Planning the perfect Croatia itinerary is essential to ensuring you have the ideal trip to this incredible country. Croatia is becoming an ever more popular European destination year after year as it has firmly cemented its beautiful Adriatic Riviera onto the pages of travel magazines, websites, and Instagram feeds. This incredibly diverse and welcoming country has endless opportunities to offer travellers.
While most visitors to Croatia set their sites on Dubrovnik and the surrounding islands, they fail to dig deeper and explore the seemingly endless wonderful places to visit in the country.
One could easily spend months travelling throughout this Balkan nation and barely scratch the service but if you only have time for a 7-day Croatia itinerary, then there are a number of different routes you can take.
Croatia is a lot bigger and has a more diverse climate than most visitors expect. Just one day in Croatia could see you traipsing the cosmopolitan streets of Zagreb before hiking through lush forests and waterfalls and finishing up with a cocktail on the crystal clear Adriatic.
With so many options for places to visit in Croatia, it is essential you give your itinerary some proper advance planning in order to truly maximise your short period of time in this wonderful country.
Best Time to Visit Croatia
Contrary to popular belief, Croatia isn’t all sunshine and sea every day of the year and the vast majority of the country really does experience all four seasons.
While winters in Dalmatia and on the coast tend to be mild compared to that of other European countries, the north of Croatia — in places like Zagreb or the Slavonia region — can expect to experience fairly heavy snowfall and average high temperatures that linger just above freezing.
It is also worth noting that a good majority of Croatia isn’t perennially blessed with endless sunny days. Zagreb, for instance, is actually quite wet and it is best to expect at least a few rainy days on your trip along the coast as well — depending on the season you are travelling.
In the most popular coastal cities in Croatia — like Split and Dubrovnik — you can expect a significant amount of rain in the winter months.
If you do want to avoid the hordes of tourist crowds, then winter can be an appealing option, especially if you’re not one to enjoy lazy beach and swimming days. It is worth knowing that many restaurants and tourist attractions are closed in the winter due to low demand.
The summer months of late June-August are the most popular times to travel to Croatia and if you plan to hit the most visited cities in the country, you can expect them to be very crowded. Temperatures can reach well over 30ºC (86ºF) on the coast and expect it to be even hotter in the capital.
Prices also mimic the high temperatures in the Croatian summer with everything from accommodation to restaurant costs inflated to take advantage of the tourism revenue. Places to stay tend to book out early, especially in July and August, so it is essential that if you’re planning a trip to Croatia, you plan well in advance if you are set on travelling in peak season.
Ideally, the best time of year to travel to Croatia is in the shoulder seasons directly surrounding summer. May and September have some of the best weather in Europe, where you can expect warm temperatures averaging around 25ºC (77ºF) and for the majority of your days to be sunny.
Most seasonal restaurants and tourist attractions will begin to open their doors again through the months of March-October so you will be able to see and eat everything that you could in the summer with a fraction of the crowds.
How to Get Around Croatia
If you are only planning a one-week Croatia itinerary and want to make the most of your time, you need to be able to optimise your transport so you spend more time sightseeing and less time in transit.
If you want to rely on public transport when getting from point A to B in Croatia, then you’re going to need to get to know the bus network. Like many Balkan countries, Croatia doesn’t have an advanced train system and the majority of inter-city transport is dominated by the humble bus.
Bus connections between major cities are frequent, but they can book out early during the summer months. There are a number of different transit companies to choose from, some of which allow you to book tickets online.
Others might require you to buy a bus ticket at the station. You can check bus timetables and routes throughout Croatia on Busbud. Another thing to keep in mind is that most buses do charge to put luggage into hold — usually around €1-2.
If you can and your Croatia trip budget allows for it, a far better transportation option for one week in Croatia is to rent a car. This will allow you to be more flexible with your departure times and reach places that aren’t as well-served by the bus network. Driving in Croatia is easy and going on a Croatia road trip is one of the best ways to see a lot of the country in a short amount of time.
If you only have a week, you are going to want to see as much of the country as you can and it isn’t always possible to do with irregular bus timetables and long travel times. We use Rentalcars.com to find the best car hire prices available.
If you’re flying into Croatia and are not hiring a car, you can organise a private transfer from the airport here.
Finally, have you considered travel insurance for your Croatia trip? World Nomads offers flexible and simple travel insurance policies with coverage for more than 150 activities that you can buy or extend while on the road.
