How to get from Split to Dubrovnik

How to get from Split to Dubrovnik

When I was planning our trip to Croatia, deciding on how to get from Split to Dubrovnik probably took the most research and time to sort out. There is basic information available on the different options but I found it lacked enough detail for me to be able to confidently choose the right option for us.

I wanted to know the detailed how, when, where and what for each option. Having done the lengthy research and experienced the journey, I want to share the information, tips and my recommendations to make it easier for others to choose the best option for them.

We were travelling from Split Airport having arrived on an early flight that morning, so my initial preference was to rent a car because we could pick it up from the airport and get to Dubrovnik in approximately 3.5 hours.

However, I quickly realised that the journey by road from Split to Dubrovnik involved crossing the border into Bosnia for approximately 10 kilometres before crossing back into Croatia

Also known as the Neum Corridor…

Map Split to Dubrovnik

In order to take a car across the borders, you need to have something called green card insurance. The information on this is conflicting and car rental companies can be unclear as to whether this is included or an extra cost. With the uncertainty around what extra charges we may have faced and the addition of a one-way fee, we discounted hiring a car. But don’t let this put you off, it’s not as daunting as it seems.

We chose to take the bus, despite my concerns about the long journey and the possibility of having to deal with travel sickness. I talked myself into it because it was the cheapest option, seemed straightforward and I had read that the coastal scenery along the way was too beautiful to miss (something we wouldn’t have been able to fully appreciate if concentrating on driving).

Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about the 5 options for getting from Split to Dubrovnik:

Please note: prices accurate at the time of writing and have used the exchange rate of 1 GBP (British Pound) = 8 HKR (Croatian Kuna) – Sept 2018

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1. How to get from Split to Dubrovnik by plane

If your first destination in Croatia is Dubrovnik, then flying is probably your only option. But if you are travelling from Northern Croatia, then flying may be your quickest option.

Flight prices from Split to Dubrovnik seemed reasonable when we were travelling in August. However, if you are travelling as a large family or group and with checked baggage, it may work out expensive. Maybe consider this option if you are travelling alone or in a small group.

If you do fly to Dubrovnik Airport, you can take a shuttle bus to the city for 40 kn (approx. £5). Tickets can be purchased at the airport, on the bus or online where you can also find the timetable (although they run fairly regularly).

Cost to get from Split to Dubrovnik by plane

Prices may vary depending on the time of year, the day you are travelling etc but during August, they seemed fairly consistent at around £50 for a one-way ticket.

Use Skyscanner to check flight prices – click here for a step by step guide to using Skyscanner’s tools to book the cheapest flights.

2. How to get from Split to Dubrovnik by bus

After deliberating between hiring a car or taking the bus, our experience travelling on the bus was much better than I had anticipated (in fact we actually enjoyed it).

2 Weeks in Croatia - Family Itinerary - us Split to Dubrovnik

I was worried about the journey time which can take anything between 4 and 6 hours (entertaining a 5 and 2 year old is hard enough without them being confined to a bus and tired from the early start to the day).

Luckily, the bus was only half full and so they were both able to take up two seats and sleep for a couple of hours. The rest of the time, they coloured and made friends with a couple of Dutch girls who were sitting nearby.

Bus sleeping Split to Dubrovnik

I was also apprehensive as our eldest daughter suffers from travel sickness and I panic whenever we are travelling, even if she appears to be fine!

Top Tip – take a travel sickness tablet before your journey starts

We took travel sickness tablets just in case but I’m sure we would have been absolutely fine without them. The roads were good and not too winding, although the driving was a little more ‘hair-raising’ than what we are used to back in England.

Top Tip – use the toilet before you get on the bus

To my surprise, there were no toilets on the bus. If I’d had known this before, I may have chosen to rent a car as our youngest was only just potty trained.

Luckily, we had a pull up nappy with us but didn’t need it as we had 3 comfort stops along the way. Make sure you take some change with you as there is often a charge of 3 or 4 kn (30/40p) to use the toilet facilities when you stop.

If you are travelling to Dubrovnik straight from Split Airport, you will need to take the airport shuttle bus to Split bus station. From there, you will take another bus to Dubrovnik…

As you exit Split Airport, turn left as soon as you get outside and cross the road (do not go down the steps). You will see where the bus picks you up either by the queue of people or the bus will be there waiting.

Place your luggage under the bus and get on, the bus driver will collect a cash payment of 30 kn (approx. £3.75) once you are seated on the bus. The journey takes about 30 minutes and drops you off at the bus station where you can then catch the bus to Dubrovnik.

How to buy tickets for the bus from Split to Dubrovnik

If travelling in peak season, prepare yourself for the frenzied crowds at Split bus station as people come and go into the busy hub. Given the busy peak season, I was worried that the buses may be fully booked and we might struggle to get tickets.

You can buy tickets online but I was a little wary and so took the risk and bought them at the bus station. We had no problem at all and only had a short wait for the bus.

Tickets can be bought from the booths inside the ticket office and there are plenty of cafes to sit and have a drink and snack whilst you wait.

The journey was pleasant, comfortable and went much quicker than I expected. The scenery along the way was beautiful, something the other options would have deprived us of. The girls were good and actually enjoyed the journey too (I sometimes think kids travel better than adults).

Split to Dubrovnik scenery

The bus will have to pass through two border controls as you enter Bosnia to travel the Neum Corridor and then enter back into Croatia. Somebody will come onto the bus and check everybody’s passports, it was all very simple and not as intimidating as some of the stories I had read.

