Croatia seat reservations

  • 21 November 2022
  • 5 replies

We travelled from UK to Croatia.  For the journey through France, Germany, Austria and Slovenia the interrail app allowed us to find trains for which we did not need to buy seat reservations.  However, all the Croatian trains said we needed reservations.  The information on the Interrail site leads you to believe that you can buy these through the OBB Austrian train reservation site.  This isn’t true. I wasted many hours trying to find some way of getting the reservations, sometime getting as far as the payment page, only to be thrown out with an “error” at the final point of booking.  At Salzburg and Ljubljana stations we asked if we could buy the seat reservations there and were told “only in Croatia”.  We were due to change trains in Zagreb with 4 hours between trains so decided to try there.  It was quite worrying as on the return journey we wanted a sleeper on the Zagreb to Munich overnight train, which would then connect to Frankfurt and the Eurostar.  So any problems would have led to us missing our Eurostar train.  Anyway, our train to Zagreb was 3 hours 50 mins late so we only had time to scramble to find our train.  The guard stopped us getting on the train demanding to see our reservations.  We explained and he let us on, telling us we may have to move seats if we sat in one allocated to someone else.  Well, the train wasn’t full and there were no issues. There was nothing on any of the seats to say if they had been reserved or not and we didn’t see anyone else being asked to move.

In Split we were finally able to book the reservations for the return journey with absolutely no problem.  We were able to book a sleeper, even though by then it was only 6 days until we got the Split to Zagreb, and Zagreb to Munich overnight train. However, we were travelling in November so goodness knows how this system operates in summer.  

There is definitely something wrong here.  From reading up about it, it would seem that the Croatian railways site is not compatible with any other train booking systems. But the Interrail app doesn’t tell you that!  This may change when Croatia joins the EU in Jan 2023, but who knows?

My advice would be, if you have an Interrail pass that allows x days in a month/2 months, to buy  tickets for Croatia separately through the Croatian railways site, as you can get the reservations at the same time by doing that. The tickets are quite cheap and you will save a lot of headaches.

5 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +9

Being an EU member or not has no influence. In fact, Croatia has been in the EU for quite some time now and will probably join Schengen next year.

HZPP decided not to let their domestic trains be bookable from abroad anymore, which indeed means only HZPP can book them. I think this has been the case since december 2021 (timetable change).

For their night train to Split, they made it possible to book couchettes and sleepers by email (the web page with details is not online anymore). Please complain to HZPP that they should make available booking seats on their website, like many other railways do:

Ah, you are right about Croatia being in the EU, it’s the euro that they are adopting in 2023.

Userlevel 7
Badge +5

But from what I remember the really only trains that DO have mandatory RES over there are these summertime to the coast. Or special cases like couchette/sleep on overnite. The other normal daytime trains to not require it nor have much need to do either. And for those not having passes etc: the direct BUS Zag-Spl is much faster and frequent.

In summer for holidaymakers there are also some special longer overnight trains to CZ and HU/Bp-but these are out of the passes anyway.

Userlevel 7
Badge +9

In summer for holidaymakers there are also some special longer overnight trains to CZ and HU/Bp-but these are out of the passes anyway.

I'm not sure where you get your fake news from. Only the RegioJet train cannot be used with a pass but the others can, as you should be well aware of.

These are the trains we took in Croatia for which there were mandatory seat reservations, I can’t comment on any others:

End of October - Zagreb to Split (this would have cost 15 euros, including seat reservation, buying direct from HZPP via their website and would have saved us a heap of trouble)

November - Split back to Zagreb

November - Zagreb to Munich overnight sleeper

Yes, you can use an interrail pass to book these, but with 6 hours from Split to Zagreb and 9 hours Zagreb to Munich, there is a risk of having nowhere to sit if the guard allows you on the train without a seat reservation.

I would like to add that the journey from Split to Zagreb was through beautiful countryside and mountains and really enjoyable, not sure what the scenery would be like on the bus.