If you don’t travel to Southeast Europe very often, Croatian customs may seem a bit different than what you’re used to. We’ll try to give you a heads-up about some of the most important things you’ll encounter during your stay.
Croatian is a South-Slavic language, but we only use the Latin alphabet. If you speak a different Slavic language, you’ll probably be able to understand most of the written information. The spoken language may provide a challenge, but if you talk really slowly, people might understand you fairly well.
Nearly all Croatians speak at least one foreign language, the most common being English. Other common languages include Italian and German. Hotel, hostel, restaurant, and café staff typically speak multiple languages (to the extent required by their job). Taxi drivers vary – while many speak foreign languages, some don’t. Bus drivers are not quite the polyglots, but luckily you don’t have to interact with them if you purchase bus tickets beforehand.
Futuricon organizers all speak English (in fact, some are English language majors). Some of us also speak Italian, German, Spanish, or French.
Croatians pronounce some letters differently from germanic or romance languages. We also have some extra letters that you may not have seen before.
- A is always pronounced like in the word “tar”
- C sounds similar to S
- E is always pronounced like in the word “red”
- G is always pronounced like in the word “mug”
- H is always pronounced like in the word “hub”
- J sounds like Y in “yak”
- R is hard, like in Russian
- U sounds like OO in “Moon”
- Č sounds like CH in “chocolate”
- Ć is a softer variant of Č
- Š sounds like SH in “shower”
- Đ sounds like J in “jeans”
- Ž sounds like J in “Jules Verne”
We’ll mention some Croatian words on this page, so refer back to this guide when you encounter them.
The official currency in Croatia is kuna. 1 euro is about 7.50 kunas. Euro is not accepted in Croatia, except on toll booths.
Croatia is slightly more expensive than the neighboring Slavic countries, here are some average prices.
Most restaurants accept credit cards, but make sure to ask to avoid awkward situations! Paying by card in cafés and bars is not typical – we recommend that you always have some cash on hand. Takeout food is also paid in cash, preferably in exact amount.
Tipping in cafés and restaurants is customary, but not mandatory. We usually round up to the nearest round number (10, 15, 20…), or add a few coins to smaller bills. It’s appropriate to leave about 10–20 kunas extra in better restaurants or when drinking with a group for a few hours.
Croatians don’t haggle – the prices you see in stores are real. However, if you buy lots of stuff in a single shop, you might get a discount or a small gift.
Croatia offers a variety of Mediterranean and continental food so you’ll surely find something that suits your flavor buds. Some favorites include pasta dishes (meat, veggie, or seafood sauces), pizza, čevapčići (minced meat sticks) in a bun, pljeskavica (burger meat) with fries, grilled or fried fish or calamari, and many types of meat dishes.
Many restaurants offer vegetarian dishes (except those that specialize in grilled meats). Vegans will have to be more careful, because few restaurants differentiate between vegetarian and vegan options.
If you have any allergies or require kosher, halal, or gluten-free food, it’s best that you ask if a certain meal contains the ingredients you’re not allowed to eat. (Perhaps use Google Translate and write it down in Croatian so there’s zero chance of misunderstanding.) Some restaurant menus will include this information, but it’s still not widespread.
Tap water is safe to drink in Croatia. Rijeka has its own spring, and the water here is great. There are several public drinking fountains around the city center, so just bring your own bottle!
Coffee culture is similar to that in Italy. The place that serves excellent espresso favorably reviewed by coffee connoisseurs is Filodrammatica on the Korzo street. Typical coffee drinkers will find their coffee satisfactory in any café. If you prefer American style coffee, we recommend that you order bijela kava (“white coffee” – lots of milk), or produžena kava (“long coffee” – watery, no milk).
Unfortunately, tea culture is not so advanced, but there are a few places where you can drink decent English tea brands such as King’s Café, Bard, and Cukarikafe. (They won’t look at you weird if you order milk with your tea.)
And finally, alcohol. Croatia has a long tradition of producing wine (vino), beer (pivo), and spirits (rakija). There’s a couple of pubs that offer a larger selection of beer, one of them being close to the convention venue (Beertija). If you’re a wine lover, you’ll be able to find a variety of local wines in bars and restaurants.
