Historic seaside towns, national parks filled with waterfalls, and a number of beautiful islands await those who travel to Croatia. It’s an ideal mix for many travellers, but, surprisingly, Croatia has only recently become a popular travel destination. Mainly due to Game of Thrones as it is home to several important filming locations including ‘Kings Landing’. But, just how much does it cost to go to Croatia? Well, you are about to find out as I break down the costs and share tips on how you can save while travelling through Croatia.
For the purpose of this article, I’m going to suggest a 12-day, 11-night itinerary through Croatia that will hit the main highlights along the Dalmatian Coast: Zadar, Split, Hvar, and Dubrovnik. If you are travelling as a couple, make sure to double these estimates (except for hotels).
|Food and drink||$456|
The above estimate is in American dollars, so please use XE.com to find out the average costs in your home country.
One of the first things to realize about Croatia is that it is a very seasonal destination which means that airfare prices can get pretty high, especially during the summer months which is peak season. Booking during the months of April-June and September-October will get you the best deals when flying direct to Croatia (and also fewer crowds). Even then, you can expect to pay about $1000 roundtrip.
Another option to consider is to fly somewhere cheaper in Europe such as nearby Italy or even a major hub like Paris or Amsterdam then book a short flight with a budget airline to Croatia. This is ideal if you have a little more time off, especially since you can then fly into Zadar airport and out Dubrovnik (or vice versa) which means you don’t need to waste your time by backtracking.
If you’re Canadian, you can offset your costs by applying for one of the best travel credit cards in Canada.
Getting around the cities in Croatia is pretty easy; they are very walkable and, really, the best way to enjoy these historic places is on foot. That being said, you will need to get between cities which can easily be done by local bus and/or ferry.
Croatia’s buses are safe and trustworthy but can get quite busy so I do recommend going to the station early in the morning or the day before to purchase your ticket in advance. Note that you will have to pay for your seat, as well as for any larger suitcases that need to be stored below.
There are two types of buses in Croatia: the fast bus which runs along the highway and offers more direct routes, or the slow bus which makes lots of stops but runs along the coast and is much more scenic. The slow bus is also a cheaper option, but may not be the best choice if you are short on time.
You will also want to make use of the ferries and boats in Croatia. You will need to take a ferry from Split to Hvar and then again from Hvar to Dubrovnik. I recommend booking these in advance as well. While staying in Hvar, you may also want to go to one of the beach clubs at the nearby islands for the day. Lots of smaller boats can be found in the port area with signs of where they are going for the day. When they have a large enough group of people, they will leave.
Travellers should also know that the cost bus and ferry journeys may vary depending on the time of day as well.
Accommodation can be pricey in Croatia, especially if you want to stay in the prime locations which are normally within the old towns. One of the best bets to help save is to book well in advance in the hopes of getting an early bird type of deal. Or, to choose a location that isn’t quite as central. Please note that the estimate given for this article is based on the cost of a mid-range hotel in a central location. However, you can find cheaper (or more expensive) options to better suit your budget or taste.
My preferred booking site is Booking.com since it lists hotels, apartments, B&B’s, vacation homes and inns. In addition, they price match and you’re not required to pay until after your stay for almost all accommodations. After five bookings, you become a member of their Genius program which gets you an extra 10% off on selected properties. If you haven’t tried booking.com for accommodations, use my affiliate link now to get $25 CAD off your first stay (this applies after you complete your stay).
Looking for recommendations? I suggest:
Hostel: Boutique Hostel Forum
Mid-range hotel: Teatro Verdi Boutique Hotel
Luxury hotel: Almayer Art & Heritage Hotel and Dépendance
Hostel: Design Hostel Goli & Bosi
Mid-range hotel: Villa Domina
Luxury hotel: Villa Split Heritage Hotel
Hostel: Hostel Kris
Mid-range hotel: Aparhotel Pharia
Luxury hotel: Adriana Hvar Spa Hotel
Hostel: Hostel EuroAdria
Mid-range hotel: Villa Dorma
Luxury hotel: Sun Gardens Dubrovnik
You can also try Airbnb. Use my invite to get $45 towards your first stay.
Insider tip: To stretch your budget, I recommend planning your time in Dubrovnik around the weekend to cut costs and avoid the busiest times. It’s probably the most expensive city in Croatia and, not surprisingly, weekend prices are significantly higher than mid-week.
One of the best things about Croatia is that the towns and islands that you are staying in are the major attractions. Of course, there are a few paid things that you will want to take advantage of such as the Walls of Dubrovnik and the national parks including Krka National Park and Plitvice National Park, but you can actually get to these places yourself (from Zadar or Split) to help save money.
For attractions, I recommend budgeting a minimum of $150.
Food and Drink
Croatian food is delicious. There is so much fresh seafood that paired along with the influences from nearby countries such as Greece and Italy, makes for truly delicious plates. Of course, finding those plates at an affordable price can be a bit tricky.
As with other popular travel destinations, Croatian cities have a fair share of restaurants that target tourists with their prime locations, multi-language menus, and high prices. Do your best to bypass these places and instead ask at your accommodation where a good local place is. The food is better and the prices are reasonable.
For a day’s worth of eating out in Croatia, you can expect to pay the following:
- Breakfast: $5
- Lunch: $8
- Dinner: $25
Which is equal to about $38 per day. This price can be further reduced if you make use of the local markets and grocery stores or street-type vendors such as a sandwich shop. Please note that it is customary to tip about 10% when dining out in Croatia.
Chances are that if you budget accordingly for the other areas, you won’t need much in terms of random spending. That being said, it’s good to have an extra $100 or so to pick up a souvenir or two, or maybe even indulge in an ice-cream or cold drink in the afternoon. Croatia is also known for its beach clubs and nightlife so you may want to keep a little extra aside for a night out or a day at one of the beach clubs.
So how much does it cost to go to Croatia? Based on my estimates, you can expect to spend around $3,456 USD for 12 days. However, using some of the tips and tricks above, you can probably further reduce those costs. Remember, Croatia is a very seasonal destination and travelling during the shoulder season (spring or early fall) rather than during those prime summer months can really save you money. Need more inspiration? Read my guides on Hawaii, Vietnam, Southeast Asia, and Iceland.