WHAT TO PACK FOR EUROPE IN WINTER

What to pack for Europe in winter

PACKING LIST FOR EUROPE IN WINTER

If you are want to find out what to pack for Europe in winter, then this post is for you.

While you might have to think about which places to visit in Europe in winter, you will also need to plan what to pack for the cold winter months in Europe.

While Europe might not be the biggest continent, weather conditions strongly vary. So, it does make a big difference whether you visit North countries like Iceland or Norway, Central Europe like Switzerland or France or Southern Europe with places like Valencia in Spain.

If you head to Southern Spain you will not need all the super warm winter clothes – and you will be happy with some warm pullovers and jeans. In the Nordic countries you will definitely need to pack differently.

In this post, you will find one general part of what to pack in Europe for winter. Then you will find out about what to pack for warmer countries like Spain or Malta, but you will also find out what to pack if you visit countries like Switzerland, Estonia or Iceland in winter.

First ski experience in Verbier, Switzerland what to pack in winter

Winter Weather in Europe

Before talking about what to bring to Europe in winter, we should talk weather in Europe in winter. Because your packing list depends on where you visit.

Southern Europe is much milder and warmer than Eastern Europe or Northern Europe. While you could wear a light jacket in Southern Spain in the winter months, you surely have to dress very warm in countries like Norway or Iceland.

If you come to Europe in winter – come prepared. 

Be advised that the average temperature can reach as low as -10° degree Celsius in countries like Iceland and Norway and while it gets up to 15° degree Celsius in other countries.

Climate change has lead to much warmer climate in many countries – I remember the years – as a little child – where we had many days with freezing temperatures in Germany. And a lot of snow – but nowadays, snow is no longer the rule for many parts in Europe. But it can be.

What to do in Alicante, Costa Blanca

WHAT TO BRING TO EUROPE IN WINTER – GENERAL ITEMS

So, the first part of the post is a general packing ist. Then you will find an additional packing list for winter.

Luggage for Europe

Here is what luggage/bags you might need for your winter Europe trip.

  • Suitcase: Though it depends, where exactly and for how long you travel, I recommend taking a good, light, and quality suitcase with you where all your clothes and most of your toiletries fit in.
  • Carry-On: If you visit for longer and aren’t a minimalist, then you might need an extra carry-on luggage.
  • Laundry bags: They are great if you travel for longer and don’t want your dirty and clean clothes to mix up. I prefer them over plastic bags.
  • Packing Cubes: They are the new must-items when it comes to traveling, they are very handy and they also come in cool colors. I recommend using packing cubes because it makes packing and organizing easier.
  • For my handbag, I choose a cross-body handbag with a zipper (just to be safe) and several extra pockets. My tip: The size of the handbag is important: do you carry a camera with your? A water bottle? Keep that in mind when you decide on one handbag.
  • Passport Holder, since i have become more minimalistic, I prefer not using a passport holder but if you need a passport (and an ID is not enough) you might want to have one.
  • For a day at the hotel pool or for some shopping, I recommend a beach bag or a cotton bag. Plastic bags – fortunately – do costs money in many parts of Europe…and plastic you use only once, sucks anyway, so with a cotton bag you use for years, you do the environment a favour (and it looks much better than to carry your shoppings in a plastic or paper bag).

Toiletries to Pack for Europe in Winter

Lately, I have reduced the care products. Less is better if you ask me. However, in winter our skin is also subject to stress. Here you will find a detailed list – even if I do not use all products below throughout the year, you might use more products.

If I travel for 10 days or shorter I take travel sizes toiletries which I refill with my natural and organic beauty products from home. To pack light, shampoo, conditioner, hair masks, cleaning water and cleansing milk is all in small bottles.

Of course, you could buy toiletries in Europe as well, but if you do not want to waste your time in drug stores or supermarkets, use this checklist for Europe.

  • (TSA Approved Clear) Travel Toiletry Bag (if you fly)
  • Sunscreen (even in winter – depending on where you travel to. If you go for a ski trip, then take it but you most likely will not need it for most other winter trips).
  • Travel bottles to refill – I refill them with my own organic products that I normally use (I do not use shampoo & conditioner provided by hotels)
  • Electric Hair Removal Epilator (only if you stay longer than a week or if you remove your bidy hair with it) – otherwise a razor or whatever you prefer
  • Face cream – (which I also use as a hand cream, so I do not have to take another cream).
  • Refillable Travel Size Perfume Bottle
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste and mouthwash plus Dental floss
  • Tissues
  • Deodorant
  • Magnifying make-up mirror
  • Nail polish and nail polish remover + glass nail file
  • My favorite hairbrush (especially for longer hair) – or if you have less space take a comb
  • Hair ties
  • A small cosmetic bag with the following items: Mascara / Rouge / Eyebrow powder (Taming & Shaping Kit For Brows) / Tweezer / Eyeliner and Eye Shadow / Make-up brushes/ Cotton swabs

Here are a few more items which I personally do hardly use but which might be important to you, so I added them here:

hair spray, hand cream, foundation, powder, lipstick, sanitiser

Tech Stuff to Pack for Europe

  • I have my laptop with me whenever I fly – however, I do work online while traveling and I also watch Netflix on it.
  • My phone is without a doubt one of my most useful and important (travel) items.
  • My camera is a must – because Europe has so many great spots that need to be photographed.
  • I have to admit, that I still don’t have a kindle, so a “real” book is often an essential
  • Power Charger – how long does your phone battery last? Not long? Neither does mine, so this  is an essential
  • Do you need an adapter? It depends on where you travel to in Europe, so please check if you need one for your destination.

Random Things to Pack for Europe

  • Umbrella (in many countries, like Germany, Switzerland, or England is can still rain quite a lot in the winter)
  • Guides
  • Medicine (headache pills etc.)
Cycling in London in winter

What to Pack for Europe in Winter

The key is dressing in layers for Europe in winter. The temperature can reach freezing levels, and yet the sun can be deceptively strong. Dressing in layers allows you to keep warm without compromising on comfort. 

Also, it really depends on where exactly you travel – as I mentioned before, Southern Europe has mild weather in winter where you will not need a super warm jacket and gloves plus a hat.

Depending on where you travel, the wind might make you feel much colder than the temperature actually says.

In worst case scenario, hypothermia and frostbite will be a result if If you’re wet and not appropriately dressed.

Your items should be versatile in function. For example, pack a jacket that is both waterproof and warm. In addition, comfortable walking shoes are essential.

December in Iceland, Golden Circle with Arzo Travels

Everyday Attire Essentials For Europe In Winter

At the top of your packing list should be the following versatile, essential items. Using these items to dress in layers will keep you both stylish and warm. 

  • Coat – Warm And Waterproof: A warm, waterproof jacket should be one of the very first items that you think to pack. Avoid choosing a bulky jacket that takes up a lot of space. This can make you feel uncomfortable when you have layers underneath. Instead, opt for a lightweight, trench raincoat that will keep you warm, dry, and comfortable. 
  • Hat: Science tells us that we lose up to 10% of our body heat through our heads, meaning that it’s essential to keep this area warm. A knitted beanie is a perfect solution for keeping the warmth in while you venture out.  A hat will keep you toasty warm whether you’re on the slopes, sipping coffee, or exploring the sights. 
  • Gloves: Have you ever tried to use your phone with frozen fingers? It’s a nearly impossible task. A pair of gloves can do wonders for your mobility, dexterity, and comfort. This makes it one of the most important items on your Switzerland packing list. When selecting your options, it’s worth investing in a pair that can dry quickly and are touch-screen compatible.
  • Scarf Or Turtleneck: A warm scarf and/or turtleneck sweater are key items for keeping your neck covered. Not only do these items keep you warm, but they also prevent you from getting ill (and thereby ruining the fun). A turtleneck sweater is perfect as a garment to wear underneath your jacket, while the scarf can be removed easily. 
  • Leggings: There’s a reason that almost every woman owns a pair of leggings. They are both comfortable and snug. Leggings are an essential item to pack as you can dress them up or down. You can even wear them underneath your denims as an extra layer of warmth. 
  • Socks: When it comes to packing socks for your Switzerland trip – the thicker the better. Chances are that you’ll be spending a lot of time outdoors in the snow, and you’ll want your feet to be warm and cozy. If you plan on hitting the slopes at any stage, then you’ll want your socks to be extra-thick or padded for increased comfort. 
  • Thermals: A quality set of thermals is your key to enjoying the winter weather in Switzerland. They provide the extra layer of heat that will allow you to spend an extra hour on the slopes, or to pack fewer items on your road trip instead of excess clothing.
  • Comfortable Walking Shoes: If you can only pack one pair of shoes, then make sure that they are a trusty pair of waterproof snowshoes. You’ll want your shoes to be as versatile as possible. Snowshoes allow you to enjoy a variety of activities while keeping your feet warm and dry. 
Verbier in Switzerland in the winter

Winter Sportswear

One of the best top reasons to visit Switzerland during the winter months is winter sports opportunities. While most ski resorts will offer rental equipment, there are a few essentials to pack for yourself. 

  • Ski Jacket: When choosing the perfect ski jacket, you need to consider warmth, level of waterproofing, and freedom of movement. A jacket that is adjustable in fit, seals effectively, and dries quickly is the perfect apparel for snowboarding, skiing, and other winter outdoor sports.
  • Ski Pants: A trusty pair of insulated ski pants are the next essential item for all winter sports fans. Make sure that your choice of pants is breathable, warm, and waterproof. These details will keep you dry, warm, and comfortable on the slopes.  
  • Winter Protection: There are a few items that will make your winter vacation all the more comfortable. The last thing that you want is to be soaked on your first day, or get a migraine from snow blindness
  • Umbrella: Regardless of what time of year you visit Switzerland, it’s always a smart move to pack a foldable umbrella. The nifty item doesn’t take up too much space. It can be the difference between a leisurely stroll in the city streets and getting caught in a flu-inspired downpour. 
  • Chapstick: Visiting Switzerland in winter will most likely find you spending hours of fun on the snow-covered slopes. This can quickly dry out your lips and burn your skin. In this instance, you’re going to be grateful that you’ve packed your moisturizing stick of Chapstick. 
  • Sunglasses: The best days on the slopes are the ones accompanied by clear, sunny skies and good conditions. These circumstances also increase the glare of the sun on the white snow, making it close to unbearable on your eyes. A pair of polarized sunglasses or ski goggles can protect your eyes from the wind and bright light.

CONCLUSION: WHAT TO PACK FOR EUROPE IN WINTER

Europe in winter is a fantastic travel destination. Whether you come for a ski trip in Switzerland, explore the Christmas markets in London or want to have a weekend trip to a warmer place like Valencia – Europe is so diverse and has something for every taste.

Just be aware of what to pack for Europe in winter and you can enjoy some fantastic time in Europe.

Stay safe and enjoy!

Safe Travels, Arzo

A Perfect Croatia Road Trip

Croatia road trip, cover

HOW TO HAVE A FUN ROAD TRIP IN CROATIA

So, you are planning – or at least considering – to do a Croatia road trip? With cities like Dubrovnik, Split, Rovinj or the national parks and the beaches this country is a perfect destination in Europe.

Actually, Croatia is one of the best countries to road trip. Besides being stunningly beautiful, it also has amazing streets, even in the mountains.

The roads are in good condition and they are not busy enough to have traffic. I also found that they are not as narrow as in other countries. Drivers in Croatia were also very friendly. But the best part of road tripping Croatia is having the freedom to stop where you want and just take in the gorgeous views.

With so many scenic areas, overlooking the water and in the mountains, for example, it’s so nice to be able to slow down and enjoy them. Croatia is a beautiful country and taking a road trip is probably the best way to explore it.

Public transportation in Croatia is not bad – and also, you could do guided day tours to visit the top places in the country. However, given Croatia´s geography – stretched over length – it is not easy to visit all the top places as day trips and to create a perfect Croatia itinerary, driving is the best way to get around.

And, so a Croatia road trip it is!

Streets in Croatia, toll-free

To visit all the places mentioned on this “Croatia Road Trip Itinerary” I suggest, to spend at least 14 days in the country. However, you can also skip a few places and do 10-day road trip (even a 5- or 7-day road in Croatia would be possible with this itinerary. However, 7 days is the absolute minimum amount of time to spend there – 10 or 14 days would be much better).

