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Getting Around by Car


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Croatian Motorway

Parking outside Hvar Town: not cheap!

Driving in Croatia can be amazingly convenient or utterly nerve-wracking. Should you rent a car in Croatia? I'm frequently asked this question and the answer is . . .it depends. (See more details on Croatia car rentals or find out about driving to Croatia.) Consider the following factors:


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Traffic in Croatia can be congested in the summer and on warm weekends especially to and from the coast. Getting to the Croatian coast from Zagreb has gotten easier with the opening of the Zagreb-Split motorway that cuts travel time between the two cities to about four hours. The original plan was to run the highway as far south as Dubrovnik but the funding dried up and construction has been put on hold.

Meanwhile, you'll be on the two-lane, scenic coastal road where passing on hairpin turns appears to be a national sport. Keep in mind the rules for driving in Croatia.


Taking a car aboard a ferry can be expensive, at least in comparison to hopping aboard as a foot passenger. Also, you'll need to reserve in advance in high season for ferries to the islands and show up hours in advance. See more about getting around Croatia by ferry.

The price of fuel is about €1.40 for standard unleaded and there are tolls on all the motorways (autocesta). From Zagreb to Zadar the toll is €16; from Zagreb to Rijeka €9.29. The system is that you take a card upon entering the motorway and pay at the end cash or credit card.


Permitted blood alcohol level is 0.05%. Police routinely spot-check motorists for drinking and driving and will administer breath-analyzer tests at even the most minor accident. Drivers who refuse to submit to a breath-analyzer are automatically presumed to have admitted to driving while intoxicated. In case of accidents resulting in death or serious injury, Croatian law requires police to take blood samples to test blood alcohol levels. See more on Croatian road rules.

Why rent a car

On the plus side, you obviously have more freedom to get up and go when you have your own wheels and it's easier and cheaper to find accommodation in out of the way places that are only accessible by car.

Also, if you plan to explore islands in depth, you'll really want your own wheels rather than depending on public transportation. Unlike the rest of Croatia where modern buses link all the towns, buses on the islands are slow and infrequent. See more on taking buses in Croatia.

If you do decide to go with a car rental, you'll find that most major car rental companies have outlets in Croatia or in Trieste, Italy, a popular jumping-off point for a Croatian holiday but you can often get much better deals online.

[Find out more about renting a car in Croatia]

Other resources for Driving in Croatia:

Croatian Automobile Club (HAK)--has up-to-date traffic conditions, tolls and offers roadside assistance.

Croatia Driving Apps

HAK Traffic
Developer: HAK (Croatian Automobile Club)
Platform: iOS Croatian Traffic Info
              Android Croatia Traffic Info
Price: Free
Review: Excellent and useful app in several languages including English with up-to-the-minute road conditions, plus border crossing, ferry delays, tolls and a traffic forecast.

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