Getting around Croatia by ferry
Travelling around Croatia by ferry
The ferries in Croatia are very crowded in summer but also very frequent and well organized, but be prepared to wait two or three hours in the main season (mid of July till end of August), sometimes even more, especially if you travel to Southern Dalmatian Islands Brač, Hvar, Korčula or Vis.
If you travel by car on weekend, try to board a ferry in the morning as early as possible in high season – boarding a car at weekends’ afternoons in summer season can be very hot, especially if travelling with children.
Boarding a ferry
Boarding a ferry by car. Try to arrive to the port at least two hours before ferry departs, line your car immediately for a boarding, and then go to the counter to buy a ticket (counters are well displayed), in case you didn’t buy ticket online.
Ferries operate on basis – first come, first serve. If you don’t make to board the first ferry, you’ll need to wait for another one – take a short walk and explore the port and town quickly while waiting, but don’t miss next ride!
Boarding a ferry by foot. If you are travelling around Croatia by bus or train, ferry terminals in Croatia are usually close to the main bus or railway station and you don’t have to walk a lot to reach the port. If you travel by plane, take a bus shuttle or taxi at the airport that will drive you to the port.
Ferry price in Croatia is fair
Ferry price in Croatia is very fair (cheap) if you don’t board with a car – bear in mind you have to get back to mainland some day and price doubled! If you travel to an island for a holiday, normally you will board a ferry with your car, but if you are just taking a day or two trips to explore the island you should leave your car at mainland, except you have a proper ferry budget. The complete list of ferry’s websites with timetables and prices you will find below.
Of course it depends on how you plan to spend your time on an island. If you plan just to visit a port or beach to spend an idyllic day, you definitely don’t need a car, and the price you’ll pay for boarding a ferry is really cheap. But if you plan to explore the island and the bus transportation on the island is poor, what is almost always the case – than you’ll need a car.
If you consider renting a car on the island, make sure you book your car on time. In high season it’s hard to find an available car on the island.
After all, if you want to skip a ferry and all these options for visit an island for a day, there are many private or group boat tours you can take from mainland’s towns.
Buying ferry tickets
You can buy ferry tickets online on Jadrolinija website for all ferry and catamaran services within Croatia and some routes between Croatia and Italy.
Other companies sell tickets only over the counter.
About ferry companies and their routes
Ferries and catamaran boats are connecting major mainland ports with inhabited islands all year round, but many routes have a higher frequency during the summer season. The main ferry company in Croatia is Jadrolinija – they operate the huge majority of ferry and catamaran routes in Croatia and you’ll be probably use their service since they are the most frequent operator, sailing to majority of islands.
Other smaller companies operate more locally and they are also very useful in connecting you to less popular island where you can escape and have incredible time without rush and crowd.
When you’ll be checking the ferry schedules, notice that they vary in different time of the year – most of the companies have at least two timetables a year – one is more frequent for the summer season and other is for the rest of the year.
Take a look at company websites for routes, timetables and price details:
Jadrolinija is the main Croatian company operating ferry and catamaran service all along the coast (except Istria) sailing to majority of Croatian islands, operating a few lines between Croatia and Italy (Split- Ancona, Zadar- Ancona, Dubrovnik-Bari). Jadrolinija offers online ticket buying.
Kapetan Luka operates catamaran service between Split and Vis (stopping at Hvar twice a week), and a relatively new catamaran service from Split to Brač, Hvar, Korčula, Mljet and Dubrovnik. Kapetan Luka offers online ticket buying.
Rapska Plovidba Service between the islands Rab and Pag, and island Rab and the mainland.
Also check some of the local services if you consider to take a day trip to the islands in region of Split, Šibenik or Zadar.
International ferry routes from Italy to Croatia
The only international ferry routes are from Italy to Croatia- no ferry or catamaran routes connecting Croatia with any other country.
Besides few routes operated by Jadrolinija (Split-Ancona, Zadar-Ancona, Dubrovnik-Bari) you can travel from Italy to Croatia and reverse using services from other ferry and catamaran companies – Venezia Lines, Adriatic Lines, Blue Line, SNAV.