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Retire in Zadar Guide

Retire in Zadar 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 Zadar. 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.

Zadar, a charming city on the Dalmatian coast of Croatia, has become a popular destination for international retirees. Its rich history, stunning natural beauty, and relaxed Mediterranean lifestyle make it an attractive choice for those seeking a peaceful and fulfilling retirement. However, like any foreign destination, retiring in Zadar comes with its own set of challenges and rewards.

Cost of Living

One of the main attractions of retiring in Zadar is the relatively low cost of living. Compared to many Western European countries and the United States, the cost of housing, groceries, and utilities is significantly lower. However, it’s important to note that the cost of living can vary depending on your lifestyle and the area of the city you choose to live in.


Zadar enjoys a Mediterranean climate, with hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters. The city boasts over 2,800 hours of sunshine per year, making it an ideal location for those who enjoy outdoor activities. However, the summer months can be quite hot, and air conditioning is a must.


Zadar is home to several well-equipped hospitals and clinics, and there are many English-speaking doctors available. However, it’s important to have a good health insurance plan, as healthcare costs can be high for non-residents.

Public Healthcare System

While Croatia has a public healthcare system, it’s not always accessible to international retirees. Many choose to purchase private health insurance to ensure they have access to the care they need.

Residency Options for Retirees

Croatia offers several residency options for retirees, including long-term stay visas and temporary residence permits. However, the process can be complex and requires a lot of paperwork, so it’s advisable to seek legal advice.

Parks and Recreational Activities

Zadar is surrounded by natural beauty, with numerous national parks, beaches, and hiking trails nearby. The city itself is also home to several parks and green spaces, perfect for leisurely strolls or picnics.


Zadar’s culinary scene is a mix of traditional Dalmatian cuisine and international fare. Popular local restaurants include Pet Bunara, which serves traditional Croatian dishes, and Bruschetta, known for its fresh seafood.

Learning the Language

While many locals in Zadar speak English, learning Croatian can enhance your retirement experience. The University of Zadar offers Croatian language courses for foreigners.

Local Culture

The locals in Zadar are known for their hospitality and friendliness. The city has a relaxed, laid-back vibe, and it’s common to see locals and tourists alike enjoying a coffee in one of the city’s many outdoor cafes.

Market Life

Zadar has a vibrant market culture, with several weekly markets selling everything from fresh produce to handmade crafts. The Zadar Fish Market is a must-visit for seafood lovers.

Meeting People and Socializing

Meeting new people in Zadar is easy, thanks to the city’s friendly locals and active expat community. Joining local clubs or participating in community events is a great way to make new friends.

Volunteer Opportunities

There are several volunteer opportunities in Zadar, including at the local animal shelter and various environmental organizations.

Housing Options

Most retirees in Zadar choose to live in apartments in the city center, where they can enjoy easy access to amenities and public transportation. However, there are also many beautiful villas and houses available in the surrounding countryside for those who prefer a quieter lifestyle.


Zadar is a compact city, and it’s easy to get around on foot or by bicycle. The city also has a reliable public transportation system, and taxis are readily available. However, having a car can be useful for exploring the surrounding countryside and visiting nearby towns.

Retiring in Zadar offers a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. While there are challenges to overcome, the rewards of living in this charming Mediterranean city are well worth it.

Joshua WoodJoshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

Additional Information:

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