Renting an apartment in Croatia is probably one of the easiest things you can do, but the process can be a bit scary for westerners like myself.
When I began looking to rent an apartment on or nearby one of the islands in southern Croatia I began my search online. I started my search on Criagslist, but when I was unable to find anything of interest there, I began performing random Google searches for apartments in the cities I was interested in.
Eventually, I ran across a website with hundreds of apartment listings and there was one listing that really got my attention. The apartment was relatively inexpensive, came with unlimited Internet access, and it was just two blocks from the beach in the city or Orebic, Croatia. I had found the perfect apartment, but I was concerned about using my credit card on what appeared to be a somewhat dodgy Croatian website.
Luckily, there was a phone number on the website, so I called the number and crossed my fingers that the person on the receiving end spoke English. Sadly, the first person I spoke with did not speak English, but he was able to pass the phone off to a woman in his office who did and she told me that if I were interested in this apartment that she would have to contact the apartment owner and ask them if I could stay there for an entire month. I then asked the woman to also ask for some kind of a discount because I would be staying for so long. The woman said “okay” and then told me that she would email me back in the next 24 hours.
Well, the next day came and went and I never heard anything, so the following day I called the number on the website again. This time the woman I had spoke to previously answered the phone and I explained that I had yet to hear from her. She apologized and said that she had called the family who owned the house where the apartment was located, but that the family had yet to answer her calls. She said she would keep trying and contact me as soon as she heard anything.
So again I sat and waited. But the next day I got an email from the woman saying that she had reached the family that owned the apartment and they said they would be happy to have me stay with them for an entire month, that there was indeed free Internet access, and that I could stay in their apartment for a discounted rate of just $684 USD for the entire month.
To confirm the reservation, the woman from the Croatian rental firm asked that I pay her a deposit of what I believe was about $80 USD. She explained that this $80 was to be held by the rental company and that the remaining $604 was to be paid directly to the family that owned the apartment upon my arrival.
This is where I got a little nervous. I was afraid that I might give this woman my credit card info and then she’d go to town with it. Either that or I would show up at the apartment in Croatia and the family would demand more money than what was agreed upon over the phone. I probably had a few other fears at the time, but I eventually gave the woman on the phone my credit card information and figured that if she did go to town with the card I would just cancel the credit card and get a new one. With that done, my reservation was made and I now had a new home to look forward to once I arrived in southern Croatia.
About two weeks later I arrived by boat on the Peljesac Peninsula where the tiny town or Orebic is located.
Using the cell phone of a stranger, I called the family that owned the apartment I was to be staying in and the husband, a tall, scary looking man wearing a striped polo shirt, came down to the dock to pick me up in his vehicle. His English wasn’t the greatest, but I could understand much of what he was saying and after a brief introduction we loaded my things into his car and he drove me approximately one mile down the beach to his home on the south side of town.
The photo above shows the street we drove through to get to the house where the apartment was located. The photo below is the actual house that I lived in during my stay in Orebic. Like many of the homes in Croatia, the first floor of the house was the area that the family lived in. The additional two stories were filled with small apartments of various shapes and sizes. My apartment is the one on the third floor with the balcony directly to the right of the satellite dish. Inside the sliding glass door that you can see from this picture was my tiny apartment.
This is the family that owned the apartment I was in. I am on the left, the father is in the middle, the mother is on the far right, and their daughter is standing in her mother’s arms. All of them were extremely nice. The mother’s English was the best, so I spoke to her most often. The father, however, was extremely interested in web design… and since that is part of what I do for a living we spoke a few times about his websites and how he could use the Internet to get more people to come and stay in his apartments.
The photo below shows the outside deck area where the family hung out much of the time while I was there. They would sit outside at the table on the back side of the deck while talking, drinking and smoking. And every time I approached the house on foot I would look there first to see if the family was in or not.
This is the inside of my tiny apartment on the third floor of the family’s Croatian home. There was one large bed and a small one in the corner that would have been perfect if I had had any guests.
On the other side of the room was a small refrigerator with a sink and a double-burner hot plate that didn’t actually work. Luckily, the family had a portable hot plate that they gave me so I could cook my meals while I was there. I ended up eating a lot of soup, zucchini, yogurt, cookies and juice when I was in Croatia. The apartment had a television as well, but it didn’t actually work.
When I first arrived at the home, these four treats were left for me in the apartment. I’m not exactly sure what you call them, but they were pretty good, especially since I was so incredibly hungry when I first arrived.
This is the bathroom inside the apartment. It was small, but it was all I really needed.
And this is the view I had from the apartment’s balcony. This was the best part about staying in Croatia – the views!
I spent many hours just sitting outside, eating food, drinking various Croatian juices and staring off at the numerous islands floating in the distance.
This is the neighbor’s house.
Sunset in Orebic, Croatia.
My apartment in Orebic, Croatia turned out to be one of the best places I stayed during my entire nine months in Europe. It was cheap, beautiful, and the family that owned the apartment building was extremely kind and accommodating.
The only thing I would do different next time if I were to stay in Croatia is this: If you rent an apartment or house in Croatia through a rental agency, you end up paying more because the agency takes a pretty big percentage of the price you pay. If, however, you can contact a family directly and rent the apartment or home straight through them, you can save a lot of money. My $684 apartment in Croatia probably would have cost $600 or less if I had just gone straight to the family and made my reservation through them. So that’s my little tip for you! If you can, make your rental agreements directly with the people you are wishing to rent from and you will save a lot of dough.