I’ve honestly been putting off writing this 7 day Croatia itinerary for so long because I’ve lived in Croatia for almost a year now and there is so much I want to include in this Croatia travel guide that I worry I can’t do it justice.
I’m constantly in awe of this beautiful country and telling people they need to visit! While I’ll be the first person to say that a 7 day trip to Croatia is never enough, 7 days in Croatia is a perfect amount of time to see the main sights, experience the beautiful coastline and explore the Adriatic, especially if you’re a first time visitor planning your 7 day Croatia vacation.
This Croatia 7 day itinerary will focus on the main areas and islands around Split and Dubrovnik, assuming most people are travelling in the summer and want to maximise their time on the iconic Croatian coastline.
However I’m also going to give additional itinerary days for extending your trip to 10 days in Croatia or 14 days in Croatia if you have longer here.
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How many days in Croatia?
You may be wondering, is 7 days enough for Croatia?
If you’re limited to a certain number of vacation days or PTO, I definitely think that 7 days in Croatia is enough to see a lot of things around Split and Dubrovnik and to enjoy the historic cities, coastline, boat trips and islands that Croatia has to offer.
7 days is also a great amount of time in Croatia to see specific regions such as Dalmatia (the county where Split is located), or other counties such as Istria or Dubrovnik-Neretva County.
What I love about Croatia is how many day trip options there are from the major cities. You could honestly spend 7 days in Dubrovnik or 7 days in Split and have something completely different to do each day, just check out my 20 day trips and tours from Split guide!
So don’t worry if you’re planning to just base yourself in one city for your 7 day trip to Croatia, there are SO MANY day trip options to fill a whole 1 week Croatia itinerary!
Croatia in 7 days is also a great amount of time for a Croatia honeymoon itinerary, a family holiday to Croatia or an all inclusive package holiday to Croatia with operators such as Jet2.
How to travel around Croatia?
If you’re planning the best 7 day Croatia itinerary and you’re wondering how to get around Croatia between Split and Dubrovnik for example, there are four main options available to you:
Rent a car - 7 days in Croatia by car is a great option to plan the ultimate 7 day Croatia road trip because you’ll have the most flexibility with your journeys, where you choose to stop and you’ll see more of the country on your drive
Boat - there are fast catamaran ferries between Split and Dubrovnik that run daily by the Croatian company Jadrolinija. The journey takes 6 hours and costs 38 euros for a one-way ticket with several stops at other islands on the way. You can book online in advance or buy your ticket at the port.
Bus - there are regular bus services from the bus station in all cities and this is probably the cheapest travel option. Travel time between Split and Dubrovnik is 3.5 hours.
7 day Croatia tour or organised trip - if you’ve booked your trip to Croatia with a tour company or agency, you may already have your trip transfers included in your Croatia travel itinerary.
When is the best time to visit Croatia?
Weather in Croatia is pretty much reliably sunny and warm from May - October with the hottest months being July and August.
So if you’re visiting for a beach holiday, island hopping and relaxation in good weather, the summer is definitely best.
Although if you’re not confined to summer holiday dates, I highly recommend visiting in May-June or September-October. These are the shoulder season months when the weather is still great but the crowds are significantly less, there’s less competition for hotels, boat trips, ferry tickets. So you’ll have an easier trip and you’re more likely to find cheaper prices.
If I had to pick the ideal time for a 7 days Croatia itinerary, I would choose late September into early October. The crowds are significantly less and it’s when the sea is warmest after the hot summer so plenty of chances for a swim, but the 40 degree days of August are long gone - thankfully!
Best airport to fly into in Croatia?
Because this is a coastal itinerary for Croatia, I recommend flying into Split or Dubrovnik.
During the travel season (April-October) there are so many daily flights into these two cities from destinations all over Europe and the world. Generally Split seems to cater more towards European flights, while Dubrovnik does have a lot of international flights coming from further afield, such as Asia.
If you’re flying from the UK, there are direct flights to Split and Dubrovnik as well as Zadar and Zagreb.
If you’re flying from the US, you’ll find you have a stop in a major European hub first, such as Amsterdam or Frankfurt.
There are also a lot of flights into the capital city of Zagreb which I’ve included in the 10 day Croatia itinerary further down this article. You may find it easier to fly into Zagreb, spend a day or two there, before taking a domestic flight to Split or Dubrovnik.
What currency is used in Croatia?
As of 1st January 2023, Croatia has switched from the Croatian Kuna currency to the Euro.
Living in the country while a currency change has occurred has definitely been an odd experience, although locals have known the change has been coming for years; Croatia has been part of the EU since 2013.
However Croatia only joined the Schengen Zone (EU free movement zone) on 1st January 2023 and with that came the change in currency.
If you’ve visited previously, you may have completed some tourist transactions such as tours or hotel payments in Euros and prices in both currencies have been displayed for a while. However, day to day transactions by citizens and residents were still in kuna until 31st December 2022.
You can continue to pay by card, card payment and contactless payment is accepted in many places, although some smaller businesses such as independent cafes may only accept cash.
