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Getting around Croatia

Updated on February 27, 2015

By car, bus, train, boat and plane

Croatia is well connected to all neighbouring countries by road, rail and bus. Also, international boat services operate between Italy and major Croatian ports (e.g. Rijeka, Zadar, Split, Dubrovnik).

Croatia awaits visitors with small international airports, a newly built highway network, frequent ferry service, reliable bus companies and comfortable but slow trains.

Travelling in Croatia is safe and doesn't cost a fortune. A bus ticket e.g. from Rijeka to Zadar costs 188 Kn (36 USD) and parking fees in the larger cities are between 3-6 Kn/hour (0,5-1 USD).

Choose your means of transport!

Choose your means of transport!
Choose your means of transport!
Croatian highways fees
Croatian highways fees

Highways in Croatia

Travelling around by car is the most convenient way to explore Croatia

In recent years enormous effort was put to complete the Croatian highway network. By today the network, which is centred on Croatia's capital, Zagreb, covers the country but some highways are still under construction.

The A1 highway between Zagreb and Dalmatia (the last exit is Vrgorac) is a complete whole with no interruptions but its southern part from Vrgorac to Dubrovnik has not been finished yet. In Istria, the western branch of the the so-called Istrian Ypsilon highway (it is shaped like the letter Y) has been completed recently and a highway fee was introduced.

Tolls are payable on Croatian highways in accordance with the length of the travelled section and the vehicle category. Euro, Croatian money (kuna) and major credit cards are accepted at the toll stations.

Istrian Y takes you to Pula, the largest town on Istria peninsula

Istrian Y takes you to Pula, the largest town on Istria peninsula
Istrian Y takes you to Pula, the largest town on Istria peninsula

Driving on the Croatian highway

This cool video was made on A1 highway which connects northern Croatia with Dalmatia.

Useful maps

Michelin Map Croatia 757 (Michelin Maps)
Michelin Map Croatia 757 (Michelin Maps)

Getting around in Croatia has never been so easy! This folded Michelin map is easy to use and shows Croatian highways and some city maps.

 
Rovinj bus station
Rovinj bus station

Get on the bus!

Another convenient way to discover Croatia

Travelling by bus in Croatia is comfortable and inexpensive. There are plenty of bus companies that compete with each other so you do not need to worry about punctuality or tidiness of the buses. All bus drivers I met in Croatia love music, the radio is always on and they don't want to deprive their passengers of the most popular Croatian music hits, either. Enjoy!

As for the timetable, since it is impossible to check all bus companies' website, I advise you to visit the website of all Croatian bus stations. After selecting a bus line I usually check the timetable again on the bus company's own website, as well.

Bus tickets

For some buses tickets need to be purchased in advance at the bus station. For other lines buy a ticket from the driver. There are usually two drivers: while one of them is driving (and select the radio station!), the other one walks down the aisle, checks and sells tickets.

Partisan monument at the bus station of Biograd na Moru

Partisan monument at the bus station of Biograd na Moru
Partisan monument at the bus station of Biograd na Moru

5 Good Things About Croatian Bus Stations

  1. Excellent location

    Main bus stations in most Croatian cities are within easy distance to the centre / old town. The heart of Zagreb, Jelacic square is only a 20 minute walk from the bus station, in other cities e.g. Split, Zadar or Sibenik even less. The only exception is Dubrovnik where the new bus station is located in Gruz district, at the harbour. Here you need to take local lines (1a or 3) to reach Pile Gate (old town).

  2. Train stations are close

    In Zadar, Split, Osijek and Sibenik the bus station is right next to the railway station. In Zagreb, Rijeka and Pula you need to walk 15 minutes to catch your train.

  3. Left luggage offices / lockers

    Almost all bus stations have them. They are usually open 24 hours a day and cost about 1,5 Kn per hour or 15 Kn per day.

  4. They have everything you need

    Waiting room, toilets, cafes, shops, bakeries - as bus services are so much used in Croatia, the stations offer lots of services. There are ATMs, exchange offices, parking lots and tourist information offices (Dubrovnik and Cavtat).

    If you are at Zadar bus station, do not miss out the chicken and cheeseburger (22 Kn) in Nana bar! The best chicken burger in the world, made from real chicken breast!

