With Croatian roads, the Adriatic Coast is on the palm of your hand!
Summertime is getting more close day by day, and you know what that means? It's vacation time, and you are ready to run away from the everyday stress and enjoy the best time of your life. If you are looking for the safest and fastest way to the Adriatic coast, then we will give you a heads up.
In this year, car destinations are the number one choice for many. Why? Mainly, it is because of the Croatian roads. Now a fun fact you probably don't know: the conditions and state of the Croatian roads are so good that they are considered one of the best in the world! In this blog, we will tell you everything you need to know and why you should take your metal pet with your family on vacation this summer!
Traffic jams? No problem at all!
One of the comparative advantages of Croatia concerning its competition are modern and quality roads that make a well-built traffic infrastructure which connects every part of Croatia and its most popular tourist destinations. The Croatian highway is just 15 years old and in pretty good shape thanks to modernization and reconstruction every year. Croatia sets a positive example of how a country can be connected with its every part, no matter its territory or geographical size or shape. That is why our country is often ranked as one of the top 15 globally in the "quality of the road" category.
The highway itself is modern, new, and well equipped. There are precisely 11 highway roads that cover 1306 kilometers. The main routes are A1 from Zagreb to Split and Dubrovnik, A5 from Zagreb to Osijek, A6 for Rijeka, and A8 for Istria. On the Croatian Tourist Board official website, you can find and download the whole tourist and road map of Croatia, which will help you with your journey planning. In just about a few hours, you can travel from one part of the country to another without any problem while enjoying one of the best views of your life at the same time!
Driving in Croatia - prices and rules
If you take the Croatian highway, you will have to pay to use it. There are pay-tolls on the highway entries and exits, but that is the only traffic toll you will have to pay in Croatia. The price varies and depends on the vehicle type, destination location, and date of your arrival. From Zagreb to Split, you will pay app. 180 kuna, from Zagreb to Rijeka 70 kuna, Zagreb-Osijek is about 120 kuna and to Dubrovnik is about 250 kuna in one way. You pay the toll when you take off the highway on the exit tollbooth, so don't throw away the little piece of paper you get while entering the highway if you don't want to pay a significant fee!
In Croatia, everybody drives on the right side and overtakes on the left. Everybody over 18 with a driver's license is eligible to drive. If your license isn't in the Latin alphabet, you will have to apply for an international driver's license in your Embassy. Besides that, always have a passport or an ID with you. The speed limit on the highway is 130 km/h, while on the other public roads, the limitations are between 50 and 80 km/h. When entering the big cities, always look for traffic signs and read them carefully. If you're traveling between November and March, it's obligatory to turn on the daylights on your car while the other traffic rules are similar or exact to any other country in the world. Seat belts are a must; mobile phone usage is forbidden unless you're using a "hands-free" and the child seat is required for every child under 135 cm. Winter tires are required from November until the 15th of April, but this rule isn't obligatory in Dalmatia or Istria.
Made for traveling, but offers much more
On your way to the destination, there are many petrol stops and rest stops on the side. They differ in capacity and equipment. While ones are just used to make a stop and stretch your legs, the other ones are real hotels with all-inclusive service if you need it. On most of the petrol stops, you can fill up the tank with diesel and benzine that cost about 10 kunas per liter.. If you're traveling by electric car, there are more than 200 charging points in Croatia, and 2 of them are included on the highway. Croatia is one of the leaders and innovators in the field of the electric automobile industry thanks to the work and creation of "Rimac automobile" that comes from Croatia. Also, the father of alternating current, Nikola Tesla, was born in Croatia so it is logical that Croatia is an "eco-friendly" environment. There are many rental options in Croatia, and you can pick up a rent-a-car on the airport and in most of the places you visit.
Also, you can pay every fee in kunas or euros (1 Euro= 7.5 kuna) or with your credit cards. If anything wrong happens or you get lost, don't be afraid to ask the locals or call the Croatian Auto Club on the number 987, which is a phone line that works 24 hours per day. Also, you can use some of the free mobile apps that will make your journey much easier and care-free.
What about the local roads?
Besides being in good condition, Croatian roads are very safe to travel on! Big traffic jams are a rarity; the weather conditions are usually good, almost ideal, especially during summer times, and with a modern traffic infrastructure that follows the beautiful untouched nature, traveling through Croatia is a carefree, memorable experience. If you choose the highway, that means you will be going through the inner parts of the country, and it's the fastest way to come to the destination. Besides learning and seeing beautiful places that aren't on the most tourist maps of Croatia, you will learn a lot about the rich cultural and historical heritage that the locals in Croatia cherish with pride.
