2 Weeks in Croatia Itinerary – 14 Days to Visit the Most Beautiful Places in Croatia

A resort near a beuatiful bay in Croatia

2 Weeks in Croatia Itinerary
Dalmatia, Istria and Inland Croatia

Our Croatia itinerary covers the top places to visit in Croatia; from stunning coastal towns to UNESCO sites and beautiful national parks. We think a 14-day itinerary is ideal for visiting some of the most beautiful places in Croatia but our itinerary is customizable. This itinerary is perfect for first time visitors since it was our first time in Croatia and we’ve included many must-see places. However, feel free to adjust it based on your interests and time frame. If you are foodies, you might like to spend more time in Istria. If you love the beach, you can easily spend a week on the islands. If you hate over-crowded cities or it’s not your first time in Croatia, you might want to skip Dubrovnik. You can mix and match some of our top recommendations to build your perfect Croatia itinerary for a week, two weeks or even more.

Croatia is an easy country to fall in love with. Crystal clear water, some of the most beautiful historic towns we’ve ever seen, breathtaking views, stunning national parks, delicious food, old traditions that are kept to this day and easy-going and friendly locals. It also doesn’t hurt that Croatia is quite budget-friendly, in terms of a European country. Be aware that some of the most popular cities have become quite over-crowded (thanks to Game of Thrones) but there are still so many off the beaten path destinations to add to your Croatia itinerary. So let’s start planning the perfect 14 days in Croatia itinerary.

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Table of Contents

Essential Facts for your Croatia Itinerary

Location: Croatia is located at the crossroad of Central and Southeast Europe. It’s part of the Balkans and shares borders with Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Slovenia and Hungary (and a maritime border with Italy).

Size: Croatia has an area of 56,594 square kilometres (21,851 square miles)

Language: Croatian. In some parts of Croatia, you can also find other languages such as Czech, Hungarian or Italian. English is wildly spoken especially in the main tourist destinations.

Currency: Croatia Kuna (USD 1 = 6.7 kn) check the updated currency exchange here

Population: About 4.2 million inhabitants

Religion: Most of the Croatians are Roman Catholics

WiFi and Connectivity Croatia

Most time, especially in the major cities, you won’t have a problem with finding free WiFi during your Croatian holiday. However, if you are planning on renting a car or you’d like to stay connected all the time, we recommend buying a local sim card. There are several major cell carriers in Croatia such as T-Hrvatski Telekom (T-HT), A1, and Tele2. If you are planning a one week itinerary in Croatia, T-HT and A1 offer a 7-day package with unlimited surfing. We chose Tele2 since it provides 10 GB of data and 200 minutes of calls within Croatia, not limited in time, which was perfect for our 14-day Croatia itinerary. All of these companies have good reception around Croatia, though T-HT is considered better if you are planning to visit the islands during your 2 weeks in Croatia. The cost of a local sim card in Croatia is approximately € 9-11.

Best Time to Visit Croatia

Croatia’s weather conditions are different along the coast and inland. Along the coast, the weather conditions are typical of the Mediterranean climate. Hot summers and wet and mild winters. The continental climate in the inner parts of Croatia means pleasant summers (though heat waves are becoming more common) but freezing winters accompanied by snow.

Generally speaking, May-June and September-October are the best months to visit Croatia, depending on your interests, of course. Beach lovers would enjoy the months of July and August, but they will have to fight for their spot on the beach since this is the high season. Foodies might consider planning their Croatia itinerary during the fall season when there are many gourmet food festivals in Istria and it’s the best season for truffle hunting. If you’d like to experience a magical Christmas, Zagreb has one of the best Christmas markets in Europe.

We visited Croatia at the beginning of June and the weather in Dalmatia was already very hot, we can’t imagine how hot and hectic it is to explore Dubrovnik during July-August. The weather in Istria was very pleasant but in Zagreb, we encountered an unexpected heatwave followed by showers of heavy rain (which only lasted for a short time).

How to Get to Croatia

By plane: There are several international airports in Zagreb, Split, Dubrovnik, Zadar and Pula.

By Ferry: Since Croatia has such a long coastline and shares a maritime border with Italy, during the season, you can catch a ferry from a few Italian cities to several Croatian ports. There is only one ferry that operates year-round from Ancona to Split. Check the ferries’ routes and schedules

By bus: You can catch a bus to Croatia from many European countries such as Slovenia, Italy, Germany, Czech Republic, Switzerland and other countries. Zagreb has the biggest and busiest bus terminal in Croatia but you can also catch a bus to some of the most popular towns along the Dalmatian coast or Istria. To plan your Croatia itinerary, check the bus routes here.

By Train: You can catch a train from many European cities to Zagreb. Some routes can take you to Pula, Rijeka or Split, but sometimes you’ll have to include a visit to Zagreb in your itinerary if you are planning to arrive to Croatia by train.  To help you plan your Croatia itinerary, check suggested routes here.

By Car: If you’re arriving from one of the neighboring countries, you can easily cross the border with your car. Since Croatia is a member of the EU, there are no customs controls, only police control. You have to have a valid passport or European identification card. The lines can get very busy during the summer vacation, especially on Fridays and Saturdays so consider that when planning your itinerary. Check out these popular border crossing points with driving directions.

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Getting Around Croatia

Many people choose to rent a car during their vacation and embark on a Croatia road trip. , but unless you are planning to visit Istria, it’s not necessary, and even in Istria, you can visit many of the significant points of interest with buses or tours so consider that when planning your Croatia itinerary. During our 2 weeks in Croatia, we chose to mix and match, so we started our trip without a car and then rented a car from Split. Our Croatia road trip included the Istrian peninsula, Plitvice and Zagreb.

By Car: If you are planning on a 14-day Croatian road trip, you can plan a very flexible itinerary but make sure to get accommodation with parking. Generally speaking, the conditions of the roads in Croatia are pretty good, making driving in Croatia very easy. You can choose to take the highway which might include tolls (the toll is calculated by the end destination) or the slower coastal roads. In Istria, the roads were very narrow at times but generally speaking, we didn’t have any issues. 

Before starting your 2-week Croatia trip, make sure to download the Croatian Auto Club app which provides information about traffic and road conditions. Also, make sure to have GPS or Waze to help you navigate. Don’t forget to review the driving rules and speed limit before hitting the road. Check out this document with a summary of rules and regulations for driving in Croatia

Insider tip: since in some places you might have no signal, it’s always a good idea to download a map of the area from Google Maps or buy a regular map before starting your 2-week Croatian road trip.  

By Bus: If you don’t want to rent a car, no worries, You can plan your Croatia itinerary Croatia’s public bus transportation which is pretty comfortable and affordable. The bus system in Croatia is pretty good, and most time it’s preferable to the train. During the high season, it’s always better to book your tickets in advance

By Ferry: Several companies operate ferries in Croatia. You can catch a ferry between major cities along the coast and the islands of course. Before planning your Croatia itinerary don’t forget to check the routes, prices, the ferry map and tips about ferries in Croatia 
 
By Plane: In addition to the five international airports, there are several domestic ones. The problem is sometimes the flights are quite limited (or involve a detour) especially from/to less popular cities, meaning it might be better to take a ferry or a bus. However, if you start planning your Croatia itinerary early enough, you might find a suitable flight.
 
