The Cost of Travel in Croatia (2021): A Detailed Budget Breakdown


Plitvice Lakes from above with people on the walkway

After eight years of travel and over 80 countries, I have come to the conclusion that Croatia is one of the most underrated travel destinations on the planet.

I’m slightly biased, of course.

When I first decided to set off on my round-the-world adventure, I decided Croatia would be the very first country on my itinerary.

It was an unusual choice, I know. Most travellers set off for Bangkok or London or Sydney or Beijing to kickstart their gap years, but something about Eastern Europe fascinated me. I wanted to explore some of the lesser-visited parts of the continent before hitting up Asia, and Croatia sounded like the perfect place to start.

It’s since held a special place in my heart as the destination that helped me gain my travel footing, and I immediately fell deeply in love with it.

Waterfront in Split Croatia
The gorgeous waterfront in Split had me declaring Croatia one of my favourite countries in the world

What’s not to love? 

You’ve got gorgeous architecture to snap photos of, hundreds of islands to explore, the spectacular Plitvice National Park to wander around, underrated Zagreb for a city break, and some of the best beaches in the world. There are opportunities to sail the coastline, surprisingly fantastic cheese to eat, lovely locals, and so many beautiful landscapes that it’s hard to believe one country can offer up so much.

I originally planned to spend two weeks travelling around Croatia for my first visit, but after falling in love with the country, I quickly extended my stay to a full month. I hit up Dubrovnik, Split, Brac, Zadar, Pag, Zagreb, Plitvice, and Crikvenica over that time, and easily could have spent longer if I didn’t already have a flight to the other side of the world to catch.

I’ve since returned twice more to Croatia, and every time I do, I realise just how underrated a country it is.

I mean, it’s not super off the beaten track, like Moldova or Belarus, when it comes to European travel. And wandering through Dubrovnik’s old town in the middle of August will leave you swamped with tourists and craving some respite. But Croatia is still lesser-known and lesser-thought-of than some of the big hitters in European tourism. I believe it’s well worth a visit.

I’ve been recording every single cent I spend in the countries I visit from day one of my travels, because I want to prove that seeing the world is inexpensive and achievable. I want to be able to give a realistic and accurate look at how much you can expect to spend in each country you visit.

Today, it’s Croatia’s turn. I visited Croatia first of all as a solo backpacker, and then secondly and thirdly, as part of a couple on a mid-range budget. In total, I averaged 45 EUR per day while I was there.

Here’s how much you can expect to spend on a trip to Croatia in 2019.

Girl overlooking Dubrovnik's Old Town
Dubrovnik was my very first stop in Croatia and this view absolutely blew my mind

How to Save Money on Flights to/From Croatia

My European readers won’t have to worry too much about the cost of flights to Croatia, as the wide range of budget airlines means finding something affordable is never too much of a problem. As always, I recommend heading to Skyscanner to snag yourself a bargain.

If you’re flexible with dates and itinerary, you’ll find the best deals by searching to flights to “Croatia” rather than an individual city, as you may find it’s far cheaper to fly into Zagreb over Dubrovnik, for example. It’s also worth setting your flight departure date to be across an entire month, which you can do with Skyscanner. This will show you the cheapest dates to fly and ensure you have the very best deal possible.

In general, you’ll find that it’s cheapest to fly to Croatia outside of high season, which coincides with typical European summer vacation dates (late-June to late-August). May and September are the shoulder season, and October – March is the official low season, where you’ll find the lowest prices. If you do have the freedom to visit during shoulder season, I highly recommend it, as it’ll mean spending less on flights and accommodation while having to deal with fewer tourists. Shoulder season is my favourite time of year to travel, and it’s worth making the effort to do so in Croatia.

What if you’re not European?

Well, unfortunately, there are currently no direct flights between North America and Croatia, but that doesn’t mean you’ll have to spend an enormous amount of cash in order to get there. Although it does mean a fairly long and tiresome travel journey is on the cards for you.

Fortunately, getting to Europe from North America is surprisingly cheap these days, and I wouldn’t expect you’d need to pay more than around $400 for a return ticket. Allow me to introduce you to one of my favourite websites in the world: Secret Flying! I’d estimate that 80% of the flights I book these days are due to a deal I’ve found on Secret Flying.

As I write this now, in January 2020, you can currently snag the following deals:

  • Orlando to London for $326 return
  • New York to Rome for $261 return
  • New York to Porto for $385 return
  • New York to Spain for $230 return
  • Boston to Dublin for $375 return
  • Boston to London for $113 one-way
  • Toronto to Milan for $586 CAD return
  • And for my Oceanians out there: there’s even Sydney to Milan for $829 AUD return!

Not bad, right? Once you’ve booked your flight to Europe, you’ll need to figure out how to get to Croatia for cheap, but that’s when Skyscanner comes in! Europe is full of cheap airlines and getting from country to country is nearly always easy and inexpensive.

Beach in Croatia
While the crowds flock to Dubrovnik in the summer months, you can still find spots with few tourists around!

How to Save Money on Accommodation in Croatia

As always with travel, it’s possible to cut your accommodation costs down to zero if you have the time and patience to seek out an offer.

Couchsurfing exists in Croatia, and allows you to stay with a local for free, sleeping on their sofa and enjoying a local’s insight into life in their country. It’s not the most comfortable of living situations, but if your budget is tight, it’s worth sending out a few requests to hosts to see if anything comes of it. You can search for potential hosts here.

Housesitting is another option. This is where you’ll take care of somebody’s house for free while they’re away, and usually look after their pets, too. It’s best for long-term travellers or retirees as you can’t pick and choose dates and destinations, so you need to have a lot of flexibility as to where you go and at what time of year. If you do have that freedom, it’s a wonderful way to cut down your travel expenses, soak up some home comforts, and live like a local for a while. Trusted Housesitters is one of the best sites for getting started with housesitting.

And finally, if you’re travelling long-term and don’t mind getting your fingers dirty, you could look at WWOOFing (here) or WorkAway (here) as a way to cut down your costs while working on a farm in exchange for accommodation and food. It’s not the most glamorous of experiences, but getting to live for free in a foreign country is an incredible experience, so if you’re backpacking around Europe, this may be the way forward for you.

