Online dating has taken off over the last decade or so all over the world. These days, Croatians and expats living in Croatia use dating sites and apps for everything from finding hookups to finding love. Is online dating there any different than anywhere else? What are the most popular dating sites in Croatia?
Online Dating in Croatia
For years after the advent of online dating, Croatians stuck to more traditional ways to meet people to date, namely, in person. Online dating was slow to take off there.
Those who are old enough probably remember how they met people before the world of online dating. They may have fallen in love with a friend, gone on blind dates till they clicked with someone, or a friend introduced them to someone.
In Croatia, these methods held on over online dating even after online dating had become very popular elsewhere globally, particularly for those living outside the capital of Zagreb.
However, things are changing, particularly with young people. While they seem to prefer using some of the same mainstream dating sites with which the Western world is familiar, there are a couple of dating sites specific to Croatia that Croatian singles like to use.
You may also like our other article: Dating a Croatian Man.
Iskrica (Spark): Croatia’s Very Own Dating Site
Iskrica.com (Spark.com) is pretty much the only major dating site specific to Croatia, although people all over Eastern Europe use it. It works like the dating sites with which you’re more familiar, including OKCupid and Tinder. You create a profile and find people who appear compatible with you that are “open to socializing and new acquaintances.”
Your profile includes your gender, what kind of relationship you’re looking for, your preferred age range, and photos. You also get to fill out an unusually comprehensive compatibility questionnaire to find other singles who are good matches for you.
It started as your typical dating site but has since evolved into a type of social media platform with forums, blogs, and other features found on social media. It’s become a place where people can meet and talk whether they’re looking for romance or not.
Singles on Iskrica can spend as much time as they like talking to others on video calls through the site to get a more realistic picture and understanding of the person whose profile sparked their interest. While the website looks rather plain and limited, you get access to many features once you sign up.
The site currently boasts over 500,000 members. You can use the free version, but upgrading to the premium version unlocks a host of features like the ability to filter your searches by certain activities. For instance, if you’re interested in a specific sport, you can filter your results so only people interested in that same sport show up.
Iskrica also has something called “buzz record loans,” where you can check to see if a specific user has multiple profiles. In this day and age of fake profiles and online scammers, that kind of feature is almost necessary.
TenderMeets: Popular In The Balkans
TenderMeets isn’t unique to Croatia, but you can filter by country if you click on “local dating” on the homepage. As such, people looking for love in Croatia can search for Croatians only.
This site also boasts filters allowing you to find the profiles of people you think you’ll like and is generally easy to use. However, it doesn’t have any Google or Facebook login options, meaning you have to create your login credentials in addition to your profile.
You can use this website from any device even though it doesn’t have a mobile app, so you can check on your messages and other responses to your profile. It also has an interesting feature where you can add your favorite matches to a gallery.
They have a bulk messaging system that allows you to send one message to hundreds of people at once. It’s a very convenient feature allowing you to contact potentially hundreds, even thousands, of potential dates simultaneously depending on who your matches are. That makes getting in touch considerably less complicated.
In case that scares you, TenderMeets has a “Safe Mode” function. It gives users the ability to determine who can and cannot message them. You can also block people who make you uncomfortable and report people who violate the site’s terms of service. Because of that, it’s not like you’re opening yourself up to all manner of creepers on TenderMeets.
Like Iskrica and other dating apps, it has a free version, but you need to sign up for a paying plan to unlock all of its features. Fortunately, the per-month price goes down if you sign up for three or six months at a time.
Mainstream Dating Sites and Apps in Croatia
Most of the popular dating sites in Croatia are sites you can use all over the world. OKCupid is popular there, as are sites like Badoo, Bumble, and Tinder. The world of online dating in Croatia is likely to continue growing in the years that come, but more slowly than countries like the United States.
Eastern Europe Loves Badoo
Badoo is quite popular in Eastern Europe. Badoo predates Tinder by six years, and although Tinder got very popular quickly, Badoo is and remains popular in many places in the world. They boast over 410 million users across 190 countries and 47 languages. With such versatility, is it any wonder Badoo is popular in places like Croatia?
