I have recently spent a bit of time cruising slowly across Croatia so here is my lowdown on being a digital nomad in Croatia. I started in Dubrovnik, then on to Split where I stayed a couple of weeks, then Zadar and finally Zagreb. Split being the obvious digital nomad hub in Croatia but the other towns were easy to get along and work in also. Dubrovnik was fairly busy with tourists even in February so maybe best left for a quick visit rather than a base if you want to avoid the stresses that would come with trying to survive amongst the mass tourism of summer.
Cost of living in Croatia.
I found the cost of living in Croatia pretty cheap (Outside of Dubrovnik) and getting by on a budget was a doddle. Here is what I spent on accommodation. Keep in mind that this was in February, summers could be a bit trickier!
Dubrovnik: Here I got a basic but nice little apartment close to the old town for €18 per night courtesy of booking.com.
Split: In Split I managed to haggle a small, well equipped city centre apartment for €127 a week on Airbnb. No lift and plenty of stairs but that price was a bargain for this town so can’t complain about that.
Zadar: This is where I found the cheapest accommodation in Croatia and I managed to score a private room in a house / bnb with it’s own balcony for €13 per night on booking.com.
Zagreb: In Zagreb I stayed in a private hostel room in the city centre, the cost was €25 per night here, still not too shabby for the middle of a capital city! I found this through a hostel booking site.
Although not bargain prices supermarkets in Croatia were reasonable enough to stock up well without breaking the bank. As were the smaller shops and green grocers etc. There is a food market in Split which was handy for picking up fresh local produce at fairly good prices.
Eating out proper cost me around €10 – €20 depending on location and with a bit of shopping around reading menus. Eating out in Dubrovnik is a rip off! Zadar was the cheapest place and Zagreb also had a few lower budget places. Split was not that cheap in the touristy restraunts but I was working full time there so eating at home mostly. Along the sea front where the bus and train station are there is a few little pizza shops etc. that did very cheap take aways and snacks.
Public transport in Croatia seems extortionate compared to most of Europe, even by some Western European countries standards. To cross the country on mediocre coaches costs well over €100 in total.
Finding accommodation in Croatia.
Again I was there in February so accommodation was cheap and easy to find. I would not imagine it to be like that in the summer months but there is still apparently some bargains to be had according to one guy I rented a place off. If you are planning on staying a while I would suggest booking in to a hostel or airbnb place for a few nights and asking around rather than trying to organise something over the internet but that’s your call. I did not really see any agents to quiz about renting but I didn’t go looking for them either.
Internet access and places to work from.
The internet worked well everywhere I stayed, especially in Split and Zagreb where I had lightning fast connections. Unless you get really unlucky with your accommodation or you are in a hotel with shit WiFi then I could not imagine the internet being the slightest concern.
4G / 3G: The coverage was good and I got a sim card with a couple of gigs of data for the equivalent of about €11-€12, I only used this for a few days so don’t know how long it would last. I was fairly busy with work so never far from my laptop and didn’t need mobile data much.
There is co-working places in Split, Zagreb and even in Zadar. I didn’t look in Dubrovnik. Croatia in general is well set up for this kind of thing and there is also plenty of café options.
Entertainment and things to do in Croatia.
As digital nomads we are not really tourists and most of us don’t have the time or even funds to live like a tourist so although there was countless day trip options to islands and national parks etc. I did not do much of that kind of thing as I had a mountain of work to get through. If you want to kick back outside cafes and bars on your time off or wonder around old town centres then you can’t really go wrong here. With a little bit of exploring there is also some amazingly beautiful beaches.
A trip to Dubrovnik is a must if you can make it, just to walk around the old town walls and wonder around the old town alone would be worth the trip but there is also plenty more things to do on offer.
More info about Croatia for digital nomads.
Croatia in general felt like a safe enough country to visit. Obviously in Zagreb like in any big city I would exercise a bit more caution but bar a few dodgy looking people hanging round outside the hostel at night time I did not see anything to be particularly cautious of. The area I stayed in, in Zadar was a bit run down with a few local alcoholics around the place but even that didn’t feel too bad and the locals were a friendly bunch.
Croatian people in general are warm and friendly, especially any of my hosts who went out of their way to accommodate me. Meeting me from busses and leaving things in the fridge for my arrival etc.
The level of English was fairly good, I hardly had many language barriers and whilst you would not be able to have a full on conversation with some people they still knew enough to communicate.
It is not hard to see why Split is becoming a digital nomad hub, I would recommend going there for sure but also be sure to see the rest of the country. Feel free to ask any questions below and happy travels 🙂