I’m suspecting, though, that for most of you, you’re not interested in the free accommodation and just want somewhere clean, safe, and affordable to rest your head each night. If that’s the case, there are several options available for you.

The first of these are hostels. In Croatia, you’ll come across hostels all over the country, finding them on tiny islands, in large cities, and even in the national parks. They’re one of your best options for saving money.

Hostels in Croatia are slightly cheaper than equivalents in Western Europe, with the big exception being Dubrovnik over the summer, which is eye-wateringly expensive (I once paid €35 a night for an 8-bed dorm that was an hour’s walk from the Old Town in July!) You can expect to spend around €10-15 for a dorm bed in most spots in Croatia, with the price increasing to slightly about €15 a night on the popular islands, national parks, and more tourist-filled areas.

When it comes to private rooms in hostels, you can expect to spend around €25 a night for a clean, basic room in a good location, so if you’re travelling with friends or with your partner, you may find it cheaper to grab some privacy over settling for two beds in a dorm room.

If you’re an older traveller and put off by the thought of nights spent in hostels, you shouldn’t be! Private rooms are usually very quiet and clean, and most hostels are modern, safe, and centrally located. They tend to have a little more personality than generic hotels, and the staff are fantastic at offering kickass travel advice. As long as you check the reviews of any hostel before booking it to make sure nobody refers to it as a party hostel, you’re all good to make a booking there.

I use HostelWorld to find the cheapest hostels, as they tend to have the greatest number of listings at the lowest prices.

Airbnb is another option you might want to keep in mind, as staying in a private room with a local on Airbnb can often work out to be as affordable as a night in a hostel. You’ll be looking at around €25-30 a night for a private room on Airbnb. I usually recommend not staying in an entire Airbnb apartment for ethical reasons, so go for a private room so you’re not contributing to housing crises in beautiful cities around the world. You can find Airbnb apartments in Croatia here.

And, of course, there are always hotels, which will usually start at around €50 a night. You’ll have slightly more luxury and comfort in hotels, so it’s up to you to work out whether this is worth the additional expense. I always use HotelsCombined to find guesthouses and hotels when I travel, as they compare the prices between sites like Booking, Agoda, Expedia, and more. I’m always surprised to learn how much the price varies between different websites — Booking isn’t always the cheapest option!

Plitvice Lakes from above with people on the walkway
You can’t miss Plitvice Lakes when you go to Croatia — the colour of the water is spectacular!

The Best Hostels and Guesthouses in Croatia

As I mentioned above, I’ve visited Croatia during various stages of my travel career, both as a solo backpacker who was travelling on a shoestring budget and as part of a couple that was looking for all things private and mid-range. While I’ve not yet have the pleasure of visiting Croatia on a high-end budget, I believe I’ve learned a lot about how to travel cheaply throughout the country.

I always like to share which accommodation I stayed in on my travels, as well as recommend alternatives when mine sucked. Everywhere I recommend below has excellent reviews and offers great value for money.

Here’s my list of my favourite accommodation options in Croatia:

Dubrovnik — Villa Konalic Hotel Dubrovnik (€22 a night): Dubrovnik is easily the most expensive part of Croatia, so if you’re travelling on a budget, you’ll want to look outside the Old Town for an affordable (and more quiet) place to stay. Villa Konalic is the best of the options here, located three miles from the city walls, but there’s a bus you can take to make the journey into town easier. The staff are lovely, the Wi-Fi is fast, there’s air conditioning (vital in summer), and there’s a kitchen you can use to save money on food.
→ Check rates for Villa KonalicRead reviews on TripAdvisor

Split —  Old Town Hostel Split (€11 a night): This cosy hostel has one of the best locations in the city, so the fact that it’s so inexpensive makes staying there a no-brainer! The staff are great and have so many recommendations to share with guests, and it’s surprisingly quiet given its central location. If you’re a solo traveller, this is also a fantastic place to meet people! If you’re older, you might want to skip this one, as it tends to attract a younger crowd and offers free welcome shots to guests.
→ Check rates for Old Town Hostel Split | Read reviews on TripAdvisor

Brac — Pansion Ivan & Ivana (€39 a night): Brac is a fantastic alternative to Hvar if you want to avoid the crowds, although it’s easy to island-hop between the two islands, so you can get the best of both worlds. Brac is home to a fairly famous beach called Zlatni Rat — the stones that were used to build the White House were sourced from this very location! Pansion Ivan & Ivana is easily the best place to stay on the island. The breakfasts are delicious and filling, the rooms are cleaned every day, and Ivan and Ivana are so, so friendly. Highly recommended!
→ Check rates for Pansion Ivan & Ivana | Read reviews on TripAdvisor

Zadar — Hostel Sunset (€15 a night): I love Zadar! Unfortunately, I didn’t love the hostel I stayed in while I was in town, but Hostel Sunset sounds like the best option for budget travellers. Reviewers gush over its quiet location beside the beach, praise the cleanliness of their rooms, and write about how the owner was incredibly welcoming. I’d opt to stay here on a future visit to Zadar.
→ Check rates for Hostel Sunset | Read reviews on TripAdvisor

Hvar — Apartments Desa Petric (€37 a night): I’ve yet to visit Hvar — mostly because I try to avoid expensive islands in the height of high season — but for those of you who are aiming to visit, Apartments Desa Patric looks to have the best reviews for the lowest price. Reviews write about the incredible owners who offer lifts to and from the airport/port, the large and spacious apartment offering great value for money, and the well-equipped kitchen combined with a terrace for eating meals on.
→ Check rates for Apartments Desa Petric | Read reviews on TripAdvisor

Pag — Hotel Biser (€37 a night): The island of Pag isn’t typically included on travellers’ itineraries in Croatia, but I found it to be an excellent island alternative if you want to escape the crowds in high season. I didn’t like the accommodation I chose for my stay in Pag, but Hotel Biser looks like a much better option — it’s one of the highest rated hotels on the island! Hotel Biser offers great value for money, has a beautiful view overlooking the water, serves a delicious breakfast, and comes equipped with air conditioning and Wi-Fi.
→ Check rates for Hotel Biser | Read reviews on TripAdvisor

