Novalja is one of the top locations for festival and party in Croatia. Each year in the period from mid June to mid September the town or, more specifically, the beach Zrce hosts festivals like Electro Dance Madness, Hideout Festvial, Fresh Island Festival, Love Week Festival, Stereo Forest and Sonus Festival. If you have decided to take part in one of these amazing festivals, you will somehow need to get to Novalja, so here you can read about the options you have.
Which airport to fly to:
The closest airport is the one in Zadar (Zemunik airport) which is located 85 km away. Since most of the route is country road the travel time is about 1 hour and 30 minutes. The second best airport to choose is the airport in Split („Franjo Tuđman” airport); this airport is 185 km from Novalja, which equals a driving time of 2 hours and 30 minutes.
The other 4 international airports in Croatia are located even further; here are the distances and app. travel time by car
Zagreb airport to Novalja – 232 km, 3 hours 30 minute drive
Dubrovnik airport to Novalja – 424 km, 5 hour drive
Rijeka airport to Novalja – 117 km (with ferry Prizna – Žigljen), via the Paški most more than 300 km. travel time from 2 hours 30 minutes to 4 hours.
Pula airport to Novalja – 236 km, minimum 4 hours.
Travelling directly to Novalja from any of the above mentioned airport is only possible by taxi or a pre booked transfer; here you can find prices for minibus or taxi transfer from Zadar airport to Novalja, from Split airport to Novalja, from Zagreb airport to Novalja and from any of the other airports in Croatia here
International bus to Novalja:
Currently there are only international bus lines travelling to Novalja from Maribor and Ljubljana, from other directions you can travel to Novalja with one bus change in Zagreb.
From Germany you have direct international bus from Frankfurt to Zagreb, Munich to Zagreb and Stuttgart airport to Zagreb and from towns like Mannheim, Karlsruhe, Dortmund, Augsburg, Berlin as well as from many other.
If you arrive from Italy you have daily buses from Milan to Zagreb, Venice to Zagreb and Verona to Zagreb. Also, there are connections from Trieste, Bologna, Padau and other cities in the northern part of Italy.
Domestic Bus to Novalja:
Basically there are bus connections to Novalja from the larger cities, Zagreb, Rijeka, Zadar and Split, here are some more details.
From Split to Novalja (timetable) there are 3 daily bus departures during July and August, in June and September only one of the buses operates. A bus travel time from Split to Novalja is about 4 hours and 30 minutes and all buses depart from the main bus station in Split. If none of the departures matches your itinerary you should travel to Zadar and continue from there on.
From Zagreb to Novalja (timetable) there are up to 4 daily direct bus connections in the period from 1 of June till the end of September. Travel time from Zagreb to Novalja is between 4 and 5 hours. All buses depart from the main bus terminal in Zagreb.
Between Rijeka and Novalja (timetable) there are up to 2 daily bus connections in the period from 1 of June till the end of September. A 3 to 3.30 hour long bus trip includes a ferry crossing between Prizna and Zigljen (ferry ticket is included in bus ticket). On busy travel days the ferry crossing can lead to delays. In Rijeka the buses depart from the main bus terminal.
There are most bus connections to Novalja from Zadar (timetable). During the main summer season there are up to 7 or 8 daily bus departures; in off season there is at least 1 daily bus between the cities. The travel time from Zadar to Novalja is around 1 hour 30 minutes, all buses depart from the main bus station in Zadar.
As mentioned further up, none of the buses drive via the airport so if you land at the airport and wish to travel by bus to Novalja, you first have to take the airport shuttle to the bus station and then change to a bus heading to Novalja there.
The bus station in Novalja is located at the entrance of town on the right hand side, 1.5 km from the city centre and 2.5 km from Zrce beach.
Train to Novalja:
Taking a train to Novalja is unfortunately not possible. The nearest train station is located in Zadar from where you will have to continue by bus from the bus station which is located next to the train station. Be aware that travelling by train in Croatia is much slower than travelling with bus.
City bus in Novalja:
Getting around in Novalja is pretty easy, during the festival season there are 3 city bus line and a mini train line, so there is no need spending money on taxi trips:
- Bus line nr 1: is the longest route covering basically all town, among other the bus drives to camp Gajac, Zrce beach and the main bus station
- Bus line nr 2: bus drives from the roundabout at the end of the riva (By restaurant Stari Mllin) and to the main bus station and from there on to Zrce beach.
- Bus line nr 3: runs between camping Strasko and Zrce beach
- Mini train line: runs between the roundabout by restaurant Stari Mlin and camping Strasko.
The buses to and from Zrce beach, run every 30 minutes in the period from 08:00 (8 AM) and 22:00 (10 PM) during night hours the buses operate non stop! You can download timetable for the buses here