The cost of living in Croatia has grown steadily over the past few years, mainly influenced by the country’s economic growth, but also by the inflation that plagued the world in the past couple of years.
If you don’t want to go through all the details – although I recommend that as they paint a clearer picture, here is what you should expect to spend each month in Croatia if you live long-term here:
I estimate the average cost of living in Croatia to be between €1,200 – €1,500 per month in 2024, for a single person with moderate spending habits. Couples will pay less per person – around €1,000 each, as they’re splitting some major expenses, like rent.
I have to specify that the estimated living costs shared in this article are for living long term in Croatia, as opposed to traveling here for a shorter period of time.
If you are interested in estimates for a holiday here, it might be a better idea to check my prices in Croatia article.
Now, for those who plan to live here for the longer term, I’m going to split the estimated costs into the main categories, and also share my estimates based on my personal experience living in Croatia, as well as based on what I have discussed with other expats and digital nomads living here.
With these in mind, let’s jump straight in and check out the monthly cost of living in Croatia, both for major cities like Zagreb, Dubrovnik, Split and smaller ones.
What’s the estimated cost of living in Croatia this year?
As I said in the intro, Croatia’s prices kept going up over the past few years. Part of that was the increase in the salaries people earn here and inflation, and part of it was a natural effect of the tourism boost and the country’s economic boost.
Add to that the fact that Croatia has switched to using the Euro back in January 2023 – and this also had a slight effect over prices and living costs.
How much money do you need to live comfortably in Croatia?
I would say that in order to live a comfortable life here, one person should budget 1,500 Euros per month. While you can live on less, you will afford a better quality of life as an expat living on this budget, including regular eating out and a great rental.
Croatia remains a cheap country to live in, especially if you compare it with others in Western Europe, the US, Canada, Australia and so on.
With all these in mind, let’s check out the various costs you should budget for – and how much to plan each month.
Accommodation / rental prices in Croatia
Rent is still pretty much affordable in all cities here, even though prices have increased a bit over the years. It depends a lot when you come here to rent and for how long.
It’s better to look at one of the top all inclusive resorts here if you’re planning a vacation in order to get the biggest bang for your buck.
IMPORTANT: When looking at apartments for rent in Croatia, have in mind that people here usually refer to the total number of rooms in their listing and not the number of bedrooms!
So a 1 room apartment would be a studio, while a 3-room apartment would have 2 bedrooms and one living room. This is not always the rule, but make sure you keep an eye out for this important thing.
- Monthly rent for a studio in a good area: as low as 350 Euros per month. You can find even cheaper deals farther away from the center or in smaller towns.
- 1 Bedroom Apartment: 450 Euros / month. Can go up to 600 Euros per month if you want more luxury and even more for sea views in popular resorts.
- 2 Bedrooms Apartment: you can usually get the best deals in this category. There’s plenty to choose from for around 600 Euros per month.
Pro tip: when renting or searching for a place to rent, make sure that you look at local agencies that are aimed at Croatians, and not the fancy ones for foreigners.
The latter are more expensive and have far fewer properties to offer. Check out a website like njuskalo.hr for local prices (the website, however, is in Croatian only – use Google Translate with it to make it easier to navigate).
Local’s tip: Plan to start renting in the off season months (October – April) as this is when you will find the best deals.
From May to September, property owners who weren’t able to rent long term will usually switch to renting short term for higher gains.
Also, I have to repeat: the prices above are the minimum prices you should expect to pay, and they can go a lot higher really fast.
Finally, it all depends on where you want to live: larger cities are more expensive (Zagreb being the most expensive, for example), while smaller towns and villages are obviously less expensive in this category.
Monthly food costs in Croatia
This is always one of the most difficult categories to estimate, because people can spend here anything from pennies to little fortunes.
So I have to say that I am basing the estimations below on my own experience and way of eating when in Croatia (which is cooking at home a lot, but also taking advantage of the cheap fish & local products).
I estimate that you will spend around €400 per month on food if you’re living alone in Croatia. A couple should expect to spend around €600 per month. Both estimates include eating out one-two times each week at local taverns (Konoba Fetivi).
I repeat: these costs can vary greatly depending on your lifestyle. If you eat out a lot, expenses will go up really fast.
But if you cook a lot of food at home from base ingredients, you will spend much less as food is generally cheap here, especially when purchased from local peasant markets.
If you’re looking to compare some costs – or at least know what to expect, here is a list of products that you can find in the stores and their prices:
- Tomatoes (1 kg): €1.50 (depending on the season, cheaper during summer/autumn)
- Potatoes (1 kg): €1.00
- Lettuce (1 head): €1.00
- Apples (1 kg): €1.00 – €1.50
- Oranges (1 Kg): around 1 Euro
- Bananas (1 Kg): €1.2
- Cheese (1 Kg): €7.5
- Eggs (10 eggs): €2.50
- Chicken Breasts, boneless, skinless (1 kg): €8.50
- Fresh fish, local (1 kg): €5.00
- Loaf of Bread (300 grams): €0.90
- Milk (1 Liter – store brands): €1.20
- Bottle of cheap local wine: €4.50
- Bottle of better local wine: €8.50
- Beer (0.5 liter): €1.00 (in stores)
- Sparkling water (1.5 l): €1.00
- Bottled water (7 l): €2.00
- Bottle of natural juice (1 liter): €2.5
Related reading: Best Restaurants & Pubs in Split, Croatia
Restaurant prices in Croatia
When it comes to eating out in a restaurant, prices remain low even in the touristy Croatia.
