This week in our Croatia Travel Tips series, we are sharing information on Croatia travel costs. Croatia is not a dirt-cheap destination any more. High season in Croatia is very short – basically only July, and August, and the prices skyrocket during these two months.
The highest travel demand, the biggest crowds, and the highest prices happen from the last week of July to mid-August. These three weeks, Croatia travel costs are pretty high. Luckily, the rest of the year is not too bad. Croatia travel costs drop down significantly from October to May. And while winter months (November to March) might be the cheapest months to travel in Croatia, bear in mind that many activities, hotels, restaurants, and other facilities are open only seasonally from May to October.
Croatia Travel Costs: Accommodation
Accommodation is perhaps the the largest part of your travel budget, and the highest of all Croatia travel costs.
High season: In average, for one-week holiday in a high season, for two persons, you'll spend in total 2.130 Kn (280€) if you stay in a campsite, 3.750 Kn (490€) for an apartment rental (up to 4 persons), 5.320 Kn (700€) for a room with breakfast in a two-star hotel, 7.600 Kn (1.000€) for a 3-star hotel, 10.600 Kn (1.400€) for a 4-star hotel to as expensive as 26.600 Kn (3.500€) in a 5-star hotel.
Shoulder season: If you travel in a shoulder season (June, September), an accommodation cost of holidays in Croatia will drop down significantly. For example in June or September, (the best months to travel to Croatia in our opinion), accommodation for two will cost you 1.450 Kn (190€) if you stay in a campsite, 2.660 Kn (350€) for an apartment rental (up to 4 persons), 3.400 Kn (450€) in a 2-star hotel, 5.320 Kn (700€) for a 3-star hotel, 6.850 Kn (900€) for a 4-star hotel, up to 19.000 Kn (2.500€) for a 5-star hotel.
Croatia Travel Costs: Transport costs
Transport costs make a large part of your total Croatia travel costs. Many tourists to Croatia arrive by car. However, many low cost companies fly to major Croatian coastal towns (Zadar, Split, Dubrovnik, Rijeka, and Pula) from April to October, and more and more tourists arrive to Croatia by plane, then traveling around the country by bus, or a rent-a-car. Low cost companies, like everywhere else, offer very cheap rates the earlier you book your flights, and rates gradually increase as the seats fill up. So if you plan on flying to Croatia, secure your flight as early as possible.
The most affordable way to travel around Croatia is by bus. There are lots of bus companies operating in Croatia, and while the prices don’t differ much, if you need to cut your Croatia travel costs, it pays to shop around a bit. A one-way ticket from Zagreb to Split costs anywhere between 146 kn to 216 Kn per person, and funnily enough the cheaper one departs at better time (9.30 am vs. 11 am) and it’s faster (5 hours to reach Split vs. 8 hrs). You can book a seat online for all the buses departing from Zagreb through Zagreb Bus Station website.
Examples of one-way bus ticket prices in Croatia (per person) in 2014:
- Zagreb-Split: 146 to 216 Kn (20€ – 30€)
- Zagreb-Dubrovnik: 190 to 250 Kn (25€ – 35€)
- Zagreb-Pula: 150-195 Kn (20€ – 26€)
- Split-Dubrovnik: 100 to 130 Kn (15€ – 18€)
- Pula-Poreč: 60 to 80 Kn (8€ – 11€)
Ferry prices are affordable as long as you don’t travel by car. While a passenger tickets tend to be rather cheap, the price for a car (should you happen to have one) is very high. It adds quite a bit to your total Croatia travel costs.
Examples of one-way ferry ticket prices in Croatia in 2014:
- Split-Brač (Supetar): adults: 33 Kn (4.5€); car: 160 Kn (22€);
- Split-Hvar (Stari Grad): adults: 47 Kn (6.5€); car: 318 Kn (45€);
- Split-Vis: adults: 54 Kn (7.2€); car: 370 Kn (;
- Orebić-Korčula (Dominče): adults: 16 Kn (2.2€); car: 76 Kn (10€);
- Brestova-Cres (Porozina): adults: 18 Kn (2.4€); car; 115 Kn (15.5€);
Train transport in Croatia is very limited. And trains are generally very slow. There are trains connecting Zagreb with Split to the south, Rijeka to the west, and Osijek to the east.