7-Day Croatia Itineraries
If you only have one week in Croatia, that is still plenty of time to see quite a bit of the country and get a great feel for this beautiful nation. There are countless different routes you can take on a 7-day Croatia itinerary — these are our top three recommendations.
Classic Croatia Itinerary
If it is your first time visiting Croatia, then this is the one-week itinerary you should follow. It covers all of the main tourist highlights of Croatia with possible day-trip options to nearby national parks and beautiful islands.
We do recommend renting a car for this itinerary, however, if you want to save money, a car is not necessary for the Zagreb portion of this trip. You can go ahead and rent a car when leaving the capital and save a couple of days of fare and parking fees.
Days 1-2: Zagreb
The most logical place to start this route through Croatia is in the vibrant capital of Zagreb. For many years, tourists have treated Zagreb as merely a place to fly into before making a beeline for the coast — maybe spending a night there if their flight arrives late and leaving first thing in the morning.
However, in recent years, Zagreb has really come into its own as a tourist destination, which is why we recommend spending two days in the Croatian capital.
Zagreb has a gritty, artistic feel to it and has a number of interesting things to do. Take a free walking tour of the city to get your bearings before venturing out to discover its thriving street art scene, take in a few of the city’s interesting museums, eat at some of its world-class restaurants, and experience some of Zagreb’s bustling nightlife.
Zagreb is also an excellent place to educate yourself on the Yugoslav Wars, which were particularly devastating here. Many people tend to forget the horrific conflict of the 1990s when visiting Croatia, but it is important to see how far the nation has come in fewer than 30 years.
Two days in Zagreb is a perfect amount of time to spend in order to really get a feel for the city and will probably lend to you longing to return one day!
Where to Stay in Zagreb
Because Zagreb is finally becoming a tourist destination in Croatia in and of itself, there are a number of great accommodation options to choose from in the city. Here are our top suggestions:
Casablanca Boutique B&B — This boutique bed and breakfast is one of the best places to stay in Zagreb if your budget allows for a little bit more than a hostel. They have a number of clean and comfortable rooms available, it is located very close to the city centre and all of the main tourist attractions, and breakfast is included in the room rate. Click here to see their latest prices
Hostel Mali Mrak — This locally-run hostel is one of the best places to stay in Zagreb if you’re travelling solo or on a budget. They have an incredibly friendly staff, great common areas that make it easy to meet other travellers and have both dorms and private rooms available. Click here to see their latest prices
Private Rental — If you want more privacy for your stay in the Croatian capital then you can rent a whole apartment such as this charming central place. Click here to browse the best private rentals in Zagreb!
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse other options in Zagreb
Day 3: Plitvice Lakes National Park
The iconic and gorgeous Plitvice Lakes National Park is the second-most visited attraction in Croatia (after Dubrovnik) and it is for good reason — it is absolutely spectacular.
This massive network of lakes and waterfalls is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is enough to charm even the most ardent of city people and visiting is a highlight of any trip to Croatia. While it can get EXTREMELY busy in the summer months, it is still an unmissable area to explore in Croatia.
While many people visit Plitvice as a day trip from Zagreb or Split, we recommend spending a night near the park so you can get there as early as possible, avoid the inevitable tourist crowds, and spend as much time as you can in the park.
You need at least four hours to see the majority of the park, but you can easily spend longer. Because of this, we recommend leaving Zagreb in the evening, spending the night near the park, visiting Plitvice Lakes in the morning and then driving onto your next destination by the afternoon or evening.
Where to Stay in Plitvice Lakes
As mentioned earlier, Plitvice Lakes is an incredibly popular place to visit and therefore, there are plenty of accommodation options to choose from. If you’re looking for the perfect place to stay near Plitvice Lakes National Park, have a look at these suggestions:
Falling Lakes Hostel — This is a great option for backpackers, budget and solo travellers who want a place near Plitvice Lakes. They offer both dorm and private rooms, self-catering facilities, and will arrange a shuttle to the entrance of the lakes should you not have your own vehicle. Click here to check their availability
House Turkalj — This cosy family-run guesthouse is an excellent affordable option for those looking for a little bit more than a hostel. They have a handful of private ensuite room available along with self-catering facilities. They also offer complimentary beer and rakija. Click here to check their availability
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse other hotels in Plitvice Lakes!
