Europe > Croatia > Dubrovnik

See: Why hire a car in Dubrovnik ? | Why not? | Ratings | Summary | Comments

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?

Please note that is currently being revised and updated in preparation for the Summer 2021 (northern hemisphere) tourist season. It is expected that some social distancing rules will still apply. For additional Dubrovnik car hire advice, please use the comments form below.

Quick Ratings

Price band

Dubrovnik is in car rental price band: 2/10 (1 = cheapest car rental location)

General comment - based on price alone, is it worth renting a car in Dubrovnik? 

Yes. Very cheap car rental by global standards.


Can you expect big swings in car rental prices in Dubrovnik between the peak and the off peak season?

5/10 (0 = stable prices)

Driving score: 4/10

Non car score:3/10

Balance: 6

(0 = car hire not advised / 10 = rental car essential)

General comment -


Why? Visiting Dubrovnik using a hire car

Why do you need a car in Dubrovnik ?

  • 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 don't you need a car in Dubrovnik ?

  • 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: How does Dubrovnik compare?

Is it worth hiring a car in Dubrovnik? TBC

This is based on a rough consideration of the costs of renting a car in Dubrovnik, and how this compares with the costs of using public transport. The answer to this varies hugely from one destination to the next, based on a wide range of factors. It's based on renting a car at the airport (TBC), and driving for an average of 2-3 hours on open roads on most days.

How does this compare if:

You are travelling:

Solo / As couple / small family / larger family / senior couple etc

Does car rental make sense on different budgets?



Do you need to hire a car in Dubrovnik? TBC

This is based strictly on whether or no we think it's possible to visit Dubrovnik (and the surrounding area) without using a car. Of the three key questions, this one is the most likely to be a "no".

Should you rent a car in Dubrovnik? TBC

This is a balance of all factors. Remember this is an answer to the question for people who are already asking it. That's why the answer might still be a "yes", even when public transport is good. 

See global comparisons

Hiring | Driving | Parking

Trains | Buses | Local travel


Car hire basics:


Public transportation basics:


Regular bus services: YES

Coach (inter-city): YES

Tram: NO

Metro: NO

Commuter Rail:

High Speed Rail:

Rail type (end stub / through / junction / hub):


As you start ....

Does Dubrovnik airport have a direct rail link?

(Yes - within terminal / adjacent / short walk) (Yes - bus transfer / other) No






Has our advice for Dubrovnik car rental changed over time, or has it been pretty constant?

2017 - 3

2019 - 4

2021 - 6

Average score - 5



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.


Do you or don't you need a car in Dubrovnik ?

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