Posts

Dalmatia in September 2015 - Split

Reader’s Review: Dalmatia in September 2015 – Part 2 – Hvar & Split

Following on from part one of Neil Killeen’s excellent report of Dalmatia in September here’s the second part of his travelogue. Here, Neil recounts his experiences of visiting and staying on/in the island of Hvar and Split, exploring the sights of both destinations.

Dalmatia in September 2015 – Part 2

by Neil Killeen

Our next stop was Hvar town. We decided to take one of the day trip boats to Jelsa (their first stop) on Hvar island and then catch a bus. The alternative was bus to Split and ferry to Hvar. This was a bit quicker and nicer we thought. So you pay about 100 kuna I think it was for the transfer to Jelsa. That was our first Adriatic boat trip.

Dalmatia in September 2015 - Figure – On the way to Jelsa

On the way to Jelsa

At Jelsa harbour it was not at all obvious where the bus station was and we didn’t have a lot of time to find it. Google was not helping (and by the way my “covermore.com” global sim card worked well in all of Croatia – it came with my travel insurance). However, a very helpful man selling stuff in an outdoor stand gave us directions and we found it OK. It’s about a 10 min walk from the harbour. The bus trip was really pretty around the western coast of Hvar. Some guy in a Mercedes was not happy with the bus driver and chased about for a while (we didn’t feel any collision so we really don’t know what that was about).

At Hvar town our host and sister kindly collected us from the bus station. Nothing is very far away, but when you first arrive, finding places in the often multilply-named windy and hilly Croatian streets can be a bit tricky. We had a nice sea view from our accommodation.

Dalmatia in September 2015 - Hvar

View from Hvar apartment

It turned out we were just a few minutes walk to the nicest beach in Hvar, and from there around to the harbour. The demographic in Hvar is a bit younger and upmarket. As you head north from Dubrovnik to Split I think there is a general evolution to a more lively environment. We happened across an Orson Wells exhibition there. It turned out his last companion, the actress Oja Kodar, is Croatian. Her met her in Hvar in 1967 working on a film he never finished called “The Deep”. She lives now near Split.

There is an old fort above the town which is well worth walking up to (it’s a nice walk). Its origins are late BC with much building and rebuilding over the next 2000 years as Hvar’s strategic importance waxed and waned. In the fort is a really interesting display of pots and other relics from a ship wreck dated to 2nd century BC. How cool is that!

Dalmatia in September 2015 - Figure – Prison Cell in the Fort, Hvar

Prison Cell in the Fort

Dalmatia in September 2015 - Hvar

Pots from 2nd century BC ship wreck

We couldn’t go to the green caves and other marine destinations, as it was a bit too windy. I think the operators were all a bit relieved to have a day or two off! Most nights there was music in the main town square. We enjoyed a band and singer who performed energetically and well for a couple of hours. We even had a little dance (Salsa) in the square to some of the music to enormous acclaim from some of the other listeners (but see Split!).

From Hvar we took the fast cat to Split. Our host met us at a church near the harbour and took us to the apartment. Nice and close to the main part of the city at the harbour. Split is a fabulous city, although, as a short-term tourist I think we get a rather protected slice of life. Split is especially famous for its Roman palace founded in the 4th Century. The emperor (Dicolesian I think was his name) was very unusual because he retired still living. Almost all of the Roman emperors were assassinated. I think it was the third century which saw 100 emperors come and largely go. (I learned this in a Rome museum).

Ri decided to have a sleep and I went out to explore the day trip options. One of the spruikers was a young woman, with whom, for some reason, I immediately found myself deeply engaged in a conversation about the history of Split and the Balkans in general. After 45 minutes she declared she really didn’t want to sell me day trip! She advised me that we should do one of the palace tours with a certain company, so we did. The palace is amazing. It’s large and is still lived in. It’s seen 1800 years of cultural and architectural change, and that’s all charted through its living buildings. You can see the edge of a roman road inside of the bank for example!

Dalmatia in September 2015 - Split

The Bell Tower in the Palace

We experienced more traditional Croatian music here. This time it was a military band and all male-choir. To be honest it was a bit dull. The musicians were very polished (and look great in their lovely all white uniforms) but the music was very ‘samey’ (too much of anything is not a good thing) with endless Croatian folk songs. Worse, although the choir was some 15 strong, the arrangements weren’t very interesting with virtually all the men singing the same part in unison. I happen to sing in a choir, so I know I’m picky, but I really felt their talent was not being used as well it could have been. However, the locals appeared to be loving it, so we were happy to leave them to their fun.

Now the main square inside the palace under the bell tower is a fabulous place to be in the summer evenings. There is a Café that opens onto the square, and they hire musicians to perform every night. People sit around on the steps and the waiters zoom around making a fortune on drinks! Note, it is unwise to order “a beer”. What you will get is a very large vat of beer. If you want one that won’t last a week, ask for a “very small beer” please. We trotted out our little Salsa act here too – the musicians were brilliant every night; usually duos with really varied repertoire. One evening, a young couple got up to dance. The man was dressed in fairly ordinary ‘travel clothes’, but the woman was very elegantly dressed. Then they danced. Phew. It was HOT. They didn’t actually do a lot (in terms of ‘moves’) but their ‘moving’ was really sexy and beautiful to watch. We didn’t get up to dance again after that, you can be sure!

