Traveling to Split by train has more cons than pros reasons. On rare occasions when I decided to opt for train, not even once I arrived on time, always with delay.
I like traveling but before you decide to get a train you should first consider some other alternatives, as trains in Croatia are slow and less frequent than buses.
Trains in Croatia are managed by Croatian Railways (HZ – Hrvatske zeljeznice). There are three types of trains: local trains usually have only unreserved 2nd class seats, but reservations may be required on express trains. ‘Executive trains’ only have 1st class seats.
Reservations: Most domestic trains in Croatia do not require seat reservation. Exceptions are:
- The Intercity (IC) Zagreb – Rijeka/Osijek/Cakovec
- The fast ICN train Zagreb – Split
Facts you should consider when traveling by train to Croatia
Only major cities are reachable by train like Zagreb, Rijeka, Pula, Osjek, Zadar and Split. If you are traveling by train from Italy inevitably you have to pass through Zagreb to get to Split. The only major destination not connected by train is Dubrovnik.
If you traveling from Italy to Croatia by train, some roughly calculations of how long it will take you from some Italian cities to Croatian cities like Zagreb or Split, can be helpful to reconsider using alternative means of transportation (by plane or by ferry)
- Route Venice to Zagreb takes from 7 to 10 hours with 1-2 train switches.
- Route Venice to Split by train takes 15 to 20 hours with at least 3 train switches.
- Rome to Zagreb from 12 to 15 hours with 1-2 train changes.
- Milan to Zagreb from 10 to 12 hours with 1-2 train changes.
How to use Croatian railway network
You can find a timetable online but not in English. Just follow this indications
- In ‘polazni kolodvor’ (starting station) insert for es. Zagreb
- In ‘odredisni kolodvor’ (arriving station), insert for es.Split.
- Ignore ‘vrijeme polaska and dolaska’ (departure and arrival time).
- Ignore ‘VIA’
- Insert ‘Datum’ (Date) – only for a month in advance.
- Leave as it is ‘samo izravni vlakovi’ (only direct trains).
- Click on – ‘Prikazi vlakove koje voze na relaciji’ (show all trains on this route).
Split By Train From Zagreb
In fact Zagreb’s main railway station (Glavni (Main) Kolodvor (Station) is the only starting point to get to Split railway station. Many visitors do not know that there is no train connections along the coast and Zagreb connects only a few Croatia towns.
The main railway lines run from Zagreb to Rijeka and Pula, Zagreb to Zadar, Sibenik and Split and Zagreb to Osijek. As you can see, there is no train to Dubrovnik. This unique city can be reached by car, by bus and by ferry.
There is not a high-speed train between Zagreb and Split. New trains are introduced but the tracks do not support high-speed travel. Trains are either ‘express’ or ‘passenger’ (local trains). They have the first and second-class seats and booking in advance is advisable.
New look and feel train
In 2007 Croatia has introduced a new carriages, that look more like a modern tram or subway car. They are very comfortable and clean with enormous side windows and double seats faced each other with a larger table in between them.
All trains are completely self controlled without additional towing engine in front. They have hostess service and large and clean toilets.
The only problem is, they are slow and never punctual but if you don’t care too much to be late half an hour or more, I am sure you will be overwhelmed by landscape.
On certain points it looks like passing Swiss mountains ridge with curves which slows down the train making this train trip, one of the most unusual and exciting. It’s a good reason to get to Split by train.
Don’t know where is Split Railway Station? See the Split city map!
- While trains run from Zagreb to Split only twice a day (in high season more frequently), getting by bus is cheaper and more frequent. Almost 40 departures by bus is convincing reason to opt for this solution. Read more here!
- Arriving by own car is a perfect option if you feel like driving.
- Renting a low budget car rental sounds an interesting offer.
- Traveling by ferry to Split is the most inviting preposition, if you are coming from Italy.
- Flying is the fastest but unless you find a low-cost flight, the most expensive. Read more!