Before talking about the best places to visit in Croatia on a road trip, here are some tips for driving in Croatia.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links which mean I might earn a small commission when you buy a product (at no extra cost to you) after clicking on my link. More about it here.

TIPS FOR YOUR CROATIA ROAD TRIP

Driving in Croatia is amazing and thus I think, a Croatia road trip is amazing. I have driven in a few countries (mostly in Europe) and it was probably the best conditions I have come across – better than in Germany, France, Switzerland, Spain and of course better than in Italy.

The streets, even in the mountains, are not as narrow as in many other countries. Plus, most of them are in a great condition. In addition, streets are not very busy and the best: Croatian drivers are quite friendly (unlike in Italy I must say).

Mountain street in Croatia

People could argue that tolls are too high in Croatia – and it is true: tolls for highways in Croatia are insane. For 100 km you pay around 10€ (just roughly) – BUT… here comes the good news:

If you drive along the D8 – along the coast – you can avoid the tolls. The most beautiful street to drive to in Croatia is free – and have amazing scenic views along the way.

Street in Croatia, driving

Croatia has done a great job – there are many great spots if you want to take a break and enjoy the views. So, pack enough food and drinks for many stop – there is no need to rush to get from one place to the next.

Gas and diesel prices are quite expensive though (prices change daily but are higher than in Germany or Austria for example).

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. If you park in the city center – fees can be up to 240€ – for 24 hours!!!.

When you plan to visit any of the islands, like Hvar, you will need to use the ferry or a boat but can leave your car in Split. In general, I did not worry about safety – just don’t leave any valuables on display and take your wallet etc. with you (and put everything that could attract thefts in the trunk).

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).

If you drive all the way down to Dubrovnik, make sure you have a green insurance card with you (either if you drive with your own and a rental car) as you will cross borders with Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Check out my accommodation guide for Croatia.

CROATIA ROAD TRIP: PLACES TO VISIT

So, here is the perfect Croatia road trip itinerary (skip whatever you want or add other places). If you only have 7-day in Croatia, check out my one-week itinerary.

Zagreb

Start (or end) your road trip in Croatia in Zagreb, the capital of the country.

Cemetery in Zagreb, Croatia

Located more inland than other popular cities in Croatia, Zagreb still has a lot to offer and should not be overlooked. It is, however, a little more challenging to reach because it is located in the north, close to the Slovenian border.

But if you’re roadtripping in Croatia, you still want to see what Zagreb has to offer. Its architecture sets it apart from other Croatian towns as well, with a heavy Austrian-Hungarian influence.

Some places that you will want to visit are the Cathedral, the Museum of Broken Relationships, shopping at Dollar Market, seeing St. Mark’s Church, eating at Tkalciceva Street, and walking through the cemetery of Mirogoj, which is just outside of Zagreb’s city center.

Tip: Driving in Zagreb is fine – it is busy but not as crazy as in other European capitals. If you can, book an accommodation with free parking though. I recommend staying 1 or 2 days in Zagreb. If you have only 10 days in Croatia, then I would spend 1 day in Zagreb and not longer.

Where to stay in Zagreb:

I stayed at an Airbnb but here is one of the best-rated hotels in Zagreb that you can check out.

Plitvice Lakes

One of the most stunning and famous natural landmarks in Croatia, the Plitvice Lakes are a favorite among visitors and is a popular place to visit for your Croatia road trip.

Plitvice Lake in Croatia

The oldest and largest national park in Croatia, the Plitvice Lakes National Park, is almost 80% covered in forest. It is a popular destination for hikers with many trails.

And the lakes themselves feature stunning colors in their water. There are also waterfalls that can be seen here, including the largest in Croatia, Veliki Slap. It is a biodiverse region with many threatened species, and was made a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979.

The Plitvice Lakes are actually made up of 16 larger lakes and numerous smaller ones.

You can circle around them, exploring along eight different routes. The only downside to the Plitvice Lakes is that they are located inland and away from any other travel destinations in Croatia, so you will have to take a detour on your road trip to reach them.

Tip: There are enough parking spots (paid) at Plitvice Lakes. Depending on your speed, I think something between half a day or a full day is enough – some people spend more than one day, but for me about 6 hours were enough to see most of it.

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.

Rovinj

Located close to the Italian border – in fact just across the water from Venice – and on the northwestern side of Croatia, Rovinj has a very Italian feel to it. Unfortunately, it is quite a detour from the Plitvice National Park so yo have to think, whether you want to add it to your Croatia road trip.

Croatia, Rovinj the best streets_

From the Venetian architecture, to the cobblestone streets and colorful houses, Rovinj will remind you of a town on the coast of Italy. It sits on the Istrian coast, just below the Lim Fjord. There are a lot of charming houses and narrow little streets that are fun to wander and explore.

Some of the highlights of visiting Rovinj are strolling through the old town, climbing the bell tower, exploring the artistic street of Ulica, and taking a walk on the promenade.

If you like the beach, there are a few where you can go to relax or swim. And there are also boat cruises offered to see Rovinj from a different perspective.

Tip: Parking in the ctown center might be difficult in the summer months – book accommodation that has parking included or park a bit outside and just walk to the city center/accommodation.I recommend staying in Rovinj at least for one night – it is a small town but lovely and so different to the rest of the country which makes it special.

Where to Stay in Rovinj

I recommend staying in or near the old town of Rovinj.

Rooms Barbieri: I picked a little B&B near the old town. Prices are good, they allowed dogs, and they offer free parking. It just takes a short (and lovely) walk to get to  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.

For a more luxurious stay – just a 10-minute 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.

Pula

From Rovinj you could continue your Croatia road trip and visit this town. Pula is a seaside city located at the tip of the Istrian Peninsula and has a very tragic past.

Pula Amphitheatre a must for Crotia road trip itinerary
@shutterstock

It was founded during the prehistoric era and over the course of many centuries, was occupied and destroyed and rebuilt repeatedly. It was favored because of its strategic location within a protected harbor. Pula has been occupied by the forces of the Romans, the Ostrogoths, the Venetians, and the Allied forces from World War II over the years.

Nowadays, it is a popular destination because of its beautiful and historic landmarks and Roman ruins, as well as its beaches and coastline. Visit the Roman Ampitheater and some of the many museums in Pula. It is also the home of various festivals.

Tip: With only 2 weeks in Croatia (or less) I would limit my time here and visit the Roman Ampitheater and then spend the rest of the day driving to Zadar.

Zadar

Founded in the 4th century, Zadar has an ancient history. Located along the western coast of Croatia by the Adriatic Sea, Zadar is the oldest continuously-inhabited city in the country.

Zadar from above with Arzo Travels_

Despite its fame, this town is not very busy or crowded so it is easy to explore and enjoy. You can definitely see the best of Zadar in one day, including these activities: see the Forum, visit the ancient square, stroll down Kalelarga Street, and see the church of St. Donatus.

You can take in the views from the bell tower and stroll the promenade, where visitors can listen to the unique sounds of the Sea Organ and watch the sunset. Zadar has a very laid-back vibe to it, so take your time exploring this Croatian town for the day before heading to your next road trip destination.

Tip: I am very honest – Zadar wasn’t my favorite stop during Croatia road trip- compared to other places here, it lacked attractions but it is a perfect stop-over. So, from your way to Pula, I would probably spend the evening here (it is charming in the evening) and then continue the journey the next day.

Krka National Park

Spend half a day (or a day) at Krka National Park. It is located in the southern part of Croatia and, similar to Plitvice Lake, has beautiful waterfalls. Honestly, I skipped it – I saw Plitivice Falls and was not too eager to see these falls as weather was not great. So, I can just tell you what I have heard.

KRKA National Park a must for 7-day Croatia itinerary
@shutterstock

These falls are not as impressive as Plitvice Lake’s, but they are still a good place to visit. Situated along the Krka River, the national park has a series of seven waterfalls that are scattered throughout the area. In the north, there is the Roški Slap, a cascade close to a nature trail and the Krka Monastery, which was created above the catacombs from Roman times.

To the south, Skradinski Buk waterfall is surrounded by two watermills. You can actually swim in the water here.

Also in Krka National Park is Visovac Island, which was where the Franciscan Monastery of Our Lady of Mercy was located in the 15th century. Since there is a lot of natural beauty, as well as history, in Krka National Park, making it a good stop while roadtripping in Croatia.

Tip: As mentioned, I haven’t visited myself but people wh visited mostly loved it (especially if you don’t want to drive up north for the Plitivice Lakes) and if you wan to swim. Since it is close to Zadar, and even closer to Šibenik, it would make a great stop before discovering these two beautiful towns below.

Trogir and Šibenik 

Now, it is time to head to Trogir and Šibenik. Located along the western shores of the Adriatic Sea, these two small towns are absolutely beautiful and quite charming.

Sibenik is one of the most beautiful towns in Croatia

Šibenik is famous as the filming location for the show Game of Thrones, but besides that, it also has a lot of old, picturesque streets and famous landmarks. The town has two UNESCO World Heritage sites: Šibenik Cathedral and St. Nicholas Fort.

Trogir is a must-see in Croatia

Trogir felt like a mini version of Split, but even more lovely with its colorful streets, little cafes, and friendly people. There is a really nice seaside promenade that you can stroll, as well as other sights like the Trogir Cathedral, the clock tower in the market square, Kamerlengo Castle, and the bell tower.

The streets themselves are a sight and you should spend some time exploring these two towns on foot to really get a feel for them.

Tip: Both places are absolutely gorgeous and you could do them in one day – that would be enough time to see the main attractions but since they are cute, I suggest staying overnight in Sibenik or Trogir and spend more than the minimum amount 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.

Split

Then it is time to visit Split – and spend a day or two in Split, which is located on a peninsula in the southwestern part of Croatia, jutting out into the Adriatic Sea.

Diocletian’s Palace in Split is one of the top attractions

This is one of the most famous and popular cities in the country and a must-see when taking a Croatia road trip. It can be very crowded here, partly because it was another filming location for Game of Thrones, but also because there are many beautiful landmarks that you won’t want to miss.

Some of the best things to do in Split are see the Cathedral and Bell Tower of Saint Domnius, visit Diocletian’s Palace, explore the Peristyle (Peristil) and the Vestibule, and see the City Gate.

You can also hike up Marjan Hill for views of the surrounding scenery. Klis Fortress is a must-see for GOT fans, and inside Split, the promenade is another popular destination, great for strolling and dining. 

Tip: Split is lovely though with a limited time in Croatia (less than 10 days) I would not spend more than 1 day in Split.

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.

If you are looking for a luxury accommodation, 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.

Hvar

Hvar is one of the most popular islands in Croatia, and known for being very pretty and sunny.

Hvar is one of the best places to stay in Croatia
@shutterstock

In order to reach the island, you will need to leave your car in Split and take the ferry to enjoy a day in Hvar. It will take a few hours to reach, but should be worth it.

Hvar is a port city that is famous as a party spot in Croatia, and seeing yachts parked in the harbor would not be out of the ordinary.

But it also has a rich history and lovely architecture done in the Italian Renaissance style. The old town is great to walk through and explore.

There are lots of caves, forests, and secluded beaches for outdoor activities like hiking and swimming. But for nightlife, like bars and nightclubs, Hvar is one of the best spots in Croatia.

Where to stay in Hvar:

While I did not stay in Hvar myself, this hotel seems like a great place to stay when visiting Hvar (keep in mind, that Hvar is quite expensive).

Omiš

Spend a day (or half) in Omiš, which is a port town just southeast of Split in Croatia. It is situated where the Cetina River and the Adriatic Sea meet.

Omis view from the fortress

It has lovely scenery and is a very unique and pretty town that really shouldn’t be missed. Omiš is surrounded by huge gorges. During the 12-14th centuries, it was a pirate town, so it’s an interesting place to explore. For adventure lovers, it’s even better.

This is a popular destination for those who enjoy biking, canyoning, ziplining, rock climbing, and rafting. You can also head up to Castle Mirabella, which offers great views of the old town, mountains, and river. A little farther away is Starigrad Fortica, a 15th-century fortress built during the Croatian-Ottoman wars, which also offers nice views.

There are many churches to see, too, including the remains of the 5th-century Church of St. Euphemia.

Tip: Omis is the perfect place…for anyone actually! Beautiful scenery, a lot of activities of adrenaline junkies, easy hike opportunities and more. The town center is small yet very cute! If you want to zip-line or do other activities, then Omis is probably the best place to do on this Croatia road trip.

