Guide to ferry and boat travel in Croatia

Jadrolinija ferry in Croatia
Jadrolinija ferry

UPDATED: 7.5.2024.

Croatia has over 5.000 kilometers of coastline and more than 1.000 islands, so ship traffic is frequent. A large number of ferries and high-speed lines (catamarans and hydrofoils) connect the islands with the Croatian mainland.

The national ferry company is called Jadrolinija, but several private companies are also operating in Croatia. Some operate throughout the year, and others only during high season. When planning your trip, be sure to consult the timetables since availability can change drastically.

In this article, we cover:

The facts are these…

Local ferry and catamaran lines in Croatia

Local ferries and catamarans connect important ports with most Croatian islands. Jadrolinija local lines operate in 5 districts: Rijeka, Zadar, Šibenik, Split, and Dubrovnik. Below are Jadrolinija’s local routes for each district.

1. District of Rijeka, Croatia

Local routes that operate in the Rijeka area:

  • Brestova – Porozina (Cres)
  • Mali Lošinj – Ilovik – Susak – Unije – Martinšćica – Cres – Rijeka
  • Mali Lošinj – Unije – Vele Srakane – Susak
  • Prizna – Žigljen (Pag)
  • Rijeka – Rab – Novalja (Pag)
  • Valbiska (Krk) – Lopar (Rab)
  • Valbiska (Krk) – Merag (Cres)

2. District of Zadar, Croatia

Local routes that operate in the Zadar area:

  • Biograd – Tkon (Pašman)
  • Zadar ( Gaženica) – Rivanj – Sestrunj – Zverinac – Molat – Ist
  • Zadar (Gaženica) – Brbinj (Dugi took)
  • Zadar (Gaženica) – Ist – Olib – Silba – Premuda – Mali Lošinj
  • Zadar (Gaženica) – Ošljak – Preko (Ugljan)
  • Zadar (Gaženica) – Bršanj (Iž) – Rava – Mala Rava
  • Zadar – Mali Iž – Veli Iž – Mala Rava – Rava
  • Zadar – Molat – Brgulje – Zapuntel – Ist
  • Zadar – Preko
  • Zadar – Rivanj – Sestrunj – Zverinac – Božava – Brbinj

3. District of Šibenik, Croatia

Local routes that operate in the Šibenik area:

  • Šibenik – Zlarin – Obonjan – Kaprije – Žirje
  • Šibenik – Zlarin – Prvić Luka – Šepurine – Vodice

4. District of Split, Croatia

Local routes that operate in the Split area:

  • Drvenik – Sućuraj (Hvar)
  • Orebić – Dominče (Korčula)
  • Ploče – Trpanj (Pelješac)
  • Split – Bol (Brač) – Stari Grad (Hvar) – Jelsa (Hvar)
  • Split – Hvar
  • Split – Hvar – Vela Luka (Korčula) – Ubli (Lastovo)
  • Split – Milna (Brač) – Hvar – Vis
  • Split – Rogač (Šolta)
  • Split – Stari Grad (Hvar)
  • Split – Supetar (Brač)
  • Split – Vis
  • Split – Vela Luka (Korčula) – Ubli (Lastovo)
  • Split – Hvar (luka Vira)
  • Sumartin (Brač) – Makarska
  • Trogir (Soline) – Drvenik Mali – Drvenik Veli

5. District of Dubrovnik, Croatia

Local routes that operate in the Dubrovnik area:

  • Dubrovnik – Koločep – Lopud – Suđurađ (Šipan)
  • Dubrovnik – Korčula – Hvar – Bol – Split
  • Dubrovnik – Lopud – Suđurađ (Šipan)
  • Prapratno (Pelješac) – Sobra (Mljet)

[Read: Why living on an island in Croatia isn’t the dream you think it is]

International boat lines from Croatia

International shipping lines are exclusively linked to Italy and its major ports. Jadrolinija’s international ferry boat lines connected to Italy are:

  • Dubrovnik – Bari
  • Split – Ancona
  • Zadar – Ancona

Istria and other Croatian islands are occasionally connected with Italy (Trieste, Venice, Cesenatico, Pesaro) by other shipping companies. Ports connected to Italian destinations are usually Rovinj, Poreč, Pula, Mali Lošinj, Rab, and Novalja (Pag).

[Read: How to import and register a boat in Croatia]

How to find boat timetables and price lists

Schedules for local boat lines are usually divided into 3 seasons:

  • Peak of the season – July 1 – August 31
  • Before and after the season – June 1 – June 30 and September 1 – September 30
  • Out of season – October 1 – May 31

The list of Jadrolinija local lines, their schedules, and prices is available here.

