It’s hard not to fall in love with Croatia’s rugged coastline and The Adriatic Sea with it’s turquoise water and loads of white sailing boats that slowly make their way in and out between the more than thousand dazzling islands.
But the Croatian coastline and the sea can not only be explored by boat.
If you drive from Split to Dubrovnik by The Adriatic Highway, you’ll find yourself riding along more than 200 kilometers of road clinging to the side of the Dalmatian cliffs with excellent views of the sea, the boats and the islands.
The route – marked as E65 on most maps – is on many lists considered one of the top 10 drives in the world, and while the trip can be done in just a few hours, it’ll easy take you most of the day to get all the way to Dubrovnik.
Almost every little bend of the road reveals another stop-the-car-view of drowsy villages, gorgeous pebble beaches and water as blue as the sky.
Pictures of The Adriatic Sea
The drive can obviously be done both from Split to Dubrovnik and in the other direction, but when planning your trip try to choose the southbound drive towards Dubrovnik.
In that way, you’ll have The Adriatic Sea right next to your car and you can stop and take pictures without having to cross the road over and over again.
From Split the road takes you through the seaside town of Omis which lies in a green valley where the river Cetina meets the sea. Further down the coast you’ll drive past Makarska with its beautiful beaches – and tourists in plenty.
The border with Bosnia and Herzegovina
When you reach the town of Ploce, you’ll have left most of the crowded tourist resorts behind. Here the road bends away from the coast for a little while and follows the Neretva River that soon gives way to fertile fields full of tasty fruits and vegetables that farmers sell from colorful stands alongside the road.
It looks awesome – and the taste is even better.
After having filled the trunk with oranges, watermelons and honey, you’ll soon again be driving along the sea.
Just a little further south The Adriatic Highway reaches the Bosnia and Herzegovinian border. The border crossing marks the beginning of the nine kilometers long Neum Corridor, which is the only access to the sea that Bosnia and Herzegovina has.
You’ll soon reach the next border crossing and be back in Croatia. Just before the town of Zaton Doli it’s possible to turn right to the Peljesac Peninsula. This is not a part of the traditional Adriatic Highway though, so most people just continue southwards on the road towards Dubrovnik, but if you have the time it’s worth a detour.
After passing through the village of Slano you’ll be able to see the Elaphiti Islands just of the coast. These small islands and their beaches are very popular amongst locals and tourists from Dubrovnik – it’s easy to see why when driving along them.
The last landmark on your way to Dubrovnik is the impressive Franjo Tudjman Bridge. Soon after crossing the bridge, you’ll find yourself in downtown Dubrovnik.
The old town inside the city walls is pedestrianized, so you’ll have to park your car before beginning to explore the medieval part of Dubrovnik. There’s a one-way street leading traffic around the city walls and just before you reach the Pile Gate – which is the main gate to the old town – there’s a parking lot on your right hand side. It’s pretty expensive, though – the cost is 40 kunas per hour of parking.
Tips for driving The Adriatic Highway
General speed limits in Croatia are 50 km/h in inhabited areas, 90 km/h outside inhabited areas and 130 km/h on motorways. Local signposts restrict most of the route between Split and Dubrovnik to either 60 or 80 km/h though.
Don’t drink and drive – the legal limit of blood alcohol content in Croatia is 0,05 %.
If an accident happens, call 112 for emergencies and 1987 for roadside assistance service.