Punta Rata & Baska Voda

These two beaches are among the best to visit in Croatia.

Punta Rada Beach in Croatia

Most Croatian beaches are, unfortunately, pebble beaches and therefore not very good for relaxing. But the coastline of the country is gorgeous, so visiting one of these two beaches will give you an opportunity to enjoy the beauty even more. Punta Rata is well-known as the prettiest beach in Croatia.

Baska Voda town in Croatia is a beautiful hidden place

There are more than a few in this area, but this is a good place to stop and, if the weather cooperates, go for a swim or lay out in the sun. It is surrounded by pine trees and has clear water and smooth sand. Baska Voda is also along the Adriatic coastline and has smooth sand and clear waters.

This beach is a little busier though, as you’ll notice as you walk along the promenade.

Tip: You might long for a day at the beach after all the driving and visiting the many towns and villages. This is the place to rest and chill. One day or 2 here might be enough to sunbath and chill at the beach but of course, you could stay here much longer. However, more great places are waiting for you.

Mostar, Blagaj Monastery, Kravice Falls, and Pocitelj (Bosnia-Herzegovina)

In order to get to Dubrovnik while road tripping Croatia, you must cross into Bosnia-Herzegovina. So, why not visit some of the most popular destinations along the way!

Old Bridge seen from the beach in Mostar

Mostar, located by the Neretva River, is really beautiful and you should take time to stroll through the many shops and market stalls down the city’s alleys. Also, take in the panoramic views from the minaret of the Koski Mehmed-Pasha Mosque and see Stari Most, a famous reconstructed bridge from medieval times.

In the southeastern region of Mostar basin, you will find the ancient Blagaj Monastery, which was built 600 years ago on the cliffs, along with a Turkish bath and mausoleum.

Blagaj is a good half a day trip from Mostar

The Kravice Falls are lovely cascading waterfalls found on the Trebižat River, in the center of Herzegovina, and just south of Mostar.

Also in Herzegovina is Pocitelj, which is a historic village that has an open-air museum that you can explore.

Tip: I adore Bosnia-Herzegovina – I loved the people, the places…in addition to that, it is also much cheaper than Croatia, so make a gas stop here and do some shopping if you are on a budget. You could visit the places in 1 day – but with crossing border, I actually suggest spending a night in Mostar before heading to the last place on your Croatia road trip itinerary.

Dubrovnik

One of the bad things about Dubrovnik is, that it is quite far from other main places in the country – which makes this Croatia road trip a bit long. However, it is really worth it.

After the excursion (with or without a stop in Bosnia) you will be back in Croatia and visit Dubrovnik which is a unique town located in the south of Croatia, along the coast of the Adriatic Sea.

Dubrovnik should be on every Croatia road trip

It is known for its 16th-century walls that encircle the city, as well as a very well-preserved old town that dates back to medieval times. This town is very busy and also very expensive compared to others in Croatia. But it has a lot of worthwhile sights as well. The 2-kilometer-long walls are walkable and offer great views of the city.

You can also see more filming locations from Game of Thrones. Other landmarks to visit include hiking up Srd Mountain, seeing St. Blaise Church, Rector’s Palace, the Dominican Monastery, Dubrovnik Cathedral, and Sponza Palace. And you can shop and eat along the Stradun.

Just outside of the city walls is Fort Lovrijenac. The Old Town and the many building throughout the streets make wandering one of the best things to do in Dubrovnik.

Tip: Park your car outside the city center – and walk or take a us to get to the old town. Parking prices are ridiculously high. In Dubrovnik, you can walk to most attractions so you will not need a car. Driving up Srd Mountain can be challenging for people who are not used driving the extremely narrow mountain roads – this was a fun drive, but probably the most challenging drive I did in Croatia.

Dubrovnik is busy – I mean really busy, and this is why i recommend staying at least one or two nights or one night if you have added many other beautiful places on your Croatia road trip itinerary already. This way you can explore the city when the visitors are gone (as many visit only for a few hours).

Where to Stay in Dubrovnik

Villa Flora: Is a good choice in the old town, just a minute walk from Stradun. It is not super modern, nor 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), this place is great for those who want to self-cater, as there is 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.

CONCLUSION OF MY CROATIA ROAD TRIP

Driving in Croatia was so much fun and I think, the Croatia road trip was one of the most fun road trips I have had. The scenery, the streets, the people – not to forget the places you get to visit will surely make your trip amazing!

Avoid highways (for the costs) and see what the country has to offer along the coast – you will meet many friendly locals and beautiful spots. So, enjoy your Croatia road trip and drive safely!

Croatia road trip, places to visit and more travel tips

Safe Travels, Arzo

Italy or Croatia? Which Place is Better to Visit?

Italy or Croatia, which is the better country to visit?

Italy or Croatia? Which Place is Better to Visit?

Which place to visit in Europe? Which country is the better travel destination – Croatia or Italy? 

While finding the perfect travel destination depends a lot on personal choices, there are a few parameters that might help you to find out if you should travel to Italy or Croatia.

Comparing countries is difficult and personal – this is supposed to be a post helping you to find the better destination to travel to. But it is not based on facts, but more based on my experiences and my impressions – so, you might disagree and have a different opinion, but this is for the readers who need some help when they are totally unsure about what to expect.

Spoiler: I think both countries are great and eventually you should visit Croatia and Italy. 

But of course, it is not always possible to visit both countries in a short period of time and so I have compiled a list. This list should help you in your decision-making process and finding out whether Croatia or Italy is the best to visit for you at the moment.

Maybe you agree, or maybe you disagree – however, these are not facts but just my opinion.

So, without further ado, here are the arguments for or against Italy/Croatia.

History

Italy and Croatia both have a long history and buildings that tell a lot about the past. Both countries impress with medieval towns and sights. 

Dubrovnik views from the city wall

In Croatia, we have Dubrovnik with its medieval walls (that are still very-well maintained), Split, Sibenik, Pula, and more places that are perfect for anyone – not just the history geeks. 

However, Italy takes the cake here. Rome alone has so much to offer for history fans – hardly any other city in Europe can compete. Just think of the Colosseum!

Florence Michelangelo David Statue

Then we have the birthplace of the Renaissance – Florence. And let’s not forget all the small old towns that you can find in almost any town and city in Italy. 

Italy does not only win against Croatia, but would win this category against most countries, so the winner is clear here!

Road Trip

Which country is better to road trip? Italy or Croatia? My winner is clear: Croatia is the better place to road trip. At least, it is the more relaxed place to road trip. You may know that I drive regularly in Italy, but I am always anxious as heck – driving in Italy stresses me out (and also other non-Italians I have spoken to).

Best places to visit in the Dolomites

The thing with driving in Italy is: The views are often scenic – depending, of course, on where you drive, but especially in the mountainous northern part of Italy, where the window views are amazing.

However, if you use the highways in Italy, you have to pay. A lot. The tolls are extremely high. But if you use the side streets, it will take you forever to get from one place to the other.

Then, you have the crazy Italian driving style. I‘ll try to say it nicely – drivers in Italy are not very considerate. They tailgate (but somehow often don’t want to overtake), honk their horns whenever they feel like it, speed down narrow streets, and and so on. 

Yes, I love Italy and Italians, but driving in Italy has been – so far – not a thing I truly enjoy. In addition to this, cars without a special permit often cannot drive into town centers.

However, many people regularly report that the GPS does not warn them and it can easily happen that you drive there and receive a high fine (ask me, Bergamo charged me 70€).  Of course, it was my fault, but with all the stress that alreadys comes with driving in Italy, this is an unnecessary extra problem.

Driving in Croatia, on the other hand, is like a dream come true – although yes, tolls on the highways are extremely high. 

D8 street in Croatia when road tripping

Even higher than in Italy, BUT there are many, even more scenic routes that you can drive for free. You can avoid paying toll highways most of the time – even if you drive from Rovinj to Dubrovnik, you can basically – and easily – drive without using highways. And I promise, the roads and views are amazing.

Streets are mostly not narrow, but mostly wide enough – even the mountain roads. And streets, apart from cities and busy towns, are not busy, which makes driving in Croatia a lot of fun. 

In addition, the drivers in Croatia are completely different from the drivers in Italy.

They are much more considerate and patient. Yes, I love driving in Croatia – actually, the Croatia road trip has been one of my favorite trips so far (probably even better than driving in Switzerland with its amazing mountain roads).

Budget

Croatia and Italy are both NOT budget-friendly destinations, in general. 

Croatia is no longer a hidden gem with great prices – but most countries aren’t the most expensive travel destinations in Europe either.

If you visit in the summer months, both places will be expensive – you have pricey Dubrovnik (very pricey Dubrovnik actually) and Hvar in Croatia, and then many, many expensive places in Italy like Florence, Lake Como, Rome… (I could go on forever.)

So, in general, visiting either of the countries in July or August is not the best idea for your budget – but even though Croatia is not a cheap destination, overall, I would definitely say it is still cheaper than Italy in terms of accommodations, food, and activities.

So, if you are budget-conscious, then Croatia is probably the better place to visit, though prices are increasing with the more visitors the country gets.

Dog

If you are a dog owner, you might be wondering about whether Italy or Croatia is more dog-friendly.

Lago di Braies in the Dolomites

We have a clear winner: Italy is probably the most dog-friendly country in Europe (along with San Marino). 

This comes from two things: my dog loves Italy and the people in Italy love my dog. It is such a tight bond that they have created in the last few years.

So, why is Italy so dog-friendly? First of all, quite a lot of accommodations allow dogs.  Sure, not all do, but compared to many other countries in Europe, dogs are often welcomed – and many times, without an extra charge.

Second, Italians show a lot of affection to dogs (at least to smaller dogs). My dog, Puppy, makes friends daily (and he normally is not the friendliest dog) because Italians talk to him in such a beautiful voice (and Italian is such a sweet language that dogs like it in general, I assume).

Next, you can take dogs (smaller and medium-sized at least) into many indoor places. Taking dogs into restaurants is quite common in many countries, but in Italy I was allowed to take my dog into some museums, grocery stores, churches (yes, you have read that right), and other indoor buildings. 

Of course, sometimes dogs were not allowed and sometimes dogs were only allowed if carried in bags. In popular places like Pisa and Florence, dogs were not allowed at the main attractions at all. But in the end, no other country has been as dog-friendly as Italy.

What about Croatia? Well, Croatia is not really dog-unfriendly, but it is also not really dog-friendly. If you filter accommodations on Booking that allow dogs, you will realize that a lower percentage than in Italy allows dogs. And thus, that leaves you with a smaller choice of accommodations.

Traveling in Croatia with a dog

Also, dogs are not allowed in most buildings – I was even kicked out of a bus in Dubrovnik because of my dog.

I did not even check if dogs were allowed because I just assumed it would be fine (especially because he was carried in a little bag).

On the other hand, he was allowed on boats in Dubrovnik and Rovinj.

So, I would not say Croatia is very dog-unfriendly, but Italy is the best place to visit in Italy with a dog.

People

There is no clear winner and it is a close call, though I would probably say that Italians might win by a hair. 

So far, my experiences with Italians have been pretty positive – despite the fact that Italians often vote for right-wing parties. And I have heard from some other visitors, especially colored people, that they experienced some blunt racism even when they visited for only a few days.

Luckily, I haven’t experienced anything like that. Yes, I do look Italian, but people quickly realize I am a foreigner – due to my lack of language skills. But I love how friendly the people are – yes, Italian men are very flirty, but even the women are very friendly.

What about Croatians? Croatians are friendly, too – but somehow, they seem more reserved, and younger women in particular were not as friendly.

As for language, Croatians often speak better English (and many even speak some German,) but even communicating with Italians wasn’t a big issue. So, for me, Italians are the friendlier ones – but I sometimes wonder if the people are so overly friendly in Italy just because they really like my dog?! 

I don’t know and I have heard other opinions, so my tip is to be open-minded in this category.

Mountains and Lakes

The Dolomites in northern Italy, South Tyrol to be more precise, is one of the most stunning  outdoor places in Europe, if not the world.

Best lakes to visit in the Dolomites, Italy

With stunning lakes, like Lago di Braies and Lago di Carezza or Lago di Sorapis, and the uniquely-shaped mountain range of the Dolomites, it is one of the most distinctive and unique areas in the world.  This alone is reason enough to declare Italy the winner for mountain and lake lovers. 