Including comfort breaks, it took us 5.5 hours to get from Split to Dubrovnik, arriving at 6:30pm in the evening. We had flown from England early that morning, so had a full day of travelling but still made it to our destination in time for a quick evening meal before bed. If you are travelling from Split but have less time, it might be worth staying overnight in Split so that you allow yourself plenty of time for the journey.

Cost to get from Split to Dubrovnik by bus

Airport shuttle bus to Split bus station:

  • 30 kn per person (approx. £3.75)
    Children who can sit on your knee are free of charge

Bus from Split bus station to Dubrovnik:

  • 146 kn for adults (approx. £18)
  • 75.5 kn for children who take up a seat (approx. £9.50)
  • Luggage stored underneath is also charged for (we paid 21 kn – approx. £2.60 for 2 suitcases)

3. How to get from Split to Dubrovnik by car

If you don’t mind spending a little more, then hiring a car is a good and easy option, which allows you to travel at your own leisure. Had we hired a car, I would have stopped off at Makarska (a beautiful port town) but of course, you need to allow extra time for this. The journey time by car, without stops is approximately 3.5 hours.

Many of the big car rental companies such as Sixt and Hertz are based at the airport terminals and at various locations in the main cities and towns. We used Sixt car rental for a day trip to Krka National Park and found them to be good value and service (we received an upgraded car free of charge and were able to conveniently drop the car off at Split Airport before our flight back to England).

If you are using the car just to get you from Split to Dubrovnik, you will be charged a one-way fee, which does make hiring a car for 24 hours quite expensive. It may make it more worthwhile if you keep the car for longer.

Top tip – make sure you get a green card to get you through the Bosnian border

If you are driving from Split to Dubrovnik, there is no way to avoid crossing the border into Bosnia and Herzegovina (see map). You don’t need a green card to drive in Croatia but you do need one to get through this unavoidable strip of land known as the Neum corridor. When you get to border control, you will need to show your passports and your green card.

You can check the foreign travel advice here

Border Croatia Bosnia

This actually deterred us from hiring a car because the information was unclear as to what we needed, how to get it and where to get it from. Having now travelled through the borders, I would feel confident about hiring a car. Just make sure the rental company provides you with a green card that covers Bosnia and Herzegovina. Some car rental companies provide this free of charge, some charge extra (always check the terms and conditions when booking).

Cost to get from Split to Dubrovnik by car

The cost of car rental will vary depending on where you are picking up from and dropping off and how long you want the car for.

Hiring a car for 24 hours to get you from Split to Dubrovnik will start from £100 including the one-way fee and green card cover.

Many car rental companies are unclear on their websites as to whether these are included or not. If you want to book online in advance, I would recommend using Sixt because they state clearly the one-way fee as part of the quotation and their terms and conditions state that vehicles passing through the Neum corridor are covered.

Sixt Car Rental

4. How to get from Split to Dubrovnik by ferry

One way to avoid the roads is to take the high-speed ferry from Split to Dubrovnik, which takes 4 hours 20 minutes. The Dalmatian coast and its many islands are well connected by high-speed ferries, which makes travelling around Dalmatia easy, pleasant and affordable.

We used the ferries to travel between Dubrovnik, Korcula, Hvar and Split and found them really good. The kids enjoyed going on a ‘boat’ and I like the freedom of being able to walk around, grab a drink and bite to eat and look out at the beautiful Adriatic ocean.

Korcula with Kids - Ferry

Top Tip – check the marine forecast before you travel

Being overly worried about rough seas and travel sickness, I called in at the tourist information to check the marine forecast before booking.

We had a storm the night before we travelled from korcula to Hvar and we did have more movement than we had experienced on other ferry journeys. But, we were all fine (two of us had tablets, two of us didn’t) and we didn’t see anybody else taking ill.

How to buy tickets for the ferry from Split to Dubrovnik

You can buy tickets directly from the two main ferry companies, Krilo and Jadrolinija. Their offices are located at the ferry port near to the bus station.

Alternatively, you can buy them online (see links above) with confidence and ease. I would recommend doing this – simply register, select your journey and pay by card. The online timetables are accurate and the ferries are extremely punctual.

All you have to do is show your confirmation on your phone or device when boarding the ferry.

Cost to get from Split to Dubrovnik by ferry

Taking the ferry from Split to Dubrovnik costs 210 kn (approx. £26) and takes 4 hours 20 minutes. The service runs from April to October and depending on the month offers 1-3 journeys per day, check the timetable here.

5. How to get from Split to Dubrovnik by private transfer

Taking a private transfer is convenient and hassle-free. You will be collected from your chosen location and driven to Dubrovnik in a comfortable vehicle of your choice with the flexibility to stop if you need to.

Cost to get from Split to Dubrovnik by private transfer

Convenience and hassle free does come with a price tag, in comparison to the other options. A private transfer from Split to Dubrovnik will start from £180 – use Skyscanner to compare prices and book.

How to get from Split to Dubrovnik

To summarise the 5 options for getting from Split to Dubrovnik...

If cost is not a consideration and you just want to get to Dubrovnik without visiting or seeing the coast on the way, then plane is probably the quickest and easiest option.

The cheapest option is the bus and allows you to see the beautiful Dalmatian coast but this option is the longest journey time.

If you want to stop or visit the towns along the coast, then hiring a car is a great option. This may cost a little more (unless there are 4 or 5 in your group, which may actually make it a more efficient option).

Spend a bit more and have the driving done for you with a private transfer.

Or if you want a hassle-free, comfortable journey with views of the coast from a different angle, then take the ferry.

I hope this information is useful, please comment or email if you need any further help.

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