Plitvice Lakes National Park — Villa Jezerka (€46 a night): I loved my stay at Villa Jezerka in Plitvice Lakes National Park, and have sent so many of my readers there since visiting! I chose it because it was easily the cheapest accommodation that was close to the park, but still received fantastic reviews from guests. It didn’t disappoint. You’ll likely spend most of your time walking in the park, but when you’re at the villa, you’ll be greeted by lovely staff, eat a filling breakfast, and generally stay in a clean and spacious environment. No complaints at all, and I was happy with the price.
→ Check rates for Villa Jezerka | Read reviews on TripAdvisor

Zagreb — Chillout Hostel (€10 a night):If you’re on a budget, there’s no reason not to stay at Chillout Hostel. I stayed here during my first visit to Zagreb and loved how sociable it was! It’s a bit of a party hostel, so if that’s not your scene, look to stay elsewhere, but if you’re up for making new friends and exploring the city’s bar scene, this is a great option. The staff are incredible, the location can’t be beaten, and you’ll come away having met a ton of kickass people!
→ Check rates for Chillout Hostel | Read reviews on TripAdvisor

Pula — Crazy House Hostel (€31 a night): Pula has been my biggest Croatian oversight so far, and I still can’t believe I haven’t made it there yet! When I do finally visit, though, I fully plan on staying at Crazy House Hostel. Don’t let the name put you off — the hostel itself is quiet, and guests are told not to make noise beyond 11 p.m., guaranteeing you a good night’s sleep. The hostel itself is in a good location next to the famous amphitheatre, the beds are comfortable, and the terrace looks like the perfect place to kick back and have a couple of beers after a long day of sightseeing.
→ Check rates for Crazy House Hostel | Read reviews on TripAdvisor

Pula's roman amphitheatre from above
Pula doesn’t usually make it to most tourists’ itineraries, but it’s worth visiting for its gorgeous amphitheatre alone

How to Save Money on Transportation in Croatia

Transportation is fairly inexpensive in Croatia, so you won’t need to worry about it upping your travel budget by too much. The best and cheapest way to travel the country is by bus or ferry.

Domestic buses will take you pretty much anywhere you need them to, and are fast, comfortable, and modern. You can expect your ride to come with power sockets and Wi-Fi, air conditioning, and large, spacious seats, making it a no-brainer to go for the bus over anything else. If you book your bus tickets in advance through Arriva, you can save 5% on the price of your ticket and not have to worry about the bus being full.

If you’re anything like me, though, you can’t imagine visiting Croatia and not spending time on some of its gorgeous islands. In this case, you’re going to want to hop on a ferry to get from the mainland to paradise. You can find a map of the ferry routes here — and most ferries run at least once a day in peak season.

Keep in mind that if you’re going to be renting a car in Croatia, you’ll pay quite a bit extra to take it on the ferries, so it may work out cheaper for you to find somewhere to park for free before heading to the islands on foot.

When it comes to hiring a car to drive around Croatia, you shouldn’t feel intimidated. Even my parents managed a two-week road trip around the country without any hassle, and said it was a far more peaceful experience compared to nearby Italy.

As always, you’ll have far more independence if you decide to drive through Croatia, as you’ll be able to stop off whenever you feel like it, take detours to tiny villages, and stop at spectacular viewpoints to take photos whenever you want.

Parking is going to be your main issue when it comes to driving in Croatia. Many of the popular tourist destinations are pedestrianised, so you may find yourself driving around for half an hour in search of a parking space. If you’re happy to park up at your accommodation and then take public transport or walk, you’ll have a much easier experience.

You can also hire scooters in Croatia, so if you’re competent on two wheels, you may want to opt for this instead! You’ll pay less to hire them and won’t find parking as difficult either.

Flying is typically expensive and time-consuming, so you’ll want to skip out on that if at all possible. You’ll save money and see a lot more of the country by travelling overland.

Here are some of the typical transportation costs you can expect to run into while in Croatia:

  • Bus from Dubrovnik to Split: €12
  • Bus from Zagreb to Zadar: €11
  • Bus from Zagreb to Plitvice Lakes: €10
  • Ferry from Dubrovnik to Hvar: €28 
  • Ferry from Dubrovnik to Brac: €29
  • Ferry from Split to Brac: €12
  • Bus from Zagreb to Pula: €13
Seafood beside the ocean in Croatia
If you eat seafood, you’re going to love the food in Croatia!

How to Save Money on Food in Croatia

Food can be expensive in Croatia, but there are plenty of ways to cut costs while you travel around this beautiful country.

Cooking is always going to be more affordable than eating out, so if you’re willing to sacrifice some meals on your vacation, this is a great way to keep on track with your budget. Hostels will usually give you access to a shared kitchen, and if you’re opting for an Airbnb, you can check that it allows you access to the kitchen. If that’s the case, you can head to a local market (a great cultural experience) and stock up on fish, vegetables, and fruits, and spend far less on your meals than you would at a restaurant.

Many hostels and hotels will offer free breakfasts within their room rate, so if that’s the case, I always recommend eating later in the morning and eating a lot of food, as you may find you’re too full to have lunch. If you’re particularly sneaky, you may be able to grab an extra bread roll from the breakfast offerings and have that for lunch, too.

You’re also going to want to opt for a larger lunch and a smaller dinner. Most restaurants charge less for their lunch menus, even though they’re serving the exact same meal for lunch and dinner. If you can eat a bigger meal for lunch, you can then get by with a much smaller one for dinner and save money through doing so.

In general, you should expect to spend the following on each meal:

  • Breakfast: €2 each for bacon and eggs; €6 each for something in a hipster cafe.
  • Lunch: €7 each for a sandwich/slice of pizza from a deli with a soft drink
  • Dinner: €10 each if you’re on a budget, €18 each for a mid-range restaurant, €35 each for something higher-end.

