Dubrovnik

Should you hire a car in Dubrovnik?

Should you rent a car in Dubrovnik Croatia > Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik is perhaps the best-known of Croatia’s Adriatic resorts, and the attractions are obviously visible in the delightful old city itself and the warm climate that attracts millions of tourists each year.

So is it worth picking up a hire car at Dubrovnik airport to explore the surrounding area, or is it best to stick mainly to the city, and perhaps make a few excursions by bus?

[coming]

Dubrovnik Introduction

Why? Why not? Ratings

Why should you rent a car in Dubrovnik?

In terms of factors like the cost of the hire itself, fuel costs, road tolls and parking charges, is it worth hiring a car in Dubrovnik?

Dubrovnik Car hire summary


Overall drive rating

0%

 

Cheapest rate for one week

€20

 #4/300

 

How much should I expect to pay in the peak season?

 

 €225

147/300

 

Free parking score

Total 1348 - of which 94 have free parking. [full notes - parking]

7%

#287/300

 
  • Terrible public transport – there is no railway station in Dubrovnik, and that is never a good start.
  • There is a reasonable local bus service, but bus stops only provide timings from where the bus starts, and there is no real time information.
  • Freedom and flexibility
  • Mostar by car (always check terms).
  • Surrounding islands – easier by car.

Why not? Visiting Dubrovnik without a car

Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

Dubrovnik public transport quick facts

Train score

 

00%

Water travel score

0%

Overall public transport score

00%

Walking and Cycling Overview

Active travel score

(walking + cycling)

0%

  • Get your trip off to a dramatic start by taking the ferry from the airport (short taxi ride to Cavtat).
  • The walled city is worth a second look at night – don’t just move on!
  • It’s still best to walk around at any time!
  • Islands by boat and bus.
  • Multiple city trips – onwards to Split, Zadar and beyond by coach.

Ratings

Car rental in - Dubrovnik Need v worth & should!

Do you need a car in Dubrovnik?

Based on comparison with transit, walking and cycling.
 

Is it worth hiring a car in Dubrovnik?

Based on value for money
 

Should you rent a car in Dubrovnik?

Weighing up the above, if you are asking about hiring a car, is it a good idea?
 

Who is travelling?

Is it worth renting a car in Dubrovnik if I am a solo / budget traveller?

What about for 2 people travelling together?

For families?

 

Where are you staying?

Do you need a car in Dubrovnik if we are staying in a central area?

What if we are staying on the edge of the city/resort?

Or in a rural area?

 

What is your attitude towards driving?

Should I hire a car in Dubrovnik if I prefer not to drive?

If I am easy either way?

If I prefer to drive?


 

Verdict

Final score:

5

Go back up to:
Why? Why not? Ratings Comments
 

Conclusion – as with any city, the longer you are planning on staying in Dubrovnik, the more useful a hire car is going to become.

The historic walled city of Dubrovnik is an amazing place to visit, but depending on your tolerance for crowds, you will either want to leave as soon as you can once you have seen it, or you will want to come back and see more details the next day. Needless to say, a hire car in this historic car is worse than pointless due to the naturally strict parking and access rules that only allow local residents in.

I have always been someone who likes to see multiple cities on the same trip, so I took the bus to split and then onto Zadar. From here, I went to the Plitvice national park, which I think must be the highlight of any visit to the whole Balkan region.

However, if you are simply doing as most visitors do, and just staying in around at Dubrovnik, then I would certainly advise getting a hire car if you are staying for anything longer than a weekend.

Should you hire a car in Dubrovnik?

Verdict – yes

Would you hire a car in Dubrovnik?

