The best 14 days in Croatia itinerary: An Iconic Road Trip

With two weeks to spend in Croatia, a summer road trip is a great idea. The country is bathed in greenery and boats, world-famous waterfalls like Skradinski Buk in Krka National Park, iconic forts, scenic coastlines, beautiful coastal towns, and historic centers with charm everyone can appreciate. The roads are easy to navigate, Google Maps works well, plus Croatia is one of the safest countries for solo female travelers.

You can see the highlights of this mesmerizing country if you only have 7-days to spend in Croatia, but a 14-day itinerary will allow you to see the coast, explore the iconic Old Towns in Dubrovnik and Split, and travel inland to escape to some rural villages where peace and tranquility await.

There are a lot of different routes and itineraries that are possible with two weeks in Croatia. Croatia has a lot to offer and is a great country to explore for various activities and travel styles. Nature lovers, history buffs, sun-seekers, and foodies will enjoy spending time in Croatia.

View of Dubrovnik Old Town with boats docked in the harbor.
Dubrovnik Old Town Port

This two-week itinerary explores all the iconic areas, including Dubrovnik, Hvar, Brac, Split, Krka, and Plitvice Lakes National Parks. To get to the more rural areas, you will need a car, but the first week of this 14-day itinerary can be done with public transportation and ferries, although a car will be more convenient in most cases (parking can be challenging in the popular walking only Old Towns)

I’ve curated this two-week Croatia road trip from my own experiences and have included suggestions for fun day trips, where to stay, what to eat, and the best things to do at each stop. You will have just enough time in each location to see the highlights and top attractions with some optional rest and relaxation time built in. With more time, I suggest going further northwest to explore the Istria peninsula or the lesser-visited Kornati Islands.

Below is the overview of this 14-day Croatia itinerary

Dubrovnik (3N)-Split (3N)-Krka (2N)- Zadar (1N)- Plitvice (2N)- Zagreb (2N) (fly out on the 15th day)

I planned this route, assuming you will have a car the entire time. However, many of the Old Towns are foot traffic only, and sometimes parking can be costly and hard to find in some of the major touristy areas, so keep that in mind. I did this route with a car and did have to pay more for parking in some areas but thought it was worth it.

When is the best time to visit Croatia?

Although you can visit Croatia any time of year, this itinerary is best followed during late spring or summer when temperatures are warm, and there is little rain. This itinerary suggests some island hopping via the ferry system so if you visit outside of the tourist season make sure to plan the logistics first as some ferries do not run all year long.

The Dalmatian Coast experiences high season June-August, with July and August being a little busier. Temperatures will be in the 80s to 90s ℉ along the coast which is perfect for island hopping and taking a refreshing dip in the Adriatic Sea after strolling through the picturesque Old Towns. The interior of the country will be a bit cooler with lows in the 60s ℉ but still very pleasant during the days.

I experienced very hot and humid weather during my time in Croatia, especially along the Dalmatian Coast. I went in early June, and temps were in the 90s. Make sure to pack lightweight clothing and sun protection to help keep yourself comfortable.

Renting a car in Croatia

How much does it cost to rent a car in Croatia?

Costs heavily depend on the time of year (high season, June-early September is always more expensive), the size of the car, the location of pick up and drop off, and how far in advance you book. There are additional fees that may apply when renting a car such as one-way fees, insurance, GPS, fuel charges, transmission, and the age of the driver.

Try to rent the car as early as possible for the best rate and availability. In high season car rentals can be hard to come by. Many rental companies do not charge you until you pick up the car and offer free cancellations and changes up to a week or a few days before pick-up day. Always read the fine print and avoid renting a car with a company that charges additional fees after the fact. I usually rent with Avis. Although they are not always the cheapest company, they always give me the price upfront and never add on unexpected charges.

Are there gas stations and service stations readily available in Croatia?

Yes. They are not everywhere, but I never had an issue filling up when I needed to even on the inland routes of the country. I recommend never getting below 1/4 tank of gas if you can help it.

Do you need an International driver’s License to rent a car in Croatia?

You only need an International Driver’s license if your valid driver’s license from your home country is not written in Latin Letters (English uses the Latin alphabet).

What documents do you need to rent a car in Croatia?

You will need a valid driver’s license and a passport to rent a car in Croatia.

