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Mountains, sea views, historic monuments—Croatia digital nomads know how much this incredible country has to offer. Located in the Dalmatia region on the Adriatic Sea, Split is the second-largest city in Croatia and a charming mix of ancient and modern.
In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at one of my favorite cities in Croatia, as well as what life as a Croatia digital nomad is like more generally, including tips on housing, food, visas, and more.
Still wondering how to make this whole digital nomad thing happen? Check out the Laptop Lifestyle Blueprint, your guide to setting up an online business in just 30 days, so you can travel the world full time and build a freedom lifestyle.
Currency: Croatian Kuna, but Euros are widely accepted
Majority Religion: Roman Catholic
Fun Fact: The Cathedral Saint Domnius in Split is the oldest Catholic cathedral in the world, and it’s still in use today!
Split is a great year-round destination. July-August are the busiest months, and therefore also the most expensive, hottest–and to be honest not my favorite time to go because of so many cruises and tourists. You can find better accommodation deals in the winter, but the weather isn’t as nice and some restaurants and businesses may be closed.
We love visiting Croatia in the fall, when the weather is around 70℉ (21℃) and sunny. It’s not so hot that you need air conditioning, but warm enough to explore all Split has to offer, including the nearby National Parks, mountains, and islands.
Wondering how Split stacks up to other digital nomad destinations? Check out my other destination guides:
Our grand total came to $1750/month per person, but you could easily cut back on some categories such as eating out and groceries. Rent will be your biggest expense, so if you’re looking to save money then see if you can find a local lease, rather than an Airbnb.
For more on the cost of living as a Croatia digital nomad, check out the video below!
We lucked out with our housing situation in Split, since we’ve been before and had a local connection. Our apartment was $700/month and most local leases are in a similar range at around $400-800. If you’re looking on Airbnb, you’ll find one-bedroom apartments for upwards of $1000 (depending on the season).
One thing to consider while looking for an apartment as a Croatia digital nomad is a dedicated workspace. Work-friendly cafes are limited in Split (more on that below), and we often ended up working from our apartment.
The best place to stay in Split is near the Old City. Our apartment was just outside the city walls to the north, and everything we needed (shops, restaurants, the waterfront) was within a 10 minute walk.
I know multiple people that live to the east and west just outside the city walls as well so you really can’t go wrong. To the east (if you are looking at the map with the water to the south) it begins to get more residential. To the west, you’ll eventually run into Marjan which is a park with tons of great walking trails and nature.
The main coworking space in Split is called Saltwater. We personally found it difficult to contact them. When we visited in person, we were told they didn’t have space, so we never ended up working there.
Bookings are appointment-based only and have to be made 48 hours in advance—so not ideal if you’re just stopping by. But if you plan on working there regularly, it might be worth a try. Other coworking options include The Works and Amosfera Coworking, however, we ended up mostly working at home and occasionally going to cafes.
There are lots of cafes in Split, but many of them are outdoors. As long as the weather’s nice, it’s fine to work on a patio, but in the winter…not so much. Here are two top picks for Split digital nomads:
Tucked away in a narrow alley of Diocletian’s Palace, D16 Coffee is one of my favorite places to work in Split. The old stone walls make you feel surrounded by history. Plus, the coffee is amazing, so that doesn’t hurt!
With a beautiful indoor space and sunny patio, Kava2 is a great place to work year-round. Their onsite roastery is enough to make your mouth water!
This was my go-to work spot (which I can’t believe I’m sharing!) It’s open-air and right along the Riva. It gets great sun which can sometimes get hot but has covered seating as well. Most people come and sip on a coffee for an hour or two but I wasn’t the only one working every day which was nice.
Internet and cell service in Croatia are both fantastic—probably the best we’ve experienced in any digital nomad destination. The wifi was strong both in our apartment and at cafes around town. For our cell phone plan, we used T-Mobile and never had any issues.
Split is a very walkable city, especially if you live in or near the Old City walls. We found it very easy to get around on foot. Split is a small city (at least within the old city walls) so almost anything we needed was within a 10 minute walking distance. That said, if you need to go somewhere further away (like the airport), there are buses, taxis, and Uber available.
