Our two weeks in Croatia were characterized by expensive days (excursions, lodging that was on the pricier side for our trip), balanced with very inexpensive days–for one entire week in Jelsa, we paid for almost nothing outside of our lodging and groceries.
The balance worked out well: our travel budget for Croatia ended up being right on target, despite the ups and downs.
Trip Length: 13 full days
Total Cost (excluding transportation in/out): $1392.61, $107.12/day, $53.56 per person/per day
Lodging: $799.81 for 14 nights
At an average of $57.13/night, lodging ate up a bigger chunk of our travel budget for Croatia than in our previous stop of Slovenia. Split, Hvar Island, and Dubrovnik are all tourist hot spots that we were visiting during the high season, but compromising a bit on location for our lodging helped keep costs reasonable, even if it did keep us away from the city centers.
Considering that we had three base destinations during the Croatia leg of our trip, and lodging in both Split and Dubrovnik that required public transportation to reach their city centers, transportation costs ended up being fairly reasonable. The ferry between Hvar and Split cost less than $10/person each way, and the bus from Split to Dubrovnik cost less than $20/person.
Restaurant Food: $105.82
With no kitchen access in Split, and limited kitchen access in Dubrovnik, we had more restaurant meals in Croatia than in many of our European destinations. We compensated with several rounds of street food that generally ran between $3-4 per person–the prices felt quite budget friendly for Croatia, but feel laughably expensive to type out while sitting here in Thailand.
Groceries were very reasonable in Croatia, even in tourist destinations–$103.83 fed us every meal during our week in Jelsa (excluding the fresh garden produce that our Airbnb host was very generous with), about half our meals in Dubrovnik, and a couple of meals in Split.
Our travel budget for Croatia was definitely impacted by our liberal use of excursions, but we don’t regret it–there was just so much to do! The bulk of our expenses in this category was eaten up by a day trip to Krka National Park from Split (just over $50/person), a one day Dubrovnik Card (about $25/person), and our kayaking excursion in Dubrovnik (about $33/person). The kayaking tour was not only a bargain, it was our favorite excursion of the entire European leg of our trip.
Several bathroom visits and forgettable odds and ends ended up in this category, but the most notable expense was our decision to spend about $20 and get a couple of simple pairs of swimming goggles in Jelsa. They greatly improved our time in the Adriatic Sea while on Hvar, and I wish we had packed them to begin with.
We were very satisfied with our travel budget for Croatia, though it’s debatable whether or not the trade-off for lodging that was further away from attractions in exchange for cheaper prices was worth it. Next time (because there will definitely be a next time), we will consider either raising the amount we are willing to spend or trying to schedule our visit for shoulder season to take advantage of more availability and slightly lower prices.