Valentina Silovic

Best Croatian Scenic Drives And Car Rental Tips

Photo: Adriatic Highway

What better way to explore Croatia than by embarking on the ultimate Croatian road trip? In this article, we will take you on a journey through Croatia’s most scenic drives and provide you with essential car rental tips to make your road trip truly unforgettable.

Best scenic drives in Croatia

Embarking on a road trip through Croatia is an adventure that promises endless wonders, regardless of the duration of your journey. Whether you have a week, two weeks, or even a generous month, this enchanting country will leave you yearning for more.

With an array of captivating destinations and diverse landscapes, Croatia offers a wealth of experiences waiting to be explored.

1. The Adriatic Highway

Image of a panoramic view of Adriatic highway
Photo: Adriatic Highway

Spanning the length of the country’s breathtaking Dalmatian Coast, the Adriatic Highway, also known as Jadranska Magistrala, is an unrivaled gem that offers awe-inspiring vistas and access to hidden coastal towns.

This iconic highway offers breathtaking views of the azure waters, charming coastal villages, and historic landmarks, making it a dream route for road trip enthusiasts and travel aficionados.

The construction of the Adriatic Highway began in the late 19th century and continued well into the 20th century. Its purpose was to establish a reliable road connection along the Adriatic coastline, promoting trade, tourism, and cultural exchange between the coastal regions.

The highway gained significant importance during the socialist era, as it became a vital transportation route for both domestic and international travel.

Route Highlights and Must-Visit Destinations:

  • Dubrovnik: A walk through the cobblestone streets of Dubrovnik reveals architectural marvels, including the famous Stradun street and the magnificent Dubrovnik Cathedral.
  • Split: the city awaits travelers with its remarkable Diocletian’s Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage site. This ancient palace is a living monument, with shops, cafes, and homes nestled within its walls. A visit to Split wouldn’t be complete without exploring the lively Riva promenade and climbing Marjan Hill for panoramic views of the city.
  • Makarska Riviera: nestled between the azure sea and the towering Biokovo mountain range, is a stretch of coastal towns renowned for their pristine beaches and vibrant nightlife. Baška Voda, Brela, and Makarska are among the most popular spots along this scenic route, offering an ideal blend of natural beauty and modern amenities.

Tips for Traveling the Adriatic Highway:

  • Plan Sufficient Time: The Adriatic Highway offers a wealth of attractions and stunning vistas. To fully enjoy the journey, plan for an extended trip to allow ample time for exploring the cities, towns, and natural wonders along the way.
  • Consider Off-Peak Season: To avoid heavy tourist crowds and secure better accommodation deals, consider traveling during the shoulder seasons of spring or autumn. The weather remains pleasant, and you can experience a more serene and authentic atmosphere in the coastal towns.
  • Stay Flexible: While having an itinerary is helpful, leave room for flexibility and spontaneous detours. The Adriatic Highway is dotted with hidden coves, charming villages, and viewpoints that aren’t always mentioned in guidebooks. Embrace the adventure and be open to unexpected discoveries.
  • Pack Essentials: Ensure you have essentials such as a valid driver’s license, a detailed road map or GPS navigation, sufficient local currency, and necessary travel documents. It’s also advisable to pack sunscreen, comfortable walking shoes, and a camera to capture the stunning landscapes.
  • Be Mindful of Traffic: During peak travel periods, the coastal road can become congested, especially near popular tourist spots. Plan your travel timings accordingly and be patient while navigating through traffic, ensuring a safe and enjoyable journey.

2. Istria’s hilltop villages

Photo: Motovun

When mapping out your journey through the picturesque region of Istria, be sure to include the breathtaking drives that wind through the charming hilltop towns and villages. These scenic routes offer unforgettable views and an opportunity to immerse yourself in the region’s rich traditions and culture.

The route will take you through rolling hills, vineyards, and olive groves, offering panoramic views at every turn.

Visiting charming towns such as Motovun, Grožnjan, Labin, Buzet, and Hum will provide you with the opportunity to fully engage in Istria’s abundant cultural legacy, savor authentic local cuisine, and bask in the friendly hospitality of the residents.

