Getting around Croatia by car
Contents [click on chapter for quick jump]
- 1 Driving a car around Croatia
- 2 Useful Information for drivers in Croatia
- 3 Green Card System Car Insurance in Croatia
- 4 Driving around Istria
- 5 Driving around Dalmatia
Driving a car around Croatia
Driving a car is definitely the best way of travelling around Croatia– the roads are of pretty good standard, the country is small and you can visit many different places starting from Zagreb and Istria all way down to Dalmatia.
You can travel around Croatia pretty quickly – from Zagreb it takes about 4 hours to reach Split, less than three hours to Zadar, just over two hours to get to Plitvice Lakes National Park or to Istrian towns Poreč, Pula and Rovinj. Only Dubrovnik is far away to drive – but the motorway is great, offering outstanding countryside scenes.
Why is driving a car around Croatia such a great idea?
Since Croatia is a small country, driving around Croatia is absolutely worth of travelling every kilometer because you can visit so many different places in a short time. The state road and motorway network is excellent and of a very good quality. Besides, Croatia is very safe country to drive and you should definitely consider of travelling by car if:
- you like to explore places and enjoy the countryside
- you like picturesque road trips and stopping by without any rush
- you want to explore Istria and its green inland with charming hill towns
- you want to discover numerous beaches and old traditional villages on Dalmatian islands
- you are looking for cheaper travelling options without giving up of exploring different places
- you plan to fly to Croatia but want to explore the country and plan to rent a car
Motorways and roads in Croatia
The motorway system to south is linking Zagreb with Pula, Rijeka, Zadar and Split, and more to south to town Ploče where motorway A1 ends, which is about 100km north of Dubrovnik where you need to continue driving on the coastal Adriatic road to get to Dubrovnik. The motorway to east is linking Zagreb with eastern towns all away to Slavonia.
If you want to skip the motorway for any reason when travelling to south, you can drive along the coast all way from Rijeka to Dubrovnik on the Adriatic road – the most picturesque route in Croatia, curvy and exciting road with beautiful ambience, worth of experience if you like long driving and exploring at the same time.
When hiring a car and intend to drive to Dubrovnik, check with car rental company that their car is allowed to go to Bosnia and Herzegovina – on your driving route to Dubrovnik you have to cross the Bosnia and Herzegovina’s border and enter the Croatia again!
General Traffic Law in Croatia
- driving on the right-hand side line
- speed limits: motorways 130 km/h, open roads up to 80 km/h, built-up areas 50 km/h
- documents: valid driving license and car insurance
- alcohol and driving in Croatia: zero tolerance for all drivers less than 24 years old. The legal limit over that age is 0.05%.
- seat belt is required at all time when driving
- headlights should be used at night and when the visibility on the road is less than 100 meters. From October to March, headlights should be used also during the daylight.
- using of hand-held cell phones while driving is prohibited.
- right turning on red lights is strictly forbidden in Croatia, unless an additional green light (in the shape of an arrow) allows it.
- when drive through unmarked intersections, right of way is always to the vehicle entering from the right
Download The Road Rules Brochure published by Croatian Police.
The Croatian motorway system is not free of charge – but it’s worth every Kuna for long distance drive, as for short one if you want to get quickly from one point to another.
For better travel budget planning check the price list for toll charges in Croatia.
If you want to skip the motorway for any reason when travelling to south, you can drive along the coast all way from Rijeka to Dubrovnik on the Adriatic road – the most picturesque route in Croatia, curvy and exciting road, worth of experience if you like long driving and exploring at the same time.
Is your driving license valid in Croatia?
Your driving license is valid in Croatia when used in combination with an international driver’s permit (IDP). These licenses are valid for six months – if you plan to stay longer in Croatia, and drive around, you’ll need to apply for the Croatian driving license. If you don’t have IDP but want to drive in Croatia, you can translate your driving license at official translator anywhere in Croatia.
Drinking and driving in Croatia
Zero alcohol tolerance for all drivers less than 24 years old. The legal limit over that age is 0.05%. Police routinely spot-check drivers, and will administer breathalyzer tests at even the slightest accident.
