Transport in Croatia


There are international airports in Zagreb, Zadar, Split, Dubrovnik and Rijeka (on the island of Krk). Recently, Osijek airport in Slavonia has been renovated for regional traffic. It is also being considered to revitalize Pula airport (Istria) as a destination for low cost airlines.

Currently, the following low cost airlines are flying to Croatia: SkyEurope, EasyJet, Flyglobespan, Germanwings, TUIfly, Ryanair, Thomson and Wizz Air. Major established companies that fly to Croatia include the domestic Croatia Airlines (now a regional member of the Star Alliance), Lufthansa and British Airways. There only seasonal intercontinental flights from and to Croatia.


Overall: 68 airports (2004 estimate)

Airports with paved runways (2004 est.):

  • total: 23
  • 10,000 ft (3,047 m) or more: 2
  • 8,000 to 9,999 ft (2,438 to 3,047 m): 6
  • 5,000 to 7,999 ft (1,524 to 2,437 m): 2
  • 3,000 to 4,999 ft (914 to 1,523 m): 4
  • under 3,000 ft (914 m): 9

Airports with unpaved runways (2004 est.):

  • total: 45
  • 5,000 to 7,999 ft (1,524 to 2,437 m): 1
  • 3,000 to 4,999 ft (914 to 1,523 m): 7
  • under 3,000 ft (914 m): 37

Heliports: 1 (2002)


Rail transport

There are several major railway routes in the country:

There are also other routes to Slovenia, Hungary, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia.

The railways urgently need to be modernized, since after communism there have been hardly any investments into the railway infrastructure. Many important routes are still not electrified and allow only single track traffic along series of bends. The aforementioned routes have been in constant renovation for the last ten years, with the result of increased maximum speed: on the Zagreb-Novska-Vinkovci line, there are sections where the limit was raised from to , and there are plans to go to on certain sections with the same rail tracks. Also, the Hungary-Beli Manastir-Osijek-Đakovo-Slavonski Šamac railway line (international corridor Vc) is being modernised to allow speeds up to 160 km/h on the whole length. Electrification is planned in later stages.

The official speed record in Croatia is , which is just below the border of official 200 km/h high speed recognition. This is however, never used in regular service (yet). One class of locomotives was planned to be used at this speed (not has speed limited, due to security reasons), also some passenger rolling stock classes of wagons are initially designed for this speed.

Recently, the Croatian railways introduced an initial series of modern tilting trains ordered from the German branch of Bombardier Transportation. They are normally deployed on the mountainous route between the two largest Croatian cities, route Zagreb - Split, but are also sometimes on the InterCity routes in the continental part of the country. In the case of the Zagreb-Split route, this offers passengers a much more comfortable and time-saving journey with regard to previous trains whose journey took 9 hours, whereas the tilting trains take no more than 5.5 hours, and are more quiet and better equipped as well. There are further plans to extend the lines and services of this trains (specially in continental part of Croatia), since they turned out to be very profitable on longer routes.

The Croatian railways hope to revitalize rail traffic through further improvements and to establish the rail as serious competitor to rising car traffic, particularly during the summer months.

The Croatian Railways plan to introduce a high-speed railway service (currently none existing) to keep pace with Europe. Construction of an entirely new line from Karlovac to Rijeka, and reconstruction of the line from the Hungarian border to Karlovac, was scheduled to begin in the Fall of 2007. The line is planned be entirely electrified and will be long from end to end, shorter than the existing line. A trip from Zagreb to Rijeka will be shortened to just one hour, compared with the current 4 hours. This line is planned to be built primarily in order to serve the rapidly increasing level of goods that enter Europe at the Croatian port of Rijeka and are then transported to many places in central and eastern Europe.


Railway length (as of 2004):

  • total:
  • standard gauge, 1.435 m: (electrified)

Rail links with adjacent countries:

Road transport

From the time of Napoleon and building Lujzijana, the road transport in Croatia has singificantly improved, topping most European countries. According to recent statements of European traffic experts, Croatian highways are amongst the most modern and safest in Europe. This is also due to the fact that the largest part of the Croatian highway system has been recently constructed, and construction is rapidly continuing.