Additional fees to look out for when renting a car in Croatia

Age: You are allowed to rent a car if you are 18, but many rental companies charge a fee if you are under 22 or over 70.

Insurance: Daily rental car insurance can cost upwards of $60 USD a day. There are many kinds of insurance offered on rental cars, but many people receive free basic car insurance with a credit card if they book and pay with the credit card that offers that service. I rarely get any add-on insurance and luckily have never had an incident where I needed it, saving me a lot of money. Unless you plan to go off-roading the basic insurance should be good enough.

Fuel: Some rentals add on a fuel fee, so you do not have to fill up your car, sometimes it is beneficial, and other times you are paying more for them to fill up the car rather than you doing it yourself.

Transmission: Automatic transmission can cost double

One Way: +65 one-way fee sometimes it’s over $100.

GPS: Most in-car GPS rentals go for $20+ USD a day. Save your money and download offline Google maps instead

Aerial view of Hvar Town harbor with boats docked and stone buildings and orange roofs.
Hvar Town

Highlights to include on your Croatia Itinerary

Unesco World Heritage Sites in Croatia

If you are a history buff and love visiting World Heritage Sites, you’ll love Croatia as there are 10 heritage sites within the country and fifteen more on the ‘tentative’ list. This 14-day Croatia itinerary will take you through 9 of them, including a day trip to Trogir, walking the city walls in Dubrovnik, a full day in Plitvice Lakes National park, and even gives you extra time to explore a few more if you choose.

Currently registered sites on UNESCO World Heritage List

I included the name, location, and year it was listed.

  1. Plitvice Lakes National Park in Plitvička Jezera (1979)
  2. Historical Complex of Split with the Palace of Diocletian (1979)
  3. Old City of Dubrovnik (1979)
  4. Episcopal Complex of the Euphrasian Basilica in the Historic Centre of Poreč (1997)
  5. Historic City of Trogir (1997)
  6. Šibenik Cathedral of St James in (Šibenik, 2000)
  7. Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe (2007)
  8. Stari Grad Plain (Hvar, 2008)
  9. Stećci Medieval Tombstones Graveyards (Dubravka, 2016)
  10. Venetian Works of Defence between the 15th and 17th Centuries (Zadar, Šibenik, 2017)

Tentative sites for nominations to UNESCO World Heritage List (updated 2021)

*Sites can only be considered for UNESCO’s World Heritage List if they were first recorded on the tentative list.

  1. Zadar Episcopal Complex (Zadar, 2005)
  2. Historical Town of Mali Ston (Dubrovnik, 2005)
  3. Historical Town of Tvrđa (Osijek, 2005)
  4. The historical castle of Varaždin (Varaždin, 2005)
  5. Brug-Castle of Veliki Tabor (Krapina, 2005)
  6. Lonjsko Polje Nature Park (Sisak, 2005)
  7. Velebit Mountain (Lika, 2005)
  8. Diocletian’s Palace and the Historical Nucleus of Split (Split, 2005)
  9. Lubenice (Primorje, 2007)
  10. Primošten Vineyards (Šibenik, 2005)
  11. Hermitage Blaca (Split)
  12. City of Motovun (Istra Country, 2007)
  13. The historic town of Korcula (Dubrovnik, 2007)
  14. Kornati National Park and Telašćica Nature Park (Šibenik, 2007)
  15. The of the Roman Empire: The Danube Limes (along the Danube River, 2020)

I’ll admit some heritage sites are not as interesting as others (it helps if you have a guide and educate yourself about the location’s significance before going) but the World Heritage Sites on this 14-day itinerary are some of the best places you can visit in Croatia. Most of them are historical centers found in some of the most culturally rich neighborhoods I’ve ever explored. These excellent heritage sites along with some coastal towns, glimmering views of the Adriatic Sea, and full days spent along the Dalmatian Coast, make this Croatian itinerary sure to please.

Dalmatian Coast

You have probably already heard or at least seen in photos how spectacular Croatia’s southern coastline is. The Dalmatian Coast (yes, like the dog breed) is known for its rugged and dramatic cliffs and pebble beaches set against the clear blue Adriatic Sea. The coastline is dotted with miles of seaside towns (the most popular include Hvar, Split, Trogir, and Korčula), adventurous islands, secret caves, natural parks, wineries, and breathtaking scenery you won’t find anywhere else. It is no wonder why the Dalmatian Coast is the most touristed area in the region.