Dalmatia in September 2015 - Split

More of the palace

We finally managed a day trip from Split. We went to the ‘blue lagoon’. The trip consisted of 1) going to a bay on an island and jump in and swim, 2) going to another bay on another island, where the water was slightly blue-er, jump in and swim. The boat had a couple of face masks which you could use to admire the seaweed and a few desultory fish, 3) go to a small town on another island and have a really bad lunch (we reckon it had been sitting on the bench a long while). Thanks heavens I did not select ‘fish’ as the fish was whole oily Mackerel (eeeeew), 4) wander about this tiny place (and it was REALLY hot) with absolutely nothing to see, 5) go back to Split. Actually, despite not being the most awesome experience (it wasn’t very expensive), it was a nice lazy day out on the water. We made friends with a couple of other folks over “lunch” and chatted with them for a while also.

Dalmatia in September 2015 - The ‘blue lagoon’

The ‘blue lagoon’

On our last day, I gave my partner, Ri, control. Normally I seem to be the one who ends up deciding where we go, and how we get there and all that stuff (I don’t particularly want to, it just works out this way). Anyway it was her turn I decided; I was soon not sure about this decision as we walked all the way around the peninsular to the west of the city (mostly through the Park Suma Marjan). However, It was a lovely day out. First we walked up to the lookout (near the cemetery).

Dalmatia in September 2015 - Split panorama

Panorma from the Split lookout

Along the walk we encountered a beautiful tiny old church from the 13th Century. Although we couldn’t go in, there was a hole in the door through which I could take a good picture. The very basic interior of this church rather contrasted with the excessive basilicas of Rome a few days later.

Dalmatia in September 2015 - Split church

13th century (1219) church

Dalmatia in September 2015 - Split church

13th century (1219) church

We also encountered these very cool dwellings built directly into the cliffs. The occupants must have lived incredibly austere lives. We didn’t manage to learn anything else about when these were built and occupied.

Dalmatia in September 2015 - Split

Rock-face dwellings in Park Suma Marjin

From here we wended our way down the hill to a beach that we had been eyeing keenly for a while. We had brought some sandwiches along with us and scarfed them down soon before finding our way to the beach. I was a bit surprised to learn that this was Ri’s very first peanut-butter and cucumber sandwich (I made them). These are a staple of mine and I was sure that in the last decade since we met one would have come her way….

Dalmatia in September 2015

Mmmm yummy

After a very nice cool swim (it was pretty hot this day) at the beach, we headed onwards along the coast back towards Split. This took us to the famed Gallery Mestrovic, the legacy of the famed Croatian artist Ivan Mestrovic. You can read the history here in Wikipedia. The gallery is wonderful and there is also a piece by Rodin, who supported Mestrovic. Here was where I had another nice encounter with a local. I always get through the galleries faster than Ri (her artists’ eye has a lot to see), so I was chatting with the gentleman checking tickets at the front door. Again I had found another person with a passionate interest in history and culture. We had a long discussion, taking in most of the Balkan political history of the 20th century!

Dalmatia in September 2015 - Gallery Mestrovic

One of the many wonderful casts in the Gallery Mestrovic

From the gallery (and the small chapel on the other side of the road with Mestrovic wood panels) we headed on to another small beach for another dip.

Dalmatia in September 2015 - Split Beach

Our last beach swim in Split

Finally, we made our way back to the harbour (the fancy end). There were many amazing yachts here. The most impressive was the “Polar Star” which you can see in the figure. I later googled it, and discovered that it cost 60 million Euros to build, and costs 380,000 Euros per week to charter (crew of 17, 12 passengers)! Some things are really a long way out of reach and you really wonder how that’s within anybody’s reach (or philosophy).

Dalmatia in September 2015 - Split

The Polar Star in Split

Finally, Ri decided to take a “short cut” back to our apartment. Here is the rather daunting view of that short cut. On arrival back at our apartment, our feet needed a lot of attention, so foot massages were again the order of the day.

Dalmatia in September 2015 - Split

The short cut

We took the airport bus (the other end of the harbour), and flew to Rome with Vueling airlines. We had a bit of a worry when I could not find our booking online. It turned out that this was because of some confusion between the parent company Iberia and Vueling. When our booking was made, our tourist agent (FlightCentre in Australia), only supplied codes for Iberia. But these did not work on the Vueling site (nor on the Iberia site). Anyway, there is a 24 hr hotline for FlightCentre, and the consultant resolved it efficiently for us (she had to call Iberia to sort it out). I hope FlightCentre have now changed their process!

So off we went to Rome, but that must be a story for some other website – do you run a Roman website also Anna?

Dalmatia in September 2015 - Makarska

Reader’s Review: Dalmatia in September 2015 – Part 1 – Dubrovnik & Makarska

Earlier this year, we were contacted by a friendly gentleman, Neil, who needed a little assistance in planning his trip to Croatia. After a few emails back and forth, he had set out a plan for visiting Croatia with his partner – specifically the towns and islands of Dalmatia in September. He was kind enough to keep in contact with us during his trip and has even more kindly written a wonderfully informative trip report, complete with some stunning photos, to share on the Visit Croatia website.