Tips for traveling the Istrian Triangle:

  • Timing: The best time to visit the Istria is during the spring (April to June) and autumn (September to October) when the weather is pleasant, and the tourist crowds are thinner.
  • Transportation: Renting a car is highly recommended to explore the Istria region comfortably. Public transportation options are limited in this rural area, and having a vehicle gives you the freedom to discover hidden gems and navigate between the towns effortlessly.
  • Comfortable Footwear: Be prepared for uphill walks and uneven terrain. Comfortable shoes are essential for exploring the hilltop castles and cobblestone streets of the Istrian towns.
  • Local Wine and Cuisine: Istria is renowned for its high-quality wine and gastronomy, particularly its truffles, olive oil. Don’t miss the opportunity to savor traditional Istrian dishes in local restaurants and taverns. Look for konobas, family-run eateries offering authentic regional cuisine.
  • Cultural Events: Check the local event calendars for festivals, concerts, and exhibitions happening during your visit. These events provide a unique insight into the region’s vibrant culture and artistic heritage.

3. The Pelješac Peninsula Road (D414)

Photo: Pelješac, Orebić town

Located in the southern region of Croatia, the Pelješac Peninsula Road offers an enchanting journey through vineyards, olive groves, and picturesque coastal villages.

Nestled in southern Croatia, the Peljesac Peninsula stretches approximately 70 kilometers in length, separating the mainland from the island of Korcula. Renowned for its pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and lush vineyards, the peninsula is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered.

The road, known as D414, stretches across the peninsula, offering panoramic views of the Adriatic Sea on one side and rugged mountains on the other.

The D414 road is also the main artery that connects the various towns and villages along the Pelješac. This well-maintained and picturesque road offers drivers an opportunity to witness panoramic vistas of the Adriatic Sea, encompassing rugged cliffs, serene bays, and verdant landscapes.

The route is a paradise for wine lovers, as it passes through the renowned wine-growing region of Dingac, where vineyards cling to steep slopes, producing exceptional wines.

Ston, a medieval town located at the northeastern entrance, serves as an ideal starting point for your journey. Ston is famous for its ancient walls, salt pans, and delectable oysters. It allows travelers to soak in its rich history and indulge in local culinary delights before embarking on the road trip.

As you drive southward along the D414, be prepared to be enthralled by a myriad of attractions:

  • Trpanj: A picturesque coastal town that offers a tranquil ambiance and pristine pebble beaches. Take a leisurely stroll along its charming promenade or indulge in water activities such as snorkeling and swimming.
  • Dingač Vineyards: Croatia’s most famous wine-growing region, located on the slopes of Dingač, is a must-visit for wine enthusiasts. Stop by one of the local wineries to savor the renowned Dingač red wine, crafted from Plavac Mali grapes, while enjoying sweeping views of the vineyards.
  • Orebić: As you continue your journey, you’ll arrive at Orebić, a historic town known for its maritime heritage. Visit the Maritime Museum to delve into the town’s seafaring past, and don’t miss climbing the nearby Mount Sveti Ilija for breathtaking panoramic views.
  • Prapratno Bay and Ston Walls: Before concluding your journey, take a detour to Prapratno Bay, a stunning coastal enclave known for its sandy beaches and azure waters. Additionally, explore the impressive Walls of Ston, the longest defensive stone wall system in Europe, and savor freshly caught seafood in one of the local restaurants.

Tips for traveling the Pelješac Peninsula: 

  • Timing and Weather: Visit during the shoulder seasons (spring or autumn) to avoid crowds and enjoy milder temperatures. Summer can be quite hot, so ensure you have proper sun protection and stay hydrated.
  • Car Rental: Renting a car is highly recommended for flexibility and convenience. Several car rental agencies operate in major cities, including Dubrovnik, where you can collect your vehicle.
  • Road Conditions: The D414 road is generally well-maintained, but be cautious when driving along winding sections, particularly during adverse weather conditions. Adhere to speed limits and be mindful of cyclists and pedestrians.
  • Local Cuisine and Wineries: Indulge in the local gastronomy, including fresh seafood, oysters from Ston, and renowned wines from Dingač and Postup vineyards. Many wineries offer tastings and tours, providing an opportunity to learn about Croatia’s winemaking traditions.