Examples of one way train prices in Croatia in 2014:
- Zagreb-Split: 190 Kn (25.4€)
- Zagreb-Rijeka: 175 Kn (23.5€)
- Zagreb-Osijek: 205 Kn (27.5€)
Travel by car is by far the best way to travel around Croatia. However, it’s also the most expensive one, especially if you need to rent a car.
In July 2014, the price of fuel was 10,89 Kn (1.45€) for Eurosuper, and 10,03 Kn (1.35€) for Eurodisel. Prices change weekly.
Toll highways, bridges and tunnels
Ticket system toll highways in Croatia are new, comfortable, and fast, but expensive. A one-way trip from Zagreb to Split will cost you 174 Kn (23.5€). If you travel further south to Ploče (the last motorway exit – Karamatići) it will set you back 222 Kn (30€). From Zagreb to Rijeka, expect to pay 70 Kn (9.4€) each way.
Besides motorways, tolls apply to some bridges and tunnels. A bridge to Krk you’ll pay 35 Kn two ways (4.7€). The tunnel Učka that you pass driving to or from Istria will set you back 29 Kn (3.9€). From the Kaštel, a Slovenian-Croatian border crossing, to Pula the highway costs 41 Kn (5.5€).
Car rental in high season, just like accommodation, comes with a high price tag, and brings up your Croatia travel costs. Daily rental with a full insurance package and unlimited mileage starts around 400 Kn (54€) for a mini car category (ex. Nissan Pixo), economy car (ex. Polo) goes for 470 Kn (65€), intermediate car category (ex. Audi A3) you’ll pay around 550 Kn (75€), renting a station-wagon will set you back 630 Kn (84€) per day.
In shoulder season, car rental is more affordable. In September for example, you’ll rent a mini category car for as low as 125 Kn (17€), economy car for 140 Kn (19€), intermediate for 360 Kn (48€), while a station-wagon will set you back 380 Kn (51€).
Croatia Travel Costs: Food & Drinks
Restaurants and bars
Being from Canada, I’ve always found that restaurants in Croatia are expensive. Anyways, when talking with my north-European or British friends, they find it affordable. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle. You can eat well in Croatia for as little as 20 to 40 Kn. You can read all about that in our post about Local, delicious and cheap eats in Croatia under 6€.
Light meals go for 35 Kn to 60 Kn (5-8€). Light meal can include a plate of pasta, risotto, mussels a la buzara, fried calamari, chicken breasts with a side dish, and alike. Fish and steaks are generally the most expensive. Fish is charged by kilo, and you can expect to pay around 350 Kn (45€) per kilogram. Portion is usually 330 gr. Expect to pay around 140 Kn (19€) for a steak. If you like wine, ask to taste restaurant's house wine. It's usually very decent wine, and the price is much lower than any bottle you can order. This will help you keep your Croatia travel costs in line with your budget.
Prices of drinks in bars vary a lot depending on the destination (Dubrovnik and Hvar being the most expensive), micro-location (the closer to the popular attractions, the more expensive it gets). We’ll skip those extreme places for now, and focus on average prices in bars and cafes in Croatia.
- Cocktails: 35 Kn – 60 Kn (5-8€)
- A bottle of wine: 120 Kn – 280 Kn (16-40€)
- A glass of wine: 9 Kn – 26 Kn (1.2-3.5€)
- Espresso: 7 Kn – 10 Kn (0.9-1.4€)
- Macchiato (coffee with milk)/ Cappuccino: 10 Kn – 14 Kn (1.4-1.9€)
- Cafe Latte: 14 – 20 Kn (1.9-2.7€)
- Mineral / Still water: 12 Kn – 15 Kn (1.6-2€)
- Soft drinks: 14 Kn – 20 Kn (1.9-2.7€)
- Alcoholic beverage: 22 Kn – 28 Kn (2.9-3.8)
- Local beer 0,33 L: 14 Kn – 20 Kn (1.9-2.7€)
- Imported beer 0,33 L: 25 Kn – 40 Kn (3.4-5.5€)
A small treats by the beach cost:
- Ice-cream: 5 – 10 Kn (0.7-1.4€) for a scoop; 8 Kn – 15 Kn (1-2€) for a Nestle or Ledo cornet;
- French fries: 12 Kn – 25 Kn (1.6-3.4€)
- Crepes: 12 Kn – 20 Kn (1.6-2.7€)
Green markets, supermarkets and bakeries
The cheapest stores to get your groceries are supermarkets. Croatian supermarket chains, like Konzum and Plodine, tend to be a bit more expensive than their international competitor Lidl. Other supermarket chains that you can find in Croatia are: Mercator, Kaufland, Spar, Tommy, Billa, and Getro. All supermarkets run weekly special offers that can help you cut your Croatia travel costs.
