Bus Travel in Croatia

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Getting around Croatia by bus is the cheapest and most reliable option for travel within Croatia even though bus services vary greatly in speed and comfort. Timetables are not readily available on the internet apart from the few major cities, so if you are planning your trip in advance, your best option is to call the departure bus terminal. All routes are operated by private bus companies, who have been issued licenses to serve specific routes.

Bus schedules and timetables

The main bus hubs in Croatia, from where you can reach most other cities in Croatia, are:

From Croatia, there are year-around connections to Germany, Austria, Italy, Bosnia, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovenia, Hungary, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark and even Sweden.

During summer season, especially July and August, there are additional summer holiday bus routes to the Adriatic coast from almost any country in Europe.

There are a wide range of coach holidays to cities along the Adriatic coast from countries like Germany, Italy, Austria, Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark and the UK.

Most of the buses in Croatia are new and well-equipped (especially ones that drive between major cities like Split-Zagreb or Rijeka-Zagreb). Buses will almost always have comfortable seats, air conditioning, electrical sockets and in some cases even WiFi.

Cost of Bus Travel

Buses are one of the cheapest transport services in Croatia if you measure it in kuna per km traveled. Popular lines between major cities will cost you around 7 to 10 lipa per Km while less popular lines will be range from 11 to 14 lipa per Km.

You can receive up to a 60% discount if you purchase a round-trip ticket. Round-trip tickets are only valid if you’re traveling back with the same company. This is very important. If you book your return with another company, you’ll have to get a new one-way ticket.

Most bus companies offer discounts to children, student and senior citizens. Discount amount varies from company to company so make sure to ask when buying a ticket.

How to buy a bus ticket

Buying a ticket is fairly simple. You can just show up at the departure bus terminal (called “autobusni kolodvor” in Croatian) and get a ticket at the counter. You can also purchase a ticket on board when the ticket collector comes to you, however this option can sometimes be more expensive then getting the ticket at the terminal. There are also websites that sell bus tickets such as Getbybus.com. You always need to have your ticket with you.

If you carry any larger pieces of luggage that can’t fit in the passenger area of the bus, you will be charged 7 to 10 kn per piece of luggage.

Tips when traveling by bus in Croatia

Croatia is known for it’s heavy traffic jams when the summer season comes so buses may be late or experience delays during transit.

You are not allowed to carry pets or bicycles.

During high season, it is recommended that you purchase a seat assignment, to ensure you will not be standing during the trip.

Drivers sometimes can’t communicate well in English or other languages, which can sometimes be an issue. Although if you know where you need to get off the bus, there really is no need to talk to the driver at all. In my personal experience, all the drivers were friendly and helpful and even if they didn’t speak English well, they still went out of their way to help passengers.

If you are familiar with the route, you can be dropped off before reaching the main bus station at the end destination just by asking the bus driver in advance. Make sure you are specific as possible about where you want to be dropped and that it is along the existing bus route. Don’t ask for a detour.

If you are considering traveling by train in Croatia instead, don’t. Here is why.

Check out our other country-wide transport guides:

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Expat in Croatia

Sara is an American expat based in Split. After globetrotting between New York, Amsterdam and California, she moved to Croatia in 2012. Sara's blog Expat in Croatia is a guide for foreigners living and traveling in Croatia.