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Taking the bus in Croatia is still the most popular way of getting around. The routes are extensive, even in 2021. Find out more about routes, tickets, tips, and timetables.

Using Croatian buses: an introduction

Taking the bus in Croatia is often the most efficient way of getting around. The network is extremely comprehensive, and even the smallest village is still connected, even in 2021.

Generally faster than the train, buses are the main travel choice for backpackers and locals alike. Journey times are mostly reasonably quick on direct routes.

Online information is improving, as is the option of buying tickets online. Expect to stop at least once on a longer journey, welcome news for smokers, those who really need to stretch their legs and those in need of a toilet.

Tickets can be bought in advance or from the driver, although availability of tickets can be an issue in season. If you are carrying luggage, you must store this in the hold, at a cost of 7 kuna per item.

2021 Reality – Epidemiological Considerations

Bus travel in Croatia has been, just like almost everything else, impacted by the epidemiological measures put in place to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The two most important aspects are the measures governing the public transportation between those two cities, and the reduction of bus connections within Croatia and internationally because of the pandemic which leads to the reduced number of passengers.

As for the measures when you’re travelling on the bus, things are quite simple. The provider is not allowed to sell more than 40% of their usual occupancy. They must clearly state how many passengers are allowed. They must also ensure that the passengers are able to maintain social distancing throughout the journey. Passengers (as well as staff) must wear face masks for the entire journey. You will also need to make sure you have your face mask on at all times when at a bus station.

As for the number of lines, recently I worked on our article on how to get from Split to Dubrovnik and back. In the version written before the pandemic times it said that there was a connection between the two towns almost every half an hour. In early 2021? Around 5 on a workday, less on weekends. It’s not unusual for the number of lines to be lower during the off-season, but things are still very low in traffic. As the weather improves, the pandemic comes more under control and the travellers start returning, so will the bus lines needed to get them from one place to another.

International bus connections to Croatia

Croatia is very well-connected with the European bus network. Zagreb is, of course, the main hub, but there are also many direct connections from Istria, Rijeka and Split. And the crushing emigration from Slavonia has opened up several new routes from Osijek. Eurolines has the most comprehensive online information for online routes to and from Croatia.

Where to find the latest bus information

Someone asked me recently if I would do a website with all the local bus timetables in Croatia. They told me it would be one of the most popular sites in Croatia, and I believe them.

Getting accurate bus information in Croatia is a real challenge. I am on the mailing list of the bus company which serves Hvar, for example. About 6 times a year, I receive about 10 PDFs of the latest bus timetables. If I didn’t publish it, there would be nothing in English online.

Things are changing a little, however. A relatively new website, Bus Croatia, not only has all of the bus timetables for the major destinations, but also ticket prices, travel times and availability.

But I should also say that while I personally have found Bus Croatia to be excellent, the information they provide is not always 100% accurate. I have turned up for non-existent buses in Varaždin three times recently, for example. This is the Balkans, baby – no such thing as 100% certainty. Probably the best option if you want to be entirely sure is to check the website of the bus station where you’re supposed to be starting your journey.

The other site worth looking at is Arriva, an international company which has taken over a local Croatian giant Autotrans and all of their lines. As you can see on their route map below, they’re mostly focused on the coast. There is a lot of great info on their website, with the chance to buy online.

bus in croatia online tickets

Buying Croatian bus tickets online

Both Arriva and Bus Croatia allow you to buy tickets online. But please note this is not usually possible less than 24 hours before travel.

You can also search and purchase the Arriva tickets using the box below:

A Croatian bus journey – what you need to know

Although I can cite a couple of examples to the contrary, Croatian buses tend to be extremely punctual. My favourite proof of this was the 15:00 departure from Zagreb, which was advertised with a 20:05 arrival in Split. With my last ferry to Hvar at 20:30, I never once missed the crossing.

Toilets are most often not included in the service, so go before you get on the bus. On longer journeys, there is usually 15-20 break every 2-3 hours. A chance to freshen up, get some food or have a smoke, for smoking is not allowed.

Some bus companies offer free WiFi on board, and even a free bottle of water.

When you buy a ticket, you get allocated a seat number. Expect people to let you know if you are sitting in their place…

If you have a rucksack or suitcase with you, you must pay 7 kuna per item, for which you get a receipt.

DHL who? Croatian buses, the fastest delivery service around

If you are looking for the most efficient delivery service in Europe, use the bus in Croatia. In many ways, it is the lifeblood of the Croatian society. Dalmatian and Slavonian mothers, sending boxes of vegetables from the field to teenage sons and daughters at university in Zagreb. That kind of thing.

A small note ‘for a coffee’ to the driver, and packages are transported all over the country at a pace that DHL can only dream of. And it works for other emergencies too.

A few years ago, we drove from Varaždin to Korčula, staying a night in Zadar. As I drove down, I realized I had forgotten my passport, which I needed to get through the Neum Corridor in Bosnia, as well as onward travel to Montenegro.

A phone call to a friendly neighbour who had our house key, a favour called in from a relative in Zagreb, and the passport arrived in Split 8 hours later on the bus. Magical.

The arrival of Flixbus

And then came Flixbus.

The first major international company to enter the Croatian market is providing some serious competition to its local competitors in the initial couple of years of operation.

With a rapidly expanding national network to complement its international network, it is worth keeping tabs on Flixbus for your bus travel in Croatia and beyond.

Popular bus routes – Split to Zagreb

For tourists, the bus is the quickest and cheapest way to get to and from the main tourist centres. Here is what you need to know about getting from Zagreb to Split, including a stopover at Plitvice Lakes.

From Dubrovnik to Split by bus

Dubrovnik to Split is arguably the most popular tourist route of all in Croatia. Here is how to do it by bus and other means of transport. Don’t forget your passport!

Airport buses in Croatia

Airport buses are generally pretty efficient from the main airports. Here is what you need to know about taking the bus into town from Zagreb Airport, Split Airport, Dubrovnik Airport, Pula Airport, and Zadar Airport.

Is there a bus to meet the ferry in Croatia?

One of the great stresses of ferry travel is how to get from the ferry to your end destination. Will there be a bus to meet the ferry?

The good news is that the Croatian bus network connects well with the ferry system. Not only does a bus meet almost every ferry, but the bus timetable also allow travellers get from destinations to the ferry in plenty of time.

Bus travel in Croatia – useful numbers

Zagreb Bus Station

Autobusni kolodvor Zagreb Avenija Marina Držića 4, 10000 Zagreb, +385 1 6008 600
Info on timetable and ticket reservation Tel: +385 1 6112 789

Split Bus Station

Obala Kneza Domagoja br.12, 21000 Split, +385 (0)21 329-180

Dubrovnik Bus Station

Obala pape Ivana Pavla II 44 A, 20000 Dubrovnik, Republika Hrvatska, +385 (0)20 356-004

Zadar Bus Station

Ante Starčevića 1, 23000 Zadar, Croatia, +385 (0)23 211-555

Rijeka Bus Station

Trg Žabica 1 HR-51000 Rijeka tel: +385 51 660 300 e-mail: [email protected]

Pula Bus Station

Trg I. Istarske brigade bb Pula

Osijek Bus Station

Bartola Kašića 70, 31000 Osijek, +385 60 353353