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Renting a car in Croatia

We hope to travel to Croatia in September/October 2021. My sister and I will be 69 and 74 by that time and are going to rent a car. My research tells me I can rent a car until age 70. My question is, "Can I add my 74 year old sister as a second driver?" We have always done that in all our previous travels to have a backup plan. We also want to drive to Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and possibly Italy, Austria and Montenegro. Do I need to do anything more than tell our car rental company of our plans about traveling to other countries? Also, is there one company you might recommend knowing our situation? Thanks.*

Posted by
7400 posts

Drivers under 25 or over 70 years of age may need to pay an extra fee.
For additional driver charges, mileage and fuel policy, extra hours or other important information, read rules and restrictions.

This is the language for Budget Rent a Car. I suspect each company will have its own policy about age and countries where the car can go.

Definitely have it all sorted out before you start the trip.

Happy travels!

Posted by
1684 posts

Check with Oryx, a Croatian car rental company. We rented from them several years ago and were very pleased. I have read that they do not have age limits and allow for border crossings.

Posted by
18746 posts

I have never rented a car in Europe, but a lot of people on this forum have had positive things to say about AutoEurope, an American consolidator that works with multiple European car-rental firms. I'd expect them to be helpful in figuring out which companies will allow you to go to the countries you want to visit and what their rates might be. Other consolidators worth checking are Gemut and Kemwel.

This is not to say you shouldn't also check direct rates from some European companies, but from online reports it appears you should not assume those rates will necessarily be lower than you will get through a company like AutoEurope.

I believe both Austria and Slovenia both require you to buy a vignette before driving on their roads. You might get lucky and find one or both of those vignettes already on a Croatian rental car, but it's not something to count on.

Posted by
1932 posts

Do I need to do anything more than tell our car rental company of our plans about traveling to other countries?

I rented a car in Zagreb, Croatia and drove into Slovenia. The car did not come equipped with the vignette (highway toll sticker) required to drive on some of the motorways in Slovenia. Fortunately, having read my Rick Steves guide (!) I knew to buy the Vignette at the first opportunity as we were crossing into Slovenia. At that time (2017) it cost 15 Euros for (as I recall) a 7 day vignette.

I rented a small car for three people and luggage from Avis, 2 weeks for about $200, which did not include any optional insurance coverage, nor did it include a 2nd driver - neither of my passengers were licensed to drive. I rented and dropped off at the same location, so there was no drop-off charge. Check carefully because drop-off charges between countries can vary significantly.

You definitely need to check with your car insurance. My insurance company handles Italy (and Ireland and another I-country) differently than other countries. I believe that may often be the case.

Bring plenty of coins for parking in town centers.

Posted by
1932 posts

If you haven't driven in Italy before, you may wish to research their "ZTLs" (Limited Traffic Zones) which are typically town center areas that do not allow "just anyone" (such as unsuspecting tourists) to drive in them, and often have cameras to catch license plates and send automated notices of violations, with hefty fines and late fees. We'd hate to see you back on the forum asking (as many do) about how to pay the fines that begin arriving in the mail as long as a year after your visit.

Please research and come back and ask us all the questions you want now!!

Posted by
1617 posts

hey hey welkerk52
also ypu will need to get an IDP (coincides with drivers license) available at AAA/CAA. read up on it.
you will need one for each driver.

Posted by
3117 posts

One spot on the AutoEurope and Kemwel applications asks if you are over 70. When you tick that box, they will show only those companies that will rent to you. I have used both and have no reservations about recommending them. A huge advantage is that they show lots of companies, models and prices, so it’s easy to make comparisons. They also have 24 hour assistance from an English speaking rep, if you need it.
We relied on our very inexpensive (approx. $25 per rental) Amex car rental insurance for our rental in Croatia. We actually had to file a claim when, upon return of the vehicle, the agent discovered a tiny dent in the space below the passenger side door. An advantage of the Amex plan is that you don’t have to front the money for the repairs. The charge goes into the “disputed” category. We filed the claim; and, in a few weeks, we received notification that the charge was cleared.
Just one caveat, and that’s Italy. If I’m remembering correctly, as long as the rental originated elsewhere, we were allowed to take it into Italy. Another common restriction is on taking the car onto ferries. It is super important to get all such matters clear, preferably in writing.

