Croatia – Travel Tips
Ferry from Italy
We have entered both times by ferry from Ancona,
- 2012 – SNAV fast ferry to Split. Approx 5 hours and travelling during the day time. The ship was big but had a peculiar long corkscrewing motion that made a lot of people sick.
- 2017 – Jadrolinija overnight ferry to Zadar. We had an inside cabin, small but a comfy bunk with breakfast thrown in. About 90€ each, double the price of a deck ticket but worth it. Arrived 7am in Gazenica, about 8kms out of Zadar. We used a local bus to the bus depot then a number 2 bus to Zadar Old Town. There was very little signage about buses at Gazenica. We asked around and walked 800m to the bus area. Some seating but no shelter. Lots of taxis on hand. They wanted about 25€ for the trip into town. Cost 10HRK ($A2) each.
There are other ferry companies, inlcuding Blueline.
There is left luggage at Ancona train station, there are no signs but it’s inside where the toilets are so follow signs there. €3 for the first 12 hours, paid in advance, per bag.
Alternatively, luggage can be left at the Waiting Room next to the Immigration Departure Area for a similar fee. This is more convenient because it is closer to access to the town centre. Ancona is worth exploring (although quite a climb from the wharf area) for its history and Roman ruins. Things get vey quiet in Ancona on Saturday afternoon and Sunday.
There is a free shuttle bus (No 20) that goes between the train station, the ticket office (all lines) and the Departure/Immigration Area. Alternatively, a taxi from the rail station to the ticketing office will cost around 15€. Walking is difficult due to the road system.
Immigration did not open until 8pm for a 10pm sailing time.
Ferries Within Croatia
Jadrolinija has the lion’s share of the business and services most of the main islands from Split to Dubrovnik. They most leave from the far end of the wharf area in Split near the cruise ship terminal. There are large signs giving the berths and leaving times of all sailings for the day, just like an airport.
Other smaller local ferries run We used Baru Line from Trogir to Split and back. It cost 35HRK each way as against the bus which was 21HRK and stopped about 1km short of the palace area in Split.
We took a bus from Zadar to Trogir (Autotransport Sibenik). It was a modern well equipped bus with toilet and WiFi. However, the bus was oversold by at least 120% so some people had to stand. Some people had seat allocations on tickets but Internet bookings did not. Extra tickets were sold on board. There was a luggage fee of 7HRK per item. A very stop start journey.
Split – We stayed in a cheap apartment just outside the walls of the palace and opposite the market. This gives easy access to all the best sights and the ferry terminal. Cost about $A50 a night in 2012.
Zadar – We used AirBnB (Zadar Old Town Apartment). Excellent location right near People’s Square in the middle of the Old Town. A basic flat but had everything we needed. Excellent friendly host. Even gave us free pizza and beers one night. $A53 a night in 2017. Would definitely come back.
Dubrovnik – (2012) – Good accommodation close to the old city was a lot more than split, around $A90 a night for a small apartment overlooking the harbor and city walls.
We came from Italy with a WIND SIM that we were told would work in Croatia. It did, but it took 4€ a day from our credit for 500Mb of data. Not good.
There are two main providers with good coverage of 3G and 4G:
These also have secondary providers that can be better value. Both providers offer special Tourist SIMS with unlimited data for around 50HRK but they are only valid for 7 days. These are good for the short term tourist.
For longer stays, we bought a BonBon (T-Mobile) SIM for 20HRK (giving 20HRK credit for calls and SMS) then another 40HRK top up to turn into 6Gb Data that will last for a month.
Since no registration is required, SIMS can be bought at Tobacconists (look for TISAK brand). We found the instructions were not too hard to register the chip.
The coverage with T-Mobile through a BonBon SIM was excellent, with mostly 4G, even out on the islands.
Prices in Zadar were quite high. It was difficult to find a simple meal for under $A10 a head, except for pizza (not again!). Some pasta meals were available for $A7-8.
In Trogir, most meals seemed to be about $A2 cheaper than Zadar.
We cooked in the apartment and were surprised at how cheap pork and chicken was from the super-market.
Our observation is that there is generally less English spoken in Croatia than other European countries such as Italy or Germany. As with everywhere, approach a younger person if you need English. Some of the older shop keepers were quite snappy with our lack of Croatian.