Best places to visit while driving from Split to Dubrovnik!


Omis - One of the best places to visit on the way from Split to Dubrovnik

If you are travelling from Split to Dubrovnik especially driving yourself or even by bus, then there are a number of beautiful towns that you can plan to visit either as a day trip or even to stop for the night. We drove from Split to Dubrovnik and made many stops along the way to explore small  towns which were a great break from the hustling crowds of the main cities.

Here are some of the places we think are great to visit while travelling between Split and Dubrovnik – Omis, Makarska, Ston and Peljesac Peninsula, and definitely Mostar. 

  • Omis is a beautiful small town right outside Split is a great pit stop 
  • Makarska is an elegant seaside town, great for either a stop over or night stay
  • Ston is another lovely town closer to Dubrovnik, famous for the magnificent Ston wall and oyster farming
  • Mostar and Kravice waterfalls are located in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Mostar is very popular for a day visit

A lot of these towns are well connected with Split and Dubrovnik by bus so don’t necessarily need to be driving to visit these. But driving makes it a convenient since the bus schedules may not be that frequent. Read our post on Best way to travel from Split to Dubrovnik to know more about the best travel options between Split and Dubrovnik.

Each of these cities have a lot to offer so this post will guide you on how much time you should spend in these cities, places where you could stay over the night and even the top things to explore at each destination.

Split to Omis

Omis is a small town about 25kms from Split. There are regular bus connections from Split to Omis and the journey takes about 1hour and costs about 2-3 eur. Check for bus route 60 which has the most frequent connections to Omis. Taking a cab to Omis is quite economical too. If you are driving from Split to Dubrovnik, you can easily do a stop over in Omis.  

Tip: For the foodies, Omis is a good place to try the famous Soparnik, a swiss chard pie revered as an integral part of Croatian culinary heritage.

If you are visiting Omis, then you must see the beautiful Cetina river canyon at the spot where it meets the Adriatic sea. You could also explore the 13th century fortress and a 10th century church which are some of the famous attractions in Omis. 

  • Distance between Split and Omis: 25kms
  • Split to Omis bus: Daily connections; 1hour; 2-3 eur approx.
  • Things to explore: Cetina river canyon, fortress and church
  • Ideal for a half day trip, stop over during road trip

Split to Makarska 

Located about 85kms from Split, Makarska is a lovely seaside town with an elegant promenade dotted with of restaurants and cafes. It is quite popular with families and tourists looking for a relaxed time by the sea and reasonable nightlife and a lot of tourists consider to spend a few days in Makarska.

We highly recommend Makarska for a few days stay to explore Split and nearby locations without scores of tourists around the main cities. However, you may not find as many organized tours to islands and frequent bus connections to other main Croatian cities which are available from Split main town. Even if you are not staying over in Makarska, it is still a good day visit or pit stop when traveling between Split and Dubrovnik.

  • Distance between Split and Makarska : 85kms
  • Cheapest way from Split to Makarska: Bus; 1.5hours, 4-10 eur
  • Rideshare from Split to Makarska: BlaBlaCar (recently introduced local service); 10-20eur
  • Fastest way from Split to Makarska: Self drive; Cost: 8-20 eur; Cab: Cost: 60-80 eur (not recommended) 
  • Ferry to Makarska: 1.5hours; 8-10 eur
  • Places to explore: Church of St Mark, Franciscan monastery, hiking trails
  • Ideal for family stays; good pit stop while driving from Split to Dubrovnik

Makarska is easily accessible from Split by bus which takes about 1.5 hours and costs about 4-10 eur. The most convenient way to get to Makarska is through self drive as it can be easy if you are planning on visiting Split and other nearby locations. There are regular ferry connections too from Split to Makarska main town and these too take about 1.5 hours. 

Top things to do in Makarska

The entire Makarska riviera extends over 60km from Brela in the north to Gradac in the south, and boasts of some lovely, sun bathed beaches.  Makarska is built around a sheltered bay protected by the rocky slopes of the mighty Mount Biokovo. There are several hiking trails along the slope of Biokovo for tourists to explore. There are also regular boat connections to islands close to Split like Brac which can be a lovely day trip. You can even consider day excursions to Split and other nearby places. 

