Croatia is where ancient history meets stunning coastal landscapes and vibrant cities. If you’re ready for an outstanding vacation, I’ve got the perfect 10 day Croatia itinerary planned just for you!
I kind of fell in love with Croatia before I even visited based on photos I had seen. And after visiting, all of these places to visit in Croatia surpassed my expectations.
It is such a beautiful country, with the friendliest locals, and many English speakers which makes it a top destination overall.
From exploring the charming streets of Dubrovnik to indulging in delicious seafood along the Dalmatian coast, and sipping Croatian wine, get ready to immerse yourself in a world of endless beauty and excitement.
This Croatia itinerary has it all, as it will take you exploring medieval cities, lounging on pristine islands, and visiting countless waterfalls.
So, pack your bags, bring your sense of adventure, and let’s dive into this enchanting journey through a Croatia 10 day itinerary that promises to leave you with unforgettable memories…
where stunning landscapes and rich cultural heritage await you at every turn.
Tip: If you have a few extra days, these are quick trips you can add on that are easy to reach from Croatia!
10 Day Croatia Itinerary
Day 1: Travel To Dubrovnik
This is a travel day to Croatia and if you are flying in, you will likely be arriving at Dubrovnik Airport (DBV), also referred to as Čilipi Airport.
Depending on what time you arrive there may be limited time to do much else other than go to bed.
But if you arrive earlier in the day I would check in to your hotel, and just wander the Dubrovnik old town within the city walls.
It is one of the most charming old towns in Europe to explore and get lost without really getting lost.
As sunset approaches, head straight to Café Buza Bar to enjoy a drink at this very cool cliffside bar on Adriatic Sea.
Then head to dinner and get a good night’s rest for a fun day of sightseeing in Dubrovnik!
Find Out More: Best Things To Do In Dubrovnik, Croatia
Where To Stay In Dubrovnik
Personally, I recommend staying in old town Dubrovnik or close by for easy access to see all the main sights.
The first three hotels are within the city walls of Dubrovnik old town and the Hilton Imperial is just steps outside of the walls.
Note: As of 2023, to reduce the noise within old town area of Dubrovnik you can no longer use roller bags. This ONLY applies to lodging inside the city walls!
Pulling them over the cobblestones creates an unpleasant sound that both locals and visitors want to avoid.
What to do about it? Check with your hotel to find out the luggage drop area or city gate to arrange for it to be transported for you. Or carry it yourself as there is a hefty fine if you ignore the law.
Day 2: Explore Medieval Dubrovnik
Wander Old Town & Take A GOT Tour
If you got in late the day before, this might be your first glance at the beautiful Dubrovnik old town.
Old town consists of the area completely inside the city walls. The three main gates to get in and out of old town are Pile Gate (main gate), Buza Gate, and Ploce Gate.
Allow some time to wander down cobblestoned alleyways, pop into cafes, or hike up the many stairs. Or stroll down the Stradun to view the clock Clock Tower, Rector Palace, and Sponza Palace.
The medieval architecture is impressive and feels like you have stepped onto a movie set. In fact, several scenes from Game of Thrones (GOT) were filmed in Dubrovnik.
Take a Game of Thrones tour and find out all the film locations plus great tips about filming of the show!
Walk The Dubrovnik City Walls
A great way to see Dubrovnik and the Adriatic Sea better is to get higher vantage point from the top of the City Walls.
Originally, the city walls were for protection and to see danger coming from afar but today they offer tons of great views over 1.25-miles (2 km).
Eat Traditional Food With Locals
Wrap up your first full day in Dubrovnik with a traditional Croatian meal. I recommend spending a dinner with locals and trying their delectable dishes.
One of the best meals I have ever had was in Dubrovnik sharing it in the home of a local Croatian family.
One of the most authentic meals to sample is Peka which is a combination of vegetables, potatoes, garlic, and meat (lamb or veal). The mixture is slow cooked over hot coals for 4 hours. It is absolutely delicious!
