After travelling around Croatia quite a few times, we always used to find it difficult to find the most affordable and reliable Croatia car hire companies and they seem to vary based on the airport or city you’re renting a car from. A lot of car hire companies in Croatia seem to have notoriously poor reviews for ripping off customers and providing bad customer service, however there are some great rental companies in the pool of bad. Bad rental experiences to be an issue in many countries and the car hire industry as a whole.
We’ve hand selected the best Croatia car hire companies for each of the main cities and airports, to help you have a smoother holiday and save you time doing the research yourself. Each company has overall good reviews and we’ve used many of them ourselves on our Croatia road trips! We’ve also put together some handy tips for getting the best price for your Croatia car hire and when you’re out on the road.
Our favourite car rental company in Croatia – Nova Rent a Car
Whilst you’ll find some good local car rental companies throughout Croatia, a firm ‘go-to’ for hiring a car in any of the cities is Nova Rent a Car (not to be confused with international brand Novarent). They have consistently good reviews at most, if not all of their locations and they have offices at airports and city centres. Cars are usually clean, modern and there are enough options available for you to pick one that you like – budget or luxury. Visit the Nova Rent a Car website here.
For tips on some of the best car rental companies to use at specific Croatian cities and airports, continue reading below:
Dubrovnik Car Rental – The best companies to use
Car Hire at Dubrovnik Airport
Peugeot Rent a Car
A local company with raving reviews across TripAdvisor and service review sites. Prices are affordable and whilst the car selection is limited, they have car options from every class and you’ll find them perfectly suitable for a short stay in the Dubrovnik area.
Nova Rent a Car
Nova is a Croatian rental company that has offices throughout the country, at airports and in city centres. They’re a top choice for many tourists and locals and you’ll find service to be consistent.
Car Hire in Dubrovnik City Centre
Avax Rent a Car Dubrovnik
Centrally located in Dubrovnik, the Avax offices are the perfect place to rent a car if you’ve arrived in Dubrovnik and want to book a last-minute car rental for a day or two to explore the nearby coastline and Montenegro. Prices are competitive and the reviews are good.
Split Car Rental – The best companies to use
Car Hire at Split Airport
Nova Rent a Car
Like Dubrovnik and other Croatian airports, Nova Rent a Car is reliable for Split airport and has consistently good reviews. They have an office both at the airport and in Split city centre next to the marina.
M.A.C.K Car Rental Split Airport
A small but reputable company that has offices at various airports in Croatia. Less well-known as other companies but just as top-rated. They have an on-terminal office at Split Airport.
Car Hire in Split City Centre
Split Rent a Car
Ideal for when you’ve already arrived in Split and want to venture to the nearby Krka National Park or tour the coastline, Split Rent a Car’s office will set you up a great deal. It’s located right next to Poljud football stadium.
Zagreb Car Rental – The best companies to use
Car Hire at Zagreb Airport
Nova Rent a Car
Nova, as mentioned above for other airports, also operates from Zagreb. Whilst it isn’t the cheapest option available, its still reasonably priced, reviews are great and it’s worth paying a little more for the peace of mind. Cars are generally new.
M.A.C.K Zagreb Airport
A professional company that won’t try to rip you off. Collection and drop-off are quick and easy and their fleet of rental cars is modern. Decline the extras, which you probably don’t need, and you have a great value car hire service that operates from the airport terminal.
Car Hire in Zagreb City Centre
Both M.A.C.K and Nova Rent a Car mentioned above both have offices in Zagreb city centre and we’d recommend them if picking up a car once you’ve already left the airport. Both companies have good, trustworthy reviews and are popular options for when visiting the city. Rent a car from Zagreb to explore the beautiful Plitvice National Park, which is only a short drive away.
Zadar Car Rental – The best companies to use
Car Hire at Zadar Airport
Avax Rent-a-car Zadar Airport
A small but popular local company with offices at the Zadar airport terminal and in the old-town centre. Reliable, affordable and a hassle-free trip when travelling to and from this small airport.
