Croatia is no longer a well-kept secret in the Mediterranean. With hundreds of pristine islands, delicious seafood, a vibrant culture, and thousands of years of history, you could easily spend a month in this country and still not scratch the surface of what it has to offer. Get ready to fall head over heels in love with Croatia because I’m sharing with you an unforgettable 10-day itinerary for Croatia.
Since 2016, when I first visited Croatia, I’ve been enchanted by the breathtaking landscapes, vibrant culture, and warm hospitality of Croatia. As a result, I decided to write a Croatia series to help you plan your unforgettable adventures in this mesmerizing country.
In this post, we’ll embark on a thrilling journey through Croatia, one that combines stunning coastal beauty, rich history, mouthwatering cuisine, and incredible hidden gems. Whether you’re a history buff, a beach lover, or simply someone with an insatiable desire to explore, this itinerary has got you covered. This itinerary is based on the itinerary I followed on my most recent trip to Croatia, with a few adjustments.
So, grab your backpack and join me as we embark on an exhilarating journey through Croatia’s most captivating destinations. Let’s dive headfirst into this adventure, uncovering the hidden gems and must-visit spots that will make your 10 days in Croatia an absolute dream come true!
Want to read more about Croatia? You’re in luck! This post is a part of the Croatia series. Here is the complete 15-part series:
Krka National Park – The Ultimate Guide To Visiting Krka National Park, Croatia
Plitvice National Park – The Ultimate Guide To Visiting Plitvice National Park, Croatia
Plitvice vs Krka – Krka vs Plitvice National Park: Which One Should You Visit?
Mljet National Park – The Ultimate Guide To Visiting Mljet National Park, Croatia
Know Before You Go
The official currency of Croatia is the Croatian Kuna (HRK). The kuna is divided into 100 lipas.
When traveling to Croatia, it’s important to exchange your currency for the local kuna, as it is widely accepted throughout the country. Currency exchange offices can be found in airports, banks, and major tourist areas. It’s advisable to compare exchange rates and fees before making a transaction to ensure you’re getting a fair deal.
Credit and debit cards are also widely accepted in most establishments, including hotels, restaurants, and shops. You can easily access ATMs throughout Croatia, allowing you to withdraw kunas using your debit card.
It’s worth noting that while some businesses may accept euros or other major currencies, it’s generally more convenient to use the local currency, especially in smaller towns and rural areas. In addition, be aware that exchange rates may vary, so it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the current rates and plan your budget accordingly.
Croatia is a country rich in culture and history, shaped by a blend of influences from its diverse past. Croatian culture reflects a combination of Mediterranean, Central European, and Balkan influences, resulting in a unique and vibrant identity.
Croatians are known for their warm hospitality and friendly nature. They take pride in welcoming visitors and making them feel at home. It’s common to be greeted with a smile and offered a cup of coffee or a traditional rakija (fruit brandy) as a sign of hospitality.
Croatia is steeped in history, with a rich architectural heritage. Cities like Dubrovnik, Split, and Zagreb showcase a mix of medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque architecture. The Diocletian’s Palace in Split, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a prime example of ancient Roman architecture.
Overall, Croatian culture is a vibrant fusion of traditions, customs, and influences from various periods in history. It’s a country that embraces its past while welcoming modern influences, creating a captivating and diverse cultural tapestry that visitors can immerse themselves in.
Croatia enjoys a Mediterranean climate along the Adriatic coast, while the interior regions have a more continental climate. Here’s a general overview of the weather in Croatia to help you decide when to visit:
Spring (March to May): Spring in Croatia sees mild temperatures ranging from 59°F to 68°F along the coast. Inland regions can be slightly cooler. It’s a pleasant time to visit with blooming landscapes and lower tourist crowds.
Summer (June to August): Summers are hot and dry along the coast, with average temperatures ranging from 77°F to 86°F. Inland areas can also be warm. It’s the peak tourist season with crowded beaches and popular destinations.