4. The Zagorje countryside

Photo credit: Tomislav Sebalj, Veliki Tabor castle

Zagorje is conveniently located just north of Croatia’s capital, Zagreb, making it an easily accessible destination for local and international travelers.

If you’re flying in, Zagreb International Airport is the main gateway, from which you can rent a car and embark on your scenic adventure through the countryside.

As you leave the bustling city behind, you will be greeted by idyllic countryside views dotted with vineyards, castles, and charming rural settlements. Planning your route is crucial to fully immerse yourself in the beauty of Zagorje.

One of the most popular scenic drives in the region is the “Zagorje Castle Route,” which takes you on a journey to several captivating castles, such as Trakošćan, Veliki Tabor, and Oršić. These medieval fortresses offer a glimpse into Croatia’s rich history and provide breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes.

One of the highlights of the Zagorje countryside is the iconic Trakošćan Castle. Situated atop a hill overlooking a serene lake, this 13th-century castle is a sight to behold. Take your time to explore its well-preserved interiors, stroll through the beautiful surrounding park, and immerse yourself in the rich history and legends that surround this majestic fortress.

As you venture deeper into Zagorje, be sure to explore the charming medieval town of Krapina.

Famous for its Neanderthal Museum, Krapina offers an intriguing glimpse into our prehistoric past. The museum showcases the remains and artifacts found in the nearby Krapina Neanderthal site, shedding light on the region’s significant archaeological heritage.

To fully appreciate the scenic beauty of Zagorje, take a leisurely drive along its winding roads, allowing the rolling hills and lush landscapes to unfold before your eyes.

The region’s vineyards are particularly noteworthy, producing exceptional wines reflecting the fertile soil and favorable climate.

Consider stopping by a local winery for a wine-tasting experience, where you can sample some of the region’s finest vintages and learn about the winemaking traditions passed down through generations.

While traveling through Zagorje, it is essential to take note of a few practical tips to ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey.

Here are some recommendations:

  • Transportation: Renting a car is the most convenient way to explore the Zagorje countryside. Having a vehicle will give you the freedom to navigate the region at your own pace and discover hidden gems off the beaten path.
  • Timing: The best time to visit Zagorje is during spring and summer, when the landscapes are lush and vibrant. Additionally, consider planning your trip during weekdays to avoid crowds and have a more intimate experience.
  • Accommodation: While day trips from Zagreb are possible, consider staying overnight in one of the many charming guesthouses or bed and breakfasts scattered throughout the countryside. This will allow you to fully immerse yourself in the region’s ambiance and take advantage of the local hospitality.
  • Local Cuisine: Zagorje is renowned for its hearty and delicious traditional cuisine. Don’t miss the opportunity to try specialties like štrukli (a pastry filled with cottage cheese), Zagorski štrukli (rolled pastry with various fillings), and traditional roasted meat dishes.
  • Hiking and Nature: Zagorje is a paradise for nature enthusiasts. Take advantage of the many hiking trails that wind through the countryside, offering breathtaking views and opportunities to connect with nature. Don’t forget to pack appropriate footwear and outdoor essentials.

What documents do you need for renting a car in Croatia?

If you’re planning a trip to Croatia and want to explore the country at your own pace, renting a car is an excellent choice.

However, before you embark on your journey, you must be aware of the necessary documents and requirements for car rental in Croatia.