In Makarska, you should definitely explore the Church of St Mark which is a baroque styled 17th  century church situated in the main square. The 16th century Franciscan monastery is also a highlight of the town. 

Split to Neum

If you travel further along the coastal route from Split to Dubrovnik, then you will be passing through 12 miles of territory that lies in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This strip is called the Neum corridor and divides Croatia in two parts. 

  • Distance between Split and Neum: ~150kms
  • Distance between Dubrovnik and Neum: ~65kms
  • Cheapest way from Split to Neum: Bus; 3.5hours, 8-10 eur
  • Fastest way from Split to Neum: Self drive; Cost: 8-20 eur
  • Ideal for pit stop while driving from Split to Dubrovnik

Neum is a charming, small seaside town along the coast with some good restaurants and bars. Neum is about 150 km from Split and 65 km from Dubrovnik. There are regular buses from Split to Neum and costs about 10-12 eur. Bus from Dubrovnik would take about an hour and costs 6-10 eur. The most convenient way is to drive to Neum since there are too many tolls on this route. 

Neum can be a good spot for a quick bite during your journey from Split or Dubrovnik. We would not recommend Neum for a complete one day trip or stay over since there are better locations like Makraska, Mostar that you could consider.

Tip: You would need the requisite visa to enter Bosnia and Herzegovina if you are considering visiting Neum. 

Restoran Laguna, Bonaco and Restoran Jopi are very popular in Neum though slightly expensive. While you are here, you must try the mix grill, cevapi or burek.

Ston and Peljesac Peninsula 

Just about half an hour away from Neum is the beautiful little town of Ston in Peljesac Peninsula. Peljesac is considered the seafood paradise in Croatia and is very popular for its fresh farm oysters and high quality family produced wines. You even get a chance to explore the 14th century giant Ston wall, a hike of 5kms giving beautiful views of the fishing town and the bay.

In our opinion, Ston is a great day visit from Dubrovnik itself or while driving from Split to Dubrovnik but some tourists consider staying a day or two to completely soak in the charms of Mali Ston fishing town. 

Ston is accessible by bus from Split, Makarska and Dubrovnik. The most convenient way to explore this area is with self driving from neighboring cities. There are a number of organized day tours to Peljesac from Dubrovnik which includes visiting Ston and Peljesac wineries which you can consider. 

  • Distance between Split and Ston: ~180kms
  • Distance between Dubrovnik and Ston: ~55kms
  • Split to Ston Bus: 3.5hours, ~14 eur
  • Dubrovnik to Ston Bus: ~1hour, ~8 eur
  • Fastest way to Ston from Split/ Dubrovnik: Self drive; Cost: 10-20 eur
  • Ideal for day visit from Dubrovnik or en-route between Split and Dubronvik
Things to do and must try seafood in Ston

Ston is famous for its fresh oyster farming. It is said that the oysters from this region are one of the tastiest in the world because of the unique nutrient blend that takes place in the bay. Mali Ston is the culinary destination in Ston and is a small village about 2kms from the main town. You must try fresh farm oysters or savor the famous Ston risotto (black cuttlefish risotto) and Ston makaruli (local dessert delicacy) at Kapetanova Kuca (Captain’s House) restaurant, one of Croatia’s top restaurants located here. Restoran Bota Sare and Vila Koruna are other famous seafood restaurants in Mali Ston. 

You could also tour salt works of this region and learn about the traditions of salt harvesting that have been preserved in history.  

Another highlight of visiting Ston is exploring the 14th century Great Wall (Ston wall) which cuts through the main town to Mali Ston. It is a 5kms hike over the stone wall and is steep in parts. But the views of the bay and coastal villages are worth the effort. 

From Ston you can consider going to Dubrovnik directly or do a pit stop at the Trsteno Arboretum. Built in the 15th century, it is one of the oldest arboretum in this part of the world. Serene trails winding through some of the oldest trees in the region makes Trsteno Arboretum surely a picturesque location. No wonder it was used as a filming location in the famous drama series Game of Thrones.