A big chunk of this 14-day Croatia itinerary will be spent immersing yourself in the wonders of the Dalmatian coast. You could easily spend two weeks exploring Croatia’s coast, but this itinerary will take you inland to see some of Croatia’s greatest natural wonders, including the towering waterfalls and turquoise lakes that make up Plitvice National Park.

Istria Peninsula

The Istria Peninsula is another gorgeous and diverse area to explore while in Croatia. Part of the Istria Peninsula belongs to Slovenia while the southern portion, near the head of the Adriatic Sea, is a part of Croatia. The peninsula has a dazzling coastal appeal with many popular pebble beaches and historic old towns. More inland, in the central region, you will find its wine region known for making high-quality red and white wines. The most popular white wine is known as Malvasia. The Istria Peninsula also has an intriguing culinary scene with an abundance of black and white truffles. Back on the shores is the coastal town of Pula which is bathed in Roman history. It is the site of the world’s only preserved four-walled Roman Amphitheater, built from 27 BC to 68 AD.

This 14-day itinerary does not include the Istria Peninsula but if you have more time to spend it is a great add-on from Zagreb (2.5 hours away by car), the last location this Croatia itinerary brings you to.

The Best Major Cities to Visit in Croatia

Although I prefer charming towns and quaint villages over major cities, three of Croatia’s top 10 most populated cities (Zagreb, Split, and Zadar), all made their way onto my two-week itinerary. All of these major cities have something unique to offer like the Klis Fortress in Split and the unique art installations on Zadar’s waterfront promenade.

Other major cities include Rijeka, Osijek, Slavonski Brod, and Pulaare but they are not the most popular to visit. The most popular towns for tourists include the coastal towns of Dubrovnik, Split, Trogir, and the islands of Hvar, Korcula, Mjet, and Brac.

The Best Coastal Towns to Visit in Croatia

One thing you’ll most definitely want to do with 14 days in Croatia is visit as many coastal towns as possible. If you only have 7 days in Croatia, a week sailing between the islands along the Dalmatian Coast may be the best way to spend it. On this itinerary, I made sure to include all of the major coastal towns (Dubrovnik, Šibenik, Split, and Zadar) and some of the Country’s best islands to help capture the most iconic parts of Croatia. Hvar, Brač, Mljet, and Korčula are some of the most popular coastal towns to visit, all having a unique attitude of their own.

Hvar Town is often called the jewel of the Adriatic Sea. It is the most expensive island off the southern Dalmatian coast, attracts a lot of yachties, and is known for its nightlife, swanky cocktail lounges, classy dining, and historic fortress perched high over the old town.

Brač Island is another gem in the Adriatic known for its olive oils and decorative white stone that has been used to build ancient palaces and is still used today. This island is best explored by car and has a fun mix of charming small towns, nightlife, and nature and takes on a more local vibe compared to Hvar Town.

Mljet is home to a National Park with miles of biking trails, a former Benedictine monastery, and two turquoise-blue saltwater lakes. It is a small island great for those who want to relax while overlooking the sea with little distractions and bike ride through the park.

Korčula is home to a prosperous wine region, has a thriving old town resembling that of Dubrovnik, and many beautiful beaches to enjoy views of the Adriatic.

With only two weeks in Croatia, you won’t have time to visit them all, but lucky for you, there is no wrong choice!

14 days in Croatia Day by Day Itinerary

You will need 13 nights to complete this itinerary as is, which makes it a 14-day itinerary, including travel days. This route has you flying into Dubrovnik and out of Zagreb. The drive from Dubrovnik to Zagreb is just over 6 hours, going direct but you will have lots of stops to make on this itinerary so plan around 11- 13 hours of driving over 425 -ish miles (depending on additional stops and routes you take.)

You honestly do not need a car to explore the main towns of Dubrovnik, Split, Zadar, and Zagreb because the Old Towns are walking only, but there are plenty of day trips and long distances between areas that are not serviced by public transportation, making renting a car the most practical and convenient option to experiencing everything this 14 day Croatia itinerary has to offer. Driving is the best way to see the country as many beautiful roads weave through the most picturesque scenery with small towns that may strike your fancy. Plus, with your own car, you are on your own time and can stop anywhere you please for as long as you please and don’t have to deal with the headache of public transportation.

