Reduce your roaming rates with a local SIM card.
Croatia is one of Eastern Europe’s hidden gems, with a long coastline on the Adriatic Sea. It has more than a thousand islands to explore and there is a great telecommunications network covering them all. There are also some amazing local SIM card deals that can reduce your phone bills. You can buy 1GB of data from Croatia’s leading telco provider for as little as HRK50 (AUD$10) or kn50 as the locals usually write it. So, whether you’re planning a week-long holiday or a long-term trip, check out the best SIM card options available on finder.com.au.
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There are three main operators in Croatia: T-Hrvatski Telekom, Vip and Tele2. All operators go through a strict approval process before being allowed to operate in the country and each one competes with the others to offer the best deals. They have all been tried, tested and trusted by locals and international travelers and their deals are among the best in world. According to OpenSignal’s country report map, Croatia has an above-average network with amazing coverage around the Zagreb area. Signal gets weaker the further you head out, but there is still enough to be able to use your phone.
Croatian operators offer great coverage for a country that has a difficult terrain and many small islands, providing good 2G, 3G and 4G wireless services. All three operators sell prepaid credit, which allows users to take advantage of cheap offers and deals. The locals call their SIM Cards “Kartes” or “SIMs” and they can be purchased from official stores and approved resellers by showing your passport. Credit can be purchased from official stores, supermarkets and the airport. Top-ups can also be purchased online by using your credit card.
T-Hrvatski Telekom (Simpa)
T-Hrvatski is Croatia’s market leader and has the best network coverage. 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE services are available, prepaid SIM cards are sold and some fantastic prices are on offer. Prepaid SIM cards are offered through T-Hrvatski’s mobile network, which is called Simpa. SIM cards can be purchased at Hrvatska Post, gas stations, kiosks and official stores. Nano, standard, mini and micro SIMs can be purchased for HRK20, which includes the same amount of credit and is valid for 90 days. Credit can be purchased for HRK25, HRK50, HRK100 and HRK200. Please note, there is a 10% tax charge on all purchases.
- Internet Dan: 24 hours of "unlimited" 3G Internet for HRK10 - Text “INTERNET DAN” to 13636.
- Internet Dan 4G: The same as above but for 4G/LTE speed up to 75MBps for HRK15 - Text “INTERNET DAN 4G” to 13636.
There are also several data-only packs on offer:
|S||HRK10||100MB||3G - 7.2Mbps|
|M||HRK20||250MB||3G - 7.2Mbps|
|L||HRK50||1GB||4G/LTE - 75Mbps|
|XL||HRK75||2GB||4G/LTE - 75MBps|
Text “INTERNET” plus S, M, L or XL to 13636 to activate.
There are also Dragon (Zmajska) combo plans on offer where data, voice and SMS can be customized (1 unit = 1MB or 1 minute or 1 SMS):
- Weekly (7 days): 800 units, 3G, HRK17.50 - Text “TJEDNA” to 13636.
- Monthly (30 days):
- 500 units, 3G, HRK35 - Text “ZMAJCIC” to 13636.
- 1,100 units, 3G, HRK45 - Text “ZMAJIC” to 13636.
- 5,000 units, 4G/LTE, HRK69 - Text “MJESECNA” to 13636.
T-Hrvatski also offers a "Mobile Net Starter Pack", which is a data-only SIM sold for HRK20 that includes HRK20 credit and is valid for 30 days. Internet use is charged at HRK1 per MB. To activate, text “A” to 13636. A tourist SIM card is also available for HRK85 and the pack includes unlimited data for 7 days and HRK5 credit.
T-Hrvatski’s APN: internet.ht.hr and website:http://www.hrvatskitelekom.hr
Vip is the second largest provider in Croatia and the local partner network of Vodafone. It has good 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE network coverage. Prepaid SIM cards called “vipme” can be purchased for HRK10, but micro and nano SIM cards are more expensive. Credit has to be added and is sold in denominations of HRK16.50, HRK33, HRK55, HRK82.50, HRK110, HRK200 and HRK440 (tax included). Data add-ons can also be purchased:
- 150MB: HRK16.50
- 300MB: HRK33
- 500MB: HRK55
- 750MB: HRK82.50
- 1GB: HRK110
- 2GB: HRK200
- 4GB: HRK440
The standard data rate is charged at 1MB for HRK0.99, which includes free access to Facebook.
