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Cost of Living in Croatia in 2024 (Local’s Guide)

Wondering what the cost of living in Croatia is like in 2024? Keep reading for the most up-to-date information on Croatia living costs and how much you can expect to spend on essential expenses in Croatia.

Croatia, with its sun-drenched coastline, glittering Adriatic Sea, and ancient history, has been attracting more and more international attention in recent years. Its combination of Mediterranean charm and high quality of life make it an enticing destination for those seeking a change of scenery.

Interest in obtaining citizenship is rising amongst Croatians abroad, while digital nomads are beginning to recognize the country as an excellent base for exploring the rest of Europe. However, understanding the local cost of living is essential for planning a successful stay and managing your finances effectively while in Croatia.

So how expensive is it to live in Croatia?

As a Croatian-American who has called Zagreb (the capital) my home since 2014, I’ve gained a firm grasp on the ins and outs of the cost of living in Croatia. In this blog post, I’ll share my insider perspective on various aspects of Croatia living costs including rent, transportation, utilities, internet, food prices, healthcare, and more.

By sharing my experiences and knowledge accumulated over nearly a decade, I hope to offer you a realistic and practical perspective on what to expect when it comes to expenses in Croatia.

Whether you’re a digital nomad, a retiree seeking a peaceful haven, or an adventurer looking to experience a new way of life, this guide will provide you with valuable information to navigate the Croatian living costs with confidence.

Now let’s get into all the details about Croatia prices and the overall cost of living.

A view of the picturesque seaside town of Rovinj in Croatia.

Cost of Living in Croatia

Croatia Standard of Living

Life moves at a much more relaxed pace in Croatia than it does in the rest of the world. Croatians really value their free time, and always make sure to set aside time to enjoy life. You could say that Croatians prefer the “work-to-live” mentality as opposed to the “live-to-work” one.

The standard of living in Croatia is comparable to other Central and Eastern European nations, and slightly lower than that of Western Europe. Croatia’s standard of living has gone up in the last several years, especially after the country entered the European Union in 2013.

Croatia is also ranked the 15th safest country in the world, according to the Global Peace Index, making it an excellent choice for families with children, solo travelers, digital nomads, and retirees.

Historic cities with modern amenities, affordable public transportation, and easy access to the rest of Europe add to the reasons why Croatia is becoming a popular destination for expats.

Average Croatian Salary

According to the recent data published by the Croatian Bureau of Statistics, the average salary in Croatia as of September 2023 is €1,141 per month, although many families get by on much less.

Keep in mind that if you are coming from the USA, Canada, Australia, or other western country, and are seeking employment with a Croatian company, your salary will be adjusted to meet the Croatian standard of living and will certainly be lower than what you were earning back home.

Due to my Croatian citizenship, I have had the privilege of working at 3 different Croatian companies since moving to the country in 2014. At each of these positions I was making an average Croatian salary, which allowed me to live relatively comfortably while not paying rent.

This is important to note as rent in Croatia has gotten quite expensive and can take a serious chunk out of your monthly budget (more on that later).

If possible, I recommend either keeping your current job and working remotely, or finding a remote position with a western company that will allow you to live and work in Croatia.

Alternatively, having your own business (especially an online one) that can operate out of Croatia is a good option as well. Living in Croatia and earning a foreign, or western income, will allow you to stretch your hard-earned money much further.

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    Where to Live in Croatia

    Croatia’s largest and most populated cities are Zagreb, Split, Zadar, and Osijek. The capital, Zagreb, offers the most cosmopolitan lifestyle with a continental climate. Here, you can be sure to find plenty of activities and events taking place throughout the entire year. Plus, there are plenty of opportunities for short day trips from Zagreb both inside and outside of the country.

    Depending on the type of lifestyle you’re after, you might choose to live on the coast, or even in the countryside. Living on the coast in cities like Dubrovnik and Split can be great during the summer months, but keep in mind that when the tourist season ends, many coastal towns are left empty.

    For those seeking island vibes, there are over 1,000 islands to choose from, only a small number of which are inhabited. Though destinations like Hvar, Korcula, and Brac are bursting with life in the summer, these islands can be especially quiet in the wintertime.

