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Croatia, is it crazy to hire a car?

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Oct 27th, 2013, 07:58 PM
  #1
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Croatia, is it crazy to hire a car?

We are a couple of women looking for a few tips on travelling in Croatia.
We will be coming from Budapest heading for Dubrovnik then on to Split ,from there to Trieste.Train is our preferred mode of travel but does not seem to work in Croatia, bus`es don`t thrill me and the ferry seems not to be running in mid March.
So that leaves car hire, Reading assorted forums driving in Croatia seems either terrific or plain bloody terrifying,
Is it really that bad?
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Oct 27th, 2013, 08:21 PM
  #2
kja
 
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My experience was that driving on the major roads was no problem -- they were wide, well marked, and well graded. But other roads were narrow and twisty, and although the roads themselves were good enough, other drivers often took turns in the lane for oncoming traffic or sped up behind me way to fast and came way to close and then passed me in ways that me feel at risk. So if you drive off the main roads, drive defensively and pay careful attention to the roads and the other cars on them!

Picking a car up in Budapest and dropping it in Trieste could be quite expensive. Make sure your rental company knows what borders you will cross and that you have all the necessary paperwork.

FWIW, I found the buses in Croatia very comfortable and easy to use and was very glad to take them -- and to enjoy the scenery safely.

And BTW, you do know that the drive from Budapest to Dubrovnik is well over 900 km? You might want to consider flying all/part of the way.

Enjoy!
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Oct 27th, 2013, 08:47 PM
  #3
 
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Kja is correct. Picking up/dropping off in 2 different countries is going to cost you tons of money.

Regarding driving in Croatia. No problems what-so-ever. We rented a car in Zagreb, drove to Rovinj, Plitcie, Splt, dropping off in Dubrovnik. Transaction was painless. Driving was a breeze. Safe. Fast. Troublefree.
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Oct 27th, 2013, 11:16 PM
  #4
 
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Im the biggest scaredy cat in the world and i didnt drive in croatia - OH did...
the roads are fine and well -signposted
we only got lost once...out of the airport in zagreb and then out of zadar to get back onto the main road to head to split/trogir

the only hassle is parking in the old towns...the parking is limited and expensive and you have to find a meter..no excuses ...or else your tyres will be clamped and you have wait for the ranger to come and fine you ( no big deal ..he leaves you a phone number and the fines are small compared to home!)
so..yes get a car..youll be able to visit all the little villages along the coast ...bonus!
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Oct 28th, 2013, 12:43 AM
  #5
 
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We trained it from Budapest to Dubrovnik - via Zagreb, Sarejevo, Mostar and the private car to Dubrovnik. Of course only small parts of this trip are in Croatia but we loved it.
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Oct 28th, 2013, 01:53 AM
  #6
 
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We picked our car up in Mainz, then drove through Austria, Slovenia and into Croatia. Didn't have any problems at all. We spent 4 weeks doing this. Drove to Mostar as well. We never would have experienced all the small villages, beautiful scenery and hidden spots on a train or bus. We did drop the car back in Mainz but that was fine. Lots of driving but that was our choice. I would definitely hire a car.
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Oct 28th, 2013, 05:21 AM
  #7
 
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I think you'd be crazy to NOT rent a car! But look at taking a train from Budapest to Zagreb and renting a car there. Drop at Rijeka and train or bus to Trieste. You'll save a fortune in one way fees.
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Oct 28th, 2013, 07:34 AM
  #8
 
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My husband and I rented a car in Budapest and drove round-trip through Serbia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Croatia, Slovenia, and Slovakia. Croatia and Slovenia were the easiest to drive of the countries we visited though Hungry was straightforward too. Also, because we were able to rent and return the car in the same location we saved a lot on the rental fee.

