Croatia
Jul 2021
1 week

Zagreb

A pleasant, if not particularly vibrant Balkan city.

[Local Time}
{Temperature}
°C ·
[Description}

The Croatian capital stands out as one of the most developed and sophisticated cities in the Balkan region.

Featuring medieval structures along side Austro-Hungarian architecture from the 19th century.

Verdict:
Consider for a holiday

Fine for a weekend city break, but would struggle to suggest it for a prolonged stay. Ideal for a short city break.

🌎
Verdict:
Consider for a holiday

Fine for a weekend city break, but would struggle to suggest it for a prolonged stay. Ideal for a short city break.

Verdict:
Consider for a holiday

Fine for a weekend city break, but would struggle to suggest it for a prolonged stay. Ideal for a short city break.

👎
Verdict:
Consider for a holiday

Fine for a weekend city break, but would struggle to suggest it for a prolonged stay. Ideal for a short city break.

🛫
Euro (EUR)
800,000
💰 Great value

Summary

After 6 weeks in Belgrade, I had made plans for a summer cycling vacation on the Croatian coast. Zagreb was the ideal place to arrive in and work from for a week beforehand.

Accommodation
Great
Good
Ok
Bad

Whilst it's a little more expensive than some of the other neighbouring Balkan countries, you should still be any to pick up a decent apartment for a reasonable price, especially if booking for a month. Due to how last minute I booked I ended up staying in a hotel, of which there are plenty of good value options.

info
New legislation
Recent changes introduced by the Turkish government has made short-term rentals for under 100 days more restricted. Keep an eye on Reddit threads for up-to-date assessments of how the new legislation is impacting short-term rentals in practice.
Places to work
Great
Good
Ok
Bad

Croatia and in particular Zagreb, has a strong tech sector and as a result there's no shortage of coworking spaces dotted across all areas of the city.

Value
Great
Good
Ok
Bad

Great value food and drink can be found all across the city, with prices lower than what you would expect to pay in a major European capital.

info
The yen is currently at a 34-year low
While this is undoubtedly a negative for the Japanese, it makes for an exceptionally good time to visit Japan from abroad. Although this trend is unlikely to reverse significantly in the short term, it's still worth checking before visiting.
Read more
View the cost of living
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Working hours
Great
Good
Ok
Bad

Croatia operates on Central European Time (CET), aligning with Western Europe.

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Where to stay

I'd aim to be as close to the centre as possible, with few benefits to being further out.

Would avoid
Recommended
Gornji Grad (Upper Town)
Being based anywhere close to here put's you in great proximity to everything the city centre has to offer. It's never too hectic and I didn't find noise to be a problem.

Where to work

Impact Hub
Top Choice
☕️ Good Coffee
📍 Top Location
🥗 On Site Cafe
🧍Community Focused
⭐️ Quality Fit Out
🌳 Outdoor Space

Since I visited, the office has moved to a new location but is still ran by the same team.

Impact Hub is a global organisation with over 100 locations worldwide with a focus on inclusive and sustainable innovation. There's little I can comment on with regards to the new location but I've lifted the below from their website.

"Impact Hub has been present in Zagreb since 2011, and despite having relocated our premises four times since then, our mission remains the same: creating a supportive space for all those courageous individuals who dare to dream, create, and push boundaries."

Remote work visa

No remote work visa
Remote work visa available
Remote work visa coming soon
If staying for a prolonged period, you may want to consider a dedicated visa for this destination.
This country is actively working on a visa support for remote workers.
Check your government website for details of how to obtain a tourist visa.

In January 2021, the Croatian government introduced a digital nomad visa program, allowing remote workers to reside in the country. This visa, however, is more akin to a temporary residence permit than a traditional visa. It enables digital nomads to stay in Croatia for six months to a year, with the option to reapply after expiration.

Once the visa's validity ends, digital nomads must leave the country for 90 days before being eligible to apply for a new digital nomad visa. As Croatia is now part of the Schengen Area, holders of this visa can travel freely to other European countries within the Schengen zone, much like digital nomad visas issued by Estonia, Spain, Portugal, or Malta.