Days 4-5: Split
After spending two days of your week in Croatia soaking up the arts, culture, and nightlife of Zagreb and another day at the incredible Plitvice Lakes National Park, it’s time to head to the coast and Croatia’s second-largest city of Split.
The drive to Split is absolutely beautiful and there are lots of places in Croatia to stop and enjoy along the way, so make sure to spend your day taking advantage of seeing all there is on the Croatian coast.
Spend the next day taking advantage of all of the great things to do in Split. Walk around the UNESCO-listed Diocletian’s Palace, stroll along the seaside promenade, enjoy a glass of Croatian wine at an outdoor cafe, or take a hike up Marjan hill.
On your last day in the city, consider taking one of the many potential day trips from Split. You could head to the towns of Šibenik or Trogir (the latter is a UNESCO World Heritage Site), visit the beautiful Krka National Park, or even make a trip to one of the islands off the coast — enjoy the lavender fields of Hvar or the laid-back nature of Brac for a day!
If you have 8 days in Croatia rather than the 7 days I’ve accounted for in this itinerary, then I would suggest spending another day in Split. Either take more time to go beyond the tourist sites in the city itself or take another day trip. And if you have 10 days in Croatia, you likely could add on a visit to one of the islands off the coast of Split, like Hvar, Brac or Korcula.
Where to Stay in Split
There are countless accommodation options in Split, seeing as it is one of Croatia’s premier tourist destinations. If you’re lost on where to stay, these are our top suggestions:
Il Giardino Luxury Rooms & Suites — If you’re looking for a little bit more luxury, then you can’t go wrong with this boutique hotel. They have a number of spacious and comfortable rooms on offer, are located close to both the centre of Split and within walking distance of the beach and have breakfast included and a restaurant on site. Click here to see their latest prices
Private Rental – There are some great choices in Split such as this luxury apartment near the centre of town. Click here to browse private rentals in Split
Tchaikovsky Hostel — This hostel is a great option if you’re travelling solo or on a budget. They are centrally located, have excellent ratings, and offer both dorm and private rooms. Click here to see their latest prices
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse other options in Split
Days 6-7: Dubrovnik
The most popular place to visit in Croatia thanks in no part to Game of Thrones, no trip to Croatia that covers the tourist highlights of the country would be complete without including Dubrovnik.
Dubrovnik is the premier place to visit in Croatia and the image of its beautiful city walls is what automatically fills people’s imaginations when thinking of this Adriatic country. I am going to be honest with you, however. Dubrovnik is small, crowded, and noticeably more expensive than anywhere else in the country.
That is not to say it’s not absolutely gorgeous and it is absolutely worth spending time in the city, especially if it’s your first time visiting Croatia. We recommend spending two days in Dubrovnik, one where you can stroll along the well-trodden tourist site and another where you can try to explore outside of the Old Town.
Dubrovnik is also a great base to take a few day trips. It is incredibly possible to visit the beautiful city of Kotor, Montenegro or marvel at the Stari Most in divided Mostar, Bosnia & Herzegovina. If you spend one day exploring the old town, it is totally possible to tack on a visit to either of the cities on the second day.
Keep in mind that if you are planning on driving yourself that your rental car has the proper documentation to cross the borders. This is not always the case and you will be turned away at the border if you don’t have the proper papers. Check with the rental car company beforehand so you can curb any potential setbacks.
Where to Stay in Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik is a popular place and has many accommodation options because of that. If you’re wondering where to stay in Dubrovnik, have a look at our top recommendations:
Boutique Hotel Porto — Located directly in the Old Town, this boutique hotel is a great option if you’re looking to add a bit of luxury to your Croatia trip. They have a range of clean, comfortable rooms on offer and it comes very highly rated. Click here to see their latest prices
Old Town Hostel — As the name suggests, this boutique hostel is located directly in Dubrovnik’s iconic Old Town. It is one of the highest-rated hostels in the city and has both dorm beds and private rooms available. Click here to see their latest prices
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse other options in Dubrovnik
Istrian Highlights Itinerary
If it isn’t your first time in Croatia — or even if it is and you’re keen to venture away from the well-trodden tourist path — then consider heading to the northwestern region of Istria.
This triangular peninsula is often considered to be Croatia’s gastronomic heart and it offers incredible ancient historical sites, beautiful coastal cities, and imposing hill towns to rival those of Tuscany. So, if you want to take the road less travelled, take a look at this Istria itinerary:
Days 1-3: Pula
Begin your 7 days in Croatia in the historic port city of Pula. Pula has an international airport that serves a multitude of airlines and destinations but if you don’t arrive by plane, it is also well-connected by bus.
