Car Hire in Croatia: How to Rent for Travel to Croatian Islands?
Renting a car for airport collection is usually best practice, but there are factors to consider for your car rental decision for Croatian island travel.
One of the key considerations when renting a car in Croatia is where to start your rental. If you are visiting the islands, there are pros and cons of a mainland rental versus an island vehicle. On paper, the convenience (and lower price) of picking up a car at the airport would seem to be the sensible option, but there are several reasons why a more expensive island rental might be preferable.
Car Hire and Ferries in Croatia
The main issues surround the ferries, an integral part of any island hopping trip. For such a sophisticated ferry network, there are surprisingly few connections between islands, with car transfers between Hvar, Vis or Brac, for example, all requiring a return trip to Split.
Another major consideration in high season with renting a car from the mainland is ferry waiting times. Even at the major ports such as Starigrad on Hvar, the peak demand in late July can mean a wait of several hours for cars, while there is never any delay for foot passengers. Added to that is the price differential (a return trip from Split to Starigrad is more than 100 euro per vehicle, as opposed to 11 euro per foot passenger), and island rental becomes a more interesting proposition.
Rent a Car or Rent a Scooter?
An additional benefit of renting on an island is the flexibility that it affords. Many tourists base themselves in the tourist towns, where all the amenities, including the beach, are easily accessible on foot. It is not uncommon for tourists to rent a car for one or two days of a week-long stay, when they can explore the island in more detail. While the daily rate is higher, it can work out to be a more cost-effective alternative than having a mainland rental idly parked for most of the stay.
A very popular alternative to renting a car while on holiday in Croatia is to rent a scooter. This is a fun way for couples to explore, and they are widely available in the main towns. Helmets must be worn at all times when driving..
Car Rental on Croatian Islands and the August Shortage
For all the benefits of renting on the islands, the quality of the car rental offer can be variable, with various novelty cars available for hire. While undoubtedly cooler, they are not always as modern or reliable as their mainland cousins. Whatever choice you make, it is advised that you book in advance where possible, particularly in peak season. Apart the possibility of a better price for booking online, there tends to be a shortage of quality rental vehicles at times in the July 15 - August 15.
Ultimately, the decision of island versus mainland rental is a personal choice and comes down to individual circumstances. It would be a shame not to try out the scooter however - they are fun. Enjoy!