...some things to consider
So you have landed on the Croatian mainland and your next task is to buy your ferry or catamaran tickets to Hvar (unless of course you are coming with the new seaplane service). There are a few things that are useful to know.
As of last summer, catamaran tickets ONLY can be bought online from the official Jadrolinija website - www.jadrolinija.hr - a minimum of 24 hours in advance. This is a huge advance on previous years, when the only option was to get up early and try to get tickets for Hvar Town before they sold out.
The only ferry tickets which can be purchased online are those from international routes, such as Ancona. All national ferry ticket sales must be made in person. It should also be noted that it is not possible to reserve a place on a ferry, which is never a problem for foot passengers, but it can be for visitors with cars, so get there early! The benefit of this of course, is that you are then free to go and explore Split for an hour or two before the ferry, and there is plenty of interest within walking distance, including the jewel of Diocletian's Palace.
The Sućuraj to Drvenik ferry is a very useful service for people going to and from Dubrovnik, as it saves 90 minutes in the car to Split and the crossing is only 30 minutes, BUT the ferry is small, with a capacity of just 32 regular cars. This is never a problem out of season, but it is in the summer, and it is not uncommon to have more than 100 cars in the queue. The good news is that when this happens, the two ferries in operation work non-stop to clear the backlog.
One final tip is for buying tickets to the most popular destination to Hvar Town. These catamaran tickets sell out fast, and tourists are often left disappointed and forced to then wait for the two-hour ferry followed by the bus from Stari Grad. The catamaran usually continues to Korčula and perhaps Lastovo. These destinations are less popular, but an allocation of tickets is always reserved for them. So if you find Hvar sold out, try buying a ticket to Korčula. It will cost you more, but it may well get you on the boat.
A useful note for all smokers (except those that smoking is harmful): ferries are non-smoking inside, although you are free to smoke on deck, while catamarans are also non-smoking, but with no possibility to go outside.
*Author - Paul Bradbury
*Photo Credit - Romulić & Stojčić multimedia studio