In retrospect, would you move again to Croatia?

Hi all,

If you had to look back on your expat experience in Croatia, would you heartily say "let’s do it again"?

From the preparation stage to your actual everyday life in your new country, what did you enjoy the most?

Would you do certain things differently? Could you tell us why?

How would you describe the benefits of your expatriation in Croatia so far?

Thank you in advance for sharing your experience. We look forward to hearing from you!


Yes I would. We decided to move here last September 2015. We planned to move here as soon as possible which turned out to be March 17, 2016. We chose to come by cruise ship from Fort Lauderdale, FL because at the time of planning (October) it was the cheapest way to get here with 4 large suitcases, 2 carry-ons, 2 back packs and my husband's long legs.
This was a "relocation" cruise so it was around $2400 for us both, not each. We added a desk top computer in Florida so it worked out even better.
We arrived in Europe at Rome then trained to Ancona then ferried to Split where we plan to stay.
We booked an Airbnb for three weeks hoping to find a permanent place in that time. We were fortunate to find a place for the whole year. Many rentals will make you move out during July and August.
We didn't expect that, and the fully furnished apartment that we are renting would be 500 Euros from September 1 to the end of June 2017. Staying the whole year it is 770 Euros per month. There was nothing else we could find that was year round. Again, we were lucky to find a landlord with integrity and an eagerness to help us get our temporary visa.
He called the police to see what we needed to accompany the our application. This made it so much easier when we got to the police station. He printed out the forms for us to have ready before going and arranged to have our rent contract notarized. Then to the bank to transfer our YEAR'S rent into his account, also necessary when applying for the temp visa. He also came with us to get our OIB. I think this is a very special situation we have with our landlord.
In the month since we got here we have settled into a routine. We go for fresh vegetables and meat to the green market in the historic center, we have found favorite places to eat and where it is less expensive than others.
We have yet to secure our health insurance so we still aren't sure how much our monthly expenses will be, but, not matter what, we are determined to remain in Split. Because we are retired we have a fixed income that will not grow and is actually worth less as the US economy dips.
In doing our research last year we found a couple of comparison sites where we could enter different cities to compare and see the cost of living in each city. The sites we used were highly inaccurate. Mostly because of the high rent of July and August that many landlords love and so do not want to give up those big bucks. If we wanted to live far away from the things we are here in Split for - the historic district and the beach -  we possibly could find something at a more reasonable price, but that seems to be working at cross purposes to our desires. Walking is becoming more painful and swimming most of the year is one of the attractions for us here.
We plan to give it one whole year and see where we stand financially and make a decision at that time. If we can down grade our life style and still enjoy living, that is the question.
All in all, I wouldn't change a thing except we would have done it sooner, back in 2012 instead waiting until 2016, but we weren't aware of it. Europe seems so far away and expensive. It was only after living in Ecuador, which seems close in theory to our family, that we realized it was almost exactly the same in time and energy to visit, with the whole of Europe within reach during the off season when the tourists are not so noticeable.
I am a painter and my husband writes poetry which, once we are settled in, more time will be devoted to that.
But to walk to the beach and sit with a $2 coffee for as long as we want (which is getting to be longer and longer!) and relax, is worth everything we've gone through. That includes carting all those bags from the train to the train station to get two taxis in Ancona, then take our bags down to the ferry and get them from the terminal to the ferry where the porters helped get them to our room then off the ferry to the customs office in Split. It was grueling and we will never do it again.
I don't know what we would have done, had we known about those obstacles we experienced in Ancona and Split. But that was our whole life reduced down to those few pieces of luggage so all in all, it wasn't too bad.
So, yes, crazy though it is, we would do it again.

My name is Beverly and I'm from California. My husband and I are considering retiring in Croatia. We prefer so far smaller coastal towns.

How did you go about finding long term rental property?

Have you been able to make friends? Do you find yourselves missing home, people, things?

What do you wish you would have known before you moved?

We were lucky. The hostess of the Airbnb we stayed in had just had a long time friend talk with her family having an apartment they wanted to rent long term. It was just a fluke, I think. When we met our landlord, he liked us right away and we were able to work something out. It was more than we wanted to spend, but less than what he was originally asking.
I think if you are looking in small coastal towns you will have better luck, but make sure you have a lease that has been "certified" we'd call it notarized, you will need that anyway to get your temporary visa.
Our life has been a series of moves so we aren't that concerned with making a lot of friends. I don't, so far, see many retirement age expats here, but we haven't been looking. Because we knew we wanted to come to Split we joined Expats in Split and Expats Meet Split on Facebook and we were able to get a lot of questions answered there.
Of course we miss home, but Skype and FaceTime helps with missing the family and friends. Things, not so much. But we've lived in Dalian, Liaoning Province in China and Cuenca, Ecuador. We felt a lot more isolated in those places.
We wish we'd known how much it was really going to cost to rent. It is very hard to find a place to rent, especially as the summer approaches. If you are planning on buying something you might find it easier on your budget. We still don't know how much health care insurance will be, but you probably have a good pension and won't have that concern.  Make sure you have health insurance in place when you go to the with your application to the police. Ours had expired a couple weeks before we finally got everything ready to submit the application and so we went and got travelers health insurance. We had already gotten our OIB, a finance number that allows you to have a bank account that you will need and 2750 Kuna x 12 months in a bank account plus the year's rent, in our case, to be paid up front. We anticipated this because of the way things were done in China, thankfully.
Like I said, we feel very lucky that our first stay led to our full time rental. If you're buying you won't have the same concerns. I've been told that there are devious real estate agents, so just be aware of that. 
Good luck to you. Feel free to ask anything else, if I can, I will try and answer your questions.

Hi CroatKate
Thank you for the great information. We are retired and moving to Croatia from the USA, October 2017 (next month).  Like you, we are coming from a cruise; we plan to stay for a minimum of 3 years???
When we originally formulated a plan, we were looking for a home base to travel all of Europe. Split seemed to be perfect and beautiful.  We are now leaning more towards the Istria Region (Pula or Rovinj). Split seems a little to south for conveniant travel??? Also it appears Italian is widely spoken in Istria; this would be a more versatile language for us. We have read mixed opinions about the Istria Region from:  it is beautiful to there are a bunch of Italian hulugians.  Our concern first and foremost is safety.
It has been a year from your last post, I am assuming you have secured health insurance.  Any advise dos/don'ts or company you could recommend
Any thoughts or suggestions regarding insurance and your opinion of the Istria Region would be  be greatly appreciated.
Thank you

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