- 1 How to Plan – Best of Croatia in 10 days.
- 2 Split – Best of Croatia in 10 days
- 3 Day trips from Split – Best of Croatia in 10 days.
- 4 Dubrovnik
- 5 Things to do in Dubrovnik
- 6 A check list for – Best of Croatia in 10 days.
Croatia has been one of the most popular destinations to visit in 2019 and is only gaining popularity year after year. With millions of Tourists visiting this country every year, there is a lot to see and do in Croatia. So let’s discover the Best of Croatia in 10 days.
I personally had been looking forward to visiting Croatia for some time and it is tough to finalize on an itinerary. So to help fellow travelers I decided to pen down this guide to Best of Croatia in 10 days.
How to Plan – Best of Croatia in 10 days.
This turned out to be more complicated than I envisaged. Croatia has a lot on offer and is quite spread out. It really depends on what you fancy and the places you would like to cover on your trip. The most popular destinations in Croatia are Split and Dubrovnik. Apart from these 2 cities Zagreb the capital and Zadar are the other 2 popular cities in Croatia.
We decided to use Split and Dubrovnik as our base and cover as much as possible around these 2 cities. Fly from London into Split. Spend a few days discovering Split and day trips to the Krka National Park and Hvar. Drive from Split to Dubrovnik with a stop at Mostar. Discover Kings Landing and then a Day trip from Dubrovnik to Montenegro.
Itinerary – Best of Croatia in 10 days
- 1 Day – Split and Old Town
- 2 Day – Krka National Park and Split
- 3 Day – Beaches of Split
- 4 Day – Optional Plitvice National Park
- 5 Day – Hvar and Island hopping.
- 6 Day – Drive to Dubrovnik via Mostar
- 7 Day – Dubrovnik Old Town and GOT walking tour .
- 8 Day – Kotor, Montenegro
- 9 Day – Dubrovnik , Mt Surd and Cvtat
- 10 Day – 7 Dubrovnik and fly home.
What is the Best time to go to Croatia?
Most people think of Croatia as a summer destination but Croatia is a year round destination I must admit. It offers 200 days of sunshine a year and no wonder makes it a very popular holiday destination. Although it attracts the most amount of tourists during the summer months it has a lot of activities throughout the year including some very popular music festivals. The best time to visit Croatia is between May and June or September and October. The weather is pleasant and you will not have the huge crowds and exorbitant prices. It is ideal to enjoy the sea and sunbathe.
The peak season is during the summer months of July and August which can get very crowded and hot. A high demand drives the rates and even the popular tourist attractions are priced much higher during these months. Unfortunately due to the school holidays I had to visit it during the peak summer holiday.
How to get to Croatia – Best of Croatia in 10 days
Depending on you plan and where you want to start you trip you can either fly into Split or Dubrovnik. Apart from these two airports the newest airport is in the Capital Zagreb. The other airports that have direct flight from Europe and London are Pula and Zadar. Average flight time to Croatia from London is just under 3 hours. There is a total of 9 airports that serve Croatia and the 5 largest ones are :
- Pleso Airport (Zagreb, Croatia)
- Dubrovnik Airport (Dubrovnik, Croatia)
- Zadar Airport (Zadar, Croatia)
- Split Airport (Split, Croatia)
- Osijek Airport (Osijek, Croatia)
Is Croatia Safe to travel? Overall crime levels throughout Croatia are quite low, making it extremely safe to travel. It is one of the most popular holiday destinations in Europe and the government takes tourism and the safety of travelers very seriously.
Travelling in Croatia
Public transport is available but I would recommend hiring a car if you are going to be travelling around Croatia. If you are just going to be in the main cities like Dubrovnik, Zagreb and Split you could rely on public but again there are long queues for buses during the peak season.
Taxis can get expensive during the peak season so would suggest you use UBER which is more affordable. There are frequent ferries between the islands. There are plenty of excursions which you can either pre book or book when you get there. If you are looking to travel during the peak holiday season try and pre book.
Split – Best of Croatia in 10 days
We flew into Split which is the second largest city in Croatia and filled with history. If you are staring your journey in Split you can easily fly into Split as it has its own airport. The other options are by Bus or Ferry. Split is home to one of the busiest harbor which makes it a great place to go island hopping or connect with other cities in Croatia.
However there is a lot of historic monuments to keep you busy in Split. A selection of beaches dotted around that make it a great place to sunbathe and enjoy the sea.
Where to Stay in Split
The Old Town is surely a great place to stay in Split but it can be expensive depending on the time of the year. You can get much more for your money if you stay in Znjan.