Notably, the Croatian government does not charge income tax to individuals residing in the country with a digital nomad visa. They are only required to pay taxes in their country of tax residency.

View full details
To the best of my knowledge this information was correct as of 27th April 2024. If you notice something has changed drop me a message and I'll update it!

Citizen Remote is a great source of up to date knowledge for everything to do with remote work visas.

Safety

Off-work

Hiking in Medvednica

A luscious mountainous nature park that offers a plethora of hiking trails, accessible on foot from the city centre. Be sure to bring plenty of battery on your phone or a brush up on your map reading skills.

Learn more
Explore Jarun Lake

A sprawling recreational area consisting of two large artificial lakes and a vibrant hub for outdoor activities, including rowing. An ideal destination for a morning run and easily accessible from the centre.

Hiking in Medvednica

A luscious mountainous nature park that offers a plethora of hiking trails, accessible on foot from the city centre. Be sure to bring plenty of battery on your phone or a brush up on your map reading skills.

Explore Jarun Lake

A sprawling recreational area consisting of two large artificial lakes and a vibrant hub for outdoor activities, including rowing. An ideal destination for a morning run and easily accessible from the centre.

Duration & season

Zagreb's peak summer weather was ideal, with hot midday temperatures that were comfortable and didn't hinder outdoor activities. That being said, somehow I managed to book somewhere with A/C, which is a repeat i would not be in a hurry to repeat.

Having spent a week in the city, I felt no real desire to stay any longer, or return for a subsequent visit.

Food & drink

Jarun Lake Run
·
Run
A great destination to run, only a few miles from the centre of the city.
Zagreb to Ogulin
·
Cycle
For any cycling enthusiasts, I would highly recommend cycling into this region of the country en-route to the coast. Peaceful roads with plenty of elevation and a train track nearby should you need to call it a day.

People

There were few signs of a strong remote working community in the city, however that may have changed in more recent times.

During the summer months you are more likely to encounter people heading down to the Croatian coastline which is the major draw for tourism and remote working in the country.

Exercise

Jarun Lake Run
A great destination to run, only a few miles from the centre of the city.
keyboard_arrow_down
Zagreb to Ogulin
For any cycling enthusiasts, I would highly recommend cycling into this region of the country en-route to the coast. Peaceful roads with plenty of elevation and a train track nearby should you need to call it a day.
keyboard_arrow_down

Jarun Lake Run
A great destination to run, only a few miles from the centre of the city.

Zagreb to Ogulin
For any cycling enthusiasts, I would highly recommend cycling into this region of the country en-route to the coast. Peaceful roads with plenty of elevation and a train track nearby should you need to call it a day.

Verdict

Positives
  • More of an authentic Croatian experience than the coast line.The Dalmatian coastline can be saturated with tourists throughout the summer months with Zagreb appearing to be less exposed to the masses of tourism.
  • Great summer weather.Like the rest of the country, it benefits from a strong Mediterranean climate.
  • One of the more sophisticated cities in the Balkans.Compared to Skopje in North Macedonia or Podgorica in Montenegro, Zagreb possesses all the amenities you would expect from a western European city.
Negatives
  • Not much of a buzz.Whilst it's an important regional hub, it doesn't offer the sort of busy working environment you'd expect in a major Euroepan city and it felt noticeably quieter than it's neighbour, Belgrade.
  • Not as much as a memorable experience as the coastline.There would be few convincing reasons on why you would pick Zagreb over any of the coastal cities during the summer months. Split, Dubrovnik and Zadar are all more distinctive destinations.
  • The beaches are a long way away.Whilst the coast is easily accessible, it's not a journey you'd want to be making every weekend.
Tips
  • If needing to get to the coast consider the over night train. I got it in reverse from Split to Zagreb and it was clean, comfortable and inexpensive.
  • There is some beautiful routes for cycling between Zagreb and the coastline. I cycled to Rijeka via Ogulin and there is some spectacular scenery en route. Would highly recommend.
Planning a trip?
I loved everything about this trip to Japan. I've put together some thoughts on my entire stay in the country, which may come in handy if you are planning a visit soon.
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