9 Ways On How To Travel Croatia On A Budget: Save Money In Croatia

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Post author SJ

Written by our local expert SJ

Sarah-Jane has lived in Croatia for 10+ years. SJ, as she is known, has been traveling the Balkans & beyond since 2000. She now shares her passion for traveling with her husband & kids.

Traveling to Croatia on a budget is definitely possible. Check out these ideas to save money in Croatia.

Croatia Travel Blog_How To Travel Croatia On A Budget

Croatia is often referred to as a dream-come-true holiday destination because of our fantastic weather, the fantastic people, breathtaking nature, and prices that are known to be some of the best in Europe.

With budget flights to Croatia from all over Europe increasing, Croatia is an excellent destination for budget travelers. Here are a few tips on how to travel to Croatia on a budget.

We hope these tips will be handy if you plan a trip to our Croatian treasure!

Budget Travel In Croatia Tips

1. Croatia On A Budget Tip – Transport

Bus In Croatia by Bus

So, you need to get from point A to point B. So, how do you do that traveling to Croatia on a budget? The cheapest way is by bus.

Buses in Croatia

Numerous bus lines connect thousands of Croatian destinations and destinations throughout the rest of Europe. Gone are the days of trying to cram as many passengers onto the bus as possible. The coaches in Croatia are modern, with most having free WiFi services and electric plug-ins so you can stay connected while on the road.

Buses are now being built to maximize passenger comfort and provide a better experience. These days, buses have headrests, more space between seats (hooray for me, I can actually fit), more room for your travel bag, air-conditioning (an absolute necessity), and toilets.

Most of the drivers speak English, which can be very handy.

The best part for me is that taking the bus allows you to relax and soak in all the beauty Croatia has to offer, and it’s the best option for budget travel in Croatia.

Budget Car Rental in Croatia

Of course, buses are not for everyone. Car rental can be inexpensive if you book early and rent a small vehicle. Just be sure to make sure there is room for your bags. Those little cars have small trunks!

Also, note that the Croatian motorways have tolls. They’re slower but often more scenic and 100% free. To avoid those added costs, you can use local roads instead.

Private Transfers in Croatia

Another way to save money is through a private transfer. If you are in a group, a private transfer can work out the same or cheaper than you all hauling ass on a hot, smelly bus.

2. Croatia On A Budget Tip – Accommodation


Naturally, if you plan a trip to this country, you will need a place to crash after a long day of tours and wandering. We were always hotel travelers and found them the best place to stay, but now that we travel so often, more often, we find local apartments or homes on Airbnb.

Croatia doesn’t have a ton of international hotel chains, but the ones we do have charge accordingly. If traveling to Croatia on a budget, you should look for deals via specialized booking sites early and look for sales.

There are some essential tips you should consider if you want to book a nice hotel on the cheap:

3. Croatia On A Budget Tip – Go In The Off-Season


If you want to visit Croatia on a budget, you should really take a better look at the calendar and plan your trip accordingly.

When it comes to tourism in this country, the demand is very seasonal. The peak season is from July through August. This is when prices are at their annual highs – in most cases, so high that we stay home and don’t travel even as locals. It could hurt the wallet no matter where you are visiting or where you are going in those months.

Instead, if you want to travel to Croatia on a budget, go in spring and autumn, and you will save money instantly. Moreover, April, May, and June are relatively warm, and the lack of tourists means you can see Croatia just like a local. September is still swimming season, so you can laze by the beach as you save your pennies.

4. Croatia On A Budget Tip – Choose Your Location Wisely

Cable Car in Dubrovnik
Cable Car in Dubrovnik

As we all know, Dubrovnik is probably the most famous town in this country, so naturally, there are always tons of tourists and sky-high prices. While in smaller cities, you can enjoy the same beauty yet spend less.

To save money in Croatia, stay away from the Old Town in Dubrovnik and look to the broader Dubrovnik Riviera or Konavle Region. 

Instead of staying at Split, look for a stay in Trogir or Omiš. Or even skip those two significant players and instead check out Zadar. You can get to Split in a few hours on the bus and be close for day trips to many national parks, including Plitvice Lakes. Just use Google Maps to look for the smaller towns surrounding the big cities you’ve got on your wishlist to save.

5. Croatia On A Budget Tip – Island Hopping On A Budget

Ever dreamed of island hopping in Croatia, in places like Dalmatia or the Kvarner Region, but put those dreams on hold simply because you felt you couldn’t afford such a luxury? Well, here in Croatia, there is a way to have an affordable Croatia island hopping holiday, and even we can show you how to set your own itinerary!

Nothing is worse than getting to a destination and realizing you’re missing something. You decide which islands you want to visit and for how long. But, before you even consider a holiday, you must ensure you have all the travel necessities to make your vacation comfortable. 

6. Croatia On A Budget Tip – Food 

Food In Slavonia - Kulen

Everybody needs to eat, which can be one of the most significant expenses when traveling. However, to save money, you must eat where locals eat and not at places that are always full of tourists. Of course, we always recommend you eat in traditional Croatian restaurants. 

Many restaurants offer what is known as marenda (or you may see it as gablec), which are just traditional Croatian meals prepared at a fixed price. Consisting of a main course, salad, a side, and maybe even dessert, these are created to make a person complete for a day, and they always taste amazing!

Also, consider making your own food. You will always find local markets in each town, all packed with fresh vegetables and fruits, and if you have a hotel with a fridge or if you choose to rent an apartment, you’ll even have a kitchen where you can cook. You can indeed save a ton of cash by cooking some of your meals. We have some fabulous Croatian recipes you can try here.

Your money will go a long way at the supermarkets if you also consider eating breakfast at your hotel (or making it yourself) and then taking picnic lunches with you while out and about. This allows you to spend some more money on dinner. After all, you can’t miss trying all that tasty Croatian cuisine.

7. Croatia On A Budget Tip – Fewer Destinations Are Better

If you’d like to save money while visiting Croatia, you should limit the number of places you stay at. Moving from one town to the next is usually not the most budget-friendly thing you can do.

This is because many accommodations, from hotels to private apartments, offer discounts if you stay longer. So, you can cut down on your accommodation expenses by basing yourself in strategic cities like Zadar, Zagreb, or Split and going on day trips. Croatia is not that big, and it’s possible to see much of it by choosing your bases wisely.

Bonus Budget Travel Tips

8. Be sure not to scrimp on travel insurance; it’s the one thing you must arrange before coming here, as Croatia’s hospital system isn’t cheap (or practical). Also, the guys at Just a Pack have some more excellent budget travel tips for Croatia that you should check out before you come

9. And, if you want to travel to Europe on a budget, you can find more tips here

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Things To Do In Croatia On A Budget Or For Free

While some major attractions in Croatia require you to pay a fee, there are still several amazing things to do for free. Here are some suggestions for budget-friendly activities in Croatia:

Just those three things (beaches, national parks, and beautiful towns) are essential to an all-around Croatia experience. Luckily for you, they’re all free or require the payment of a small entrance fee, which is always well worth it.

Traveling to Croatia on a budget can be done; you have to plan ahead. What other budget travel tips do you have? 


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