How I’ve spent less than £500 in Croatia and still had a great time
Updated: Jul 19, 2020
Hello everybody, long time no see!
So if you follow me on Social Media, you would know that I came back from a 10-day trip to Croatia a few weeks ago. And what a trip it was!!
Croatia has been on my list of places to go for a while now, mostly because of Game of Thrones, but also because I’d heard amazing things about it. So after I promised myself last year that I would visit this year, I finally booked my flights in January. My friend (and travel partner) and I decided we’d like to visit a few places so we flew to Zadar and flew back from Dubrovnik. In between, we visited Split, Krka National Park, Hvar and Bol (Brac).
If you want to know how I’ve had a great time and still kept my expenses low, please read on. Recommendations of places and tips to save money on your trips will be included.
Currency and money
First thing you need to know is Croatia’s currency is called Kuna. Though Croatia is part of the European Union, they’re not part of the Euro Zone, however, some places do accept Euros. So my advice is, have Kuna’s with you.
I was going to exchange GBP to Kuna before I went, but my housemate gave me the best gift of all: MONZO! If you don’t have a Monzo card, then go and get one yourself right now! I bet you must be wondering why I’m referring to Monzo as the best gift ever. Well, Monzo not only lets you withdraw £200 without charging any fees abroad per month but also don’t charge you any fees for using your card and they have the Mastercard day rate, meaning, you don’t lose as much money as if you were using your normal account.
In total, I have spent about £750-780 including my flights and accommodation for 10 days. From that, I spent about £390-430 while I was there. I don’t know exact figures as I didn’t use my Monzo all times and we split costs, so sometimes I transferred the money directly from my normal account. Also, this figure includes ferries, and bus from Zadar to Split and also Split-Krka and back.
Beach in Hvar
So how have you spent so little over 10 days in different places?
Simple. I didn’t eat out as much and pre-drank before we went out. I’ve always been quite good with money, as I never had much to splurge. And I also know when I can and can’t afford something.
Because we stayed in AirBnb’s (another trick to save you some money), we always had breakfast in and had dinner in too. We went out for a meal in each place we stayed at, which was normally the last or the first day in the place. So we could save some money when going out, we normally pre-drink in. Drinks in the supermarket in Croatia are actually quite cheap, and we ended up buying a litre bottle of wine for about £3.5/£4.
We ate an Ice Cream every day
Food is also cheap, so there were meals that cost us about £2/3 each when we ate in. Eating out, cost me between £10-£15 for a main and a drink.
In the big days out, we took homemade sandwiches, always accompanied by paprika crisps!
For the record, when I say cheap, I mean it in comparison to England/UK prices.
What Cities did I visit?
Over the 10 days, we visited 6 places. Starting in Zadar and finishing in Dubrovnik, here’s a breakdown of the places, what I have done and my recommendations if you’re considering Croatia.
Small(ish) city in the coast, about 1.5/2h drive from Split. We only stayed there for one full day (2 nights as our flight in was late), and we both fell like it was plenty of time. The Old Town is very pretty, loads of little streets, but we got the feeling that there wasn’t much to do. We went to the beach in the afternoon and then out for dinner. I got treated to a lovely bird poo 10 min after we left our apartment on my way to the restaurant. Needless to say, I wanted to go home and change but thankfully, it didn’t smell or stained my dress.
Port in Zdar
View from our AirBnb
There are loads of restaurants and outdoor places to sit for food and drinks. From everywhere we’ve been, we paid the least for Aperol Spritz (this is how we measured how expensive a place was haha). I can’t remember the name of the restaurant we went for a meal but we went to a place called La Bodega for drinks, which you can also find in Split and Dubrovnik.
Zadar from the Old Town
Sunset in Zadar
We had two full days in Split, and we took another to visit Krka. Compared to Zadar, Split is a much bigger and lively city. We also noticed there we more tourists around. We mostly stayed around the Old Town as our AirBnB was close, so we didn’t really explore much. Would still go back another time and see a bit more!
Split from the waterfront
The Old Town is full of little streets and it so so easy to get lost in there! There are some nice places for food, which again, silly me forgot to get the names, and loads of ice cream places! The best thing is each scoop costs around 10kn which is like £1.20. And the ice cream was amazing! There’s also a daily market in the Old Town where you can buy fresh fruit and veg and also a fish market. In our last day, we had a fish bbq for dinner, as our AirBnB had a lovely balcony with a bbq. We went to the market to buy the fish, which was super fresh and between 3 people we probably spent about £10-15 on the fish and veg.
Split Old Town
Spilt Old Town
There’s a sandy beach just about 10 min walk from the ferry terminals, in Bacvice. The water wasn’t too cold, but there aren’t many places to put your towel in the sand. We still had a lovely afternoon and caught some rays.
The nightlife was much more lively than Zadar. There are quite a few places by the waterfront, but we obviously ended up in the Irish Bar two nights in a row. In the second night, we also went to a club on a beach, Tropic Club, which was fun and there were loads of people from around the world, but the music was really not my type. I have a funny taste in music (that’s for another post), but I like house music when I go out. This was a mix of pop/reggaeton and house music from 10 years ago when I started to go out. I would still recommend it, if not for the atmosphere.