  5. Local buses stop here

    If you don't feel like walking, get on a local bus or tram to get to the centre. In Zagreb tram No6 takes you to Trg Jelacic and No2 to the main railway station. In Zadar get on bus No2 or No4 if you want to see Poluotok (peninsula with the old town). Both buses stop on the road in front of the bus station. In Osijek tram No2 is the quickest way to get to A. Starcevica square.

Travelling around by bus is child's play!

Scenic bus routes

  • Split - Trogir

    Trogir is an ancient town 28 km from Split. Its medieval old town was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1997 so Trogir is a must-see place in Dalmatia. City bus No37 runs between Split and Trogir every 20 minutes throughout the day, one-way tickets cost 20 Kn. Bus No37 leaves from the local bus station (Domovinskog rata road) while other northbound buses from Split leave from the main bus station next to the harbour (Obala kneza Domagoja, tickets: 16 Kn).

  • Rijeka - Opatija

    Once the elegant seaside resort of the elite of Austro-Hungarian Empire, Opatija is well worth a visit. Take city bus No32 which runs along the Rijeka Riviera every 20 minutes. The ride will cost you 10 Kn.

  • Dubrovnik - Cavtat

    From Dubrovnik to Cavtat the ride itself is worth the 17 Kn ticket. Bus No10 leaves from the main bus station and stops at the lower station of Dubrovnik Cable Car on its way to Cavtat. It is one of the most scenic bus routes in Croatia: the road on the hillside offers fantastic views of the Adriatic Sea.

The port of Cavtat

The port of Cavtat
The port of Cavtat
Split Dalmatia railway station
Split Dalmatia railway station

Travelling by train

Train travel is cheaper than bus travel but slower and less comfortable. The train network is centred on the capital, Zagreb and covers central and eastern Croatia fairly well but has only two lines towards the coast. The line south to Split serves Knin, Zadar and Sibenik, the Istrian line to Pula goes via Rijeka and Pazin. Southern Dalmatia (Makarska, Dubrovnik) are not accessible by train.

Split railway station

Split railway station
Split railway station

How to use the website of the Croatian Railways? - A step by step guide to English speakers

The Croatian Railways' simple website provides you all information about train timetables and ticket prices. Unfortunately, its English version is not complete so you may need some help to make head or tail of it.

  1. First of all click on the English version (upper right corner). As the Timetable box does not work, click on Timetable above the header.
  2. Now you've just landed on a nice English page. Fill in the blanks. Note that Zagreb GL. KOL. means Zagreb's main railway station. Most local and international trains arrive and depart from here. Click on Show trains button.
  3. The following page may look messy. If you have chosen e.g. Zagreb as departure and Zadar is your destination, you will see the arrival times to Karlovac and Knin but Zadar is not written anywhere. Yes, it's confusing!

    Click on the blue number (Train category and name) in order to see the whole route with all the stations. Presjedanje means you need to change trains here.

  4. Click on Pricing information to find out your ticket price. Unfortunately, here everything is in Croatian. Jedan smjer means one-way, povratna is return. Redovita prijevozna cijena is regular ticket. (Isn't it obvious?) Za platiti is the sum you need to shell out for the ticket.
  5. Go back with the Natrag button or calculate (Izracunaj!) again.

Train terms in Croatia

vozni red timetable

vlak train

brzi vlak fast train

putnicki vlak local train

razred class

odlazak departures

dolazak arrivals

karta ticket

cijena price

Zadar airport
Zadar airport

Airports in Croatia

I really like small airports where hard to get lost and easy to find anything. Airports in Croatia are exactly like this: comfortable, friendly and not overcrowded at all.

The great thing about Croatian airports, especially the airport of Split, Osijek and Dubrovnik is that they serve two tourist destinations namely Split and Trogir, Osijek and Vukovar and Dubrovnik and Cavtat.

Transfer buses are well organised and reliable. Taxi service is also available.

Croatian airports: Facts & Figures

  • Zagreb airport (Pleso airport)

    - lies 17 km south of Zagreb

    - the hub of Croatia Airlines, Croatia's national carrier

    - no direct flights to North America

    - traditional airlines including Air France, TAP, Turkish Airlines, Lufthansa etc.

