From the capital in the north to the city of Dubrovnik in the south, Croatia is a wonderful country for a road trip! There’s a lot to see and do in Croatia. From National Parks to the turquoise blue Dalmatian coast, Croatia is a must visit country if you like nature and beautiful sites. This Croatia road trip takes you from the north of the country to the south and is a good sampler of what the country has to offer. Keep reading for a full itinerary for 8 days in Croatia.
Table of Contents
- Important Notes on this itinerary
- Day 1 – Zagreb (Night in Zagreb)
- Day 2- Plitvice Lakes National Park (Night in Split)
- Day 3 – Blue Caves and Island Excursion (From Split/ Night in Split)
- Day 4 – Krka National Park (From Split/Night in Split)
- Day 6 – Split (Night in Split)
- Day 7 – Dubrovnik (Night in Dubrovnik)
- Day 8 – Dubrovnik (Night in Dubrovnik)
- Day 9 (Leave Croatia)
- Driving in Croatia
Important Notes on this itinerary
- This itinerary is best done driving. If you don’t like to or cannot drive then you can still travel around Croatia via public transportation. You will have to spend a little more time if you go this route. You can also fly from Dubrovnik to Zagreb at the end of the trip.
- I have detailed, individual posts on most of the days on this 8 days in Croatia itinerary. I will link each one below each day. These posts cover more details on what to see and do, has more attractions listed out, includes where to eat and has loads of recommendations, tips and travel guides. Definitely check them out for more information!
- Also included below is a link to a post about driving in the Balkans which will give you all the information you need about hiring a car
- If you plan on extending this trip to neighboring countries, it provides information on crossing boarders and documents needed to cross
- You can do days 3-6 of this 8 days in Croatia itinerary in any order as your base will be Split for all 4 days
- Croatia is best visited outside of the peak summer months. The shoulder months of spring and fall are a great time to visit for fewer crowds, better accommodation options and empty attractions
Day 1 – Zagreb (Night in Zagreb)
This 8 days in Croatia itinerary starts in Zagreb. One full day with an overnight stay was more than enough time for me to explore Zagreb. You could stay for longer but I think 2 days is probably the maximum I would spend here.
Sites Not to Miss in Zagreb
- Tkalčićeva Street
- Upper town (Gornji Grad)
- St. Mark’s Church
- Cathedral of the Assumption
- Ban Josip Jelačić Square
Try to find an accommodation spot that is close to the main attractions and can be walked to.
Day 2- Plitvice Lakes National Park (Night in Split)
Started early on day 2 of this Croatia road trip and drive south to Plitvice Lakes National Park. This National Park is one of Croatia’s most visited and you should buy tickets in advance to optimize your time here. Plitvice is huge and there are so many hiking trails and paths you can take. My best advice is to go with a plan and try to stick to it. You need about 4-6 hours to see Plitvice’s best highlights. I came back from my time in Plitvice and put together a detailed plan on how to see the the best of the National Park. See below for this post.
After visiting Plitvice, I drove south to Split.
Day 3 – Blue Caves and Island Excursion (From Split/ Night in Split)
On day 3 of this Croatia road trip, I booked a full day excursion to see the Blue Caves and a few islands around Split. Unfortunately I didn’t get to see the Blue Caves as the wind was bad. Nevertheless, the tour operator still took us to 5 other places instead. Namely Pakleni islands, Hvar, Blue Lagoon, Milna and Maslinica.
The day was fun even without the Blue Caves. Below is the tour that I did. This tour has the highest rating on Getyourguide.
Day 4 – Krka National Park (From Split/Night in Split)
On day 4 of this 8 days in Croatia road trip itinerary, I visited Krka National Park. I started the day with a visit to Krka early morning. I went straight to the Lozovac entrance and after parking in the big car park, bought my ticket and took the bus straight down to the boardwalk. Expect to spend about 2 hours at Krka if you are only going to visit the waterfall. However, you can spend more time in Krka seeing some of the other attractions in the National Park and later visiting the wineries nearby.
Start your day early and get to Krka as soon as they open. It gets very crowded at the waterfalls as the day progresses.
Day 5 – Hvar (Night in Split)
Hop on a ferry to Hvar from Split for a day trip to this Croatian island. You could stay the night over without returning back to Split too if you desire.
Sites Not to Miss/Things to do in Hvar
- Visit the Fort
- Visit St. Stephen’s Cathedral
- Wander through the streets
- Relax on a beach
- Walk Around St. Stephen’s Square
- People watch at the harbor
I recommend buying your ferry tickets in advance or at least the day before like I did.
Day 6 – Split (Night in Split)
Today, I toured around Split, enjoying all the sites and history of the city. Split was probably one of my favorite relatively big cities visited on this trip. I spent most of the day in Split and after lunch took a short drive to visit Klis Fortress (skippable if you don’t have a car)
After coming back to Split, I enjoyed a couple of cocktails on the Riva before grabbing dinner.
Sites Not to Miss in Split
- Diocletian’s Palace
- Cathedral of St. Domnius
- Bell tower of St. Domnius Cathedral
- Marjan Peninsular
- Walk along the Riva
Day 7 – Dubrovnik (Night in Dubrovnik)
Is there a more popular city in Croatia than Dubrovnik? Especially after the HBO hit series the Game of Thrones. Dubrovnik was a lot more compact that I thought it would be and can be easily seen in 2 days. Don’t underestimate the crowds in Dubrovnik though. It’s a cruise port and get’s crowded mid-morning to evening. Start our day early to beat the crowds!
The walls are probably the biggest attraction in Dubrovnik and is an absolute must do to walk them!
Sites Not to Miss in Dubrovnik (Includes day 8 as well)
- Walk the walls
- Walk Along the Stradun
- Wander Through the Old Town
- Relax at Banje Beach
- Visit Game of Throne sites if you’re a fan
- Visit Fort Lovrijenac
- See Dubrovnik from Mount Srd
- Go to D’Vino wine bar
I have a detailed post on how to spend 2 days in Dubrovnik with things to do and see listed for each day.
Day 8 – Dubrovnik (Night in Dubrovnik)
Today I visited places listed on day 2 of my 2 days in Dubrovnik itinerary.
Day 9 (Leave Croatia)
End your Croatia road trip on day 9. You could fly back home from Dubrovnik, drive back to Zagreb and fly out from there or journey onwards to another Balkan country. You certainly don’t have to drive back to Zagreb. I went back to return my rental car. It was cheaper to rent and return from the same place.
Driving in Croatia
Driving in Croatia is relatively easy. However, there are lots of toll roads and the tolls can add up. The highways are worth it though and pretty empty.
With More Time
If you have more time, consider side stepping to one or more of the neibouring countries to Croatia like Bosnia, Montenegro or Slovenia.
See below for posts on these countries.
You can do a road trip through these countries or side step as day trips through organized tours.
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