How Do You Say “Thanks” To A Croatian?

From my experience as a tour guide, saying “thank you” in Croatian is the first thing foreigners learn. So, what’s “Thanks” in Croatian?

  • HVALA (pronounce it as koala, just replace the K with an H). Basic way to say thanks.
  • HVALA LIJEPA (pronounce it as: hoala lee-yeah-pah). Thanks a lot
  • VELIKA HVALA (pronounce it as: welly-cow hoala). Thank you very much
  • TENKS (pronounce it by not saying TH. Say T instead, like TANKS, as many of us would when speaking English. Most, if not all Croatians would understand simple THANKS. So you don’t really have to bother with the excruciatingly difficult Croatian pronunciation).

Gratitude can be expressed in ways other than verbal, of course:

  • leave a tip
  • give a gift
  • smile
  • write a nice review

Tipping In Croatia

Americans are among the most popular guests in Croatia. Why? Let’s be honest, Americans leave tips. So Americans usually get the best service and most of the attention.

Croatians do leave tips, too. But we usually “round up” the amount on the bill. For example, if a glass of beer costs 18 kunas, you will give 20.

There are no rules about the amount or percentage. But I believe that you cannot go wrong if you follow your intuition.

When You SHOULD Leave A Tip In Croatia?

  • when you’re satisfied with the service, because it will make you happier (“Law Of Attraction”)
  • when you’re planning to come back to the same restaurant or book a trip with the same company
  • make sure you tip your doctor IN ADVANCE. You just want to make sure that the doctor does his or her job. Traditionally, a BLUE (not brown) envelope would do. Or Dalmatian cured and smoked ham (pršut). Or a painting by a well-known artist.

When You Should NOT Leave A Tip In Croatia?

  • When you get less than average attention. Tip is neither required nor mandatory in Croatia. Tip only when you’re grateful.
  • Sometimes tips get shamefully extorted from the clients. Follow your gut feeling.

Give A Gift

I still keep a number of small gifts I received from people I met on my tours. Koala (Didn’t I already mention koalas today?) pins attached to the curtains. A translucent purple stone from Sweden… I have two more vanilla pods I got from a family from Tahiti. (I used one to make coconut&vanilla fudge). A homemade soap bar from a family from South Carolina.

To thank your landlord or a landlady, you may also want to leave a token of appreciation: A box of biscuits, bag of coffee, a bottle of wine, flowers. Or a souvenir from your country.


Many Croatians I know (especially in Split) would react to expressions of human kindness. At first, they may seem rude, or cold or detached.

Be human to them, normal, unpretentious, authentic. SMILE. And they will smile back to you.

We are all attracted to genuine kindness. Even though people you meet are usually there for the sake of money, try to view them as humans. It will be much appreciated.

Burnout can be a big problem in the tourism. Especially by the end of the tourist season. Your gratefulness might take the stress away. And with a happy guide or a happy waiter, you’ll be happier, too.

Write A (Nice) Review

Three, four or five stars? The rating itself is not nearly as useful as the review. When someone reads reviews, they are always interested in the personal experience of the person leaving that review. Therefore, your review will have a much greater effect than the grade itself.

I love reading reviews. When I read a review about a service I did, in my mind I go through the experience again with the person who wrote the review in mind.

Now, here’s one of my favourite reviews:

Really well organized trip

Tour guide, Igor, should have his photo as the illustration for the word “guide” in any dictionary. Really smart, calm and funny. You might think that the restaurant stop is a tourist trap but surprinsingly it s not. Really fair prices for good and enough food – even the croatian police was eating there when we stopped. The tour was exactly as described and we had enough time to enjoy the beauty of Plitivice. It was a little bit crowded but still ok – the park i mean not the trip itself. The bus driver Ante was really nice as well. All in all, a trip to remember.

Flyer19268751174 , Aug 2019

Add a picture or video

A picture is worth a thousand words. In the 21st century, photography has become a cult. Instagram has surpassed all other social networks and people for selfies are falling off cliffs. Wherever you are and whatever you do, chances are you’re taking pictures with your cell phone at the same time – then why not add them to your review? You’ll make it more complete, other readers definitely love to see the pictures.

Be genuine and authentic

If everyone repeats the same thing, readers are essentially left with very limited information. Describe your own experience – diverse and authentic reviews ensure that each reader can find information that is useful to them in making a decision.

Be specific

It is important to leave as much specific information about your experience as possible. For example, if you like food in a restaurant but have waited too long, write just that. In this way, other readers will have clear information as to why you left someone a certain grade and will be able to decide for themselves whether that information is relevant to them or not.

Adjust Your Expectations

This may be the most important piece of advice that many people completely ignore. There are often reviews that are completely incorrect because they are not appropriate for the place being rated. For example, you’ll often find a review for a street food restaurant written as if the reader was expecting a Michelin Star restaurant.

Another example is hotels – if you are staying in a four star hotel, then you should rate whether the hotel provided you with a four star experience and not leave a worse rating or comment because that hotel does not have a spa.

Honest, authentic, realistic and loving review is one of the best ways to express your gratitude.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *