Everything you need to know about barbershops in Croatia

"Brico i seka", one of the oldest barbershops in Croatia, located in Velika Gorica
“Brico i seka”, one of the oldest barbershops in Croatia, located in Velika Gorica

PUBLISHED: 11.6.2024.

Some men love to have good barbers they regularly visit, like some women love to have hairdressers whom they trust. Luckily, barbershops in Croatia are inheriting a long tradition of barbering that has been recognized for its excellence.

Barbers can be found in every Croatian city, and there are plenty of options to choose from. However, if you have recently moved to Croatia, you might need help figuring out how to find your perfect barber – and this is where we jump in.

In this article, we cover:

The facts are these…

Origins of barbering in Croatia

Although many Croatians have adopted the English word barber, it is important to know that a barber is called brijač in Croatian, and a barbershop is brijačnica. Some barbershops have the word barber on their door, mostly for marketing purposes or because they want to be trendy, but most use brijačnica.

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Fun fact

The word barber is derived from the Latin word barba, which means beard. In Croatian, especially in the Dalmatian dialect, barba means a captain of the ship, uncle, or an older man, and it also comes from the same Latin word.

[Read: The 3 Croatian dialects: Što, Kaj, and Ča]

Barbershops have always been places where masculinity is nurtured. Men have been coming to barbershops since ancient times, and barbers used to be some sort of surgeon, even extracting teeth. However, barbers rose to fame again in the 1800s in the US and Europe and after World War II. Men would visit barber shops daily for haircuts, warm shaves, and beard trims. In these local hubs, they would talk about politics and get local news while getting their treatment.

Barbershops in Croatia share the history of those in Europe and the US. They were always around, but eventually, many of them closed. Men were going for their haircuts at unisex hair salons instead of old-school barbers or shaving by themselves. It has been popular to be clean-shaven for decades, and getting a shave in the morning at home was the fastest and cheapest way.

Many barbers closed their salons, and it was hard to find old-fashioned barbershops in many Croatian cities until barbers became popular again in 2014-2016 due to global trends.

The old-fashioned barbershops in Croatia had wooden chairs with headrests, a mirror in a wooden frame, and an antique chest of drawers. The scent of pine needles from Pino Silvestro, the legendary scented water, was part of the experience. Only a couple of barbershops in the country still look the same. However, new modern barbershops also try to mimic the old look.

What are the beard trends in Croatia?

In recent decades, it has become trendy in Croatia to grow a beard or style it. About 15 years ago, it was common for men to be clean-shaven. However, it was not just a trend. You could not perform certain jobs if you had a beard, for example, you could not work for the police or military.

Now, policemen are allowed to have a beard, the same as the military. The only rule is that they must take care of their appearance, cut and shave properly, and maintain their mustaches and beards if they wear them.

A beard is seen as a masculine feature in Croatia, the same as around the world, which is why men love growing it. They are often considered more handsome if they grow a beard, which motivates them to visit barbers and take care of their appearance.

Even though it used to be old-fashioned to have a mustache, the younger generation prefers to have only a mustache without a beard. A mustache isn’t as popular as a full beard, but it is an interesting trend, and some men shape their mustache into various shapes.

No shave November – Movember

Movember takes place in November when men let their mustaches and beards grow because of the lower temperatures. This movement was started by Travis Garone and Luke Slattery, two friends from Melbourne, to raise awareness about men’s health, especially prostate cancer prevention. They were inspired by their friend’s mother who was fundraising for breast cancer prevention, so they wanted to do something similar for men.

The name Movember combines “mo” (short for mustache) and “November.” By growing mustaches in November, men worldwide join this initiative to emphasize the importance of health care and fight the stigma around men’s health issues.

In honor of Movember, Croatia launched the Nacionalni program ranog otkrivanja raka prostate (National Prostate Cancer Early Detection Program) in 2023, positioning Croatia among the first globally to implement such an initiative. Prostate cancer is the leading cause of death among men in Croatia, and this program aims to detect the disease early to improve treatment outcomes.