TIP: Always use a local bank ATM when withdrawing cash abroad (examples of this in Croatia are OTP Banka, Zagreb Banka and others) do not use Euronet ATMs - these are all over Europe and they are not a bank, they are an American company whose fees and exchange rates are usually extremely unfavourable for visitors using foreign cards abroad.
Top Tips for Croatia travel
Bring water shoes if you have them, all beaches in Croatia are pebble beaches. Most shops will sell them here if you don’t have them.
Carry some Euros with you, smaller places such as independent cafes or small restaurants on islands don’t always accept card
The plug adapter is the same adapter as the rest of Europe
English is very widely spoken in Croatia because tourism is such a big industry, but it’s always nice to learn a few words. “Yes please” = “Da Molim”, “Thank you” = Hvala
Use Google Translate app with the camera feature if you need to translate signs or menus
If you’re renting a vehicle (or using your own car!) and planning to take a ferry make sure to notify the car rental agency as there may be an extra insurance fee. If you have your own vehicle, you’ll need the registration documents when you book the ticket.
Croatia is big for festivals in the summer, I highly recommend checking if your potential trip dates will clash with any big festivals such as Ultra Europe Festival, INMusic, or Hideout Festival
Don’t worry if the weather looks bad when you’re due to be on the coast! From experience of living in Split, the weather forecast is very unreliable for not as extreme as it may seem due to the city’s location between the mountains and the sea. Often it says 100% chance of rain all day and it rains for an hour.
Croatia is now part of the Schengen area, while you don’t need your passport to enter the country by road if you’re travelling from another EU country, you will need your passport to register at your accommodation and also if you choose to go on any day trips to surrounding non-EU countries such as Montenegro or Bosnia & Herzegovina.
There are tolls on major motorways in Croatia and the charge is based on how long you drive on them. You can pay with cash or card.
Croatia itinerary: 7 days
Important things to note about this 7 days in Croatia itinerary:
It can be done in reverse too, depending on whether you choose to fly into Split or Dubrovnik
There are breakfast, lunch and dinner recommendations at the bottom of each day. You might not need them all if you have meals included in your accommodation stay. All recommendations are in my Split food guide.
When you’re planning your 1 week in Croatia, where to go is the biggest question when there’s so much to see in just 7 days. I’ve written this Croatia travel itinerary for 7 days on the assumption that you are a first time visitor to Croatia or you’ve perhaps only been to one city in Croatia before - this Croatia guide is intended to show you the best of what the country has to offer if this is your first longer trip to Croatia.
Below this Croatia 7 day itinerary, you’ll find additional Croatia travel itineraries for 10 and 14 days.
Day 1 - Arrive in Split and explore the city
Arriving at Split airport
When you arrive at Split airport, if you haven’t already booked transfers, you can head to the taxi rank outside or book an Uber. Uber's cost around 30 euros for a 30 minute drive.
Alternatively, you can take the Number 37 bus from the bus stop outside the main entrance. The bus takes a bit longer, expect around 45 minutes to get to the city.
This might sound really vague but Split Airport is really small and it’s super easy to navigate.
After you’ve checked in, explore Split Old Town
Depending on whether you’ve arrived in Split in the morning or afternoon will dictate how much exploring you’ll want to do but the Old Town is a pretty small area and you can easily walk from one side to the other in about 5 minutes, if you can find your way through the maze of alleyways!
See the Diocletian Palace and climb the Bell Tower
The unique architecture of the Split Old Town is best seen at the stunning Diocletian Palace which was built for Roman emperor Diocletian in the 4th century (insanely old!). You can admire the Palace, Cathedral, Vestibule, Substructures and ruins from the outside, or you can buy a combi ticket in the office opposite the Cathedral entrance.
There are various combi tickets but I suggest the ticket that combines 4 attractions - the Bell Tower, the Cathedral, the Crypt and the Museum.
The view from the top of the Bell Tower is spectacular and one of my favourite things to do in Split, you can see more miles across Split, the Marjan Hill, Bacvice Beach and up to Klis Fortress in the mountains - a famous Game of Thrones filming location.
Stroll along the Riva
The Riva is the main waterfront promenade in Split where you’ll find a number of bars, cafes and restaurants with a sea view. From here you’ll also see the marina, the ferry port, Marjan Hill and the original walls of the Diocletian Palace behind you.
Although the Riva is naturally more expensive being in a prime location, it is lovely to have a sunset drink here on your first evening with a view of the water and the atmosphere is always lovely, laidback and perfect for a warm evening.
Where to eat on day 1:
Breakfast - Brasserie 7 (two tier breakfast is incredible)
Lunch - pick up a burek pastry from ST Burek, a local Croatian filo pastry usually with savoury filling like meat, cheese and spinach.
Dinner - Villa Spiza for authentic and seasonal Croatian food (reservation is not possible)
Day 2 - Split 5 island boat trip
Start your day early by boarding your speedboat for the day
This 5 island boat trip is my favourite boat trip I’ve done since being in Croatia.
