Driving in Croatia: All You Need to Know Before You Go

If you are visiting Croatia for the first time, you might wonder what driving in Croatia might be like. Don't worry about it! Here in this guide, you will find all information you need to know if you plan to drive in Croatia.

Ultimate Guide About Driving in Croatia, Illustration
Ultimate Guide About Driving in Croatia

The best way to explore Croatia is by car. No doubt about that! The country is small, roads are generally in good condition, and you can simply see so much even if you plan to visit Croatia only for a short period of time.

Driving in Croatia: FAQ

What do you need to drive in Croatia?

In order to drive in Croatia, you will need a valid driver's license from your home country, unless your driver's license is written in other letters but Latin. In that case, you will need an international driver's license.

If you get pulled over you might also be asked to show your passport or ID. Keep it somewhere handy in case this happens.

Do you need an international driver's license to drive in Croatia?

No, you don't need an international driver's license as long as your home country's driver's license is written in the Latin alphabet. In other words, if your driver's license is written in any other letter but Latin (for example, Chinese, Arab, Cyrillic, etc.), you will need an international driver's license.

Is it safe to drive in Croatia?

It is safe to drive in Croatia! The roads are in great condition, and when traveling from north to south, you can largely drive on multi-lane motorways.

Croatian drivers, especially in the south, tend to be impatient and look for the first opportunity to take over. This can sometimes make you nervous, but for the most part, you will be ok and feel safe.

On what hand side do they drive in Croatia?

In Croatia, we drive on the right side, and we follow the same common road rules as elsewhere in the world.

What are the speed limits on Croatian roads?

Generally speaking, a speed limit on Croatian motorways is 130 km/h, 90 km/h on open roads, and the inner-city speed limit is 50 km/h. There are of course exemptions to the rules on specific road sequences. Follow the signage and observe the speed limit at all times.

What are the rules regarding the headlights and winter tires?

You will need to have headlights on from November, 1st until March, 31st. A similar rule applies to winter tires (or having snow chains in the car): they are mandatory from November 15th until April, 15th on all winter road sections. In other words, you can drive in Istria and Dalmatia (from Zadar to Konavle) without winter equipment. In all other areas, you will need it. Here you can see the map of winter roads (those in blue and green).

Few other important rules

You will need to wear your seatbelt at all times. This applies to all seats in the car that feature a seatbelt, even for the backseats. A child seat is required for all children with a height of less than 135 cm. Children higher than 150 cm can use the front seat.

A hatched line means that you can take over, while a solid line means that passing isn't allowed.

You can't use a mobile phone while driving. You can use hand-free devices.

In the absence of other priority rules, follow the right-hand rule: this means that you need to give way to the traffic to your right. Observe stop sign even when you don't think it is needed. Speed limits are posted on the signs along the roads.

Roads in Croatia

Roads in Croatia are generally in good condition and quite smooth. For most parts, they are asphalted and without potholes. However, some roads, especially on islands, and off-the-beaten-track destinations, can also be narrow, windy, and not featuring the protective fence. The Croatian government continuously invests in the improvement of road infrastructure.

The multilane motorways run from the north to the south, and from the east to the west, with only a few exceptions. Exceptions include a road section between Ploce and Dubrovnik and a road section from Rijeka to Pazin in Istria. These sections feature modern, well-maintained wide and fast roads, but with a single carriageway.

Croatian toll roads

The multi-lane motorways now cross-connects the different parts of Croatia, except Ploce to Dubrovnik, and the tunnel Ucka to Pazin in Istria (this part is under construction now and should be finished in 2024).

All multi-lane motorways in Croatia have tolls. The motorways are always marked with the letter A preceding the number of the road. E.g., the motorway A1 connects Zagreb with Dalmatia (Zadar, Split, Ploce), A6 connects Zagreb with Rijeka, A3 Zagreb with Slavonia, etc.