Have you driven in Dubrovnik? Do you agree with our advice on whether or not it's worth hiring a car in Dubrovnik?
Tell us what you think using the comments section below:
  Useful Dubrovnik Car Hire and travel links

Links.csv

Suggested links which may be of interest.
AnchorDescriptionURL
Absolute Croatia parkingParking informationhttp://www.absolute-croatia.com/dubrovnik-region/dubrovnik/parking
Adriana ShippingCavtat - Dubvrovnik / Lokrum ferryhttp://www.adriana-cavtat.com/rbl.php?lang=E
Croatia ExpertCroatia Expert on motorway tollshttp://www.croatia-expert.com/toll-croatian-highway/
Croatia ferries infoGeneral information websitehttp://www.croatiaferries.com/dubrovnik-kolocep-ferry.htm
Dubrovnik airportOfficial websitehttp://www.airport-dubrovnik.hr/index.php/en/
Mlijet visitorGeneral info, including boats & buseshttp://www.travel-file.com/mljet-island-buses.htm
Rick Steves Croatia drivingForum threadhttps://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/croatia/rental-car-restrictions-croatia-to-mostar-or-through-bosnian-strip-of-coast

Pula

Do you need a car in Pula?

Should you rent a car in Pula Croatia > Pula

Pula Introduction

Why? Why not? Ratings

[coming]

Why should you rent a car in Pula?

In terms of factors like the cost of the hire itself, fuel costs, road tolls and parking charges, is it worth hiring a car in Pula?

Pula Car hire summary


Overall drive rating

60%

 

Cheapest rate for one week

€20

 #5/300

 

How much should I expect to pay in the peak season?

 

 €235

154/300

 

Free parking score

Total 100 - of which 19 have free parking. [full notes - parking]

19%

#252/300

 
  • Generally, we would advise getting a hire car in Pula, largely because public transport in Croatia is generally of a poor standard and badly organised.

If you are just staying in and around the town itself, you’ll be fine, but making even short excursions to places like Rovinj is difficult to plan ahead without relying on printed timetables at bus stops. A car is extremely useful for heading along the Adriatic coast towards other great destinations such as Zadar and then Split, or even as far as Dubrovnik. Check locally for one way rental deals – generally this is possible within Croatia, but often at a price.

Why should you rent a car in Pula?

In terms of factors like the cost of the hire itself, fuel costs, road tolls and parking charges, is it worth hiring a car in Pula?

Pula Car hire summary


Overall drive rating

60%

 

Cheapest rate for one week

€20

 #5/300

 

How much should I expect to pay in the peak season?

 

 €235

154/300

 

Free parking score

Total 100 - of which 19 have free parking. [full notes - parking]

19%

#252/300

 
  • Few reasons to visit Pula without a car!
  • You can explore Brijuni National Park by boat. No car needed, but you will need to rely on local bus transfers to get to the harbour.
  • Cycle Brijuni National Park with a combined park entrance and cycle hire ticket!

Ratings

Car rental in - Pula Need v worth & should!

Do you need a car in Pula?

Based on comparison with transit, walking and cycling.
 

Is it worth hiring a car in Pula?

Based on value for money
 

Should you rent a car in Pula?

Weighing up the above, if you are asking about hiring a car, is it a good idea?
 

Who is travelling?

Is it worth renting a car in Pula if I am a solo / budget traveller?

What about for 2 people travelling together?

For families?

 

Where are you staying?

Do you need a car in Pula if we are staying in a central area?

What if we are staying on the edge of the city/resort?

Or in a rural area?

 

What is your attitude towards driving?

Should I hire a car in Pula if I prefer not to drive?

If I am easy either way?

If I prefer to drive?


 

Verdict

Final score:

9

Go back up to:
Why? Why not? Ratings Comments
 

Do you need a car in Pula? Yes!

Would you hire a car in Pula?

Have you driven in Pula? Do you agree with our advice on whether or not it's worth hiring a car in Pula?
Tell us what you think using the comments section below:
 

Rijeka

Do you need a car in Rijeka?

Should you rent a car in Rijeka Croatia > Rijeka

There are lots of ways of looking at this question, so this is why we divide things up in terms of “need” – can you get around Rijeka without a car; value, ie compared to other options, is it worth hiring a car in Rijeka, and finally the ultimate question of weighing up the pros and cons to determine if we think you should rent a car in Rijeka. We don’t just give you a yes or no (although we always do that too) – we do ratings for different driving factors, non driving options, and we look at whether a rental car in Rijeka is a good idea for everyone from budget solo travellers to larger families.

