Best Croatia Itinerary – Most Beautiful Places to Visit in 7-14 Days in Croatia
- 1 Best Croatia Itinerary – Most Beautiful Places to Visit in 7-14 Days in Croatia
- 2 CROATIA TRAVEL TIPS
- 3 Best Croatia Itinerary – How to Spend One or Two Weeks in Croatia
Croatia had been on my radar for a while – even though I have never watched one episode of Games of Thrones, nor am I a beach person.
But guess what? Croatia is just a stunningly beautiful country and well worth a visit – whether you are a Games of Throne fan or not. Whether you are a beach fan or not. The country has so much for everyone, and there is so much to do and see in 7 days, 10 days, or 14 days in Croatia.
So, whether you visit Croatia for one week or two weeks, this Croatia itinerary will help you find the most beautiful spots and have a lot of fun experiences along the way.
CROATIA TRAVEL TIPS
Before talking about the one or two-week Croatia itinerary, here are some travel tips.
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Best Time to Visit Croatia
The best time to road trip Croatia (or just visit) is during the shoulder season.
I visited in April and had a good time, but I think that May, early June, September, or October would have been a better choice, as the scenery gets even more beautiful, more tours and activities are offered (quite a few bell towers, etc. were closed for renovations in April), and it gets a bit warmer.
With the heat in late June, July, and August, come the tourists – and prices rise for accommodations, etc. So, if possible, visit in April, May, early June, or September.
Most restaurants, cafés, and hotels will offer free WiFi to use with your own device, and many towns and villages also offer WiFi spots.
Road Tripping Croatia or Using Public Transportation?
I kept mentioning it in my Instastories and am still convinced: Croatia is the best country in Europe to road trip. I was a bit worried about driving in Croatia (especially as I was driving with my own car), but my worries were unfounded.
Driving in Croatia is amazing. The streets, even in the mountains, are not as narrow as in many other countries, and are mostly in good to great condition. They are also not busy and drivers are quite friendly.
Plus, you’ll have the freedom to stop whenever you want. If you drive along the D8 – along the coast – you can avoid the tolls (which are expensive as heck in Croatia – for 45 km, I paid around 5.50€!) and have amazing scenic views.
Croatia has done a great job and there are many great spots if you want to take a break and enjoy the views. If you need to rent a car, check out rental prices here and make sure to rent a car in advance (especially if you visit during the busier months).
Gas and diesel prices are quite expensive though.
Also, it is pretty easy to find parking in most cities and towns (at least compared to Italy and if you do not visit in July or August) – an exception is Dubrovnik.
However, public transportation also works for this one-week or two-week Croatia itinerary.
Though I did not use public transportation a lot, it is known that Croatia has a great network of buses that travel frequently between popular attractions and destinations.
When you plan to visit any of the islands, like Hvar, you will need to use the ferry or a boat.
Croatian is the official language, but I never had any issues with not speaking it. Many people speak English, and German is quite widely spoken. So, with English, you are good to go and don’t have to worry about language barriers.
Croatia is known for its good food – however, if you do not eat animals, it might be a bit problematic. There are pizza and pasta, but the options are quite limited. The food I had was great, but I mostly booked apartments where I cooked my own healthy, vegetarian dishes.
While it is possible to survive as a vegetarian, it might be quite hard as a vegan – at least in the smaller places. Bigger cities tend to have more veggie and vegan-friendly dishes.
If you enjoy animals on your plate, Croatia will be your foodie heaven.
The official currency in Croatia is the Kuna. 1 Kuna is about 1.38€ ($1.50) – rates can change quickly though, so this is only an estimation at the time this post was written.
You can find foreign currency exchange centers throughout all cities and towns.
Many restaurants and smaller shops do not accept credit cards, so always have some cash on you. Euros are widely accepted, but the rates are often terrible, so change money as early as possible, and no later than on your arrival.