    - low cost airlines: Easyjet, Wizzair, Norwegian

    - regular shuttle buses operate to Zagreb (30 Kn) and Rijeka

  • Split airport

    - located halfway between Split and Trogir

    - domestic flights of Croatia Airlines land here

    - European charter and low cost flights operate during summer

    - shuttle buses are organised to connect with the flight timetable (one-way ticket: 30 Kn)

    - city bus No37 stops here (16 Kn)

  • Dubrovnik airport

    - situated in the village of Cilipi, 20 km south of Dubrovnik and 5 km from Cavtat

    - in the summer all European cities (London, Paris, Helsinki, Frankfurt, Madrid etc.) are linked to Dubrovnik by traditional and low cost airlines

    - transfer buses (35 Kn) run to Dubrovnik old town (Pile Gate)

  • Osijek airport (Klisa airport)

    - settled halfway between Osijek (20 km) and Vukovar

    - serves only Croatia Airlines and Ryanair (in the summer)

    - airport buses take you to Osijek bus station (20 Kn)

  • Zadar airport (Zemunik airport)

    - located only 9 km from the city centre

    - serves domestic flights (Croatia Airlines), charter and low cost airlines (Germanwings, Ryanair, Danube Wings) in the summer

    - shuttle buses take you right into the Old Town, passing en route Zadar main bus station (one-way tickets cost: 25 Kn)

  • Rijeka airport

    - located on Krk island, a 30 minute bus ride to the city centre

    - Rijeka is linked to Cologne, Moscow, London, Düsseldorf, Stockholm, Oslo by Ryanair, Air Berlin, Norwegian and Croatia Airlines in the summer

    - organised airport transfer to Rijeka (50 Kn) and Opatija (40 Kn)

  • Pula airport

    - lies only 5 km away from Pula city centre

    - Croatia Airlines has flights to Pula from Zagreb all year around

    - Russian and European low cost airlines operate during the summer

    - airport buses run between the airport and Pula central bus station (one-way ticket: 35 Kn)

Split Airport

Split Airport
Split Airport

Along the Adriatic coast

Travelling by boat is a great option in summertime. After boarding go to the deck to enjoy the sun with a cold drink and to watch the surrounding islands go by.

The Adriatic coast is served by the Croatian Jadrolinija and Rapska Plovidba company (Rab and Pag islands only). Jadrolinija's local ferries and passenger boats run from the mainland to the nearby islands. Catamarans connect the major coastal cities and do not take cars on board.

Vehicle deck on Jadrolinija

Vehicle deck on Jadrolinija
Vehicle deck on Jadrolinija

Travel smart! - Useful tips to remember when travelling with Croatian ferries

  1. Plan your ferry ride and arrive at the port in time! Ferry ports can be very crowded in the summer, particularly on weekends.
  2. Cars that are first to board the ferry are most probably the first to disembark.
  3. Don’t leave your valuables (purse, camera, camcoder) in the car but if you do, place them out of sight. Don’t forget to lock your car when you go to the deck to soak up some sunshine.

Info Board in Split Harbour

Split ferry port
Split ferry port

The bus, train and ferry terminals of Split are adjacent and situated only a short walk from the old town.

Ready for boarding... this time in Zadar

Can you make up your mind?

Adriatic sea by boat
Adriatic sea by boat

Which means of transport do you prefer most to travel around Croatia?

See results

Have you been to Croatia yet?

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    • fitnessdad70 profile image

      fitnessdad70 4 years ago

      no but would love to visit.

    • mueedahmad profile image

      mueedahmad 5 years ago

      Very informative Squidoo Lens. Thanks for sharing. <3

    • Anthony Altorenna profile image

      Anthony Altorenna 5 years ago from Connecticut

      A beautiful country with a tremendous history. I've never visited Croatia, but I am intrigued by this wonderful lens.

    • emmaklarkins profile image

      emmaklarkins 5 years ago

      Never been before, but this guide would surely come in handy!

    • chezchazz profile image

      Chazz 5 years ago from New York

      Nice update. Croatia is already on my bucket list so this will come in handy.

    • OldStones LM profile image

      OldStones LM 6 years ago

      I hope to visit Croatia again soon. I would love to visit the Dalmatian coast. Very nicely done!

    • terracroatia profile image
      Author

      terracroatia 6 years ago

      @JennySui: I promise I will. Many thanks for the Squidlike!

    • profile image

      JennySui 6 years ago

      Croatia seems to be a wonderful place to visit. Please write more about Croatia.