As one of Europe’s most popular touristic destinations, let’s take a closer look at Croatia’s buoyant real estate market and the best locations in the country. By Martina Petrina
In the last couple of decades, Croatia gained popularity as a Mediterranean holiday destination, which at the same time made it attractive to foreign investors. The interest in properties for sale in Croatia has gone through the roof, and the real estate market here is very vivid. If you are wondering should you search for a coastal property for sale, we assure you, it is definitely a good period to invest in villas in Croatia and get a satisfying ROI.
The Main Coastal Regions in Croatia
Lying at an important crossroads between Southeast and Central Europe, Croatia is a country of contrasts; mountains and hills populate the northern regions, while its developed Adriatic coastline is home to thousands of dreamlike islands and lovely islets with the unspoiled authentic landscape. Are you looking for properties for sale in Croatia by the beach? Here are the most popular regions you should consider when looking for coastal property for sale.
The Istrian peninsula, with its beautiful coastline and proximity to major European countries, is popular with foreign buyers. Istria is a southeastern region in Croatia with a whole wealth of diversity, from the undulating landscapes with vineyards and olive groves, to the blue of the endless sea. Properties for sale in Istria Croatia are amongst the most expensive due to high demand and its proximity to the rest of Europe. The Istrian peninsula has a total of 445 kilometers of bays, coves, islands, and shoals. It is a homeland of antiquities, an emerging culinary scene, beauty, and health. Istria is often called the Croatian Tuscany for its picturesque coastal towns Novigrad, Umag, Poreč, Rovinj, and Pula.
Numerous locations full of rich heritage and dreamlike natural landscapes will leave you breathless. Central Istria is more rural and one of the rare Mediterranean regions adorned with the quality of unspoiled nature and cultural-historical sights. Gorgeous medieval towns of central Istria Motovun, Višnjan, Grožnjan, Pazin, and Labin will awake within you the true pleasure. There is an excellent transport connection to and from the Istrian peninsula so it will take you 1 hour of an easy drive to reach Italy and Slovenia, and about 2 hours to the Austrian border. Also, Istria has its own airport near Pula, which is well linked to the UK and elsewhere in Europe.
Kvarner Riviera is a beautiful region located along the Croatian coast separating Istria and Dalmatia. It is centered around the city of Rijeka, the third-largest city in Croatia and the busiest port of the Adriatic. The peaceful islands of Krk, Lošinj, Cres, and Rab with picturesque villages and great beaches are also part of the Kvarner region. There is an easy transfer to all places in the Kvarner Riviera. The main airport is located on Krk, an island connected to the mainland by a bridge.
The most famous resorts in this area are Opatija, Crikvenica, Lovran, Kraljevica, and Novi Vinodolski. Lovran and Opatija are the sumptuous resorts that provide some of the finest villas in Croatia, both classical and modern. Due to their mild climate, these resorts were built for the Austro-Hungarian aristocracy in the 19th century. Their style is defined by the fountains, palm-studded parks, grand villas, and original art deco hotels. All premium properties for sale in Croatia are located in stunning locations on the seafront or a short walk away. However, if you’re looking for cozy cottages, authentic stone houses, and heritage real estate you can find them inland on the hills that rise steeply from the coast.
The area of Nothern Dalmatia stretches from the Kvarner Riviera down to the city of Trogir with historic towns and small coastal resorts in-between. This region is warm in the summer with mild winters, which makes it a holidaymaker’s dream and a great place to settle in. Its long, indented coastline with a number of beautiful islands such as Dugi Otok and Pašman dotted offshore in the Adriatic. The most popular cities in Northern Dalmatia are Zadar, Šibenik, and Primošten famed for their crumbling, intricate architecture. This area has three of Croatia’s most impressive national parks: Paklenica, Kornati, and Krka which shelter in the hinterland.