It’s a very long, full on day and the initial speedboat ride out to the furthest island is 1.5 hours, so if you have back issues or any mobility issues or young children, a long speedboat ride like this might not be the best option. Check out this catamaran 2 island touras an alternative at a more relaxed pace which also includes the stunning Pakleni Islands.
On the 5 island boat trip you’ll visit:
The Blue Cave on Bisevo
Vis on Komiza Island
Budikovac Island blue lagoon
There’s an option for a breakfast break at Bisevo as you change from the speedboat to a smaller boat to access the Blue Cave.
Lunch snacks can be bought from a beach shack on Budikovac where you’ll have a chance to swim and snorkel in the lagoon.
The final stop in Hvar town on Hvar island gives you time for dinner on the island before heading back to Split.
Tips for the boat trip:
Take snacks in a small backpack if you can
Take plenty of water, there are also some water bottles on the boat
Wear a hat and take sunscreen
It’s easier to have your swimsuit on underneath your clothes throughout the day
Wear full coverage clothing, the speedboat doesn’t feel like you’re getting burnt because it’s windy but you’re out in the sun most of the day
Look out for dolphins in the water between Budikovac and Hvar
Take cash for Budikovac beach bar
Snorkels are free from the boat tour team if you want to use them
Dinner in Hvar
We’ve been to Hvar a couple of times now, both as part of a tour and as an independent 4-night stay. Our favourite place for dinner is Alviz Restaurant on the edge of the Old Town, we loved the stone courtyard and wine covered terrace, the pizzas were great and the open air kitchen added to a more authentic atmosphere compared to a lot of places in the old town near the port.
Day 3 - Krka Waterfalls and Sibenik
If you have a car, you can do this trip easily on your own. Sibenik is just over 1 hour drive up the coast from Split, the coastal route is lovely with incredible views and much nicer than taking the motorway where you’ll need to pay a toll!
Krka National Park is about 10 minutes outside of Sibenik and you’ll want to put “Krka Waterfalls Entrance at Lozovac” into Google Maps to find the right entrance with a large, free parking area.
I would suggest doing Krka first so you have plenty of time to explore, follow the pathways and even take a boat ride, then head to Sibenik for dinner.
Poljana Public Garage is the secure underground parking garage I use every time we go to Sibenik.
Krka Waterfalls and Sibenik tour
If you don’t have a car, luckily this is a popular day trip and there are plenty of tour options available like this Krka and Sibenik day tour.
Exploring Krka Waterfalls National Park
You’ll arrive at the main car park in Lozovac and buy your tickets from the entrance, there are also toilet and cafe facilities here.
The famous wooden walkways and Skradinski Buk waterfalls are in the valley below and you cannot drive your own vehicle down the road there. You have two options, either pay a small fee for a bus ticket or walk down a steep, stone path.
The first time we visited we walked down the stone path and when I say stone, I mean big rocks which are loose and it’s steep. I would say don’t choose to walk down if you have prams or buggies, young children, any mobility issues or if you don’t have suitable and sturdy walking shoes. And it is in no way accessible for those with disabilities or mobility issues - the bus is definitely an easier option!
At the bottom, you’re officially in Krka Waterfalls National Park and as you leave the bus stop, you’ll see the first wooden walkway on your right over the flowing water - follow this and enjoy the walking route for 1-2 hours, it is honestly so stunning.
We visited once in the summer and once in the winter and the rain, it was beautiful on all occasions, so really don’t worry about the weather!
Some walkways can be a little slippy if wet so wear good shoes.
Unfortunately swimming is not possible anymore in the Skradinski Buk area of Krka Waterfalls.
Sibenik is actually one of the oldest cities in Croatia with over 1000 years of history. The architecture you’ll see is stunning, particularly around the Cathedral of St James. Look out for the stone faces on the outside of the cathedral!
Take a stroll along the waterfront of Sibenik and by the harbour. From here you’ll get a beautiful vantage point of the Old Town that appears to be piled high on the hill with the fortress at the top.
Speaking of fortresses, there are 4 to visit in Sibenik, although two of them are outside the old town and one is on an island in the bay, but the St Michael’s Fortress in the Old Town is well worth walking up to and enjoying the spectacular views of the city. You’ll also be able to see St John’s Fortress and Barone Fortress on the hill and St Anthony’s Canal as well as the mouth of the Krka River. It’s obvious why Sibenik was such a strong defensive position that’s given it its long history!
Dinner in Sibenik
Konoba Nostalgija is a popular spot with great food in the heart of Sibenik.
Antin Gust Restaurant is my favourite seafood spot in Sibenik although it’s a little outside the Old Town area. If you’re a foodie, Pelegrini is a pricer experience but totally unique in a stunning courtyard with traditional Croatian cuisine and wine which is award-winning.
If you are spending your 7 day Croatia road trip with your own vehicle, I highly recommend stopping at the Dalmatian Ethno Village on your way out of Sibenik. This is a unique cultural experience to see traditional Croatian village life and have a true farm-to-table dining experience.
