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, updated in February 2021.
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? Find out more about getting from one UNESCO World Heritage Site to another (the old city of Dubrovnik and Diocletian’s Palace in Split)?
Many tourists want to 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.
As almost everything has changed in tourism during the pandemic times, the various options on how to get from Split to Dubrovnik and back have also changed. Almost all budget options have been drastically reduced in frequency, passing through Bosnia and Herzegovina is somewhat changed etc. We follow the situation closely and will regularly update this article with any significant changes for the 2021 tourist season. You can also find out more about the latest travel situation in Croatia in our COVID-19 in Croatia Travel Update.
- How far is Split from Dubrovnik?
- 2021 Reality – Epidemiological measures
- Split to Dubrovnik by bus
- Ferry and catamaran from Split to Dubrovnik
- Split to Dubrovnik by car:
- Crossing the Neum Corridor in Bosnia and Hercegovina
- Looking for one-way car hire between Dubrovnik and Split?
- What about a taxi between Dubrovnik and Split?
- Private transfer from Dubrovnik to Split
- Flights 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 Pelješac Bridge will change the drive from Dubrovnik to Split
- Is there a train between Split and Dubrovnik?
- Is there a seaplane from Split to Dubrovnik?
- which route you take and
- 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. However, that is 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.
Travel from Split to Dubrovnik has been, just like almost everything else, impacted by the epidemiological measures put in place to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The two most important aspects are the measures governing the public transportation between those two cities, and the measures in place at the Croatia – Bosnia and Herzegovina border.
As for the measures in the buses, catamarans, taxis and private transfers, things are quite simple. The provider is not allowed to sell more than 40% of their usual occupancy. They must clearly state how many passengers are allowed. They must also ensure that the passengers are able to maintain social distancing throughout the journey. Passengers (as well as staff) must wear facemasks for the entire journey.
As for the Croatia – Bosnia and Herzegovina border, things are also quite simple. To enter Bosnia and Herzegovina, you need to have a negative COVID-19 test, not older than 48 hours. That rule is NOT applied for those transferring through Bosnia and Herzegovina at the Neum border crossing. All travelers are given an hour to make the transfer and are not allowed to exit their vehicles. All of the usual border-police procedures remain unchanged, read more about them here.
Let’s start at the cheaper end of the travel experience: Split or Dubrovnik bus station.
Split Bus Station is conveniently located next to the train station and ferry terminal. Dubrovnik’s is in the port of Gruž.
The good news is that buses are frequent in normal times. They leave every 30 mins or so, starting around 5 am, and run late into the night. In 2021, as we’re updating this, there are only a handful of buses making the trip every day. As the tourist season gets closer, there will definitely be changes, so make sure you check the schedule online.
Travel time, including stops, is around 4-5 hours, depending on the conditions at the border going through Bosnia and Hercegovina.
Usually, there would be a number of different companies vying for your business. Some offer free WiFi on board. You can expect the price of one-way trip to be around 15€.
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.
Incredibly, until recently, there was no catamaran connection between the two cities.
This changed in 2014, when Krilo introduced a wonderful new service from Split to Dubrovnik from May to October. It stops at Milna on Brač, Hvar Town, Korčula Town, Mljet (
The daily service runs from May 1 to October 31 (but check the Krilo website for the latest timetables). It takes around 4.5 hours to get from Split to Dubrovnik (or the other way around). The 2021 schedule has been announced already.
A second route has since been added. Split to Bol on Brač, Makarska, Korčula Town, Mljet (Sobra), Dubrovnik, will run daily, from June 1 to September 30. It takes a bit longer to make the trip, closer to 5 hours, and the schedule has also been announced.
The price from Split to Dubrovnik is 170 kuna one way, and it’s possible to purchase the tickets online. 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. This stops in Bol on Brač, Hvar Town and Korčula. The 2021 schedule has already been announced. The line will run from June 11 to September 13 (link opens .pdf of the schedule). It is possible to purchase the tickets online or through the mJadrolinija mobile app. The one-way ticket price is 220 kuna. 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, 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 website for the latest official timetable.
The opening of the A1 Zagreb motorway from Split to Ploče 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, possible in a little under three hours. That is, if there’s no traffic and no border queues at the two Bosnian border crossings.
Once the Pelješac Bridge is constructed (finally connecting Croatia via the Pelješac 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 Ploče, continue into BiH on the motorway and exit at Medjugorje. There is a quiet and fast road through the deserted hinterland of Herzegovina 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. Unfortunately, in 2021, this route is not advisable, as the 1 hour transit window does not apply here. Therefore, you will be subject to any measures by the Bosnian authorities for entry into Bosnia and Herzegovina.
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 season, especially if there are border queues.
While it may take longer, there are some fantastic sights to see along the route (of which more below).
If you want to drive between Split and Dubrovnik, but want to avoid crossing through BiH, you can.
