In this occasional column, we report on the costs incurred to you, should you make the move to Europe. This week, we visit Pula, Croatia, for the lowdown on some general items you’ll be paying for. Prices given are those recorded as of April 20, 2007. $0.18 equals 1 kuna.
Home to around 63,000 inhabitants, boasting a Roman amphitheater, Pula (as you know from last month’s Issue 29 of The European ) is the largest city on the Istrian peninsula. Budget carrier Ryanair now serves its airport, and it’s starting to see more British and Irish tourists on short-break visits.
Istria is the western part of Croatia that borders Slovenia. Like much of the former Yugoslavia’s Adriatic coast, Italian influences are strong: You’re only a couple of hours by road from Trieste and Venice is within day-trip distance by either boat or road.
Istria bills itself as “the Mediterranean as it used to be.” That tag largely applies to the wooded landscape of hill towns, vineyards, and sentinel cypress trees-it doesn’t mean the cost of everything is stuck in a 1950s time warp. Although real estate, utilities, and dining-out costs aren’t yet at central Italy’s levels, supermarket prices are often surprisingly high.
In late May/early June, holidaymakers can rent apartments for $40 per night. Long-term rates can be negotiated, and you shouldn’t have any problem in finding somewhere decent for $400 to $500 monthly. The average cost for buying an apartment in and around Pula is $2,130 per square meter.
Monthly running costs for a 55-square-meter (just over 590 square feet), one-bedroom apartment are as follows:
Electricity: 150 kuna/$27.60
Communal maintenance fees: 100 kuna/$18.40
Garbage collection and
sewage charges: 150 kuna/$27.60
Water usage: 100 kuna/$18.40
Bottled gas for cooking: 60 kuna/$11
Supermarket costs (prices are from a “Puljanka” supermarket in Pula):
Nescafe (100 grams) 27.88 kuna $5.12
Mineral water 1.5 liters 6.30 kuna $1.16
Prosciutto (150 grams) 37.73 kuna $6.92
Butter (250 grams) 7.99 kuna $1.47
Sugar 1 kilo 7.99 kuna $1.47
Milk 1.5 liters 8.80 kuna $1.61
Bananas 23.3 kuna/kilo $4.27
Quality orange juice 1 liter 13.80 kuna $2.53
Beer (33cl cans) 5.99 kuna $1.10
Minced beef from 40 kuna/kilo $7.34
Coca Cola (33cl cans) 4.99 kuna $0.91
Cheese from 41.58 kuna/kilo $7.63
Carrots 8.88 kuna/kilo $1.63
Potatoes 5 kuna/kilo $0.92
Cauliflower 12.98 kuna/ kilo $2.38
Onions 7.98 kuna/kilo $1.46
Pork cutlets 44.48 kuna/kilo $8.16
Whole chicken from 25 kuna/kilo $4.59
10 large eggs 12.80 kuna $2.35
Espresso coffee costs 4 – 6 kuna ($0.74 – $1.10), a 33 cl glass of Favorit beer averages 8 kuna ($1.47). A pack of local Ronhill cigarettes is 14 kuna ($2.57), but you can buy rougher brands for less. In bakeries, huge chocolate donuts cost 3 kuna ($0.55) apiece and bread loaves around $0.66. Gas is very expensive: between 7.80 and 8.50 kuna per liter, which translates to $5.42 to $5.91 per U.S. gallon.
In restaurants, a couple can have a two-course lunch (soup, fish, and salad) for $18. Half a liter of house wine will add around another $4.60. A seafood platter for two (sea bass, orata, grilled calamari, mussels, and fresh shrimp) starts at around 150 kuna/$28. A good steak generally costs around $15.65 and a veal schnitzel $11. Expect to pay around $13 for fresh pasta smothered in white truffle shavings. Pizzas start at around $8.30.