Where to eat on day 3:
Breakfast - Brooklyn Bagels in Split for an on-the-go breakfast
Lunch - take your own or purchase at Krka
Dinner - Antin Gust, Konoba Nostalgija or the Ethno Village in Sibenik
Day 4 - Blue Lagoon and Trogir, Beach afternoon and Wine tasting optional
Half day boat trip to the Blue Lagoon and Trogir
Note - this is a different blue lagoon to the one you visited on the first boat trip, anywhere with stunning clear turquoise water seems to be called the Blue Lagoon!
There are so many islands to visit off the coast of Croatia that it can feel impossible to visit them all on your 7 days in Croatia itinerary.
But this half day boat tour starts at 11 and leaves you time in the morning and afternoon to enjoy your own time while taking you to the famous Blue Lagoon, you’ll visit gorgeous bays and a village on Solta Island and spend some time in Trogir, the beautiful town closest to Split airport - and one of my favourite places for an afternoon out from Split!
Spend the rest afternoon at the beach
When you arrive back to Split, take an afternoon to relax at one of the city beaches:
Bacvice is the only sand beach and closest to the city
Znjan Beach is larger with more beach clubs and bars, closer to a lot of the bigger hotels such as the Radisson Blu.
Kasjuni Beach, located on the Marjan Park green area you can see from the Old Town, this beach is a bit longer to get to but the Number 12 bus will get you there in around 15 minutes from the Riva.
Dinner with optional wine tasting
Split is in the county of Dalmatia which is famous for being the producer of Zinfandel wine. Around Split, you’ll find many wineries that also stock their wines just in local bars in Split and some are also open for winery tours and tastings.
Not everyone is interested in wine, but if you are I recommend this short tour to Vucica Winery which includes 3 of their wines, their sweet liquor and a tasting platter of local meat, cheeses, bread and olive oil.
If you’re interested in a tasting but don’t want to go on an organised tour, I highly recommend going to Zinfandel wine bar in the centre of the Old Town. They have a large selection of Dalmatian and Croatian wines and if you choose to do the tasting, they’ll also pair 3 wines with cheese and meats that complement the wine.
However Zinfandel is also a great option for dinner with an amazing seasonal menu, great wine and they often have live acoustic musicians playing too.
Where to eat on Day 4:
Lunch: in Trogir
Day 5 - Travel to Dubrovnik, explore, and see sunset from Mount Srd
If you’re having trouble deciding where to stay in Dubrovnik, check out my guide to the best neighbourhoods and hotels in Dubrovnik.
Drive to Dubrovnik from Split
After breakfast, start your drive as early as possible. The drive from Split to Dubrovnik is 3 hours without stops. The quickest route is to get on the A1 motorway from Split, until you reach the coastal road and the new bridge (onto the island to avoid driving through Bosnia and Herzegovina) in the south. The toll is charged based on where you enter and exit the road, you can pay cash or card. Expect it to be around 10 Euros although the price does change throughout the year.
Bus to Dubrovnik from Split
If you don’t have a vehicle, the bus is the cheapest option for getting from Split to Dubrovnik during your one week Croatia itinerary. The bus leaves from Split bus station regularly (times are subject to change, I suggest going to the bus station the day before to check times and buy a ticket) and the journey takes approximately 5 hours.
Ferry from Dubrovnik to Split
The ferry from Dubrovnik to Split is another great option if you don’t have a car. There’s a ferry service with Jadrolinija which is a catamaran and takes approximately 5 hours with stops at other islands on the way. One way tickets cost 38 euros (At the time of writing).
Explore Dubrovnik Old Town
Hopefully you’ve arrived a little after lunchtime, settled into your accommodation and you’ve got a good amount of time to explore Dubrovnik Old Town aka King’s Landing. Game of Thrones fans will be thrilled to see so many filming locations and you can even book a Game of Thrones tour here.
Or you can just take your time to leisurely explore the city - the entire Old Town of Dubrovnik is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are so many things to do in Dubrovnik but thankfully it is a small city and easy to see a lot during your one week in Croatia itinerary.
Don’t miss these spots:
Church of Ignatius with the famous Jesuit Stone Stairs
Lovrijenac Fortress (you’ll see it from the outside from the city walls tomorrow)
See sunset from Mount Srd, optional to take the Dubrovnik Cable Car
The view from Mount Srd is absolutely stunning and worth seeing during your stay in Dubrovnik.
Mount Srd is the mountain directly behind Dubrovnik city and can be reached in 3 different ways:
By foot using the hiking trail
By car, taxi or buggy tour
By cable car
The cable car is the most popular option, offering spectacular views of the city on your way up. However, the cable car is not cheap (30 euros return per adult) and the views from the top are just as spectacular as the views from the cable car.
So if you’re like me and would rather save the money, I suggest taking a taxi to the top (or you can drive your own car if you’ve rented one). There’s a car park at the top and the road is narrow in some places but there are plenty of passing spots.
The hike is also beautiful and straightforward, although there are several switchbacks and it’s steep so I don’t recommend doing the hike if you’re visiting during the peak summer heat!
