Zagreb is a compact city, and most of its cultural hotspots are located within walking distance from one another in the city center. The center is connected with other neighborhoods by an efficient network of trams and buses. Zagreb's public transport system - which also includes a historic funicular that provides a quick lift to Upper Town - is collectively under the acronym ZET (Zagreb Electric Tram).
Zagreb's tram network consists of fifteen daytime lines, which run every few minutes from 4:00 a.m. to midnight. You can download a tram map and check out schedules on ZET's website.
From 12:00 to 4:00 a.m., you can catch one of four night buses that follow the direction of the daytime lines.
Some tram stops have helpful digital marquis that inform you, in minutes, how far away the next tram is.
Trams will take you almost anywhere you need to go in the center, but there are also bus lines that will take you to locations beyond the tramlines. There are 129 daytime lines and four nighttime lines.
Both buses and trams are reliable, and though you may have to wait a few minutes here and there, generally they run on schedule and are very frequent.
Tickets may be used on both trams and buses and are valid for 90 minutes. There are three ways to purchase ZET tickets: at newsstands, with your mobile phone, or from the driver.
If you have a Croatian SIM card, you can use your mobile phone to purchase a ticket by texting "ZG" to the number 8585. Within a minute or two, you'll receive an electronic ticket.
If you buy a paper ticket, make sure to validate it once you board. Ticket validation boxes are located at the front and rear of trams and buses.
Tickets vary in price depending on the type of ticket and where you buy it, and they are relatively expensive. A paper ticket purchased at newsstand or an electronic ticket purchased with a mobile phone costs 12 kunas. If you buy a ticket from the driver, you'll pay 15 kunas. Tickets purchased between midnight and 4:00 a.m. are much more expensive, jumping to 20 kunas at newsstands and 25 kunas when bought from the driver or with your phone. It may actually be cheaper to take a taxi. See the "Taxi" section below for more information.
You may prefer to buy a monthly card, which is a better deal if you use public transportation frequently. As of April 2013, the prepaid card costs 360 kuna per month. For students and pensioners, the card costs 120 kuna per month.
Hrvatske željeznice (Croatian Railways) is the national railway company of Croatia. While Zagreb is well connected with several international destinations, such as Vienna, Ljubljana, Budapest, and Belgrade by train, the rail system within Croatia is not very well established. It's generally faster to travel by bus. The shortest train journey to Split, for example, is a little over six hours. By comparison, a bus ride to Split is generally right around five hours. A train ride to Varaždin lasts about two hours and twenty minutes, while the journey by bus is about an hour and fifteen minutes.
Traveling by train, however, can be a novel experience and offer views you wouldn't get from the highway, and train tickets are often cheaper than bus tickets.
You must go to the train station to purchase tickets. The main train station in Zagreb, called Glavni kolodvor, has national and international ticket desks staffed all day. Most staff members speak a bit of English, but it' a good idea to check timetables online first and print out (or write down) any important information so that you can clarify which train you want in case there' any confusion.
Traveling by bus is the most popular and often the most economical way to travel around Croatia. There is no national bus company, but you can find information about all departures from the Zagreb on the official website of the Zagreb bus station (Autobusni kolodvor).
There is a new website, Bus Croatia, that is a very helpful resource for bus travel in Croatia. You can search timetables online and find out important information about bus stations around the country.
You must purchase tickets in person, at the bus station. Sometimes tickets can be reserved over the phone for a small fee. During the summer months, it's wise to purchase your ticket a day or two in advance for buses heading to the coast, as they fill up very quickly. Always come prepared with enough cash for your ticket, as you may not be able to use a credit card.
There is also a small charge for luggage, usually 5-10 kunas per bag.
Living in Zagreb, you won't be riding any ferries or boats to get around, but if you spend any time on the coast you're almost guaranteed to find yourself on a ferry at some point. There are domestic lines that run between coastal towns and to and from islands, and there are also several international lines to Italian port cities.