Znjan is an upcoming neighbourhood and home the largest beach in Split. Other popular places to stay would be Radunica and Bavice Beach. If you are after some nightlife stay around Bavice beach. There is something available for all budgets ranging from apartments to luxurious 5 star Hotels.
Split is rich in history and was the home of Diocletian the famous Roman emperor Diocletian between the 3rd and 6TH Century AD. It also formed part of the Venetian, French and Italian colony before becoming a part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia during World War II. It eventually gained independence as a part of Croatia in 1991.
Things to Do in Split.
The Diocletian’s Palace is the most famous tourist attraction in Split and you are bound to visit it. It is a great place to escape the sun and is quite busy during the evening as well. The Diocletian’s Palace’s is quite fascinating and filled with history. It is in fact not a palace but fortress. Worth getting a guided tour of the palace if you are a history buff. Game of Thrones connection – There are a few locations within the palace which were used for the filming of the popular Game of Thrones series. So if you are a Game of Thrones fan, then surely book a Game of Thrones tour.
Riva – Stroll along the Promenade
This is the most popular public place in Split. Lined with palm trees it is the perfect place to spend you evening. It is a pedestrian haven with plenty of restaurants and cafes. Spend a few hours in the evening and see it come to life. A beautiful place with the Roman palace as a backdrop.
Roof 68 – Visit the rooftop/ terrace bar restaurant to get some stunning views of Riva ad the Diocletian’s Palace. If you can try and make it for sunset.
Some of the other places to see in Split:
- Park Marjan – Climb the steps of Marjan for some amazing views of Split.
- Visit St. Duje’s Cathedral.
- Peristil Square.
- Pose in front of Grgur Ninski statue – Sculpted by Ivan Meštrović, it is one of the defining images of Split.
- Klis Fortress.
Beaches in Split
With miles of crystal clear shore line, it offers some of the best beaches for sailing, swimming, and snorkeling Just to keep in mind there are hardly any sandy beaches in Croatia. Most of the beaches are pebble so carry some beach shoes if possible.
Bačvice – This is the most popular beach not too far from the old town and the only sandy beach I came across. It is a favourite of the locals to play the traditional summer ball game – picigin.
Znjan beach – 1 km long and very popular with both tourists and locals. This is a family friendly beach.
Kasjuni Beach – This beach is a 15 minute drive from the city center but one with spectacular views. Visit the popular Joe’s beach and lounge bar and enjoy the electric atmosphere.
Firule Beach – this is not too far from the city and again a pebble beach with crystal clear water.
It’s a must to visit some of these beaches on your trip to Split – perfect to relax and swim in its crystal clear water – but make sure to carry beach shoes.
Day trips from Split – Best of Croatia in 10 days.
Whilst I enjoyed Split thoroughly, it is the best place to launch your travels around Croatia and visit the islands. The 3 popular destinations which can be done on a day trip from Split are Hvar, Krka and Plitvice National Park.
We skipped Plitvice National Park which again can be done from either Split or Zadar. Only reason we chose Krka National Park was because, 1 it was closer to Split and 2 you can swim in Krka waterfall but you can’t swim in Plitvice Waterfall.
Krka National Park
The Krka waterfalls is absolutely stunning and one not to be missed on your visit to Croatia. It is located within Krka National Park and can be visited by itself or a tour. There are a number of tours from Split which include a short visit to Sibenik, where you can see the beautiful Cathedral of St. James, as well as admire the architecture of four fortresses.
Most tours take you by bus and then you get on to a boat and visit the waterfalls. I must admit even though it gets pretty crowded and the heat can get to you, once you get the first glimpse of the cascading waterfalls it just leaves you speechless. There are few cafes and restaurants near the waterfall and you get enough time to enjoy the waterfalls on a tour.
You do need to take appropriate footwear to the park and to enter the waterfall. It can get tricky getting into the water as there are no steps or proper walkway to get into the waterfall.
Hvar and Cave tour.
You can either visit the island of Hvar by itself or take a guided tour around the many islands. A guided tour takes visitors to several islands which include the Blue Grotto and the Monk Seal Cave. You also get to Stinvia Beach and Rukavac bay. The final stop is to Hvar, where you can enjoy the town and it has plenty of amenities and architecture to marvel at. We did not take the tour and went to Hvar direct.
If you are looking to go direct to the islands then you can use to high speed ferry from Split. The ferries take you direct to the island and a round trip would cost you around £25 Euros.
Hvar is best known as a summer resort and is very popular. It is home to some famous music festivals. Highlights of the island are the 13th-century walled port town and a hilltop fortress. Standing tall in the main square is the Hvar Cathedral.
There are some stunning beaches on this island where you can swim in the crystal clear waters.
The Plitvice Lakes
The Plitvice Lakes and waterfall is another gem that Croatia has to offer. It can be done on a day’s trip from Split. Only reason we choose Krka was because it was closer and you can swim in the water in Krka.