View of agricultural land
The view from Motovun, Istria
Lim bay Istria
Nature lovers- include Lim Bay in your Croatia itinerary
Zagreb's national Theater
Zagreb's Architecture

Language and Phrases for your Croatia Itinerary

We had a hard time pronouncing some of the names that are mentioned in this Croatia itinerary and travel guide. So to save you some trouble during your 14 days in Croatia, follow these rules:

C = pronounced like ‘ts’ (as in cats)

Č = pronounced like ‘ch’ (as in child)

J – pronounced like ‘y’ (as in yet)

NJ – pronounced like ‘ny’ or the Spanish ‘ñ’ (as in canyon)

š – pronounced like ‘sh’ (as in short)

Ž – pronounced like ‘su’ (as in sugar)

Dž/Đ – pronounced like ‘j’ (as in enjoy) Check out the difference here

A few words in Croatian:

Da – Yes

Ne – No

Hvala – Thank you

Molim – please

Oprosti – Excuse me

Dobro jutro (doh-broh you-troh ) – Good morning

Doviđenja (doh-vee-jen-yah) – Goodbye

Check out the Learn Croatian website for additional useful words and their pronunciation to make your life easier during your 2 weeks in Croatia.

Where to Go in 2 Weeks in Croatia

Croatia is divided into several counties or regions, out of which the most popular one is Dalmatia. But if you have enough time, try to add to your Croatia itinerary some of the lesser-known counties such as Istria. When we planned our 2-week Croatia itinerary we wanted to include some of the popular towns such as Dubrovnik and Split with off the beaten path hidden gems. Therefore, we chose to spend a few days in Istria and believe us, this area is magical. Nevertheless, we’ve included in our 14 days in Croatia itinerary several options for travelers with different interests. And we would give you a few options in the end for a shorter or longer itinerary. Therefore, you can mix and match or customize this Croatia itinerary to suit your needs and interests and plan your own ultimate Croatia itinerary for 1 week, 2 weeks or more.

Dalmatia Coast Highlights for your Croatia Itinerary

Dalmatia county lies along the west shore of Croatia, stretching from the Bay of Kotor in the south to the island of Rab in the north. It’s known as one of the most beautiful areas in Croatia thanks to its stunning historic towns and beautiful coastline. The name Dalmatia originates from an Illyrian tribe who lived there in the past, but this region has seen its fair share of wars and turbulent times and among its conquerors, you can count the Byzantines, Greeks, Venetians and Sicilians to name a few. This complex history that has left its mark on the historic towns, combined with the breathtaking scenery and crystal-clear water of the Adriatic Sea attracts millions of tourists every year. In our opinion, Dalmatia needs to be a part of your Croatia itinerary.

Top Places to Include in your 14-Day Croatia Itinerary

Dubrovnik

The most famous town in Croatia, has become even more popular thanks to Game of Thrones. Many tourists flock to this historic city every month, especially during the summer months. Dubrovnik is simply breathtaking. The views of the historic town surrounded by the ancient walls and the orange-colored terracotta rooftops which provide the perfect contrast to the blue waves of the Adriatic Sea, will take your breath away. However, if you plan your Croatia itinerary during the summer months, you should be prepared to be crammed inside the old city with thousands of other tourists.

Split’s Promenade at night
Split is a must-visit place for your Croatia itinerary
Dubrovnik Old Port from the water
One of the most beautiful places in Croatia - Dubrovnik

Split

At first glance Split might not have the WOW factor compared to Dubrovnik, but it was our favorite city in Dalmatia thanks to its old town (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), the foodie scene and convenient location in the center of Dalmatia. If you don’t like to move from place to place every day, you can spend a week in Split and go on day trips to some of the most beautiful places in Croatia. Split is also a convenient stepping stone to reach the islands. Therefore, we recommend including in your Croatia itinerary at least a few nights in Split.

Trogir

Trogir is another stunning historic town which is located only 30 km away from Split. Its historic walled center is situated on an island and connected to the mainland by a bridge. Trogir’s old town is also recognized by UNESCO but it’s much more laid-back and less crowded than Split. 

Šibenik

Just north of Trogir, Šibenik  (pronounced Shee-be-nik) is another beautiful city with charming historic sites and monuments, some of which are recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It also has excellent beaches, stunning viewpoints, and it’s very close to one of the most beautiful places in Croatia, Krka National Park. 

Krka National Park

Krka National Park (pronounced Kerr-ka), one of the most famous national parks in Croatia, is located only a short distance from Šibenik. If you don’t have a lot of time and you’d like to see why people are raving about Croatia’s natural beauty, Krka is the place to go. You can reach it relatively easily from any major city in Dalmatia and drown yourself in the turquoise and emerald green hues of the waterfalls and lakes of Krka. We chose to visit Plitvice but you should definitely include a visit to one of these national parks in your Croatia itinerary. 

Insider tip: You can jump into the crystal-clear water of Krka in certain places, unlike its competitor, Plitvice National Park, where it’s forbidden.

Zadar

One of the cities that have been getting more visitors lately is Zadar. It’s still much less crowded than Dubrovnik and Split, but it attracts more crowds thanks to its charming historic center and unique monuments such as the Monument to the Sun and the Sea Organ. Zadar also has its own international airport and is close to one of Croatia’s most interesting islands, Pag Island. 

The Croatian Islands

When you think about Croatia, you immediately imagine the crystal-clear water of the Adriatic Sea and spending your days at the beach. Well, if you’re a beach lover, you must include at least a couple of nights on Croatian’s beautiful islands in your 2-week Croatia itinerary. There are many islands to choose from, but depending on your schedule, you can either spend a few nights on a couple of islands or take an island-hopping tour from one of the coastal towns.

Top Islands to Include in your Croatia Itinerary

Hvar

Hvar (pronounced Kvar with a soft k) is probably the most famous island in the area and rightly so. You’ll find here beautiful historic towns, scenic beaches and ancient monuments. Though it’s known as a party island, it’s big enough to find some peace and quiet in an off the beaten path spot. You could easily spend here 3 nights without being bored so if you have a longer itinerary or you’d love to spend more time on the beach, we suggest adding a 3-night stay on Hvar to your Croatia itinerary.

Korčula

Korčula (pronounced Kor-Chula) is another famous island but with a more laid-back atmosphere than Hvar. Other than a beautiful historic town, charming villages and quiet beaches, you’ll also find here lots of olive groves and vineyards. 

Brac

Though Brac is the closest island to Split, it’s less touristy than Hvar and Korčula. On Brac, you’ll find small villages with an authentic atmosphere and a unique blend of olive oil which is made from the Buhavica olive trees. Though Brac has less vegetation and more rocky beaches than some of the other islands, one of the most beautiful beaches in Croatia, Golden Horn, is located here just near the town of Bol.

Vis

Vis is one of the smallest islands in the area, but it’s a hidden gem. If you’ve seen the sequel to the movie Mamma Mia, you are already familiar with its pristine beaches and breathtaking views. You’ll find here small fishing villages, endless beaches, bays and coves, and the cherry on the top is the wine culture since Vis is also known for its vineyards.

Mljet

Mljet (pronounced Mil-yet) might be the perfect island for you if you’d rather spend your time doing some hiking or cycling, and you’d like to get away from the crowds. Mljet is known for its beautiful national park which includes two inland lakes and miles of cycling and hiking trails. Other than that, you’ll find there a few small villages and beautiful bays and beaches. Nature and sports lovers, this is a good island to include in your 2 weeks in Croatia itinerary. 

