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Retire in Dalmatia Guide

Retire in Dalmatia with confidence, armed with the knowledge from our extensive guide. It covers critical considerations for retirees, from the cost of living and climate to housing, healthcare, and residency choices in Dalmatia. We also delve into the social and cultural scene, volunteering options, public transportation facilities, and the city's walkability, helping you make an informed decision.

With its stunning coastline, rich history, and warm Mediterranean climate, Dalmatia has become a popular destination for international retirees. The region offers a relaxed lifestyle, affordable cost of living, and a welcoming community. However, like any foreign country, it also presents its own set of challenges, from language barriers to navigating the healthcare system. This article will delve into the various aspects of retiring in Dalmatia, providing a comprehensive guide for those considering this beautiful region as their retirement destination.

Cost of Living

One of the biggest draws for retirees in Dalmatia is the affordable cost of living. Compared to many Western countries, the cost of housing, groceries, and utilities is significantly lower. For example, a comfortable one-bedroom apartment in the city center can be rented for around $500 per month. Eating out is also quite affordable, with a meal at a mid-range restaurant costing around $10-$15.


Dalmatia enjoys a Mediterranean climate, with hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters. The region is known for its abundant sunshine, with over 2,800 hours of sunlight per year. This makes it an ideal location for outdoor activities and enjoying the beautiful beaches and crystal-clear waters of the Adriatic Sea.


Healthcare in Croatia is of a high standard, with a good network of hospitals and clinics. Dalmatia is home to several well-equipped hospitals, including the University Hospital of Split. Many doctors and medical staff speak English, which can be a relief for retirees who do not speak Croatian.

Public Healthcare System

International retirees have the option to enroll in Croatia’s public healthcare system, which provides comprehensive coverage for a nominal monthly fee. However, many retirees choose to maintain private health insurance for more immediate access to specialists and private hospitals.

Residency Options for Retirees

Croatia offers several residency options for retirees, including a one-year temporary residence permit that can be renewed annually. After five years of continuous residence, retirees can apply for permanent residency.

Parks and Recreational Activities

Dalmatia is a paradise for nature lovers, with numerous national parks, hiking trails, and water sports activities. The region is also rich in history, with many ancient Roman ruins and UNESCO World Heritage sites to explore.


Dalmatia is renowned for its delicious cuisine, which features fresh seafood, locally grown fruits and vegetables, and excellent wines. Some popular local restaurants include Konoba Fetivi in Split and Restaurant Bruschetta in Zadar.

Learning the Language

While English is widely spoken in tourist areas, learning Croatian can enhance your experience and help you integrate into the local community. There are several language schools in Dalmatia, such as the Split Language School, which offers Croatian courses for foreigners.

Local Culture

The locals in Dalmatia are known for their hospitality and friendliness. They are proud of their culture and traditions, and many towns and villages host annual festivals and events that offer a glimpse into their way of life.

Market Life

Visiting the local markets is a popular activity for retirees in Dalmatia. These markets offer a wide range of fresh produce, local delicacies, and handmade crafts. The Green Market in Split is a favorite among locals and tourists alike.

Meeting People and Volunteering

There are numerous clubs and organizations where retirees can meet people and get involved in the community. Volunteering is also a great way to give back and make connections. Organizations such as the Red Cross Dalmatia offer various volunteering opportunities.

Housing Options

Retirees in Dalmatia have a wide range of housing options, from modern apartments in the city center to traditional stone houses in the countryside. Many retirees choose to live in smaller towns along the coast, where they can enjoy a peaceful lifestyle and stunning sea views.


Public transportation in Dalmatia is reliable and affordable, with a good network of buses and ferries. Many retirees find that they can get by without a car, especially if they live in the city center. However, having a car can be convenient for exploring the region and visiting more remote areas.

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

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