As well as writing extensively on the sights and experiences of these locations in Croatia, there’s also plenty of other useful tips that Neil shares – including using AirBnB for accommodation, and how to handle having particular dietary requirements when visiting Croatia.

Read on below for the first part of his report, featuring Dubrovnik and Makarska. Part two – covering the island of Hvar and Split – will be posted very soon!

Thank you ever so much for sharing your experience of Croatia with us, Neil!

Dalmatia in September 2015

by Neil Killeen

We decided to go to Croatia at rather short notice; it was part of our trip, in the end, of 10 days in the UK, 10 days in Croatia and 4 days in Rome. Fortunately, I discovered the Visit Croatia website and even better (for me) wrote to Anna for some advice. This was along the lines of “I’m too lazy to work anything out for myself, please tell me what we should do in our 10 days” !  Anna was so incredibly generous with her time and ideas; I was truly amazed and appreciative.  Later I discovered she runs many web sites and wondered how on earth she found the time and energy to bother with me.

We ended up having 3 nights in Dubrovnik, 3 in Makarska, 2 in Hvar town and 3 in Split.  If we hadn’t booked so late, we might have spent the time on a cruise around the islands (easy set and forget), but by the time we started to look, the prices were quite expensive. If you book early, they can be pretty cheap and probably a nice way to see the Dalmatian coast.

We decided to use AirBnB for all of our accommodation.  We like to Couch Surf as a great way to meet the locals and learn about a country. However, CS is not very big in Croatia – there were very few couches to be seen !  AirBnB worked out very well for us. We rented self-contained apartments (so we could cook for ourselves because of dietary restrictions).  We typically paid Aus$70/night, which was pretty cheap.  All the hosts were lovely and helpful. All the apartments were just as advertised (you have to do your research of course and select carefully). The main variable is beds and pillows. It’s hard to know what you will get, as hosts will generally tell you their bed is very comfy. I happen to have an unhappy neck, and so bed (and more importantly pillow) quality is important. I even contemplated dragging my special pillow around the planet! I did have a bit of pillow trauma, but usually we were able to improvise something with towels and other cushions that might be in the apartment.

Regarding food, my partner, Ri (“Ree”), is fructose (including wheat) and dairy intolerant.  Two of the main fructose bearers are onion and garlic, which can be problematic when eating out.   So although we did eat in a lot, when we did eat out, we were expecting pain (either stomach or waiters) in finding food she could eat.  It turned out to be quite the opposite.  The attitude everywhere was ‘Of course we can do that’, and they could.  Perhaps food is less pre-prepared than in Australia to help this along.  Even better was that we found the BEST EVER dairy-free ice-cream in Dubrovnik (at the harbour).  We hardly believed the server when she said it was milk free (as it tasted just like normal and was so thick). But no stomach trauma occurred so it was true.  We went back for more.

We flew from London to Dubrovnik.  Because this trip was in September, flights were not so frequent.  We didn’t want to get on a dawn flight, and I think the only afternoon flight (that we were prepared to take) was only 1 or 2 times a week (that was EasyJet).  Some of the budget airlines also stop flying these routes around this time (e.g. EasyJet stopped flying Split to Rome mid September before we departed).    Although we arrived in the evening, we took the frequent Airport bus (much cheaper than a taxi) into the old town to one of the main gates. From there we took a cab to our destination.  Our host was working but he lined up his daughter to meet us. She took us for a little walk to orient us, which was sweet of her.

Like most people, we focused on the old town. We did buy a 3-day Dubrovnik card (museums and some bus tickets).  However, really, many of the places supplied by the card are not exactly world class, so I don’t think it’s really worth it. On the other hand, you could say that it does give you an interesting and useful cultural perspective and one should not get too snobby. There are of course plenty of great cultural buildings and experiences; it’s just that not many are on the card.

Dalmatia in September 2015 - Dubrovnik

Panorama of the Dubrovnik harbour

I was interested in the (very complex) history of the Home Land wars of the 90s and both in Dubrovnik and at the top of the hill (in the old fort now museum which was a defensive stronghold in the siege of Dubrovnik) there is lots of very worth while material.   I reckon it’s worth taking the cable car up to the fort rather than a tour in a 4-wheel drive (they have a long list of reasons why they are better of course).  Really, we like to do things at our own pace, not have deadlines to meet (20 min here, 30 min there).   Because it was September it wasn’t too busy which was great – neither did we suffer the arrival of a cruise ship and several thousand people clogging the place. The weather was lovely; I reckon September is good to be in Croatia.

We went to an Art Gallery with a large exhibition of one emerging artist. Now my partner is an Artist, and we are very familiar with the process of writing the words for those cards that sit next to the art work so that you, the observer, can appreciate the incredible intellectual effort that is behind the art work. In colourful Australian vernacular, we call this “Art Wank” (I am quite good at writing it). We encountered the best example ever of this in this gallery which you can see for yourself in the picture.