Yes, Croatia is mountainous, too. Driving in the mountains in Croatia is fun and the views are beautiful, too.

Dubrovnik old town view Srd Hill

But the Dolomites win the race and bring the trophy home for all of Italy.

Weather

Both countries have a Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and colder (and wetter) winter months. So, both are great for beach vacations in summer, and perfect for sightseeing in spring and fall. And in winter, you can do some winter sports – at least in some areas of both countries.

In northern Italy, it gets really cold though in the winter months, and it is a perfect place for winter sports – but you can do winter sports in Croatia, too.

Waterfalls

Italy is known for many things, and though there are some waterfalls in Italy, it surely is not the first thing that come to mind when thinking about Italy.

Plitvice Lake in Croatia

One of the first attractions that comes to mind when talking about Croatia though is the Plitvice National Park with its many, many waterfalls.

Then there is the Krka National Park with even more waterfalls – so, if you chase amazing waterfalls, then Croatia is the place to go.

Fashion 

Are you a shopping addict? Then head to Italy – Italy is the fashion capital of Europe.  Especially around Milan, people are just extremely beautifully dressed, and in general, Italians are the best dressed people. 

It does not surprise that many famous fashion designers, like Armani, are Italian.

So, if you are a shopping addict, and especially into fashion, then Italy is the better place to visit.

Party

This is another category that I personally cannot really judge first-hand, but given the many big cities, I assume Italians have a lot of parties taking place. However, it seems that visitors love Croatia as a party destination. Think about the Yacht Weeks and Hvar – the party island. Younger people who like to party tend to flock to Croatia!

Beaches

Are you looking for a relaxed and still fun beach holiday? Okay, I am not the expert here as I am not the biggest beach person – but both Italy and Croatia have beautiful beaches.

Due to their locations, both countries have many beaches and it will never take too long to find a beach. You can even combine a city trip with some days at the beach. But there are differences. 

Beach in Croatia, road trip in Croatia

Many of Croatia‘s beaches are rocky or pebbly beaches – which is not to everyone’s taste. The water is clear and stunning, but it really comes down to whether you like sandy beaches or not.

There are definitely enough beaches to choose from, and if you really want to find a sandy beach, you can find those ones, too. Beaches in Italy are also stunning – not all beaches are sandy here, either, but you can find more of them.

So, both places are great for a beach vacation and I cannot really name a winner.

Food

If asked for one of the best foods in the world, many would probably name Italy in their top 3.

Vegetarian food in Italy-2

And Italy does have some amazing food – pizza and pasta are just some of the delicious food options. Let’s not forget about antipasto and gelato.

Yes, food in Italy is great and I don’t know anyone who seriously dislikes Italian food. There are, however, some big differences between southern and northern Italian food (I am more into southern Italian food, with its vegetables).

BUT Croatia is actually also known for good food – seafood and meat lovers especially are in heaven in Croatia. Food here is heavier though not bad. Yes, you can find international dishes (like the Indian food in the picture), too but that is not typical Croatian food.

Vegan food in Dubrovnik

Though I do not eat any seafood or meat, I did have some great dinners there and Croatia for sure did not disappoint.

However, given the overall reputation of food in both countries, Italy wins here.

Wine

So, for many, this might be another important aspect. Where do you get better wine? This is another category I am no expert in, but think of Tuscany!

Wine tasting at Ruffinio Relais Tuscany estate

Besides the green rolling hills, it is all about wine – what wine lover does not dream of visiting Italy and trying all the different wines? The biggest wine producer in Italy has also opened its own relais – perfect for anyone who wants to combine a vacation with wine tasting!

Yes, Croatia also has a long history of wine production, and if you drive through Croatia, you will find many vineyards along the way – but when competing against Italy, Croatia gets the short end of the stick.

Where to Go? Croatia or Italy?

This comparison is totally based on my own judgement – of course, I tried to back it up here and there with facts, BUT please do not take it too personally. 

It should help you find the perfect destination – we are all different and are all looking for different things when traveling. Both share a lot of similarities, but also some differences.

I do like both countries and have enjoyed my times there. But of course, it is not only we humans that are different, but also our countries. Maybe you agree, or maybe you disagree and have had different experiences. Either way, don’t take my opinion for fact, though I try to be as honest as I can be!

 

Safe Travels, Arzo

Where to Stay in Croatia -Tips All Budgets

Where to Stay in Croatia?

Croatia has become a top travel destination in Europe – for many good reasons. Beautiful beaches, stunning landscapes, lively and fun cities and islands, cute towns, friendly locals, and the Mediterranean climate are just a few of them.

Are Planning a trip to this beautiful country and wondering about the where to stay in Croatia? Then this post is for you, as you will find out about the best places to stay in Croatia – the best areas for all budgets.

When I planned my Croatia road trip, I definitely felt overwhelmed. There is just so much to see and, because of Croatia´s geography, it can take forever to get from one place to another.

The country is very stretched out, with another country (Bosnia-Herzegovina) crossing it, which means you must cross borders if you want to get from Split to Dubrovnik, for example (unless you travel by ferry).

What you should also consider when planning in which area you will stay in Croatia is this: do you want to road trip or do you want to stay in one or two places and do day trips?

This is particularly important as the country is – as mentioned before – so stretched and getting around is not always fast or easy.

So, that is why I have divided this post into the best places to stay when road tripping Croatia and the best areas to stay when planning to do day trips.

If you road trip, choosing hotels and places might be easier and you can get around quicker than if you need a base. 

However, road tripping can also be overwhelming. My tip, when not road tripping, is to change areas 1-3 times (depending on the length of your stay) and do day trips.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links which mean I might earn a small commission when you buy a product (at no extra cost to you) after clicking on my link. More about it here.

Best Hotels for All Budgets in Croatia

Rovinj

Rovinj in Istria is a beautiful coastal town very high in the north of the country. The town is lovely and the area reminded me more of an Italian coastal town than the rest of Croatia. The influence of the Venetians is clearly visible here.

Croatia, Rovinj seen from a boat trip

Rovinj is a good place to stay if you want to stay in the northern part of the country, or if you road trip and want to see as much as possible of the country. 

For Rovinj, you will probably need one day and then you could do a few day trips, e.g visit Pula.

So, if you want to explore Istria, choose that as your base.

Apart from that, other main tourist attractions are quite far from it and it is not the best base if you stay in Croatia for longer – and I suggestchanging locations after a few days.

Possible day trips:

Pula – about a 45-minute drive

Trieste (Italy) – about a 90-minute drive

Rijeka – about a 90-minute drive

Where to Stay in 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 and I was very happy with my choice. However, there are not many rooms, so book early or check out one of the many other options, as there are many places to stay. Find out more about the little B&B I stayed at – Rooms Barbieri.

For a more luxurious stay – just 10 minutes 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.

In general, I suggest staying in or near the old town.

Zagreb

Zagreb is another good place to stay in North Croatia – it is a good area to stay in if you want to explore the city in one or two days.

While the capital is interesting, I have to admit that with less than 10 days in Croatia, I would probably skip it. 

View from the promenade in Zagreb

Due to its “remote“ location, getting there takes time and you cannot do many day trips from Zagreb.

Whether you travel by car or public transportation, most main tourist attractions are quite far away, so this is why Zagreb would not be my top choice as your base.

Zagreb could be used as a base to get to the Plitvice Lakes, which are a 2-hour drive away, but that’s basically it.

But if you have more time and just want to explore Zagreb, then the city is a good starting or end point of your Croatia trip.

For exploring the city, I recommend staying in or near the Upper Town so that you can see the main attractions easily.

Possible day trips:

Plitvice Lakes National Park – a 120-minute drive

Where to Stay in Zagreb:

I stayed at an Airbnb but here is one of the best-rated hotels in Zagreb that you can check out.

Plitvice National Park

Plitvice is one of the main attractions in the country – many tourists come here to see the many, many waterfalls in the Plitvice Lakes National Park, which is the oldest and largest national park in Croatia and which has also held UNESCO World Heritage status since 1979.

Plitvice Lake in Croatia

So, it gets busy here in the summer months and I recommend booking in advance.

It is great to stay for one night – there are not many tourist attractions close by, so I would not make it your base to be honest.

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.

Zadar

Zadar is a coastal town and quite central and thus a good choice for staying in Croatia for a few days.

Zadar view from the Bell Tower, one of the best places to visit in Croatia

While I have to openly admit that Zadar was my least favorite place in Croatia, it is a good place to stay for one night to explore the city, but it is also a good place for other day trips to Split, Sibenik & Trogir, and the Plitvice Lakes. 

However, getting to Dubrovnik from Zadar is too tedious in my opinion and I cannot recommend doing many day trips from Zadar.

So, if you road trip, I suggest staying one night here. And if you don’t road trip, I suggest staying here for a few days so that you can do a few day trips.

Split is probably one of the best places to stay in Croatia – I like the city, but I think that 1 or 2 days is definitely enough unless you want to take it easy.

The old town itself is quite small and “doable“ in one day – but you can do a trip to one of the smaller villages close by or take the time to swim and enjoy some beach time.

Possible day trips:

Trogir

Sibenik

Zadar

Plitvice National Park

Where to Stay in Zadar: 

I stayed at Apartments Aria – I love to cook my own food and had my dog with me, and I needed free parking and so it was great for me (plus super clean and a nice but basic little apartment).

It was a bit too far from the main tourist attractions (about 14-minutes) but other than this, this was a good place.

Here is one of the best-rated hotels in Zagreb

Split

What I like the most about Split is its central location. It is so easy to do day trips from here, and if I had to name only one area/city in which to stay in Croatia, I would recommend making Split your base and go on day trips from Split.

Marjan Hill in Split is one of the main attractions in Split

Dubrovnik is a great city to stay in Croatia, but prices for accommodations are quite hefty – especially in the high season.

Also, prices for food and parking (speaking of, it is up to 240€ for 24 hours of parking if you choose the most convenient parking spot in the city center) are high. But while Dubrovnik is very touristy, I still loved it and I think it is a must to visit.

If you make Split your base, you should/could make a day (or two-day) trip to Dubrovnik. But if you road trip Croatia, then I would stay here for a night at least, as its location makes a trip here quite time-consuming.

Possible day trips:

Makarska

Trogir

Sibenik

Zadar

Where to Stay in Split:

I stayed at Apartments Hani – surely nothing fancy here but it is quite close to the old town, 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.

Dubrovnik

This city is a must-see place in Croatia and I suggest staying here at least one night.

Dubrovnik view from Kings Landing

In Dubrovnik, I recommend staying in the old town of the city – prices are high, but you can take your time strolling the unique old town of the city without the crowds early in the morning or in the evening.

Because what you will find plenty of in Dubrovnik is tourists. Seriously, Dubrovnik gets crowded as heck and you will enjoy the quietness when the day tourists are not there yet. The TV show Games of Thrones has done its part – but even without the show, Dubrovnik has been a popular destination.

I stayed at two different places in Dubrovnik and enjoyed both – one was directly within the city walls and one was just outside the city walls.

Each had its perks – and one had a kitchen included, which is great if you want to self-cater. However, many hotels in Dubrovnik are small and accommodations are quickly booked, so especially if you travel during high-season, book in advance.

Possible day trips:

Mostar (Bosnia-Herzegovina)

Kotor (Montenegro)

Where to Stay in Dubrovnik

Villa Flora: A good choice in the old town, just a minute 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.

Hvar

I, very unfortunately, had to skip Hvar. Weather was terrible and I decided against visiting (I book very spontanously, but I also visited off-season). However, according to my friends and family that visited it is a great place to stay at least for one night.

Hvar is one of the best places to stay in Croatia
@shutterstock

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 party the nights away. Since it is a island and you need to get to Hear via ferry, it is not the best place to base yourself and so many day trips.

Where to stay in Hvar:

While I did not stay in Hvar myself, this hotel seems like a great place to stay when visiting Hvar (keep in mind, that Hvar is quite expensive).

Neum

Neum is actually not located in Croatia, but in the now southern point of Bosnia-Herzegovina. The history is complicated – however, if you want to visit Dubrovnik from most other places in Croatia (like Split, etc.), you have to cross the border in Bosnia and drive through Neum.

If you take the ferry, you will not cross borders, but if you travel by bus or car, you could stay in Neum. Neum is a little beach resort that is, honestly, less beautiful than the Croatian beach towns, but it is also much more affordable.

