Home Expat Places: Croatia – The Pearl of the Adriatic

Expat Places: Croatia – The Pearl of the Adriatic

Posted by on June 19th, 2019.

Croatia, with its beautiful islands and low cost of living, boasts a rich historical heritage with a wonderful Mediterranean climate. It’s perhaps no surprise to discover the country is attracting more and more expats each year, lured by its beautiful coasts and modern cities, its culture, cuisine and even the contemporary DJ scene!

Many incomers move to the capital, Zagreb – a comfortable city where contemporary apartments are available to rent at affordable rates. With a population of just over a million people, Zagreb is considered to be the only metropolitan city in Croatia, yet crucially it retains all of its ‘small town’ charm.

In fact, there are plenty of reasons why you should consider moving to Croatia – with its picturesque coastal towns, a developing contemporary arts scene, and numerous attractions, such as the beautiful walled city of Dubrovnik – but let’s find out why a growing number are attracted to live in the so-called Pearl of the Adriatic.

Culinary Delights – Croatian Style

Croatian food exhibits a blend of influences, and each region has its own unique dish. If you like Italian food, for example, you will find the Croatian diet very familiar, seeing as it takes much of its influence from Italy. You may also spot the Turkish and Hungarian influences, if you have travelled to those places.

Croatian food can be roughly divided into two types: coastal and continental.

Coastal food includes a lot of fish, and indeed many of Croatia’s dishes are seafood-based, with most of the fish having been locally caught in the Adriatic Sea.

A popular dish is grilled fish, which is cooked slowly with a few handfuls of salt, pepper and olive oil to bring out the juices and create an irresistible flavour.

Croatia’s Italian-influenced cuisine is apparent in its unique pasta, called Fuži – pronounced foo-shee – which at first appears to be a subtle variation on penne. This traditional dish is usually served up with shavings of white truffle or truffle cream sauce, and will have your mouth watering in no time.

Eastern European countries are known for their dried meat dishes, and in Croatia it is Istrian ham – a wonderful salted meat infused with bay leaves, rosemary and garlic. This ham is not simply smoked, but air-cured in the fresh coastal breezes, and it can be aged for up to 18 months. The result can be a wonderful combination when served up with local wine and continental cheeses.

With a cross-fertilisation of influences and inspiration drawing upon its rich heritage, you’ll find you’re spoilt for choice when dining out in Croatia. You will also be washing down your meals with Turkish coffee served in the čezve – pronounced chez-ve – with its unique long handle and narrow spout.

Culture – Old and New

Although it’s generally seen as one of Europe’s youngest nations – gaining its independence from Yugoslavia in 1991 – Croatia has a rich and ancient historical and cultural pedigree.

In the old town of Split, for example, you have Diocletian’s Palace, which was built for the Roman Emperor Diocletian in the fourth century AD.

Built for his retirement and serving as a combination of summer house and villa, it is one of the most imposing and beautiful examples of Roman architecture in the world. This has since been integrated into the whole town, where you’ll find bustling streets of shops and restaurants.

Indeed, the Diocletian’s Palace itself, blending the old and the new, serves as a metaphor for Croatia as a whole, with its finger on the pulse of modern life while preserving its rich cultural identity.

The TV series Game of Thrones recently brought the city of Dubrovnik to the world’s attention providing the backdrop for fictional city ‘King’s Landing’. It has also featured in such films as Star Wars: the Last Jedi and is even hinted to feature in the new James Bond film.

The cutting-edge of contemporary Croatia can now be found in its festival scene, with DJs from around the world travelling to partake in its festivals such as Garden Festival and Beats, Beer and Boogaloo, which combines electronic music with the avant-garde to push the envelope of artistic expression.

In fact, Croatia is a seemingly endless incubator for artistic talent, with film directors attending such film festivals Motovun and Liburnia, which showcase many interesting and powerful documentaries and animations.

Croatia – An Expat’s Choice

Exploring the many avenues opening up in Croatia’s cultural scene, old and new, can be a dizzying experience. The diversity of its influences shows more clearly than perhaps anywhere else in Europe, where the old towns jostle with the new youthful creative spirit that is being reborn.

If it’s musical festivals with late night DJs playing some of the best club music, or historical sights boasting some of the world’s most stunning architecture and cinematic backdrops – Croatia has it all.

On top of all these, there are the thousands of islands in the Adriatic Sea. Hvar, for example, is said to be the most stunning island of all, and it has a rich history of wine making, while staying there is inexpensive.

There is something for everybody in Croatia, and with a growing economy and an affordable cost of living Croatia could well be one of the most promising expat destinations in Europe right now.

London – Dubrovnik Price Comparison

Here is an overview of the price differences between London and Dubrovnik. All figures come from the cost comparison site Numbero and are in Pounds and Croatian Kuna.


Product/Service London (£/kn) Dubrovnik (£/kn) Difference (%)
Meal at an Inexpensive Restaurant £15.00 / 124.67kn £7.22 / 60.00kn -51.87%
Domestic Beer £5.00 / 41.56kn £2.05 / 17.00kn -59.09%
Can of Soft Drink £1.40 / 11.62kn £1.77 / 14.74kn +26.82%
Eggs (regular) (12) £2.07 / 17.20kn £1.98 / 16.45kn -4.34%
Milk (1 litre) £0.97 / 8.10kn £0.75 / 6.19kn -23.58%
Bread (Fresh Loaf) (500g) £1.08 / 9.01kn £0.80 / 6.64kn -26.29%
One-way Ticket (Local Transport) £2.50 / 20.78kn £1.80 / 15.00kn -27.81%
Basic Utilities per Month (Electric, Heating, Cooling, etc.) £169.71 / 1,410.54kn £128.84 / 1,070.83kn -24.08%
Price Per Square Metre to Buy an Apartment in City Centre £12,903/ 107.,248kn £7,096 / 58,983kn -45.00%


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