    When the tourist season ends for the year, many residents return to the mainland and visitors to their respective home countries. Some of the larger island communities do have a year-round ferry connection to the rest of Croatia, making it easier to travel back and forth.

    A view of the Pakleni Island archipelago from Fortica Fortress on Hvar Island

    How Much is Rent in Croatia?

    Housing in Croatia is actually not as affordable as one might imagine.

    In recent years, prices have skyrocketed thanks to the tourism boom and the country’s economic growth. Croatia also officially transitioned its currency to the Euro on January 1, 2023, which has also played a large role in the rise of rental prices.

    Of course, the price of rent in Croatia depends on several factors including your location, what time of the year you come, and for how long you plan on staying.

    For example, if you arrive during the summer and plan on living in Croatia for a month, you will spend a lot of money. However, if you’re looking to rent for a longer period of time (12 months or more), your monthly costs will be more affordable.

    Cost of Rent in Zagreb

    Renting an apartment in downtown Zagreb will typically set you back €600 per month. For this price, you can expect a one bedroom apartment in an older building with no elevator. Larger and nicer apartments go for anywhere between €800 and €1,200 a month.

    There are a number of neighborhoods just outside the city center that offer more affordable options, yet are still well-connected to the downtown area by tram or bus. In these neighborhoods, you can find a decent two-bedroom apartment for about €400 to € 500 per month.

    Some of the best neighborhoods to live in Zagreb include Kvatrić, Maksimir, Britanski Trg, Donji Grad, and Tuškanac (my personal recommendations). Locals also like: Trešnjevka, Jarun, Knežija, and Črnomerec.

    More affordable neighborhoods in Zagreb include Špansko and Novi Zagreb. These are a bit further out from the city center but are connected by public buses.

    Cost of Rent in Other Croatian Cities

    You can expect the cost of rent in other big Croatian cities like Split, Zadar, and Dubrovnik to be similar to the prices in Zagreb.

    If you’re looking to save money, it is possible to find a decent studio apartment for as low as €350 a month in areas that are far away from the old town (city center), or in smaller towns. Keep in mind that this is probably the lowest rental price you will find.

    The cost of rent in Croatia will depend on where you want to live. Bigger cities are more expensive (like Zagreb and Split), while smaller cities and villages will, of course, be more affordable.

    When searching for an apartment in Croatia, be sure to use the local agency websites that are aimed at Croatians. You can also use a site like Njuskalo or Index Oglasi to find what you are looking for.

    Knowing the Croatian language, or having a trusted local who can assist you, will be extremely beneficial in your search. Do not use agencies or websites that are specifically designed for foreigners looking to rent.

    Important note: When apartment-hunting in Croatia, bear in mind that the number of rooms listed typically refers to the total number of rooms in the apartment (not the number of bedrooms). For example, a “one room” apartment would be a studio, while a “two room” apartment would actually have only one bedroom.

    Buying Property in Croatia

    Property prices in Croatia have hit record-breaking heights for both newly constructed buildings and older buildings. In fact, out of all the countries in the European Union, Croatia’s property prices have increased the most.

    The average price per square meter of a new apartment sold in Croatia in 2022 was €2,188, which is 20% more than in 2021, according to the data provided by the State Bureau of Statistics. In Zagreb, the average price per square meter of a new apartment was €2,577, which is 32% percent more than a year ago.

    There are numerous factors contributing to the increase in real estate prices, one of which is the government subsidized housing loans for first-time home buyers. Since 2017, the Croatian government has been offering subsidy between 30-51%, depending on the development index where the property is purchased or built.

    While this initiative has certainly helped many young families and first-time buyers purchase property, those selling properties have used it as an opportunity to increase prices even further.

    The average mortgage interest rate for those buying property in Croatia was 2.6% in 2022. In my experience, if you are considering purchasing property in Croatia, it will be extremely difficult to get a loan if you are not employed by a Croatian company. You will also need to provide proof of a monthly salary being deposited into a Croatian bank account for at least 3-6 months (depending on the bank) prior to applying for a loan.

    Cost of Utilities in Croatia

    The cost of utilities in Croatia can vary depending on your usage and the size of your home. For two people living in a 65m2, you can expect to pay roughly around €110 per month. This amount includes the cost of gas, electricity, water, and additional garbage and recycling fees.

