With so many places to see in Croatia that are off the beaten track, the freedom of your own four wheels will definitely come in handy.

Croa­t­ia is a tru­ly par­adise and it is a great des­ti­na­tion for road trip. There’s 1000km of coast at your dis­pos­al in Croa­t­ia, and almost as many islands. There are forests and mead­ows, rivers and moun­tains, all wait­ing to be explored on foot, by bike, on horse­back or of course, on your trusty four wheels. Hav­ing a vehi­cle  means hav­ing free­dom  to get up and go when­ev­er you want espe­cial­ly if you plan to explore islands in depthUnlike the rest of Croa­t­ia where mod­ern bus­es link all the towns, bus­es on the islands are slow and infre­quent.

The motor­way sys­tem in Croa­t­ia has great­ly improved in recent years thanks to some rather exten­sive road build­ing. There are (amongst oth­er routes) now motor­ways link­ing Zagreb to Pula, Rije­ka, Zadar and Split along the coast and Varazdin in the inte­ri­or. The main motor­way south – to Dubrovnik – is cur­rent­ly con­struct­ed as far as Ploce, which is about 100km north of Dubrovnik (along the coast).

 

Roads in Croa­t­ia are of a pret­ty good stan­dard. You are unlike­ly to encounter any prob­lems when dri­ving in Croa­t­ia. Even if you do come into some dif­fi­cul­ties, most local peo­ple will be more than will­ing to help you. You’ll reg­u­lar­ly come across petrol sta­tions when dri­ving, which all offer unlead­ed and diesel as stan­dard. If you need road assis­tance, the Croa­t­ian Auto Club Emer­gency Ser­vice (HAK) will help you. Their tele­phone num­ber is 987.

 

Many of the same road rules apply in Croa­t­ia as they do in oth­er coun­tries. Wear a seat­belt, keep your mobile phone in your back­pack (it’s ille­gal to use it while dri­ving) and don’t get behind the wheel if you’ve been sam­pling the local bev­er­ages ( per­mit­ted blood alco­hol lev­el is 0.05%).

And very impor­tant thing, always take care of our friends on two wheels, give them space if they are pass­ing by your side and please what­ev­er you do, don’t throw cig­a­rette buds trough the window.Long, hot sum­mers turn the veg­e­ta­tion in Dal­ma­tia into one huge tin­der­box. Wild­fires caused by a moment’s thought­less­ness spread rapid­ly with trag­ic con­se­quences for peo­ple, wildlife and prop­er­ty, so penal­ties for cul­prits are stiff.

Hoping the islands

If you’re plan­ning to take your car onto the islands, you will need to take one of the many car fer­ries that run from the main­land. The main fer­ry com­pa­ny in Croa­t­ia is Jadrolin­i­ja. Ensure that you reserve your place on the fer­ry ahead of time, as on most ser­vices you can’t just show up on the day. Some fer­ries enable you to book online but oth­ers you will need to book at a local tick­et office.

If you want to explore islands with your camper­van or car, you will have to take one of the Jadrolin­i­ja’s fer­ry .. Oth­er­wise you can use cata­ma­rans from com­pa­nies below.

 

  • Kapetan Luka Oper­ate cata­ma­ran ser­vices between Split and Vis (stop­ping at Hvar twice a week), and a very pop­u­lar cata­ma­ran ser­vice from Split to Brac, Hvar, Kor­cu­la, Mljet and Dubrovnik, Split-Bol-Makars­ka-Kor­cu­la-Mljet-Dubrovnik as well as a route from Rije­ka to the near­by islands
  • G & V Line Oper­ates a cata­ma­ran ser­vice from Dubrovnik to Sipan & Mljet which con­tin­ues to Kor­cu­la and Las­to­vo in July & August
  • G & V Line Iadera Routes from Zadar to the local islands
  • Mia Tours From Zadar to the islands of Pre­mu­da, Sil­ba and Olib
  • Rap­s­ka Plovid­ba Ser­vice between the islands of Rab and Pag, and Rab and the main­land
  • LNP Routes between Split and Sol­ta, and Sibenik and two local islands
  • Bura Line Oper­ate a route between Split, Slati­na and Tro­gir
  • Bilan oper­ate ser­vices between Ore­bic on the Pel­je­sac Penin­su­la and Kor­cu­la
  • Porat Ilovik have a route from Los­inj to the small island of Ilovik
  • RPZ Vrga­da oper­ate a ser­vice from Biograd na moru and Pakostane on the main­land to the small island of Vrga­da
  • GP Sibenik oper­ate a route from Bro­dar­i­ca (near Sibenik) to the island of Krpanj
  • Nautic­ki Cen­tar Komiza have a fer­ry line between Komiza on the island of Vis and the island of Bise­vo

Wild camping

While wild camp­ing in BIH and Ser­bia is com­mon, it is for­bid­den in Croa­t­ia. It is worth say­ing that this does­n’t stop trav­el­ers to sleep close to one of the many acces­si­ble seclud­ed beach­es or in the coun­try­side for a cou­ple of nights. Whether you decide to sleep in camp­sites or your deci­sion will be to go wild, always use your com­mon sense, don’t flash out and clean up after you leave!

(and have a good excuse ready if the police­men sud­den­ly knock on your win­dow 😉