No question, Croatia is popular with boaters from German-speaking countries as ever. However, many tourists complained this season about “price increases”, “sharply increased prices” and even “rip-offs” in restaurants. This – often unfounded – blanket judgment is our SeaHelp editors in recent months once pursued and has looked closely at the price situation.
Croatia is known among sport skippers as an ideal sailing area and cruising area for motor yachts: there are many sheltered anchorages, crystal clear water, you can explore culture and Venetian culture. If you want, you can go on longer trips by boat or just island hopping.
The marina and port infrastructure works well, and in case of an emergency, the yellow response boats of Europe’s largest breakdown service on the water, SeaHelp, are only a few minutes away to help quickly and without red tape.
One of the main reasons for many sports skippers to visit the Croatian Adriatic (Hrvatski Jadran in Croatian), which stretches along the eastern coast of the Adriatic between the Prevlaka peninsula and the Savudrijska vala (but also the adjacent Slovenian Riviera, as well as the Montenegrin coast to the south), is the many traditional konobas, restaurants and cafes that are often located just a few meters from the anchorage right on the shore, or at least within a short walking distance.
Reports of “sharply increased prices” in Croatian konobas have been followed up by SeaHelp editors
But some Croatian vacationers reported that prices in restaurants had “risen sharply” this season. It is clear that Verteuerungen within the culinary range, if they would have actually taken place and would not be comprehensible, can cloud the vacation joy already quite a bit. For this reason, the SeaHelp editorial team has looked at the price situation in Croatian restaurants in recent months once more closely.
Example beer: our SeaHelp crew has in the “Spirito” for the small beer 7 euros and in the “Riva” in Punat only 2.20 euros. The “Riva” is a café and restaurant with sea view in the center of Punat, the “Spirito” is a top restaurant with upscale cuisine. Here it is worth in any case – before – a comparison, to avoid later anger about “excessive prices”.
If you want a table with a lake view, you often have to pay extra for that view
For example, we had good experiences in Punat at the “Lara“: there we paid 3.20 euros for a (small) beer; this restaurant is located in the “second row” (without sea view), but has excellent cuisine. More expensive – but therefore located in the “first row” directly on the water – is the beer, on the other hand, in the “Konoba Ribarska Koliba” in Veli Losinj. In this respect, not much has changed in terms of price: if you want a table with a “sea view”, you usually have to pay for it.
Savings can be made who sticks to local beer and local products, here there are no additional costs for the expensive import
Often a few euros can also be saved by ordering local beer, this includes for example Ozujsko, Karlovacko, Tomislav, Pan, Adria, LAB Split Craft or the Istarsko. Well-known international beer brands have to be imported, which regularly drives up the price.
The same, by the way, applies unreservedly to the (sometimes excellent) Croatian wines. And: of course, you pay disproportionately more for a drink in the tourist stronghold of Dubrovnik (up to nine euros for a beer) than in a somewhat less crowded place. Even there, according to our research, not much has changed.
If in doubt: to inform yourself in advance often saves a nasty surprise when the bill comes
Everyone can decide for themselves whether and where to order a drink, but should not complain afterwards about “immensely increased” or “overpriced” prices. Often it is better to inform yourself in advance, and if necessary, it may be a good idea to go to the supermarket on the corner to stock up on drinks for a sundowner on board.
According to the experience of SeaHelp staff, one must currently expect prices per person of between 80 and 120 euros in restaurants with upscale, experimental cuisine in Croatia, for example in the “Opat” and “Ravni Žakan” (Kornati Islands), “Spirito” (Kaprije), “Zori” (Sveti Klement) or “Žmara” (Zut). A complaint of a guest, who had paid for himself and his 11 colleagues) in the “Žmara” on Zut 1,800 euros, and this price for unreasonable and strongly overpriced, we can not understand.
On the one hand, the many drinks here have made the restaurant visit more expensive, on the other hand, this is simply the wrong restaurant if you want to eat price-consciously. One thing it certainly isn’t, however, is a rip-off.
The prices for good, traditional Croatian cuisine have not changed according to our research
According to our experience this season, you have to expect prices between 30 and 50 euros per person in restaurants with sometimes very good maritime cuisine, such as in the “Lara” (Punat) or in “Vojko” on the (island of Rab). For traditional Croatian cuisine this summer you paid prices between 15 and 30 euros per person. Not much has changed there.
A good example is the “Riva” (Punat), but also some pizzerias and so-called fast food stores sometimes offer good cuisine. Here, too, is valid: Eyes on before the restaurant visit, compare is worthwhile. This also applies to location and/or the region of the konobas – for example, we paid for the same dish on the islands 40, and on the mainland 80 euros. If you “blindly” stumble into a restaurant, and then have to collect negative experiences, it is often your own fault.
Restaurant visitors should be clear beforehand about which restaurant “suits” him.
“It is important that each restaurant visitor should be clear in advance, which restaurant suits him, and how much he wants to spend”, says SeaHelp managing director and gourmet Wolfgang Dauser, who himself spends each season several weeks by boat on the Croatian Adriatic and regularly “tests” the most diverse restaurants.
His tip: Each restaurant in Croatia should have a menu card before the entrance, on which the food selection as well as the prices are evident. So misunderstandings would be avoided in advance. By the way: many restaurants in Croatia now have online presences with the corresponding offers including photos, and there are reviews of the restaurants on various web portals. Also here – before – a look is worthwhile.
“From the feeling I do not have the impression that Croatia, Italy or Slovenia have become more expensive this season”, Wolfgang Dauser confirms the (not representative) impression of the SeaHelp editorial team. However, what became obvious this season is that “many vacationers were a bit more annoyed, irritated and very impatient“, Dauser’s summary says.
The reasons for it can be of various nature and lie presumably (among other things) in the fact that with many tourists the financial pressure within the private range increased, or that it succeeds many simply not so well to switch off in the vacation times times.
If then some of these vacationers only negative posts on the net, can quickly create the impression of increases in price and rip-off – which we can not confirm by our own experiences this summer expressly.
According to SeaHelp research, in Croatia in this season partly the turnover decreased significantly
Partly, the SeaHelp editorial staff could also observe this season – sometimes significant – declines in sales: “Restaurant owners with whom I have spoken, talk about minus 20 percent at the restaurants in Croatia and even up to minus 30 percent in Italy”, reports about Wolfgang Dauser of his experiences this summer. The tourists would eat “fewer steaks, scampi and fish”, but “increasingly order cutlets, cevapcici and spaghetti”, which is “much cheaper”.
His conclusion: many vacationers would currently save on the Croatian Adriatic, which is easy on vacation (if you heed the above advice). A trend to increased prices in restaurants, pubs and cafes, as is partly reported in the online media, is in any case not apparent and can not be confirmed so.
Book recommendation: “Gourmet Trips in Croatia – 66 Top Restaurants on the Coast“