One thing to keep in mind is that you’ll often be given bread, olive oil, and vinegar with lunches and dinner in Croatia, so you should aim to take full advantage of this. Bread can be super-filling and allow you to then opt for an appetiser for dinner in order to save money. Even if the bread and oil isn’t free, it won’t be more than a couple of Euros, so this can really keep your costs low. Plus, the bread and oil in Croatia is fantastic!

I don’t often have much success with this suggestion, but I do recommend keeping an eye on your drink consumption while travelling in Croatia. Alcohol is obviously a big budget buster on the road (and Croatian wines can be quite pricey in restaurants), so if you’re happy to substitute the sodas, juices, and booze for tap water, you’ll save a ton of money. And yes, the tap water is safe to drink in Croatia, so you really don’t need to worry about buying bottled water. If you’re nervous about it, invest in a GRAYL water purifier to ensure every drop of water you drink is safe and clean — I used mine to drink the tap water in places like Mozambique and the Congo and didn’t once get sick!

If you’re determined to jump headfirst into the Croatian food scene and don’t want to spend your vacation cooking, you should look to eat at the konobas and pizzerias as opposed to the fancier restaurants. Konobas are small family-run restaurants that offer big dishes and low prices, and sometimes even family-made wine. If in doubt, avoid anywhere with white tablecloths and a big English menu outside, because that means it’s set up for tourists and charging more. Delis are great options for lunches, as they offer sandwiches for low prices.

You can always ask the locals for food recommendations, too! Ask at your accommodation for recommendations on the best budget eats, or simply walk around and see which restaurants are full of locals. In the case of the more tourist-filled cities, like Dubrovnik, you’ll find that just walking a couple of blocks outside of the Old Town is all you need to do to find cheaper prices in restaurants.

Here are some typical prices of food in Croatia to help you budget better:

  • Combo meal at McDonald’s: €4.50
  • Pint of draught beer: €2.00
  • A bottle of house wine in a restaurant: €12.00
  • A slice of pizza: €2.50
  • Sandwich from a deli for lunch: €2.90
  • A 30 cm pizza for dinner: €11.00
  • Seafood dish in a fancy restaurant: €27.00
  • Cappuccino in an expat area of town: €1.50
  • Litre of milk: €0.75
  • A loaf of bread: €0.80
  • A dozen eggs: €1.80
  • 1 kilogram of tomatoes: €1.40
  • 1 kilogram of potatoes: €0.80
  • A 1.5l bottle of water: €0.90
  • A risotto for lunch: €10.50
  • A steak dinner: €17.50
  • Famous Croatian lamb from the spit: €16.50
  • A gyros for lunch: €2.00
  • A local meal from a konobos for dinner with wine: €18 each
  • A three course meal and wine in a high-end restaurant in Dubrovnik: €50 each
Turquoise colour of Plitvice Lakes
Exploring Plitvice Lakes National Park may be expensive at $25 per person, but it’s so worth the entrance fee!

How to Save Money on Activities in Croatia

We’ve covered accommodation, transportation, and food, but let’s face it: you’re not going to have the trip of a lifetime if you skip out on entrance fees and activities! Here’s a detailed breakdown of some of the costs you’re likely to encounter while travelling around Croatia:

  • Walking the city walls in Dubrovnik: $24
  • Entrance to Plitvice Lakes National Park: $25
  • Entrance to Krka Waterfalls National Park: $25
  • A Game of Thrones-themed walking tour in Dubrovnik: $70
  • Entrance to Pula’s amphitheatre: $9.20
  • Hiring a sea kayak for one hour in Dubrovnik: $25
  • A day trip to Montenegro from Dubrovnik: $58
  • Entrance to the Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb: $5
  • Cost of SplitCard, giving you free entrance to museums, plus free use of buses in the city: $6 

There are plenty of free activities to participate in, too, while you’re in Croatia, and I know that I had a fantastic time simply wandering through the Old Towns, exploring local markets, sunbathing on beaches, and making the most of the museums that don’t charge for entrance.

While, for example, you’ll get a great view of Dubrovnik by walking the city walls, you could be just as satisfied by walking the streets of the Old Town, as it’s just as beautiful from the ground as it is from above. If you love beaches, you’ll save money on activities by lounging out on the sand/pebbles rather than jumping on a banana boat or hiring some snorkelling gear. Markets are always a great way to get a taste of the local culture without spending any money, and simply heading out for a stroll through some of the more local neighbourhoods will introduce you to lesser-visited parts of the country. Yes, if you’re looking to save money on activities, my biggest recommendation is to walk everywhere — Croatia is so beautiful that there’s always something wonderful to see.

If, like me, you love taking tours to get to know a country better, I recommend heading to Viator for inspiration. They have a whole range of activities and tours available, like day trips to Bosnia ($52) or Slovenia ($82) to boost your country count, a Game of Thrones tour in Split ($80), and an island-hopping trip to five Croatian islands ($130).

Beach in Brac
I loved spending time on this gorgeous beach in Brac, and even better: it was totally free to do so!

Miscellaneous Items to Buy for a Trip to Croatia

A Croatia guidebook: A guidebook will give you an in-depth look into Croatia’s culture, suggest the perfect itineraries for the amount of time you have, and offer recommendations for where to eat and what’s worth doing. I like Lonely Planet guidebooks, and their Croatia offering receives great reviews.

A dry bagCroatia is all about the water, so I highly recommend packing a dry bag to take with you. A dry bag has saved me while travelling on so many occasions:

  • On a kayaking trip from Koh Yao Noi to Koh Nok, a freak wave splashed over me, as well as my camera and phone. Had I not had them in a dry bag, the water damage would have likely destroyed them.
  • On a ferry ride in Thailand, the boat sprung a leak and began to sink. I was able to put my laptop, camera, hard drive, passport, and money in my dry bag, seal it up, and know that they’d stay safe and dry if the worst were to happen.
  • I chartered a yacht in Greece and relied heavily on my dry bag while I was there. When mooring in tiny bays, I was able to fill my dry bag with my camera, towel, and sunscreen, jump in the sea, and swim to the nearest empty beach without worrying about keeping my belongings dry.
  • I also think dry bags are fantastic for solo travellers on beach days. It’s tough going to the beach when you’re travelling alone because you’ll need to bring nothing with you, risk getting robbed while you’re in the ocean, or stay on the sand at all times. If you have a dry bag, you can fill it up with your valuables and take it for a swim with you, rather than leaving them on your towel and hoping nobody will grab them.