Day 3: Find Adventure In Dubrovnik
Go On A Kayak Tour
Kick off your second day in Dubrovnik by going on a kayak tour to see the stunning coastline, around Lokrum Island, and a beach cove.
Your kayak tour will take off from Pile Bay and with a guide navigate you along the coast. And don’t worry, you will get an overview of how to kayak with tips for the excursion.
Not only will you get in a good workout but see the most beautiful coast, sea caves, and beaches in the clear blue Adriatic Sea. Expect to spend a half day as the tour will last around 3 hours.
Visit Lokrum Island
After kayaking around Lokrum Island, now its time to visit it! From the Dubrovnik Old Town Port, take a 10-minute ferry ride over the island.
With an abundance of nature, trails, and beaches it is a lovely place to walk around. You will see local peacocks make an appearance too!
Pack a bag with your swim suit, travel towel, sunscreen, and some snacks to enjoy at one of the swimming holes or beaches. Spend a few hours or more depending on your schedule to see everything in addition to the monastery and botanical gardens.
Take In Views From Mount Srd
A visit to Dubrovnik wouldn’t be complete without heading up to Mount Srd high above the city for insane views…
You have three options to get to the top of Mount Srd, take a taxi, take the cable car, or hike up. But whatever you do not drive yourself as only locals know how to maneuver this tiny and curving road.
Try to time your visit before sunset to watch the sun as it lowers into the Adriatic Sea accompanied by a cocktail. At Panorama Restaurant you can enjoy dinner but during the busy season or weekends make a reservation.
Day 4: Step Into Split’s History
Travel From Dubrovnik To Split
After breakfast begin your journey to Split, the next stop on this 10 day Croatia itinerary.
Getting from Dubrovnik to Split will take a little less than 3 hours if you take the toll freeway or about 3.5 hours taking the regular road.
I much preferred taking the toll road as it is quicker and super nice with great rest stops with facilities.
Walk Back In Time At Diocletian’s Palace
The best thing to see in Split? Hands down it would be Diocletian’s Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site!
Diocletian’s Palace is in Split Old Town and was built in the 4th century for the Roman emperor Diocletian. Situated right along Split’s waterfront promenade known as the Riva.
The sites you can visit within Diocletian’s Palace are both indoors and outdoors and are the main attraction in Split to see.
Top Roman ruins of marble and limestone and in pristine condition are the City Museum, Cathedral, Temple of Jupiter, Peristil, Bell Tower, Vestibule, and the Cellar.
Spend anywhere from 2 – 4 hours seeing everything within Diocletian’s Palace. If you have the time enjoy a gelato or espresso on the steps of the Peristil and people watch.
Stroll The “Riva” Promenade
On a nice day, going for a stroll along the promenade or “Riva” is one of the top things to do in Split.
If you feel up to it, keep walking north along the Riva and head up to Marjan Hill. At the top of Marjan Hill you will be rewarded with spectacular views of Split, its port, and the Adriatic Sea.
Lined with palm trees, restaurants, and boats docked, the Riva is the prettiest stretch to go for a walk. It is also a fantastic spot to watch the sunset with a meal and cocktails.
Read More: Best Things To Do In Split, Croatia
Where To Stay In Split
The best place to stay in Split is in the Old Town area, steps from all the main Split attractions, restaurants, and the marina.
Day 5: Klis Fortress & Krka Waterfalls From Split
Split is one of the best cities in Croatia as a base to branch off in each direction on a day trip. Centrally located on the coast, you can experience multiple days trips from Split.
Start the day venturing up to Klis Fortress perched high up on the rocky mountains above Split.
Just 20 minutes from Split old town you’ll get phenomenal views of Split, the Adriatic Sea, and surrounding valley from Klis.
Once a strategic medieval fortress, Klis is now a beautiful place to visit, learn about its history, and walk around.
Those that have seen Game of Thrones might recognize Klis Fortress as the setting for “Meereen” in the show.
