Planning a motorcycle tour of Croatia? Lucky you- Croatia is a fabulous place to visit for motorbikes. Here’s everything you need to know about motorcycling in Croatia, including great routes and some best places to visit.
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Motorcycling in Croatia – why you should go!
Croatia is possibly motorcycling heaven. lt has a little bit of everything- fantastic coastline with sandy beaches, islands, mountains, friendly people and sunshine. Lots and lots of sunshine. Despite having some modern cities, most of it still feels far away from the world- the perfect place to relax and unwind.
One of the best things about being able to explore Croatia on a European motorcycling tour is that you can see the differences between the regions, try the local cuisine (and wine!) and really get a feel for the country in a short space of time. It’s also one of the cheapest countries in Europe, so you can travel on a small budget without much issue.
In this guide, we’re going to share with you everything you need to know to go motorcycling in Croatia, including getting to Croatia and planning your route, where to stay (campsites, B and Bs or hotels), some road trip ideas and places to visit, driving tips and other practical advice to help you have an amazing Croatian motorcycle trip.
We’re also going to share some things NOT to do!
Motorcycling in Croatia- Where to go
When planning a motorcycle trip to Croatia, the first thing you need to do is decide where you’re going in the country (and how long you have for your adventure!)
How long to go for?
If you’re driving from the UK to Croatia (we’ll cover that shortly), you need to allow at least 2 days (probably 3) to get from arriving in France (by either ferry or Eurotunnel) to Croatia. And that’s 3 days of pretty much solid riding (it’s just over 15 hours (900 miles) from Calais to the north-western Croatian border.) Bizarrely, it’s actually slightly quicker to get to Croatia than it is to go motorcycling in Portugal!
We don’t recommend visiting Croatia if you only have a week to go motorcycle touring. It’s too far and all you’ll do is drive there and back. Of course, if you’re going to rent a motorcycle and fly in, that’s perfectly doable in a week (more on that shortly). We explored a lot in only 4 days (we had a two week trip, but we got sidetracked by the Italian Dolomites and then Slovenia!)
If you have a couple of weeks, you can certainly explore a good chunk of Croatia while motorcycle touring, but you will be doing a lot of riding unless you stick to just the North of the country. Croatia isn’t a huge country- it only takes about 7 hours (370miles) to drive from North to South, but it’s a weird shape and once you’re down in Dubrovnik you have to head north a long way to get further east, unless you choose to cut through Bosnia.
Make sure you bring a motorcycle camera or helmet cam– the scenery is spectacular.
Highlights of a Croatian Motorcycling Holiday
Some of the best places to visit when motorcycling in Croatia include:
- Plitvice Lakes (get there early!)
- The hidden shipwreck cove
- Zadar and the sea organ
- Krka Lakes
- Dubrovnik old town (think Game of Thrones)
- Pula cave
If you enjoy reading books before a trip, here are some we recommend:
When to go motorcycle touring in Croatia
Croatia is lucky enough to have a wonderful climate for most of the year, although it can get HOT in summer.
Motorbiking in Croatia in winter
Surprisingly, Croatia is COLD in winter. Average temperatures go down to around 10c between December and January.
Many campsites and tourist locations do close for winter, although there are still a few open all year for you to enjoy, but only if you have decent winter gear and enjoy riding in cold, rain, sleet or even snow.
Touring Croatia in summer
For us, summer in Croatia is too hot and humid. The average temperature in August is 30°C and, because we usually travel with our dog, we try to avoid hot places like this and go motorcycling in Norway or other places with mountains and cooler air.
Also, it gets crowded in summer. Crazy crazy crowded. Beaches are packed and queues for tourist attractions are long. Being crammed in, in hot weather, doesn’t appeal to us at all.
Motorcycling in Croatia in Spring and Autumn
As with most of Europe, Spring and Autumn are perfect times to explore Croatia. The weather is still warm (average of 18°C in May and 20°C in October), but most of the crowds from summer have gone and you might even get stretches of beach all to yourself.
TOP TIP: If you are travelling outside of peak season and plan to use campsites, definitely get an ACSI CampingCard– you’ll save a fortune on campsites all over Europe, including Croatia
Planning a driving route from the UK to Croatia
If you’re planning a motorbike trip to Croatia, there are a couple of options from the UK, assuming you’re bringing your own bike (if you’re flying in and hiring, we’ll deal with that shortly.)
If you’re going to ride (or drive, if you’re motorcycle camping with a van) directly from the UK to Croatia, the quickest route is to turn left from Calais and head through Belgium, then Germany and down through Austria.
However, if you have more time, many people choose to head to Italy with their motorcycle, then catch a ferry across the Adriatic Sea.
