Ultimate Croatia Itinerary (7 Days)
With so much to see and do in beautiful Croatia, you could easily stay for weeks, especially if you want to make the most of the beautiful beaches, islands, and national parks. That being said, seven days is still a good amount of time to see some of the country’s highlights. Follow this 7-day itinerary for Croatia to see a good mix of historical sights, natural spots, and must-see cities.
Day 1: Arrival in Dubrovnik
Start your memorable journey in the medieval city of Dubrovnik on Croatia’s southern coastline. Set your alarm early so you can explore the famous ancient walls surrounding the city, taking yourself on a historical self-guided tour before the big tour groups arrive. The early alarm is worth it for the fantastic views of the picturesque town and the turquoise waters of the Adriatic sea — a great beginning to your 7 days in Croatia!
Next up, head to the beautiful Onofrio Fountain, the hidden Franciscan monastery, the elegant clock tower, and Rector’s palace. Take a rest after your morning of sightseeing, watch the world go by, and enjoy a delicious lunch on one of the lovely outdoor terraces.
At dusk, head to West Harbor for a stunning sunset and spectacular views before enjoying a drink at any of the many lovely beach bars. Beach Bar Dodo was our favorite!
Where to Stay in Dubrovnik
There is plenty of choice for accommodation in Dubrovnik, Croatia. If you are after a more authentic experience, stay inside the city walls close to all the main sights. We stayed at this hotel in the old town.
Please note that the accommodation in this part of town is generally smaller, more expensive, and not accessible by car. If you’re traveling by car, we recommend staying on the outskirts of town, where you’ll find more parking options.
Day 2: Travel to Split via Klis Fortress or Nugal Beach
On the way to Split, stop at the incredible Klis Fortress or Nugal Beach. The Fortress, set in the mountains, was once an ancient defensive point with stunning panoramic views over the countryside, Split, and the Adriatic Sea. These days, it’s better known as one of the settings for Game of Thrones in Croatia!
Nearby is the stunning family-owned estate Stella Croatica, home to beautiful gardens, an olive oil museum, and a traditional tavern.
For an off-the-beaten-track experience in your 7 days in Croatia, you might prefer to stop off at the secluded Nugal Beach, which is about an hour from Split. Cool down in the clear turquoise water and marvel at the high cliffs and lush green forests that shadow the shores. This is the exact location. To get to this beach, you must walk for about 30 minutes, as the beach is only accessible on foot.
How to get to Split from Dubrovnik
The total journey time from Dubrovnik to Split is about 3 hours if you choose to drive. You can rent a car or take the bus.
Tip: If you arrive in Split in the early evening, we recommend spending the rest of the night strolling around the car-free old town. Explore the ancient streets and courtyards, and enjoy the social atmosphere on the waterfront promenade by having drinks on one of the outdoor terraces.
Day 3: Split (Stunning city on your 7-day Croatia itinerary)
On day 3 of your Croatia itinerary (7 days), discover fascinating Split: the second-largest city in Croatia! Start your day by immersing yourself in buzzing Split local life at the traditional Pazar Farmer’s Market. Here, you’ll be able to watch locals shopping and negotiating and have the opportunity to try some local delicacies.
Once your belly is full, move on to the Diocletian’s Palace and Cellars. This incredible historical building sits at the heart of Split and was the setting for many famous Game of Thrones scenes.
Tip: Unusually, for such a large city, Split is just a stone’s throw away from a beautiful natural forest park. This means you can hike from the city itself directly into the luscious greenery of Marjan Hill, where you’ll find spectacular views of the city and sea. If you love a sunrise, this is the place!
Where to Stay in Split
For first-time visitors, we recommend you stay 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, is close to all the best things to do in Split!
Day 4: Krka or Plitvice Day Trip
After city hopping through Croatia, spend day 4 of your 7 days in Croatia immersed in one of these idyllic natural paradises!
Just a 1.5-hour drive from Split is the peaceful Krka National Park famed for its beautiful waterfalls, including the popular Skradinski Buk. Visit on a day trip to discover the fantastic hiking trails and peaceful surrounding nature. There’s even an island to explore just off the shores of the roaring waterfalls and rivers.
Tip: To explore Krka National Park, park your car in one of the main parking areas. From here, you can use the shuttle bus to take you to the start of the trails. Alternatively, for more ease, join a guided tour. These usually include a boat trip to the island or one of the nearby towns.
Plitvice Lakes National Park (Best of your 7-day Croatia itinerary)
An alternative (and our personal favorite!) is the oldest and largest national park in Croatia: Plitvice Lakes. Although it’s a little further away from Split, it’s well worth it to discover the 16 turquoise blue lakes — fringed by green forest and plummeting waterfalls. You have the opportunity to see nature up close as you walk along the many boardwalks and hiking trails of this stunning UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Note: You are not allowed to swim at Plitvice Lakes (or Krka National Park) in order to protect nature. Read more about being a sustainable traveler.
