A few holiday faq
1. No visa is required for entry into Croatia.
2. No special vaccination is required.
3. Croatia boasts, with reason, the best drinking water in Europe.
4. Croatia has on average 3000 sunny hours a year! That is out of a possible 4380 daylight hours in a year!
5. On the coast winters are very mild, rarely falling below 10ºC. One can see lemons on the trees in February!
6. In summer it's hot but not too hot, the average July temperature being 29ºC.
7. A big motorway program is underway which will connect Rijeka to Split by 2005 and Split to Dubrovnik by 2007.
8. The drinking driving laws are just as strict as anywhere in Western Europe.
9. The Croatians drive on the right side of the road!
|Driving in Croatia|
Driving to Croatia
Despite the relatively short flight times (no more than 2.5 hrs from the furthest European airport, if flying direct), a lot of people do consider driving to Croatia. How long it takes depends, of course, on your country of origin. From the UK it is a particularly long trek, not least because you have to cross the Channel to France or Holland first. From France or Holland you will have to count two days for the trip, and a further day if you are planning to go to the south of Croatia - this is driving sensibly, at legal speeds and at 8 hrs a day. The most direct route from the north of France, which happens also to be the most picturesque, is to head for Lyon, then to Geneva across the Alps and cross the French-Italian border via the Mont Blanc tunnel (the toll is about 28 €). Once in Italy its practically a straight road all the way to Croatia, going through Milan, past Venice and ending up at Trieste on the Adriatic, after which you then have a short stretch of Slovenia to cross and youre in Croatia. The route doesnt actually go through Venice, but a nice idea, to break the journey up a bit, would be to plan a day at Venice - it seems crazy to go all that way and pass Venice!
For folk living in the South of France, in Austria, in Switzerland or in southern Germany you can knock a day off these journey times. If you live in northern Italy the journey is a cinch and you would probably only ever consider driving to get to Croatia. From all other parts of Italy catching a ferry to Croatia is probably the best option.
It is always advisable to consult one of the many route planners on the Internet and print out your route before departing. For English speaking people the AAs route planner is excellent which youll find at: www.theaa.com
Driving in Croatia
Firstly, I should mention that Croatians drive on the right side of the road.
If youre headed for the Dalmatian Coast you could catch a Jadrolina car ferry from Rijeka to many of the major Dalmatian towns. The ferry leaves Rijeka at 6 pm and gets to Split for the next morning, Korcula for midday and Dubrovnik for mid afternoon. The return trip including a cabin costs 360 €
A big motorway building program is underway at the moment which will connect all the major coastal towns from Rijeka in the north to Dubrovnik in the south. At the moment only a 20 km stretch north of Zadar is open but it is hoped that the Rijeka to Split stretch will be open by 2005, and the Split to Dubrovnik stretch by 2007. This will cut a sizable chunk off the journey times to the coastal towns. Until the motorways are built youll have to put up with the existing coastal road which wind around the countless bays and indentations of the Croatian coast with very little opportunities to overtake. Croatian lorry drivers are very considerate, if they see a clear passage ahead for you to overtake they will flash their indicators, but many drivers take horrendous risks overtaking and you always have to expect that a car may come round the bend on the wrong side of the road! Saying all that, the journey south is spectacularly beautiful and the biggest hazard to the road will probably be yourself, because your eyes will be fixed on the scenery rather than on the road!
Do remember that in summer the roads around the coastal resorts will be very busy indeed and if you can see a route to your destination on the smaller inland roads it is definitely worth considering. Similarly with parking, in summer finding places in the town centres can be very difficult, so if you can find a place further from the centre it would be advisable to take it - a lot of Croatias historic towns, such as Trogir, Hvar and Dubrovnik, dont allow cars in and the car parks outside are not really large enough to cater for everyone. In out-of-season periods, however, finding a parking place is not normally a problem.
The quickest way of getting to Croatia is, of course, by air, and if you live in western Europe this is the route most people will take. Unless youre on a package tour, where transport is organised for you, youll need to rent a car. By some curious quirk of commerce it is always cheaper to book your car rental through an agency in your country of origin than hire direct from a rental company in your destination country. We have no commercial ties with any rental agency but if I could make a personal recommendation I would suggest AutoEscape. Even with just a few days notice, which is not advisable, although sometimes necessary, they have always come up trumps for me. They offer car rental with unlimited mileage/kilometrage and with fairly comprehensive insurance all included in the package.
As in any country, your car rental company in Croatia will go over your car with you to note all previous scratches or dents so that you, or your insurance company, wont be charged for other peoples mishaps. Dont be shy, if you see a scratch that is not marked on the damage sheet, you must point it out to the representative. This will possibly be your first encounter with Croatian commerce, and you will invariably find their representatives very helpful and courteous. One could be forgiven for thinking that the Croatians friendliness to foreigners is something which is drummed into them during their training but you soon learn that it in fact it is quite genuine. The Croatians are also naturally adept at languages and most speak very good German, English and Italian.
Drinking and driving laws
The legal limit for blood alcohol content in Croatia is .05 %. There is quite a big police presence on Croatian roads and they routinely spot-check motorists for drinking and driving. The procedure and laws governing this are exactly the same as in any other European country except that drivers who refuse a breathalyser are automatically presumed to have admitted to driving while intoxicated.
Useful emergency numbers
987: HAK, for emergency road help. They are the equivalent of the UKs AA and have English speaking operators.
92: for the Police. It is essential to report any accident to the police, especially in relation to insurance claims you may wish to make.
94: for an ambulance