At the top, there’s also the Panorama Restaurant (reservations required during peak season) and the Homeland War Museum if you’d like to make the most of your trip up the mountain.
Where to eat on day 5:
Breakfast: Burek or other pastry on the go
Lunch: Either stop somewhere on the way or grab a quick lunch when you arrive in Dubrovnik
Dinner: Barba for fresh seafood or Restaurant Panorama at Mount Srd
Day 6 - Walk the city walls, Lokrum Island
Walk the Dubrovnik City Walls first thing in the morning
The reason I suggest doing this first thing in the morning is because of the heat and there is little-to-no shade on the 1-2 hours you’ll spend walking along the city walls.
Tickets cost €30-35 but the views are well worth it. I suggest allowing two hours to walk around the walls, including time to stop for pictures and there are also some cafes for refreshments on the way round.
Tickets can be bought from the Pile or Ploce Gates - the two historic entrances to the Old Town. The walls are open from 8am but start getting busy around 10am, so I recommend being there as close to opening time as possible to avoid the heat and the crowds.
See the spectacular view across the terracotta rooftops, see the famous landmarks in the Old Town, the Lovrijenac Fortress, the views along the Adriatic coast, Lokrum Island and more.
Visit Lokrum Island
After you’ve walked the walls, head over to the Old Town harbour outside Ploce Gate, where you can buy tickets to Lokrum Island.
The boat taxi runs to Lokrum Island every 30 minutes and the journey takes just 15 minutes. The boat ticket and entrance to the island are included in the price - 200kn / €27 per person (price correct at time of writing).
Lokrum Island is a pedestrianised island and you cannot stay overnight. Instead, spend the day on foot, exploring the island, following the walking trails, spotting the free-roaming peacocks, enjoying the beaches, floating in the Dead Sea lagoon, visiting the Monastery (a Game of Thrones filming location), seeing the Botanical Gardens and there are several restaurants and cafes for refreshments.
The whole island is very well signposted and you can explore at your own pace, you’ll be told when the last boat back to Dubrovnik is when you arrive in the morning.
During our day on Lokrum Island, we explored the monastery and the botanical gardens, followed the walking trail around the whole island and hiked to the old military fortress at the top for panoramic views of Dubrovnik and the Croatian coast.
We also took a dip at the beach and in the Dead Sea, similar to the Dead Sea in Jordan, the salt content in this lagoon is higher than in the sea so you float more easily.
As I mentioned, all of this is free to explore once you’ve paid the price of the boat ticket to the island.
TIP: bring swimming gear, water, cover ups and sunscreen, although there’s plenty of shade on the island and the boats are covered, the heat is intense in the summer.
There is also a famous FKK / nudist beach on Lokrum Island if you’re into that!
Evening drinks at Buza Bar
This famous secret bar isn’t such a secret anymore, but it is tricky to find!
You’re looking for a metal gateway in the city walls on the south side of the Old Town. Go through the gate and you’ll find yourself descending steps on the outside of the City Walls to a small platform built into the cliffs where you have the most magical view of the sunset!
Seating is limited so I suggest arriving before sunset if you can to bag a seat. Payment is cash only.
Drinks are pretty standard and the no-frills approach is right up my street. But prices are good and you’re there for the incredible views plus you’ll probably see some eager cliff divers here too.
If you’d prefer a more sophisticated bar with a similar view, check out Bard Mala Buza just a little further along the walls.
Where to eat on day 6:
Breakfast: Urban & Veggie
Lunch: take your own or buy from a cafe on Lokrum Island, check out Lacroma Restaurant
Dinner: for something casual, DBC - Dubrovnik Beer Company near the ferry port (not the tap room in the Old Town) or Dubravka 1836 Restaurant
Day 7 - Beach day, optional trip to Cavtat
It’s your last day and now is your chance to relax and enjoy the beach, or if you’re not a beach person, there are plenty of day trip options too.
Discover the Dubrovnik Secret Beach and go for a swim
Located in a quiet cove on the opposite side of Lovrijenac Fortress, this secret beach is probably not such a secret anymore - Beach Sulic on Google Maps.
The beach area is pretty small but this stunning turquoise cove is perfect for swimming in and the water is clear here!
Take a day trip to Cavtat or the Elafiti Islands
Depending on when your flight home is, you might have time for a short day trip or half day trip.
There are small water taxis that leave from the Dubrovnik Old Town port in the summer and take you across the bay to Cavtat.
Cavtat is a charming town with beautiful architecture and more of a village feel, just 15km south of Dubrovnik.
See the pretty old town, stroll along the Boulevard, walk along the peninsula hiking trail or just enjoy a drink at the Banac Beach Bar.
Cavtat is still a popular area, being closer to the airport than Dubrovnik is. But it’s a much smaller town and feels like you’ve escaped the hustle and bustle of Dubrovnik.
Day trip to the Elafiti Islands
If you’ve still got a full day on your last day, check out this boat trip to the Elafiti Islands.