Drivers who refuse to submit to a breathalyzer test are automatically presumed to have admitted to driving while intoxicated. In cases of accidents resulting in death or serious injury, Croatian law obligates police to take blood samples to test blood alcohol levels.
The rule is simple – don’t drive when drink in Croatia.
Useful Information for drivers in Croatia
The Croatian Motorways (HAC- Hrvatske Autoceste)
They will provide you with useful information on safe ride advices, traffic conditions, rest areas, tunnels and weather forecast, including toll motorway pricelist and driving rules and behavior on motorways.
HAC – FREE INFO LINE: 0800 0422
The Croatian Auto Club (HAK -Hrvatski Auto Klub)
They will provide you with road assistance, live traffic conditions, webcam images, interactive map, radar control points, weather forecast, petrol prices, rest stations locations, information about nearest points of interest (police stations, airports, campsites, ATMs, banks, hospitals, pharmacies, tourist boards) and more useful information for your holiday in Croatia.
ROAD EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE CALL NUMBER +385 1 1987
Download FREE CROATIA TRAFFIC INFO APP from iTunes with detailed traffic and travel information including roadside assistance service (available in English, Italian, German and Croatian).
Motorways in Istria – Bina Istria
The roads in Istria are under the supervision of company Bina Istra (they are not a part of The Croatian Motorway). Unfortunately their website is only in Croatian language, you can make a free info call: 0800 600 601
Motorway Zagreb –Rijeka (ARZ)
The motorway A6 from Zagreb to Rijeka (from exit Bosiljevo II on south from Zagreb) is under the supervision of company ARZ (including the bridge to island Krk). Their website is on Croatia language only, but you can check ARZ pricelist and take a look at their web cams.
Free INFO CALL for motorway Zagreb-Rijeka: 0800 0111.
Green Card System Car Insurance in Croatia
All drivers from EU countries can enter Croatia WITHOUT Green Card.
If travelling from NON-EU country, you should ensure before leaving that your Green Card insurance covers Croatia. If not, insurance can normally be purchased at the main border crossings.
However, some of the smaller crossings may not have this facility or have limited hours when the service is available.
Find out more on Green Card System Car Insurance.
Green Card System Car Insurance if visiting Bosnia and Herzegovina
If you are driving to or through Bosnia and Herzegovina, including the 20km strip of coastline at Neum on the Dalmatian coastal road on your way to Dubrovnik, you should ensure that your Green Card covers Bosnia and Herzegovina.
If this is not the case, temporary third-party insurance can be purchased at the main border posts, or in Split and other large Croatian cities. Insurance cannot be obtained at the Neum border.
How to enter Bosnia and Herzegovina (and Montenegro) from Croatia
Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro, are included in the Green Card System and the company you rent a car from should supply you with a Green Card for travel whilst using their car. Of course, you’ll need your valid driving license as well.
Driving around Istria
When driving around Istria you can reach all Istrian towns Pula, Poreč, Rovinj and Umag hitting the roads A8 and A9 called Istrian Ypsilon –interconnecting the western Istrian coast all away from Savudrija in the north to Pula in the south.
Istrian Ypsilon also connects western Istrian coast to green inland and its beautiful hilltop towns. Moreover, by driving on this road to the east you’ll get to town of Rijeka where you can enter motorway A6 to Zagreb.
Driving around Dalmatia
The high quality south motorway A1 (called Dalmatina) makes your driving around Dalmatia very comfortable – it connects numerous Dalmatian coastal towns you can easily discover in a short time- from Zadar, Šibenik and Trogir, and more on south to towns of beautiful Makarska Riviera and famous Dubrovnik.
The motorway Dalmatina ends at town Ploče (100 km on the north from Dubrovnik) where you continue driving on the coastal Adriatic road.
If you prefer road driving and want to explore passing by places, or you want to avoid road toll, you can drive all the way from Rijeka to Dubrovnik on the Adriatic road – picturesque old road worth of visiting beautiful towns and places on your way, but pretty long drive from the north to the south.
When renting a car and intend to drive to Dubrovnik, on your driving route you’ll have to cross the Bosnia and Herzegovina’s border and enter the Croatia again.