  • Driver’s License and Age Requirements: To rent a car in Croatia, you must meet certain age and driver’s license requirements. Firstly, you must be at least 18 years old to drive in Croatia legally. However, remember that the minimum car rental age may vary depending on the vehicle category. Car rental companies in Croatia typically require drivers to be at least 21 years old. You must also hold a valid driver’s license for at least one year. If you meet these requirements, a driver’s license from your home country is sufficient to drive in Croatia. Whether you hold a US driver’s license, one from another country, or an international driver’s license, you can drive with it in Croatia. However, it is important to note that if your national driver’s license is not written in Latin letters, such as Cyrillic or Chinese characters, an international driver’s license is mandatory. Obtaining an international driver’s license is a straightforward process and usually comes at a low cost.
  • Crossing Borders with a Rental Car: If you plan to venture beyond Croatia’s borders and explore neighboring countries like Bosnia and Montenegro, you may wonder about the regulations and additional requirements for crossing borders with a rental car. Car rental companies may attempt to charge you a cross-border fee, but knowing your rights and options is essential. The good news is that you do not need to purchase additional insurance specifically for crossing the border into Bosnia and Montenegro with your rental car. Most rental cars in Croatia come with a green card recognized and accepted by various European countries. The green card serves as proof that your car has the minimum level of insurance required for driving in those countries. Therefore, you can freely drive your rental car from Croatia to Bosnia, Montenegro, or any other European country without obtaining extra insurance.

Car rental tips

Renting a car in Croatia is highly recommended for those seeking to fully experience the beauty of this country.

With major cities like Pula, Zagreb, Rijeka, Zadar, Split, Šibenik, and Dubrovnik spread across different regions, the extensive network of motorways and country roads ensures convenient connectivity.

Public transport may result in time constraints and limitations when exploring areas beyond popular destinations like Dubrovnik.

However, by opting for a car rental, you gain the freedom to travel at your own pace, make impromptu stops, and seize countless opportunities to discover the wonders of Croatia.

Here are some car rental tips:

  • Book in Advance: To secure the best rates and availability, booking your rental car well in advance is advisable, especially during the peak summer months.
  • Compare Prices: Utilize online platforms and compare prices from different car rental companies to ensure you get the best deal. Be mindful of hidden fees, insurance coverage, mileage limits, and check the terms and conditions before finalizing your reservation.
  • Insurance Coverage: Check your existing car insurance policy or credit card coverage to see if it includes rental car insurance. If not, consider purchasing insurance from the rental company to protect yourself in case of accidents or damage. In Croatia, it’s recommended to opt for a comprehensive insurance package to provide adequate coverage in case of any unforeseen incidents.
  • Road Regulations: Familiarize yourself with the local driving rules and regulations before hitting the road. Keep an eye on speed limits and parking restrictions. As you explore beautiful Croatian destinations, such as Dubrovnik, Split, or Plitvice Lakes National Park, be aware of the local traffic regulations and parking rules. Always park in designated areas to avoid fines or towing.
  • Navigation and Communication: Ensure you have a reliable navigation system or use smartphone apps for directions. Additionally, consider purchasing a local SIM card or using international roaming services to stay connected during your road trip.
  • Embrace the Highway Experience: In Croatia, the use of vignettes is nonexistent. Instead, when traveling on the highways, you’ll encounter tolls that can be conveniently settled using either cash or credit card. However, if you’re looking to save some money and savor breathtaking coastal views, consider taking the scenic coastal road. While it may take a little longer, the picturesque vistas and charming coastal towns will make every minute worthwhile.

Following these tips and utilizing reliable car rental sites can ensure a hassle-free and enjoyable journey throughout Croatia.

How many days do you need for a road trip in Croatia?

If you have a preference for coastal travel, a 7-day itinerary should suffice for first-time travelers exploring Croatia.

If you’re planning to combine a coastal and continental road trip through Croatia, it’s recommended to plan for at least a three-week trip.

To fully appreciate the beauty of Croatia, it’s best to plan your road trip during the warmer months, which run from April to early November.

The country basks in abundant sunshine during this period, and temperatures remain pleasantly inviting.

Exploring Croatia’s treasures under the warm embrace of the sun will enhance your experience, whether you’re lounging on pristine beaches, discovering historical landmarks, or hiking through idyllic national parks.

Croatia may be small in size, covering only 56,594 km², but it never fails to amaze visitors with its diverse landscapes and easily accessible destinations.

Thanks to its compactness, you won’t have to worry about long distances between interesting sights.

Best car rental sites

When it comes to car rental in Croatia, there are several reputable websites and useful tips to keep in mind for a smooth and enjoyable experience.


