Digital Nomad Guide to Living in Split, Croatia

There’s something dreamy about the idea of living and working close to the sea. The calm vibe of being around nature is no doubt one of many reasons why many digital nomads are already living in Split, Croatia. If you’re thinking of becoming one of them, I’d say ‘go for it’; read on to find … Read more

The post Digital Nomad Guide to Living in Split, Croatia appeared first on Goats On The Road.

There’s something dreamy about the idea of living and working close to the sea. The calm vibe of being around nature is no doubt one of many reasons why many digital nomads are already living in Split, Croatia. If you’re thinking of becoming one of them, I’d say ‘go for it’; read on to find out more about what it’s really like to live in this beautiful country.

When most people think of Croatia they automatically jump to Dubrovnik, and while that’s certainly a beautiful spot, I think Split is better in so many ways. Yes, it can be crowded during the summer months, but it’s not on the same scale as Dubrovnik, where you can’t even move from June to August.

Can you imagine sitting on the beach with your laptop, or in a beachside cafe, with the blue of the ocean in front of you? That’s the image I had in my head when I decided to visit Split and stay for a few months to work; I wasn’t disappointed in any way, and I’d return in a heartbeat. If you’re thinking of the same thing, this digital nomad guide to Split will answer all your burning questions, and by the end, you’ll know where to go and what to do.

About Split

 An aerial picture of a city, the sea, a pier, and a large mountain in the distance.

Split is one of Croatia’s most popular tourist hotspots, but it’s also very much about local life. As the country’s second-largest city, you can find everything here, including amazing beaches, history, local food, and culture. It’s also soaked in the sun during the summer months and remains pretty mild throughout the winter.

Located on the eastern coast of Croatia, the city is part of the Dalmatia region and is lapped by the blue and calm waters of the Adriatic Sea. History-wise, Split was founded by the Greeks and was formerly named Aspálathos, before its name was changed to Spalato by the Venetians. It’s famous for the opulent Diocletian’s Palace, which was completed in 305 CE.

Famous for its idyllic beaches, sunsets, history, and cobbled Old Town, life in Split is a variation of old and new. Nightlife is vibrant and varied, so you can always find something to suit your mood, and as far as Dalmatian food goes, you’re looking at the freshest ingredients possible, with amazing flavors.

Digital Nomad in Split: Personal Experience

Now, I’m not going to lie: I originally had my head turned by Dubrovnik, and that was my first destination in Croatia. I loved it there, but it was so busy that I felt overwhelmed most of the time. A fellow digital nomad I met told me that working remotely in Split was an entirely different experience, so I decided to take their advice and check it out for myself.

I’m so glad I did. For me, Split is the ideal blend of history and modern-day fun. The weather in the summer months is very warm (averaging around 86°F/30°C), and is ideal for beach days and taking day trips around the area. I also found a real appreciation for Croatian food during my time there, and now viška pogača (a traditional tomato, herb, and anchovy stuffed bread) is one of my favorite things.

The cost of living in Split is on par with the rest of Europe, but I found plenty of ways to cut costs here and there. I also found it very easy to work productively, with good WiFi, plenty of places to go (be it cafes or co-working spaces), and many other DNs to connect with.

Is Split Safe?

I never felt unsafe in Split, despite the fact it’s a pretty large city. As with anywhere, you need to use your common sense and avoid walking around at night alone and flashing your valuables, but that’s pretty general advice.

From my experience, Split is a safe place to visit overall. I often walked down busy streets on my own, and as a solo female traveler, I never felt like I was being watched or hassled in any way. I found the people very friendly and helpful, and I also took many trips around the local area without any problems.

Best Areas to Live in Split

Split is a large city, so it’s important to choose the right neighborhood to keep costs low and to make sure that you’re close to working facilities if you need them. While most tourists head to the Old Town, it’s not really feasible to stay there for longer than a couple of weeks due to high accommodation costs. Here are my recommendations for those seeking accommodation as a digital nomad living in Split.

1. Bacvice

An aerial view of a beach with a large building close to the shore and a large number of tourists on the shoreline, all surrounded by green trees.

