Hi, we are planning to fly into Zadar in late June for approximately 14 nights, working our way to Dubrovnik and flying back from there. Looking for about 6 or more places to stay over on our way down, we will be travelling by bus so don’t want long bus transfers, so could you give me some ideas of some nice places where we could stay or when travelling down, please?
14 nights from Zadar to Dubrovnik sounds truly wonderful, lucky you! That’s a great amount of time to see Dalmatia. Travelling by bus is no problem, and I would also actually add some catamarans (or ferries, where applicable) into the mix as this trip would also be a good chance to see and experience some islands. However, I’ll also give you an option to stick to the mainland only if you prefer.
Zadar to Dubrovnik – Travelling on the mainland, by bus, only
- Start in lovely Zadar with so much to explore and enjoy here!
…1 hour 30 minutes by bus to…
- Sibenik – a charming old town, with its two UNESCO World Heritage sites (definitely visit the fortresses!), and a lovely harbourfront
…30 minutes to…
- Skradin to visit Krka National Park, a gem of a national park with its gorgeous waterfalls and lakes, plenty to explore on a day or two here
…just over 1 hour to… (N.B. Only one bus a day at 17.30 with Best Line)
- Trogir – a gorgeous little town, lots of tiny cobbled streets, good restaurants and cafes
…only 30/45 minutes to…
- Split – Croatia’s second city, a must-visit on your way down from Zadar to Dubrovnik! So much to see and do here, plus excellent restaurants, bars, shopping, beaches…the list goes on!
…just over 1 hour to…
- Makarska – another highlight on this part of the coast, a popular holiday destination with great amenities and rather impressively loomed over by Mount Biokovo
…2 hours 30 mins/3 hours to…
- Dubrovnik – the pearl of the Adriatic!
So, the above is actually only 5 places to stop off at when travelling down from Zadar to Dubrovnik. I think this is a good amount as you can base yourself in any one place and then make additional bus trips to nearby locations.
I would have liked to add in an extra place between Makarska and Dubrovnik for you, but this part of the coast thins out a little in terms of towns to visit. One place to explore would have been somewhere on the Peljesac Peninsula e.g. Ston but it is only possible to travel there from Makarska (if travelling by bus) via Dubrovnik, which wouldn’t make much sense.
The GetByBus website will help you look up bus timetables and book tickets.
Zadar to Dubrovnik – Mainland by bus to Split and then by catamaran down to Dubrovnik
Now for the second option. The start is as the above itinerary, for the Zadar to Split portion, and then from there:
…1 hour by catamaran…
- Hvar Town on Hvar – a popular island town with great restaurants and interesting sights (the Spanjola Fortress on the hill is a must-see); taking a taxi bro to the Pakleni islands on a day trip is also recommended
…1 hour 10 mins by catamaran to…
- Korcula Town – a mini-Dubrovnik, a delightful place
…just under 2 hours to…
Or two other islands you could do instead would be Brac (home to the famous Zlatni Rat beach) or Mljet (with its beautiful greenery and nature). Or any combination of two – Hvar and Mljet, Brac and Korcula…
Kapetan Luka and Jadrolinija run these catamarans; there are quite a few sailings on these routes (some – e.g. Split to Hvar – more than others) so the best advice would be to look up tickets on the ferry company websites to see what time the sailings are.
Enjoy your travels from Zadar to Dubrovnik!