How much does it cost to explore Croatia?

Last Updated: Tuesday 30 May 2023
travel costs croatia

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Croatia was a big tourist destination before the War of Independence in the 1990s. After the war, as tourism slowly returned, it was considered to be one of the more affordable destinations in Europe. But things change. Some places – Dubrovnik and Plitvice Lakes National Park to name just two – are suffering from overcrowding and have become very expensive. So, how affordable is Croatia these days?

If you are planning a trip to Croatia and wonder how much to budget or you’re looking for some cost-saving tips for your upcoming trip, today’s article is for you.

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When reading our travel costs for Croatia, please keep the following in mind:

  • The costs are based upon a couple travelling together.
  • We did not travel as part of an organised tour group but as independent travellers.
  • Not considered is the entry or exit transport into/out of the country.
  • Our travel style wherever we go is reasonably consistent, which is great when you want to compare travel costs:
    • Accommodation: We usually stay in self-catered accommodation, in our own room and with (preferably) our own bathroom. The kitchen may be shared.
    • Dining and Groceries: We have at least two meals a day at home. We like to eat out at cafes or restaurants every few days.
    • Transportation: Wherever possible, we travel by public transport.
    • Experiences: We pay for some tourist attractions or activities, but are selective as our funds are limited (just like everyone else’s).
  • Also included in the overall daily costs (for the period of time we are in the country) are:

Krka Crowds at Skradinski Buk

Popularity has driven up prices in places like the Krka National Park and Dubrovnik

What currency is used in Croatia?

While Croatia is a member state of the European Union, it does not use the Euro (EUR). Croatia’s currency is the Kuna (officially HRK or KN as it’s usually labelled in shops and markets).

The currency took its name from a cute-looking but fierce animal, a local representative of the weasel family called Kuna. In medieval times, the fur of these animals was traded for food and lodging, so they became a quasi-currency.

Unlike some places in Bosnia and Herzegovina, we didn’t see Euros being accepted anywhere in Croatia. So, make sure you have HRK when you visit the country.

Croatia travel costs

Where We Travelled

Interested in learning about the countries we explore through entertainment? These inspirational travel movies will allow you to go on your own virtual tour around the world.


We recommend staying at properties where the money remains in local hands and for the most part, that means staying at short-term rental accommodation that is not a hotel chain or property owned by an overseas investor.

The average price of accommodation in Croatia for a couple was EUR42.82.

Whether you rent a private room in your host’s home or opt for a small apartment, staying with locals allows you to stay within budget while not compromising on certain comforts, such as your own bathroom and a kitchen where you can prepare meals. It also allows you to learn more about your destinations through conversations with your hosts.

We recommend the following accommodations at the destinations we stayed at:

Accommodation NameCityTypeCost Per Night in EUR
Fantastic stay - No longer available as short-term rental accommodationZagrebOne bedroom apartment30.35
House Marko - Plitvice Room 2PlitviceLarge studio room with kitchenette and ensuite bathroom57.43
Old Town Bridge Apartment 2 - No longer available as short-term rentalZadarLarge one bedroom apartment40.51
Apartment Maslina 2 Guesthouse PetrovićSkradinOne bedroom apartment45.94
City centre cosy denŠibenikLarge studio room with kitchen and ensuite bathroom40.20
A2DubrovnikSmall one bedroom apartment51.69

How to Save Money on Accommodation

For accommodation, as with any other travel expenses, it’s worth shopping around. When we book accommodation somewhere, we tend to look across a number of booking platforms to find the best value-for-money option. Wherever you book, make sure you read the fine print to make sure you compare apples with apples. For example, your stay may incur extra charges (like local tourist taxes or cleaning fees). Some booking platforms include them, while with others, you have to pay them to your host upon arrival.

Nightly rates are generally cheaper outside of peak season. If you can only travel in peak season, look for accommodation options that are a little further away from the main tourist attractions, yet have good connections by public transport. Always double-check the cancellation policy and payment terms before you book.

Check out these smart booking tips to help stretch your travel budget further.

We use and recommend the following online travel agents and service providers for all your accommodation needs:

Dining and Groceries

Dining can be quite expensive in Croatia compared to other European countries, particularly in the tourist hotspots.

The average price of dining and groceries in Croatia was EUR11.80 per person per day.

Our expenses for dining experiences in Croatia ranged

  • from HRK209 (EUR28.22) for lunch at Bazza Bistro, a café in the heart of Šibenik’s Old Town
  • to HRK375 (EUR50.64) for a set menu dinner at Dinner in the Garden, a small patio restaurant near the Plitvice Lakes National Park.
dinner in the garden plitvice lakes

Our meals at Plitvice Lakes were the most expensive during our journey around Croatia but were extremely filling and tasty.

