Why Zagreb is a Top Dental Tourism Destination: Mirna Munitić, DMD, Specialist in Prosthodontics

2019 – Croatia’s medical tourism industry is making inroads into the global market, a winning mix of excellent treatment, low costs and a great holiday destination. Here’s why. 

The word is starting to get out that Croatia is becoming extremely attractive – and affordable – for a type of tourism which is far different from its stereotypical attractions of sun, beach and sea. A host of international awards and recognition in recent years has placed Croatia firmly at the heart of a multi-billion dollar tourism industry which rarely makes headlines – medical tourism.

With outstanding private health care, a European location in a major tourist destination and prices so much lower than more established markets such as the UK and USA, more international travellers are choosing Croatia for their healthcare and enjoying a free holiday as part of the deal.

No clinic is more prevalent on the international stage than Bagatin Clinic in Zagreb (also opening in Split in early 2019). Already the winner of international awards in the fields of dentistry, dermatology and cosmetic surgery, Bagatin is part of a new generation of medical tourism providers in Croatia, and the clinic last year treated patients from 35 counties, and from every continent. TCN caught up with Bagatin Clinic’s Mirna Munitić, DMD, Specialist in Prosthodontics to learn why Zagreb should be your next dental destination.

1. Outsourcing dental care is becoming very fashionable, as people look to save move. Tell us why Zagreb?

The prices of high-quality dental care are much better and more affordable in Zagreb dental clinics than in the rest of Europe. Top-notch materials and technical support are provided for a more affordable price. Also, Zagreb, as the capital of Croatia, is very well-connected with different types of transport and offers many possibilities for spending time and getting around when the patients are not in the clinic.

When in Zagreb, you can enjoy our rich culture and diverse gastronomy in many restaurants that offer different menus from traditional Croatian to fusions with many different cuisines. It is an attractive destination for both business people and tourists. It is a city of international fairs, conventions and business congresses but also a city that offers unlimited possibilities for cultural uplifting.

Did you know that Zagreb has the most museums per square meter of any city in the world? The number of tourists coming to Zagreb from all around the world increases each year, and the number of different touristic offers increases respectively. For the third year in a row, Zagreb was voted Best Christmas Market in Europe by European Best Destinations’ online poll.


2. Eastern Europe is a blur for most Brits, for example, and when it comes to dental work, they will need convincing that Croatia is the best option, both in terms of price and quality. What makes Croatia better than its eastern/central European neighbors as a dental tourism destination?

When you compare prices with the rest of Europe, Croatia has more affordable prices for high-quality dental work, but also for premium quality implants and materials that are used for prosthodontics. Before deciding to travel for treatment, each patient is provided with all necessary information and a treatment plan without any hidden costs and designed individually for them. We suggest what is best for their situation and what is minimally invasive. We also use laser technology that gives best results in surgical procedures and periodontal diseases and we can give patients comfort to recover more easily after procedures.

All that combined with the use of state-of-the-art technology gives the best possible results. When not in our Clinic, patents have many options to spend their free time and many interesting places to visit. They can enjoy a country full of life, a good atmosphere, wonderful people, beautiful scenery and delicious food. Also, they can plan trips across our beautiful country, both inland and along the coast while they are here for treatment. Croatia is already one of the most popular touristic destinations in Europe with a continuous growth in the number of tourists.

A fusion of rich and colorful nature, preserved environment, cultural and historic heritage and long-lasting touristic tradition, offers visitors a real adventure and a true experience for all senses. Furthermore, Croatia offers high – quality medical services based on the application of new technologies and techniques accompanied by highly specialized and educated staff with the prospect of becoming one of the most popular medical tourism destinations in Europe.


3. Putting one’s health care in the hands of foreign doctors takes a degree of trust. Equipment and experience are two key factors. What has Zagreb and Croatia got to offer in that respect?

Our specialists are very well educated; they spend years educating themselves both in Croatia and abroad, so we offer collected knowledge and technology from many different educational facilities in one place in order to provide the best possible care for our patients. Our clinics continuously invest in the training of their entire medical staffs and procure the latest hi-tech equipment to give our clients the best possible service. Our doctors actively participate in world-renowned professional conferences and events. Furthermore, complete medical teams constantly work on their professional improvement and development, following the latest trends in the field of modern medicine and in the application of the most modern technology.

Our doctors in Bagatin Clinic will take their time with the patient and they will give the best individual treatment plan. They will gladly explain any kind of treatment and answer all the patients’ questions. We always suggest treatments that are more comfortable for the patient, such as laser treatments, laser surgery and even sedation to make them feel more relaxed during treatments. We offer customized package services to our international patients, in terms of accommodation, transfers and other ancillary services and all internal policies in Bagatin Clinic are being honed to make every patient feel unique. Our goal is to meet the needs and wishes of every client, both domestic and international, by providing tailored services on par with 5-star hotels on all levels and across all departments.