One of the few complaints we had living in Split was the lack of restaurant variety. With few exceptions, every restaurant served pasta, pizza, risotto, and fish – and that was it. Although the food is decent, it doesn’t make for a varied diet—and is less than ideal if you’re Celiac like me. For that reason, we ended up cooking at home fairly often.
There is one Asian fusion restaurant that is very subpar in my opinion, one Mexican restaurant (this is new as of 2021) that shuts down in the low season, and a few burger places that were also pretty subpar. There are no Indian or Vietnamese or many other cuisines from what we could find near the Old City or on Uber Eats.
When we did eat out, we chose more upscale restaurants like sushi or Mexican. Food is fairly average priced in Croatia, so expect to pay anywhere from $8-12 per person at a local place and upwards of $15-30+ per person for a nicer meal.
Although groceries can be a bit more expensive in the city center, we never had any issues finding what we needed and overall they were still very affordable. There were plenty of gluten-free food options and the local market was great for fresh fruits and vegetables.
Coffee is a huge part of Croatian culture and we drank at least one a day while living in Split! A coffee in Split costs about $2-3, depending on what you order. My favorite is the local drink kava sa šlagom (espresso with frozen whipped cream).
Split digital nomads will be glad to know there are two gyms in the city, both of which are high quality. The only issue is they’re both located outside the city center. The gym we used was about a 20 minute walk from our apartment, so I often just went for runs along the Riva.
History and architecture fans will swoon over this gorgeous complex, commissioned by Roman Emperor Diocletian in 305 AD. Despite the name, the structure doesn’t much resemble a palace—instead, Diocletian’s Palace is the living heart of Split, full of bustling shops, restaurants, and bars.
Inside Diocletian’s Palace, you’ll find another ancient structure. Originally built as the emperor’s mausoleum, the building was converted to a Catholic cathedral in the 5th century. Climb the impressive Bell Tower for views over Split’s rooftops.
The Riva is Split’s waterfront promenade and a great spot for people watching. We love to go for coffee, watch the sunset, or just take in the view from one of the many cafes along the harbor.
For unbeatable views over Split, head to Marjan Hill just west of the city. You’ll be rewarded with spectacular views of the rooftops, mountains and sea.
Just 10 minutes from the Old City you’ll find Bačvice Beach, a sandy stretch of land perfect for swimming and sunbathing. Other popular beaches include Zvoncac, Kaštelet, and Firule.
Just a short boat ride from Split, Hvar Island is the perfect day trip. The island is a mix of medieval fortifications, cobblestone streets and a rugged natural landscape—all surrounded by gorgeous sea views.
When many people picture Croatia, Plitvice Lakes is the first thing that comes to mind. These stunning waterfalls have become the country’s most popular attraction, and are a must-see for any Croatia digital nomad.
The national park is about 2.5 hours from Split. There are plenty of tours operators who will take you there, but the best way to see the waterfalls is to rent a car and drive yourself (rental cars cost about $30-40 per day and you can beat the crowds).
A little further afield, Dubrovnik is 3 hours from Split but well worth the drive. The ancient streets of this city have enchanted visitors for centuries—and if you’re a Game of Thrones fan, you’ll recognize many landmarks from King’s Landing. This is one of our favorite little cities and is definitely worth the hype.
Although Croatia is not in the Schengen zone, the same rules apply here as most other countries in Europe: 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 try to avoid the wet and windy winter!), we’ve never needed to apply for a visa. If you plan to stay longer, the new Croatia digital nomad visa could be a great option.
I always felt very safe in Split, even walking alone late at night. Of course you should be as cautious as you would be in any other city, but safety concerns here are minimal. This is one of the reasons why Croatia is a great destination for solo female travelers!
As always, make sure you have health insurance before traveling. We use and recommend Safety Wing.
Although Croatia is growing in popularity, it’s managed to stay an under-the-radar destination. But with a great climate, fast wifi, and affordable cost of living—and now a digital nomad residency permit—it’s unlikely to stay a secret for long!
If you’re ready to work online and travel the world, check out Laptop Lifestyle Bootcamp, my signature group coaching program for new entrepreneurs. We cover everything A-Z about starting an online business so you can travel full-time and live a true freedom lifestyle.