Cosmo-topia! A Review of a Croatian Bus Route: Dubrovnik – Rijeka by Will Kay

Posted on July 21, 2011


The Croatian waitress shook her head and said with a pained look, “Very far. Long time.” Yes, a very long time, a projected 12-hour bus ride in fact, but in relative distance, it was a pretty short distance from Dubrovnik (in the very south of Croatia close to Montenegro) to Rijeka (in the north-west of Croatia close to Italy). It was with trepidation that I decided upon this route.

Google Maps suggested route, amended by the author. N.B. This is not the actual route.

I have never been fond of buses. In Australia, I found them pokey boxes filled with nauseating air-conditioned air. I once tumbled out of a bus with vomit splattering out of my mouth like a garden hose. So you can imagine the nervousness I was experiencing when I walked to the bus stop in the freshly-broken dawn. It was 5:45 am (being awake then is, for me, a feat of gargantuan proportions).

But this isn’t one of those horror travel stories. I hopped on the bus at 6 am and was relieved to find it rather empty: two seats for me! And what comfy seats they were, with foot rests and all. As the ride, in earnest, began so too did the dreaded air-conditioning. However the air-conditioning was the Goldilocks & the Three Bears’s porridge of air-conditioning, it was juuuust right.

Although not part of the route, Hvar, exemplifies the Dalmatian beauty.

So I was merrily on my way to Rijeka, leaving the beautiful walled city of Dubrovnik behind. Yet the beauty I found in Dubrovnik remained the duration of the journey. It was the beauty of the Dalmatian Coast that made the 12 hours of the journey bearable. I am not going to lie and say, “the hours flew by”, 12 hours is 12 hours. They were filled by painterly landscapes of softly undulating loam island hills. Green freckle-shrubbery on grey rocky mountain faces overlooking the lapis lazuli of the Adriatic Sea. Idyllic pebble beaches complete with frolicking children and lightly rippled water. I was truly lucky that the coastline of Croatia was endlessly beautiful because the bus ride was equally endlessly long.

Although, the beauty did end (once again) luckily that too was the end of the bus ride. Rijeka is not a jewel of the Adriatic, more like the oil spill of the Adriatic.

Do take a bus if you go to Croatia. The rest stops are frequent, you can spread yourself out over two seats and the air-conditioning is friendly. Most of all, the coast of Croatia is mesmerising. As such it is disappointing that the coast isn’t endless, even while viewing it from a bus.

Been on an extended bus ride: horror or triumph? Croatia: the biggest hit or riding high on hype? Share your opinion in the comments section below.

Will Kay is You’re Dripping Egg’s Editor-at-large and co-creator. To read about how much Will hates swans, have a gander at his Review/Rant on Swans.