Three days in Pula is sufficient in order to be able to see all of the incredible sites that the city has to offer while also giving you time to take a day trip or two. Spend your first day checking out the amazing Pula Arena, visiting the number of interesting museums in the city, browsing the bustling Pula market and learning about Pula’s history.
You can spend your second day either taking in more of Pula itself or going on a day trip to the wonderful Brijuni Islands. These were once the summer home of former Yugoslav dictator Josip Broz Tito and today are a wildlife park and nature reserve.
On the third day, you can either take a day trip to neighbouring hill towns like Labin or spend the day lounging on a nearby beach.
Where to Stay in Pula
Pula is increasing in popularity as a tourist destination and, because of that, there are a number of great accommodation options. Here are some of our suggestions:
Boutique Hotel Oasi — this small hotel is located very close to the beach and a short distance from central Pula. They have a number of rooms on offer, a restaurant on site, and breakfast is included in the room rate. Click here to see their latest prices
Boutique Hotel Valsabbion – If you’re the type to travel in luxury, then this boutique hotel is the place for you. Boasting sleek modern rooms, a fantastic swimming pool, an on-site spa, a beachfront location and much more, this hotel is sure to give you a great experience in Pula! Click here to see their latest prices
Crazy House Hostel – located in the centre of the Old Town, this hostel is the perfect place for solo travellers on a budget and there is a fantastic outdoor terrace to relax on. Click here to see their latest prices
Private Rental — There are a number of private apartments in Pula if you prefer not to stay in a hotel such as this comfortable city apartment. Click here to see the best private rentals in Pula!
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse other places in Pula!
Days 4-5: Umag
After spending some time enjoying the history and atmosphere of Pula, it’s time to head to one of the most underrated towns in Istria: Umag.
Umag is a small seaside town in the northwest of Istria and has a quaint and compact old town, a number of stellar swimming spots, great restaurants, and is close to some of Istria’s best vineyards. Two days here should be enough.
Spend the first day exploring Umag itself and maybe take the time to visit a local vineyard for some wine tasting. You can even head to the beach and swim in the warm Adriatic.
On the second day, take to the car and head inland to visit some of the most picturesque hill towns in Istria. Buje, Groznjan, and Motovun are all within easy reach of Umag. Here you can also dine on truffles and pasta for a fraction of the cost of elsewhere in the world.
This area of Croatia is completely different from the most popular tourist destinations and it is sure not to disappoint.
Where to Stay in Umag
Though not as popular a destination as other towns in Istria, there are a number of great accommodation options in Umag. Here are the ones we recommend:
Vilola — a small boutique hotel located close to some of the best swimming areas in Umag, Vilola offers air-conditioned rooms with their own balcony and breakfast included in the room rate. Click here to see their latest prices
Hotel Arte Casa — another boutique hotel in Umag, this one also has a great breakfast included in the nightly rate, air-conditioned rooms, and free parking on the premises. Click here to see their latest prices
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse other places in Umag!
Days 6-7: Rovinj
After enjoying the hustle and bustle of Pula and the laid-back nature and nearby hill towns of Umag, it’s time to head to the most iconic Istrian town: Rovinj.
Rovinj is an absolutely beautiful seaside town in western Istria and boasts a number of interesting things to do. Its proximity to some of the best beaches in the region is an appealing reason to visit Rovinj as well.
Spend one day exploring the Old Town and take the time to just let your feet wander and get lost. Walk around the harbour, stop in for a drink at one of the many seaside cafes, and even climb the bell tower of St Euphemia’s Church.
On your second day in Rovinj and last day of this Croatia trip, you can either spend it laying on the beach and soaking up the bright Adriatic sun or you can hop in the car and go on another day trip. The small hill town of Bale or the lively seaside towns of Porec and Vrsar are both appealing options, as is the beautiful Lim Fjord.
Where to Stay in Rovinj
Rovinj is an incredibly popular town to visit in Istria and it, therefore, has a lot of different accommodation options to choose from. There are our recommendations:
Hotel Angelo d’Oro — a small hotel in the middle of old town Rovinj, this place has a number of rooms on offer and comes very highly rated. Breakfast is also included in the nightly rate. Click here to see their latest prices
Bed & Breakfast Villa Squero — located only five minutes from the old town, this charming hotel is a great option for a place to stay in Rovinj. The rooms are large and comfortable and it also includes breakfast in the room rate. Click here to see their latest prices
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse other places in Rovinj!
