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Moving to Croatia

Croatia is one of Europe’s youngest countries. Expats relocating to Croatia will find a geographically diverse country. With its spectacular Adriatic coastline, thickly forested mountains and Mediterranean climate, it is easy to see why the country is growing in popularity as an expat destination.

Most expats in Croatia live in the capital, Zagreb, or Dubrovnik. However, with the continual growth of the country's tourism industry, there are more and more people who move to Croatia to set up businesses along the coast, as well as in smaller rural areas.

Expats living in Croatia are treated to a host of outdoor and indoor leisure activities. For adventurous types, there is hiking, mountain biking and diving; and for those that prefer cultural activities, Croatia is home to a number of World Heritage Sites, museums and art galleries.

Despite Croatia’s slow economic growth and somewhat poor infrastructure, the government’s liberal attitude towards business has served to attract foreign investment, especially since the end of the Croatian War of Independence in 1995. 

Favourable property prices and the availability of idyllic locations and uninhabited islands have made Croatia a hotspot for those looking to retire in the sun. Croatia's Istrian Peninsula has even been dubbed ‘New Tuscany’ because of its popularity among holiday goers, not to mention high-profile celebrities.

Despite the country’s natural beauty, there are challenges to living in Croatia. Job opportunities in Croatia tend to be limited. Capitalising on connections is more likely to land an expat a job than applying through the usual channels. Those planning on setting up their own businesses should be prepared to deal with red tape. All expats should be wary of officials who promise to speed up bureaucratic processes, as corruption is widely reported throughout the country.

Healthcare in Croatia is on par with the standards in most European countries and it is becoming a burgeoning medical tourism destination, especially for kidney and hip problems. While the standard of education in Croatia is good, there is a limited number of international schools, most of which are located in Zagreb.

Croatia is a young country full of potential and as such, there is a growing number of expats who are willing to ignore the areas where the country falls short and take advantage of the alternative, low-cost lifestyle and natural beauty that this Balkan state has to offer.

Essential Info for Croatia

Population: About 4 million

Capital city: Zagreb

Neighbouring countries: Croatia is bordered by Slovenia to the north, Hungary to the northeast, Serbia to the east, Bosnia and Herzegovina to the southeast, Montenegro to the southeast, and the Adriatic Sea to the southwest.

Geography: Croatia has over 1,000 islands and islets scattered along its coastline, only a fraction of which are inhabited. The geography of the mainland is characterised by lowland plains to the north and mountainous territory towards the south.

Political system: Unitary parliamentary constitutional republic

Major religions: Roman Catholicism

Main languages: Croatian

Money: Kuna (HRK), subdivided into 100 lipa. ATMs are plentiful in Croatia and it should be easy for expats to open a bank account.

Tipping: Tips are generally expected in Croatia, even if it's just a few kuna as a symbolic gesture. For small amounts rounding up is appropriate, and in restaurants a standard tip is around 10 percent.

Time: GMT +1. GMT +2 between March and October

Electricity: 230 volts, 50Hz. Plugs with two round pins are used.

Internet domain: .hr

International dialing code: +385

Emergency number: 112 can be dialled in all emergencies

Transport and driving: Buses are the main form of public transport in Croatia, with ferries being used for transport between the mainland and islands. Trains are infrequent but can be useful for regional travel. Driving is on the right-hand side of the road.

Public Holidays in Croatia




New Year's Day

1 January

1 January


6 January

6 January

Easter Monday

13 April

5 April

Labour Day

1 May

1 May

Corpus Christi

11 June

3 June

Anti-Fascist Resistance Day

22 June

22 June

Statehood Day

25 June

25 June

Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving Day

5 August

5 August

Assumption Day

15 August

15 August

Independence Day

8 October

8 October

All Saints Day

1 November

1 November

Christmas Day

25 December

25 December

Saint Stephen's Day

26 December

26 December

Expat Experiences in Croatia

When considering a move to a new city, there is nothing more useful than hearing real-life stories from other expats who are living there. Enjoy the interviews below and the insight they afford, and please contact us if you live or have lived in Croatia and would like to share your experience. 

Chris is an American expat. He recently moved to Zagreb with his wife and son. Chris enjoys the beautiful architecture of the city, and speaks about some of the difficulties he has had adjusting to his first experience as an expat. Read his interview about expat life in Zagreb.


Sara is an American expat from Dallas, Texas who works as a freelancer in Croatia. She speaks about her experiences of the Croatian culture and lifestyle and highlights some of the challenges that expats might face when adapting to life in this European country. Read her interview about expat life in Split.