Accommodations in Croatia
In Croatia, you will find anything from cheap hostels and apartment rentals to luxury hotels. Most of the time, I stayed in small apartments (so I could cook for myself) that I found on booking.com – in spring, there was no issue booking a day in advance or on the same day.
I am a very spontaneous person though – if you are picky with your accommodation, and want to have a lot of options, booking a few weeks in advance is probably a better idea (especially in the busy months).
However, in Dubrovnik, accommodations were quickly booked even in spring. For the summer months, definitely book in advance.
I will offer some tips on where to stay for each destination.
If you prefer staying in one, two, or three places and take day trips, I suggest staying in Dubrovnik (though it is expensive), Split, Zadar, Zagreb, and Rovinj and take trips from there.
Security in Croatia – Solo Female Travel in Croatia
I traveled Croatia as a solo female traveler – well, kind of. My little doggy was with me. However, with or without him, I can say that traveling alone in Croatia felt safe and great.
I never felt insecure or unsafe, and totally recommend visiting Croatia either with friends, family, your partner, or alone.
People are friendly, though not as open and friendly as the Italians, for instance (I hate to say it but there is a big discrepancy between men, older women, and younger women and the younger women are less friendly but overall, it is a country with many friendly people).
But people do speak English very well, so it is easy to communicate with others. And with so many people from all around the world, it is easy to make new friends if you actually prefer doing a few activities with others rather than alone.
It is a safe country in Europe, and safer than many others around the world or areas in the US.
Beware of pickpocketing in busy areas, keep valuables close to you, and do not leave valuables on display in your car – basically, a bit of common sense, but nothing to be overly wary of.
Traveling in Croatia With a Dog
Croatia is quite dog-friendly. I have spent quite a bit time in Italy in the last few months, so I am very spoiled, as I named Italy the most dog-friendly place in the world.
You can take dogs to many restaurants, hotels, etc. (I guess about 30-50% allow dogs). But you cannot take them to certain other places (e.g. in Italy, you can take dogs in a bag – if they are small- even to churches, museums, and bell towers).
In Croatia, it is a bit more difficult, but if you are considering traveling with your dog to Croatia, I would say “do it.“
BUT if you travel with your dog, I highly recommend doing a Croatia road trip – in Dubrovnik, dogs were not allowed on buses and apparently Dubrovnik is not the only city.
Best Croatia Itinerary – How to Spend One or Two Weeks in Croatia
This itinerary for Croatia starts either in Dubrovnik or Zagreb – however, feel free to tweak the itinerary so that it fits you. Also, you can skip places if you have less than 14 days in Croatia. Basically, this itinerary will help you plan 7 or 10 days in Croatia, or even 14 days. I would not recommend visiting Croatia for less than one week, as you would miss out on too much of its beauty.
Note: When I did this itinerary, I did not write down a specific route because it all comes down to how active you want to be, if you travel by car or public transportation, and so on.
So instead, I have written down daily itineraries for places. I added Rovinj as a day on this itinerary, but you can decide if you want to do the detour and visit or if it makes more sense to skip it as it is too far from the other places you want to visit.
The same with the Plitvice Lakes and Zagreb.
You can start your Croatia trip in the capital of the country: Zagreb.
The capital is often overlooked for the more popular city of Dubrovnik – and while Zagreb does not lie on the coast (unlike many other cities, towns, and villages on this itinerary), it is well worth spending a day or two.
Zagreb is totally different from other cities in the country – it feels more like Vienna with its Austrian-Hungarian architecture that is different from the architectural style of most other Croatian cities.
The only problem I see with Zagreb is the fact that it is not centrally located, but quite far to the north (near the Slovenian border), which might make it difficult to get to.
But other than that, there is no reason not to go.
In one day, you can visit the Cathedral, shop for food at Dollar Market, visit the Museum of Broken Relationships, admire the unique St.Mark´s Church, have lunch at Tkalciceva Street, and if you have any time left, visit the stunning cemetery of Mirogoj (which is located a bit outside the city center).
