Cost of Living in Zagreb: One Digital Nomad’s Real Budget

Dec 10, 2018    /    budgeting + saving

Croatia’s pretty little capital is growing in popularity. Beloved for its Christmas markets (voted best in Europe three years in a row) and its relatively easy access to the famously pretty coastline of the country, I like it for its reasonable cost of living, nearby mountain hikes, and pretty, easy-to-navigate core.

When my partner announced that he had to make a trip to Asia this winter and it wasn’t really practical for me to go along, Zagreb is where I chose to base until I was allowed back into the schengen zone.

As usual, I tracked my spending.

So, what is the cost of living in Zagreb? How much does a month in Croatia’s capital cost?

Here are my real budget numbers:

My Cost of Living in Zagreb


Category Dollars Kuna
Accommodations $498.19 3249.03
Transportation (national/international) $44.47 290
Transportation (local) $25.15 164
Groceries $329.34 2147.84
Supplies $60.94 397.40
Eating/drinking out $188.45 1229
Entertainment & activities $9.20 60
Luna the traveling pooch (vet bills, supplies) $16.31 106.34
Health & wellness $165 1076.08
Totals $1337.05 8719.80

Budget Notes

Keep in mind that the above expenses are my spending for a solo month. My partner was in Asia on business, so there are no shared expenses above.

Zagreb Accommodation Costs

For accommodation, I rented a room via Airbnb. I chose a location high up on the hill above Zagreb, about a 10-minute bus ride or hour walk from the center.

For me, that was perfect. I prefer to be near hiking trails over city amenities. Plus, the higher you get up on the hill, the better prices seem to get. I wanted to go as low as I could on rent, so I chose a room in a shared house instead of opting for my own apartment (the lowest listings I saw for solo space started at least $200 higher).

Transportation

The international transportation line item above is my expensive taxi ride from the airport (public transit would have taken forever and I have too many bags to deal with it).

Zagreb, Croatia, city centerZagreb from above.

Local transportation was bus tickets to get back into town. Individual tickets for short rides (up to 30 minutes) are 4 kuna each (about 61 cents in US currency at time of this writing).

It’s important to note that bus tickets purchased on the bus itself are more than three times as expensive, so buy tickets at one of the city’s many little kiosks before you board. I had trouble finding a definitive map of kiosks, so your best bet is to ask a local where the nearest ticket seller is when you need to get more tickets. Here’s a helpful article on Zagreb transportation.

Groceries and Restaurants

My eating out budget reflects a lot more eating out than usual. Without my partner here, I got a bit lazy about cooking and I’ve been craving Asian food, so I did Indian and Japanese cuisine often.

My grocery bill is also a bit higher than it could be. Normally I do more cooking and fresh market shopping, but here I did more pre-made stuff, which costs more.

Zagreb's Dolac fresh marketZagreb’s Dolac fresh market.

Other Expenses

Supplies are things like toilet paper, soap, and lotion.

Luna the traveling pooch’s line item is food for the most part.

Health and wellness is just insurance (I didn’t need any doctor visits or pharmacy purchases this month).

And entertainment was the cost of visiting the 360-view tower in town. (It was okay, but not so exciting that I’d pay for it again.)

As a final note: the above budget is my day-to-day living and exploring costs and does not include my business expenses and certain personal expenses like books, movie rentals, and replacing water bottles and clothes. I figure those things are too personal and variable to be helpful if you’re using these budgets to figure out your own trip costs, so I generally pull them out.


Want to see more nomad budgets for Croatia and other parts of the world? Check out this extensive piece with links to all my published budgets from the last six+ years.

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5 Comments
  • Rachel
    December 10, 2018

    I loved Zagreb so much! So many green spaces and beautiful architecture. Also quite cheap: I could get a smoothie, a coffee and a slice of cake at my local cafe for under €5.

    • gigigriffis
      December 10, 2018

      Definitely! A very affordable European city.

  • Judy Spinney
    December 10, 2018

    Monday Morning in Colorado . December 10

    Gigi,

    I enjoy your commentary on your life and travels. Hmmmm . . . how much does it cost my husband and me to live a month in Colorado? Because we have no mortgage, I would have to divide annual property taxes, home insurance, health insurance, annual utilities (heat, electric, water, cell phone, etc.) . I would have to divide all that by 12 and then add food, entertainment, gas for cars etc.
    Then, since this supports two of us, do I divide that by 2 to see the cost for 1? I am not sure I can since I would have most of these costs if I were alone.

    Someday when I find myself twiddling instead of actively engaged in something, I’ll make an educated estimate. Judy

    • gigigriffis
      December 10, 2018

      Definitely more complex when expenses are fully shared. My friend who shares her budgets and has fully shared expenses with her husband just shares the full numbers for the two of them. Since Chad and I still have separate expenses, I share only mine.

  • Emily
    December 14, 2018

    I will always LOVE these “How Much Does it Cost to Spend a Month in (Amazing Place)” posts! They are some of my favorites! <3

    @Judy Spinney, I'd say go right ahead and calculate your monthly total spending for you and your husband – you don't need to divide it out as if you were on your own to get a TON of good information from it! Even when you are sharing life with someone (in my case, a husband and two kids), looking at what you spend every month is incredibly informative and eye-opening. :) We look at our spending monthly, all-inclusive, for the family as a whole.

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