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Digital nomad’s guide to life in Split (pt.1)

Nikolina Kukoč

Nikolina Kukoč

09.03.2021.

funny photo of a digital nomad dressed as an astronaut

We have made you a short, hitchhiker’s-guide-through-the-galaxy-styled overview of life in Split: from the essentials to the fun stuff and all the galactic shades in between. Ready for take-off??

How to come to Split, Croatia?

Depending on where you are coming from, you can reach Split by all means of transportation: car, bus, train, plane, and ship. No rockets yet, but we are working on it!

If you travel by car, you can either go via the highway or choose a more scenic route of the state road. Busses from Zagreb usually travel via the motorway, but busses from other cities sometimes go by the state roads because they make several stops along the way. There are bus lines from other countries as well. The train does not go as often as in other European countries and it is not as fast, but it is still an option.

Planes land at Split’s airport Resnik. It is not exactly in Split but in Kaštel Štafilić. You have to take the car or bus to Split, but the ride takes around half an hour, depending on traffic. Some European cities have direct flights to Split even in the off-season period. Therefore, even if there is no direct connection with countries outside of European territory, travelers can still find their way here easily enough.

The ships from abroad usually come from Ancona, Italy. Unless you are on a cruise ship. During the summer months, this line goes more frequently, but the option is still available even during the winter months, just not as often.

How long can you stay in Split?

Split is an up-and-coming destination for digital nomads from all over the world.

It is interesting for many reasons:

  • Living here feels welcoming and safe.
  • Split is a city that is full of history, while still being modern and vibrant.
  • The Mediterranean climate brings us mostly good weather year-round, with a few days of bad weather here and there.

It is also easy to spend three months in Croatia with no visa for Americans and others who qualify. And, as we know already, staying longer than three months just became even easier for third-country nationals because now you can apply for a digital nomad temporary residence permit in Croatia – not only in person but also online.

Where to stay in Split?

While it is not impossible to find long-term rentals, it is more difficult to do so during the high season period because of Croatia’s focus on tourism in the summer months. The best times to visit Split for three months, when it comes to the weather and long-term rental availability, are March-May and September-November. Not to say that we do not have good weather and free rentals during the other months, but these periods are the safest bet if you have chosen to stay here only for three months.

When it comes to rentals, the outlook shifted a bit during these challenging times we were all facing from the beginning of 2020, so long-term rentals are becoming more available. We have seen the rising number of companies pop-up with this goal in mind: to provide long-term rentals to foreigners and locals alike.

An apartment for rent in Split usually comes with all necessary amenities: furniture, running water, air conditioning, wifi, a functioning kitchen, and a washing machine. Tap water in Split is drinkable, so there is no need to buy bottled water to drink and cook unless you prefer it that way.

The old town is pricy when it comes to rentals since you would be paying for a historic location right in the middle of the Roman Emperor’s Palace. It is also important to note: the closer you are to the city center, the harder it is to find long-term rentals because of the focus on tourism. However, it is not impossible.

If you find a rental within the old city walls that is to your liking and you can afford it, we would suggest going for it – the experience of living within a UNESCO World Heritage site is absolutely worth it!

The farther you are from the Diocletian’s Palace itself, the lower the prices are. But even if you stay outside of the strict city center to save some money on rent, no need to worry about getting to other places. Split is quite a walkable city, and you can get anywhere with ease. If you prefer not to walk, the city busses run often, Uber and various taxi services are reliable, and there are also city bikes you can rent for a ride.

Emergency services, healthcare, and police protection

You can get a hold of emergency services in Croatia by calling 112. You can also phone some emergency services directly: police – 192, fire brigade – 193, and ambulance – 194.

If you need emergency assistance for things outside of city limits, that is not in the jurisdiction of the three emergency services mentioned above, you can call 195 for search and rescue at sea or 1987 for road assistance. If you find trouble in the mountains, you can reach Croatia’s Mountain Rescue Service by calling 112.

All of the emergency services that you can phone by using a direct number, can also be reached by calling 112, so that is the number you definitely need to remember in case you need it during your stay in Croatia.

When it comes to healthcare, Split has two hospitals (Firule and Križine) combined into one hospital center (KBC Split). Aside from the hospital, there are also many general practitioners in Split that are your first choice if you have a minor health issue like a cold. Dentists and other specialists operate in the same manner, and you can visit them for a check-up without going to the hospital.

Some private clinics not funded by the state also exist in Split and offer their services to help you with any health issues you might have, but keep in mind that services provided there might not be covered by your healthcare insurance.

We buy our medicines in numerous pharmacies – there is one or more in every Split neighborhood. Two of those many pharmacies are open 24/7 if you ever find yourself needing medicine outside of working hours.

If you have any issues to resolve regarding healthcare insurance, the state insurance offices (HZZO) are at the West Coast waterfront.

In case you require police assistance, there are two police stations in Split: the First station and the Second station. For any matters regarding visas and residence permits, you should go to the Regional Offices of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Money matters

Even though it is part of the EU, Croatia still does not use Euro as currency. We use our currency: kuna. Therefore, you need to keep the exchange rate in mind.

Generally, Croatia is not as cheap as other Balkan countries, but it is still more affordable than most Western European countries. Prices also fluctuate based on the tourist season and can get higher during the summer for some things. While not the cheapest, it is possible to have a comfortable life here as a digital nomad for less than $2,000 (€1650) per month. This amount can be even lower if you stay longer. The longer you stay, the price of your rental lowers. Especially if you agree with your landlord beforehand to rent for an extended period.

One big thing to be careful of in Split and Croatia, in general, is the ATM fees because you can get charged a lot for one withdrawal. So, even though you can find ATMs at almost every corner in the city center, we would still recommend using banks for withdrawals.

You may be used to using your card for everything, but you need to be aware that might not be possible in some places in Croatia.

Most of the larger and more expensive places in Split will take credit cards, like fancier restaurants, supermarkets, and bigger chain bakeries. But smaller, local-run places like coffee shops, kiosks, gelato shops, and the local farmer’s market usually take only cash. You can pay with your card whenever possible, but keep some kunas on hand at all times.

To be continued…

Getting a bit overwhelmed with all the information? That is why we are going to take a short break. You take this all in and rest up for the remainder of our hitchhiker’s journey through the galaxy of Split and its lifestyle.

We had to go over these essentials, but keep an eye out for the second part of this article, as it covers all the finer points of life: food, traveling for leisure, entertainment, and people!

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About author:

Nikolina Kukoč

Researching is woven into my DNA, but I'm a musician at heart. Interested in too many things and always curious. Forever in love with Split and enchanted by people who teach me new things. When I'm not writing about Split's tech community, you will find me somewhere in nature, in the theatre, or with my head stuck in a book. I do my best to live by the verse from the opera "Fedora" by Umberto Giordano: "Love forbids you not to love."

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