If you are in Croatia for 14 days, then plan in at least 1.5 days in Zagreb and then consider the travel time to the next destination (which probably will be the Plitvice Lakes, Zadar, or Rovinj). With only 1 week, I would still try to visit for one full day.
One of the most famous and popular tourist destinations in Croatia is the Plitvice Lakes. And if you have already seen images, you know why. This place is stunning and unique.
The Plitvice Lakes National Park is the oldest and largest national park in Croatia. Famous for its many waterfalls and stunning watercolors, it offers some lovely hikes and stunning views – about 80% of the park is covered with forest. It is also one of the most biodiverse regions in the country (including many threatened species).
It has UNESCO World Heritage Status since 1979, and with 16 bigger lakes (and many smaller ones), the facts alone impress. The highest waterfall in all of Croatia is the Veliki Slap, at 78 meters.
You can choose from one of the eight circular routes (if all are open) to walk the lakes – four from Entrance 1 and four from Entrance 2 (depending on the hiking trails you pick, you can spend about 2-8 hours in the park. I read some reviews and posts that recommend staying two days, but I was actually good to leave after half a day).
But like Zagreb, the location is a bit unfortunate – it is located in the inland and far away from other popular travel destinations.
Entrance fees (depending on the time of your visit): Winter months are around 8€; April, May, September, and October are around 14€; summer months are around 34€
Parking: Many parking spots are available at Entrances 1 and 2, about 1€ an hour.
Where to Stay at Plitvice Lakes National Park
I stayed at a clean, tidy and nice (though simple) pension a few kilometers near the lakes – the owners were really nice, too. So definitely a place I recommend staying at. Check out the rates for the Pansion House Prijeboj.
A bit of Italy in Croatia – Rovinj is one of the most northern cities in Croatia and is close to the Italian border. If you travel around Croatia for a bit, you will notice it is different from many other Croatian cities – actually, it looks a bit like an Italian coastal town.
With its colorful houses, Venetian architecture, and cute cobblestone streets, it is one of the most beautiful places in Croatia.
Located in the northwest of Croatia, on the Istrian coast below the Lim Fjord, it is a perfect place to visit towards the end or beginning of your Croatia trip.
Rovinj has some very cute, narrow streets, so make sure to take your time strolling the old town, exploring the artistic street of Ulica, climbing the bell tower, enjoying some time at the promenade, and going on a boat cruise. You can also go to one of the beaches and swim. If you are not much of a beach person, you can see all of the top sights within one day in Rovinj.
Where to Stay in Rovinj
I recommends staying in or near the old town of Rovinj.
I picked a little B&B near the old town. Prices were good, they allowed dogs (which isn’t always the case here in Croatia), and offered free parking. Within a few minutes, I was in the old town. However, there are not many rooms, so book early if you want to stay here. Find out more about the little B&B I stayed at – Rooms Barbieri.
For a more luxurious stay – just a 10-minutes walk from the old town – check out the rates at Grand Park Hotel Rovinj.
Hotel Adriatic is a very well-rated boutique hotel in the old town. Find out more about the rates.
Check out my 1-day itinerary for Rovinj for more travel tips.
Zadar is another coastal city, and actually, it is the oldest continuously-inhabited city in Croatia (founded in the 4th century).
Unlike many of the other famous places in Croatia, Zadar did not feel busy and crowded. It was actually way more laid-back – probably a bit too laid-back for me. Two days was a bit too much for me, but a one-day stop in Zadar is definitely a great idea.
In one day, you can experience the highlights of Zadar easily – and here are some tips for what to do in Zadar. The ancient square, the Forum, is a must, as well as the church of St. Donatus and strolling Kalelarga Street.
I loved the views from the bell tower, but one of the most unique places in Croatia is probably the promenade, where you can listen to the Sea Organ that plays music from the waves of the ocean. Sounds weird and is weird, but a nice weird. You can end your evening watching the sunset at the promenade and greeting the moon.
Trogir and Šibenik
From Zadar, head to Spilt, but plan in one day to visit these two pretty towns on your way.