Plitvice Lakes National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Can you swim in Plitvice? No. You can actually swim in the lakes at Krka waterfall, which is strictly forbidden at Plitvice.
Plitvice Lakes and National Park is roughly a 300 sq.-km forest reserve known for its natural beauty and waterfall. It is made up of a chain of 16 terraced lakes which are connected by waterfalls.
You can enjoy the lakes by an electric boat which links the 12 upper and 4 lower lakes. There are plenty of guided tour from Split and you can learn about the history of the lakes. You can hike the park and the highlight is Veliki Slap, a 78m-high waterfall.
Hope you are finding Best of Croatia in 10 days helpful. After enjoying our stay in Split it was time to head to our next stop and discover more of Croatia – Dubrovnik.
How to get to Dubrovnik from Split
Dubrovnik is one of the most popular destinations in Croatia and is well connected with its own airport. It can be reached by bus from the capital Zagreb as well (it will take a long 12 hours). It is also connected to Split and by road and by ferry. There are high speed ferries (during the peak summer season) that connect Dubrovnik to Split and some of the popular islands.
How many days should you spend in Dubrovnik?
Two days are enough time to explore Dubrovnik and its old town but if you are looking to travel around then give it a few more days. We spent 4 days in Dubrovnik including a day trip to Kotor in Montenegro.
Where to stay in Dubrovnik?
The heart of Dubrovnik is the Old Town and you can either find a place in the old town or something just outside it. Accommodation in and around the old town can get expensive and crowded. Other places to stay around Dubrovnik are Cavtat, Konavle or Lokrum Island. Cavtat is a popular destination and has regular ferries to Dubrovnik.
Our Hotel in Dubrovnik – The Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik.
Could not have asked for a better location. A historic and fascinating hotel that is located on the doorstep of the Old Town. The Hilton Imperial offers stunning views of the Medieval Old town and is set in a historic building that was built it 1895. Without a doubt Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik – Best hotel in Dubrovnik.
How to travel around Dubrovnik?
If you plan to live in the old town and not travel around then you would not require hire a car. Public transport is available to get around Dubrovnik but can get very busy during the summer season. Private taxis are available and so is UBER.
Best of Croatia in 10 days – There are plenty of day trips that can be taken from Dubrovnik. The most popular one are Montenegro and Bosnia.
Popular day trips from Dubrovnik – Best of Croatia in 10 days
- Kotor Bay and old town in Montenegro.
- Island of Lokrum – Famous for walking trails, gardens and an old monastery.
- Mostar – A UNESCO World heritage listed city in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Highlights are the famous bridge and Mosque of Mostar and the Old Bazaar.
- Mljet National Park – Can be reached by catamaran – Great place for Hikers and nature lovers.
- Korčula – Medivial walled town and the birth place of Marco Polo
- The Peljesac Peninsula – 2 hrs. from Dubrovnik another beautiful island
- Cavtat – 30 minutes’ drive from Dubrovnik has a charming old town with cobbled streets.
Things to do in Dubrovnik
The “Pearl of the Adriatic” famous for its ancient walled Town and harbor. The medieval city houses many churches, monasteries and palaces. The most popular and picturesque tourist attraction in in Croatia. Not to forget its popularity has only soared heights after the filming of the famous Game of Thrones Series here.
Try and avoid the peak season as it can insanely busy and expensive. Yes I have travelled a few touristy destinations around the world and Dubrovnik would top that list when it comes to soaring prices during the peak season.
Walking Tour in Dubrovnik –
Would highly recommend a walking tour, as this will give you an insight into the history of this ancient city. For the Game of Throne lovers there are specific tour aimed at showing you Kings Landing. It is everywhere and yet you can even get a Game of Thrones flavour ice-cream.
City Wall walk – Dubrovnik old town
A walk along the city wall is a must when in Dubrovnik. Great place to enjoy the sunset and some stunning views and the famous red tiled roofs of the Old Town. Be mindful there is not much shade along the wall and you will be exposed to sun. Plenty of sun protection and water to keep you hydrated. A walk around the old town takes you approximately 1.5 hrs.
Beach in Dubrovnik
There is a small beach not too far from the walled town but again very crowded and busy. Banje Beach is popular with tourists and home to the Banje Beach Club. You can enjoy other beaches that are located a short drive from Dubrovnik or hop on to a ferry and visit some of the islands that have stunning beaches. Dubrovnik itself is not very popular for beaches.
Ride the cable car
The cable car that take you up to Mount Srđ is highly recommended and offers some stunning views of the old town. It is a bit expensive so be mindful. You can hike it to the top for free but sun is quite strong.