I love all things Sea to Summit, and after trying several of their dry bags out, my champion is the Ultra-Sil 8L — it’s durable, thin, lightweight, and has never let me down.

Travel insurance: If you’ve read any other posts on Never Ending Footsteps, you’ll know that I’m a great believer in travelling with travel insurance. I’ve seen far too many Go Fund Me campaigns from destitute backpackers that are unexpectedly stranded in a foreign country after a scooter accident/being attacked/breaking a leg with no way of getting home or paying for their healthcare. In short, if you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel.

Travel insurance will cover you if your flight is cancelled and you need to book a new one, if your luggage gets lost and you need to replace your belongings, if you suddenly get struck down by kidney stones and have to be hospitalised, have your camera stolen and need to buy a replacement, or discover a family member has died while you’re overseas and now you need to get home immediately. If you fall seriously ill, your insurance will cover the costs to fly you home to receive medical treatment.

I’ve used World Nomads as my travel insurance provider since 2012 and have nothing but wonderful things to say about them.

How Much Did I Spend on My Trip to Croatia?

I always like to share my own personal expenses when travelling in a country, as I think it helps you figure out what you should be expecting to pay each day while you’re there. A list of expenses is great and helpful, of course, but putting them all together in order to come up with a reasonable estimate can be trickier.

Here’s what I’ve spent on average over my six weeks in Croatia:

Accommodation: €19 per day 
Transportation: €7
Food: €23 per day
Activities: €2 per day

My average daily cost of travel in Croatia is therefore: €51 per day. Not bad at all!

How much does it cost to travel in Croatia? This detailed budget guide breaks down how you can visit for less than $50 a day.
How much does it cost to travel in Croatia? This detailed budget guide breaks down how you can visit for less than $50 a day.

Photo of Split waterfront by xbrchx/Shutterstock; of Dubrovnik by Anna Lurye/Shutterstock; of the beach by Kite_Rin/Shutterstock; of Plitvice by Maurizio De Mattei/Shutterstock; of Pula by OPIS Zagreb/Shutterstock; of squid meal by Jana Kollarova/Shutterstock.

Previous The Sea Organ and Sun Salutation of Zadar
Next Lauren Vs. Food: Squid (Yes, Really)

79 Comments

  1. Sarah
    August 8, 2014
    Reply

    Dude, this guide is fantastic!

    If I were there, I would have a really hard time leaving! I understand why you extended your initial trip by a few weeks.

    • Lauren
      August 9, 2014
      Reply

      Right?! The longer I spent in Croatia, the more I wanted to see. You could spend months just travelling up and down the coastline.

    • Valentina
      January 17, 2021
      Reply

      Hello!
      I do not think that this is nice: ‘I usually recommend not staying in an entire Airbnb apartment’.
      You should know, that most of the people on the coast and on the Islands, live from renting apartments, from 30 euro and up and also, when you stay in apartment you can save a lot of money for food (not 23 euro a day for shore).
      So you help local people and you save money at the same time. 😊

      Wish you a nice day.
      Valentina

      • Lauren
        January 17, 2021
        Reply

        Airbnb is destroying cities and towns around the world, and having seen this destruction first hand, I am not comfortable recommending my readers to stay in Airbnb apartments. You help the locals who own properties, sure, but you fuck over everybody else who now can’t afford to pay rent because everything in their town is now an expensive Airbnb apartment. It raises the prices of accommodation for locals.

        So sorry, I believe staying in Airbnb apartments is an unethical practice and I don’t support it. Do you own an Airbnb apartment?

  2. Kris Koeller
    August 8, 2015
    Reply

    Very nice!

    • Lauren
      August 9, 2015
      Reply

      Thanks Kris! :)

  3. Kimme
    May 27, 2016
    Reply

    I wasn’t sure about visiting Croatia later this year, but the photos in this post now have me convinced! It looks like a very beautiful country. One small suggestion I have is that it would be useful if you could share some of the costs of food and drink so that we can create a travel budget with more ease. Appreciate all of your tips in this very useful post.

    • Lauren
      June 8, 2016
      Reply

      That’s a great suggestion, Kimme! My posts are always a work in progress, so I love receiving feedback on how they can be improved. I’ll get working on that today :-)

  4. Abhijit
    April 9, 2017
    Reply

    Great advice! My question to you is where would you recommend going in Croatia if you had just two weeks in August and a small budget? Thank you

    • Lauren
      April 11, 2017
      Reply

      Hmmm. If it was me, I’d do the following:

      3 nights in Zagreb
      2 nights in Plitvice
      3 nights in Zadar
      3 nights in Split
      3 nights in Brac

      And then back to Split to fly out. I’d avoid both Dubrovnik and Hvar as they’re going to be very expensive over summer.

  5. Sheryll
    May 3, 2017
    Reply

    Wow! Holy Moly. It’s my dream to see a landscape like the ones you’ve shared in this post. I haven’t been to Europe before (I live in the USA) so I have other countries at the top of my bucket list before Croatia but this is making me think I need to visit Croatia too. There’s too many places in this world to see!

    • Lauren
      May 3, 2017
      Reply

      I definitely understand that, Sheryll. But while Western Europe often receives all of the glory, there are parts of Eastern Europe that are just as beautiful. I hope you make it to both sometime soon :-)

  6. Mike
    June 5, 2017
    Reply

    Well I was so pleased with my Italian Lake photos until I saw these!!! Awesome

    • Lauren
      June 6, 2017
      Reply

      Thanks, Dad! :-)

  7. rommel
    July 28, 2017
    Reply

    Hi!
    I will be there in Croatia in the middle of August. Appreciated this guide as it helped me understand how much I will spend when there. Should I not go to Dubrovnik in August because it will be busy/costly?

