Croatia has been working its way to the top of the European must-visit list for several years now. With a wealth of medieval towns, beautiful beaches and atmospheric ruins to explore, the country’s fascinating cultural heritage is only matched by its stunning natural wonders.
From gorgeous lakes and sun-drenched islands to spectacular coastal scenery on the Adriatic Sea, Croatia really is one of the best Mediterranean destinations. If you’re looking for adventure in your cherished campervan, then this is the place to be!
While planning your getaway to this Mediterranean haven make sure you arrange adequate campervan insurance to protect yourself from any accidents or mishaps along the way. Don’t let your heavenly getaway be spoiled by a lack of planning!
How to get to Croatia from the UK
Campervans really are wonders of flexible holiday travel and it’s in trips to places like Croatia they really come into their own. Having the luxury to stop and explore whenever you feel tired or just spot something interesting is a great way to make even long-distance journeys a pleasure.
While the distance from the UK to Croatia is well over 1,000 miles the driving itself is fairly straightforward using the brilliant European motorway system. The exact route you take will obviously depend on many factors, such as where in the UK you’re setting off from.
For example, those in northern England could get a ferry over to Belgium. Then drive via Brussels through the German cities of Cologne, Frankfurt, Stuttgart and Munich before entering Austria. Pass through Salzburg and Villach and then on as far as the Slovene capital, Ljubljana. From here you can continue by road south to the Croatian cities of Rijeka on the Adriatic coast or southeast to the capital Zagreb.
An alternative route from the south of England would be via France and then on to Switzerland and Italy. Finally, catch a ferry from Ancona on Italy’s Adriatic coast over to Split, Stari Grad or Zadar. Or travel further south to Bari in Puglia and catch a ferry to Dubrovnik.
Ferries to Split and Dubrovnik usually take between eight and 12 hours from Italian ports, while services to Zadar are slightly less.
Remember though, any ferry travel with a campervan must be booked in advance, especially during the height of the summer season. And if you’re travelling abroad speak to your campervan insurance provider to make sure you’re well covered.
European toll roads
Any journey from the UK to Croatia will need to make use of the European motorway system. Unlike in the UK, many areas of Europe charge a toll for motorway use. When planning your journey make sure you’re aware of the different charges in each of the countries you pass through. Tolls.EU is a useful website with a breakdown of European toll charges.
While some countries such as Croatia charge a toll each time the motorway is used, others require you to purchase a vignette to stick in your window. For example, in Austria vignettes are available at border crossings and petrol stations and cost €9.40 for 10 days. While in Slovenia you’ll need to buy a vignette costing €15 for one week or €30 for one month.
However, if you’re pushed for time or don’t own your own camper then undoubtedly the easiest way to get to Croatia is by air. Croatia Airlines flies from London Heathrow to Zagreb while British Airways flies from London Gatwick to Dubrovnik and London Heathrow to Zagreb, and seasonal flights from London Heathrow to Split. Other budget carriers operate seasonal services to several Croatian cities. Then you could hire a campervan while you’re there.
Top 4 things to do on a visit to Croatia
With a country full of rugged coves, pristine beaches, medieval towns and natural wonders there’ll sure to be highlights around every corner for both sun seekers and adventurers. To narrow down just some of the things Croatia has to offer here’s a rundown of four things you really must do.
- Climb the city walls of historic Dubrovnik
Is it any wonder that the medieval city of Dubrovnik is known as the Pearl of the Adriatic? Perched above the brilliant blue waters at the southern tip of Croatia, Dubrovnik began life in the 7th Century as a base of maritime trade. With a reputation for independence this stunning city flourished in the Middle Ages as a beacon of literature, art, and education.
With gleaming limestone streets and neatly overlapping orange rooftops contrasting to the blue sky and mountainous backdrop, Dubrovnik presents a truly stunning sight for any visitor. Oozing blissful laid-back charm, explore the historic district of the Old Town, its circuit of old, defensive walls, magnificent palaces and stunning churches. Be sure to visit the spectacular 15th century engineering marvel, Onofrio’s Fountain.
If you want a break from history (or the crowds in summer) then chill out on one of the nearby beaches like Banje and Lapad or take a short ferry trip to the island of Lokrum with its beaches, nature reserve, monastery and botanic gardens.
Where to stay: Camping Solitudo is a large and family-friendly site with a range of amenities including a large pool and tennis courts. Perfect for exploring nearby Dubrovnik and the surrounding area.
- Visit the Spanjola Fortress on the island of Hvar
Claiming to have the most hours of sunshine of all the islands in the Adriatic, the Croatian island of Hvar certainly has a fairytale quality to it. Lying just off the Dalmatian Coast the area boasts an idyllic landscape of spectacular beaches, lavender fields and lush vineyards.
Hvar’s main city, Hvar Town, features a wealth of historic sites including 13th century walls, marble stone streets, Gothic palaces, stunning churches and the imposing Spanjola Fortress. While it may be a steep and arduous incline, the views from the top are worth every second of the walk. A sunset hike will reward you with a stunning view over the golden-hued rooftops below.
The natural beauty of the island offers many opportunities for outdoor adventure, from hiking along the cliffs to snorkeling in the secluded coves. If you fancy a bit of island hopping you can even hire a boat to explore the nearby Pakleni Islands.