Photo credit: GetRentacar is an online car rental marketplace that offers services in multiple countries worldwide.

The platform allows users to quickly book rental cars without incurring additional fees or overpayments.

With a presence in over 100 countries, aims to provide affordable car rental options to customers across the globe.

They have implemented a price bidding engine that enables users to potentially save up to 40% compared to competitors.

The company offers a user-friendly website where renters can easily search for available cars and make reservations.

They have partnered with trusted suppliers to ensure a wide range of options and the best rental experience for customers.

The rental process is designed to be transparent, with final prices displayed upfront and no hidden fees. has a strong online presence, with active profiles on social media platforms like Instagram and LinkedIn.

On their Instagram account, they showcase their car rental marketplace and promote their best prices.

They also provide updates and news on the automotive industry, including reviews, lifestyle content, and environmental issues.

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2. QEEQ Car Rental
Photo credit:

QEEQ, also known as QEEQ.COM, is an online platform that compares car rental deals worldwide.

It allows users to search for and book rental cars from various providers, such as

  • ALAMO,
  • Easirent,
  • ACE,
  • HERTZ,
  • Routes,
  • Dollar,
  • SIXT,
  • Aucar,
  • Apex, and
  • Advantage, among others.

The platform aims to provide users with competitive prices and a wide selection of vehicles for their travel needs.

Users can find accommodation options at affordable prices in various destinations around the world.

The platform allows users to manage their bookings, make deposits and withdrawals, and offers convenient payment options.

QEEQ has a mobile app available for iOS and Android devices, allowing users to access their services on the go.

The app offers travel deals for car rentals and hotels, making it easier for users to search, compare, and book travel arrangements.

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Photo credit: is an international service that allows users to book transfers, rides, and car rentals with personal drivers.

The company aims to offer reliable and affordable transportation options, providing an alternative to traditional taxis and transportation companies.

It operates in 150 countries and offers its services at competitive prices. By using, individuals can conveniently arrange transportation for their travel needs.

The platform provides a user-friendly interface where customers can easily book their desired transfers.

The website and mobile app offer filters to customize search results, tools to enhance the booking experience, and the option to enable SafeSearch.

Users can also explore images and read reviews to make informed decisions. allows individuals to register as carriers, enabling them to offer transfer services and expand their business.

The service emphasizes safety and provides support to both customers and carriers.

Users can contact the company through various channels such as Facebook, Viber, Telegram, or email for any inquiries or assistance.

The service has received feedback from clients, with many expressing satisfaction with the experience provided by

In addition to, there is also a GetTransfer driver app available for Android and iOS devices.

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4. Kiwitaxi

Photo credit: Kiwitaxi

Kiwitaxi is a transfer booking service that offers a convenient alternative to traditional taxi services for travelers.

With Kiwitaxi, individuals and groups can book transfers in over 100 countries, ensuring a reliable and comfortable transportation experience.

The service provides licensed drivers and a range of vehicle options to suit different capacities, from small cars to larger buses.

Travelers can easily book their transfers by selecting the desired route and car type on the official Kiwitaxi website.

The company aims to provide a high service standard on every trip.

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Photo credit: is an online platform specializing in search and booking services for group transfers or individual transfers from airports to hotels or other destinations.

The platform offers a wide range of transfer options from transport companies worldwide. Travelers can choose from various routes, and modes of transport and specify the number of passengers and desired pick-up time. aims to make travel easier and more convenient by providing a comprehensive system with over 6 million routes in more than 152 countries and over 297,500 cities.

The platform directly collaborates with transport companies to ensure a reliable and efficient transfer service for customers.

The company has a strong online presence, with active profiles on social media platforms.

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Embarking on the ultimate Croatian road trip is a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the beauty and charm of this captivating country.

From the breathtaking Dalmatian Coast to the enchanting Croatian islands, the scenic drives in Croatia offer a unique blend of natural landscapes, cultural heritage, and unforgettable experiences.

By following the car rental tips in this article, you’ll be well-prepared to hit the road and create memories that will last a lifetime.

So, pack your bags, rent a car, and get ready to explore the wonders of Croatia on an adventure-filled road trip.


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