So, if you are on a budget and want to get from Split to Dubrovnik, for example, it is a great place for a stopover.

Possible day trips:

Dubrovnik

Split

Mostar (Bosnia-Herzegovina)

Kotor (Montenegro)

Croatia is such a diverse country with so many beautiful places to stay. Whether you are a beach or city (or town) person – or you enjoy the mountains – you surely find a great place for your Croatia trip. So, whenever you are headed to Croatia – hopefully, this post will help you figuring out where to stay in Croatia.

Safe Travels, Arzo

 

ZAGREB ITINERARY

Best things to do in Zagreb, Croatia in 2 days. An itinerary - cover

AN EASY 2-DAY ZAGREB ITINERARY

Are you planning your Zagreb itinerary and wondering about the best things to do in Zagreb in 2 days (or 1 day)?  Then this itinerary is for you. Find out about what to do in Zagreb with this itinerary— where to go and what to see, plus some travel tips.

Croatia´s capital is a fun and lively city that offers quite a few attractions and has some beautiful places to visit.

However, I admit that even I was hesitant to visit Zagreb when I road tripped Croatia with my little dog for about two weeks. I was not afraid that Zagreb would turn out to be a boring city – my hesitation was more because of its location. 

Let´s face it – Zagreb lies in the northern part of the country. And while other tourist attractions and main places to visit, like Split, Dubrovnik, and Hvar, are quite far, Zagreb is quite “remote.“ 

So, with only one week in Croatia (or less), I would probably advise you to skip it. However, if you stay longer in Croatia or plan to do a city trip, then Zagreb is a fun place to visit, and 2 days in Zagreb is a perfect amount of time to get a good glimpse of the city. And Zagreb might surprise you. It is different from other places in Croatia. Actually, it reminded me more of Austria or Hungary (no surprise, given its history) with its beautiful buildings and architecture.

I would lie, if I said that Zagreb was my favorite place in Croatia – no, it was not but I still really liked it and definitely think it should be on your Croatia itinerary.

So, enough talking – let’s dive in and find out about how to spend 2 days with this Zagreb itinerary.

Let´s start with attractions in the Upper Town and what you will find there.

The oldest part of the city is a little city dream, with its many cobblestone streets stretching between two hills – Kaptol and Gradec. First of all, how do you get to the Upper Town? Don’t worry, it might sound like you would need to do a tedious hike/ride up, but it is quite easy to get from the Lower Town to the Upper Town

Ride the Shortest Funicular in the World 

To get up to the Upper Town, you could just take the funicular – apparently, the shortest funicular ride in the world. It takes less than one minute and costs less than $1 to get up.

Shortest funicular in Zagreb, Croatia

The funicular runs frequently. I walked up, but many people use the funicular for a quicker ride and it has become a main tourist attraction itself.

Visit Lotrščak Tower

If you get up via the funicular (or climb the stairs), you’ll see one of the oldest buildings in Zagreb: Lotrščak Tower.

Lotrscak tower in Zagreb, Croatia a must-see in 2 days
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It was a part of the southern gate and town defenses, dating back to the 13th century.

I admit that I just passed it even though it is one of the main tourist attractions in Zagreb, as it is one of the last remaining fortifications in the city. Probably because I wasn’t around at noon. Tt noon every day, there is cannon fire. That tradition started more than hundred years ago as a victory sign against the Ottomans in the 13th century.

What I somehow was not aware of is that you can climb the (narrow) stairs and enjoy even more elaborate views of Zagreb from the tower.

Entrance fee is around $3.

Stroll the Strossmeyer Promenade

If you get up via the funicular, you arrive at the Strossmeyer Promenade – one of the most romantic promenades in Zagreb. Not that I have checked them all, but according to the locals.

View from the promenade in Zagreb

Historic Zagreb towers sunrise view, capital of Croatia
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Also known as Zagreb Stross, it is filled with many chestnut trees and you’ll also find benches.

It runs along the remains of Zagreb’s medieval defensive walls and offers beautiful views. Make sure to walk all the way to the end to have a great view of the Zagreb Cathedral.

Admire St. Mark´s Church

In Croatia, you’ll find many churches – so what makes St. Mark´s Church stand out? Well, let me show you with this picture.

St. Marks Church in Zagreb a place to visit in 2 days

Such a colorful, tiled roof is surely unique – I have not seen any other church roof similar to this and so it does not surprise me that it has become an icon in Croatia.

The church dates back to the 13th century – the roof was constructed in the 1880s though – so it is also one of the oldest churches in the country.  On the left, you’ll see the medieval coat of arms of Croatia, Dalmatia, and Slovenia, while on the right is the coat of arms of Zagreb.

You can visit the interior for free if you attend the daily mass. It is not open most of the time, so check out mass times. If you visit between late April and October – and on the weekend – you can watch the guard changing ceremony that takes place at noon.

Walk Grič Tunnel

Grič Tunnel was built during World War II, with its primary purpose to shelter civilians from bombings during WWII and the Croatian War of Independence towards the end of the 20th century.

Tunnel in Zagreb

There is no entrance fee – and best of all, you’ll also find toilets there.

But that aside, this has become a major tourist attraction. You can walk the 350-meter-long tunnel now and once in a while even events take place there.

There are several entrances: 

Mesnička Entrance

Radićeva 19 Entrance

Art Park Entrances 1 and 2

Ilica Entrance 

Rest at Art Park

If you walk the tunnel, you can get out at the Art Park. I admit, though it was listed in many posts as a top place to visit in Zagreb, I would skip it on my next visit.

However, if you are into quirky art or just need a little park to rest in, then the Art Park might be the perfect place for you.

Also, if you are with children, you might want to check out this little park that hosts some interesting outdoor art pieces. If you are short on time or aren’t overly into art, then it probably is not a must-see in 2 days in Zagreb.

Dolac market is the city´s main, open-air farmers’ market and popular amongst locals and visitors. You can shop for some fresh fruits or bread (and many more things) every day from 7 am. On Sundays, it is open until 1 pm; on the other days, it is held until 3 pm.

Visit the Cathedral

Close to the Colac Market is the Zagreb Cathedral – officially named Zagreb Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary – a must-visit on any Zagreb itinerary.

cathedral and Blessed Virgin Mary monument in Zagreb. Croatia
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It is the tallest building in Croatia and is located on the Kaptol Square – but you can see it from afar because of its twin, 108-meter-high (354 ft) spires.   The Cathedral has been there since the 11th century, though it was severely damaged several times – the last big restoration took place in the late 19th century.

You can visit the church during the day and visitors are more than welcome to attend the daily masses.

Stroll Tkalčićeva Street

This pretty street is a must-visit place in Zagreb. Vibrant and full of restaurants and small shops, it is extremely popular amongst visitors. But don’t just sit down in one of the restaurants – make sure to look at the colorful houses behind the bars and shops.

Here you’ll also find the statue of Mary Juric Zagorka, a famous Zagreb journalist.

Fun fact: This street used to be the first real red light street in all of Europe and almost every house here used to be a brothel.

Visit the Museum of Broken Relationships

This is probably the most famous museum in the city. However, I still did not go, but it seems to be one of the best places to add to your Zagreb 2-day itinerary.

Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb, Croatia a popular spot

What I haven’t mentioned yet is that Zagreb is also known as the City of a Million Hearts – it is all about love here. The museum is actually about failed love relationships and so it exhibits personal objects left over from former owners, accompanied by their stories and emotions.

Entry fee is around $5.

Walk Through Stone Gate

There are several ways to get to the Upper Town – one is via the Stone Gate (Porta di Pietra). 

Stone Gate located at Upper Town of Zagreb built in the 13th century for your 2-day Zagreb itinerary
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It is the only remaining entrance of Zagreb’s old fortifications and the eastern gate to the old town.

It also dates back to the 13th century, and if you go through the gate nowadays, you will find a shrine and stone slabs praising the Mother of God. I saw quite a few people lighting candles and thanking the Lady for protection. 

Apparently, on Tuesdays at 8pm, locals pray and sing here and visitors are welcome to join. From there, you are within minutes of the lower town of the city.

Of course, it really depends on your speed and if you visit the churches and the museum, but you can easily spend one day in the upper town of the city. Then, you will have one full day to spend in other parts of the city.

Day 2 in Zagreb

Visit Mirogoj Cemetery

There used to be a time when I thought doing cemetery sightseeing was weird – and then I started traveling more in Austria, where cemeteries are often main tourist attractions, like in Hallstatt or Salzburg.

Cemetery in Zagreb, Croatia

Cemetery in Zagreb is a must-see in 2 days

And it seems that the Austrian influence is strong here, as one of the most beautiful cemeteries is here in Zagreb: Mirogoj Cemetery.

It is a cemetery, but also a beautiful park and an open art gallery. The beautiful buildings are mostly covered by greenery and it is really a very photogenic place (or as it is called nowadays, “Instagramable”).

You can freely walk around. If it were not for the graves and statues, I would have a hard time believing it is a cemetery. Many famous people are buried here, including many of the country´s politicians, nobles, poets, and artists.

End Your Day at Zagreb 360 

Zagreb Eye is an observation deck and a Viewpoint Bar. It is situated on the top floor of the iconic Zagreb Ilica Skyscraper and you can have great views from there.

aerial cityscape Croatia, view from Zagreb 360 a gapped place to end your 2 days in Zagreb
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Due to bad weather, I skipped this – though I am normally totally into views like these. But with rain and bad weather, I had to skip it.

However, with two days in Zagreb, I do think it is a perfect place to end your itinerary – right at the bar with a drink and a view that is probably the best in the city.

CONCLUSION: 2 DAY ZAGREB ITINERARY

Hopefully, this post will help you plan your 2 days in Zagreb. As you can see, it is a quite relaxed itinerary with not too many activities and you might need less than 2 full days but after all my busy time in Croatia, this stop in Zagreb was perfect to take it easy. If taking it easy, while still seeing quite a lot, this Zagreb itinerary is perfect for you, too (so I hope).

As mentioned at the beginning, I had some places I liked more than Zagreb – e.g. Trogir or Rovinj (and Split) so check out my other Croatia posts!

Safe Travels, Arzo

BEST DAY TRIPS FROM SPLIT

Best day trips from Split, Croatia, the best places to visit near Split

THE BEST SPLIT DAY TRIPS

What is one of the best places to visit in Europe? Croatia is surely among the top tourist destinations. Warm weather, nice beaches, cute towns and lively cities, pretty islands, great scenery, friendly people, and great value for your money and Split is one of the best places to see in the country.

And from Split you can do visit many places nearby – so, here are the best day trips from Split, Croatia.

Split, located in between Dubrovnik and Zadar, is a great base from which to visit the surroundings of this beautiful country! So, if you prefer having one base and take day trips within Croatia (and surrounding countries), then Split is one of the best choices (here are more great areas to stay).

There are a lot of fun places quite close to Split and here are some of the most beautiful places near Split that you mostly can visit on your own – by car or bus/train – but you can also do guided tours to discover places close to Split.

Easy and Fun Day Trips From Split

So, after discovering Split for a day or two, it is time to explore the rest of the country with these beautiful day trips from Split!

Trogir

One of the best day tours from Split is heading to the north. Trogir is like Split´s little brother – actually, they look similar, though it is smaller and less well known. 

Trogir view from the fortress, Trogir is a must on Dubrovnik itinerary

Seaside promenade in Trogir, Croatia

To be honest, I think that Trogir is even more beautiful than Split and has more of a special charm – but like in Split, you will find beautiful Venetian architecture, narrow streets, and many cafes. And also a busy waterfront that is lined with tourists.

For good views of the town, visit Kamerlengo Castle or climb the stairs of the Cathedral, which is located at the main square.

Trogir is really small though – because of the unique atmosphere, I could have spent much longer there, but for most of you, one day is more than enough, and thus, it is the perfect half day or full day trip from Split.

Getting there: Trogir is very close to Split (around 30 minutes) and you can either drive or take a bus and explore the town.

Sibenik

Another one of my favorite places in Croatia and a beautiful place near Split is: Sibenik. I almost skipped it, but luckily, I decided to go and I highly recommend a visit here.

Sibenik is one of the most beautiful towns in Croatia

Sibenik view of the church is one of the most beautiful places in Croatia

If you are short on time, you can combine it with a trip to Trogir, which is just south of the town, but it is also a good individual day trip from Split.