I stayed in Bacvice and I loved the area. It has a great blend of regular life and touristic fun, with amazing beaches and great nightlife. However, it was never too loud, and I always found local spots to escape to if I wanted to avoid the crowds. It’s also a much cheaper area compared to the Old Town, while still being central enough to everything.

The thing I liked most about this part of Split is that I could wander down to the beach after I finished work very easily without having to take public transport to get there. There are also many cafes to work from and some great local restaurants to try. Although it’s generally pretty laid back, it’s busy enough to head out to party during the weekends should you wish to do something a little more lively.

If you want to visit the main part of town and do some sightseeing on your days off, Bacvice is the best place to base yourself. It’s close enough to walk to most major spots, and you can always jump on the local bus to connect to other areas of interest.

2. Veli Varos

A typical narrow street in this ancient district Montenegro's capital city, with its stone houses, was originally built during the Ottoman era.

If you’re not too concerned with staying right next to the beach and you want somewhere quieter and more historic, Veli Varos is a good choice. It’s a chilled-out and local part of Split, but it’s only ten minutes away from the Old Town by bus. It’s also a spot of natural beauty, as it sits right at the bottom of Marjan Hill.

The only downside of staying in Veli Varos is that there aren’t as many cafes and co-working spaces to head to compared to the more central parts of town. However, you can always jump on the bus if you choose to work away from home. I never found a problem with the Internet in Split generally, so working from home shouldn’t be an issue.

Veli Varos is more family-friendly and chilled out than some of the more lively parts of the city. In many ways, it feels like a village and the smaller community means you’re more likely to get to know locals. Despite that, it’s very easy to connect to the busier parts; meaning you get the best of both worlds by staying here.

3. Poljud

An uphill overlooking a soccer filed, a large pier, and a large mountain in the distance.

I spent a little time in Poljud and I think it’s one of the best places for a digital nomad to stay. It’s located on the coast, close to Spinut Marina and port, but it feels a lot more “out of the way” than the other central areas of Split. It’s more suburban, which means you get to live a more “normal” life while keeping costs lower. It’s also within close distance of all the main sights.

The most famous attraction in the area is Stadion Poljud, which was originally built for the Mediterranean Games in 1979. It’s the central point of sporting life in the area, and there are often musical concerts during the summer months, too. As far as nightlife goes, this area is close enough to the noise, but far enough away from the entertainment if you want to relax.

The cost of living in this part of Split is slightly lower than the central areas, which is a plus point for remote workers. You’ll also find local markets to purchase ingredients to cook at home, and there are enough cafes to work from if you choose.

4. Stobreč

An aerial view of a beach and a building near it.

Being a digital nomad in Split, you need certain amenities, but you also want to be somewhere that feels more local, so you can avoid high prices and crowds. Stobreč ticks both of those boxes. Here, you’ll find beautiful beaches that are a lot less crowded, with plenty of history to head out and explore on your days off.

The marina is a great place to head for a sunset walk, and you’ll find different degrees of vibrancy when it comes to nightlife. It’s easy to head down to the beach, and public transport connects you to the other parts of the city without any hassle. There are also plenty of local markets to purchase fresh produce to cook, and some great local restaurants when you want to eat out.

I think this is a great spot for remote workers because it has the best of everything, and you can dip in and out of the noise as much as you want. Accommodation prices around this part of Split are average, but certainly lower than the Old Town.

5. Znjan

A beach and clean sea water, a small boat at the shore, and a beautiful hotel near the beach.

Znjan is known as a family-friendly area that’s recently undergone a renovation. It’s a top spot for anyone who loves to spend time chilling on the beach and those who generally enjoy the great outdoors. There are some amazing walking opportunities around Znjan.

For me, this area feels quite different from the rest of Split and the general vibe is a lot more bohemian and laid-back. It’s a typical beachside spot but without the city feel, yet as with the rest of the area, it’s very easy to get to other places if you want to explore. It’s also a little cheaper in terms of accommodation and eating out, which is very attractive for digital nomads.

There are quite a few Airbnbs around Znjan, and you may be able to negotiate a longer stay with the owner if you contact them ahead of time.

How to Find Accommodation in Split

Before living in Split as a digital nomad, you need to know how to find suitable accommodation that not only fits your budget but that’s close to the things you want to see. How do you do that? Let’s find out.

