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