Getting Around in Croatia

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Getting Around in Croatia

By Plane

National airline company Croatia Airlines connects major cities in Croatia to each other and foreign destinations. Due to the comparatively short distances and relatively high hassle of air travel - especially when you travel with luggage - domestic air travel is used mostly for getting to end points - e.g., Zagreb to Dubrovnik (see map) and vice-versa. There is a daily link between Pula and Zadar (continuing to Zagreb) - the 20 minute flight saves a long road journey, though has very awkward flight times.

Another popular flight (available in the summer months only) is between Split and Osijek, saving a long trip back through Croatia, or alternatively through the middle of Bosnia.

By Train

Train travel is definitely improving in Croatia, with money being spent on updating the aging infrastructure and vehicles. Trains are clean and mostly on time.

Croatia's rail network connects all major Croatian cities, except Dubrovnik. If you want to visit Dubrovnik, you will have to travel by train to Split, and then go on the bus for Dubrovnik. Trains to Pula are actually connected via Slovenia due to historical accident, though there are designated connecting buses from Rijeka.

Rail is still the cheapest connection between inland and coast, though not the most frequent. As of 2004, the new 160kph "tilting trains" that connect Zagreb with Split and other major cities in Croatia such as Rijeka and Osijek have been progressively introduced, resulting in higher levels of comfort and significantly faster journeys between cities (Zagreb-Split is now 5.5h from 9, Osijek is now 3 when other trains take around 4.5h). If you make a reservation early enough you can get a substantial discount, or if you are a holder of an ISIC card etc.

Information for the trains can be found on the Hrvatske željeznice - Croatian Railways site in Croatian and English has timetable and prices.

Tickets are not usually sold on-board, except if you happen to get on the train on one of the few stations/stops without ticket sales. However, only local trains stop on such stations. In all other cases, a ticket bought on the train will cost considerably more than the one bought outside the train.

By Bus

A very comprehensive coach network connects all parts of the country. Bus service between major cities (intercity lines) is quite frequent, as well as regional services. The most frequent bus terminal in Croatia is Bus Terminal Zagreb (in Croatian "Autobusni kolodvor Zagreb"). Despite the recent improvements in the railway network, buses are faster than trains for inter-city travel.

  • Autobusni kolodvor Zagreb - Bus Terminal Zagreb, timetable information, content in Croatian, English
  • CroatiaBus - bus company - timetable information, prices, content in Croatian and English.
  • Autotrans Rijeka - bus company - timetable information, prices, content in Croatian and English.
  • Autobusni promet Varazdin - bus company - timetable information, prices, content in Croatian, English and German.
  • Contus - bus company - timetable information, prices, content in Croatian and English.
  • Libertas Dubrovnik - bus terminal and company information in Dubrovnik, with international and domestic information. Content mostly in Croatian.

By Boat

Croatia is blessed with a beautiful coastline which is best explored by ferry to access the hundreds of islands.

In many instances, the only way to get to the islands is by ferry or catamaran. If you plan on using either you should check these web sites because they have the regular ferry and catamaran information.

  • Jadrolinija - Jadrolinija is the Croatian National ferry company, and as well as routes operating from the major cities to the islands, operate a ferry along the Adriatic Coast from Rijeka to Dubrovnik (and then across to Bari, Italy) calling at Split, Hvar, Mljet and Korcula. Check timetables as the schedules are seasonal. The boats are large and have sleeping facilities as the Rijeka-Split leg goes overnight.
  • SNAV is Italian company connecting Split with Ancona and Pescara. Check timetables as the schedules are seasonal.
  • Azzura lines, is Italian operator connecting Dubrovnik with Bari Check timetables as the schedules are seasonal.
  • Split Hvar taxi boat Taxi boat service that works from 0-24H and can take you anywhere you want.
  • Yacht charter services are intended for those who want to explore coast and hidden bays by sea for one week or more.
  • International Yacht Charter and Sailing - INTERNATIONAL CHARTER GROUP, one of the world's largest yacht charter companies, can take care of all charter requirements, from bareboat to crewed in the Croatia. Operating from nine offices worldwide (USA, Spain, UK, Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Switzerland, Caribbean, Honk Kong and Dubai).

