How to get from Split to Dubrovnik and vice versa? A comprehensive guide to all the options by land, sea and air, as well as details of crossing the border at Bosnia’s Neum Corridor.
It is one of the most popular tourist routes in all Croatia. But how to move between the two historic Dalmatian stone jewels of Dubrovnik and Split, from one UNESCO World Heritage Site to another (the old city of Dubrovnik and Diocletian’s Palace in Split).
Many tourists these days fly into one city and out of the other, giving maximum flexibility. So what are the options for travelling between two of Croatia’s finest attractions? A comprehensive overview to suit all types of tourist and budget.
- How far is Split from Dubrovnik?
- Split to Dubrovnik by bus
- Is there a train between Split and Dubrovnik?
- Ferry and catamaran from Split to Dubrovnik
- Split to Dubrovnik by car – the motorway route
- Dubrovnik to Split by car – the coastal route
- Car and Ferry from Split to Dubrovnik, avoiding Bosnia
- Looking for one-way car hire between Dubrovnik and Split?
- Crossing the Neum Corridor in Bosnia and Hercegovina
- Flights from Dubrovnik to Split
- Is there a seaplane from Split to Dubrovnik?
- What about a taxi between Dubrovnik and Split?
- Private transfer from Dubrovnik to Split
- From Split Airport to Dubrovnik
- From Dubrovnik Airport to Split
- Is it feasible to do a Split to Dubrovnik day trip?
- Life in the slow lane – sailing from Dubrovnik to Split
- Life in the slow lane – things to see and do from Split to Dubrovnik
- Travel between Dubrovnik and Split – island hopping
- How the Peljesac Bridge will change the drive from Dubrovnik to Split
- a) which route you take and
- b) what time of year you travel
Speed merchants on an empty motorway out of season can probably do the journey in slightly under three hours, something one can only dream of in the peak summer months.
Direct catamaran times are under four hours, flight time about 40 minutes. Private speedboat transfers very much dependent on your engine size.
It IS possible to visit one city from the other on a day trip, but the day is long. We recommend an overnight stay instead to get the most out of the experience.
Let’s start at the cheaper end of the travel experience, where the majority of tourists find themselves. Split or Dubrovnik bus station.
Split Bus Station is conveniently located next to the train station and ferry terminal, while Dubrovnik’s is in the port of Gruz.
The good news is that buses are frequent (every 30 mins or so, and they start very early in the morning, around 5am, and run late into the night.
Travel time, including stops, is around 4-5 hours, depending on border queues going through Bosnia and Hercegovina.
There are a number of different companies vying for your business, some of whom offer free WiFi on board.
If you are taking luggage with you, expect to be charged 7 kuna per suitcase.
Buy your ticket in advance where possible, something you can now do online. For the easiest overview of times, availability and online booking, check out Bus Croatia.
Croatia’s rail system was a lot more effective when it was part of former Yugoslavia, and these days, the only meaningful rail routes go from Zagreb to Split, Rijeka and eastern Croatia.
There is also a train station at Ploce, a town halfway between Split and Dubrovnik, but it is only connected to Metkovic on the Bosnian border and (until recently) Sarajevo.
Dubrovnik no longer has a functioning train station, although this is a relatively recent development.
Incredibly, until recently, there was no catamaran connection between the two cities.
This changed three years ago when Krilo introduced a wonderful new service from Split to Dubrovnik from May to October. It stops at Milna on Brac, Hvar Town, Korcula Town, Mljet (
The daily service runs from May 1 to October 31 (but check the Krilo website for the latest timetables).
A second route has since been added – Split to Bol on Brac, Makarska, Korcula Town, Mljet (Sobra), Dubrovnik.
The price from Split to Dubrovnik is 170 kuna one way. It is a great way to travel – and to island hop.
The state ferry company Jadrolinija has since introduced its own catamaran between Split and Dubrovnik, which runs from June to September.
One way ticket price is 220 kuna.
For those looking to do a quick day trip to Split, it is possible with a 07:00 departure from Dubrovnik, arriving at 12:55. The return journey departing at 15:30 and arriving back in the Pearl of the Adriatic at 21:25.
For the latest timetables, please check the official Jadrolinija website.
There used to be a car ferry from Rijeka to Bari, which stopped at many places along the coast, including Split and Dubrovnik. Sadly Jadrolinija discontinued this a couple of years ago. There is talk of reviving it. The best advice is to check the Jadrolinija link in the paragraph above for the latest official timetable.