Restaurant Panorama – You can stop by at the Panorama café and restaurant perched at the top of Mount Srđ which offers panoramic views of Dubrovnik. Try and book in advance as it is very popular. This has to be part of your Best of Croatia in 10 days.
Other place to visit in Dubrovnik.
Lovrijenac Fort – Set on a hill 40 meters above the sea it offers great views of the old town.
St. John Fortress – It forms part of the city walls and overlooks the harbor.
The Clock Tower – The most prominent landmark on Luza Square in the walled town.
Dubrovnik Cathedral – The main cathedral and fine example of baroque architecture.
The Old Town – It does feel like a film set but a great place to walk along and soak in the atmosphere. Walk along Placa, which is old Dubrovnik’s main street.
Day Trip to Kotor, Montenegro
We decided to take a day trip to Kotor in Montenegro. Kotor is probably the most popular Montenegrin town to make a day trip from Dubrovnik. A wonderfully preserved costal town with numerous sights including a walled town and a fortress which overlooks the town. You can either take a bus tour or do it yourself.
The journey to Kotor takes around 2 hours which does not include the border checks. During the peak season this can take longer.
The cheapest way to get from Dubrovnik to Kotor is by bus.
The highlight of the trip is the stunning Bay of Kotor and the old town which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. As you drive towards Kotor you get the view of Kotor Bay flanked by towering mountain and dotted with medieval villages. We stopped on the way and spent a few hours by Kotor Bay.
Kotor is a popular stop for Cruise ships and attracts millions of tourists every year. Walk around the old town and sample some local cuisine. You can get some local souvenirs from the shops dotted around the old town.
Visit the fortress perched on top of the hill overlooking the bay and old town.
If you are travelling from Croatia make sure you carry € as they do not accept Kuna (Croatian money) in Kotor or Montenegro.
Funny enough Croatia is part of the EU but use their own currency ‘Kuna’ whilst Montenegro which is not in the EU use the €.
What to eat in Croatia
Being surrounded by the Adriatic Sea Croatia is famous for its fresh and huge variety of seafood. Majority of the dishes are prepared in olive oil and served with fresh salads or vegetables.
There is a heavy influence of Italian cuisine throughout Croatia. A Squid Risotto is a specialty. Other must eats are the Sardines, Shellfish and calamari.
What to take home from Croatia
No trip is complete without some souvenirs. Croatia is famous for its Lavender, olive oil, lace and ceramics. If you are a fan of Game of Thrones then there is plenty to take home.
We managed to squeeze in as much as possible on our trip to Croatia however missed a few places. Some other places you could potentially visit if you have more time would be the Capital Zagreb, Pula and Zadar.
A check list for – Best of Croatia in 10 days.
- Best time to visit – In the shoulder season when it is less crowded and more affordable.
- Top places to visit in Croatia – Dubrovnik, Split, Zagreg, Hvar, Zadar and the national Parks.
- Visit Europe’s most beautiful waterfall Plitvice, Krka has a lot going for it as well.
- Visit Mostar in Bosnia and Kotor in Montenegro on a day trip.
- Go island hoping from Split on a boat.
- Discover Zagreb Croatia’s underrated capital city.
- Visit the Diocletian’s Palace in Split and walk along the Riva promenade.
- Relax in the many beaches of Croatia and swim in the sapphire waters of the Adriatic Sea.
- Walk the wall around the Old Town in Dubrovnik.
- Chill out at Joes Beach Club and enjoy the beach – Split.
- Visit the many filming spots on a Game of Thrones tour.
- Ride the cable car and enjoy lunch at the Panorama Restaurant overlooking Dubrovnik.
- Visit the fortress town Trogir near Split.
- Must visit Gelato parlours : Split – Don Dino, Dubrovnik – Peppinos and Cone of Throne.
- Sip on a cocktail and enjoy the sunset at Roof 68 overlooking Riva in Split.
- Have a meal at the Cafe Royal in the old town of Dubrovnik near the walk of shame steps.
- Get lost in the narrow streets of Hvar’s and admire the multi-million yachts docked in harbour.
- Enjoy a meal at Poklisar restaurant with live music – Dubrovnik old town.
- Carry enough cash as there are a lot of places throughout Croatia that do not accept cards.
- A candle light dinner at 360 – the Michelin star restaurant in Dubrovnik old town. (Will cost a fair bit)
- Walk the famous stretch of Plaka in Dubrovnik the old town and buy your souvenir.
I must admit Croatia was great and more than what I expected, no wonder it has been topping the list of places to travel in Europe.
If you have visited Croatia I hope this brought back good memories but if you have not, all I can say is start planning and visit the Pearl of the Adriatic – Croatia.