How to get to Krka and Plitvice
To get to the national parks on your 7-day Croatia itinerary, we recommend renting a car. It’s a 1.5-hour drive to Krka National Park or a 2.5-hour drive to Plitvice (from Split). You can also reach the parks by bus, but it will take much longer.
If you choose to visit on a guided tour, you will return to Split at the end of the day. However, if you want to absorb the wonderful atmosphere of the parks in the evening, spend the night and drive back in the morning.
Tip: We recommend you buy entrance tickets for both national parks online beforehand (boat ride included).
Take the day gently exploring the town of Hvar, meandering through the gardens and up to the Spanish Fortress for beautiful panoramic views, and stopping for coffee or gelato nearby. In the evening, discover the famous Hvar nightlife, with many great bars and clubs. The atmosphere of this luxurious town is infectious, so it’s a must-see on your 7 days in Croatia.
How to get to Hvar from Split
There are plenty of ferries from Split Port to Hvar old town, with tickets costing 25-50 EUR for an hour’s trip (depending on the season). It’s best to book your tickets online before as it can get busy, especially in the summer.
Tip: If you are driving, there is a car ferry to Stari Grad, which takes 2 hours.
Where to Stay in Hvar
We’d recommend staying in Hvar Town, with its lively atmosphere and range of accommodation and restaurant options. All the boat tours start from Hvar Town, and the passenger ferries arrive here, too. Please note that the car ferry arrives on the other side of the island.
The downside to staying in Hvar Town is that it’s quite expensive in the high season and also busy in the evening when everyone gets dressed up to visit restaurants and bars.
Alternatively, base yourself in the quieter Stari Grad, the second biggest town on the island, and another great jumping-off point to explore the rest of the island.
Day 6: Explore Hvar Island
There is a lot to see on the island, so spend day 6 of your Croatia itinerary exploring all its secret corners. We think it’s best to have your own car or motorbike to explore all the hidden gems. However, there are buses between the main towns if you are unable to drive.
We recommend an epic Hvar Island loop, starting in Malo Grablje and stopping in Milna, Plaža Dubovica, Stari Grad, Stari Grad Plains, Vrboska, Beach Vitarnja, Jelsa, and Brusje. This loop covers all the highlights, including the lavender fields (June is the best month to see them), gorgeous swimming spots, and charming towns. There’s even a ghost town to explore!
Connected to the mainland and Ciovo Island by bridges, discover one of the prettiest towns in Croatia, home to charming streets, squares, and a waterfront promenade — which can all be explored in just an hour or two.
Tip: Trogir is located close to the airport, so it’s a great alternative to staying in Split, particularly if you’re looking for something quieter. In fact, this UNESCO town is car-free, making it even more tranquil!
How to Visit Croatia in 7 Days
Getting to Croatia
Your 7-day itinerary in Croatia starts in Dubrovnik and ends in Split, which both have international airports. You can rent a car from one airport and drop it off at the other. However, this is a more expensive option than dropping it at the same airport you collected from.
By Train: Many trains arrive in Croatia from other European cities, including overnight options.
Getting Around Croatia
Getting around Croatia is easy, with many great public transport options. Although the train network is limited, there are plenty of interconnected buses (and ferries) between the main towns/destinations. There are many more connections during the summer months, so bear this in mind if you are traveling outside of the high season.
However, for the ultimate freedom, we recommend renting a car to complete your 7-day Croatia itinerary. Please note that the roads are good in Croatia. However, traffic can be an issue around some towns in the summer, and car access is limited in many older parts of the cities.
Our Favorite Accommodations for a 7-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. Below are our favorites:
- Dubrovnik: Villa Filaus, Guest House 44, Liberty Rooms
- Krka National Park: Hotel Bonaca, Studio Apartment Skradin, Illyria Skradin
- Plitvice Lakes: Pansion Danica, Etno Garden, Villa Sumrak
- 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
- Trogir: Narancin, Villa Apartments Art, Trogir Apartments & Rooms
How Much Does 7 Days in Croatia Cost?
Once known as a budget-friendly destination, Croatia has got more expensive with its popularity in recent years. However, there are always ways to cut costs on your trip, such as buying local food from the markets or staying in self-catering accommodation. Additionally, your costs will be lower if you stay in smaller cities and towns and travel outside of the peak months.
Best Time to Visit Croatia
The months of May and June and September and October are generally the best times 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, then our advice is to visit in the Spring. During this time, the lakes and waterfalls are at their fullest, and there are fewer visitors. If it is the party scene you are after, you might prefer to travel in July when the nightlife in destinations like Hvar, Brac, Dubrovnik, and Split is at its best.
Is it Safe in Croatia?
The crime rate in Croatia is low, and walking around during the day or night feels safe. However, if you are traveling solo, it’s always a good idea at night to stick to populated areas where you won’t be alone. Despite being a safe country, it is essential to always keep your valuables secure and exercise caution in busy areas where pickpockets may operate.