What do we need to provide for you to choose Croatia as your destination?

Hello everyone! We’re a few IT professionals from Croatia, having our own companies/startups in various cities (on the coast) but all of us also own and manage properties for tourists (villas, houses, B&Bs, et.). We would like to use those properties and connect them with our passion for IT by making them available for digital nomads out there.

Those are all high quality accommodation so during a high season I think it would be too expensive, but off season (October till April, depending on the place) we’re able to cut prices A LOT because our main motivation is to network with other IT people out there and promote our location.

Obvious advantage (we believe) is that we’re IT people, so Internet connection (mostly 8 Mbit to 120 Mbit cable or DSL) and other technical issues would not be a problem like in other mostly tourist-oriented places. We also have personnel to assist you in any needs you might have (laundry, paperwork, information, etc); we have contracts with surrounding restaurants and probably could get a good price-cuts for your stay; we could rearrange some space to offices or meeting rooms; because we’re in several different cities (like Split and Zadar) we could arrange a “tour” of several cities or you can choose to be static in one of the cities, etc.

But the question remains, does this make sense to you and what do you need to make Croatia your next destination? We would love to try and meet all those requirements if possible and would appreciate any comment.

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I would totally be up for that! :slight_smile: I’m looking for somewhere to be from late November-late December if you want to make me a deal. :wink:

The big thing is just getting the word out. Perhaps build digitalnomadcroatia.com with the info? The DN community is small and Croatia is popular so you just need to get the word out. Offering coworking space, etc. is great for people who want that. Perhaps setting up meetings with the local tech/startup community for networking, etc.? Having a “landing package” so when they arrive they have a SIM card, a list of local places of interest, etc.? Host hackathons?

Ah some great tips @wanderingdev! I have already reserved a domain :slight_smile: I really like “landing package” idea. Personally, I’m in Split and local tech community is getting livelier every year. There is a Shift conference (http://www.shiftsplit.com/), first coworking spaces (http://amosferacoworking.strikingly.com/) and quite a few local and international IT gatherings. It wouldn’t be a problem to organize something at all. In our properties or somewhere else in the town.

As for your stay, I’ll PM you, I don’t want to turn this thread into “rent-an-apartment”. We honestly want advice how to provide best possible housing and services for digital nomads here.

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happy to help. yes, send me a DM and we can chat.

I’d be happy to get looped in on this as well; I’ll be looking for a place around late-October / early November.

As far as attracting DNs to Croatia, I think @wanderingdev’s right on the money that it’s a marketing effort… Game of Thrones has put Croatia on the map for a lot of people, and so it’s decently well known at this point, and so offering affordable short-ish term housing with good internet and pretty pictures of the Mediterranean is a great start.

My other big draws as a DN are a) finding a community and b) being able to interact with locals (being a tourist / walking piece of money meat gets a little old and sad after a while), so those are good things to push into the marketing as well; (come join us, we’ll show you around; Croatia rocks!)

Reaching out to some of the travelling communities (RemoteYear, Hacker Paradise, SunnyOffice… I’m sure there are others too) and enticing them to bring a bunch of people your way might be a good way to go as well to get the word of mouth going.

Hi, everyone. Thank you, @wanderingdev & @gdpelican , for constructive feedback & ideas. It will help us a lot recognizing your needs and expectations regarding Croatia.
I am one of those IT professionals @mirko mentioned in the first post, located in Zadar, willing to host & meet DMs from around the world. Please, spread a word about this thread so we can get as much feedback as possible. Thanks once again!

I follow the weather, so I’m not too sure about Croatia during the winter, at least for myself. But I would want a reliable WiFi connection (which as you say is a given here), a good desk, independent accommodation (i.e. no sharing of facilities), washer (I want to do my own laundry). Those are the top items on my list. If I find that I have to share, a peaceful (read: non-party), non-smoking environment is essential.

I’m here right now with my brother in Solin.

I’ve been visiting Croatia since 2010, so I’m familiar with what it has to offer. For us, the shoulder season is good because it is still warm but prices are a little cheaper and we can still get cheap flights from the UK and other parts of Europe. It gets much harder over the winter months.

As @wanderingdev said, a landing package would be very useful. I know how to get a sim, but it can be quite confusing for travellers. Also, a multi trip bus ticket would be a great part of that too. Or even better, access to affordable monthly bicycle and scooter hire, because that seems non-existent.