The initiative was developed by a dedicated commission and follows a successful pilot in Zagreb targeting men aged 55 to 69. It involves experts from various medical fields and aims to reduce prostate cancer mortality, enhance treatment outcomes, and improve men’s quality of life in Croatia, aligning with the government’s patient-centered healthcare reforms.

View our healthcare guides:

Do Croatian barbershops cater to specific beard types or styles?

Croatian barbershops generally cater to a wide range of hair types and styles, including straight, curly, thick, or thin. They are adept at offering traditional European cuts, as well as personalized beard grooming services.

While Croatian barbershops primarily cater to the local clientele, many are also skilled in working with different textures, including thicker and coarser hair. Larger cities like Zagreb and Split, which attract a more diverse population, often have barbers who are accustomed to a wide range of hair types and international styles.

It’s always good to communicate your needs clearly and seek out recommendations for barbers who have experience with your specific hair type to ensure you get the best possible service. Croatians are generous and open to communication, and both locals and barbers will give you a few advice in no time.

[Read: How you can understand the Croatian culture]

How to open a barbershop in Croatia

To open a barbershop in Croatia, you have to pass the exam for a hairdresser, work with a master for a while, and then take a master’s exam. Some barbershops in Croatia are owned by one person, others employ multiple barbers, and some have grown into franchises.

If you are a barber and want to open your own barbershop, here are the steps to take.

1. Check eligibility

You can establish a craft in Croatia if you’re an EU/EEA or third-country national. If you’re already established in an EU/EEA country, you can provide services temporarily and occasionally without registering your company in Croatia.

2. Choose the type of company

Barbershops in Croatia typically fall under vezani obrt (tied trade). It requires a qualification exam, appropriate secondary qualification, or a master’s exam. Learn how to open and close an obrt in Croatia in this guide.

[Read: Types of businesses in Croatia]

3. Gather required documents

To open a barbershop in Croatia, you need to enclose:

  • Proof of identity
    • ID card – learn how you can get a Croatian ID card here
    • Passport – learn how you can get a Croatian passport here
  • Proof of the right to use the business space
  • Proof of qualification, master’s exam, or professional competence
  • Work permit for non-EU/EEA nationals – view a guide to work permits here
  • Valid residence certificate for third-country residents

[Read: Available visas and residence permits for Croatia]

4. Register your barbershop

Register your business and register with the Hrvatski zavod za mirovinsko osiguranje – HZMO (Croatian Pension Insurance Institute). Your information will be automatically sent to the Hrvatski zavod za zdravstveno osiguranje – HZZO (Croatian Institute for Health Insurance). You must also register with the Porezna uprava (Tax Administration) at the competent administrative body in your county.

5. Register foreign qualifications

If you have gained your qualification in a foreign country, you must apply for recognition of qualification in Croatia at the Ministarsto gospodarstva i održivog razvoja (Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development). You must provide translated documentation about your qualifications, fill out the application form, and pay the fee. After they review your application, they will decide whether they can issue you approval.

View our guides to opening a business:

How to visit a barbershop in Croatia

Hair salons and barbershops usually schedule appointments in advance. You have to call or visit a barbershop and request an appointment. If a barbershop is popular, there might be a waiting time. You can usually find their contact information on their social networks or at their front door.

Since men regularly visit a barbershop, it is recommended that you schedule your next appointment as soon as you have your current appointment. When a barber is done with cutting your hair and trimming your beard, ask them to set your next appointment.

Those barbershops that do not have appointments and take walk-ins are great options if you need a trim but don’t have time to wait for a couple of days. In this case, just visit a walk-in barbershop and wait for your turn. However, sometimes, you may wait for an hour or two.

Tips for visiting a barber in Croatia

Visiting a barber in Croatia can be a fun experience, especially if you follow a few tips to ensure a smooth visit.

1. Learn a few Croatian phrases

While many barbers may speak basic English, knowing a few Croatian phrases is helpful. For example, kratko means short, dugo means long, and šišanje means haircut.