Pag Island

Pag is one of the most interesting islands in Croatia thanks to its split personality. On the one hand, during the summer months, it’s a well-known party-island that attracts European youngsters who like to spend their days partying and drinking. On the other hand, this rocky island has a very unique appearance, sort of moon-like landscape if you will and it is best known for producing the most famous Croatian cheese, Pag cheese. Another attraction for culture and art lovers is the famous Pag lacework which together with Hvar lace was inscribed on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Pag Island offers a mixture of attractions and is still relatively unknown so if you are looking for hidden gems, consider visiting it during your two weeks in Croatia, 

Istria Highlights for your 2 Weeks in Croatia Itinerary

The Istrian peninsula is still relatively unknown, but this beautiful heart-shaped peninsula which is located in the westernmost part of Croatia, is Croatia’s rising star. It has a very different vibe from Dalmatia and though the historic towns of the Dalmatian Coast are gorgeous, the Venetian architecture and colorful villages of Istria won us over in a heartbeat. Istria is also known as the foodie county of Croatia thanks to its vineyards, small olive oil producers, cheese farms, seafood and truffles! Some of the most beautiful places in Croatia are located here! 

Rovinj hidden gems in Istria
Rovinj Istria
A village on a hill surrounded by vineyards
Motovun - a true hidden gem
רוביני חצי האי איסטריה קרואטיה
Croatian Cheese in Rovinj

Top Places to Include in your 14-Day Croatia Itinerary

Pula

Pula is the largest city in Istria and its location at the southern tip of the peninsula makes it an excellent steppingstone to explore both Cape Kamenjak and Brijuni National Park. It’s also known for its beautiful Roman monuments.

Rovinj

Rovinj is our favorite town in Istria. It can be pronounced ro-VEEN or ro-VEEN-ye or according to its Italian name Rovingo (Pronounced ro-VEEN-yo). Rovinj’s historic center used to be an island, and it’s one of the most charming places to see in Croatia. Get lost in the cobbled alleys between the colorful houses and laundry lines. The Venetian architecture is stunning, and this is the place to find unique boutiques. Rovinj’s charming harbor, lively foodie scene and convenient location in the middle of the western coast of the Istrian peninsula make it the perfect base from which to explore the Istrian peninsula. If you have enough time, we’d include it in your Croatia itinerary since it is without a doubt one of the most beautiful places in Croatia. 

Lim Bay

One of the most beautiful places in Istria is located very close to Rovinj. The view of the deep green and blue hues of Lim bay is going to take your breath away. You should definitely take a boat tour to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of one of the most beautiful places to visit in Croatia.

Poreč

Poreč (pronounced Po-rech) is another charming coastal fishing village with a beautiful historic center. Just like Rovinj, Poreč offers a mixture of historical monuments, cobbled alleys, a beautiful harbor and a convenient location.

Novigrad

Just up the coast you’ll find Novigrad that lately has been gaining a name for itself as a foodie town. Other than excellent restaurants, you’ll find here lovely beaches and a charming historic center.

Motovun

If you’ve seen a photo of a beautiful Istrian town perched on a cliff, surrounded by vineyards and mysterious fog, you’ve probably seen a picture of Motovun. Like many villages in Istria, Motovun’s location is breathtaking but there’s something extra special about the sight of Motovun from the road in the early morning hours that appeal to many photography enthusiasts and makes it one of the most beautiful places in Croatia. It is a pleasure to discover the historical monuments and views from this quaint hilly town.

Rovinj old town colorful viewpoint
One of the most beautiful places in Croatia - Rovinj
Olive oil tasting in Istria Croatia
Include olive oil tasting in your itinerary

Grožnjan

Grožnjan (pronounced Groj-ni-yan) is known as the village of artists, and while we were wandering in the narrow streets, we discovered many hidden gems. You’ll find here artistic souvenirs and beautiful medieval houses adorned by decorative displays and breath-taking scenery from the homey little coffee shop.

Labin

Labin is another medieval hilltop town which used to be the most important mining center in Croatia. Nowadays, you can find here a few galleries, charming alleys, historical sites and gorgeous views of the Adriatic Sea.

Inland Croatia

We haven’t had much time to explore inland Croatia, so we’ll only mention the world-famous Plitvice Lakes and Croatia’s capital city, Zagreb.

Zagreb

Croatia’s capital attracts fewer tourists than the coastal towns, but it has so much to offer. It’s a shame so many tourists skip it. It might not have picturesque beaches, but it has stunning architecture, lots of historical monuments, and many attractions for history and culture lovers. You can also go on many day trips in the area to discover Slavonia county, one of the four historical regions of Croatia.

Plitvice Lakes

Plitvice National Park is probably the most famous Croatian national park, and it is definitely one of the most stunning places in Croatia. The natural beauty of the lakes and waterfalls, thick vegetation and mesmerizing hues of deep emerald green with hints of turquoise and blue is awe-inspiring. Try and visit this gorgeous national park during your 14 days in Croatia. 

Where to Sleep in Croatia

Depending on your preferences and means of transportation, you can choose in which cities to sleep in Croatia. Personally, for a 14-day itinerary, we would recommend staying at central locations along Dalmatia such as Dubrovnik, Split and Zadar and go on day trips from there. You’ll find plenty of accommodation options in any of these major cities. You can also add a couple of nights on one of the islands. In Istria, our favorite town was Rovinj. There are plenty of hotels and apartments to choose from in Rovinj and along the Istrian Coast. If you want to spend a couple of nights in inland Istria, you’ll be able to find many apartments, some B&B and only several hotels. We’ll discuss specific options later on our Croatia itinerary.

What to Eat During Your Two Weeks in Croatia

Croatian cuisine is inspired by fresh local products as well as the complex history and mixture of cultures throughout the years. The different regions in Croatia have their own culinary traditions that are intertwined with the history of the area. Depending on where you’ll go, you’ll encounter different cuisines with various cultural influences. Generally speaking, in the inland regions of Croatia, you’ll see more dishes and food inspired by Turkish, Hungarian and Slavic fare. Along the coastal regions, the dishes are more typical of Mediterranean cuisine. In Istria, however, the Italian influence is very prominent. These are some of the must-try dishes and drinks you should sample during your 14 days in Croatia.

Typical Dalmatian Food and Dishes

In Dalmatia try the grilled and cooked seafood, cured meats and local pastries and cheese. These were some of our favorite dishes during our 2 weeks in Croatia:

  • Brudet – A fish casserole that is slow-cooked with onion, tomato, herbs, and wine.
  • Shrimps Na Buzaru – Shrimps cooked in the local Bazura sauce made with olive oil, garlic, chopped tomato and wine.
  • Octopus Salad – Our favorite appetizer in Croatia. Every time we ordered it, we had a slightly different variation
  • Soparnik – The local pastry made from layers of thin dough and filled with Swiss chard, parsley and garlic. It’s believed that this dish was the prototype for the Italian pizza which the Romans brought to Rome.
  • Pag Cheese – The most famous Croatian cheese, originally from Pag island.

Typical Istrian Food and Dishes

In Istria try the seafood, pasta and gnocchi, the local polenta, and anything with truffles. We ate so many truffle dishes and drank wine with (almost) every meal during our time in Istria. We especially loved the Istrian white wine made from Malvazija Istarska grapes.

  • Truffle Pasta – No need for elaborations; anywhere you’ll go, you’ll be able to order a plate of homemade pasta with truffles.
  • Istrian Frittata – A glorified omelet made with seasonal produce, such as asparagus, mushrooms, truffles, prosciutto or sausages.
  • Istrian Polenta – It can be served as a porridge with a creamy texture or grilled and have a cake-like texture. We enjoyed both versions.

There are so many more dishes and local delicacies in Istria. Check out our Istria Food Guide to learn more.

Polenta plate with decorations in istria
Try the grilled Istrian polenta
A bottle and glass of red wine
Experience wine tasting
Truffle pasta
Truffle pasta in Istria
Octopus salad
Istrian octopus salad

Food and Dishes in Zagreb

The food in Zagreb is a bit different than in Dalmatia or Istria. Here you’ll find less seafood and more hearty casseroles and stews. Zagreb also offers comfort food in the form of savory or sweet pastries and unique coffee culture.

