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Croatia Free Country Guide

Why move to Croatia? Everything you need to know about traveling,
living, retiring and moving to Croatia


$69.4 billion




Croatian Kunas



Time / Call #

UTC +1 / +385

Cost of Living
Visa & Residency

About Croatia

Croatia is a breathtaking beautiful country in Southeastern Europe. With pristine turquoise waters, dramatic sloping vineyards, picturesque cobblestone alleys, old churches and historic castles, all surrounded by fields of grapes, olives, and lavender, Croatia’s natural beauty is undeniable. 

Undiscovered by most North Americans, it’s a hidden gem on the Adriatic Sea that offers a luxurious Mediterranean lifestyle at a fraction of the usual cost.

Turquoise waters Bol Zlatni Rat Beach Croatia
Turquoise waters Bol Zlatni Rat beach Croatia

Croatia also boasts an attractive modern side with vibrant nightlife, trendy cafés, restaurants, and hotels. This place has something to offer for just about everyone and the country might be the answer to retirees and digital nomads who just “want it all”.

Croatia borders with Slovenia, Hungary, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro and also shares maritime border with Italy.

Croatia, a member of the EU and NATO, is similar in size to West Virginia, but with a wide variety of landscapes, there is a destination and an experience for everyone.

Night lights and jet setters in Hvar Croatia
Night lights and jetsetters in Hvar

If you want to live on an island, Croatia has over 1,000 of them (only a few dozen are inhabited). Some, such as Hvar, have long been popular with the jet set, while others are almost unknown to North Americans. Vineyards and olive groves are typical on many of the islands. 

Although the islands are lively in the summer, they can be especially quiet during the winter months, when tourists return home, and some residents relocate to the mainland. However, many of the larger communities on the islands have year-round ferry connections, providing a lifeline to the rest of the country.


Life in Croatia can vary greatly depending on the region. Croatia is a beautiful country with a variety of landscapes and climates. A continental climate provides cold winters, often below freezing, and hot summers in the Pannonian plains. The Dinara Region, located in the country’s centre, has an alpine climate. Most expats are interested in the Adriatic coast’s Mediterranean climate, which includes mild, rainy winters and hot, dry summers.


Safety and Security

Croatia is generally a safe country, but common sense should be used. The United States State Department rated it as “Level One” in February 2020, the safest category.

Island Visovac National park Krka, Croatia
Island in Visovac National Park in Krka

In addition, the country is a member of NATO and the European Union (EU). This means they are shielded by large multinational support networks.

Croatia was ranked 28th in the 2019 Global Peace Index, 100 places ahead of the US (128th).

Cost of Living

Croatia has grown in popularity as a vacation destination and an expat haven in recent years, which is reflected in an increase in the cost of living. However, prices are still significantly lower than in Western Europe and the United States, albeit not as low as in Eastern Europe.

Dubrovnic, Croatia aerial photo
Dubrovnic Port

Real estate in the thriving cities of Split, Dubrovnik, and Zagreb will command the highest prices. Moving outside these locations will reward you with a significantly reduced price tag. If you want to rent, bear in mind that summer rental costs near the coast can rise, so if you’re on a limited budget, consider a winter break in Croatia.

Imported goods from the United States will be expensive in Croatia, as they are in all expat destinations. It is preferable to follow local customs and do your weekly grocery shopping at local farmer’s markets, where the products are incredibly delicious and at lower prices than you will find in supermarkets.

The cost of living in Croatia varies greatly depending on where you live. It will also change depending on your consumption habits and housing needs. You can have a very comfortable lifestyle on $2,000 per month, but if you want to choose the centre of Zagreb there is a premium to be paid. Moving 25-30 minutes drive from the city centre can save you a lot of money and some of the suburbs are actually better.

The good news is that local markets offer incredible deals on delicious food and wine. Depending on the season, you may even be able to purchase seafood directly from a fisherman’s boat.


Residents, non-residents, and short-term visitors are obligated to pay income tax on their worldwide income and capital gains in Croatia, regardless of where the income or gains were generated.

The general tax rate in Croatia stands at around 20%, which is relatively lower than a list of places but still does not qualify to be called a tax haven.