    Kind regards

    • Lauren
      July 29, 2017
      Reply

      Hmmm. Well, I really liked Dubrovnik, but it was packed in the summer months! It’s a beautiful spot and there’s a reason why it’s so popular with cruise ships and tourists, but you have to weigh up whether that beauty is worth spending a lot of money and dealing with a ton of crowds. If you can afford it, go for it. If you’re worried about the costs, choose to go somewhere like Split instead.

  8. Ofelia
    December 6, 2017
    Reply

    Wow, easily the best guide to Croatia I’ve seen today. Thank you for putting all of this information together, very useful. I plan to visit Croatia in April so I’m releaved to see it won’t be too expensive at that time of year.

    • Lauren
      December 8, 2017
      Reply

      Thank you so much, Ofelia! That means a lot. I hope you have a wonderful trip :-)

  9. Jordan
    February 22, 2018
    Reply

    Really appreciated that you included everything in this post, Lauren. I’ve just bought the dry bag you recommended, as it sounds like a lifesaver!! Any thoughts on yacht week in Croatia? Costs, etc?

    • Lauren
      February 22, 2018
      Reply

      Thanks Jordan :-) I actually have a couple of friends who did yacht week in Croatia and they said that if you’re not really into partying it’s not a great option. They’re definitely pretty chill and found they didn’t really vibe with the people on their boat who were all about drinking and hooking up.

      In terms of costs, well, I haven’t actually done it myself, but from a quick look online, it looks like it’ll cost around $4,000 for the yacht for a week, although you’ll be splitting that with a bunch of people, so it might not work out to be that expensive.

      Hope you have a great trip if you do decide to go. You’ll have to let me know what Yacht Week is like!

  10. Kaila Yu
    March 28, 2018
    Reply

    Amazing photos. This was a really helpful post for my upcoming trip and I’ll be sure to stay at some of the guesthouses you recommend too.

    • Lauren
      March 29, 2018
      Reply

      No problem! Glad you found it useful :-) Have an amazing trip!

  11. Mimo
    April 7, 2018
    Reply

    Wonderful post, Lauren, coming from a Croatian. I wonder though have you visited islands like Hvar or Brač and checked their beautiful sunsets. Btw, I’m impressed with your knowledge about places you visit and some details that even I wasn’t aware of. You’ve done your homework, girl!

    • Lauren
      April 7, 2018
      Reply

      Thanks Mimo!

      I spent a few days in Brac, and also visited Pag too. Didn’t get a chance to see many sunsets there though!

  12. Arni
    May 1, 2018
    Reply

    WE LOVE CROATIA! Great post Lauren. Covers everything I could say and more about the cost of travel in Croatia. Cracking read. Great. We celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary in Split and have been returning every two years ever since. Love it. If anyone’s reading this and debating whether to go or not, I say do it! One of my favorite countries.

    • Lauren
      May 1, 2018
      Reply

      Wow, what a recommendation! Split sounds would be a pretty perfect place to celebrate an anniversary.

  13. Cynthia
    August 7, 2018
    Reply

    YES! I love Croatia and I love this post, Lauren. I agree that it’s more expensive than other countries in the Balkans, but it’s still a lot cheaper than countries in Western Europe. One thing I couldn’t believe was how expensive it was to walk the city walls in Dubrovnik. Not worth the money imo.

    • Lauren
      August 7, 2011
      Reply

      Yeah, seriously. Dubrovnik as a whole can be pretty over-the-top expensive — it was a bit of a shock to the system when I landed on my first day of my big trip and was like whoa, my money is not going to last as long as I thought. Fortunately, everywhere else in Croatia was much more affordable, and let’s face it: Dubrovnik is pretty special, so it’s worth the expense to a lot of people.

  14. Toni
    August 8, 2018
    Reply

    OMG I really can’t wait to get to Croatia etc one day – so awesome hun =)

    • Lauren
      August 9, 2018
      Reply

      You’d love it here!

  15. Kyle
    August 9, 2018
    Reply

    This has me looking at flights to Croatia based on those stunning photos alone! I’m a mega GoTs fan so the fact that you mentioned all of those tours is so exciting. I’d love to see all of the filming locations, and then the beautiful beaches will just top it all off nicely.

    • Lauren
      August 10, 2018
      Reply

      You know I haven’t ever watched Game of Thrones before? A big oversight of mine! But I know that my friends who love the show have had so much fun geeking out over all the filming locations in Dubrovnik and Split. I hope you decide to book a flight to Croatia!

  16. Bob Crunch
    August 10, 2018
    Reply

    So many great tips in this article. You’ve made planning this trip so much easier. I now feel like I can visit Croatia on the cheap while retaining some comfort levels. Looking forward to trying to food after you have sold it so well. Thanks.

    • Lauren
      January 8, 2019
      Reply

      Hey, thanks so much! Enjoy all of that fresh and tasty seafood for me :-)

  17. Thomas | JusGetaway
    August 19, 2018
    Reply

    I really didn’t know much about Croatia until I stumbled across this post. Fantastic! You’re really selling it to your readers and now I’m trying to work out if I can squeeze in a visit before the end of summer.

    • Lauren
      August 21, 2018
      Reply

      Ooh, I hope you can! September would be a really good time to visit, as there aren’t many crowds and the prices are starting to drop.

  18. Dan
    September 2, 2018
    Reply

    I’ve been to Croatia numerous times from AUSTRALIA as I’m addicted to the country, easily one of the most beautiful places in the world. It’s the sort of place that you don’t need landmarks and sites because the atmosphere, nature, beauty, medieval feel , smells, sounds just make this place heaven on earth for me. One of my most amazing sights was driving to our base on the beautiful island of Murter from a late night clubbing. It was 5.30-6am approx in the morning and the sun was coming up as we were crossing from the mainland to the island via bridge and at that moment the colours an beauty of the place overwhelmed me. I have seen many beautiful sunsets in Croatia, what makes them amazing is the deep red and orange colours. I’ve never seen them so vivid anywhere and I’ve been half way around the world.

