10 Day Croatia Itinerary

Croatia is a beautiful country with many spectacular things to see and do. The country is full of history and natural beauty. The ferry system is a huge help in navigating around the islands of Croatia – and it’s a cheap! If you’re planning a trip to Croatia then this guide has some things you simply cannot miss! There are also some useful travel tips and recommendations. I’m sure you will love Croatia just as much as I do!

Split

Split is a large and charming town in northern Croatia. In the typical Croatian style the old town of Split is a maze of narrow cobbled streets and stone buildings. Here you can find history, beaches, nature and plenty of shops and restaurants to keep you busy.

Days 1-2

At the centre of the old town you will find the astounding Diocletian’s Palace which was built for a Roman Emperor. You can walk through the ruins of the palace fo free. Around the rest of the old town there are plenty of shops, restaurants, bars and hotels. The old town is the perfect place to explore on a hot summer afternoon as it is mostly shaded. On the seafront you will find a multitude of great restaurants and bars. You will also find many stands selling fresh ice cream, smoothies and even cocktails to go!

On the west side of Split there is a large park with some great viewpoints of Split town and the nearby islands. Walk west and uphill to the Teraca Vidilica café which has an amazing view looking back at the town. Around a 15 minute walk from Split). If you want to walk further, you can continue up the hill and walk through the park. Walking back along the south coast you will find a few nice swimming spots on pebble and rock beaches. Kasjuni beach is a great little spot to stop for a swim and you can grab some lunch at Joe’s Beach Lounge & Bar. From here it’s just 20 minutes walking back into town.

Day 3

I would highly recommend saving a day to take a trip to the Krka Waterfalls. From Split it’s easy to organize a day trip with a tour company to Krka National Park. Here you will find outstandingly beautiful waterfalls where you can swim in the fresh, crystal clear water. There is a 2km lagoon boardwalk in the park which winds through different beauty spots at the tops of the waterfalls where you can see ponds of fish and water snakes. There are restaurants and shops in the park but they can be overcrowded and overpriced so consider taking your own food and drink. You can make your own way by car to but be sure to arrive early as the park has a daily ticket limit. You can also book your trip online here.

Restaurants

  • FIFE – this restaurant has almost everything! It serves good quality, reasonably priced foods in very generous quantities. You can choose a main dish and then choose any side you fancy to accompany it.
  • Olive Tree – This restaurant is located on the seafront and has a very Mediterranean feel. Under the canopies they have beautiful lights and olive trees.
  • Dioceltans Wine House – Located on a narrow streets in a very attractive building. This restaurant serves good wines and tapas – but probably isn’t for the budget traveler.

Bars

  • Sanctuary – A nice, reasonably priced cocktail bar in a tiny square in the old town.
  • GaGa – Another of the above!
  • Antique Bar – On the seafront and slightly more expensive, but has a range of drinks and lovely ocean views.

Travel tips

  • When travelling between the airport try to catch the airport shuttle bus. Its just 40 kuna (£5) per person each way. In a taxi you will pay easily over £50.
  • Try to book a trip to Krka National Park with a guide because the park can be difficult to access and you are more likely to secure an entrance ticket.
  • Remember Croatia does not use the Euro – although it is widely accepted they will not use it everywhere
  • High season can make it difficult to get a table in restaurants. If you really want to try a particular restaurant then make sure you make a reservation.
  • I was surprised that Croatia was so expensive. You always assume eastern European countries would be a little cheaper. Nope! Make sure to budget accordingly.

Hvar

Hvar Town is a small and pretty town embedded on a hill on the west of Hvar Island. It’s just 1 hour by ferry from Split. Everything in Hvar Town is close by and walkable so if you’re one a tight schedule then 1-2 days exploring should be enough. The ferry stops at Hvar Marina which has several restaurants and lounge bars (and a line of expensive private yachts to look at). Hvar is a popular party location in high season and the late night bars are on the other side of the bay and much cheaper.