Visiting Dalmatia in September - Gallery

“Art Wank” in the gallery

I particularly liked the “personal invisible musical scales” (being a musician). We did also find a very small, almost invisible gallery with a photographic exhibition. The pictures were all of a single family, and the photographer was one member of that family. They were a quirky lot and the exhibition explored how that particular (all grown up) family came together and created their own fun. There was no art wank at all, so we got the guy looking after it to explain it to us !

There is a very cool café just outside the old town walls which looks out over the sea. Great to have a local beer there for a while – you have to be alert to get a seat closest to the sea. There were some young men jumping into the sea from the rocks. They were swanning about in their boardies attempting to look cool/tough/attractive as they attempted a free beer by flirting with the waitresses. No free beer ensued, but the waitresses were nice to them. Throughout our trip, people were invariably friendly, positive and helpful, even though it was the end of the season and probably they were totally over the tourists. We didn’t do any boaty things in Dubrovnik – we left them for later in the trip.

Visiting Dalmatia in September - Cafe

The Waterside Old Town Café

From Dubrovnik we took a bus (there are lots of buses in Croatia and I usually used an App on my iPhone to book tickets – that worked well) to Makarska, sometimes dubbed the “Riviera of Croatia”. The bus trip provides some beautiful coastal scenery and our host kindly picked us up at the bus station (he even deferred his shift at the fire station by 45 min so he could collect us).

Visiting Dalmatia in September - On the way to Makarska

On the way to Makarska

Visiting Dalmatia in September - Makarska Harbour

Makarska Harbour with mountains in the background

Our apartment was about 10 steps to the harbour – which is pretty darn handy.

Like much of the Dalmatian coast, Makarska is jammed in between the mountains and the sea. But here, the mountains are extra beautiful exuding this steely grey strength. I really just had to stare at them a lot to soak in the beauty. We sampled our first pebbly beach here and found it pretty comfortable, even without a mattress (the experienced travellers could be detected easily by their pebble-beach preparations).

Visiting Croatian in September - Makarska mountains

Makarska mountains

Visiting Croatian in September - Adriatic

The beautiful Adriatic

We also found a nice park right next to the beach with lovely grass out of the wind to lie on, gaze at the mountains and read books – I did a lot of that here. Strangely, nobody else took advantage of it in this way! There were no “Keep of the grass” signs, so I don’t know why nobody else did; perhaps a little over-obsessed with becoming a lobster at the beach.

Visiting Dalmatia in September - Makarska Park

Makarska Park

The tourist demographic in Makarska was very middle-aged couple (like us!). However, we were struck by the huge amount of obesity that we saw (in the tourists), especially, but not only the men. Australia has an obesity problem, and I thought I could stand to lose a Kg or 2, but I felt like a wraith there. We noticed also the huge amount of food people packed away when they went to dinner. We might share a meal and be sated – we observed one guy (not so large – yet) eat more for dinner than I could have managed all day. We wandered around the back streets of Makarska and found some nice fresh food (cheaper and nicer than the supermarkets). The supermarkets did however cater for gluten free bread and the like.

We also had our first real taste of Croatian music making here. We happened to be in Makarska for their Fish Festival (could have been a weekly event for all we knew!). So in the evening down at the harbour there was lots of traditional music making. It seems all Croatian men know all the songs as they all sing along with great gusto (and some with rather fine voices). The degree of gusto seemed to be correlated with the rapidity with which wine glasses were recharged…. The melodies for many of the traditional folk songs are simple, so I gusto-ed along as well, spouting pseudo-Croatian as needed.

There is a famous beach, Zlatni Rat, on the island of Brac. You can take a ferry from Makarska to Sumartin, then a bus to this beach. The only problem is you can’t get back again. In September the time tables change to something unhelpful. Basically, the bus back to Sumartin arrives after the ferry departs back to Makarska. Take an earlier bus you say. Well if you do that, then you arrive back at Sumartin before you have even arrived there in the first place (it’s all a bit Dr. Who). This was the point in time where we discovered that some of the tourist information folks were a bit tired and weary of a long season. Mainly, when you go into their office, they grudgingly get off Facebook to talk to you. Then mono-syllabic answers can be dragged from them with great effort. This particular person in Makarska knew that the timetables change, that they are dodgy, but didn’t really want to tell us. It was only because I had googled before and found inconsistencies that she grudgingly called the bus line on Brac (“you can call them, or I suppose I can if you really want”) to confirm the above transport conundrum. So, needless to say, Zlatni Rat, with its 5 degree (I think) side-to-side temperature differential remained a delight for the future.

Stay tuned for part two – with Neil travelling to Hvar and Split – very soon!

Istria

Visiting Croatia in September

Although the summer holiday crowds have gone home, many travellers come to Croatia to visit this month. That’s no surprise – there’s a lot to be said for visiting the country in late summer/early Autumn. But what’s it like visiting Croatia in September?

Rovinj

Rovinj

Getting to Croatia in September

Travellers shouldn’t have any problems in reaching Croatia in September – most airlines that operate flights from the UK and the rest of Europe continue their summer schedules well into September, if not into October too. (Some even to early November!) Take a look at our Flights to Croatia from the UK & Ireland to see the full operating dates of all routes from these two countries to Croatia.

