The Best 10 Day Croatia Itinerary

If you’ve been dreaming about the fascinating emerald and turquoise-colored waters of Croatia, then you’ve landed on the right page. This is the finest 10 Day Croatia Itinerary that covers all the best places of the beautiful country.  

10 Day Croatia Itinerary

Croatia’s coastline along the Adriatic Sea is famous for its crystal-clear waters, picturesque islands, and beautiful beaches that make it one of the best travel destinations in the world. Croatia also has a rich history that dates back thousands of years. It has many ancient Roman ruins, medieval towns, and UNESCO World Heritage sites that are wonderful places to visit.

Our goal at Wander Smartly is to make your travels smarter and help you have the best experience on your trips. From my own experience of visiting Croatia after putting in hours of research on the best places to visit, I share the ultimate 10 Day Croatia Itinerary there can be. Here’s an account of all the places to see, sights that mustn’t be missed and points to keep in mind when planning a visit to Croatia.

Best Time to Travel:

The best time to visit Croatia is during the shoulder seasons of May-June and September-October when the weather is pleasant and crowds are fewer. July and August are the peak tourist seasons in Croatia when the weather is hot and sunny, queues are longer and prices are higher.

10 Day Croatia Itinerary

This 10 Day Croatia Itinerary can be done on its own or starting with 4 more days in Slovenia (highly recommended) making it a wholesome 14-day trip to the Balkans – countries in South-East Europe that were formed with the disintegration of Yugoslavia. Either way, we begin with exploring the Northern part of Croatia and move southwards, covering the best places in the country as well as exploring two more countries – Bosnia & Herzegovina and Montenegro – using Dubrovnik in South Croatia as our base.

Day 1: Arrive at Zagreb

Zagreb is the capital and largest city of Croatia, located in the north-western part of the country. Zagreb will be your base to cover the gorgeous and jaw dropping Plitvice Lakes National Park the next day. Zagreb has a good network of international flights so you can plan to land directly at Zagreb or drive down from Ljubljana if you’re covering Slovenia as well (which you must).

Canopy by Hilton Zagreb City Centre is an excellent place to stay which has a lively atmosphere, modern amenities and is known for its superb location.

Plan to arrive only late evening as we will reserve our time in Croatia to see only the best places. If you yet get some time after you arrive and check-in, you can explore the main sights of the city on foot – Cathedral of Zagreb, Museum of Broken Relationships and the Lotrscak Tower.

Day 2:  Explore Plitvice Lakes National Park

Plitvice Lakes National Park is known for its stunning lakes, waterfalls, and lush forests, which are all interconnected by a series of walking trails and wooden footbridges. The sixteen interconnected lakes are a striking turquoise color, and the waterfalls range from small cascades to the impressive 78-meter-high Veliki Slap Waterfall.

Plitvice Lakes National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site and has been protected since 1949. The park’s unique karst landscape, characterized by limestone formations, contributes to the formation of the park’s lakes, waterfalls, and underground rivers.

Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

This place is among the most picturesque locations I have seen in the world and a heaven for nature lovers. The beauty of the natural turquoise color of the lakes is unmatched and a treat for both the eyes and the soul.

Book a day tour to explore this scenic landscape of Croatia. The tour includes a pick and drop from/to your hotel in Zagreb. Walk through the pristine lake of Plitvice and explore the largest lake on a boat cruise. This is going to be, without a doubt, a surreal experience for you.

If you are keen to drive to Plitvice and explore the Park and the surrounding areas on your own, that too would be a good choice. You can rent a car for the day and reach Plitvice within two hours. Book the admission ticket to the park in advance and explore the place at your own pace as you lose yourself in the beauty of the lakes. I recommend taking a short trek in the Slunj area upon return from the lakes to get more views of the waterfalls running right by houses. Stop by at one of the caffe-bars for a beer or a coffee.

View from the Slunj Area on way back from Plitvice

Day 3: Explore Split and Take a Ferry Ride to Hvar

Depart for the city of Split in the morning. It takes about 4 to 5 hours to reach Split from Zagreb by road and taking a bus is the best way to travel. Try and take the earliest bus you can so you get to explore the town of Split for a few hours before you take a ferry for the Island of Hvar from Split in the evening.

