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Split driving logistics

We need to drop our car off in Split. If we drive to the airport and drop off, we still have to get to Old Town, which is a good 30 minutes away by bus or taxi. I have found a car rental in Old Town itself. Will the driving be difficult to get into the middle of Split?

Posted by David
Seattle, WA, USA
2147 posts

Will the driving be difficult to get into the middle of Split

Probably. We dropped off a rental car in Split (before we headed off to the islands by ferry, probably your plan as well). I'd describe our experience locating and driving in the old town as "nightmarish" - but maybe you have different nightmares. I'm sure it depends largely on...

  1. Exactly where your rental drop-off location is located
  2. How "busy" Split is when you arrive
  3. How good you are at finding your way and navigating streets in that kind of city
  4. How lucky you are

For us, our drop-off location was just barely outside the old city (thank the FSM!) but it was so close, we got funneled into the old city involuntarily (couldn't avoid it once we were on one street) and after emerging in the old center, had to fight our way back out.

When we were there, Split was absolutely mobbed (we were there in mid-May, every street was tightly jam-packed with crowds off cruise ships). It was stressful. Yuck.

I had GPS, a decent map, and I have survived driving in crazy places before, but it was still moderately stressful. Once we escaped from the old center, we got close, parked the car, proceeded on foot to find the exact drop off spot, then went back for the car. I recommend this sometimes when things get dicey: once you know you're close, it's often easier to search the last kilometer on foot.

Hope this helps.

Posted by Paul
Sioux Falls, SD, USA
847 posts

Old town Split is not easy for a non-native to navigate. Drop the car on the outside, and take a cab.

Posted by Marie OP
San Francisco
90 posts

The rental car agency is right near the train station. It's hard for me to tell from Google Maps how busy this area is?

Posted by Andrew H.
Portland, Oregon
2090 posts

If you drop the car at the airport, you can always take a local bus back into town (45 min?) or a Croatia Airlines bus - synchronized with arriving/departing Croatia Airlines flights, but anyone can use the bus. I used it once a few years ago. I think it's express: no stops between the airport and Split, near the port as I recall.

Posted by Emily
Vienna, Austria
2687 posts

We’ve driven in and out of that part of town for ferries a few times. It wasn’t hard at all.

Posted by Paul
Sioux Falls, SD, USA
847 posts

Emily: It just depends on what part of Old Town you are in. Some are easy, some are very very difficult. In 2011, we were trying to find our lodgings, and turned into an alley. I was quite concerned, since it was a typical "old Croatia" alley with barely enough room for a single car, plus people were parked. Other streets are normal and easy. The streets are also not marked clearly (IMHO).

Posted by Emily
Vienna, Austria
2687 posts

But the OP is not staying in a hotel in the center - that is not what they describe. They will drive into Split and head right for the train station. All major, well-marked roads. Been there, done that with no problem. No need to play Debbie Downer and scare them off an option that will be much easier for them.

Posted by Marie OP
San Francisco
90 posts

Obala Kneza Domagoja 5, Split, HR, 21000

This is the address - it seems as if it is on a very main street near the bus and train stations.

If I could drive there, then that would be great, because dropping off at a busy airport and 5 of us taking a bus to that very bus station might be very time consuming UNLESS the driving will be difficult. We live in SF and are used to tricky roads. But we also got lost a lot in Italy a few years back and if Split is like a Rome, then I would like to skip it. But honestly, I don't know much about Croatia at all, so am learning as I go...

Posted by Andrew H.
Portland, Oregon
2090 posts

I wouldn't stress the drive. Just give yourself extra time. Don't be in a rush. Driving in Croatia is generally really easy except in a few of the busy cities. I didn't drive in Split proper but I found driving in Dubrovnik a bit unnerving at times. But I managed.

One tip: have a working smart phone or at least a working phone. I have had a tough time occasionally finding rental car drop locations in Croatia and Slovenia. Sometimes rental car offices that were supposed to be open certain hours weren't. Having a phone to call and find out what to do ("Leave the car at the hotel across the street") saves a lot of headaches. Don't assume just because a place had advertised open hours that it will actually be open. And don't expect to drop a car ten minutes before you catch a ferry or train or something.

Posted by Emily
Vienna, Austria
2687 posts

Getting to this location will be easy. You come in on a major road and stay on a major road. There is no need to drive in the old center (there aren't roads there anyway!). Split is nothing like Rome, so don't worry. Save yourself the hassle and drive straight to the station. Driving in Croatia is very easy for us - we've been there many, many times always with a rental car.

Posted by Marie OP
San Francisco
90 posts

Thank you. I think we will keep with the original plan since I can avoid the downtown area for the most part.

Posted by Marie OP
San Francisco
90 posts

Sorry- what I meant was - the original plan is to drop the car off in Split since I am able to avoid the narrow roads of the downtown area. You mentioned this is an easy and large road - so we are going with that, which was my original plan. Thanks for your help!!

Posted by Emily
Vienna, Austria
2687 posts

Great! You’ll be happy you did this. It will be a piece of cake. Just follow the signs for the port/ferry.

Posted by aob
9 posts

Last September we dropped our rental car off at the Split airport and took a bus into town for 30 kuna per person ($5). It dropped us at the main ferry harbor which is right next to Old Town. Easy, cheap, comfortable.