Posted by
10 posts

I have used Sixt Auto Rental in Zagreb four times +385 1 3015 303. I have had positive experiences every time. I liked that they will deliver the car to the hotel you are staying and they allow the dropping off of the car at the hotel or at the Sixt location during off hours. All my charges have been legitimate, and I have had no issues with them. Plus, the Sixt rates are the lowest I have seen during my travels to Croatia. They also offer free cancellation, which I needed to do several years ago. Additionally, they will alert you of charges if you drive into Austria, Italy or Slovenia; and where you can purchase a country pass for roughly 10 Euro at a border petrol station. All the agents I have dealt with speak English and respond quickly to e-mail requests. I would definitely use them again when I return to Croatia.

Posted by
6 posts

My experience with renting cars/vans in Croatia is not the best. First, it is more expensive than in Slovenia for example. Second, if you rent in tourist locations there is a big chance that your car will be bumped and not in perfect condition. Also these places are more expensive. Dubrovnik is probably the worst place to rent a car. Zagreb should be much better.

If you decide to rent in Ljubljana, Slovenia you have to ask for green card (obligatory for non-EU countries. Cars in Slovenia already include vignette - a road toll sticker. My go-to company is Atet in Ljubljana.

Posted by
139 posts

We also have booked in Croatia via Autoeurope for the reasons others gave. We used Sixt with no problems. As a German company it is well funded and staffed at various locations. An international driving permit was smiled at, but as one German autobahn police officer told me, it is only valid with your N.American licence. Mine was in my bag in the trunk. After a lecture on driving too slowly, which can be as lethal on the autobahn as speeding, and annoyed 2 racing BMWs who called the cops, I was let go with a warning. Which my friends told me would be posted on their computer in case I did it again. I no longer drive in Germany, it is too fast. Croatia is slower and more fun, especially in hill town Istria. Slovenia for Bled is not far if you follow all the rules. Now let's talk Covid - all borders are much more of an issue now, and will still be in September. Zipping carefree across Europe is likely not this year. Each country has different Covid entry rules and even with a smartphone and their promised vaccine passport the EU cannot yet vaccinate fast enough to cope at speed. Consider reducing your trip to stress free zones. There is enough of Croatia and Slovenia for a year. It also seems like the Croats will expect you to produce paid hotel bookings for all the trip. Reason to reduce locations. Based in one Istrian town - I am fond of Rovinj - you could explore all of Istria and even some Slovenia in day trips. Pick a car up at Pula airport and skip city traffic in Zagreb, where streetcars have priority. This year will not be easy at any border, and the border from Croatia to Slovenia is still a solid EU external border - Croatia is not inside the Schengen zone yet. The Austrian border is also a solid one.

Posted by
2130 posts

Have you considered not renting a car? You are thinking "I can't get everywhere unless I have a car".

The bus approach in Croatia is a very good one. We have taken Flixbus to several destinations. The buses are clean, modern, and fast. The buses stop after 2 hours for a pottybreak. The buses are very inexpensive. You don't need to rent anything.

My wife (73) and I (69) have decided to not rent in Europe anymore. It's just too stressful. We take buses, trains, or occasionally a private driver.

Posted by
18746 posts

Do heed the warning about the borders. Even before the pandemic there were comments on this forum about potential back-ups at Slovenia/Croatia border crossings. I took buses and trains and did observe a border delay once; fortunately, it involved folks going in the opposite direction.

I don't rent cars in Europe, but having been to Montenegro, I will admit I felt the lack of my own wheels there. Montenegro has some really lovely scenery, and some of it can't be enjoyed without a car (though there may be some one-day bus tours, I guess). The Montenegrin national parks sound really nice.

If you do rent a car, make a point of using it to see some places that would otherwise be difficult to get around. The interior of the Istrian Peninsula in northern Croatia is another of those places. There are buses between the coastal towns, but the interior is not well served by public buses.