November 18, 2014

20 reasons why Croatia is the best place for living

Croatia has such a great quality of life. The slow pace, the amazing landscapes, the generous people….just to name a few. I would like to share this top 20 of some great advantages of living in Croatia. 

1. Stunning natural beauty and very diverse landscapes: 
You are never far away from really beautiful nature and crystal clear rivers. Maybe Slavonia is a bit more flat and boring. But try the wonderful nature park of Papuk. Croatia has such a high amount of National Parks, Nature Parks, and protected areas.

2. Great infrastructure:
Croats have a great love for asphalt. Even the smallest villages in the mountains can be reached by asphalt nowadays. Toilets in many shopping centres and gas stations are clean and available for free.
The highways….They are among the best and most beautiful ones in Europe. Everything is fenced, no wildlife on the road.

3. No real estate tax: 
Owning your own house and land in Croatia is a great privilege. Up till now, there is still no real estate tax.

4. A very safe country: 
Whether you take a late evening walk in Zagreb or you take a hike in the countryside. Croatia is very safe. The crime rate is low. Burglary is not a common practice in this country.

5. Easy to find an affordable place in fantastic locations: 
There are plenty of houses for sale in Croatia. The great thing is that (apart from the coast), you can find your own hideaway in nature or in a little village and still have a lot of land and privacy around you.

6. Water  is everywhere: 
Croatia is most famous for its wonderful breathtaking coast. But I prefer rivers even better. Did you ever drive up to the source of the Kupa river? Experience the brutal power of nature and seeing the water coming out of the ground with such a force? There is water in abundance in Croatia. In summer the rivers warm up to a comfortable 24 degrees and you can swim, raft or row. Often times you have the place all to yourself. Why… there are just so many of these places.

7. Small supermarkets and bakeries on every corner: 
I really love that you don’t have to go to a big mall first and park your car and then walk another five minutes. It is still profitable to run a small supermarket in Croatia. So you see them everywhere and they store a lot of stuff. Bakers are all over the place. Especially in the last five years the variety and quality of bread are improving. You can just stop on the main road and buy fresh bread, a pastry, or a famous burek. Enjoy!

8. Slow pace of life:
The summers are hot and the Croats are warm-hearted. They will always make time for a talk. The stress that I so often experience in Western Europe is something that I seldomly sense here in Croatia.

9. Lots of personal services:
Whether it is the repair of your lawnmower, the fixing of your vacuum cleaner or the need for a handmade wardrobe. There are still a lot of practical and creative craftsmen around in Croatia. Knowing them personally is a great advantage. They do not rip you off and offer value for money.

10. Affordable prices:
Going to get a haircut costs me just 3,50 euro. The lunch menu in the restaurant costs me just 5 euro. When I damage my car, I just go to a local craftsman and, he fixes it for less than 100 euro. A coffee in Varazdin will cost you just 80 cents.  When you know your way around you can get things really cheap.

11. Other great places of interest within easy reach: 
Venice, Vienna, Budapest, Mostar, Ljubljana, and beautiful Montenegro. Croatia’s great road network allows you to travel fast to other great European destinations in less than half a day.

12. Small agricultural companies: 
I love to plant…So why not make a small business of it. We have almost one hectare of land around our house. So we planted a lot of trees, berries, and nuts. The government allows you to start a small agricultural business and also market your own homegrown goodies and share those healthy treats with other people and earn some money at the same time. This is something we really appreciate!

13. You can have your own piece of forest: 
Besides having a big piece of land for low money you can also own your own piece of forest. We own one as well and every year we take just two or three trees out for our own personal use. We do not have huge bills for heating. We warm our house by means of our own natural resources.

14. There is a lot of jurisdiction but on the other hand a lot of freedom:
If you want to start a business or get permits that can be quite a time consuming and dreadful experience (unfortunately) in Croatia. But on the other hand, there is a lot of freedom. For instance, we have the wonderful Kupa river behind our house. We made concrete stairs to get into the water safely. We have a boat there. The river is not ours and the small strip of land that separates our land and the river is not ours. But still, we get all the freedom in the world to make such facilities for ourselves.

15. Everything grows: 
The climate is just great, at our place literally, everything grows. Whether its kiwi’s, grapes, berries, apples, pears, kakis. We grow most of our own food and the warm summers and relatively mild and short winters are of great help.

16. The value of cultural traditions: 
Croats on average do not like changes. That means the level of innovation in society is a little slower. They like to keep things the way they are, that can be positive and both negative. But I see it from the photographer’s point of view. There are so many old and ancient objects in the landscapes that add great interest to my pictures. When you compare that to Slovenia where most people just want nice, big modern houses I am glad we still have some blast of the past here.

