How To Get From Zadar To Dubrovnik (Travel Guide By a Local)

If you’re planning to get from Zadar to Dubrovnik, I’ve got some firsthand tips for you.

My husband is from the area, and we have a house in Benkovac, just outside Zadar, so I’m pretty familiar with all the routes. Whether it’s heading to Krka, Plitvice, or Dubrovnik, I know the best ways to get around.

From driving along the coast to catching a bus, each travel option has its perks. I’ve tried them all and can guide you through what to expect, how long it’ll take, and what might suit your travel style best.

So, if you’re gearing up for a trip down the Dalmatian coast, let’s dive into the easiest, most efficient ways to travel from Zadar to Dubrovnik.

I’ll share all the practical details you need to make your journey smooth and enjoyable.

By Car

We’re local folks, and driving is our go-to option when traveling from Zadar to Dubrovnik. It’s about a 3 to 3.5-hour drive via the A1 and coastal roads, offering some of the most stunning views along the Adriatic.

You have the freedom to stop at little coastal towns, take pictures, or grab a bite of fresh seafood. 

During summer the route can get busy, and parking in Dubrovnik can be tricky and somewhat expensive.

Driving gives you a sense of the landscape and an intimate experience with the Croatian coast. 

Our house in Benkovac just outside of Zadar is the starting point for many such trips, so we’ve become quite familiar with every turn and vista along the way.

Heading down from Zadar to Dubrovnik by car, you’ll pass by some great spots. Sibenik is a good first stop with its beautiful cathedral. 

It’s a nice place to stretch your legs and grab a coffee. Then, there’s Split with its ancient palace and lively old town vibes, definitely worth a wander around.

As you drive along the coast, the Makarska Riviera offers up some lovely beaches if you fancy a quick swim or just want to enjoy the view. Then, maybe stop off at Ston to check out the long walls and grab some fresh oysters.

If you’re into wine, take a little detour to the Peljesac Peninsula. It’s known for its vineyards and the views are pretty special. Closer to Dubrovnik.

But if you’re reading this, the odds are you’re not local, and while driving is an amazing experience, these other options might be more suitable for you, especially if you’re looking to relax and let someone else handle the navigation.

By Bus

The trip’s about 345 km and usually takes between 7 to 8 hours, depending on which bus you take and how many stops it makes. 

The quickest bus starts early at 03:10 and zips you there in just over 7 and a half hours, but some rides can stretch to about 8 and a half hours.

Buses are equipped with the basics like toilets and safety belts, and some even treat you to free coffee or juice. 

A ticket will set you back around 32 euros.

Along the way, the bus might stop in smaller towns like Sukošan or Turanj. Companies that usually run these routes are Čazmatrans and Arriva.

Sure, it’s a bit of a sit, but it’s time you can use to chill out, read, or chat with other travelers. 

By Ferry 

Taking a ferry from Zadar to Dubrovnik isn’t a direct route, but it’s an option if you’re up for a bit of adventure and want to see more of the Croatian coast. 

You’ll need to break up the journey with a combination of ferry and bus or car travel. Typically, you might ferry from Zadar to Split and then continue to Dubrovnik by bus or car.

The ferry part of your journey offers a chance to relax and enjoy the Adriatic Sea. 

While on board, you can catch some sun on the deck, grab a bite to eat, or just enjoy the sea views. Once you reach Split, continue your journey to Dubrovnik by other means.

By Plane

While there aren’t daily flights, there are occasional direct connections between Zadar and Dubrovnik, particularly during the tourist season.

If you’ve read my travel guide from Belgrade to Dubrovnik, you’ll know that I have an aunt there, and as a kid, I was often sent to visit her by plane.

My husband shares similar childhood memories, of being flown out for quick visits. He recalls the flight being incredibly brief, just around 20 minutes from Zadar. 

Flying is undoubtedly the quickest way to hop between the two cities. It’s a short but scenic dash over the beautiful Croatian coast, and before you know it, you’ve landed.

Currently, the price for this flight is around 42 euros.

Private Transfer or Taxi

As a local, I’ve never had to use these services, but if you need a lift, feel free to reach out as I know those people personally. 

It’s the most expensive option, but it comes with the convenience of door-to-door service and a personal touch. You can relax, enjoy the ride, and maybe even get some insider tips from the driver. 

These services can be especially useful if you’re traveling in a group or with lots of luggage. 

They’re available year-round, regardless of the season or public transport schedules. If you’re considering this option, let me know, and I can put you in touch with reliable and friendly service providers.