You can easily find daily menu offers for around 8-10 Euros per person with everything included.
My advice is to find the restaurants were locals eat, and you can have a decent meal for a low price. But here are some examples:
- Meal for two, inexpensive restaurant, Main Dish & Dessert (tip included): €30 – €35
- Meal for two, better restaurant: €50 – €60
- Beer (0.5 l): €2.20
- Coke (0.25 l): €1.80
- Wine (0.75 l): €20 Euros for a bottle (but can easily go up)
- Cappuccino: €2.00
- Fresh lemonade: €3.00
Related reading: Best Restaurants in Zagreb, Croatia
Croatia: Utilities cost
In most cases, your monthly rent won’t include any utilities or common expenses for the building.
These will have to be paid separately on a monthly basis, but they’re not very expensive, compared to other regions of the world.
All in all, for the utilities, it’s best to budget around €230 per month. Some locals manage to keep costs a lot lower, but expats usually spend more than locals do.
Here is what you are normally expected to pay on utilities each month, on average:
Internet & TV Package: 40 Euros /month (fast internet)
Mobile Phone: Prices vary here depending on what kind of deal you get, but let’s say that on average you would pay around 20 Euros per month for a plan that offers 50GB of mobile internet, unlimited text and calls in the same network and around 1,000 minutes in other networks. Pretty good deal!
Communal building expenses (elevators, cleaning, etc.): 20 Euros
Electricity, heating, garbage disposal, and water: 150 Euros (can go up quite a bit if you use the air conditioning a lot during the summer and keep the heating high during the winter).
All in all, the prices for utilities in Croatia have grown a lot in the past several years and they keep growing, although not at an alarming rate.
These are very difficult to estimate, as they vary from person to person.
You’ll have to spend money on getting new clothes, various consumables for your home, you’ll have health related-costs, car or transportation costs and all sorts of unexpected expenses (or at least those that can’t really fit in any category).
Have in mind that a monthly travel pass in Croatia is around 50 Euros, with single tickets selling for around €1.5.
The good thing is that most cities in Croatia (except for maybe Zagreb) are very walkable – or at least a bike will do.
Everything else depends on your lifestyle and it’s very difficult to make any estimations, but here are some other expenses you might have:
- 1 month at the gym: 35 Euros
- gas price: 1.5 Euros / liter
- cinema ticket price: 5 Euros
- private health insurance: as low as €75/month
Can you live in Croatia on €1,000 per month?
If you live alone, it’s difficult to make ends meet in Croatia on a monthly budget of €1,000. Couples can still live a decent life here on €1,000 per person, but for many expats, this might be challenging.
But, let’s make some estimates and see what would a budget of €1,000/month in Croatia would offer couples splitting rent and other costs.
275 Euros for rent (sharing costs for a 1-br)
300 Euros for food and eating out
200 Euros for utilities and phone/internet
TOTAL: 775 Euros per month
This would leave a person with €225/month to cover all the misc expenses, from any health insurance costs, to entertainment, buying new clothes and such.
And while this is definitely not a huge amount, as long as you have the “basics” covered above, it should prove to be enough to allow you to live here on a budget.
Of course, you won’t be living like a king or queen on this amount, but it won’t be very difficult to enjoy life either.
Remember that the average salary that a Croat earns is around 1,180 Euros per month, so if you had that amount, you’d be on average earnings here.
There are local families that actually live on a lot less – there are families of three that can make ends meet on a budget of 1,500 Euros per month, so it’s not impossible. But do have in mind that many of these families don’t have to pay rent or mortgage!
Of course, you will have other limitations because as a foreigner – and especially in the first few months, you will probably spend more than the average.
I would say that a budget starting at 2,000 Euros per month for a couple would be more than decent. Ah, the advantages of not being single!
When kids come into play, things get a bit more complicated because there might be additional costs related to their education.
While public schools in Croatia are free, your kids must speak (or learn) the Croatian language in order to study there.
Private schools are expensive, and private kindergartens are relatively expensive too, both of which can have a massive impact over the monthly budget.
For example, private education in Croatia can cost anything between 350 Euros per month (for private kindergartens) to 1,000 Euros per month for Primary or Secondary Education.
This means that for each kid, if education costs will be involved, you should add at least 600 Euros more per month.
I tried to paint a picture that’s as clear and accurate as possible. I have to repeat, though, that as it is the case of any situation when personal preferences and different lifestyles are involved, your reality could vary greatly from mine – or the one presented in this article.
Your monthly expenses in Croatia will be slightly influenced by the city or town you choose as your home base: larger cities like Zagreb or Split are more expensive than smaller ones, while popular touristic destinations (like Dubrovnik, for example) are still usually priced for tourists, which means that it costs more to live there even as a local.
Also, you should know that each person has different expectations and spending habits, so expenses will vary from individual to individual. Do not take my estimates as set in stone numbers!
This means that for some, my anticipated monthly costs will be higher and for others, lower than they will end up spending.
But even so, it’s still good to have something to look at in order to prepare for your longer term move to Croatia.
Knowing all that data will surely help you make a more educated choice and better plan your finances if a move to Croatia is starting to look like a possibility.
If you have personal insights regarding the monthly living costs in Croatia, I would love to hear them: the more people we have sharing their personal expenses, the easier it will be for those interested in moving here to estimate their costs.