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Croatia adventure! Dubrovnik or Split?

Hi I am going to Croatia from Finland on Aug 11 or 12.

My flight home is from Split to LAX on Aug 18 6am

Given that I have about 5 days in Croatia could anyone recommend where I should allocate my time? There are 2 direct flight options from Dubrovnik to Split on Aug 14 or 16. Is there more to see or do in one area than the other? Better day trip options from Dubrovnik or Split?

I know some people recommend renting a car but the drive is about 3 hours to get from Dubrovnik to Split whereas a flight is 40 mins. What would be the best way to go about visiting Croatia :)?

I heard that Dubrovnik is really touristy and once you spend about a day there that is plenty so if anyone can advise me i would appreciate it!

Aug 11 Finland to Dubrovnik
Aug 12 Dubrovnik
Aug 13 Dubrovnik
Aug 14 Dubrovnik to Split option***
Aug 15 Split ?
Aug 16 OR Dubrovnik to Split ***
Aug 17 Split
Aug 18 split - home


Posted by Jennifer
Tunbridge Wells
2376 posts

The easiest way to travel from Dubrovnik to Split is to either take the catamaran (see or the bus, as both airports are some way out of town.

There are plenty day trip options from both locations - Mljet, Lopud or Mostar from Dubrovnik and Trogir, Plitvice, Brac or Hvar from Split.

The essentials can be seen in Dubrovnik in a day, but you may want to add a side day trip

Posted by Agnes
Washington DC Region, USA
4683 posts

Dubrovnik is tiny, it doesn't take much time to see - maybe 1-1.5 days max. Montenegro is very accessible from Dubrovnik in case you need a side trip form there. There are buses that run back and forth to Split, taking about 4.5 hours from what I remember - it's a beautiful drive.

There are lots of things to do in Split because it's much bigger and easily accessible to Trogir and the islands. I could easily spend 5 days based in Split itself. Since you're going to Croatia, I wouldn't miss seeing one of the islands. I went to Brac for 3 days when I was there.

Posted by acraven
Washington DC
10692 posts

I love Plitvice Lakes National Park, but I would not make it a day-trip from Split. It gets blasted by day-trippers and the walkways are packed. Not the sort of experience you want at what is one of Europe's most beautiful sites. Save it for another trip.

Posted by iatemypanda OP
161 posts

Hi all! Thanks for your lovely replies!

Jennifer how long are the catamaran rides from Dubrovnik to Split? I looked up driving as an option but it’s 3 hrs or 4 by bus. I did also hear that Dubrovnik is small so I could see it on 1-2 days. Would this mean I should just stay in split and day trip from split ?

Agnes. Thanks for all the suggestions! Should I possibly stay at an island and day trip to see Dubrovnik?

Acraven can you clarify what you meant by not day tripping from split? So not to visit split at all?
Or not to use it as a day trip base?


Posted by acraven
Washington DC
10692 posts

I'm sorry about the confusion. I wasn't discouraging Split, or day-trips from Split in general. I was discouraging a day-trip specifically to Plitvice from Split. I'd say the same thing (and have, on many occasions) to someone who might be considering a day-trip to the park from Zagreb. It is a magnificent place, but you really need to spend the night before your visit in or very near the park so you can get started on your walk very early the next day. I waited in line for about an hour just to buy my ticket in 2015, and I think we can assume the place has only gotten more crowded. There were so many people on the walkways (the fast majority with no railings) that if one person had stumbled, several people would have ended up in the water. It was not a good way to see the park. At all.

Posted by Jennifer
Tunbridge Wells
2376 posts

The catamaran takes c 4 hours, as does the bus, but it takes you straight into the city centre.

Although the Dubrovnik-Split flight is relatively short, by the time you have travelled out to the airport, checked in, flown, deplaned and travelled the 40 + minutes by bus into central Split, it won't be much different time wise and the risk of being delayed is far greater.

You can't cover Dubrovnik as a day trip from the islands, as the timings don't work. One full day there will cover the essentials.

Posted by iatemypanda OP
161 posts

Hi Jennifer!

That is true! I just was concerned about the bus/ catamaran schedules o haven’t looked thoroughly but some ferries to different places only run on certain days and this and that.

I’ll definitely need to look into this! I just booked my flight home from split yesterday.

Would anyone know if a day once split is enough? Or 2? So I can see which other days to allocate to different islands but just end my trip in split.

Posted by Agnes
Washington DC Region, USA
4683 posts

Would anyone know if a day once split is enough? Or 2?

If you're going to include nearby Trogir, then definitely 2 full days. I could fill two days in Split itself. Look at Tripadvisor Things to Do for Split and decide what you want to see there. I spent several hours just hiking up Marjan Hill to see the city from above.