Jadrolinija is Croatia's largest ferry company, operating both national and international lines.
Zagreb International Airport (ZAG), also called Pleso Airport, is Croatia's main international airport. Located about 15 kilometers from the city center, the ride to and from the airport takes about 30 minutes.
Shuttle: Pleso Transport Company operates a bus that runs between Zagreb Airport and the main bus station (Autobusni kolodvor). Buses leave the airport every half hour between 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. After 8:00 p.m., buses depart shortly after all regularly scheduled flights. Buses leave the bus station for the airport regularly from 4:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m, but make sure to double-check the schedule online before you leave. A one-way ticket costs 30 kunas.
Drive: If you're driving to the airport, make your way from the center to highway D30. Turn left onto Ulica Rudolfa Fizira, and you'll head straight into the airport.
Taxi: You can call any of Zagreb's taxi companies (see below) to arrange a ride from the center of Zagreb to the airport. Expect to pay around 100 kunas. From the airport, you can catch a cab from the airport taxi stand, but it will likely cost double what you'd pay if you call ahead and schedule a pickup.
Taxis in Zagreb are affordable, easy to find, and generally a great way to get around the city, especially if you are traveling with a group. You can get almost anywhere in the center for less than 40 kunas, which, depending on the number of passengers and time of day, can be less expensive than riding public transportation. Taking a taxi to the airport will run right around 100 kunas.
All taxi rides are metered, but each taxi company charges its own rates, keeping the market competitive. Be aware that there usually is a connection fee when calling taxi companies. The main companies are listed below.
Starting rate of 8.80 kunas; 6 kunas per kilometer.
Tel.: 060 7777 or 1414 from Croatian numbers.
Radio Taxi Zagreb
Starting rate of 10 kunas; 6 kunas per kilometer.
Tel.: 060 800 800 or 1777 from a Croatian number.
Starting rate of 15 kunas, which includes two free kilometers. Every kilometer after that is 6.00 kunas.
Tel.: 060 7100 or 1212 from a Croatian number.
Tips are graciously accepted, but not expected. The rule of thumb is to simply round up. For example, if your ride costs 18 kuna, you can give your driver 20. You can bump a 95 kuna ride to the airport up to 100, if you feel it was a smooth, quick journey.
Renting a car is an excellent option for travelers who want more freedom and flexibility. Car rentals are easy to arrange in advance online or at major points of entry when you arrive. To find the best deals, it's wise to shop around online. Several major car rental companies are located at the airports in larger cities.
The minimum age for car rental is 25, but most companies allow younger drivers to rent with the addition of an underage driver fee. Croatian cars usually come with a manual transmission, but cars with an automatic transmission are sometimes available.
There is currently (as of May 2013) no common EU driving license, however, licenses issued by different EU countries are recognized in other EU member states. Some car rental companies require an international driving permit, so it's a good idea to double check before you pick up your car. You can obtain an international driving permit at any AAA location.
In Croatia, you drive on the right side of the road and pass on the left. Seat belts are mandatory for the driver and all passengers. No right turn is allowed at a red light, and at unmarked intersections, the driver on the right has priority. While driving, you must use a hands-free device to talk on your mobile phone.
Within the city, the standard speed limit is 50 kilometers per hour. Outside the center, the speed limit climbs to 90 kph, and on highways, you can go up to 140 kph.
Tolls are collected on Croatia's new highway system. You may pay in cash or with a credit card at the tollbooths, or you can purchase an ETC (electronic toll collection) device to place in your vehicle if you plan to do a lot of driving in Croatia. Using an ETC provides significant discounts on tolls.
For information about highway conditions, tolls, and becoming an ETC subscriber, visit the official website of Croatian Motorways (Hrvatske autoceste).
|Zagreb Map: http://www.karte.hr/karta-zagreba|
Croatia Map: http://hac-onc.hr/interaktivna-karta-autocesta-