2. Browse reviews

Look up reviews and recommendations for barbershops in the area you are visiting. Ask friends where they go and if they can recommend anyone.

3. Set up an appointment

While some barbers accept walk-ins, it’s a good idea to book an appointment in advance, especially in larger cities like Zagreb, Split, or Dubrovnik. This ensures you won’t have to wait long.

4. Bring a photo

If you want a specific haircut, bringing a photo of a beard you like can be very helpful. Visual references are universal and can help overcome any language barriers.

5. Examine local trends

Croatian men often prefer classic and clean haircuts. Observing local styles or asking the barber for recommendations based on current trends can be beneficial.

6. Check the prices

Haircuts in Croatia are generally affordable, but prices can vary tremendously. Check the price list beforehand or ask about the cost to avoid surprises. They are usually lower in smaller cities and villages, and higher in big cities. The price range is between 10 and 15 euro on average.

7. Find out the payment method

Some barbershops might prefer cash payments, especially in smaller towns. It’s always a good idea to have some cash on hand just in case.

8. Leave a tip

Tipping is not obligatory but is appreciated. A tip of around 10% is considered generous and shows appreciation for good service. Or you can simply just round up the number.

[Read: All about tipping in Croatia]

9. Arrive on time

Punctuality is appreciated. Arrive for your appointment on time to show respect for the barber’s schedule. If you are late for your appointment more than a few minutes, they may cancel it, because they do not want to be late for their next appointment. In case you are running late, call the barber to ask if that is ok.

10. Relax and enjoy

Croatian barbers are generally friendly and professional. Enjoy the experience, and don’t hesitate to ask questions or give feedback about your haircut.

Popular barbershops in Croatia

If you are looking for the best barbershops in Croatia, we have prepared a list of the biggest cities. Another option is to simply search for the term “barbershops in Croatia near me” and find what is the closest one to your location. Make sure to read the reviews and check the photos before you book an appointment.

Barbershops in Dubrovnik

  • Barbershop Art – view location here
  • Barber studio Dubrovnik – Tiktok
  • Hairdressing salon Fabrio – Facebook
  • Rebel barbershop – Instagram

Barbershops in Osijek

Barbershops in Rijeka

  • Barber kings – Instagram
  • Barbershop Zamet MD – view location here
  • Beard & hair studio Noel – Facebook
  • Brijačnica by Estera – Facebook
  • Gentlemen’s shop – Instagram
  • Male hairdresser Holek – view location here
  • Master’s barbershop – Instagram
  • NL barbershop – Instagram
  • Pepe’s barbershop – website
  • Vinko Brajković hair salon for men – view location here

Barbershops in Split

Barbershops in Zagreb

How you can be your own barber

Berbershops in Croatia are becoming more popular, but some men still love cutting their own hair and trimming their beards. To do that, you must know where to buy products and tools.

Where to buy men’s products for beard and hair

When it comes to grooming, men need a variety of products to keep their beard and hair looking sharp and healthy. Essential items include beard oils to keep facial hair soft and hydrated, shampoos, and conditioners. Also, a good hair pomade or styling gel can help achieve the perfect look.

Alongside grooming products, men also benefit from quality razors, shaving creams, and aftershaves for a clean shave. With so many products to consider, knowing where to buy them can make all the difference.

Here’s a list of the best places to shop for men’s beard and hair products in Croatia:

Croatian cosmetic brands for men:

Where to buy hair trimmers and similar products

Finding the right tools for your grooming routine is crucial, and hair trimmers are a must-have for any well-maintained look. Whether you need a precise beard trimmer for detailed styling, a versatile hair clipper for at-home haircuts, or a nose and ear trimmer for those tricky spots, having the right equipment can make grooming easier and more effective.