Adriatic Coast Itinerary
If heading to Istria doesn’t appeal to you but you want to head a little bit off the typical tourist trail, then follow this itinerary It is very similar to the Classic Croatia Itinerary, with one major variation.
Days 1-2: Zagreb
Begin your trip, as suggested in the Classic Croatia Itinerary, in the capital of Zagreb. Although you might be excited to head to the beautiful coast, we recommend spending two full days in Zagreb in order to really get a good feel for this lively and dynamic city.
You won’t regret it. If you’re wondering where you should stay in Zagreb, be sure to check out our recommendations above.
Day 3: Plitvice Lakes National Park
Much like in the itinerary above, we recommend spending a night in Plitvice Lakes National Park before moving onto the coast.
This will allow you to spend an ample amount of time exploring the park, avid the majority of the tourist crowds, and still get the most out of your trip to Croatia without feeling too rushed.
Like mentioned earlier, plan to leave Zagreb in the late afternoon, spend the night near the park, and get to the Lakes as early as you can the following morning before heading onto Zadar in the afternoon.
Day 4: Zadar
Instead of following the Classic Croatia Itinerary and heading directly to Split from Plitvice Lakes, we recommend you visit Zadar instead. Located in the north of the Dalmatia region, Zadar doesn’t get nearly the amount of attention it deserves with so many tourists only setting their sites upon Split and Dubrovnik.
We recommend spending two days exploring Zadar. This will give you enough time to see all of the biggest sites and get lost in the city’s beautiful old town. Take a stroll along the wonderful seaside promenade and relax on the steps of the sea organ and listen to the music of the Adriatic waves.
You can spend the second day in Zadar enjoying the warm water and lounging on the beach, of which there are many within very easy walking distance from the city centre. Or you can just take in the laid-back atmosphere and hop from cafe to cafe, enjoying an espresso drink, some local wine, or even a shot of rakija or two!
Where to Stay in Zadar
Zadar is gaining popularity as a tourist destination, but it still doesn’t receive nearly the amount of tourist as Split or Dubrovnik. That doesn’t mean, however, that there is a shortage of great place to stay in Zadar. These are our recommendations:
Art Hotel Kalelarga — This boutique hotel offers modern, comfortable rooms and free breakfast in the morning in a fantastic Old Town Zadar location. It is one of the highest-rated hotels in Zadar and it is a great option for those looking for a bit of luxury. Click here to see their latest prices
Downtown Boutique Hostel — This small boutique hostel is located in the centre of Old Town Zadar. They have a number of room options available — from dorm beds to privates — and a friendly and helpful staff. This is a great budget option. Click here to see their latest prices
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse other options in Zadar
Days 5-7: Split
The final three days on this particular trip through Croatia should be spent in beautiful and lively Split. If you follow the recommendations in the classic itinerary above, you are assured to have a wonderful final few days in this beautiful country. Split has a lot to offer travellers and it is in a great position to explore more of Dalmatia and cast a broader net.
Have 10 or 14 Days in Croatia?
If you have more time to spend than just one week in Croatia, then you have a lot of options available to you.
If you are looking for a 14-day Croatia itinerary, consider lumping to of the above itineraries together into one. For instance, you can begin in Pula for the Istrian Highlights itinerary and then head to Zagreb after visiting Rovinj and either follow the Classic Croatia or Adriatic Coast itineraries from there.
Alternatively, if you have only 10 days in Croatia, it is very easy to pick just one of these itineraries and expand from there. Want to do more day trips from each destination, well then add an extra day in whichever place you choose.
All of these routes can easily be added to or subtracted from in order to make the perfect 6, 10, or 12-day Croatia itinerary or even a great two weeks in Croatia itinerary!
The opportunities in this beautiful nation are endless and only your imagination is the limit!
Croatia is an absolutely gorgeous and welcoming country that just begs to be explored. However, mapping out the ideal Croatia itinerary is paramount to ensuring you have the best Croatian adventure possible!
Are you planning a Croatia travel itinerary? Have you been to Croatia? Let us know in the comments!
It’s tough making a Croatia itinerary, there are so many places to see that are gorgeous.