The list of Jadrolinija international lines, their schedules, and prices is available here.

Taxi boat in Starigrad on the island of Hvar
Taxi boat in Starigrad on the island of Hvar, Croatia

View more information on shipping line timetables and connections here:

View more information on international shipping line timetables and connections here:

Where to buy boat tickets in Croatia?

Jadrolinija tickets can be bought online here. Most tickets can also be purchased at the local branch offices of Jadrolinija or the private ferry company for which you have chosen the service. Jadrolinija’s branch offices or booths are usually at ferry ports or marinas. Some smaller carriers may allow buying tickets directly on the boats.

Are there any ferry discounts in Croatia?

Some groups have the right to privileged boat transportation discounts, including:

  • Croatian citizens with prebivalište (residence) on Croatian islands and the Pelješac peninsula
  • EU/EEA citizens with a permanent stay on Croatian islands and the Pelješac peninsula

[Read: How EU/EEA citizens can transition from Croatian temporary to long-term residence]

The discounts are valid for all lines with public service obligations. Third-country citizens no longer hold the right to discounts.

Tips for buying boat tickets and departure

Speedboat tickets are usually sold on the day of departure. During the high season, it is recommended to arrive early at the harbor to purchase a ticket or buy it earlier online. During summer, due to high traffic, you may be unable to buy a ferry ticket online. In this case, tickets are sold according to the first-in-first-out method. Come to the harbor earlier to board the ship.

If you intend to ship a personal vehicle, you must count on the summer crowds and understand there will be an additional charge. During the high season and weekends, the time it takes to board may take several hours, so arrive as early as possible.

[Read: How to import your car and belongings to Croatia]

Prices vary according to the season. During the peak of the season, prices are the highest. During the winter, there are fewer boat lines than during summer since the number of tourists is lower.

Ferries are very rarely late, regardless of the season and crowd. Departures may be late or canceled during lousy weather. Strong winds like jugo and bura often occur on the coast. This usually happens in autumn, winter, and early spring when winds produce strong waves that may endanger safe travel. Ferries are bigger and more stable than speedboats, so the catamaran and speedboat lines will likely be canceled.

[Read: Why Wind is Important – Bura vs Jugo]

Tickets for Jadrolinija lines are valid for one day. If you miss the first departure, you can use the ticket for the next one. Other carriers apply their own rules, and their tickets are usually valid only for a specific departure.

Pet transport rules depend on each carrier, but it is usually allowed. For pets and bikes, an additional cost is charged.

[Read: How to bring your pet to Croatia (and care for them once you arrive)]

Regarding international transport, Jadrolinija connects Italy and Croatia all year round. The trip should be booked in advance. Other off-season companies have a significantly smaller number of international lines toward Croatia.

Get help with exploring Croatia and transport options

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Frequently asked questions

How does the ferry system work in Croatia?

In Croatia, ferry services are primarily managed by Jadrolinija, but there are some other smaller private companies too. They offer a diverse fleet, including conventional ferries, hydrofoils, and catamarans, catering to varying preferences and travel needs. They have local and international lines, and tickets can be purchased in advance or at the booth in the marina.

Do I need to book Croatian ferries in advance?

If it is summer season, it is highly advisable to book your ferry ticket in advance. Some ferries get very crowded very fast. If you travel in a vehicle, you will have a long wait if you do not show up on time and book your ticket online.

How early should I arrive at Split ferry?

Split has the busiest ferry terminal in Croatia, and you should arrive as early as possible to line up for the next ferry. You should be there at least 15 minutes before departure, but in peak season, you should arrive even an hour earlier if possible.

How do you board a ferry in Croatia?

After booking tickets in advance or buying them at the ferry terminal, travelers should arrive at the port ahead of departure time. At the designated check-in area, passengers show their tickets and any necessary identification. Boarding instructions are provided by the crew, whether passengers are walking onto the ferry or driving vehicles onboard. Once settled, passengers can enjoy the sail. Upon arrival at the destination port, passengers disembark safely following crew instructions.

What is the best way to tour the islands in Croatia?

The best way to see all the islands in Croatia is by island hopping. You can go on an Adriatic cruise or use a ferry to travel between islands. Ferries also allow vehicles and bicycles, so you can explore the island at your own pace.


Sources:
Jadrolinija
Ferry Croatia

Please note: Information provided by Expat in Croatia is only for the purposes of guidance. It does not constitute legal or financial advice in any form. Croatian laws and bureaucratic rules often change, and each personal case is individual, so different rules may apply. For legal advice, contact us to consult with a licensed Croatian lawyer. For financial advice, contact us to consult with a licensed Croatian tax advisor or accountant.

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