Below is a list of common consumer staples to give you an idea what things cost in Croatia:
ItemPrice in EUR
Loaf of Bread (500g)0.84
Cappuccino (regular)1.47
Local Beer (0.5litre draught)2.03
Milk (regular, 1 litre)0.83
Burek with Cheese2.03

How to save money on dining and groceries

Dining out all the time can quickly get expensive. We always book accommodation where we have access to a kitchen - either our own little kitchenette or the kitchen of our host. That way, we can store food in the fridge and make our own meals. We usually have breakfast and one other meal at our accommodation, and one meal when we're out and about.

Restaurants (even in tourist hotspots) often have special lunch offers (for example, a three-course meal for EUR10). Portion sizes in many parts of the world are usually quite substantial, so we often share a three-course meal. The same applies if you go out for dinner: Order a starter or salad and a main, and that's usually enough for two people. An added benefit: there is less food waste.

As for groceries: every country has more expensive and cheaper supermarkets. Ask your host what the cheaper options are (for example, Aldi or Lidl in many European countries) and avoid 7/11-type convenience stores as much as possible.



If you are flying from a European city to Croatia, you’ll likely arrive at one of these six international airports:

  • Dubrovnik (IATA Code: DBV)
  • Pula (IATA Code: PUY)
  • Rijeka (IATA Code: RJK)
  • Split (IATA Code: SPU)
  • Zadar (IATA Code: ZAD)
  • Zagreb (IATA Code: ZAG)

All of them are serviced by budget airlines from other European cities, so chances are your flight to Croatia won’t break the bank, as long as you avoid the peak summer season (July/August).

How to save money on transportation

Being flexible is what really pays when it comes to transportation, and air travel in particular. Travel outside of peak season if you can. If you can't, fares might still be cheaper during certain times of the week and even hours of the day, so check websites like Skyscanner, and Google Travel that allows you to see a whole month and all the options on any given date.

If you have several airports in the vicinity of your home (or in the vicinity of your destination) compare the prices between the different options. For example, flying to Mykonos and taking the ferry to Santorini might still end up being way cheaper than flying from your home airport straight to Santorini.

Check out these smart booking tips to help stretch your travel budget further.

We use and recommend the following online travel agents and service providers for all your travel needs:

Bus Services

Croatian cities are well-connected by bus. Intercity bus travel is generally cheap, but the service quality of the bus operators can vary quite a bit.

Note that in addition to your bus fare, you are usually also charged:

  • a bus station fee (usually around EUR1 per person), and
  • a luggage hold fee (as the name suggests, for luggage going into the hold of the bus – usually around EUR1 for a regular suitcase).

You can save the latter if you travel with a carry-on backpack or bag that you take with you on board.

In Zagreb, bus and tram tickets can be purchased at newsstands and from the driver, however, purchasing from the driver is generally more expensive. Zagreb Public Transport is free with ZagrebCard.

zagreb light rail

Zagreb has an extensive and efficient public transport network

Uber and Taxis

Croatia is the only Balkan country where Uber is available, which is a great thing, especially given the negative reputation that taxis have with tourists. You know the price of the ride before you hop into the vehicle. In general, we prefer not to take taxis, especially when travelling from the airport to our accommodation.

Train Services

Croatia’s train network isn’t the most extensive, unfortunately. The most popular routes are those between Zagreb and Split, and Zagreb and Rijeka. We took the train from Šibenik to Split and found it to be comfortable and on time. Ticket prices are relatively low compared to most Western European countries.

Ferry Services

Croatia has an extensive ferry network along the Adriatic coast. We decided to take the ferry from Split to Dubrovnik – both to circumnavigate a double-border crossing (as Dubrovnik is an exclave sandwiched between Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro) and to experience the gorgeous coastline from the sea. It took a bit longer than the bus but was way more comfortable and enjoyable.

ferry in split

Why not take a ferry between Split and Dubrovnik? It is very scenic and saves you two border crossings.


You are spoilt for choice when it comes to tourist attractions and activities in Croatia:

  • from National Parks like Plitvice Lakes, Krka, the Kornati Islands or Telascica, which all require you to pay entry fees
  • to stunning Roman and Medieval Old Towns that can be explored on foot, self-guided or on free/low-cost walking tours, and
  • gazillion other options in between.

