Bus from Rovinj to Zadar

Bus from Rovinj to Zadar

Racing out the door to catch the 8:45 a.m. bus from Rovinj to Zadar – our next destination – Kris quickly rattled off a checklist before we left. We got everything from the bathroom? Check. Cables and cords? Check. Bus tickets? Check. Passports? Shit. Where was my passport? I scrambled my mind and remembered that I had slipped it into the bottom of my backpack. Since I would have to part with my bag and stow it in the luggage compartment below the bus, there was no way I was leaving my passport where it was.

This was how my day was starting.

After unpacking and repacking my bag (Grrrrr. Why do I still travel with my old-school top-loading backpack!?!), I did another tour of the apartment to make sure we hadn’t left anything behind; we hadn’t. Maybe I was subconsciously dragging my feet. Our impending eight hour bus ride – including a short stop in Rijeka – was eliciting little enthusiasm from me. Yet, it was explained to us thoroughly that it was our best option for a bus from Rovinj to Zadar: three hours from Rovinj to Rijeka and five hours from Rijeka to Zadar. Regardless of my logical thoughts on the matter (“It just isn’t that far,” I kept saying), at this point, we were going to have to double-time it to the station in order to not miss the bus.

Bus from Rovinj to Zadar: Leg One

Views of the Adriatic Sea during our ride on the bus from Rovinj to Zadar

We were the last passengers on and the bus was leaving the curb before we were even settled in our seats. We left Rovinj behind, straining our necks for a last glimpse of the old town. We followed the same route along the coastline that we had taken when we traveled to Pula. After Pula, we turned inland and uphill, working our way through forests and valleys. A steep descent led us away from the natural setting and around a massive power plant before heading back to the coastline. As we passed by quaint fishing villages, I was thankful we had taken seats on the right side of the bus. We rolled through Opatija, a big, classy resort town. I started to feel like we were on an organized coastline tour, minus the commentary.

Views of the Adriatic Sea and coastline during our ride on the bus from Rovinj to Zadar

Bus from Rovinj to Zadar: Leg Two

In Rijeka, we changed buses. With a full passenger load and broken machines for baggage check, it was slightly chaotic, but we were soon on our way. I thought we would surely be heading toward the highway for the second leg of our trip, but I was wrong. We stayed on the road that hugged the coastline. Making the hairpin turns on the narrow roads that traced the coves was keeping our speed to a minimum – and proving to me why five hours are needed to travel the short distance. At times, looking through my window, I could see straight down into the water, which was so clear I could see to the bottom. Off shore were the barren islands of northern Dalmatia and, even from our vantage point, it was impossible to count how many there were.

Views of the northern Dalmatia islands that dot the Adriatic Sea - as seen during our ride on the bus from Rovinj to Zadar

We made a stop in the seaside town of Karlobag and were given 20 minutes to stretch our legs. As we strolled along the shore, I thought more about our route. We were using public transportation (and paying public transportation prices) to get from Point A to Point B, but the scenery was tossed in as a bonus. The dramatic panoramic views were far more impressive than I had anticipated – and definitely worth the extra couple of hours on the road.

Views of the mountains during our ride on the bus from Rovinj to Zadar

During the remainder of the trip to Zadar, we briefly turned inland and our focus fell on the cloud draped mountain range in the distance and small, family-run farms. By the time we arrived in Zadar, I was restless and ready to have my feet back on the ground. The ride on the bus from Rovinj to Zadar was long, but also turned out to be surprisingly scenic.

Click here for a Zadar Self-Guided Walking Tour

We want to know: Have you ever traveled by bus from Rovinj to Zadar? What route did you take – and how long was the ride? What other bus trips have you made in Croatia? Tell us about your experience in the comments!

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6 thoughts on “Bus from Rovinj to Zadar

  1. You guys are loving Croatia so much that you’re seeing it with rose tinted glasses! 🙂
    We spent so much time on those darn Croatian buses: almost 7 hours from Split to Dubrovnik, about 6 from Split to Kotor. Then we did that whole trip going up the coast all the way to Trieste. I agree there are fantastic views. But those buses (90% of them anyway) have no toilets, are uncomfortable, and have sporadic AC in the summer. And they never stop in good places for photo taking 🙂

    Great photos though.
    Frank (bbqboy)

    • haha – maybe it’s the bus windows that are rose tinted!
      The NO on-bus toilet bothers me most – and when we do get short breaks at stations, we have to pay (which i find quite irritating!). We’ll be getting on a bus to Split in a few days…so we still have a little time to mentally prepare or the ride 😉

      • Anonymous

        Still researching whether to rent a car or use public transport or a combination of both for our trip next year so following with interest… How do you manage with luggage? Do the buses have adequate storage for luggage? Thanks!

        • We don’t have much luggage – just backpacks. But, even those get stored underneath the bus. There is usally a fee of about $1 per bag. The public buses work great sometimes – and not so great other times. The pros: We don’t have to drive (neither of us like driving), fairly inexpensive, no worries about directions/getting lost/insurance/gas stations/etc. Cons: Less freedom (no random stops, interesting routes, etc), what should take 1 hour can take 4-5, no toilets on the bus, not a lot of room.

      • We met a British family with 2 young kids getting around by bus. Honestly, I don’t know how they did it – they organized everything from A to Z including snacks, books…and plastic bottles in case they had to pee on the bus.
        It’s something Croatia should really work on. Then, on the other side of the spectrum, you have places like Mexico where buses are like flying first class…

        • Sounds like my kind of family! haha. We’ve never traveled by bus in Mexico. The long-haul buses in Uruguay and Argentina surpassed our expectations, in all categories. But in the rest of the world, we’ve chalked it up as a means to an end 😉

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