There is the really beautiful St. James’s Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage site that you can reach after climbing a few steps on a stunning staircase. Sibenik is small, but its streets were full of charm and beautiful cafes and restaurants.

To enjoy great views of the old town, head to St. Michael’s Fortress, or even to Barone Fortress. Even if you walk around quickly, you will still get to experience the beauty of the town.

If you are a Game of Thrones fan, you probably have Sibenik on your itinerary, right? It has become more famous because of its use as a GoT filming location, but regardless of that, this place is small and cute and great to visit from Split.

Getting there: You can either drive to Sibenik or take a train or bus. If you want to combine Sibenik with nearby Krka National Park, rather than with Trogir, a day tour is probably the best choice.

Plitvice Lakes National Park

One of the most famous places in Croatia is the Plitvice Lakes National Park. Honestly, its location is the only downside when visiting – getting there from Split takes about three hours. But Plitvice Lakes is indeed stunning and this is why it is one of the most popular day trips from Split.

Plitvice Lake in Croatia

When you visit the largest waterfall in Croatia, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is caused by the flow of Plitvice Stream down a steep cliff, you can hike the upper and lower lakes with its countless waterfalls (seriously, you cannot even count them because there are too many) and hop on a boat or bus in between.

Prices for the entrance vary and depend on the season of your visit, but the cost is 10-30€.

Getting there: It takes about three hours by car or 3.5 hours by bus. You can also do guided tours from Split (I know, this is not an easy day trip but it will be worth it).

Zadar

From Split, you can also visit a more off-the-beaten-path city in Croatia – well, not a real hidden gem, but it is still not overly crowded.

Zadar view from the Bell Tower, one of the best places to visit in Croatia

Zadar old town in Croatia in 7 days

Driving to Zadar on your own will allow you to drive the beautiful toll-free street, D8. Though it takes almost 2 hours, it is such a beautiful drive that you will not even mind.

So, what is Zadar like? Well, to be 100% honest, Zadar was not my favorite place, but if you are looking for a quieter and more unique city to visit from Split, then Zadar is your place.

The town center of the old town, with the ancient square, the Forum, is a must and different from all the other old towns in Croatia. Also, listen to the Sea Organ that plays music from the waves of the ocean – as mentioned, Zadar is truly different from other cities in Croatia.

Before heading back to Split, watch the sunset in Zadar, which is supposed to be one of the most beautiful in the world.

Getting there: If you drive yourself, drive along the toll-free D8 that offers great views which takes about 2 hours (breaks not included). There is also a bus going from Split to Zadar (and vice versa) but you need to do some additional driving (taxi) from Zadar train station to Zadar city center).

From 2020 on, there is a ferry taking your from Split to Zadar.

Omis

Here is another one of my favorite places: Omis. Like Zadar, Omis is very unique and different to the rest of Croatia´s towns and cities. It is perfect for outdoor lovers and just about anyone who appreciates beautiful towns.

Omis view from the fortress of the fjords

Omis view from the fortress

So, located just 30km south of Split, this former pirate town from the 12th-14th century is a small central Dalmatian town that you could visit for half a day, to explore the pretty and narrow streets.

Take the time to go up to Castle Mirabella which is just a short uphill walk and offers panoramic views of the Omis and its scenery.

If you are a more active person, you can do ziplining, rock climbing, biking, rafting, and canyoning in Omis! If these are your kind of activities, then Omis is probably the best place to experience them.

Getting there: You can drive to Omis and it takes about half an hour. There are buses taking you to Omis (between 30-50 minutes).

Punta Rata and Baska Voda

Though Split has its own beaches, there are some better ones if you head towards the south along the Makarska Riviera.

Punta Rada Beach in Croatia

Baska Voda town in Croatia is a beautiful hidden place

I have not seen any guided tours here, but if you have a car, you can easily drive to Punta Rata and Baska Voda, and enjoy some of the prettiest beaches in the area.

The drive was scenic, the beaches were beautiful, and there were so many small places along the way that you can stop anywhere – but these are probably the best places for a getaway from Split. 

Getting there: For these places, I recommend driving, so are more flexible as getting there by public transportation is too time-consuming.

Dubrovnik

Ah, how can I lie? Dubrovnik is a city that deserves more of your time – but it is also expensive and totally crowded, thus, I can understand if you want to visit only for a day and arrive via Split.

Dubrovnik views from the city wall

Dubrovnik old town view Srd Mountain

The stunning town walls that encircle the old town of Dubrovnik, the views that come with it, all the Game of Thrones filming locations, the stunning views from Srd Mountain – if you do a trip from Split for one day, you can surely not see all of Dubrovnik´s highlights, but at least you get a very good glimpse of the city.

Getting to Dubrovnik is time-consuming, not only because it is about 230 km from Split, but also because you have to cross borders (Bosnia-Herzegovina divides Croatia, and getting to Dubrovnik, which is in the very south of Croatia, means you have to face border control). Depending on how busy the border is, it can take a while, but Dubrovnik is a must, so a day trip from Split is better than no trip to Dubrovnik.

If you are not sure whether to drive yourself or take a guided tour, know this: parking in Dubrovnik is very expensive and can cost up to 10€… AN HOUR (there are cheaper options available). So, a guided tour might not only be more stress-free but also cheaper.

Getting there: I always take the toll-free D8 because of the most scenic views (and because tolls in Croatia are expensive as heck). You need to have your ID/passport with you. I crossed this border several times and always had to show my ID). With one day only, however, it´s probably the quickest way.

There are also buses from Split to Dubrovnik but they take quite a while (around 4,5 hours).

Krka National Park

Pack your bathing clothes because in this national park, under the waterfalls, you can actually swim.

Krka National Park

I had to pass in this case, as the weather was not on my side, but Krka National Park is kind of similar to the Plitvice Lakes National Park, but much closer to Split and you can actually swim here.

So, whether you hop into the water, walk on the wooden pathways by the many lakes, falls, and waterways, or marvel at Skradinski Buk (a spectacular cliff waterfall), this is a good alternative if you do not want to drive all the way up to Plitvice Lakes National Park.

Getting there: You can drive (about 90 minutes), or get there by bus and then take a ferry or do a guided tour.

Cetina River

Looking for more adventurous activities and trips to take from Split? Then canyoning near the Cetina River is probably the perfect choice for you.

This tour, definitely not something I fancy, means climbing over rocks and trekking through waterfalls and pools in the dramatic canyon of the Cetina River.

This half-day trip from Split includes swimming, canoeing, and getting to the Gubavica Waterfall – surely not for the people who want to sit back and chill. 

Getting there: This tour is done best via a guided tour.

Hvar Island

Without any data to back it up, I would claim that one of the most popular day trips from Split is a trip to Hvar Island. Unfortunately, the weather was not on my side and heavy storms rolled in during the time of my visit, which forced me to skip it.

Hvar Island in Croatia in 10 days

The island of Hvar is probably one of the prettiest islands in Croatia and perfect if you want to take a day trip via boat from Split.

While Hvar is also known to be a party island, you probably will not experience that if you are only there during the day.

Hvar is known for being a summer resort with a beautiful old town, which is perfect for getting lost in.

Enjoy the 13th-century walls, the hilltop fortress, and the main square anchored by the Renaissance-era Hvar Cathedral. You can also visit other islands, like the Pakleni Islands, which are close by.

Getting there: You need to take a ferry to get to Hvar (you can, theoretically, take your car with you).

Mostar

If you are looking for more getaways from Split, then consider visiting beautiful Mostar! I have become a fan of Bosnia-Herzegovina and my advice is to spend a lot more time in the most underrated country in Europe – but Mostar does make a great day trip from Split.

Stari Most in Mostar is one of the main attractions in Bosnia Herzegovina

Mostar shop selling souvenirs in the old town

Mostar is a small city located in the southern part of Bosnia-Herzegovina and it is extremely popular – in the summer months it can get hot, but if you are a good swimmer, you can hop into the river. You can also watch people dive from the famous Stari Most (old bridge) that is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Mostar was once under the rule of the Ottoman Empire and you can still see the Turkish influence – the cobblestone streets and beautiful shops and stores make Mostar one of the prettiest old towns in the region.

If you drive on your own (your car needs to have international insurance if you drive from Split to Mostar), then make stops at Kravice Waterfalls and Blagaj Monastery, too.

Getting there: My tip is to drive yourself (crossing borders, so make sure to have all documents with you, including the green card for your car and your ID/passport) and the drive takes about 2,5-3 hours (scenic drive though). There are buses going to Mostar from Split 3,5-4,5 hours one way) and also guided tours.

Blue Cave

Traveling with a dog meant that I had to pass on this day tour from Split: visiting the Blue Cave. The island of Biševo makes another great trip from Split as you can find the Blue Cave on the island’s east coast. 

You can get into the cave with a boat and marvel at the incredible watercolors – the water looks incredible due to light that comes up through the water and which then illuminates the cave in that blue glow. 

Getting there: You need to get there via a speedboat as it is located on the farthest territorial point on the Croatian Adriatic Coast. A guided tour is the best option.

Brac 

Another great day trip from Split would be to the island of Brac. There is a day cruise that will take you from Split to the south coast of Brac. This leg of the cruise lasts about 2.5 hours and is the perfect time to just relax and enjoy the sights.

Brac, Croatia

When you arrive at the southern port of Bol, enjoy strolling the small streets and take the Šetnica promenade, which will lead you to Golden Horn Beach. This is one of the most popular beaches in Croatia and perfect for taking a swim. What makes it unique is that the shape of the beach changes in accordance with the strong winds that buffet the island.

This cruise will take most of the day, but it is a fun and relaxing way to explore Brac as a day trip from Split.

Getting there: You can get there via ferry or catamaran and organize it yourself or do a guided tour.

In all honesty, I think road tripping Croatia is the best way to explore the country (given the geography) but even if you decide to have one base – Split – you still can see quite a bit of the country.

You could spend weeks and explore the surroundings and beautiful places near Split – and hopefully, these tips will help you decide on the best day trips from Split. 

Safe Travels, Arzo

HOW TO SPEND 2 DAYS IN DUBROVNIK

Best things to do and see in Dubrovnik, Croatia, The best itinerary and the best places to visit

Best Things to Do in Dubrovnik in 2 Days

Planning your 2-day Dubrovnik itinerary can feel overwhelming first. After all, this city is amazing and with all the attractions you can feel lost. So, if you are wondering about the best things to do in 2 days in Dubrovnik, you´ll get your answers here.

Dubrovnik is surely one of a kind. It is one of the most unique places in Europe and I have to say – Dubrovnik did not disappoint. 

Was it busy? Yes. Was it expensive? Yes. Was it touristy? Yes. Do I recommend visiting Dubrovnik? Yes.

I have traveled extensively in Europe and I have seen a good number of old towns. Dubrovnik, however, plays in a different league.

In addition to the old town and the stunning city walls that were its fortification system, you will find beautiful scenery that includes beaches, islands, and mountains. Dubrovnik is a small city but there is so much to do and see – it has quite a lot of attractions and highlights and there is no shortage of points of interests.

Before discussing your 2-day Dubrovnik itinerary of sorts (it is not a real itinerary, but close), here are some important travel tips for the city – like here is a quick overview of its history, how to get to the city, where to stay, and so on.

TRAVEL TIPS FOR YOUR DUBROVNIK ITINERARY

Dubrovnik is the most southern city in Croatia – it was an independent republic for a long time and even today, it feels different from the rest of Croatia.

Located on the Adriatic Sea, it is also known as the Pearl of the Adriatic and has been a tourist magnet for decades – given the amazing old town and its city walls, this is no surprise.

While it was partly damaged in the war in the 1990s, it is almost completely rebuilt and is a super safe and clean city.

Did I say city? I am not actually sure if Dubrovnik qualifies as a city, as it has less than 50,000 inhabitants.

View from CIty Walls in Durovnik

How to Get to Dubrovnik

Before talking about what to do in Dubrovnik, let´s discuss how to get there first.

By Car: Getting to Dubrovnik from other parts of Croatia is not as easy as one might think, especially if you are not aware of the geography. The area of Dubrovnik is separated from the rest of Croatia by another country – Bosnia-Herzegovina.