A visit to Klis will take between 1 to 2 hours but most will find an hour enough. After leaving Klis Fortress, next up is the tranquil Krka National Park waterfalls.
Krka National Park Waterfalls
Krka Falls is a lush green paradise made up of Krka River and several waterfalls. Walk on boardwalks as you meander your way to the biggest waterfall, Skradinski Buk.
Enjoy a picnic and exploring the peaceful grounds of Krka National Park. Although you could spend a whole day here, 3 hours is a good amount of time to see all the highlights of the park.
And no need to bring your bathing suit as swimming is no longer allowed since 2021.
Read More: Visit The Best Day Trips From Split!
Croatian Wine Tasting At Zinfandel Bar
Once back in Split, relax after a long day of sightseeing with a great dinner and some wine tasting!
Even though Croatia doesn’t produce nearly as much wine as France, Italy, or Spain, they do make some fantastic wines.
Besides visiting one of the nearby wineries, Zinfandel Bar in old town is the best place to sample a selection of Croatian wines.
You’ll notice most of the grape varietals are local and not ones you might be as familiar with back home.
Plavac Mali is one of the most popular red wines whose parent grape is Crljenak Kastelanski. Crljenak is the same grape as Zinfandel hence a clue as to the name of the bar!
Find Out More: What To Do In Split, Croatia For Fun!
Day 6: Island Hopping from Split
You can easily spend an entire Croatia trip itinerary island hopping as there are hundreds of dreamy islands off the coast of Split.
The best way to get a taste of what the islands have to offer is to take a full day trip to see them.
Now this is going to be a VERY long day but trust me it is worth it! Tours usually range between 10 – 12 hours and visit 3 – 5 islands.
Each island is surrounded by the prettiest turquoise waters and idyllic beaches with their own unique character.
Top islands to visit:
Bisevo Island – Famous for the cool Blue Cave and can only be visited via a tour. Bisevo Island is uninhabited other than staff living here.
Hvar Island – One of the best islands if you want to spend the night as it has upscale accommodations, restaurants, and historic sites frequented by celebrities and well the rest of the world…
Brac Island – One of the biggest and most populated island near Split. You can stay overnight with several beautiful beaches, restaurants, bars, and shopping.
Paklinski Islands – 16 islands make up the Pakliniski Islands (Pakleni) and all are gorgeous. Clear water in shades of blue, sail boats, and white sand beaches can be found here. There are no places to stay, but Hvar is the closest island to finding a hotel.
Vis Island – Near Bisevo Island (Blue Cave), Vis Island is more remote with a sleepy village vibe. The towns of Vis and Komiza are the two areas where you can find restaurants and a small selection of lodging.
Korcula Island – A beautifully preserved old town with city walls referred to as the “smaller Dubrovnik”. Gorgeous beaches, a dense forest, and Croatian wine can be found on Korcula.
Day 7: Travel To Trogir Old Town
Today pack your bags and drive to Trogir from Split which is about 30 minutes north up the coast.
You’ll spend the night in Trogir but as your hotel room will likely not be ready, drop off your bags so you are free to explore this charming city!
Many don’t realize that Trogir old town is actually an island connected to the mainland by a small bridge. The island is completely walkable and primarily pedestrian-only, making it a fantastic town to explore on foot.
Start off your day with visiting St. Lawrence Cathedral and climbing the steps up to the bell tower. You’ll have excellent views of Trogir, the square below, and the dazzling Adriatic Sea.
After that, visit the town hall courtyard, the clock tower, and Museum of Sacred Art.
Trogir is one of those places where sitting at a café sipping an espresso or wandering down one of many cobblestone alleyways is a wonderful activity in itself.
Make your way over to the promenade lined with restaurants offering a front row seat to sail boats and yachts passing by.
As you continue down the promenade visit Kamerlengo Fortress. The real treat here is to climb up to the top for jaw-dropping views of the city and turquoise waters of the Adriatic Sea.