This tour also includes lunch and unlimited drinks as well as time to swim, visit all three islands of Lopud, Šipan, and Koločep and sample olive oil from local growers.
These lush green islands are home to charming villages, secluded inlets for swimming and turquoise blue waters. An ideal last day to relax and enjoy some island hopping before you head home.
Croatia itinerary: 10 days
So you’re planning 10 days in Croatia and need a 10 day Croatia itinerary?
I’ve combined the Croatia 7 day itinerary above with an additional 3 days to include Zagreb at the start of your trip. So for this Croatia 10 day itinerary, it makes sense if you are flying into Zagreb.
NOTE: I have found a specific transfer from Zagreb to Split which includes a stop at Plitvice National Parks - I highly recommend stopping here whether you’re self-driving on your Croatia road trip itinerary or not.
Day 1 - arrive in Zagreb
Getting from Zagreb Airport to Zagreb City
The airport is around 30 minutes east of Zagreb city and you can either take a taxi (or rental car if you have one) or the 290 bus runs from the airport concourse every 30 minutes throughout the day.
Depending on how long you have after you’ve arrived and settled in at your accommodation, you may want to go out and explore or you might want to save some of these things to do in Zagreb for your full day in the city tomorrow.
Things to see and do in Zagreb:
See the Cathedral of Zagreb
Take the funicular up to Strossmayer Promenade (or you can walk up the steps!)
Stroll along Strossmayer Promenade for views of the city
The historic Lotrscak Tower
See the famous colourful roof of St Mark’s Church
Where to eat on day 1:
Breakfast: Melt Brunch Bar
Lunch: Heritage Croatian Street Food
Dinner: Kai Street Food
Day 2 - Explore Zagreb, Croatia’s capital city
Go on a free walking tour of Zagreb
I always love free walking tours in a new city, I think it’s a great quick and easy way to really get a feel for a new place, learn about the history and the local tour guide always has a fascinating insight into their home city.
Check out this free walking tour - it’s two hours and starts at 11am.
Visit the Museum of Broken Relationships
This is such a unique museum concept that even if you’re not usually a museum-goer, I recommend it.
I went for the first time in 2015 and went back again while living in Croatia in 2022.
The museum displays personal items and objects submitted by former lovers, with a story or history of the object and how their relationship ended. Some of the stories are very emotional and moving, others will make you laugh out loud and some you might really identify with.
The price is only 7 Euros and you can book online in advance here.
Evening dinner and drinks
I live in Split, Croatia but I love visiting Zagreb because it feels more like a city break, there are so many different food and drink options, more cuisines, the pace is faster than on the coast and there’s a lot more diversity of cultures, food, activities, events and accommodation.
So I highly recommend taking advantage of that in Zagreb and if you didn’t arrive early enough to use my dinner recommendation from Day 1, Kai Street Food is my absolute favourite place to eat in Zagreb. They serve incredible Asian fusion street food like Katsu Chicken, Pork Tacos, loaded Bao buns and more - the menu changes seasonally so no two trips are the same!
I also recommend heading up to OUT Rooftop bar for rooftop views, al fresco drinks and a fun, relaxed atmosphere that’s perfect to start your trip!
Where to eat on day 2:
Breakfast: Otto & Frank
Lunch: OUT Garden Restaurant
Dinner: Stari Fijaker
Day 3 - Drive to Split via Plitvice Lakes National Park
How to get from Zagreb to Plitvice Lakes National Park
No trip to Croatia would be complete without a visit to this UNESCO World Heritage National Park. You may have seen photos online and it looks otherworldly with wooden floating walkways over turquoise waters and tumbling waterfalls that look straight out of a fantasy painting.
Plitvice Lakes are about 2 hours south of Zagreb and are a good halfway point to break up your drive from Zagreb to Split. I do recommend driving as you can see the changing scenery as you head towards the coast and driving does allow you to visit Plitvice, but you could take a domestic flight from Zagreb to Split if you prefer.
Driving from Zagreb to Plitvice if you have a hire car
If you’ve got a hire car then it’s easy, just follow Google Maps and the brown signs to Plitvice as you get closer to the National Park. Look for Plitvice Lakes Entrance 2 Parking on Google Maps which is located in Plitvicka Jezera.
Getting to Plitvice if you don’t have a car
If you don’t have a car, don’t worry, there are plenty of day trips to Plitvice from Croatia’s major cities, but I’ve also discovered a Zagreb to Split transfer service which includes a visit to Plitvice.
On this Zagreb to Split transfer tour, the ticket price includes:
Transfer from Zagreb to Split
Plitvice National Park tickets
Boat ride at Plitvice
Tourist train ride
Licensed tour guide
This is a super easy and helpful way to get between the two cities and the prices are probably cheaper than you’d pay for 2 flights in the peak season, plus you get entrance to the oldest National Park in Croatia and one of the most famous places in Europe!
Arrive to Split in the evening
Get settled into your accommodation after a long travel day and rest up, ready for exploring tomorrow!
