Finding the Best Places to Retire Since 2006!
Croatia's Seaside Jewel, Dubrovnik, Brims with Medieval Architecture, Romance and Sparkling Views of the Adriatic Sea
Dubrovnik (population 45,000) is a gorgeous city (and UNESCO World Heritage Site) full of red-roof buildings nestled between the Adriatic Sea and the Dinaric Alps in the Dalmatia region of Croatia, a country with a tumultuous history even as recent as the 1990s when it was attacked and shelled by the Yugoslav People's Army.
Today, though, Croatia is at peace and its coastal jewel of Dubrovnik is a popular tourist destination filled with elegance and charm. People come from around the world come to marvel at its magnificent medieval architecture, including the famous Walls of Dubrovnik, a series of fortification walls around the city. Now open to the public, they are considered one of the Middle Ages' great defensive systems and provide breathtaking views of city and sea.
The Old Town is a magical, car-free place, with shiny stone streets and wonderful shops, markets, cafes, restaurants and nightclubs. Baroque churches and monasteries, Renaissance fountains and monuments are around every corner.
Beaches are here, too, and they range from very public to quietly secluded. And not to be missed is the annual Dubrovnik Summer Festival, a two month celebration of art, food and culture.
Living Costs: The average cost of living here is about $2,500 USD per month. Modest but very cute long term rentals with sea views can be found starting at about $650 USD per month. Expats are taxed on their foreign income and because the U.S. does not have a tax treaty with Croatia, they are taxed on that income at home as well. This might be changing soon, though, as the U.S. and Croatia have just very recently a tax treaty that is yet to be approved by Congress. Croatian taxes include national (VAT), county, municipal and joint taxes.
Relocation: Croatia does not have a specific retirement program for expat retirees, so a different method must be employed to retire here, including buying property (this lets retirees stay in the country for a total of nine months out of each year), pre-paying rent for one year a year at a time (the residence cannot be an Airbnb or similar) or volunteering (a one year or shorter volunteer contract with a non-profit organization in Croatia is required). All of these allow for only temporary residence and must be renewed. It is worth noting that expat retirees cannot work in Croatia.
Climate: The climate is Mediterranean, with mild, rainy winters (temperatures in the 40s and 50s) and warm, sunny summers (temperatures in the 70s and 80s).
Medical: Croatia has a mandatory, universal healthcare system. Basic care is covered by "obvezno," a health insurance plan required by law (more extensive plans are also available) and administered by HZZO, the Croatian Health Insurance Fund.
All non-EU citizens must pay 12 months of health care premiums for the year before they arrived in the country. Then they must pay 16.5% of their retirement income each month. There are also co-pays with the basic insurance, but they are very small. For example, a doctor's appointment is $1.50 USD, and an overnight stay in a hospital is about $275 USD.
Transit: Durbrovnik is a modern city with buses, taxis, Ubers and rental cars. It is connected by air and ferry to other European cities. The city is not, however, connected by rail and has no train station.
Notes: From May to October, hoards of vacationers, particularly cruise ship passengers, arrive, clogging most everything and driving up prices. Many locals speak at least some English, but learning a little Croatian is not a bad idea.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes
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