Days 1-2

During the day there are plenty of beaches to go to. Walking west from Hvar centre you will find plenty of pebble beaches dotted around the coast. On the way there is Hula Hula Beach Bar which is popular for all day sunbathing and partying on the beach. East from Hvar there are more pebble and rock beaches to enjoy. I tried to visit several in a day!

Hvar Fortica sits on the top of the hill overlooking the town. Going here at sunrise or sunset means the uphill walk is much cooler and there are less tourists. Plus, it means a spectacular panoramic view! Theres a bar at the top to sit and enjoy the sunset.

Restaurants

  • Gurme– an amazing tapas restaurant up the hill from the centre
  • Vita Health Food– a nice healthy restaurant in the harbour. They have lots to choose from and fresh juices
  • Central Park Club – a great place to eat and drink! Fantastic food from morning until night and live music!

Bars

  • Ka’lavanda – it comes with a price tag but the cocktails are amazing and unique!
  • Hula Hula Beach Bar – a popular day time beach bar, you can pay £25 to lounge here for the day and access the beach
  • BB Club – a nice lounge bar on the harbour and the perfect place to yacht-watch!
  • Falko Beach Bar – A casual and chilled out beach bar a short walk west of Hvar centre – with hammocks!

Travel tips

  • Hvar is easy to get to by ferry but be sure to check a timetable as there are only a few services per day. If you’re only visiting for the day then plan in advance!
  • If you’re here to party – There are strict rules and hefty fines for public drinking and dressing inappropriately in the old town centre. So be careful!

Korcula

A large island off the coast of mainland Croatia and is accessible by ferry. Korcula Town is a small and beautiful town built inside the old fortress walls. You can see the main fortress towers around the bay which are now used as restaurants and bars. To walk a circle around the outside of the whole town takes a maximum of fifteen minutes! In the centre, there is a maze of narrow cobbled streets where you can find jewellery shops, souvenir shops, restaurants and bars.

Days 1-2

Explore the town and enjoy the shops and bars. All around the bay there are plenty of spots down to the sea for sunbathing and swimming. You can visit the House of Marco Polo museum which is a stone building thought to be the birthplace of the famous traveller. There are several church buildings to visit in the small town. In some you can climb the bell tower for an amazing view over the rooftops.

If you want to go further afield you can easily rent scooters and bikes from several places in Korcula Town. A bicycle rental is 100 Kuna (around £12) for 8 hours or you can choose 3 hours if you don’t plan on going far. There are some nice and relatively flat rides to other beaches and towns.

Cycle routes

  • Lumbarda is just 6km east and has two sandy beaches (which makes a nice change from the pebble ones!). You will cycle through some vineyards and past some wineries which do tours and wine tasting. You will find some restaurants and shops along the way and in the centre of Lumbarda.
  • Cycle west from Korcula Town along the coastline. This is relatively flat and a really nice ride along the ocean front. There are some lovely beaches along the way and the sunset is supposed to be magnificent from this direction if you go in the evening.
  • Just above Korcula Town there is a viewpoint on the hill with a clear view over the town through the trees. It’s just a 10 minute ride from the centre and worth the uphill cycle!

Restaurants

  • Silk – If you fancy a bit of a change from the regular restaurants, this one does some fantastic Asian food – try the katsu curry!

Bars

  • Bar Massimo – A rooftop cocktail bar on one the town’s old fortifications. You’ll have to climb a ladder to get to it but it’s worth it!
  • G and T Club Lounge – just outside the city walls this lounge has some unique gin combinations to taste in a gorgeous terrace setting.

Travel tips

  • Only being a small town the restaurants fill up fast. Consider making a reservation or eating early/late in high season.

Dubrovnik

A marvellous city on the coastline of Southern Croatia. Its a small city and the main focus is on the Old Town which sits inside huge city walls that are centuries old. The steep and narrow stone streets give a beautiful and typical Croatian setting.