The opening of the A1 Zagreb motorway from Split to Ploce has given an extra dimension to travel from Split to Dubrovnik.
Getting to the motorway at Dugopolje from downtown Split takes 15-20 minutes, before a quick 100km drive to
This is currently the quickest route by car, a little under three hours with no traffic and no border queues at the two Bosnian border crossings.
Once the Peljesac Bridge is constructed (finally connecting Croatia via the Peljesac Peninsula and negating the need to pass through Bosnia), this journey will be even quicker.
There is a motorway toll of 55 kuna each way.
There is another route to consider during the season, which will have less traffic and stress in season.
Rather than getting off the motorway at Ploce, continue into Bosnia on the motorway and exit at Medjugorje.
There is a quiet and fast road through the deserted hinterland of Bosnia going through Stolac and Trebinje. From there, drop down into the border crossing near Ivanica.
This is particularly useful for travellers heading to Dubrovnik Airport, as the border lies between the airport and the city.
Looking to catch the Dalmatian coast in all its glory? There is a coastal route between the two cities. This had been the main option until the recent opening of the motorway.
If you are looking to get there in a hurry, this is not the option for you. The road passes through many villages and towns along the way. Average speeds above 60km/h are a challenge, especially in season.
Expect to take at least 4 hours, but probably closer to 5 in the season, especially if there are border queues.
While it may take longer, for those not in a rush, there are some fantastic sights to see along the route (of which more below).
Not got your own car, but don’t fancy the bus?
There are many car rental companies in Croatia, offering increasingly competitive rates. Many offer one-way rentals between some of the main destinations.
It can make financial sense, as well as additional comfort and flexibility, especially if you are in a group.
Do you need a visa? Do you need insurance? What has changed with EU entry? If you are looking for the definitive answer to the first two questions, I don’t think it exists. In 99.9% of cases, no you do not need a visa or insurance. But…
Here is what the Croatian Foreign Ministry reply was to the question a while ago:
“Referring to your e-mail message dated 16 August 2007, please be informed that according to the Agreement on a free transit through the territory of the Republic of Croatia to and from the Port of Ploce and through the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina at Neum from the 22 November 1998 on the International border crossing Klek-Neum and Zaton Doli – Neum there is no border control for the foreigners who are transiting without stopping (by using the green track) through the Neum corridor”
Note: the legal position for driving across Bosnia’s Neum Corridor is murky. Bosnia and Croatia signed the Neum Agreement in 1998 which allows for Croatian registered vehicles to pass unhindered through this part of Bosnia. The agreement however was never ratified, by either side, i.e. this so-called Transit Corridor does not exist though it was, until 1 July, observed in practice (at least for Croatian cars).
In practice, I and many others have driven through with no problems whatsoever for years. Transit passengers without visas have also not had problems. Having said that, I have heard of two instances in 11 years here, where police in Neum stopped foreign cars and fined them for not having insurance for Bosnia.
It is Balkan rules. You may not need insurance or visa, but if a local policeman decides to interpret the rules a little differently… In 99.9% of
Crossing the Neum Corridor: Official Advice
More current information from the Ministry website is encouraging:
My experience of the post-EU transit is that there are now more checks. Truck drivers are reporting more delays, but it has not had much effect on private cars. But in peak season, do allow extra time for border delays.
What is the Neum Corridor?
It’s a part of Bosnia-Herzegovina territory around Neum where separated parts of Croatia are connected. On both ends of the road 9.2 kms long are border crossings for international traffic, opened in April 2013.
Who can pass through the corridor?
This road can be used by all travelers, both Croatian (EU) and foreign citizens, according to EU custom rules. All the passengers with freedom of movement according to EU legislature (meaning citizens of EU, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Iceland and Norway) who are travelling to Dubrovnik or from Dubrovnik can pass both borders with personal ID or passport, and carrying goods for personal use. Third countries citizens will pass border control by the EU legislature, meaning they will get a stamp in the passport each time they cross Croatian border. Same is for those who need visas for Croatia. Those with single-entry visa once when they cross the border and continue to Dubrovnik, won’t be able to go back the same way, so they need a multiple-entry visa.
Considering visas for Bosnia, only Kosovo citizens need B-H visa, and refugees. Even they don’t need visa if have Schengen visa.