Day 1 – Day 3 (3 nights) Dubrovnik

With three days in Dubrovnik, you will have enough time to see all the iconic landmarks, walk the city walls, stroll through the Old Town, and even take a day trip outside of the city.

Fly into Dubrovnik and pick up your rental car from the airport. Unlike in the US, most rental car centers abroad do not charge higher airport pickup/drop-off fees.

Spend your first day walking around Dubrovnik’s Old Town and seeing the sights. Taste delicious gelato at Peppino’s Gelato and go for a hike or take the cable car ride to the top of Mt. Srd for sunset. Enjoy a lovely meal at the Panorama Restaurant & Bar on top of the hill. The risotto was the best I had during my trip (reservations are recommended).

The most popular things to do in Dubrovnik:

Where to stay in Dubrovnik

There are many lodging options within Dubrovnik, from boutique hotels, private guest houses, hostels, and luxury resorts scattered around multiple neighborhoods. A quick google search will pull up hundreds of options with ratings and customer reviews. Make sure to book something with parking if you have a rental car to avoid the costly parking fees in the area.

Use this Dubrovnik parking guide to get a feel of parking options and fees in Dubrovnik. At certain times of the year, parking costs $10 an hour in prime locations near the center of Dubrovnik.

Some of the most popular neighborhoods include:

  • Ploče; for its luxury hotels and the popular Banje beach.
  • Pile; near one of the Old Town entrances and close to public transportation.
  • Old Town; for its charm and convenience to almost everything.
  • Babin Kuk; for its more relaxed and spread-out beach feel.
  • Lapad; for its greenery and residential feel.

I’ve stayed in the Old Town at a lovely Air B&B La Vita E Bella, which I loved, and to save money, in the Babin Kuk area at B&B Boutique Eluize Dubrovnik with free parking and breakfast. Both stays were great for different reasons, but I definitely prefer Old Town.

Day 2 Dubrovnik

You will have a full day to explore Dubrovnik, and I suggest getting an early start to avoid the crowds.

Head to the Old Town to walk the historic city walls as soon as they open (8 am or 9 am depending on the time of year). Tickets cost about $46 USD per adult, but I think the views were worth it. The walls get very packed, and there is no shade, so come prepared! There are cafes along the wall for breakfast and cold drinks.

After taking in more of the Old Town, head to one of the famous Croatia Beaches, such as Bellevue Beach or Copacabana Beach, to enjoy the breeze of the Adriatic Sea. If you are looking for more adventure, try a kayak tour to the Betina Cave reached by swimming or kayaking only.

A few hours on Lokrum Island is a good idea for anyone dying to sit on the Iron Throne (made famous by HBO’s hit series Game of Thrones). It only takes 10 mins to reach the island by ferry from Dubrovnik’s old port, and roundtrip tickets cost 27 USD. There wasn’t much to do on the island, but I enjoyed a delicious Moscow Mule at Lacroma Restaurant and enjoyed seeing views of Dubrovnik’s Old Town from the water.

Day 3 Dubrovnik

Day three of this two-week itinerary is perfect for a day trip. The best places to take a day trip from Dubrovnik include Cavtat, the Pelješac Peninsula, Korčula Town, The Bay of Kotor in Montenegro, and to Mostar (Stari Most) in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The most popular day trips from Dubrovnik:

  • Cavtat Town-A short 30 mins drive or an enjoyable ferry ride from the Old Port of Dubrovnik will lead you to the charming coastal town of Cavtat. Spending a half day to a full day here is a great way to escape the sometimes smoldering tourist crowds of Dubrovnik. It is a walkable town with some historical landmarks and great views of the bay from its seaside promenade.
  • Pelješac Peninsula– Only 45 mins from Dubrovnik, the Pelješac Peninsula is home to many fine vineyards, sandy and pebble beaches, stunning rocky coastlines, and has a laid-back, low-key feel.
  • Korčula Town– You’ll need a ferry to get to this favorite island dubbed “little Dubrovnik.” Visit this medieval town for its stone-lined streets and Old Town charm -it also has a thick forest perfect for nature lovers.
  • Mljet National Park-Great for bike lovers! Enjoy the best of the national park in a full day on bike (you can also bring a car via the car ferry). If you don’t ride bikes or want to bring your car- skip this one as there is no public transportation and not much else to do other than enjoy the park.
  • Elafiti islands– Join a day tour to explore the best of these underdeveloped gems lounging around in the Adriatic Sea.
  • The Bay of Kotor, Montenegro– This UNESCO World Heritage Site is just over an hour’s drive and you get to check another country off your bucket list. Like Dubrovnik (and many other towns in the area), it is known for its Old Town with walkable city walls and medieval structures.
  • The Kravica Waterfalls, Bosnia and Herzegovina– A solid day trip about 5 hours round trip from Dubrovnik
  • Mostar (Stari Most), Bosnia and Herzegovina– Another picture-perfect town with old-world charm. This is another full-day trip with 5 ish hours and 86 miles of driving, but it is one of the most beloved day trips from Dubrovnik. Make sure to visit the iconic Mostar Old Bridge. It is also a day trip option from Split.

