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
|Luna (vet bills, supplies)||143.18||$21.66|
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.)
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.
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.
Now, how do those numbers match up with my first month in Split back in 2013?
Prices in Croatia: November 2013, One Month
|Small studio near old town||4260||$750|
|Ferries + transport||134||$23.86|
|Groceries and supplies||1111.79||$199.18|
|Dog food, supplies, & vet bills||429.80||$76.54|
|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).
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).
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.
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?
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