Split to Zagreb Overnight Train in Peak Season

Paul Bradbury

Photo copyright Romulic and Stojcic

August 3, 2023 – Looking to travel from Split to Zagreb in peak season and avoid the crowds? Take the overnight train.

I think my love of overnight train journeys dates back to the dying days of the Soviet Union, where epic journeys such as St Petersburg to Crimea (back when such things were possible) had me embracing the romance of slow travel – four nights on the train in total.

Although I hadn’t planned on visiting the coast during peak season, a family emergency dictated otherwise, but once I had set my sights on a return to chilled Zagreb away from the mass tourism, I was left to consider my options.

Without a car and hearing stories of long delays on the motorways in this heat, I opted for the lesser-taken (and lesser-known) option, which took me back to those (for me at least) halcyon Soviet days – the overnight train from Split to Zagreb.

Can you get there quicker? Without a doubt, but travelling too quickly through the night means arrival too early and no opportunity for a good sleep. Having taking the overnight train from Split to Zagreb in the past, I was 99% sure that there would not only be a free seat, but in all probability a whole free compartment too.

I was delighted to learn that there were two night trains this summer, one of which continued to Osijek, the other to Vukovar. I opted for the latter, which perfectly fitted my plans. A nice evening with friends in Split and then the 22:18 departure, scheduled to arrive at 06:22 in the morning.

For a one-way price of just 16 euro, which compared rather favourably to my travel costs all over the UK last week. I summarised the trip in the short video below, but suffice to say, not only did I have my own compartment of six seats, but I had a selection of compartments to choose from. There was hardly anyone on the train. Apart from showing my ticket as we departed (on time), I was left alone and had as good a sleep as any this year.

The train was 20 minutes late, but I awoke and disembarked in good cheer into the early morning Zagreb sunshine, a city at ease with its tourism relationship, and a lot less stressful this time of year.


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