The easiest way to check ferry routes for a day trip is to use Croatiaferries.com or FerryCroatia.com. Both are user-friendly and easier to use than the ferry company’s site. You can search for ferry routes all over Croatia and then visit the ferry site and book directly.

There are a lot of great options for day trips. You will have another day in Split, where you can opt to head to B&H as both Mostar and the Kravica Waterfalls make for a great full-day trip from Split as well.

Just a heads up crossing the border into Montenegro or Bosnia and Herzegovina could take up to 30 mins in high season, so plan accordingly.

Historical building in the Old Town square in Split, Croatia
Old Town Split

Day 4 Dubrovnik to Split (3 nights in Split)

Today you will make your way to Split. There are a few options for the 140-mile drive to Split from Dubrovnik, but the most scenic one is along the Adriatic Highway, also known as the D8 coastal drive.

A section of D8 will take you through the border of Bosnia & Herzegovina, which can sometimes add up to 30 mins or so to your drive in the high season. I recommend driving to the Pelješac Peninsula and using the Peljesac bridge to cross back to the mainland to Komarna in Croatia to avoid the border crossing. There are no tolls to cross the 1.5-mile bridge.

From Komarna, you can take the scenic route D8 to Split, hugging the Adriatic Sea along curvy roads with oceanfront vistas, however, in high season, this drive could take closer to 5 or 6 hours.

The most direct route from Dubrovnik to Split (which avoids a border crossing) is using the Peljesac bridge and following E65 to A1 into Split. This drive should take about 3 hours to complete.

Rather than basing yourself in Dubrovnik, you could island hop to Split using the passenger ferries and then rent a car from Split to continue exploring the inner areas of Croatia.

Where to Stay in Split

Similar to Dubrovnik, Spit has many accommodations suited for all budgets and several neighborhoods to choose from.

Some of the most popular neighborhoods include:

  • Old Town; in the center of everything.
  • Veli Varos, one of the oldest neighborhoods in Split, it has a more relaxed feel with a local vibe but is still close to Old Town and walkable to many historical landmarks.
  • Bacvice; is popular for its beach of the same name and nightlife. It is also great for those who need parking while only being a 10-15 min walk from Old Town.
  • Dobrić; is less swanky but an excellent neighborhood for travelers on a budget with better parking options than the main touristy areas

I stayed at Royal Suites Hotel and enjoyed the staff. The complimentary breakfast was very small but still appreciated. It is only a 15 mins walk into the old town and 5 mins to the main pier and city marina, but it does not have any parking on site. There is paid public parking nearby.

The Most Popular things to do in Split

  • Stroll through the alleys of Old Town, enjoying its enchanting landmarks, dining, and shopping.
  • Visit the Old Town’s historic center making sure to note the following:
    • Diocletian’s Palace: in 1979 it was approved as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
    • The historic square with many archways in the center of the Old Town, The Emperor’s Peristil
    • Saint Domnius Cathedral; you can climb the Bell Tower
  • Ivan Meštrović Gallery; Art museum dedicated to 20th-century sculptor
  • Go for a walk in Marjan Park for stunning views of the town below 
  • Day trip to many of the nearby islands. Check ferry routes here.
  • Visit the iconic Klis Fortress (15-20 minutes outside of town)
  • Enjoy the beaches; Trstenik Beach, Bačvice Beach, and Kaštelet Beach are a few popular ones for swimming and sunbathing

Day 5 Split

You made it to Split! You will have two full days in Split before driving to the next town of interest, so make sure to make the most out of every day. There are many great things to do in Split, but the most important (and popular) is a self-guided tour of the Old Town to enjoy what is left of its historic town center, which is over 1,700 years old.

