Croatians are proud of their heritage and culture, referring to Croatia as "Our Beautiful Homeland."
They are very family oriented, and are generally close with extended family on both sides. For the most part, they tend to be formal and reserved. When meeting someone, a handshake, direct eye contact and "dobro jutro" (good morning), "dobro dan" (good day), or "dobro veèer" (good evening) would be the standard greeting.
Croatian is the main language spoken throughout the country. You're also likely to hear German, English, French, Italian, Czech and Hungarian.
The majority of Croatians are Catholic; other worldwide religions are represented in smaller numbers.
Most Croatians are Catholic, and the church plays a big part in society. There are sanctuaries across the country built in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary, called "Gospa" in Croat. Plus, every town has its own patron saint. Processions, ceremonies and festivities, sometimes even bonfires, mark the feast day of each saint.
Literature, verse, music, song and dance are often created to preserve the country's customs and traditions. Presented with local costumes, headdresses and jewelry, they are a testament to Croatia's history and culture.
The cuisine of Croatia is simple and tasty, with influences from nearby Italy and central Europe. Not surprisingly, fresh seafood is a favorite menu item. And don't miss a taste of the Dalmatian wines and liqueurs!
Generally, meat, fish and vegetables are staples throughout the country. Some typical dishes to sample include: grenadir marša, pasta with onion and cheese; Stone oysters and mussels; and dalmatinska pašticada or Dalmatian stew.
While you're at the table, try the highly-prized Pag cheese; Prge, a traditional Podravina cheese; Samobor salami and spicy Samobor mustard. And for dessert, perhaps some rozata, Samobor kremsnita, paprenjak or makovnjaca.
Wash your meal down with a local Croatian beer (pivo), wine or Croatia's favorite brandies, sljivovica or travarica.