Clinging tightly to steep hillside roads, the gritty port city of Rijeka is often overlooked in favour of more attractive rural locations nearby, but the pedestrian friendly centre is still just as impressive as any other Croatian city, other than perhaps the immaculate Dubrovnik.

Rijeka Introduction

Why? Why not? Ratings

Even if you just get to pass through briefly, Rijeka has one or two architectural gems which are well worth a look at, especially the Croatian National Theatre.

Why should you rent a car in Rijeka?

In terms of factors like the cost of the hire itself, fuel costs, road tolls and parking charges, is it worth hiring a car in Rijeka?

Rijeka Car hire summary


Overall drive rating

30%

 

Cheapest rate for one week

€45

 #17/300

 

How much should I expect to pay in the peak season?

 

 €300

204/300

 

Free parking score

Total 99 - of which 19 have free parking. [full notes - parking]

19%

#251/300

 
  • Due to the poor quality of public transport in most of Croatia (outside the capital Zagreb), we generally recommend that a hire car here makes a great deal of sense in Rijeka, as it does in most places on the eastern Adriatic coast.
  • A hire car will also offers a great deal of convenience when compared with local bus and coach services, which tend to be poorly advertised, and unreliable.
  • A rental car is a natural choice for visiting any of the Adriatic islands which can be explored around Rijeka.
  • The drive in from the airport alone is an impressive introduction to the area, as you need to go over two large arched bridges to transfer from the island of Krk to the mainland. The airport bus, timed to connect with each flight arrival / departure, will go this way too, but you cannot stop on the way (and for this journey you will want to!).
  • Train services from Rijeka are so limited to be of almost no use at all – two daily trains trundle along to the Slovenian capital Ljubljana, one of which continues as a night service as far as Munich, whereas there are just two daily trains to the capital Zagreb – one fast and one slow.

Why not? Visiting Rijeka without a car

Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

Rijeka public transport quick facts

Train score

 

60%

Water travel score

10%

Overall public transport score

70%

Walking and Cycling Overview

Active travel score

(walking + cycling)

90%

We really don’t advise visiting Rijeak without a rental car!

  • Without your own transport, you will be fine if you are staying in or around the city, but otherwise you will find it difficult.
  • You will have some limited options to combine local buses and ferry trips, but don’t be too optimistic – there are only two routes direct from the port of Rijeka, and many other routes require multiple combinations of island + ferry + island. It’s just far easier to do this if you rent a car in Rijeka!

James says - a few trip notes:


I’ve made it as far along the Adriatic coast as Split and Zadar by bus (starting in Dubrovnik), but I really wouldn’t recommend visiting Rijeka or Pula without a car if you can possibly avoid it. In general, I rate Croatia as by far the worst country in mainland Europe for public transport. This was what I felt when I visited in 2012, and nothing has made me want to change my view since. The main point of Carornocar is to advise on getting around for people who have already made the choice to fly to a certain place. But if you haven’t yet booked your flights to Rijeka, and you just want to enjoy the Adriatic coast without needing a car, then you would be much better off staying in Split or Dubrovnik. Even these two places are far from marvellous when it comes to public transport, but you will at least have a few more options!

I’d love to be challenged on any of this, so if you’ve managed to visit Rijeka withjout a car, and you’ve got around without any problem, then let me know how you got on. In the meantime, this still gets my rating as the worst place in what I think is already the worst country in Europe or transport choice!


Do you need a car in Rijeka? Yes!

Ratings

Car rental in - Rijeka Need v worth & should!

Do you need a car in Rijeka?

Based on comparison with transit, walking and cycling.
 

Is it worth hiring a car in Rijeka?

Based on value for money
 

Should you rent a car in Rijeka?

Weighing up the above, if you are asking about hiring a car, is it a good idea?
 

Who is travelling?

Is it worth renting a car in Rijeka if I am a solo / budget traveller?

What about for 2 people travelling together?

For families?

 

Where are you staying?

Do you need a car in Rijeka if we are staying in a central area?

What if we are staying on the edge of the city/resort?