Split is a city located on the eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea in Croatia, and is the second-largest city in the country after Zagreb. It is famous for its stunning historical landmarks and vibrant cultural scene. If you take a bus in the morning from Zagreb you should reach Split by early afternoon leaving you 5 to 6 hours to comfortably explore the city.

For your day in Split, you must explore Diocletian’s Palace. This is an impressive Roman ruin and a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is a must-visit destination for anyone visiting the city of Split. Visit the Peristyle Square in the heart of the palace which was once the main square where the emperor would address the people. Today, it is a bustling pedestrian square with cafes, shops, and street performers.

Go to the Cathedral of St. Domnius located within the palace complex which was originally built as a mausoleum for the emperor Diocletian. It is one of the oldest Catholic cathedrals in the world and features beautiful Romanesque architecture. Walk along the city walls that are an impressive example of ancient Roman engineering and offer stunning views of the city and the sea. The Palace Cellars are located beneath the palace which were used for storage during Roman times. Today, they are home to several art exhibitions and concerts.

Next, check out the cobblestoned streets of the old town outside the palace and stroll across the Riva Promenade.

Split, Croatia
Split, Croatia

In the evening, take a 50-minute ferry to the island of Hvar in Croatia. There are ferry rides plying throughout the day and the last ferry departs at 7:15 pm from Split. Book your ferry tickets in advance.

Day 4: Explore the Marvelous Blue Caves

The island of Hvar is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Croatia, with crystal-clear waters and stunning views of the surrounding islands. Hvar is famous for its lavender fields, which bloom in the summer and fill the air with a delightful fragrance. Hvar is known for its excellent wine and cuisine with many local restaurants offering delicious seafood, grilled meats, and traditional Dalmatian dishes. The town of Hvar also boasts of a vibrant nightlife scene with its bars, clubs, and music festivals. I especially loved walking along the old streets of the island which were quintessential of an ancient civilization in Croatia.

Hvar
Hvar, Croatia

Enjoy your stay at the Amfora Hvar Grand Beach Resort in the town of Hvar. After a couple of days of travelling that you’ve done so far, sit back and enjoy the heavenly views from the resort.

Your first day in Hvar should be spent by taking a speedboat tour to Vis Island and Blue Cave. This was the highest point of my trip to Croatia. The Blue Cave in the Adriatic Sea is a sea cave known for its natural glowing blue light visible only during select parts of the day. An aquamarine glow emanates from sunlight entering through the ceiling and reflecting on the cave floor.

Blue Cave, Croatia
Blue Cave, Croatia

The rest of the day continues to be fabulous, as you check out the Green Cave, Stiniva Beach and Pakleni Islands. Carry your swimsuit as you can enjoy swimming and snorkeling in the ocean. This promises to be a fun, thrilling beach day on the Adriatic Sea that is waiting to awe you with its breath-taking beauty.

Vis Island, Croatia
Vis Island, Croatia

Day 5: Explore Hvar Island and Depart for Dubrovnik

Hvar has an amazing coastline but there is so much more to this island that you will discover today. Start your day with a 3-Hour Lavender Tour where you enjoy a colorful and aromatic walk through the fields of lavender and gaze at the splendid views of the ocean. This tour starts at 11 in the morning.

The Lavender Fields of Hvar
The Lavender Fields of Hvar

Grab lunch at any of the restaurants along the promenade. In the afternoon, take a private walking tour of the old town. This is a 1.5-hour tour starting every half hour till 5 pm which takes you on a walk through the charming cobblestoned streets of the old town of Hvar and the ancient fortifications and cathedrals. Exploring the old town is a must-do experience on your trip to Hvar.

Old Town, Hvar

In the evening you depart for the majestic city of Dubrovnik. The most efficient way to travel from Hvar to Dubrovnik is by taking a 3.5-hour ferry ride. Choose the one departing at around 6 pm so you can enjoy the sunset on the ocean.

In case there is no ferry available in the evening, you can take a ferry back to Split in the evening and take a bus from Split to Dubrovnik next day in the morning. It is imperative to stay 2 days in Hvar as the Blue Cave tour is conditional to good weather conditions and in case the tour gets cancelled on the first day you have a buffer of another day to take the tour.