Whether you decide to take the coastal or the motorway route, coming from Split, you will find yourself in Ploče. There, you can get on a Jadrolinija ferry taking you to Trpanj on the Pelješac peninsula. From there, you will be able to drive towards Dubrovnik without having to stop at any borders. You will pass near the island of Korčula and the Croatian red wine paradise on the Pelješac peninsula itself. Near Ston, you rejoin the original coastal road. If you’re driving from Dubrovnik to Split, be careful not to miss the Pelješac Peninsula.
Once the Pelješac Bridge is complete, the ferry line will probably become somewhat obsolete. It would not be a surprise to anyone if it ceases operations.
Check the Ploče – Trpanj ferry schedule (link opens the .pdf file) on the Jadrolinija website.
What is the Neum Corridor in the first place? Why exactly is Croatia split in two? The Croatian Foreign Ministry website explains it nicely:
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.
They go on to help us explain who can pass through the corridor and how:
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.
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, there are instances where Neum police have stopped foreign cars and fined them for not having insurance. As of October 2020, Bosnia and Herzegovina has joined the
multilateral agreement “License Plate Subsystem”. That means that the vehicles registered in the EU don’t need additional insurance to enter BiH.
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. Also understand that the Neum border crossings have their own unique set of challenges regarding the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021.
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.
You CAN take a taxi between the two cities. However, we wouldn’t advise it from a purely financial point of view. 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 comfort level. Prices rise considerably if you are looking for a speedboat or helicopter transfer.
An additional benefit 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.
This being Croatia, the simplest things are not that simple…
Croatia Airlines sadly does not have the best internal flight network. However, private Croatian airline Trade Air covers some of the routes. In 2021 they offer a direct route between Split and Dubrovnik airports, operating twice weekly. This will almost certainly going to change as the tourist season gets closer. Make sure you check the Croatia Airlines site for accurate current information.
If you are coming from Dubrovnik and flying out of Split, allow a little extra time. The 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 lies 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…
It is possible with a Jadrolinija 07:00 departure from Dubrovnik, arriving in Split at 12:55. You will not have a lot of time to spend in Split, however. The return journey departs at 15:30 and you’d arrive back in the Pearl of the Adriatic at 21:25. Krilo catamarans also provide you with the option of a quick day trip to Dubrovnik from Split. You can leave Split at 7:30 am and get to Dubrovnik around noon. Then head back around 16:00, to arrive just before 21:00.
With the very best traffic and you driving, the travel time is going to be a minimum of six hours round trip. And finding parking is going to take some time in both places as well… 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. 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! There are so many amazing islands, such as Šolta, Hvar, Brač, Mljet and Korčula 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 Omiš, the gorgeous beaches of the Makarska Riviera, the wonderful arboretum at Trsteno, quick diversions for wine tasting on the Pelješac 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 far from the Bosnian border on the Dubrovnik side.
What can I say? Here you will find the region’s biggest salt pans and supposedly the longest fortified wall (5.5km) outside of China. And don’t miss some of the best oysters on the planet. And if you want to taste oysters in real style, where better than the only floating bar on the Adriatic? Learn more about the fabulous Bote Šare 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 Pelješac Bridge has finally begun in 2018. The projected completion date is 2022. Dubrovnik and southern Dalmatia will finally physically connect to the rest of the country via the Pelješac Peninsula.
The borders of the Republic of Yugoslavia came into existence after World War II. Croatia was divided into two with the creation of the Neum Corridor, giving Bosnia and Hercegovina access to the sea.
The bridge has been a highly contentious political point between the two, now fully independent countries. However, things have been moving ahead nicely in terms of construction for the past almost three years – and not even the pandemic originating in China was able to drastically change the plans.
The biggest benefit for all will be the end of the need to cross through two external EU borders through the Neum Corridor. That should speed up travel time for everyone considerably.
In addition to the bridge itself, the road across the Pelješac peninsula also needs to be built. This is also coming along nicely (although, with many more hiccups). Plans to finish the motorway all the way to Dubrovnik still exist. However, the project seems to be on hold for some time now. You can follow TCN coverage of the Pelješac Peninsula here.
Croatia’s rail system was a lot more effective when it was part of former Yugoslavia. These days, the only meaningful rail routes go from Zagreb to Split, Rijeka and eastern Croatia.
There is also a train station at Ploče, a town halfway between Split and Dubrovnik. However, it only connects to Metković on the Bosnian border and (until recently) Sarajevo.
Dubrovnik no longer has a functioning train station, although this is a relatively recent development.
Ah, seaplanes. It was great while it lasted. The two years of European Coastal Airlines operations along the Adriatic coast and islands certainly slashed travel times. There was even a connection from downtown Split to Dubrovnik Airport.
Sadly, the company has stopped providing the service, and according to a 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.