Northern Dalmatia is quite undiscovered and less overrun compared to the cities and islands further south. Here yachties can sail between unpopulated islands, while hikers can wander lonely trails. Pag island, famous for its lace-making, sheep’s cheese, also belongs to this region. Summertime clubbers gravitate to Novalja and Zrće Beach, or Tisno, which together form the nucleus of Croatia’s premier party hotspots. By contrast, Zadar is a peaceful, historical city rich in Roman ruins, cultural events, museums, restaurants, and hip bars. Getting around Northern Dalmatia is easy due to great connections to the rest of Europe from the Zadar Airport. There are also international ferries from Zadar to Italy.
Central Dalmatia is the most diverse and action-packed part of Croatia, with a rugged 1500m-high Dinaric Range, long pebble and sand beaches, numerous castles, and pretty islands. This lovely region has a typical Mediterranean climate with very warm summers and mild winters. Central Dalmatia has three Unesco World Heritage Sites: the medieval walled town of Trogir, Diocletian’s Palace in Split, and the ancient strip fields of the Stari Grad on the island of Hvar. The biggest cities and famous touristic locations are Trogir, Split, Makarska, and islands Hvar, Brač, and Vis.
All these consist of well-preserved historical sites which make them popular among tourists, so some properties can be pricey. The main city in the region is Split, the second-largest city in Croatia, which has truly excellent transport links to the rest of the country and abroad. The inhabitants of Split are called ‘Splicani’ and they may appear to be a homogeneous structure. Although Split is a city where the population differs either by place of birth or social status, it was always a difference between ‘to live in Split’ and ‘to be born in Split’. After Split region, Makarska Riviera is one of the most popular places. With the main cities Makarska, Brela, Tučepi this region is known for the impressive Biokovo Mountain, which overlooks the coastal area, pine trees, and peaceful bays.
Just down the coast from Makarska Riviera, Southern Dalmatia is a region to be savored by wine lovers, history buffs alike, and beach seekers. Its shining gem, the ancient town of Dubrovnik, is the most popular town, but there are plenty of other attractive places in this part of Croatia. This region consists of a long, thin strip of coastline that is split in two by a nine-kilometer stretch of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Some of the most famous destinations in Southern Dalmatia include Ploče and Metković as well as Cavtat, Plat, and Milni down to the border with Montenegro. Many of Croatia’s top wines are from Southern Dalmatia. The Pelješac Peninsula, with small picturesque towns Ston and Orebić, is famed for its wonderful wines. One of the most pleasant things to do is to go on a tour of some of the local wineries. The islands of Korčula, Mljet, and the Elafiti islands are amongst the most beautiful places, although all these locations are quite expensive, especially due to the popularity of the region.
Is it Expensive in Croatia?
Although it has been rather quiet for the past couple of years, and many buyers were sent back to the other coastal property markets like France and Italy, now Croatia went back to focus. The new stability of Croatia is turning things around in the European property market. There are many attractive properties, especially around the old towns. Hence Dubrovnik, Trogir, Zadar, Split, and Rovinj are highly desirable and prices have risen dramatically over the last 10 years. For instance in Istria, for a two-bedroom apartment in a complex, you should be prepared to spend around 250,000 euros, but inland in Istria, you can get a villa with a swimming pool for 350,000 euros or less. Before you make a decision, check out the list below with the most popular coastal properties for sale in Croatia to see if it expensive in Croatia.
If you’re interested in buying a property in Croatia, we’ve got a guide to buying property as a foreigner.
The Best Coastal Property for Sale in Istria Croatia
1. Property for Sale Rovinj
The city of Rovinj is one of the most favorable and interesting locations to own exclusive properties and villas in Croatia. Rovinj and its surrounding with many natural and historical factors is home to some of the most dramatic and stunning scenery found anywhere in Europe. It was one of the first real estate locations in Croatia which became of interest to foreigners in the ‘90s and remained the same as of now. Stone houses, sea views property for sale, building land in the gentle surroundings of Rovinj, and newbuilt villas, are just some of the properties that stand extremely high on the real estate market in Croatia.
