Transport in Croatia is reasonably priced, quick and generally efficient, making getting around the country fairly easy and efficient.

Bus services are reasonably priced, with comprehensive coverage of the country and frequent departures. There's also a sizeable network of car ferries and catamarans all along the coast and the islands. For traveling at your own pace and visiting regions with minimal public transportation, a car is ideal. Here's what you need to know about getting around in Croatia. 

Bus

Bus services across Croatia are excellent and relatively inexpensive. There are often a number of different companies handling each route, so prices can vary substantially. Luggage stowed in the baggage compartment under the bus costs extra (around 10KN a piece). Note that buses between Split and Dubrovnik pass through Bosnian territory so you'll need to keep your passport handy.

At large stations, bus tickets must be purchased at the office, not from drivers, and it's worth booking ahead to be sure of a seat, especially in summer. Major bus companies include ArrivaFlixBus, and ČazmatransGetbybus is a useful website offering schedules and bookings. 

A group of kayakers pass in front of a large white car ferry with the words Jadrolinija printed on it
Jadrolinija is Croatia's main ferry and catamaran operator © Marsan / Shutterstock

Boat

Numerous boats connect the main coastal centers and their surrounding islands year-round, with services extended in the tourist season. Split is the main hub, with the other major ports being Dubrovnik, Šibenik, Zadar and Rijeka. Locals use the term "ferry" to refer exclusively to car ferries and "catamaran" to refer to the faster, passenger-only ferry services. Jadrolinija is the main operator, with car ferries and catamarans on 35 different routes.

Boats are comfortable and well equipped, with toilets and seating both inside and out on the deck. The larger boats have restaurants, cafes and bars, and almost all have at least a snack counter. Most offer free wi-fi. In most instances you can buy tickets online, although it's not always possible to purchase tickets on the day of travel. Prebooking doesn’t guarantee you a space on a particular sailing, so it still pays to get to the wharf early in peak season, especially if you’re travelling with a car. Traveling as a foot passenger gives you more flexibility and is considerably cheaper than traveling with a vehicle. In most cases you can hire a car, scooter or bicycle at your destination, should you need one.

It's also possible to hire a yacht (with or without a crew) and explore under your own sail. Local boat-hire companies can be found in all of the main coastal towns, alongside the likes of UK-based Cosmos Yachting, which operates out of multiple ports.

Train

There's a limited train network in Croatia, and services are less frequent and much slower than buses. Delays are also a regular occurrence on Croatian trains, sometimes for a number of hours. No trains run along the coast and only a few coastal cities are connected with Zagreb. For visitors, the main lines of interest are Zagreb–Osijek; Zagreb–Varaždin; Zagreb–Rijeka–Pula; and Zagreb–Knin–Split (change in Knin for Zadar or Šibenik). For information about schedules, prices and services, contact HŽPP.

An empty tarmac curving coastal road with sea to the left and rocky hills in the distance
Roads in Croatia are in excellent condition © LianeM / Getty Images

Car

Motorways connect Zagreb to Slavonia and Zagreb to Istria via Rijeka. Another major motorway heads from Zagreb to Dalmatia, with turn-offs for Zadar, Šibenik and Split; it continues in the direction of Dubrovnik, but falls short by 68 miles (110km). Although the roads are in excellent condition, there are stretches where service stations and facilities are scarce. The Hrvatski Autoklub offers help, advice and a nationwide roadside-assistance number.

Car hire is available in all major towns, airports and tourist locations. Independent local companies are often much cheaper than the international chains, but the big companies offer one-way rentals. Sometimes you can get a lower rate by booking the car from abroad, or by booking a fly-drive package. In order to rent a car you must be 18, have a valid driving licence and have a major credit card to cover the insurance excess.

You have to pay tolls on all motorways, to use the Učka tunnel between Rijeka and Istria, to use the bridge to Krk Island, and on the road from Rijeka to Delnice. The first set of booths you come across when you enter a motorway dispenses tickets; you need to present this at the booths when you leave the motorway, where it's used to calculate the applicable toll.

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Air

Croatia operates a surprisingly extensive schedule of domestic flights, especially in summer. Croatia Airlines is the national carrier, with its main hub in Zagreb. Domestic services head to Dubrovnik, Pula, Rijeka, Split and Zadar. Trade Air operates flights from Osijek to Zagreb, Pula and Rijeka; from Rijeka to Split and Dubrovnik; and from Split to Pula and Dubrovnik.

Woman with mountainbike looking out over the sea from a high point
Cycling is the perfect way to explore the islands © bingokid / Getty Images

Bicycle

Bikes are easy to rent along the coast and on the islands, and cycling can be a great way to explore the islands. Relatively flat islands such as Pag and Lošinj offer the most relaxed biking, but the winding, hilly roads on other islands have more spectacular views. Cycling on the coast or the mainland requires caution: most roads are busy, two-lane highways with no bicycle lanes.

Some tourist offices, especially in the Kvarner and Istria regions, have maps of routes and can refer you to local bike-rental agencies. Bikes can be transported on car ferries (but not catamarans) for an additional fee (13KN to 45KN).

Local transportation

The main form of local transport is bus (although Zagreb and Osijek also have well-developed tram systems). Buses in major cities such as Dubrovnik, Rijeka, Split and Zadar run regularly; a ride is usually 10KN to 15KN, with a small discount if you buy tickets at a tisak (newsstand).

Accessible transportation

Mobility-impaired travelers will find the cobbled streets and endless steps of Croatia's old towns challenging. Public toilets at bus stations, train stations, airports and large public venues are usually wheelchair-accessible. Bus and train stations in Zagreb, Zadar, Rijeka, Split and Dubrovnik are wheelchair-accessible, but the ferries are not. Get more information about traveling with a disability with Lonely Planet's free Accessible Travel guides.

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