Finding an apartment in Zagreb is not going to be easy because, as we mentioned elsewhere, rent is high, and you also have to take utilities into consideration. Utilities are normally not included in the price, so make sure to ask what the average utilities bill will cost (especially during winter). Pay attention to heating because it could increase your utility bill significantly: the most expensive method is the electric heating, a mid-range option would be the city heating plant, and the cheapest option is gas central heating. Most landlords require a deposit in the form of one (or two) monthly rents.
Unlike many other European countries, an unfurnished apartment is an exception, not a rule in Zagreb. The photos that you see on the website might not be quite up to date, so always go and see the apartment in person.
Check if it has all the appliances that you need (such as a washing machine, stove, fridge), or, if not, if the landlord is willing to buy it.
You can also hire a real estate agency to help you, but in that case, you will probably end up paying a lot more money.
Hiring a lawyer, on the other hand, could be useful, so that they can explain all the details of the contract to you and make sure you understand everything, especially if the contract is not in English.
The best months for finding an apartment are June, because most students leave Zagreb over the summer, so many apartments become available, and December.
Sites for finding apartments, such as Njuskalo, let you search the map of Zagreb for apartments, so, based on what you’re looking for, you can narrow down your search and find a location that suits you more easily.
When it comes to location, the centre is the most expensive, of course, but the price difference is mostly not as huge as you might expect, because the apartments in the centre are mostly older, while the apartments in the outskirts are new, so the combination of a convenient location with lower apartment quality, and not so convenient location with a top quality apartment equals more or less the same amount of money. If you have a car, it only makes sense that the central location is not as high a priority to you as it might be to someone without a car. The public transportation network is pretty comprehensive and will mostly get you from place A to place B without any problems, but it is crowded, especially during rush hour, and this might be a very problematic issue for some people.
Also, bear in mind that if you find an apartment which is far away from the centre (or from your work), you will have to pay €50 for the monthly pass. Some employees, but not all, pay you extra for travel expenses. Another thing you should pay attention to when it comes to location is that there are markets nearby, so you don’t have to walk for kilometres to get groceries, and a pharmacy, in case of an emergency.
You can find a map of Zagreb with neighbourhood names and locations here.
You can expect the following prices:
20-40 m²: €200 - €400
40-60 m²: €350 - €500
60-80 m²: €370 - €600
80-100 m²: €700 - €1500
The most expensive neighbourhoods are Medvescak, Centar and Gornji Grad, medium-range apartments can be found in Precko, Travno, Ravnice and Donja Dubrava, while the cheapest ones are Malesnica, Stenjevec, Vrapce, Sesvete or Dugo Selo, but they also require an hour of travel.
This is a great way to save money and meet new people, if you are willing to share your space with people you don’t know. A room in the centre will cost €150-200, with utilities, which is a pretty good deal. Of course, you should always check if you get along with your potential roommates first.