Cycling is an increasingly popular sport and tourism activity in Croatia, but information on the transportation of bikes is still hard to find, especially in English. As TCN finalises the first of its sector websites, Total Croatia Cycling (with Wine and Technology to come shortly) on June 9, 2016, an essential overview on how to transport your bicycle in Croatia, and what it is likely to cost.
If you plan to bring your own bicycle to your vacation in Croatia, you might want to know more about your options regarding transporting your bike around once you get here.
First of all, let’s discuss the possibilities for getting your bikes on islands – because they are ideal to discover by bicycle. Jadrolinija, the major Croatian liner shipping company, offers you the possibility to take your bicycles on all of their ferry lines (and there are a lot of those), including the three international lines. You have to pay for the bicycle additionally, and the price is usually in the range of the single passenger ticket (see prices here - high-season).
Seasoned travellers will probably object to the fact that on most ferries there is no specific location for bicycle transportation, and they will probably be instructed to “put the bike away and not damage any cars”. However, if you plan to take your bicycles on a ferry mounted on your car, you will not be charged additionally. For catamarans, official statement is that bicycles are not allowed, although sometimes that rule gets broken – but we wouldn’t test our luck with that during full season! For a compprehensive list of which ferry lines (with prices) bikes are allowed, click here.
If you don’t plan to travel to the islands, but just want to find out what your options on land are, you might think that buses are your answer. We regret that we have to tell you that they are probably not. There are almost 50 companies that operate the bus lines in Croatia, and almost none of them have clear set of rules for the bicycle transportation within Croatia. So, for instance, neither the Autobusni kolodvor in Zagreb, the largest hub of bus traffic in Croatia nor Croatia Bus, one of the largest companies even mention the possibility of transporting bicycles on their buses! Off the record, sometimes you will be able to transport your bicycle in a bus in Croatia, but only when the bus is not too full (so, any chance of that happening at any point in July, August or early September is very slim) and the driver is willing to put your bicycle in the luggage compartment. How much you’re going to have to pay for that is really up to the driver, because, again, the rules are basically non-existent.
However, if you would like to discover the wonderful city of Zagreb on your bicycle, and decide that you’d probably enjoy the view from Sljeme, but are unsure if you can handle the steep ascent, there is a bus line 140 that will take you from the Mihaljevac tram terminal to the top of the mountain, that has the possibility to take your bicycle with you and that won’t even charge you extra for the two-wheeler!
The other means of transportation that gives you a bit more options is the train. Croatian Rail offers you the option to pack your bicycle so that it’s just a package, you can take it as luggage to any train. But, if you would rather transport your bicycle without taking it apart, you can do that on several of their lines withinCroatia and international lines. A word of caution: most of those trains have the possibility to transport up to 10 bicycles, so during the high season it can happen that there is no room for your bike on the train, so make sure that you come well before to the station. You will pay for the bicycle transport directly on the train, in the range of 10-35 kuna, depending on how far you plan to travel.
If you plan to fly to and around Croatia, you can take your bicycle with you as well. Croatia Airlines lists bicycles as “special baggage”, and adds that bicycles can be transported on Croatia Airlines flights only if they are packaged (either in a box or at the wrapping machines available at Zagreb and Split airport; wrapping should cost around 70 kuna), and that they should be prepared for transportation by the passenger. Other airlines have similar rules, and the prices are also quite high, almost 300 kuna within Croatia, 50€ on European flights and a full 100€ on intercontinental flight. They do warn, however, that due to the volume and weight, the number of sports equipment is restricted and must be pre-notifed at time of reservation.
One method of transport that is very difficult to give a brief overview of is the wide range of local shuttle services that can be found in many locations along the coast. You might want to do a bit of research if that is something that you would need, and see the options in and around the place you are considering for your vacation (just one example).