The Adriatic as a holiday destination
The Adriatic Sea, as an eastern branch of the Mediterranean, is considered to be the part particularly spoiled with sun and warm sea water. Italy borders it in the west, Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro and Albania surround it in the east and in the southeast there is still a small part of Greece before the Ionian Sea really begins below the Strait of Otranto. Holidays in this part of Europe are already a special experience because of the typical and yet so different winding old towns. The culinary delights, the friendliness and serenity of the people of the eastern Mediterranean are added to this. And more than 2000 km of coastline with many islands will inspire you completely.
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Adriatic ferries offers
You want to travel by ferry to the Adriatic Sea? Then take a look at our current Adria offers:
Popular Adriatic Sea ferry routes
These are the most popular ferry routes on the Adriatic or the Eastern Mediterranean:
- Ferry Ancona-Patras
- Ferry Ancona – Split
- Ferry Bari – Durres
- Ferry Bari – Corfu
- Ferry Bari – Patras
- Ferry Brindisi – Igoumenitsa
- Ferry Brindisi – Patras
- Ferry Brindisi – Vlora
- Ferry Venice – Patras
- Ferry Venice – Igoumenitsa
There are of course many other ferry routes in the Adriatic. Just have a look at our ferry search.
Best time to visit the Adriatic Sea
Climatically, the Adriatic belongs to the warm Mediterranean zone. Winters are mild, but sometimes have longer rainy seasons. In Split, for example, there is an average of at least 10 rainy days per month between November and February. The northern Adriatic with Venice and Trieste is a bit colder in winter, as it is more influenced by the continent. Venice has a particularly high humidity and in autumn, but occasionally also in the spring months, it can come to heavy rain showers. The summer months, especially July and August, are very hot and dry. During this period, beaches and resorts on the Adriatic are also very crowded everywhere. If you like it a bit quieter and want to experience more originality, the spring months from March to June and the autumn months from September to mid-November are the most pleasant time to travel.
Port cities in the Adriatic Sea
Bari is located in southern Italy and is the capital of the Puglia region. Between two harbours you can discover the old town Bari Vecchia with a right tangle of alleys on a headland. It starts very close to the port terminal. You can reach the Basilica San Nicola in the old town after a few minutes. It dates back to the 13th century and is open daily. The port is more of a mixed cruise and industrial port, although more than 600,000 ferry cruise ship visitors come ashore here annually. The ferries moor at the port of Porto Senatore A De. Tullio on. Taxis and excursion buses wait at the terminal and also offer fixed price excursions. ››› Ferry to Bari
Venice has one of the most important ports in the Mediterranean. Many trips start here. The port has three moorings. The most used is the Stazione Marittima, which alone has five moorings. At the Riva Sette Martiri also bigger ships dock and for the smaller ones there is the terminal San Basilio. From here you can take the People Mover funicular to Piazza Roma. The cable car holds 200 people and runs every seven minutes. There are also shuttle trips or you can take the boat bus Vaporetto. On foot the brisk walk takes about 45 minutes. Especially worth seeing are the famous St. Mark’s Square and St. Mark’s Cathedral with its gilded domes. A walk along the Grand Canal, perhaps at the Rialto Bridge, is also an experience in itself. ››› Ferry to Venice
The port in Trieste is 2000 years old and the largest port on the northern Adriatic. At the Stazione Marittima, two big ferries can moor, at whose bow, the oldtown of Trieste practically already starts. Trieste is famous for its Venetian-style coffee houses. The focal point of the city is the Piazza dell’ Unità d’ Italia. ››› Ferry to Trieste
The port in Koper is the only ferry port in Slovenia. The ships dock in the industrial harbour at Pier 1. It is only about 200 metres from the terminal to the old town. The old town is largely preserved in medieval Venetian architecture. You’re sure to enjoy it; because it’s not yet as touristy as other Adriatic port cities. At the Carpaccio place you can taste local wine with ham and cheese. The Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin dates from the 12th century, and its bell tower overlooks the entire bay.