That said, if we had to book the rental one-way, I would still pay extra and drive vs take the bus. Driving means you can stop off in lots of small towns and take some nice scenic drives.
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Oct 28th, 2013, 08:32 AM
  #9
 
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It really depends on your total itinerary and how much time you have. I have visited three times and never had need of a car. The buses are comfortable and convenient, and while the roads are fine, I would not want to be the driver and miss out on the views because my eyes must be on the road. Also, as mentioned above, tiny old towns are a pain for parking and you'll be limited in terms of accommodation as well as limited to ferries to islands (no catamarans).
Please post your itinerary (including time of year--I would NOT drive in summer and get stuck in traffic that's for sure!) and we can make suggestions.
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Oct 28th, 2013, 08:41 AM
  #10
kja
 
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" tiny old towns are a pain for parking and you'll be limited in terms of accommodation"

Not just the tiny old towns -- Dubrovnik and Split will pose challenges for someone with a car.
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Oct 28th, 2013, 09:52 AM
  #11
 
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car good for getting around, car bad in cities designed before car invented.
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Oct 28th, 2013, 06:01 PM
  #12
kja
 
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Well said, bilboburgler! Car also bad when views are so magnificent that one fails to watch the road. Or so I suspect. ;-)
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Oct 28th, 2013, 08:43 PM
  #13
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Ok, thanks everybody. We were planning to fly from Budapest to Zagreb and hire a car there and perhaps drop it off in Trieste, I believe that it is not too expensive to do it that way,?
I`ll check the parking options at the accom. we have booked in Split and Dubrovnik.
You have also made me rethink the bus option,especially in light of the views we might miss if we are driving.Are the timetables reasonable?
Has anyone been to Pula? is it worth the detour?
And lastly I`m pretty sure what I hope to see in the coastal towns, But not really sure what is in Zagreb.Suggestions??
Again ,many thanks.
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Oct 28th, 2013, 08:55 PM
  #14
kja
 
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If you are driving from Zagreb to Split and/or Dubrovnik, do not miss the Plitvice Lakes National Park. Stay at least one night and plan on as much as 6 or more hours exploring this unique and spectacular area.

I would expect a hefty fee for picking up a rental car in Croatia and dropping off in Italy. And it is unnecessary: As ParisAmsterdam already noted, you can drop your car off in Croatia and train/bus to Trieste or wherever else you want to go outside Croatia.

I thought the public transportation options with Croatia very reasonable, but I traveled in May, which could be somewhat different. For transportation info, I recommend that you consult The Rough Guide. For what to see, any decent guide book should give you a wealth of information. You might start with Fodor's. Browse guidebooks at your local library or book store and invest in at least one, if not several. For what is worth it to you, well that really depends on your interests, but FWIW, I was very impressed the MANY places I saw in my 30 day trip to the area -- Croatia is beautiful!

Enjoy!
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Oct 28th, 2013, 09:39 PM
  #15
 
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I would take the train from Budapest deli station to Zagreb. Not sure how viable flying is.

Here is my Zagreb trip report, if this helps. We loved Zagreb.

http://centraleuropebeyondprague.com...ports/croatia/
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Oct 30th, 2013, 06:30 AM
  #16
 
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agree with kja, definitely make time to visit Plitvice. Also try to make time to visit one of the islands (we loved Vis) and Rovinj in the north. I'm sure you'll visit Dubrovnik but you can skip Trogir.
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Oct 30th, 2013, 08:02 AM
  #17
kja
 
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All a matter of preferences -- the stonework in Trogir is truly remarkable.
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Oct 30th, 2013, 08:09 AM
  #18
 
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I would fly to Dubrovnik and pick up a car there when leaving Dubrovnik.

We drove Dubrovnik to Trogir, ferried to and from Hvar from Split, then drove to Plitvice, Rovinj and finally Zagreb.
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Oct 30th, 2013, 10:16 AM
  #19
 
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I'm with those who vote for a car. I also travelled with a friend, we shared the driving, and the scenery-gazing was thus divided also! We were both nervous about driving in Europe. But it was wonderful for places that are beautiful but not population centres, of which Plitvice is the prime example. It was fantastic, although I might check climate averages if I went in March, as it's both northern and inland. The arena at Pula is huge and impressive, but Rovinj and Porec (amazing mosaics) seemed more atmospheric to us.
Here's our story of two middle-aged greenhorn drivers. http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...ia-croatia.cfm
Croatia is beautiful, so I'm sure you'll enjoy it.
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Nov 5th, 2013, 09:10 PM
  #20
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Thank you all so much ,you have given me plenty to think about.
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