    • Lauren
      September 4, 2018
      Reply

      I totally agree with you about the sunsets! Some of the best I’ve ever seen were while travelling in Zadar. Incredible colours!

  19. Charlotte
    September 5, 2018
    Reply

    Thank you so much for putting this together. I have been trying to work out where to go with my boyfriend on holiday next week and I think I’ve just settled on Croatia. Your post made it really easy to decide with all of the photos and information on how to travel there on a budget. I love your style of writing as well.

    • Lauren
      September 6, 2018
      Reply

      Thanks so much, Charlotte! You’re going to have an amazing trip :-)

  20. Claire
    October 7, 2018
    Reply

    Hi Lauren.

    If you could travel to Croatia during any month, which would you choose? Taking into account the weather, the crowds, and the prices. I’m thinking May or September is probably best? Do you have strong feelings either way?

    • Lauren
      January 8, 2019
      Reply

      I’d probably go for September, just because there’s a school holiday in May that might clash with your travel dates and could push the prices up. For weather, as well, the average temperatures in September are around 25, compared to 22 for May. So not a huge difference, but 25 is a little nicer in my eyes.

      I don’t really think you’d regret going for either month, but I’d probably choose September.

  21. Emma
    October 18, 2018
    Reply

    Amazing blog Lauren. What do you recommend for a solo traveler to Croatia btw? Should I stay in hostels and is it safe? Did you get lonely on your own or is it easy to meet people? I know I need to just get there and experience it for myself but its always intimidating to go to a new place by yourself.

    • Lauren
      January 8, 2019
      Reply

      Croatia is super safe! You really don’t have to worry, Emma. I never once felt in danger over my six weeks in the country, and found it easy to meet people in hostels. I’d recommend staying in them as a solo traveller if you’re looking to meet people — you could always stay in a private room if you’re not down for sleeping in a dorm.

  22. Erik
    January 7, 2019
    Reply

    Thank you so, so much for this detailed breakdown Lauren. Can I ask which islands you’d most recommend visiting if you have two weeks in Croatia? Are you missing out if you don’t spend much time on the mainland?

    • Lauren
      January 8, 2019
      Reply

      Fun question! One thing you could do is to fly into Dubrovnik, and then take the ferry up to Hvar and Brac, then fly out of Split, so that way you’d get to see some of the mainland as well as the islands. Korcula is another great option for an island that’s close to Hvar and Brac if you want less time on the mainland.

      I personally really like the mainland spots in Croatia, and think they have just as much to offer as the islands, but it really depends on what you’re into. If you love beaches, they tend to be better on the islands. If you’re into mountains and villages, I think the mainland has better options.

  23. Julia Anne
    February 5, 2019
    Reply

    Thanks for the wonderful tips! I’m thinking of going to Croatia from the US, possibly this coming April or May. What do you think about traveling there in April, mainly due to the weather and accessibility to shops, museums, attractions, etc.? Also, are you familiar with any tours offered that you could recommend as I may be traveling alone (I’m in my early 60s). Thanks!

  24. Nyang
    February 16, 2019
    Reply

    Hi Lauren. It’s such an awesome article you built. I appreciate.
    I am looking for a suitable market for pets and precious stones in Croatia. Please if you have an idea how I can go about this let me know.
    Thanks

    • Lauren
      February 17, 2019
      Reply

      Ah, sorry, I’m afraid I really don’t know!

  25. Molly Burns
    February 21, 2019
    Reply

    Thanks Lauren! This was really helpful in planning a daily budget for our delayed honeymoon/1 year anniversary trip there in September. We are flying into Naples and staying on the Amalfi Coast before driving across to fly from Bari to Dubrovnik. Then I planned Dubrovnik to Hvar, to Brac, to Markarska, to Split then fly to Venice then home:( . Does this seem like a good itinerary? I would’ve loved to make it up north more but maybe another trip. I cannot wait!!! Any advice is greatly appreciated.

  26. Michelle
    March 5, 2019
    Reply

    Hi Lauren,

    This information is great. Is it possible to see Croatia in a week?

    • Lauren
      March 5, 2019
      Reply

      For a week, I’d suggest picking either the north or the south. So for the south, you could check out Dubrovnik, Split, and Hvar/Zadar. And for the north, you could go with Zagreb, Plitvice, and Pula/Rijeka/Zadar. Or just choose two places for each, if you want more of a relaxed holiday.

      Both itineraries would give you a good feel for the country, and I’d be happy doing either :-)

  27. Vicki Pfeiffer
    March 10, 2019
    Reply

    Hi Lauren
    Your experience and information is amazing…thank you so much.

    We are traveling to Dubrovnik on our way to Rome but only have 2 days.
    Is there a self guided walking tour map of some of the movie sites in Dubrovnik?
    We are renting a car and would love to see the non tourist beach you picture in your blog. Is there a name or information on how to get there?

    Thank you so much and I hope you get to feeling better

    • Lauren
      March 10, 2019
      Reply

      The beach in that photo is Podrace Beach, in Brela. It’s unfortunately probably going to be too far for you to drive out to from Dubrovnik. For the filming locations, your best bet is just to google around. For example, this post is super detailed for Game of Thrones, with a map included: https://hellojetlag.com/dubrovnik-game-of-thrones-locations/ — there should be be similar guides for movies that have been filmed there, like Star Wars.

      Hope you have a wonderful time in Dubrovnik! :-)

  28. Kelsey b
    March 11, 2019
    Reply

    Thanks for all the info!! My bf and I will be heading to Croatia in late-June and we’ve planned to do a lot of grocery shopping on our own. How did you find the grocery stores and where would you recommend?? We’ll be in Dubrovnik, Split, Zadar and Zagreb overnight, but many other places for day trips.
    Thanks!

  29. FrankMax
    March 22, 2019
    Reply

    In your opinion, is it safe to travel to Croatia? You’ve spent a lot of time there, so I’d love to know your thoughts.

