Be sure to follow some of my simple Split budget tips which will help you save money on your Croatia vacation. Not so long ago Croatia was suitable for all budgets but lately some destinations have become overly expensive, particularly Zagreb, Dubrovnik, and Hvar town.
Consider off the beaten track places
When planning your vacation (particularly in July and August), try to keep away from destinations like Hvar town. I recommend you rather stay in nearby Stari Grad, Jelsa or Vrboska. All these smaller places and cheaper towns are only 20 to 30 km away.
Don’t forget that by staying in Split you can easily take a day trip to Hvar town at any time. For example a typical speedboat tour from Split to Hvar island coasts about €80 or less, and if you’re bringing friends or family along it’s very inexpensive all things considered.
These destinations are less crowded and cheaper in high season. All these small villages offer nice private apartments and villas, all with beautiful beaches. These destinations also have good bus connections with Split.
When to go budget tips?
If you can travel off season, consider traveling in May, June or September and October. July and August are most expensive. Everything from ferry, accommodation or rent a car costs more, and unless swimming in hottest weather is your desire you can see nearby attractions just as well in any month.
Split and Central Dalmatian islands are great destinations in spring and early autumn. If your primary plan is not swimming in Adriatic, traveling in winter you can get great deals on spas and wellness resorts. Radisson Blu Spa resort has appealing offers in winter season.
Where to sleep budget tips?
I definitely recommend staying in private accommodation, rooms or apartments. Croatia has a long and reliable tradition in this tourist offer.
Following my money saving tips and staying in private accommodation will save you a lot of money, and you’ll even have much more space and comfort than in a hotel.
Renting a two-bedroom apartment is much cheaper that renting two hotel rooms, which is particularly convenient for families with children.
You can additionally save by having a kitchen in your apartment, as Split has a well-known green market (Pazar) as well the famous fish market (Peskerija).
If you don’t feel like cooking yourself, restaurants in Split are relatively inexpensive. Usually one dish costs from 50 to 75 HRK (Hrvatska Kuna – Croatian Kuna).
Read more info in my other articles:
Book accommodation longer!
Stay longer arranging minimum four nights stay! Consider staying at least three, four or five nights, as this duration is the best as the prices will be more convenient.
Don’t forget to also compare prices for your accommodation on different websites. I usually use Hotelscombined as my favorite price comparison website, as it searches hundreds of other hotel and apartment sites and is great for discovering cheapest deals.
Budget tips when booking a flight!
When flying to Split airport, don’t always fly directly to Zagreb, Dubrovnik or Split. You will get a better deal on a flight into a cheap gateway city like Milano, Bratislava, Prague and Vienna. From there you can find cheaper flights to the Croatian coast. Check my new direct flights to Split and Dubrovnik page!
JetRadar or Wego!
If you’re looking for all inclusive packages for 3/5 stars hotels, the best deal is to consider a flight/hotel package. Some of the most convenient packages are from UK. Some carriers like Jet2Holidays have unbeatable deals for Split County region including Split, Hvar, Makarska (Brela), Brac and Trogir.
EasyJet holidays offer packages to islands of Brac, Hvar, Omis, Podstrana Split City, Trogir and hotels in Split from 2 to 5 stars all inclusive.
Balkan Holidays is a well known tour operator for Croatia with frequent sales.
Split is an urban, cultural and traffic center of Dalmatia, with road and sea connections to Dalmatian’s numerous summer resorts.
Always consider taking half-board. Many hotels offer half-board which may be cheaper than the local restaurants.
* Half Board (HB) means that your breakfast and evening meal is included in the price you have paid for your accommodation/holiday package.
Eating on a Budget
When you are in a restaurant, always ask for a menu / carte du jour (hr: jelovnik, or meni) as some owners tend to charge foreign tourist more than locals (from my personal experience). Check both Kuna and Euro prices of the meal before you order. You should tip the waiter only if you are satisfied with food quality and service.
Fresh fish in many Split restaurant menus has become very expensive and rather rare. Adriatic sea is running out of fish and fishermen have to go further and further to catch fresh fish. The whitefish has become rare and very expensive.
If you can not afford fish dinner you can still enjoy tasty pizzas, pasta and squid, or black cuttlefish risottos, or fried sardines and anchovy. There’s also plenty of different traditional Dalmatian food that is very affordable in local taverns (called konoba in Croatian).
For a high quality fish like lobsters, shrimps or grouper, the best place is Vis island restaurants. Keep in mind that in August the whole island is “assaulted” by Italian tourists and prices are going up to match.
Currency budget tips
Since Croatia has become a new EU member several years ago, you can bring Euros when you travel to Croatia to avoid paying too much in currency exchange fees. Please note however that not all apartment owners or restaurants accept Euros (especially those off the beaten track), so you may end up paying an additional 10-15%.
Make sure you also bring your credit card with you! Visa and Mastercard are always accepted, but you may find that not all places accept American Express.
Just in case, it’s still wise to carry some Croatian Kunas with you. You can use ATM cash machines to withdraw money from your accounts, but as the commission can be rather high I recommend you withdraw a higher sum. Typically you’ll pay up to 5% withdrawal fee, with an additional flat fee every time you withdraw.
On my Croatian currency page you can read more about money tips.
Don’t forget to also read my article about Split travel costs if you’re looking to calculate how much your vacation may cost!