Living in Croatia as a digital nomad (2020 – 2021)

Split, Croatia. October 2020.

I first arrived in Croatia, fresh out of a 7-month long “travelship” with a wonderful person who taught me so much about life and philosophy. We traveled together through England, Scotland, and finally Albania.

There, we parted ways and I arrived in Croatia, once again as a solo traveler.

Croatia is gentle and kind to solo travelers and boasts of many amazing hostels and ‘cheap’ apartments during the off-season (from October to April)

I was going to spend 2 weeks in Croatia before heading to Italy. But Croatia completely mesmerized me.

And so, I decided to stay longer and ended spending 3 months in Croatia. My parents even visited me during Winter (Nov to Dec 2020) and we roamed around Zadar, Plitvice National Parks, Rovinj, Krka National Park and Hvar island.

By this time, I had already been traveling for 10 months and witnessed many beautiful landscapes and towns. But there was something about Croatia that just intrigued me so much.

Eventually, after going back to Singapore in Jan 2021, I decided to back to Croatia in March 2021. Not gonna lie but a certain charming Italian who was living there was also part of the reason I went back. I’m a sucker for love and I was curious about Mr M and wanted to see if anything could develop between us.

Making friends in Croatia was a breeze. In October 2020 when I first visited, I stayed in a hostel called World Wide Web hostel for 2 weeks. It was in a convenient part of the city in Zagreb and there were planned activities for anyone to attend.

Soon after I moved to Zagreb in 2021, I started scouting for my own place. From FB groups, I managed to find Marin – a Croatian who moved to Dubai 10 years ago to be a flight steward and was now moving back to Croatia.

He helped us find a really great place in the city and together, we moved into the apartment with our landlord’s son – Petar!

First time having housemates haha – Petar and Marin

The apartment itself was an old walk up with beautiful chandeliers and high ceilings. We held quite a number of parties there because we had both a sitting room and a living room.

I worked really well in that apartment because the wifi connection was strong and the room was big and airy. Whenever I felt bored, I’d go out for a quick walk around the city’s gardens or grab a gelato.

Nomading in Croatia was really easy. In the same year, Croatia had been actively pursuing nomads to live there, they even created a nomad visa which allowed people to stay there for up to 1 year (tax-free) I never actually applied for it but a few of my friends did.

Once Spring began and the weather started getting warmer in April/May, the activities in the city started booming.

In Zagreb alone, we often went for parties held all around the city. The bar scene was decent and by the time summer swung around, there were festivals being held almost every other weekend. Of course, during the summer, most of us escaped the city and went down to the coast instead. The Dalmatian coast to be exact!

The dalmatian coast is really beautiful. In Zadar, I found many nice apartments for 30euros a night (off peak) and long walking paths along the sea. The town itself is the 3rd largest in Croatia and has many good seafood restaurants.

In Split, the old town puts everyone in a romantic mood and you can take ferries to the nearby islands of Hvar, Brac, Korcula, Solta and Vis. These islands had lives on their own and as long as you have a car, it’ll be easy to find accommodation and restaurants there.

The best part about living in Croatia for a year was having the chance to build a little community there. I met some incredible ladies who were all girl bosses and so lovely.

Marco and I developed a great relationship in Zagreeb and I loved getting to know his colleagues in Rimac. They were working on the La Nevera and already saw each other every day at work and yet they still really enjoyed seeing each other almost every night! Haha.

Anyway, they were a fun and spirited group of engineers and they were family for the period of time I lived there. I miss you everyone!

A fun fact about Croatia many people might not know

Almost every beach in Croatia (along the coast) has a nudist section!

The rocks will mark the beginning and end of the nudist sections but yea! For such a conservative country, I was surprised there were so many local nudists (even the older folks) enjoying the sun during the summer.

Things I really enjoyed in Croatia

  • Living in different cities like Zagreb, Zadar, and Split
  • Spending weekends in smaller towns like Rovinj, Omis, Trogir, Vrbnik, Sibenik, Pula
  • Spending time in the national parks – Krka and Plitvice
  • Exploring the different islands – Rabisland, Hvar, Brac, Solta, Krk, Dugi Otok (our favourite)
  • Great seafood along the Dalmatian coast
  • Great wine!! Just ask Charine 😀
  • Festivals and parties during the summer
  • Friendly locals!! (Just don’t ask them for small change hahaha)
  • Good transport in and between cities (You can take buses or uber)
  • Transport in towns are a little harder so try to rent a car
  • Plenty of supermarkets everywhere
  • Every town/city has a local market too where you can get fresh groceries
  • Most people do speak English because it’s a tourist-driven economy
  • Wifi was generally very strong
  • Many hiking routes on mountains
  • Many many beautiful places to view sunset
  • There’s a huge nomad community there so activities are aplenty!
  • When you rent apartments, they usually come with a kitchen
  • Croatia is very close to Slovenia, Montenegro and Italy so it’s a good place to base off from!

I hope you enjoy Croatia as much as I did!

If anyone wants some inspiration of where to visit in Croatia, please visit Olivia’s site! She puts in alot of effort to promote Croatia.

Hvala Bok bok!