    In this category, it is very easy to spend more than your estimated amount. This is because heating can be quite expensive, and many older buildings and houses still do not have proper insulation. Also, if you like to have the air conditioning running a lot in the summer, it will obviously be reflected in your electricity bill.

    Again, the cost of monthly utilities will greatly depend on your individual usage and how many members are living in your household. It is always safer to budget a little bit more for utilities, say €150 per month, though you will likely spend less.

    Cost of Internet and Cell Phone Plans in Croatia

    The cost of internet in Croatia is around €35 per month for internet and television. There are a number of service providers that offer various bundles that include a landline, TV, internet, and mobile phone plans. The two most common are Hrvatski Telekom and A1.

    Mobile phone plans start from around €14 per month for 5 GB of data and unlimited calling and texting while plans with unlimited data start at €25 per month.

    It’s important to note that many mobile phone providers in Croatia require a two-year contract for their plans. While this commitment may provide you with certain benefits and lower monthly rates, it’s essential to carefully consider the terms and conditions before signing the contract. Take into account factors such as network coverage, customer service quality, and potential penalties for early termination.

    An old stone house in Trogir, Croatia

    Cost of Food in Croatia

    How much does food cost in Croatia?

    This is a category that can be difficult to estimate as it really depends on your eating habits. The average monthly cost of eating and drinking in Croatia can run you anywhere from pennies to a fortune. Generally speaking, prices of food in Croatia have risen over the last few years and are now comparable to some western countries like the UK, Australia, and the United States.

    Most cities and towns will have a local farmer’s market in addition to regular supermarkets, which is a great place to get seasonal and organic produce. The food prices in Croatia do not differ too much between local markets and grocery stores, but food from the farmer’s market is usually higher in quality.

    However, it’s important to exercise caution, as not all the produce sold at farmer’s markets is locally sourced.

    If you shop for foods that are not in season, say strawberries in winter, be prepared to pay a pretty penny. Specialty foods and imported goods can be costly as well (think €7.00 for a box of Pop-Tarts or €4 for a papaya). Organic, gluten free, and other items from health food stores can be costly as well.

    Being somewhat in the middle by standards, meaning not blowing all of your money on groceries but not being super stingy either, will run you around €400 per month for two adults.

    This cost, however, can vary greatly depending on your lifestyle. If you like to eat out a lot and prefer buying oat milk, your food budget will increase. Even if you are single person and like to cook at home, don’t expect the cost of food in Croatia to be much less. In this case, you will probably end up spending around €300 per month for mainly cooking at home.

    Cost of Groceries in Croatia

    To get a general idea of how much groceries cost, here is a list of pantry staples and their average prices in Croatia:

    • 1 Liter of milk – €1.02
    • Eggs (10) – €2.65
    • Cheese (1 kg) – €8.76
    • Bananas (1 kg) – €1.44
    • Apples (1 kg) – €1.39
    • Lettuce (1 head) – €0.80
    • Flour (1 kg) – €0.76
    • Fresh loaf of bread – €1.59
    • Pasta (0.5 kg) – €1.59
    • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts (0.5 kg) – €5.57
    • 1 bottle average local wine – €6
    • 1 Liter bottle of beer – €1.09

    In September 2023, the Croatian government implemented a price cap for 30 basic foods to help combat inflation. This means that certain grocery items are to remain at, or below, the designated fixed price, no matter which grocery store you go to. Items on the list include essentials like flour, eggs, rice, sugar, sunflower oil, and whole chicken.

    Cost of Eating Out in Croatia

    How much is a meal in Croatia?

    The average Croatia restaurant prices are oftentimes comparable to restaurants in western Europe.

    The cost of a meal in Croatia costs about €6.00 at a fast-food restaurant, a Croatian pizza will run you around €12 for a simple margherita, while an entree at an average restaurant will cost around €20.

    A meal for two at a mid-range restaurant that includes one appetizer, two entrees, and non-alcoholic drinks, will come out to be around €50. Restaurants in Zagreb tend to be a little more affordable when compared to restaurants on the coast.

