Travel

People also ask Google: Do They Speak English in Croatia?

By 15 February 2021
People Also Ask Google: Do They Speak English in Croatia?
People Also Ask Google: Do They Speak English in Croatia? Photograph taken by Julian Calder for Governor-General of New Zealand, adapted

February 15, 2021 - Google knows what people are searching for, and there are clues in the 'People Also Ask' prompt. So let's answer - do they speak English in Croatia?

Do they speak English in Croatia?

Short answer: Yes

The majority of Croatians speak at least one other language. According to polls, 80% of Croatians are multilingual. Within that high percentage of multilingual Croatians, a huge 81% speak English.

The next most popular language spoken by multilingual Croats is German (49%) followed by Italian (24%). English is better spoken in Croatia than in any other country of southern and eastern Europe (except Poland).

croatia-351850_1920islandias_1.jpg

Regional differences: Do they speak English in Croatia on the coast and islands?

Yes. Along with the capital city of Zagreb, the coast of Croatia and the islands are where you'll definitely find Croatians speaking English. Tourism in Croatia has been developing since the 1960s. Even when the country was a republic within the federation of Yugoslavia, Croatia was visited by many international tourists.

Young people from all over Croatia travel to the coast to work jobs in hotels, bars and restaurants. Speaking English to a high standard is usually part of the job specification. It is almost impossible to imagine that you would visit any hotel, bar or restaurant on the Croatian coast and find that nobody speaks English. In Zagreb, over 80% of people speak English.

landscape-1263111_1280.jpg

The rest of Croatia - do Croatia speak English?

Proficiency in speaking other languages varies by region. It is true to say that the further you travel from the most popular tourist trails in Croatia, the likelihood of you coming across people who don't speak English (or who don't speak English well) increases. But, that's not to say they are not multilingual.

In Istria, northwest Croatia, a full 95% of the population speaks another language. Many young people in Istria can speak English, Croatian and Italian.

Over the course of its history, Croatia has existed under the influence of invading or occupying empires. You'll find Turkish words in the language used in Croatia, Bosnia and Serbia, left over from the time the Ottomans were here. Italy once occupied much of Istria and Kvarner in the country's northwest and, here, you'll find Italian being spoken.

Similarly, Croatia is influenced by its neighbours. But, not all parts of Croatia have the same neighbours. Different neighbouring countries have had an effect on Croatia's different dialects and on the second language Croatians in these regions speak.

In Slavonia, eastern Croatia, and in other, more rural parts of the country's continental regions, you would traditionally find fewer people who speak English. This is because these regions weren't always visited by tourists. But, things are changing. Continental Croatia is opening up to tourism more and more. As a result, more and more people there are speaking or learning to speak English.

teenager-959125_1280.jpg

Age differences: Younger and older – Can Croatians Speak English?

Well, yes and no. 95% of Croatians between the ages of 15 and 34 speak at least one foreign language. Bravo! English is by far the most common second language of Croatians in this age group. These days, Croatian children learn the English language continuously over an average of 8 years while at school. They also improve their fluency by playing online games with international players, listening to English language music and watching English language television and movies. Unlike Germany, where TV series and films are dubbed into German for broadcast on national television, in Croatia, British and American films and programmes are shown in their original language, with subtitles underneath in Croatian.

Do they speak English in Croatia if they are above the age of 34? Yes, many Croatians above the age of 34 do speak English, particularly those who have been educated since Croatia gained independence and those who work in tourism-related activities or bigger city businesses. With Croatians who were educated prior to independence, their second language may depend on just how old they are and in which geographical region they live and have worked. In the country's northwest, Italian is the most common second language of the oldest multilingual Croats. Elsewhere, German is predominantly the second language of people in this age range. Some Croatians, depending on their age and education, may even have learned Russian (although you are much more likely to encounter Russian as the second most commonly spoken language if you instead visit Montenegro).

girl-2771936_1920.jpg

Two very important things to remember if you're asking “Do they speak English in Croatia?”

If you're asking the question “Do they speak English in Croatia?”, it's probably because you're thinking of visiting the country. Or, you might be thinking about doing business here. If so, here are two handy tips.

1) Don't be put off from going anywhere in Croatia for fear they don't speak English

Often, the further away from the tourist trail you travel, the more authentically Croatian your experience will be in Croatia. Croatia's less well-known regions are a goldmine of incredible gastronomy, breathtaking landscapes and fascinating culture, traditions, arts & crafts.

If you're heading to a less well-travelled region, people may show slightly more surprise in hearing English spoken because they're not used to it. A small percentage of younger people in continental Croatia may take a little persuasion, patience and kindness in speaking English with you. This is probably because they are shy or not confident about their spoken English. The teaching of English in Croatia is generally very good, but there are some educators who prioritise grammar and pronunciation above the general understanding that is more important to you as a visitor. Perfect grammar and pronunciation don't come easily to every single student of English, which is why you may encounter reticence to speak English from a very small minority of young Croatians. But, almost all will have learned English and will speak the language to some degree (usually, to a much better standard than they believe they do!)

2) Politeness goes a long way – if you're in Croatia, you're a guest in someone else's country

The high level of multilingualism in Croatia and the widespread ability to speak English is indicative of efforts by Croatians to welcome and accommodate visitors. Any reciprocal efforts made by visitors to engage with Croatians in their own language will be met impressively, with surprise and with warmth. You'll endear yourself to Croatians by learning some basic words (maybe even a couple of phrases) before you visit. Dobar dan (Good day), Molim (Please/Excuse me), Hvala (Thank you), Dobro Jutro (Good morning), Imate li... (Do you have...?), Može (May I/Can I/You may/You can/Can do!) are easy, obvious and useful places to start. Do they speak English in Croatia could easily be answered with "Well, do you speak Croatian in Croatia?"

Conclusion: Do they speak English in Croatia?

Yes. They do speak English in Croatia. Most places you will go in Croatia, you will be met by people who can speak English. The vast majority of these speak English extremely well.

If you have any suggestions to add to this resource, please send a mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject: English speaking in Croatia. 

To follow the People Also Ask Google about Croatia series, click here

Search