Getting around Croatia in September

Likewise, most transport options – with buses and ferries being those that travellers will most likely use when visiting Croatia – still continue with high season or special ‘summer’ schedules in this month too. For example, Jadrolinija – the largest ferry operator in Croatia – continues its high season schedule until the end of September. Kapetan Luka – operator of the very popular catamaran service that travels from Split to Brac, Hvar, Korcula, Mljet and Dubrovnik (and return too, of course!) still continues to operate this service daily in September. (Note: it changes to being a three-times a week service in October.)

Some seasonal bus routes may have stopped operating at the end of August, although most of these of are of the kind that take (domestic) holidaymakers from inland Croatia to the coast. Check out our Bus Travel in Croatia section for help in planning bus routes.

Visiting Croatia in September - Plitvice Lakes

Accommodation in Croatia in September

Not to sound like a broken record…but since absolute peak season is now over, accommodation should be slightly cheaper in Croatia in September. But seeing as it’s still a busy month, it’s not the time for bargains! Check out our Accommodation in Croatia section if you need some help with planning and booking where to stay.

Weather in September in Croatia

This is a big one – what’s the weather like during the ninth month of the year? Well, traditionally, summer temperatures and conditions normally do stretch out well into September if not beyond. This is one reason that many choose September as the month to visit Croatia – especially as the summer holidaymakers have gone. Sea temperatures will also be warm, given waters have been heating up for a number of months!

Southern and Central Europe was undergoing something of a heatwave in early September, with temperatures reaching into the 30s Celsius. However, mid-20s C is a more normal temperature for this time of year – and it looks like this sort of weather has returned to Croatia and will stay.

The Croatian Meteorological Service website is a great website to check out weather forecasts (although I’m sure you already have your own favourite weather website or app!) – but do be sure to take a look at their current sea temperatures page.

What’s on in Croatia in September

Plenty!

Korcula is the location of the 4th Korkyra Baroque Festival, 5th to 12th September.

The 20th Split Film Festival – an international festival of new film – will be taking place in Croatia’s second city from the 12th to 19th September.

The 9th Gioistra Festival will take place in Porec, 9th to 11th September 2015. Over the three days of the event, around 250 participants celebrate costumes, culture and events from the 18th century.

If you’re in Istria towards the end of the month, look out for the Parenzana Bike Race (25th – 27th September), a World Cycling Federation event. Or if you’re feeling active, join in on the recreational ‘race’ on the Sunday!

The Food Film Festival will be held in Zagreb from 11th to 20th September, combining two wonderful items – food and film! Films with a gastronomic focus will be shown. Also in Zagreb is the 48th International Puppet Festival (14th – 19th September) and music and food event RujanFest (literally, ‘SeptemberFest’) from 11th to 20th of the month.

Nightlife and festivals in September in Croatia

Outlook Festival, held in Fort Punta Christo near Pula from the 2nd to 6th September concludes the festival season for Croatia for the year…so if you planned to attend one of these gatherings, you’ve kind of missed the boat!

Most of the island clubs (such as in Novalja) also normally close for the season at the end of August. But if clubbing’s your kind of thing, we’d advise sticking to one of the larger cities or towns in the country – such as Zagreb, Split and Dubrovnik.

Enjoy your September visit to Croatia!

Split Photos - View from the Belltower

Travelling from Zagreb to Split

Are you planning on travelling from Zagreb to Split (or vice versa) this summer, taking in Croatia’s two largest cities? Read our guide below for how best to travel between the two!

History of Zagreb

Travelling from Zagreb to Split by train

Unusually for Croatia train is one of the methods of transport you can use in travelling between Zagreb and Split. (We say this because many travellers expect to travel around by coast…and then discover the lack of train services along the coast!)

There are several trains per day between Zagreb and Split, and journey time is either 6 hours or 8 hours (the latter being an overnight train).

Daytime trains take around six hours, and a one-way, second-class ticket costs 208 Kunas. There’s a train that departs early in the morning, and another departing mid-afternoon.

The 8-hour train has a couchettes for sleeping – if that’s your kind of thing – and there’s also a special bicycle car…plus space to transport vehicles! The cost of this train is 190 Kunas for a regular, single-ticket journey in second class.

Look up timetables on the Croatian Railways or Die Bahn websites. Look for Zagreb Gl. Kol. or Zagreb Glavni Kol. (Zagreb Glavni Kolodvor meaning Zagreb Main Terminal, the main station in the capital.)

Note: During summer, twice a week (Tuesdays and Fridays) these trains actually start in Budapest – so if you’re travelling from Hungary, you can make it direct all the way to the Croatian coast (well, as long as it’s Split!). Journey time is 14 hours.

Travelling from Zagreb to Split by Bus

There are many buses per day between Zagreb and Split…as befitting a route connecting Croatia’s two largest cities! It’s best to look up timetables on the Zagreb Bus Terminal website.

The thing to note about bus services is that some are much faster than others – this depends on whether buses take the fast, motorway route to Split or the slower ‘road’. (The latter most likely meaning plenty of stops en route.)

You can work out journey time length on the Zagreb Bus Terminal website; it also shows how many stops (and where) will be made. This will give you an idea of which are the faster buses! Journey times vary between 5 hours and about 7 and a half hours.