I’m honestly not a big fan of Zagreb, it’s not the real Croatia to me. It’s Central Europe. Croatia for me is Central Dalmatia and to a smaller extent, Istria. For me, the highlights of the country range along the coast from Zadar (with an excursion inland to Plitvice) to Dubrovnik (from where I think Kotor is a must see as you mention). So many great spots on the way though: Sibenik, Omis, Makarska, the island of Vis…and that’s not even including the islands on the south. So much to see.
Thanks for the comment, Frank! I agree with you that it’s so hard to plan a Croatia itinerary…you could easily spend months there and not see everything!
I’m going to have to disagree with you about Zagreb, however. While I’m the first person to say that a capital city isn’t necessarily reflective of a country on the whole, I’m not sure it’s right to say that it’s not the “real” Croatia. It’s certainly much different than the cities in Dalmatia, but it’s still a fantastic place to visit and I think including it on a Croatia itinerary is important to get a feel for all sides of the country…even if you only have a short period there.
Great suggestions elsewhere…I’ve only been to Šibenik out of the places you mentioned and thought it was absolutely lovely. Like you said…there’s just so much to explore!
travellers plan to travel to visit Croatia in June, 2019, it would be around from June 26 to July 2-3 return,trip planned sbout 7-8 days at the destination. We are coming and driving a minibus (minivan) so ,it means we are very flexible on route and in any destinstion, we are free and sould move to any place any fay. As we primary memtioned, our start of the itinerary would be Zagreb, Split or Dubrovnik. Is it right if westart our trip from Riga by bus? By our plans we have to cross Latvia, Lithuania? Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and then somehow enter the Croatia. Could you corret me and suhgest me the best trip option (7-8days trip) for us as necessary?!
Ieva Lukina (ieva@21. lv)
Hi Ieva, I think that if you only have 7-8 days for your trip, trying to drive from Riga to Croatia is going to take up a good portion of it and give you very little time to explore Croatia itself. Maybe, if you can, try to allot more time for the trip or concentrate on travelling a little closer to home instead, this time around.
I briefly read the article and maybe you covered it already. But most people will fly into Zagreb. With a 7 day itinerary using a rental car, you will start at the North and end in Dubrovnik. One has to account the time to get back to Zagreb. Any suggestions on how best to do this?
Hi Jacob, thanks for your comment. Because many people start and end their Croatia trips from different areas of the country (there are numerous airports that people will fly into, not just Zagreb!), I’ve left out how to get back to your beginning point. However, if you’re planning on renting a car in Zagreb and making your final destination in Dubrovnik, I see no reason why you couldn’t just drive back to Zagreb. It is often a lot cheaper to pick up and return a rental car to the same location. There are also numerous bus connections to Zagreb from just about every major city in Croatia, including Dubrovnik, if you don’t want to drive back to the capital yourself.
How’s Croatia in the dead if winter? January end Feb beginning? Where do you recommend travelling and what’s there to see. Thanks b
It depends on what you’re after, but the seaside towns will be pretty sleepy in the winter months. It’s a good time to visit Dubrovnik as you can experience the city with far fewer tourists than in the high season. Across the board, you will find accommodation prices to be a lot cheaper than in the more popular months, but some businesses may not be open in the middle of winter. Hope this helps!
Hi , I would be landing at zadar airport in september and planned for a 7 day trip, could you suggest how should we plan.. About us- Couple with no historical interests but love nature, scenery , beaches. Have to use public conveyance only for travel within croatia.
We are looking for a relaxed trip not a rushed one.
Thanks in advance.. Silky
Hi Silky, I would recommend you rework the Adriatic coast itinerary above to begin and end in Zadar rather than Zagreb. Going from Zadar-Zagreb-Split-Zadar or Zadar-Split-Zagreb-Zadar both work equally well and are all easily accessible via public transit. Hope you have a great trip!
20 days in Croatia and neighboring countries
We are 6 active hikers booked a trip to Croatia for 10 days in early May, 20
2 nights Opatija
1 night Split
2 nights Dubrovnik
1 night Vodice
1 night Zagreb
2 nights Bled
We would like to stay 10 more days to go to neighboring countries as well as doing a little hiking, biking and kayaking the area.
We are planning our flight from Vancouver. Our trip starts at Opatija and ends at Bled. Any suggestions on a good itineraries for pre and post trip?