Hvar’s road system was not built for heavy traffic and can be a bit rudimentary in places. Make sure you’ve campervan insurance in case of any little bumps or scrapes along the way.
Where to stay: Just inland from Hvar Town is Camp Vira. A great family-oriented site located amongst the pine trees on the north west part of Hvar island. Stunning sea views and its own beach!
- Visit the UNESCO Plitvice lakes
Wow! As one of the most visited sites in Croatia, the 295 sq km Plitvice National Park is almost overwhelming in its natural beauty. With a wealth of powerful waterfalls and lush green forest the park’s most famous draw is the series of 16 interconnecting lakes formed into upper and lower clusters extending deep into a limestone canyon.
A completely natural formation, the lakes range in distinct colours from turquoise to blue, green and grey. Use the wooden walkways, hiking trails or even a boat to explore the area over several days and you’ll get to experience them in all their glory. Be warned, if you’re looking for tranquility, it can get very busy in the summer months.
Where to stay: The enormous Zaton Holiday Resort Beach is a fabulous site located about a 90-minute drive from the national park. It’s a good option as it’s near to the city of Zadar which is also a great place for sightseeing.
- Explore Korčula's island traditions
Yet another island worth exploring, by the end of this trip you’ll be an expert on ferry travel! Korčula is a beautiful 20-mile long island of rugged coves and fragrant pine trees, reached by ferries from Split and Dubrovnik.
Korčula is well known for its dense forests, vineyards, olive groves and picturesque towns and villages with their rich history and charming traditions. Most famous of these is probably the old knightly ritual dance of the Kumpanija. Another of the island’s popular events is the Marco Polo Fest, a music celebration held in honour of the historic explorer who was allegedly born here.
While cooking in your camper is a popular way to eat when touring, Korčula’s cuisine is not to be missed. From top international restaurants to delicious local staples of lamb, cured ham and fresh seafood there’s something for every taste. Try the island’s own wines, too. If you like white wine then Posip and Rukatac are considered the best.
Where to stay: The unique Camp Vrbovica is a really beautiful and quiet campsite on the eastern part of the island, 6km away from the town of Korčula itself. The perfect place to watch the sunset and swim in the waters right on your campervan’s doorstep.
Driving tips for Croatia
If you’ve driven through Europe to get to Croatia then you’ll probably be well-versed in European driving laws. But here are some of the rules worth reminding yourself of:
- Motorists drive on the right and overtake on the left.
- Drivers should not overtake when approaching an intersection, level crossing or pedestrian crossing.
- If you’re being overtaken, keep as far right as possible.
- Horns should only be used in moderation and only where necessary to avoid a collision or accident.
- Campervans are not allowed to exceed 12 metres in length, 4 metres in height and 2.55 metres in width.
- Croatia has strict rules around drink driving – 0.5 grams of alcohol per litre of blood compared to 0.8 grams in the UK.
Speed limits throughout Croatia are:
- Motorways: 130km/h
- Outside urban areas: 90km/h – 110km/h
- Urban areas: 50km/h unless otherwise indicated
Speeding fines range from around £35 to over £1,800 depending on the speed you were doing and the road on which you were driving.
Driving essentials for your campervan trip to Croatia
As well as having the right campervan insurance, driving in Europe in your campervan requires some essential items to be added to your holiday packing list.
Make sure you always carry a full, valid UK driving licence, proof of ID (eg passport), vehicle registration document (V5), and your certificate of motorhome insurance.
Now Brexit has happened, there will be new rules for drivers. You may need a Green Card, GB car sticker or International Driving Permit (IDP) depending on your circumstances. The ABTA website has more information on driving in the EU. Even if you’re an experienced European traveller this advice is well worth reading.
In addition to these required documents, you’re also required to carry the following items.
- Reflective jackets. These must be carried in your vehicle and worn in the case of an emergency or breakdown.
- Warning triangle.
- Headlamp beam deflectors (either stickers or by manual adjustment of the headlamp).
- First-aid kit.
Campervan insurance for your Croatian trip
Campervans are wonderful vehicles to indulge your sense of freedom and adventure. However, whether you’re exploring close to home or far away they need significant protection to keep your trip on track.
Wise campervan owners will always take precautions to combat the risk of theft, damage and accidents but sometimes mishaps still happen. Whether embarking or disembarking at a busy ferry terminal at an unfamiliar port or motoring down a dusty island road, it’s all too easy to suffer a prang.
From refurbished classic VWs to recent conversions, the specialist team at Motorhome Protect can arrange the very best campervan insurance, tailored to your vehicle, needs and budget.
Policies arranged through Motorhome Protect can include the following benefits:
- Cover for campervans valued up to £150,000
- Enhanced cover for camping personal effects up to £3,500
- Unlimited mileage cover
- Unlimited EU cover
- Discounts if you’re a member of a campervan club
- Consideration of all claims and convictions
Call Motorhome Protect and get a quick quote for campervan insurance today.
Policy benefits, features and discounts offered may very between insurance schemes or cover selected and are subject to underwriting criteria. Information contained within this article is accurate at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.