Planning on renting a car in Split Croatia? Whether you’re on a quick holiday or starting off a longer Croatia itinerary, we got you covered! After having a rent a car in Split for 4 weeks to explore the Dalmatian coast we certainly have picked up a thing or two. Here’s our top tips for booking the cheapest Split rental car, driving in Croatia, and much more!
Should You Rent a Car in Split Croatia?
First and most importantly, do you need a rental car in Split? This totally depends on your travel style and what type of vacation you’re looking to have.
Obviously, if you are up for Croatia road trip then you’ll need a car. However, if you have a hotel in Split’s city center and only want to visit the islands, then a car might be more of a burden.
What we’re saying is you should decide what type of trip you want and take it from there! Also, consider renting a car in Split for the tail end of your trip to tour around after island hopping.
10 Tips For Renting a Car in Split Croatia
1. Book As Soon As You Know Your Dates
Split is hands down one of the most popular destinations in Croatia to start your trip from! That means when you book a Croatia rental car you can expect the prices to be higher in the busy summer months.
As soon as you know the dates it’s best to book your Split car rental. When we visited in April we used DiscoverCars and found a deal for only $100 for two weeks! This was by far the lowest price we’ve seen in this part of Europe.
Once we made it to Croatia we decided to extend our car last minute another couple weeks. Around this time, the Croatia car rental prices had already almost doubled heading into the summer season. Overall, it was still extremely affordable and we ended up paying around $14 a day for our vehicle.
This is also one of the advantages of traveling to Croatia in the swing season outside of July and August. You will find that not only is renting a car in Split much more affordable during this time, but accommodations and tours can be almost half price as well!
Also, know that many Split car rental companies have free cancellation included in your booking. If you pick one that offers this then you can lock in a great price and change it if anything comes up in the future.
2. Pick Your Split Rental Car Up at the Airport
Whenever renting a car abroad we find that the best deals are usually at the airports. Typically, this is due to the pure amount of stock available and multiple companies in one place. This is very convenient as most travelers to the region will start by flying in.
Split International Airport may be small, but it has daily non-stop flights from all over Europe and many different rental car companies! When leaving the airport there is a small bridge that takes you over to the main street directly to the Split rental car center. Here you will find all the well known companies. However, there are a few car rental locations just outside the airport, too.
Double-check your email after receiving your Split rental car confirmation. We booked our car hire with OK Mobility through DiscoverCars. While we thought the pickup was on-site at the airport, they actually had a small rental desk less than a five minute walk up the road.
There are also car rental companies in the actual city of Split. The main downside to renting a car in Split is that you would have to make the trip with either by taxi or public transport. Depending on the traffic, this will take you 30-40 minutes from the airport.
3. Automatic vs Manual Cars
If you’re traveling from somewhere like the United States, it’s always important to note the car types when booking a rental car in Split. Make sure to check off the automatic type if you need it!
Automatic cars aren’t as popular in Europe and the cheapest cars are definitely manual. When booking your rent a car in Split filter for automatic cars on your search. Know that there will be an additional charge compared to the manual and this style often sells out first.
4. Consider Booking One Way When Renting a Car in Split
This certainly depends on your trip, but you may want to consider a one-way car rental from Split. You will most likely have to pay an extra drop off fee. Still, it could be a better option than backtracking to return your vehicle.
One of the most popular Croatia road trips starts with renting a car in Split! From there, you can either drive the coast south or use the ferry to get towards Dubrovnik. If you plan to do this (and are flexible with your travel plans) then it would also be best if you booked your flight into Croatia via Split and fly out of Dubrovnik.
5. Take Photos of Your Split Rental Car & Gas Level
The days are long gone of walking around the car and marking damage on a piece of paper. Yet, don’t be fooled! Even if your rental company says it’s all good, they have it in the computer, etc… You should take it upon yourself to check for any scratches and dings.
We always make a point to walk around the car and take photos from every angle. It’s even a good idea to record a video as you circle the vehicle. Whether you bought extra insurance or your credit cards cover you in some form, it’s just not worth the trouble when you return.
It’s also smart to take a photo of the gas level as most cars are not given to you full. These are just a few things to ensure your experience renting a car in Split Croatia goes smoothly!
6. Get a Car Passport if You’re Traveling Outside Croatia
When picking up our Split rental car we were asked if we would be taking the car to a different country. While we didn’t plan on it for this trip, we loved finding out it was an option for another time! How cool is it that you can drive from Split to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, or other amazing destinations?