1. Booking.com: You’ll always find good deals with booking.com, and this includes hostels and serviced apartments. The more you use this site, the more perks you’ll get, and that often means discounts on places to stay.

2. Airbnb: There are many Airbnb properties in and around Split, although there are fewer in the most central parts. However, that’s not a bad thing as choosing to stay in the suburbs will give you a more “normal” experience, and possibly for a lower price.

3. House sitting: Trusted Housesitters is a great go-to for assignments in the Split area. Often you can find several assignments running into one another, which will give you regular accommodation for as long as you need it. It might take a bit of planning, but it is possible.

4. Social media groups: Facebook is the best place to look for rental or house share adverts in the Split area. There are many digital nomads in this part of Croatia, and sharing will cut costs for both of you.

Cost of Living in Split

The cost of living in Split is on par with the rest of Europe; it isn’t cheap, but it isn’t overly expensive either. Having said that, you can cut costs by cooking at home, avoiding the most expensive areas, and sticking to local haunts. To give you an idea of general costs, let’s take a look at each category in turn.

Restaurants and Groceries

There is a red bucket filled with fruits near the center aisle of the grocery store.

If you eat in the Old Town you’re going to spend a lot more than if you choose to eat in a local restaurant. For instance, a meal from a tourist restaurant will probably set you back around €18/$20, but in a local restaurant, you’ll pay half of that. Of course, street food is always a option, and a portion of burek, for example, (a traditional filled, filo pastry) is cheap, at around €2/$2.15.

If you shop at local markets for fresh fruit and vegetables and visit the local butcher rather than large supermarket counters, you’ll save cash. You’ll also find the freshest produce, including local cheeses, at a fraction of the price. Again, avoid large tourist areas, such as the Old Town.

As far as nightlife goes, it’s a good idea to stick to local beers and spirits if you drink alcohol. Imported drinks are very expensive, but you can get a local beer for around €2.60/$2.80, and a coffee for around €1.80/$2.

Accommodation Costs

A house with a dollar sign and a family shaped model made of wood

Living in Split can be expensive if you choose the wrong accommodation, so it’s best to try and share with another remote worker if you can. You’re looking at around €540/$580 for a one-bedroom furnished apartment per month, with water and electric costs on top.

As far as utilities go, this depends on how much you use, but on average, water and electricity for one month is around €120/$130 for two people. During the summer months, you’re going to want to stay cool, which often means using air conditioning. However, this is expensive, so I’d try and get by with a fan if possible.

Transportation Costs in Split

bike hire split croatia

The first thing to know about getting around Split is that driving yourself isn’t the best option. The roads themselves are fine, but parking is a big issue for locals; there simply isn’t enough. So, if you want to hire a car and venture out to nearby destinations, by all means, do, but it’s not the best choice for getting around the city itself.

You can easily walk around the city center, but I find hiring a bicycle is a great option. That way, you can go a little further without having to use public transport. It’s relatively cheap to hire bikes, at around €1/$1.10 per hour, and there are public hire stalls dotted around.

Alternatively, you can use the bus network which is pretty reliable and easy to follow. A one-way bus ticket usually costs around €3.50/$3.80, and you can buy tickets either from the driver or at the station kiosks. There’s always the option to take taxis, but these can be pricey; I only used taxis when going home after a night out, and this was primarily for extra safety reasons.

SIM Cards and Data

An unused black sim card.

There are both regular SIM and eSIM options available during your time in Split. However, I purchased a SIM from T-Mobile and regularly topped up my package every month. This saved me money on shorter-duration SIMs, and coverage was great right across the country. You can purchase a T-Mobile SIM from any store, and you simply need your passport to register.

Alternatively, you can purchase a pay-as-you-go SIM from Tomato, Telemach, or BonBon, and these cards are available in most convenience stores, as well as iNovine, T-Centar, and Hrvatska Posta.

The other option is an eSIM, which you can purchase before you arrive. Airalo and AloSIM are two great options for Croatia, and they offer large data packages, up to around 10GB which lasts for up to 30 days. You can then top up again or switch if you find a better deal.

Money Saving Tips for Split

Savings advice is written in a note.  On the side are some cash, a pig toy, and a keyboard.

