Agriturisms in Croatia

Croatian farm stays from $17

One of the most comfortable beds I had in all of Croatia—and some of the best food I ate—was at an agroturizam in the Istrian interior called Gologorički Dol. It was was a clutch of stone buildings at the end of a dirt road that wound past vineyards and a stream beside which grazed horses, goats, cattle, and one very noisy donkey.

I met the farmer carrying two giant hamhocks in his hands, and—after his teenaged daughter explained I was there to stay as a guest—he immediately invited me down to the cellar to tap glass after glass of his own wine direct from the barrel and chat—with his English-speaking daughter translating—about life in Istria.

His sister-in-law took it upon herself to feed me the same hearty, rib-sticking meals they did their farmhands: comically ample portions of corn soup with beans, potatoes, and carrots, great bread, and homemade potato njoki in a venison ragú.

I paid just $34 for the room (which included an equally enormous farmhouse breakfast).

That gut-busting dinner? It was $10, including wine.

How to find agroturizam farm stays

Your best bet—by far—is to use local tourist offices, which often have lists or brochures of local farm stays (I picked up a brochure in the office in Piran that covered agroturizam all over Istria). The best even post these lists on their websites.

Of course, since, by definition, farm stays are out in the countryside, picking a major city or town tourist office is of little help; you have to track down the tourism offices of regional capitals.

(Sadly, the national Croatian tourism website does not separate out agriturizam as a category, and seaches of its database only turn up a measly two of them, though I know there are hundreds).

Few are listed in English-language guidebooks—but there are often farm stay guides available in local bookshops—in Croatian, of course, but the important bits are easy enough: addresses, prices, and phone numbers, photographs, and icons for private baths, swimming pools, etc.

You can always just look for signs on country roads, pointing down rutted dirt tracks toward a farmhouse set among the vineyards.

Online farm stay resources

If you want to find and book a few before you leave, here are the best online resources for finding farm stays all across Croatia:

Istria Tourism site ( - About 30 farmstay joints on the Istrian Peninsula (the northern strip of Croatia's coast, up near Italy)—I stayed at one of these once, and it was fabulous. Unfortunately, while you can pick up a printed brochure of farmstays at any tourist office once you're in Istria, the website of Istria tourism's main site doesn't offer an agroturizam ("farmstay") search option, so you have to dig through the existing categories of "Private apartments" and "rooms" to find farms.

Organic Places to Stay ( - OK, nearly two-thirds of the listings here are lodgings that happen to offer organic food. The other third, however, are B&Bs, rental cottages, or homestays on working organic farms—including about a handful in Croatia.

Become a farmhand; sleep for free - If you really want to get your hands dirty, sign up to become a temporary farmhand through one of two volunteer organizations: WWOOF ( and Helpx ( Full Story

What is an agroturizam farm stay?

The concept behind agritourism (or farm stays, or guest ranches, or farmhouse B&Bs, or rural tourism, or whatever you want to call it) is simple: you spend the night as a guest on a working farm. From there, though, the concept flies off in many directions.

Sometimes you just hole up for the night in a B&B converted from a farmhouse.

Sometimes you actually stick around to do volunteer work for a few days (a week, two months, a year), as with the worldwide WWOOF or Helpx networks.

Sometimes, just renting a cottage in a rural area where sheep wander past your window is enough to count.

Ideally, the property's owners live on-site and are farmers who derive the bulk of their income from agriculture, using this newfangled form of tourism merely to help make ends meet.

In some countries, the practice of agritourism is highly regulated; in others, it’s a wild west of opportunities, and you have to pick carefully to avoid spending the night in a barn atop a pile of hay (unless that's what you want—I've done it, and it's great).

How much does a farm stay cost?

Double rooms at a Croatian agroturizam run anywhere from $17 to $90, but usually around $30 to $60.

Meals (beyond breakfast) are usually $10 to $20 extra.

Renting a cottage on a farm costs around $50–$100.

What is an agroturizam like?

Many agriturisms require a two- or three-night minimum stay (for some, a week).

Roughly half accept credit cards.

Sometimes you get four-star luxury and satellite TV. Sometimes you’re a straw's-width from sleeping in a stall.

Most, though, are just what you'd expect from a farmhouse B&B: simple comforts, solid country furnishings, and rural tranquility—barnyard noises excepted.

The hosts tend to be a sight friendlier than your average hotel desk clerk. Some invite guests to dine with them, family-style, in the farmhouse. One shepherd let me stir a bubbling pot of sheep's milk to help it on its way to becoming pecorino cheese. Vineyard owners love to crack open bottles of their best to guide you through the finer points of wine tasting.



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This article was by Reid Bramblett and last updated in December 2011.
All information was accurate at the time.

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Copyright © 1998–2013 by Reid Bramblett. Author: Reid Bramblett.