Day 6: Explore the Old Town of Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik is located on the southern coast of Croatia and is known for its stunning historical landmarks and beautiful beaches. The Old Town of Dubrovnik is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the best-preserved medieval cities in Europe. The city walls, fortifications, and architecture are stunning examples of Gothic and Renaissance styles. Dubrovnik served as a filming location for the popular TV show Game of Thrones, and many of the show’s iconic scenes were shot in the city.

Staying in the old town in Dubrovnik is imperative to the quality of your experience as most major attractions of the city will be within a short walking distance for you. Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik is the best hotel in the old town that promises a lavish experience.

However, since Dubrovnik will be your base for the rest of the trip, Apartment and Rooms Stay is a good alternative if you wish for something easy on the pocket. This is also located in the old town.

Note that cars aren’t permitted in the old town so you will need to carry your luggage along the walk to your apartment.

Begin your first day in Dubrovnik by exploring the Old Town & City Walls on a guided tour. Learn all about the history of Dubrovnik as you explore the most prominent landmarks of the old town. Enjoy spectaculars view of the ocean from the top of the city walls.

View from the City Walls, Dubrovnik

Your stay in Dubrovnik is incomplete without taking a cruise on a 16th Century wooden boat. Take a sunset cruise in the evening and relax after all the walking you did. Watch the sun set on the Adriatic Sea as you sip a glass of wine.

Day 7: Enjoy the Game of Thrones Tour in Dubrovnik

Today will be a fun filled day as you explore all the spots in Dubrovnik which served as filming locales on the Game of Thrones show. Relive the show on this 3-hour guided tour that takes you along the place of Battle of Blackwater, the Red Keep, the Walk of Shame alleys, the amphitheater where Oberyn and the Mountain fought, and many more. As an ardent fan of the show, I thoroughly enjoyed this experience and vicariously explored King’s Landing as a Lannister.

Grab lunch after the 3-hour tour. Dubrovnik has many great restaurants to eat at but my favorite was the Gradska Kavana Arsenal Restaurant which offers a majestic view of the ocean along with great food. This is a must-visit place at least once during your stay in Dubrovnik.

In the evening, experience Dubrovnik through a different lens on a sea kayaking tour. Book the option starting at 5:45 pm to experience yet another sunset on the ocean, this time as you kayak on the blue waters of the Adriatic Sea. You have the option of swimming and snorkelling as well, with wetsuits being provided. You also spend time at a beach that is accessible only through the sea.

Day 8: Visit the Country of Bosnia & Herzegovina

Bosnia & Herzegovina is a beautiful and unique country located in the Balkans region of Europe, bordering Croatia. It is known for its stunning natural beauty, rich history, and diverse culture.

Today, visit the two most splendid places in the country of Bosnia & Herzegovina – Kravice Waterfalls and The Mostar Brudge – on a day tour from Dubrovnik. The same Schengen Visa can be used for your visit. Remember to carry your passport before you leave the hotel for the day.

The Kravice Waterfalls is a natural wonder made up of a series of cascading waterfalls that span a width of 120 meters and drop from a height of 25 meters into a natural pool below. Its crystal-clear waters add to its scenic landscape. You can also enjoy a swim here during summer and fall seasons. This place is a ‘must-visit’ for all nature-buffs.

Kravice Waterfalls, Bosnia & Herzegovina
Kravice Waterfalls, Bosnia & Herzegovina

The Mostar Bridge is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the city of Mostar in Bosnia & Herzegovina. The bridge was originally built by the Ottomans in the 16th century and is considered one of the finest examples of Islamic architecture in the Balkans. The bridge holds significant historical importance as it was reconstructed after it was destroyed in war and symbolizes the country’s resilience.

The beautiful Neretva River flows under the bridge with its emerald green waters. Grab lunch at the Urban Grill to enjoy a great view of the bridge and take time to click some great pictures. Another striking feature of the bridge is that there are professional divers waiting on the bridge who will jump off into the river for a price!

Return to your hotel in Dubrovnik in the evening.

Day 9: Visit the Country of Montenegro

Montenegro (meaning Black Mountain) is among the youngest countries in the world formed in 2006. Yet to gain popularity as a tourist destination, it is a small country packed with loads of natural beauty. The serene landscapes of ancient cities, calm bays and rugged mountains are sure to mesmerize you. Remember to carry your passport with you.

