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Dalmatia: Split to Dubrovnik

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The Croatian islands are clearly the crown jewels of the country's natural treasures. What could be better than spending a holiday hopping from island to island? The easiest way is to take a small-boat cruise but it is possible to island-hop in Croatia independently by using ferries, public transport or a car.

Choosing this approach means planning your itinerary carefully. Car ferries that connect the coast and the islands run year-round (islanders need transport too!) but there are very few that connect islands. You may need to take a car ferry from an island to the coast and then board another car ferry to get to another island. From around mid-May to early October passenger ferries enter service and the islands are much better connected.

Check the ferry schedules carefully! Start here for local ferry schedules.

Here are some suggestions for island-hopping itineraries of about one week that coordinate well with local ferries.

 

Island-Hopping from Split to Dubrovnik

Map of Dalmatia ferry lines

This itinerary covers the islands of Brac, Hvar and Korcula. With more time, you could add Vis island which connects daily with Split and less frequently with Hvar. See getting to Vis.

WITH A CAR

Split to Brac
Supetar
Take a car ferry from Split to Supetar (above). This car ferry is one of Jadrolinija's (the national ferry company) most popular. It runs all year round but with greater frequency in the summer when the ferry makes the 50-minute crossing nearly non-stop.

See the Split-Supetar ferry schedule and booking information.

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Brac to Hvar
Hvar
So this leg means taking two ferries as there is no direct car ferry link between Brac and Hvar islands. There are two possibilities that each take about three hours:

1) After visiting Supetar and then Bol on Brac Island, take a car ferry from Sumartin to Makarska. This car ferry also runs all year. There are only five ferries a day to make the one-hour crossing even in high season.

See the Sumartin-Makarska schedule and booking information.

After disembarking, drive down the coast to Drvenik which takes about a half-hour. There's nothing much in Drvenik so you'll want to take the next car ferry for the 35-minute ride to Sucuraj on Hvar Island. The Drvenik-Sucuraj car ferry is frequent all year.

See the Drvenik-Sucuraj ferry schedule and booking information.

Sucuraj is a tiny, quiet town that is about an hour's drive to Hvar town.

2) It is also possible to return to Split via the Supetar-Split ferry and then take the Split-Stari Grad ferry to Hvar island. There are up to seven ferries daily between Split and Stari Grad and the route takes two hours. It takes about a half-hour to drive from Stari Grad to Hvar town.

See the Split-Stari Grad ferry schedule and booking information.

Hvar to Korcula
Korcula
Again, there is no direct car ferry link between Hvar and Korcula. This leg involves three car ferries! First, take the car ferry from Sucuraj to Drvenik, then drive down the coast to Ploce (about a half-hour) and take the car ferry from Ploce to Trpanj. There are up to seven ferries a day that make the one-hour crossing.

See the Ploce-Trpanj schedule and booking information.

But you're not finished yet! Take the short drive from Trpanj to Orebic and then board the car ferry for a quick 15-minute ride from Orebic to Domince, Korcula. The ferry chugs back and forth nearly non-stop all year and Domince is just a few kilometres from Korcula town.

See the Orebic-Domince schedule and booking information.

Korcula to Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik
As there is no direct car ferry link between Korcula and Dubrovnik, it's necessary to take the car ferry from Domince to Orebic and drive down the coast to Dubrovnik (2 1/2 hours). It's an attractive drive down the Peljesac peninsula. Stop in Mali Ston for lunch!

WITHOUT A CAR

Island-hopping between Split and Dubrovnik

A flotilla of seasonal ferries makes island-hopping down the Dalmatian coast a breeze from May to October. The rest of the year this itinerary becomes trickier.

Split to Brac
Zlatni Rat
There are four possibilities for this leg.

1) Gorgeous Zlatni Rat beach in Bol (above) is a major highlight of Brac island. Take the passenger boat from Split to Bol that goes on to Jelsa on Hvar island. It runs all year but leaves Bol in the morning and returns from Split in the afternoon. The ride takes about an hour.

See the Split-Bol-Jelsa schedule and booking information.

2) Take the summer only catamaran that runs from Split to Bol and on to Dubrovnik. This ferry also leaves Split in the afternoon.

See the Split-Bol-Hvar-Korcula-Dubrovnik schedule

3) Take the summer catamaran that runs from Split to Milna and on to Dubrovnik. This popular ferry starts running in mid-April and finishes at the end of October.

See the Split-Milna-Hvar-Korcula-Dubrovnik schedule.

4) Take the summer catamaran that runs from Split on to Bol then Markarska, Korcula, Mljet and Dubrovnik. It's a fast, modern and comfortable ferry.

Split-Bol-Makarska-Korcula-Mljet-Dubrovnik schedule.

Brac to Hvar
Jelsa, Hvar island
Again, there are three possibilities:

1) Take the passenger boat from Bol to Jelsa (above) on Hvar Island.

See the Split-Bol-Jelsa schedule and booking information.

2) Take the summer catamaran that connects Milna to Hvar town.

See the Split-Milna-Hvar-Korcula-Dubrovnik schedule.

3) Take the summer catamaran that runs from Bol to Hvar town.

See the Split-Bol-Hvar-Korcula-Dubrovnik schedule

Hvar to Korcula
Korcula town

These two spectacular islands are connected by passenger ferry all year. The Split-Hvar-Korcula ferry brings islanders into work in Split and leaves Split in the late afternoon.

See the Split-Hvar-Korcula schedule and booking information.

And, in summer there's:

The Split-Bol-Hvar-Korcula-Dubrovnik ferry

The Split-Milna-Hvar-Korcula-Dubrovnik ferry.

Korcula to Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik

There's a daily bus between Korcula and Dubrovnik or there are the three ferries mentioned above:

The Split-Bol-Hvar-Korcula-Dubrovnik ferry

The Split-Milna-Hvar-Korcula-Dubrovnik ferry.

The Split-Bol-Makarska-Korcula-Mljet-Dubrovnik ferry.

Or, take the Nona Ana summer catamaran between Korcula and Dubrovnik stopping in Mljet and the Elaphiti islands.

See the Dubrovnik-Mljet-Sipan-Korcula schedule

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Island-Hopping from Rijeka to Zadar

Rijeka-Zadar Ferry Map

 

For this route, the only possibility is to ditch your car as there are only passenger boat connections. In addition to the ferry combinations below, there is a daily passenger boat that runs from Rijeka to Rab town on Rab island and then goes on to Novalja on Pag island where it's easy to find a bus to Zadar. See the Jadrolinija schedules.

WITHOUT A CAR

Rijeka to Cres Island
Rijeka port
Take the daily Jadrolinija passenger boat from Rijeka to Cres town. See the schedules on the Jadrolinija website.

Cres to Mali Losinj
Take the same daily passenger boat to Mali Losinj with an optional stop at Unije, Susak or Ilovik island.

Mali Losinj to Zadar
There's a once or twice weekly passenger ferry that starts in Pula, stops in Mali Losinj and goes on to Zadar. Services are handled by Catamaran-Line.

Small-boat Island-Hopping Cruises

One way to see the maximum number of islands in a short time is to take an island cruise either with your own boat or as part of a motorized gulet cruise. Several years ago,  I opted for a cruise holiday on a small boat and it was the best holiday (of many) I've had in Croatia. Read about it.

 

Last updated: June 27, 2018

 

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