The Zagreb Bus Terminal website also offers online booking of tickets, although you will need to physically pick up tickets from the Terminal before departure. (But seeing as you’re leaving from there anyway…that’s no big deal.)

Flights from Zagreb to Split

There are also daily flights, year-round, between these two cities operated by Croatia Airlines. With a flight time of only 45 minutes and with cheap tickets available if you book early enough, this is obviously a very fast way of travelling that can actually be cheaper than expected.

You do, of course, have to factor in travel between each city centre and airport but with regular transfer buses at both ends that’s easy enough. Check out our Zagreb Public Transport and Getting to and from Split Airport pages for help.

Driving from Zagreb to Split

If you’ve hired a car for your stay in Croatia, driving from Zagreb to Split is also very easy these days due to the A1 motorway. The journey time can be as quick as 4 hours, assuming no bad traffic situations. The motorway is of course tolled so do factor this in – you’ll pick up a ticket when entering the start of the motorway just outside Zagreb, and then need to pay when you exit at Dugopolje outside Split. If you’re in a standard car, this will cost 174 Kunas (2015 price) – prices of other vehicles can be seen here: A1 motorway toll prices.

Dubrovnik to Novalja

Travel question: Getting from Dubrovnik to Novalja

Question: Myself and a friend are arriving in Dubrovnik and need to travel to Novalja. Is there any direct transport from Dubrovnik to Novalja? If not, what’s the easiest, shortest and cheapest way to get there? Train? Bus?

Answer: Some of you who are heading to Novalja this summer for one of the many festivals held there may have booked flights to Dubrovnik. It’s not the closest airport to Novalja on the island of Pag (Zadar is; Split is second), but there’s certainly plenty of flights from the UK and Europe to Dubrovnik and you may well have found it cheapest to fly there.

Dubrovnik to Novalja

So, if you’re looking for public transport options from Dubrovnik to Novalja, here’s what we’d recommend…if you’re trying to get between the two as quickly as possible. There is no direct transport from one to the other, so:

Option 1: Dubrovnik to Zadar to Novalja

Travel Dubrovnik to Zadar by bus (8 buses per day, with most in the morning; journey time 6-7 hours) and then Zadar to Novalja by bus (3 buses per day; journey time 2 hours).

Look up timetables on the Zadar Bus Terminal website.

The approximate one-way cost is 280 Kunas (200 Kunas Dubrovnik – Zadar; 80 Kunas Zadar – Novalja).

Option 2: Dubrovnik to Split to Novalja

Travel Dubrovnik to Split by bus (many per day; journey time 4.5 hours) and then Split to Novalja by bus (one per day; journey time 5 hours).

However, the Split – Novalja bus operates in the morning, so you’d most likely have to split this journey up into two days with a night in Split. (No bad thing.)

Look up timetables on the Split Bus Terminal website.

The approximate one-way cost is 340 Kunas (120 Kunas Dubrovnik – Split; 220 Kunas Split – Novalja).

TIP: If you’re keen to secure a seat on the Split – Novalja bus, tickets can be bought online (with a 5% discount!) on the Autotrans website.

Technically you could also do Dubrovnik – Split (4.5 hours); Split – Zadar (lots of buses on this route; 2.5-3 hours; approx. 95 Kunas) and Zadar – Novalja (2 hours) but then that does involve two stops!

Happy festival going!

Getting from Split to Dubrovnik

Getting from Split to Dubrovnik…and Dubrovnik to Split!

We’re sure that many of you will be travelling from Split to Dubrovnik (or Dubrovnik to Split) this summer, so we thought we’d lay out the various options for getting between the two!

Getting from Split to Dubrovnik

Split to Dubrovnik by Catamaran

Kapetan Luka have a daily catamaran operating in both directions from Split to Dubrovnik. The catamaran operates in the early morning from Split to Dubrovnik – stopping at Milna on Brac, Hvar Town, Korcula Town and Mljet – whilst the opposite journey operates in the late afternoon/early evening. Journey time between Split and Dubrovnik is 4 hours 15 minutes.

You can of course also split up the journey en route to either Dubrovnik or Split e.g. Dubrovnik to Korcula and then stay there for a night or two.

You can book tickets online on the Kapetan Luka website or using the search box below – during peak season, this would be advisable.

The catamaran does also operate in October, although only three times a week.

2017 Update: Kapetan Luka have a new daily catamaran operating between Split and Dubrovnik. This one stops at Bol on the island of Brac, Makarska, Korcula and Sobra on the island of Mljet when travelling between the two cities. Journey time between Split and Dubrovnik is 4 hours 30 minutes, and the sailing is also in the early morning from Split, with the reverse in the mid afternoon.

Jadrolinija also now have a catamaran connecting Dubrovnik and Split. Operating daily from early June to mid September, their catamaran stops at Bol on Brac, Hvar Town and Korcula Town en route. Sailing time between Split and Dubrovnik is 5 hours and 15 minutes. This catamaran sails from Split in the mid afternoon (reaching Dubrovnik at 9pm), and sails from Dubrovnik in the early morning (reaching Split at 12.30pm).

