Looking for a comprehensive itinerary for 7 days in Croatia?
Then you’ve come to the right place!
In this guide, I’ll take you through the perfect itinerary for 7 days in Croatia, including the best hotels and activities. And in case you want to stay a bit longer in Croatia, we have a special 10 days add-on at the end.
Why should you trust me?
I’m an independent solo female traveler who, to date, has spent almost a month traveling Croatia.
I love learning all about Croatia’s extensive history, hiking on its islands, photographing its waterfalls, exploring its picturesque cities, and indulging in a party every now and then.
Seriously, no matter your speed, there are so many things to do in Croatia.
And I want to help you explore the best of Croatia!
So this article will help you:
- plan the absolute best Croatia itinerary possible
- figure out the best time to visit Croatia
- learn some tricks for how to get around the country
- and answer all your pressing FAQs about Croatia travel!
Let’s get started:
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What is the Best Time of Year to Visit Croatia?
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Undoubtedly, the best time to tour Croatia is during a shoulder season.
In the summer, Croatia gets swarmed with tourists – so much so that accommodation prices spike, tours sell out, and some attractions max out their visitor allowance.
Meanwhile, in the winter, Croatia tourism slows down to the point that many tours don’t even operate.
For these reasons, I recommend planning your trip for May, June, September, or October.
Personally, I planned my Croatia tour in June and found it to be a perfect time. The days were warm, the sites weren’t crowded, accommodation was ample and reasonable, and I got to see all the highlights.
What You Need to Know About Getting Around Croatia
Driving in Croatia
Croatia is an easy country in which to drive, and I highly recommend this method if freedom and traveling on your own schedule are important to you.
To rent a car in Croatia, Discover Car Hire is a trusted go-to that will help you sort out your best options and insurance.
Or, if you want to rent an RV or Van for your Croatia week, then Motor Home Republic is the easiest way to go.
Pro tip: keep in mind that a lot of cars in Croatia have manual transmissions. If you don’t know how to drive a stick, then make sure you specify this with your car rental company when booking.
Taking buses in Croatia
If renting a car isn’t so much your speed, then there’s always the bus!
The bus system around Croatia is extensive and easy to maneuver. There are buses that go from all the major cities and sites, and they keep a predictable schedule.
In my experience, the buses are always clean and the bus drivers will be more than willing to help you out if you have any questions or concerns.
Ferry travel in Croatia
If you plan on visiting any Croatian islands, then you’re going to need to take a ferry.
Thankfully, ferry travel in Croatia is just as easy as any of the other transportation options, and you’ll have no hiccups booking yourself (or your car) a spot aboard.
Just keep in mind that not every Croatian island is outfitted for vehicles, so make sure to research this before you try to bring your rental car to such an island.
And, if you can, book in advance!
An Itinerary for 7 Days in Croatia
While it’s not a lot of time to cover such an intriguing and beautiful country, 7 days in Croatia will be a great taster, and you’ll get a great overview in that time.
Keep in mind that while I’ve planned this Croatia itinerary from south to north, you can easily do it in reverse if that better suits your schedule.
Days 1 & 2 – Dubrovnik
The so-called ‘pearl of the Adriatic’, Dubrovnik is the perfect place to start your Croatia itinerary.
Located on the Dalmatian coast, Dubrovnik is famed for its city walls, picture-perfect views of the Adriatic sea, awe-inspiring old town, and history around every corner.
I recommend arriving in Dubrovnik as early as you can on day one so you’ll have two full days of exploration.
At the same time, while it’s worth seeing, Dubrovnik has become a poster child for over-tourism partially due to cruises, and partially due to the fact that, quite frankly, it’s gorgeous.
In fact, it’s estimated that Dubrovnik received 1 million visitors in 2019.
Pro tip: To beat the Dubrovnik crowds (as I mentioned above) the best things you can do is plan your trip in the offseason and try to visit around the schedules of the cruise ships.
These are some of the best things to do in Dubrovnik:
Dubrovnik Activity #1 – Walk the Old City Walls
The most famous activity in Croatia’s most famous town, you’d think that walking the Old Town walls in Dubrovnik would be touristy and gimmicky – but you’d be wrong.
Dubrovnik’s city walls are 2 kilometers long, have 17 towers, and enclose the entire Old Town.
Walking them will give you unreal views and a great overview of what the city of Dubrovnik, and its history, is all about.
Dubrovnik Activity #2 – Visit Lokrum Island
An island near Dubrovnik that’s part Monastery and part nature reserve, Lokrum is perfect for either a full day trip or an afternoon getaway.