Autumn (September to November): Autumn brings milder temperatures, with coastal regions ranging from 68°F to 77°F in September, gradually cooling down in October and November. Inland areas can be slightly cooler. It’s a good time for exploring cities, national parks, and wine regions.
Winter (December to February): Winter in Croatia is generally mild along the coast, with temperatures ranging from 41°F to 50°F. Northern inland regions can be colder with occasional snowfall. Mountainous areas offer colder temperatures and are popular for winter sports.
Remember, these temperature ranges are approximate and can vary from year to year. It’s always a good idea to check the specific weather forecast for your desired locations before your trip to Croatia.
When packing for a 10-day trip to Croatia, it’s essential to consider the season, the regions you’ll be visiting, and the activities you plan to engage in. Here’s a general packing list to help you prepare:
- Lightweight and breathable clothing for summer, including shorts, skirts, t-shirts, and dresses.
- Light sweaters or jackets for cooler evenings, especially during spring and autumn.
- Comfortable walking shoes or sandals for exploring cities and towns.
- Swimwear and beachwear for enjoying Croatia’s stunning beaches and coastal areas.
- Hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun.
- For winter visits, pack warm layers, including a coat, scarves, gloves, and thermal clothing if you plan to visit mountainous areas.
- Practical Items:
- Travel adapter for charging electronic devices (Croatia uses the European standard two-pin plug).
- Portable power bank for charging devices on the go.
- Lightweight and compact rain jacket or umbrella for unexpected showers.
- Day backpack for carrying essentials during day trips and hikes.
- Travel-sized toiletries and a small first aid kit.
- Reusable water bottles to stay hydrated and reduce plastic waste.
- Any necessary medications and copies of prescriptions.
- Camera or smartphone for capturing memorable moments.
- Chargers and cables for your electronic devices.
- Portable speakers or headphones for entertainment during travel.
- Travel documents including passport, ID, and any necessary visas.
- Travel insurance information and contact details.
- Cash and/or credit cards, as well as a money belt or secure wallet.
- Guidebooks, maps, or travel apps to help navigate your itinerary.
- Travel locks for securing your belongings.
Remember to pack according to the season and activities you have planned. If you’re visiting during summer, prioritize lightweight and breathable clothing, while winter visits require warmer layers. Check the weather forecast closer to your travel dates for more accurate packing guidance. Check out my travel essentials page for a full list of items to pack for Croatia.
In addition, it’s always a good idea to pack a small day bag with essentials, such as a water bottle, sunscreen, snacks, and a light jacket, for day trips and explorations.
By considering the season, activities, and comfort, you’ll be well-prepared for your 10-day adventure in Croatia. Happy travels!
How To Spend 10 Days in Croatia: The Perfect Itinerary
Day 1: Arrive in Split
Split is the largest city on Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast, making it a popular transportation hub and the point of entry for many visitors. This port city has a rich history – having been founded by the Greeks and then occupied by the Romans, the Venetians, the French, and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. There is a hodgepodge of cultures, which makes for a fascinating experience. Although you could easily spend a week in Split, three days are sufficient to get a taste of the place.
Tour Diocletian’s Palace
Diocletian’s Palace is the oldest continuously-inhabited Roman palace in the world. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is arguably the biggest attraction in the city. Unlike most Roman palaces, this place still has residents. It has merged with the Old Town of Split in a unique way; the palace occupies a large swath of the area and naturally blends in with the residential quarters, restaurants, and other marks of everyday life.
Diocletian’s Palace is also a fine example of Roman architecture, with its grand entrance, columns, arches, and courtyards. Once you step inside the walls of this city within a city, you’ll find a maze of narrow streets, alleys, and squares. There are shops, cafes, and restaurants on just about every corner.
We did a guided tour of the palace, learning about the role it played in the Roman empire and the development of the city of Split. In a nutshell, the Roman Emperor Diocletian built this sprawling palace in the 4th century to serve as his retirement home. The palace was later used as a military fortress. The best way to explore Diocletian’s Palace is to do a guided tour with a live guide showing you the different chambers, temples, and courtyards while explaining their history and significance.