Although the cost of living in Split is pretty average, I did manage to keep costs low with these handy tips.

  1. Don’t stay in the Old Town – It’s a much better idea to stay outside of the main historic center as this is typically where prices are higher, especially in the summer months. Plus, staying outside means you won’t have all the noise and crowds to deal with daily.
  2. Get the Split City Card – This tourist card gives free entry to many museums around Split and discounted entry to others. I used this card quite a lot, and it saved me on the door price. Get yours from tourist information centers around the city.
  3. Make use of free attractions – I was amazed to find out that the main attraction in Split—Diocletian’s Palace—is free! But that’s not all, Marjan Hill and the amazing beaches are all free of charge, so be sure to make use of these places during your days off.
  4. Avoid tourist restaurants – In Split especially, the main tourist restaurants are so much more expensive than local spots just back from the main streets. You’ll get more authentic and tastier food too; just ask any locals you befriend where they go.
  5. Consider the shoulder months – You most likely want to enjoy the sun, and I can’t blame you, but that’s when prices are higher. Instead of visiting during July and August, think about April to June or September to November. June is my favorite month in Split; the weather is beautiful, and the crowds aren’t quite as intense.
  6. Avoid taxis wherever possible – Sometimes you’ll need to use taxis, and that’s fine, but make use of public transport and cycle where you can. The bus network isn’t anywhere near as complicated as it might first seem, and it’s a cheaper way to get around.

Coworking Spaces in Split and WiFi Speed

I will admit that Croatia overall doesn’t have the fastest internet in the world, but it’s not the slowest I’ve experienced either. Generally speaking, I found the Internet good enough, and it was a solid connection, without any outages. According to Speedtest, the average download speed is 55.39 Mbps, and the average upload speed is 19.20 Mbps.

While working remotely in Split, you might want to work from a co-working space once in a while, and there are some great options around. While I generally prefer to work from home or use cafes, I did frequent a few co-working spaces, and I found them all good quality. Here are some of the best.

1. Tink Tank

coworking space

I spent a few days working from Tink Tank with some other digital nomads I met and I found it a great spot for productivity and comfort. The office is an open space format, and prices are pretty reasonable at 15 Euros/$16 per day or €65/$70 for a week. There are cooking facilities on-site and plenty of coffee shops and restaurants around.

The vibe is very collaborative, and it’s likely you’ll meet other digital nomads while you’re there. I found the internet very fast and I was able to make video calls without any issues. There are also large meeting rooms if you want to collaborate with other remote workers or engage in a spot of networking.

2. Scale Up Office

A woman wearing a black sweat shirt is busy working with her laptop in the coworking space.

I didn’t personally use this Scale Up Office but I know other digital nomads who did, and they rated it highly and particularly mentioned how comfortable it was. The unique thing about this spot is that it’s not only a co-working space but also a networking hub, so it’s ideal if you want to connect with other remote workers and professionals.

There are daily passes available, or you can book the FixDESK feature, which gives you a set desk if you’re planning on staying for a few months. This option is a little pricey at €250/$269, but day passes are reasonable at €17/$18. They also offer ergonomic furniture and fast, reliable Internet.

3. Smartspace

Work Area with Laptop and Coffee near the Window

Smartspace is a relatively new addition to Split’s co-working scene, and it’s located right in the heart of the Old Town, so it’s ideal for combining a day of work with some sightseeing. Not only can you rent a desk here but there are indoor and outdoor working areas and lots of recreational facilities to enjoy.

You get free tea and coffee and the entire space is air-conditioned, which is a real godsend in summer. However, the major advantage of choosing this space is that you can book an hourly pass and just drop in and work whenever you need to. It only costs €5/$5.50, which I think that’s a pretty good offer, but you can also book a day pass for €25/$27.

Best Cafes to Work From in Split

Woman Working in Street Cafe with Laptop using Mobile Phone

I much prefer to work from cafes as opposed to co-working spaces, and I found Split’s cafe scene suited my preferences right down to the ground. I found some great spots to enjoy a delicious coffee while getting some work done. Here are some of my favorites.

