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With beautiful weather, stunning sea views, and lax visa requirements, many digital nomads are surprised the cost of living in Croatia is so affordable.
Although this eastern European country has flown under the radar for years, it’s quickly turning into a hotspot for expats and remote workers. So how much should you budget for a stay in Croatia’s historic cities?
We’ll break down exactly how much you can expect to pay for housing, groceries, entertainment, and more, in this guide to the cost of living in Croatia.
Keep reading or watch the video below!
Aside from the affordable cost of living in Croatia, there are plenty of other draws. The capital of Zagreb is a small but charming city, while scenic Dubrovnik is a great base for exploring the nearby islands.
Our favorite place to stay is Split, Croatia’s second-largest city and the capital of the Dalmatia region. Backed by the Dinaric Alps on one side and the Adriatic Sea on the other, there are stunning views in every direction. It’s also a history lover’s dream–the Old City is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and dates back to Roman times.
For an in-depth guide to living in Split (including a detailed list of pros and cons), check out our Split Croatia Digital Nomad Guide!
Here’s what we spent (all prices are per person in USD):
Like most digital nomad destinations, Croatia can be as cheap or as expensive as you make it. The tourist hotspot of Dubrovnik is more expensive city and prices throughout the country rise significantly during the peak summer months. If you’re trying to stick to a budget, aim for spring or fall instead.
Let’s break down each of the expense categories to give you an even better idea of the cost of living in Split.
Curious how the cost of living in Croatia stacks up to other digital nomad hotspots? Check out our comparison guides:
We lucked out with our housing situation in Split, since we’d been before and had a local connection. Our apartment was $700/month which is much cheaper than we would have paid on Airbnb.
Depending on the season, you can find short-term rentals for upwards of $1000/month (for a one-bedroom apartment), but that number can easily rise in Dubrovnik or popular tourist spots along the coast. If you’re trying to save money then look for a local lease rather than an Airbnb. During low season, you may be able to find something in the $400-800 range.
Internet costs were included in our rent, and both the internet and cell service in Croatia are excellent. For our cell phone plan, we used T-Mobile and paid about $35/month.
Cafes and coworking options are somewhat limited (at least in Split), so may sure your apartment has strong internet and a place to work. Luckily, Croatia has really reliable internet.
You definitely don’t need to spend this much eating out and could cut this number down significantly. But for us, food out was a major part of our cost of living in Croatia. We typically ate out three times a week at nicer restaurants, spending $30-50 per person.
Compared to some digital nomad destinations, restaurants in Croatia are a bit more expensive. Expect to pay at least $8-12 per person, but a nicer dinner out will easily be $20+ per person.
Another reason our food budget was so high was because we often used a food delivery (Wolt), which adds a service and delivery fee.
Groceries are another major category to consider for your cost of living in Croatia. Overall we found the shops in Split to be reasonably priced, although you’ll definitley pay more in the city center. I found the cost of groceries to be very slightly less than larger Western countries and you can definitely cut costs by going to the market for produce.
If you’ve read our cost of living guides before, you know that coffee always gets its own category! This was a not-insignificant part of our cost of living in Croatia, because my partner Zach and I both drink it everyday.
I bought a coffee out about 3-4 times a week, and the cost was usually around $2-3. My favorite drink in Croatia was their local kava sa slagom (espresso with frozen whipped cream). Try it, it’s amazing!
Cocktail prices in Split were around $7-15, sometimes a bit more at a nicer beach club. This is a pretty average price for Europe, so if you plan to go out regularly make sure you budget accordingly!
Split and Dubrovnik are both very walkable cities, so transportation shouldn’t be a major part of your cost of living in Croatia. If you stay near the Old City in Split, you’ll find everything you need within 10 minute’s walking distance.
There are also buses, taxis, and Uber available for a relatively affordable price–a 5-10 minute Uber ride costs about $4-5, while a ride to the airport (in Split) is about $30. Our transportation budget came in at $40/month per person and most of that was our trip to the airport.
Another factor to consider for your cost of living in Croatia is whether or not you’ll use a gym membership. At $45/month, prices are about on par with what you’d pay in the US, but you could cut down on costs by working out in your apartment or outdoors.
The two gyms in Split were both located outside the city center (about a 20 minute walk from our apartment) so I often just went for runs along the Riva.
We each spent around $95/month on miscellaneous things like pharmacy, small items and hair cuts. A woman’s haircut and color cost me $140, while a men’s haircut cost $14.
Travel will likely be a major part of your cost of living in Croatia, but your budget will vary significantly depending on what kind of excursions you choose. Here are a few examples of day trips from Split:
Renting a car to drive to Dubvronik: $30-40/day
Ferry to nearby islands: $5-8
Private boat rental: $70-80/per person
The cost of our visas isn’t included in the final budget breakdown, because the price will vary based on your citizenship and how long you plan on staying in Croatia/the EU. Americans can stay visa-free for up to 90 days in any 6 month period.
Since we’ve never stayed longer than 3 months, we’ve never needed to apply for a visa. If you plan to staying for longer, the new Croatia digital nomad visa could be a great option.
Our grand total for the cost of living in Croatia came to $1500/month per person. Rent will be your biggest expense, so keep that in mind while searching for an apartment. You can also check out this post to calculate your personal budget!
Does living in a charming European city like Split still feel like an impossible dream? Check out my signature group coaching program, Laptop Lifestyle Bootcamp, where you’ll learn everything A-Z about starting an online business so you can travel the world full time.