In the late 17th century, when Bosnia-Herzegovina was ruled by the Ottoman Empire, Dubrovnik was an independent republic. Dubrovnik, known for its trade and lacking experience in warfare, was scared of an attack by the Venetians, so they agreed to give up some land to the Ottoman Empire. By doing this, they hoped to be protected from attacks – and it worked (until Napolean came, but that is another story).

So, this is just a short explanation for the unusual geography and why, now, about 20 km of coastline still belong to Bosnia-Herzegovina.

So, you cannot easily drive from Split to Dubrovnik. Do not get me wrong – Bosnia-Herzegovina is a wonderful country, beautiful and safe, but you have to cross borders. And unlike crossing borders within the European Union, you will be controlled at the border (Croatia is part of the EU, but Bosnia-Herzegovina is not).

One day, there might be a bridge connecting Dubrovnik to the rest of Croatia, but for now, make sure to bring your ID/Passport with you. Check out my Croatia road trip itinerary.

PLUS: The views are scenic and you might want to stop many times along the way, if you drive the D8.

Driving in Dubrovnik is okay, but finding a parking spot that does not cost you an arm and a leg is difficult. You cannot drive in the old town (it is car-free), but you can pay a high price to park your car there.

Some hotels offer parking for about 40€ a day. Parking in a garage next to the old town is around 40€ a day, too. I found a parking spot next to the Pile Gate for 10€ – AN HOUR. For Europe, this is a LOT of money. If you do not want to pay 240€ for parking, then either park in the garage or look for a free parking spot about 3km outside the old town center (I saw many more free parking spots when driving up Srd Mountain, where you can park and take a bus to get to the old town).

I parked in Babin Kun (just type that in your GPS) and then took the #6 bus to the Pile Gate (about 15 minutes, price is about 2€ one way). When I wanted to get back, I was denied admittance to the bus because apparently dogs are not allowed on, and since I had some luggage with me, I had to take a taxi (about 15€ for a three-kilometer drive).

However, if you stay longer in Dubrovnik, free parking is the way to go. And yes, it is actually quite safe to leave your car on the street, if you do not leave valuables on display.

By Plane: Dubrovnik Airport is located near the village of Cilipi, 20 km south of Dubrovnik. There are many flights within Europe from April to October.

An airport shuttle bus departs frequently, after every scheduled flight. They also stop at the Pile Gate, at the main entrance to the old town. 

It takes 30 minutes (one-way ticket costs 40 Kuna, or about 5.5€). You can also reach the town by public bus.

By Bus: You can easily reach Dubrovnik by bus from many places in Croatia. Public transportation to main destinations like Dubrovnik is good, and the bus network is reliable in Croatia. 

It takes about 9 hours by bus to reach Dubrovnik from Zagreb, and around 4 hours to reach Dubrovnik from Split. Tickets from Zagreb are around 32€ (one way) and 17€ from Split to Dubrovnik.

Pssss… Here is my Zagreb itinerary with tips on how to spend a weekend in Croatia´s capital.

Check out schedules on the Dubrovnik Bus Terminal website.

By Ferry: You could also take a ferry from Split: This catamaran takes four and a half hours each way (including several stops on the islands of Brac, Hvar, Korcula, and Mljet en route). 

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links which means I might earn a small commission when you buy a product (at no extra cost to you) after clicking on my link. More about it here.

How to Get Around in Dubrovnik in 2 Days

The old town of Dubrovnik is car-free, and it is also small, so you can easily walk around the main sights and landmarks in Dubrovnik. If you want to visit other places, or if you stay outside the old town, you can use public transportation, which is quite extensive and cheap (warning: dogs are not allowed on buses). However, to see the best places in Dubrovnik, you can mostly walk.

Dubrovnik map how to get around

In Dubrovnik, you will not need a car at all. My tip: if you want to rent a car, get it after the days in Dubrovnik (or return it before your trip to Dubrovnik).

To get up Srd Mountain, you can use the cable car (more on that later), hike up, or drive up.

If you plan to use public transportation and do several activities, a Dubrovnik Card might be a good idea (you can get unlimited rides on public transportation and entrance to the city walls, etc. for 1, 3, or 7 days). 

Best Time to Visit Dubrovnik for 2 Days

I always say, there is no reliability when it comes to seasons and weather. Even in the Balkans, weather cannot be predicted. It is not always warm and sunny – not even in May. However, I recommend visiting during the shoulder season, meaning April, May, and early June, or September and October. 

I visited in May. The weather was moody, but it was not too crowded (though busy) and probably would visit again around this same time of year (weather was moody all over Europe, so this year is just crazy).

Where to Stay in Dubrovnik for 2 Days

I suggest staying in the old town – it is more expensive and you do not have free parking, but you can easily stroll the old town when day tourists are gone, which makes it much more pleasant.

I stayed in Dubrovnik for two nights. I normally book spontaneously, but it was actually not easy finding something good last-minute in Dubrovnik (and it was just early May). After staying at my hotel for one night, I wanted to book another night, but it was fully booked, so I had to switch hotels.

So, here are my two recommendations:

Villa Flora: A good choice in the old town, just a minute 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.

Where to Eat in Dubrovnik

Nisha Restaurant: A vegan restaurant on a side street with really, really good food (a bit expensive though and had very limited seating, so my tip is to avoid getting there between 1 pm and 2 pm, and head there earlier or later for lunch.

Vegan food in Dubrovnik

How to Book Tours and Activities in Dubrovnik

You can buy your Dubrovnik Card at the tourism center right outside the old town and also in some shops in the old town.

The tickets for the city walls can be bought at the entrance gate of the city walls.

For tours, I normally use GetYourGuide – they are great. You can visit most places in Dubrovnik independently and explore the city on your own but there are some fun tours and with GetYourGuide you can cancel up to 24 hours in advance without any cancellation fee and they are very helpful with questions.

More Tips for Your Dubrovnik Itinerary

Bring cash. Cards are accepted in some restaurants and stores, but I had to pay cash once in a while. Also, euros and dollars are not accepted widely, so change some money to Kuna.

WHAT TO DO IN 2 DAYS IN DUBROVNIK

2 days in Dubrovnik is the minimum if you ask me and here is how to create your 2-day Dubrovnik itinerary.

Day 1 in Dubrovnik

Here is how the first day in Dubrovnik could look like.

City Walls

There is no way around it – my favorite activity and probably the very best thing to do in 2 days in Dubrovnik is to walk the city walls. I love medieval towns and cities and have walked many walls – but the city walls in Dubrovnik are one of the best-preserved and most amazing city walls/fortification systems to walk.

Dubrovnik city walls is the best activity

They include three forts (Minceta, Bokar, and St. John), 16 towers, 6 bastions, 2 corner fortifications, and 2 citadels. Some of the walls are as high as 25 meters – and the views are as impressive as these stats.

Even if you are on a budget, this is an activity I highly suggest. Yes, about 30€ is way too expensive, but if you have only a limited time in Dubrovnik, you will have seen the stunning old town from a great perspective.

The city walls are almost 2 km long. You will walk along the whole old town, and while it is “only” 2km, it took me about 3 hours to walk them. This included many breaks to take pictures and also have a coffee – and then some more short breaks.

Croatia as a solo female traveler

While “medieval” normally means narrow streets and city walls, this city wall is actually quite wide.

There are definitely some stairs you have to climb – but if you are not very fit, you can always skip the fortress, which has even more stairs (but keep in mind that there are still some stairs to climb, but I think that they are doable for everyone).

It is not very stroller-friendly though (but at least it was dog-friendly and they can get up there for free).

The walls open at 8 am. There are several entrances (but there is no way to get up without a ticket – you will have to show your ticket at every entrance) that you can start from, but the most common is probably from Pile Gate.

It gets busy here quite quickly, so I really recommend getting here at 8 am (or around 5 pm).

Love

Okay, this might sound a bit weird and is a quite unique thing to do (but luckily also a free thing to do)-  you can easily find your true love in Dubrovnik. You do not have to do much.

gargoyle head at Stradun

All it takes is finding the gargoyle head protruding from a stone wall next to the Franciscan Monastery (near the Pile Gate). Get on the head  (while not falling), take off your shirt while facing towards the wall, and voila… the love of your life will come into your life.

Okay, the head sticks out only fifteen centimeters and its top surface is polished like marble, so it is almost impossible to succeed, but you won‘t know if the myth is true or not if you do not try!

Fort Lovrijenac

After walking the city walls (about 1.5-3 hours), head to Fort Lovrijenac. 

King´s Landing! That is probably the unofficial name of this fort that is located outside the city walls and is also known as the Dubrovnik Gibraltar.  It is also part of the fortification system and offers beautiful views of the Adria and also parts of Dubrovnik. 

Fort Lovrijenac in Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik view from Kings Landing

I will be honest, I have not watched any episodes of Game of Thrones (yet), but I realized that many people at the fortress tried to recall which scene was filmed in which part of the fortress.

So, it is a must-see in Dubrovnik. The good news: If you have a ticket for the city walls (or the Dubrovnik), you do not have to pay an additional entrance fee here.

If you are ready for a break, sit down at the “beach section“ that you will find between Fort Lovrijenac and the city walls. It felt great to listen to the waves and take a break before jumping into the commotion of the old town.

Stradun

Stradun (or the Place) is the main street in the old town and one of the most beautiful places in Dubrovnik, and according to reviews, even one of the most beautiful streets in the world. I am not sure about that, but it is impressive to stroll the Stradun, sit down in one of the (overpriced) cafes and have a drink, and enjoy watching the crowds of people admiring the various beautiful buildings.

Dubrovnik Stradun is the main street

Dubrovnik Stradun is one of the best things to do

If you enter via the Ploce Gate or Pile Gate, you are right at the street – so, no way to get lost here. You have the Onofrio Fountain at the western end of the street and the Bell Tower on the eastern end of the street.

I, unfortunately, did not witness people dancing here, but if you are lucky, you might see people showing off local dances and you can enjoy a bit more of the local traditions.

Old Town 

Of course, strolling the streets in the old town is another one of the top things to do in Dubrovnik and that is actually a good free thing to do.

Not all streets blew me away – actually, I missed some colors (I probably spent too much time in Italy and my craving for colorful buildings/decor is immense) at the beginning until I found them further away from the main streets. 

Dubrovnik old town - strolling the streets is one the best things to do

Dubrovnik old town - what to do in Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik square

The residential streets were actually quite picturesque and less visited (head towards Za Rokum – the most colorful street I found – and then get lost in the streets on that side of the old town). 

But you will also find the Rector´s Palace, the Church of St. Blaise, the Dominican Monastery, and the beautiful Dubrovnik Cathedral in the old town – beautiful buildings that are well worth a visit (entrance fee for Rector´s Palace).

Boat Tour

I am a repeat offender – but I cannot help it. I love boat cruises! So, my advice should not surprise you – in Dubrovnik, you should go on a boat cruise! And the good news: boat cruising can be comparatively affordable (around 10€ for a 45-minute cruise), but you will see the city from a different perspective.

Dubrovnik city walls seen from a boat which is one of the top things to do in two days

Plus, on a warm day, this is the best way to cool off! The cruises start outside the city walls at the old port and you can buy tickets there (they run quite frequently). The above-mentioned activities will most likely fill a full day in Dubrovnik – of course, it depends how fast you are, what time you start your day, and when you end your day.

Old Port

As stunning as the old town of Dubrovnik is, the old port is beautiful, too. So, make sure to leave the old town at the end of the main shopping street – Stradun – and stroll the port.

Dubrovnik port is one of the most beautiful places to visit

You will find restaurants, boats, and yachts, and also a lively and fun atmosphere here. This is also where the boats sail from.

Buza Bar

This bar is probably one of the most famous spots in Dubrovnik – and though I have not checked Instagram for my Dubrovnik trip, I guess it is one of the main Instagram spots in Dubrovnik, too.

Dubrovnik Buza Bar is one the best places to see

What makes the bar so popular is the location: It sits on a cliff, outside the wall. You will probably have to use GPS to find it. Stroll the old town and then go through a little door/hole (it is outside the city walls, so there is no entry fee or anything like that). Now, you have the ocean in front of you, plus a few seats to have a drink (and cliffs where many people sit and enjoy their drinks and the view).

There are several bars like this, but this is the most popular one – especially if you want to watch the sunset (in that case, come a bit easier to be sure to get a spot, as it gets busy for sunset).

