Shopping in Croatia is usually not on travellers' radar as the country is not known as a major shopping destination. Whether or not you're looking for a unique souvenir (see what to buy in Croatia), browsing Croatia's shops and markets is part of the getting-to-know-you experience. Even the briefest shopping excursion provides insight into the local habits, diet and cost of living.
The major supermarket chain you will find in Croatia is Konzum which has outlets throughout Croatia. You'll find everything from wine and spirits to canned goods, meat, cheese, cold cuts and toiletries. You can also choose bread and request a choice of fillings for a sandwich. You can pay by credit card and hours are long (see above) but most personnel do not speak English.
There are outdoor markets in all major cities and many small towns as well. Most center around food of course with an emphasis on produce from local farmers. Many of the farmer stands also sell their homemade cheese, wine or spirits. The packaging may be basic but the quality is excellent. The larger markets also sell cheap clothes, shoes, sunglasses, trinkets and household accessories.
Often at train, bus and ferry stations, these little stands sell newspapers, cigarettes, pens, sunglasses, sweets, chocolate, lighters, toys, phone cards, batteries, mobile phone recharges, soft drinks, local bus tickets, postcards, comic books and various other items. Most are closed all or part of the day on Sunday.
Shopping hours in Croatia try to balance Croatia's traditional Catholic values with its newer consumerist and commercial impulses. Under pressure from the Catholic church,Croatia's Parliament banned Sunday shopping as of January 1, 2009 EXCEPT during the tourist season. Here's what you need to know:
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