I think organising some sort of community meet up would be very important, and getting to know some locals too. I know there is couchsurfing etc. but these things get a lot quieter from September onwards. Same with nightlife. It isn’t a high priority for me, but a lot of organised events only run until early September.

I’d love to go for a beer and maybe catch a Hajduk Split game with some other nomads and tech/non tech locals. I’ve just realised I should probably check the fb meet up to see if anything is planned…

scooter rental is a great idea!

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I don’t know how bad it gets in Croatia during winters. But only thing that could motivate me to go to cold is snowboarding.

The issue is i’m not even prepared for cold weather.

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I’m in Croatia now (in Split). I really like it. It’s very mellow, relaxed, people are exceptionally friendly, I had some old Yugoslavic/Soviet prejudice that people would be cold and angry, but it’s completely the opposite. Also the food is fresh everywhere, even in the touristic fast food places, really surprised (in a good way)!

It’s also very cheap (especially housing).

I think room for improvement would be getting more coffee shops with nice desks (just like most of Southern Europe, there’s only Italian-style coffee shops with round desks, and relaxing chairs, which suck for working and it’s frowned upon to sit with a laptop).

I visited Am!osfera (the coworking space in Split), and it’s a great start, and I hope it can modernize more soon. See https://hubbathailand.com or http://hubud.org as an example. There’s only 1 coworking space in Split, probably a few more in the rest of the country, but there needs to be a lot more. Maybe you can ask the government to subsidize the building of more modern spaces to work.

I wish there was more taxis here, seems like only a few. Public transport is okay, but taxis would definitely help to get around more.

Internet has been pretty great and fast. The mobile 4G is great too (I use BonBon, with 5GB for I think 6 euros, pretty amazing).

So yeah, most importantly, more spaces to work!

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Hi @mirko - I work as a UX Designer and will arrive in Split in a few days. So I’ll happily take any recommendations for apts! I think the other suggestions here sound great – meetups for nomads always appreciated.

I went through a rather confusing housing “pre-search” recently, I guess you could call it, because the basics of fast internet and some other things weren’t provided in the off-season rentals I was offered – I felt like I had to dig for details like is there an oven and washer provided, etc. And I didn’t (and still don’t) have a clear idea of what different neighborhoods are like.

A friend also was very surprised at the quality of place she rented on AirBnB when she showed up, and had to switch. (I’m sorry to report I also have a Croatian-American friend who nearly got scammed on a rental in Croatia!) So I’ve decided to not rent until I show up in person to see places and meet the owners… and I know I’ll have to play the whole negotiating game, which is time-consuming. Still, I’m looking forward to it… but I think a list of nomad-approved apartments with reviews of not just the apts but the neighborhoods would be a great help! Thanks for asking.

Thx all for such a great comments and tips. We’re already working on some. A few comments about mentioned topics:

Weather: (@Ani and @skat)
It all depends where you’re coming from. Croatian coast (Dalmatia) is a sunny place. It almost never snows and hardly ever reaches 0, even in the middle of the winter. Average high in winter is 12-15 Celsius (day/night average is 7). But almost every week, even in the middle of the winter, there are sunny days when everybody goes out. in general Dalmatia likes to live “out”. As soon as you see the sun, everybody is out in cafes, etc. So, for a Scandinavian, our winter is like a summer :slight_smile: but yes, for a guy working in Thailand it is not. Take a look here for Split which is an average for Dalmatia: http://www.holiday-weather.com/split/averages/
Of course, Dalmatia in the summer is a fantastic place, temperatures up to 38 C, swimming, diving, sailing, full of tourists, but I’m worried about pricing then. We rent our rooms or apartments for 100-150€ per night then! And we sell 95-100% capacity easily then. In that period, your only option is short-period rent of apartments outside of the city center and that means you’ll be alone in a flat without much services available or company of other nomads (other than in co-working places).
Off season, price can drop dramatically and you can find peace on some places or a lively larger cities like Split is.

