Croatia joining the EU in July means stricter border checks across the Bosnian land corridor, a popular crossing for tourists driving down to Dubrovnik.
update: 24 July 2013, see below.
Rebuilt border crossing points each side of the Bosnian sea corridor in Croatia opened yesterday.
Five lanes each side, at Klek and Zlaton Doli, might help cut down queues but will also give officials opportunity to perform better border checks.
Currently, tourists – especially in locally registered hire cars – are often waved through (see below) despite technically not being insured to drive on this short section of Bosnian territory.
This is the well trod route for tourists visiting the Croatian annexe in the south that contains Dubrovnik, the most popular destination on the Adriatic.
After Croatia joins the EU on 1 July, its borders with Serbia and Bosnia will also now be the outer border of the EU itself. There is no word yet on what effect the new crossings will have but judging by the new arrangements on other Croatia-Bosnia borders, checks are likely to be thorough.
Most likely, foreign registered vehicles will have to buy insurance, see below.
There is an alternative. The Jadrolinija car ferry from Ploce to Trpanj on the Peljesac Peninsula bypasses Bosnian territory. It takes an hour and costs under £15 each way.
Note: the legal position for driving across Bosnia’s Neum Corridor is murky. Bosnia and Croatia signed the Neum Agreement in 1998 which allows for Croatian registered vehicles to pass unhindered through this part of Bosnia. The agreement however was never ratified, by either side, i.e. this so-called Transit Corridor does not exist though it was, until 1 July, observed in practice (at least for Croatian cars).
Officially, other EU nationals need to buy an insurance policy to drive across the Neum Corridor. That might sound ridiculous for just a few miles but then so does a lifetime’s earnings in accident compensation for the sake of a few quid. In May 2012 we paid 150HRK (£17) for five days cover, third party only, in Bosnia. Read about the Windy500’s recent experience driving across Neum here, just a few days before Croatia joined the EU.
Whether or not you can find somewhere to buy any insurance is another question… On other borders with Bosnia, insurance offices line the road each side. Most likely they will start to appear at Klek and Zlaton Doli soon.
We’ve been keeping an eye on the situation since 1 July and haven’t heard anything particularly untoward, apart from long queues at the weekends…