Today’s article by Liz Richardson is about living and working remotely in Vodice, Croatia, a small town of about 8,000 residents located on the Adriatic Sea, 100km north-west of Split. Liz teaches English online while traveling the world and blogging about her adventures which you can follow on her website and Facebook. This post is part of our new series that profiles popular digital nomad destinations around the world. This article isn’t intended to sell you on a destination or steer you in any direction, but rather present one nomad’s viewpoint from two different perspectives. Here goes 9 Pros & 7 Cons To Living and Working Remotely in Vodice, Croatia.
9 Pros To Vodice Croatia for Digital Nomads
Keeping with tradition, let’s start with the pros first because it’s always best to think about the positive before anything else.
#1) If you HATE the sun, do not come here.
At 4:30am as I write this (you know, insomnia and weird dreams), the night sky is becoming a pale gray, the stars are fading, and the first rays of sun are coming through the darkness. During the summer months the sun breaks at 5am and does not go down until after 8pm. This gives you plenty of time to explore, swim, and have outdoor adventures.
#2) Adult summer playground.
With warm waters, a constant wind, a coast line that never ends, and mountains as far as the eye can see, Croatia is an adventurer’s heaven. During the summer you will never have a dull moment. You can take a kayaking trip to an island with no roads or go mountain biking in the limestone hills. Or if you’d rather keep your feet on the ground, Croatia has that too. There are several National Parks that must be visited which can be reached by bus, boat, or car. Wherever you end up in Croatia, you’ll be able to find the right excursion for you.
#3) A match made in heaven: beer and coffee.
A day of exploring will leave you thirsty and exhausted. What do you do when you’re in the mood for a beer but your travel partner is tired and needs a pick me up? Well Croatia has you covered. Caffe Bars serve both alcoholic drinks and coffee, and they are located everywhere, typically open from early morning to midnight daily. It’s no problem in Croatia for drinkers and non-drinkers to enjoy their time together while gazing out unto an ancient plaza or the Adriatic Sea.
#4) Who doesn’t love a deal?
Croatia is part of the EU but the country uses its own currency, the kuna. Right now the Euro and USD are neck and neck in value, and the kuna is fluctuating between 6-7 kuna to 1 USD, which makes Croatia an excellent destination for nomads to get a lot of value for their bucks!
#5) Get away from it all and everyone else: Pre-High Season (April -May).
I arrived in Croatia at the beginning of May. I wanted a small sleepy town where I could work a lot and play a little. I got what I wanted in this town of 8,000 residences. When I arrived here, only a few harbor restaurants and Caffe Bars were open. Other stores looked like the were closed for business and would never reopen again. As the days passed, this town slowly became alive. One by one, new shops and restaurants opened their doors for business. In my opinion, this is the perfect time to visit if you would like to unwind, explore the small towns, and walk the stone streets without the congestion from tourists.
#6) The wheels on the bus: Transportation.
No car? Have no fear, the bus is here! Every town has a bus station which can take you wherever you want to go. Traveling from Split to Vodice by bus will only cost you about $10 for the 2 hour trip. If you are staying in Split and want to see Trogir for the day, that can be done via a 30 minute bus ride that will cost you about $2. Throughout Croatia, you can hop from city to city with ease and comfort on clean, air conditioned, buses, some which have WiFi.
#7) ALL the meat, cheese, and carbs!
While in Thailand I lost about 20 pounds. The food was just not for me so I just didn’t eat. Well, the tides have turned and so has my appetite. The Croats take pride and joy in their food, as they should. There is pure joy, pride and love when it comes to the cuisine. Food that is prepackaged or manufactured in a plant is called “industrial” food, and when said, it is said with disdain. Every backyard has a garden, there are gelaterias and bakeries at every turn, and restaurants serve 5 star meals at a price that will not break the bank. There is a restaurant called Guste here in Vodice, and let me tell you, if you want the best steak of your entire life, you must try this place out. It only cost about $15 for a filet grilled to perfection with one side.
#8) Hospitality is not dead.
I have traveled to many places and found that there are pleasant people everywhere in the world. But here in Croatia, the people are amazing. They are friendly, warm, and inviting. The Croats who I have meet are interested in me and ask a million questions, have befriended me on social media, and have bent over backwards to make my experience here in Croatia wonderful. If you come here, don’t stay in a hotel. Instead, get an apartment that is as inviting as the people who live here.
