Ferry and boat travel in Croatia

Jadrolinija ferry in Croatia

UPDATED: 06/04/2022

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

The national ferry company is called Jadrolinija, but there are also several private companies operating in Croatia. Some of them 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 post, we cover:

The facts are these…

Long-distance ferry lines

Jadrolinija has one long-distance ferry line that covers the whole Adriatic coast from north to south. It is the line for Rijeka – Split – Hvar (Old Town) – Korčula – Mljet (Sobra) – Dubrovnik. The journey lasts over 20 hours (including one night on board).

Local ferry and catamaran lines in Croatia

Local ferries and catamarans connect important ports with most islands. Jadrolinija local lines operate in 5 districts: Rijeka, Zadar, Šibenik, Split, and Dubrovnik.

Below are Jadrolinija local routes for each district.

#1 District of Rijeka

Local routes that operate in the Rijeka area:

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

A map of local routes in the district of Rijeka is available here.

#2 District of Zadar

Local routes that operate in the Zadar area:

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

A map of local routes in the district of Zadar is available here.

#3 District of Šibenik

Local routes that operate in the Šibenik area:

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

A map of local routes in the district of Šibenik is available here.

#4 District of Split

Local routes that operate in the Split area:

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

A map of local routes in the district of Split is available here.

#5 District of Dubrovnik

Local routes that operate in the Dubrovnik area:

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

A map of local routes in the district of Dubrovnik is available here.

International boat lines from Croatia

International shipping lines are exclusively linked to Italy and its major ports. Currently, 3 Jadrolinija international ferry boat lines are connected to Italy including:

  • 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 in Croatia are usually Rovinj, Poreč, Pula, Mali Lošinj, Rab, and Novalja (Pag).

How to find 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

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

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

The Jadrolinija price list for transport of goods on ferry and ship lines is available here.

More information on Croatian shipping line timetables and connections is also available here:

More information on international shipping line timetables and connections is available here:

Where to buy tickets

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 located at the ferry ports or marinas.

Some smaller carriers may allow buying tickets directly on the boats.

How to compare coastal boat tickets

If you want to compare and buy coastal ferry tickets in Croatia, you can do it using the RAFT platform. This search engine allows you to find and compare different travel options on the basis of your departure and destination point, travel dates, number and age of passengers, and the number of vehicles.

The RAFT search engine is available here.

More information on this service is available here.

Ferry discounts

Certain groups in Croatia have the right to privileged boat transportation discounts including:

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

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

Tips for buying and departure

Speedboat tickets are usually sold the day of. It is recommended to arrive early at the harbor during the high season to purchase a ticket or buy it earlier online.

During summer, you may not be able to buy a ferry ticket online due to high traffic. In this case, tickets are sold according to the method of first in – first out. So, you have to 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 high season and on the 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 like strong winds including jugo and bura that 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 it is likely that the catamaran and speedboat lines will be canceled.

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

Tickets for Jadrolinija lines are valid for one day. This means that 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.

Rules of transporting pets 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 and the trip should be booked in advance. Other off-season companies have a significantly smaller number of international lines towards Croatia.

Check out other country-wide transport guides

Check out airport transport guides

Check out city transport guides


Sources:
https://www.jadrolinija.hr/
https://www.ferrycroatia.com/

Please note: All information provided by Expat in Croatia is only for the purposes of guidance. It does not constitute legal or financial advice in any form. For legal advice, you must consult with a licensed Croatian lawyer. For financial advice, you must consult with a licensed Croatian tax advisor or accountant. We can recommend one if you contact us.

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