4. What are the most common treatments foreign patients are looking for, and give us an indication of the price savings?

The most common dental treatments foreign patients are interested in are in the fields of implantology and prosthodontics. The price of premium dental implants and high-quality zirconia crowns are two or three times higher in Western European countries. The average price for dental implants in Croatia is around €650 while in Germany you will pay around €1000 and, in the UK, around €1500 for the same service. In contrast, for less than the price of one dental implant in Germany, in Croatia, you will get an entire new tooth (this includes a dental implant, abutment and a crown). Furthermore, many patients coming from abroad look for more extensive dental treatment, such as full mouth reconstructions, all – on – four or all – on – six procedures and these treatment plans often exceed €10,000.

Last month we had a patient from the USA who needs an all – on – four treatment on both jaws. In Croatia, he will pay for this treatment around $16,000 while in the USA his initial price was $50,000 and this price would most likely grow even more with endodontic therapy added. The difference in price would not only cover all flight expenses, but you would have enough money to spare for a lovely holiday on the Croatian coast. 

The most common procedures, and the costs of Bagatin Clinic are:

1) Dental crowns – from 247€ to 340€ (metal ceramic vs zirconia crown)

2) Dental implants – from 515€ to 750€

3) Dental veneers – 340€

4) Tooth fillings – from 55€

5) Root canal – from 80€


5. Testimonials are obviously a reassuring factor. Impress us with some happy customers and the savings they made (as well as their happy dental experience).

We have two great testimonials from patients from the United States I would like to tell you about. Carl came to us with disastrous teeth and not only had his mouth transformed by surgery halfway across the world with incredible savings, but also turned his life around as a result, discovering a new-found self-confidence, as well as having the holiday of a lifetime. In Zagreb. In December! I really encourage you to read Carl’s story, for not only is it heartwarming, but it is probably the best Croatian tourism story I know.

And now look at the treatment costs – 52,100.00 HRK = $8050,00 with Bagatin, all completed in 10 days, compared to the estimated cost for this procedure in USA is $25.000,00 – $30.000,00   (27 metal ceramic crowns and endodontic therapy), which would have taken place over a two-year period. A saving of $17,000 – $22,000 gives plenty of room for transatlantic flights for two and a great holiday. And if you happen to come out of season, there is no better time to be in Zagreb than during Advent in Zagreb, which has been voted the best Christmas Market in Europe for two years running.

But for even bigger savings, talk to another American patient at Bagatin Clinic, who found the Zagreb clinic after being quoted $90,000 back in the USA, for 24 metal ceramic crowns and 3 tooth extractions, as well as dental implants. Bagatin did the work, minus the dental implants which were not needed – total cost – 41,040.00 HRK = $6,340, a total saving (with the need not to do dental implants taken into consideration) of more than $83,000.


6. Which countries are coming to Croatia for their dental tourism needs? Tell us a little about the market.

Patients from Italy come in great numbers to Croatia, but we also have many people travelling from German-speaking countries, the Middle East, even USA and Australia. A great number of Croatian people living in foreign countries, our diaspora, very often opt for all kinds of healthcare service in Croatia. They are familiar with the top-quality healthcare services we provide and the cost saving that come with it, respectively. We make sure to give the best possible treatments to all of our patients, especially those coming from distant countries, so they could be calm after the procedures with a minimum risk of any complications. Bagatin Clinic is proud to say that in this year we have had clients from 35 different countries and from every continent.


7. Croatia is a major tourism country, and with high-quality, affordable healthcare available, the chance to combine a holiday with healthcare can turn the experience into a ‘free holiday’ – tell us a little more about that and how it works in practice. 

If patients come from abroad to do some dental work where there are no big surgical procedures included, they could spend their free time between appointments to visit interesting places in Zagreb, but also on the coast. The drive from Zagreb to the nearest and beautiful coastal cities is a little bit over one hour and you have the opportunity to visit our Adriatic jewels in the Kvarner region.

The patients from USA we mentioned above absolutely enjoyed the time they spent here, discovering touristic opportunities of our country both in the summer and in the winter period. We arranged a sightseeing tour of Zagreb with their own tour guide and gave recommendations for restaurants that provide the best dining experience.
Mr. Lowrie McCown and his wife enjoyed a three-day visit to Opatija and surrounding places and took a field trip to Plitvice Lakes National Park, one of the most beautiful national parks in the world. On the other hand, Carl and his friend Vera enjoyed exploring Zagreb during the Advent period with all the Christmas lights, mulled wine and smell of gingerbread cookies. A true winter Wonderland. What a great way to combine relaxation and dental work, don’t you think?

A quick Google search for dental prices in other countries which have thousands of tourists coming each year to Croatia gives an indication of the kind of savings which are on offer for tourists who plan their holiday. Check out these UK prices, both NHS and in the private sector, above, compared to the high-quality treatment offered by Croatian clinics like Bagatin, at a fraction of the price:

1) Dental crowns – from 247€ to 340€ (metal ceramic vs zirconia crown)

2) Dental implants – from 515€ to 750€

3) Dental veneers – 340€

4) Tooth fillings – from 55€

5) Root canal – from 80€

People visit Croatia for medical treatment for the excellence of care and great savings. Why not combine both and use the considerable savings to have an unforgettable holiday as well? Croatia has 18 million tourists visiting the country each year. If just 1% of them came with some pre-planned medical care as part of the package, that would represent 180,000 patients – a huge number for Croatia’s medical tourism industry and considerable savings for visiting tourists.

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