**from here onwards follow the itinerary as detailed above in the 7 day Croatia itinerary section**
Day 4 - arrive in Split and explore the city
Day 5 - 5 island boat trip
Day 6 - Krka Waterfalls and Sibenik
Day 7 - Blue Lagoon and Trogir, Beach afternoon and Wine tasting optional
Day 8 - Drive to Dubrovnik, explore, see sunset from Mount Srd
Day 9 - Walk the city walls, Lokrum Island
Day 10 - Beach day, optional trip to Cavtat or Elafiti Islands
Croatia itinerary: 14 days
If you’re planning 2 weeks in Croatia, this 14 day Croatia itinerary add-on is perfect to include with the existing itineraries for 7 and 10 days above.
For a Croatia 14 day itinerary, I do recommend having a car for ease, however it is not essential as transfers between cities can always be found by tour, transfer, boat or bus.
This Croatia road trip is 14 days and uses the two itineraries above with an extra bit in the middle:
Day 1-3 - follow the same itinerary as the 10 day Croatia itinerary above
Day 4-6 - new itinerary details
Day 7-14 - follow the same itinerary as the 7 day Croatia itinerary at the start of this article but in a slightly different order as you’re coming from Zadar on day 6 rather than flying into Split.
Day 1 - arrive to Zagreb - follow above itinerary
Day 2 - explore Zagreb - follow above itinerary
Day 3 - Drive to the coast via Plitvice Lakes National Park - follow above itinerary but head to Zadar first, before Split (it’s closer than Split)
Day 4 - Explore Zadar
Head out for a full day of exploring
Zadar often gets overlooked in favour of Split or Dubrovnik but it has a 3,000 year history, making it one of the oldest cities on the Adriatic Coast with so much to learn about and explore - you will literally see ruins in the streets here that are thousands of years old and they aren’t protected, you can touch them, sit on them, wander around them - it’s honestly bizarre but amazing.
One day in Zadar is plenty of time to see the best of what the city has to offer and thanks to its compact Old Town area, you can easily walk between places.
Zadar is also located close to Pag Island, famous for its Pag Cheese production which I highly recommend trying. Pag Island is also a popular party island in the summer months.
I love this Zadar 1.5 hour walking tour to get a feel for the city and it also includes a tasting of Zadar’s famous Pag Cheese and Maraschino Liqueur.
The best things to do in Zadar:
Spend some time sitting above the Sea Organ to hear its song
Wander through Narodni Trg, aka People’s Square
Visit the Cathedral of St Anastasia and climb the Bell Tower for views of the city
Wander through the Roman Forum
See the Land Gate and Five Wells Square
Take a walk in Park Zadar
See the evening light show at the Greeting to the Sun monument at sunset
Right next to the beautiful Sea Organ, you may have noticed a large circular blue disc in the ground. These are solar panels that absorb light throughout the day in order to put on a brilliant light show every evening at sunset.
It’s a lovely way to start your evening before heading out for dinner or a drink.
Where to eat on Day 4:
Breakfast: La Famiglia
Lunch: Harbor CookHouse
Dinner: Konoba Dalmacija Tavern
Day 5 - Kornati National Park
Day trip around Kornati National Park and Telašćica Nature Park
With 89 islands, the Kornati National Park is a stunning archipelago off the coast of Zadar with an incredible number of opportunities for swimming, snorkelling, seeing wildlife and enjoying a day cruising on the Adriatic Sea.
This full day Croatia sailing trip on a beautiful sailing boat will take you to some of the islands and the Telašćica Nature Park, as well as the saltwater Lake Mir.
I love island hopping around Zadar because it’s much less crowded than similar tours in Split or Dubrovnik and the Kornati Park is incredible for nature lovers and those just looking for a relaxing sailing trip.
Evening drinks at Zadar’s Beach Bar Bamboo
After a full day of sailing and exploring, you’ll probably want to take it easy, so why not head over to Zadar’s favourite beach bar - Bamboo, for a sundowner and finish your last evening in Zadar relaxing by the beach with a drink in hand!
Where to eat on day 5:
Breakfast: Coffee & Cake
Lunch: take it with you on the boat trip
Dinner: Restoran Hedonist
Day 6 - Krka Waterfalls and Sibenik
See day 3 of the 7 day Croatia itinerary.
Day 7 - Arrive in Split and explore the city
See day 1 of the 7 day Croatia itinerary
Day 8 - 5 island boat trip
See day 2 of the 7 day Croatia itinerary
Day 9 - Blue Lagoon and Trogir, Beach afternoon and Wine tasting optional
See day 4 of the 7 day Croatia itinerary
Day 10 - Day trip to Brač
Take the morning ferry to Brač Island
I love this day trip because it’s possible to do this day trip on your own and take your car with you. Although if you don’t have a vehicle or you’d prefer to go as part of an organised tour, the best option I can find that only covers the island is this full day tour of Brač.
The car ferry from Split to Brač departs around 5 times a day and takes just 50 minutes and it’s a car ferry so you can take your vehicle with you and use it to explore the island, which I think is the best way to see what Brač has to offer.