These roads are easy to use. On entrance, you take a ticket from the toll booth, and you pay on exit. You can either pay at the automatic toll booth cashier, or with a toll booth operator. Some smaller exits only have an automatic cashier.

You have also frequent rest stops and gas stations all along the motorways. Restop Zir with INA gas station and restaurant Macola is the popular rest stop traveling from Zagreb south to Split or Dubrovnik. Traveling from Zagreb to Rijeka or Istria the most popular rest stop is Ravna gora with Crodux gas station and Marche restaurant.

The tolls on Croatian roads can be paid in Kuna, or in Euro, as well as by debit/ credit cards. If you pay in Euro, you will get the change in Kuna.

Here is an example of toll rates on Croatian motorways:

  • Zagreb to Zadar*: 121 Kn (16 €, 18 $, 14 £)
  • Zagreb to Split*: 181 Kn (24 €, 26 $, 21 £)
  • Zagreb to Ploce (Dubrovnik)*: 231 Kn (30 €, 33 $, 27 £)
  • Zagreb to Rijeka: 70 Kn (9 €, 10 $, 8 £)
  • Rijeka to Rovinj: 44 Kn (5,8 €, 6,3 $, 5,2 £)

*From May to October, the rates increase by 10%.

Getting from Zagreb to Zadar, Split or Dubrovnik

A1 motorway, popularly called Dalmatina, connects Zagreb with Ploce since 2011 when construction of this motorway was finalized. This means that you can easily reach the entire Dalmatia via a nice, modern, multiple-lane motorway.

From Ploce, you still have about 100 km to Dubrovnik, on a coastal state road D8 (ex E65). This road is in good condition, but it is mostly a single carriageway road. At certain places, you will find a double-lane on one side of the road (the ascending side), while a single carriageway remains on the other side (three lanes in total). This helps a lot when you are stuck behind a truck or another slow-moving vehicle.

This is also one of the most scenic roads in all Croatia. However, coastal road winds a lot, skirts along high cliff edges at some places, and passes through many villages, where you are highly advised to respect speed limits. This makes a trip a bit long and tiring.

There are other few roads that you can take to reach Dalmatia from the north.

D1 road passes inland, through Plitvice Lake, and Knin, and then down to the coast where it joins the D8 road.

D8 (former E65), also called Jadranska magistrala (Adriatic coastal road), is a coastal road from Rijeka to Dubrovnik. This is perhaps the most scenic road in all Croatia, especially popular among motorcyclists. A part of the road from Rijeka to Zadar is the most dramatic with sharp curves and susceptibly looking protective fences, but it is also the least frequented.

Which road you'll take depends on your budget and time. A1 motorway has tolls, but it's also the safest and fastest way to reach the south. Road tolls from Zagreb to Split amounts to 181 Kn one way.

D1 and especially D8 are both good roads, and a viable option to reach Dalmatia from the north. And while you'll save on tolls, you'll spend more time driving (although not so much more). Since the motorway has opened, fewer people use state roads. This makes them less busy, and faster too.

Getting from Zagreb to Rijeka, and Istria

The A6 motorway connects Zagreb and Rijeka. The distance between the two is around 150 km, and the highway costs 70 Kn each direction.

The multi-lane motorway ends in Rijeka and further west to Istria, you drive on a single carriageway road. To get to Istria, you'll pass through the Ucka Tunnel. After the tunnel, you continue driving through Istria on the main Istrian road called Istarski Y due to its shape. This is a partly two-lane road (until Pazin), and partly multi-lane road (from Pazin on). Istarski Y has tolls, and they amount to 44 Kn from the tunnel Ucka to Rovinj (exit Kanfanar), and to 53 Kn from the tunnel to Porec (exit Baderna).

You can also reach Rijeka and Istria from Zagreb using toll-free single carriageway state roads.  These roads first pass through Gorski Kotar, over Jelenje to Rijeka. Then further west you can take a coastal road D66. This road has been improved a couple of years ago. And while it's curvey, it also offers some wonderful scenic views. It's popular among motorcyclists.

