Guide on bus travel in Croatia including tips, schedules, and tickets
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.
The extensive bus network connects major cities and towns throughout the country. Bus 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. Some of the most popular bus carriers in Croatia are Autotrans and Flixbus.
In this post, we cover:
The facts are these…
How to travel by bus in Croatia
Croatia is known for its heavy traffic jams when the summer season comes, so buses may be late or experience delays during transit. However, always be sure to arrive at the bus station 15 minutes before the departure. If you are traveling on a longer route, it can take some time until you board.
On long routes, also bring water and some food with you. Most bus stations in larger cities have basic amenities like toilets, caffe bars, and shops.
You are not allowed to carry pets or bicycles.
During high season, especially on long routes, 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 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 off and that it is along the existing bus route. Don’t ask for a detour.
For example, in Zagreb, people sometimes ask the driver to stop before the bus arrives at the central bus station (or the driver stops themselves). It is common to ask the driver to stop somewhere on the way to Novi Zagreb. This way, passengers living in Novi Zagreb don’t have to travel to the central station, so they come home earlier.
The main bus hubs in Croatia, from where you can reach most other cities in Croatia, are:
- Dubrovnik – view timetables here
- Rijeka – view timetables here
- Split – view timetables here
- Zadar – view timetables here
- Zagreb – view timetables here
From Croatia, there are year-round connections to Germany, Austria, Italy, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovenia, Hungary, Czech Republic, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, and even Sweden.
During the summer season, especially in July and August, there are additional summer holiday bus routes to the Adriatic coast from almost any country in Europe.
There is 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, WiFi.
Buses are one of the cheapest transport services in Croatia if you measure it per kilometers traveled. You can buy the cheapest one-way ticket from Zagreb to Rijeka for only 6,50 euros. However, prices vary and usually depend on the bus carriers, their offer, driving length, and the time of departure.
For example, Autotrans offers the cheapest tickets, but they also offer quite expensive tickets for the same destination. CROATIA BUS, Promet Makarska, and Samoborček charge medium prices but they also vary, and Brioni and FlixBus can be quite expensive.
In addition, 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, students, and senior citizens. Discount amount varies from company to company, so make sure to ask when buying a ticket.
Buying a bus ticket in Croatia 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 than 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 while traveling by bus in Croatia. The driver can ask you to show the ticket anytime.
If you carry any larger pieces of luggage that can’t fit in the passenger area of the bus, you will be charged additional 1 to 2 euros per piece of luggage.
View our other transport guides
- Boats and ferries in Croatia
- Full list of airports in Croatia
- Guide on driving in Croatia including highways, tolls, gas stations, car washes, and parking
- How to get to and from Dubrovnik Airport
- How to get to and from Pula Airport
- How to get to and from Rijeka-Krk Airport
- How to get to and from Split Airport
- How to get to and from the Zadar-Zemunik Airport
- How to get to and from Zagreb Airport
- Public transport by bus in Dubrovnik
- Public transport in Osijek
- Public transport in Pula
- Public transport in Rijeka
- Split’s bus system (Promet)
- Šibenik’s public bus system (ATP)
- Train travel in Croatia
- Zadar’s public bus system (Liburnija)
- Zagreb’s public transportation system (ZET)
Please note: Information provided by Expat in Croatia is only for the purposes of guidance. It does not constitute legal or financial advice in any form. Croatian laws and bureaucratic rules often change, and each personal case is individual, so different rules may apply. For legal advice, contact us to consult with a licensed Croatian lawyer. For financial advice, contact us to consult with a licensed Croatian tax advisor or accountant.