Renting a car in Croatia in 2024: All you need to know Renting a car in Croatia in 2024: All you need to know

Renting a car in Croatia in 2024: All you need to know

From crystalline turquoise waters and historic towns to lush green mountains and vibrant people – Croatia may be small, but it’s incredibly diverse. Renting a car in Croatia gives you the freedom to roam around the country at your own pace and go off the beaten path, reaching beautiful remote locations. Drive through winding mountain roads with views over the glittering sea and fairytale-like cities, and dive into the different parts of the country. Here’s all you need to know about renting and driving a car in Croatia.

How to rent a car in Croatia

Croatia makes an incredible country for a road trip as it’s relatively small and packed with incredible sites. With your own transportation, you’ll be able to visit some beautiful destinations that you wouldn’t be able to get to without a car, from coastal towns, national parks, and stunning mountain villages.

Access the country’s diverse nature, such as in the Plitvice Lakes or Krka National Park, explore stunning coastal towns such as in Istria, and head up high towards lovely mountain villages. 

Rent a car Croatia brac jelsa village

Depending on your travel plans, renting a car in Croatia allows you to travel at your own pace and gives you the flexibility to make up your own schedule. This way, you’re not dependent on public transport or official tours to take you around this European gem.

Rent a car Croatia hvar Plaža Dubovica

What do you need to rent a car in Croatia?

When you rent a car in Croatia, there are a couple of documents that you need to bring with you:

  • Your driver’s license from your home country
  • Your ID (passport)
  • Valid Credit Card in your name

The legal driving age in Croatia is 18 years old; however, the minimum age to rent a car varies, depending on the agency. Most of them will ask you to be at least 18 years old and that you’ve had your driver’s license for at least one year. Though some agencies only accept people over 21 years old. All drivers must provide a valid driver’s license, a passport as identification, and a credit card to make the payment.

Note: Most car rentals in Croatia charge an extra fee if you’re under 25 or over 70 years old. An International Driver’s Permit (IDP) is only necessary if your driver’s license isn’t in Roman script. An International Driving Permit costs just 15 USD and is valid for one year. You can check and arrange yours here.

Rent a car Croatia

Rental car insurance in Croatia

When renting a car in Croatia, make sure you’re covered in some way before picking up your rental car. A form of third-party liability insurance is mandatory, which you can either arrange upon booking or is covered by your credit card policy. Full coverage is recommended but not mandatory, though you will need to give a deposit on your credit card. 

When you decide to add additional coverage, try to do this in your initial booking, as the prices as best when booked like this. Good to know: Always have your driving license, IDP, and car rental documents on you.

Rent a car Croatia roads

Is it easy to drive in Croatia?

Driving in Croatia can be an incredible experience as most roads are good and well-maintained, with only a few smaller gravel roads. Regardless of what type of vehicle you choose to drive, it’s always good to know some of the road rules and customs of the country.

Roads & Speed Limits

Generally speaking, most of the roads in Croatia are in very good condition, with a few smaller and rural roads (especially on the islands) that have some potholes. There’s a multilane highway that crosses the country both from north to south and east to west, and a parallel toll-free road, too. 

rent a car in croatia mountains

You’ll find more narrow and winding roads throughout the country, especially around the mountains. Both the mainland and the stunning isles like Brac have these, but they offer some of the most incredible views. Always remember: people drive on the right-hand side of the road in Croatia.

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Renting a car in Croatia in 2024: All you need to know

The general speed limits in Croatia are 90 – 110 km/h on open roads, 130 km/h on highways, and 30 – 50 km/h within inner cities. Try to stick to the speed limits, as there are a number of fixed speed cameras and police monitors on the roads. You can always spot the speed limits on clear road signs along your routes.

Google Maps works really well to navigate the roads in Croatia. We recommend downloading the Google maps offline before heading out or making sure you have a SIM card with data when you travel through the country.

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If you ever need any road assistance, you can reach the Croatian Auto Club (HAK) through phone number 987. They have English-speaking operators and a free app that’ll give you real-time information about road conditions and any traffic updates.

Rent a car Croatia milna town brac

Toll Roads

There are toll roads on some of the highways in Croatia. You’ll receive a ticket at the entrance and pay the toll fee at the exit. Make sure to hold on to your ticket as proof of where you entered. Many toll booths are automatic, but some have an operator. 

Though at some booths you can pay with debit/credit cards, it’s best to have some small notes and change with you to pay for the tolls! The toll fees are usually only just a few euros per journey.

Rent a car Croatia scenic road

Traffic in Croatia

Depending on the time of the year that you visit, the traffic in Croatia is subject to change. If you’re planning on exploring tourist hotspots like Split or the island of Hvar during the summer, expect much more traffic on the roads than in the shoulder seasons. There are also much more cyclists and motorbikes on the road during this time, so always keep an eye out.

Though road rules and laws exist, to some people, they’re seen more as guidelines. People tend to drive fast here, but that doesn’t mean you have to. Let locals pass you and keep an eye out on your surroundings.

