The coastal city of Rovinj is an easy trip from Zagreb—just 155 miles (250 km)—and it is best reached by car. Booking a private transfer is typically easy and efficient, but you can also rent a car, although traffic can lengthen the overall travel time.
Travel by bus is will take around four hours or more depending on toll queues and accidents on the highways. The local bus route is a seven-hour trip, but the views of the coast and the quaint villages along the way are quite pleasant.
If you'd like to see more of Croatia's Istrian Peninsula, including the medieval town of Motovun and the Roman ruins in Pula, consider this 7-day tour of Istria, or for a more active trip, you can cycle the wine roads where you'll get some of the most unique views of the country and taste many different wines with this 8-day itinerary.
By Private Transfer or Rental Car
Duration: 3 hours, more with stops or traffic
The trip from Zagreb to Rovinj can take as little as three hours, though this depends on the traffic conditions and toll queues. Finding a driver in Zagreb should be fairly easy, but consider talking with a local specialist in order to find the most comfortable vehicle. A local driver may also be able to offer you additional insights at stops along the way.
Zagreb has plenty of rental car companies to choose from which have both manual and automatic vehicles. Automatic cars are, however, more expensive to rent. Gas is bought by the liter in Croatia; therefore, filling the tank tends to be more expensive with nearly four liters making up a gallon.
The highway route E65 and D303 is the fastest and most efficient. It's the most direct option and provides views of the Adriatic Sea as travelers approach Rovinj. The primary route travels through Rijeka, which is about 100 miles (161 km) into the journey, and this makes for a great stopping point for lunch or sightseeing. Opatija is just half an hour further than Rijeka, and it's also a great stopping point if you'd like to snap some photos in a smaller coastal city.
Duration: 4-7 hours depending on stops
Buses offer frequent departures, generally every half hour nearly any time of day. The travel time between Zagreb and Rovinj is about four hours on the direct bus, though dense traffic during peak tourism season can lengthen travel time.
Companies such as Arriva or Flexibus provide a more comfortable trip with buses outfitted with wifi, charging outlets, and a bathroom. Expect at least one break during the drive and a minimal fee per suitcase.
You can also take a local bus, but it will make stops in each village along the way. While this is a ride with beautiful views, it requires significantly more time, so this is only recommended if you'd like to explore many points of interest along the way to Rovinj.