    A plate of pasta with truffles at Konoba Mondo, a restaurant in Motovun

    Croatia Drink Prices

    The beer price in Croatia is around €3.00 for 0.5 L at most cafes in Zagreb, while a glass of Croatian wine starts at around €4.00 at a local bar.

    If you’re just going to grab a coffee, €2.00 is the average price for a standard coffee with regular dairy milk. Non-dairy alternatives like oat milk or almond milk will typically come with a €0.50 surcharge.

    Of course, along the Dalmatian Coast, you will notice these prices rising especially in major tourist destinations like Split, Dubrovnik, and Hvar Island.

    Cocktails at a trendy bar in Hvar Town go for around €15.00, while a 0.5 L beer costs €8.00. Even having a coffee at a cafe on Dubrovnik’s main strip (Stradun) could leave your wallet €4.50 lighter.

    These are some things you should be aware of when traveling in general. Just make sure that you are familiar with the differences in prices so that you don’t end up overpaying for something (if you don’t want to).

    A drink menu from Caffe bar 'Program' in Zagreb, displaying an assortment of beverages with prices in Euro, set against a floral background with decorative motifs.
    The drink menu at Caffe Bar “Program” in Zagreb’s Marticeva neighborhood taken in September 2023.

    Cost of Transportation in Croatia

    The good news is that most cities in Croatia are very walkable and you can easily get around on foot or by bike. Having a car is really not necessary, especially if you live in a city, and navigating the public transportation is easy once you get your bearings.

    Plus, there’s also Uber in Croatia for those times when you might need to get around quickly or don’t want to take public transportation.

    Public Transportation

    The public transportation system in most big cities like Zagreb, Split, Dubrovnik and Osijek are well-connected by trams, buses, or both. The price of a tram or bus ticket in Zagreb is €0.53 for a 30-minute ride, while an all-day pass costs €3.98.

    In Split, public bus tickets range from €1.00 – €2.00 depending on whether you purchase your ticket at a ticket machine or from the bus driver.

    Long-Distance Buses

    Most cities in Croatia are fairly easy to reach by long-distance buses if you do not have your own vehicle. The bus system is much more comfortable and advanced than the railway system.

    Getting from one location to another is pretty inexpensive as well. For example, a bus ticket from Zagreb to Split is around €25.00 one way (depending on the time of travel and how far in advance the ticket is purchased).

    For long-distance rides, I recommend using FlixBus, as they usually offer the best rates and fastest routes.

    Gas Prices

    Gas prices in Croatia are definitely more expensive when compared to the USA. In Croatia, you can expect to spend around €1.40 per liter for regular gasoline.

    Woman leaning out of a car window holding a bunch of yellow flowers in her hand with a forest of green trees in the background and a medieval hilltop town in the distance.

    Cost of Healthcare in Croatia

    Expats and digital nomads in Croatia do not have the luxury of universal healthcare like the locals do. However, when compared to the United States, healthcare turns out to be very affordable for foreigners in Croatia.

    As an expat or digital nomad, you’ll be happy to know that you can book an appointment with a doctor without private health insurance. Booking a private doctor visit with a general physician can be as low as €30, or €55 and up for a visit with a specialist.

    Dental care at a private office will run you around €55 for a routine check up and cleaning. Tooth extraction costs around €70, while fillings can be anywhere between €50-€70. If you are in Zagreb, I can highly recommend Novadent for their professionalism, gentle approach, and excellent customer service.

    Antibiotics or other medications at the pharmacy will be around €8.00 to €15.00.

    Whether you are traveling to Croatia or another country, I always recommend getting travel insurance. You never know what can happen on the road, and it’s best to be prepared. I personally use SafetyWing whenever I travel and can’t recommend them enough!

    They are super affordable and have excellent coverage, so there’s really no excuse not to get travel health insurance.

    Cost of Entertainment in Croatia

    The average cost of movie tickets in Croatia is €7.45 per person, while tickets to theater performances can run from €15.00 and upwards, depending on the show.

    During the summer, you can also find many festivals and concerts going on throughout the country. When the tourist season is over, Zagreb is the place to be if you want to enjoy even more fun (and often free) outdoor entertainment.

    Shopping in Croatia

    This category will vary greatly depending on your earnings and your lifestyle. Generally speaking, shopping in Croatia will be more expensive than in the United States, Canada, and Australia.

