Moving to Croatia
Croatia is one of Europe’s youngest countries, having only gained independence from Yugoslavia in 1991. Expats relocating to Croatia will find a geographically diverse country, and with its spectacular Adriatic coastline, thickly forested mountains and Mediterranean climate, it is easy to see why the country is growing in popularity as an expat destination.
Most expats in Croatia live in the capital, Zagreb, or Dubrovnik. However, with the continual growth of Croatia’s tourism industry, there are more and more people who move to Croatia to set up businesses along the coast as well as in smaller rural areas.
Expats living in Croatia are treated to a host of outdoor and indoor leisure activities – for adventurous types, there is hiking, mountain biking and diving; and for those that prefer cultural activities, Croatia is home to a number of World Heritage Sites, museums and art galleries.
Despite Croatia’s slow economic growth and somewhat poor infrastructure, the government’s liberal attitude towards business has served to attract foreign investment, especially since the end of the Croatian War of Independence in 1995.
Favourable property prices and the availability of idyllic locations and uninhabited islands have made Croatia a hotspot for those looking to retire in the sun. Croatia's Istrian Peninsula has even been dubbed ‘New Tuscany’ because of its popularity among holidaygoers, not to mention high-profile celebrities.
Despite the country’s natural beauty, there are challenges to living in Croatia. Job opportunities in Croatia tend to be limited. Capitalising on connections is more likely to land an expat a job than applying through the usual channels. Those planning on setting up their own businesses should be prepared to deal with red tape. All expats should be wary of officials who promise to speed up bureaucratic processes, as corruption is widely reported throughout the country.
Healthcare in Croatia is on par with the standards in most European countries and it is becoming a burgeoning medical tourism destination, especially for kidney and hip problems. While the standard of education in Croatia is very good, there is a limited number of international schools, most of which are located in Zagreb.
Croatia is a young country full of potential and as such, there is a growing number of expats who are willing to ignore the areas where the country falls short and take advantage of the alternative, low-cost lifestyle – not to mention the boundless natural beauty – that this Balkan state has to offer.