Expect hiking, kayaking, boat tours, and wildlife watching.
This Lokrum tour from Dubrovnik will take you out to the island in a sea kayak and guide you towards some great snorkeling spots.
Dubrovnik Activity #3 – Explore the Old Town
I’m going to level with you, Dubrovnik’s Old Town is my favorite in all of Croatia (or, at least on par with the one in Split, but we’ll get to that later) and is a must for your Croatia Itinerary.
Made up of beautiful stone walls, churches, medieval streets, and birds swooping overhead, Dubrovnik’s Old Town will be sure you enchant you.
Here, walk the main street of Stradun, check out Rector’s Palace, and go on the lookout for a weird stone face protruding from the wall – the Maskeron.
Dubrovnik Activity #4 – Take a Cable Car Ride
Dubrovnik’s cable car goes 778m up Mount Srd, and will give you some truly incredible views of the town, harbor, and Adriatic Sea.
The cable car ride can be a little disorienting if you’re afraid of heights, but rest assured you’ll be perfectly safe.
While you can easily take the cable car independently, if you want a more luxurious experience then this Dubrovnik cable car tour will take you there in an air-conditioned vehicle and show you around some of Dubrovnik’s hotspots in the process.
Dubrovnik Activity #5 – Go Kayaking
To see Dubrovnik from a different point of view, sign up for a sea kayaking tour.
You’ll be able to find all kinds of tours, but this half-day sea kayaking tour comes highly rated and takes you through Betina Cave.
Dubrovnik Activity #6 – Take a Game of Thrones Tour
Any die-hard Game of Thrones fans in the house?
If your answer is yes, then you know Dubrovnik was a filming location for the show.
This Dubrovnik Game of Thrones tour will give you behind the scenes quips from the show, show you all the Dubrovnik hotspots, and even take you on a cruise.
Dubrovnik Activity # 7 – Water Sports
If you’re looking to get out on the water while in Dubrovnik, then look for one of the companies waiting to take you jet-skiing, scuba diving, and even parasailing.
In the summertime, this part of Croatia gets HOT, so cooling off with some water sports is a great itinerary addition to stay cool and active.
Where to Stay in Dubrovnik, Croatia
Pro tip: If you’d like to save money on accommodation while in Croatia, then check out popular (and safe) house sitting site TrustedHouseSitters.
Days 3 & 4 – Hvar Island
Now that we’ve cased Dubrovnik, we’re off to Hvar!
While it has a reputation as a party destination, there is so much more to the island of Hvar than first meets the eye.
With the town of the same name as the main port, Hvar Island is home to great beaches, cute old towns, great hikes, watersports and, yes, parties galore.
But, while the town of Hvar is definitely worth a visit, I’d urge you to get out beyond the old city walls and explore.
Once you do, you’ll find less hustle and bustle and serene towns, friendly locals, and absolutely stunning nature.
That said, taxi’s on the island can be ridiculously expensive. For this reason, if you want to do any exploring on the island, I recommend you rent your own wheels.
These are some of the best things to do on Hvar Island:
Hvar Activity #1 – Hit the Beach
If the beach is calling your name, then why not add one of the best in the world to your Croatia Itinerary?
Hvar is home to some world-class beaches, the most famous being Malo Zarace Beach, Dubovica Beach, and Pokonji Dol.
So, slather on the sunscreen and head on down!
Hvar Activity #2 – Explore the Lavender Fields
Did you know that Croatia is home to a flourishing lavender industry?
It’s true, and touring the fields near Hvar is a must for your Croatia Itinerary.
For the best experience, this Hvar lavender farm tour is a hiking adventure that will take you through lavender fields, quaint villages, and show you the islands most scenic viewpoints.
Hvar Activity #3 – Climb up to Spanjola Fortress
A focal point of Hvar Town, the Spanjola Fortress was built in the 13th century as a way for the town to protect itself from attacks. Today, the fortress is home to a museum and has breathtaking views.
Just keep in mind that the walk to the fortress is uphill all the way.
Hvar Activity #4 – Visit Stari Grad
During my time on Hvar, I stayed in the town of Starigrad and absolutely loved it.
While not super close to Hvar Town, the road between the towns is beautiful, and I felt right at home walking the medieval streets and chatting with the locals.
Hvar Activity #5 – Visit Hvar Cathedral
Located in St. Stephens Square, Hvar Cathedral is a prime example of baroque architecture and a pinnacle of Hvar’s Roman Catholic history.
If you visit during a holiday you’ll find that a lot of the town’s celebrations happen here, which can be a lot of fun. Just remember to stay respectful!
