Your Complete Guide on How to Get to Hvar Island

Whether you’re navigating the smooth highways of Croatia by car, hopping on a ferry for a picturesque sea crossing, or planning a swift catamaran ride, getting to Hvar Island is an experience in and of itself.

This guide delves into the various ways to reach this enchanting island, ensuring your travel is not just a means to an end, but a memorable part of your Croatian adventure.

Getting to Hvar Island by Car

If you’re traveling by car, consider the Croatian highway A1, a smooth route from Zagreb to Split or Drvenik. Alternatively, the scenic coastal drive from Rijeka to Split or Drvenik presents breathtaking views and a different perspective of Croatia’s stunning landscape.

For those opting for a ferry crossing, your choices are pivotal in shaping your travel experience. From Split, the ferry to Stari Grad takes approximately 105 minutes, a convenient option if you’re heading towards Split or the town of Hvar, which is just a 20 km drive away. On the other hand, the shorter 25-minute ferry ride from Drvenik to Sućuraj is ideal for travelers coming from parts of Croatia sout of Drvenik like Dubrovnik.

Ferry schedules vary with the seasons. In the off-season, ferries from Split to Stari Grad run 3-4 times a day, while the Drvenik to Sućuraj service operates 6-7 times daily. However, during the bustling summer months of July and August, these frequencies increase significantly, with the Split to Stari Grad route offering 4-7 trips per day and Drvenik to Sućuraj up to 20 times a day. Remember, ferries from Italy are only available in the summer.

For those driving in Croatia, ensure you have your valid driver’s license, car registration card, and Green Card (proof of car insurance). Be mindful of the speed limits: 50 km/h in settlements, 80 km/h outside, and 130 km/h on highways.

It’s crucial to note that the alcohol limit for drivers under 25 years of age is 0% and for drivers over 25 years of age is 0.5%. Petrol stations generally operate from 7 am to 7 or 8 pm, extending to 10 pm in the summer. Major towns and main routes also offer 24-hour stations for your convenience.

Upon reaching Hvar Island, you’ll find petrol stations in Jelsa and Hvar town, open all day during the peak season. Taxi services, including UBER, Cammeo, and Go Green, are readily available in cities and tourist spots. Rent-a-car options are also abundant in cities, tourist resorts, airports, and various towns on Hvar, offering flexibility for your travel plans.

A few additional details to consider: The ferry from Split to Stari Grad is the main link to Hvar and can get crowded in summer, especially from mid-July to mid-August. Reserving a spot for your vehicle is highly recommended.

The Drvenik to Sućuraj route is a viable alternative but requires a drive across Hvar to reach Hvar town. For those without a car, bus connections are available from the Stari Grad ferry port to Hvar, Jelsa, Vrboska, and Stari Grad town center, ensuring a seamless continuation of your journey.

Getting to Hvar Island by Ferry

The island is well-connected by ferry and catamaran services from various points, making your travel both convenient and scenic. Let’s dive into the details of reaching this picturesque destination.

For those embarking from Split, the Split – Stari Grad ferry is a reliable choice, offering regular services. This main ferry terminal is conveniently located near Stari Grad, just a 20-minute drive from Hvar Town. If you’re traveling by car, this is your best bet. Remember, Hvar Town isn’t directly linked by a car ferry, so this route followed by a short drive is the way to go.

Alternatively, the Drvenik – Sućuraj ferry provides another regular service, featuring a swift 30-minute crossing. This route is perfect for those looking to explore the eastern part of the island.

For a faster option, the Split – Hvar catamaran service operates regularly, ideal for foot passengers. Additionally, there’s a daily catamaran service from Split to Jelsa, expanding your choices. And for those arriving at Split Airport, the Split Airport – Stari Grad catamaran service is available until September 15, offering a direct and hassle-free connection.

It’s important to note the seasonal variations in ferry services. During the summer, especially from mid-July to mid-August, there’s an increased frequency of ferries. However, it’s wise to book in advance if you’re bringing a vehicle to avoid any last-minute hassles.