It costs around 12 Euros per person and 35-40 Euros per vehicle (at time of writing).
Alternatively, take the car ferry or the faster catamaran boat as a foot passenger and rent a scooter at the port when you arrive.
The ferry drops you off in Supetar which is the main town on the north side of the island, closest to Split. From here it’s a 37km drive to the south side of the island to reach the town of Bol where you’ll also find the famous Zlatni Rat Beach, aka Golden Horn Beach.
Drive to Bol
Although the drive to Bol is only 37km, because it’s windy mountain roads to cross the middle of the island, it takes about 45 minutes, so make sure you factor that in when you’re driving back for your return ferry.
Stop at Vidova Gora
Along the drive to Bol, you can drive up to the panoramic viewpoint at the top of the highest mountain on Brač island (or hike up if you’re feeling adventurous!)
The views are spectacular and you’ll be able to see the Golden Horn Beach below as well as the rest of the island and Hvar is the island opposite you.
Wine tasting in Bol at Stina Winery
Stina Winery is the only winery on the island of Brač. It has existed since 2009 and all vineyards on the island send their grapes here.
The winery is stunningly situated right on the harbour wall with incredible views of the turquoise blue sea.
You can just turn up and purchase a glass of wine to enjoy the view, or they host regular tastings throughout the day which you can take part in.
Lunch at Restaurant Santo
The most stunning terrace and views, right on the water - this is one of my favourite places I’ve eaten in Croatia in part because I wasn’t expecting somewhere with such beautiful views to have such cheap prices! I had the fried calamari.
Relax at Zlatni Rat aka Golden Horn Beach
Named the most beautiful beach in Europe by Lonely Planet, this stunning golden beach juts out of the coast of the island like a horn.
Although from a distance it looks like golden sand, in true Croatian style, the beach is actually small white pebbles, which is what gives the golden white glow and the turquoise water colour.
There is a large parking area at the beach where you’ll need to pay a few euros cash to park. There are restaurants, bars and toilet facilities at the beach too so you can easily spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing here.
The beach itself is a popular windsurfing spot and you’ll likely see plenty of windsurfers out in the waves.
The area around the beach is shallow and clear and there’s a lifeguard during the summer months so this is a great family beach too.
Head back for the ferry to Split
Make sure you allow enough time to drive back for the ferry and remember if you’re getting the car ferry, it’s 45 minutes across the island in Supetar. If you took the passenger catamaran, you might be able to catch one back from Bol, close to the beach.
Where to eat on day 10:
Breakfast: burek to go for the ferry
Lunch: Restaurant Santo on Brač island
Dinner: Skipper pizzeria with views of the bay
Day 11 - Drive to Dubrovnik with stops in Omis and Makarska Riviera
An extra day in your itinerary allows you to break up the 3 hour drive to Dubrovnik if you wish and if you have your own vehicle. If you don’t have your own vehicle, see day 5 of one week Croatia itinerary for alternative transport options.
Here are a couple of options for stops or an overnight stay en route to Dubrovnik if you’re driving on your Croatia road trip.
Located just 45 minutes south along the coast from Split, Omis is an amazing town for adventure travellers and adrenaline activity lovers!
Located a short drive from the Cetina River canyon, you’ll find activities and half day trips for things like whitewater rafting, river kayaking, canyoning, ziplining across the canyon, cliff jumping and more.
If adventure and adrenaline activities aren’t really your speed, Omis old town is well worth a stop and quick wander, it’s much smaller than Split or Trogir and really beautiful!
If you’d prefer a slower pace stopoff on your drive from Split to Dubrovnik, I highly recommend a stay in Makarska.
Makarska is where locals and other Europeans go on holiday in Croatia to avoid the crowds in Split and Dubrovnik!
The Makarska Riviera is made up of three towns, Brela, Baska Voda and Makarska. All three are charming and the entire stretch of Riviera is packed with stunning beaches, idyllic coves and the towns themselves are charming.
If you’re planning to stay in Makarska, check out my Makarska accommodation guide and also my guide to the best things to do in Makarska.
**from here onwards follow the itinerary as detailed above in the 7 day Croatia itinerary section**
Day 12 - Walk the city walls, explore Dubrovnik, see sunset from Mount Srd
See day 5 of the 7 day Croatia itinerary.
Day 13 - Lokrum Island
See day 6 of the 7 day Croatia itinerary
Day 14 - Beach day, optional trip to Cavtat or Elafiti Islands
See day 7 of the 7 day Croatia itinerary
Summary: the best 7 day Croatia itinerary
Whether you’re planning to do Croatia in one week, 10 days or 14 days in Croatia, hopefully this 7+ day Croatia itinerary has given you loads of ideas, inspiration and tips on how to make the most of your trip to Croatia, the best things to see in Croatia, how to navigate and travel around Croatia and most importantly - to have the trip of a lifetime.
If you use this itinerary, please let me know - I’d love to hear! If you have any further questions or anything you think I’ve missed that could be included in this 7 day Croatia itinerary, please let me know too so I can help future travellers to Croatia!
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