This guide is for everyone wondering about how to smartly car rental in Croatia. You’ll get to discover every detail you need to know before renting a car in this country, and you’ll get to know some of the most highly-rated and lowest-rated car rental companies in Croatia.
Before even beginning, you should know that renting a car in Croatia is a great option for traveling through Croatia. This is a beautiful country with scenery that varies from the seaside to the mountains and green fields, and if you wish to see its variety, you should rent a car but not pay too much money.
Croatia might be a small country, but it’s really long, and getting a car will let you explore it more freely than public transport ever could. Even though you might be afraid to drive on unknown roads, don’t buy your bus ticket just yet.
Croatia has a big system of highways and our smaller intercity roads are just as good. If you want to explore Croatia as a local, you should definitely rent a car.
All you need to know before Car rental in Croatia
- All you need to know before Car rental in Croatia
- Renting a car in Croatia
- Options when not to renting a car in Croatia
- Cost of car rental in Croatia
- Find a cheap car rental in Croatia
- Minimum and maximum age to rent a car in Croatia
- Required documents for car hire in Croatia
- Driving tips before renting a car in Croatia
- International Driving License to drive in Croatia
- Rent a car in Croatia and drive across the border
- Best car rental in Croatia
Renting a car in Croatia
It’s absolutely worth it. Whether you’re coming from another continent or another country, you’ll need a vehicle in Croatia. Although there are buses and trains, you may find yourself in need of a personal car. The main bus routes are from and to popular tourist destinations, but if you wish to explore Croatia like a local one, you should rent a car in Croatia.
You’ll definitely need a renting a car if you wish to see a lot of Croatia during your stay rather than staying in one place.
Croatia might not be a particularly big country, but it’s long and it’s a long drive, especially if you don’t wish to cross any borders while getting from one part to another.
Renting a car while traveling has the same logic as buying a car where you live – you’ll gain independence and control over your precious time spent on a trip, and you’ll get to visit less-known places.
The fact that most people in Croatia drive cars to work and in their free time guarantees you that it’ll be worth it.
Another reason for car rental in Croatia is that not all places have big stores or everything you wish to visit – if you’re staying in a small coastal town, there’s a good chance you might need to do your grocery shopping in a bigger city.
Options when not to renting a car in Croatia
For example, if you’re staying in one or two bigger cities and only wish to explore that place without taking any trips, you won’t need a renting a car in Croatia.
Public transport can get you everywhere in Zagreb or Split, and those spots that you can’t reach by bus, you won’t be able to reach by car either. Actually, there are some routes and streets that are open for buses but not for cars.
Cost of car rental in Croatia
Car rentals are a big part of the tourist industry, so like everything else, you can expect a jump in prices from April to October.
Rent-a-car companies are private companies, so their prices might differ from one another, but not by too much. If you’re looking to rent a small car, you could pay up to 60$/day in the summer months and as low as 20$/day at other times of the year.
Not only are the prices differ depending on the season, but they also differ depending on when you make the reservations.
BEST ADVICE: Reserve your car as soon as possible. When we say early, we mean a few months ahead. You’ll still pay more if you’re renting a car for the summer months, but the demand will be lower half a year before, so you can save yourself some money.
Find a cheap car rental in Croatia
It’s normal that you’re finding it hard to decide where to rent a car from, and there are too many options to compare them all by themselves.
That’s where Rentalcars.com comes in. This is a website where you can fill out the form as you’d normally do when renting a car, only they compare all the offers from different rental companies so you can get the cheapest and best one.
It’s the same principle as sites for finding cheaper deals when buying a phone or renting an apartment, so be sure to check Rentalcars.com before sealing the deal.
Minimum and maximum age to rent a car in Croatia
The minimum driving age is 18, as is for alcohol consumption and smoking, so you’ll probably be able to rent a car if you’re over 18, but keep in mind that most companies don’t rent cars to people younger than 21. So, if you’re under 21 but over 18, you might need to pay a fee before getting your car.
Just like there’s a minimum age of 21, there’s a maximum age of 70. If you’re a driver over 70 years old, you’ll need to pay the senior fee.
Required documents for car hire in Croatia
Before anything else, you need a valid driver’s license from wherever you come from, then your personal ID, such as a passport, and a valid credit card to provide security for booking a car.