It only takes ten to fifteen minutes to join Badoo, and you can use one profile on both the website and the app. They’ve streamlined it to make it easier to use over the years by reducing clutter and putting more of its features right at your fingertips.
You can use text and video chat, which is popular in Croatia and, indeed, in the Balkans, where finding ways to hide your identity due to fear of backlash and other cultural shame is common. Badoo does make you submit a photo to compare to your profile photo so they can compare and verify you are who and what you say you are.
Badoo is on the leading edge in the fight against fake profiles and other abuses on dating platforms. They have you connect your phone number or a social media account to your profile and have figured out how to ban obscene photos, even in messages. These features protect everyone, but especially helps women.
You can send messages and participate in video chats with other members even using the free, basic service. Most dating sites won’t let you do that. However, Badoo isn’t meant for people looking for long-term relationships. A large chunk of Croatia’s society still prefers to meet people the old-fashioned way, possibly contributing to its popularity.
Here is a more detailed article about Badoo Dating App.
A Dating Original: OKCupid
One of the top dating sites in Croatia, OKCupid promises Croatians that they’ll find the most handsome or beautiful people the Mediterranean country has to offer.
OKCupid is simple, streamlined, and perfect for people who want to unlock a dating site’s best features without paying anything. Yes, OKCupid has a subscription option, but you don’t need it to use most of its features.
Many dating sites are inclusive, but OKCupid takes it to the next level by allowing users to choose up to five ways to identify, including:
- Cis man
- Cis woman
- Gender non-conforming
- Trans woman
- Trans man
Just including that gives users a better chance of finding the relationship they most desire. It’s really hard for a dating site to work for you when it pigeonholes you into a single identity you might not have.
There’s a wide variety of people on OKCupid all looking for the same things, including in places like Croatia. And, because of the many ways you can identify, you see such a wide variety of people that it might actually be easy to get lost in all the variety that is the human race.
Unlike Tinder, OKCupid wants real information about its users to avoid getting bogged down in “swipe” culture. Besides that, they put you through several different CAPTCHAs before allowing you into the site to be sure you aren’t a bot, either.
In spite of being so popular, Croatian men may have some trouble on OKCupid since it encourages women to make the first move. Remember, Croatia still tends towards meeting people in a more traditional fashion.
Besides that, possibly the biggest disadvantage for everyone on OKCupid is that you can’t see who has “liked” your profile.
Here is a more detailed review on OKCupid.
The Most Well-Known Dating App in the World: Tinder
Most everyone has at least heard of Tinder, if not used it at least once. It’s been around since 2012, and it’s the dating app that made “swiping” popular. Where other dating apps failed young people, Tinder was extremely popular with college students by 2014, a mere two years after its creation.
By that point, students were swiping right and left more than a billion times per day. Soon after, Tinder introduced their subscription service, and today, they have 6 million paying users and over 50 million monthly users.
Over the last few years, they’ve made major changes to their service, including adding a number of safety features. Whether you’re in the U.S. or Croatia, or anywhere else, online dating can be dangerous. Tinder has a panic button in case you’re in trouble, an in-app safety center, and they require photo verification for profiles, among other things.
Generally, students in Croatia have decided to experiment with online dating for reasons ranging from the possibility of excitement to looking for someone interested in a long-term relationship. They’ve had mixed experiences on Tinder, but that hasn’t deterred them from continuing to use it.
To them, Tinder is an easy way to meet someone, particularly when they’re in new cities as college students often are. While Tinder is most often associated with casual hookups and one-night stands (and Croatia is no different in that regard), some people have met their long-term partners there.
Here is a more detailed Tinder App review.
For Women Who Like To Make the First Move? Try Bumble
2020 was an extraordinary year for dating sites in large part because of the coronavirus pandemic. Even in places like the Balkans, which include Croatia and hold more conservative views on relationships, online dating gained quite a bit of popularity. Online dating sites became one of the few ways to meet new people, whether for romance or otherwise.
