Project Description

Renting a car to have a true journey around Croatia is not just a good idea, it’s a great idea. With a car, you can easily fit into a short vacation some leisure time on the beach, driving to the mountains, walks through ancient towns, dinners in authentic restaurants, and driving along panoramic coast roads. Travelling around Croatia by car is a feast for the heart!

To avoid wasting precious travel hours searching for a suitable car, it's best to find and book a car in advance online.

If you want to save money on car rental, book your car well in advance: the earlier you do it, the wider the choice and the lower the prices.

5 benefits of booking on Gretopia

  • Current and accurate rental prices and optional extras. The price is fixed at the time of booking in the voucher.
  • When placing your order, you make an advance payment of 15-20%, and you pay the rest when you pick up your car.
  • You can pick up a car in one city and drop it off in another one.
  • The website is user-friendly and intuitive. All the conditions are written in simple language.
  • Customer service is there for you any day and in any situation.

Picking up and dropping off

You pick up your car at a location and time of your choice.

You can meet the rental agent either in the city or at the airport.

  1. Inspect the car carefully and mark any existing damage on the inspection diagram.
  2. Take photos or record video of the car, just in case.
  3. Read and sign the agreement, pay the rest of the order price and make a deposit (if required).
It usually takes about 15 minutes.The car drop-off takes even less. Arrive on time, in a clean car, with the agreed amount of fuel in the tank. You hand over the keys, and the rental agent inspects the car and signs your copy of the drop-off report. If the deposit is not refunded immediately in cash, please keep all documents until you receive your money back.

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In Croatia, the basic traffic regulations are very similar to those in Europe, but they do have their peculiarities.There are many narrow sections of roads and mountain serpentines in the country, plus the locals often break the traffic regulations. It is certainly not a good idea to follow their example, or you will have to pay fines.

Basic traffic regulations and fines

Speed limits:

  • 50 km/h within towns
  • 90 km/h outside towns
  • 110 km/h on expressways
  • 130 km/h on toll roads.

The speeding fine depends on where and by how much you have exceeded the speed limit.

Within towns:

  • exceeding up to 10 km/h – €30
  • 10-20 km/h – €60
  • 20-30 km/h – €130
  • 30-50 km/h – €390-920
  • over 50 km/h – €1,320-2,650 fine or imprisonment for up to 60 days.

Outside towns:

  • 10-30 km/h – €60
  • 30-50 km/h – €260
  • over 50 km/h – €660-1,990.

Be sure to observe the traffic regulations, especially the speed limits. Even on toll roads. There are many speed cameras and radars on Croatian roads.

Drivers should give way to pedestrians on a zebra crossing. The fine is €60.

All passengers must ride buckled up. The fine is €130.

A child under 150 cm in height can only ride in the front seat in a special child restraint system; and children under 135 cm in height must ride in the rear in child safety seats and booster seats. The fine is €130.

On narrow mountain roads, uphill traffic always has the right of way over the downhill traffic.

From November 1st through March 31st, switching on low beam or daytime running lights is mandatory when driving at any time of day. During the rest of the year, low beam is only required in low visibility conditions and when driving through tunnels. The fine is €30-60.

During the cold season, when the roads are covered with snow or ice, winter tyres are mandatory. You should always have snow chains with you from November 15th through April 15th when travelling in mountainous areas.

Drivers must not use mobile phones without a special hands-free system. You can’t drive with two headphones in your ears. The fine is €130.

If your car breaks down, you must wear a reflective vest on the road. The fine is €30.

The maximum permitted blood alcohol content is 0.5‰, for drivers under the age of 24, it is 0‰. The penalty is from €90 to €2,650 or imprisonment for up to 60 days.

How to communicate with the local police

Traffic police rarely stop cars, but if you do get pulled over, be polite and tactful.

Show your driver’s license, insurance, and vehicle registration certificate. If you are driving a rental car, you must have your rental agreement with you.

There is no point in “challenging everything” and raising your voice, as this is guaranteed to make things worse. The fact that you are a foreigner and do not speck Croatian is not an excuse for violation. You can only ask for an interpreter in court, not on the road. So, you’d better try to settle a problem on the spot.If the situation is not very serious, such as a minor speeding offence, just apologise immediately and admit guilt. There is a good chance that they will let you go in peace.Never try to pay a bribe, or you can easily spend the rest of your vacation under arrest.

How to pay the fine

If the fine was issued by a police officer, you can pay it on the spot or at any bank or post office within 8 days.

If you pay a fine under €265 on the spot to the police officer, you get a 50% discount.

Fines from cameras are mailed to the rental company and delivered with a delay of four to six weeks. That is why some rental companies refund the deposit after this period or ask for credit card details.

Is it difficult to drive in Croatia?

