The vast majority of the country’s visitors get to Croatia by car. This isn’t as surprising as it sounds when you consider that millions of visitors come from one of Croatia’s neighbouring or nearby countries! Each year, many millions of visitors drive across or down to Croatia by car from Italy, Germany, Austria, Hungary, and the Czech and Slovak Republics.
However, you may be feeling quite adventurous and decide to drive from the UK to Croatia. This may especially be the case if you’re planning on staying for a bit longer than just a simple, one-week holiday.
There’s of course a number of different routes you can drive. Once on mainland Europe, you can choose to drive all the way to your chosen destination. Alternatively, another option would be to drive to an Italian port such as Ancona or Bari and then take a car ferry across. (For further information about this, see our Travelling from Italy to Croatia section.)
Driving from the UK to Croatia
If you drive directly from the UK to Croatia, the best, quickest and cheapest route would be through Germany, thanks to the superb German autobahns. My poll of Croats who regularly drive from the UK to Croatia suggest this as their favoured route:
- drive down to Dover
- ferry/Eurotunnel Shuttle across to Calais
- ahead over to Belgium, in direction of Germany
- once in Germany, drive towards Frankfurt
- head in the direction of Nuremberg
- head in the direction of Regensburg towards Austria
- enter Austria near Linz
- drive straight down Austria towards Graz
- head into Slovenia in the direct of Maribor
- drive to Croatia and head towards Zagreb
If your end destination is on the Croatian coast, you may like to cut across towards Klagenfurt instead of Graz so you are travelling in a more southerly direction.
You’ll most likely have to rest one night in Germany, at your halfway point. If you’re particularly keen on driving to Croatia, you can probably achieve this journey in just over 2 days. But please take care on your drive – swapping drivers regularly during en route (if you can) is recommended! And a leisurely drive with perhaps a few stops en route in quaint little German, Austrian or Italian towns is also very pleasant.
One very important thing to point out – the border crossings into Croatia, especially those near or en route to the coast, can be very busy during the peak summer season (July and August). If you’re travelling during these months, try to avoid driving through the border on the weekend (Friday to Sunday) when many other holidaymakers are trying to do the same. You’ll more than likely get caught up in a queue for several hours.
Croatia by Car – Useful European Motoring Websites
The following may help you on your journey to Croatia.
- Driving in Europe Advice from the AA
General motoring tips
- Via Michelin
Gives route directions for European journeys
- Google Maps
Directions advice via Google; you may find some elements of Streetview (which is now also present in Croatia) useful in your planning too
Croatian Motoring Websites
The following may help for when you actually arrive in Croatia!
- Croatian Auto Club
Useful information about road conditions and the road network; if you bring up the interactive map, you can get data on border wait times
- Croatian Motorways
Useful maps, as well as information about motorway tolls
This helpful Croatian Auto Club map shows border posts, ferry routes and toll stations that tend to be especially busy in the summer months.