Driving in cities and towns

Driving in towns and cities during the summer is absolutely crazy. In coastal towns, on a rainy summer day (yes, that happens sometimes) everybody seems to be heading downtown … with a car. Please don't be one of those people :)

Big cities like Zagreb, Rijeka, and Split are loaded with traffic at all times, especially Zagreb. While the real rush hour is normally from 7.30 am-9.30 am, and from 4.30 pm-6.30 pm, the rest of the day, traffic-wise, isn't much better.

Zagreb is lovely to drive around in August as the town gets devoid of people. However, in big towns you mostly won't need a car except to get in and out of town. All big towns have very good public transport. We advise you to use it.

Driving in the countryside

Village roads are really good everywhere in Croatia. And while they do get busier during the tourist season, they are still nice to drive on.

Roads off the beaten path are narrow, twisty, unlit, and don't have a white line in the middle, but they are also devoid of traffic.

When driving in the countryside pay attention to small and big wild animals (rabbits, deers, pheasants, hedgehog, foxes) you are likely to encounter. On these minor roads, you can also have tractors and other farm vehicles.

On those smaller roads, you will also often encounter cyclists. Even more so, since electric bicycles became more affordable and popular especially among the older population. This is especially the case in Istria that is heavily advertised as a bicycle-friendly destination although the cycling paths are very few. People of all ages and skills end up cycling on small country roads, and it can get dangerous. Pay attention and be patient!

Driving In Croatia, Illustration for Pinterest
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Drivers in Croatia

In Croatia, you've got two types of drivers: locals, and tourists. Although in a totally different way, they are both equally dangerous on a road.

Croatians, especially in Dalmatia, tend to be fast, impatient drivers, who aren't shy to cut, overtake (sometimes even on blind corners), horn, and swear at you if they feel you are slowing them down. Croatians also use a horn to greet friends and acquaintances they encounter on the road.

Tourists, on the other hand, are often lost and tend to take sudden turns as soon as they see something interesting along the road.

But, things are not that bad as they might sound. Most of the time you'll have a pleasant time on Croatian roads. Just pay attention (and skip that sudden sharp turn when you see honey stand along the road).

Tips for driving in Croatia

  • Observe speed limits. The inner-city speed limit is 30 to 50 km/h; on open roads speed limit is up to 90 km/h (but with lots of slower limits in curves, and other road conditions); on all major toll roads speed limit is up to 130 km/h.
  • Like in the rest of Europe, Croatians drive on the right side.
  • If possible, avoid traveling on weekends in summer. Traffic congestion on the roads is common.
  • Your country driver's license will be sufficient to drive in Croatia. However, International Driving Permit, while not mandatory, is recommended.
  • Road rules are similar if not the same as everywhere else: observe speed limits, don't use your phone while driving, and wear a seatbelt at all times.
  • Dipped headlights are mandatory during the daytime from November, 1st until March, 31st.
  • Alcohol rule is somewhat complicated: permitted blood alcohol limit for driving is 0.05%, as long as you don't have any road accident. Involvement in any accident stipulates immediate zero alcohol tolerance (a mandatory breathalyzer is required for any accident).
  • Croatian Auto Club (HAK) provides road assistance, should you need it. They have English speaking operators. The telephone number is: 987
  • Stop signs are mandatory, and the right turn is only allowed if a traffic light is green.
  • Traffic conditions are transmitted in Croatian, English, and German via HRT 2 (98,5 MHz), and they also have news in these languages.
  • The price of fuel is around 10 Kn per liter, for both diesel and gasoline. The prices can slightly vary from gas station to gas station but in general, they are very much similar.

Useful resources about roads and driving in Croatia

Gas stations in Croatia

We recently went to Spain with our camping car and were absolutely shocked when at the gas station in France we were charged two times 125 € when we actually took only 50 € worth of fuel. This is was a pre-paid automatic gas station.