Visas and Residency

Croatian visa policy defines the laws and regulations that regulate who is permitted to enter the country without a visa and who must obtain one.

Croatia is a member of the European Union (EU), so it follows the same visa policy as the rest of the EU, and all EU nationals are granted visa-free entry.

Croatia has visa-free agreements with a number of other countries. The duration of a visa-free stay in Croatia is determined by the traveller’s nationality. A US passport holder can come into Croatia as a temporary tourist or on a business trip for up to 90 days.

All other foreign citizens, regardless of the duration of stay or reason for visit, must get a visa to visit Croatia.

rovinj croatia port
Rovinj is just one of the many towns you need to visit in Croatia


You must contribute to the national health insurance system if you want to stay in Croatia for more than three months. The system guarantees that everyone is covered.

When you move to Croatia, you must begin contributing to the Croatian Health Insurance Fund, or HZZO, which will provide you with full access to public health care. After you pay for this insurance, the HZZO will heavily subsidize any doctor’s visits, medical procedures, and prescriptions.

Croatia’s public health care system is of

, but as with most public health systems, long wait times can be an issue. You can avoid this problem by purchasing private health insurance. Croatia’s private clinics are world-class, and you can easily find an English-speaking doctor here.

Real Estate

Croatia has a lower cost of living than Western Europe and the United States, although it is not as low as Eastern Europe. As a result, Croatia represents good value for money given its high level of living.

Island and green waters in Croatia

There are plenty of opportunities to rent or buy a home, especially along the coast where most ex-pats reside. Most Western European countries. In fact, the country boasts one of Eastern Europe’s lowest costs of living for expatriates. The cost of property in Croatia depends on the location. For example, urban centers like Zagreb, Split, and Dubrovnik are generally more expensive. But even in these cities, you can find properties at an affordable price if you look hard enough.

Best Places to Live in

Croatia’s capital and largest city, Zagreb, has a population of about one million people and acts as a cultural, economic, media, and educational centre. Zagreb offers an excellent quality of life for expats of all ages. There are a good number of residential areas in and around the city where expatriates can find a place to live.

Split is a beautiful coastal town with a year-round warm climate and historical sites worth exploring.

Dubrovnik, the southernmost city of Croatia and the country’s most popular tourist destination, will not disappoint. From its historic center to its pristine beaches, there is something to do for everyone.

Trogir Croatia historic center city port
Historic center in Trogir

You should also consider staying in a resort that is less reliant on tourists. Islands like Hvar, Trogir, Brac and Korcula offer a more authentic Croatian experience.


Proximity to the US

Croatia is close to Germany and Austria, making it an ideal option for Americans wishing to escape the chilly winters of the Midwest. The country’s proximity to Western Europe also makes it a popular destination for those looking for retirement locations.

Croatia is about 8,549 km from the United States, which is under 10 hrs on a flight.


Activities and Recreation


Sailing, star-gazing, snow skiing, and hiking are just some of the activities that Croatia offers. In addition, it boasts more than 85 nature preserves and is an ecotourism and ecolodge hotspot, which include several UNESCO-listed islands.

turquoise pond in Plitvicer National Park Croatia
Ecotourism in Croatia is growing. Beautiful nature around a turquoise pond in Plitvicer National Park

Biking is a popular way to experience the country. Cycling is a cheap and sustainable way of getting around.

In addition, Croatia is home to 14 national parks and hundreds of small nature reserves. The nation is also home to a number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Other activities include : diving, rock climbing, kayaking, and hiking.


Bottom Line

Croatia is a European country that offers excellent value for expatriates. Its location, economic, healthcare, and social security systems are some of the best in the world. If you are considering relocating to Europe and the Mediterranean, then apart from Spain, France, Italy, Portugal and Greece we strongly advise you to consider Croatia.

The Croatian visa policy is very friendly to expats, especially expats from the United States. Coupled with the affordable standard of living and great security, this is a wonderful place to live out the rest of ones wonderful life.

Dubrovnik at night Croatia
Dubrovnik nightlife is something you need to experience

We hope this article will be of help to you when moving to Croatia. Please leave your questions and comments in the space below; we’d love to hear from you.

Here is a list of the Pros and Cons of traveling, living, moving and retiring in Croatia