Trains to Croatia
National rail operator
Facts about Croatia
- Currency: Kuna (HRK)
- Timezone: 1+ UTC
- Language: Croatian
A long Adriatic coastline with dozens of islands have guaranteed Croatia a prominent place on the tourist map of Europe. This is a country which has come a long way since the dark days of the 1990s when Croatia’s struggle for independence spread conflict and mayhem well beyond the country’s borders.
Since 2013, Croatia has been a member of the European Union, and the country looks set to join the Schengen Area in 2020. It is aiming to adopt the euro, but that will only be some years hence. Cheap prices ensure a steady stream of visitors. Many look for sun, sea and sand along the coast, but there’s much more to Croatia. The country has striking mountains and wetlands. Croatia boasts a good number of fine cities, not least its capital Zagreb. But there are many smaller towns which deserve a visit, such as the southern port of Dubrovnik and the old city of Varazdin in northern Croatia.
The rail network in Croatia radiates out from the capital Zagreb, connecting most major cities by rail. A notable exception is Dubrovnik, which doesn’t even have a train station (the nearest rail station on Croatian soil is way up the coast in Split, a four-hour bus ride away, although there are nearer railheads at Capljina in Bosnia and at Bar in Montenegro). Other coastal cities, such as Split, Sibenik and Rijeka, are easily reached by train. Our favourite Croatian rail ride is the Zagreb to Split route, following the Lika Railway through desolate limestone terrain. The trains on this line can get very full in mid-summer, so it's a journey best made in winter.
Although criss-crossed by major rail routes, direct international passenger trains linking Croatia with some of its neighbours are surprisingly sparse. Plan accordingly! For travellers approaching Croatia from western or central Europe, there are useful direct trains to Zagreb from Zurich, Innsbruck, Munich and Vienna. A happy innovation for 2019 has been the reinstatement of direct train services from Hungary into eastern Croatia, so easing communication between Pecs (Hungary) and Osijek (Croatia) and complementing the long-standing direct trains from Budapest to Zagreb.