For foot passengers, the journey doesn’t end at the ferry port. Regular bus connections from Stari Grad ferry port will whisk you away to various destinations, including the much-loved Hvar Town.

Navigating Split Harbor for catamaran passengers is straightforward. Your departure point is the pier at Obala Lazareta. However, the harbor can get crowded, so planning your arrival with some buffer time is a smart move.

In 2019, a private catamaran service was introduced, connecting Split Airport directly to Stari Grad, adding a touch of exclusivity to your travel options. For international travelers, there are seasonal ferry services from Italy (Ancona and Pescara) directly to Hvar, making this island accessible from across the Adriatic.

While the coastal line from Rijeka to Dubrovnik is no longer operational, the existing services more than make up for it. Ferry companies like Jadrolinija and Kapetan Luka offer various routes, connecting Hvar with other destinations, ensuring you have multiple options to plan your perfect trip.

For those planning their journey during the high season, be aware that specific routes like Pescara – Stari Grad are operational only in July and August. This is a crucial bit of information for those looking to explore beyond the Croatian coast.

Getting to Hvar Island by Plane

The closest airports to Hvar are in Split and Dubrovnik, with Split being the more convenient option, just 30 km from the Split ferry station.

From both airports, you have a variety of transport options. Buses, taxis, and car rentals are readily available. Notably, from Split Airport, a local bus operates every 20 minutes, making your transfer to the ferry station both easy and affordable.

When it comes to sea transport to Hvar, you have the choice of catamarans or ferries. These can take you from Split directly to Hvar town, Stari Grad, or Jelsa. It’s a scenic and enjoyable part of your journey, offering breathtaking views of the Croatian coastline.

For those flying in, Croatia Airlines is a great option, offering flights from various international cities. You can make reservations easily by calling +385 62 777 777. Besides Split and Dubrovnik, other airports like Zagreb, Pula, Rijeka, Zadar, Osijek, and Brač are also available, though Brač is less practical due to additional ferry travel required.

Split Airport (SPU), 19 km from Split, is your best bet for reaching Hvar. It’s served by multiple airlines, including budget-friendly options, making it accessible for all types of travelers.

From Split Airport, you can take a local bus to Split for just €2.25, with a journey time of about 50 minutes, operating from 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM. Alternatively, an airport shuttle bus, costing €5.97, can get you there in 30 minutes and departs after each aircraft landing.

Taxis are also available, costing approximately €33 to the Split city center, and Uber is an option too. For a more exclusive experience, a water taxi can be booked directly, though it’s pricier (€350-€500). If you prefer driving, car rentals are available, allowing you to drive to Split and take a car ferry to Hvar.

Ferry information is crucial – tickets can be purchased at the Split Ferry Terminal or online, which is highly recommended during the summer peak season. The distance from Split Airport to Hvar is about 56 km (35 miles).

A few travel tips: always book your ferry tickets in advance during peak season to avoid any last-minute hassles. If you’re renting a car, consider accommodation that offers parking. For car rental comparisons, Discover Cars is a useful resource.

To answer some FAQs, the airport code for Hvar is SPU (Split Airport). There are no direct flights from Split to Hvar; you’ll need to take a ferry or water taxi. The cost of a taxi boat varies between €350-€500, depending on the size of your group.

Getting to Hvar Island by Bus

The network of bus routes not only links Croatia with its neighboring countries but also extends to middle and west European nations, making it a reliable choice for travelers from various parts of the continent.

If you’re starting your journey from one of the major cities, you’ll find that reaching Split, a crucial transit point to Hvar, is a breeze. The frequency of buses from cities like Zagreb and Split is impressive, with departures nearly every half hour or hour. This regularity ensures that your travel plans remain flexible and stress-free.

For those seeking more specific details or having particular inquiries, the Bus station Split is always at your service. You can reach them at +385 60 327 327 for up-to-date information and assistance.

Once you arrive at the Split main bus station, which conveniently sits across the ferry port, a variety of sea transport options to Hvar unfold before you. You can choose between a ferry to Stari Grad or a catamaran/hydro-glisser to Jelsa. Alternatively, if you wish to continue your journey by bus, a trip to Drvenik, 92 km from Split, will lead you to a ferry that heads straight to Sucuraj on Hvar island.