Take a stroll down Riva Promenade
Riva Promenade is an iconic pedestrian walkway on the waterfront of Split. It stretches along the harbor, with beautiful views of the sea, boats, and the surrounding mountains. The promenade is lined with palm trees, cafes, restaurants, and shops, making it a popular spot for both tourists and locals alike.
Riva Promenade was first built in the 19th century and has since undergone several renovations. Nowadays, people come here to relax, socialize, and enjoy the scenery. You can stroll along the promenade, take a break at one of the many cafes, or sit on one of the benches and just observe your surroundings.
During the summer, Riva Promenade becomes even more lively, with street performers, musicians, and artists adding to the festive atmosphere. Some events and festivals take place on Riva, such as the Split Summer Festival and the Fishermen’s Night celebration.
Climb the Bell Tower at Saint Domnius Cathedral
Within Diocletian’s Palace, you’ll find The Cathedral of Saint Domnius, one of the oldest cathedrals in the world. It dates back to the 7th century!
Originally built as a mausoleum for the Roman Emperor Diocletian, the cathedral was later converted into a church. It was dedicated to Saint Domnius, the patron saint of Split, who was martyred during the reign of Emperor Diocletian.
The cathedral is an impressive example of early Christian architecture, with its octagonal shape, white marble walls, and intricate carvings. The interior is equally impressive, with beautiful mosaics and a wooden ceiling painted with scenes from the life of Christ.
The best part of the cathedral, though, is the bell tower, which dates back to the 13th century. Climb up here for epic views of Split and the surrounding area. You’ll get some incredible photos from up there.
Day 2: Hvar
Hvar is to Croatia what Ibiza is to Spain. It’s the party capital of the Dalmatian Coast and the entire country. Think yacht parties and ritzy clubs filled with wealthy 20-somethings. This island, a 90-minute ferry ride from Split, is the place to be to celebrate anything in Croatia – whether it be a bachelorette party, a birthday party, or just a fun getaway with your girlfriends. Here’s a list of what to do on Croatia’s party island:
Explore the Old Town
Old Town Hvar is the historic heart of the island, known for its charming atmosphere, beautiful architecture, and cultural heritage. Here are some of the main attractions of old town Hvar:
Hvar Fortress: Located on a hill above the town, the Hvar Fortress offers panoramic views of the town and the surrounding islands. The fortress dates back to the 16th century and is one of the most recognizable landmarks of Hvar. This is also one of the best places to get photos of Hvar.
St. Stephen’s Square: The main square of Hvar is a lively gathering place surrounded by historic buildings, cafes, and restaurants. The 17th-century St. Stephen’s Cathedral dominates the square, which features a beautiful bell tower and a baroque interior.
The Arsenal: The Arsenal is a historic building that used to serve as a naval warehouse and shipyard. Today, it houses the Hvar Public Library and the Hvar Theatre, which hosts cultural events and performances.
Franciscan Monastery: The Franciscan Monastery is a peaceful oasis in the heart of the town, with a beautiful cloister, a garden, and a museum. The museum houses a collection of artwork, manuscripts, and artifacts from the island’s history.
Bishop’s Palace: The Bishop’s Palace is a grand Baroque building that used to serve as the residence of the bishop of Hvar. Today, it houses the Hvar Heritage Museum, which showcases the island’s cultural and natural heritage through exhibits and interactive displays.
Narrow streets and alleys: The Old Town of Hvar is a maze of narrow streets and alleys, lined with historic buildings, shops, and restaurants. The charming atmosphere and Mediterranean architecture make it a delightful place to explore on foot.
Relax at Hvar Beach Club
The Hvar Beach Club is an upscale environment to relax and unwind in the heart of the town. It is a popular destination for visitors to the island who want to enjoy a day of sun, sea, and relaxation. You can go swimming, sunbathing, or sit and have drinks. Rent a beach chair and lounge by the Adriatic Sea.
Shop for lavender goods
Hvar is known for its lavender production because of the island’s ideal climate and soil conditions. The Mediterranean climate, combined with soil that is rich in minerals, provides perfect growing conditions for lavender. As such, you will see lavender goods everywhere – from essential oils to soaps to perfumes.