To add the following packs text “A” to 1370:
- miniZakon: HRK30, including 300 domestic minutes or SMS and 300MB of data.
- Zakon!: HRK50, including 1,500 domestic minutes or SMS and 1.5GB of data.
- Loodilo: HRK60, including 500 domestic minutes or SMS and 4GB of data.
The following data packs can also be added (valid for 30 days):
Vip also offers data-only SIM cards:
- Daily rate: HRK10 for 1GB for 24 hours.
- S: HRK15 for 200MB for a month, to activate text “S” to 13177.
- M: HRK50 for 1GB for a month, to activate text “M” to 13177.
- L: HRK70 for 2GB for a month, to activate text “L” to 13177.
Vip also offers a tourist SIM card for visitors. For HRK80 you can purchase a starter SIM card pack, which offers 7 days of unlimited data with 100 minutes and texts included. To add more data, choose one of the following plans:
- "Unlimited" data day pack: HRK15 for 24 hours, to activate text “DAILY” to 13220.
- "Unlimited" data + 100 domestic minutes/SMS week pack: HRK75 for 7 days, to activate text “WEEKLY” to 13220.
Vip’s APN: data.vip.hr and website:www.vipnet.hr
Tele2 has the smallest customer base and sometimes has limited coverage. Prices are good and you can find some really good deals on this network. Although it’s the smallest, it is still able to compete quite well with the other operators. The Tele2 “Start Pack” can be purchased for HRK50 from official stores and approved resellers. The current prepaid deal on offer is called the “Slagalica” combo plan and comes with domestic minutes, SMS and a data allowance. The following plans are on offer:
|1GB||1,000 domestic minutes or SMS||HRK39||Text “PROMOSURF1” to 13880|
|2GB||2,000 domestic minutes or SMS + HRK10||HRK49||Text “PROMOSURF2” to 13880|
|3GB||2,000 domestic minutes or SMS + HRK10||HRK59||Text “PROMOSURF3” to 13880|
Tele2 also offers a data-only pack called “Mobilni Internet na Bonove”, which is sold for HRK10 and contains 50MB of data. The following packs can also be added:
- 3GB for a month: HRK49, text “Opcija3GB” to 13888.
- 10GB for a month: HRK99, text “Opcija10GB” to 13888.
The "Cheapest Surf & Call" tourist SIM card is probably the best option, sold for HRK50. It contains: 3GB data, 500 domestic minutes, reduced international calls for 30 days and HRK10 of included credit.
Tele2’s APN: data.tele2.hr or internet.tele2.hr and website:http://www.tele2.hr
Some top tips from finder.com.au staff
- Croatian is the language spoken in Croatia. If you don’t speak it then try downloading Google Translate onto your phone before you travel. The good thing about Croatia is that it’s a cosmopolitan country and English is widely spoken.
- Locals call a SIM card a “SIM”.
- Ask the retailer to set up your SIM card for you, they should know how to do it. Alternatively, follow the instructions we have highlighted above or go to the official operator website to seek advice.
- Get to the shops early to beat the crowds.
TripAdvisor has many useful comments that can help guide you through the SIM cards that have been tried and tested in Croatia. Here are some top tips from TripAdvisor users:
- “SIM cards will cost HRK20 and you'll get HRK20 credit, but you'll have to top it up with an additional HRK100 so that you have enough credit for the activation and for each HRK0.29 phone call.”
- “1GB of data is more than enough for usual usage of mobile Internet (social media, emails, websites). Just don't use it too much for YouTube streaming.”
- “The SIM package includes a SIM card. Also, you'll need to buy more credit to top up your phone credit in order to activate one of the tariffs (it depends on the tariff, but you’ll ideally need HRK100).”
Pros and cons of telco providers in Croatia
All networks require you to have a SIM-unlocked GSM-compatible international phone. To double check whether you have this phone or whether it’s possible for you to unlock your device, contact your provider before you leave.
- Good value for money
- Croatia has good coverage
- Prepaid credit is available when required
- No in-store contract needed
- Croatian SIMs could be compatible with your current phone
- Cheap handsets are sold in-store
- No devices offered with the SIM card packages
- SIMS can only be used with SIM-unlocked GSM phones
Do these SIM cards offer roaming in the EU?
Most networks in Croatia have roaming deals with other EU networks. Before you head off around Europe, check with your provider in Croatia to see whether it has a roaming deal with another network.