Where to Stay in Hvar, Croatia
Day 5 & 6 – Split
Next up on your Croatia Itinerary is the historic town of Split!
With a population of around 250 000, Split is Croatia’s second-largest city and is a hub of all things culture.
The city expertly blends all the comforts of modern life with its rich history and is beautifully situated between the sea and mountains.
It’s also one of the Adriatic’s most important ports and, as such, you’ll find a lot of cruise ship and sailing action here.
For this reason, Split is known as having one of the best beachfront promenades in the country.
The best things to do in Split:
Split Activity #1 – Wander Diocletian’s Palace
Built for the Roman Emporer Diocletian in 305AD, Diocletian’s Palace is a huge complex located right in the Old Town.
While here, take a Diocletian’s palace tour, visit the underground market, find the statue of Grgr Ninski, and catch a musical performance in the main square.
Split Activity #2 – Explore Split’s Old Town
As I mentioned earlier, Split’s Old Town is on par with Dubrovnik’s — and that’s saying something.
Surrounding Diocletian’s square, you’ll find tons of shops, cafes, cute cobblestone streets, and some of the best ice cream and gelato this side of Italy.
Split Activity #3 – Hike Parka Suma Marjan
Located just off downtown Split, hiking through Parka Suma Marjan (Marjan Forest Park) is the perfect itinerary addition for a nature fix.
Slowly ascending to 178m above Split, the hikes at Parka Suma Marjan will give you unreal views of both downtown Split and the Adriatic Sea.
This is a great way to escape the crowds and downtown bustle, but keep in mind that there are quite a lot of stairs to get to the park, so you’ll need to be relatively fit for these hikes.
Bring good shoes!
Split Activity #4 – Climb the St. Dominus Cathedral Bell Tower
Speaking of great views, if you’re looking for an activity that will give you a panoramic view of Split, then a visit to the Bell Tower is a must.
Located in Diocletian’s Palace, the climb to the bell tower is a little precarious (you’ll find a lot of shaky metal platforms), but absolutely worth it for the picture-perfect view.
Split Activity #5 – Froggyland
Have you ever wondered what a courtroom full of frogs would look like? How about frogs playing volleyball?
Well, whether you’ve thought of it or not, you’re about to find out.
One of the most unique exhibits I have ever been to, Froggyland is a museum home to over 500 stuffed frogs pinned to look like they’re doing human activities.
Created by Hungarian Taxidermist Ference Mere, Froggyland consists of 21 froggy dioramas and was a project that took him over 10 years to complete.
It’s weird, sure, but you’ll definitely want this on your Croatia Itinerary!
Split Activity #6 – Take a Stroll Along the Promenade
Looking to people watch, have a few drinks, and watch the yachts roll in? Then head down to the promenade!
The promenade may be the most expensive area of town, but it has some amazing restaurants and bars. And, of course, there are always some cheap food stands nearby if you’re sticking to a budget.
You just can’t beat the ambiance.
Where to Stay in Split, Croatia
Day 7 – Day Trip from Split
Now that you’ve got a full 7 days in Croatia under your belt, it’s time to leave the luggage at your hotel and add an excursion to your itinerary!
Due to Split being so central, there are endless options for great day trips in the area.
Here are some of the best day trips to take from Split:
Day Trip #1 – Krka National Park, Croatia
If you’re up for a full-day adventure in one of the most picturesque spots in the country, then add Krka National Park to your Croatia Itinerary!
In Krka, you’ll find 142 square kilometers of boardwalks, waterfalls of all sizes, hiking trails, mysterious caves, and a ton of wildlife.
Plus, you can totally swim under some of the waterfalls at Krka. Be sure to bring your bathing suit!
The park is just an hour’s drive from Split, but if you haven’t rented a car then it’s easily reached by bus. Alternatively, this Krka National Park tour will give you an air-conditioned ride to and from the park with an English-speaking guide.
Day Trip #2 – Blue Cave (Bisevo Island), Croatia
Visiting the Blue Cave on Bisevo Island is one of the most popular day trips from Split.
Because, during the day, the Blue Cave is filled with the most brilliant blue light, and has been the topic of mystical conversation for eons.
A sight that needs to be seen to be believed, the effect is due to a small crack in the cave wall that shines a light into the water.
The result is an intense blue color and silvery shimmery water that attracts tourists in droves.
The cave is rather small, and because of the high amounts of visitors the cave gets, the best way to see it is to take a tour.
This Blue Cave tour from Split is great as it will take you there in a swanky luxury speedboat!