#9) Woot woot WiFi!
The world is getting smaller because of WiFi. I teach English online to kids in China so I have to have a good connection to hold my classes. Each day for work, the first thing I do is an Internet speed test. The download is usually 21-25 Mbs and the upload is between 2-3 Mbs. These speeds are more than sufficient to hold video chats and phone calls. Believe me, I talk to my friends and family way more now than I have in the past. They probably wish I didn’t have Internet at all. So, if you need to be in a place where Internet is amazing, Croatia is it. Also, there is free WiFi in almost every bar or restaurant you visit.
7 Cons To Vodice Croatia for Digital Nomads
Now it’s time for Liz’s list of Cons. She told me that it was difficult to come up with this list because she had such positive things to say about Croatia in general, but I insisted because it’s important to see things from both sides.
#1) Europe didn’t get the memo on cigarettes being a health risk.
Not just in Croatia, but all over the EU, the people did not get the notice that smoking is bad for your health and the health of others. It’s unfortunate but true. In any bar, cafe, or restaurant, the entire outside is smoking and you will see ashtrays on every table. The majority of these places also allow smoking inside. Honestly, this is my biggest gripe of Croatia. I just want to go have a coffee or a glass of wine without smoke being blown in my face. But you have to take the good with the bad. I just drink wine on my balcony a lot now.
#2) Beware of the High Season (June – August).
I will miss peak season by just a week here in Vodice, but from what I have heard it is sort of a nightmare. As I said in the pros, this is a playground, and a playground it is! The small towns across Croatia (they are all small) go from a few thousand permanent residence to hundreds of thousands of people. With this burst of tourism comes drugs, public intoxication, and lots of skin. Prices also double during this time on accommodations, food, and drink. Plan accordingly depending on the type of experience you are looking for.
#3) Not your soft white sand beaches.
The water in Croatia is one of the prettiest I have ever seen. It is crystal clear in the shallow areas and then turns a bright blue the deeper you get. The color of the water is better than Thailand, seriously. But there is a downside. Unlike the beaches in places like Thailand, Mexico, or Florida, the coasts are lined with pebbles, rocks, and limestone edges. The country has tried to remedy this by placing man-made pads in the water just off shore to accommodate the tourists. These areas fill up fast so you will be like a frog on a lily pad with 30 other people and hundreds more around you.
#4) Planes, NO trains, and automobiles.
Unlike its neighbors within Europe, Croatia does not have access to trains that take you to other countries. There is an inner country rail system, but all trains leave from Zagreb, the capital. I have spoken to many locals about the train and most of them have never traveled with it. Getting around Croatia is best done by bus or a rented car. If you are looking to travel from Croatia to the rest of the EU, you will have to fly from one of the airports in Split, Zagreb, or Zadar.
#5) Something in the air.
Coming from a place where in Spring, there is a flower on every tree, bush, and plant, I have pretty bad allergies. Croatia is no different. Even though they have different plants, there is something in the air that sets off my allergies. There are a TON of roses, wildflowers, Irises, poppies, Black-eyed susans, and olive trees (all of which are beautiful). And all of the backyards are a garden of some sort. But if you have allergies, come prepared with your nasal spray and ALL the anti-allergy drugs you can fit in your suitcase.
#6) Junk souvenir shops.
Ugh… my pet peeve. Like all places where the economy is based on tourism, you will find crappy souvenir shops. Places that sell magnets made in China, shirts that say, “I <3 Croatia", and neon trucker hats that boast the name of the town you are visiting. This is not how I would like to remember a place. What I do now-a-days is buy local art and handmade jewelry from places I visit. Local artisan crafts are more important and special than a magnet that will eventually be lost under the refrigerator.
#7) As silent as a mouse… just kidding, you can hear it all.
Well-built but definitely not sound proof, the houses and apartments can be loud at times. You will hear your neighbors’ conversations as they talk in the street, and you will hear the laughter from your neighbors above you (and hopefully nothing else)! If you go to bed early and are a light sleeper, think twice about staying in an apartment. People in Croatia stay up late and like to drink their homemade wine. My suggestion is that if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. The wine is great.
So what’s the consensus on Vodice, Croatia?
That’s for you to decide, remember? This is just one nomad’s point of view! We hope this list helps you make an informed decision about whether or not Vodice, Croatia is your next digital nomadic destination. Please leave your feedback and questions below in the comments section. Thanks for being here!
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