    • Lauren
      March 27, 2019
      Reply

      Yes! Very safe. I didn’t have any safety issues in Croatia and feel comfortable recommending it as a safe travel destination. I feel safer there than I do in my home country and the U.S.!

  30. Elaine
    April 4, 2019
    Reply

    Hey Lauren,
    We plan to visit Croatia this September. Can you recommend a day or less bike tours that takes us to some cool places that is not too strenuous? Either by a guide or by renting bikes and exploring on our own. Your information has been so helpful to us and appreciate you taking all the time and effort in posting this.

  31. Diane
    April 9, 2019
    Reply

    Another great post, I can’t thank you enough for these budget travel guides. I’m planning on spending two weeks in Croatia in June, traveling to Dubrovnik, Split, Plitvice, and Zagreb, and I’m hoping to keep my budget under $60 a day. Do you think this is possible?

  32. Shraddha
    April 11, 2019
    Reply

    Hey Lauren, Lovely article :-)

    I am planning to go Croatia this Sept with my 1.5 year old Infant. Will it be feasible to visit the places along with a kid, Also I am planning to hire a car along with driver or you would recommend to take daily trips from Zagreb to all across Croatia?

    Many Thanks,
    Shraddha

  33. Trevor
    May 1, 2019
    Reply

    What a great post! Very informative – just what I needed. Thank you.

    • Lauren
      May 4, 2019
      Reply

      No problem! Hope you have a wonderful time in Croatia :-)

  34. Meghan Courtney
    May 21, 2019
    Reply

    if you only had 5 days to see some of croatia, what would you do to make it worth it on the cheap?

  35. Chris
    May 25, 2019
    Reply

    A very comprehensive article. Thanks for taking the time to put it together – much appreciated. I’m still in the very early stages of planning my world trip but this info has sown the seed of curiosity about visiting Croatia thank you.

    • Lauren
      May 29, 2019
      Reply

      Yay! I’m so happy to hear that, Chris :-)

  36. Nicholas McKenzie
    June 9, 2019
    Reply

    Great post Lauren and very informative. Thanks very much for this. Best regards, Nicholas

    • Lauren
      June 10, 2019
      Reply

      Thanks for reading!

  37. Ivan
    June 11, 2019
    Reply

    Hi Lauren,

    It might help to know that American Airlines has recently introduced a direct line connecting Philadelphia and Dubrovnik during the season months (June through September). If my memory serves me well, they will operate 3 flights per week.

    Kind regards
    Ivan

    • Lauren
      June 11, 2019
      Reply

      Thank you so much! Will add it to the post :-)

  38. Victoria
    June 30, 2019
    Reply

    Thank you for the awesome guidelines :)

    • Lauren
      July 4, 2019
      Reply

      Thanks for reading! :-)

  39. Hayley
    July 7, 2019
    Reply

    This has been so helpful! I noticed the typical pricing has the euro symbol next to it, have you given the pricing in euro to make things easier to compare to or is the price actually in Kuna as I read you should take Kuna. I’m going in 3 weeks and just trying to work out a budget

  40. Adithya
    July 25, 2019
    Reply

    Amazing post, I almost convinced my wife that we will greece in October in between someone said why not greece and then I explored I found your post..I strongly believe that anyone reading your post is 100’% convinced with your recommendation. Thanks so much keep writing… we are planning to travel this October. Any advise that you can recommend ?

  41. Paul RYKEN
    September 26, 2019
    Reply

    We also document every cent of our travels, partially to show how affordable travel can be, but mainly to ensure we stick to a budget. We only have limited funds (as do most people) and try to be frugal in some areas while still having the ability to learn about the culture, cuisine, people and history of a country.

    And in the end, our costs were very similar to yours. Always good to have several data points to compare.

    • Lauren
      October 21, 2019
      Reply

      Sweet! Glad to hear your costs matched up with mine :-)

  42. Rose
    November 16, 2020
    Reply

    Hi Lauren,
    This may be a hard question to answer, but I thought I’d put it out there:) I have dual citizenship (U.S. / Ireland) and was entertaining the idea of retiring in a European country. I was considering both Croatia and Portugal, based on my Internet research. I know that you spent some time in Lisbon and wondered how it would compare to, say, settling in Zagreb. I know Spanish so it would be easier to learn Portuguese. But I like where Croatia is situated (closer to more countries for visiting), and it also seems a little more affordable. It’s hard to get a sense of the cultures just by doing research online, but it sounds like the people are lovely in both places. I plan to visit soon and try it out, but I just wondered if you had any thoughts on this. Thanks, Rose

    • Lauren
      November 16, 2020
      Reply

      Hi Rose! Ah, those are two wonderful options :-)

      You’re correct in that Croatia is more affordable, but the language would be tricker to learn. And that locals in both countries are lovely and so friendly! English is spoken widely in both countries, so there wouldn’t be too high of a language barrier either way. There’d be a much larger community of expats/retirees in Portugal, as it is such a popular retirement destination, so it would probably be a lot easier to build a community there. Lisbon, to me, feels more like an *international city*, in that there are tons of different restaurants and cuisines and immigrants from countries all over — Zagreb doesn’t have that as much.

      I don’t know if that helps at all, but I think both options sound pretty good!

  43. Rose
    November 17, 2020
    Reply

    Your reply does help – thank you, Lauren! By the way, I’m sorry about the Brexit situation. I have an English cousin in Spain, and she was disappointed about the decision to leave. But on a positive note, it’s wonderful you live in a country that is so geographically close to so many interesting countries/cultures. I’m in Northern California, just outside of San Francisco (which sounds exciting), but you have to travel far (and by plane) to get to culturally distinct locations. I’m trying to keep my carbon footprint small, and I like the idea of visiting a variety of places by train. You’re fortunate that you have that option and at the same time be close to family. Thank you for your help and for a terrific website! Rose

  44. Rocko
    November 24, 2020
    Reply

    is it possible to rent a car in Zagreb drive and cover all the major cities, I did this in Italy and covered – Rome, Venice, Florence and all the way to Sorrento & Amalfi coast, the highways were excellent

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.