Split to Dubrovnik by Ferry

Jadrolinija used to run – for absolutely years and years – a coastal ferry service that stretched from Rijeka in the north down to Split and Dubrovnik, stopping off at a couple of the islands along the way (Hvar and Korcula). For 2015, this route has been cancelled – so there are no car ferry options between Split and Dubrovnik. 2017 Update: Details of this service being restarted in 2017 was released – however, by the summer, this has failed to materialise.

There is a year-round Jadrolinija car ferry that operates from Split to Vela Luka on the island of Korcula. As an alternative to the above ferry, you could utilise this – perhaps staying on Korcula for a bit! – before then taking a ferry from Korcula to Orebic on the mainland, and then driving down to Dubrovnik. (It’s a bit of a different alternative, admittedly!)

Split to Dubrovnik by Bus

Luckily, these two Croatian coastal gems are connected numerous buses that run daily. Journey time is around 4 and a half hours – although do note that in peak season (July and August), you may be delayed by an hour of more if the coastal road is especially busy with holiday traffic.

The route stretches through a portion of Bosnia & Hercegovina (called the Neum corridor), so do keep your passport on your person/in your hand luggage and not in the suitcase you’ve put in the hold!

This is a transit route through Bosnia & Hercegovina, so you won’t need a visa for the country (if you otherwise would – EU/US/Canadian/Australian nationals don’t).

Split to Dubrovnik - Neum Corridor
Neum

Buses normally use Neum as a comfort break – a chance to stop for the loo, stretch your legs and to snap a few pics of ‘you in Bosnia’. Luckily, it’s a pretty nice view! There’s also a shop there if you fancy stocking up on ‘duty free’ (booze and cigarettes) and a few little knick knacks; snack options are a little thin on the ground unless you like biscuits, crisps and soft drinks/water.

Check schedules for the route – whether for Split to Dubrovnik or Dubrovnik to Split on the Split Bus Terminal website. The Dubrovnik Bus Terminal also displays this information, but it’s not quite as user friendly.

Split to Dubrovnik by Air

Trade Air have a few flights a week in each direction between Split and Dubrovnik; flight time is 40 minutes.

There are transfer buses between both airports and each city’s main bus station – and in the case of Dubrovnik, the bus also stops at the Old Town. See Getting to and from Split Airport and To and from Dubrovnik Airport.

Split to Dubrovnik by Road

If you’re driving between Split and Dubrovnik, there are two road options – either the scenic coastal road for the whole route, or inland on the A1 motorway as far as Ploce – where the motorway ends – and where you need to then towards the coastal road to continue the journey.

Which one you take is up to you in terms of whether you’re under time pressure or not. The coastal road is beautiful of course – but it can be very busy during the summer months!

Split to Dubrovnik Private Transfer

Visit Croatia Recommends A popular transport option for travel between Split and Dubrovnik is a private transfer. This door to door car service makes for easy and comfortable travel between these two cities. Best of all, prices are fixed and very competitive – cheaper, in fact, than a taxi with prices starting at €210. In addition, you can choose your pickup time and whether you’d like to modify the trip to include stops along the way, making the transfer into an excursion. For a free quote on Dubrovnik to Split transfers contact Octopus Transfers Croatia

Split to Dubrovnik by Train

This one’s a no go! Dubrovnik has no train station, for starters…and train services up and down the Croatian coast don’t really exist. But you’ve luckily got plenty of other transport options – as detailed above!

Useful Links

New Split - Brac - Hvar - Korcula - Dubrovnik catamaran line

New Split – Brac – Hvar – Korcula – Dubrovnik catamaran line!

New Split - Brac - Hvar - Korcula - Dubrovnik catamaran line
Bye Split! Next stop…Brac, Hvar, Korcula or Dubrovnik!

Given the number of queries we receive each day about travelling between the Croatian islands, we’re sure news of this new catamaran service will excite a number of you! (As much as public transport possibly can!)

A new catamaran route has been announced that will connect Split, Milna (on the island of Brac), Hvar, Korcula and Dubrovnik. Starting operations on 15th May and running until the 28th October, the route will run twice a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

The catamaran will depart Split at 7.30am, reaching Milna at 7.55am; Hvar at 8.30am; Korcula at 10.05am and finally arriving in Dubrovnik at 12pm. The opposite journey will see catamarans sail from Dubrovnik at 4.30pm, first calling at Korcula at 6.25pm; Hvar at 8pm; Milna at 8.45pm and then arriving in Split at 9.15pm.

The catamaran is being operated by Kapetan Luka – as yet, the schedule doesn’t appear on their website but we’re sure it will be posted soon. Interestingly, the Croatian version of their site offers online booking of tickets for all their routes – with this particular one included. We hope online booking in English will be made available soon!

This route is good news for travellers because a) it’s a catamaran service – meaning relatively quick travel between these destinations, and between Split and Dubrovnik in particular and b) it’s the first time that the island of Brac is directly connected by ferry (okay, catamaran) with Dubrovnik. Likewise, more options for travelling between Dubrovnik and Korcula and Hvar (and, to a lesser extent, Split) is always good news!

Jadrolinija only recently confirmed that their coastal ferry service would indeed be running for 2014 (this service running Rijeka – Split – Stari Grad, Hvar – Korcula – Dubrovnik), so it’s great to see another choice for travellers for this year – and one that runs slightly longer through the year as well.

