Driving the Croatia Riviera

Before the last tunnel

Not much prepares you for the visceral experience of driving the Croatia Riviera. You just aren’t expecting it to knock you out with it’s beauty the way it does. Driving from the rainy and cold capital of Zagreb and through the Velika Kapela mountains (where it was actively snowing) through about 15 tunnels, all of sudden you emerge to a sunny and much warmer day. It’s like a I was transported to another country and time of year when I went through that last tunnel. The coastline is the number one reason why you should rent a car in Croatia. I admit, I have only driven 100 km of it so far with another 500+ km to go as I make my way south to Dubrovnik but so far, the impression that has been made is a lasting one.

Before the last tunnel

Before the last tunnel

After the last tunnel

After the last tunnel

The drive from Zagreb to the nearest port town in Isteria, Rejeka, is about 2.5 hours via a a snazzy new motorway. You can stay high in the hills to bypass the towns below or you can meander into the small villages that dot the seas edgecroatia riveria

and make your way lazily along the 2 lanes roads. You are a smarter traveler is you descend into the towns for a slower but more magical drive. The full drive is closer to 25-30km of winding roads before it opens up into the countryside. I took a short video of the drive, the coast is along my left and the houses and restaurants pack the right side of me.  I was lucky it was off season and Sunday, the streets were empty expect for the occasional pedestrian and some cyclists. I took this video in March, off off season but I can only imagine what it looks like in July.

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