Day 1: Arrival in Dubrovnik
Start your epic road trip around Croatia in beautiful Dubrovnik! As Dubrovnik is a port city, many large tour groups arrive off the cruise ships, so we recommend starting your day early to enjoy quieter streets.
Head first to the ancient city walls, which is the best viewpoint in Dubrovnik to overlook the turquoise Adriatic Sea and the terracotta roofs of the medieval city. Not far away is the beautiful Onofrio Fountain, the hidden Franciscan monastery, the elegant clock tower, and the Rector’s Palace. Game of Thrones fans, in particular, won’t want to miss the Rector’s Palace: the unique location for the Spice King’s Mansion!
Tip: For the most spectacular sunset views on your 10 days in Croatia, head to West Harbor at dusk. Enjoy a drink or two at one of the many lovely beach bars — our favorite was Beach Bar Dodo.
Where to Stay in Dubrovnik
There is plenty of choice for accommodation in Dubrovnik. For a more authentic experience, stay inside the city walls close to all the main sites (we stayed at this hotel in the old town).
Please note that in this part of town, accommodation is generally not accessible by car. If you are traveling by car, we recommend staying on the outskirts of town where there are more parking options. Plus, accommodation is cheaper further out, too!
Day 2: Day at Banje Beach and Kayak Tour
After a busy first day, step away from the city and enjoy the delights of the popular Banje Beach. This beautiful beach is very popular and is easy to get to as it is located directly in front of the Ploce Gate, just a 10-minute walk from the Old Town. Enjoy the fantastic views of both the city and the crystal clear sea; it’s the perfect start to your 10-day Croatia itinerary.
If you want a unique perspective of the city, then try seeing it from a kayak! You can book a private tour and see Dubrovnik’s landmarks from the water. The knowledgeable local guides can tell you all about the famous history and legends while you gently paddle along the water’s edge.
Tip: Bring water shoes, as most beaches in Croatia are pebble stones instead of sand. They’re also useful for protection against sea urchins.
Day 3: Travel to Hvar
Discover the spectacular island of Hvar, one of the highlights of any Croatia 10-day itinerary! After your ferry trip, explore the upmarket town of Hvar (the epicenter of the island) by meandering through the gardens and then up to the Spanish Fortress for panoramic views.
During the evening, Hvar town really comes to life. During this time, the terraces become full of party-goers ready to enjoy the famous nightlife. Although it’s known for being a more luxurious destination than others on the island, it’s still possible to find bars and clubs on a budget.
How to Get to Hvar from Dubrovnik
There are plenty of passenger ferries from Dubrovnik to Hvar, which take 4 hours and cost around 45 EUR (depending on the season). It is best to book your tickets online in advance as it can get busy in the summer months.
If you are driving, there are no direct car ferries between Dubrovnik and Hvar. Instead, enjoy a drive along the coast, across the Peljesac Bridge, and along to Drvenik. From there, it is possible to cross by car ferry to Sucuraj at Hvar Island.
Where to Stay in Hvar
We recommend staying in Hvar Town during your 10 days in Croatia, with its lively atmosphere and range of accommodation and restaurant options. Because of the luxurious nature of Hvar Town, it can be quite expensive, especially in the busier high season.
For a quieter option, base yourself in Stari Grad, which is also a great place to begin exploring the rest of the island.
Tip: All the boat tours start from Hvar Town, and the passenger ferries arrive here too. Please note that the car ferries arrive on the other side of the island.
Day 4 – Explore Hvar Island
From olive groves to vineyards, fragrant lavender fields, and picturesque villages, there is much to choose from around Hvar island. You can explore it all on a road trip loop that starts in Malo Grablje and stops in Milna, Plaža Dubovica, Stari Grad, Stari Grad Plains, Vrboska, Beach Vitarnja, Jelsa, and Brusje.
A great start is a visit to Stari Grad, the second biggest town on the island and the oldest town in Croatia. This beautiful town has the same stunning architecture as Hvar Town, but it is much quieter and has a great choice of restaurants.
Stari Grad Plain
Close to the town, you can visit the Stari Grad Plain: a stunning landscape created from ancient stone walls used to divide the plains. Most impressive of all, this structure has remained intact since the 4th century BC!
For a unique way to visit the plains, consider renting a bike or joining a bike tour to see the best of the beautiful scenery.
