My Perfect 2 Week Itinerary for Croatia

  • Dubrovnik – 1 week
    • Day Trip to Korcula and Ston
    • Day Trip to Kotor, Montenegro
  • Split – 4 nights
    • Day Trip to Hvar
    • Day Trip to Trogir and Blue Lagoon
  • Zagreb – 3 nights
    • Day Trip to Plitvice Lakes
Photo: Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik

We spent almost a full week in the beautiful walled city of Dubrovnik. Yes you read that right, a week! Many visitors to Dubrovnik only spend a day when their cruise ship docks in the port. And many others would say that you only need about 3 nights in Dubrovnik to fully experience the city. However, if I were to do it all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing about our Croatian itinerary.

Photo: View of Dubrovnik Old Town

These are the reasons why I think spending a week in Dubrovnik for our first trip was the perfect amount of time:

  • Jet-Lag – We arrived in the evening after a very long travel day and pretty much crashed as soon as we made it to our Airbnb. Our first full day was basically a write-off since we overslept and spent the rest of the day in a jet-lagged daze.
  • Day Trips – We wanted to take a several day trips from Dubrovnik including a trip to another beautiful walled town of Korcula and the town of Kotor in Montenegro. We used Dubrovnik as our base for day trips rather than packing up our bags every few days to switch towns and hotels.
  • Relaxation – This was our vacation after all, so our primary goal was to relax. With plenty of time in Dubrovnik, we felt like we had time to explore, relax in a wine bar or spent the entire day on the beach if that is what our hearts desired.
Photo: Hvar town

If you don’t want to spend a full week in Dubrovnik, I would recommend staying a day or two in any of the following towns instead:

  • Korcula – The walled city of Korcula Town is a smaller, less crowded version of Dubrovnik. Similar to Dubrovnik, it was once part of the Venetian Empire. Korcula also claims to be the birthplace of Marco Polo. A beautiful view of the town can be seen from the bell tower of St. Mark’s Cathedral.
  • Hvar – Hvar Town is located on the small island of Hvar just off the coast near the city of Split. It is known for its crystal clear waters as well as a hotspot for jetset travellers looking for energetic nightlife. It is also a jumping off point for excursions to the Pakleni Islands.
  • Zadar – Lesser known compared to Dubrovnik but with the same white marble, medieval churches and ocean views. The Sun Salutation and the Sea Organ are two attractions that are unique to this coastal city.
Photo: Old Town of Dubrovnik

Things to Do in Dubrovnik:

  • Walking the Dubrovnik Walls
  • Explore the Old Town
  • Dubrovnik Cable Car
  • Banje Beach
  • Buza Bars
  • D’Vino Wine Bar

Day Trips from Dubrovnik:

  • Korcula and Ston – Our first stop was the small town of Ston, which is known for salt production and oysters. During ancient times the salt was more valuable than gold so stone walls were built around the city and to the neighbouring city of Mali Ston. After spending a short amount of time in Ston, we took a small boat to the island of Korcula. We stopped for a seafood lunch at an oceanfront restaurant in Korcula before wandering around the old walled town and climbing up the bell tower of St. Mark’s Cathedral for a spectacular view of the town. We also stopped for a wine tasting in the Peljesac wine growing region where we tried the famous Croatian red wine, Dingac.
  • Kotor and Buvda, Montenegro – Received one more stamp in my passport as we crossed the border into neighbouring Montenegro. A scenic drive around the Bay of Kotor took us to the fortified town of Kotor which was dramatically framed by dark limestone peaks. Our final stop was Buvda where we enjoyed the calm waters and sandy shores.
  • Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina – Mostar is most well known for the Stari Most bridge which crosses the Neretva River. You will often see local daredevils jumping from the bridge into the river below.

Split – 4 nights

We arrived safely in Split after a long but beautiful drive up the coast of Croatia. Our group was in agreement that although the drive between Dubrovnik and Split was long, it was incredibly beautiful and would have been more enjoyable if we had rented a car and had been able to take our time to stop at the picturesque villages and beaches along the way.