The port city of Rijeka is located in the Kvarner Bay. The port has three berths for ferries and cruise ships. There is a car rental office directly at the terminal. The old town is separated from the harbour by a canal, next to which a harbour promenade runs. From the terminal you can reach the old town after about 500 meters. Besides the National Theatre, the Cathedral of St. Vitus and the Capuchin Church of Maria Lourdes are particularly interesting. The medieval fortress of Trsat Castle towers over the town at a height of 165 metres. The church and the Franciscan church are integrated into the well-preserved fortress. On the island of Krk, 30 km away, is the airport of Rijeka.
The port city of Zadar is situated on a narrow headland and is separated from the mainland by a moat. It was a fortress until the end of the 19th century. Zadar has a new port for cruise ships and Ferries. The modern infrastructure also allows many excursion possibilities for the passengers of the ships. The Zadar archipelago includes a number of islands and is a sailing paradise. Boat tours are offered from Zadar to individual islands or around the islands. You can also kayak to untouched reefs and islands on your own. One of the most interesting sights you will experience already when entering the harbour. There is in fact a sea organ built in 2005. The sounds are produced by the waves. The old town is well worth a visit, the former Church of the Trinity, for example, is said to have been built on the ruins of a 9th century Juno temple. In Zadar, people pay with the Croatian kuna.››› Ferry to Zadar
The port city of Split is located on a peninsula of Croatia. The old town of Split is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Roman palace Diokletan there dates back to the 3rd century. It is not only interesting, but also a kind of centre from which you can easily reach other sights. The Cathedral of St. Domnius dates back in part to the 6th century. For strolling and relaxing, the Riva beach promenade is very popular with locals.››› Ferry to Split
Dubrovnik has several ports. For ferries, the commercial port of Gruz is used, where there are moorings for up to six ships. 10,000 passengers visit Dubrovnik every day. The ancient harbour promenade is well worth seeing and shows defensive fortifications from the 14. and 15th century. From the port you can reach the city by taxi or shuttle bus of the shipping companies in 10 minutes, on foot in three quarters of an hour. The old town of Dubrovnik is surrounded by the sea on three sides and will captivate you with its unique atmosphere. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The currency in Dubrovnik is the kuna.››› Ferry to Dubrovnik
The port city of Kotor is located in Montenegro. The idyllic natural harbour has been around for 2000 years. The entry with a pilot through the fjord-like bay takes more than an hour. The medieval old town is characterised by a wide variety of epochs. Napoleon’s troops, Romans and Byzantines have already been here. The architecture is strongly Venetian influenced, after all, the Venetians ruled the city for about 300 years. A strong city wall and the mountain massif of Lovcen surround it. If you’ve had just about enough of medieval towns, you might want to rent a kayak and cruise the Bay of Kotor.
Katakolon is only a village, but it has a big harbour. It is located on the Greek peninsula of Peloponnese. Katakolon has become a popular place for holidaymakers because it is not far from the historic site of Olympia. On the harbour promenade you will find several restaurants. Two shopping streets start only a few meters away. If you don’t feel like visiting the ancient site of Olympia, you can explore the surrounding area by tram or horse-drawn carriage.
The TOP10 destinations and sights on the Adriatic Sea
Castel del Monte near Bari
The Castel del Monte is a castle built between 1240 and 1250. The best way to reach it from the port is by car, if time permits. It’s 56 km from Bari, but well worth it. The shortest route is via the SP 231 and SP 234. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The ground plan of the building is octagonal and each corner in turn has an octagonal tower that towers over the rest of the masonry by one metre. In the middle of the 25 meter high walls of the building is an octagonal courtyard. This architectural masterpiece dates from the time of Emperor Frederick II of Staufen and can be visited daily.
Campanile di San Marco in Venice
The nearly one hundred meter high bell tower of the St. Mark’s Cathedral is called Campanile di San Marco in Venice. Because of its height, its top was once even used as a lighthouse substitute by ships to get their bearings. Originally built around 900, it was later destroyed several times and was rebuilt 1000 years later. You don’t have to climb the bell floor laboriously anymore, today there is an elevator in the tower which you can use for a fee. Once at the top, you’ll be rewarded with a unique view of the entire lagoon, while heavy bells float above and behind you. A tip: if you buy the tickets for the elevator in advance on the Internet, you save yourself a long queue.