One of the highlights of any Hvar is taking an island hopping boat tour. You will visit stunning secluded beaches and be able to swim and snorkel in the crystal blue waters of the Budikovac Lagoon, Blue Cave, Pakleni Islands, Vis Island, and Stiniva Beach.
If you opt for the tour we did, you’ll be treated to fun 80s music or maybe even a turn driving the boat for yourself! End this perfect day on your 10-day Croatia itinerary with a stunning sunset as you return to Hvar Town.
Day 6: Travel to Split
Welcome to Split: one of the warmest and friendliest communities in Croatia, despite being the 2nd largest city in the country! It is packed with things to do, whether you want to leisurely stroll around the ancient buildings, art galleries, and boutiques or delve into the culinary scene at one of the many fantastic bars and restaurants.
How to get to Split from Hvar
There are plenty of ferries from Hvar Old Town to Split Port, with tickets costing 25-50 EUR for an hour’s trip (depending on the season). If you are driving, there is a car ferry from Stari Grad, which takes 2 hours.
Tip: It’s best to book ferries ahead during the busy summer season.
Where to Stay in Split
For first-time visitors, we recommend staying in the Old Town around the Diocletian’s Palace. This beautiful area is home to some of the most fantastic buildings in the city. Plus, it is close to all the best things to do in Split!
Day 7: Day Trip from Split
There are many options for extraordinary day trips from Split, but two equally fantastic options are:
Krka National Park is a stunning natural world with an abundance of flora and fauna. Listen to the relaxing sounds of birdsong and rushing waterfalls while you meander through the park, walking on wooden boards that hover above the water’s edge.
All the trails and routes will lead you to a series of powerful waterfalls, including the famous Skradinski Buk Falls and Roski Slap. As you walk, look out for the vibrant fish swimming upstream and listen for the sounds of birds and frogs hiding among the trees and undergrowth — an unforgettable memory on your 10-day Croatia itinerary.
Another great alternative day trip is to visit Trogir, nicknamed the “Little Venice” of Croatia, because of its maze of narrow streets. This fascinating island is connected to Split by two bridges. In no time, you will find yourself in an ancient world of Romanesque and Renaissance architecture.
Combine this visit to Trogir with a few hours at the imposing Klis Fortress, which straddles a mammoth ridge in the valley outside Split. This remarkable Fortress was well known for its military position and importance. However, these days, it is most recognizable as the setting for many scenes in Game of Thrones!
Nearby is the stunning family-owned estate Stella Croatica, home to beautiful gardens, an olive oil museum, and a traditional tavern.
Day 8 – Travel to Plitvice Lakes (Via Rastoke)
On your way to Plitvice, take a few hours and explore Rastoke, also known as ‘the Small Lakes of Plitvice’. This beautiful natural phenomenon is characterized by the merging of the little River Slunjcica and the River Korana, culminating in 23 waterfalls and numerous rapids.
The town of Slunj emerged around Rastoke, and the many watermills contributed to the economic development of Slunj. Spend a relaxing evening here with a delicious dinner, a perfect way to finish off day 8 of your 10 days in Croatia!
How to Get to Plitvice Lakes from Split
If you are traveling by car, the journey takes around 2.5 hours. Otherwise, take the bus, which departs from Split main bus terminal and has a journey time of 3.5 hours. Tickets for the bus cost approximately 23 EUR. Book your bus tickets to Plitvice here.
If you don’t have your own transportation, you can book a guided tour of Plitvice Lakes (including a stop at Rastoke).
Where to Stay in Plitvice Lakes
If you are on a guided day tour, there is always the option to return to Split at the end of the day. However, if you want to absorb the wonderful atmosphere of the park in the evening, spend the night and head back in the morning.
Once inside the park, there are many different activities on offer for visitors. Most choose to explore the park via the beautiful wooden walkways that weave through the wilderness, allowing you to get up close and personal with countless plant and animal species.
Alternatively, if you’d rather be on the water itself, you can rent a small rowing boat on Kozjak Lake (13 EUR per hour) and spend the afternoon taking in nature from a different perspective.
Please note: No swimming is allowed at Plitvice in order to protect the fragile environment from further human impact. This decision was taken mainly to preserve the stunning azure waters.