Or in a rural area?

 

What is your attitude towards driving?

Should I hire a car in Rijeka if I prefer not to drive?

If I am easy either way?

If I prefer to drive?


 

Verdict

Final score:

9

Go back up to:
Why? Why not? Ratings Comments
 

Would you hire a car in Rijeka?

Have you driven in Rijeka? Do you agree with our advice on whether or not it's worth hiring a car in Rijeka?
Tell us what you think using the comments section below:
 

 

Split

Do you need a car in Split?

Should you rent a car in Split Croatia > Split

The coastal city of Split is an interesting mix of old and new, with a focus on the UNESCO world Heritage site of Diocletian’s Palace, which is situated in the city’s historic centre.

Split Introduction

Why? Why not? Ratings

Why should you rent a car in Split?

In terms of factors like the cost of the hire itself, fuel costs, road tolls and parking charges, is it worth hiring a car in Split?

Split Car hire summary


Overall drive rating

70%

 

Cheapest rate for one week

€20

 #6/300

 

How much should I expect to pay in the peak season?

 

 €235

155/300

 

Free parking score

Total 326 - of which 57 have free parking. [full notes - parking]

17%

#255/300

 

Islands and Coastlines

  • Apart from the central city, Split really is the sort of destination where a hire car is going to be a lot more useful. Many visitors to Croatia are coming for the islands and the coastal driving roads, and even if you don’t want to put in that much distance, it’s still a lot better to have a hire car for that flexibility.
  • Split really is also a natural starting point for heading into the various outlying islands which are situated just off the Croatian coast, and numerous different passenger and vehicle ferries are available for getting to them. Now it’s perfectly true that if you’re happy to go a slower pace, the same ferries can be used as a foot passenger, and then you can use local island transport at the other end, but don’t expect seamless connections.

Krka & Plitvice

  • Situated about a one hour drive from Split and nearer to the historic city of Sibenik, the one real must see destination that is an easy day trip from Split is the absolutely spectacular Krka National Park, which includes a stunning set of waterfalls, which is also popular with swimmers. It is also easy enough to get to Krka as part of an organised bus package – just ask locally for the easiest options.  It might not be worth getting a hire car just to go to Krka, but by the time you look at all of the other coastal roads and islands, the pendulum really does start to swing towards getting one.
  • The real jewel in Croatia’s crown has to be found in the Plitvice Lakes National Park, which is actually situated between Zadar and the Croatian capital Zagreb, but it’s also still an easy enough excursion from Split if you have a car. Without a car, you might still be to get to Plitvice by bus tour, but trying to travel around Croatia and then to travel through Plitvice and then on somewhere else (for example Zagreb) is something that the author found to be a huge amount of hassle.  The rail service from Split is unbelievably poor – with the one train of the day to Zagreb taking the best part of 7 hours to get there. The coach will deliver you are there in about 3 or 4 hours, not that much longer than driving in a car.

Why not? Visiting Split without a car

Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

Split public transport quick facts

Train score

 

80%

Water travel score

80%

Overall public transport score

90%

Walking and Cycling Overview

Active travel score

(walking + cycling)

90%

  • Local bus services are available in the city of Split, and to and from the airport – service standards are reasonable, but information and connectivity is poor.
  • You can continue by express coach to other destinations – south along the Adriatic coast to Zadar or Dubrovnik, or north towards Rijeka.
  • Tour shuttles are available to Plitvice National Park.
  • Split does have a railway station – but the daily service to Zagreb is slow and unreliable.

Ratings

Car rental in - Split Need v worth & should!

Do you need a car in Split?

Based on comparison with transit, walking and cycling.
 

Is it worth hiring a car in Split?

Based on value for money
 

Should you rent a car in Split?

Weighing up the above, if you are asking about hiring a car, is it a good idea?
 

Who is travelling?

Is it worth renting a car in Split if I am a solo / budget traveller?

What about for 2 people travelling together?

For families?

 

Where are you staying?

Do you need a car in Split if we are staying in a central area?

What if we are staying on the edge of the city/resort?

