Thursday, May 10, 2012

Apartment Hunting in Zadar

Since we'll be staying in Croatia for about a month, we decided to rent an apartment rather than stay at a hotel. We weren't too picky about the details; our only criteria were:
  • close to a bus stop
  • an internet connection -- vital to our new life as digital nomads!
We were hoping to find something in or around Zadar since it offers plenty of options for day trips, including islands, national parks, and beaches.

We did some research before we arrived to get an idea of the going rate for apartments. Based on what we'd read from Ken at 2 Bags and a Pack, it seemed like 300-400 Euros per month ($388-$520/month) would be a reasonable starting point.

Armed with a little knowledge, the hunt was on.

Our first stop was a local tourist agency. Our guidebook recommended them as a resource for local listings. We explained our criteria to the agent, he ran off into the back room to make some calls, and quickly came back with an option.
"It's very difficult to get an apartment with an internet connection," the agent explained, "but we have found one that is available in a very nice part of town."
"Can you give us an idea of the price?" Jim asked.
"Only 35 Euros per night!" the agent responded.
[Natalie nearly faints.]
"Uhm, that's a little more than we were expecting. Can you do the monthly calculation for us?" Jim asked calmly.
[Agent starts pressing buttons furiously on the calculator.]
"Well, it's 1,050 Euros per month ($1360/month), but I can give you a 10% discount..."
"No thank you, that's much more than we were expecting."
The agent proceeded to reassure us that we'd be back once we realized what a great deal we were passing up.

Later, back at the hostel
We decided to seek the assistance of our hostel's receptionist. She said to give her a few minutes and she'd make some calls.

About 20 minutes later, we were presented with a sticky note with a name, address, and a price. The rate? Only 400 Euros per month. Now that's what I'm talking about! So we beat feet and headed out to meet the owner.

To our pleasant surprise, the apartment was wonderful. Even more delightful was the owner, Darko, who kindly invited us up to his flat for some cappuccino, wild asparagus salad, and wine. We were thrilled! What a fantastic find!

Marveling at our amazingly good luck, we took a nice, leisurely stroll along the waterfront back to our hostel. Here's a few pics that we snapped along the way.

Sunny skies and smiles all around!
We present to you the Adriatic!
A view of Old Town Zadar.
So what's the lesson learned from today's apartment hunt? Ditch the guidebook and ask a local for advice instead!


  1. John and I were talking about how awesome your plans are this evening. It has motivated us to seriously look into long term travel with the kids. I can't wait to read more about your experience.

  2. Dacia, that's fantastic!! I'm bursting with excitement for you! :-D

    Long-term travelers come in all sizes, shapes, and forms. Here are a few of the traveling families that I follow (for inspiration!):

    Almost Fearless,
    Pearce on Earth,