Rakija is a type of strong spirit like schnapps, typically derived from fruit. Stronger sorts have 30–40% alcohol content, and the weaker, sweeter ones about 15–20%. Šljivovica (plum brandy) is a strong sort recommended only for hardcore liquor lovers. If you prefer sweet liquors, try medica (with added honey) or borovička (blueberry). Biska is a rakija made of mistletoe with an interesting aroma. Pelinkovac is a very popular herbal liquor made of the absinthe plant, bitter-sweet in taste and often mixed with Coca-Cola – a “poor man’s Jägermeister” if you will.
Anyone over the age 18 may buy alcoholic beverages in bars, restaurants, or grocery stores. You might even want to take some home as a souvenir! Drinking alcohol in public places like parks or town squares is not permitted. (But you’ll likely see the locals doing it, because this is the Balkan and we treat laws more like guidelines.)
Futuricon is a family-friendly event, so feel free to bring your kids along! Sunday morning program has dedicated activities for children, and they’re welcome to attend other age appropriate programming that interests them.
Babies are welcome too, as long as they don’t interrupt lectures and panels. If your baby starts crying, please take a short break outside of the lecture hall until they quiet down. If you need access to a lactation room, please send us an email before the convention, and we’ll prepare one.
We insist that you always supervise children under 14 – our volunteers can’t babysit them, and we don’t have childcare facilities at the convention.
Children older than 14 pay the regular registration fee and they are allowed to come to the convention without a parent or guardian. Legal age restrictions apply to certain parts of the program and alcoholic beverages served at the convention.
We have an entire page dedicated to accessibility. In short, you’ll be able to find accessible options for lodging, eating out, and transportation during your stay, but it might take some research. We tried to provide as much information as we could to get you started.
Service dogs are welcome in the convention venue. They are not quite the norm in Croatia, so we suggest that you ask beforehand if you want to bring a service dog with you to a hotel, apartment, restaurant, etc. or check their policies online.
Smoking and vaping are not permitted inside the Futuricon venue, hotels, hostels, or restaurants. Smoking and vaping is permitted on open terraces, as well as in most cafés and bars (except those that serve food).
You can hang out with fellow smokers in front of the main entrance of the convention venue.
Autumn is fickle: sometimes it’s warm and people still go to the beach, and at other times it’s rainy and windy. Please consult the weather forecast before packing! We recommend a layered approach to clothing – short sleeves with a light jacket, hoodie, or a cardigan for the evening. Bring a small umbrella just in case.
The fashion style of the convention attendees is amazingly diverse – from casual geeky shirts and jeans, to elaborate ensembles and costumes. If you have a clothing item that you never get to wear because it’s “too weird” for your job, wear it to Futuricon and you’ll surely get lots of compliments.
If you want to go sightseeing, a word of warning: churches require clothing that covers the shoulders and knees – no shorts or tank tops.
The Futuricon/Rikon tech team always sets up a dedicated Wi-Fi network for our attendees which was proven to work well. In case there are any unforeseen issues, we apologize in advance.
The city of Rijeka has free Wi-Fi access points spread out across the city around the most frequented locations, including on Trsat (near the convention venue) and downtown center. You can learn more about the exact locations covered and the restrictions of this network on this website.
Most hotels, hostels, and private apartments offer free Wi-Fi as well, but do check before booking.
Most coffee shops have their own Wi-Fi networks. Ask the staff for the password, as they usually don’t have it written anywhere.
Croatia as a whole is very safe, and Rijeka is one of the safest cities you’ll ever visit.
Travelling in Croatia is generally safe, it’s highly rated for its safety index in our list of the safest and most dangerous countries. The country is in top 20 safest countries on earth. Visitors of Croatia seldom face any serious threat during their stay in the country, however, pickpocketing, petty thefts, bag snatching and ATM scams do happen.
The city is lively during the weekend, so there are people in the streets at almost all the hours of the day. We recommend an evening walk along the breakwater or the Trsat castle to enjoy the view.
In the unlikely event that you encounter any trouble, the emergency phone number is 112.
If someone at the convention makes you feel unsafe, report it to the organizers. We operate by an inclusive code of conduct and the safety and well-being of our attendees is paramount to us.
We hope this short guide has been helpful in demystifying Croatia and our customs! We wish you a wonderful stay.