Bus Travel in Croatia (Don’t Be Shy, We all Do it!)

Posted in   Uncategorized   Updated on February 24, 2023    By Jelena Samaržija  

If you plan on a trip around Croatia without renting a car, traveling by bus is the best option for you.

The bus is way cheaper than a plane and train and although it's not the fastest, it's sometimes the only way you can get from one place to another. 

Thanks to the recent improvements, the buses in Croatia have become more comfortable, boasting air conditioning, stretch-out seats, and free Wi-Fi. 

This makes bus travel suitable for both short and long-distance journeys.

We do it all the time! 

Nowadays, more and more express buses are visible on the Croatian roads meant to cover long distances, make fewer stops, and travel by night. 

Moreover, the construction of new motorways, like the one connecting Zagreb and Split, has significantly cut down the journey times, allowing you to reach the destination as fast as train or even faster. 

The busiest overnight bus route is the one connecting all important coastal cities, starting from the northern city of Pula, passing through Rijeka, Zadar, Split, and all the way to the gem of the south coast Dubrovnik.

As so many people rely on bus travel Croatia's bus network is highly developed, covering even the small coastal towns and those located on the islands. 

The frequency of bus rides increases a lot during the tourist season and their schedule is usually adjusted to the schedule of ferries. 

So when you arrive at your intermediate destination by bus, you will have about an hour to board the ferry that will take you to your final destination.

Traveling in Croatia by bus is not only about cheap tickets, comfort, and accessibility, it's also about spectacular views that you can enjoy during the journey.

So if you want to explore Croatia's beautiful landscapes, there is hardly a better way to do so than by bus. 

Add in the affordable ticket prices, great roads, comfortable seats and air conditioning, and you got the best travel method in Croatia. 

While the train is also cheap and gives more space to move around, the railway network in Croatia is not as developed, with many popular tourist destinations lacking a train station.

Travel in croatia by bus

How to buy bus tickets in Croatia?

Most of the time you can get away without making a reservation. 

However, you are much better off booking a seat in advance, especially during the high tourist season. 

If you travel from Zagreb to a coastal city, making a reservation is a must. 

The earlier you make it, the higher chance you will grab a seat. While booking one day ahead would do the trick, your best bet is to book a few days in advance. 

Seat assignment is necessary only for long-distance journeys.

The ticket can be bought at the bus station and paid for with a credit card or kunas. This is the local currency and the only type of cash accepted when buying bus tickets. 

The practice of buying tickets online becomes more and more popular among bus companies. If it proves successful, in a couple of years all companies are likely to adopt it.

Bus Companies

Speaking of companies, all of them comply with the highest standards of comfort and have skilled drivers.

 So it doesn't matter which one you choose. 

The convenience of online booking can make a difference, though, between smaller and bigger carriers. 

For example, the biggest carrier Arriva, also known as Autortans, boasts one of the most developed and user-friendly online booking systems with a comprehensible website as well as mobile apps that offer you discounts if you buy tickets through them.

Busradar and Getbybus are other major carriers that can supply you with needed information about traveling around Croatia by bus and offer a hassle-free booking experience. 

Busradar specializes in national routes connecting large and small cities.

Besides, it operates an international line to British cities, such as London, Birmingham, and Glasgow. 

Getbybus deals with intercity routes linking major Croatian cities and tourist destinations as well as routes to Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro.

Bus ticket prices in Croatia

Given the intense competition, the prices for bus tickets in Croatia are pretty low. 

There are also some factors that influence the price such as when you are traveling, whether you have booked in advance, and whether you have bought a return ticket with the same carrier. If you are flexible with the departure time, choosing an unpopular time to hit the road will help you save some money. 

Off-peak hours when you can catch a discount include 09:30 through 15:30. Most people travel by bus on a weekend, so if you plan your journey for a business day, you may end up paying a lower price for it.

Using the same carrier for the return trip will also help you obtain a discount. Keep in mind that most bus companies ask you to pay for extra luggage. 

So if you have a suitcase besides your backpack and handheld bag, the driver will charge you separately for it.

 It may sound like a scam, but this is just how things work. The driver will even hand you a bill with everything you are charged for. 

Luckily, the extra luggage fee is small, so you shouldn't worry.

Do buses in Croatia have toilets?

If you intend to travel long distances, one of your biggest concerns should be toilets. 

Do buses in Croatia have them? 

Yes, most buses are equipped with a toilet but you will hardly ever have the chance to use it during your journey. 

For some reason, bus companies keep the toilets locked.

It may have to do with someone using and stinking up the whole bus. Drivers may also lock the toilet if it got clogged. The point is that in-bus toilets are made for liquids and small solids.

 In case of a big deposit, the toilet can get out of order.

Fortunately, drivers compensate for locked toilets with many bathroom breaks that usually happen every 2-3 hours.

 If you can't hold it, you can ask the driver to stop before the scheduled toilet break.

Croatia by bus

Croatia's well-known bus companies

We've compiled a list of reputable bus companies in Croatia, excluding the ones mentioned above. 

We've added the link to each carrier's website so you can check their schedules and prices and get other useful information. 

Please note that these are not the only high-quality and reliable bus companies in Croatia. There are other ones that just didn't make our list. 

You can do your extensive research to find other world-class carriers.

The company's fleet contains more than 80 Volvo buses that travel on national and international routes. 

They get all of Croatia's regions covered as well as some foreign destinations including Germany, Austria, Italy, Denmark, and Serbia. 

The website is available in Croatian, English, and German and contains a lot of useful information about the company's services.

The company operates routes from Split to other Croatian cities and back. It also covers local routes connecting Split with smaller nearby towns. 

If you don't know Croatian, you will find it difficult to navigate the website since it doesn't have an English version.

Based in Makarska, the carrier connects the coastal town with Zagreb and Split via the motorway. There is also an international route straight to Munich. 

Another website that's only available in Croatian so you will have to ask a Croatian friend to help you navigate through it.

The carrier connects plenty of Croatian cities with each other, reaching all parts of the country. It also operates journeys to Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Italy, and Germany. 

The website is available in English and, besides schedules and prices, it offers you a comprehensive FAQ that answers burning questions about bus travel. 

There is also an app where you can buy tickets, monitor the timetable, and get information about your journey.

Bus Travel in Croatia

Altogether, we can say that bus is the best travel method in Croatia.

It's cheap, fast, comfortable, and accessible from each corner of the country. Even if you need to get to a small town that doesn't have an airport or a train station, it must be reachable by bus, so don't worry. 

The two major concerns related to bus travel are little space to move around and toilets. Luckily, the new express buses boast stretch-out seats allowing you to stretch your legs and lean back to relax during long-distance trips. 

Some buses also have functional toilets. 

If they are locked, the driver will make scheduled bathroom breaks every 2 hours, so there is no way a long-distance bus journey around Croatia can go wrong.

About the author

Jelena is a Novalja Local. She is an expert in local tourism as she worked for a tourist agency for over a decade, received her tourist guide license, and also organized tours all over Croatia. Local cuisine is her forte as both of her parents are renowned chefs who specialize in Dalmatian food.

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