Lavender products would be the perfect souvenir to pick up from Hvar. As you stroll through the Old Town, you’ll see kiosks and shops selling lavender goods and hand-crafted jewelry, clothing, towels, and other souvenir items. Be sure to pick up a few things as memorabilia and a reminder to return to Hvar.
Day 3: Mljet
Known as the “greenest island” in the Adriatic, Mljet is a paradise of untouched nature, serene landscapes, and rich cultural heritage. Much of the island is occupied by the iconic Mljet National Park, a sprawling landscape filled with lush greenery, lakes, and historic architecture. Here’s an overview of the best things to do in this remarkable destination:
Explore Mljet National Park: Visit the mesmerizing Mljet National Park, a lush oasis covering the island’s western part. Take a boat ride to the two saltwater lakes, Veliko and Malo Jezero, and rent a kayak or paddleboard to explore their tranquil waters. Hike or bike along the well-marked trails that lead you through pristine forests, and don’t forget to visit the charming islet of St. Mary with its 12th-century Benedictine monastery.
Relax on Pristine Beaches: Mljet boasts some stunning beaches where you can unwind and enjoy the serene surroundings. Saplunara Beach, located on the southeastern coast, offers soft sands and shallow, crystal-clear waters, perfect for swimming and sunbathing. Black Beach, near the Great Lake, provides a peaceful atmosphere with its pebbly shores and breathtaking views.
Visit Odysseus’ Cave: Explore the legendary Odysseus’ Cave on the southern coast of Mljet. According to mythology, the mythical Greek hero found refuge in this cave during his epic journey. Venture inside to witness the mesmerizing turquoise waters and the play of sunlight filtering through the entrance. Enjoy a refreshing swim in the sea or snorkeling in the cave’s crystal-clear waters.
Hike or Cycle Through Scenic Trails: Mljet’s diverse landscapes are perfect for outdoor activities like hiking and cycling. Follow the numerous trails that wind through lush forests, rolling hills, and the island’s picturesque coastline. The breathtaking views and tranquil atmosphere make it a memorable experience for nature enthusiasts.
Enjoy Local Cuisine: Indulge in the flavors of Mljet’s local cuisine, influenced by the island’s coastal location. Sample fresh seafood, such as grilled fish or octopus salad, and savor traditional Dalmatian dishes like lamb stew or roasted pork. Accompany your meal with a glass of local wine or try the island’s signature liqueur, Mljet’s herb brandy.
Mljet is a paradise of natural wonders, cultural heritage, and relaxation. Whether you’re exploring the national park, basking on pristine beaches, or immersing yourself in local traditions, the island offers an unforgettable experience for those seeking a serene retreat in the heart of the Adriatic.
Days 4: Dubrovnik
Known as the ‘Pearl of the Adriatic,” Dubrovnik is a city that effortlessly combines history, beauty, and a vibrant atmosphere. It was the first place I ever visited in Croatia, and I distinctly remember being in awe of the place. With its well-preserved ancient walls, charming old town, and stunning coastal views, Dubrovnik offers a captivating experience for travelers. From walking the city walls to exploring its narrow streets and indulging in local cuisine, this coastal gem promises a memorable journey into the past and a vibrant present-day destination.
Dubrovnik is a city brimming with history, charm, and an abundance of activities to keep visitors entertained. Here are some of the best things to do in Dubrovnik:
Walk the City Walls: Embark on a scenic stroll along the ancient city walls that encircle Dubrovnik’s Old Town. As you walk around, enjoy panoramic views of the Adriatic Sea, red-tiled roofs, and the charming streets below. The walk provides a unique perspective of the city’s architecture and offers fantastic photo opportunities.
Explore the Old Town: Step into the enchanting Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and lose yourself in its labyrinthine streets. Discover historic landmarks such as the Stradun, the main promenade, lined with charming shops and cafes. Visit the Gothic-Renaissance Rector’s Palace, the Dubrovnik Cathedral, and the Sponza Palace, which houses the city’s archives and exhibits.