  • Burek – First of all, you need to try the burek. Burek can be found in many places in Croatia, but in Zagreb, we tasted the best one. It is a baked pastry made of a thin and flaky dough that is filled with either meat or cheese.
  • Štrukli (pronounced shtroo-klee) – Second on your foodie itinerary should be this local delicacy. This crepe-like pancakes or blintzes can be sweet or savory, baked or cooked, and it’s the ultimate comfort food: warm, filling and satisfying. The ones we tried had a cottage filling and apple-cinnamon filling. 

There are many more typical stews, stuffed vegetables and additional typical food that can be found in inland Croatia, but the Burek and Štrukli were our favorites and are easy to find. For more typical food to try during your 2 weeks in Croatia itinerary, check this excellent food guide for Croatian cuisine

Croatian Wine and Rakija

The wine-producing tradition in Croatia started at least 2,500 years ago, and you’ll find many wine regions in Croatia. In fact, altogether there are more than 300 geographically-defined wine-producing areas in Croatia. The majority of Croatian wine is white, with about 30% of red wine (mainly along the coast) and some rosé and sparkling wines as well. So always have a glass of wine with your dinner. You can learn more about popular grape varieties and Croatian wine regions here. You can also check the Wine Section in our Istria Food Guide.

Rakija (pronounced Ra-ki-ya) can be found all over Croatia. It’s a brandy that is made from fruits and herbs, and though we are not fans of brandy, we loved the Croatian Rakija. Every region in Croatia has its own unique rakija flavors so make sure to have a taste of the local rakija in each place you visit.

Ultimate 14-Day Croatia Itinerary (With or Without a Car)

This 14 days Croatia itinerary is based on the one we did, and so it includes some popular destinations with hidden gems and a few days in Istria. We started in Dubrovnik and Zagreb was our last destination on our itinerary. We rented a car in Split and started our little  Croatian road trip from there, but we’ll provide details if you like to follow this itinerary only with public transportation.

Laundry in Dubrovnik's side streets
Dubrovnik Old Town and Walls
Dubrovnik is a must for first time visitors

Croatia Itinerary Day by Day

Day 1-2 Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik was our starting point, and we quickly fell in love with this historic gem. The historic center is stunning but can get extremely crowded during the day especially between 10 am to 4 pm. In fact, our tip is to plan your schedule in such a way that you’d be outside the city center during noon hours.

Things to Do in Dubrovnik

  • Explore the historic center – The old city of Dubrovnik is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and wandering through the cobbled streets, you’ll find many stunning monuments. It is easy to imagine its rich history since the ancient buildings and beautiful architecture take you on a journey through time. Visit some of the most famous sites and structures such as the main gates to the old town, Pile Gate and Ploče Gate. Cross Stradun (Placa Street) which connects these two gates and is one of the busiest streets in Dubrovnik. Take a sip from Large Onofrio’s Fountain, a beautiful circular fountain that is decorated with carved faces from which the water flows. On the other end of Stradun you’ll also find Small Onofrio’s Fountain. Admire the beautiful Church of Saint Blaise and Orlando’s Column and visit the Dominican Monastery and Jesuit Staircase, both of which were the film locations for significant scenes in Game of Thrones. Just underneath Jesuit Staircase you’ll find the lovely Gunduliceva Poljana Market which operates in the mornings. 
  • Take a Walk on the City Walls – One of the must-do attractions in Dubrovnik is climbing the old city’s walls. You’ll get a different perspective of the old town, with the orange-colored terracotta roofs and the backdrop of the glistening water of the Adriatic Sea. This is one of the most popular attractions, so try and come first thing in the morning or later during the day. We didn’t take a tour and booked our tickets online but if you want to deepen your knowledge, there are some highly recommended city walls tours
  • If you are fans of Game of Thrones, you can take a guided tour to see all the filming locations and hear some local gossip and anecdotes about the show and crew. 
  • Visit Lovrijenac Fortress – To get the perfect shot of Dubrovnik’s old town, you need to visit Lovrijenac Fortress. You’ll find many magnificent vantage points to take pictures from, outside and inside this fortress. On the way to the fort, don’t forget to visit the West Pier.
  • Check Out Dubrovnik Old Port – Stroll around and see the old town walls from outside.  Go around Fort St. John and Porporela (the old pier), buy some ice cream, and watch the world goes by.
  • Take the Cable Car to Mount Srd – Another fabulous viewpoint to capture Dubrovnik Old City is from the top of Mount Srd. You can take the cable car just outside the old town, take a cab/Uber or hike to the top if you wish.

Insider Tips for Dubrovnik

  • Inside Dubrovnik Old Town you’ll find mainly apartments, the main hotels are located in the suburbs of Dubrovnik. Vehicles are forbidden to enter the old town, so take that into consideration as well, especially if you have a lot of luggage.
  • The historic old town gets extremely crowded, especially when groups of cruise ships arrive. Therefore, for the most popular attractions, like climbing the walls, you’d better reserve a ticket in advance. Our advice is to visit it first thing in the morning or the late afternoon.
  • To escape the crowds, take a kayak tour in midday, visit Lokrum Island, or enjoy one of the nearby beaches.

Day Trips from Dubrovnik

  • Mljet Island – As mentioned before Mljet Island is perfect for sports and nature lovers with an added bonus of avoiding the crowds. It is a bit harder to make this trip independently since getting around the island is difficult without a car, and even if you’ve already rented a car, you’ll need to drive more than an hour to get to a ferry on which you can board with a vehicle. Therefore, either spend a night or two here or go on an organized day tour.
  • Elaphite Islands – These three islands are located just off the coast of Dubrovnik, and it’s a fun way to escape the crowd and enjoy a peaceful day at sea. You can choose to go there independently with a ferry or take a cruise. There’s no doubt that with a cruise you’ll get to see more in one day. With this highly recommended tour, you’ll get to visit 3 islands and see some of the important historic monuments and beautiful beaches. For groups of four, considering taking this private luxury tour
  • Kotor in Montenegro – Take a day trip to neighboring Montenegro and visit the beautiful Kotor which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city is a real gem for culture and history lovers, but the trip will take you about 2 hours each way. During the season, there are a few public buses you can hop on (note the schedule so you won’t miss your bus back to Dubrovnik), but in the low season, you might be better off with a guided tour. An additional bonus is that many of the tours stop at a few more locations on the way such as Persat, Budva, and the island of Our Lady of the Rocks. This tour comes with excellent reviews and if you’re a group of four, you might want to consider this private tour

Where to Stay in Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik is probably the most expensive destination in Croatia, especially the prices for the hotels in the area. You need to consider whether you’d like to stay inside the old town or not. There are very few hotels/B&Bs inside the old town and they are going to be expensive! Also, it’s a pedestrian-only zone and there are always a lot of stairs, so take that into consideration. If you are on a budget, choose one of the many apartments inside the old town. The old town can get very crowded at times so if you don’t mind walking or taking a bus, there are many nice options in the nearby Ploce, most of which are within walking distance from the old town. Another option is to stay at Lapad where there are nice beaches and many restaurants, it’s the perfect location for a family vacation. It will take you 10 minutes to get to the old town with public transportation. There are also some hotels within a pleasant 15-minute walk from the old town.  