Or in a rural area?

 

What is your attitude towards driving?

Should I hire a car in Split if I prefer not to drive?

If I am easy either way?

If I prefer to drive?


 

Verdict

Final score:

3

Go back up to:
Why? Why not? Ratings Comments
 

Public transport in Croatia is still just too much hassle if you are comparing it with driving in a hire car. Naturally, the centre of any European city can always be hassle to drive in as well, but in all honesty, you are probably going to  want to spend the lion’s share of your time in this part of Croatia driving around the different islands or along the coastline, and then heading inland.

Verdict – yes.

Would you hire a car in Split?

Have you driven in Split? Do you agree with our advice on whether or not it's worth hiring a car in Split?
Tell us what you think using the comments section below:
 

Zadar

Should you hire a car in Zadar?

Should you rent a car in Zadar Croatia > Zadar

Generally, we would recommend getting a hire car here, especially for heading to the stunning Plitvice Lakes National Park, but also for driving along Croatia’s stunning Adriatic coast and visiting the nearby islands.

Zadar Introduction

Why? Why not? Ratings

[coming]

Why should you rent a car in Zadar?

In terms of factors like the cost of the hire itself, fuel costs, road tolls and parking charges, is it worth hiring a car in Zadar?

Zadar Car hire summary


Overall drive rating

60%

 

Cheapest rate for one week

€20

 #7/300

 

How much should I expect to pay in the peak season?

 

 €250

168/300

 

Free parking score

Total 524 - of which 90 have free parking. [full notes - parking]

17%

#257/300

 

Why not? Visiting Zadar without a car

Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

Zadar public transport quick facts

Train score

 

90%

Water travel score

100%

Overall public transport score

100%

Walking and Cycling Overview

Active travel score

(walking + cycling)

90%

Despite a thriving nightlife and a slightly bizarre farting “sea organ”, Zadar remains one of Croatia’s more niche destinations. For further car hire advice covering Croatia’s Adriatic coast, please see our longer car hire guides to Split or Dubrovnik.

Should you hire a car in Zadar? – Yes!

Ratings

Car rental in - Zadar Need v worth & should!

Do you need a car in Zadar?

Based on comparison with transit, walking and cycling.
 

Is it worth hiring a car in Zadar?

Based on value for money
 

Should you rent a car in Zadar?

Weighing up the above, if you are asking about hiring a car, is it a good idea?
 

Who is travelling?

Is it worth renting a car in Zadar if I am a solo / budget traveller?

What about for 2 people travelling together?

For families?

 

Where are you staying?

Do you need a car in Zadar if we are staying in a central area?

What if we are staying on the edge of the city/resort?

Or in a rural area?

 

What is your attitude towards driving?

Should I hire a car in Zadar if I prefer not to drive?

If I am easy either way?

If I prefer to drive?


 

Verdict

Final score:

9

Go back up to:
Why? Why not? Ratings Comments
 

Would you hire a car in Zadar?

Have you driven in Zadar? Do you agree with our advice on whether or not it's worth hiring a car in Zadar?
Tell us what you think using the comments section below:
 

Zagreb

Should you hire a car in Zagreb?

Should you rent a car in Zagreb Croatia > Zagreb

Zagreb is quite unique amongst major Croatian destinations in that it is inland, rather than on the Adriatic coast, where the popular tourist resorts are located.

James says - a few trip notes:


It’s probably fair enough to say that Zagreb is something of a niche tourist destination. The Croatian capital is pleasant enough, but when the country has so much to offer in places which are by the sea, there aren’t so many people visiting Zagreb. That is the group I count myself in – I spent just a brief night in Zagreb in the autumn of 2012 before continuing onwards to the Italian city Trieste to catch my flight home.

Zagreb Introduction

Why? Why not? Ratings

Zagreb is still one of the key capital cities of the Balkans. It has a perfectly reasonable network of buses and trams. Is there any reason to get a hire car here?

Why should you rent a car in Zagreb?

In terms of factors like the cost of the hire itself, fuel costs, road tolls and parking charges, is it worth hiring a car in Zagreb?