Visit Fort Lovrijenac: Make your way to Fort Lovrijenac, an impressive fortress perched on a cliff just outside the city walls. Explore its ancient walls, enjoy panoramic views of the Adriatic Sea, and imagine the city’s rich history coming to life. The fortress also hosts cultural events and performances during the Dubrovnik Summer Festival.
Take a Cable Car to Mount Srđ: Hop on the Dubrovnik Cable Car and ascend to the top of Mount Srđ for breathtaking views of the city and surrounding islands. Enjoy a refreshing drink at the mountaintop restaurant, or take a leisurely hike to explore the area’s natural beauty.
Visit Lokrum Island: Take a short boat ride to Lokrum Island, located just off the coast of Dubrovnik. This nature reserve offers lush gardens, peacocks, and hidden swimming spots. Explore the medieval Benedictine monastery, dip in the Dead Sea lake, or relax on secluded beaches.
Enjoy Beach Time: Dubrovnik boasts several stunning beaches to relax and soak up the sun. Banje Beach, located just outside the city walls, offers panoramic views of Dubrovnik’s skyline and crystal-clear waters. Copacabana Beach, a short drive away, is perfect for families with its sandy shores and water sports activities.
Day 5: Korčula
The island of Korčula (pronounced Kor-chu-lah) is located on the Southern Dalmatian Coast of Croatia, bordering the Adriatic Sea. It’s a 2-hour ferry ride from Dubrovnik. A ferry ride from Split will be about 3 hours and 45 minutes.
On the island, there’s a medieval Old Town shaped like a fishbone, with narrow alleys, cobblestone streets, and a bell tower at the center that seems to take every few minutes. The Old Town is absolutely breathtaking and worth exploring for a few hours. I meandered through the streets for a while, snapping photos and marveling at how picturesque the place was.
Explore the Old Town of Korčula: Start your adventure in the island’s main town, Korčula, and immerse yourself in its rich history and charm. Wander through the narrow medieval streets, admire the Venetian architecture, and visit the iconic St. Mark’s Cathedral. Don’t forget to stop by the Marco Polo House, believed to be the birthplace of the famous explorer.
Visit St. Mark’s Cathedral: This magnificent Gothic-Renaissance cathedral is a must-visit attraction in Korčula. Step inside to admire its beautiful interior with intricate carvings, paintings, and a stunning collection of religious artifacts.
Take in the Views from the Revelin Tower: Climb up the Revelin Tower, a fortified tower near the old town’s entrance. You’ll be rewarded from the top with panoramic views of the town, surrounding islands, and the sparkling Adriatic Sea.
Enjoy Pristine Beaches: Korčula has beautiful beaches catering to different preferences. Head to Vela Pržina in Lumbarda for a sandy beach with shallow waters, perfect for families. Pupnatska Luka offers a stunning pebble beach tucked into a picturesque bay, while Bacva Beach is a secluded spot ideal for tranquility and privacy.
Visit the Birthplace of Marco Polo: Discover the life and adventures of the famous Venetian merchant and explorer, Marco Polo, at the Marco Polo Museum. Located in the old town, the museum exhibits maps, documents, and artifacts that shed light on Marco Polo’s travels and impact on world history.
Experience Traditional Sword Dancing: Witness the Moreška Sword Dance, a traditional folk performance in Korčula during summer. This captivating dance reenacts a battle between two groups of dancers and is a testament to the island’s rich cultural heritage.
Wine Tasting in Lumbarda: Explore the vineyards of Lumbarda, known for producing the unique white wine variety called Grk. Take a guided tour of local wineries, learn about the winemaking process, and sample the delightful flavors of the region’s wines.
Outdoor Adventures: Embrace the natural beauty of Korčula through outdoor activities. Go hiking or cycling along the island’s scenic trails, which lead you through olive groves, vineyards, and picturesque landscapes. Take a kayak or boat tour to explore hidden bays, secluded beaches, and nearby islets.