Where To Stay In Trogir Old Town
- Heritage Hotel Pasike
- Hotel Concordia
- Brown Beach House – directly across Trogir old town on Ciovo Island a few minutes away.
- Hotel Monika
Day 8: Old Town Of Zadar
Next stop on your Croatia 10 day itinerary is the old town of Zadar, rich in history and with some unique sights you don’t want to overlook.
You’ll spend the day in Zadar before heading on to the next destination so leave Trogir in the morning to maximize your time.
Unlike Trogir, Zadar old town is not an island but out on a peninsula surrounded by the sea on almost all sides.
Begin your visit in Zadar at Narodni Trg or the “People’s Square” which is the main square centered between cafes, the City Guard, City Loggia, and the Clock Tower.
Besides wandering down the quaint pedestrian-only alleyways, make your way over to San Simeon’s Church and Five Wells Square. This is a pretty and quiet little area to see.
You’ll notice numerous Roman ruins with the Roman Forum the center of it all. St. Donatus’ Church and the bell tower are the focus here and if you feel up to it, you can climb up the tower!
The highlight of visiting Zadar is the Sea Organ and the Sun Salutation next to each other on the seaside promenade.
The Sea Organ is something you hear versus see as organ-like sounds are emitted when waves crash up against the steps.
In contrast, the Sun Salutation is best seen when it is lit up at night, powered by solar panels. It’s still cool to see even during the day!
Read More: Best Things To Do In Zadar, Croatia!
After a long day in Zadar, hop back into your car and drive to your hotel next to Plitvice Lakes National Park.
Where To Stay Near Plitvice Lakes National Park
Staying overnight is key to getting to Plitvice Lakes right when it opens and before the crowds come.
All three of these hotels have an excellent location and lovely accommodations.
- Hotel Degenija – Has an incredible restaurant regardless if you stay here or not.
- Ethno House Plitvice
- Rustic Lodge Plitvice
If you won’t have a car and are coming by bus, stay at one of these hotels as they are inside the park and closest to the trails.
Day 9: Plitvice Lakes National Park
If I had to pick one place to visit in Croatia that is absolutely magical it would be Plitvice Lakes National Park.
Plitvice Lakes is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that has over 16 lakes, countless waterfalls with trails and boardwalks to roam.
Each waterfall and scene before you are breathtaking to see and a sight you don’t want to rush through.
Many only visit for a few hours on a day trip but spending a full day will allow enough time to see all the main areas of the park.
At midday there will be several bus tours swarming, so get there right when the park opens to explore the boardwalks before that happens!
There are seven different routes through Plitvice Lakes, but I would suggest touring the Lower Lakes first in the morning and the Upper Lakes after lunch.
This is one Croatia attraction you want to make sure your phone is charged and camera ready!
Day 10: End Your Croatia Itinerary And Fly Home From Zagreb
This is your last day as part of a 10 day Croatia itinerary and depending on what time you flight is you have a few options in the morning.
Flying back home out of Zagreb, the drive will take you between 2 and 2.5 hours to reach Zagreb International Airport (ZAG).
If you have a late flight, you can spend more time in Plitvice Lakes (get a 2-day ticket if so) or spend a few hours exploring the town of Zagreb.
Sometimes flights are more expensive when flying in and out of different airports. If that is the case, you can take a domestic flight back to Dubrovnik and catch your international flight home from there.
Best Way To Visit Croatia
The best way to get around Croatia is by renting a car. The two main ways to get from one point to another in Croatia is by car or bus.
There really is no train service or limited to a few areas so don’t assume train availability is like the rest of Europe.
At first, I was a little hesitant to drive in Croatia but found it shockingly easy with really nice roads that are better than most in the United States.
For a small fee, I highly recommend taking the toll roads as they are in excellent condition. Driving on the toll roads is effortless with convenient rest stops that have all the essentials you might need.
Another alternative to driving or taking a bus is to take a ferry. The towns that you can travel between by ferry are Dubrovnik, Split, and Trogir.