Thanks for your comment, Jennifer. For the rest of your trip, any of the itineraries in this article might be good for you. If you are curious about exploring more of the Balkans besides just Croatia and Slovenia, we also have some Balkan itineraries here: https://www.theworldwasherefirst.com/plan-balkans-travel-itinerary/
Where should one start its trip from? If we are skipping Zagreb, and want to cover places like Split , Plitvice, Dubrovnik.
Any other place that should which is highly recommended?
Hi Archie, if you don’t plan on visiting Zagreb, starting in Split or Dubrovnik makes sense. If you want to visit another coastal town, Zadar will make a nice stop. Also, there are numerous islands (Hvar, Brac, Korcula, etc) that are worth visiting.
I’m travelling to Croatia in early May 2020. Land Zagreb, 7 days, finishing in Dubrovnik (probably fly into Athens from here I’m thinking).
A friend told me that Plitvice Lake NP required 2days and to stay there a night. What’s your thoughts on this??
Hi Anne-Marie, I think you would only need 2 days in Plitvice if you’re really into hiking and nature and that’s why you’re visiting Croatia. Especially since you only have 7 days, there are many more places to spend time in Croatia. Hope you have a great trip!
Hi Maggie, I have planned my visit to Croatia from 25th Feb to 02nd March 2020. It is going to be me and my wife only. We will land in Zagreb on 25th Feb and would move out from Dubrovnik on the 02nd of March (Flights already done). Can you suggest what all places to be covered in this duration and how is the weather going to be like? Also, I am a bit confused b/w taking a rental car (don’t know whether it is left or right hand drive) or taking public transport like bus or taxis.
Hi Apoorv, I have covered a week-long itinerary starting in Zagreb and ending in Dubrovnik as well as the average weather to expect above. Croatia, like most European countries besides the UK, Ireland, Malta and Cyprus, drives on the right-hand side. All major cities are well-connected by bus. Relying on taxis to get around is an option, however, it will be very expensive. Hope this helps and you have a great trip!
Hi Maggie, My wife and I are planning a 14 day motorhome tour of Croatia in mid September 2020. Our trip starts in Zagreb and ends in Dubrovnik. We currently have no Itinerary but would like to spend equal time travelling the coast and inland areas. Could you advise any web sites that show motorhome overnight parking.
Hi Peter, sounds like you’re in the process of planning a great trip! Unfortunately, I don’t know much at all about motorhome travel, so I can’t advise you in that area. Hope you have a great time in Croatia!
I am planning a trip for 2 and most likely following a schedule similar to your “Classic Croatia” route. I was interested in visiting Krka National Park as well. Do you think it is worth it or is similar to Plitvice and not necessary?
Hi Holly, thanks for your comment! Both Krka and Plitvice are similar, but you can still get different things out of them if you want to visit both. For instance, you can go swimming at Krka which is not allowed at Plitvice. I personally think that both are worth visiting but Plitvice is more stunning than Krka in my opinion.
Hi. What is the best way to tour the islands? Day trips or charter a sleeping boat for a few days? Want to enjoy the coastal scenery without feeling rushed by a group boat. And, when does Summer/high season officially end?
Hi Cindy, if you don’t want to feel rushed on the islands, then I would recommend spending a few days overnight on the ones that interest you rather than going on day trips. A boat charter is also a great idea if you want to island hop with more flexibility! High season is typically over by the end of September and you will start to see tourists clearing out and some businesses closing up by this time. The weather usually stays very nice through October, though, depending on where you are in the country!
Hi Maggie. I am planning a trip of about 7 days to Croatia the first part of June. I have heard such wonderful things about Rovinj and the Iberia peninsula, but we also want to visit Split and Dubrovnik. Any suggestions or is this just trying to cram too much into a week? Most of the itineraries that I see online are an either/or for visiting those areas..
Hi Karen, unfortunately, it will likely be a bit too rushed if you plan to visit Istria and also Split and Dubrovnik in just one week. You can very easily spend a week just in Istria and even more in Dalmatia, so I would recommend weighing which areas appeal to you most and concentrating on those. You just might have to plan another trip!
Looking at booking Croatia for July/August 2021 and wanting to spend 14 days touring the country. What airport would you suggest to fly into and what airport would you suggest to leave out of? We are avid hikers and defiantly enjoy our ocean and water days. Enjoy the finer hotels and spas also. Very excited being my great grandmother and grandfather came from Croatia I want to experience the finest places the country offers.
Hi Pat, I would recommend flying into Zagreb and out of Dubrovnik (or vice versa) if you want to see a good portion of the country in 2 weeks. Hope you’re able to plan a great trip!