Here are a few of my favorite restaurants I tried in Split. They were all recommended by a local I met working at my hotel, and they all delivered with ambiance, service, and taste!

  • Šug Restaurant- Modern, light-filled eatery with a traditional menu
  • Oakberry– Acai Bowls and fruit smoothies
  • Articok– Serving elevated Croatian dishes with a rooftop terrace
  • Luka Ice Cream & Cakes- the line was sooooo long every time I went. I never actually tried it
  • Sladoledarnica Emiliana– Ice Cream with unique flavors

Day 6 Split

Today is another full day to enjoy exploring the coastal town of Split, take a day trip to the Dalmatian islands, or drive into Bosnia and Herzegovina to see some more historical sites and get a taste of culture.

I definitely recommend visiting Klis Fortress; it is about a 15-20 mins drive outside of town. Klis Fortress makes for a great stop on your way to or from Split when you are already in your car if parking in town is challenging. The views of the ocean are stunning.

The Best Day trips from Split

  • Passenger or car ferry to the islands
    • Hvar- It is only an hour away to Hvar Town via passenger ferry, if you want to bring a car, look for a car ferry into Stari Grad or Sućuraj
    •  Brač- Only an hour away on the daily fast ferries. Car ferries take longer but run daily as well in high season to Supetar on Brač.
  • Take a boat tour to the Blue Cave.
  • Visit Bosnia and Herzegovina, the historic city of Mostar is 2 hours away one way

Check ferry routes using Croatiaferries.com or FerryCroatia.com to help you plan your route.

The coastal towns of Trogir, Sibenik, and Krka National Park (1.5 hours away one way) and Plitvice National Park (3 hours away one way) are usually suggested as day trips from Split, but this 14-day itinerary includes them as overnight stops.

I recommend taking day trips to the islands no more than two hours away and getting an early start to make the most out of your last full day in Split!

Skradinski Buk waterfall at Krka National Park
Skradinski Buk in Krka

Day 7 Split to Krka (2 nights in Krka)

The drive today is just over 1 hour, so you can choose to have a leisurely morning and request a late checkout or hit the road early to have time to make a few stops along your way to the Krka National Park area.

Optional stops to make from Split to Krka National Park area

  • Trogir– A historic coastal town along the Adriatic Coast, first settled by the Greeks around 300 BC. Its old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Center. Visit the Cathedral of St. Lawrence or dine in the many waterfront restaurants. Trogir is filled with cozy alleys, and boutique shopping and has a waterfront castle to tour for a fee.
  • Šibenik– another historic coastal town known as the gateway to the uninhabited Kornati Islands with two World Heritage Sites, including St. Nicholas’ Fortress and St. Jacob’s Cathedral.
  • Cetina River freshwater Spring (a.k.a. The Dragons Eye)- A freezing cold, clear blue swimming spot in rural Croatia in a pretty setting with a small church nearby.

Where to Stay in Krka

There are five entrances to Krka National Park, but the main entrances near Skradinski Buk and Roški Slap waterfall are the most popular.

You should stay in one of the below areas to be closest to a Krka entrance.

  • Lozovac– This town is rural, with few options for eating and sightseeing nearby, but it is the closest town to the most significant entrance into the park.
  • Skradin– A small town with a public beach and more options for dining and sightseeing. From here, take a 25 min boat ride into Krka National Park.
  • Roški slap waterfall / Laškovica– Another rural area closest to the Roški Slap waterfall entrance. You can not access the main Skradinski Buk waterfalls by car or foot from this entrance, but there are optional boat rides to explore further down the river’s canyon along with other hiking areas and a swimming area.

I stayed in Lozovac at Guesthouse Miranda. The host was very accommodating and sweet. Staying in Lozovac, a 5 minute drive from the main entrance to the park allowed me to be the first one into Krka the next morning. I highly recommend arriving as doors open to help avoid the thick crowds that show up by 10 am.

Day 8 Krka

Today you have a full day to enjoy Krka National Park. The park has many attractions aside from the main two waterfalls and boardwalks. However, you must use public transportation (buses or boats) that costs extra once inside the park to get to some more isolated areas. Adult day ticket prices to explore all land areas are 40 euros a day in high season.