Posted by iatemypanda OP
161 posts

Because I am flying from Finland this limits my flight in to Dubrovnik Split or Pula as they are the only direct flights :)

So the island I stay at or visit must within distance to those airports :D

I near Hvar is where the celebrities go!

Posted by iatemypanda OP
161 posts

I should probably clarify whether I say a day in Dubrovnik is not as important to me as at least visiting it by day trip as I am a huge game of thrones fan :). So I just need to work it in somehow! :D

This is a different topic but we’re we going to visit Cinque terre during this trip as well. I know August is tourist season etc

But if anyone has also visited CT what were the thoughts on how it compares to Croatia? If you preferred to skip CT for Croatia or found both to be equally worthwhile :D?

Posted by iatemypanda OP
161 posts

Jennifer just curious but when checking the dub airport to Dubrovnik or split airport to split was a 20-30 car ride or uber or bus?

Did I get this info wrong?

Posted by iatemypanda OP
161 posts

when checking the ferries for Split to Hvar I noticed there is no morning ferry? Only a 3pm ferry... but read before they have early morning Split-Hvar ferries :(

How do I make Hvar a day trip from split? Do I have to stay overnight in Hvar then?

Posted by venotraci
59 posts

Take a day trip to Medjugorje. You will never regret it. Bus it or rent a car. The 3 hour bus rides are lovely and very comfortable. Wonderful way to see the countryside. Ive done two 3 hour bus rides in a day and had plenty of energy and time to do things.

Posted by Paul-of-the-Frozen-North
Sioux Falls, SD, USA
1091 posts

Hvar and celebrites!? Gaa, what a drag.

I'd spend 2 days in Dubrovnik, and the rest in Split. Split has a wonderful Archeology museum, an option for a day trip to Trogir, and Roman ruins in nearby Salona, good restaurants.

Posted by valadelphia
668 posts

when checking the ferries for Split to Hvar I noticed there is no
morning ferry? Only a 3pm ferry... but read before they have early
morning Split-Hvar ferries :( How do I make Hvar a day trip from
split? Do I have to stay overnight in Hvar then?

Check schedules here:
Ferries and catamarans:
Catamarans only:

Note catamarans arrive at Hvar town, but larger car ferries must arrive at Stari Grad, and there is a 30 minute or so bus from Stari Grad to Hvar town.

Posted by mikehowardsr
1 posts

First of all, your screen name is hilarious. Second, we’re in Dubrovnik now and finishing up our 12-day Croatia adventure this week, so everything’s fresh in our minds. FYI, it’s amazing! We flew into Pula, drove straight to Plitvice, spent the night, walked the lakes the next day, then drove to Split, two full days in Split then 6 in Dubrovnik, then headed back north tomorrow. All to say, I think if you want to see the highlights (check all the boxes, so to speak), your itinerary outline above is fine. I’d lean more toward a 60/40 or even 70/30 split in favor of Dubrovnik. I will tell you that we just spent all day yesterday on a full day wine and food tour with Sasha from Dvino and it was THE highlight of our trip so far. FrEsh oysters in Ston, fabulous food and wines from regional vineyards, etc). BUT that sort of local, insiders’ look at the amazing food and wine culture of this region isn’t on most checklists. I think you can walk the city walls, ride the cable car in one day just fine. Even take a half day to walk Lokrum Island). But part of the charm is strollllliiinnng sloooowwwwwlllllyyy through the streets, people watching, (more locals than we expected) and just relaxing, at least part of the time. And kind of the same advice for Split. You can see the highlights in one day but build in some time for just relaxing and taking it all in. And I would say figure out how to do Plitvice. Yes, it will be crowded in August but it’s an amazing natural wonder I don’t think you should miss. My opinion.
So, my advice: build in a full day food/wine trip with Sasha (or other recommended) in Dubrovnik and build in a day trip to Plitvice from Split.
And allow a bit of breathing room in Dubrovnik and Split (Stradun stroll, Riva stroll). And Rick Steves food recs are pretty spot on for both cities.
Hope that was helpful.


Posted by iatemypanda OP
161 posts

Hello Mike Howard!

Thanks for your thorough reply!

I would love to send you an email and ask for more details or get responses here!

Did you go to Hvar, Mostar? Of Kolcula??

I heard they are also awesome day trips.

Would you say Dubrovnik required just about 1/2-1 day to see as other posters mentioned that, so I was wondering that..

Would love to ask more when I am free

Posted by dd
49 posts

Croatia without islands..

Check where your flight is cheaper. I think Split is a cheaper option unless you want to land in kings landing. Think of you first foto on FB/Instagram wall. If you are in rush, take the bus. If you want feel Croatian experience than a catamaran, stay one night in Korcula and jump to Split or Dubrovnik. Enjoy