Island Mljet – Green Island near Dubrovnik
Located in the northwest of Dubrovnik, you can reach the island of Mljet with the speedboat “Nona Ana”. You can book it at the ferry terminal in Dubrovnik. It’ll get you here in just 90 minutes. The island is 90% forested and was declared a nature reserve in the western part as early as 1910. This area has been a national park since 1958. The beaches with their rugged cliffs are popular photo motifs. Notorious as a pirate’s nest, the Roman Emperor Augustus had the island’s people killed or enslaved shortly after the birth of Christ. Subsequently, the island became a place of exile. Today the island is mainly inhabited in scattered villages in the interior of the island.
Korcula Island between Split and Dubrovnik
The island of Korcula is located north of the island of Mljet, but is easier to reach by Ferry from Split. With the catamaran line 9604 you can reach the island of Korcula after 2 hours and 5 minutes. The car ferry takes about 3 hours, runs only twice a day and the crowds are often too big to keep up. The water around the island is of very high quality. Even at the harbour you can swim without hesitation. The reason is the sea current of the Peljesac channel that washes around this island. Old towers and remains of old city walls gave the pretty town of Korcula the nickname Little Dubrovnik. Marco Polo was born here in 1254 and you can still see his birthplace and tower today.
Piran and Portorož in Slovenia
From the port in Koper, Piran is about 18 km away, Portorož is more or less on the way. You should plan a half hour drive there and back if you want to do this tour. Piran offers beautiful houses in Venetian style. Particularly noteworthy are the 19th century town hall with a Venetian stone lion or the red Venetian house in Gothic architecture. It is located in the central Tartini Square. In Portorož you can stop on the way back to enjoy the only natural beach in Slovenia.
Island Hvar and Blue Grotto
You have to take a day if you want to visit the island of Hvar from Split. Because if you are already here, you should also pay a visit to the Blue Grotto afterwards. The Blue Grotto is a sea cave on the island of Biševo. It gets its name from the light that shines blue here. It’s best to book an organized tour for this to keep the return times. There are tours with a speedboat from Matejuška pier that start very early in the morning. For a half-day trip, it’s best to take the ferry from Split. It takes about 2 hours each way.
You can visit the national park with the Krka waterfalls from Split or from Zadar. By car you need a little more than one hour driving time. For that, you take the E65. From Split you drive to exit 22, from Zadar to exit 21. 45km long river Krka flows through the national park. The impressive waterfalls fall at the highest point over 17 steps about 46 meters into the depth. Above the waterfalls you can watch the Skradinski Buk waterfall from a platform. It is the highest of a total of seven waterfalls. There are also organized trips here.
island of Rab
The island of Rab is located south of the island of Krk and about 3 hours from Rijeka or Zadar. A visit is worthwhile as a day trip. The best way is to take the E65 and then the exit to the ferry Misnjak – Stinica. The island of Rab is known for its 30 sandy beaches and many beautiful bays. A rare species of vulture nests in the rocks. The old town of Rab is situated on a rocky ridge and immediately fascinates you with its many small and narrow streets, medieval houses and ancient fortification walls.
Olympia near Katakolon in Greece
From Katakolon there are shuttle buses of several private providers to Olympia. The ride takes about 30 minutes and then you have two hours of sightseeing before the transfer bus heads back. In Olympia you can see the actual excavation site and also visit an archaeological museum. A model of the ancient site is set up there and the most important original finds are on display. Olympia has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1989.
The island of Brac is located south of Split and is easily accessible via the ferry Split – Supetar (Brač). The ferry terminal is located in the port of Split, next to the cruise ship dock. The ferry takes 1 hour and 10 minutes for the crossing. The island has a lot to offer. The mountain Vidova Gora is 778 meters high and offers a good distant view. You start a hike up there in the seaside resort of Bol. The white sandy beach of Zlatni rat (Golden Horn) is not only popular with windsurfers. It juts out into the sea like a small crescent and consists of many small and round pebbles. Depending on the wind direction, the headland moves sometimes to the right, sometimes to the left. You can also find this beach near the beach Bol.