I started my day at 8 am to explore the area around the most famous falls, Skradinski Buk, and then headed (by car, 40 mins) to the Roški slap waterfall area since this entrance is less busy. You could spend a few days exploring the park if you wanted to go hiking and visit all of the areas, but for 40 euros a day + the boat ride cost, I opted to stick to one day. I visited both waterfall areas and oped for a two-hour boat ride to the Serbian Monastery (which you can also drive to) and didn’t feel rushed.

You can learn more about the park and buy tickets online here.

Day 9 Zadar (Zadar 1 night)

If you want to see more of Krka National Park, skip Zadar and spend another night near Krka. You can drive to Plitvice Lakes National Park in about 1 hour and 45 mins from the Krka Lozovac entrance and even stop in Zadar along the way, it adds about 45 mins to the total drive.

Zadar was a last-minute add for me when I saw it was only an hour away from Krka, and I decided not to pay another entrance fee into Krka National Park.

Zadar is one of the oldest coastal cities in Croatia and hosts a potential UNESCO World Heritage Center. It has more of a modern feel and isn’t as charming as the other historic towns on this itinerary but it is a great stop if you want to visit a historic center with remnants of a roman forum or the oldest Benedictine monastery in Croatia, the Church of St. Krševan.

Zadar is also famous for having the world’s best sunset- according to Alfred Hitchcock; although I’ve seen better sunsets, the waterfront promenade (the best place for watching the sunset over the sea) is also unique for its two art installations, the sea organ and a solar energized, “Greeting to the Sun” illuminated tile display.

The Best Things to See and Do in Zadar

  • View the Chest of St. Simeon, a protected piece of art dating back to the 1370s located in the preserved Byzantine church of St Simeon.
  • Visit the Museum of Ancient Glass for Glass blowing demonstrations and the best ancient glass collection outside of Italy
  • The Permanent Exhibition of Religious Art in St. Mary’s Church
  • Archaeological Museum with artifacts dating back to the prehistoric era
  • Visit St. Anastasia’s Cathedral and climb the bell tower
  • Historic Landmarks:
    • Church of St. Donatus
    • The Land Gate
    • Roman Forum
    • The Five Wells Square
    • Narodni trg or the “People’s Square”

Where to Stay in Zadar

For one night, I recommend staying inside the Old Town for convenience to shops, restaurants, and the town square. The Old Town is another carless town, so parking can be tricky. Try to book your overnight with parking; there is paid public parking right outside the town gates as well.

I stayed at an Air B&B with one parking spot- it was a tight fit, but the host was very helpful, and the apartment was in a great location to walk around the town and enjoy some local culture. It was right next to the Eat Me Restaurant and Bar (which has yummy pizzas).

I also enjoyed an upscale meal at Restaurant Terracotta and lunch at Restoran Bruschetta; both were so delicious and served up some much-appreciated local charm.

Zadar historical square with remains of Roman Forum and clock tower.
Zadar Historical Square

Day 10 Zadar to Plitvice Lakes National Park (2 nights in Plitvice)

Today you will head towards Plitvice Lakes National Park in central Croatia. Plitvice Lakes is a stunning natural area with many tiers of cascading waterfalls and walking trails weaving over turquoise lakes. It was the first National Park in the world to be added to the UNESCO World Heritage site list. The enjoyable scenic drive is just under two hours from Zadar.

Plan to spend at least two nights in the area.

Where to Stay near Plitvice Lakes

I loved staying AT Fenomen Plitvice, a 4-star hotel inside the park. The property is surrounded in greenery with updated cozy cabins and all the comforts. There is an onsite restaurant serving traditional Croatian cuisine and a complimentary breakfast. It is also close to a side entrance of the park although it requires a 30 min walk and takes you to the center of the park, which is not the best area to enter for first-time visitors. Entrance 1 is the best entrance to use.

Day 11 Plitvice Lakes

If you have the time and budget, I would recommend spending two days in the park but starting both days when doors open (7am) so you can have the best parts to yourself, making the experience so much better. Start one day from Entrance 1 and the second day from Entrance 2, so you can visit the Upper Lakes and the Lower Lakes without the crowds.

I only spent one full day in the park, but there is enough to see to stretch your visit into two days so you are not rushed. Tickets are 40 euros a day for adults or 60 euros for a two-day pass. Just like Krka National Park, Plitvice gets very crowded. I explored as much as possible in one day and got through the main areas, the Upper Lakes and the Lower Lakes. However, by midday, the crowds were so thick I couldn’t even stop on the boardwalks to enjoy the waterfall views.

