The trip from Split to Dubrovnik takes you through some of the most gorgeous countrysides in the Adriatic region. It’s a route that covers more than 103 miles of southern Croatia, linking up a history-brimming port town that has ancient Roman ruins with the iconic walled city of the south, a place now primarily known for its role in HBO’s hit TV series Game of Thrones.
As you’ll see, going by road is the best way to complete the journey, not least of all because it promises visions of the rugged Dinaric Alps and countless sun-splashed pebble coves along the way. If you manage not to get distracted by all that, it’s possible to get from Split to Dubrovnik in just a couple of hours. Let’s see how…
|Split to Dubrovnik by Bus||4 h||$15||Book Online|
|Split to Dubrovnik by Boat||4.5 h||$40||Book Online|
|Split to Dubrovnik by Car||3 h||$35||Book Online|
|Split to Dubrovnik by Taxi||3 h||$240||Book Online|
Split to Dubrovnik by Bus
Time – 4h10+
Price – $15+
Comfort – 3/5
Because there’s no railway line running this far south in Croatia and no direct flight links between these two cities, most travelers opt to get between Split and Dubrovnik by bus. It’s a very reliable option, with something like eight departures daily. And more than 15 in the peak of the summer high season. Most leave during daylight hours, which we’d recommend because the views aren’t half bad. Others depart during the night to get you to Dubrovnik in time for breakfast overlooking Lovrijenac Castle.
The buses in question here are generally large, coach-style vehicles. They vary in quality and age from company to company but are mostly modern rides with reclining seats and air conditioning throughout. That said, Croatia Bus Globtour Touring Jadran Ekspres, FlixBus, and Promet Makarska are known to run the newest coaches, while Vincek has the more dated ones. Expect to pay up to $9 extra for tickets with the more premium brands.
There are bus departures from Split to Dubrovnik throughout the day and the night, so you can usually time your trip to fit your travel schedule.
Bus companies will take one of two possible routes south out of Split. The first, and the most common, see them veer inland to the E65 motorway for the first 80 miles before hopping the Pelješac Peninsula to skirt around the Bosnian border. Then onto the number 8 highway for the last stretch towards Dubrovnik. The other way is more dramatic but takes maybe 30 minutes longer. It starts on the snaking shoreline road of the Makarska Riviera with the wild Dinaric Alps rising up like sleeping giants behind.
All of the coaches that go between Split and Dubrovnik start their journey at the Split Bus Station. That’s in a forecourt just 10 minutes walking from the Diocletian’s Palace area of the city, which is where most travelers choose to stay.
It’s a little trickier to reach the sightseeing part of town straight off the coach on the Dubrovnik side since the main bus terminal is near the cruise port. Local buses can take you south to the Old Town in about 20 minutes. Alternatively, hop in a taxi and arrive at your hotel in under 10 minutes.
Split to Dubrovnik by Boat
Time – 4.5-6 hours
Price – $40+
Comfort – 4/5
The most romantic and adventurous way to swap the Roman palaces of Split for the grand medieval castles of Dubrovnik is surely by sea. Sadly, this form of transport isn’t open for everyone since it only runs in the peak summer season months, usually beginning in May and ending in early- to mid-September. At its height, there will be 28 departures on the route each week, run by a duo of companies: Kapetan Luka and Jadrolinija.
Take to the sparkling Croatian seas to watch as the Dalmatian Islands whizz by the window on the summer-season catamaran connection from Split to Dubrovnik.
Since the larger vessels were discontinued back in 2014, all of the ferries on this route are now of the smaller catamaran variety. The bonus is that the trip is now faster than it once was – expect to dock up in Dubrovnik after about five hours at sea in most cases. The downside is that catamarans feel the swell a touch more, so can be wobbly, though that’s not often a problem in the sheltered Adriatic Sea. Passengers get to enjoy both interior and al fresco decks. Most boats have onboard snack bars that sell both food and alcoholic drinks.
The real draw of the boats is in the ride itself. These vessels will weave a path through the legendary Dalmatian Islands. You’ll glimpse the golden bays of Brac, the yacht-bobbing harbors of Hvar, and the happening resort towns of the Makarska Riviera as you travel, all with a backdrop of the mainland mountains behind. Arrival in Dubrovnik is at Gruz Port right by the main cruise terminal, from where it’s 20 minutes by public bus or 10 minutes by taxi to the Old Town.
Split to Dubrovnik by Car
Time – 2h50+
Price – $35/day
Comfort – 5/5
There are plenty of folks out there who will tell you that the drive along the coast between Split and Dubrovnik is one of the most amazing drives in the whole of Europe. We’re inclined to agree. It follows the famous Adriatic Highway as it wiggles under the summit of Biokovo Mountain, passing the whole length of the legendary Makarska Riviera, all before connecting with the D8 through quaint Croatian port towns north of Dubrovnik.
If you want a true Croatian adventure, consider turning this journey into a road trip down the famous Makarska Riviera, where some of Croatia’s best beaches beckon on the side of the tarmac.
If you have the time and don’t mind forking out for your own car rental, then there’s certainly a lot to be said for hiring and driving this portion of your trip. Take some days and add pitstops at beautiful beach towns like Promajna and Mimice or even highland adventures up in the Dinaric Alps.
Naturally, you’ll have to organize to have a rental car for at least a few days to fit all that in. Plus, there are typically extra charges associated with picking up in one location and dropping off in another. We’d estimate it cost something in the region of $35 per day for the wheels and then $50 on top for a one-way trip. Book early if you’re traveling in the peak summer months, though – hire vehicles do get reserved fast in southern Europe between June and August!
Split to Dubrovnik by Taxi
Time – 3h15 without stops
Price – $240 for the full car
Comfort – 5/5
If you’re tempted by the extra freedom that’s offered by having your own set of wheels on this jaunt through the wild peaks and gorgeous beaches of southern Croatia but aren’t sure about getting in the driver’s seat, a private taxi hire could always come to the rescue. Be warned: These can cost over $240 in all. For that, you get a dedicated chauffeur and an air-conditioned vehicle for the whole ride, plus the option to add in pitstops along the way (though that can up the price even more).
Sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride with a private taxi hire between the two great port towns of southern Croatia.
Without stops, taxis will complete the route from Split to Dubrovnik in just a touch over three hours. They’ll likely follow the inland route on the E65 motorway unless you specifically request to go the scenic way along the coast (again, that could warrant a higher price because it takes longer).
The upside here is that you can kick back and enjoy the views. As we’ve already mentioned, it’s a pretty montage, starting with the forested canyons of Rijeke Cetine and then hitting the heights with the jagged tops of Biokovo Mountain. The other bonus is that taxis can be organized to collect you and your luggage right at the door of your hotel in Split and then drop you off anywhere of your choosing in Dubrovnik.
After wondering at the 2,000-year-old Roman temples and UNESCO sites of Split, there are plenty of options for that next port of call in southern Croatia. The enthralling city of Dubrovnik is surely a leader among them. It has muscular castles and city walls that featured in Game of Thrones, one of Europe’s most exquisite old towns, and access to a whole peninsula of pine-backed bays.
This guide outlines all the best ways to move from Split to Dubrovnik, with details about the regular public coaches and even car hires that could whisk you to some eye-watering beaches on the side of the Adriatic Sea along the way.
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