At first, the local driving style may be a little surprising to the foreign tourist, but it’s not a problem at all. Just be careful, especially in the beginning.Road traffic:

  • Locals like to overtake both where it’s allowed and where it’s prohibited to do so. It’s best to give way to such reckless drivers.
  • There are many elderly drivers in Croatia. Treat them with understanding and don’t rush them by honking the horn.
  • Don’t worry about being honked around a lot: the locals often greet each other this way.
  • When it rains, the mountain serpentines are quite slippery. Be careful.
  • Take your time on narrow stretches of the road, especially in the mountains. Give way to oncoming cars if it is easier for you to do so.

Try to follow the general rhythm of the traffic and adjust to it. It won’t be difficult because the traffic is fast but very smooth and generally safe.

Good luck on the roads in Croatia.

In Croatia, parking can be free or paid. Parking areas can be recognised by the relevant signs and road markings.

Look carefully at the signs before parking your car. They can be hidden from view in the treetops. But even if they cannot be seen from the road, they still remain in force.

If you’re planning an overnight stay in a large city, especially during the tourist season, you can book accommodation with its own parking or check with the owner in advance where it’s most convenient to park your car.

Free parking

You can park for free in any place where parking is not prohibited and where there’s no paid parking sign. If the place is not too touristy, you are likely to find free parking there, but such places are hard to find in the centre of large cities.

Paid parking

Paid parking spaces can be of the following types:

  • Open car parks and parking garages with a boom barrier.
  • On-street parking spaces.

In a car park with a boom barrier, you take a ticket at the entrance and pay for it at a parking meter or cash register at the exit. Don’t lose your ticket, or you will have to pay a fine. The period of stay in such car parks is usually unlimited.

You will recognise paid on-street parking by coloured markings on the pavement and/or a “P” sign with the parking rates.

The sign includes the information on the working hours, parking time limit, parking rates, available payment methods, and free parking hours.

The parking rate depends on the city and location. In large cities, the centre is divided into parking zones. The closer to the city centre, the higher the parking rate. During the summer season, the parking rates in the city centre are about €0.50 to €2.00 per hour.The parking rates in Zagreb:

  • Zone I – city centre. The parking rate is €1.60 per hour. Parking for no more than 2 hours.
  • Zone II – €0.70 per hour. No more than 3 hours.
  • Zone III – €0.30 per hour. No time limit.
  • Zone IV – €0.70-1.30 per day.

Paying for parking

There are several ways to pay for on-street parking:

  • At the nearest TISAK kiosk. Once you have parked your car, go to the kiosk, ask for a parking ticket and tell the salesperson your license number, zone, and the parking period you are paying for. Pay and take your receipt. You had better keep it for a while, and you don’t have to put it under the windscreen.

  • At a parking meter. Find the nearest parking meter, deposit the required amount, press the green button, and take the ticket. Be sure to place the ticket under the windscreen so that it is visible to the parking inspector. Parking meters do not give change. Some parking meters accept cards, but most only accept coins.
  • Via SMS. Send a text message with your car license number to the phone number shown on the sign. Enter your car license number without spaces or special characters. You will receive the confirmation of your payment in a reply to your message. With one message you pay for one hour. To extend the time, you need to send another message. Payments are only accepted from local SIM cards.
  • In the app. If you plan to stay in Croatia for a longer period, you can install a dedicated app on your phone and pay for parking in the app. In 2023, you can use and around the country, ZagrebParking in Zagreb.

Watch your paid parking period carefully. Overdue parking is treated as unpaid parking.


Violation of parking rules in Croatia incurs a fine of €30 to €90.

Tenant is responsible for paying the fines.

Parking inspectors usually leave a paper penalty charge notice on the windscreen. You can pay the fine at a post office or bank within 8 days. If you fail to pay, the amount will be collected through the court.Sometimes fines are sent by post to the car owner’s address. They are delivered with a delay of four to six weeks. That is why some rental companies refund the deposit after this period or ask for credit card details.

If your car is obstructing traffic, it may be towed out of the car park or “wheel-clamped”. In this case, you will not only have to pay a fine, but also the towing costs.

So, it’s best to avoid violating parking rules.

Most motorways in Croatia are toll roads. They connect the major cities allowing you to get around the country easily and quickly.

Most of toll roads have toll-free alternatives. The regular roads are basically as good as motorways but they are mostly two-lane and pass through populated areas. The journey is longer but more interesting.

If you want to avoid travelling on toll roads, set “Avoid toll roads” in your navigation app settings.

If time is more important to you than money, you should know the peculiarities of toll roads in Croatia, the toll rates and how to pay them. In this article, we have tried to answer all those questions.

How to use motorways

On short sections of motorways, in tunnels, and on bridges, the toll is charged at once and at the standard rate.On long roads, you drive up to a dedicated window at the entrance and collect a ticket indicating the point of entry. Do not lose your ticket, otherwise, the cost will be calculated at the maximum rate.You can’t accidentally drive onto a toll road and then have to pay because there are gates with barriers at the entrance.