So to spare you from a similar shock, here is what you need to know about gas stations in Croatia.

In Croatia, you pay for the fuel you refill. You pay at the cashier inside the gas station. There is no automatic payment machines at the pump.

There is always an attendant at the gas station. They don't fill up your tank, but they are there to help should you need them, and they are there to charge you for the fuel after you refill.

You can pay for the fuel in cash in Kuna or by debit/ credit cards. The cost of the fuel is about 9 Kn/L for unleaded petrol and around 8 Kn/L for diesel.

Gas stations are modern and each has a small shop with everyday items like snacks, drinks, toiletries, car items like windshield wash, AdBlue, motor oil, wipers, etc.. The gas stations along the highway also have toilets, and a snack bar or restaurant attached to them. Many have a small children's playground.

Further reading

We hope you've got a good idea of what to expect on Croatian roads, and what driving in Croatia is all about. As always, if you've got any questions, please leave it in the comments below. 

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57 thoughts on “Driving in Croatia: All You Need to Know Before You Go”

  1. Hi Frank
    I am now in split, but traveling to dubrovnik by bus, there I am picking up a car to drive for 3 days, I was wondering about pedestrian crossing s, when I was in split and the lights are green for walking across the cars still come on and drive through the green pedestrian lights if nobody is on the pedestrian lane, is this legal, as I am a bit scared in knowing what to do when I will be driving in sout off croita, I have not drivin in split at all.
    Thank you from shaun

    Reply
  2. Hi Frank,

    We are spending a week in Croatia, specifically at a house in Orebic. We will be renting a car in Dubrovnik, and we were wondering how the drive was from Dubrovnik airport to Orebic, flat, moutainous, etc. Do you have any tips or suggestions? The D8 seems to be the scenic route.

    Reply
    • Hi Gerard,
      it is one of the most scenic drives in all Croatia, and I would dare to say one of the best in the world. The first part of the drive (from the airport to Ston), the road is in excellent condition, although a bit winding. It’s a mostly two-lane road, with a couple of three-lane sections. The road from Ston to Orebic is as scenic if not even more scenic. However, here the asphalt at the times is beaten up. It’s still pretty safe, you just need to pay a bit more attention. Enjoy it!

  3. Hi Frank, I am traveling to Croatia for nine days in September 2019, and I am thinking to rent a car.

    1. Is renting straight out of the Zagreb airport convenient and preferred?
    2. How do you pay at the toll gates? Is is cash only? What is the preferred method of payment? Can you use Euro?
    3. Is there someone stationed at the toll gate?
    4. Is it possible to see Zagreb, Pula, Split Pltvic and Dubrovnik in nine days?
    5. What is parking like? Does it cost a lot of money? Especially in Zagreb?

    Thank you so much!

    Reply
    • Hi JK,
      1. Yes, renting a car in Zagreb airport, is convenient and definitely preferred
      2. You can pay road tolls on Croatian roads by credit card, in Kuna or Euro.
      3. Most of the time, yes. Sometimes at the smaller junctions, at nighttime, you might only have automated booths.
      4. Absolutely! It is possible to visit all those places in Croatia in 9 days, considering you travel by car.
      5. Parking is convenient. It costs anywhere from 1 to 2 euro per hour. Dubrovnik is the most expensive and most difficult place for parking in Croatia.
      Enjoy driving in Croatia!

  4. Hi Frank. Glad I found this post. Hoping you still check it. I’m renting a house later in August between Solin and Klis. The homeowner has been answering questions but after reading this post I’m confused. He said it’s better to rent a car than use a bus to get into Split and parking should be no problem. We plan to be in Split for a few days back and forth. You mentioned the roads and I’m assuming parking will be difficult & congested in Split. What would you recommend?

    Reply
  5. Hi Frank and Vera! thank you so much for all the effort you’ve put on this site. It is my first trip to Croatia and I’m learning everything I need before getting there.