Enjoy Local Cuisine: Indulge in the flavors of Dalmatian cuisine by trying local specialties on the island. Sample fresh seafood, grilled meats, and traditional dishes like brodet (fish stew) and pašticada (slow-cooked beef). Pair your meal with a glass of local wine and savor the authentic flavors of Korčula.
Korčula offers a captivating blend of history, natural beauty, and cultural heritage. With its stunning old town, pristine beaches, and opportunities for outdoor exploration, the island promises a memorable experience for all who visit.
Day 6: Makarska
Makarska isn’t on most people’s radars. It wasn’t on mine either until I saw it on the itinerary during my sailing adventure in Croatia. I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived in Makarska, discovering pristine pebble beaches, fresh seafood, and many exciting things to do. Here are some of the best things to do in Makarska:
Relax on Makarska Beach: Makarska boasts a stunning stretch of pebble beach that attracts sunseekers. Spend a leisurely day soaking up the sun, swimming in crystal-clear waters, and enjoying beachside amenities. The beach promenade has cafes, restaurants, and bars, creating a lively atmosphere.
Explore St. Mark’s Cathedral: Visit St. Mark’s Cathedral, a beautiful landmark in the heart of Makarska. This impressive Baroque-style cathedral features intricate architectural details and houses notable artworks, including a stunning altarpiece. Admire the peaceful ambiance and the ornate interior of this historical gem.
Wander the Old Town: Stroll through Makarska’s charming Old Town, where narrow streets are lined with historic buildings and quaint shops. Discover hidden squares, local boutiques, and delightful cafes. Don’t miss the vibrant fruit and vegetable market, where fresh produce and local delicacies are found.
Hike Mount Biokovo: Embark on an adventure in the nearby Biokovo Nature Park, home to Mount Biokovo. Lace up your hiking boots and explore the park’s well-marked trails that lead you through lush vegetation, stunning viewpoints, and panoramic vistas. Capture breathtaking views of the Adriatic Sea and the surrounding islands.
Visit the Biokovo Botanical Garden: Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the Biokovo mountain range by visiting the Biokovo Botanical Garden. Discover a diverse collection of indigenous plants, including rare and endemic species. Enjoy peaceful walks along the garden’s paths, surrounded by stunning landscapes and breathtaking views.
Day 7: Brač
Brač is a picturesque island located in the Adriatic Sea, off the coast of Split. Known for its stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, and charming coastal towns, Brač is a popular destination for both locals and tourists alike. Here’s an overview of what you can expect when visiting the island:
Visit Zlatni Rat Beach: Start your Brač adventure by visiting Bol’s iconic Zlatni Rat (Golden Horn) beach. This pebble beach is a true natural wonder with its unique shape that changes depending on the winds and currents. Relax on the shore, swim in crystal-clear waters, or try windsurfing or paddleboarding.
Explore Bol Town: Wander through the charming streets of Bol, a picturesque coastal town on Brač. Visit the old town center, where you’ll find narrow alleys, historic buildings, and quaint shops. Enjoy a meal at a seaside restaurant, savor local cuisine, or soak up the relaxed atmosphere.
Discover Vidova Gora: Embark on a hike to the summit of Vidova Gora, the highest peak in the Adriatic islands. The trail offers stunning views of the surrounding islands and the azure sea. On a clear day, you can even see as far as the neighboring island of Hvar. Don’t forget your camera!
Visit the Blaca Hermitage: Explore the fascinating Blaca Hermitage, a monastery built into the cliffs of Brač. This secluded retreat was once home to hermit monks who dedicated their lives to solitude and study. Take a guided tour to learn about history, marvel at the impressive library and collection of artifacts, and enjoy the scenic surroundings.
Explore the Town of Supetar: Head to Supetar, the largest town on the island, and experience its charm. Stroll along the promenade, lined with cafes and restaurants, and enjoy the lively atmosphere. Visit the Church of St. Mary and the Supetar Parish Museum to discover the town’s cultural heritage.