Best Riding Roads in Croatia
The prettiest route in Croatia is definitely the Adriatic road (Jadranska magistrala – officially road D8) which connects Rijeka and Dubrovnik. It’s definitely worth riding- and there are plenty of places to stop and get great photos of your motorbike!
Try not to go off the main roads too much. I’ll say this several times in this post because it’s important, but the country used to be a war zone and there ARE still landmines dotted around. Stick to tarmac and you’ll be just fine.
Borders / Customs in Croatia
As of 1st January 2023, Croatia joined the Schengen area and the Eurozone, so will now count towards your 90-day travel (if you are a UK resident.). A separate visa will no longer be needed, and you can visit Croatia with the same Schengen visa as you use to travel to all other Schengen countries. Border and custom requirements should be as per the Schengen Zone but do double check before you travel.
Renting a motorcycle to tour Croatia
If you don’t have your own motorbike, or don’t have time to drive all the way to Croatia, you can easily fly in and hire one. Most of them are based near Split airport. Just make sure to ask how to get from the airport to the rental agency- not all of them are at the airport itself and you might need to book a taxi.
To rent a motorcycle in Croatia most places will expect you to be:
- 24 years or over, depending on the company’s rental policy;
- Have a minimum of 4 years riding experience
- show identification (identity card for EU citizens or a valid passport for other nationalities)
Make sure you have proof that you can take the vehicle across a border into another country if that’s what you’re planning to do.
Don’t forget, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure the vehicle has the required safety equipment. The on-the-spot fines apply to you as the rider, not the company. Check in advance with the company what kit they will provide with the vehicle and what you will need to bring.
Take a list of what is legally required with you and check it off one by one as you are given the handover. Do not drive until you are happy you comply with the local laws. Also, don’t forget that if you’re solo motorcycle touring and want to camp, you’ll need to carry all your gear by yourself.
You can expect to pay anywhere from 80€-180€/ day- based on model. Make sure you ask the right questions to know what’s included in your rental, such as:
- Mileage limits/ surcharge
- Kit included
- Luggage included
- Helmet rental available
- Pillion allowed
- Breakdown/ insurance cover
- Times & location of pick up/ drop off
- Documents needed
Motorcycling in Croatia- what gear do you need to carry?
Just like most of Europe , there are certain things you MUST carry with you whilst motorbike touring in Croatia.
Don’t forget, if you are motorcycling through France and other countries to get to Croatia, you need all the kit required by those countries, as well as the kit needed in Croatia.
Things you need to ride in Croatia- safety gear
These are the things you MUST have with you when you’re motorcycle touring in Croatia.
- It is NOT mandatory to wear any other protective gear- but I highly advise that you do!
- Hi-vis reflective jackets – you must wear them on the side of the road or hard shoulder or risk being fined. You do NOT have to ride with one on if you don’t wish to.
- You do not need headlight beam converters on a motorcycle in Europe unless your headlight points dramatically to the left.
- Country (UK) sticker attached to the back of bike on reg plates. (NOT the EU or GB sticker anymore!)
- First aid kit
- If you wear glasses you MUST carry a spare pair.
- Wearing a helmet is mandatory for riders and pillions and you will be fined for breaking this
NOTE – If buying a helmet, check for an ECE 22 E-Mark label to be road-legal on European roads. Read more.
TOP TIP: Buy these essentials for driving in Croatia in advance. If you wait until you’re at the ferry/ tunnel, you could spend THREE times as much!
Recommended bike accessories you MIGHT need when motorcycling in Croatia
The following kit are things you might need to carry in your kit.
- Winter tyres are compulsory but snow chains are mandatory where signage indicates.
- Warning triangle
- Spare bulbs
- Snacks and water- just in case!
What documents do you need to road trip in Croatia?
Unlike motorcycling in the UK, if you’re riding in Croatia, you need to carry the following documents:
- Passport (or identity card)
- Driving licence (check it is in date!)
- Motorcycle Insurance documents- check you are covered for riding in Europe
We advise to also have the following documents to hand:
- Vehicle tax
- Breakdown cover
- International Driving Permit if required
- Trailer certification (if towing)
- Personal travel insurance
- Vehicle V5 logbook (which must show your correct address)
Do I need an international driving permit to drive in Croatia?
Most UK citizens do not need an IDP to drive in Croatia, as long as you have a card driving licence issued in the UK (in date, of course!)
If you hold a paper driving licence or a driving licence from Gibraltar, Jersey, Guernsey or the Isle of Man, you may need a 1968 IDP. Check with the Croatian Embassy.