A major reason for the current highway construction mania is that in the last 20 years under Communist rule, when Croatia formed part of the former Yugoslavia, no major projects had been realized (in 1991 when Croatia declared independence, the only highways were Zagreb-Karlovac and Zagreb-Slavonski Brod, the latter being part of the highway "Bratstvo i jedinstvo"). This highway was later built even further, and today it connects Zagreb to Slavonski Brod and Croatian border with Serbia. It was long ago (back to the times of the Croatian Spring) when the dream was born to connect the two largest Croatian cities, Zagreb and Split, with a highway. The construction of this enormously important project, however, has always been blocked by the ruling Communist Party. Recently, after so many years of waiting, this long awaited dream has been realised, and now the Zagreb-Split highway is a reality. There is also a highway to Rijeka. Also, the Zagreb-Krapina-Macelj highway (to Slovenian Border) was finished in 2007.

Currently (2007), the construction of eleven different highways are planned of which two: A3 (Zagreb-Slavonski Brod-Serbian frontier) and A2 (Zagreb-Krapina-Macelj) are completed, one (A4 Zagreb-Varaždin-Hungarian frontiers) only lack connection to state borders, three A6 (Zagreb-Rijeka) B8 and B9 (Istrian Y) are completed but have to be upgraded from semi-highway status, one, the A1 (The long awaited "Dalmatina" between Zagreb and Split is planned to extend until Dubrovnik, three are in initial stages of development, and only one A11 has yet to begin construction.

The initial setup was made under the first HDZ government which contracted Bechtel Corporation; this was later replaced by the effort of the SDP-led government effort led by Radimir Čačić; and then continued by the HDZ government under Ivo Sanader. While the pace of development accelerates, so do environmental concerns, and concerns relating to the use and abuse of eminent domain by institutions involved in them. Especially criticized was the A11 Zagreb-Sisak, suspected of being politically motivated and inefficiently built. At the contrary, Zagreb-Split trait construction enjoyed a constant support from Croatian public and its on-schedule completion was marked with enormous joy and pride all through the country.

Tourism is of major importance for the Croatian economy, and most tourists come to vacation in Croatia in their own cars. Without adequate roads, the traffic would get rather jammed during the summer months. For this reason, and as a means for stimulating urgently needed economic growth, highways have become indispensable for the sustainable development of this country. Croatia already has a considerable highway density for a country that still has to cope with the consequences of Communism and the recent war.

As of 2006, Croatia has 28,344 km of roads. There are 23,979 km paved roadways (including 1,050 km of highways) and 4,365 km unpaved roadways

Road rules

The traffic signs adhere to the Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals.

The general speed limits are:

  • in inhabited areas 50 km/h
  • outside of inhabited areas 80 km/h
  • on expressways 110 km/h
  • on marked highways 130 km/h

In 2004, a controversial new traffic law was introduced, which provides for drastic safety measures for drunken or dangerous driving: it reduced the blood alcohol limit to 0‰ of alcohol in blood. In 2008 this law was reversed to 0.05‰ of alcohol in blood.

Some of the more technical safety measures include that all new Croatian tunnels have modern safety equipment and there are several control centers, which monitor highway traffic.

Highways and expressways

In Croatia, the term autocesta or highway describes a divided road with two lanes in each direction and a shoulder on the right side reserved for vehicle breakdowns. The road signs for autocesta are green with white inscriptions similar to the Swiss Autobahn.

The term brza cesta or expressway refers to a road with two lanes in each direction, without a shoulder for emergencies. Polu-autocesta or semi-highway refers to a two-lane, undivided road running on one roadway of a highway while the other is in construction.

The designations of highways and some expressways are A and the highway's number. E numbers are designations of European routes.

The list of constructed highways and longer expressways is as follows:



A toll is charged on most highways, the only notable exception being the Zagreb bypass. Payment in kuna, all major credit cards and euros are accepted at all toll gates.

There are two toll collection systems in Croatia: the open and the closed system. Open system is used on some bridges and tunnels and short stretches of tolled highway. In this system, there is only one toll plaza and drivers immediately pay the toll upon arriving.

In the closed system, every driver passes through two toll plazas. As the driver enters the system, they are given a receipt on the first toll plaza. This receipt states the point of entry. The receipt is presented upon leaving the highway through the second toll plaza. It is needed to calculate the toll. If the driver loses the receipt, they are charged with the maximum possible toll. If the receipt is more than 24 hours old, the driver must present the toll attendant with a reasonable explanation.

Steps are taken to reduce evasion of toll by adding enclosed separate service areas in each direction and prohibiting U-turns. Additionally, every vehicle is being monitored by video cameras at the toll gates.

Shunpiking is a widely accepted practice for commuters driving what would otherwise be a short stretch of tolled highway. Because of the price of monthly and yearly SMART cards, many commuters from outer exurbs use state routes.

