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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 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.
Visit Hvar town.
Hvar to Korcula
Take the car ferry from Sucuraj to Drvenik, drive down the coast to Ploce, take the car ferry from Ploce to Trpanj
Then the car ferry from Orebic to Domince, Korcula
Korcula to Dubrovnik
Take the car ferry from Domince to Orebic and drive down the coast to Dubrovnik (2 1/2 hours).
Split to Brac
Take the passenger boat from Split to Bol to Jelsa.
Take the summer catamaran that runs from Split to Bol and on to Dubrovnik
Take the summer catamaran that runs from Split to Milna and on to Dubrovnik.
Brac to Hvar
Take the passenger boat from Bol to Jelsa on Hvar Island.
Take the summer catamaran that runs from Split to Milna and on to Hvar and Dubrovnik as per the schedule above
Take the summer catamaran that runs from Split to Bol and on to Hvar and Dubrovnik as per the schedule above.
Take the Split-Hvar-Korcula passenger ferry which runs daily all year.
Korcula to Dubrovnik
Take one of the summer catamarans that runs from Split to Dubrovnik. You can find the schedules here and here. Or, take the Nona Ana summer catamaran between Korcula and Dubrovnik
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 to Novalja on Pag island where it's easy to find a bus to Zadar. See the Jadrolinija schedules.
Cres to Mali Losinj
Take the same daily passenger boat to Mali Losinj with an optional stop at Unije, Susak or Ilovik island.
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.
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