Prices in Croatia: Two Real Budgets from Travels in Split

by gigigriffis

If you’re looking for a budget destination in Europe, you can’t do much better than Split, Croatia, in the off-season.

In 2013, I spent my first month in the pretty seaside city—in a charming stone apartment just outside old town with weekends spend walking island trails and motorcycling down the stunning coast—and spent a total of about $1,300.

And early this year (2019), I circled back. This time for two months in Split with my partner, Chad.

Both times, the prices in Croatia surprised and delighted. My average cost was around $1,300.

Here are two real monthly spending reports:

Prices in Croatia: March 2019, One Month


Category Kuna Dollars
Accommodations 3943.55 $596.64
Transportation (national/international) 218.12 $33
Transportation (local) 168.41 $25.48
Groceries 2333.59 $353.06
Supplies 224.63 $33.98
Eating/drinking out 1023.83 $154.90
Luna (vet bills, supplies) 143.18 $21.66
House cleaning 149.11 $22.56
Totals 8204.42 $1,241.28

Notes on My Spending

For accommodations, as usual, we used Airbnb to find an apartment. This time we stayed about 10 minutes (on foot) outside the city center, up near the big stadium. The neighborhood wasn’t anything special, but our apartment was fantastic—sunny, modern, beautifully decorated, comfortable, and safe. (Watch for a review of the apartment here soon.)

Luna snuggled up on the couch.

Transportation line items include a handful of bus rides, ferry rides, and uber rides. Mostly I walked or biked everywhere.

My grocery bill was mostly from shopping at the fresh market and organic market. Supplies include things like toilet paper and shampoo. And eating/drinking out covers about two meals out per week—always split with Chad.

Sushi at the waterfront.

Luna the traveling pooch had a relatively low-cost month, as she didn’t need any vet visits.

And the house cleaning line item covered bi-weekly cleanings by our Airbnb host (something we asked about separately after booking).

Finally, there’s a big caveat to the above numbers: They don’t include my health expenses. Normally, I’d include my international insurance payment ($165 per month) in my budget breakdowns, but March was a very expensive healthcare month for me, so I’ve split out that portion of the budget. I’m including it below in case it’s helpful, but I’ve left it out of the main budget numbers because chances are, travelers in Croatia won’t have to deal with this kind of spending.


Health & wellness   $736.50

So, what does that health and wellness line item include? An OBGYN visit, a dental cleaning, three dental consults with two different dentists, full dental x-rays, partial 3D dental x-rays, re-doing a dental filling, and getting a mouth guard. Oh, and my monthly insurance payment.

Doing all that work somewhere else would have easily been twice as expensive, so overall, despite the fact that this line item is much higher than it would be for your average traveler, it’s very low for the amount of work I had done.

A coastal view from Marjan Hill.


Now, how do those numbers match up with my first month in Split back in 2013?

Prices in Croatia: November 2013, One Month

   Kunas  Dollars
 Small studio near old town 4260 $750
 Ferries + transport 134 $23.86
 Groceries and supplies 1111.79 $199.18
 Eating/drinking out 844.46 $151.29
 Other 7 $1.25
 Dog food, supplies, & vet bills 429.80 $76.54
 Activities 317 $56.45
 Gifts + post office 331 $59.30

Total Kuna:  7435.05   /    Total Dollars: $1,317.87

Notes on my Croatia spending:

Yet again, I found my lovely little studio apartment on Airbnb. It wasn’t the cheapest of the bunch, but I loved the exposed stone walls and the perfect location just outside the 2,000-year-old center and only steps away from the harbor, so I was willing to pay a little more. Cheaper options started around $500 for the month. Do keep in mind that I was traveling off-season, so the on season prices start a little higher.

Transportation here is very, very affordable. Round-trip ferry rides to the islands ran around $10 each (and the above numbers represent trips to lovely, natural Solta and the more bustling port of Stari Grad on Hvar Island). Dogs on island ferries travel free.

The transportation numbers above don’t reflect any long-distance travel, as that travel happened before the period I was tracking. The overnight train ticket from Zagreb to Split with a seat (not a bed) cost 51.80 euro. Plane tickets are similarly priced (and Croatian Airlines allows small dogs in cabin for a small fee, according to their website).

Fresh market finds.

My food budget came in way low this month (hoorah!) due to the facts that 1) Croatia’s restaurants and cafes are very reasonably priced ($2 for a cappuccino; $2 for a personal pizza), 2) Croatian culture is very traditional and if you go out with the locals, splitting the check is considered weird, so often one person picks up the tab and the next time the other person does (and this ended up coming out in my favor this time), 3) since Croatian culture is very traditional, it’s also not normal for ladies to pick up the tab, so if you’re out with a guy he’ll pretty much always insist on paying, even if he’s just a friend, and 4) I shopped a lot at the local fresh market, which was very close to my apartment, and cooked at home.

As usual, I spent a lot of my time walking around the town, the islands, and the beaches, which is free. My entertainment budget mostly reflects my Thanksgiving spa day at Filomena Spa & Lifestyle Club (they were kind enough to offer me a discount in exchange for a mention here on the blog, so my budget is a bit lower than it otherwise would have been) and my nights out at the movies (watching the new Hunger Games movie multiple times at the ridiculously low Croatian theater prices which range from about $4 to $6).

A stop at a fortress while motorcycling down the Croatian coast.