    We arrive in Dubrovnik on June 1st and leave on the 8th. We rented a car for those days and our idea is to drive to Split, but I was seeing we have to cross Bosnia to accomplish that. Is there any other way to do that? because I’m not sure we’re allowed to do that with the rented car.

    Thank you so much!

    Reply
  6. I know driving is on the right side of the road but do the rental cars have the steering wheel and floor pedals on the left side of the car?

    Thanks,
    Frank Tripi

    Reply
  7. Hi Frank,

    This is a great article- thank you! My husband and I are travelling to Croatia on Tuesday 14th May, and are travelling from Spilt, to Hvar, to Dubrovnik. We paln to hire a car for one day while in Split to drive to Plitvice Lakes.

    What sort of time of day would suggest we set off? We hoped to set off in the morning in order to give ourselves plenty of time to navigate our way there.

    Any tips you have would be very gratefully received!

    Thanks!

    Reply
  8. Hi Frank,
    Many thanks for this excellenr article. I plan to drive from Zagreb to Istria ,down on A1 for Plitvice, Zadar, Sibenik, Trogir, Split, detour to Mostar and get back to Dubrovnik. This is my first time driving in Europe. I have some questions.

    1 Can you please explain about payment at the toll gate?How do I pay for the toll fee? Cash or Credit card or ENC (is post paid ENC avaiable at renting car company?) Kuna or Euro or both? Is there a man-gated at the toll or is it an automatic gate?
    2 I plan to go to Mostar. Where to cross border to Mostar and cross back to Dubrovnik?

    Thanks.

    Reply
  9. Hi we are traveling from US to Venice (and Rovinj) for 10 day trip in August. We are renting car and traveling to a wedding in Rovinj for 4 days. Would you sugggest day trip to Pula with two young boys (6&9)? We are staying in Old Towne and returning to Venice to fly back home. Also, anything we should expect traveling by car from Venice to Rovinj?

    Reply
  10. Hi! I am trying to see if it’s economically more feasible to rent a car and drive to Montenegro from Dubrovnik rather than booking a group travel. I have read that my US driver’s license will suffice as long as I am not intending to drive for more than 3 wks. (which I’m not) but I have not had much luck in finding what other costs I need to consider. Do I need to purchase rental car insurance? etc. Any info/help is greatly appreciated!

    Reply
  11. Hello! Do you have any advice for driving from Rovinj to Split (we would then plan to catch the ferry to Hvar). Unfortunately, our travel days to not align with the flights on Trade Air so driving appears to be our best option. Google Maps quotes it as a 5 hour drive, however wondering if this is accurate. We would plan to depart Rovinj around 6 AM. Appreciate your insight very much!

    Reply
  12. Hi,

    I’m contemplating on whether to rent an SUV (for comfort) or a small compact car to drive for 9 days on the coastline from Dubrovnik to Pula…
    I’m also planning to visit Plitvice lakes.
    We are 2 in total and have each have a luggage.
    Let me know.

    Reply
  13. Hello Frank,
    I am taking a cruise around Croatia and was thinking that during my stop at Rijeka, I would like to rent a car and drive to Zagreb. Otherwise I will leave Croatia without visiting the capital.
    I see it supposed to take aprox 2 hours. Is that so? is is feasible?
    The cruise arrives at 8am and departs from Rijeka at 20hours.
    Look forward to your feedback.
    Regards,

    Reply
  14. Hi Frank,

    Thank you for the all the really useful information. I seem to be doing things the opposite to most whereby I land in Dubrovnik would like to head to Split/Hvar (Q1: is there a specific way round I should do this? And do you know if I can go to Hvar directly from Dub if it was this way around?) and then rent a car in Split heading up towards Krka national park, pletvice & Zagreb where my return flight is.