    Croatia does not have good options for outlet shopping or discount stores like TJ Maxx or Marshalls. The prices for clothing here, no matter where you shop, will almost always be more expensive.

    In addition to clothing, electronics are at least 30% more expensive than they are in the United States. If coming from the US, Canada or Australia, I would recommend purchasing things like iPhones, laptops, tablets, or other smaller electronic devices at home if you can, and bring them to Croatia with you.

    If you were hoping to shop on Amazon while in Croatia, know that it’s possible, but the range of products are more limited than they are in the United States. Plus, certain items can be a challenge to ship to Croatia.

    Zrinjevac Park on a beautiful fall day in Zagreb

    Health and Beauty Costs

    Cost of a Haircut in Croatia

    If you are going to be spending an extended amount of time in Croatia, you will likely want (or need) to get your haircut at some point. Depending on where you go to get your hair done, men can expect to spend around €15 for a basic haircut.

    Women, on the other hand, should be prepared to pay around €30 and up for a haircut and blow dry. It is common for salons in Croatia to charge based on the length of your hair, so if you have shorter hair you’ll usually pay less.

    Of course, the total cost will vary based on the salon, any additional treatments you choose, and its location.

    Cost of a Mani-Pedi in Croatia

    When it comes to beautifying yourself in Croatia, there is no shortage of nail salons. If you are from the USA or Canada, these are not like the typical walk-in salons that come to mind with 10 nail technicians working at the same time.

    Nail salons in Croatia are usually much smaller, often with only one or two technicians, and more often than not, need to be booked in advance. If you are going for a gel manicure (called “trajni lak” in Croatian), plan to spend around €24. Acrylic nails (called “gel” in Croatian) will run you about €40.

    A pedicure with regular nail polish will typically cost €35, while a pedicure with gel polish will cost around €39.

    Cost of Gym Membership in Croatia

    A basic gym membership in Croatia will run you €26.50 per month at Gyms4You (with a 12 month contract). This is the largest Croatian chain of fitness centers, and the nice thing about them is that your membership is valid at all locations. Plus, their gyms are open 24 hours per day, 365 days a year.

    I previously had a Gyms4You membership and my experience with them was great.

    There are other fitness centers that vary based on equipment, location, and price. Another gym that I was personally a member of for 2 years is Orlando Fitness in Zagreb, which I found to be most similar to gyms in the United States.

    Cost of a Massage in Croatia

    If you like treating yourself to a massage every now and then like I do, then you’ll want to note down my favorite massage place: Siam Thai Massage in Zagreb. I love getting Thai massages and the owner, Lucky, is one of the best therapists around.

    They also offer oil massages, aromatherapy, sports massages and reflexology (you can view the full list of services and prices on their website). The average price for a massage in Croatia will run you around €35 to €45, depending on the salon and massage type.

    Cost of Pets in Croatia

    As a dog owner living in Croatia, I had to include some basic information about caring for pets! When it comes to veterinary costs, a basic visit will typically cost around €15.00. Rabies vaccines are around €20.00, while the distemper combination vaccine costs €17.25.

    When it comes to grooming, this price will vary depending on the size of your dog and what type of fur (or hair) it has. Prepare to spend €20.00 for miniature-sized dogs, €31.00 for medium-sized dogs, and €50 and up for large dogs.

    Going on a trip and can’t take your dog with you? Expect to pay between €20 to €30 per day for dog boarding services. I’ve even seen some places in Zagreb charge up to €50 per day to watch your pet!

    Local Tip: Istria is the most pet friendly region in Croatia with lots of dog beaches and pet friendly accommodations.

    Woman with her back to the camera holding a little white dog and looking out over Primosten, a seaside town on the Croatian coast

    Estimated Monthly Cost of Living in Croatia

    To answer the question, “How expensive is it to live in Croatia?”, I’ve suggested an average cost of living in Croatia below based on my experience living in the country full time since 2014.

    Keep in mind that the average cost of living can vary dramatically depending on your location and your lifestyle. The numbers below can also fluctuate depending on individual spending habits.

    So, how much does it cost to live in Croatia per month?

    The average cost of living in Croatia is around €1,500 per month for a single person. This should provide you with enough money to cover your basic needs, plus a little extra for having fun.

