If you are travelling without a car then it's faster to take one of the catamarans or hydrofoils from Split to the islands. They make an extensive network of waterbuses enabling local people and students from Brac and Solta for instance to live on the island and work or study in Split.
Since beaches in Split are not very spectacular there are many excursion catamarans during the summer departing from Split in the morning and returning from the islands in the evening - making this an excellent opportunity for one-day trips to islands.
Note that during the winter it is safer to count on slower ferries since catamarans and especially hydrofoils can't sail on bad weather.
Split is the largest transportation hub in Croatia, and Split ferry port is the largest passenger harbour in the country.
Buses, trains, ferries, catamarans and hydrofoils all come to the same place, making it easy just to hop from one to another. This is also the place where you'll find airport buses. The maximum walking distance can be some 200 metres.
Split is the halfway of the coastal ferry route: ferries start from Rijeka stopping in Zadar and Split (this is always an overnight journey) and continuing to Hvar, Korcula and Dubrovnik (always during the day - offering magnificent views of the Dalmatian islands).
Besides coastal ferry many local ferries depart from Split to nearby islands: Supetar (on island of Brac), Rogac (Solta), Stari Grad (Hvar), Vis (Vis), Vela Luka (Korcula) and Lastovo (Lastovo).
The only international line is the one to Ancona with several overnight ferries and fast catamaran link during the summer. Sometimes coastal ferry continues from Dubrovnik to Bari in Italy as well.
Daily at 4 pm there is a catamaran that takes you to Bol on the island of Brac. The journey takes about one hour and in September 2008 it cost 22 Kuna.
On the catamaran there were toilets and a small bar with refreshments.
You can buy the ticket at the kiosk on the street near the catamaran landing. Please check the timetable on the website below as there can be seasonal changes.
We took this ferry actually the other way round, ie from Supetar to Split. The journey took an hour or so and the cost for a pedestrian in September 2008 was 30 Kuna.
We found it amazing that this ferry was actually more expensive than the catamaran to Bol which was a longer journey in kilometers.
Split is the Dalmatian coast's main port and a great place to use as a base for exploring the many Croatian islands by boat. The Jadrolinija Ferry company has its main terminal here near the bus station adjacent to the Diocletian's Palace (don't worry, you can't miss it).
In the summer time (roughly June-September), it's a piece of cake to plan a trip sailing around the islands, but I found it much more difficult in the winter months. While many routes might be daily in the summer, they are much more infrequent in the off season.
There are regular local ferries to the islands of Brac, Vis, Lastovo, Hvar and Korcula and coastal ferries that start in Rijeka to the north and follow the coastline south stopping in Rab, Zadar, Split and ending up in Dubrovnik. Again, these options are much less frequent in the winter months, so call ahead for details.
You can also connect with Ancona, Italy by way of boat. In addition to Jadrolinija, there are two other companies offering this service. One is called SEM and operates from mid-March to October (021 589 433) and the other is Adriatica Navigazione (2 per week except in July and August when there are 3 weekly/ office in Venice at 041 781 611).
Those who prefer speed boats and much shorter time to get the islands should take this catamaran. It is faster, more comfortable but also the price is almost double then by the ferry-boat. Catamaran is propitious for one day trip to the islands, but not that advisable for the family travellings. Anyway, those who can afford it will surelly enjoy it.
The easiest way to reach the town of Split is by airplaine. Also, you can reach it by train, bus, ferry-boat, car...
The port of Split is the main ferry connection to the nearby Dalmatian's islands and across the sea to Ancona and Pescara in Italy. It is, however, usualy overcrowded by cars and passegers in the high summer season. If traveling to the islands at that time be patience, the same happens in whole the Mediterranean area.
This kind of ferry-boat is connecting Split and middle Dalmatian islands of Brac, Hvar, Vis, Lastovo and further south to Korcula and the town of Dubrovnik. At the same time you can reach northern Adriatic's islands and the town of Rijeka.
In case you're not traveling by car, then I suggest you to take the speed boats gto the islnds, it cost more of course but you'll safe your time and get there more quickier.
By ferry/ catamaran from Split you can travel to :
- Ancona, Italy
- Supetar, Brač
- Stari Grad, Hvar
- Rogač, Šolta
- Vis, Vis
- Bol, Brač and Jelsa, Hvar
- Hvar, Hvar and Vela Luka, Korčula
The Split-Trogir water taxi from the Riva- a little over an hour along the coast to Trogir for under 5 euros. It is a great way to get to the beach of Slatine or Čiovo, the first stop or get off at Trogir, a spectacular UNESCO WorldHeritage site. Walk around, have a lunch, take the afternoon boat back!
From the harbor just south of the Rive Blvd, there are a number of boats that transport people to close by islands, in addition to taking them to other cities; some far away. This is the vogue thing for many to partake and enjoy the scenery of island greenery, or get to another destination.
One option of travelling to and from Dubrovnik is by the twice weekly Jadrolinija ferry which stops in Split before carrying on to Rijeka. The cost is about the same as the bus, but it does take 8 hours. But then you get to sail along the Dalmation coast putting it at beautiful island towns like Korcula.
Jadrolinija also runs some local boats, to places like Trogir. There's also a few international ferries to Italy, going to Pescara and Ancona.
To get to the port, head away from Marjan hill and follow the sea shore around past the bus and train station.
If you want to visit the island by car you should take the ferry or catamaran. There are daily ferry lines from Split to Stari Grad and from Drvenik to Sucuraj, as well as catamaran lines from Split to Jelsa and from Split to Hvar town. During summer season (June 1 to September 30) there are up to 7 ferries from Split to Stari Grad (out of season only 3-4) and 11 ferries from Drvenik to Sucuraj (out of season only 6-7).
We took the ferry from Split to Stari Grad at 17:00. Arriving to the port almost three hours prior to departure, we bought the ticket and and left the car in the line for embarkation which usually begins half an hour before the departure. It is recommended to arrive to the port one hour earlier and during the summer season you better book it in advance since the ferries get full quickly. For two people and the car we payed 142 kunas (June 2010). The trip took two hours. On the return we took the ferry that leaves Stari Grad at 11:30.
Jadrolinija (Tel : 355 399), in the large ferry terminal opposite the bus station; handles the coastal ferry line to Hvar Island.
The local car ferry is cheaper. 28 Kn & 1 1/2 hours.
The car ferries & passenger lines leave from separate docks.
The passenger lines leave at Obala Lazareta & the car ferries at Sv Petra.
In summer, it's wise to book first.
Ferries travel between Split and Ancona in Italy. Two companies, Jadrolinija and Croatia Jet, offer services between the two cities. Ferries that leave during the day take four-and-a-half hours, while the night ferries will take eight hours. These boats also transport vehicles.
Before planning a trip to Split, make sure there are ferry connections. Travel options drop off dramatically after October and do not pick up again until May.
Jadrolinija has several lines daily between Split and the surrounding islands. For example:
Split - Supetar
Split - Stari Grad
Split - Vis
Split - Vela Luka
One-way ticket for one person from Split to Hvar costs 35 KN.
See details from the Jadrolinija webpage.