Hotels inside the Old Town

Luxury: Boutique Hotel Stari Grad  |  The Pucic Palace  |  Prijeko Palace  |  Fresh* Sheets Kathedral Dubrovnik

Make sure to arrange for some help with your luggage in advance

Mid-Range/Budget:   Hostel Angelina Old Town  | Appartments in the Old Town

Hotels in Ploce (within a walking distance from the old town)

Luxury: Hotel Excelsior  |  Villa Glavić  

Mid-Range/Budget: Apartments in Ploce

Hotels in Lapad (by bus/car 5 minutes, walking distance of 15-20 minutes from the old town)

Luxury: Rixos Premium Dubrovnik  |  Hotel Bellevue Dubrovnik

Hotels in Lapad (by bus/car 10-15 minutes from the old town)

Luxury: Hotel Dubrovnik Palace  |  Valamar Lacroma Dubrovnik  |  Hotel Kompas

Mid-Range/Budget: Bova Luxury Rooms Hostel Sol Hostel EuroAdria

For all accommodation options in Lapad

Where to Eat in Dubrovnik

Some of our favorite restaurants include Lucin Kantun Dubrovnik, Konoba MOSKAR and Konoba Jezuite.

Check out our 2 Days in Dubrovnik Itinerary for helpful tips and information to help you plan your trip!

Dubrovnik to Split/Hvar/Brac/ Korčula

Our next destination is either one of the islands such as Hvar, Korčula or Brac, or heading straight to Split. Getting to Split takes a long way and involves crossing a border if you do it by land since Dubrovnik and the surrounding area are an exclave of Croatia. Therefore, if you are planning on spending some time on one of the islands, you can take a ferry straight to the islands, spend as many nights as you’d like there, and then catch a ferry to Split. If you choose to head straight to Split, you’ll spend the morning hours of this day on the road (or sea) on your way to Split. You can get to Split by car, bus (which means crossing the border with Bosnia & Herzegovina) or ferry.

By Car – If you decide to rent a car, you can do your journey yourself in about 3.5-4 hours. Tolls may be applied. There are plans for building a faster highway. If you don’t want to drive yourself, you can also take a private driver.

By bus – Many buses connect the two cities. It rakes about 4-5 hours and it costs about € 15-18. You can check the schedule and prices here.

By Ferry – During the season, there are several ferries a day from Dubrovnik to Split. The journey takes about 4.5 hours. You can check the prices and schedule here. If you plan on staying on one of the islands, check out the ferries to Croatia islands.

Day 3-4 Hvar/Brac/ Korčula

If you’re planning on staying for 2 weeks in Croatia, you can easily spend a night or more on one of the islands. There are many islands to choose from and we’ve mentioned some of their attractions earlier. On all of these islands, you’ll find lovely beaches and great seafood restaurants but to help you choose your perfect island for your 14-day Croatia itinerary, here are some more things to do on each island.

Hvar Island

Many tourists flock to this famous Croatian island to visit the old towns, local villages and beautiful beaches. Hvar is perfect if you love a mixture of lively nightlife, historic towns and some hidden gems where you could escape the crowd (Hvar can get very busy during the season).

Things to See and Do on Hvar

  • Explore the streets and historical monuments of Hvar Town and hang out at St Stephen’s Square, where the beautiful Hvar Cathedral is located.
  • Take part in the party scene in Hvar Town.
  • Discover the best beaches and bays around the Hvar island. 
  • Explore Stari Grad, the second biggest town on Hvar. It offers a laid-back atmosphere, a beautiful promenade, charming alleys, historical monuments and old-time Mediterranean charm.
  • Hvar is known for its red wine, so it’s the perfect place to go wine tasting.
  • During the lavender season, June-July, you can visit the lavender fields on Hvar island. For a hustle-free day, check out this lavender tour.
  • Learn about the local lacework from the nuns at Benedictine Convent. They have been using the local agave plant to create intricate artwork for years (recognized by UNESCO).
  • Rent a boat or go on a tour to see the beautiful nearby Pakleni Islands. If you love sea kayaking, with this tour you’ll discover some of the hidden coves and beaches around Pakleni islands.

Where to Sleep on Hvar

If you love to be in the middle of all the action, then Hvar Town is a perfect choice but if you’d like a more relaxed atmosphere (and lower prices), you’d better stay in Stari Grad.

Korčula Island

Korčula is probably the second most popular island in the area. It’s smaller than Hvar but also offers a mixture of attractions.

Things to See and Do on Korčula

Explore Korčula’s old town which is referred to as “Little Dubrovnik”. The old walled city of Korčula sits on a similar-looking peninsula and has the same terracotta-roofed houses. Inside the town, you’ll find several ancient monuments such as St. Mark’s Cathedral, the old town’s walls and towers and what believed to be Marco Polo’s old house.

  • Visit the lovely beaches on the island.
  • Go cycling around the island.
  • Enjoy the traditional Sword Dance – Korčula is known for its traditional sword dances, a cultural heritage from centuries ago. During the season you can watch the traditional sword dance, Moreska, in the old town twice a week, every Monday and Thursday. For more details about the Moreska sword dance.

Insider Tip – If you enjoy these kinds of cultural events, you should try and visit the island during the annual sword dance festival, which takes place in June.

Where to Stay on Korčula

You’ll find several hotels and many guest houses and apartments around Korčula Town. Check the prices here.

Brac Island

Less popular than Hvar and Korčula, Brac usually feels a bit more relaxed even in the summer months. However, the town of Bol has been drawing more and more visitors, thanks to the stunning Golden Horn beach.

Things to See and Do on Brac

  • Walk along the triangle shore of the picture-perfect Golden Horn Beach (Zlatni Rat).
  • Visit Skrip, the oldest settlement on the island where you’ll find the olive museum.
  • Check out the views from the highest viewpoint on the island, Vidova Gora lookout, which is the perfect place to admire the beautiful scenery, including the Golden Horn Beach.
  • Visit the Pučišća Stonemason School, one of the few schools around the world that teaches the art of manual stone crafting.
  • Explore the best locations on Brac on board a 4WD jeep. Admire the views, taste the local food, learn about the daily life and visit the best beaches with this luxury tour

Where to Stay on Brac

You’ll find a few dozen hotels and many apartments on Brac. Check out the prices here.

Split's Viewpoint
Split Viewpoint
The Vestibule in the Diocletian’s Palace of Split Croatia
Vestibule in Split Old Town
Bell tower of Cathedral of Saint Domnius in Split Croatia
Diocletian’s Palace in Split
Wine bar and restaurants in Split Croatia
Foodies would love Split

Day 5-7 Split

Split is one of our favorite cities in Croatia. It’s the second-largest city in Croatia and the largest city on the Dalmatian Coast, and though at first glance, it doesn’t compare to the sheer awe-inspiring sight of Dubrovnik’s old town, it has such a special atmosphere and incredible foodie and night scenes, not to mention the unique Diocletian’s Palace. We would gladly come back here in a heartbeat. Thanks to Split’s convenient location, we suggest spending at least 3 nights in Split and go on day trips from here. You’ll have enough things to do even if you choose to stay here for a week.

