The coastal city of Zadar is 217 miles (350 km) from Dubrovnik, and the easiest way to travel between them is by plane (requiring a connection in Zagreb). Another option is going by road, with a private transfer or rental car, which lends the opportunity to make stops along the way and travel at your own pace. Buses also connecting Dubrovnik to Zadar, with several direct departures every day.
This 12-day self-drive tour of Croatia explores Zadar and Dubrovnik, along with the hills and castles of Zagorje, the UNESCO sites of Plitvice Lakes National Park and Split's Diocletian's Palace, and Brač Island.
By Private Transfer or Rental Car
Duration: 4.5-6 hours, more with stops
Making the trip from Dubrovnik to Zadar by private transfer is ideal for travelers who prefer to avoid navigating European roads, and relax and enjoy the journey instead. You can find out about transfer services between Dubrovnik and Zadar by getting in touch with your local travel specialist.
Leaving Dubrovnik, follow the D8 Jadrana Magistrala coastal road. About 40 miles (64 km) from Dubrovnik, the D8 passes through a 5.5-mile (9 km) stretch of Bosnia and Herzegovina enclaved within Croatia. You'll need to show your passport twice when crossing both international borders. During the busy summer months, this may require a wait. Once over the second border back into Croatia, the road becomes the E65 toll highway which continues towards Zadar. Exit at Zemunik Gornji and follow the 424 to Zadar.
Popular destinations along the way that are worth a short detour include the seaside town of Makarska, Split and its UNESCO-listed Diocletian's Palace, and the historic old town of Trogir which also enjoys UNESCO status.
Duration: 2.5 - 6 hours or more, depending on your layover in Zagreb
Making the journey from Dubrovnik Airport (DBV) to Zadar Airport (ZAD) by plane is another convenient option. There are no direct flights between the two cities, so the trip will involve a connection in Zagreb. The flights with the quickest layovers are operated by Croatian Airlines—the shortest total travel time you'll find is 2 hours and 20 minutes. Other airlines offer this route with significantly longer layovers.
Duration: 8.5 hours
There are several direct buses making the trip every day from Dubrovnik to Zadar, but frequency is higher during the summer tourist season. Buses in Croatia are comfortable and air-conditioned, and Arriva and FlixBus have free wifi on board. You can book your tickets in advance online.