Krka National Park
This was definitely one of my favourite days. I had not heard of this place until my friend showed me when we were planning our trip. It’s way more beautiful than photos can show.
The entry price was 200kn, approximately £24. This includes access to the National Park and a ferry to and from the waterfalls. If you are a student you can get a discount if you show your student card. I know it is a bit expensive but I could not recommend it enough.
The bus from and to Split cost about £11 each and it took about an hour each way.
The bus takes you to Skradin, a little village just at the entrance of the park. This is where you get the tickets and the ferry to the waterfalls. The ferry takes about 25/30 min each way and they’re quite regular. Once you get to the waterfalls you have a few restaurants/cafes and a big area you can lay and chill. I’d recommend bringing a bikini/swimming trunks and water shoes! There are loads of rocks at the bottom but also sand, but the rocks can be quite slippery. Also, expect the water to be absolutely freezing, it took me about 10 min to go underwater!
Oh Hvar… where do I start. This was definitely our favourite place and we wish we had stayed longer! It’s definitely a place I would go back to! We got a ferry from Split and it takes about an hour. I think we paid 110kn (around £13/14).
Hvar Town Centre
Our Airbnb host was really good at giving us recommendations and she suggested a beach for us to go on our first day that was about 20/30 min walk. The only human presence there were about 10 people at the beach at the time we got there, which made it even better.
Look how clear the water is!
Again I recommend having water shoes with you, not because we saw sea urchins, but because the pebbles are so big and slippery, that I felt so much safer wearing them. Also, it would hurt my feet walking on the pebbles.
On our second day, we rented a little boat, oh and what a day it was! Hvar has a group of little inhabited islands, called Paklinski with lovely beaches you can go to. If you don’t want to rent a boat, you can always get taxi boats too and from one of the Islands. I’d recommend going to Palmizana, which is the most popular one.
Living the boat life
If you do want to rent a boat (which you should!!), it costs you 450kn for a full day. That split into three costs about £18 each. The boats can take up to 6 people so it’s definitely worth it, as you get to go wherever you want without having to wait on other people or taxi boats. We stopped at three different islands and all the beaches were amazing! Two of the islands have two beach clubs that are amazing! Carpe Diem, which during the night becomes a nightclub (unfortunately we didn’t have the chance to go) and Laganini.
Incredible views all the while
Carpe Diem Club had loads of cool spots for a photo!
One of the nicest beaches we went to
We also saw the best sunset at the Fortica Fortress (or Spanish Fortress). Our host dropped us there, but you can walk there from the town centre and I reckon it takes about 20min.
The sunset was amazing!
The nightlife in Hvar is great, despite only going out for one night. We stayed in the town centre, where you can find loads of bars and clubs. Hula-Hula Beach is meant to be the best one, but we didn’t have a chance to go. Another time!
We only stayed a night in Bol, and two full days, as our ferry to Dubrovnik was later on the day. We didn’t find much to do, as it’s a very small place, so I’d recommend coming only for the day. You can get a ferry to and from Hvar and it only takes about 40 min.
I say this because the Golden Horn or Zlatni Rat, as it’s called in Croat, is absolutely gorgeous! It’s only a 15/20 min walk from the town centre and you can get a mini train there or back for 20kn. There’s also many restaurants and beaches in between.
The Golden Horn from the side
To the other side of the town, there’s a monastery just by a beach and the view is amazing. I mean look at the sea!
The Beaches in Bol are so pretty!
Red Keep and Blackwater Bay, aka West Harbour
A.k.a The home of Game of Thrones. As a big GoT fan, this was the place I was mostly looking forward to. As a bigger city, there were loads more tourists around. There’s quite a lot to visit in the Old Town and there are many GoT locations around, which you can easily find. A lot of places you have to pay to get in, like the Walls and the Lovrijenac Fortress. You can get a day pass to all the monuments that cost 250kn. We didn’t get it as by the end of the holiday money was little so we had to give it a miss. Also, we thought it was a bit expensive.
Dubrovnik Old Town
Dubrovnik’s Old Port
Dubrovnik’s Old Port
There are many places to eat in Old Town, so finding a place that suits you is not difficult. I’d recommend getting a bit off the main street as you’ll find loads of decent places that aren’t pricey.
Another GoT Location
Shame, Shame, Shame
The nightlife is supposed to be really good with Club Revelin being the place to be! Located inside a fortress, it’s actually quite cool. However, very pricey! The night we went, the entrance for women was 100kn, whilst men had to pay 150kn. What about gender equality hey? Drinks inside were really expensive too, and we didn’t see many locals there. Whilst we had a good time, we didn’t really like the music. They have famous Dj’s all the while, so I’d definitely recommend you to have a look at who is playing before you go. Weiss was going the day after we’ve been and we’d much rather gone to that.
So here you are. I know it was a bit too long but hope it was worthy! If you’re considering Croatia for your next trip then my advice is GOOOO! You won’t regret it!