From 2nd August 2021, drivers will no longer require an insurance green card for taking their vehicles to Croatia.
What can you NOT take into Croatia?
You cannot take the following with you into Croatia:
- meat or products containing meat
- milk or dairy products
In all honesty, when we visited Croatia with a motorhome, we had tins with meat in them and meat and cheese in the fridge, plus dog food and we weren’t searched, so I wouldn’t worry about it too much.
There’s also some talk saying fresh fruit and vegetables need a certificate but, again, we had these in the fridge and weren’t asked or searched.
Motorcycle stopovers & overnight parking in Croatia
In Croatia, there are several types of stopovers you can use.
- B & Bs
Croatia Camping sites for motorcycles
It’s easy to find motorcycle campsites in Croatia and they’re much like campsites anywhere else in Europe. Some are rustic and have very basic facilities, while others are designed for long-term visitors and have entertainment, clubs, pools and bars!
Many campsites have large pitches, excellent (and clean) facilities and stunning views. And most have staff who speak excellent English. Our favourite campsite was right on the beach- it was utterly magical.
Expect the campsite to take and keep your passport- the Camping Card International isn’t used here so you need to hand over your passport.
TOP TIP: If you’re touring Croatia in summer, make sure to get a pitch with shade. You’re going to need it when the sun gets hot!
If you’re travelling out of high season and are planning to use campsites, we highly recommend buying an ACSI CampingCard membership, but be aware that some campsites either shut during the winter or are booked up entirely months in advance, so you may wish to book one too.
At some campsites, you will need to pay extra for shower or electric usage. Be warned- the hot water in the shower is on a timer- usually between 3-5 minutes per token.
TOP TIP: If you’re planning to stay in one area for a long time (30+ days), negotiate a special rate with the campsite directly. Most of them have some sort of discount- some are as little as £10/ day, including electric.
Is wild camping / free camping legal in Croatia for motorcycles?
Nope. It is not legal to wild camp with a motorcycle in Croatia. Apparently, this is due to the possibility of land mines being left behind after the war in the 1990s. Personally, we chose to use campsites- wasn’t worth the risk of running over a landmine!
Driving/ Riding tips for Croatia
Driving in Croatia isn’t actually that bad. The roads are fairly good (even the coast roads) and the drivers are slightly more sensible than those found when motorcycling in Italy– although their attitude to health and safety is much different to ours! Signs are clear and it’s pretty easy to navigate.
There are several motorways – denoted by a ‘A’ followed by two digits. They have a green background with a picture of motorway in white. State roads have the letter D and country roads have the letter Z followed by four digits.
The main motorway south to Dubrovnik has been built as far as Ploce (about 100km north of Dubrovnik). Don’t forget, this was a war-torn country 30 years ago and they’re still rebuilding/ updating.
Ok, let’s deal with the basic rules and some tips for motorcycling and road tripping in Croatia:
- Croatia drives on the right
- You must carry your paperwork (passport, driver’s licence, V5C and insurance documents) at all times when riding- don’t leave them at your hotel
- If riding in a group, ride in single file, not two abreast.
- Speeds are in km/h, not mph (you might want to change the setting on your motorcycle sat-nav)
- Vehicles on a roundabout have right of way (so do all public transport vehicles and school buses.)
- Illegally-parked vehicles are likely to be clamped and a fine must be paid to have the vehicle released.
- You might here horns a LOT- drivers use them to greet each other
- Hands free devices are allowed for phone calls
- Dipped headlights are compulsory- most motorbikes have these on automatically anyway.
- Winter tyres are required from November to March (and it is compulsory to carry a shovel during that time)
- Road surfaces are generally pretty good in towns and cities, but can be bad in the countryside. Do NOT stray off the main roads, even with an off-road bike unless you have a guide- they aren’t kidding about the landmines!)
- Emergency vehicles and military vehicles have priority over other road users.
- Motorcycle helmets ARE compulsory
The police can stop you and impose on-the-spot fines, but you don’t have to pay immediately. In this case you’ll be issued with a ticket and the fine must be paid within eight days at a post office or bank. You’ll probably find your passport is confiscated until the fine is paid, so make REALLY sure you know where they’re taking it!
Is filtering/ lane splitting legal in Croatia?
Apparently so- but it’s really hard to find definitive proof from a reliable source. However, having spent time in Croatia, I think you’d have to be really unlucky to be fined for that.
Parking for motorcycles in Croatia
Most towns and cities provide an area for motorcycles to park for free and in many places it’s ok to stay there several days if you wish. Away from the main areas, it’s unlikely that you’ll ever need to pay to park.
Speed Limits in Croatia (unless otherwise signed!)