Rent a car Croatia dubrovnik

Visiting the Islands with a Rental Car

Though you don’t need a car to explore beautiful historic cities like Split and Dubrovnik, you may want to rent one once you want to see more of the country. The isles spread out in front make some of the best locations to visit, with many options to choose from. Depending on the size and your preferences, having a car on the Croatian islands can make it much easier to get around. 

rent a car in croatia ferry

There are a few car ferries in Croatia that are very easy to arrange, especially during the off-peak seasons. Simply show up and pay for your ticket as you board. However, if you’re traveling during the summer months, make sure to book online beforehand and arrive well on time at the ferry terminal. 

Note that basic insurance covers you driving on the islands but is void during the ferry crossing. You can choose to add extra insurance for this through your car rental company in Croatia, which costs about 15 – 20 EUR (18-25 USD) extra.

Rent a car Croatia zlatni rat beach

Is Driving in Croatia Safe? 

Although Croatia has some winding roads and experiences some traffic, driving is overall quite safe. Just like in any other country, you should pay attention to the other drivers and adjust to traffic. Some locals like to drive fast around cities and on local roads, making it better to drive a bit more defensively. 

In case you do end up in an accident, you’re requested to call the traffic police to file a report. After that, make sure to call your rental company so you can fill in the claims. The emergency number in Croatia is 112.

Top Tips for Renting a Car in Croatia

1. Do a walk-around when picking up the car

When you collect your rental car, make sure to inspect it thoroughly before starting on your journey. Together with the agent, do a walk-around and log any existing damages, no matter how small. Additionally, you can take some photos or a video of the damages to have extra ‘proof’ if necessary. 

Do the same with the inside of the car and check whether you have a full tank of gas. Most companies are reliable and trustworthy, but it’s important to note the damages so you’re not held responsible when returning the car.  

how to rent a car croatia tips

2. Getting gas

Getting gas in Croatia is relatively easy, as you’ll find plenty of gas stations around the country. Along the highways, you’ll find most, and they always have a sign which indicates how many kilometers further you’ll find the next one. There are no automatic machines at the gas station, which means you’ll have to pay inside the shop for your gas.  

Gas stations accept cash or debit/credit cards, though it’s safest to have cash on you. While en route, you can find the one closest to you through Google Maps. Most rental cars run on unleaded petrol, but if you’re ever in doubt about which type of fuel you need, try to find the sticker in your rental car that provides that information. You can usually find this on the car key, the dashboard, or the fuel door. 

dubrovnik rent a car Croatia

Leaded gas, unleaded, and diesel are offered all throughout Croatia. The current cost of gasoline is around 1,60 EUR (1,85 USD) per liter and 1,36 EUR per liter of diesel. At the end of your rental, make sure to return the car with a full tank of gas. This way, you avoid getting charged for a full tank by the rental agency.

3. Be mindful of where you park

There is limited on-street parking in Croatia, especially in bigger cities. Most of these only allow residents to drive up into the historical center, often surrounded by an impressive stone wall. However, there’s usually a car park at the entrance of a city from where you can continue on foot.

Paid parking (marked with a blue sign and the letter ‘P’) is easy to find and usually costs between 1 – 2 EUR per hour. Note that parking machines only accept coins. In bigger cities, you can pay through this local parking app. Always remove your valuables from your car when you’re not driving, as car theft isn’t unheard of. Tip: You can ask the hotel if there is any parking nearby when booking. Ideally, your accommodation has private parking that you can use.

how to rent a car croatia dubrovnik

How much does a car rental in Croatia cost?

Overall, a rental car in Croatia is quite affordable. The price typically depends on a few things: the time of the year you’re visiting, the duration of your trip, and the time you book in advance. During the summer months, there’s always an increased demand for renting a car in Croatia, which drives up the prices. It’s also better to book in advance and for more days if possible, as that will often bring down the price per day!

Getting the right vehicle

The general rule of thumb in many European countries is that the smaller the car, the lower the price. Bigger cars are more expensive because they require more fuel. However, a smaller car is generally also more convenient on Croatian roads and in busy towns. This way, you drive more comfortably and don’t have to worry when parking or driving through narrow streets. 

You can browse your options online via a comparison site to ensure you get the best deal. Note that most rental cars in Croatia are manual. If you want an automatic, make sure to arrange that in advance and expect to pay slightly more.

croatia rent a car tips

Where do I Rent a Car in Croatia?

Though still relatively calm compared to its Mediterranean neighbors Italy and Greece, Croatia is growing in popularity as a summer destination. Because of this, the demand for a rental car can be high. There are many car rentals in Croatia to choose from, and you can research them beforehand. 

If you’re planning on visiting during the high season, we recommend booking your car in advance. It’s not uncommon, especially on the islands, to run out of rental cars. This way, you also secure the type of car you want, possibly at a lower price. 

In most locations, you can collect your car at the airport (the most affordable option) or at a rental office downtown. It’s not necessary or recommended to rent a car in Split, Zagreb, or Dubrovnik, as the old center is where you’ll spend most of your time exploring and has incredibly narrow and busy roads. However, if you plan to explore more of Croatia by car, you can rent one after visiting the city. 

One-way & Cross-country

One-way rentals are possible between a few locations in Croatia, though additional fees may apply. You can drive a rental car from Croatia into neighboring countries as long as your rental car comes with a green card accepted in both countries. This document shows that you have the right insurance, though rental companies will try to sell you a cross-border fee.

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