Actually, pretty is a bit understated. Trogir and Šibenik are two extremely beautiful places in Croatia and should be on any Croatia itinerary.
Trogir and Šibenik are small towns (Trogir is a bit bigger though) and absolutely charming.
If you come from Zadar, then Šibenik will be your first stop. I initially headed there for the castle, but skipped it and went back and forth through the few old, but very picturesque, streets of the town instead.
And what I had not known prior to my visit: Šibenik is actually a filming location for Games of Thrones. So, this is a must for all GoT fans. But despite its size, I am sure it can charm anyone!
Visit the two UNESCO World Heritage sites – Sibenik Cathedral and St. Nicholas Fortress – but also have coffee in one of the cute cafes or restaurants around and just let the flow take you.
You can probably have your lunch here and then head to the next place:
Pretty, pretty Trogir! It felt like little Split, but actually more charming with its very picturesque cafes and cute, colorful streets and lovely people.
Stroll the old streets, enjoy the views from the bell tower, visit the Trogir Cathedral (small entrance fee), see the clock tower at the market square, go to Kamerlengo Castle for the views (small entrance fee), and relax at the seaside promenade. This is also a good place to end the day.
So, whether you are traveling fast or not, you can stay here (or in Sibenik, depending on where you are coming from) or continue your journey to Split to start your day early there.
Where to Stay in Trogir:
Hotel Brown Beach House & Spa looks like a lovely hotel with a pool, lovely views and it is located quite close to the city center. You can check out rates here.
Hotel Concordia is located in the old town – I think, location-wise it cannot get much better and it seems to offer great value for money! Find out more about the hotel here.
To check out all hotels in Trogir click here.
Split should not be missed on any Croatia itinerary – it is one of the most famous and popular cities, and this is for a reason.
Yes, it gets crowded (even in the shoulder seasons because of the cruise ship tourists), but it is still worth a visit.
Even if you only visit for a day or two, you will find plenty of things to do (though, I personally think 1 or 1.5 days is absolutely fine if you don’t have endless time in Croatia).
One of the reasons for Split´s popularly is because it was one of the filming locations for Game of Thrones.
So, definitely make sure to explore Diocletian’s Palace (free) with the Cathedral and Bell Tower of Saint Domnius (small entrance fee), the Peristyle (Peristil), Vestibule, and the City Gates.
For great views (other than the bell tower that was closed during the time of my visit), hike up Marjan Hill (about 20-30 minutes of uphill walking) and soak in the scenery. Stroll the promenade and have dinner at the River promenade. If you are a GoT fan, then you might want to enjoy the views from Klis Fortress (entrance about 9€), which is located outside the old town.
Even if you are not a GoT fan, the views are well worth a visit!
Where to Stay in Split:
I stayed at Apartments Hani – surely nothing fancy here but it is quite close to the old town and it had a washing machine and a small kitchen (there are not many rooms, so if you want to stay here, you must book early). Check out rates and availability at Apartments Hani.
For more luxury, check out the Hotel Park Split by Bačvice Beach – it iis one of the most luxurious places to stay in Split.
If you are looking more a mid-range hotel in the old town, then Golden Gate Dreams Rooms might be a perfect choice. It is located in the old town and has great ratings – find out more about rates and availability here.
I had to, very unhappily, skip Hvar. Hvar is known as a very sunny island and is one of the most popular islands in Croatia. However, I had a few days in mind for when I wanted to visit and there was rain and storms on all of those days.
I decided that I do not want to spend the money on a visit to Hvar when the weather is bad… so, eventually, I have to go back to Croatia to visit Hvar.
Hvar Town is Croatia’s premier party town! But there is more to it than that. The town is known for its beautiful old town, perfect for getting lost in and whether you get there for a day only for stay overnight (it takes a few hours to get to Hvar from Split) – I think, it would make a good stop on your Croatia itinerary.
Another one of Croatia‘s prettiest, unique places is the small town of Omis, located among stunning scenery.
