Cost of Living in Croatia: Real Budgets from Zagreb, Split, and Dubrovnik

May 06, 2019    /    budgeting + saving

What’s the cost of living Croatia? What will it cost to take a trip there? How much should travelers, digital nomads, and expats budget?

As a full-time traveler who spends most of her time in Europe, these are the kinds of questions I get a lot. How much does my lifestyle really cost?

For the nearly seven years I’ve been on the road, I’ve been tracking my real spending across Europe. Including Croatia. 

So, what has this digital nomad spent during months in Split, Dubrovnik, and Zagreb, Croatia? See below for breakdowns and real budgets!

Views from Brac Island.

Cost of Eating and Drinking in Croatia

As with any destination, I’ve got several food and drink line items in my budget. The first and most essential? Groceries. The second and very delightful: Eating and drinking out. 

When it comes to groceries in Croatia, expect fresh markets, organic markets, and grocery stores to run a little bit cheaper than most of Western Europe and a little more expensive than most of Eastern Europe. When compared to the US, I spend about 40% less in Croatia on groceries. 

My Dubrovnik grocery budget for one month was $254.40. In Zagreb, I spent $329.34. And in Split, my grocery budgets were $199.18 for my first month in the city in 2013 and $353.06 for a month in 2019. (A difference I think is partly because prices here have gone up and partly because on my first visit I ate a lot of simple salads and this time I did a lot more cooking.)

For reference, I’m a petite person and while I adore food, I am not a big eater. A meal out can usually last me 3 – 4 meals with leftovers. 

Now, as for eating and drinking out in Croatia, expect restaurant prices in Dubrovnik to feel pretty comparable to US prices (it is a wildly popular tourist spot, after all). Zagreb runs a bit less expensive and so does Split, but both are gaining popularity and prices seem to be rising accordingly over time.

In Dubrovnik, I spent $96.93 on eating out (we only ate out about once a week, as I recall, and we shared an entree each time). In Zagreb, eating out about 2 – 3 times per week ran me $188.45. In Split, my first visit ran me $151.29 for a month and my second visit totaled $154.90.

Cost of Accommodations in Croatia

As Croatia gains popularity, pricing on temporary housing options like Airbnb are on the rise. Your best bet for a budget trip is to go in the off-season (the weather is still stunning in September, October, March, April, and May) and ask about off-season discounts.

Our accommodations in Dubrovnik cost $1474 for an extremely nice apartment with a gorgeous balcony about 25 minutes from Old Town on foot. The price included weekly cleaning.

In Zagreb, I spent $498.19 for a bedroom and small living area in a family home (shared with the family) about 10 minutes from town by bus (up on the hill near the hiking trails). This price also included weekly cleaning.

In Split, my first month – in a small stone studio just outside old town – in 2013 cost me $750. In 2019, our sunny, fifth-floor space 10 minutes (walking distance) from Old Town cost a total of $1,193.28, not including cleaning. 

If you’re moving to Croatia rather than just staying short-term, expect to pay much less. Long-term leases here reflect local budgets. From what I understand, a reasonable budget in an expensive area would be around $700 per month.

Cost of Transportation in Croatia

Transportation costs in Croatia tend to run low.

There are only a couple train routes in the country and you can find current pricing here. As of this writing, a ticket from Zagreb to Split (one way) costs 208 kuna ($31.38).

The quickest way to bounce from the capital down to the Dalmatian Coast hot spots is via air. Currently, a ticket from Zagreb to Dubrovnik currently starts at $73.93.

As for ferries, ticket prices vary by destination but all tend to run low. It cost less than $10 for us to go to Brac Island from Split round trip and about $16 to get from Split to Dubrovnik one-way. 

Total Costs of Living in Croatia

Overall, a month in Dubrovnik (including my half of our apartment) cost me $1,443.41. Not too shabby for Croatia’s most expensive town.

My month in Zagreb in late 2018 cost $1,337.05.

And my two months in Split cost $1,317.87 and $1,241.28 respectively. 


Want to see more travel budget breakdowns? Your wish is my command.


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