the cost to live in croatia retired or expat or digital nomad

The cost of living in Croatia: How to survive as a Croatian expat

You’re interested in living as an expat in Croatia, eh?

Or for all you digital nomads out there, you might be interested in being a mini retired person in Croatia for a period of time maybe? Well whichever you are, you’re awesome for that.

Croatia has beautiful coastlines and historic sites like any typical seaside destination, but for a fraction of the price and the tourists compared to the Mediterranean spots. So I completely understand why you’re searching for the cost of living in Croatia. 

So just how much money do you need to survive as an expat or retired person there? 

In order to help you answer that, I have focused on 7 areas where your money will consistently go each month to examine how much money you need. 

These numbers reflect the costs of living alone in the more prominent cities, like Zagreb, Dubrovnik and Split.  If you are coming as a couple or a family, you can do the necessary multiplications to figure out how much money you need for your specific situation. Also, keep in mind that smaller and less touristy towns will have a lower Croatian cost of living. This rule pretty much goes for all the other countries in the Balkans as well. 

Aaaand… here’s where your money will go!

 Rent

For a studio apartment or a one bedroom apartment, you are looking to pay between 150-250 euros a month depending on which part of the city you live in. Of course, the more centrally located you are, the more expensive an apartment will be.  Also keep in mind that cheaper apartments tend to be smaller, and lacking in modernity and renovations. So if you find an apartment that is only 150 euros, chances are it is very small or not renovated or both.

Utilities 

Utilities of course are cheaper in the summer and more expensive in the winter. In the summer, you can pay as little as 20-30 euros for electricity, garbage, water and gas. In the winter, that all can reach up to about 50 euros. If you are paying for phone, internet and TV as well, that could fall between 20-35 euros. 

Transportation

In Zagreb, many employed people will choose the option of paying 47 euros a month as a frequent bus user. One can also simply choose to pay 0.60 euros per ride, which is good for 30 minutes. In Dubrovnik, it costs a little more. 

Going Out

Social life varies from person-to-person. And beware of tourist traps in major cities like Split and Dubrovnik. I have fallen for one that got me good in Montenegro. I can’t even talk about it. I’m too traumatized. 

Just know that when you go out for a drink in Zagreb, a half a liter of beer will be about 2 euros, a coffee will be about 1.20 euros and a cocktail or mixed drink will be about 5 euros. But of course along the Dalmatian coast where you have Dubrovnik, Split, and major islands like Hvar, some of these basic prices could be even higher in the trendier restaurants and bars. 

Trendier clubs might cost you 20-30 euros by the end of the night in the big towns. If you stick to a pub or a small bar, you you could spend 10-15 euros the whole night. Restaurants are similar in spending to clubs. Trendier ones will cost one person up to 20-25 euros, while more humble restaurants will be cheaper. 

Healthcare

As an expat, you can’t get the free public healthcare that the locals receive. Healthcare for unemployed foreigners could cost up to 60 euros, but you should be able to book a private doctor visit for only 20-30 euros. General physicians can even be as low as 15 euros. Additional insurance will be around 7 euros. Antibiotics at the pharmacy should between 5-10 euros. 

Groceries

Groceries can be quite cheap in Croatia.  Shopping for one or two people can easily be about 25-30 euros per week. This is where the cost of living in Croatia is just awesome!  

Monthly total

At the bare bare minimum to scrape by, you probably want to make at least 650 euros per month in order to have a social life, a decent apartment and get by without any debts or loans. But 750-800 euros a month would allow you to live more comfortably. 

I hope this was helpful. If you have any questions or have anything you want to say about your experience living in Croatia if you have lived there, please do so below!  Also feel free to message me on Facebook or Instagram if you need help with anything. 

Thanks so much to my friend Marko in Zagreb for helping me with this!

Posted in Balkans Digital Nomad, Balkans Expat Guide, Retire in Balkans Guide.

Nwando is an American expat based in the Balkans. She is a musician, blogger (duh!), and youtuber with over a million views on her channel about traveling and life in the Balkans!