The rest of my time exploring Croatia was spent on the back of my friend Ivan’s motorcycle. We explored Trogir, Omis, the world-famous beaches of Brela, and mountaintop lookout points, mostly spending our time riding to the destination, walking around and taking photos, and then having a coffee or some food. It was a simple and perfect way to see Croatia and, since Ivan wouldn’t let me pitch in for gas or anything, it was also not something that impacted my budget.

Finally, there are a couple things I haven’t included in the above budget. One is the $50 or so I spent on new music (and one or two rainy day movies) on iTunes. It didn’t seem particularly relevant to the location, so I’ve omitted it. I also leave out (in all these budget posts) a couple ongoing costs, like my health insurance, which I pay for once a year and comes out to about $75 per month, and like my Skype phone number/Google voice bill, which ends up being about $5 – $10 per month.

A quiet swimming area beside Marjan Hill.

Have you been to Split, Croatia? Any budget tips or notes for us? Any budget items you’d love to know the cost of that I haven’t included?

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


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20 comments

Maria December 19, 2013 - 12:36 pm

Well that’s about what I pay for a month at home, minus all the fun you had.

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gigigriffis December 20, 2013 - 2:55 pm

Excellent. I like to tell people they can live on their home budget while traveling. Further proof. :)

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Tina April 2, 2018 - 4:53 pm

Hi we are thinking of retiring and living in Croatia do you recommend any certain areas that will be ideal for 60 year old pensioners we also have 5 dogs who will be coming with us from UK to Croatia will the dogs be safe and do people like animals

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gigigriffis April 2, 2018 - 5:08 pm

Hi Tina!

I found Croatia to be overall very dog friendly. The only tricky thing was buses (the bus drivers can decide on a case-by-case basis whether they’ll carry the dog, which is a bit of a hassle), but other than that, most apartments, cafes, etc. were dog-friendly and people were dog-friendly. I think vet services can be a bit hit or miss, so definitely ask around to find the most fully equipped vet office (Luna got very sick and the original vet we took her to didn’t have x-rays or full blood test facilities; would have probably been better to have a fully-equipped office from the start).

As for the people, I found that they like dogs very much.

And as for where to choose in Croatia, it’s obviously down to what you prefer and what criteria are most important for you, but if I were looking to retire there I’d strongly consider Split or the surrounding area. It’s much less crowded than Dubrovnik and the far south. It’s got all the city amenities you’d need, but if you lived near the center it would still feel a bit like a charming small town.

Hope that’s helpful!

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Pero December 21, 2013 - 11:49 am

For a month to stay in may hometown is not bad but only because is a low season. In high season it will be much much more. I would like to add your article link on my website as in this very moment I’ve been writing about Croatia travel costs and how to cut them. I hope you don’t mind linking to your blog!

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gigigriffis December 22, 2013 - 7:15 am

Ciao Pedro,

Do the food and movie and coffee prices rise in the summertime? I thought it was only the housing that was really impacted?

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lucent imagery June 2, 2014 - 9:31 pm

Oh I’m having so much fun perusing your blog and getting ideas for our future travels! I think a month in Croatia sounds great, have just shared this with my husband. Thank you for your excellent information!

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gigigriffis June 3, 2014 - 12:53 am

Thanks! I’m so glad you’re enjoying it.

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Carter December 11, 2014 - 6:25 pm

This is just brilliant. I needed this basic information to begin my plans for a three month stay in Split. Since I’m single, have a large budget and don’t have any real needs other than a nice apartment within walking distance of town, I’m thinking I might do well in Croatia. Would you be open to questions from an enthusiastic traveler via email? :-)

Thanks, Gigi.

Carter.

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gigigriffis December 12, 2014 - 4:00 am

Absolutely! Shoot me a note anytime (just click get in touch in the navigation).

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Richard Brandlon August 7, 2015 - 6:39 pm

My wife and I will be in Split for ten days as part of our celebration (60th anniverary). I am getting along in years ans find myself not quite as spritely as I once was. Is Split a suitable walking town for an old man?

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gigigriffis August 8, 2015 - 12:50 am

Hi Richard! I think you should be fine. I’d suggest staying in or near the old town so that you won’t have to walk long distances (Split is actually rather large and sprawling if you count the suburbs). The old town itself is a manageable size, as is the main seaside promenade. There are some stairs at the front and back entrances to old town, but other than that no real obstacles. The bus system also seems to be reasonably good there, so if you do want to go somewhere further away, consider taking the bus.

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Steven November 7, 2017 - 3:50 pm

Hello,

I just saw this blog, it’s november 2017. I’ve been thinking about spending one month in Croatia for a while now.

Have all the prices for accommodation and food etc changed a lot since your blog post and it’s become more of a tourist destination.

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gigigriffis November 7, 2017 - 3:53 pm

It was definitely already a big tourist spot! But these prices were from off-season, so I’m guessing that hasn’t changed too much in Split. Dubrovnik is another story – accommodations and food are much pricier down there.

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K.R. Baylor April 25, 2019 - 6:28 am

Gigi, an absolutely wonderful post on the realities of living in Split. I tried finding a job there in summer 2012 after visiting the city for just one week, but no luck given the 16% unemployment.

But the city made such a positive impression on me that I have always stayed interested in returning someday for an extended stay of some kind.

Thank you for recording the actual costs of what it would take to plan for such an adventure and reposting it here. It is extremely invaluable information that can be found nowhere else. “Your mileage may vary,” as one says, but this information is very helpful to me and I know others as well who have fallen in love with the Dalmatian coast.

Kindest thanks, and thank you again for posting your adventures on the Webs.

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