In recent years, Croatia has become one of the most sought-after destinations in all of Europe, receiving well over 18 million tourists in 2017. Drawn by photos of picturesque seaside towns with crystal clear Adriatic waters, stunning natural scenery including lakes and waterfalls, or the desire to see the real-life King’s Landing, visitors are flocking to this Balkan country more than ever. However, they might be coming with a slight misconception.
Many tourists leave for Croatia expecting it to be an incredibly budget-friendly destination but long gone are the days where you could travel to the top attractions in Croatia on an absolute shoestring budget. With the increase in foreign tourism, Croatia’s prices have increased right along with it. So how much will a Croatia trip cost?
Well, like most everywhere in the world, that depends. In cities like Dubrovnik, for instance, high prices with tourists willing to pay them have almost priced locals out of their own city and the cost of everything from accommodation to food can be quite high for visitors as well. Many of the most popular places to visit in Croatia have seen similar price increases in the past few years as well.
So is Croatia expensive? If you’re comparing it to the cost of other Balkan countries, then yes. However, it is still possible to travel in Croatia while maintaining a tight budget.
Croatia Trip Cost Guide
If you’re planning on visiting Croatia on a small budget, it is best to keep in mind that a vast majority of the coastal cities see quite a lot of tourists and it is time to shed the misconception that it will be a cheap, off the beaten path destination. However, if you are smart about where and how you spend your money, travel outside of the peak months of July and August, and try to head to smaller cities and towns rather than the big-name destinations such as Dubrovnik and Split, then you don’t have to spend a lot to greatly enjoy your time in this beautiful country.
Croatia Trip Cost: Accommodation
This first aspect of your budget that needs to be considered is the cost of accommodation as it is likely to take up the largest percentage of your overall Croatia trip cost. Because the country is so popular among tourists, there are numerous accommodation options in virtually every Croatian town and city. These range from high-end resorts to quaint country B&B’s to a dorm bed in a backpacker hostel and all come with a different price tag.
Generally, we recommend against staying in all-inclusive resorts as, while they might seem like a good deal, they offer very little exposure to the culture, cuisine, and people of the country you are visiting and Croatia is no different. Therefore, if it is a hotel you are after, we recommend finding a small, locally run hotel to rest your head instead. Not only will the invariably be cheaper and allow more room in your Croatia travel budget for other activities, but you also get the added benefit of supporting a small local business and have a better chance of experiencing a different culture. A room in a budget to mid-range hotel will probably set you back an average of €45 – 60 per night, depending on the city you are visiting.
Another fantastic option if you want to save money while travelling in Croatia without forgoing privacy is to get a private room through Airbnb. Again, prices vary depending on which city you are visiting, however, you can expect to pay roughly €30 – 40 per night, which can save you a lot of money, particularly if you’re splitting the costs between two people.
If you’re on a tight budget and want to pinch pennies wherever you can, then you will be happy to know that there is a thriving hostel scene in Croatia. There is usually with at least one hostel in every major city with numerous options in tourist hotspots like Dubrovnik and Split and the bustling and edgy capital of Zagreb. Again, depending on the city you are visiting (Dubrovnik tends to be significantly more expensive than other cities in the country and can skew price averages), a dorm bed at a Croatian hostel will cost about €12 – 20 depending on how many beds are in the room.
Croatia Trip Cost: Transportation
The second biggest aspect of your total Croatia travel budget you need to consider is the cost of transportation. It is unlikely that you will only visit one destination while in Croatia (though Zagreb makes a fantastic city break destination!) and, unless you plan on hitchhiking everywhere, you’re going to have to pay to get there.
Luckily, public transport in Croatia still remains relatively affordable. It is worth knowing that there isn’t a large train network in Croatia and therefore the most efficient inter-city transport (and often the only) that exists is the bus. Buses in Croatia are generally nice and comfortable and if they do not have toilets in them, they do make stops on longer journeys.
The cost of travelling between cities can vary depending upon the length of the journey, but it is safe to assume to spend about €10 – 15 per journey. If you have luggage that needs to go in the hold, be aware that there is usually a charge to do this — normally €1 – 2 paid directly to the driver. It can sometimes be cheaper to book your bus tickets online in advance, but this varies depending on the city and region. If you’re curious, a quick Google search can answer most questions.
Another popular option for getting around Croatia is to rent a car. While this isn’t entirely necessary, having your own vehicle can give you the flexibility to visit more off the beaten path areas of the country that might have fewer bus connections. It also is a bit easier to have a car if you’re interested in taking some day trips without having to be at the mercy of erratic bus timetable and aren’t keen to join an organised tour.
As with virtually everywhere in Europe, it is significantly cheaper to hire a manual transmission rather than an automatic. Car hire prices can differ depending on the company you’re renting from (we recommend checking out Rentalcars.com for the best deals!), but you can expect them to start at about €25 – 30 per day and increase from there. If there are some areas you want to visit that would be easier to get to with a car but you still want to save some money, it is worth considering just renting a car for a day or two. That will help you cut down on your total Croatia trip cost.