This being Croatia, the simplest things are not that simple…
Did you know, for example, that you can fly from Split to Dubrovnik, but not from Dubrovnik to Split?
Croatia Airlines sadly does not have the best internal flight network. It has been left to private Croatian airline Trade Air to cover some of the routes, including a summer connection from Split to Dubrovnik.
Ah, seaplanes. It was great while it lasted, and the two years of European Coastal Airlines operations along the Adriatic coast and islands certainly slashed travel times, including a connection from downtown Split to Dubrovnik Airport.
Sadly, the company is now in pre-bankruptcy proceedings, and according to a recent TCN interview with an industry expert, the future of seaplanes in Croatia is far from clear.
Helicopters are often talked about but rarely delivered. We have been hearing of a new reliable service coming to the market. If you are in the market for a helicopter transfer, contact us at [email protected] Subject Helicopter.
You CAN take a taxi between the two cities, but we wouldn’t advise it from a purely financial point of view, when there are private transfer options which are much more affordable.
Private transfers from Split to Dubrovnik start at around 215 euro per transfer, depending on the level of comfort you are looking for, with prices rising considerably if you are looking for a speedboat or helicopter transfer.
One of the additional benefits of a private transfer is the ability to arrange some stopping off points along the way. If you are looking for the best private transfer options, you can book your transfer via Octopus Transfers.
If you are coming from Dubrovnik and flying out of Split, allow a little extra time, as Split Airport is on the other side of the Dalmatian capital, another 20-30 mins of journey time.
From the motorway exit at Dugopolje, head into Split and then head out to Trogir, yet another UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is located close to Split Airport.
And similar advice if you are heading the other way, as Dubrovnik Airport is situated east of the city, on the road to Montenegro.
As mentioned above, one travel tip to beat the crowds is to continue along the motorway from Split to Medjugorje in Bosnia, then take the fast and quiet back road through Stolac and Trebinje.
Yes, just about…
With the very best traffic and you driving, the travel time is going to be a minimum of six hours round trip, and that is before you have looked for parking… A few delays and that can become 8 or 9.
Tourist agencies do offer day trips between the two cities, but you will really only get a brief introduction, and I would advise an overnight stay should time and budget allow.
Of course, not everyone is in a hurry to travel between Split and Dubrovnik. Some people take seven days…
Sailing between Split and Dubrovnik is one of the absolute highlights of life on the Adriatic, with islands such as Solta, Hvar, Bra, Mljet and Korcula to enjoy along the way.
Interested? Now take a look at what is on offer from our friends at And Adventure – a mouthwatering 7-day itinerary, combining sailing and kayaking.
There is also plenty to see on the mainland between Split and Dubrovnik if you are not in a hurry.
Among the highlights along the coast are the tomb of King Arthur in Podstrana (yes, really), the Cetina river and pirate town of Omis, the gorgeous beaches of the Makarska Riviera, the wonderful arboretum at Trsteno, quick diversions for wine tasting on the Peljesac Peninsula or the stunning old town of Mostar with its iconic bridge.
But top of the list for me would be the town of Ston and its cute little brother, Mali Ston, which lies not from the Bosnian border on the Dubrovnik side.
What can I say? Here you will find the biggest salt pans in the region, supposedly the longest fortified wall (5.5km) outside of China, and some of the best oysters on the planet. And if you want to taste the oysters in real style, where better than the only floating bar on the Adriatic – learn more about the fabulous Bote Sare oyster experience in Mali Ston.
But don’t miss out on those gorgeous islands, at least one way. There are so many treasures to see, and combinations of ferries and catamarans can get you slowly there.
Alternatively, do it the adrenaline way, as local agencies have really developed their offers in recent years to allow island-hopping excursion by bike, kayak and sailing.
After MANY years of speculation and announcements, construction of the Peljesac Bridge has finally begun. Once completed, the bridge will physically connect Dubrovnik and southern Dalmatia to the rest of the country via the Peljesac Peninsula.
Currently, as a result of the Dayton Peace Agreement, Croatia was divided into two with the creation of the Neum Corridor, giving Bosnia and Hercegovina access to the sea.
The bridge has been highly contentious politically, but it seems that things are now finally moving ahead.
The biggest benefit for all will be the end of the need to cross through two external EU borders through the Neum Corridor, which should speed up travel time considerably.
Plans to finish the motorway to Dubrovnik still exist, although the project seems to be on hold for some time now. You can follow TCN coverage of the Peljesac Peninsula here.