17. No high population density: 
My guests are often surprised if I take them to a beautiful swimming spot or someplace out in nature. The first thing they say is ‘there are not many people here’. That is true. There is no heavy population density. You notice it on the road, driving here on most roads is rather quite relaxed.

18. There are coffee places practically everywhere: 
You will find them in the most amazing places. Even at the end of a dirt road near some lonely mountain hut, someone is making soup or coffee. This country will serve you well and most of the time the coffee won’t cost you much.

19. A streetlight in front of every house: 
This might sound a bit insignificant. But I really got to appreciate it. When you compare Croatia with Germany a lot leaves to be desired. But our streets and road are much better illuminated! Wherever you own a house there is the obligation of the municipality to put a streetlight there.

20. Lots of business opportunities:
Competition is not as heavy as in Western Europe. As I already explained, permits are not easy to get, bureaucracy puts a heavyweight on your patience and endurance here. But on the other hand, let’s get real. Who dares wins. We tried a lot… We failed in some things and succeeded in other things. I would not have liked to miss this adventure in my first seven years in Croatia. Things have calmed down now and I look back on it with great satisfaction. All these bureaucrats purified my dreams and made them even better!

21. The bonus….We recycle all our pet plastic bottles and soda cans. And that means a lot!

15 comments

  1. HERBERT SCHNURPFEIL says:

    Hi ,just read your article which I found referenced in TCN. Couldnt agree more , as someone who chose to live here as well , albeit as a pensioner.
    forgot on point , the friendly people. Here since I live here and made it known to anyone who asked me about it , I never came across an unfriendly face , on the contrary. Folks seem to feel good about this stranac choosing to live with them , and I met here more nice folks than in my entire livetime in my country of birth ( Austria) . And thanks for some geographical tips on places to see , I shall check them out one by one. Kind greetings from Stari Grad.
    Herbert

    • RP says:

      Thank you Herbert for your kind words. I will regularly post images and travel tips. Many greetings, René

  2. Going to Croatia since 1969. During my working years just for long holidays. Since my retirement settled down in Trogir. Couldn’t agree more with all the mentioned reasons why this is the most pleasant country to live.
    For me at first place is the relaxed lifestyle. Compared to the country where I was born, The Netherlands, the lack of rules, obligations,strict lines within you have to behave to be considered “normal” fits me like a warm coat. The lack of stress is extremely pleasant. Yes, every good thing does have a negative side, the bureaucracy is at some times annoying but the longer you enjoy the relaxed lifestyle in Croatia the better you can deal with it.
    Running a small apartment for renting out gives me the opportunity to give our guests the same experience. Their comments are showing their appreciation which is another joy for me.
    I think it is important that we “stranci” spread the message, Croatia deserves that!

    • RP says:

      Thank you so much Pieter for these kind words. I was in Trogir this weekend, what a wonderful little town. Many greetings, René

  3. mandy says:

    ik ben het helemaal met je eens, wat een leuk artikel! groet Mandy, sinds kort woonachtig in Kroatië 😉

  4. Mike says:

    Thank you for an interesting read, Rene.
    I’m an Australian of Croatian origin (parents emigrated to Australia in the 1960s) and enjoy reading about ‘positive’ news in Croatia. Too often it seems to be less so. I often wonder what it would be like to live there as someone who speaks the language fluently and has Croatian citizenship (through my parents link). To date, I have not been in Croatia for more than a month at a time and only as a ‘tourist’. The thought of living there (given the bureaucracy and other challenges I often here from others who’ve attempted the same) makes it concerning. Maybe someday I’ll take a chance. In the meantime, I very much enjoy living vicariously through wonderful explorers and writers such as yourself. Your work is much appreciated and enjoyed.
    Regards,
    Mike

    • RP says:

      Dear Mike, Thanks so much for your kind words. I hope you’ll be able to make it too Croatia in due time. It is a wonderful country and worth living in, in spite of some disadvantages. Stay safe Down Under.

  5. Nick says:

    Thanks for this – and I completely agree.

    I moved to Croatia as a foreigner 4 years ago and since then have been living here, supported by a Croatian salary (I work for a University here). And yes, it can be difficult sometimes to mark ends meet. But here’s thing…

    I Iove it here.

    The country, the people, the way of life. It is in my opinion completely worth everything.

    Great article.

  6. RK says:

    Yes, thank you for an informative and well written article. Sharing your experiences is greatly appreciated. I have one question: Would you say its easy enough to settle down and live in Croatia starting first with only speaking english language?

    • RP says:

      Dear RK, Thank you for your comment. I appreciate it!
      It should not be a problem moving here and then just pick up the language. As long as you have somebody translating for you when you have to deal with the government offices. If you want to start any kind of business make sure you have a bookkeeper that speaks English and an experienced lawyer. Greetings, René

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