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 depth. Unlike 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
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 😉