Croatia Trip Cost: Food
Croatian food doesn’t get the international recognition it so badly deserves but you’re definitely going to want to sample some of it while visiting this beautiful country. But what is the cost of eating out in Croatia?
Well, it is totally possible to eat on the cheap in Croatia, it is also equally possible to splash out the cash on a high-end dining experience. With both ends of the dining spectrum available for tourists in Croatia, it can be difficult to figure out how much to budget for food while visiting.
If you want to save money but still want a good, authentic restaurant meal from time to time, eating out can be affordable in Croatia. The biggest thing you can do for your budget (and your taste buds, honestly) when dining out in Croatia is to avoid tourist restaurants like the plague. This means to avoid eating in the old towns of the cities where you are staying or walking at least a kilometre away from the main attractions in order to find a decent place to eat. You will be surprised at how much prices can change when the menu isn’t catered toward tourists.
If you follow this advice, it is likely that the cost of a meal in Croatia won’t be more than €10 – 15 per person. If you want to cut costs even more, try to stay at a place that has access to a kitchen and cook yourself your own meals and only occasionally go out to eat.
If you like eating dinner out most nights, you can also save yourself some money by making breakfast and lunch for yourself — or choose to stay at a place that provides breakfast in the nightly rate!
Croatia Trip Cost: Activities
Now that we’ve covered the costs for the three main aspects of your Croatia that you are definitely going to need to spend money one, let’s cover the cost of the activities you are actually going to do there.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money on day-to-day activities in Croatia — for instance, exploring an Old Town or spending the day swimming at the beach are all completely free activities. However, if you want to go on a boat trip or visit a museum or historical site here and there, you’re going to have to fork over some of your hard earned cash.
Museum entry varies from place to place, but you can expect to pay about €5 to enter most museums. If you are a student, senior, or under the age of 26, make sure to see if there is a discount available because, more often than not, there is and it can save you a lot of money.
If you want to go on a day tour or boat trip somewhere, as is popular in Croatia, these aren’t always cheap experiences. If you’re keen to go on a full or half day cruise for some swimming and snorkelling, expect to pay roughly €25 – 40 per person for this. Often the full-day cruises do include lunch which is an added bonus. Day tours to places like Krka National Park from Split cost roughly the same amount.
If you want to visit places such as wineries or olive oil manufacturers, it will be significantly cheaper for you to do this independently rather than going on an organised tour. Often time, wineries will even give you a free tasting provided you buy some wine from them and the same goes for olive oil.
Croatia Trip Cost: Entertainment
The last thing you need to consider when calculating your total Croatia trip cost is the price of entertainment. There are certain places in Croatia (Split, Zagreb, and Hvar spring to mind) that are famous for their nightlife and it would be a shame not to go and experience it for yourself, wouldn’t it?
Even if going out and clubbing isn’t really your cup of tea and you would prefer to sit at a seaside bar while sipping a delicious Istrian wine, these things are still going to cost you. The good news, however, is that it doesn’t have to be much.
In Croatia, booze prices aren’t actually that expensive and you are more likely paying more for the location you are drinking in rather than for the drink itself. For instance, the same glass of wine at a bar directly on the water in Rovinj will cost you almost 15-20% than it would even a few hundred metres away from the sea. If you are on a tight budget but still want to enjoy the occasional pre-dinner cocktail, then this is something to keep in mind.
It is also always cheaper to drink local rather than imported. A glass of Croatian wine (which is fantastic, by the way) will set you back an average of about €1.50 whereas an imported wine can be more than double that. The same pricing scale applies for local vs imported beer.
If you are after a cocktail, that is going to get a little bit more expensive and some places you will pay prices akin to what you might pay in Northern Europe. On average, a basic cocktail such as a gin and tonic at a bar will set you about €5 – 7 depending on where you’re drinking.
Is Croatia Expensive? Average Croatia Travel Cost
Croatia is definitely more expensive than some of its neighbouring countries, however, it doesn’t have to be a place that will make you file for bankruptcy just for visiting. If you’re smart about where you spend your money, avoid tourist traps, and only travel between cities every 3-4 days or so, you can easily manage to visit Croatia on a budget.
To help you better plan, here is an average of what you should expect to spend per day in Croatia per person per day for a one week trip:
Accommodation: €15 – 20 / day for a bed in a hostel or private room in an Airbnb
Transportation: €4-5 / day provided you rely on public transport and only travel between cities every three or four days
Food: €15 / day if you cook for yourself some nights and avoid tourist restaurants
Activities: €5 / day
Entertainment: €5 / day
All in all, you can easily visit Croatia with a budget of about €50 – 60 per day if you find some ways to cut costs on some days.
Make sure you also factor in the cost of a travel insurance policy. We personally used World Nomads for our Iceland trip however it’s important to read the policy details to ensure it’s right for you. Click here to get a quote from World Nomads.
Croatia isn’t the super budget destination it once was, however, that doesn’t mean a trip to this beautiful country has to be overly expensive. Your total Croatia trip cost really depends on where and how you choose to spend your money, but it is a destination that is still accessible for both budget and luxury travellers alike.
Are you planning to visit Croatia? Have you been? What was your Croatia trip cost? Let us know in the comments!