After roughly 32 hours in Dubrovnik, we checked out of our Airbnb, and hopped in a taxi bound for the main bus station. Our vacation in Croatia was logistically stressful for me – mostly for no reason.
I was stressed because it was high tourist season and Ultra Europe, Europe’s largest electronic dance music festival, was in full swing in Split which meant even more visitors.
The most stressful piece of our logistics was that we were not able to purchase catamaran/ferry tickets to and from the island of Hvar (pronounced “ha-varr” but as one syllable) in advance.
We arrived at the Dubrovnik bus station shortly after 7am and purchased bus tickets for the 8am bus to Split.
I’d read that the bus journey along the Dalmatian Coast is one of the prettiest journeys in Europe so we opted for the coast route versus the highway route (“fast bus”) even though the coast route was considerably longer.
Our journey took us along the Dalmatian Coast from Dubrovnik to Split with a couple of stops along the way. One of these stops was the Bosnia and Herzegovina border crossing.
If you told me five years ago that I would spend four-and-a-half hours on a coach bus from Dubrovnik to Split and get a B&H passport stamp along the way, I’d have had asked, “What country is Dubrovnik in?”
Sometimes I must pinch myself as a reminder that this is all real.
Fun fact: Croatia became the 28th member of the European Union on July 1st, 2013 but they do not use the Euro as their currency.
The country of Bosnia and Herzegovina occupies 12 mi / 19 km of coastline, splitting mainland Croatia into two parts.
Border control was a piece of cake. Our bus pulled up to the kiosk and an officer boarded the bus and checked our passports. After all passports were verified, we were on our way. The stop took about 10 minutes.
We arrived at a roadside parking lot a few minutes after leaving border control. I hopped off of the bus and stepped foot on B&H soil and gazed out at the Adriatic Sea.
We arrived at the main bus station in Split at 12:30pm and immediately sprinted across the road to the catamaran/ferry ticket kiosk. Our goal was to get tickets for the 2pm catamaran to Hvar Town on the island of Hvar.
We failed. The catamaran was sold out. Sigh.
Our only option was to take the 3pm ferry to Stari Grad on the island of Hvar. This was undesirable because:
- The ferry departed 1 hour later than the catamaran.
- Stari Grad was on the opposite side of the island of our Airbnb. Once docked, we’d have to board another bus for Hvar Town (~20 minute journey).
- The ferry (pedestrians and vehicles) journey time was 2 hours compared to 1 hour for the catamaran (pedestrian only).
Defeated, hangry, and generally bothered by the whole situation, we purchased ferry tickets and went on a mission to find food.
All of the food near the ferry docks was overpriced and over-touristed but it got the job done. We devoured down the terrible food and returned to the ferry boarding area and waited for the ferry to arrive.
As we stood there, a group of 23 backpackers arrived at the ticket kiosk. In our short time in Croatia, we’d had a long history with this group of backpackers.
- They were on our flight from Zagreb to Dubrovnik
- They were on our Dubrovnik airport bus
- They were at the Dubrovnik bus station
And now they were at the Split ferry dock.
What were the odds that they would be joining us on our ferry to Hvar? Apparently very good because that is exactly what happened.
Shortly before 3pm, our ferry arrived.
Vehicles were off-loaded and then loaded. It was a little crazy to see large trucks drive onto a boat.
Peter and I boarded the ferry and thankfully found seats. It had been a long day of travel and I did not want to have to stand for two hours as we slowly sailed from Split to Hvar.
The ferry was, em, kinda gross. The air conditioning worked well where we were seated but not as well in other areas which led to some ripe body odor.
I made myself as comfortable as I could whilst seated in the most uncomfortable chair on the planet. I managed to doze off a couple of times which is unheard of for me but is a welcomed skill.
Two painful hours later, we arrived in the port of Stari Grad on the island of Hvar. We again found ourselves waiting for transportation and finally boarded a bus from Stari Grad to Hvar Town.
We arrived at the bus station in Hvar Town at 6pm and met our Airbnb host who walked us to the apartment, providing commentary along the way.
It was a 10-minute walk from the bus station to the apartment and, finally, our 10 hour travel day came to an end.