Breaking the speed limit could result in either an on-the-spot or an automatic fine being sent to you.
- 130 km/h (81mph) on motorways and some dual carriageways (110 on others)
- 90 km/h (55 mph) on minor roads (out of town)
- 50 km/h (31 mph) in built-up areas
Speed Cameras in Croatia
There are now a few speed cameras operating in Croatia, but mainly its marked or unmarked cars who monitor speed and fine you.
Drink Drive law in Croatia
Alcohol laws are stricter in Croatia than the UK. The legal limit is 0.05% blood alcohol (the UK is 0.08%)
For professional drivers (driving a bus, coach, HGV or public service vehicle), as well as for drivers under the age of 24, the limit is 0.00%.
Low Emission zones in Croatia
Currently, Croatia has no low-emission zones.
Click here for more detailed information about how to find zones across Europe.
Tolls in Croatia
Most motorways in Croatia have tolls. You can pay for them with cash or a credit card and some even accept foreign currencies like the Euro.
There is a pre-paid SMART card system which provides a 10% discount on toll charges, although motorists must register ahead of time to use this system.
The toll system is very easy to use. When you enter, you take a ticket from the toll booth machine. When exiting, you hand over your ticket (so don’t lose it) and pay for the distance that you have travelled.
Toll fees can be paid in cash (Kunas, or occasionally Euros) as well as by debit/credit card. The fee is based upon the size of your vehicle
Toll charges only exist on motorways in Croatia. Driving on all other roads does not incur any charges or payments.
More useful things to know when Motorcycling in Croatia
Petrol (and diesel) are widely available. Many fuel stations are 24h on the main roads and are self-service with card machines.
Petrol is Gasoline (Eurosuper) (95 / 98) – Usually Green handles on pump
Diesel is EuroDiesel if you need it.
Some places are 24h pay at the pump, but may require you to go into the shop and pay the cashier either in advance or after you’ve filled up- there will be a sign to tell you what to do. (Leave your car in front of the pump and make a note of the pump number.)
You can pay using cash or a credit card. Many places do NOT take American Express. You can usually use your UK cards without a problem.
Motorcycling in Croatia- security
There is a fairly high crime rate in Croatia, so we highly recommend paying extra attention to your motorbike security. I know it’s not always possible, but try not to leave your bike unattended in an unsecure area.
More useful things to know about bikelife in Croatia
Some more tips to help you enjoy your time in Croatia.
Emergency Numbers: 112 will get you everything
Language– The Croatians are pretty good at languages. Croatian is the official language, but many also speak Bosnian, Serbian and many of the younger generation speak English well.
Cards– most major credit and debit cards are accepted. American Express is only taken in large stores (not at tolls and often not at fuel stations)
Timezone– GMT+1 (or one hour ahead in BST)
Mobile Phone and Internet – It’s usually possible to use your UK phone and data in Croatia, but do check with your provider.
Tipping- Tipping up to 10%, but you can go up to 15% in restaurants if you are particularly happy with the service.
Shops– Food prices are pretty inexpensive. Traditionally, shops are open from Monday to Friday, from 9 or 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Some close for lunch from 1 to 3 p.m. On Saturdays, shops generally close at 1 p.m. though in city centres some are open in the afternoon. Many shops close on Sundays. Bigger supermarkets may be open, but will close at lunchtime.
Touring Croatia with a dog
Croatia is slowly becoming more dog-friendly. They are welcome in many places, such as at the Plitvice lakes and many restaurants allow them- just ask before entering to be sure.
They are not allowed on many beaches in summer and are not allowed into public places like shops but are usually allowed on public transport (you might need to muzzle larger dogs.)
Don’t forget how hot it gets in summer and to make sure your dog is comfortable.
To return into the UK you’ll need a vet on the continent to administer a worming treatment and then allow between 24 hours and 5 days before re-entering the UK.
Using a drone in Croatia
You are allowed to fly your drone in Croatia, but Croatia is part of the EU follows the drone regulations put in place by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
You must also:
- Stay a safe distance away from people.
- Do not operate directly over people unless it has a class identification label or is lighter than 250 g (0.55 lbs).
- Maintain a visual line of sight
- Do not operate the drone above 120m (400ft).
- Do not carry any dangerous goods or drop any material.
- Maintain a radius of at least 5 km from an aerodrome up to 50 m above the surface.
- Do not operate more than one drone at a time.
- Do not fly within the area in which emergency response effort is being conducted.
DISCLAIMER: This post was last updated in October 2021. We try to keep it as up to date as possible, but cannot be held responsible for any changes made to the law since the last update. If you do find any discrepancies, please do let us know. Thanks.