Questions and answers about Adriatic ferry
Which shipping companies offer Adriatic ferry?
Most ferries here are offered by Adria Ferries, Anek Lines, European Seaways, Grandi Navi Veloci (GNV), Minoan Lines and Ventouris Ferries.
on. But there are many more shipping companies that operate here in the Eastern Mediterranean.
What is the climate in the Adriatic Sea?
The temperate Mediterranean climate prevails in principle also on the sea. However, due to light winds in midsummer the temperatures are a bit more bearable than on land and especially in autumn the winds can quickly become a bit stronger. In the north there are temperatures around the freezing point in winter. From October to April the winds Bora and Jugo influence the weather. The wind Bora is a dry cold wind and comes from the northeastern land. It can occur in a jerky and unpredictable manner. Jugo is a warm and humid wind. It blows in the southern Adriatic Sea and brings quite high waves with it.
What clothes should I take with me?
As there is often a fresh breeze on the ship, you should definitely take a set of warm clothes with you, even in warmer seasons. Standing at the railing in the evening or looking out to sea from the balcony could get a bit drafty without a jacket. For excursions into nature, sturdy shoes and rainwear are recommended and you should definitely not forget your swimsuit. For outings that take you to a church or similar place, shoulder-covering clothing is important and pants or skirts should not be so short. There could also be a dress code on the ship. Better check with them first. You can have your laundry washed on board, so you don’t have to take too much of it with you. In autumn and also in winter warm and windproof clothing is absolutely necessary.
Is a trip on the Adriatic ferry with a baby or toddler possible and recommended?
Yes, you can take your baby or toddler with you on the cruise without hesitation. Medical care is available on many ferries. In addition to toddler care, entertainment programs are also offered that are specifically designed for young children. This way you can also experience a few relaxing hours without your child during your holiday, if you want to.
What excursions are recommended around the Adriatic?
Most of the harbour towns around the Adriatic Sea have very beautiful old towns and partly castles and fortifications from the Middle Ages, which are well worth seeing. However, you have to expect that these are sometimes quite crowded. Trips to islands or special places in the country often require a little more time than just 3-4 hours. However, the shipping companies publish excursion plans for each port of call, so that you can also orientate yourself well on them.
Can I organize excursions in the Adriatic myself?
All shipping companies offer a large excursion package, from which you can choose the excursions that suit you best. The advantage here is that you don’t have to pay attention to the times you have available. Furthermore, in most cases you will be picked up and brought back directly. However, as soon as you go on an excursion on your own, you must allow enough time for unforeseen incidents, especially in the case of somewhat remote destinations. At most ports there are small buses and taxis that offer excursions, often at fixed prices. It is more relaxing to get information about the possibilities in advance, so that you do not have to think long about which excursion suits you best. Of course you are free to enjoy your trip completely. You have the possibility to rent a car at the bigger ports. Alternatively, public transport is well developed in the immediate vicinity. It is best to plan such trips in detail from home to avoid any unpleasant surprises.
Is the swell in the Adriatic very strong?
In general, the Adriatic is rather calm compared to other seas. Nevertheless, there can always be strong winds, especially in autumn. The large ferries compensate well for a swell. But if you get seasick quickly, you should take some medicine with you as a precaution. You’ll get them on the ship, too.
Do I need a passport or is an identity card sufficient for the Adriatic trip?
As long as you only travel to destinations within the EU, you only need an identity card. It must be valid for at least 6 months after completion of the trip. A child passport with photo is required for children. Some countries (e.g. Croatia) require additional documentation when a child enters the country if it is not accompanied by both parents. The non-accompanying parent must provide written consent, preferably in English.
Our conclusion about the Adriatic ferry
During your Adriatic holiday you can discover the traces of different cultures. Be it Ottoman traces in Venice, the Roman palace of Diocletian in Split or the castle of the Staufenkaiser Friedrich II near Bari. In addition, there is a beautiful island landscape off Croatia and miles of sandy beaches on the Italian Adriatic. Already the trip through the so picturesque lagoon of Venice is a dream.