Things to Do in Split

  • Explore the old town and historical monuments of Diocletian’s Palace – Diocletian’s Palace is not really a palace, but a huge fortress, half of which was used for the personal use of the Roman emperor Diocletian and the other half was used to house his military. The remnants of Diocletian’s Palace were recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. You could easily spend a whole day exploring the different sites such as the Emperor’s Peristil, the Cathedral of Saint Domnius and its bell tower, the unique Vestibule, the Triclinium and the substructures of the Palace. And we haven’t started talking yet about the ancient four gates, the People’s Square, the Fruit Square and many more hidden gems, just waiting to be found in Split’s old town. If you want to deepen your knowledge about the history of Split and its old town, check out this very affordable walking tour.
  • Get lost in the Old Town – We love getting lost in old towns, and Split was the perfect place to get lost in. We’ve found beautiful boutiques, great bars, unique shops, ice cream parlors, souvenir markets and more.
  • Walk along Split Riva – Split promenade is a great place to catch the sea breeze and do some people watching. Don’t forget to take a picture of Split from the little fishermen pier (Matejuska).
  • Have a snack and a drink at Belvedere – You’ll need to climb some stairs to get to the best viewpoint in Split, where you’ll find a lovely coffee shop with a beautiful terrace that overlooks the old city and the port. You can also take a taxi/Uber to get there but it will take you much longer.
  • Explore the lively foodie scene and nightlife – We had the best meals in Split! There are so many great restaurants and bars in and around the old town, it was really hard to choose from. If you’re a foodie, you are going to enjoy your time here.
  • Relax at one of Split’s Beaches or take a kayaking tour – During the summer months, you might need to cool off and jump into the water during the hottest hours of the day. If you are not the type to sit on a sunbed and you’d rather stay active, another option is to take one of the many sea kayaking tours in Split. With this tour you’ll enjoy a beautiful sunset at sea and with this tour you’ll explore Marjan Forest Park. 
  • Explore Marjan Hill – If you have more time and you like treasure hunting and hiking, you should explore the nooks and crannies of Marjan Hill. You can do it by yourself, with a kayak or with this cycling tour
  • If you’re fans of Game Of Throne, you can a take a GOT tour to learn about the filming locations around Split. 

Day Trips from Split

If you have more time in Split, you can go on day trips in the area. There are many day trips to choose from. Some can be easily done with public transportation while for others, it might be better to go with an organized tour or with a car of your own.

  • Visit the Blue Cave – There are a few islands that are located quite close to Split and at the furthest one, you’ll find one of the natural wonders of Croatia, the Blue Cave. Since it will take you a long time to get to Biševo Island, we suggest taking a tour that will also take you to some of the most beautiful places around the nearby islands, so at least you’ll get to see beautiful scenery along the way. You should know that swimming isn’t allowed in the Blue Cave and that each boat can only stay there 10-20 minutes. With this tour, you’ll also get to visit Hvar Town and visit some locations on Vis.
  • Island Hopping Tour – If you are not planning to stay on one of the islands, and you’re not into the Blue Cave, this is the perfect day trip for you. You can take an organized tour or just hop on a ferry or a fast catamaran and do it by yourself. The closest islands are Hvar, Brac and Solta. It will take you about 1 hour to get to Solta or Brac and 2 hours to Hvar. On the islands, the buses are timed to coincide with the ferries’ schedule. You can also rent a scooter or a car if you prefer. With this highly recommended tour you’ll hop on a catamaran and get to explore the bays of Brac, Šolta and Pakleni Islands and visit Hvar Town with a guided tour. The tour includes, snacks, a light lunch and unlimited beverages.  
  • Chase Waterfalls in Krka – You can’t visit Croatia without visiting one of the stunning national parks. If you’re heading to Zagreb, you can stop at Plitvice on your way or take a day tour from Zagreb or Zadar since it’s closer. From Split, it will take you 2.5 hours by car to get to Plitvice and much longer with a bus. However, it takes only an hour to get to Krka with a bus. Therefore, we suggest visiting Krka from Spit. There are day tours, but you can easily do it yourself with a car or with public transportation
  • Visit Trogir – Trogir is located only 30 km away from Split. It will take you about 30 minutes to get there by bus. It’s an effortless half-day trip from Split that can be done by public transportation or with a guided tour. With this excellent tour you’ll get to explore Trogir and snorkel at the clear crustal water of the nearby islands. 
  • Visit Omiš – Omiš is located about 25 km southeast of Split. Other than the charming cobbled streets and historic sites and monuments, you’ll find in Omiš lots of activities for adrenaline junkies from paragliding and diving to canyoning, zip-lining, rafting and more. For more information, check out Omiš website.
  • Mostar in Bosnia & Herzegovina – Since Mostar is located halfway between Dubrovnik and Split, you can easily go on a day tour from Split, if you didn’t have enough time in Dubrovnik to do it.
  • Explore the island of Brac with a 4 WD jeep and discover the olive groves, ancient monuments, stunning views and beaches around Brac. 
  • Dubrovnik – Usually we don’t recommend taking day tours that involve spending more than 2 hours on a bus. However, if you chose to skip Dubrovnik, and you would still like to visit it, you can go on this highly-rated full day tour to discover the old town of Dubrovnik. 

Where to Eat in Split

Some of our favorite restaurants were Maka Maka, Fig and Bokeria Kitchen & Wine but we have more recommendations in our Split Travel Guide

Where to Sleep in Split

The perfect location is somewhere close enough to the Old Town and the port, in case you’d like to go on a day trip. Of course, if you don’t mind the commotion and the fact the Old Town is a car-free zone, you can also stay in the middle of the Old Town. We stayed at a lovely apartment hotel, Mediterra Residence, located in the north part of Bačvice neighborhood about 5-10 minutes by foot from the Old Town. Another option we would recommend is staying at Varoš Neighborhood. The best options in our opinion are:

Hotels in the Old Town

Luxury: Murum Heritage Hotel 

Mid-Range: HOTEL Diocletian Palace Experience – adults onlyHotel Vestibul Palace & Villa 

Hotels in North Bačvice

Mid-Range: Mediterra Residence Apartment Hotel

Hotels/Hostels in Varoš

Luxury: Heritage Palace Varoš

Budget: Ćiri Biri Bela Boutique Hostel 

Day 8 Zadar

Initially, we decided to make this leg of the trip with a rental car and drive from Split to Zadar (with a stop in Šibenik and a possible visit to Pag Island), and from there continue to Istria. Unfortunately, due to unexpected circumstances, we had to shorten our trip, so we drove from Split straight to Rovinj and skipped this part. If you only have 12 days, this would be an excellent way to shorten your schedule as well. However, if you have the time, we’ve heard great things about Zadar and Pag Island, so we’d make an effort to include them in your Croatia itinerary. To get to Zadar you can hop on a direct bus ( 2-3 hours depending on traffic conditions, cost: € 12).

Things to Do in Zadar

  • Listen to the Sea Organ at Zadar’s Riva – Probably the most famous attraction in Zadar, the Sea Organ won the European Prize for Urban Public Space in 2006. Croatian architect Nikola Bašić conceived this unique project that cleverly forms a connection between nature and the urban landscape. With the help of others, he used very clever engineering to build a series of broad steps leading down into the water in such a way that the waves produce chime-like notes that are heard along Zadar’s Riva. Read more about Zadar’s unique Sea Organ.
  • Admire the  Greeting to the Sun – Just next to the Sea Organ, you’ll find another urban project conceived by the same Croatian architect, Nikola Bašić. This project aims to create symbolic communication between light and urban design. The Greeting to the Sun consists of a 22-meter diameter circle, which is made from multi-layered glass plates, underneath there are photo-voltage solar modules. As the sun sets, this artistic installment lights up in an intricate light show, while people are dancing across it.  You can read more about this super cool project here.
  • Explore the old town and historical monuments and churches of Zadar – A partial list include the Cathedral of St. Anastasia and its bell tower, the Church of St.Donat, a round pre-Romanesque church which is one of the symbols of Zadar. St. Mary’s Church, Monastery of St. Francis Assisi, the city walls and the gates, especially the impressive Land Gate just near Fosa port. Just like in other places in Croatia (such as Rovinj) you can tell the Venetians were here by the famous winged lion.

Day Trips from Zadar

If you have more time, you can choose a couple of these recommended day trips from Zadar.