There are also reduced rates for transport companies, which should prevent heavy traffic along regional roads. Hrvatske ceste (Croatian road authority) imposes additional fees for trucking companies that frequently use a route.

You can find a toll fee calculator for the whole network under:

Non-cash toll payment

Not counting cash and credit cards, there are several ways to pay toll on Croatian highways:

  • SMART card, a nonrefundable and unexpiring prepaid toll card showed to the toll attendant. As of August 2007, a SMART card costs 20 kn. Additional toll may be prepaid at owner's will. The SMART card enacts a 10% discount on toll when used. It is not recommended to use the SMART card for paying less than 200 kn in toll. 200 kn equals to a round-trip in relation Zagreb - Zadar. SMART card must be purchased pre-paying at least 100 kn of toll. Additional money can be added to the toll account at any time. The SMART card has recently been refitted to allow use by flashing the card in front of a magnetic card reader.
  • seasonal SMART card offers a significantly higher discount rate of 23.5% usable during specified five months. Unused amount upon expiry of these five months will be used with the standard, 10% discount. As of August 2007, a class I vehicle seasonal SMART card costs 1200 kn. The full amount is submitted to the toll account.
  • ENC (Elektronička naplata cestarine) is an electronic toll collection system. As of August 2007, the transponder costs 122 kn and a 10% discount on tolls is available. The user must pre-pay at least 90 kn of toll at purchase. Additional money can be added to the toll account at any time. ENC is usually recommended only for at least 10 longer journeys across Croatia. In the tourist season, ENC can drastically shorten wait times on large toll plazas with dedicated ENC lanes (especially toll plaza Lučko in Zagreb). ENC has been criticized for incompatibility among highway concessioners and often malfunctions.

Highway A1

The 380 km long highway A1 Zagreb - Split was the showpiece project of all previous Croatian governments. The A1 connects the continental part of Croatia with Mediterranean Dalmatia. It is complete with two lanes in both directions in its full length.

The most important edifice on the A1 is the Sveti Rok Tunnel (5.687 m), which goes through the famous Velebit mountain range barrier. The most modern, and at the same time the longest Croatian tunnel, is also along the A1: the Mala Kapela Tunnel (length 5,780 m), which passes through the Mala Kapela mountain range.

The highway winds itself as a panoramic road through the Croatian hills, goes along the Dalmatian coast and passes the world-famous Krka National Park.

The construction of this highway will continue rapidly in direction to the important Ploče sea port (and further on to Dubrovnik).

Other highways

All heavily travelled routes towards Slovenia are highway connections. Since June 2005 the Istrian Y extends from the Slovenian border at Umag in direction to Rovinj and from the Rupa border crossing to Rijeka.

The connection ZagrebKrapina/Macelj border crossing, south of Maribor, was completed in May 2007.

The eastern and western "wing" of the so-called "Istrian Y" (expressway connection in Istria) has been opened for traffic since June 2005. The last remaining part in the direction of Pula in the south will be constructed in 2007. The transformation of these sections into a full-profile highway will be considered when certain traffic limits are reached.

The last remaining part of the highway connection A6 between Rijeka and Zagreb was constructed in spring 2004. An extension of the two-way traffic sections is planned for 2008. Within the following years, a second highway bypass around Rijeka and the highway connection RijekaSenj/Žuta Lokva to the existing A1 will be built.

A highway connection of Zagreb to the important industrial city of Sisak should be constructed by 2008.

Almost all parts of Croatia are easily reached using highways. Highway A3 extends from Županja (eastern Slavonia) to Serbia. Construction works along the European north-south corridor Vc (European route E73) between the Hungarian border at Beli Manastir, Osijek and the Bosnian border in direction to Sarajevo and further on to the sea port of Ploče has already begun. (The connection from Zagreb to the Hungarian border at Varaždin and Čakovec has already been established.)

Significant tunnel and bridge construction projects in Southern Dalmatia are already being planned, such as the Biokovo tunnel near Makarska, which will connect the panoramic seashore road with the future A1, and a long Pelješac bridge, connecting the Pelješac peninsula to the Croatian mainland.

During 2006 and 2007, numerous service areas and petrol stations are gradually being constructed along all Croatian highways. All Croatian highways are equipped with enclosed service areas with gas stations and parking. Many areas have restaurants and children's playgrounds.