You will spend the day today exploring the best places in Montenegro by taking a day tour from Dubrovnik. Explore the old towns of Kotor, Perast and Budva. When in Kotor take a ferry ride on the Kotor Bay for some amazing views. Budva is known for an ancient town and sandy beaches. This was an exceptionally unique place where you step out into the sand directly from the cobblestoned streets. Upon your return to Dubrovnik the same day, make sure to stop at places to click great pictures of the serene Kotor Bay.

View of the serene Kotor Bay, Montenegro
View of the serene Kotor Bay, Montenegro

I was already blown away by the unique landscapes of Croatia and visiting two additional countries of Bosnia & Herzegovina as well as Montenegro was the icing on the cake of my Balkan Holiday. These places aren’t very commercial but the beauty is raw and pristine and likely to leave a lasting impression upon you even after your return. Note that mobile connectivity is sketchy in both these countries so don’t worry if you don’t get cell-phone coverage on both these days.

Day 10: Depart Back Home

Today is the day your trip to Croatia comes to an end as you take a flight back home from Dubrovnik.

Local Food

Croatia is known for its delicious cuisine that combines Mediterranean and Central European flavors. This is a heaven for seafood lovers as you can devour rich dishes made with squid, octopus and cuttlefish. Make sure you try the Cevapi – small grilled sausages made with minced beef and lamb, served with traditional Balkan flatbread and often accompanied by ajvar (a spicy red pepper spread) and kajmak (a creamy cheese spread). Also try the Burek – a savory pastry filled with meat, cheese, or vegetables, often served as a breakfast food or a snack. I tried the lavender flavored ice-cream in Hvar and quite liked it!

Local Transportation

Cities in Croatia are best explored on foot and hence it is important to stay in the old parts of the towns, especially Dubrovnik. Buses and ferry rides are best to commute within cities. You can also rent a car and drive along the roads of Croatia. For transport to airports or hotels, Ubers are easily available in the major cities of Zagreb, Dubrovnik and Split.

Currency

The currency in Croatia is the Euro, effective January 2023, replacing the Croatian Kuna.

Visa

You need a Schengen Visa to enter Croatia and a passport valid for at least three more months beyond your departure date that is issued within the last 10 years. You may need additional documents along with your visa, best to check the guidelines in your country.

Language

Although the official language in Croatia is Croatian, English is widely spoken here so you should not have any trouble communicating.

Mobile Network Operators

T-Com, A1 and Tele2You are the three mobile phone networks in Croatia. Connecting to any of the three should not be a problem. You could consider buying a local sim card if that works out cheaper than international roaming with your service provider.

Travel Adaptor

Plug types C and F work in Croatia. Plug type C has two round pins and plug type F has two round pins with two earth clips on the side. Croatia operates on a 230V supply voltage and 50Hz. It is best to carry a universal travel adaptor to avoid any hassles or confusion.

Its natural palate of turquoise and emerald makes Croatia an exquisite location and one of the best travel destinations in the world. Book your flights in advance to avail better rates.

Visit our destinations page for more such detailed travel guides on countries worth visiting. Combine the 10 Day Croatia Itinerary with 4 Days in Slovenia to enjoy the best experience in the Balkans region of Europe.

FAQs:

How many days is sufficient to visit Croatia?

10 days is perfect to see all the best places in Croatia.

What is the best itinerary for 10 days in Croatia?

Day 1 – Arrive at Zagreb
Day 2 – Explore Plitvice Lakes National Park
Day 3 – Explore the town of Split
Day 4 – Tour the Blue Caves from Hvar Island
Day 5 – Explore the island of Hvar
Day 6 – Visit the Old Town of Dubrovnik
Day 7 – Take the Game of Thrones Tour
Day 8 – Visit Kravice Waterfalls and Mostar Bridge
Day 9 – Explore the mountains of Montenegro
Day 10 – Depart back home

Which are the best places to see in Croatia?

Plitvice Lakes, Split, Hvar, Blue Caves, Dubrovnik, Kravice Waterfalls, Mostar Bridge, Kotor Bay and Budva are the best places to visit from Croatia.

Is it safe to travel to Croatia?

Croatia is a tourist-friendly country and it is absolutely safe to travel.

Photo of author

AUTHOR

Shreya Kejriwal is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief at WanderSmartly.com. She is an avid traveler and her passion has led her to vividly explore the world while maintaining a regular life and career.

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