Located at the crossroads between central and southeast Europe, Croatia is home to more than 4 million people—and millions more visit this beautiful country every year.
Before you make your way to Croatia, there area few things you need to know about living and working in the country. This article, part of our Work From Anywhere series, covers everything you need to know, from climate to work visas.
What it’s like to live and work in Croatia
Here’s what you need to know about living and working in the country.
Key facts about living in Croatia
With beautiful national parks, stunning beaches, and towering mountains, Croatia is a remote worker’s paradise. But is it a good fit for your lifestyle?
Here are a few facts to help you decide if it’s the right place for you.
- Capital: Zagreb
- Currency: kuna (Though most tourist areas accept Euros)
- The average cost of living: COL is 34 percent lower than the U.S. Two thousand USD is sufficient to live well in most areas.
- Climate: Mediterranean. Expect hot, dry summers and cool, rainy winters on the coast. Inland does experience colder winters and occasional snow.
- Language: Primarily Croatian, Standard Bosnian and Standard Serbian are also national languages.
- Food: Popular dishes include fish stew (Brudet), seafood, stews, and pasta dishes like gnocchi.
- Taxes: Digital nomads pay no taxes. Residents may pay up to 18%, depending on location and income. (Note that some cities may charge additional taxes.)
Keep in mind, the average cost of living comparisons can vary drastically based on where you settle in Croatia, your family size, and where you currently live and work. For example, a family off our settling in the capital of Zagreb will need a higher budget than a single person living in a smaller city.
In general, however, Croatia is considered one of the more affordable European countries to live and work.
The best cities in Croatia for remote workers
Croatia, formerly called the Republic of Croatia, is split into four cultural regions: Croatia Proper, the central portion of the country which includes the capital city of Zagreb; Dalmatia, which covers much of the coastline; Slavonia, the inland region; and Istria, a peninsula in the eastern part of Croatia.
The country is also home to more than 100 cities, each varying in population, attractions, climate, and culture. So, where is the best place to work remotely in Croatia? It all depends on your preferences.
Here’s a look at the top five cities for remote workers. Whether you want a lively nightlife or prefer the small-town vibe, there’s a city for you.
Once a small fishing port, this city is now a popular tourist destination. Situated on the west coast of the Istrian peninsula, the town features quaint cobblestone streets, towering church steeples, and beautiful pebble beaches. It’s also a great launching point for exploring the islands off its shore.
Remote workers will appreciate the affordable long-term accommodations, winding streets, and relaxed vibe.
Situated on the Dalmatian coast, Split is a popular destination for remote workers due to the ample cafes for working, shops, dining, and stunning Roman architecture. It is the second-largest city in the country, making it ideal for those who prefer the bustle of city life over quiet towns.
Remote workers to Split enjoy access to co-working places (such as Saltwater Nomads), lively nightlife, and delicious food.
Known for its Roman and Venetian ruins, impressive mountains, and beautiful beaches, Zadar is an ideal location for digital nomads. It’s also home to the first digital nomad village in the country, Digital Nomad Valley. Popular attractions include some of the country’s top national parks, delicious food, and beautiful beaches.
Remote workers in Zadar enjoy access to an active remote work community, outdoor activities, and historic ruins.
As the capital city of Croatia, Zagreb has plenty to offer. Topping the list includes reliable Wi-Fi, affordable accommodations, and lively nightlife. Many people in the city speak English, making it easy for most visitors to navigate. Top attractions include breathtaking historic architecture, the main square Ban Jelacic, and museums.
Remote workers enjoy access to plenty of cafes and co working spaces where you can network with fellow digital nomads.
Located in northern Croatia, Ivanec offers remote workers a small-town feel. Popular attractions include the Trakoscan Castle, hiking, ancient ruins, and delicious food. Unlike the bigger towns, Ivanec offers a more relaxing atmosphere than larger cities like Zagreb or Zadar.
The city is not situated on the coast, but provides an affordable jumping-off point for exploring the rest of Europe. Remote workers looking for a slower pace may enjoy Ivanec.
How long can you stay in Croatia?
If you’re considering working remotely in Croatia, you might be wondering how long you can stay. U.S. residents do not need a visa to visit Croatia for business or travel for 90 days or less.
Additionally, all visitors who hold Schengen documents do not need a visa to spend 90 days out of 180 days in the country. Countries that do not require a visa for 90 days in a 180 period include:
But, what if you want to stay a bit longer?
In January of 2021, Croatia began offering a temporary residence permit, better known as the “digital nomad visa.” Note, the Croatian website refers to this as a permit, rather than a visa, however you can apply whether or not your country of residence requires a visa.
This permit allows remote workers to live and work in Croatia for one year. The visa cannot be extended and is only available to workers in “communication technology” who are not employed by a Croatian company. You are not permitted to offer services to Croatian businesses during your stay.
Other requirements include:
- Valid travel document that expires more than three months after your stay ends.
- Proof of health insurance valid in Croatia
- Proof of purpose, such as an employment contract, that proves you work through communication technology for an employer or your own company.
- Proof of subsistence, such as a bank statement or proof of income, including the average monthly salary for the previous year. You must earn at least HRK 202,890 or around $30,000 USD per year.
- Proof you have not been convicted of a crime.
- An address in Croatia where you will stay. This is required to determine which police station is responsible for processing your application.
You must register at the local police station within 30 days of being granted a temporary stay or your permit will be revoked. Upon arrival, you must apply for a biometric residence permit at the local police station. You can expect to pay around $61 USD for the temporary residence permit and $45 for your biometric permit.
Can remote workers establish residency in Croatia?
It is not easy to stay in Croatia after your digital nomad permit expires. While some sites report you can request to extend the permit, we were unable to verify this on government websites.
Additionally, COVID has made applying for visas more difficult. If you have a family member who is currently in Croatia, hold a job in Croatia, or are traveling for education or healthcare, you may be able to apply for a long-term visa.
After remaining in Croatia (legally) for five years, you can apply for permanent residency.
Croatia: A Report Card
Ease of short-term stay: A+
Croatia’s Digital Nomad Permit is easy to apply for and allows you to live and work in the country for one year. You must submit proof of income, a Croatian address, and legal documentation. If you’ve been convicted of a crime, you may not be eligible.
Ease of residence: C-
At the time of writing, it does not seem to be easy to establish residency in Croatia past the first year as a remote worker. However, EU members may have an easier time staying in the country. Remote workers from US, Canada, Mexico, and other non-EU members may struggle to establish residency.
If you enter the country on a tourist visa or digital nomad permit, you are not required to pay taxes. Residents of the country pay between 0 and 18% income taxes.
Overall score: A-
Despite the lack of clarity for establishing residency in Croatia, the country is easy for digital nomads to live for at least one year. The beaches, historical points of interest, and affordability also make Croatia an ideal location for remote workers.