As much as I love Dubrovnik, the amount of tourists is a real downside. Don’t expect to get anywhere fast with the congregations of tour groups or be able to take photos with uninterrupted views. I visited in the high season so you could try to avoid this time of year. Or try to visit the main places early in the morning or at sunset before the huge cruise ships come in. Dubrovnik is practically free of tourists at 7am – then you can just have a siesta in the afternoon!

Day 1

Spend the day exploring all the streets of Dubrovnik. There are a lot of shops selling lovely hand made crafts and artwork down the many cobbled streets in the city. Dubrovnik has a lot of historical landmarks and museums to visit, and Game of Thrones filming locations which are very popular with tourists.

In the evening take a walk on the city walls when it is less busy. It really is beautiful at sunset to see all the glowing orange pot roofs. Along the way you will visit some Game of Thrones filming locations and have a great view of the city from every angle. There’s a bar to stop at along the way with a panoramic view over the coastline.

Day 2

Jump on a boat to Lokrum Island from Dubrovnik Harbour. It’s around £20 each but that includes a return boat trip and an entry ticket to the island. The island is a huge forest with botanical gardens, olive groves, historical buildings and beaches to enjoy. The island has several restaurants so you don’t need to worry about food and drink during the day. You will find some interesting exhibitions about the history of the island’s monks, and a brand new Game of Thrones exhibition (with an iron throne!). Uniquely, Lokrum Island is home to many free roaming domestic rabbits and peacocks.

Take some time to visit Fort Lovrijenac just outide of Dubrovnik’s old town. It is also famous for featuring in Game of Thrones.

Take a break from the bustling old town and get the bus into the newer part of town. You can buy a bus ticket just outside the city gates that will take you there. It only takes around 15 minutes. You can walk along the promenade which follows the coastline, and even make a stop off at Cave Bar More. There are a few restaurants and shops along road Šetalište kralja Zvonimira which is close to the bus stop.

Day 3

In the late afternoon it’s a good idea to try the Dubrovnik Cable Car. The queues are shorter and the temperature is slightly cooler. There are some incredible views from the top. You can also enjoy some restaurants up here or on the way back down if you decide to walk!

Restaurants

  • Paparazzo – Serves tapas in the day and becomes a steakhouse at night.
  • Poco Loco – this place does really great asian food and cocktails

Bars

  • Soul Caffe – An amazing but tiny bar with seats down the side of a cobbled alleyway. There is often a live musician and an original silent movie to enjoy!
  • Caffe Troubadour – this place comes with a price tag but each night but often has some amazing jazz bands playing. Or since they play outside you could just observe!
  • Cave bar More – a bar inside a real cave outside of Dubrovnik old town. Unique surroundings and reasonable prices!
  • Bard Mala Buza – Sit on the very edge of Dubrovnik old town looking across the ocean. The drinks menu is limited but watching the cliff jumpers and boats enter the harbour is worth the visit.

Travel tips

  • When travelling between the airport try to catch the airport shuttle bus. Its just 40 kuna (£5) per person each way. In a taxi you will pay easily over £50.
  • If you are interested in all of the museums then check out the Dubrovnik Pass which gives you access to all the museums and public transport. Bus number 6 from Pile Gate will take you downtown to the newer areas of Dubrovnik.
  • Dubrovnik is expensive (and Croatia in general!). I wasn’t expecting it to be as expensive as it was and I didn’t budget accordingly. Expect to be paying over £10 for a drink at bars in the touristic areas. Minimum £30 for a bottle of wine. £15 for a basic pizza.
  • If you have extra time in Dubrovnik consider organising a day trip to Mostar in Bosnia or the Blue Caves.

So there it is. A ten day plan to keep you occupied exploring the wonders of Croatia, and to make sure you have a fabulous time!

Originally written for adventuresofaginger.co.uk.

Photo by User: Stop_The_Lies – Self-photographed, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2487857

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