  • Krka or Plitvice National Parks – If you haven’t visited Krka yet, it is situated about halfway between Split to Zadar so you can do the tour from here. If you’re keen on visiting Plitvice Lakes National Park, it’s much more doable from Zadar. The drive takes only 1.5 with a car and about 2 hours with a direct bus. Many guided tours visit both Krka and Plitvice.
  • Šibenik – If you don’t have your own car, you probably didn’t stop on your way from Split to Zadar in Šibenik. If you’d like to visit the beautiful historic center of Šibenik, with a public bus you’ll be there in 1.5 hours and it only costs € 6.
  • Pag Island – We were sorry we missed the opportunity to visit Pag Island. We always look for hidden gems, and this seems like a place we’d love to explore. We were interested in learning more about the unique Pag lacework and visit the Pag cheese factory, but there are also lovely beaches and other attractions you can read about on Pag Island’s website. You can take your rental car or get a direct bus to Pag Town (about one hour, cost: € 7). Take note of the last return bus from Pag to Zadar.
  • Stay active during your Croatian vacation and go explore the nearby islands and rivers with a kayaking tour or a cycling tour. Below we’ve collected some of the most highly-rated tours:

Where to Stay in Zadar

For a short stay in Zadar, we’d recommend staying at the Old City so you’ll be close to all of the main attractions. Unlike in Dubrovnik, there are many great options in Zadar and the luxury options are quite reasonable.

Luxury/Mid-Range Hotels in Zadar Old Town

Teatro Verdi Boutique Hotel  |  Almayer Art & Heritage Hotel   |  Art Hotel Kalelarga  |  Bastion Heritage Hotel 

Budget Accommodation in Zadar Old Town

 Boutique Hostel Forum  |  Downtown Boutique Hostel  | Unique Luxury Rooms  |  Tinel B&B Premium Edition 

For all accommodation options in Zadar 

Day 9-12 Istrian Peninsula

The heart-shaped Istrian peninsula is one of the most charming places in Croatia, and while we were planning our Croatia itinerary, we knew we’d like to spend a few days exploring this hidden gem. The Istrian peninsula is situated in the westernmost part of Croatia. It has remained under the radar for many years, but lately, more and more tourists have been visiting this charming county. Getting there without a car can be quite challenging, but in our opinion, it is totally worth the effort.

Getting from Zadar to Istria:

By car: 4.5 hours (highway and toll roads)

By bus: 8-9 hours, cost: € 30. Check the bus schedule here

By plane: There aren’t many direct flights from Zadar to Pula but if you book your flight in advance you can get a good deal. 

By ferry: 1-3 times a week (depending on the season). You can also catch a catamaran from Zadar to Pula (6 hours  for € 20-25)

An ancient village on a hill surrounded by vineyards
Motovun on the hill
Colorful houses in Istria
Oprtalj in Green Istria
Rovinj port in Istria Croatia
Rovinj in Blue Istria

Things to Do in Istria

From the moment we first got here, we fell in love with the beautiful scenery, stunning medieval towns and fishing villages, food scene and the unique atmosphere. Generally speaking, Istria can be divided into two regions, Blue Istria which includes the coastal towns and beaches and Green Istria which refers to the inner parts of the peninsula. We suggest spending two nights in Rovinj and two nights near Motovun, unless you are a beach person so maybe you’d rather spent another night near the coast. We’ve written a whole post dedicated to our itinerary in Istria so we won’t detail everything here again but in short, our suggested itinerary includes:

Spending the first two nights in Rovinj and going on day trips to visit Pula and Cape Kamenjak in the south of the peninsula or going up the coast and visiting Lim Fjord, Poreč and Novigrad (you can do both if you have extra time).

Then, stay at one of the hotels or apartments in or near Motovun and explore the inner parts of the peninsula. Some of the most picturesque villages are Motovun, Grožnjan, Buje and Oprtalj. All of these villages have charming cobbled streets and breathtaking views and they are surrounded by vineyards, olive groves and forests filled with truffles. You should definitely include olive oil and wine tasting in your itinerary and truffle hunting during the season.

If you can’t have enough of the beautiful blue and turquoise hues of the Adriatic Sea, instead of spending two nights inland, you can spend four nights in Rovinj and go on day trips to explore the coast and inner parts of Istria. Another option for beach lovers is to spend two nights in Rovinj and two nights around Labin and Rabac area on the southern coast of the peninsula. This area has excellent beaches and Labin is a charming town.

Getting around Istria

You can get to the main cities along the Istrian Coast with a public bus or a ferry without a problem. It’s harder to see the inner parts of the peninsula without a car but reaching the coastal towns with public transportation is fairly easy and from there, you can book a guided tour to visit some of the charming villages inland. We’ve included all the information you need including tips in our post about day trips from Rovinj.

For more information about the Istrian peninsula, check out our Ultimate Istria Itinerary and Rovinj Day Trips posts

Day 13 -14 Plitvice National Park and Zagreb

Our 2 weeks in Croatia itinerary includes a little taste of the different counties of Croatia. Each region we visited felt a little bit different and had its own cultural influences and unique atmosphere. When we visited the places in inland Croatia, it felt much less Mediterranean and much more central European. From the views and architecture to the food and attitude, it felt like we’ve crossed an invisible border. Our first stop was the stunning natural beauty of Plitvice Lakes. You can either stay here for the night or visit the park and continue straight to Zagreb afterward.

Getting to Plitvice from Istria: 

By car : 3-3.5 hours 

By bus: There’s no direct bus from Rovinj or Pula to Plitvice Lakes, if we’d had to take a bus, we would have taken a direct bus to Zagreb

 and the next day go on a day trip from there. You can check the possible routes here.

Plitvice Lakes National Park

Nature lovers must include Plitvice National Park in their Croatia itinerary, but even if you’re more of a city person, don’t skip one of the most beautiful places in Croatia. Plitvice is the oldest and largest national park in Croatia, and today the park covers an area of almost 300 square km. The famous lakes and waterfalls constitute only 1% of the park’s total area. There are 16 main lakes (and several smaller ones) which are connected to each other with a series of waterfalls. There are two main entrances to the park and several routes you can choose from. Plitvice National Park is included in UNESCO World Heritage List and it’s a very popular tourist attraction in Croatia.

Tips for Visiting Plitvice Lakes:

  • You should try and buy your ticket in advance. There is a limited number of tickets that are sold on the spot if there’s availability, but during the high season, it is better to purchase your tickets in advance. Reserve your tickets here.
  • The visitor rules to the park keep changing, so check the official website before you go.
  • There are two main entrances to the park, Entrance 1, which is closer to the lower lakes and Entrance 2 which is located at the upper lakes. When buying your ticket, you would have to choose your preferred entrance to the park (look at the suggested routes inside the park before choosing your entrance). You won’t be able to get in through any other entrance.
  • There are several routes you can choose from, ranging from 2-3 hours to a whole day. Entrance 2 and some of the routes are usually closed during the winter months. You can check the routes and their conditions here.
  • There are high chances it is going to rain. If you have an umbrella/raincoat, bring them with you, if not, you can buy some at the souvenir shop and don’t forget to bring good shoes.
  • Save your ticket because you’ll need it to use the inner bus system and the boats which cross the lakes.
  • Since this is a very popular attraction, guided tours arrive in the middle of the morning from the Dalmatian Coast and Zagreb. Therefore, we suggest getting an early start or choose to visit in the afternoon. We bought a 2-day ticket and arrived later in the day and the paths weren’t too busy. The next day, we started at 7 am (there was a line to validate tickets that we got to skip since ours had already been validated). We had a fabulous time until 10 or 11 am and then it got very crowded. The opening hours vary throughout the year, so make sure to check them on the website.
  • You can either drive to Plitvice with your car, take public transportation or head straight to Zagreb and visit Plitvice on a guided tour.
  • If you want to spend a night here, buy the 2-day ticket.
  • If you have more time, you can stop at the charming village of Rastoke, walk along the river and admire the picturesque waterfalls and mills.
St. Mark’s Church in Zagreb upper town
St. Mark’s Church
אטרקציות בזאגרב קרואטיה
Zagreb's lower town
The Cathedral in Zagreb Croatia
Zagreb Cathedral
Blue Tram in Zagreb Croatia
Zagrab's blue trams

Zagreb

Zagreb is such a great destination for culture and history lovers, and fans of urban planning will admire its newer parts. The old parts of Zagreb (referred to as the upper town) include Gradec and Kaptol and there you’ll find some of the most famous landmarks in Zagreb. Strolling through these ancient alleys of Zagreb’s upper town feels like taking a stroll through time. The newer part, or lower town, is an example of great urban planning and is made up of a series of man-made parks and beautiful buildings. 

Getting to Zagreb from Plitvice:  By car/bus : 2-2.5 hours (bus tickets cost: € 10)

Things to Do in Zagreb

  • Explore the Upper Town – Take a guided walking tour of the upper town to see some of the stunning historical monuments and learn about the history of Zagreb. You can either take a free guided tour or use our self-guided walking tour of Zagreb
  • Admire the famous landmarks: Check out some of the most beautiful landmarks such as Ban Jelačić Square, Zagreb Cathedral, St. Mark’s Church and many more.
  • Visit Dolac Market – Go shopping at Dolac Market where you’ll also find unique street art.
  • Eat Štrukli at La Štruk.
  • See the painting of the Virgin Mary at the Stone Gate – The Stone Gate is one of the most special places in Zagreb. How often do you see a chapel in the middle of a passage where pedestrians cross the gate just near praying believers?
  • Look for the best viewpoints – Check out the views of Zagreb from Gradec Plateau and Strossmayer Promenade.
  • Visit Lotrščak Tower – On top of its historical importance, if you visit Lotrščak Tower at noon, you’ll get to see (and hear) the canon that is fired from its upper deck, every day at noon.
  • Ride Zagreb funicular – After all, it’s the shortest funicular in the world.
  • Visit the Grič Tunnel
  • Learn about Zagreb’s coffee culture.
  • Check out the bars at Tkalčićeva Street.
  • Walk along Lenuci Horseshoe (Zagreb Green Horseshoe) – Discover the beautiful parks and the stunning buildings around Zagreb Green Horseshoe and visit the Botanical Gardens
  • Take a unique tour of Zagreb to learn more about its history and culinary traditions. These are some of the best tours in Zagreb:

Day Trips from Zagreb

  • Plitvice Lakes & Rastoke – If you haven’t seen Plitvice, you should take a day trip to visit the lakes and waterfalls of Croatia’s largest national park. You can take public transportation if you want to save some money and not be restricted by a tour. You should choose a very early bus if you’d like a less crowded visit. Driving time is 2-2.5 hours and the bus ticket costs € 11. If you want a hustle-free day and learn more about the flora and fauna of the park, this highly rated tour also stops at the charming village of Rastoke.
  • Ljubljana and Lake Bled Tour – Slovenia’s capital has a charming historic center and lots of charm. This highly recommended Ljubljana tour includes a guided tour of the historic center that will show you the highlights of the old city and provide historical and cultural references. Afterward, you will continue to the magical Lake Bled, where you’ll admire the views from Bled Castle and explore the lake on a traditional Pletna boat. If you wish, you can also take the bus or train to Ljubljana by yourself, but then we’d skip Lake Bled since it’s located an hour away from the city. The ride to Ljubljana should take you about 2-2.5 hours  and costs €11. Check your option for public transportation.

Where to Eat in Zagreb

You must eat Štrukli at La Štruk and grab some Burek from any local pastry shop. Our favorite restaurant in Zagreb was Haustor Haus and we had a great breakfast at Eggspress. We have more recommendations in our Zagreb travel guide.

Where to Stay in Zagreb

You’ll find many accommodation options in Zagreb. We stayed at an apartment very close to the city center and loved the location. We chose some of the best options in the city center. 

What to See if you Have More/Less Time than 2 Weeks?

7-10 Days in Croatia Itinerary

Not everyone has two weeks for their Croatian trip, so if you are looking for a 7-10 day Croatia itinerary, here are some suggested itineraries according to your interests:

  • Foodies and history loversVisit Istria, Split & Zadar or one of the islands. This is the perfect combination if you’d like to have a taste of some of the most famous historical monuments and experience the best foodie scene. Istria is ideal for wine and truffle lovers and our favorite restaurants in Croatia are located in Rovinj and Split. You’ll also have your selection of great beaches in Dalmatia and Istria. If you’re keen on seeing Dubrovnik, you can take this one day tour from Split or Korčula.
  • Beach and History Lovers -Visit Dubrovnik, Split & the islands. We would combine the Dalmatian Coast and the islands. You’ll get a mixture of historical monuments and your selection of some of the best beaches in Croatia. You’d rather spend your time island hopping than driving or catching a flight all the way to Istria.
  • Nature LoversDalmatia, the islands & inland Croatia OR Mljet, Dalmatia & inland Croatia – Some of the best national parks are located in the center of Croatia. You can stay around Dalmatia and spend a night or two on the islands and go on day trips to the explore inland Dalmatia and Plitvice National Park. You can even spend a night around Plitvice. Another option is to stay a few nights in Mljet, explore the island and visit Dubrovnik from there and then move on to Dalmatia and spent a few nights on one of the islands or Split.
  • Game of Thrones Fans Dubrovnik & Split – You can find many GOT locations in and around Dubrovnik & Split and you can go on many day trips from Split.
  • Fans of Hidden Gems – Istria & Zagreb. These are some of the least touristy areas of Croatia. You’ll get to visit less crowded beaches and secluded villages in Istria and explore the beautiful capital city of Croatia. We would also recommend reading about northern Croatia and Slavonia county since there are many hidden gems there as well.  

Suggested Croatia Itinerary for 3 Weeks

Lucky you! In three weeks, you’ll get to explore our suggested itinerary and do it at a leisurely pace. We’ve listed many possible day trips and stops throughout our itinerary. If you love beaches, choose at least one more island to stay at. Another option is to explore a lesser-known county such as Slavonia or instead of going on a day trip to Ljubljana, spend a few nights there and explore the nearby area without a rush.

For More Information and Tips for your 2 weeks in Croatia itinerary

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Pictures of Dubrovnik, Rovinj and Motovun - Plan the perfect Croatia itinerary.
Beautiful places in Croatia and the Adriatic Sea .

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8 thoughts on “2 Weeks in Croatia Itinerary – 14 Days to Visit the Most Beautiful Places in Croatia”

  1. I LOVE Croatia! I’ve only been to Dubrovnik but definitely need to get back and explore more. Saving this itinerary for my next visit. Thank you!

    1. Chasing Lenscapes

      Dubrovnik is stunning but there are so many more beautiful places to visit in Croatia! Glad we could help!

  2. There’s definitly so much to do in Crotia, even two weeks doesn’t seem enough. It’s certainly on my list of places to visit soon! xo

    1. Chasing Lenscapes

      We tried to build our Croatia itinerary so you can extend it if you wish. Yes, Croatia is full of wonders and in 2 weeks in Croatia, you can’t see everything!

  3. This guide is FANTASTIC! I really appreciate how impressively comprehensive and helpful it was. Not only that, but your photos made me want to book my flight straightaway. Well done!

    1. Chasing Lenscapes

      Thank you so much Gwen! So glad you like it! We really tried writing a Croatia travel guide we’d be happy to follow that provides loads of information to help you plan your own perfect Croatia itinerary 🙂

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