You pay the toll at the exit. Either at the toll terminal or to the cashier. Both cash (€) and cards are accepted.Rental cars are not equipped by electronic payment systems.In Croatia, you pay for the kilometres, not for the time you spend on the motorway. So, it’s perfectly safe to stop at a petrol station to have a rest and a snack. However, you must exit the motorway within 24 hours.

Car rental prices

The price depends on the vehicle’s mileage and category.Categories of vehicles:

  • IA – Motorcycles
  • I – Cars under 1.9 metres high
  • II – Cars over 1.9 metres high and cars with trailers.

All passenger cars fall into category I. Tall crossovers with roof racks and minivans can also fall into category II. It all depends on the car’s height.

Toll costs in Croatia

Below are approximate toll costs between the major cities.

Motorway Length, km Toll cost, €
Passenger car
Cars over 1.9 m high, cars with trailers
Zagreb – Dubrovnik, A1 483 18,40 30,60 47,60
Zagreb – Split, A1 378,5 14,40 24 37,60
Split – Dubrovnik, A1 113,6 3,90 6,60 9,90
Zagreb – Macelj, A2 55,1 3,80 6,40 9,60
Zagreb – Lipovac, A3 264,8 10,20 16,90 25,60
Zagreb – Goričan, A4 108,6 13,60 22,70 34,20
Zagreb – Rijeka, A1, A6 135,40 5,50 9,20 16,80
There are quite many petrol stations in Croatia. In major cities and on major highways, you can fill up without a problem at any time of day. In less busy areas, petrol stations are rare and open only during the daytime. When travelling by car in such regions, the fuel tank should always be at least one-third full in order to reach the next petrol station without any problems.The quality of fuel in Croatia is good, and it’s safe to fill up at any of the major network petrol stations: INA, Petrol, Crodux, Lukoil, etc.Many petrol stations have cafés, large car parks, snack areas, WCs, and even showers.

Fuel prices

Average prices (August 2023):

  • Petrol 95 – €1.51
  • Petrol 98 – €1.97
  • Diesel – €1.41
  • LPG – €0.86

Fuel prices vary at different petrol stations in Croatia. Along the toll roads, the fuel prices are about 10-15% higher than on the toll-free roads.

Most petrol stations accept card payments, and you can always pay in cash.

How to fill up at local petrol stations

In major cities, there are always some petrol stations that are open 24 hours a day. However, most petrol stations are open till 8/9/10 pm.There are two types of petrol stations: manned and unmanned (self-service automated petrol stations).Manned petrol stations may or may not have attendants. Smaller petrol stations most often only have a cashier.How to fill up:

  • Drive up to the petrol pump, turn off the engine.
  • Take a nozzle and fill up with fuel. You control the volume yourself by looking at the display.
  • Go to the cashier, tell your petrol pump number and pay.

Make sure that the fuel meter is reset before refuelling, otherwise, you will have to pay for someone else’s fuel.

How to use an automated petrol station:

  1. Stop at the necessary fuel pump.
  2. It is usually equipped with a self-service terminal. There are several languages to choose from, including English.
  3. Enter the fuel pump number and select the fuel you want.
  4. Insert your card and enter the pin code. If the card is accepted, €100 will be deducted from your account. Don’t be alarmed, this amount is temporarily reserved. The remaining amount will be returned to the card later. Not all petrol stations take a deposit, sometimes you can enter the amount at once.
  5. Fill the necessary amount of fuel. Take your payment receipt.

Petrol stations often have loyalty programmes, and if you travel with locals, you can save money: just give them the required amount in cash, and they will fill you up with their card.

Have a great trip!

Be sure to explore scenic old Zagreb. It is one of the few places on earth where you can walk through the ancient streets at dusk and see the lamplighter manually lighting the street lamps.

The car will take you up to Sljeme, the highest peak of the Medvednica range. You’ll enjoy gorgeous scenery, explore Medvedgrad Castle, and finally, have dinner in one of the mountain chalets surrounding the castle, which serves homemade Croatian food.

An hour’s drive from the capital is the Plešivica wine region where you can taste the famous red wines. Plan an overnight stay because there’s no way you can resist wine tasting!

Be sure to go to Plitvice Lakes, take selfies against the waterfalls, and order a trout dinner at the restaurant.

Krka National Park is one of the most interesting places along the coast, with crystal clear sea, steep mountain slopes, famous Skradinski Buk waterfall, medieval fortress, and… a Michelin-starred restaurant.

Don’t miss the amazing town of Kaštela, which is an agglomeration of seven villages. Each has its own ancient fortified castle!

And of course, the Croatia experience wouldn’t be complete without some leisure time at a top beach in Brela (according to Forbes).