In construction:

Highway Section Length Notes
A1 Mala Kapela and Sveti Rok tunnels about 5 km each Second tubes of these tunnels are currently in construction and expected to be completed by 2009. At that time, both tunnels will have four lanes like the rest of the highway.
Šestanovac - Ploče 60 km completion scheduled in 2008
A5 Osijek - Đakovo 32.5 km to be completed in 2008
Sredanci - Bosnia and Herzegovina border (Svilaj) 3.6 km
A6 Oštrovica - Stara Sušica 44.3 km The roadway for vehicles travelling east will be finished in 2008. Until then, this section remains a semi-highway.
A11 Jakuševec - Velika Gorica south 9.5 km This part was supposed to be comepleted in late 2007, but the mayor of Velika Gorica postponed the construction due to political reasons. The section will be completed in 2009.

In planning stages:

Highway Section Length Notes
A1 Ploče - Dubrovnik 59 km
A5 Hungarian border (Beli Manastir) - Osijek 29.5 km
A7 Rijeka - Žuta Lokva 92 km
B8 Kanfanar - Rijeka 76.8 km B8 and B9 highways are currently semi-highways. Upgrading to a four-lane highway will take approximately three years. The construction will start when all necessary permits are obtained. Upon completion of the second roadway, the highways will be named B8 and B9. Most overpasses and viaducts, except the viaduct over the river Mirna, are already built to accommodate four lanes of traffic.
B9 Slovenian border (Umag) - Kanfanar - Pula 64.2 km
A10 Bosnia and Herzegovina border (Mali Prolog) - Ploče 9 km This highway's only interchange is the Ploče 1 interchange of A1 highway. The highway south of this interchange will be built in 2008. The construction deadline of the northern section is unknown. It will probably be built upon completion of Corridor Vc in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
A11 Velika Gorica south - Mošćenica 38 km The section Velika Gorica south - Lekenik will be completed in December 2008.

Major roads

Major roads that aren't part of the highway system are državne ceste (state routes). They are marked with the letter D and the road's number.

The most travelled state routes in Croatia are:

These routes are monitored by Croatian roadside assistance because they connect important locations. Like all state routes outside major cities, they are only two-lane arterials and do not support heavy traffic. All state routes are routinely maintained by Croatian road authorities. The road sign for a state route has a blue background and the route's designation in white. State routes have one, two or three-digit numbers.

Minor roads

Secondary routes are known as county roads. They are marked with signs with yellow background and road number. These roads' designations are rarely used, but usually marked on regional maps if these roads are shown. Formally, their designation is the letter Ž and the number. County roads have four-digit numbers.

The least known are the so-called local roads. Their designations are never marked on maps or by roadside signs and as such are virtually unknown to public. Their designations consist of the letter L and a five-digit number.

Bus traffic

In contrast to the fairly underdeveloped rail traffic, buses represent the most-accepted, cheapest and widely-used means of public transport. National bus traffic is very well developed and it is very easy to reach even the remotest parts of Croatia by bus. Almost all buses on national routes are air-conditioned and offer pleasant traveling comfort. The Croatian parliament has passed a law that no bus should be older then 12 years - however, this decision is currently frozen because of the high cost for bus operators.

In practice, bus fares are collected on the bus while traveling, which is sometimes even cheaper than when paying at the ticket office (there is an additional fee for stored luggage) and sometimes a "ticket office fee".

From Croatia, there are many international bus routes to the neighbouring countries (Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia etc.), as well as to Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Switzerland and to other European countries. International buses correspond to European standards.

Zagreb has the largest and most modern bus terminal in Croatia. It is located near the downtown in Trnje district on the Marin Držić Avenue. It sports specially designed waiting areas above the bus stopping and parking area. The Zagreb bus terminal is close to the central train station, Glavni kolodvor and it is easy to reach by tram lines and by car.

Water transport

Sea transport

Croatia has several large seaports. The largest seaport with the deepest channel to a port in the Adriatic is Rijeka on the northern Croatian coast, followed by Ploče in southern Dalmatia. The port of Ploče is of strategic importance for the industries of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The largest Croatian passenger port is Split in Dalmatia, also called gateway to the islands, followed by Zadar. There are 66 inhabited islands along the Croatian coast which means there is a large number of local ferry connections.

Ports and harbors:

Merchant marine (as of 2005):

River transport

Croatia is also on the important Danube waterway, which connects Eastern and Central Europe. The major Danube port is Vukovar.

Perennially navigable rivers:

  • Danube (section from Batina to Ilok which is in Croatia)
  • Sava - from Rugvica until it exits Croatia near Gunja. The most upstream port is in Sisak.

Total waterway length (as of 2004): 785 km


As of 2004:


See also

External links

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