Keep in mind that traveling this way may take longer but it is possible during the warmer months between spring and fall.
Check the ferry schedule ahead of time to make sure you can take one the day you want.
10 Day Croatia Itinerary Map
Best Time To Visit Croatia
Situated in Southern Europe and bordering the Adriatic Sea, Croatia has fairly moderate weather year-round especially in the coastal region of the country.
This makes Croatia a great destination to visit any time of the year but for optimal weather and fewer crowds, visit in the spring and fall months.
Overall I find April, May, September, and October to have a great combination of good weather with fewer crowds.
No matter the time of year, temperatures will be warmer along the coast and the bottom half of Croatia.
So, Zagreb and Plitvice Lakes will see colder temperatures and some snow whereas Dubrovnik only rain in the winter.
Traveling To Croatia Tips
- The majority of locals speak English which makes it very helpful to engage with them.
- As of 2023, Croatia switched to using the Euro as their currency over the previous Kuna.
- Tips are not expected but if service is good at restaurants, cafes, and spas, tip 10% or round up your bill.
- Carry cash as many small vendors will take nothing else. ATMs will provide the best conversion rate.
- When using an ATM, make sure you decline the conversion when asked.
- Wi-Fi is widely available at hotels, restaurants, and bars for easy use.
- Visitors from the Americans can drive in Croatia with their U.S. driver’s license.
- Croatia is a very safe country but as always be smart and avoid carrying lots of valuables.
What To Pack For Croatia
- Stay hydrated while visiting with a filtered water bottle or a reusable water.
- Wear super comfortable walking shoes as you explore all day long!
- The sun can get hot and intense. Use reef-safe sunscreen to protect your skin.
- Don’t worry about your phone battery dying with this great portable power bank.
- Keep all your electronics charged with this international adapter.
- Have plenty of these handy travel wet wipes to clean your hands when on the go!
- Make sure to get travel insurance in case anything goes wrong and protect your trip investment!
- Don’t lose your sweater and use this travel clip to secure it to your backpack or purse.
- Since many beaches have rocky pebbles rather than sand, bring water booties or shoes.
- Bring a travel towel for days you want to explore the beaches and islands.
- Carry all your belongings in a dry bag when island hopping or visiting waterfalls.
FAQ About Visiting Croatia
Yes! Croatia is worth visiting as it is a beautiful country with the warmest locals, a scenic coastline, islands dotting the Adriatic Sea, waterfalls, Roman ruins, and delicious Croatian food.
That really depends on how much you want to see and the amount of days you can spend. To see all the top cities with a few day trips I would recommend nothing less than 10 days in Croatia.
If you want to add more day trips, then 14 days is ideal. If you are just focusing on Dubrovnik and Split, then 7 days would be enough.
The best time of year to visit Croatia is spring through fall but for optimal weather and fewer crowds, visit in April, May, September, and October.
That said, Croatia has a moderate climate and still quite nice year-round especially along the coast bordering the Adriatic Sea.
The best way to travel around Croatia is by car. The two main ways to get from one point to another in Croatia is by car or bus.
There really is no train service or limited so you don’t have train availability like the rest of Europe.
It is very easy to drive in Croatia with excellent road conditions better than most in the United States.
The majority of Croatians speak English especially under the age of 60 and even more so in the larger cities such as Dubrovnik and Split.
The two countries bordering Croatia that are very easy to get to are Bosnia & Herzegovina and Montenegro. Cities in both of these countries can be added on to your Croatia itinerary or as day trips from Dubrovnik and Split.
Before You Go…
If you have extra days to add on to your 2 weeks in Croatia, explore the top things to do and why you should visit the following nearby destinations!
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Get a no-obligation quote from two trusted travel insurance companies for peace of mind on your next trip! I have used both companies on numerous occasions and trust them for myself and my family.
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Vanessa Shields is the founder of Traveling Ness helping people with trip ideas, itineraries, travel planning, and boosting confidence for female travelers to take a solo trip. She has been a travel writer and content creator since 2019.