Though there are two preferred methods of travel to cover the 373 miles (600 km) between Dubrovnik and Zagreb, there are particular advantages and disadvantages to each.
Flying between the renowned coastal city and Croatia's capital is best for direct, quick transfers. Driving across the country from the coast to the inland destination, however, is best for seeing multiple cities and sights along the way for more leisurely travel. Bus travel is possible between the two cities but requires at least nine hours and is less comfortable.
For trip ideas, see the best of Croatia from Dubrovnik to Zagreb and everything in between with this 10-day itinerary. Alternatively, enjoy a focused coastal trip in and near Dubrovnik before transferring to Zagreb for more international flight options.
Duration: 1 hour
Flying between Dubrovnik and Zagreb is by far the best option. Flights are relatively inexpensive and provide the fastest means of transportation from the capital to the coast. Croatia Airlines operates non-stop flights on small prop planes, which make the trip daily throughout the year.
By Rental Car or Private Transfer
Duration: 6-6.5 hours
There are a number of major car rental companies in Dubrovnik. Automatic cars are more expensive to rent, though it is possible to rent manual or automatic vehicles. Gas tends to be expensive in Croatia and is bought by the liter, which is only a quarter of a gallon.
The highway route along D8 and E65/E71 is the fastest, requiring six to six and a half hours. The route is quite scenic as it follows the coast as well as runs through lush countryside and farmlands. The highway nears Split and Zadar–among other smaller villages–which are great places to stop. Have kuna (local currency) on hand for each direction you travel to pay the toll fare.
Those who would like to travel slowly to stop and spend a day or two in destinations between Dubrovnik and Zagreb can explore alternative routes that require significantly more time. For example, highway M16 runs through Bosnia and Herzegovina and provides the opportunity to see cities such as Mostar. Another deviation across the border takes highway E70 and brushes against Sarajevo. Both of these routes add at least two to three hours or more depending on border control lines and traffic conditions.
If you prefer not to rent a car, private transfers can be booked between Dubrovnik and Zagreb. Selecting a private transfer provides more comfort and more control over your schedule. You can book this as part of a broader tour itinerary, and having a local driver is great for getting additional insights at sights and stops along the way.