Thanks so much for this blog it is awesome! We are a family of four with two teenagers. Are we too late to plan a visit this summer? We are environmental scientists so I am mostly interested in enjoying the natural beauty of Croatia. What is your favorite island? I am obsessed with swimming holes and also clear blue waters…. What do you think two teenage girls would like the best?
Thanks for your comment, April, and I’m so happy you’ve found this article helpful! I don’t think that you’re too late to be planning a trip for the summer at all! Unfortunately, I don’t have too much experience travelling to the Croatian islands (I hope this changes soon, though!), but I do think that the island of Brac sounds like a good fit for you. It’s easy to reach from Split and has lots of great swimming areas. Hope you’re able to have a great trip!
I hope my message finds you well!
We are planning with my partner a 6 days 5 nights trip starting and ending from Zagreb airiport, at the end of August with Flix bus and Ferries.
We arrive in Zagreb at 14:00 Day one and Im thinking of after spending 3 hours in Zagreb to leave for either Pula or Rovijn, spend the Night and few hours the next Day. After I was checking if there is a way to travel with Ferrie directly to Split, spend the next evening there and travel with Ferrie to Dubrovnik for night number three. Next evening I was thinking of catching the evening Flix bus for Plivitce lake, in order to get in early in the morning. Later get back to Zagreb for an early flight the next Morning.
Is it possible you thhink with Bus and Ferrie, what should I leave back or add, any advices.
Hi Zak – honestly, I think your itinerary is way too hectic for the short time you have. I’d recommend concentrating on one of the routes I have outlined above for a less stressful and easier to coordinate trip 🙂
Thank you for writing one of the most thorough blogs about traveling in Croatia! I’d love to get your advice on my itinerary. I will be going to Croatia from Slovenia and will have 7 days and 6 nights. I’d like this to be a more relaxed trip if possible…and am so torn between chilling on an island an skipping Dubrovnik or fitting Dubrovnik in! My flight is out of Split so I do need to get back there somehow and figure out what to do with the car I rent. What are your thoughts on the following:
Option 1: Fly into Zagreb/stay overnight > Zagreb to Plitvice overnight > Plitvice during the day and drive to Split (overnight or head to Hvar/Brac) > 4 nights in Hvar or Brac > Depart from Split
Option 1: Fly into Zagreb/stay overnight > Zagreb to Plitvice overnight > Plitvice during the day and drive to Split (overnight or head to Hvar/Brac) > Hvar or Brac for 2 nights > Dubrovnik for two nights > Split overnight > Depart from Split
Option 2 honestly sounds pretty intense. That said, do you think it’s doable? If I were to go with Option 1, do you have any suggestions between Hvar or Brac and where to stay?
Thank you so much!
Hi Gina, happy you’ve found this article helpful! I do think that your second option is doable, however, it does sound quite rushed and exhausting, especially if you’re looking to chill out a bit!. Personally, I would opt for the first option to have a more relaxing trip 🙂
I am visiting Slovenia and Croatia next summer for approximately 8 days . We will arrive in Lublanja in the middle of the day and leave from Dubrovnik at noon the last day. We would like to spend 1/2 day in Lubalanja and 11/2 days in lake bled , a day in Novo Mesto, 1/2 day in Pula and2 days in Dubrovnik We we’re thinking of a tour to Mostar and Medjagorje one day Can we do this in the time allotted? We will not be driving Could you give us a time efficient itinerary that would make it possible?
Hi Jackie, this route seems far too rushed to be enjoyable and to actually spend any time in any of the places you’re keen to visit — you’ll be spending the majority of your time in transit. I would suggest planning to spend your entire time in Slovenia or visiting a bit of Slovenia and Croatian Istria. You can find our Slovenia itineraries here: https://www.theworldwasherefirst.com/slovenia-itinerary/
We are planning a trip to Croatia in March 2023. Our flight lands in Zagreb on 03/09. We fly out of Zagreb as well. Have about 8 days. I like your first itinerary, but we wanted to see Istria as well. We are not planning on going all the way to Dubrovnik on this trip. Any suggestions as to routes? Would like to hit Zadar, Split, Plitvice Lakes Park, and Istria. We will rent a car.
Hi Sandy, unfortunately, it’s not very practical to include all you want on your itinerary – especially when considering travel times. Personally, I would suggest not planning on visiting Istria if you would like to see all of the other parts of Croatia, as well.