Croatia By Rail
It’s often been said that planes are a process, but trains are a pleasure.
And that’s especially the case when it comes to traveling by train across Europe. Whether it be in France, Italy, Spain or Germany, these historic countries and their jaw-dropping landscapes are all interconnected by a huge rail network that lets you simply sit back, relax and enjoy the view.
And the same goes for Croatia and its neighboring countries. Visitors to this lush, verdant, paradisiacal destination can use the rail network to travel inland and explore its incredible national parks and taste the foods of Slavonia and Central Croatia, or journey all the way down the coast, from northern Istria down to Dalmatia.
While it may not always meet the demands of the more luxurious traveler, rail travel can be a hassle-free, affordable and fun way to see this wondrous country. It may not be the most effective way to travel, but if you are someone that particularly enjoys travel by rail, it’s an option to consider.
At Adventures Croatia, via our blog, we like to inform you about everything to do with Croatian life, culture, and infrastructure to help you learn new things and make informed decisions when you visit.
The romance of the railways
There’s just something so alluring about train travel.
It conjures up all kinds of romantic notions of the kinds of slow and immersive travel that older generations used to swear by. No huge lines and baggage checks at airports, no stifling car jams on the highway, and no simmering rage of any kind. Simply get comfortable in a window seat on a train and it’s just you, your travelling companion and a window that provides a moving canvas of trees, rolling hills and picture-postcard coastline.
And it’s always worth remembering, trains go where cars cannot: into canyons, along rivers, through mountains, sidling up to back yards and into town and city centers.
What to expect
The Croatian railway network (HZ Putnički Prijevoz) is centered around the country’s capital of Zagreb, which sits in the northern area of the country, right in the middle. This strategically handy location puts it right at the heart of both the country geographically and the rail network.
Five and half hours east and you can get to Osijek (near to the borders of Hungary and Slovenia), but travel three hours west and you’ll arrive in Rijeka on the coast. These travel times are all via regional trains, seats on which don’t need to be reserved.
However, it’s always best to book ahead when you can and HZPP has a great website through which you can purchase tickets, download to your cell or laptop and view timetables easily.
The site also provides helpful contact numbers to talk to someone if you have any questions or problems when you’re over there.
For quicker travel times, seats on InterCity trains can be booked in advance. For instance, to get all the way from Zagreb in the far north all the way down to Split in the far south takes six hours by an InterCity train.
If you’re planning to use an InterCity train to visit Split, or Rijeka, Osijek or Cakovec reservations are required. To reserve a seat costs around €3.60, which works out at just over four US dollars. That’s pretty great value.
The Zagrebački Glavni kolodvor station in Zagreb is not only ideally situated for travelling around Croatia, but it’s also strategically positioned to make trips farther afield easy.
If you want to mix things up and have a day trip to one of Croatia’s neighboring countries, HZPP can also help you with that.
The fairytale city of Ljubljana – capital of Slovenia – is less than three hours away and costs as little as approximately $10 dollars for a return ticket. The Bel Paese of Italy is also only next door, and HZPP offers trains to the northern city of Trieste. From there you can catch a connection to Venice, Milan or even Rome for an overnight trip.
Elsewhere, there are trains to Munich in Germany, Budapest in Hungary and Zurich in Switzerland.
Time for luxury
On the whole, Croatian trains tend to be clean, affordable and reliable and are an intriguing way to get around the country. However, despite the lure of the railway, we wouldn’t recommend it for those seeking out a more luxurious travel experience.
Thanks to our partnerships with local businesses on the ground in Croatia and our absolute commitment to delivering the most incredible, bucket-list experiences to our customers, we know from our extensive experience that you want a combination of comfort and luxury that really hits that sweet spot.
So if you’re looking for a chauffeur-driven car to help you get from one place to the other in style, rather than packing into a busy train, why not give us a call to discuss the options our tours can provide?