Here’s a list of the top places to purchase hair trimmers and similar grooming tools:

View other articles on daily life in Croatia

Croatian Barbering Vocabulary

Croatian Barbering Words

Word: brijač
Meaning: barber

Word: brijačnica
Meaning: barbershop

Word: šišanje
Meaning: haircut

Word: brada
Meaning: beard

Word: brijanje
Meaning: shaving

Word: škare
Meaning: scissors

Word: mašinica za šišanje
Meaning: hair clippers

Word: češalj
Meaning: comb

Word: britva
Meaning: razor

Word: pjena za brijanje
Meaning: shaving foam

Word: poslije brijanja
Meaning: aftershave

Word: ulje za bradu
Meaning: beard oil

Word: vosak za brkove
Meaning: mustache wax

Word: ručnik
Meaning: towel

Word: ogledalo
Meaning: mirror

Word: frizura
Meaning: hairstyle

Croatian Barbering Phrases

Phrase: Želim šišanje.
Meaning: I want a haircut.

Phrase: Koliko košta šišanje?
Meaning: How much does a haircut cost?

Phrase: Molim vas, obrijte me.
Meaning: Please shave me.

Phrase: Želim urediti bradu.
Meaning: I want to trim my beard.

Phrase: Možete li mi preporučiti frizuru?
Meaning: Can you recommend a hairstyle for me?

Phrase: Koliko traje šišanje?
Meaning: How long does a haircut take?

Phrase: Imate li slobodan termin?
Meaning: Do you have an available appointment?

Phrase: Koji proizvodi koristite za njegu brade?
Meaning: What products do you use for beard care?

Phrase: Možete li mi skratiti brkove?
Meaning: Can you trim my mustache?

Phrase: Mogu li kupiti ulje za bradu ovdje?
Meaning: Can I buy beard oil here?

Phrase: Trebam li zakazati termin unaprijed?
Meaning: Do I need to schedule an appointment in advance?

Phrase: Koristite li britvu za brijanje?
Meaning: Do you use a razor for shaving?

Phrase: Volio bih probati novu frizuru.
Meaning: I would like to try a new hairstyle.

Phrase: Imate li proizvode za njegu kose?
Meaning: Do you have hair care products?

Phrase: Gdje je vaša brijačnica?
Meaning: Where is your barbershop?

Frequently asked questions

What are the typical services offered at barbershops in Croatia?

Barbershops in Croatia offer standard services such as classic haircuts, beard trims, and straight razor shaves. Many barbers also offer more modern styling options, such as fades and undercuts, and treatments like hot towel shaves.

Are appointments necessary at barbershops in Croatia, or do they accept walk-ins?

Most top barbershops in Croatia require an appointment because the wait time would be too long. However, you can always go to a barbershop and check if they immediately have some free time. Old-school barbershops used to accept walk-ins, and some may still do.

What distinguishes Croatian barbershops from those in other countries?

Croatia has a long history of barbering, and visiting a barbershop has been a part of Croatian culture for over 100 years. This combination of tradition, quality, and personalized service makes Croatian barbershops stand out from those in other countries.

Are barbershops in Croatia regulated, and how can customers ensure quality and hygiene standards?

Local health and safety authorities regulate barbershops in Croatia to ensure they meet specific standards of cleanliness and hygiene. Reputable barbershops in Croatia often prioritize hygiene and cleanliness as part of their commitment to providing a safe and comfortable environment for their clients.


Sources:
History of barbershops by Stubble and Stache
Brijačnice otišle u povijest by Ivica Beti
Movember by Grawe
Čini li brada doista muškarce atraktivnijima i muževnijima? Evo što kažu istraživanja by Index
Hrvatska među prvima u Europi i svijetu uvodi Nacionalni program ranog otkrivanja raka prostate by Vlada RH
Establishment of crafts in Croatia by e-Građani

Please note: Information provided by Expat in Croatia is only for the purposes of guidance. It does not constitute legal or financial advice in any form. Croatian laws and bureaucratic rules often change, and each personal case is individual, so different rules may apply. For legal advice, contact us to consult with a licensed Croatian lawyer. For financial advice, contact us to consult with a licensed Croatian tax advisor or accountant.

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