Zagreb Car hire summary


Overall drive rating

10%

 

Cheapest rate for one week

€25

 #8/300

 

How much should I expect to pay in the peak season?

 

 €250

169/300

 

Free parking score

Total 98 - of which 23 have free parking. [full notes - parking]

23%

#228/300

 

Why should you hire a car in Zagreb?

  • Plitvice Lakes – what can I say about this fantastic national park? If you only ever do one thing in Croatia, go to Plitvice. Unfortunately, it is an absolute nightmare to get there by public transport, and even more of a nightmare to find the right information about what little public transport there is. Therefore, going there in a hire car is the best bet, even though you will still end up leaving it by the park gates and then walking around for the rest of the day.
  • Speed and convenience – Croatia is very much a country built around the car, with billions of euros having been invested in the road network in the run-up to joining the EU in July 2013. Public transport is sluggish by comparison, and you certainly get the feeling that it’s only really there for people who don’t have the option of driving.
  • Terrible trains – if you want to travel onwards from Zagreb by rail, then make sure you plan your trip very carefully. Many of the long-distance train services to and from Zagreb only operate once or twice each day, and even when they do, they are often at ridiculous times of the day, because they are forming part of a through service through the Balkan spine.
    Even if you can find a train that is going where you want to go when you want to go, don’t expect anything remotely modern or reliable.

Why not? Visiting Zagreb without a car

Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

Zagreb public transport quick facts

Train score

 

90%

Water travel score

70%

Overall public transport score

100%

Walking and Cycling Overview

Active travel score

(walking + cycling)

70%

  • Plitvice excursions by minibus / coach – chances are that your hotel will have adverts for companies offering day trips to the Plitvice Lakes, and these will usually leave first thing in the morning and then head back once the park closes. Obviously, going this way round isn’t as flexible as having your own car, but Plitvice strictly somewhere for walking, so everyone still gets to see the same things.
  • Plitvice pedestrian paradise – the amazing rock formation at Plitvice are enough of an attraction in their own right, but the walkways themselves are really something very special – and for this reason the advice has to be to concentrate on enjoying one of the most amazing walking experiences anywhere in Europe, and not to worry too much about how you get there!
  • City buses and trams – if you just want to stay in the city of Zagreb itself, then you will have no problem getting around on the ample tram network, which was well developed long before the fall of the Iron Curtain.
  • Walking Zagreb – Zagreb is a relatively compact city, and most of the main places of interest are a relatively easy walk from the main rail and coach stations.

Ratings

Car rental in - Zagreb Need v worth & should!

Do you need a car in Zagreb?

Based on comparison with transit, walking and cycling.
 

Is it worth hiring a car in Zagreb?

Based on value for money
 

Should you rent a car in Zagreb?

Weighing up the above, if you are asking about hiring a car, is it a good idea?
 

Who is travelling?

Is it worth renting a car in Zagreb if I am a solo / budget traveller?

What about for 2 people travelling together?

For families?

 

Where are you staying?

Do you need a car in Zagreb if we are staying in a central area?

What if we are staying on the edge of the city/resort?

Or in a rural area?

 

What is your attitude towards driving?

Should I hire a car in Zagreb if I prefer not to drive?

If I am easy either way?

If I prefer to drive?


 

Verdict

Final score:

6

Go back up to:
Why? Why not? Ratings Comments
 

Should you hire a car in Zagreb?  Conclusion – public transport beyond Zagreb might still leave a lots to be desired, but this is still very much a city break destination, and not somewhere that needs a set of your own wheels for getting around.

Even if getting a hire car in Zagreb would be extremely useful to visit Plitvice Lakes, since you can do this as a bus excursion, it really isn’t worth going to the bother of arranging a rental just for one trip.

Whereas I think a hire car is going to be extremely useful if you are flying into, or continuing on to any of the Adriatic resorts, this isn’t so much the case in Zagreb.

Would you hire a car in Zagreb?

Have you driven in Zagreb? Do you agree with our advice on whether or not it's worth hiring a car in Zagreb?
Tell us what you think using the comments section below: