Croatia Road Trip Itinerary: The Ultimate Guide

croatia road trip roadtrip - krka national park

A road trip through Croatia topped my travel bucket list for quite some years. Until I finally had the chance to do it and it was me-mo-ra-ble. Here’s a complete guide for you to make your first Croatia road trip along the coast too!

When I was planning my trip, I found loads of websites talking about Croatia. Surprisingly none of them was complete and concise enough. Either they are too specific, too broad or simply not valuable pieces of information.

So just like I did with my island hopping guide for Thailand, and my Rio , Japan , Mexico, and Portugal itineraries, I’m helping you plan a 100% independent road trip in Croatia.

Croatia Road Trip – Sections
croatia road trip - Split Port
Sunset in the port of Split.

Croatia Overview and FAQ

Is Croatia worth it?

In a nutshell: HELL YES. Croatia is one of my favorite countries in Europe, period. I miss all the awesome landscapes we’ve come across along the Dalmatian Coast in particular the unique Zlatni Rat beach in Brac.

Is it easy to travel around Croatia?

Croatia is perfectly safe and has decent transportation options. The elongated form of the country makes the trip along the coast a bit more lenghty though.

Can you drive around Croatia?

Absolutely yes. Renting a car is the best way to enjoy Croatia. Roads are generally in very good condition, well signalized and there aren’t many cars on the road. Tours or agencies only take away the fun of exploring this beautiful country on your own.

croatia road trip zadar - Lokrum island
Lokrum island.

Planning a trip to Croatia

When to do a road trip in Croatia

First of all, there reasons to visit Croatia all-year round. Some people go to Croatia in January just to see Plitvice Natural Park with snow – which judging by some pictures it’s a true delight!

That said, if you’re like me, you’ll most likely want to take advantage of the beautiful coastline and make sure you go when it’s warm and sunny.

With this in mind, definitely avoid the winter months, between November and March and the peak season, between July and August. Peak season can be terribly expensive and crowded everywhere you go, including an spike in traffic in the major cities.

Aim to book your trip between April to June or between September-October, which coincides with the shoulder season in Europe.

How long for a road trip in Croatia?

How many days do you have? *wink*

Although Croatia is not a huge country, it is big enough to keep you busy and happy for weeks. Or months. Make no mistake: there are loads of things to see and places to make your wanderlust go crazy. The longer you can stay, the less you’ll regret it later.

To make a first-time Croatia road trip itinerary you’ll need at least 10 days. If you have more time, great, just check the extra stops to the itinerary you can add below.

How to island-hop in Croatia?

Choosing which island(s) to go in Croatia is a FOMO-inducing first-world problem. With more than 1,000 islands to pick from, it can quickly become overwhelming.

If you’re indeed renting a car (or bike), I recommend starting by studying the ferry connections that allow vehicles. This can potentially save you a lot of money coming and returning from islands.

Other than that, it’s up to pick the island that resonates with you the most. Go to Brač for stunning landscape and beaches, Vis or Korcula for a getaway atmosphere, or Hvar if you’re looking to party.

My Croatia road trip itinerary

Here’s how my itinerary for my first-time in Croatia could looked like.

Hopefully this guide will save you hours of Google searches, trying to put your head around stops all to come up with the perfect journey.

Croatia Road Trip

Duration: for all the places mentioned above, stay at least 10 days.
Activities: it includes a wide range of things to do: urban explorations, beach time, ancient ruins’ history, hiking natural parks and even swim in waterfalls.
Where to stay: most of the places we’ve stayed were fully-furnished apartments. I’ve used Booking.com to book all our accommodation.

Croatia Road trip – route map

I’ve pinned all the places I’m about to mention in this map.
This way you can easily find them and follow the journey visually.

Orange pins: main road trip stops
Yellow pins: must-go places
Blue pins: extra places you might want to include in your itinerary

Find more information on the orange places below:

ZAGREB

croatia road trip - Split Port
Crkva sv. Marka: A drag version of a church.

Chances are Zagreb will be the starting point for your road trip. Visiting the capital is a good way to get you introduced to Croatia, even though I later realised how different it is from the rest of the country.

The major highlight is definitely the emblematic Crkva sv. Marka (St. Mark’s Church), with its colourful tile pattern representing the coat of arms of both the city and of the country on the roof.

The entire old town is picturesque and walkable. Grab a beer at Tkalčićeva – a vivid street full of bars and small stores, great for people-watching.

Other important attractions are the Croatian National Theatre and the unique Museum of Broken Relationships, displaying personal objects of ex-lovers that somehow tell their (sad) story.

croatia road trip croatia roadtrip zadar - Zagreb
National Theatre.

While Zagreb has some strikes of awesomeness going on, it falls a bit flat, specially if compared to nearby european capitals. My 24 hours in Vienna were more memorable and Budapest…well. I still miss you.

Still a great place to spend a full day and get your Croatian adventure started.

My value-for-money place to stay in Zagreb ⭐

 

croatia road trip place to stay zagreb
Image source: Booking.com
Rooms Zagreb 17

Superb location in central Zagreb and a helpful staff to help you settle on your spacious bright room. Can’t go wrong.

Booking.com

PLITVICE LAKES

croatia road trip croatia roadtrip zadar - Plitvice Lakes
Hello nature… or maybe not?

Plitvička Jezera (Plitvice Lakes) is one of Croatia’s most popular tourist destinations, made up of sixteen lakes inter-connected by a series of waterfalls and mountains.

This was the major FAIL of our road trip. Plitvice was one of the main reasons I wanted to go to Croatia in the first place so getting there under heavy rain, fog and cold winds was heart-breaking. There was no point to go inside, since we wouldn’t see a thing.

In any case, I highly recommend you to go to Plitvice. There must be a reason why everyone speaks about it with a little sparkle on the eyes. Good luck with the weather!

ℹPlitvice National Park

Plitvice National Park is open all year round, everyday from 7:00 to 19:00. The entrance to the park in peak season is 180 kuna.

It’s advisable to book a place nearby to stay and visit the Lakes early in the morning to beat the crowds that arrive from tours from Split and Zadar. For complete details on prices and operating hours go here.

Weather is unpredictable in this region of Croatia. The owner of the apartment we stayed advised there is sort of a micro-climate going on in Plitvice (we definitely experienced that!). Be extra careful with the possibly extreme foggy and rainy conditions when driving up to the mountains.

Booking.com

ZADAR

roadtrip in croatia road trip zadar - Sun Salutation
Fishing boat in Zadar with a upcoming storm in background.

The ancient capital of Dalmatia, Zadar displays a compelling mix of ruins, fortress city walls and pedestrian-only marble streets which lead to a wide and modern waterfront.

The historical print of the city is particularly conveyed in the area where St. Donatus Church and the Cathedral of St. Anastasia sit in front of a huge lawn with scattered roman ruins.

While the old town displays an interesting combination of ancient and medieval heritage with a vibrant nightlife, the most unique feature of Zadar is in its waterfront.

Zadar has the most beautiful sunset in the world, more beautiful than the one in Key West, Florida, applauded at every evening.

– Alfred Hitchcock

The Morske orgulje (Sea Organ) is quite hard to notice at a first glance, but it does make sure it’s being heard. The marble steps leading toward the Adriatic display small tubes/whistles that create tunes driven my a combination of waves and wind. Listening to this sea concert is oddly satisfying…

A few steps further, you’ll find Sun Salutation : a giant blue circle embedded into the ground. This set of photovoltaic plates that collect solar energy during the day and put on a wonderful LED light show at night. A fabulous mix of high-tech and nature. I could watch it for hours.

For me, this was the first true wow moment in Croatia.

croatia road trip croatia zadar - Sun Salutation
Me in the Sun Salutation golden hour.

Where to stay in Zadar

Most hotels in Zadar are 3km out in the Puntamika area, but that’s too far away if you ask me.

Staying is the best option but can easily become expensive. If you really wish to stay here, I’d recommend you to book well in advance.

If you’re on a budget, look for the area near the bus/train station Željeznička stanica or in the other side of the bridge that connects the peninsula with the mainland. In both cases, you’ll be just a short walk away from all the action.

Here’s a list of the top-rated accommodation in Zadar‘s downtown, with free WiFi, and parking included.

⭐ My top place to stay in Zadar

 

croatia road trip place to stay zadar
Image source: Booking.com
Guest House Pegla

Centrally located 3 minutes away from the Old Town, but far away form noice. Sea view included!

MURTER

Murter island is probably the most off-the-beaten-track destination in this itinerary. Many driving along the coast of Dalmatia would probably add in Šibenik or Makarska instead.

However we were looking for relaxation and a more local vibe. The good thing about this island is that you don’t need a ferry to get there. Murter is connected to the mainland by a bascule bridge at Tisno which makes it technically sort of a peninsula.

Being the largest island in the Šibenik archipelago, it offers a wide range of beach possibilities within its numerous awe-inspiring coves and bay with shallow waters (perfect for kids!).

ℹ Murter Island

The bridge that connects the “mainland” to Murter is open each morning and at late afternoon.

From the 4 main settlements in the island, we chose Betina to stay. Easy-going and with a very local feeling and very close to Slanica Bay. It’s a small place but the whole setting of the beach, including the fine sand, and the surrounding olive and pine trees, felt like a hidden paradise.

Discover other sandy and pebbly beaches around like Podvršak, Korisina and Čigrađa and consider a day trip to Kornati islands. Many locals own a second property there and may be able to take you out there in a boat. The archipelago is a national park and is known for its preserved raw beauty and rich maritime ecosystem.



Booking.com

KRKA NATIONAL PARK

Krka National Park is a well-known nature spot in Croatia. Comprising more than 800+ species of fauna and flora across its 100 square kilometers of area, it’s a place of exceptional natural value.

I had great expectations that Krka would somehow make it up for the disappointment in Plitvice a few days earlier. And boy, everything went better than expected.

croatia road trip roadtrip - krka national park
Skradinski Buk waterfalls.

I got to say the lower part of the park has an unremarkable music summer festival feeling to it. But all is forgiven by the surrounding scenery once you start exploring the surroundings.

The highlight are the swimmable Skradinski Buk waterfalls. This set of 400-meter wide magnificent waterfalls that end up in stunning natural pools, reflecting the green of the surrounding lush vegetation. It’s definitely one of the most memorable experiences you can have in the Dalmatian Coast.

croatia road trip all you need to know - krka national park

I also had time to explore further trails around the Skradinski Buk full of caves, lakes and other waterfalls which only proved how beautiful and special this place is. The whole park seems a distorted reality. It seems someone tuned up the contrast and saturation configurations: everything around overflows your eyes with color!

It’s worthwhile to spend a day here, hiking, biking and of course swimming in the waterfalls. Everything happens for a reason and I was glad I came to Krka instead.

ℹKrka National Park

Getting to Krka NP

You can enter the park in five different points. As most people visit from Šibenik (a 20-min ride), the two most popular starting points are Skradin and Lozovac at the southern end.

We ended up leaving the car in Skradin, taking a boat up the Krka river until the park. Boats sail every fill hour and return at half hours. The sailing time from Skradin to Krka is about 25 minutes and it is completely free with your entrance ticket. Woo-hoo, a bonus boat trip through the river valley!

Prices and opening hours

Krka National Park is open all year round, everyday from 8am to 5pm. The entrance to the park in peak season is 200 kuna.

Check prices and opening hours here.

SPLIT

croatia road trip tips advice - Split republic Square
Split’s Republic Square

Split is a major transportation hub in Croatia and a popular cruise ship port. It is also an ideal departure place to take a ferry and explore the islands along the Dalmatian coast.

When Roman Emperor Diocletian decided to build himself a modest retirement home, he chose Split. Diocletian’s Palace was so massive that a bustling town started being build around it. Today, tons of shops, restaurants and cafés in Riva – the main pedestrian street – are the centre of the city action.

croatia road trip guide - split
Perspective on the Mausoleum Dome next to Diocletian’s Palace.

If there’s a major sight not to be missed in Split is definitely the Peristyle, the central square of the palace. Grab a seat in the nearest roman ruin, order a beer and marvel the spectacular architecture and the patchwork of Roman, medieval and Renascence buildings around you. It’s particularly beautiful during the evening.

Split is worth at least 1 or 2 days. Personally, I’d try to allocate more time to Zadar, but that’s my preference for a slightly less touristy city.

Where to stay in Split

I highly recommend you stay in the center of the old town. If possible inside the city walls. The outskirts of Split can be a bit disappointing and they’re surely not worth the extra trip.

Beware though: finding a parking spot in centre Split during the summer can be a needle-in-a-haystack task,

Here’s a good option for accomodation:

where to stay in split road trip in croatia split

Villa Boban Luxury

Just a 4-min walk from the beach and 20-min from the Diocletian Palace, this is a great location. The apartments are clean, modern and tidy.

You can also start your search with this pre-selected list of the best accommodation in Split city center, with free WiFi, and access to parking for your car.

Booking.com

BRAC ISLAND

croatia road trip guide - ferry split to brac
Leaving Split behind on the way to Brac island.

If you are road tripping Croatia, you’ll want to go to one (or more) of its 1,000 islands. Don’t let FOMO settle in!.

After checking the possible ferry routes and ruling out time-consuming connections, we ended up with three possibilities: Brac, Hvar and Korcula. In the end we’ve chosen the first one because it seemed to have the perfect mix of what we wanted to find: beaches, nature and relax.

I’ve praised the island of Brac before. It was a true show-stopper for me and quite possibly the major highlight of the trip. This is where the real and authentic Croatia lies.

Brac is one of those places with the power of take you away and make you forget all your problems.

The highlight: Zlatni Rat beach . One of the most popular postcards of the country. Due to its unique natural conditions, it’s a mecca for all the watersports enthusiasts but also a true delight to all nature lovers.

brac croatia road trip guide - island of brac
Typical house in Brac.

Allow yourself at least 2-3 days in Brac and don’t be limited to Zlatni Rat. The island has many other stunning coves and bays waiting to be explored, such as Lovrecina and Sumartin. The quaint small villages of Supetar, Pučišća and Bol are worth to visit too.

Where to stay in Brac island

road trip in croatia brac island

BlueSun Borak

Peaceful spot close to Zlatni Rat and to the walking promenade that leads to Bol.

DUBROVNIK

Croatia road trip dubrovnik Game Of Thrones

You’ve probably heard of Dubrovnik. The city has grown hugely in popularity in recent years and much credit should be given to the TV series Game of Thrones. In fact, you can see a GoT tour in every corner of the old town.

The amount of people inside the walls of Dubrovnik during the day is impressive, especially when cruise boats arrive. Stradun, the main commercial artery, can be completely packed at that times.

In any other destination, it would totally take away the charisma and authenticity – take Venice for example. But somehow in Dubrovnik that does not happen. Even with all the crowds and tours, wandering around the narrow cobbled streets of the old town felt as special as ever.

Walking the two-kilometre ancient walls allows for the best views of Dubrovnik, but I found it more interesting seeing it from the sea. Sea kayaking tours are widely available – I recommend Adventure Dubrovnik – and usually are done starting from Pile Gate and around the Lokrum island, right in front of the city.

Croatia road trip guide Dubrovnik
Stradun street at dusk.

One great place to stay – far away from the old town madness but easily reachable by bus/car – is the Lapad peninsula. While it’s an area with high-end luxurious hotels, it’s also possible to find cheap accommodation next to the best beaches near Dubrovnik.

Take a look at this shortlist in Booking. It contains only the top-rated hotels in Dubrovnik, with WiFi, parking, and breakfast included.

ℹDubrovnik tips

Bring your passport

Did you know Dubrovnik is geographically isolated from the rest of Croatia? If you are coming from anywhere else in Croatia to Dubrovnik by road, you’ll have to pass through Bosnia & Herzegovina. Bosnia is not part of the European Union, so depending on the country of your passport you may need to show your documents.

Getting around Dubrovnik

Traffic and parking in Dubrovnik is a total CHAOS. I highly recommend you get around using the reliable and efficient network of bus. We didn’t wait more than 5 minutes every time we used it, even during the night.

Where to stay in Dubrovnik

I stayed in the Lapad peninsula which turned out to be a great area in Dubrovnik. Just a short bus trip to the crazy Old Town, it allows you to be away from the tourist madness and have a little bit of beach time close by.
My hotel was the one below, but here’s a shortlist of the top places with WiFi in Lapad to get your search started.

Where I stayed in Dubrovnik ⭐

road trip in croatia dubrovnik where to stay
Image source: Booking.com
Apartments Silva

Just a 5-min walk from the beach, with a super friendly host, and a gorgeous view over Lapad area.

Booking.com

Extra places to go in Croatia

If you have some more spare days, there are many other options to enrich your itinerary with places not only in Croatia but in other neighbour countries.

Istria peninsula, Croatia

I’ve left the entire western-most region of Croatia out of my basic itinerary due to time limitations. If time is not a problem, you can spend some days exploring the peninsula of Istria. Amongst the green countryside and the coastal little ports, the main city Pula and the fortified town of Rovinj stand out. Nearby there also some of Croatia’s popular islands: Krk, Rab and Cres.

Hvar Island, Croatia

Hvar is the most popular island destination in Croatia. From its endless lavender fields to the bubbling nightlife of Hvar Town, there’s always something to keep you busy. If Hvar still bores you, you can always rent a boat and head to the deserted Paklinski islands on a day trip.

road trip Croatia tips and advice
Mostar, Bosnia & Herzegovina.

Mostar, Bosnia & Herzegovina

A day trip to Mostar is perfectly doable from either Split, Makarska or Dubrovnik. The city holds a complete different vibe from the whole Croatia, which makes it a great addition to your road trip route. Besides the stunning Stari Most (Old Bridge), Mostar is an interesting mix of a vibrant oriental culture and a joyless recent history.

Kotor, Montenegro

Backed up by impressive mountains keeping its authenticity untouched, many consider Dubrovnik to be a Euro-trashy version of Kotor. With scenic views, four-kilometre medieval walls and a ever-lasting medieval architecture, you might want to consider adding this city to your route. Next time, I will.

croatia road trip guide - sunset
Sunsets are one of the strong points of Croatia.

Driving in Croatia

I must say I was impressed with how easy it is to drive in Croatia. No matter the natural obstacles you’ll be driving on – mountains, cliffs, coves – the roads are in perfect condition and very well signalised. Pay tolls, when existent, are very cheap.

Within the cities, the story is a bit different. While Zagreb is still much calmer to what you’d expect of an european capital, traffic in cities like Zadar, Split, and specially Dubrovnik can be CHAOS.

Same for parking: we wandered around 45 minutes to find a (paid!) parking spot in Split. And we decided to ditch our car when arriving Dubrovnik (our last stop) and switch immediately to public transport. Remember this was in September, can’t even imagine on the peak summer months.

Which car hire companies to use in Croatia?

You can find most of the big heavy weights in Croatia. More importantly than the company you go for, is try to book your car as soon as possible – it can save you loads of money. We ended up going with Sixt and getting an additional insurance from Insurance4carhire. Good value for money in both cases, so I can just recommend them!

Pro tip: due to the geography of Croatia, consider returning the car in a different place than the pick up. Most companies will charge you a “one-way” fee, but it will be worth to avoid driving all the way back to your starting point.

Accommodation in Croatia

There’s a wide range of hotels, hostels, guesthouses, villas, and especially private apartments available on Booking and on Airbnb.

Rooms are usually cheap and with good quality rooms. Yet, due to the increase of tourism in recent years, it is recommended to book well in advance for July and August months.

Start your search using the lists I’ve put together of all hotels in Croatia with WiFi, parking, and good-to-excellent reviews in Split, Zadar, and Dubrovnik.

Costs for a Croatia trip

So how much all of this madness cost?

Find out a breakdown on my numbers below. Keep in mind these are values per person and that I travelled with four other people, which tends to lower down the global costs. If you’re travelling with less people, I’d add 10-30% extra to the total for a better estimate. And don’t forget to add in your flights!

ℹHow much does a road trip in Croatia cost?
  • Car Rental: 102€ (rental value per person)
  • Diesel: 13€ (total value per person)
  • Ferries: 14
  • Meals and snacks: 291
  • Supermarket stuff: 30
  • TOTAL COST (€): 585€/pax

Tips for your road trip in Croatia

Here are some generic tips to save you time and money in Croatia:

Saving money

  • Try to stay in apartments with kitchen, where you can prepare some meals. We actually did stay but we were too lazy to make any meals, which could have saved us loads!
  • Pay attention to exchange rates, in some of the most touristy places they are outrageous. You can lose a lot of money changing money to kunas!

Saving time

  • If you’re boarding a ferry with your car, arrive to the port EARLY. Lines can start forming 1 or 2 hours before the departure time and car availability is limited.
  • Only a VERY limited number of ferries allow cars on board and they’re usually popular routes. Study well your itinerary as you can easily you make you waste a lot of time getting back to the mainland.
  • For detailed ferry information check the Croatia Ferries website or go directly with the largest croatian ferry company, Jadrolinija.

Uma foto publicada por BRUN🌎 (@bruno_mb) a

Other Croatia Resources

My travel tips valid anywhere

  • 🏨 To find the best deals and book your stay with free cancellation, I recommend Booking.com
  • 🚗 Always compare car rental prices before you book anything (and if possible use local rental shops!)
  • ☑️ Travel insurance is a must these days – don’t overlook it! I recommend Allianz or Safety Wing
  • 💰 Use Revolut to save in exchange rates and payments abroad
  • ⚙️ Amazon has the largest offer in travel gear and accessories – check out my Travel Store!
  • ✈️ Are you dealing with a delayed or cancelled flight? Airhelp may help you get a compensation for it!

Do you feel ready to do a Croatia road trip?
What other tips do you have? Share your experience below!

 

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278 comments 💬

  1. I read my travel blogs to pick and choose inspiration, but whenever I read yours I feel like I could do your exact trip! Love your travel style and the level-headed way you describe things.

  2. Thanks for your road travel guide to Croatia; which is also on my bucker list.
    Once travel becomes safe again, I will certainly visit this country.

  3. My husband and i and a couple of friends are wanting to visit Dubrovnik and Split along with other places and are wondering if anyone can recommend somewhere central to stay. We will be staying for a week and will be hiring a car.
    Also could you recommend places to visit.
    Thank you

  4. I assume when going to Brac, you have to pay to park your car on the mainland while you ferry out to Brac?
    Awesome site and write up, good work.
    D.J.

  5. So much amazing information. We are planning a trip May 2020. would like to know is the coast road a good option to go from Split to Rijeka by bus with a night or two in Zadar. From Rijeka we have 5nights before we go to Ljubljana. I know you don’t do itineraries but we are not sure where to go. we are travelling either by bus or train. We are in our early seventies but quite fit. Appreciate any advice thanks Bruno. Cheers Nola

  6. Hello,
    We arrive Mid day August 31,2019 Staying 2 night at Zagreb leaving Monday Sept 1 to Plitvick ( suggest place to stop in between for early dinner or lunch stay over night in Plitvik (got tickets for 7am on Tuesday Sept 3. See park all day stay overnight at Plitvick Wed Sept 4th head to Zadar , If i want to spend a day in Park Kyrka do I overnight it in Zadar or Sibenik ? I also would like to spend a full day in Zadar so I can watch the Sunset .I would like to visit a few islands and possibly Mijet .Do I have time if my plane returns back home September 15 Sunday? Please suggest an itinerary I have 14 full days and the half day arrival date of August 31, 2019. We have a rented Car I was planning on dropping off at Dubrovnik Friday Sept 13 overnight it without a car Friday Sept 13, see dubrovnik all day Saturday the 14th overnight it in Dubrovnik without a car and flying home Sunday the 15th of September .
    Questions:
    starting: Zagreb to Dubrovnik

    1) Suggested Itinarary for14.5 days We planned up to departure from Plitvik on Wed Sept 4th?
    2) Definitely want to spend a full day in Kyrka National Park (do I need to buy tickets on line?)
    3) definitely want to go to a few islands with or without car
    4) would like to include Mijet if time allows and from what city can i visit Mijet
    5) not into big Cities ,but would like at least one day 1 night or 2 in the big cities.
    6) where do I leave rental car while I go to the islands ( I suppose the islands are visited from Split as home base)

    Thank you very much ahead of time

    1. While I’m happy to help with individual questions, I’m not a travel agent and thus I can’t suggest a full itinerary for you.
      I’ll try to ask your questions nevertheless:

      1. There’s a 10-day itinerary right here. I suggest to expand it with a few more days in each place.
      2. Don’t think is necessary.
      3. Depends on what you plan to do there?
      4. Dubrovnik or Split.
      5. Split is a good option.
      6. Not sure what you mean by this. I took the car to the islands.

  7. Thanks for all the info! We are going in August and are really looking forward to our new adventure. We will be spending three nights in Zagreb then driving to the car ferry to go to Mali Losinj. Is there anything to see on our way? After four nights in Cunski we will head to Porec for one night and then take the Stella Maris for seven nights cruising the smaller islands and ending in Dubrovnik for two nights. Any advice or recommendations? Thank you!

  8. any advise on whether to rent car on island of brac and korkula or use ferry as it seems difficult to find

  9. Great blog- any advice re maps or do you recommend google maps.
    This requires data plan; do you purchase a SIM card In Croatia?
    Many thanks

  10. Hi Bruno B.
    Great article! Reading it has really wet my appetite for my upcoming adventure. I have about a month soon to kick about in Croatia with my wife and two kids before they start school. Without wanting to bombard you with questions…we’ll be traveling by car with a tent, did you notice if Croatia is set up well for camping?
    Just about about to read your Portugal blog too…
    Thanks in advance.

  11. Plitvice Lake and Krka National Park is nature’s at its best! Croatia is simply amazing.

  12. Excellent , provides tons of information for the first time traveller to go to Croatia.

  13. I have found this article really useful in planning our holiday to Croatia in September 2019. It provides a great insight into how long we will need at each stop.

    I cannot, however, seem to find any details on line regarding a car ferry from Brac to Dubrovnik, there are plenty of passenger ferries – is the assumption that this leg of the journey is done by road?

    1. From Brac, you typically get on the ferry to Makarska and then to Dubrovnik.
      I think there’s a ferry that goes straight to Dubrovnik, but it’s less frequent. Check with Jadrolinija!

  14. How long would you need at Krka National Park? Just wondering if we could do Krka on our way from Zadar to Split?

    1. Yes, that’s what we did anyway.
      If you go early in the morning, spend the day there, you’re ready to move to the next destination.

  15. Hi! This itinerary looks great.

    My friends and I are planning a 10-12 day Croatia road trip, but we are 10 of us!
    Our itinerary is similar to yours:

    TENTATIVE ITINERARY, CROATIA:
    Day 1 :Zagreb
    Day 2: Leave Zagreb for Plitvice Lakes (one night in Plitvice)
    Day 3: Leave Plitvice Lakes for Split (Stop at Krka National Park on the way – one can swim there in the natural lakes and waterfalls)
    Day 4 – 6: Split
    Day 6 : Take ferry to Hvar from Split
    Day 6 – 9: Hvar
    Day 9 : Return from Hvar – and proceed to Dubrovnik
    Day 9 – 13: Dubrovnik
    Day 13: Fly back from Dubrovnik

    Would love your feedback on this!

    Also, the budget you gave for hotels for 10 days is awesome! Can you help suggest hotels in the above locations?

    1. Very similar indeed 🙂
      I wouldn’t change a thing, but of course it will depend on what you’re looking for? Nightlife vs relax? Beach vs mountains?
      Also keep in mind moving 10 people will be a lot slower so it’s good that you stay at least 2 night in most places.

      I have recommendations for almost all locations in the article 🙂

  16. We are 3 adults flying into Dubrovnik and out of Zadar – with only 4.5 days maximum to spend in between. Our plan is to arrive on October 16 and leave on October 20th. We definitely would like to hike around Krka and Plitvice and other than that, probably go to Split and Zadar. We do not want to spend time in larger cities but like markets. What would you recommend for this kind of a trip? We will rent a car and would like to stay at quaint places – Airbnbs probably. Any advice you can give would be so greatly appreciated!

  17. thank you soooo much for your travel report. you have no idea how much it helped me planning my trip to croatia. i definitely appreciate the details and recommendations. thanks!

  18. All these places are beautiful to visit & love your post. I know about Croatia because of your famous soccer players but after reading this post I find plenty more reasons.

  19. Hi,
    I’ve just read your itinerary. Perfect as this is exactly what we are looking for… We drive everywhere and really looking forward to doing this part of the world… We will most likely follow this path but we will be flying in to Dubrovnik and out of Zagreb… We actually have 12 days, where and what would you add to it? Is there a special somewhere we should add? Thanks in advance

    1. Oh, should also mention it will be late Sept/Early Oct

  20. Nice blog…We are planning to go there by end of August with our almost 2 year old. Is this place ok for kids 🙂

    1. Hi SkepticalMom,

      This was a fab road-trip itinerary to use with kids! We have just returned from Croatia using this as a guide with our almost 2 year old too, and loved it!

      Food for children is plentiful, many restaurants have babyseats, there are LOADS of playgrounds and parks in every place we visited, and everyone was so kind to our daughter. It has been our favourite European country to travel with a child so far.

      Here was our itinerary:
      Zagreb
      Slavonski Nova (we wanted to stay in a historic village, Stara Kapela)
      Zadar
      Krka National Park
      Mostar, Bosnia
      Trebinje (Great new waterpark that was super quiet and fun!)
      Morinj, Montengero
      Cavtat (Outside of Dubrovnik)

      You will all love it.

      Also, thank you so much GeekyExplorer for this fantastic guide!! Your blog was the reason we went there, and it was our favourite holiday yet!

  21. Wow! The Plitvice one looks so freakin’ awesome! Also, I never knew that you can go far off with that amount of money. Thanks for sharing this!

    1. To be fair, dividing costs by 4 other people helps save some money. But it’s perfectly possible to get around cheaply in Croatia.

  22. Hi,
    Thank you for sharing your travelling experience. Looking forward to visit all the wonderful places.
    Would like to check whether is safe to self drive at Croatia during end Nov 18?
    How is the traffic during that period?
    Is the GPS useful for the route?

    1. I’m afraid I never visited Croatia during that time. I imagine it will be rather chilly and rainy, especially in places like Plitvice.

  23. thanks a lot ! We are 6 friends who have planned to visit Croatia from 14th Aug _24th Aug 2918′. After reading your article it has helped us to make some changes. However once we reach there we will know exactly what advice by you has helped us. Will update you . We hvnt done the hotel booking yet and nor the car renting booking. We have planned entire tour by road and would rent a SUV there.

    1. I would love to hear about your trip when you’re done. We would like to do this next year (September 2019??) with 6 adults so please tell us what you did and how it worked out for you!

  24. Hello!
    I’m curious about parking at the destinations. Is it difficult to find parking near hotels? Or do some have parking?
    Also we will be entering and leaving Croatia via Rovinje. The plan is to drive south first to Dubrovnik and then work our way back taking in the sights for about 12 days. We will be traveling the first half of July. Do you suggest I book all my accommodations now or will we be okay with booking there. I know it is HIGH season.
    Thank you!
    Paula

    1. Definitely book all of them now.
      As for parking, it can be really tricky as streets are narrow. I recommend looking for hotels with parking included.

  25. Hi Bruno. Thank you for this wonderful itinerary and the lovely photos. We’re planning on visiting Croatia end of this month. We have only 6 days. Having read your article, I have selected a provisional list of Plitvice, Murter, Krka, Brac, Hvar, Mostar and Dubrovnik. I would like to visit these places but I am aware that our time is very limited. Would it be possible to see all these places in 6 days? How long would you recommend t spend in each place? We like laid back places with beautiful scenaries, good food and nature. I have not included Split and Zagreb as we don’t mind missing out on the bigger cities and would like to visit places like the national parks and Mostar. I would appreciate your help please.

  26. Hi Bruno, Great itinerary . After researching other blogs and Trip Advisor your article cleared up my confusion for a 2 week vacation first 2 weeks of September in 2018. I basically have 6 questions maybe you can help me with:

    1- traveling from Miami, Fla USA it seems closest point to fly into would be Rome. Are there direct flights from Rome to Zagreb and how long is that flight? What is the closest European City to fly into to get on a connecting flight to Zagreb? Any input is appreciated.

    2- I am thinking only to book first 2 nights upon arrival at Zagreb and book other accomadations on the spot ,as not to limit my freedom and basically stay at wherever city I end up at night. Can i expect to find accommodations that are not dumps on a last minute basis or do you not recommend this? Those places you suggest on your blog take last mi note request for accomodations ?

    3- If I rent a car at Zagreb and start driving towards Split ( stay overnight ) will I be able to find parking for an overnight stay? ( want to be at least 1 day exploring Split.

    4- What is the average driving distance in hours from Zagreb to Dujbrovnik if I was to drive straight through ( I am trying to calculate driving time in case I run out of time and need to drive strait thru in a hurry to get on my return flight.)

    5- the 2 islands I would like to visit while there is definitely Vis and/or Mijet or Hvar or Brac but definitely Vis ( read food is amazing, as well as beautiful island) Maybe since Vis is bigger the other Island I should visit is Mijet since it’s more quaint? Can any of these island be reached driving over a bridge or is a Catamaran only way ?

    6- our vacation time is 16 days total. Subtracting 3 days for air travel from USA and return or 4 days , We have at best 12 to 13 days.I would say 12 to be on safe side to enjoy Croatia . In 12 days you think we can follow your itinerary and plug in 2 islands?

    Thank You for your awesome suggested Itineary.

    1. Wow, that’s a lot of questions. Will try to address them all.

      1. Yes, of course. Should be around 2 hours.
      2. I don’t recommend this, but you might be lucky.
      3. Eventually yes, but don’t expect to be parked near the hotel. Why not book a hotel with parking?
      4. Check Google Maps for this.
      5. These are all islands, so ferry is the only option.
      6. I’d stick to 2 islands only.

  27. Hi my husband and I are planing a very similar road trip to yours . I have been told that I need a special green card and insurance when driving between plot and Dubrovnik . Is this correct also worried now about using the ferry and connections we are going the beginning of September so hoping it won’t be quite so busy .
    Any further suggestions and advice greatfully appreciated

    1. Beginning of September should be a bit better than the peak months, but still busy. I’ve never heard of this special green card?

  28. We are staying three nights in Split and was thinking of taking in the Krka waterfall en route to Zadar where we stay only one night. From your blog I get the feeling more time is needed at the waterfall. Maybe a day trip from Split a better option?

  29. Croatia is a beautiful tourist attractions! many vacation destinations that should be visited. a very informative guides to vacations to Croatia the Krka and having great views! I’d love to come. netpolis.nl

  30. Hi, loved your itinerary! We are looking at a family holiday similar to yours. Would you recommend hiring a car or rather use public transport?

  31. We just happened to come across you blog and is exactly what we need for our planned trip to Croatia in May.

    Our itinerary are as follows:-

    Zagreb – 1 night
    Plitvices 1 – night
    Zadar – 2 nights withe day trip to Krka np
    Split – 2 nights
    Mostar – 1 night
    Dubrovnik – 2 night

  32. Thank you for sharing this information. I am looking at doing something very similar.

  33. Could you be so kind as to chart out a 10 night itenary starting Zagreb ending in Dubrovnik ., if possible we’d like to include lake bled . Ljubljana too . We arrive in Zagreb on the 17 th May ., and fly out of Dubrovnik on the 27 th

  34. Thank you for this, it has been most helpful, it has given me a great itinerary to follow

  35. I am so sorry that I read this blog after I completed all my bookings. Anyway, thanks for such a wonderful guide Bruno!!
    Our plan is a bit too ambitious. We rent a car in Munich, stay for a week in a resort in the midst of Bavarian alps and drive all the way down till Dubrovnik along the coast and then up again through Plitvice park and Zagreb back to our resort in Bavaria. We love to drive and enjoy the nature at our own pace.
    We have 12 days/11 nights to do this and hope to see it all.
    My only question is should I stay in Zagreb for two nights or just one night and then move on to some other place (suggestions welcome) on way? We will be driving to Zagreb from Plitvice park and that is not too long a drive.
    Charu

    1. Wow that’s a BIG drive, but I love the idea. I think there’s many more beautiful places in Croatia in Zagreb to be honest, so I’d say shorten your visit there.

    2. We would like to do the same thing…fly into Munich for 2 nights, rent a car, stop a night in Austria and on to Zagreb for 1-2 nights, then to Dubrovnik for 2 nights and drive back up coast stopping for 1 – 2 nights at a time, up to Rovinj, possibly Venice on way back to Munich. Is this possible with rental car? Thanks

  36. Thank you so much for this post.
    I think i will need to work my way backwards.
    myself and to be husband are booked to go for honeymoon.
    we have 12 nights.
    we arrive in dubrovnik.
    no accommodation booked but flights are.
    idea was 4 night dubrovnik – game of thrones
    4 night split – and a trip to havar – caves – game of thrones
    zadar 2 nights
    venice 2 night from pula.
    we planned to travel via ferry- catamaran to each place as no car.
    we have checked for ferry pul to venice this lands on right day.
    would you suggest a different way to do this or what to see on the way up instead of this way.
    maybe to simplify or get in some must see.
    thank you in advance.
    all recommendations suggestions welcome.
    thanks

    sarah

  37. THANK YOU, Not sure how you did this with so many links and and photos and well super advanced blogger. thank you. So much, This was like smacking me in the face with a sledge hammer, as over half the places to stay are sold out for Ultra week, in July and it is only March. thank you for heads up on Kronas too will figure out how to go to Crotia with them that was also a big Thank You.

  38. Saludos! We are planning to go to croatia at the end of June the beginning of July. We are three ladies renting a vehicle and traveling from pula to dubronick. It is safe for girls along traveling in cars across the country? What airline do you recommend for airlines tickets? It is prefer to use euros or credit cards? We are planing to go from dubronick to Athens for the rest of our vacations any suggestions? Thanks for any advice you guys can give us.

    1. I don’t see why you have the idea it’s not safe. Europe in general is extremely safe and Croatia in particular is a very chilled place.

      Can’t recommend an airline without knowing where you’re flying from, but I flew Vueling and had no issues. 🙂

      It’s generally better to withdraw cash from an ATM, but it all depends on your credit card details. Good luck!

  39. So helpful! Thank you. We are planning a trip June to July and will be driving from Zagreb to Split where we join a boat trip, so your ideas on places to visit are great.

  40. Thanks so much for taking the time to do this blog. I’m in the middle of planning a three week trip to Croatia and am planning much the same route. It’s good to know that I’m on the right track for timing in the various cities/ sights.

  41. I’m planning a 4 week trip to Croatia with my 11 year old son – July/August. I would like to do about 3/4 bases with day trips from them. We both like the beach but would also like to take in some of the history, places of beauty (Plitivice definitely) and islands. What 3 bases would you suggest please?

  42. Thank you for the detailed guide
    i’m planning for a road trip in Croatia starting from Dubrovnik to Zagreb
    can you please explain more about the Bosnia borders with Dubrovnik ? i’m just passing Bosnia to get to Split, do i need Bosnia visa ? am I going through customs ? check-out Croatia check-in Bosnia then check-in Croatia again ? or its just an open road and no going to ask ?
    Thank you

    1. I don’t know the details for your particular case because I don’t know the country you’re from. EU residents don’t need VISA, and I’m guessing the same happens with most countries. You’ll pass through a toll leaving and entering the frontier and a security will look into your identity card/passport.

  43. Next trip, try some sailing, biking, hiking…Croatia is more than anything a nature trip! Lay on the rocks…forget Zlatni Rat on Brac…that’s an attraction, not one of the zillions of places on the coast
    to experience beauty and peace. Also, Croatia is a food trip…enjoy natural food and wonderful wine!!
    It has a rugged, rustic beauty that people who live in or only travel through Europe find welcome and quite refreshing.
    Definitely a more economic tour, Bruno. My objection this time is driving on the coast…YIKES! It is a wild and treacherous bunch of rides! To each, his/her own!

    1. Thank you for your suggestions Leslie. I don’t see how your inputs and mine are mutually exclusive, I mean we definitely agree on the great food and wine, and I definitely experienced peace in Murter island and in remote coves and bays in Brac,

      Definitely there’s an unspoiled beauty to be uncovered, and if you are a local or have lots of time to explore that’s great. However for anyone visiting for the first time (like me) for just a couple of weeks I’m sure you understand we don’t want to be ALL our days hiding in the forest hiking. 🙂

      I’m sure you do the same when you go abroad.

      Anyway, thanks for your point of view!

  44. Excellent blog you have here.. It’s hard to find high-quality writing
    like yours nowadays. I honestly appreciate individuals like
    you! Take care!!

  45. Very good blog! Do you have any recommendations for aspiring writers?
    I’m hoping to start my own site soon but I’m a little lost on everything.
    Would you advise starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid
    option? There are so many options out there that I’m totally overwhelmed ..
    Any tips? Kudos!

    1. I’d say start with the more economic option, see if you like it, and then evolve. You don’t have to create the perfect website right away, keep iterating!

  46. Only a smiling visitor here to share the love (:, btw outstanding style and design.

  47. Hi! That was a good article and suggestion about Croatia. I am Croatian who was born and lived in Dubrovnik until I moved to USA. I would add to that list island of Mljet- unspoiled by tourism and full of natural beauty.

    1. Thanks a lot for the suggestion Tatiana. Mljet was on my personal plans but in the end we had to make choices… Definitely going back to Croatia and Mljet is a priority!!

  48. These are sensational photos of Croatia, I wonder when can I go there and took photos of them personally.
    Thank you for sharing this wonderful photo

  49. Awesome article it is definitely. My friend has been awaiting for this tips.

  50. Hi Bruno
    Hubby and I are visiting Croayia in July, we intend to pick up a hire car at Zagreb and go to Plitvice Lakes. We have accomodation hooked for 2 nights there, then we will drive to Tucepi for 2 nights and onto Dubrovnik for 3 nights. Then planned to drive to Montenegro and stay 4 nights and drive back to Dubrovnik to get a flight to Budapest. Do you think keeping the car and driving to Montenegro is a good option or should we ditch the car when we get to Dubrovnik and bus it to and from Montenegro?

  51. so I am planning to visit end of jan or 2nd week of feb!
    planning to fly in/out of Zagreb. Is it easier to come back to Zagreb from Dubronvik driving?

  52. Great read so glad i found it. I am in the process of organising a road trip to Croatia at the moment and am just wondering if its possible to drive from Zagreb to Plitvice to see the lakes and then on to Zadar that afternoon. Understand this may rush things or is it cutting to fine the time in the national park. Looking forward to any info that may be passed on.

    1. Yes, that’s definitely possible, make sure you leave early in the morning though. It’s a long day but it’s doable.

  53. Fantastic article and a great help in planning a six week trip through Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia and Slovenia in late May/June 2018. I have booked accommodation myself (including the one you recommended in Zagreb – Rooms 17 Zagreb). Instead of driving we are using some private/shared transfers, day trips + ferries, buses and trains. Basically it is three nights Zagreb, a two day trip to Sarajevo, five nights Sarajevo, a three day trip to Dubrovnik (with two nights Mostar), four nights Dubrovnik, three nights in each of Korcula, Split and Zadar, two nights Plitivice Lakes (hopefully we’ll get one fine day), three nights Rovinj, two nights Piran, four nights Ljubljana, four nights Bled and then one final night Zagreb. Hopefully it will go well and many thanks for your very helpful tips/suggestions.
    One question – we are doing a private transfer between Split and Zadar so that we can visit Sibenik and Krka National Park. I have allocated four hours in each of these places. Do you think that is long enough for both Sibenik and Krka NP? My only other option is to only do one of these on the way and do the other as a day trip from Split or Zadar on one of the two full days we have in each place.

    1. Thanks a lot Bob.

      I haven’t been to Sibenik, so can’t comment on that. I’d say whatever feels less rushed. 4 hours feels a bit rushed to Krka to be honest.

  54. Great article! I would like to add a few days in Slovenia for a 14 day trip. Any thoughts? Better to start or finish in Slovenia?

    1. I would save Croatia for the hotter days – whenever they are – but overall I think the order is a bit irrelevant. Really depends on your logistics.

      Let me know how Slovenia was!

  55. Dear Bruno,
    It’s a really good article! You said everything you needed to say about traveling in Croatia.
    I’d like to recommend all of you to come and explore all the beauty of the country where I’am living. I’am feeling so proud now.

    Greetings from Istria!

    1. Thanks Darian, you definitely have good taste, I can’t wait to go back to Croatia and specifically to Istria!

  56. This is the best site I found on Croatia. Makes my planning very easy. Can I ask if going to any of the island in first week of October is worthwhile given it may be cold by then?

    1. Dear Jay,
      Well, it depends the weather. Last year, the whole September and October were very solid temperature.

      Good luck!

      Darian

    2. It really depends on the island you pick from. If you’re lucky, October might still bring warm and sunny days!

  57. This itinerary and advice is great. I am travel agent and I have not been to Croatia and I am currently putting together a trip for a retired couple over the age of 55 but still very active. If I had to leave anything off your list to make it easier for them what do you suggest? Also is there a bus system that can get them to each city?

    1. I’d definitely skip Zagreb, if not Split. There are buses connecting the main cities, yes, I just find renting a car much more convenient.

    2. Ok so what would be your best route advice? they will be flying in from barcelona. what city in your opinion would be best to fly into to work their way down or up the coast?

    3. also what cities would you use buses for and what cities would you use car and what cities for ferry?

    4. I don’t know your clients, so it’s hard for me to suggest anything. That said I would keep the car the entire time and only ditch it once I get to Dubrovnik.

      Good luck!

  58. We will be in Croatia/Slovenia for 10 days in September. We are flying into Dubrovnik, staying 4 nights – then 3 nights on Hvar Island with plans to ferry to other islands while there, a day in Split, a day/night at Plitvice Lakes and 2 nights at Lake Bled. We plan to fly into Dubrovnik and out of Ljubljana. Would it be helpful to have the rental car the whole time, and take a car ferry from Dubrovnik to Hvar, then Hvar to Split? Which companies have car ferries?

    1. Yes, I think it saves some hassle. Most (if not all) ferries of Jadrolinija allow cars, but for detailed information check Croatia Ferries website.

  59. Thank you for your generosity in putting together this amazing guide. We only have 7 days in Croatia so can only do part of your itinerary. We will be flying in and out of Spit. Our plan is to spend 3 nights in Split and do one day-tour to Krka park and one day-tour to Vis Island. From Spit, we plan to take the ferry or catamaran to Brac Islands, then Korkula and then Dubrovnik. We are debating whether to get a car since the first two days we will be going with a tour and then ditch the car in Dubronic (we’ll sail, fly or get a shuttle back to Split to fly home). Is there anyway to get around Brac and Korkula without a car? Can we bike? Thanks so much for your help.
    Van

    1. First of all I think you have a pretty busy schedule. 3 islands in 7 days + Krka + 2 cities?! I’d skip one place otherwise you’d be spending your holidays inside a car moving around.

      That said there are some buses in Brac, but really not reliable. A car/bike is a must in my opinion, but again, some people stay in Bol/Zlatni Rat for a week and don’t explore the rest of the islands. Same for Korcula.

  60. please could you help me as I want to drive from the UK to Croatia but will not want to drive back so looking to scrap my car which is only a cheap vehicle but reliable. Any help appreciated so that I can arrange to speak to a scrap dealer and fly back.

    1. sorry Ama, I don’t know anything about where to start finding a scrap dealer in Croatia. Have you tried Google?

  61. great info, thanks!

    hubbie and i just booked 21 days for a roadtrip based on all you’ve listed here! flying into zagreb 9/14, picking up another couple in split 9/27, and all leaving from dubrovnik 10/5.

    we like to stay in places 3-4 days and day trip other sites from there. we defintely want to go to both bosnia and montenegro. we’ve spent one day each already in dubrovnik as well as kotor via cruise ship.

    still early in the planning process, but i’m thinking three days each in zagreb, west coast, p lakes, zadar, an island or two, split, and kotor. we’d stay in downtown zagreb, split, and dubrovnik — so, pick up car after a few days in zagreb and retrn car in split when picking up other couple and then stay downtown split before we rent the second car and come back a day or two early to rtn car in dubrovnik.

    does that sound reasonable? are we trying to do too much, and am i worrying too much about car parking? any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

    thanks,
    joyce

    1. I think that’s a pretty good plan, just has extra hassle with two rentals. We also ditched our car when arriving to Dubrovnik, parking was a nightmare (maybe it won’t be that bad in late Sep/Oct).

  62. hi, excellent guide for our trip in august to croatia. Me and my boyfriend want to do the road trip in a motorcycle. Is it a good idea? Do you know were can we rent a motorcycle? how are the roads?
    regards,
    Dafna

    1. Like mentioned in the article, the roads are in very good condition and safe. The distances might be too much for a motorcycle (it’s a long country), but it all depends on your experience!

  63. Very interesting. Me and my wife are going to be in Croatia for ten days starting from Rijeka . And ending in Rijeka again to catch our plane back to Sweden. Any idées witch is the best way to take,
    Kindly regards JOHNNY

    1. Sorry, just seen this now, it’s hard to keep up with all the comments.

      What did you end up doing?

  64. Great summary of your experiences! I’m going with my wife to Croatia – starting from Zagreb and heading to Dubrovnik. Just nervous about the driving, as I’m from UK. Also the signs and the places to view n where to park! We are going for 6 days. I want to spend a night somewhere between Zagreb and Dubrovnik. We will be in Zagreb for one half days, then drive down to Plitvice – stay for short while before heading further down to the Dalmatian coast. We hope to spend 2 days in Dubrovnik. Any suggestions? Any possibility of going to Mostar during that time?

    1. Croatia is actually a very safe and tranquil place to drive, except to what it comes to parking in the big cities. That can be a little drama, specially in Dubrovnik – that’s why I recommend to ditch the car once you get there.

      I would choose either Zadar or Split for your night along the way. Skip Mostar and save at least 2 full days for Dubrovnik, beautiful city with lots to do. And I bet you want to relax a bit as well, no? Less is more!

  65. Thank you for your guide, immensely helpful, my husband and I will be visiting Croatia for 10 days at the end of August. We are flying to and from Zagreb (direct flight from Toronto bonus) and were planning on renting a car from the airport for 9 days and returning it back to the airport. Is this a good idea since we are planning on visiting most of the places you mentioned?

    1. It might be more expensive but much more convenient if you get a flight Zagreb-Dubrovnik and go all the way up to Zagreb again (the reverse way I did). It will save you some good hours or driving.

      For me i’s either that or skip a part of the itinerary (e.g. Dubrovnik). Good luck!

  66. I read the entire page details and they were very useful for our trip planning. Great job.

  67. Thanks for your guide. I’m so pleased to have discovered your page. We are planning a trip in September 2017 for 8 days and are looking at flying to Zagreb and then from Zagreb to Dubrovnik before making our way back to Zagreb by Hire Car over 6 days via Split, Zadar and the lakes before returning to Zagreb. Any useful tips would be much appreciated.

  68. Thanks for your guide! Myself and my boyfriend are planning for September 2017. We only have 8 nights, and trying to make those hard choices on places to skip is terrifying!

    So far Plitvice has beat out Krka, but now I am terrified we will have the same experience as you with weather in September.

    We land in Zagreb early afternoon, spend night 1 there. We then leave the next day to drive near Plitvice, hope to arrive late afternoon and spend night 2. Wake up early the next day and spend the day at the park, hoping to leave here around 4 pm and drive to Zadar that evening to spend night 3. (Do you think this is cutting the park short or leaving not enough time to find our accommodation that evening in Zadar?) We have the full next day and night 4 in Zadar and leave the following morning to head to Split. We are torn on whether to spend the day and night in Split before heading down the coast to Dubrovnik, or driving on through Split and catching a ferry to and island (Brac or Hvar) for night 5. Get the ferry back the next morning and do the Adratic coast to Dubrovnik, arriving early evening and spending night 6. Then end off with two full days and night 7 & 8 in Dubrovnik. What do you think?? Any help would be much appreciated! Have read many blogs and changed our itineraries, but have had this plan for the last week, working on accommodations now.

    Thanks again!!!

    1. Readings experiences from others and advice from blogs is great, but there’s a time you need to step away and decide what YOU really want to do. There’s always something you need to leave behind, the important is to enjoy each moment, even if it is pouring rain in the Plitvice Lakes!

      Overall I think you have a very tight plan, specially the ferry. There’s no point in getting the ferry to Hvar or Brac if you’re not spending at least 2 full days there.

  69. WOW great over-view! You did a nice job here =)

    Very kind regards from Patricia from Croatiastories =)

  70. Lovely guide – what car company you used to rent from one city and drop off in another? We are planning to travel from Rovinj to Dubrovnik

  71. Super useful guide. Thanks! One question: We are traveling from Colombia for 18 days. We arte starting at Dubrovnik where we hire the car and finish in Zadar. At the middle of the trip our plans are to hop from Split to Korcula – Hvar – Bol and back to Split. We are thinking on living the car (or returning the car) at Split while doing the islands and then hire another car to continue the trip. This will give us more flexibility on the ferry schedules. Do you think this is a good idea? Or do you think its better to hop between the islands with the car? thank you for your time!!

    1. I think it’s a big advantage to have the car in the islands. You can easily explore some of the less explored coves and beaches and that’s totally worth it. It requires some coordination with the ferry schedules, but it will pay off!

  72. A really comprehensive guide with some great info you got here. If you ever come back to Dubrovnik update it make sure to come check us out.

  73. Hi, we are planning to arrive in and out Zagreb first two weeks of Sept. Since parking is such a hassle in Split and Dubrovnik, is public transport doable? Or shall we rent a car from Zagreb n ditch them at Dubrovnik and return to Zagreb by public transport? Thanks for your time.

  74. Wow! I can not thank you enough for all your help!! This has helped me tremendously!! We only have 4 days in Split and Dubrovnik. After reading your blog we will for sure go to Brac!!
    I am sorry I didn’t get to see your website before we booked the hotels. .. We are renting a car.
    We are in Split for the first 2 nights.
    Do you think is possible to do Brac Island Zlatnik Rat Bch)
    Plivitce Falls OR
    Krkra National Park and Dubrovnik.
    We have 5 nights and 4 days.
    I am falling in love more and more with Croatia
    Let me know if you get a chance please.

    Thank you!

    1. It is technically possible, but I would make some choices. With 4 days only, I’d not go to more than 2/3 NEARBY places. Perhaps Krka + Brac is the best option?

  75. Great site and information! We are heading from Plitvice Lakes to Rijeka. Is there anywhere inbetween you suggest staying for the night? Finding Rijeka limited for accommodations. From there we head to Pula in the morning. Thank you!

    1. I stayed in a guesthouse in the mountains near Plitvice. It was lovely! Otherwise try Senj, a lovely little town in the coast.

    1. That’s a hell of a roadtrip, must have been amazing! However I don’t accept links on the comments. Thanks!

  76. Hi, We’re in the process of planning a road trip to Croatia this May, 2017. We discovered that we can use our airline miles to fly round trip from Philly to Zagreb at no cost. However, we have to arrive & depart from Zagreb. Is there a good way to begin & end a road trip in Zagreb? Thanks very much! Don & Linda

    1. It depends on how much time you have. Of course there is, you can do Plitvice, Krka, Zadar or go the other way to the Istria peninsula!

  77. Hi! My boyfriend and I are planning to go in May for a total of 5 nights and 4 days. Can you please recommend where to go out of all your suggestions above? It would be greatly appreciated!

    1. Depends on where you want to go. You really need to choose where to go and it also depends on where you land. I’d say skip the islands and choose 1,2 cities + a national park!

  78. Hi! Great post. We are planning a trip this summer to croatia. I think your road trip is the best option. Do you think ita OK with a 3 year old? Can you send me a break down of how many days you stayed in each place?

    1. I don’t see why this trip isn’t suited for a 3-year old, but I’d probably take out 1 or 2 places to make it more relaxed. I spent 1-2 full days in each place, except Dubrovnik where I spent 3 nights.

  79. I am doing research right now. Flying from any point in the US to either Zagreb or Dubrovnik is a huge pain, overnight stops in London. It is much easier to fly to Venice. Do you know anything about the Ferries from Venice to Croatia? And if we fly to Venice it would be way out of the way to get to Zagreb, do you think it is worth it?

    1. I wouldn’t say Zagreb is a must go, but Plitvice is kind of inland, so you might have to do a detour anyway.

  80. HELLO ! Your posts above is a one stop guide. It cleared almost 90% of my queries. We are 3 boys planning for a croatia roadtrip for 8 days & we want SPLIT DUBROVNIK & HVAR ISLANDS. Can you please suggest for the same.

    1. Glad to know I cleared your questions. I haven’t been in Hvar so can’t really suggest much there. From what I’ve heard from other travellers is more of a party island.

  81. Thank you so much for this guide! We are currently planning our trip to Croatia and this was truly helpful.

  82. Thanks for a great post. We are planning an extended trip up to 18 months driving between Schengen and Non Schengen areas as well as trying to dodge the cold weather. Your wonderful Croatian post has given me a starting point.

    1. 18 months sounds like a hell of a trip! Croatia is definitely a good addition to that, I’m sure you’ll love it!

  83. Thanks for this amazing advice. We have just booked flights to Zagreb and other than Zadar, I have had a headache researching where to go, especially island wise. This is a huge help, thank you.

  84. Hello! As mentioned in earlier comments, your guide is one of the best I’ve seen! Many thanks! My husband and I are world travelers/hikers and in our 50’s. We’re in the early planning stages of a trip to Croatia for Sept. Strange as it may sound, we prefer not to do the driving ourselves. However, we would LOVE to see many of the sites you describe. Are you aware or familiar with any outfitters that offer transportation? Of course, this may be much too expensive to consider, but I would appreciate your insight. Thanks very much!

    1. Thank you very much for your kind words. I’m afraid I’m not familiar with any of those, I’m sorry!

  85. I have been to Croatia 4 times now from Australia as I fell in love with the place on my first visit. The place is so popular with Australians with many I talk to claiming it to be there favourite destination in Europe. Google these hidden treasures of mine. Rastoke, city of Varazdin and Trakoscan castle, Vodice. Island Murter and the Kornati archipelago , Pucisca on the island of Brac, Rovinj, Mali Losinj on island Losinj, island of Vis and Stiniva cove. Croatia is an absolute gem

    1. Had no idea Croatia was a favourite amongst Aussies, but I sure can see why. Thanks for your suggestions, I’ve only been to Murter, can’t wait to go back to explore more!

  86. Hi, this is truly one of the best travel guidance sites I ever read on the net. Thanks a lot for your objective advice on travelling to Croatia. We are planning a trip this summer, unfortunately in peak season !
    Best regard, Johan

    1. Wow, thanks very much, I’m very happy it was useful to you. I hope I can come back and improve it even more. 🙂

      Hope you have a great trip, even in peak season Croatia is memorable!

  87. I along with my friends are planning to have a road trip next month along the coast. Is it possible in the Winter Months to have a road trip?

    1. It’s far from ideal, I reckon it will be chilly and windy, but it’s definitely possible. I bet Dubrovnik is beautiful anytime of the year!

  88. Stunning guide, that we used as a base route reference while travelling and exploring Croatia by car. Highly recommend this route to all the others.
    The main deviations we have made – stayed longer at Brac island in Bol (next to Zlatni Rat beach), as we absolutely fell in love with this place. 🙂

    Thank you for such a great guidance with awesome photos and useful links!

    Ieva

    1. Hi Ieva, thank you very much for your kind words and I’m really happy I could help and that you had a great time 🙂

      Wish I had time to stay near Bol, it was my favorite place of the whole trip too!

      Take care!

  89. Excelente guia! Vou com um grupo de amigos este mês e estamos encantados só com o que encontramos na internet! A nossa ideia é fazer praticamente o mesmo percurso que vocês fizeram, mas começando em Zagreb e acabando em Dubrovnik. Está a ser complicado seleccionar o que vamos ver, especialmente no que diz respeito às ilhas! Parecem todas espectaculares! lol 🙂

    1. Obrigado Susana, depois passa por aqui para contar como foi. As ilhas é uma decisão muito difícil, sem dúvida!

  90. What is good about Croatia, that it has endless posibilities for new explorations. Me and my family are visting Croatian coast already for more than 30 years, but we still didnt see more than 10 % of populated islands.

    1. It sure does, it’s a fascinating country! I will for sure come back and try to explore a bit more of the islands too. Which one was your highlight so far?

  91. Hi I’m planning a trip late Oct with my two young sons 10 and 8 . Staying in Zadar but not planning to hire a car , can i easily get around and take some trips with out transport. We are staying for 7 days so don’t want to be driving for long periods.

    1. I’m sure there are tours you can do and buses to get you around. Zadar is lovely, so plenty to see there!

  92. Planning my honey moon, so I think this is a great article to read! very well put together!

  93. Croatia is beautiful country, i love o come back again……..some local drivers very annoying,one garage try to rip me of on service a/c on car(maybe because they seen car is from uk),otherwise everything is fine

    1. I guess you can have that experience anywhere, I found driving in Croatia very relaxed, apart from parking in big cities.

  94. Finish planning in one to two hours with your guide! Thanks for your effort!

  95. Hi there,

    Lovely article.

    This summer I’m heading to KRKA waterfall from Zadar and then driving on to Split after, I’m just confused to what the parking situation is outside KRKA waterfall? I read online that there is free parking outside Lozovac, but in your article you mentioned that you left your car at Skradin, what is the parking situation there?

    Help appreciated!

    1. Not sure about Lozovac, we paid some money to leave the car for the day in Skradin. I’m sure there is parking in all entrances.

  96. Hi, definitely considering a 10 day road trip in October, what’s your experience of the weather during the first couple of weeks? Also what’s the local cuisine like as we both love to eat and drink 😉

    1. I went in September and it was fine. In October you might encounter some colder evenings, but days are more likely warm enough.

      What I enjoyed the most about food in Croatia were the local ingredients. Everything tasted better and they definitely have a concern with that.

      Try Pašticada. It’s basically a stew cooked in special sauce of plums. Delicious!

  97. Hi,is worth to leave car at supermarkets (split,zadar,zagreb) and explore cities by foot?or is there restrictions on parking?

    1. I found very hard to park in places like Split in Dubrovnik. Not sure what you mean supermarkets, but if they are close enough and free, I’d say go for it!

  98. Hi, thanks for the great info!
    I was trying to mimic your route but starting in dubrovnik and ending in zagreb.
    If i were to try and go to hvar from dubrovnik, which point would be best to take the ferry with a car to hvar?

    1. The place that makes more sense to me is Drvenik, getting to Sucuraj. You will need to check the timetables, as there might be as few as 2 or 3 ferries per day.

      You can also get on a direct ferry from Dubrovnik, I am just not too sure if you can go with a car on it.

  99. Muitos parabéns pelo site e especialmente por este guia sobre a Croácia. Vou fazer uma road trip Dubrovnik-Zagreb de 12 dias no final de Agosto / início de Setembro e houve muita informação aqui que me ajudou.
    Uma pergunta, o insurance4carhire que utilizaste não está disponível para residentes em Portugal. Conheces alguma empresa que faça esse tipo de seguro?
    Obrigado

    1. Sempre bom saber que este artigo foi útil! 🙂
      Bom, há o Car Hire Excess, mas esse nunca usei. Ou claro, comprar o seguro directamente pela agência.

  100. Great Blog !
    I am planning a trip troughout Mid September , and im going alone , maybe with a +1 , but not sure . Any tips ?
    I will scrap some of the places since im planning for a 8 day only , any advice regarding this?
    Many thanks in advance !

    1. Oh , Hi Bruno ,
      Not at the moment , This blog has pretty much everything upon a few more readings . 🙂 , 🙂 🙂

  101. Great blog! We are heading to Brac Island with a car (among other places) but was wondering how good (or bad!) the coastal road were on the Island? We are hoping to drive from Milna to Blaca Monestry but not sure if the small coastal roads are roads or more of a dirt track!
    Thanks

    1. There are normal roads to almost all the places in the island I’d say, but I remember there was a dirt track right next to the sea in the north which made some damage on our car. Beware.

    2. Thanks – think we will check with the tourist office in Milna – we are moving from Milna to Bol but thought it would be a good idea to visit the Blaca Hermitage monastery on the way most of the info on getting there is from Bol and google maps show the coast road!

  102. Chapeau on this detailed, very useful review. we’ll try that out in August 😉
    Any special recommendations for partying? or extraordinary activities?
    thank you!

  103. In Yerevan now you can enjoy many rock concerts in pubs or in an open air. There are many talented musicians. Dorians and Bambir are the best.

  104. Hej
    We’er going to Croatia for about 22 days from Denmark, leaving in a months time….if we get out AC fixed!
    I’ve heard a lot about how the roads…and the drivers on them gets a bit wilde…..What do you think ?
    Venlig hilsen
    Anette

    1. I really didn’t see any reason for concern. It was one of the safest – and most beautiful – places to drive in that I’ve been to.

      I do agree parking in major cities like Split and Zadar is a bit chaotic though.

  105. This is a handy blog!
    What are some activities you took part in while on your Croatian adventure other than the general sightseeing/exploring?
    Thanks

    1. Thanks Eden. We did kayaking in Dubrovnik and some hiking and biking in Brac, but there is a lot more to do!

  106. Hi, we are planning to make the same trip to Croatia.

    Would you let us know , how many days should we spend

    in Zagreb ?

    in Zadar ?

    in Split ?

    in Dubrovnik ?

    or any other suggestion, recommendation ?

    We have 9 days to spend from Saturday evening to Sunday morning. We will rent a car from zagreb like you did and leave in Dubrovnik.

    Waiting to hear from you soon.
    Thanks

    Bahadir

    1. I can’t tell you how many days you should spend in a place, it all depends on what do you like to do, your travel goals, who are you traveling to, etc.

      Having that said, IMHO Zadar and Dubrovnik deserve more than 1 day for sure while for Zagreb one day is enough.

  107. Thanks for this perfect information!
    My boyfriend and I will start our journey from Dubrovnik ( unfortunaly during July) and gonna stay in Croatia for 11 days.
    We’re wondering if we should rent a car from dubrovnik airport for all 11 days, or some places like national parks are easier to get without having a car…( the cheapest price we’ve found to rent a car is almost 400euroes).

    Thanks in advance:-)

  108. Great blog! You’ve inspired me to book my own 4-day road trip! Quick question for you: I’m renting a car from Sixt now, and it gives me additional options of 1) Navigation System and 2) “Internet-to-go.” Did you use either of these options? I’m thinking the GPS Navigation will certainly be helpful… is that how you got around? (Note: I’m from USA and don’t think I’ll be buying a special data plan from Verizon for this trip.)

    1. Well, it all comes down to prices I guess.

      I’m not familiar with the Verizon tariff plans in Europe, but data roaming on your phone gives you access to use Google Maps + other apps (e.g. to communicate with friends and family back home). Might look more expensive, but it can save you money in the end… If it’s just 4 days, so you need to see what’s more convenient to you!

      Disclaimer: we had some problems with Google Maps navigation in the some more remote areas like Brac island.

  109. Thank you so much for this well-written blog, complete with pics and tips. I have a long way to go regarding my trip, but your overview is great insight regarding my own travel plans for Croatia.

  110. Fantastic blog! Just arrived in Zagreb and about to spend 4 days in Croatia on a mini road trip with my boyfriend. It really isn’t a lot of time we know but we are going to make the most of it. Thanks for the tips! So helpful!!

    1. 4 days is not much at all, try to make the best out of it, specially the amazing Croatian sunsets. Have a great time!

  111. Hi, it’s a great website, I have two questions about your trip: what type of car you did you take for 5 people? and what type of suitcases did you use?

    1. We got a simple 5-door car (not a van!) and used backpacks mainly. Some of us got trolley. We needed to be a bit frugal though – there was not much space!

  112. Hi Bruno,

    I am landing in Split next Friday and driving up to plitvice and back down over 10days, was looking at hiring with Sixt too, can I ask why you needed additional insurance from insurance4carhire? This wasn’t something I was thinking would be needed until I read this post. Thanks very much for this too, given me a few ideas!

    1. Sorry for the late reply Tonya.

      We got the insurance from those because it was cheaper than Sixt and covered a wider range of damages.
      Hope you had a great time and didn’t need the insurance at all!

  113. Hello! Your guide was very helpful- my husband and i are planning to visit Croatia but were looking to relax at the beach for one of the days as well- we have a total of 5 days- what cities would you suggest?

    1. Depends on the type of the beach you want. There aren’t many sandy beaches in Croatia. I recommend Brac island for relax (check my other article on it!). Plus, it’s where the most famous beach in Croatia is (Zlatni Rat).

  114. Croatia, such a wonderful place for family vacation. I would love to experience a road trip to Croatia. I read about its national & nature parks . Such an amazing places. Thanks for your useful guide on road trip to Croatia.

    1. You welcome Alessa, Croatia is indeed all about nature and good food. Have a great time!

  115. Hi! I’m planning to roadtrip through Croatia with my girlfriend in the second half of June this year. Your post was really helpful. I know you mentioned that in some of the larger cities it was easier getting around using bus/ trains etc. I wanted to know if it was still very expensive parking the rental car in these cities or did you manage to find accommodations with free parking. I also wanted to know if you think the drive from Dubrovnik to Zagreb is doable in one go! Thank you!

    1. We found parking rather complicated, specially in Split. I suppose you can find accommodation with free parking outside of the major cities.

      You certainly can do Dubrovnik to Zagreb in one (long) day.

  116. Wow, thank you for all of the information. I am planning to visit end of Aoril beginning of May, so I doubt I will run into any crowds. Thanks again!

  117. Great. I love Croatia and been there several times. You guide is very comprehensive and i found your site via Lonelyplanet. Keep up the good work.

    1. Thanks a lot Marc, still open for suggestions of improvement, this guide is supposed to be updated continuosly!

  118. My family and I are planning to go to Croatia late this year, and reading this made me more excited. I can’t wait to see what Croatia has to offer, from its amazing scenery to its wonderful people.

  119. We visited Croatia a couple years ago and it was so much better than we expected. Reading your article I couldn’t help but notice there are a few places we didn’t have time for that are now officially on our bucket list.

  120. Bruno, you’ve put together a great guide. I think road-tripping in Croatia is fantastic not only because of each destination you covered but also because of the range and variety of landscapes, culinary and cultural experiences you can cover in such a relatively short time. Glad you liked Croatia!

    1. Thanks Andrea, you are entirely right, Croatia allows a great deal of experiences in such a short time and space. Can I ask what’s your favourite spot in Croatia?

    2. In terms of landscape – definitely Lika (where the Plitvice Lakes are) and Gorski Kotar (forested area around Rijeka). Vis island on the coast and Zagreb of course – it is very underrated and a city that slowly unravels to travellers, but it’s very vibrant with a great arty scene all year round. 🙂

    3. Vis and the Rijeka region are on my plans next time, Gorski Kotar looks amazing!

      Zagreb was not exciting for me, but I have a feeling it’s one of these cities that will grow on you quickly. Unfortunately I just spent one day there.

      Thanks for your tips!

  121. Croatia has been on my “to visit” list for a while, but sadly I have not had the pleasure of seeing it yet. Plitvice especially looks like a place worth visiting, though everyone I talk to who has seen Croatia says sthe whole country is beautiful. Thanks for such a detailed guide of where to go and what to do!

    1. It really is a country with beauty everywhere. No matter where I went, there was always a stunning landscape to admire. Hope this guide can be of your use when you finally go!

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