Croatia’s Free Museum Night, where museums and galleries in the major cities are open free of charge, usually happens at the end of January. So, if you happen to be in Croatia around that time keep an eye out for it.

And if you are interested in some other activities, here are some curated options we think are appropriate from our friends at Get Your Guide.

How to save money on experiences

Paying for experiences or activities can add up quickly, especially if you're travelling as a family. So if that's an issue for you look for activities that are free or cost very little. We love joining free walking tours to get acquainted with a new place - you just give a tip at the end based on how much you enjoyed the tour. Many cities (including tourist hotspots like Rome) offer free or discounted site entries on certain days. And we've hiked in some amazing places around the world. Just search for free activities in […], and chances are someone has made a nice list for you already.

If you are travelling as a family, make use of family passes (if available). Look out for special deals and discount coupons. If you travel in a group, you may also pay to book a private tour and share the cost. Definitely shop around.

Check out these smart booking tips to help stretch your travel budget further.

We use and recommend the following service providers for all your activity needs:


There are always expenses that don’t quite fit the major expense categories we talked about above. There include

  • the cost of your travel insurance
  • the cost of visas you may need to enter a country
  • foreign exchange-related fees, and
  • tips.

When you plan your trip, always budget (at least) an additional 10% for miscellaneous expenses on top of the big four items of accommodation, dining and groceries, transportation and activities. Budget more if you have the habit to buy souvenirs and trinket gifts for your loved ones (or yourself).

Withdrawing cash overseas can be expensive but it doesn’t have to be. We can show you how to avoid unnecessary fees and make your travel budget stretch further.

How do you determine which card is best for your overseas trip? Using the right one can save bank fees and make your travel budget stretch further.

Ever been caught out by the bad FX rates and exorbitant commissions charged by FX bureaus? These tips allow you to minimise these charges in future. We also recommend XE Money Transfer to keep more of your money when you complete a transfer.

How much should I budget for a trip to Croatia?

Below are our travel costs when we visited Croatia. We spent a total of 25 nights in the country: 7 nights in Zagreb, 3 nights at Plitvice Lakes National Park, 5 nights in Zadar, 3 nights in Skradin/Krka National Park, 5 nights in Šibenik and 2 nights in Dubrovnik.

Our daily travel expenses in Croatia were USD54.59 / EUR48.26 per person per day, slightly above our general budget of USD50.

CategoryEUR per person per dayPercentage of total
Dining and Groceries11.8024%
Total per person per day48.26

Do I need to tip for services in Croatia?

As non-Americans, we are not used to tipping for services, whether in a restaurant, taxi or anywhere else. And while it is not expected to tip for café or restaurant services in Croatia, it is always appreciated. Don’t do it out of habit, but if the food and service exceeded your expectations.

A lot of websites recommend leaving a 10% gratuity, but in the end, give what you feel is appropriate. If you do decide to leave a tip for excellent service, and you pay with a credit card, there is a good chance you won’t be able to add it to the payment process. Leave cash instead.

dubrovnik restaurant

A tip is not expected in Croatia, but it is always appreciated

Save money using the Airalo eSim

Airalo is the world’s first eSIM store that solves the pain of high roaming bills by giving you access to eSIMs (digital SIM cards). More than one million people are already using Airalo's eSIMs.

With eSIMs from Airalo, you can download and install a digital data pack for over 200 countries/regions and get connected anywhere in the world as soon as you land.


With Airalo's eSIMs, you can access the Internet from virtually any country on the planet and don't have to pay excessive roaming charges. You don’t need to waste your time looking for a local plastic SIM card. The eSIM can be activated either immediately after installation or upon arrival at your destination. A wide range of eSIMs are available for different countries and regions. You do not even have to buy a card for a specific country. If you intend to travel, you can buy a regional eSIM on Airalo. For example, there are eSIMs available for the entire continent of Europe.

The support team is available 24/7/365 and is happy to offer prompt assistance via chat on the Airalo website, social media, or email.

This brings us to our final point.

How much cash do I need in Croatia?

From a safety point of view, we like to have as little cash as possible on us, yet enough to not feel uncomfortable.

Of the expenses incurred in Croatia, we paid 28% in cash. The biggest cash amount was a payment of HRK1,500 (EUR202.55) for five nights of accommodation in Zadar.

Are you planning a trip to any other country?

If you are planning to visit Croatia, there is a reasonable chance that you may also visit the surrounding region. We also wrote about our travel costs in Slovenia and Montenegro. Feel free to check out our other country travel costs.


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