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Ferries in Croatia

Hello! I am doing just shy of 2 weeks in Croatia and will be there May 16th through May 26th. The plan is to go from Split to Hvar to Dubrovnik.

Does anyone here have experience with the ferries as I would prefer to travel by sea? Is it best to book ahead of time or will I be okay just going there and booking day of or a few days in advance? Also, we found a few websites but not really sure which ones are legit.

Also - let would love restaurant recommendations or anything else cool to do!

Posted by
6788 posts

Disclaimer: It's been a decade since I was there, maybe some things have changed (surely some have), but...

We went around the same time of year (late May into early June). We took several ferries, though we also had rental cars in places. For ferry info, I used these two sites:

I used these as a starting point, then for actual bookings, I went to the actual company's website (just as I would when researching then buying flights).

As to your question about booking ahead versus just 'winging it', I would say that depends on if you are just walking on, or taking a vehicle. I doubt ferries sell out in advance for foot traffic, but I'm sure they do for vehicles.

May is a good time to go, with relatively few crowds (except in Split and Dubrovnik, I think the cruise ships bring crowds year-round now). Be careful about ferry schedules: IME they were highly seasonal...some lines only run during "high season" then either only run a day or two per week, or shut down entirely. When we went, "high season" started in late June and ran through end of August. Before/after then, frequencies were totally different.

Hope that helps.

Posted by
1532 posts

I went from Split to Hvar in Oct 2021. I bought my tickets on day in advance. There were two ferry operators. However, in May, this may be different.

Never been to Dubrovnik and so can't comment on that.

Posted by
1652 posts

We used the Jadrolinija catamaran to get from Split to Hvar Town.
https://www.jadrolinija.hr/en/ferry-croatia
We purchased our tickets the day we went to Hvar Town. This was in September 2019.

Favorite restaurants in Dubrovnik:
Kopun- across from the Jesuit church; we walked up the gorgeous baroque Jesuit steps to get there; delicious food
Taj Mahal - not an Indian restaurant; it's a Bosnian restaurant
Restaurant Dubrovska - just outside Pile Gate on the water

Nice restaurant in Split:
Central Kavana Restaurant in Narodni Square
Bokeria - we ate breakfast here every day because it was included in our hotel price. Delicious breakfasts! And I have heard their lunches and dinners are just as good. It's very popular; you might need reservations.

Posted by
4535 posts

In addition to Jadrolinija, the other applicable provider is Krilo--the routes will probably be catamarans (some are inside only, some offer outside space).
It's been quite a while since my last visit as well, but all four were in late May and I never prebooked any transit.

While on Hvar, I enjoyed a visit to the Pakleni islands.

Posted by
3926 posts

Look under Croatiaferries.com. This is for info only, you cannot book on this sight. If there is no link use Krilo.hr. We travel by ferry frequently and avoid Jadrolinija for these reasons, 1) the ferries are older, not catamarans. 2) they are much slower, check the times. 3) they allow cars, bikes, pets, etc. so the turn around time is slow if it is not a direct route. 4) Croatian senior citizens can travel for free so it is always more crowded. It’s ironic because my husband used to work for Jadrolinija when he was a merchant marine. Anyway, I always purchase the tickets online and print them out only for the convenience. The price doesn’t change. Some ports are a little out of the way, like in Dubrovnik you have to get to the port of Gruz, about 10 minutes by taxi or 45 walking. If you are short in time it cuts into your sightseeing. Split’s is close by just off the Riva, haven’t been to Hvar.