    However, I recommend budgeting €2,000 per month to live comfortably in Croatia.

    This amount will allow you to live in a nice apartment in a decent location, have enough money to cover all utilities, go out to eat and enjoy a few drinks on occasion, buy groceries, indulge in some entertainment like concerts and movies, travel, purchase a few clothing items, and have some money leftover.

    If you are living on a budget, you could scrape by with about €800 per month, assuming you have no debt or loans.

    FAQs

    Is it expensive to live in Croatia?

    It can be expensive to live in Croatia for locals, however, Croatia can be a favorable destination for expats depending on income levels.

    Is Croatia cheap for US citizens?

    Croatia can be a cheaper alternative for US citizens.

    Is Croatia a cheap place to live?

    Croatia is not necessarily a cheap place to live as the cost of living has become quite high. However, it is slightly cheaper than many western countries like the USA, Canada, UK and Australia.

    Is it cheaper to live in Croatia than in the US?

    Yes, on average, it is cheaper to live in Croatia than in the US.

    How much does it cost to live comfortably in Croatia?

    In my experience, €2,000 per month is enough to live comfortably in Croatia. This amount will be enough to cover monthly rent, while allowing you to eat out occasionally, shop a little, and even save some money.

    Why is Croatia so expensive now?

    Croatia has become more expensive due to a combination of inflation and introduction of the Euro as the country’s official currency.

    Final Thoughts on Croatia Cost of Living

    And with that, we conclude this guide on the cost of living in Croatia. Throughout this blog post, I’ve delved into various aspects that shape Croatia living costs, including rent and utilities, food prices, healthcare expenses, transportation costs, and more.

    As a Croatian-American that has been living in Zagreb since 2014, I can personally vouch for the high standard of living, rich cultural heritage, laidback lifestyle, and strong sense of community that Croatia has to offer. Although the cost of living has seen a noticeable increase since my arrival, it is still possible to enjoy a fulfilling life in Croatia without breaking the bank.

    I hope this post gave you a comprehensive overview of what to expect when it comes to managing your finances in Croatia. Whether you’re considering a short visit or contemplating a long-term stay, this post should provide you with a solid foundation upon which you can make informed decisions about your future plans.

    Have more questions about life in Croatia? Book a call with me or sign up for my FREE newsletter below for more insider tips.

    What to Read Next

    Croatia Travel Planning Guide

    💸 What is the currency in Croatia?
    As of January 1st, 2023, the official currency of Croatia is the Euro and NOT the Kuna (which is also the name of the national animal of Croatia).

    🇭🇷 What language do they speak in Croatia?
    Croatian is the official language of Croatia. Learn some phrases in Croatian before your trip with the Ling app!

    🚑 Should I buy Croatia travel insurance?
    10000% YES – Seriously, don’t leave home without it. You never know what can happen on the road. I like SafetyWing because they provide excellent coverage for as little as $1.50 a day.

    📱 Will my phone work in Croatia?
    Maybe – check with your provider to see if you’ll have service while traveling Croatia. If you don’t have service (or it’s too expensive) I recommend getting an eSIM like Airalo. Airalo allows you to have data while traveling without the high costs of roaming. They have super affordable plans available for 190+ countries, including Croatia. Download the app and get your plan before you leave home so that you have data as soon as you touch down in Croatia!

    🏨 What’s the best way to book my Croatia accommodations?
    For Croatia hotels, Booking is by far the best site.

    🛫 What’s the best site to buy Croatia flights?
    I always use Skyscanner to find the cheapest flights.

    🚗  Is it safe to rent a Car in Croatia?
    Yes! – In fact, renting a car in Croatia is one of the best ways to see the country! I recommend Discover Cars because they check both local and international rental companies to ensure you get the best deal. (Get your Croatia road trip itinerary here)

    💦 Is it safe to drink the water in Croatia?
    Tap water in Croatia is completely safe to drink, so bring your reusable water bottle and fill up!

    🪪 Do I need a visa for Croatia?
    Depending on where you are coming from you may or may not need a visa to enter Croatia. Check the official Republic of Croatia Ministry of Foreign Affairs website for more information on who should apply for a visa.

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