Indulge in Local Cuisine: Don’t miss the chance to savor the delicious Dalmatian cuisine of Brač. Taste fresh seafood, locally produced olive oil, and traditional dishes like Peka (slow-cooked meat and vegetables) and Vitalac (lamb offal dish). Pair your meal with local wines and finish with a sweet treat like Hrapoćuša, a traditional almond cake.
Relax in Small Villages: Break from the bustling towns and venture into the island’s charming villages. Postira, Sutivan, and Pučišća offer tranquillity, beautiful architecture, and a chance to experience local life. Wander through the narrow streets, admire the stone houses, and mingle with friendly locals.
Enjoy Outdoor Activities: Brač is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Go hiking or cycling along scenic trails that wind through forests and olive groves. Engage in water sports such as snorkeling, diving, or windsurfing in the clear waters surrounding the island. For a more leisurely experience, rent a boat and explore secluded coves and hidden beaches.
These are just a few of the many activities that Brač has to offer. With its natural beauty, cultural heritage, and warm hospitality, Brač is a fantastic destination that caters to various interests and promises a memorable experience.
Day 8: Krka National Park
With its magnificent waterfalls, turquoise rivers, and lush greenery, Krka National Park has earned its reputation as one of the most beautiful destinations in Croatia. This famous park covers 42 square miles of unspoiled natural surroundings, making it a must-stop on your Croatia itinerary. Here are the main activities to take part in at Krka National Park:
Visit the waterfalls: The park’s most famous attraction is its series of waterfalls, known as Skradinski Buk, Roški Slap, and Manojlovački Slap. You can walk along the boardwalks alongside the waterfalls or take a boat tour to get a closer view. These beautiful waterfalls provide the perfect backdrop for photos. You’ll have to be a little patient because dozens of other tourists will be trying to get photos here.
Swim in the lakes: The park has several swimming areas. Unfortunately, the waterfalls aren’t one of them. You used to be able to swim in the waterfalls up until 2020, when swimming was banned to protect the natural habitat. Swimming is permitted in designated areas only. Jump into the lake to cool off on a hot day.
Explore the historical sites: Krka National Park is home to several historical sites, including the Visovac Monastery, which dates back to the 15th century. You can take a boat tour to the island where the monastery is located or hike to the medieval fortress of Trošenj.
Hike the trails: The park has several hiking trails that wind through forests, bridges, and rivers. The trails range in difficulty from easy to moderate and offer opportunities to see the park’s flora and fauna up close.
Enjoy outdoor activities: Besides hiking and swimming, you can rent bikes, explore the park on two wheels, or take a kayaking tour down the river.
Day 9: Plitvice National Park
Plitvice National Park is one of the most breathtaking natural wonders that Croatia has to offer. With its cascading waterfalls, crystal-clear lakes, and lush greenery, it’s no wonder why Plitvice is one of Croatia’s most visited destinations. In my humble opinion, Plitvice is superior to Krka in beauty, grandness, and things to do. Here are the best things to do at Plitvice National Park:
Explore the Lakes and Waterfalls: Plitvice is famous for its interconnected lakes and stunning waterfalls. Follow the well-marked trails and boardwalks that wind through the park, allowing you to get up close to the turquoise lakes and cascades. Marvel at the impressive Veliki Slap, the park’s tallest waterfall, and discover hidden gems like the cascades of Prošćansko and Galovačko.
Take a Boat Ride: Hop on a boat ride that cruises across the park’s largest lake, Kozjak. The boat ride offers a unique perspective of the park’s landscape and allows you to admire the serene beauty of the surrounding forests and waterfalls.
Hike the Park’s Trails: Plitvice National Park features a network of well-maintained hiking trails that cater to various fitness levels. Choose from shorter loops to longer hikes that take you deeper into the park’s wilderness. Enjoy the tranquility of the forests, listen to the sounds of nature, and take in breathtaking vistas along the way.
Enjoy Wildlife Spotting: Watch for the park’s diverse wildlife while exploring its trails. Plitvice is home to various species, including deer, wild boar, foxes, and a variety of bird species. Nature enthusiasts will delight in the opportunity to observe and photograph the park’s wildlife in their natural habitat.
