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Car Rental Slovenia & Croatia

I need some help with renting a car in Slovenia and Croatia. Here is our itinerary (basically what Rick suggests in his guidebook)...

Day 1- fly into Ljubljana, drive to Bled
2- Explore Bled & area
3- Rent car and drive through Julian Alps to Ljubljana
4- Explore Ljubljana
5- Drive through Karst and explore caves- end in Rovinj
6- Rovinj
7- Drive to Plitvice Lakes
8- Hike lakes, drive to Split, drop the car in Split because we will be exploring Dubrovnik, Korcula, etc. and can use public transportation.

Our main concern is around day 5. Should we drop the car somewhere in Slovenia, take a taxi/transportation into Croatia to avoid a large dropping fee? If so, where would you recommend?

Thanks in advance!

Posted by
3667 posts

Yeah, the fee for renting the car in Slovenia and dropping it off in Croatia can be prohibitive.

We did a trip that was almost exactly the same as yours about 5 years ago (although I would recommend against landing in Ljubljana and just jumping in a car and driving off to lake Bled: first of all, unless you are just flying in a short distance, or you're very good at sleeping on planes, I think you will be wiped out upon arrival and in no shape to drive; second, Ljubljana is a charming little city and is worth a day).

About the car: we decided to "beat the drop-off fee" by renting 2 cars, one from Ljubljana to the Croatian border, and a second from Rovinj onward through Croatia. Important! All of the following was true back in spring 2012, but if you want to do the same, you will need to verify that everything still works...

I found what I believe was the closest Slovenian town to the border with a car rental agency for our dropoff point: Portoroz (on the Slovenian coast, near Piran). Dropped our Slovenia car there, then we caught a small bus to Roving. The execution consumed a few hours but it worked out OK. After a few days in Rovinj, we picked up our Croatia car and headed on to Plitvice and beyond. We then went to Rab (which we loved), down to Sibenik, Zadar, Trogir and Split. Dropped the car there in Split, ferry to Hvar, Korcuka, then Dubrovnik. Day trip to Kotor, flew home from Dubrovnik.

It worked out great for us, although the day we dropped car #1 and bussed across into Croatia by bus was a bit complicated and tiring (we had several hours to kill in Portoroz and spent some time wandering on foot with our bags). That bus did not run every day, so check that. Also, the bus stop for pickup in Portoroz was not well marked - it was nothing more than a "park bench" by the side of the road with a tiny "street sign" as the only marker - we had to ask many times to find it and verify it was the right place to be. Finally, about 5 minutes before the bus arrived, about 5 locals showed up and quickly formed a queue, ignoring us. Even though we had been waiting there for an hour, we were at the end of that queue...which didn't concern me until the bus arrived and I saw there were only about 5 empty seats left on the bus. We got the last 2 seats. Had there been anyone else ahead of us in the queue, we would have been out of luck - the next bus for Rovinj wasn't for 2 more days. So, be sure you check for such tricky details and verify everything.

Hope that helps - good luck!

Posted by
12 posts

We did a similar trip last September. We rented the car in Ljubljana and went to Lake Bled, one of the caves, Potsabotin, Rovinj, Plitvice Lakes and dropped the car in Split (we stayed in Ljubljana for 3 days and only got the car the night before we left for Bled so the rental was for 8 days total). The drop off fee was around $360 so certainly a substantial sum. When we created our itinerary we decided that the alternative to paying the drop off fee was to lose a day of the trip by dropping the car in Slovenia, finding a bus to cross the border and renting another car to continue the trip. In the end we felt it was worth $180 to each of us to avoid that hassle. You'll have to decide for yourself what value you assign to your time and whether or not it's worth paying the drop off fee to travel a bit more easily.

We went onto Korcula and Dubrovnik before flying home via London. I can say we loved the place where we stayed in Korcula - the Royal Apartments. The host, Zvonko, was wonderful and the apartment was very comfortable. It is just outside the Old Town and sits just across the street from the water. Zvonko met us at the ferry - a 3 minute walk to the apartments, arranged a reservation for dinner for us at a wonderful restaurant while directing me to the shop next door to buy tickets to the Mareska dance that evening. I highly recommend staying there.

Posted by
913 posts

We have the same problem and solved it by droping off the Slovenian rental car in Koper,Slovenia, and taking an Go Opti van to Rovinj,Croatia. (We got some great advice from Andrew on this site, and Uncle Rick covers this in his book.)

They will pick you up and drop you off portal to portal. I emailed them for a portal to portal quote: If you share a ride (and do it in a 1 hr window), it will cost around $16 EU each. $23 for exact time. $28ea for a private transfer at your exact time,and I think that luggage was $2ea. Pretty good deal for a 1hr and 15 min trip!

Posted by
3 posts

Thank you for all the replies! I think we agree with some, it’s easier and more convient to pay the hefty drop fee rather than waste a day and all the hassle that may occur.

Posted by
3571 posts

As I said on the Slovenia version you posted of this: it depends what the drop fee IS, right? And it depends on how much inconvenience you are talking about. If you were spending a night anyway in say Piran, you could drop the car nearby and have GoOpti pick you up the next morning and not really lose much time if any.