Aerial View of a boardwalk through turquoise lakes in Plitvice National Park
Plitvice National Park

Day 12 Plitvice Lakes to Zagreb (2 nights in Zagreb)

Wake up and enjoy a slow morning or opt to head back to the National Park before your two-hour drive to Croatia’s capital city, Zagreb.

The charming waterfall village of Rastoke, just outside of Slunj, is a great stop on your way to Zagreb. You could spend an entire day enjoying the pay-to-play Rastoke Village Experience or walk around the park and boardwalk overlooks for free and grab a bit to eat in the village.

Where to stay in Zagreb

Zagreb is another city with challenging parking. Paid public parking garages and street parking are available but choosing a hotel with secure parking may be your best bet.

Since you only have a day to enjoy this colorful city choose a location that is walkable to the sights you would like to see. If it is your first time visiting Zagreb, consider staying near the main square, Ban Jelacic, where many attractions are within walking distance.

Some of the best areas to stay in Zagreb:

  • Upper Town (Gornji Grad)-Historic area best for sightseeing with winding streets and a chill vibe
  • Lower Town (Donji Grad)– Considered the modern area of the city with restaurants, nightlife and brand hotels, only 30 minutes from the airport.
  • Kaptol– Great area to stay on a budget
  • Maksimir– Upscale neighborhood with fine dining, larger shopping malls and a sports stadium. Further away from the historic center but great for a less touristy vibe.
  • Novi Zagreb– Residential neighborhood with a good local vibe, street food and flea markets

Day 13 Zagreb

Zagreb is often overlooked by the more famous coastal cities of Croatia, but as a cultural hub and exciting city full of historic landmarks, eye-popping architecture, and stunning scenic views- it should not be missed!

Depending on when you fly out, this may be your only full day in Zagreb, so make sure to make the most of it, as there is plenty to do to spend a few days in this city.

Your best bet is to start in the city’s center square and enjoy the sites from there.

 The Best Things to see and do in Zagreb:

  • Tkalčićeva Street, in the main part of the city, is lively with cafes, boutiques, and plenty of restaurants.
  • Take a walk through the pedestrian tunnel, Grič Tunnel, built during WW II located under the neighborhood of Grič. It now serves as a cultural center with informational displays and objects from years past.
  • Stand in aww surrounded by the stunning architecture of Gothic-style Zagreb Cathedral, the 2nd tallest building in Croatia
  • Enjoy Dolac Market for all kinds of fresh foods near Zagreb’s Cathedral
  • Listen for the canyon at the 13th Century Lotrščak Tower
  • View the preserved painting of the Mother of God in the shrine of the Virgin Mary in the Stone Gate, the only remaining historic gate into town.
  • Enjoy a romantic walk and sweeping views of Lower Town along the Strossmayer Promenade. 
  • The Museum of Broken Relationships is a unique place to go to view a collection of personal objects from failed relationships with descriptions of what the objects stand for.
  • For a small fee, take a tour of the unique 13th-century St. Mark’s Church, known for its colorful roof and as a city symbol.
  • Have a relaxing stroll through the Zagreb Botanical Garden in the heart of a city
  • Head to the Zagreb 360 Observation deck for stunning views over the main city
Stone buildings and road way in Rastoke waterfall town in Croatia

Day 14 Depart from Zagreb

It is your last day in Croatia- I am sure you will be sad to leave, just like I was. I wish I had more time in this enchanting country, as there is so much more to explore. Hopefully, you will have some time in the morning to enjoy some last-minute sightseeing or views over the city. Make sure to give yourself enough time to get to the airport, return your car, and get through security.

***

I hope you enjoyed this 14-day Croatia Itinerary and didn’t find it too rushed. As you can see, there is so much to see and do in Croatia that 14 days barely takes you through it all. If you have more time to spend in Croatia or on a second trip, consider spending more time island hopping through the Dalmatian islands or spend some time on the Istra Peninsula and visit the Pula Arena, the best preserved Roman amphitheater in the world (it still has all four sides).

Hi, I'm Sam

After a lay off from the corporate fashion world I decided to SEE the world. Sharing all my bucket list experiences to help spark your wanderlust and inspire your next adventure!

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