Beep Beep: Driving in Croatia

May 30, 2016

We’ve gotten our fair share of practice in driving in new places and foreign countries, and though I’m not about to join the cast of Fast and Furious 8 anytime soon and parachute land a car from a plane, I’d consider myself a reasonably adept driver. Driving the twisty country roads of Ireland, winding up through the hilly small towns of Majorca with medieval structures almost swiping your side view mirrors, and hugging the cliff edge on the back side of Maui come to mind as some of our more adventurous driving experiences, so I didn’t think twice about driving in Croatia.

Driving in Croatia

Driving in Croatia

Beep Beep: Driving in Croatia

The open roads along Croatia’s Dalmatian coast and motorways between Plitvice Lakes and Krka National Park were smooth and breezy.

Which is why I wondered, why was I honked at so many times? I don’t think I’ve had more honks sent my direction, ever. They weren’t mean, aggressive honks, like when people lay on their horn and then speed up so they can shoot you a nasty look or unfriendly gesture. It was more like a short, “beep beep, move over,” or “beep beep, hurry up!”

I was honked at for going 85 km/hour in a 60 km/hour zone on the motorway. Granted, I was in the left lane, but I thought that was going fast enough! Apparently not, as the offended car quickly zoomed past and out of sight after I transitioned to the right lane. I wasn’t interested in getting a speeding ticket, so I tried looking online to see if the posted signs are perhaps general suggestions, or maybe even minimums. I had a hard time believing they were limits because everyone else was driving well above.

I was honked at for slowing down at an intersection in Zadar with a light and a stop sign. The light was green, but I thought I should factor the stop sign into the equation and at least slow down! Wrong answer, beep beep. 🙂

Other times I was driving down the road in Croatia with the flow of traffic and no signs or lights to get confused by, and got honked at. I couldn’t figure out what I possibly could have done wrong.  Maybe it’s just a way to say, “zdravo?!” But probably not.

Driving in Croatia

Driving in Croatia | Red poppy fields on the side of the road

Driving in Croatia | Red poppy fields on the side of the road

On the Open Road

Even with the honking, we loved driving in Croatia. The coastline is gorgeous, with amazingly clear bays, beautiful towns of red-tiled roofs, and little islands popping up all over. Both along the coast and inland, there were so many fields packed with bright red poppies. I’ve never seen such dense bunches of wildflowers. And of course, driving down a mountain into a large, green valley with a Zadar sunset as the backdrop isn’t a bad view either.

Driving in Croatia | Along the Dalmation Coast

Driving in Croatia

Driving in Croatia | Along the Dalmation Coast

Driving in Croatia

Croatia Dalmation Coast Driving

Croatia Dalmation Coast Driving

Let us know if you got some friendly honks while driving in Croatia. Or, if you have any crazy driving stories to share!

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  • Reply Cassandra June 10, 2016 at 6:24 am

    Really useful article! My guess is the beeping is simply to let you know someone is near you and will overtake if possible. I notice loads of countries (mainly in Asia) follow that driving style. It isn’t a “Get out of my way” but rather “Hey – I’m here.”

    My husband and I are planning a cycle tour around Croatia and Montenegro this October. I have heard the drivers are fast, which is striking a little bit of fear in my heart. However, looking at your photos, the roads look in good condition and not very busy. So hopefully all good and drivers will have enough room to go by and giving us some space!

    • Reply nomanbefore June 21, 2016 at 3:17 pm

      A cycle tour sounds like a lot of fun! Yes, the roads are very well maintained (especially compared to LA), so hopefully you don’t have any issues. Maybe you’ll get a few honks too just letting you know that they’re coming up behind you. 🙂

  • Reply Swimming in Krka National Park, Croatia August 5, 2017 at 10:31 pm

    […] rented a car. Car rentals are fairly cheap in Croatia and the main roads are well-maintained. The drivers did seem a bit impatient, but it wasn’t a big deal. It takes about 1 hour to drive to Krka from Zadar. Most […]

  • Reply Chelsea August 6, 2018 at 5:33 am


    Any advice for which car company I should use from Zagreb to Split?


    • Reply nomanbefore August 11, 2018 at 3:10 pm

      Hi Chelsea, we booked with Sixt rent a car through Expedia and had a good experience. I’m sure most of the big names are fine, I’d just check the reviews before you book with a company you’ve never heard of before.

      Safe travels!


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