12 Things to Know About Renting a Car in Croatia


Croatia is best seen and explored when you have your own transportation. Luckily, renting a car in Croatia is cheaper than most other countries, and is a super easy process. But like all rental car experiences, there are a few things to know before renting a car in Croatia.

 

1. Location Matters

Before you book the cheapest flight you find to Croatia, be sure to check rental car prices from that location! Booking a car from Zagreb can be double the price of booking a car from say, Dubrovnik. Zadar is a good hub for reaching a lot of Croatia, and the prices of rental cars from there are often cheaper than Zagreb!

When we rented our car, we actually picked it up in Dubrovnik city and then returned it to Dubrovnik airport, and it was cheaper than returning it to the same pickup location. I think this is because the need at the airport is greater, so you’ll do them a favor by dropping it off there. Play around with the locations to see what works best for you!

 

2. Rent Ahead of Time

It’s not always necessary to rent a car ahead of time if traveling outside of high season, however, it does have its perks. Aside from the rental being cheaper, you’ll have more options for which car you rent, and it will be waiting for you at the airport! Even just renting the night before picking it up will do you good, because you won’t have to deal with the rental agent trying to upsell something you don’t need, and you’ll have a better idea of the price at that time.

The rental agents at the airport in Dubrovnik were trying to rent us a car for over 50 USD more than the price it actually costs. The only reason we knew the difference is because we researched ahead of time! Don’t be fooled by a good salesman – just book in advance!

 

3. Get Unlimited Miles

When renting a car in Croatia, the last thing you want to worry about is counting the miles you put on the car. Most rental agencies offer unlimited mileage, however, often times when you find an agency offering a special promotional deal, they’ll have a limit on how many free miles you get a day. Be sure that your car comes with the unlimited miles!



4. The Time of Year Matters

If you’ve heard that you can rent a car for around 10 USD per day, you’re hearing that right! However, you won’t find those kinds of prices in high season (mid-June through mid-September). If you want to save money while renting a car, and really everything else too, visit in a “shoulder season” (May to mid-June and mid-September to the end of October).

The prices of rental cars can go up to 60 USD a day in the high season versus 10 USD in the off season – so definitely keep that in mind when planning your trip to Croatia!

 

5. Toll Roads.. A Little Something Extra 

Although the toll roads in Croatia won’t break the bank, you do need to factor this into your budget. Our longest distance on the toll road was about three hours, and it cost under 20 USD. So really not bad at all. You can pay the toll in Euro, Kuna, or by credit card. You can also take the old highway along the coastline and avoid most of the toll roads all together! It will take more time, but the scenery is gorgeous!

 

READ MORE : Driving Dubrovnik to Plitvice Lakes 

 

6. Crossing the Borders With and Without A Green Card

Every single rental car company will try and scam you into getting a “green card”. They’ll say you have to have a green card to cross any and all borders around Croatia. While it seems you do need one to cross into Montenegro and Slovenia, crossing the border of Bosnia can be done without a green card. We don’t have experience crossing over the other borders, but at the Bosnia border (which you’ll cross if you’re driving to and from Dubrovnik) the border control asked for our paperwork and everything, and we didn’t have a green card and had no problem.

Definitely do some more research if you plan on crossing other borders. As it might be better to just rent a car in separate companies as it’s about 10 USD more a day to have the green card. However, as far as we researched we found it not necessary to have one in most cases.


7. Don’t Buy the Extra Car Rental Insurance

Most rental companies will have some sort of coverage included in the price, often times this is the law in different countries. But don’t be fooled into purchasing extra coverage. Check your credit card to see if they offer rental car insurance coverage.  Most travel credit cards offer this free perk, and it will save you loads!

{Traveler’s Tip… We use the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, and absolutely love it! This post tells you all about why we fully love and recommend this card.}

 

8. Drive on the Right

Like the rest of Europe, drive on the right side of the road! It seems natural to most, but coming from the U.K., we had to consciously think about this when turning onto roads with no other cars!

 

9. Smaller is Better

With small village streets and tiny back roads, you’ll want a small car! Not only will you feel more comfortable driving, but the fuel efficiency will be greater too! Just be sure that your car is big enough for the people inside and the luggage too, as lots of rental cars come with a small trunk.

 

10. Avoid Renting a GPS by Downloading an Offline Map App

Having a GPS in a foreign country is so handy. However, renting a GPS is about an extra 10 USD a day, and that’s money you don’t need to spend. Download an offline map app – like maps.me – and avoid having to rent a GPS.

{Traveler’s Tip… If you want to know why we love map.me, check out this post here. There’s even another free offline travel app we recommend in that post too!}

 

11. Manual is Cheaper. Always.

Seriously, either learn how to drive a manual or bring someone with you who knows how. Renting a car in Croatia can be more than double the price if you rent an automatic! If you can’t drive a manual, be sure to rent far in advance, as the automatics sell out fast!

 

12. Parking Isn’t Always Free

In cities like Dubrovnik and Zadar, and we imagine Zagreb as well, you won’t find free parking. So, if you’re going to drive all the way into the city, be sure to look into parking costs. In Split, parking was roughly 1 USD an hour, with some places being free after 18:30, however, in other places parking was more.

This also means that some accommodations don’t have free parking! Be sure to book accommodation with “free parking” not just “parking”, or you may be spending a bit extra… trust us here… don’t make our mistake!! We’ll say it again.. make sure the accommodation says free parking!! You don’t want to get stuck paying for overnight parking when you could have stayed at a place next door with free parking included. 😉




 

Renting a car in Croatia we feel is the best way to see the country. You can stop at any place you want and experience the back roads and hidden beaches. With the cheap off-season prices, there’s no better way to explore!

The company we used is Sixt Croatia Rental Cars. They were super nice to work with and we had no problems at all with pick up or drop off. They also tend to be the cheapest in most places we visit. Like we said above, if you visit Croatia outside of the high season, you’ll find rental prices right around 10 USD a day! That’s a price you can’t beat!

If you want more info on Croatia check out our Croatia Travel Page or our Croatia Playlist on our YouTube channel! Have a great time in Croatia, and don’t forget to share your stories with us when you return!

 


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