2. Property for Sale Pula
In comparison with other towns in Istria, Pula is an appreciated city thanks to the crystal-clear sea, unspoiled nature, beaches, and Roman ruins. Many know Pula for its popular and well-preserved monument, and magnificent amphitheater. It’s the largest city in the Istrian region known for its mild climate and a long tradition of fishing, winemaking, and shipbuilding. Pula is the region’s transport hub. It is easy to live here as you can reach just about everywhere in the region via plane, bus, or car. Pula has an international airport, only about 8 kilometers outside of the city center. Another benefit to choosing to buy a property in Pula is its proximity to the wonderful Brijuni National Park.
3. Property for Sale Žminj
Inland, the fertile Istrian hills have become the new Tuscany for some. Žminj is located in the center of Istria in a rural area, surrounded by low hills and valleys. Its seaward location has endowed it with a pleasant climate which makes it an ideal place for enjoying homemade meals, or walking and cycling. The hilly landscape with red soil and green plants is an ideal place for those looking for a quiet location far from noise and lots of people. Žminj is about 25 km far from Rovinj, 35 km from Pula, and 15 km from Pazin. Although geographically small, Žminj has some of the prettiest newly built and renovated villas in Croatia. With attractive old farmhouses to renovate and countryside that produces a wealth of delicious dishes, including white truffles, this is a popular real estate area.
The Best Coastal Property for Sale in Kvarner Croatia
1. Property for Sale Opatija
Opatija, the seaside resort of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire, is a very genteel spot that attracts high-end buyers. Its architecture and well-satisfied air reflect its Mitteleuropa past. Opatija is today a synonym for luxury villas by the beach, prestigious properties in the best locations, as well as modern apartments with beautiful views. The town of Opatija is surrounded by the lush plant life of nearby Ucka Mountain on one and the sea on the other side. This ideal setting makes Opatija a desirable location in the Kvarner region for those who are looking for Croatia villas by the beach and similar coastal property for sale. Opatija is also known as a destination for wellness as some of the top revitalizing wellness and spa centers in the region can be found here.
2. Property for Sale Lovran
Lovran is a town with a hundred-year-long tradition of tourism. Located on the westernmost edge of the Kvarner region, Lovran is close to Opatija with which it’s connected by twelve kilometers long coastal promenade Lungomare. Lovran has a special thing for villas due to its rich history spanning centuries. Along the seaside, outside of the old center, it is evident in all of its amazing architecture of villas, sea view properties, and hotels. Located very close to the coast, the beautiful architecture of villas and houses further adds to the unique look of the Lovran promenade.
The Best Coastal Property for Sale in Dalmatia Croatia
1. Property for Sale Zadar
Zadar occupies a position in Central Dalmatia, which makes it an ideal base to live in and explore the rest of the country. It’s a perfect size town not too big or too small. It is less tourist-focused than more popular Croatian destinations. Zadar has one of the oldest historical sites in the region, which makes it a very valuable city to invest in. Also, there are many marinas, and attractive beaches stretching in both directions away from the old town peninsula. Zadar is beautiful any time of year as it is safe, quiet, and welcoming.
2. Property for Sale Trogir
Trogir is a small, but irresistibly charming town often called the museum city due to its cultural and historic importance. The entire Old Town Trogir has been under the protection of UNESCO since 1997. The area has been a popular area for investors because of its proximity to the international airport located some 5 kilometers from the center of the city. However, the real estate offer in Trogir is limited due to the small supply. If you’re looking for properties to buy in Trogir, we recommend you to look for Čiovo as well. It is an island connected with the bridge to the mainland next to Trogir. Any coastal property for sale on Čiovo is still reasonably priced and the island offers all amenities including long beaches, sunny promenades, and peaceful bays.
3. Property for Sale Primošten
Primošten offers a unique slice of Croatian history, surrounded by seven small islands, pebble beaches, and olive groves. The old town in Primošten is a charming place sat on a small peninsula facing the sea which makes it a fantastic tourist destination. Although the property prices in Primošten Old Town are high, you can get excellent value if you look for a property to buy inland. In these locations, you have beautiful sea views and privacy, as well as easy access to Primošten center.
