About Croatia (HR)
Poised on the eastern edge of the Adriatic Sea, Croatia (HR) is bound by Hungary to the north, Slovenia to the northwest, Serbia in the east, Bosnia and Herzegovina to the southeast, and Montenegro to the south. While the inland capital of Zagreb is the center of Croatia’s culture and commerce, the country’s relatively undiscovered coastline attracts the bulk of international travelers. With a diverse geography of rolling plains in the north, mountains near the coast, and over 1,200 picturesque islands in the Adriatic, Croatia is slowly but surely gaining a reputation as one of the top value destinations in Europe — and certainly the most budget-friendly of Mediterranean countries.
Getting around mainland Croatia is generally easy-going, especially on well-maintained national (A roads) and European highways (E roads). The best way to explore regional destinations is to rent a car, and daily car hire rates are on par with European standards. Local roads tend to be quite narrow and meandering in deference to the landscape. Outside of central Zagreb, most routes are curvy, two-lane roads. Otherwise, the main characteristic of driving in the slow pace of traffic. Due to the variable direction of roads, speed limits in Croatia are a bit lower than the European average. Tolls fees apply on A6 between Rijeka and Zagreb, and A1 between Zagreb to Dubrovnik. Be advised that the route to Dubrovnik requires a quick trip through Bosnia-Herzegovina, and you’ll want to double check with your car rental provider to make sure your vehicle complies with regulations for driving in non-European Union countries (see tips below).
Choosing your car
Cheap car rentals in Croatia are furnished by Avis, Europcar, National, Hertz, Sixt, and Thrifty. Choose from minicars, economy hatchbacks, compact, standard, and fullsize 4-door sedans, estate wagons, SUVs, and 7-12 seater minivans.
Tips and advice
There are two main types of ferries to Croatian islands; the standard passenger boats, mainly for commuters; and car ferries, many of which depart from the seaside hamlet of Split. Most Croatian car rentals are not allowed on ferries, but it never hurts to ask.
If driving into Dubrovnik, the route passes through Bosnia. To begin, you may need a visa to enter Bosnia, depending upon your home country, and your car must be equipped with a “green card” — basically a sticker that says the vehicle is allowed to be driven in non-EU countries. The majority of Balkan rental cars are allowed to cross freely into neighboring countries — with the exception of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Animal hazards are a persistent issue on remote roads.
Most car rentals in Croatia are equipped with manual transmission. Cars with automatic may not be available, even if requested well in advance.
Traffic congestion in coastal towns can be incredibly bad during peak seasons, i.e. spring, summer, and early autumn.
The drink driving laws in Croatia call for a bit of clarification. The BAC limit is 0.05% - as long as you haven’t been involved in an accident. So, for example, if you get pulled over and blow a 0.05%, you’re probably OK. However, if there’s been a traffic incident — even the most minor of fender-benders, the zero tolerance limit applies.