Day Trip #3 – Klis Fortress, Croatia
A 3rd-century construction, Klis Fortress is one of the easiest itinerary additions from Split.
Used for centuries as a defense from invaders, Klis Fortress is comprised of stone buildings wedged into the side of a mountain pass.
The result is a fortress that looks like it jumped straight out of a fairy tale, and you’ll have a great time wandering the walls and taking photos.
The fortress is also the easiest day trip to make from Split, as it’s just a half-hour bus ride or drive.
10 Days in Croatia
If you happen to be in Croatia for longer than a week (yay, you!), then you’re in for a treat.
This 3-day Croatia itinerary extension will continue to take you up through northern Croatia, with both nature and city stops.
Days 8 & 9 – Zadar, Croatia
Hop in your car ‘cause we’re going to Zadar!
Located just two hours north of Split, Zadar is known for its calm Old Town, views of the Velebit Mountains, quirky cafes, and intriguing art pieces.
What’s so great about Zadar is that, unlike the other major seaside cities on this list, it isn’t on the regular Cruise route.
This means that while there are still incredible things to add to your itinerary, you’ll get to experience it all with a fraction of the crowds.
These are the best activities in Zadar:
Zadar Activity #1 – Witness the Sea Organ and Sun Salutation
Designed by architect Nikola Basic, the Sea Organ and Sun Salutation are public art installments meant to play with the energy of the ocean and the sun, respectively.
The Sea Organ is a system of pipes and flutes that emits different tones when the waves from the sea push air through it.
The Sea Organ plays its tunes all day long, and the tones get louder and softer depending on how big the waves are.
Meanwhile, the Sun Salutation is a large circle comprised of 300 glass plates set into the ground that collect the energy of the sun all day long.
Then, once the sun goes down, the Sun Salutation produces a light show that is out of this world.
Fun fact: The Sun Salutation also collects enough energy during the day to power the harborfront.
Zadar Activity #2 – Shop at the Zadar Market
If you’re looking to get some homegrown souvenirs on your Croatia trip, then look no further than the Zadar market.
Located in the Old Town, the market features goods and produce from local farmers and creators, and will be your one-stop-shop for fresh food and handmade items.
The market dates back to the middle ages and is one of the largest in all of the Dalmatian Coast — it’s a must for your Croatia itinerary!
Zadar Activity #3 – Visit the Roman Forum
The largest such forum in Croatia, the Roman ruins of Zadar make up a large area of well-preserved ancient buildings.
With construction beginning in the first century and ending in the third, the Roman Forum was the epicenter of life at the time and was used for religious and military purposes alike.
Today, you can take virtual reality Roman Forum tours to get a great understanding of history.
Zadar Activity #4 – Explore the Museum of Ancient Glass
Have a hankering to look at some ancient Roman glass?
Then you’ve come to the right place!
The Museum of Ancient Glass in Zadar is one of the world’s largest collections of ancient Roman glasswork.
The glass on display here has been sourced from all over Croatia and you expect everything from jewelry to vases to jars on display.
You can even take a glassblowing workshop if you feel so inclined.
Zadar Activity #5 – Climb the Bell Tower
For panoramic views of Zadar and the coastline, be sure to climb the Bell Tower at the cathedral of St. Anastasia (Katedrala sv. Stosije).
While the church itself was originally constructed in the 5th century (with a 12th-century facelift), the Bell Tower itself was only completed in the 1890s, making it one of the more recent staples in the city center.
At just 56 meters high, the Bell Tower isn’t the most strenuous to climb, but the views are totally worth the hike either way.
Where to Stay in Zadar, Croatia
Day 10 – Day Trip to Plitvice Lakes National Park
Chances are, if you’ve done any research into the best sites in Croatia then you’ve come across the name Plitvice Lakes National Park.
It’s one of the most renowned sites in the country and, as it’s located just an hour and a half from Zadar, Plitvice Lakes National Park makes for the most convenient Croatia itinerary addition.
Consisting of the Upper lakes and Lower lakes, Plitvice National Park is full of towering waterfalls (there are almost 100 of them), boardwalks, cascading turquoise lakes, wildlife, and great hikes.
It’s much like Krka, but with more dramatic views that cover a lot more area.
Just keep in mind that, unlike Krka National Park, you can’t swim at Plitvice due to the nature protections in place.
What to Pack for 7 – 10 Days in Croatia
The Tortuga Setout Backpack is excellent for 10 days in Croatia. It’s water-resistant, comes in two sizing options, and is affordable to boot. See our full Tortgua Setout Review for more info on why we love this bag.
Meanwhile, for your around-town essentials, the Osprey Daylite makes for a great day bag.
