Croatia :: Frequently Asked Questions
Some general questions about the Balkans are answered in the Overview section.
- Can I get from Croatia to Montenegro by public transport?
- Can I get a train to Dubrovnik?
- What is the best way to get from Croatia to Greece?
- What is the best way to get from Dubrovnik to Istanbul?
- Can I get to Plitvice Lakes by public transport?
- Where I can find a sandy beach?
- Do I need a Bosnian visa to travel by land from Split to Dubrovnik?
- Can I visit Mostar (Bosnia and Herzegovina) on a daytrip from Dubrovnik?
Can I get from Croatia to Montenegro by public transport?
Yes. In the bad old days - that is, until 2004 - there was one daily bus from Dubrovnik to the Debeli Brijeg border crossing. The bus didn't cross the border, so passengers had to carry their luggage for a considerable distance between the two border posts, and hope there would be a Montenegrin bus waiting on the other side. (Strictly speaking this is now irrelevant, I just want to point out how easy you young folk have it these days). Several daily buses now cross the border - the exact number varies depending on the time of year. Some just go as far as Herceg Novi, from where it is easy to pick up buses to all destinations along to the coast, or inland to Podgorica. At least one of the cross-border buses continues to the coastal towns of Kotor and Budva; you'll probably need to change buses if you want to continue to Bar, Ulcinj, or Podgorica. See the websites of Globtour and Dubrovnik Bus Station for more information.
Can I get a train to Dubrovnik?
No. It was once possible to travel by train from Belgrade via Sarajevo to Dubrovnik - a slow but (I imagine) spectacular journey. Sadly for rail pass holders and fans of scenic train journeys, the narrow gauge line to Dubrovnik was closed down in the mid 1970's.
What is the best way to get from Croatia to Greece?
This is the most common question asked by visitors to this site. There is no simple answer: it depends on which part of Croatia, which part of Greece, the time of year you are travelling, and whether you prefer trains to buses or ferries to planes. There are so many possibilities that this topic now has its own page: How to Travel from Croatia to Greece
Another very popular question; again there is no single obvious answer, with the best route depending on your particular circumstances. There are no direct flights. Here are a few possible routes:
- Fly from Dubrovnik to a city with a direct connection to Istanbul. The most obvious example is Zagreb, which has several Croatia Airlines flights from Dubrovnik daily. However Zagreb-Istanbul flights may be quite expensive. You might also investigate other central European cities such as Budapest - this is more likely to work in summer, as many flights to Dubrovnik operate in high season only.
- Some travellers have reported finding fairly cheap fares for direct flights from Sarajevo to Istanbul. Of course you still have to get to Sarajevo - there are usually a couple of daily buses from Dubrovnik, journey time six hours.
- Travel by bus to Montenegro, then continue by either bus or train to Belgrade or Niš in Serbia. Please see How to Travel from Croatia to Greece, especially section 2b, for more details of possible routes from Dubrovnik to Serbia. In Serbia you can catch a direct daily train to Istanbul from Belgrade (23 hours) or Niš (18 hours).
- A variation on the previous route involves travelling from Serbia to Bulgaria by train or bus, followed by a bus from Sofia or Plovdiv to Istanbul (8-10 hours). This may end up being faster than the train, unless you are unlucky with traffic at the Turkish border.
The national park can be reached on some buses between Zagreb and Zadar (or coastal cities south of Zadar) - but many express buses bypass the park, especially since the opening of a motorway to the coast. You can check times from Zagreb at the bus station site; there are roughly 12 per day, but they are not evenly spread throughout the day. It takes 2-2.5 hours to reach the park. There are two entrances, each with a bus stop. It doesn't really matter which one you use to enter the park, but "Ulaz 2" (further from Zagreb) has more services and accommodation. Some guidebooks warn that it can be difficult to leave by bus as some coaches pass by without stopping, especially in high season. I have visited the park three times over several years, arriving and leaving by bus each time, with no difficulties. Although the Zagreb-Split railway passes close to the park, there are no stations close enough to the entrance to be of any use.
If you regard sandy beaches as a crucial element of your summer holiday, Croatia may not be the place for you: most of the coastline consists of pebbles or rocks, and real sand is hard to find. That's not necessarily a bad thing - in fact it is said to be one of the reasons why the Adriatic waters are so clear. That said, there are a few stretches of sand here and there. I haven't visited these places myself, but have heard people recommend Sunj Bay (Lopud Island, near Dubrovnik) and "Paradise Beach" (Lopar, Rab Island). For a more extensive list see Beaches of Croatia. By the way, the much-photographed Zlatni Rat beach near Bol is not sandy, although it might fool you from a distance.
Anyone travelling by car or bus from Split to Dubrovnik must pass through the "Neum corridor", a 22km strip of Bosnian territory along the Adriatic coast. This may raise a concern for travellers from who would normally require visas to enter Bosnia. It is not clear whether visas are required simply to transit this small section of Bosnia. Some people say that under the terms of a treaty between Croatia and Bosnia, travellers entering the Neum corridor in order to transit without stopping are not subject to the usual Bosnian entry requirements. You may be subject to border controls when crossing this zone, but it should be sufficient to have the documents that allowed you to enter Croatia in the first place (ID card, passport, or Croatian visa if relevant). On the other hand, at least one traveller recently reported being told by a Bosnian official that those nationalities that require a visa to enter Bosnia "proper" DO need a transit visa. See this Thorntree post for the former view, and this one for the latter.
Travellers taking the coastal ferry from Split to Dubrovnik do not pass through Bosnia territory and are not affected by the Neum corridor. If you are travelling by car it is possible to avoid Neum by using the ferry between Ploče and Trpanj.
Please see the Bosnia FAQ.