  1. Cookie Lab: I spent many days working from this cafe. The WiFi is fast and reliable, the chairs are comfortable, and you can even sit in the window on a high chair and bench with charging points. The coffee is also pretty good and the cakes are amazing.
  2. Teak Caffe Bar: Very close to Diocletian’s Palace, you’ll find this hidden gem which offers some delicious coffee and a great place to sit on the terrace and work. It’s worth noting that this is also a bar so it’s best to leave before dinner if you want a quiet area, but during the day it’s ideal.
  3. D16 Coffee: The great thing about this coffee shop is that it’s central in the Old Town but not right in the middle, so it’s still fairly quiet. You’ll find many digital nomads working from here, and it’s a comfortable spot to sit for a couple of hours, enjoy some caffeine, and work.

Activities and Things To Do in Split

As a Split digital nomad, you’ll need to split (no pun intended) your time between work and sightseeing, and there’s plenty to see and do. While it can be tempting just to head out for the day and see as much as possible, it’s a much better idea to take your time. Here are some of my recommendations for things to do when you’ve finished work or during days/weekends off.

1. Diocletian’s Palace

An old structure with tower with a clock

Diocletian’s Palace is the biggest attraction in Split – the entire city is built around its importance. As I mentioned earlier, it’s free to go inside because it’s a major part of the city and it dates back to the 4th century. It’s now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and you’ll no doubt visit it several times.

If you want to learn more about what the palace means, I’d recommend taking an Old Town walking tour because you’ll have a knowledgeable guide to answer your questions. It’s a great feeling to understand more after talking the tour, and I appreciated the area much more every time I walked through thereafter.

Of course, if you’re a Game of Thrones fan, this is a major must-visit for you. It’s very simple to head there after you’ve finished work, but you can easily dedicate a full day to exploring the Old Town when you have the time.

2. Marjan Hill

An uphill view of the sea and green trees at down hill.

If you’re a fan of panoramic views (who isn’t) and you love to take photographs, then you have to head to the top of Marjan Hill and see Split from above. This is a free place to visit, and it’s doable in an hour or so, making it a great spot for a morning or afternoon visit. However, make sure to wear comfortable shoes because most of it is stairs, (around 300 to be exact).

It’s easy to get to if you’re around the Old Town, as you simply follow the trail along the promenade that leads there. Once you’re at the top, take in the sweeping views. It’s peaceful at the peak, however, I would avoid mid-afternoon as not only can the sun make it pretty difficult to climb, but the potential crowds might spoil your visit.

I visited this spot several times, and it’s a great way to clear your head after a busy day of work. Alternatively, if you’re struggling for inspiration, it’s a great place to find it.

3. Bačvice Beach

A large group of people at the beach, surrounded by large hotels and green trees, with an umbrella cottage on the shore.

Finish work for the day and head to the beach for a few hours—what could be better? That’s exactly what I loved about living and working in Split; it was so easy to do what I needed to do and then head to the sea to chill out and soak up the sun. Bačvice is the closest beach to the Old Town, and it’s a beautiful spot to spend a few hours.

During the peak summer months, I’d recommend heading there as early as you can – it’s an ideal activity for when you have a day off. However, if you go late afternoon, you’ll find space freeing up. It’s also a beautiful area for sunset viewing. There are plenty of facilities around, and the sea is calm and great for swimming.

4. Day Trip to Krka National Park

Layers of clear waterfall and surrounded by green trees

The beautiful Krka National Park is just one hour’s drive away from central Split, and it’s the perfect activity for a day off. You can rent a car, take the bus to Skradin and then take a taxi for the rest, or take a tour. I took the Krka National Park day trip and I enjoyed it immensely; it was also a lot easier knowing that everything was organized for me and I could enjoy my day off.

Inside the park, you’ll find the ultimate natural setting, with walking trails, waterfalls, wildlife, and a peaceful and serene setting. It’s one of the most visited parts of Croatia, especially during the summer, and you can expect it to become quite busy during the peak months of June to August.

Remember to take a towel and your swimming clothes, and I recommend packing some insect repellent too as I was bitten a few times by rogue mosquitos. Despite that, I loved the whole experience – it’s somewhere you should add to your Split itinerary for sure.

