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An Expat Talks about Retiring in Dubrovnik, Croatia

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Dubrovnik, Croatia

Croatia knows many cultural attractions, especially in Zagreb and Split, with tons of festivals, concerts and expositions. Recreation, certainly for active people is all around, and at least half the year the Adriatic offers all options for water lovers.

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?


Why did you choose to retire abroad?

Family relations opened my eyes, and sick of the "do this and don't do that" mentality in Holland, I decided to go for the change. Not always easy, but very rewarding it is.

This together with all international connections at hand (airports, highways) it's just southwest of Europe, and not the end of the world.

Are you retired abroad all year or part of the year?

all year

Why did you choose the country you retired to?

First of all, Croatia is a beauty! The long coastline, from high up near Italy to deep south Albania is one long stretch of magnificent views with hundreds (if not thousands) of islands. It's history dates back to the old Roman days, with for example the palace of Diocletian in Split as an example, no doubt Dubrovnik, and many more ancient towns and places.

And however winters are chilly, sprig starts early and summer ends late, all of it at the coast under palm trees, oranges and lemons. It's nature is pure and mainly unspoiled, with a high amount of national parks and protected areas. Life is easy going still, in this catholic country, especially in Dalmatia.

If you have seen enough stress, heard enough noise, Croatia is a perfect place to retire, and depending on your needs, life is cheap too.

Did you ever live abroad before you retired abroad?


How long have you lived abroad since you retired abroad?

Two years, and a couple of long term "trials" before that.

How many countries (other than your home country) have you lived in as a retiree?


What have been the most challenging aspects of being retired abroad?

Any move to a different country, other than just visiting or on holidays, is a step into another administration. Sometimes pretty irritating, but all of it worth the effort.

What have been the most rewarding aspects of being retired abroad?

The feeling inside!

What would you do differently if you were just starting the retire abroad process?

At least try to communicate in it's language a bit. However, Croatia, like most modern Western countries, is easy when you speak English, as much of it's information is available in English. (And youngsters do understand or speak it too, being modern kids from modern schools).

What is life like for a retiree in your city and its surroundings? (Is there an active expat community? Cultural Attractions? Recreation? Nightlife?)

No need for expat communities, but with a couple of international friends too. Croatia knows many cultural attractions, especially in Zagreb and Split, with tons of festivals, concerts and expositions. Recreation, certainly for active people is all around, and at least half the year the Adriatic offers all options for water lovers.

What residency documents or visas did you need to obtain to retire in your host country? How difficult was this process? (Please describe)

A visum to start with, a permit after that, and no, it's not as easy as it could/should be for retiring people (bringing their money with them). I still say "hey Zagreb (the capital), get some more people like us".

Did you buy a home or apartment, or rent one? Is this a difficult process? (Please describe)

We built one, and no, it's not an easy process. Building is a bargain over here, the quality is ok, but the paper shit may kill you. And more important, the registration of ownership in Croatia still is horrible, so TAKE CARE that your dream property does not become a nightmare.

Financially, has living abroad in your host country met your expectations? Exceeded them?

Absolutely, as all in all it's a cheap country to live in.

What are the most important financial considerations for retiring to your host country?

Choose a respectable bank (if there are any today) and money transfers are as easy as anywhere, and better!!!

How much can a retiree live on comfortably in your host country?

Hard to tell, depending on your wishes.

Do you have access to quality medical care? (Please describe - is it close? Expensive?)

Medical care is well organised with English speaking doctors all around. The big cities have quality hospitals, the smaller towns have at least a first aid. Medical care is below average in price, and cheap compared to the USA. (Guess Obama needs some more support on that issue).

Retiring in Croatia? If you are interested in expat health insurance, take a minute to get a quote from AXA's Global Healthcare team.

Is there a lot of crime where you live? (Please describe)

No, however big cities, as everywhere, have their drugs related problems.

Describe available transportation where you live. Do you need a car? Is there access to safe public transportation?

Public transportation is prominent, railroads just basic, but the highways are excellent. Airports in many places, with a high content of international connections. Driving, flying, ferries, it's all there, and of good quality. One does not need a car, however having one is an advantage.

Is there high-speed internet access where you live?

Not where we live (in the middle of nature) but generally speaking internet (broadband) is as common as in any western country.

Do you have any other thoughts you would like to share about retiring abroad?

You don't have to be a fan of Nike, but their slogan is perfect: JUST DO IT.

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Comments about this Report

Dec 29, 2012 12:25

thank you for taking the time to fill in this report .

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