** This is a guest post from our friends at World Nomads. If you’re looking for travel insurance, they’re pretty widely recommended. We particularly like their Safety Hub, where this article was first featured.**
Croatia is one of the safest countries in the world with a very low violent crime rate, but the disappearance and murder of Australian backpacker Britt Lapthorne in 2008 has made some female travellers wary of visiting, especially on their own.
However many female travellers who have been to Croatia report that they felt perfectly safe and wouldn’t think twice about travelling there alone again.
For the most part, the usual travel safety precautions and commonsense apply. Always take marked taxis, which are readily available at main squares, ferry ports and bus stations, and don’t carry large amounts of money around with you. You will be able to lock valuables away at your accommodation.
In the coastal towns in summer, it’s a big part of the culture to spend evenings outside watching the world go by with an ice-cream or two, so there will be plenty of people around late into the night and the popular waterfront areas are well-lit.
However in the old cities like Split and Dubrovnik, it is also easy to get lost in their mazes of narrow streets and alleyways and these will not always be as well-lit, so stick to the main streets and thoroughfares after dark.
Make the most of the vibrant nightlife and clubs in the major cities but it’s a good idea to drink in moderation so you remain totally in control.
Croatians do enjoy a drink but it would be pretty unacceptable for anyone, particularly women, to be drunk.
If you do find someone who you wish to take back to your room, the usual risks of one-night stands apply. If you’re staying in a soba (a rented room in a private house) remember that it’s someone’s home and totally unacceptable – if you wouldn’t do it at your parents’ house, not a great idea to do it here.
Speaking of sobe, women travelling on their own should take extra precaution when choosing a room to rent. Most sobe are run by friendly old Croatian women who will treat you like a long-lost daughter, but it’s still perfectly acceptable to ask to see the room before you hand over your money – and to decline if you feel uncomfortable. Always make sure that your room has a lock for privacy and safety.
One downside of renting private accommodation like sobe in Croatia is that they are really designed for couples, so watch out for a single supplement or surcharge if you’re travelling on your own.
Safety in Numbers
If you’re planning to get out and experience Croatia’s burgeoning adventure tourism scene, it’s a good idea to join an organised tour or group to lessen the risk of getting lost in unfamiliar countryside on your own, especially if you will be returning to town late at night.
Croatiatraveller.com advises that women out and about on their own may be subjected to the odd ogle or suggestive remark by an amorous passerby, but simply ignoring it or giving a firm “no” will be enough to put him back in his box.