4. Property for Sale in Split
The real estate market of Split is experiencing strong demand from both local and foreign buyers, especially in the old town where investors are buying real estate for rental purposes. With high demand and tight supply, prices are rising. However, further down the coast, there has been quite a bit of development. In the area around the city of Split complexes of three-story buildings, or villas with private pools are common. If you are looking for coastal property for sale, take a look at its surrounding where you can get much better value for money.
5. Property for sale Makarska
Makarska is a city that many foreigners overlook and do not consider at first as it is considered to be far from airports. It is located roughly halfway between Split and Dubrovnik, with the nearest airport 60km away. Makarska Riviera has the most beautiful palm-fringed beaches and clear sea. Makarska is full of fashionable bars and restaurants, and active nightlife which makes it all year-round a popular destination. There are many properties for sale like luxury villas, houses, and apartments by the beach. Waterfront property here can be had for 500,000 euros, which is a much smaller amount compared to other cities on the Dalmatian coast.
6. Property for Sale Cavtat
In Southern Dalmatia, in the Konavle region, the small medieval town of Cavtat is situated. Originally it was called Epidauros as it was a Greek settlement. Cavtat is around 20 kilometers south of Dubrovnik, and 3 kilometers from the main international airport in Cilipi. Although it’s very close to Dubrovnik, the property prices in Cavtat are more affordable. The city of Cavtat is popular for plenty of stunning and unique beaches and bays that attract visitors and investors. It has a very attractive mixture of old and new architecture which makes it interesting for foreign investors looking to buy a house or apartment in Cavtat.
7. Dubrovnik Property for Sale
Dubrovnik is a shining jewel, and one of the most popular destinations on the Adriatic coast. The prices in the Dubrovnik Old Town have risen sharply in recent years. However, there are many newly built villas and modern properties in its surrounding. They represent a great option for those looking for a peaceful environment and beautiful landscape. Dubrovnik is always an excellent place to invest in a property, opt for a building plot for sale, buy a second home, or a combination of the three. With direct air connections from Dubrovnik International Airport, it is easy to reach any European destination.
Are There in Croatia Islands for Sale?
Yes, you can find both, properties on the islands and the whole islands for sale in Croatia. Actually, Croatian islands have become one of the most exclusive and desirable European holiday options. The weather on the Croatian islands is the best you can find in Europe. There are thousands of them – literally. Each Croatian island has its own charm which makes them interesting to many investors. The most popular Croatia islands to buy a property are Hvar, Brač, Šolta, Rab, Krk, and Korčula.
If you’re interested in buying an island property in Croatia, we’ve selected the Top 7 Island Homes in the Split Region.
When it comes to sunshine hours Hvar island boasts over 2750 hours of sun a year. If you’re looking for Hvar property for sale, you can have the finest options, however, the prices may rise up high depending on the proximity to the sea and other factors. Another popular real estate option is the Island Brač which offers a diverse mix of properties for sale. It has the highest concentration of luxury villas in Croatia, followed by newly built apartments, and renovated old stone houses. Most people stick to the coastal property for sale on Brač and the famous beach Bol whilst inland offers stunning scenarios with secluded meadows, olive, and vine groves.
Also popular are the properties on Croatian islands, from Rab and Krk in the north to Šolta, Korčula, even Vis, although it is more remote. The archipelago of the Elafati islands is the closest to Dubrovnik; The islands Koločep, Lopud, and Cipan are part of the archipelago of the Elafati islands, closest to Dubrovnik. They are all easily accessed by ferry and taxi boat.
Need help searching for coastal property for sale in Croatia?
Croatia has excellent potential offering a lifestyle & unspoiled natural environment, a truly exceptional combination of history & culture, which makes it the best place to look for coastal property for sale. Now that EU citizens are allowed to make purchases like Croatian citizens, it is a relatively straightforward process, but may still be difficult for other foreigners. As properties in Croatia tend to get passed down to all descendants, be aware that one property may have many owners. Hence you should consider hiring an experienced real estate agent to assist you.