Mostar and Kravice waterfalls from Split or Dubrovnik

Mostar, located in Bosnia and Herzegovina, is a great destination to visit while travelling from Split to Dubrovnik. A lot of tourists take day trip to Mostar and Kravice falls from Split or Dubrovnik. We highly recommend visiting Mostar and Kravice waterfalls, and plan to stay the night to soak in the Balkan experience. 

Tip: You would need to go through border control and should have requisite visa to enter Bosnia and Herzegovina if you are considering visiting Mostar and Kravice waterfalls. 

Mostar is about 112kms from Split. There are regular bus connections to Mostar and Split. The journey would take about 3 to 3.5hours and costs around 10-20 eur. Mostar is about 85kms from Dubrovnik and easily accessible by bus, which takes about 3hours and costs about 15eur. The most convenient way to get to Mostar from either Split or Dubrovnik is through self drive. If you are renting a car in Croatia or any other EU country do check with you rental agency on documents required to visit Bosnia and Herzegovina. There are many organized day trips from to Mostar from Split and Dubrovnik, and costs around 450kn.

Is Mostar, or even Bosnia in general, considered a safe place?

Mostar and other major cities in BiH have been rebuilt and most tourists places are considered safe. Check the mine condition on the official website for more information. You should be vary of venturing out to non-tourists places and country side in general. Car theft is a common issue that many locals suggest to be careful of.

Is it better to do a day trip to Mostar from Split or Dubrovnik?

Mostar is about the same distance from Split and Dubrovnik so can be visited from either city. There are regular bus connections from both Split and Dubrovnik which take about 3.5hours. If you are travelling between Split and Dubrovnik and not visiting any island then it is best to visit it en-route and even consider spending the night.

What is the best self-drive route to Mostar?

From Split, there are three routes to Mostar, and all pass through border crossings.  E65 motorway is the best self drive route to Mostar from Split as this is the main motorway. The route through M6.1 and D60 looks shorter but can be narrow and slow you down.

If you are travelling from Dubronvik, again there are three routes you could consider – via Tribinje using M6 and M18 route, via Mektovic using M6 and D8 route, and via Tribinje using R427 and M20. The easiest route to Mostar from Dubrovnik is through Tribinje using the M6 and M18 route. There is usually a waiting time of about 30mins to an hour at the border control depending on season so plan for it in advance.

Things to explore in Mostar 

Mostar is definitely worth visiting if you are travelling through Croatia or the Balkan region.

Stari Most, a UNESCO world heritage, is on of the most stunning landmark in Mostar. Overlooking Neretva river, the old bridge has stood gorund for over 400 years. It was destroyed during the Bosnian wars but has been recently rebuilt. Koski Mehmed Pasa Mosque is another iconic site of the city. The mosque has a beautiful embellished interior and climbing up the minaret gives not only great views of the city but also awesome photo opportunities. There are plenty of Turkish style restaurants and cafes offering sumptuous Bosnian delicacies and famous local coffee. After a relaxed meal, you can head to the old bazaar to explore  various craft stores, picking up souvenirs and trinkets.

Visit Kravice waterfalls from Mostar 

Kravice waterfalls are located about 40kms from the Mostar main city. Its takes about 30mins to get there by car so the most convenient option is either to drive yourself or hire a cab (about 70 eur) since there are no direct bus connections from Mostar to Kravice. There are a number of day tours organized from both Mostar and Dubrovnik to Kravice waterfalls which you can explore.

Kravice waterfalls is a stunning location, only next in popularity of Plitvice and Krka national park in Croatia. During the summer months you can enjoy the day swimming at Kravice and enjoying a lovely meal with view of the falls.

Useful tips to consider while travelling from Split to Dubrovnik

Finally here are some quick tips to keep in mind if you plan on visiting any of these above cities:

  1. It is best to check bus timetables before your journey since these vary during peak and off peak season. You can buy bus tickets either from bus terminals or online. Buying tickets en-route or on the bus is usually not possible. For bus bookings and bus timetables, check Bus Croatia or GetbyBus.
  2. If you plan to visit Neum or Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) from Croatia, you will pass through border control and will require requisite visa to enter BiH.
  3. If you are visiting Mostar using a rental car from Croatia or any other EU country, check with your rental agency on the documents required while visiting BiH. This is permit document to enter BiH and costs about 30eur

 

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