Nova Rent a Car
As with all of our airport car hire recommendations, Nova also have an office at Zadar Airport. They’re a safe bet for consistent vehicles and good customer service but prices are a little higher than other options.
Car Hire in Zadar City Centre
Avia Rent a Car
Based in Zadar old town near the marina, Avia is a helpful rental office that has a variety of cars, big and small, and also rents out scooters if you fancy a road trip with the wind in your hair. Zadar is centrally located for some excellent national parks and coastlines so exploring via road is a must!
Pula Car Rental – The best companies to use
Car Hire at Pula Airport
Europcar Pula Airport
Being a tiny airport, there aren’t many car rental options at Pula Airport. Some companies are based on-terminal, whilst others are off-site and will pick you up on arrival. For ease and well-rated service, we recommend Europcar. In contrast to other Croatian cities, most companies in Pula generally have good reviews.
Car Hire in Pula City Centre
Avax Rent a Car
Avax are in the centre of town and one of the top-rated rental agencies in the city. An affordable and reliable company that operates throughout Croatia.
Car hire companies to avoid in Croatia
There are certain companies that seem to have poor reviews across the board in Croatia and we’d recommend staying clear of them. They’re quite surprising considering that they’re global brands.
Sixt Croatia – We usually have great experiences with Sixt in the UK and elsewhere in the world, however the company is franchised and the Croatian branches seem to be run particularly poorly. Check out their bad reviews on TrustPilot here.
Budget Croatia – Along the same lines, this global brand is located at most Croatian airports and suffers from bad reviews for customer service and scamming customers.
Hertz – As above, multi-national car hire companies in Croatia are poorly rated. There are some good reviews out there but the overall feeling is negative.
There are various other smaller companies that you should also avoid, but the best thing to do is check the company’s Google Reviews score before booking. Either stick to the recommend car hire companies in our list above or simply Google ‘*car hire company name* + “Croatia” + “reviews”.
How cheap is it to rent a car in Croatia?
A quick answer to this question is – it all depends on the season and location! Croatia car hire can be pretty cheap during the spring, autumn and winter months; however, prices increase in the summer as demand increases. A 1-week rental of a basic car in March can cost around £50-60, whilst the same car may cost £100+ in July. We recommend shopping around using the Skyscanner rental comparison tool here and following our guide below. Overall, we think Croatia car hire is very affordable compared to other European holiday destinations!
Can I cross the border into Montenegro or Bosnia?
If you want to go on a road trip adventure to explore neighbouring Bosnia or Montenegro, you’ll need a Green Card as part of your rental agreement. Some companies include this as standard, whilst you’ll pay a small fee with others. Check your car hire company T&C’s/features before buying. Mostar in Bosnia and Kotor in Montenegro are both very popular day-trips.
How to book your Croatia car hire to secure the best price
Follow our step-by-step guide below to get the best price available for your Croatia car hire. There are two phases to finding the best price. The first is using Skyscanner’s comparison tool to compare options, and then get direct quotes from alternative companies to see which option is best for reviews to cost. Cheaper isn’t always better!
1. Search for car hire in your chosen destination on selected dates/times using Skyscanner’s price comparison tool here. Not only does Skyscanner compare direct booking sites, it also compares the third-party consolidator sites to find you the best price.
2. Click the cheapest option for the car class that you prefer.
3. Browse the different car rental options on the car hire booking site you selected, taking note of the actual car hire company that you’ll be using. This is usually shown on the bottom-left corner. Consolidator websites are third party booking services and your actual agreement will be with the rental company itself.
4. Search the reviews for the car rental company (not the booking website). Simply Google search ‘**insert rental company name** + “reviews”. Google reviews and the TripAdvisor forums are both good places to see real life customer reviews and experiences.
