Since these are two of Croatia’s main cities, the question that I get asked really often is how to get from Zagreb to Split (or vice versa). And today I am here to tell you all the options that you have, no matter if you plan to travel by car, plane, bus or train.
Yes, we can finally add the “by plane” option here – which is also the fastest since being introduced relatively recently by airlines operating in the country.
The good thing is that, no matter what means of transportation you choose, you will easily be able to travel from Zagreb to Split or Split to Zagreb.
We have them all here – from slower but more economic to very fast but a bit more expensive. It’s up for you to decide what’s the best one in your case!
From the point of time saving, it is obvious that flying from one city to the other is the fastest way. A flight would take around 50 minutes, but you also lose some time with the checking in, boarding the plane and getting from the airport to the city.
If you are interested in natural beauty, unspoiled nature, national parks, mountain landscapes… then I can say without a doubt that traveling by car is the best option, even though it will take longer. Even getting a bus will do the trick if you don’t want to rent a car!
But let’s look at the options that we have and detail them below!
Getting from Zagreb to Split by Plane (and vice-versa)
As mentioned above, this is the fastest, but more expensive way of traveling between the cities. It’s also true that time is money… so it’s up for you to decide how expensive it is.
Flights are very frequent and from my experience, very regular between the two airports. A flight from one city to the other, in either direction, takes from 45 to 50 minutes.
Including the time you are going to lose traveling from/to the airports, as well as check-in times, in the end you should arrive to your destination in less than 3 hours.
Croatia airline is the main company on this route and your best choice in my opinion.
The prices are usually around 100 Euros for a round trip, if you don’t mind flying early in the morning or later in the evening. There are often discounts available, making this option of flying from Zagreb to Split similarly priced to getting a train or a bus.
Getting from Zagreb to Split by Car
… and vice versa, of course!
The driving distance between the two cities is about 410 km. Traveling by car has some advantages but it’s consider the most expensive way of traveling if you have to rent the car in the first place.
Driving to Split by car is more flexible though, as you have the freedom to stop whenever and wherever you want on the way and visit the most interesting sights.
For example, stopping to see the National Park of Plitvice Lakes is a good idea, especially if you’re not in a major hurry.
Traveling by car will take you around 4 hours, taking the E71 highway route, driving all the way to Dugopolje and from there taking the direction to the Split city center.
Along the way, you will also have to pay some tolls of around 24 Euros or 175 Kuna (make sure to double check as this info might change).
If you want to know the cost of gasoline to drive between the two destinations for these 410 km, then expect to spend approximately 454 Kuna (60 EUR) for gas.
Finally, you should also take into account the costs for renting a car if you don’t bring your own. The good news is that there are rental agencies around both airports – so no matter where you first land, be it Zagreb or Split, you will have options.
All in all, getting from Split to Zagreb and Zagreb to Split by car is definitely not cheap (even if you have your own car), but the freedom that is offered by being allowed to choose your own route and set up your own schedule might make it worthwhile.
Getting from Zagreb to Split by bus
Considering that there are approximately 30 daily buses that cover this route, the bus has always been regarded as an excellence service.
I personally choose to travel by bus whenever I get to Croatia and love it: I get to see the beautiful sights and not have to worry about driving myself. Ah, the pleasures of being on holiday!
There are various companies that offer rides on this route and you can also buy your tickets online in some cases. But it’s easier to just go to the bus station in either city and purchase your ticket there – you don’t normally have to do it well in advance because you have options.
If you want to play it safe and get a ticket online, your best option is most likely Arriva – Croatia’s largest bus operator. Very cheap too!
The Zagreb Bus Station and the Split Bus Station are connected every day. During the year with two and during the season with five departures a day.
Via bus, there are 453 kilometers between Zagreb and Split, and a bus ride takes about 5 hours and 30 minutes.
On the other hand, prices are usually low and a one way ticket will cost around 18 Euros if you don’t book it in advance, but there are several options available and if you purchase in advance, prices could drop to as low as 8-9 Euros.
There are also various discounts that the companies offer – for passangers under 26 years of age, for example, for seniors and for children. The discounts vary from 15% to 80% in the case of toddlers.
On the other hand, if you have large luggage with you, you will have to pay extra in most cases, but the prices are also low – around 10 Kuna normally, but hand luggage is free of charge.
When leaving Zagreb, all buses depart from the Zagreb bus station, located on Avenija Marina Drzica 4. The price and bus comfort depend on which road you decide to take. (faster E71 highway is obviously more expensive).
In Split, there are actually two bus stations: one located close to the sea on Obala kneza Domagoja 12, but many others will stop at a different address at the Split Local Bus Station on Lička ul. 2. No matter where the bus leaves you, though, you’re close to the city center.
Getting from Zagreb to Split by train
Although trains in Croatia are not the top pick, when you have the beautiful highways and cheap buses, they are still an option and still a popular way of transportation between the two cities.
And this one is actually the only train connection that runs between Croatia’s inland and Central Dalmatia.
There are two daytime trains from Zagreb and a night train during the summer season. Latest schedules can be found on the very reliable website of Bahn.de (also in English).
At this moment, there are 3 trains available: one night train and two day ones:
- The D 821 night train from the Zagreb main train station (Zagreb Glavni kolodvor). It leaves from Zagreb at 22:56 PM and arrives in Split next day at 06.45 AM. This train has only 2nd class seated accommodation and couchettes.
- Daily Train IC 521 leaving daily at 07.35 AM and arriving at Split train station at 13.43 PM. Please note: Reservation is compulsory!
- Daily Train IC 523 leaves at 15.20 PM and arrives in Split at 21.21 PM. Please note: Reservation is compulsory!
Make sure to double check the schedules, though, as they might change. Some of these trains might not be available during all times of the year, so it’s best to check in advance.
As you can see, we have a ton of great options available to fit all budgets and travel preferences.
I personally prefer going by bus in order to just sit back and enjoy the ride, but if you love driving and you want the freedom of movement that a car offers, go for it.
On the other hand, flying from Zagreb to Split and vice versa gets you to the destination faster, while I honestly recommend taking the train only as a last resort, if you’re not in a hurry or just passionate about riding trains.