Bumble is different from many other dating apps because it gives control entirely to women. A woman must show an interest in a man before he can contact her, eliminating some of the problems with unsolicited pics and other unwanted advances. Shifting the power dynamic that way creates a safer and more equal environment from the start.
It also asks you how you identify, rather than asking you if you’re male or female or giving you a dropdown list that may not include how you personally identify.
Besides all of that, Bumble is a social network, not just a dating site where you create what amounts to a personal ad and hope you get noticed. People who use Bumble are looking for romance, yes, but they’re also looking for friendships or growing their professional networks.
You don’t get the extensive profiles with Bumble that you can have on other sites. You also don’t have to spend forever filling out a questionnaire because theirs isn’t especially in-depth. That can make it more difficult to find your perfect match, but raises the possibility that your perfect match may not be part of an algorithm.
Video chats combined with its extensive safety features make Bumble especially good for women who want more control and who are sick to death of obscene texts and photos from men looking for hookups.
Online Dating As Comfortable As an Old Friend: Coffee Meets Bagel
Along with Bumble, Coffee Meets Bagel is one of Tinder’s biggest rivals. Croatians do tend to prefer Tinder over everything else, but Coffee Meets Bagel is an up-and-coming site and gives Tinder a run for its money no matter where it is.
One of the things that makes Coffee Meets Bagel stand out is that you can’t search profiles. Dating remains private that way, and privacy is necessary for so many people. They want you to meet people through mutual friends, and they require you to link your profile to your Facebook account to verify who you are.
That link to Facebook is how Coffee Meets Bagel finds matches through your mutual friends, too, so while it might seem a bit creepy, it’s another reason why this site stands apart from others. They make it cute, though, calling your matches “bagels” and only sending you a few of the best “bagels” per day.
This is a service that favors quality over quantity. While many services want to match you with as many people as possible, Coffee Meets Bagel limits your matches, so users only get a certain number per day.
Coffee Meets Bagel targets people living in big cities, though, which is something Croatia lacks. Oddly enough, Croatia’s capital, Zagreb, ranked high on Europe’s list of the best cities for singles in 2019 based on dating app information. So while Coffee Meets Bagel may not work in smaller areas, it should work excellently in Zagreb.
Modamily Helps People Find Partners Who Want Families
This dating app isn’t your ordinary app. Its creator is a Croat-American whose idea came from listening to his women friends talk about running out of time to have children. Traditional dating apps and sites weren’t working for them because the men they met just seemed to want a little bit of fun.
Ivan Fatovic created Modamily to act as a bridge between dating and fertility, specifically for women whose priorities involved having children, possibly over finding a husband. However, it’s also a traditional dating site where you create a profile, find matches, and talk with potential partners.
It helps to educate women about freezing their eggs, helping them find a surrogate mother if necessary, genetic testing, and finding egg and sperm donors. For women who have decided to use alternative methods for having children, Modamily works very well.
About 25,000 people worldwide use this app, and only a handful are in Croatia. Nearly two-thirds of its users are from the U.S. and Canada. That may well change, though. Croatians aren’t nearly as obsessed with working as Americans are. Indeed, most of the world isn’t.
That means that women worldwide, including in Croatia, can find more time to start families. As it becomes easier for women to find alternative methods for bearing children, Modamily might gain a stronger foothold outside North America.
If you want to see the list of the overall most popular sites, check out these dating apps.
Final Thoughts on Croatian Dating Sites
Even though Croatia is a small country in the Balkans, where things tend to be more traditional, people can still find love through dating sites. They can also find friends and professional contacts, and even education and access to services involving fertility.
Most of the dating sites in Croatia are the mainstream sites you see everywhere, but that’s not bad. Croatia still does have its own dating site with hundreds of thousands of members, so nobody has to use the mainstream dating sites to find their perfect partner.