    Initially I was going to do the entire leg by car but after plenty of reading it seems it’s best to hire the car in Split and then take that up north? (Q2: would you say this is the best way?)

    Any route recommendations for the trip this way round would be amazing!

    Reply
  15. HI Frank,
    Thanks so much for this blog, it is great!

    Can you tell me anything about the tolls on the roads.?
    Can we buy a prepaid way of paying for them? Here in Toronto we call them a “transponder” in the USA they have “EZ Pass”.
    I would love to pay upfront and not have to stop, pay cash or swipe my Credit card.
    Thanks

    Reply
  16. Hi Frank!!!!!!

    if i plan on going there August do i need to book a car prior?? or can i wing it and get it while i am there :)

    Reply
  17. Hi Frank – We are flying out of Dubrovnik on October 20th at 1:30 PM, to return to London. We are planning on driving from Split to Dubrovnik that same morning, rather than driving back to Dubrovnik on Thursday. How long should we allow for our drive that morning in order to be at the airport for 11:30 am?

    Reply
  18. Hi Frank,

    Thank you for the articles with regards to traveling in Croatia. These provide us with insights on Croatia and is extremely useful for travelers like me.

    I’m planning to visit Croatia, arriving Dubrovnik on 16 nov from London, and will be flying out from Zagreb on 9 December to London, giving me a total of 24 days.

    My traveling style: slow and steady with less traveling from one point to another so that I am able to maximize the local cultural value. My main objective of this travel is to experience life as a Croatian, hence not really into touristy area. I do enjoy going to markets, wines, foods, sightseeing hilly places, seas, more incline to nature.

    I do understand that my traveling is during winter as I would like to spend my time in Zagreb for the Christmas celebration .

    After reading recommendations from various posting online, I am still indecisive of where to go as there is so much Croatia can offers. After much of internal deliberation, I have come up with the following tentative agenda:

    16-18: Dubrovnik

    19-21: Mostar & surrounding

    22-26: Vis

    27-30: Trogir/Split/Zadar

    1-5 nov: Istria

    6-9 nov : Zagreb (main objective: Christmas market :))

    I would appreciate your advise just in case my plan is too ambitious (I think it is, but I’m contemplating to drop any of the above place), also if there is any places worth visiting that I have missed out. My plan is still at preliminary hence I am open for suggestion (places that is worth and I can rearrange my time). Also, I’m planning to drive as this will give more flexibility to my partner (injured leg but still can walk, only slower). During my time in Croatia, will it snow? Will it be challenging for me to drive as I come from a tropical country, sunshine throughout the years hence I have no experience driving during winter.

    Also is it worth to travel to Osijek?

    Thank you and have a great day (sorry for being long winded :))

    Cheers…
    Ernie

    Reply
    • Hi Gent,
      some things are available in euro, like accommodation, highway fees, restaurants, etc. There are hotels between Split and Zagreb, around Zadar, or Plitvice, you’ll have the largest choice. However, it’s only 4h drive, so maybe the best is to drive straight to Zagreb, unless you want to visit another place along the way.

  19. Hi Frank,
    I will be arriving in Dubrovnik on August 30 – September 6 with a friend. We were hoping to rent a car and drive up the coast but another friend, who recently visited Croatia, mentioned that at some point we hit the Bosnian border and have to go through passport control which is a nightmare. I can’t seem to find anything on the web that mentions this. Can you give me any advice on this and, if we do rent a car, is it easy enough to get over to visit an island with a car or better to leave the car behind. Thanks

    Reply
    • Hi Elaine,
      yes Bosnian territory cuts into Croatia in Neum. There are two border-crossings here: one into Bosnia, and after about 10-km back into Croatia. Queues can be long. Another way is to go to Trpanj on Peljesac peninsula, and cross with ferry to Ploce on the mainland, but at the end it will take you the same time, and it will be more costly. Just prepare yourself for some waiting at the border, but don’t get discouraged. As for island hoping with or without car, it all depends which island, and if you would like to visit only port town, or explore the entire island. If on the island of Hvar, you only wnat to see Hvar Town, or on Korcula, only Korcula town, then leave the car on the mainland.