Prices of some items in Croatian supermarkets*:
- Barilla Spaghetti 500 g: 8.99 Kn (1.2€)
- Rice Gallo arborio 500 g: 14.99 Kn (2€)
- Fresh milk Dukat 3,2% mm 1 l: 5.99 Kn (0.8€)
- Eggs (pack of 10): 10,99 Kn – 16.99 Kn (2.3€)
- Jamnica mineral water / Jana still water 1,5 l: 4.99 Kn (0.7€)
- 6-pack beer Karlovačko 0,5L: 44.95 Kn (6€)
- Tuborg Green 0,5 l: 8.99 Kn per can (1.2€)
- Heineken 0,33l: 7.99 Kn per can (1.1€)
- Butter Dukat I class 250 g: 13.99 Kn (1.9€)
*these prices were taken in July 2014 in Konzum supermarket; they may slightly vary in other supermarkets, or by brand; the prices here are for the informational purpose only; stores change their prices regularly; check the real price when you arrive in the store
Green and fish markets are not always the cheapest option to shop for fresh fruits, vegetables, and seafood, but they are certainly the most interesting places to shop. Croatians love their local green markets, and every town has one. Prices are a bit higher than in the big supermarkets, but if you are able to tell locally grown from imported produce, then we suggest you to check the green markets. Don’t forget that some of the stands just resell products from the supermarkets for the higher price. But here you need to go with your gut feeling, and try not to pretend to buy locally grown tomatoes in December, or locally grown mandarins in April.
Bakeries are everywhere in Croatia. Majority of them, however, sell white flour, chewy bread and rolls. But if you look harder, and do your research you’ll come across few bakeries offering really great whole grain breads, rolls, and pastries. In Poreč we like Concettino and Mlinar bakeries, in Zagreb we love Stil bakery and homemade corn bread you can buy at green markets, etc. Bakeries also make all kinds of sweet and savory pastries and bread rolls. The most popular are phyllo dough pies (meat, spinach, potato, cheese), and buhtle (yeast dough pastry filled with cheese, marmalade, or chocolate spread).
Croatia Travel Costs: Activities
You’ll find lots of activities to choose from while on holidays in Croatia. However, activities don’t always come cheap. If you look into cutting your Croatia travel costs, then stick to cycling, swimming, sun bathing, and walking when it comes to activities. We’ve checked costs of popular activities in Croatia, and would like to share them with you to help you plan better your holidays in Croatia. 2014 prices are as following:
- Jet Ski: 200 Kn – 250 Kn (27-34€) for 15 min
- Paddle boat: 50 Kn – 70 Kn (6.7-9.5€) per hour
- Banana boat ride: 50 Kn (6.7€) per person
- Single Dive: 300 Kn – 450 Kn (40-60€)
- River rafting: 210 Kn – 280 Kn (28- 37€) per person
- Sea Kayaking: 250 Kn (34€) per person
- Zip lining: 400 Kn (54€)
- 10-minute panorama flight: 120 Kn (16€) per person or 600 Kn (80€) per flight
- Entrance fee for Plitvice Lakes National Park in July and August: 180 Kn (24€)
- Entrance fee for Krka Waterfalls National Park from June through September: 110 Kn (15€)
- Entrance fee for Mljet National Park from mid-June to mid-September: 100 Kn (14€)
We hope that this post will help you plan better your holidays in Croatia. While we couldn’t list all the costs that might occur during your stay in Croatia, we believe these info helps you get a better idea what to expect in Croatia cost wise.
If you need any other info regarding Croatia travel costs, let us know in the comments below. We’ll happily answer all your questions. Or, just share your thoughts on Croatia travel costs: expensive, cheap, moderate? We are happy to hear from you!