Once you get your car, you’ll need to have your driver’s license, vehicle registration, and insurance documents on hand at all times while driving the car. This goes for any kind of vehicle on the road, not just a rented car, and it’s no exception.
Payment requirements and insurance
When renting a car in Croatia, you’ll need to bring a credit card with you. You’ll have to put down a security deposit, so make sure to have enough funds on your card and not run out until your trip is over. It’s similar to renting apartments, really, and it goes from 1000$ to 3500$. Whatever damage might happen to the car is considered to be your fault and you’ll lose your security deposit. The security deposit can be smaller if you decide to purchase full insurance.
Remember that additional costs don’t have to be related to a car crash. You could pay a fee for returning the car late or outside working hours, returning it with an almost empty tank, or getting a parking ticket.
Driving tips before renting a car in Croatia
Croatia has a wide system of highways, but they’re not as wide as those in Germany or the USA.
Our highways are mostly three lanes wide, but considering the number of vehicles on the road, we don’t need a six-lane highway.
Driving in cities may be a little bit tricky since you’re visiting for the first time, but Google Maps has made that part easier. Cities have various kinds of roads, and it’s usually the most tricky to drive in the center.
Actually, all the old town cores are walking-only zones, so you’ll still need to bring a good pair of shoes. If you’re visiting small villages and the countryside, prepare for macadams and narrow roads.
These roads are also visibly less well kept than the highways, and you will get your car dirty, but nothing that can’t be washed off. Some less well-known locations are hard to reach even by car, so always think before continuing.
USEFUL ADVICE: Don’t be too hesitant while driving. Locals get really agitated when someone’s making a line because they’re scared of the road, and Don’t use your phone while driving, and keep your seatbelt on at all times!
International Driving License to drive in Croatia
Croatia accepts all driver’s licenses written in Latin letters and you only need an International Driver’s Permit if your license is written in another script.
Driving in Croatia is on the right side of the road
The right side and if you need help remembering that the right side is the right side!
The steering wheel is on the left side of the car, so some travelers might need some time to get used to it, but since we rent cars in the UK and somehow manage, they will too.
Maybe take a car for a spin in a parking lot before heading to the highway.
Rent a car in Croatia and drive across the border
Yes, but you’ll need to pay a border-crossing fee. This depends on the car company and isn’t dictated by the law, so the fee varies.
Remember that the fee will be higher if you’re going to visit non-EU countries like Bosnia and Herzegovina or Serbia. One scenario where it would pay off to pay the border crossing fee is if you’re traveling from Osijek or Vukovar to Split and Dubrovnik.
If you chose to travel only through Croatia, this route would take you all day and cost you as much, if not more, than the border crossing fee.
Can I rent a car in one city and return it to another?
This is one of the most important questions, and the answer is YES, but it needs to be discussed beforehand, and as you’re probably guessing, you’ll pay a fee. This could cost you up to $100, but if your itinerary forces you to do so, remember that it’s a valid option.
Paying tolls when driving a rental car in Croatia and saving money
Every vehicle has to pay the highway tolls. The amount you pay depends on which category your vehicle is in and the distance traveled. For example, a truck driver and a car driver who drive the same distance will pay different tolls because of the vehicle categories.
A great option for avoiding lines is buying an ENC. It’s a prepaid electronic device that lets you pass through the special ENC lane at the toll booth. You’ll even get a discount of about 21% if you purchase an ENC instead of paying at the booth.
Croatia car rental automatic or manual
Depending on your journey, you might need a different kind of car, but unless you’re driving a Smart, you can get pretty much everywhere with any regular car.
Croatian rental cars are mostly manual and also cheaper, so it’ll be easier to get a manual, but you can certainly find an automatic rental as well.
Remember to check the terrain beforehand if you’re going to the mountains, and try to find something similar to what you’re used to driving so that at least the technicalities will be familiar to you.
FUN FACT: You can even rent a camper and explore some of the many campsites Croatia offers.
Picking up and returning a rental car in Croatia
Above all, be sure to come on time to avoid any possible fees for coming late. Keep focus when the car is being inspected beforehand so that not a scratch will be missed (this way you’ll be sure that it’s truly your fault if you lose the security deposit).
I’m not saying that every car company will try to mess with your head, but since you’re paying a lot, it costs nothing to make sure everything is conducted right. Before returning it, remember to FILL THE GAS TANK since you might get a fee if you do not.