Happy sailing, travellers!

Source: Slobodna Dalmacija

Rijeka

Travel question: From Zagreb Airport to Rijeka

Good day, we are planning a trip to Croatia & we need to travel from Zagreb to Rijeka to take our cruise. We do not know how to reserve our bus or train & if we need to go to downtown Zagreb or if we could take the bus or the train from the airport. Thanks.

Clock Tower in Rijeka

You are, in fact, in luck. In almost all cases, you’d have to travel to downtown Zagreb to make your way by bus or train to other places in Croatia.

However, it just so happens that there’s a direct bus from Zagreb Airport to Rijeka. This bus departs Zagreb Airport every day at 3.30pm – you can find out a few more details on the Pleso Prijevoz website. You cannot reserve tickets for this bus in advance, and you merely buy them from the driver.

If this bus time isn’t suitable for you, then you would have to travel to downtown Zagreb in order to reach Rijeka. There are transfer buses by the same company (timetable here) and this takes you to the main bus station in Zagreb. Again, buy your tickets for this bus from the driver.

It is better (roughly same price, but definitely faster!) to travel by bus from Zagreb to Rijeka. You can look up timetables on the Zagreb Bus Terminal website. – it won’t yet let you look up times for October, but just look up a date that’s the same day of the week that you wish to travel on. (And then perhaps look it up again nearer the time of your travel.) Almost all – if not all – of these buses operate year-round; journey time is about 2.5-3 hours, depending on which bus you take.

It’s not really possible to buy tickets in advance for bus journeys in Croatia, other than in person by the bus station or sometimes by phone. However, *some* bus companies are starting to offer online booking – Autotrans , one of the main companies in Croatia and who are based in Rijeka – have just started this. They operate a number of the Zagreb – Rijeka services. However, you won’t yet be able to buy tickets for October – again, check back closer to the time of your travels.

In all honesty, especially as you’re travelling out of season, it will be fine for you to simply turn up at Zagreb Bus Terminal and buy tickets for your bus journey to Rijeka there and then!

Ljubljana to Pula

Travel question: Travelling from Ljubljana to Pula

Hi there, not sure if you’re able to help us at all but my friend and I are coming to Croatia this August for a festival in Pula. We are landing from London in Ljubljana, Slovenia at 19:00 on 27/08/13 and need to get to Pula to our apartment. We want to know if there is a relatively cheap/safe way of us travelling this distance at this time. The apartment owners are aware that we need a late check in but we want to arrive there at a reasonable time. Any information you have would be greatly appreciated. O. H-S

Ljubljana to Pula
The Arena in Pula

Unfortunately, I have to say that you will find it difficult to travel from Ljubljana to Pula at that time of the day (well, evening). There is a direct daily bus from Ljubljana to Pula at that time of year, but it runs at 9.30am. (See the timetable on the FILS website – scroll down for the seasonal, summer line.) I believe a one-way ticket should be about 200 Kunas, or the equivalent in Euros.

The alternatives I would suggest also don’t really work at that time of the day. I would have suggested getting a train from Ljubljana to Rijeka, but the two a day are at 6.35am and 3.10pm. (From Rijeka to Pula there are several buses per day.)

Another possibility would be to take a train to Zagreb (if you did this, it would be best to take a taxi from Ljubljana Airport to Kranj, which is about 15 minutes away, rather than travel to downtown Ljubljana, about 30-45 mins away), and then a bus to Pula.. There are several trains per day from Kranj (or Ljubljana) to Zagreb but again, these all run before your 7pm arrival time.

(If you wanted to look up train timetables, the Die Bahn website is the best place to do this.)

These above options are all relatively cheap and safe (travelling in Croatia/Slovenia is very safe, just use your common sense with personal possessions, of course!) but, obviously, the most important issue is that they don’t get you to Pula the same day! Aside from renting a car (which isn’t an especially cheap option, and not everyone wants to drive) I’m afraid the best thing I would suggest would be to stay in Ljubljana one night and then get the bus direct to Pula the next morning. I’m assuming you’re attending Outlook so the bus will still get you there in time for the opening concert on the 28th. (Not sure if you’ll be able to amend your booking in Pula by a day.)

Save 15% on car hire in Croatia!

Holiday Autos are currently running a special Grand April sale for 10 days, offering 15% off car hire for a wide range of destinations, including Australia & New Zealand, Spain, France, Austria and Germany, and South Africa. On Sunday 14th April 2013, it’s your chance to take advantage of 15% off car hire in Croatia!

Use the booking form above to search for car hire in Croatia, and use the code APRILSALE14 on Sunday 14th April when booking to get your discount on selected rentals. (For car hire up to 30th June 2013.) This code will be valid for 24 hours.

Note – this particular code will only work on that day – but it will also give you an opportunity to make savings on car hire for Poland, Holland, the UAE and Iceland! Do check out the Holiday Autos website for additional codes for different countries, that will be valid on different days. The sale ends on Wednesday 17th April 2013.

If you’re after some advice on driving in Croatia, check out our Travelling Around by Car page for some useful tips.