Tips for renting a car in Croatia

Tips for renting a car in Croatia

It might sound intimidating, but renting a car in Croatia is a must! Check out my post on why you should road trip through Croatia. With all that said, there are some things to keep in mind. Renting a car wherever you are does come with some important considerations. Here are my top tips for renting a car in Croatia.

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Tips for renting a car in Croatia

You DO NOT need an international drivers license

For other parts of Europe you need to have an international drivers license to rent and drive the car. The great thing is that you do not need one for Croatia (or Montenegro if that’s on your itinerary as well)! With that said, I always recommend doing some of your own research in case they ever change this rule!

You will go through a border crossing through Bosnia and Herzegovina

Did you know that Bosnia and Herzegovina slices through the southern part of Croatia?? It’s a fun fact! This does mean that you go through a border crossing into Bosnia & Herz. And then 30 minutes later you go through another crossing into Croatia.

It is usually seamless and nothing to worry about. You just might have to be prepared for some lines and waiting if it’s a busy time of day.

With all this said, double confirm with your car rental company when you pick the car up that you have all the documentation needed for the car to go through Bosnia & Herz. It’s usually a given, but it’s important to double check this.

Add-in protection!

I always recommend paying extra for coverage on your rental car. When we were driving in Italy, we went through a brief hail storm. We didn’t think anything of it, BUT we found out later there was minor damage to the car — and the limited coverage we opted in for didn’t cover this.

It was unfortunate, but it was also a learning opportunity. I personally recommend paying extra for that piece of mind that you are covered!

Also, imagine a world where you get a flat tire. If you’re in another country — it is such a relief to know that you have the back-up and support you need!

Prepare for tolls

of all my tips for renting a car in Croatia, make sure you’re prepared for tolls. It’s not that difficult! But we made the mistake of not asking questions when we picked up our rental car. When we got to our first toll, we didn’t understand.

Basically, there are certain lines you should go through if you are using a credit card and certain lines to go into if you’re using cash. But it might not be in English. So make sure to ask your rental car company when you pick it up. Here’s some information on how much tolls cost throughout Croatia.

Prepare for ferry rides

It’s actually really easy (and relatively inexpensive) to take your car on the ferry. Make sure you ask you rental car company when you pick up the car — if there’s any documents you need for the ferry. They will tell you!

It’s cheaper if you get a manual

Throughout much of Europe — as well as Croatia — it’s cheaper to rent a manual transmission. You can definitely still rent an automatic, but just be prepared for it to cost a little extra (per day!).

Reserve your car rental in advance

As a tip for a more affordable car rental, rent your car as early as possible!! This will allow you more options of types of car, automatic vs. manual transmission, and will likely be cheaper.

Book hotels with parking and/or are located right outside of the city

For the most part driving around Croatia is fairly easy. The one piece of advice I have is to not rely on your car for driving throughout the cities. To make this easier, look for a hotel that has parking on-site and/or a hotel that is on the edge of the city or right outside the city.

This will make dealing with your car rental a lot easier. After all, Croatia is just like all of the rest of Europe where you may find narrow streets and tight corners….

Prepare for filling up on fuel

Some people get intimidated by the thought of filling up with petrol/fuel in another country. It’s pretty straightforward in Croatia. But I would just recommend asking your car rental company when you pick your car up. They will tell you what color pump you want!

Download Google Maps for your long routes

In case you don’t have data when you’re on your trip, I recommend downloading Google Map routes of your trip in advance. For example, download the map from Zagreb to Dubrovnik, from Dubrovnik to Split, etc. This means your maps can be used offline when you aren’t on wifi — or if you don’t have data.

When you use an offline map it might not update with an accident or very recent construction, but it should most likely be very accurate!

Rent a small-ish car

This is a big question about car rentals in Europe and for tips on renting a car in Croatia: what size car should you rent? My opinion and recommendation would be that you rent a small-ish car. There are some small streets throughout the cities (Split, Dubrovnik, Hvar, etc.), so a smaller-sized car makes it easier to navigate those streets.

With that said, I almost always feel safer in a 4-door car (or a car that’s not tooooo small). My recommendation is to rent on the smaller-end, but not the smallest option.

Ask front desk all the questions you want!

I mentioned this above a few times, but one of my biggest tips for renting a car in Croatia is that you ask the car rental company as many questions as you want!! Don’t be shy to do this:

  • Do we have all the paperwork we need for the border crossing to Bosnia & Herz (and ______ — any other country you’re traveling to)?
  • How do we pay the tolls? What signs should we look out for?
  • What type of petrol do we fill up with? What color pump is this usually?
  • What coverage/protection have we opted-in for?
  • Do I need any documents or special permission to take the car on a ferry?

These are some of the important ones I would always recommend asking! But ask as many as you want that makes you feel as comfortable as possible.

Take lots of pictures of the car before you get in!

Once you get to your car look around and take as many pictures as you can!! Be diligent — if you notice any scratch, dent, mark take a picture!!

Usually the car rental company directs you to do this, but just in case they don’t — make sure you do this!!

That way, if they have any questions after you drop your car off, you will have the evidence that something was already there.

I hope these tips for renting a car in Croatia help you on your trip to Croatia!!

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