Four nights in Split was plenty of time for us to explore the beautiful city of Split, as well as take a few day trips to the neighbouring islands. Between the picturesque seaside promenade and the old town built around the impressive Roman monument of Diocletian’s Palace, Split is a city like no other. One of the most memorable moments was sitting on the stairs of the ancient courtyard of Diocletian’s Palace while sipping on local wine and listening to live music.

Photo: Split Harbour

Things to Do in Split:

  • Diocletian’s Palace
  • Saint Domnius Cathedral
  • Marjan Forest Park
  • Bay Jezinac
  • Bacvice Beach
  • Paradox Wine & Cheese Bar
Photo: View over Hvar town

Day Trips from Split:

  • Hvar – We took the ferry from Split to Hvar town on the island of Hvar. Although there were many opportunities for boat tours and kayaking trips to visit the islands around Hvar, we decided to look around the town, climb to the Espanola fortress on the hill above the town and cool ourselves off in the turquoise waters off the sea wall that surrounds the harbour. Water shoes are a must on the rocky coastline. Given the opportunity I would jump at the chance to revisit this beautiful island.
Photo: Trogir
  • Trogir and Blue Lagoon – We woke up to another beautiful sunny day in Split and spontaneously decided the best way to spend the day was on the water. We walked down to the waterfront promenade and found a small water taxi that was available to rent for the day with a guide and captain. The cost was not outrageous when split between the three members of our group. The guide recommended we take a trip to the historic town of Trogir, which is located on an island not far from Split. We stopped here to look around the small town, pop into a few shops and eat a pizza lunch. From Trogir, our boat took us to the Blue Lagoon. Arriving at the Blue Lagoon was like something out of a movie, a small harbour with big and small boats enjoying some of the clearest blue water I have ever seen. We couldn’t wait to jump in.

Zagreb – 3 nights

We arrived in Zagreb after an exhausting six hour bus ride that was supposed to be five hours. It was raining in Zagreb which was a stark contrast to the beautiful sunny weather we had on the Croatian coast. To go with the gloomy weather, we decided to go on a ghost walking tour our first night in Zagreb. It was the perfect way to orient ourselves to the old town while hearing some creepy ghost stories.

For our next day in Zagreb, we followed our own walking tour on our map of the upper town. The self guided walking tour took us to the Cathedral, the Dolac market, the Bloody Bridge, the Stone Gate and to the funicular. Although not as conventionally beautiful as Dubrovnik, Zagreb was a fun city to explore and was definitely less touristy. 

Things to Do in Zagreb:

  • Upper Town (Gornji Grad)
  • St. Mark’s Church
  • Stone Gate
  • Dolac Fruit and Vegetable Market
  • Cathedral of Zagreb
  • Museum of Broken Relationships
Photo: Rainy Plitvice Lakes

Day Trips from Zagreb:

  • Plitvice Lakes – We arranged a day trip to Plitvice Lakes through our hostel in Zagreb. We decided the rainy weather was not going to stop us from enjoying this Unesco World Heritage Site. We just made sure we were well prepared for the rain with rain ponchos, umbrellas and an extra pair of clean dry socks. These items were key as it rained most of the day and the park was partially flooded. The rain did not distract from the beauty of the cascading waterfalls and lakes as we were guided along the partially submerged walkways from one end of the park to the other. It was a spectacular (and extremely wet) day. 

Getting Around:

By Bus: Croatia doesn’t have good connections by train from Dubrovnik, but the cities are well connected by bus. There are several bus companies to choose from and it was fairly easy to organize by stopping by the bus station to buy tickets the day we planned to leave. It is also possible to buy bus tickets online using website such as Getbybus.com. The bus trips were a bit long, but the drive was beautiful.

By Car: Although the bus was convenient and the drive was beautiful, it would have been more enjoyable if we had rented a car and could take the incredibly beautiful drive from Dubrovnik to Split at our own pace by car. Keep in mind that the drive from Dubrovnik to Split includes a border crossing through Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

By Ferry: The largest ferry company in Croatia is Jadrolinija but there are also a few smaller operators. Car ferries and passenger ferries are widely available, especially in the summer months.


By Boat: Sailing vacations are a very popular way to explore the Croatian coast. It is possible to join an organized tour or rent a sailboat with a group of friends to travel at your own pace.

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