    • Thanks for the info Frank. I’m leaning towards renting a car and dealing with the borders. Any tips on a good route to take and places to stay and visit? I so wish we had more time than 6 days :( We arrive at 4pm in Dubrovnik so was thinking we would need a 3 night stay there to be able to appreciate the city. So appreciate your input. As of today, we don’t have any accommodations booked. Looking at all the AirB&B type site….kind of overwhelming. Also trying to figure this out with me in California US and my friend in Manchester UK is making it quite challenging.

  20. Hi Frank! Great article!

    We are flying into Split and heading to Dubrovnik. From there we will head to Kotor and then back to Split to fly home.

    I was thinking a car would be best as to not deal with buses and taxi’s. We have two children with us as well (ages 9 and 10) Will we be safe driving?

    I know the views would be amazing but you mentioned it would be safer to take the A1? We are driving on a Tuesday morning. And driving back from Kotor to Split on a Monday. I planned to prebook a car to pick up at the airport.

    Thanks for the great info and looking forward to hearing from you. :)

    Reply
  21. hi Frank,

    We plan to drive from Split to Dubrovnik on 8 Oct, which is Independence Day.
    Will using the coastal state way (D8) be ok – not sure if traffic will be congested.

    For couple of days stay in Split and Dubrovnik will having a rental car be better option or just using it to drive from Split to Dubrovnik.

    Is it easy to get a rental car during this period ? With pick-up at Split and drop-off at Dubrovnik.

    Thanks !

    Reply
    • Hi Paul,
      October 8th is on Sunday, so traffic should just be as usual. October should be ok to get a car, but in any case, try to book it in advance, as many rental car companies return cars to leasing companies at the end of season. So while there is less demand, there are also less cars on stock. Different pick-up and drop-off locations within Croatia ar eavailable, they will just charge a fee for this service. Enjoy it!

  22. Hi Frank,

    Good post! I am flying into Pula and will be spending a few days in Istria before going to Split and then to Dubrovnik. I am wondering if you would recommend driving or taking a seaplane from Istria to Split? Any advice will be greatly appreciate! Thanks

    Reply
    • Hi Tim,
      unfortunately seaplanes are still grounded, and as I’ve heard they won’t be operating in 2017. Thus, driving is your best option. Have fun!

  23. Hi Frank we plan to drive up from Dubrovnik to Zagreb in mid October. Kindly suggest when should we book our car. pointers for the drive. We plan to cover this distance in 4 dyas, hence places to stop and spend the night. Also we are used to the right hand traffic hence drive on the left side of the road.

    Looking forward to your inputs.

    Cheers

    Reply
  24. Hi Frank.
    Fantastic blog you have here.
    My wife and I are renting a car and travelling from Dubrovnik to Pula. We have 5 days to complete the drive.
    May I ask which is the most scenic part of the trip?
    Dubrovnik to Split
    Split to Zadar
    Zadar to Rijeka.

    Reply
  25. Hi, Frank. I’m about to travel to Croatia on early April. I will start from Zagreb and make my way to Dubrovnik). I’m trying to decide between renting a car or using the bus for transport. If renting, should I buy the Full Protection that’s being offered (more like pushed) by the car rental company (Oryx, I think)? Is there a way where I can rent a car part of the way and also using public transport so I can save some money? Is it worth the hassle? I sure would appreciate your input. Thanks in advance. Great blog, by the way.

    Reply
    • Hi Rose,
      since you’ll be traveling in April when tourist demand isn’t that strong, you should be ok with renting a car on spot when you need it. As for full coverage, you know how it goes, you usually don’t need it until you need it and then you are sorry not to have bought it :-). Hard to answer really. Have fun in croatia, and let us know if we can help with anything else.