5. Trip to the Blue Cave

There is blue water in the cave.

While living in Split, Croatia, it would be a crying shame not to visit the Blue Cave. This natural wonder can be reached via speed boat in around 1 hour and 15 minutes, and it’s a stunning spot. I took a five-island speedboat tour which included the Blue Cave, and it was an unforgettable day in the sun.

It’s a great way to see more of the area from a different viewpoint, and you might even see dolphins if you’re lucky. Inside the Blue Cave itself, you won’t believe your eyes; this place blew my mind with its beauty. It’s literally as blue as blue can be – I’d never seen anything like it before!

The tour I took also stopped at Hvar, a beautiful island around 1 hour and 45 minutes away from Split. If you’d prefer to visit Hvar separately, there’s a regular ferry during the summer months. Click here for ferry information.

Weather in Split

The great thing about life in Split is that you pretty much know what the weather is going to be like at any given time; there are rarely major deviations and seasons are quite solid. Summer is hot, winter is chilly, although still quite mild in comparison with the rest of Europe, and the shoulder seasons hover somewhere in the middle.

July is the hottest month of the year with an average of 25°C/77°F, and very low to no rainfall. This pattern continues in August, making these the best times of year to head to the beach. However, I particularly like May and June because while they’re still warm enough for beach time, they’re not too hot or crowded, with average temperatures of around 18-21°C/65-70°F.

You’re likely to see the most rain during December and January, with the first month of the year being the coldest, and an average temperature of 9°C/47°F. However, you’re very unlikely to see snow in Split, as the climate is generally quite mild throughout, making it a great spot for people who want to avoid the winter freeze.

Pros and Cons of Living in Split

Pros Cons Arrows Blackboard

I loved my time in Split, but as with anywhere in the world, there are pros and cons, and it won’t suit everyone. Let’s take a look at the plus points and downsides, to help you work out whether Split should be your next digital nomad destination.

Pros of Living in Split

  • Great weather – Year-round, the weather in Split is pretty balanced, and the summer months are idyllic.
  • Lots of things to see and do – There are many options both inside the city itself, and around it, and many day trip options, such as Plitvice Lakes and Krka National Park.
  • The local food – Traditional cuisine is very special indeed, with great seafood, fresh cheese, and cured meats, such as Dalmatian prosciutto.
  • A great digital nomad scene – The remote working scene has really grown in Croatia, and many people now head to Split for longer amounts of time. You’ll find many cafes and co-working spaces, and it’s not hard to meet other remote workers.
  • Not much of a language barrier – Most locals speak English, and if not fluently, they know enough to get by. That means you’ll have plenty of time to learn some Croatian in return!

Cons of Living in Split

  • Quiet in winter – Due to the touristic nature of the city, many bars and restaurants close down during the winter months.
  • Can be expensive – The cost of living is on par with the rest of Europe, which means it’s not one of the cheapest destinations.
  • Finding accommodation – While there are many hostels and Airbnbs, you’re probably going to find yourself living out of the city center due to high costs and availability. If you can find another digital nomad to share with, you’ll be better off.

Digital Nomad Visa for Split

Croatia introduced its digital nomad visa in 2021, and this allows DNs to stay up to 12 months with no extension option. To apply, you must show proof of income, along with valid health insurance, and an address in Croatia. All of this makes living in Split as a digital nomad a lot easier, at least over the short term.

If you have a spouse and/or children, there is an option to bring them with you, and you can apply for the visa while you’re in Croatia on a tourist visa (part of the Schengen zone) or before you arrive.

In Conclusion

There’s a good reason why so many digital nomads are choosing to head to Split for an extended amount of time, and I can certainly agree with them. This is such a beautiful area, and it has so much scope for exploring further afield with relative ease. While the cost of living might not be the cheapest in the world, it’s certainly not the steepest either, and you can live well on a regular salary.

Living in Split, Croatia was a great experience for me, and it’s somewhere I’ll definitely head back to in the future. I met some wonderful people, both locals and other remote workers, and many remain my friends today. Hopefully, this digital nomad guide to Split has given you all the information you need to head there yourself and begin your own adventure.


The post Digital Nomad Guide to Living in Split, Croatia appeared first on Goats On The Road.

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