make that 10 hours , you also have the option to take the car on the everyday ferry from pula to zadar .
Maybe you can take the coastal road and then hop on the Autocesta when you have realized that things move pretty slowly along the coastal road.
Coastal or highway Rijeka to Zadar (realistically) the time is almost the same.Fast way will spoil the view,kill your mpg and you'll burn $20 for toll.
Only Rijeka to Novi Vinodolski the traffic is a bit slower.Monotony of the coastal can be broken by stopping by catching a ferry from Prizna to Pag.On a good day the coastal can be easily done in 5hr42min.
Either way,if you can,avoid driving Jul-Aug on week ends.
I visited Zadar in early May 2008 and drove down from Rijeka (on the motorway)which was a good drive. We actually stayed in a sleepy little fishing village just North of Zadar which was one of the most memorable stays of a 6 week trip to Europe. We stayed here: travel-library.com/apartments/europe/croatia… which was very modern and comfortable and ate at a great restaurant a short walk away then drove to Zadar in the morning.
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