Known as a former pirate town in the 12-14th centuries, it is a small central Dalmatian town located between Split and Makarska, situated in the mouth of the Cetina River, and surrounded by massive gorges that remind me of fjords in certain parts.
There is no place like Omis – and it is the perfect place for adventure lovers. Ziplining, rock climbing, biking, rafting, and canyoning are big in Omis!
But there is more to it than adventurous activities – I took the time to go up to Castle Mirabella.
Okay, it is not very time-consuming, so I did not do anything spectacular (it took maybe 10 minutes of uphill walking), but it was so worth it.
The walk up is already great. If you don’t want to pay the few euro for the entrance fee, you will have nice views before you even reach the ticket counter. However, I recommend paying the fee (I think it was about 3€) and taking a few more steps so that you have better views of the old town, plus amazing views of the mountains and the river on the other side.
I wish that I had stayed longer, so I could have hiked the Starigrdad Fortica to enjoy the views from there, which takes a few hours to get to.
Well, there will hopefully be a next time, but here is my tip for you: Stay in Omis at least one full day if you like to be a bit more active.
Punta Rata & Baska Voda
It is time for the beach. I know, the reviews of the beaches in Croatia are mixed.
The watercolor is stunning, towns near the beaches are beautiful, but the beaches are mostly pebble beaches. But if you visit in the summer, you surely want to take a day off and relax after all those busy days (or in preparation for all the busy days to come).
If you road trip and drive along the D8, then the Makarska Riviera will be your friend! This stunning coastline is perfect for spending a few days (or just a few hours) relaxing, taking a swim, and escaping the crazy crowds of Split or Dubrovnik.
Punta Rata was rated one of the prettiest beaches, and so I headed there. Not to swim or to chill at the beach (it was quite windy actually and too cold for swimming), but to see if it is really nice and if I should recommend it to you!
Yes, this beach looks quite lovely. But in this area, there are several beautiful places – so whether you choose this one or go to Baska Voda with its busier promenade is up to you.
If you want to take a break and chill, this is the place and time.
Dubrovnik is out of this world. While I still think Venice is probably the most unique city in the world, Dubrovnik is up there. Yes, there are many old towns and well-preserved medieval towns in Europe and Croatia. However, Dubrovnik is seriously different.
Expensive as heck and crazy busy, it is not everyone´s favorite – but I totally loved it!
Two nights in Dubrovnik is enough to get acquainted with the city, but the prices for accommodations, food, and activities made me leave after 2.5 days.
So, this is not the place when you’re on a budget.
The best activity – by far – was walking the city walls. You can stroll the complete walls, which are about 2 km long, and you have the best views from there. This activity costs around 30€ and is probably the most expensive “entry fee“ in the area (Tip: you can buy a Dubrovnik Card and see if it helps you save money). But the views are so worth it.
Also, take the time to stroll the old town and streets, check out all the filming locations of GoT (including the King´s Landing), and go on a boat cruise to see the old town from another angle.
Also, if you have time, head to Srd mountain for amazing views – the cable car is closed at the moment, but you can hike (should take about one hour), or drive. I drove even though the reviews on TripAdvisor made it look like a horror trip. It is probably not for the inexperienced mountain driver, but it was not too bad. If you are still scared, you could get up there by taxi or Uber.
I have a more detailed Dubrovnik itinerary that you can read here.
Where to Stay in Dubrovnik
Villa Flora: Is a good choice in the old town, just a minute walk from Stradun. Not super modern, nor extremely fancy, but a nice hotel if you do not want to spend a fortune. Click here to check out prices for Villa Flora.
Rector´s Villa: Located just outside the old town (one minute from the Pile Gate and next to Fort Lovrijenac). This is great for those who want to self-cater, as it provides a little kitchen in each room. Find out about the rates for Rector´s Villa here.
Hilton: If you are looking for a more luxurious hotel near the old town (just 200 meters outside the old town, then you may want to check out the Hilton in Dubrovnik.