  26. We are thinking of driving to Pag from Rovinj for a one night stay before we head to Split to catch the Catamaran to Hvar. My travel agent says the road is only one lane with many curves. I am a good driver and adventurous and feel we would be fine. Any thoughts?

    Reply
    • Hi Michael,
      I think you should be fine. There shouldn’t be much traffic at this time of the year. What way you plan to go – coastal road through Senj, then catching a ferry Prizna-Zigljen; or by motorway down to Zadar and then crossing the bridge?

  27. Hi, we’re thinking of driving from Zagreb to Plitvice National Park, then to Split, where we’d turn in the car and take a multi-day cruise to Dubrovnik and a day-trip from there to Montenegro. Does this sound like a good itinerary to you? I’ve driven along Italy’s Amalfi coast without any problem, but I’m a bit apprehensive about driving from the national park to Split on the coast road if it has no guardrails. How treacherous is it? Thanks,

    Reply
    • Hi Dennis,

      How did your multi-day cruise from Split to Dubrobnik go? Would you recommend it and which cruise company did this please?

  28. Hi Frank,

    We are driving from Zadar to Split to stay for 2 nights then drive down to Dubrovnik. Which drive would you recommend taking the coastal road versus the freeway? Zadar to Split or Split to Dubrovnik? Is the scenery very different of the two?

    Thanks,
    Cindy

    Reply
  29. Hi Frank,
    Thanks for this article we will be hiring a car from Zagreb next week to drive through Slovenia and Croatia. What about parking, do you have free and metered parking? And is there time limits and are they well sign posted?

    Also our longest drive is from Zadar to Dubrovnik, what route would you suggest? I was thinking the freeway as we have more time to explore the coast on the drive back to Split via Gradac, Markarska and Brac.
    Thanks again, Karen

    Reply
    • Hi Karen,
      thanks for stopping by. Yes, all towns have free and metered parking. However, free one is really hard to find in high season. A parking fee amounts from 5 to 15 kn an hour, depending on a town and a town zone (proximity to center).

      Coastal road from Zadar to Dibrovnik is lovely, but since you plan on going back to Split afterwards, I would suggest you to take a motorway A1 from Zadar to Dubrovnik, and take a coastal road D8 (E65) from Dubrovnik to Split.
      Let us know if we can help with anything else.

  30. Thanks for this article – it is very timely as we are currently working out whether to hire a car or not in Croatia.

    We will be going to Dubrovnik. Can you tell me if its ok to do this with hire cars since you leave the country and reenter? Do you know if we will have to pay extra fees to do this? Thank you :)

    Reply
    • Hi Sharon,
      thanks for reading!

      Some companies will try to charge you cross-border fee, but you don’t need any extra insurance (cross-border included) as long as your hired car has a green card – a document recognized by European insurance companies that’s basically a guarantee that the car has a minimum insurance in a country where it’s registred. Bosnia & Herzegovina, as well as Montenegro are both part of this agreement. Besides, if you drive through Neum (a coastal town in Bosnia that cuts through Croatia, and splits it in two parts) is considered transit and no extra insurance is needed for this part.
      Whether you’ll rent car or no, depends on where you plan to go. If you’ll be hopping from one town to another (Zagreb, Zadar, Split, Dubrovnik), you can use public buses. If you plan to visit Istria, islands, and if you like road trips, car is the best way to explore.

      Hope that you guys will have a great time in Croatia! Let us know your itinerary once you finalize it, maybe we can meet somewhere in Croatia.

    • Hi Sharon,

      If you do decide to drive, make sure you pre-book car seats for your kids asap. We booked our Croatian rental car months in advance and even the kids car seats and they forgot and had none to give us! (Fortunately we have family in Croatia who were able to organise one for us).
      I would also add with rental cars, that the majority are manual. If you want auto transmission, you have to book ahead. We were not able to secure an auto transmission car despite booking 4 months in advance.

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