Enjoy Picnicking and Relaxing: Plitvice provides designated picnic areas to unwind and enjoy a leisurely meal amidst nature. Take a break, find a peaceful spot, and savor a picnic while soaking in the beauty and serenity of the surroundings.
Day 10: Zagreb
Zagreb, the capital city of Croatia, is a vibrant and cosmopolitan destination that effortlessly blends rich history with a modern and lively atmosphere. This city offers a captivating mix of architectural wonders, cultural treasures, and a thriving arts scene. The city is divided into two main areas: the Upper Town (Gornji Grad) and the Lower Town (Donji Grad). The Upper Town is known for its historic landmarks, while the Lower Town is a hub of activity with bustling streets, shops, and restaurants.
Explore the Historic Upper Town: Take a step back in time as you wander through the charming streets of the Upper Town (Gornji Grad). Visit the iconic Zagreb Cathedral, St. Mark’s Church with its colorful tiled roof, and the historic Stone Gate. Don’t miss the Lotrščak Tower, where you can witness the firing of the Grič Cannon at noon.
Visit the Museums and Galleries: Zagreb boasts an impressive selection of museums and galleries. Explore the Croatian Museum of Naïve Art, showcasing unique folk-inspired artworks. Admire contemporary masterpieces at the Museum of Contemporary Art or immerse yourself in Croatian history at the Croatian History Museum and the Museum of Broken Relationships.
Stroll Down Tkalčićeva Street: Tkalčićeva Street is a vibrant hub of cafes, restaurants, and boutiques. Enjoy a leisurely walk along this lively promenade, soak up the energetic atmosphere, and stop for a coffee or a delicious meal at one of the many charming establishments.
Visit Dolac Market: Experience the lively atmosphere of Dolac Market, Zagreb’s central food market. Browse the stalls filled with fresh produce, local specialties, and artisanal products. Sample traditional Croatian delicacies and interact with friendly vendors.
Relax in Maksimir Park: Escape the city bustle and unwind in Maksimir Park, Zagreb’s oldest public park. Enjoy peaceful walks through lush greenery, visit the zoo within the park, and find a cozy spot for a picnic. The park’s picturesque lakes, hidden paths, and charming pavilions provide a serene retreat.
There you have it – the perfect 10-day Croatia itinerary for first-time visitors. Feel free to modify it to suit your preferences. This itinerary is designed to give you a taste of different parts of Croatia. For instance, if you’d like to spend more time in one place, feel free to adjust your itinerary accordingly. Safe travels!
Travel Essentials I Can’t Live Without
The CabinZero 36L Backpack – this trusty backpack has been my go-to luggage for domestic and international trips since 2018. I’ve used dozens of backpacks and keep returning to this one. I rarely check-in luggage, so I need a carry-on bag that is spacious, sturdy, and comfortable with a laptop compartment. The Cabin Zero 36 L fits the bill. The size makes it small enough for a weekend getaway and big enough for a month of backpacking in Europe. The bag also comes with a tracker in case it gets lost. How convenient! Check out my complete review of the backpack.
Travel Wifi Portable Hotspot Device
Travel WiFI Pocket WIFI Device – With portable WiFi, you can say goodbye to ridiculous roaming charges and SIM cards for good. I’ve been using the Travel WiFi Portable Hotspot device for years and love the peace of mind it gives me. The device provides 3G-4G WiFi for at least 6 hours and works in 100+ countries. In my experience, it lasts 9 hours. It also works in a variety of landscapes and terrains. Using my device, I even filmed a Facebook Live from a boat in the Atlantic Ocean. I can also use Google Maps, request an Uber, call my mom, and do many other things I couldn’t do before. A quick tip: turn off the device when you’re not using it so the battery can last longer.
Booking.com – Booking.com is my go-to website for booking discounted accommodations worldwide. What I love most about Booking.com is the variety of properties you can find, from luxury apartments to treehouses to university housing. It’s hard to beat the insanely low prices. The website also has a flexible cancellation policy, which is great if things come up or you change your mind.