting January 1st, 2023, land border stations with Hungary and Slovenia will become a thing of the past and the country will move to the Euro currency as it officially enters the Schengen Zone.

You’ll be able to Euro trip your way through more of the continent without checks. A two in one trip to Budapest and Dubrovnik will now be seamless, and zipping along the coastal borders through Slovenia and into Italy, or vice versa, will be a breeze.

a harbor with boats and buildings

What This Means For Travelers Outside Of Europe

If you typically don’t spend anywhere near 180 days in Europe in a year, and just like getting around without lots of passport checks — this is wonderful news.

Croatia will be part of the Schengen area from January 1st, so if you were to land in Frankfurt, or any other Schengen Area city, you’d be able to carry on into Croatia without further hassle.

If, however, you’re someone who loves being in Europe for an extended period of time, and loved that being in Croatia didn’t count against the Schengen eligibility factor of just 180 days maximum per year, then this is tough news.

Any time spent in Croatia will count toward your annual Schengen Zone allowance.

Good News For Most Travelers

The good news for anyone in that camp, is that Spain is set to pass its new digital nomad law, and those who receive digital nomad visas will be eligible for entry to the Schengen Zone for the duration their visa is valid.

Don’t forget that Europe plans to start requiring visitors to obtain an electronic visa in 2023 in advance of travel, much like the United States “ESTA” system. If you’re planning trips — be aware. It should be easy though, and now gets you into more places.

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. If Croatia wants to promote its travel industry, ease visa restrictions for all travellers around the world.

  2. Will the single entry schengen visa holders be allowed to enter Croatia started from 1 January 2023? I’m a non EU traveler who wants to visit Croatia in my christmas trip (Dec-Jan). Big thanks!

  3. I never thought visiting Croatia from Schengen states due to visa application husstles and border control delays. Thanks to Schengen.

  4. “… once you’re in Europe’s Schengen area, borders proverbially disappear.”
    – This is incorrect.
    Land and sea borders are still there.
    What disappear are border CHECKS.
    Quite a difference…

  5. Is this a travel review or more propaganda from the remoaners! I can go Croatia tomorrow with minimal problems. Grow up!

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