Should you rent a car in SplitCroatia>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.

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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.

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  • 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.

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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.

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Author: Carometer

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