5. Once you’ve found a good rental company, find their official website, do a search for the same date and price as your Skyscanner search and see what prices you can find. Sometimes it’s cheaper to book direct, and other times consolidators are cheaper, so it’s worth looking at booth options. Some direct companies don’t have an online booking service and you may need to email them for a quote, but don’t let that put you off!
6. Book your car hire! Decide on the company with the best reviews to price ratio and book on the cheapest website for that car/company. Any extras aren’t necessary, including insurance. You’ll buy this at the next stage.
7. Now you’ve booked your car rental, it’s time to make sure you full insurance cover. Almost all rental companies offer a basic insurance with the car, however this comes with a hefty excess fee if there’s an accident. Avoid paying for extra insurance with your rental company and buy your excess insurance with CarHireExcess.co.uk. It’s a lot cheaper and works the same way! We’ve used many similar companies in the past and always find CarHireExcess to be the cheapest.
Tips for hiring a car in Croatia
- Instead of hiring an expensive Sat Nav from the rental company, use the Google Maps app on your phone instead. It’s completely free, however you’ll need roaming data. If you live in the EU you can now use your data plan for free in Croatia. For other international visitors, cheap data-plan SIM cards can be bought in the airport or from supermarkets/corner off licences.
- Full-insurance coverage is a must! Usually you get insurance included as standard as part of your car hire package, however it includes a hefty excess of up to 1000 euros! Instead of buying the accompanying and expensive full insurance package with the rental company, purchase separate ‘car excess insurance’ from CarHireExcess.co.uk. It’s so much cheaper and will save you from an expensive deposit loss if anything goes wrong.
- Always take pictures of your car rental before leaving the hire office/airport. Point out any existing damage to the employees so that you don’t get charged on your return.
- Check the fuel policy of your car rental in advance:
- If it’s ‘Full to Full’, it’s best to re-fill the tank to full capacity yourself on the way to returning the car, otherwise they’ll charge you extra.
- If the policy is ‘Return empty’, simply use all the fuel you need and drop the car off at the end of the stay. You might have to pay for a tank of fuel in advance.
- Book online as far in advance as possible for the best prices, particularly if you’re travelling during July or August.
- Check the policy terms for additional drivers. Usually you have to pay more to add another driver, so it may be more cost effective to have one-person drive.
- Ignore any up-sells at the pick-up location. If you’ve booked your car rental correctly online, there shouldn’t be any additional costs (except a deposit, which you’ll be refunded when you return the car).
- Check driver age restrictions with the rental company before booking. If you’re under 25, there’s often an additional surcharge, whilst some companies apply a surcharge for those under 21 years old.
- With most car hire companies, you’re able to return the car to a different airport or city than the one you picked it up at. This is convenient, but there’s usually a hefty fee to do this. Plan your trip around this and aim to pick up and drop the car off at the same location.
- Always read the rental agreement and terms and conditions fully before booking. You don’t want to get caught out!
Driving in Croatia: An Overview
Driving in Croatia is a dream! The roads are smooth and well-maintained and you’ll find picturesque scenery everywhere you go, from towering mountains and national parks to stunning coastal stretches. We recommend a multi-stop Croatia road trip for anyone! Here are some handy tips to help you on the road:
- Driving is on the right-side of the road, just like the rest of Europe (except the UK)
- Drinking and driving is illegal, as you may have guessed
- Most motorways have a 130kph speed limit, however watch out for road signs that tell you otherwise.
- The legal age to drive is 18, however you have to be older if renting a car and it’s generally cheaper if you’re over 25.
- Seatbelts must be worn and you can’t use your phone whilst driving.
- There are various toll roads on main routes. You can pay these using cash or credit/debit card.
- Not all petrol stations are open 24 hours. We recommend checking listings on Google Maps for opening hours if travelling late at night.
For more information on driving in Croatia, Visit Croatia have a great article here.
We hope our Croatia car hire guide has helped you find a reputable and affordable company to use whilst visiting Croatia and you’re ready to hit the roads to explore! For more helpful information on visiting this beautiful country and the top things to do, find our Croatia travel guides here.