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19 November, 2016
Croatia is an astonishingly beautiful country in Eastern Europe. Lying beside the Adriatic sea, it is a geographically diverse nation which attracts expats from all around the world with its Mediterranean climate, Adriatic coastline, densely-forested mountains and rolling hills.
Bordering Hungary, Slovenia, Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Montenegro, Croatia’s proximity to cities such as London, Berlin, Venice and Paris also make it an attractive destination.
Here some great tips for expats who are moving to Croatia for the first time:
Access to public transport depends on where you live. If you live in Split, you’ll need a car as taxis are quite expensive. The bus service is fine, but it only operates between major centers.
In Dubrovnik and Zagreb, there’s great public transportation, excellent highways and several airports. You don’t need a car, but having one is a bonus.
Most expats are German, but there are English speakers as well. Most of them live in Zagreb, the capital, Split or Dubrovnik. The tourist season starts in May and ends in September and expats living in the above cities can enjoy considerable nightlife, amazing cafes, restaurants, etc. Additionally, there are many cultural attractions in Croatia, especially in Split, Dubrovnik, Zadar and Zagreb, with lots of festivals, expositions and concerts.
Expats can also visit several historic sites, national parks, museums, art galleries, or swim or play water sports in the Adriatic Sea. For the adventurous, there’s diving, hiking and mountain biking.
Health care in the country is of the same standard in most European countries and there are many English-speaking doctors around. All cities in Croatia have quality hospitals, while there’s at least first aid in smaller towns. With an EU medical card, expats can access local medical services and top up with insurance.
Public medical facilities are a bit run down, but expats can get quality services at numerous private medical facilities. All in all, the cost of treatment is much cheaper versus Western countries and the doctors working in Croatia are a lot emphatetic than others (empathy definition). They show interest in patients’ lives, listen to their problems and try to help as much as they can.
More info on accessing healthcare in Croatia can be found here.
In Croatia, the main language is Croatian, so expats should learn to communicate. However, like most modern countries in the West, English is widely spoken in Croatia as most of the country’s information is rendered in English. Many young people also speak or understand English. Expand your interpersonal communication skills by learning the local language which will not only enable you to communicate with the locals, but you will also get a bigger sense of belonging and acceptance within the local community.
Affordable property prices, beautiful luxurious villas and the fact that uninhabited islands and idyllic locations are available, make Croatia a perfect place for those who want to enjoy some sunshine in their retirement. This little Balkan country is even affectionately called “New Tuscany” due to its popularity among famous celebrities who have bought private islands.
Croatia is a naturally beautiful country, but expats face a few challenges when they relocate to the country. For one, job opportunities are often limited, so you’re likely to land a job through connections rather than applying. Those who wish to set up their own business will have to contend with red tape. Expats need to be wary of staff who promise to get around the red tape as there’s widespread corruption in the country.
Despite the country’s somewhat underdeveloped infrastructure and slow economic growth, the government has liberalized business processes, making Croatia attractive for foreign investors.
Photo courtesy of Cheap Vacation Holiday
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