Upon setting foot on Hvar, the journey continues with seamless local connections. If you arrive at the Stari Grad ferry station, you’ll find buses ready to whisk you away to Stari Grad town, Hvar town, and Jelsa. The convenience peaks with the ability to purchase tickets directly on the buses, making your travel both effortless and enjoyable.

Getting Around Hvar

Exploring Hvar by car is an experience like no other. The island, free from the clutter of speed cameras, traffic lights, and roundabouts, offers a more natural driving environment. However, this comes with its own set of challenges.

The roads, while narrow and winding, are often shared with roaming wild boar and can become particularly busy during the peak season. This mix of tourists on scooters, large caravans, and local drivers requires a bit of patience and careful driving, but don’t worry, it’s all part of the Hvar adventure!

When driving in Hvar, it’s important to be aware of the local legal requirements. Croatia has a strict alcohol limit for drivers set at 0.5%, and for those under 25, it’s zero tolerance. Always buckle up, as seat belts are mandatory, and not wearing one could land you a 70 € fine.

During the winter months, from October to March, remember to keep your headlights on to avoid a 40 € fine. Interestingly, winter tires are not a necessity here, which is a testament to Hvar’s mild climate.

Parking can be a bit tricky, especially during the busy season. A key tip is to avoid parking on private property to keep the peace with the locals. In the unfortunate event of an accident, it’s crucial to know whom to call.

The police can be reached at 112 or 00 385 192, the ambulance at 00 385 194, and the fire brigade at 00 385 193. For emergency road assistance, dial 987 from local phones or 00 385 1 987 from mobiles.

Speed limits are there for your safety, so adhere to 90 km/h on open roads and 50 km/h in built-up areas. Fueling up can be a bit of a journey, with the nearest petrol station to Sućuraj being over 50km away in Jelsa. However, you’ll find three stations located in Jelsa, Stari Grad, and Hvar Town.

For those preferring public transport or a leisurely walk, Hvar doesn’t disappoint. Buses conveniently connect Hvar, Stari Grad, Vrboska, and Jelsa, timed perfectly with ferry arrivals and departures.

For walkers, there are 13 easy routes that are family-friendly and perfect for exploring historic sites. If you’re not keen on driving, local buses, car rentals, and private boat hires offer excellent alternatives for island exploration.

A Journey Beyond the Journey

After discovering the various ways to reach the enchanting Hvar Island, you might be curious about what awaits you in this Adriatic gem. My journey across Hvar has led me to uncover a myriad of experiences that I’m excited to share with you.

If you’re wondering about the activities that fill the island with life and energy, my exploration of the vibrant and diverse things to do on Hvar Island will guide you through its historical streets and serene natural beauty. For those planning a brief yet memorable visit, my guide on crafting the perfect day trip to Hvar Island offers a snapshot of the island’s magic, ensuring you make the most of your time.

The island’s allure doesn’t end at its shores. I’ve ventured beyond to bring you insights into captivating day trips from Hvar Island, each a unique blend of culture, history, and natural splendor. And for beach enthusiasts, my journey along the coast has revealed the best beaches on Hvar Island, where each cove and bay tells its own tale of the island’s natural beauty.

Lastly, for a truly comfortable stay, I’ve handpicked luxury accommodations on Hvar Island, ensuring your nights are as enchanting as your days. Each of these articles is a chapter in the story of Hvar, designed to offer you an immersive experience beyond just the journey there.

About the author

Tomislav is the main contributor and creator of Croatia Wanderlust. With a deep appreciation for his homeland, he dedicates his time to sharing detailed stories and insights about Croatia's rich culture, scenic landscapes, and historical landmarks. His writings aim to provide readers with a comprehensive understanding of what makes Croatia a unique and must-visit destination. Through his articles, Tomislav hopes to inspire travel enthusiasts and curious minds alike to explore the beauty of Croatia.

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