Outside the summer months it is often difficult or impossible to make a day trip to the more remote islands. This is because ferry schedules are made to suit commuters who live on islands and travel to the mainland, not vice versa.


Sailing is a good way to see the coastal islands and networks of small archipelagos. Most charters leave from Split or the surrounding area on the North or the South circuit, each offering its own pros and cons. A good way is to book a package with a company at home, but many Croatian companies also offer both bareboat and crewed charters.

Booking of a charter vessel is basically done in two parts. Fifty percent of the charter price is paid right away, after which the booking is confirmed. The other fifty percent of the charter fee is usually paid four weeks before the charter date. Before the first payment of the charter fee you should request to see the charter contract from the agency where you chartered a boat. Pay close attention to cancellation fees because many times if you cancel your charter vacation you could lose the initial fifty percent you already payed when you booked a charter so take a close look at that in the charter contract. After that you are set for a sailing vacation.

When you arrive to marina where your chartered yacht is situated you need to do the check in (usually Saturday around 04:00 PM) and you have to do the shopping for the charter vacation. Don't neglect the groceries shopping because the sea is unpredictable and you don't want to get stuck on the boat without anything to eat or drink.

You can do the shopping in a marina (although the prices are much higher there) or you can order from yacht provisioning services who usually deliver the products to your chartered yacht at no extra fee. This is convenient because it takes the load off you and the things you must do when you arrive at the marina for your sailing holiday.

By Car

Roads in Croatia are usually well maintained, but usually very narrow and full of curves. Some local roads in Istria have been worn down to a smooth surface from regular wear and tear, and can be extremely slippery when wet. It's difficult to find a true highway with more than one way per direction, the only exceptions being the ones connecting Rijeka, Zagreb, Zadar and Split. Speed limits are thus low (60 - 90 kmh), and it's not recommended to drive faster (although most locals do), especially at night. Be aware of animals crossing the road.

Renting a car is around the same price as in the EU (from around €40). Almost all cars have a manual transmission. Most rental agencies in the Balkans allow you to rent a car in one country and drive in the neighboring countries however try to avoid a renting a car in Serbia and driving it into Croatia (or vice versa) in order to avoid negative attention from nationalists.

On the recently built Croatian Motorways toll fees apply (and may be paid in either HRK or EUR), the motorway A6 between Zagreb and Rijeka was finished end of 2008, the main motorway A1 from Zagreb to Dubrovnik is still under construction the current ending point is in Ravča, which is 140 km from Dubrovnik. Notice that to reach south Dalmatia including Dubrovnik, you need to cross a short portion of Bosnia-Herzegovina, so check if you need a visa or other special requirements for entry into Bosnia.

When exiting a toll motorway, ask the receipt at toll booth if it is not given to you to be sure you do not get overcharged (you could receive along with the receipt some unexpected change compared with the price you were given verbally)

If an unknown person flashes their car lights at you it may be a sign that they've recently passed a police unit doing speed limit checks. Ensure you are on compliance with all the traffic rules and regulations to ensure that you are not stopped.

Be advised that reckless endangerment of traffic (e.g. driving > 50km/h over the posted speed limit, driving under the influence of a blood alcohol content > 0.15) may, under some circumstances, be prosecuted as a felony offense punishable by upto 3 years of incarceration.

By Taxi

You can use a taxi service by calling 970. The taxi usually comes within 10 to 15 minutes from the call except in the busy summer season where it depends on how much business they have. Croatian taxis are generally rather expensive.    

You can also book the transportation in advance which is great when you are in a hurry or have a larger number of people in need of transportation, or you just want everything organized in advance.

You can also prearrange a taxi service by E-mail in advance to have even more comfort and to save money since this taxi operators are cheaper than the regular taxi service.

By Thumb

Hitchhiking is generally good. If you can get to a highway toll stop simply ask people to take you with them as they open their windows to pay the toll. The toll collectors usually won't mind. The tricky part, of course, is to get to the toll stop. If you are in Zagreb and you are, like most people, heading south, take the bus 111 from the Savski most station in Zagreb and ask the bus driver where to get off to get to the toll stop. Next best place to ask people to pick you up are gas stations. And finally, just using the good old thumb will work too if everything else fails.

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