More Things to Add to Your Itinerary for Croatia
Krka National Park
The weather was not always on my side, and I had to decide whether I wanted to spend the sunny days in a town/city or at Krka National Park. I ended up in towns/cities, as they had priority for me.
However, the Krka National Park is a must-see in Croatia for many.
The national park is known for its beautiful waterfalls and nature trails – similar to the Plitvice Lakes.
After reading reviews, it seems the Krka National Park is a little less spectacular, and if you stay in Croatia for only 7-10 days, one national park is probably all you can fit in.
At Krka, you can swim though, it is closer to cities like Split or Zadar, and it does not take that much time to get there. But the waterfalls are not as impressive as those at Plitvice Lakes.
Due to weather conditions, I had to decide where to spend a sunny day. So, the night before, I decided to skip Pula and visit Plitvice Lakes instead.
Pula is located near Rovinj, and if you have time and are already in Rovinj, then add this to your itinerary.
It is mostly known for the very well-preserved Pula Arena – one of the best preserved Roman amphitheaters in the world, which was built around the same time as the Colosseum in Rome.
Since I have not visited, I cannot really suggest how long to stay, but my initial plan was to leave Rovinj early in the morning and enjoy the scenic drive, stopping in Pula for the day before continuing my journey in the afternoon.
Day Trips Outside of Croatia
Beautiful Montenegro! Montenegro is one of the most beautiful countries in the world and one day is surely not enough (despite its small size). However, many people drive to Kotor from Dubrovnik for a day.
This is definitely doable (the drive is scenic, but plan in some time for border control). One day in Kotor is not a lot of time, but you can get a good glimpse of this pretty country in that day!
Parking in the center of Kotor might be a bit difficult in the busy season, so I recommend snapping up a parking slot outside the center (driving in the old town is not allowed at all) and walking to the old town from there.
Most people walk to the fortress and head to the Castle of San Giovanni – entrance fee is about 8€ – which includes a lot of stairs. Like seriously, a lot of stairs (I read different numbers, but it is definitely more than 1,200 stairs). The views are amazing. You can also climb the Ladder of Kotor (which is free) and then climb through a window and get onto the fortress – nothing illegal at all, and not only good for saving money, but for avoiding stairs as this path takes longer, but has less stairs (I did this because of my dog). A more detailed post on Kotor will follow.
Also, stroll the old town itself before heading to… wherever actually.
If you are traveling by car, drive up the mountains – the views are amazing! Check out my Kotor travel tips.
Mostar / Blagaj / Kravice Falls and Pocitelj
Mostar is one of the most popular day trips from Dubrovnik and the reason is simple.
- It is extremely pretty and many take the opportunity to visit another country (Bosnia-Herzegovina).
- The region of Dubrovnik is separated from the rest of Croatia by Bosnia-Herzegovina, which owns about 20 km of coastline. If people drive from Split to Dubrovnik, they have to pass Bosnia-Herzegovina (or take a detour and cross Serbia, etc. – which would be insane).
Croatia plans to build a bridge that connects Dubrovnik to the rest of the country, but at the moment, crossing Bosnia is the only and easiest way.
So, Mostar is gorgeous, but if you have some time, I actually suggest visiting Pocitelj, Kravice Falls, and Blajag Monastery; book a hotel in Mostar for the night and explore Mostar on day 2 before heading back to Croatia.
Personally, I would stay even longer in beautiful Montenegro/Bosnia, but since this is a Croatia itinerary, I stuck to two days in Bosnia and one day in Montenegro for now.
P.S. Make sure to bring your ID/passport along as you will most definitely be checked at the borders. (You might have to spend some time at the border control – normally, it takes me about 10-15 minutes to get through, but once it took me about an hour and it was during the shoulder season, so my tip is to be at the border control very early to avoid the lines.)
So, whether you stay in Croatia for one week, ten days, two weeks, or even longer, your trip will surely be anything but boring! The country is rich in beautiful places and generally nice locals, so I hope that you enjoy Croatia as much as I did!