Croatia’s railways are cheap and relatively reliable. However, Croatia’s railway network is quite extensive in many parts of the country. Moreover, on some main lines there are only a few trains per day.
From Germany to Croatia by train
Direct trains to Croatia are available mainly from Munich to Zagreb (twice a day). One train departs Munich around noon (12:17 in 2018) and reaches the capital of Croatia at 20:51, the other train is an overnight train.
In Zagreb, a Eurocity departs at 7 a.m. and arrives at the main station in Munich at 15:41. In addition, there is also an overnight connection.
Fares are around 118 euros one way (normal fare). However, there are very often savings fares available in advance, often even for less than 50 euros. The train is therefore an inexpensive way to get to Croatia. However, the connections from Zagreb to the coast (see below) are not the best. But you can change to a bus. The bus station in Zagreb is only a few hundred metres from the main train station.
All trains discussed above stop on the way in Ljubljana (Slovenia) and in Villach and Salzburg in Austria, among others.
From Austria to Croatia by train
There are relatively many connections, especially with changing trains. On the one hand, there is the rail connection from Villach via Ljubljana (Slovenia) to Zagreb, already discussed above. But you can also take a train further east from Graz via Maribor (Slovenia) to Zagreb.
Trains from the capital Zagreb to the coast
There are relatively many trains from Zagreb to the northern Adriatic. Further south, to Split, there are only about two trains a day from Zagreb. However, there are frequent long-distance buses from Zagreb to all major cities in Croatia. Most Croatians travel by long-distance bus much more often than by train.
Further south from Split, for example to Dubrovnik, there is no railway! You have to take the bus.
There are some rail connections in Istria, for example between Rijeka and Pula. In addition, trains run, rather infrequently, from Rijeka on the Mediterranean to Slovenia (Ljubljana).
Other connections by train in Croatia
Rail connections in Croatia to the less touristy east of the country are somewhat better. A few trains a day go to the capital of Serbia, Belgrade. The larger cities in the east of the country, such as Osijek and Vinkovci, are also well integrated into the rail network.