On the DiscoverCars website find the the tab that says rental conditions. From there there are is a drop-down menu and a section called geographical restrictions.
Here you can click on the different countries you are interested in taking your Split rental car to and it will give you an estimated additional cost. It isn’t something you add on at the time of booking, but it will give you an idea of where you can drive to legally.
At the airport we were quoted 100 Euros if we wanted to take our vehicle outside of Croatia. Kind of a hefty price tag! Still, it might be worth it if you’d like to see multiple countries on your travels.
7. Go Island Hopping With Your Split Car Rental
That’s right! It is not only possible, but actually really easy to take your car on the ferries to the beautiful Croatian islands. Off the coast of Croatia in the Adriatic Sea are hundreds of different islets to explore.
Know that you can get on the ferries as both foot passenger or with a rent a car in Split. Yet, if you don’t have a car you will be confined to just the port area or main towns unless you plan on using public transportation. Having a vehicle is a great option if you want to experience everything!
From Split, some of the most popular islands to visit are Brac, Hvar, Vis, and Korcula. Just like taking the rental car outside of the country, you do need to tell the rental car company that you plan to take it on the ferry. Some companies will have additional costs and may charge a small fee of around 50 Euros.
To see the different schedules and prices check out the Jadrolinija website. This is the main car ferry used to travel around the Croatian islands. The website is extremely simple to navigate and figure out the extra cost of having a car for the islands. You can also check out our Southern Croatian island hopping guide below!
8. Be Aware of the Extremely Tight Croatian Roads
So what is it actually like driving a car in Croatia? Honestly, it can be a little intense! The national roads and highways are well-maintained and as easy as any other country. Nevertheless, once you leave them and head into the small villages and old towns it’s a different story.
This may not bother you if you have experience driving in Europe and it wasn’t much different for us than driving in countries like Italy or Greece. Don’t worry though! There are some easy tips to know after you pick up your rent a car in Split.
Our plan is to always find a parking lot as soon as we enter these cities or small towns. Street parking can be crazy in the popular areas, especially in high season.
Even if we have to walk a little further it’s less of a hassle than parking closer to the main attractions. We typically paid .70 to 1 euro per hour at most lots. Also, keep an eye out for one way roads and plan additional time for traffic.
Our time exploring the Adriatic coast with our Split car rental was so amazing! Just be patient while driving and understand what to expect. You may even want to opt for a small car to make cruising the tight roads a bit easier.
9. Take Day Trips from Split Croatia
If you’re renting a car in Split Croatia know that there are some amazing day trips! This includes the islands, coastal towns, and beautiful national parks. Below were are a few of our favorite places we visited with our Split rental car. Remember that they are popular tourist destinations! If you’re visiting in the summer get on the road as early as possible.
Krka National Park: Fun nature walk to the famous Croatian waterfalls.
Klis Fortress: Incredible medieval fortress located 20 minutes from Split.
Trogir Unesco World Heritage Site: Island town nearby to split with over 2,000 years of history.
Primošten: One of the most stunning small villages in all of Croatia!
Šibenik: Oldest Croatian town on the Adriatic Coast with 3 historic fortresses sitting above. A great place to include on a day trip if you’re heading to Krka National Park.
Makarska: Popular coastal town 1.5 hours south of Split. Good to combine with Biokovo Skywalk and a stop in the small town of Omis.
Beautiful Beaches: Along the entire coastal road are fun small towns and great beaches with crystal clear water. Renting a car in Split will give you the ultimate ability to explore!
10. Renting a Car in Split Croatia for Camping
One thing we didn’t realize before arriving in Split is how many awesome campsites there are! It really made us rethink our plans for a future visit. All along the coast surrounding the city are campgrounds with epic views and beachfront stays.
If this interests you then you can buy or rent camping equipment after picking up your rent a car in Split. You also may want to look into renting a campervan for the ultimate Croatia road trip!
This style of travel is not only fun, but could save you money on accommodations. In addition to the beaches, you are also able to camp at many of the national parks. Croatia is truly built for camping and nature lovers!
Have any questions about this article or want to share your own tips for renting a car in Split Croatia? Let us know in the comments below!
Brigitte & Jake
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Croatia Travel Planning
Rental Car: We use Discover Cars to rent vehicles on our travels. In Croatia, you can even take your car on the ferries so you have wheels for the different islands!
Tours: Check out Get Your Guide for hundreds of activities around the country. You can book a blue cave 5 islands tour from Split, go sea kayaking in Dubrovnik, or take a day trip to the famous Krka National Park.
Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without being covered! We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.