Srd Hill / Mountain

Last, but not least for the first day: I am all about the views when I travel. So, of course, if you ask me about what to do in Dubrovnik, I will tell you to add a trip to Srd Mountain to your Dubrovnik itinerary and end your first or second day in Dubrovnik here.

Dubrovnik old town view Srd Hill

Dubrovnik old town view Srd Mountain

It stands at 413 meters high and the views are incredible – the red roofs, the ocean, Lokrum Island. Even Elaphite Island is kind of a million-dollar view.

There is also a panorama restaurant where you can have a drink or dine (you also get the views for free if you don’t sit at the restaurant), and there is a museum next to the restaurant where you can find out more about the war in the 1990´s, as well as information on the Dubrovnik Republic.

There is – normally – a cable car that takes you up. The cable car station is just a stone’s throw from the old town. However, it was closed at the time of my visit (apparently, the owner did not pay his taxes for a couple of years, so the city shut it down), but has apparently opened again. Check out their website if you consider taking the cable car.

However, you can also hike up (it should take between 45-90 minutes to get up), take a taxi, or even drive in your own car.

I drove up there, and though I do not recommend it for inexperienced mountain drivers, there are much worse streets in the Balkans, Italy, and other parts of Europe to drive on. And if I can do it, you can do it, too.

So, getting on top of Srd mountain is another must do in 2 days in Dubrovnik.

Day 2 in Dubrovnik

However, for day 2 in Dubrovnik, I suggest the following activities (you won’t be able to do all of the things, but can choose those that appeal the most to you).

Beaches

Whether you want to start your day relaxed or want to come here during the day (when it gets warmer), spending some time at the beach in Dubrovnik is big.

Dubrovnik beaches

I am not much of a beach person and it was definitely too cold for laying out at the beach at the beginning of May (when I visited), but Dubrovnik does have some nice beaches – many close to the old town.

Banje Beach is the most popular, which is just a few minutes walk from the old town, but there are apparently some more that are less busy and a bit farther away (including Pasjaca Beach).

Tip: Be aware that the beaches in Croatia and Dubrovnik are mostly pebble beaches, not sand beaches.

Kayak or Snorkel

Do you want to be more active? Then, kayaking is the right activity for you. Kayaking is one of the three sports I hate the most – yes, I did it and disliked it, but others seem to enjoy it and it is a big thing in Dubrovnik. It seems that it is a popular water activity in Dubrovnik – and you can see the city from the other side and can even kayak to Lokrum Island.

You can book kayak tours in advance – click here to find out more and get prices.

Lokrum Island

Your eyes will probably catch this small, green island quite quickly when walking the city walls. This little, uninhabited island can actually be visited. Lokrum Island covers 72 hectares and is located on the eastern Croatian coast, near the city of Dubrovnik, and you can get there either via boat or by kayaking.

Dubrovnik Lokrum island is one of the best activities in Dubrovnik

On the island, you can discover the botanical garden and visit the Benedictine Monastery.

Apparently, some garden scenes in Game of Thrones were filmed at the botanical garden and the former monastery (of course).

This is also where you will find the Iron Throne (at the monastery) – Game of Throne fans know what I am talking about.

There are Game of Thrones tours showing you the Iron Throne and King´s Landing – click here for more information.

Walking Tour

Though I wish that I could be a walking encyclopedia, I often learn about the history and culture of a place in depth only when I do a walking tour – whether it is a free one or not.

Dubrovnik main tourist square

And while the city is small (there are only 50,000 inhabitants), there is a lot of history and information that a local guide can best convey to you.

Tours take about 60-120 minutes and you can get valuable insights. So, if you are in Dubrovnik for more than one day, then book a tour to complete your itinerary for Dubrovnik.

Check out guided Dubrovnik tours here – and here is some information on the free walking tour.

Game of Thrones Tour

Dubrovnik was a tourist magnet long before the war in the 1990s, and long before the TV show Game of Thrones.

However, apparently, 30% of visitors now come because of the show. Knowing how busy it gets in Dubrovnik, this means a lot of people are coming because of GoT. And so, it is no surprise that a guided “Game of Thrones” walking tour is one of the most popular activities in Dubrovnik. To find out more about Game of Thrones Tours click here to get the prices and more information.

More Things to Do in or Near Dubrovnik

If you stay longer in Dubrovnik than two days, you could add one of the following activities to your itinerary for Dubrovnik.

Lapadska Obala

A less-visited area, this street is great for escaping the crowds. I cannot say that I was totally in love and smitten, but I enjoyed walking the street and seeing the different and more unique views of Dubrovnik. From here, you can also spot the pretty Franjo Tudman Bridge, which is an eyecatcher.

If you enjoy walking, you can just walk from the old town, or hop on a bus to get there (bus number 6).

Kotor

Kotor, the main tourist destination in Montenegro, is quite close to Dubrovnik and you can get to Kotor either by bus, car or book a tour. It is a fun day trip and Kotor is absolutely stunning.

Kotor view from fortress

You can hike up to St. John´s Fortress and enjoy amazing views of the Bay of Kotor and you can stroll the old town of the town in one day.

For guided tours click here and find out more about a day trip to Montenegro to Dubrovnik.

Mostar

I have become a fan of Bosnia-Herzegovina – and Mostar, close to the Croatian border – is a good idea for a day trip from Dubrovnik. While one day in Bosnia-Herzegovina is surely not enough this day trip gives you a good idea of Bosnia´s beauty.

View from old bridge, one of the most Instagrammable places in Mostar

Make sure to take your ID/passport and check visa regulations for Mostar (and Kotor) as both cities/countries are, unlike Croatia, not part of the European Union. You can easily drive to Mostar yourself or check out guided tours.

 

CONCLUSION: 2 DAYS IN DUBROVNIK ITINERARY

So, I was totally smitten when I spent 2 days in Dubrovnik – despite the crowds and the price-tag. I hope, you can create your amazing 2-day Dubrovnik itinerary and will have a fun time in the city.

And yes, Dubrovnik in 2 days is  possible because one day would allow to just see the main sights. But if you want to do day trips, plan in some extra days because there are many more beautiful places to see close to Dubrovnik.

READ MORE: 

Trogir in one day (one of my favorite places in Croatia)

Rovinj is completely different than Dubrovnik- find out more about this Croatian city here

Safe Travels, Arzo

ONE WEEK IN CROATIA ITINERARY

Best things to do and see in Croatia, The best itinerary for a road trip with the best places to visit

HOW TO SPEND ONE WEEK IN CROATIA

If you are planning your Croatia trip and are wondering about the most beautiful places to visit in one week in Croatia – or up to two week? Then this fun Croatia itinerary is perfect for you.

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. Even if you have more than one week in Croatia, you will find enough gorgeous places to visit and see.

So, whether you visit Croatia for 7 days, 10 days or 14 days, this Croatia itinerary will help you find the most beautiful spots and have a lot of fun experiences along the way.

Beach in Croatia, road trip in Croatia

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links which mean I might earn a small commission when you buy a product (at no extra cost to you) after clicking on my link. More about it here.

TRAVEL TIPS FOR 7 DAYS IN CROATIA

Before talking about the one-week Croatia itinerary, here are some travel tips.

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, the tourists come – and prices rise for accommodations, etc. and prices are significantly higher. So, if possible, visit in April, May, early June, or September.

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.

Street D8 in Croatia_

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. 

Language 

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.

Food 

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.

Currency/ Money

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.

Internet

Most restaurants, cafés, and hotels will offer free WiFi to use with your own device, and many towns and villages also offer WiFi spots.

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.

Croatia as a solo female traveler

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.

Traveling in Croatia with a dog

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 7-DAY CROATIA ITINERARY

This one-week Croatia itinerary starts either in Dubrovnik  or Split. However, feel free to tweak the itinerary so that it fits you. 

Basically, this itinerary will help you plan 7 day, 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. 

Split (1 Day)

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. 

Split waterfront is one of the most beautiful places in Split, Croatia

Even if you only visit for a day  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 and hence has become of of the best places to visit in Croatia.

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.

Here is my Split itinerary with more travel tips for you.

Trogir and Šibenik (1 Day)

You can base yourself in Split or near Split and start with a fun day trip. From Spilt, 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 Split, then drive to Šibenik first and on your way back visit Trogir. I initially headed to Sibenik for the castle, but skipped it and went back and forth through the few old, but very picturesque, streets of the town instead.

Streets in Sibenik, must see in two weeks in Croatia

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.

Trogir view from the fortress, Trogir is a must on Dubrovnik itinerary

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.

For more Trogir travel tips click here.

Hvar (1 Day)

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.

Hvar Island in Croatia in 10 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 10-day itinerary.

Where to stay in Hvar: While I did not stay in Hvar myself, this hotel seems like a great place to stay when visiting Hvar (keep in mind, that Hvar is quite expensive).

Krka National Park (1 Day)

Another day trip from Split could be Krka National Park.

KRKA National Park a must for 7-day Croatia itinerary
@shutterstock

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 (and as I had already visited Plitvice National Park).

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 and this one is closer to the coast and thus easier to reach and less time-consuming.

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.

Omis (0,5 – 1 Day)

Another one of Croatia‘s prettiest, unique places is the small town of Omis, located among stunning scenery. 

Omis view from the fortress

Omis view from the fortress of the fjords

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.

Italy or Croatia? Check out my comparison to find out which country is the perfect travel destination for you.

Dubrovnik (2 Days)

Dubrovnik is out of this world. While I still think Venice is probably the most unique city in the world, Dubrovnik is up there and is a place you should seriously add to your Croatia itinerary.

Yes, there are many old towns and well-preserved medieval towns in Europe and Croatia. However, Dubrovnik is seriously different.

Dubrovik from city walls

Dubrovnik view from Mount Srd

Expensive as heck and crazy busy, it is not everyone´s favorite – but I totally loved it!

You should plan in at least 2 days in Dubrovnik (because driving there from Split will take a few hours) and then you will have about 1,5 days in Dubrovnik.

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 best 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.

10- 14 DAYS IN CROATIA

So, if you have more than 7 days in Croatia and don’t mind driving around, then here are a few places to add to your Croatia itinerary.

Zagreb

You can start your Croatia trip in the capital of the country if you visit Croatia for more than one week.

Zagreb Mirogoj Cemetary is a must-see

Zagreb 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 probably skip it – just because it is quite far from other main tourist attractions.

With 10 days in Croatia, I would try to visit for a day. Check out my 2-day Zagreb itinerary.

Where to stay in Zagreb: I stayed at an Airbnb but here is one of the best-rated hotels in Zagreb that you can check out.

Plitvice Lakes

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.

Plitvice Lake in Croatia

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.

Rovinj

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.

Croatia, Rovinj seen from a boat trip

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 recommend 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-minute 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

7 days in Croatia is not a lot – so you might not be enough to visit Zadar though Zadar is another coastal city, and actually, it is the oldest continuously-inhabited city in Croatia (founded in the 4th century).

Zadar view from the Bell Tower, one of the best places to visit in Croatia

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.

Where to Stay in Zadar: 

I stayed at Apartments Aria – I love to cook my own food and had my dog with me, and I needed free parking and so it was great for me (plus super clean and a nice but basic little apartment). It was a bit too far from the main tourist attractions (about 14-minutes) but other than this, this was a good place. Here is one of the best-rated hotels in Zagreb

Punta Rata & Baska Voda

It is time for the beach. I know, the reviews of the beaches in Croatia are mixed.

Baska Voda town in Croatia is a beautiful hidden place

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 Croatia 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.

Day Trips Outside of Croatia

So, if you are longer than 7 days in Croatia, I would recommend doing a few day trip (or at least one day trip to another country). As you can tweak your Croatia itinerary as it fits, here are two places that you can easily visit from Dubrovnik as a trip.

Kotor

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.

Kotor view from fortress

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

Even though one week in Croatia might not be enough to visit places outside of the country, Mostar is one of the most popular day trips from Dubrovnik and the reason is simple.

Stari Most in Mostar is one of the main attractions in Bosnia Herzegovina

  1. It is extremely pretty and many take the opportunity to visit another country (Bosnia-Herzegovina). 
  1. 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.

Kravica Waterfalls in Bosnia

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.  Read my Mostar travel guide for more information.

CONCLUSION: ONE WEEK CROATIA

So, whether you stay in one week in Croatia (or 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 the time as much as I did and this Croatia itinerary has helped you planning your trip and find out about the best places to visit.

More: Best places to stay in Croatia

Safe Travels, Arzo

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