The ferry from Split
Jadrolinija operates the ferry service between Split and Brac. The ferry port is at Supetar, on the island's north coast, almost directly opposite Split. It takes just over an hour to make the crossing.
During high summer the service runs pretty well right around the clock with the last ferry going at about 1am and the first one of the day setting sail at 6am. You can't pre-book a place on the ferries so the routine is to turn up at least a half an hour or so before the ferry is due to depart, park your car in the queue, go and buy your ticket and then wait for the ferry to begin loading.
We were a little nervous of this the first time we did it but on a Sunday in June we had no problem. Later in the summer there is obviously more demand and you might miss the ferry you are aiming for - as we did the following year, though that was more likely due to our timing - we arrived to see the ferry doors closing and had to wait for the next one. With the frequency of the boats (about every 1 1/2 hours through the day) it wasn't a problem - we were on holiday and the ferry port is a very short stroll from the Old City, so we parked at the head of the queue and went into town to fill in the time.
Once on board with the car secured, it's up on to the deck to enjoy the hour and a bit it took to reach Brac. As you would expect, there's a snack bar on board. The ship was very clean with plenty of seating both inside and up on deck. The loading and unloading of cars was very efficient so the whole exercise of getting across to Brac is really hassle-free, just a lazy cruise in the sunshine with Split falling behind and the islands slipping by slowly as you sail along.
An alternative crossing
Split- Supetar isn't the only crossing from the mainland to Brac. A small ferry operates between Markaska, south of Split, and Sumartin on the island's eastern tip. This is very convenient if you're travelling to or from Dubrovnik as it cuts about 60km off the distance between Split and Dubrovnik. It's also a good option if you're looking at driving into Bosnia-Herzogovina as there's a good road between Makarska, Medugorje and on to Mostar. It's also somewhat cheaper.
The ferry is much smaller than the Split-Supetar ferry but the process is the same - you can't pre-book so you just turn up at the dock in Sumartin, queue, buy your tickets and find a cafe or go for a walk around the town until it's time to board. Within 30 minutes, you're docking at Makarska, rolling off the ferry and you're on your way.
There are rather fewer sailings of this ferry than the Split-Supetar, albeit with increased numbers in high season - up to 5. You'll need to check with either the ferry lines website or at any local travel agent once you're in Croatia for the most up-to-date-timetable.
This is not the best ferry for foot passengers unless you actually staying in Sumartin or are happy to spend the day there. The bus from here to Supetar only goes early in the morning and again in the evening.
You can't really depend on the buses on Brac to get you all around the island - the island's topography and local custom works against any wide network of public transport. Buses only run out from Supetar to the main towns of Bol, Milna, Skrip and Sumartin so you need to hub in and out of Supetar to move around. There's no doubt having your own car makes getting around to really explore the island so much easier. If, like us, you've arranged to collect your car on the mainland, you'll find the ferry service from Split is extremely efficient, making the getting to Brac very straight forward.
If you'd rather not take a car on the ferry, and you want to book a car before you arrive on the island, Europcar has a Supetar office so you could collect your car once you arrive but this is an expensive option, you can get much better deals from other car rental firms that operate out of mainland towns such as Split and Makarska. We've used Webcarhire on our visits to Croatia and, having found their service to be completely satisfactory, will continue to do so on future visits. Alternatively, you can wait until you arrive on the island and hire a car from a local travel agency. Mopeds are also available for hire. Don't forget to bring your licence.
The island's roads are generally reasonably maintained, if rather narrow and winding with few safety barriers. You do have to take care and speeding is not advised! There are some spectacular views as the roads drop down from the high ridge of the mountainous centre to the bays and inlets of the coast - lots of photo opportunities, though you may have to drive on to a safe stopping place and walk back a bit for the best shot. Even in high summer, we found they were never very busy and parking wasn't a problem either.
- Road Trip
Getting to Brac by car ferry
By car ferry - there are at least a dozen car ferries a day from Split to Supetar (one hour) in summer, less at other times of year.
Coming from Makarska by car, you can take one of the frequent Jadrolinija car ferry shuttles to Sumartin. Buses from Sumartin to other parts of the Brac Island are infrequent so it makes sense to have a car. Most car rental companies in Croatia have outlets in Makarska. See more. See all local ferry info at Jadrolinija.
rent a scooter....
You'll need a motorcycle license to rent motorcycle however a regular driver's license is okay for a scooter. The average cost per day was 250 kuna - for three days, 230 kuna. We did shop around but the prices all seemed to be the same.
Even outside peak season (we went in late September) there were catamarans from Split to Bol. You can also take a regular ferry to Supetar and then catch a bus to Bol. I don't think there are that many of these buses outside of peak season.
Catamaran fare cost around $3 one-way