Day 10: Travel to Zadar
Spend the morning traveling to Zadar and then spend a relaxed afternoon exploring Croatia’s oldest city. Nestled on Croatia’s Dalmatian coast, Zadar is known for the Roman and Venetian ruins of its Old Town. However, the real drawcard is the world-famous Sea Organ, a unique blend of architecture and music that produces sounds from the waves and tides — magical!
From new to old, spend your afternoon at the Renaissance Five Wells Square, which is encircled by the western Medieval wall and the Captain’s Tower. This public square is anchored by five ornate 16th-century stone wells and is overlooked by medieval city walls.
Finish your 10 days in Croatia with a taste of this beautiful country and relax at one of the many excellent restaurants in Zadar’s Old Town.
How to Get from Plitvice Lakes to Zadar
There is a good bus service from Plitvice Lakes to Zadar, which takes between 2 and 3 hours, depending on the bus route (approximately 13 EUR).
If you are traveling by car, the shortest route takes 1 hour and 50 minutes.
Where to Stay in Zadar
For your first visit to Zadar, we recommend staying in Zadar Old Town, with many options, from luxury hotels to budget apartments and hostels.
Tip: Expect to pay around 25 EUR for a budget hostel and 120 EUR for a luxury room, although prices are affected according to the season.
Flying out of Zadar
There are direct flights from Zadar to other major European cities. To get to the airport, take the regular bus services from Zadar Old Bus Terminal (tickets cost around 3.50 EUR). Alternatively, an Uber ride to the airport will cost around 10 EUR.
How to Visit Croatia in 10 days
Your 10-day itinerary in Croatia starts in Dubrovnik and ends in Zadar, both of which have airports.
By Car: For the best road trip experience, you can rent a car from one airport and drop it off at the other. However, please note that this is a more expensive option than dropping it at the same airport you collected it from.
Getting Around Croatia
For the ultimate freedom, we recommend renting a car to complete your 10-day Croatia itinerary. This gives you the flexibility to follow a Croatia itinerary in your own time, stopping off at secret spots along the way.
Tip: The roads are good in Croatia, but the traffic can build up in some towns in the summer, and car access is limited in the older parts of cities.
If you’re not renting a car on your 10-day Croatia itinerary, there are many other great transport options in Croatia. Although the train network is limited, there are plenty of interconnected buses (and ferries) between the main towns/destinations.
Tip: There are many more connections in the summer months, so bear this in mind if you travel outside the high season. Book your transport tickets in advance online.
Our Favorite Accommodation for a 10-day Croatia Itinerary
Depending on your budget, there are many options for accommodation in Croatia, from exclusive hotels and seaside apartments to lively hostels or even camping. Here are our favorites.
- Dubrovnik: Villa Filaus, Guest House 44, Liberty Rooms
- Hvar: Apartments and Rooms Bonkan Hvar, Apartments Haracic, Novak Guesthouse
- Stari Grad: Heritage Villa, Town House Rosario, Apartments Vukovic
- Split: Makarun Heritage Rooms, Apartment Marija, Villa Galla
- Plitvice Lakes: Pansion Danica, Etno Garden, Villa Sumrak
- Zadar: Dezign Apartments, Mrak Exclusive, Angie Central Rooms
How Much Does 10 Days in Croatia Cost?
Croatia has become more expensive and popular in recent years, but there are always ways to cut costs on your trip. For example, you can buy local food from the supermarkets and make picnics for lunch, or if you stay in self-catering accommodation, you can cook up some feasts with food from the local market!
Tip: One way of keeping your costs lower is to travel outside of peak season (June, July, August) and stay in the smaller towns and cities.
Best Time to Visit Croatia
The months of May and June (the best time for the lavender fields!) and September and October are great months to visit this beautiful country. The tour operators and hotels are open, the weather is cooler, and the crowds are manageable in popular cities.
If you are visiting Croatia for the National Parks, we advise you to visit in the Spring. The lakes and waterfalls are at their fullest at this time, and there are fewer visitors. If you are after a party scene, you might prefer to visit in July when nightlife destinations like Hvar, Dubrovnik, and Split are at their peak!
Is it Safe in Croatia?
Street crimes such as pickpocketing are uncommon in Croatia, but like anywhere, there is always a small risk of crime, particularly at popular tourist spots. Take extra care if you are exploring alone or after dark, and always keep your valuables secure.