If you’d like to do a little more research, then check out our comparison of the 5 best travel backpacks for Europe.
Whether you’re swimming in the pools of Krka National Park or jet skiing on the Adriatic Sea, chances are you’re going to be spending a chunk of time of your Croatia trip in the water.
For this reason, be sure to bring along a bathing suit (these trunks are highly-rated for men, and I personally use this women’s one), a pair of water shoes (there are sea urchins galore), a quick-dry towel, and a snorkeling set.
7 days in Croatia means you’ll be walking a ton, and you’re going to need to bring along a few pairs of good shoes with arch support.
For a long-haul flight to Croatia or getting comfy in the car, a travel pillow is a necessity. Thankfully, the Trtl pillow provides neck support and is super travel-friendly.
That said, if you want to do a little extra research on the best travel pillow for you, then check out our comparison of the best travel pillows.
While Croatia is generally a very safe country to tour, petty theft can happen no matter what country in the world you’re in.
For this reason, I always travel with a small lock and a Pacsafe bag. I can just latch my Pacsafe to anything bolted to the floor in my hotel room and rest assured that my stuff will be there when I come back.
FAQ for Visiting Croatia
What’s the currency in Croatia?
The currency in Croatia is the Kuna. For every one USD, you’ll get approximately 6.7 Kuna (the exchange rate changes regularly though, so look it up before you go).
Keep in mind that the Euro is not an official currency in Croatia, so either exchange it if you have some or wait and spend it in a Euro-accepting country later.
What about Airbnb in Croatia?
Airbnb is all over Croatia and is an excellent alternative accommodation option.
Personally, I stayed in Airbnb’s in Cavtat (a town near Dubrovnik), Mljet Island, Hvar, Split, and Zagreb, and found each experience to be top-notch.
If you’ve never stayed in an Airbnb before, then use this code to get started and get up to $35 off your first stay!
How Many Days are Enough in Croatia?
To be honest, although this article is an itinerary for 7 or 10 days in Croatia, you won’t regret staying longer in the country.
Croatia is an incredibly diverse place to visit, and what you find in Hvar isn’t what you’ll find in Zagreb.
So, if you can, stay for three weeks or even a month.
See how you feel once you get there but you truly won’t run out of things to do.
Is Croatia in the Schengen Zone?
Despite being in the European Union, Croatia is not part of the Schengen area.
This means that you’ll have to show your passport at the Croatian border if you’re traveling from a Schengen country.
However, if you’re planning an extended trip across Europe, then this little tidbit could actually work in your favor.
US, Canadian, and British citizens (among others) can stay in both Croatia for up to 90 out of every 180 days, and in the Eurozone for every 90 out of 180 days.
So, if you plan on staying in Europe as a whole for more than 90 days, you can do a little hopping around to keep your visa legal.
How do you get to Croatia?
There are a few different ways to get to Croatia:
- Fly – There are major Croatian airports in the cities of Zagreb, Dubrovnik, Pula, Split, and Zadar (among others). Personally, I flew out of the Zagreb airport on a direct flight to Canada, and it was easy breezy. Check flights on Skyscanner now.
- Bus – Whether you’re coming from central Europe or the Balkans, there are plenty of major bus routes all throughout Europe. To get to Croatia, I took a bus from Budapest, Hungary and it was cheap and clean.
- Ferry – If you’re keeping your trip more Mediterranean-based, then a Ferry could be your best option. There are major ferry routes to both Italy and Spain.
These tips to get cheap international flights will help you score some unbelievable deals on airfare to Croatia.
Can you drink the tap water in Croatia?
Yes! The tap water is perfectly safe to drink across the country of Croatia, so leave the single-use water bottles behind and get a reusable water bottle to fill up from the tap!
There are also water fountains in the major cities and national parks of Croatia, so finding water to drink won’t be an issue.
Is Croatia safe?
While every country has its issues, overall Croatia is an extremely safe place to visit.
Over my month traveling the country, not once did I feel unsafe traveling there. In fact, I found that people looked out for me more than in other destinations and that it was easy to make friends.
That said, always do your research before you travel, and know what areas to avoid and what to be on the lookout for.
Also, don’t make a rookie move and forget to buy travel insurance.
That’s it for our monster 7 – 10 day Croatia Itinerary!
I hope you learned a lot about Croatia travel and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out in the comments.
For more tips on traveling through Europe, check out some more of our guides to help plan your trip:
- Backpacking Europe: The Ultimate Guide
- 33 Best Things to Do in Budapest
- What’s the Best Time to Visit Europe?
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