Community, meeting locals, networking (most of you mentioned this) - we will look into this and have a few meetings on our locat IT events. I don’t think this would be a problem at all.

landing package and other services (@hannahvictorius, @wanderingdev ) - this is easy :smile: SIM cards, bus tickets, etc. Bikes and scooters are also easy. Remember we’re full during summer with all those services in our cities to serve much more tourists. When off season comes, with us locals working on it, we can get great deals on those because they sit in garages waiting for the summer anyway.

Coworking (@levelsio ) - the only one I know is Am!osfera. There are iniciatives in several cities on the coast to work with our local governments to improve this. @marko_zd is doing it in Zadar and several IT companies in Split already had few meetings with the city government but administration is slow here and I believe at the end it’s going to be a private initiative. But in the meantime, we know several IT companies on the coast and are very sure you could find a working spot in one of those too, for free and together with some networking and meeting people. If anyone is interested, I can help there too, until we make it more organized.

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I agree @suuzin, apartment hunting is pretty rubbish, even if you do your research in Croatian. Online just isn’t easy. As Split is the first time I’ve gone nomad, I wanted to have as much set up as possible, so we’ve ended up in Solin which is a 15 min bus ride away.

It’s a good location and the apartment is excellent (although the 10mb internet gets slow with two of us - one coding php and the other editing photos and writing).

Yet I’ve only found myself venturing into Split once so far and the last bus back home is 23:30. Otherwise it’s a 90min walk, which is possible, but not great. I might go into the city tomorrow and see if I can negotiate a cheap monthly bicycle rent. If you know of anywhere @mirko, I’d be happy for you to share.

Also, this is a test run for me. I have enough money but not a lot and I’m definitely feeling a little home sick. Have thought about abandoning ship earlier than planned, but going to try and ride the wave. So if anyone wants to meet up while they’re here, it would be great to chat to some friendly people :slight_smile:

For comparisons sake, we found our apartment through Airbnb for $800 for the whole month, so between two it isn’t bad and is cheaper than my rent in the UK. It’s got a double and single room, sofa bed and air con. Kitchen is good and washer/shower also great. Only downside is a lack of balcony, but that’s minimal.

I’ve found most people happy to provide details of internet speeds, but I’m going to get the 5GB data sim top up today that @levelsio mentioned, and use that as back up.

Airbnb link for further info

Really good thread though, and I’m keen for Croatia to mean more to tourism than just beaches and festivals. The ruins in Solin and the fortress at Klis are so beautiful.

Hiked 4.5 miles to the top of one of the surrounding mountains yesterday and the view of the peninsular and mountains was amazing. Croatia is stunning!

I’m very interested in something like this. Croatia has been on our list (myself/wife/son) to visit for a while now. @mirko please feel free to DM me with more information :slight_smile:

Sorry you ended up so far out, @hannahvictorius, but sounds like it’s been working out. I would advise you to ride the wave and not give in to the home sickness, not yet! :smile:

We ought to think about creating a couchsurfing-type service just for nomads. I think it would be easier to find and share couches within our community (rather than using Couchsurfing) – that’s exactly what I’ll be doing my first couple of days in Split, which will give me a chance to look at apartments and meet owners in person once I get a sense of the neighborhoods.

Anyway, I’m definitely up for meeting up with folks end of week/ weekend! :smile:

Hey Hannah,
I live very close to Solin so I know how disappointing it is to have the last bus at 23:30h. But on other side, this small town is so lovely and calm, it’s great place if you want to get away from crowd.
We have a small group of nomads here in Amosfera, they are all so great, they even went to Plitvice lakes together this week! It will be great meeting you!

Hey @mirko,
your idea is absolutely great! We’ve had many requests from DMs for help with finding an apartment, buying a monthly bus ticket or renting a bicycle. What I have seen, general case is that DMs pay much more for their apartment over Airbnb than local people. I think that a website with list of good apartments would be great! If you do it, we will surely use it!
Also, if you’re interested we can organize a digital nomad meetup in Split, I think there is at least a dozen of them here!

It is a great little town, that’s for sure!

If you need a sofa, we have one here at our apartment in Solin. Not as nice as being central, but it’s a great space :slight_smile:

I’m going to Sarajevo on Friday until Sunday but perhaps we can try and arrange something for Thursday eve. I will see who I can collar at Amosfera when I drop by this week.

Hey!

You are right, it is lovely. Definitely fallen for it :smiley: Looking forward to meeting you guys. Thanks for making me feel so welcome.