In just about a couple of hours of traveling through Croatia, you will see so many different lands and places that you'll be thinking you are not in the same country! From the beautiful Mediterranean on the South, the mountains of the Dinarids and Velebit all the way to the blue and green land of Istria and Kvarner bay, you will see the complex biodiversity of vegetation and climate thanks to the specific geographic position of the country that offers a mixture of the Balkan, Medditerranean and Central Europe.
If you're thinking of heading to Zagreb on the A1 highway, you will get to see the Croatian "Niagara falls," the Plitvice lakes, and some of many nature parks like Papuk, Žumberak or Kopački rit on the East of the country called Slavonija and Baranja. All you need to do is gon on the A5 road that takes you to the old ages when Slavonija fed millions of people, and while driving across the Sava river, the natural border between Croatia, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, you'll meet the green hill parts of Croatia with rich history, gastronomy and cheerful and friendly hosts.
With old roads feel the breeze of a thousand years old history
If you have time to spare or want to do the best "selfie" this summer, then we recommend taking the "Adriatic road" built in the 1960s. Altough the journey itself will be a little bit more longer, you will have an opportunity to see the beautiful nature and all parts of this land. As locals call it, the "Old road" is free to ride and is especially favorable between motorcyclists because of the riviera and the view you get to see while driving. Although, be very careful while driving, because the road is narrow and sharp-edged, but as mentioned, it offers you the most beautiful view of Croatia, its land, and places that are true hidden gems on the Adriatic coast.
Besides the Adriatic highway, we recommend taking "Dalmatina", a part of the A1 highway that connects the two biggest cities in Croatia, Zagreb, and Split. And by many, it is considered the most beautiful part of the highway. After getting to Split, there are about 100 kilometers until Dubrovnik, with the landscape of the Dalmatian coast on the side of the road. Also, taking the local roads can be a good choice if you want to avoid significant traffic during summer.
On the other hand, if you're planning on visiting the green Istria and Kvarner bay, then choosing the A6 road and driving through the Učka mountain and the Istrian Epsilon (Y) is a remarkable story in itself. Through series of tunnels, roundabouts, and curves, you'll sense the transformation from the continental to the mountain and, in the end, to the Mediterranean part of Croatia in just a few minutes of driving!
You finally made it! But, where to park?
Once you arrive at the destination, the parking itself shouldn't be a problem. Most rental options offer free parking on the spot, while in bigger cities, you can park everywhere, especially during summer. If you don't find free parking, in the big towns like Split or Zagreb, there is a well-implemented city parking system that allocates and finds free parking in close areas of your rented place. In Split, for example, you can find it on their official website.
The roads in bigger cities are safe so driving through them won't be a problem. Like everywhere, just follow the rules. These are some basic ones: full line means it's not allowed to cross or overtake, while the intermittent ones mean the opposite. Also, during rush hours in the summer season times, we recommend avoiding the main roads if possible. Maybe then is the right time to head to some less crowded places like the ones in the continental parts of the county to change it up a little bit.
Like the road traffic system, the ferry lines and the airlines function pretty regularly, especially in summer times. Zagreb, Split, and Dubrovnik got new or modernized the old airports, while the number of ferry and catamaran lines rises every year. If you are more interested in a rustic, traditional style of travel, we recommend the renewed Jadrolinija ferry line that connects Rijeka and Dubrovnik. Just make your reservations on time to avoid any unnecessary scuffle.
So many options, so many opportunities!
In conclusion, it is safe to say that a car as a traveling option is a good choice if you want a safe and carefree summer vacation in Croatia. There are plenty of options that are adjusted to your financial status and personal preferences. If you want to come as fast as possible, then taking the highway is the best option. On the other hand, alternative routes like the Adriatic highway or "Dalmatina" are accessible sight-seeing routes where you will get to meet the most beautiful parts of our country. Besides nature and the places alone, you will get a glance of a rich cultural and historical heritage which is inherited and cherished for centuries.
The roads are new, well lighted and marked with traffic signals so the trip itself won't be too exhausting for you and your travel buddies. Just before going, don't forget the epidemiological recommendations, do a PCR test, fill out the "Enter Croatia" app and the vaccination file and start on planing your Adriatic vacation as we speak!
And now, what to choose?
We know what you're thinking right now: hmm... What to choose, what to choose? Of course, we can help you with that part! You can find almost every place and rental option in Croatia on Adriatic.hr from the coastal to the continental area, depending on how you plan to spend your vacation time.
Also, you can take a look at the special offers we made for car travelers and tips on how to save money while traveling. Seven national parks, more than 20 nature parks, the mountains of Učka, Dinara, Velebit, the beautiful green land of Istria or Slavonija, the Plitvice lakes, or a "Robinson Cruiser style" of stay on some of more than 1,200 islands? You choose to kick back the stress of everyday life and become a part of the 2021. Croatian tourist story!