By vida villas | 11 January 2023 | pollensa
Croatia is a country filled with spectacular cities, fascinating history, and awe-inspiring natural landscapes. Offering over 300 days of blissful sunshine every year, and some of Europe’s most exquisite coastal locations, exploring its vast and varied beauty during your next holiday makes for an experience that you will never forget, and for which you will long for years to come.
But, when it comes to deciding what to do if you’re planning a trip to Croatia, the wealth of opportunity that is waiting for you, from its stretching coastlines to geographically diverse vistas, means that it may be difficult to narrow down what you want to prioritise on your Croatia vacation.
With our expert knowledge here at Vida Villas, we’re here to help you. We’ve carefully crafted an itinerary for Croatia, spanning from five to seven days, giving you an authentic insight into what Croatia has to offer, even during this small space of time.
Whether you choose to follow its every detail, or switch out some things that don’t appeal to your tastes, you’ll get a real taste for this European bucketlist destination, and are guaranteed spectacular memories that will last a lifetime.
Undoubtedly, travelling around Croatia by either car or by bus is your best option for this itinerary. Croatia’s bus transportation system is well-connected and affordable across the country, and your longest bus journey would be around four hours (from Split to Dubrovnik). with all bus services being affordable.
However, when visiting Croatia’s unmatched island destinations, utilising the ferry systems, which are both regular and cost-efficient, is the best way to travel between the mainland and the country’s isles.
Should you want the convenience of travelling around Croatia, and taking day trips from the locations that you’ll be visiting en route at your leisure, then opting for a hire car will give you the flexibility you’re looking for. Driving times between all the destinations in this itinerary are more than doable by car, with the longest being around three and a half hours (from Split to Dubrovnik) making it a similar time as by bus.
Croatia is a blissful Mediterranean destination at any time of year, however, we would recommend visiting the country during its shoulder seasons. This will provide you with the perfect balance between getting to experience its fantastic weather and visiting when there are lower tourists numbers.
Both May and September are considered to be Croatia’s shoulder months. Each offers lovely weather, though not the warmest it is still pleasant, and quieter tourist locations outside of the height of the summer season. Some may say this truly offers the best of both worlds!
Zadar is Croatia’s 5th largest city and one that certainly deserves a place in your itinerary. Its landscape is silhouetted by its neighbouring Velebit mountain range, which towers in the background over its red-roofed and sand-coloured buildings, dotted with verdant green space.
Zadar can be reached by flights throughout Europe and from further afield. If you’re travelling from neighbouring countries, it is possible to reach Zadar by either ferry, car, train, or bus.
Zadar is one of the Dalmatian Coast’s historic centres, teeming with ancient architecture and age-old artefacts that have survived centuries. These can now be enjoyed by visitors today, giving you a glimpse into Croatia’s varied past.
You’ll find most of the city’s historic landmarks in its Old Town. The Roman Forum, for example, is one of Zadar’s most famous landmarks, and the largest Roman forum in Croatia, acting as the centre of public life in Roman times. You also have the ancient People’s Square, home to beautiful 11th-century architecture, and the Church of St. Donatus, the largest pre-Romanesque building in Croatia, from the 9th century.
Plitvice Lakes National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Croatia’s most popular natural attractions. Covering over 30,000 hectares of remote verdant forestry, the park boasts natural dams, stunning lakes, and amazing waterfalls. You can quite easily spend a whole day here, making it a nature lover's paradise during a visit to Zadar.
The lakes are easily reachable from Zadar city centre in as little as one and three-quarter hours from Zadar’s main bus station, with multiple buses departing daily. You’ll pay roughly €24 for a round trip.
As you’ll only be in Zadar for 2 days, your best bet would be to stay in the Old Town area in Zadar city centre. This will ensure that you remain as close to Zadar’s attractions as possible, and are right in the thick of the city’s rich culture and history during your stay.
Split is a magnificent coastal city offering spectacular seafront views, historic architecture, and a fascinating history. Its quaint cobblestone streets effortlessly merge with its modern, seafront piers and ancient ruins, blending its past with the present.
Travelling by bus from Zadar to Split offers picturesque views of the Dalmatian coast. Buses connect these two popular destinations well, taking as little as 2.5 hours to reach. Buses depart from Zadar’s main bus terminal and reach Split’s bus terminal on a direct route, and cost as little as €14 per person. Equally, you can easily drive from Zadar to split in as little as 1 hour and 50 minutes.
Split’s historic core is breathtaking and composed of some of Croatia’s most iconic monuments that cannot be missed during a visit. The Diocletian’s Palace, for example, a pristine 4th-century palace, is a fascinating UNESCO-listed sight that encompasses the city’s old centre. You’ll also find St Duje’s Cathedral, the oldest cathedral building in the world, and Peristil Square, an ancient roman court, not far, and worthy of a visit.
End an afternoon of sightseeing with a hike up Marjan Hill - Split’s neighbouring forested area nestled on the west of the city offering panoramic views of the Adriatic and Split’s historic centre. This is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and connect with nature. You can even discover some beautiful old landmarks, including historic churches and cemeteries, along the way.
Stretching 142km, Krka National Park is one of Croatia’s top attractions, with some of the country’s most magical waterfalls dominating its landscapes. Local hiking trails through its lush forestry can be found encircling its bathing pools of emerald green, which are the perfect place to relax for the day during your visit to Split.
Buses run frequently from Krka National Park to Split, departing from the main bus station and arriving at Skradin town, where you can walk by foot to the park. Tickets cost roughly €14 for each for a return journey taking takes approximately 1.25 hours.
Villa Vanya is a splendid 5-bedroom villa sleeping up to 10 guests located at the entrance of Split city centre. Whilst it’s located only a stone’s throw away from the city, its location in a neighbourhood brimming with local wildlife offers a peaceful getaway from Split’s vibrant scene. The property also features a private swimming pool and a large garden.
Home to some of Croatia’s most pristine natural splendours, Brač island is a must-see stop on your Croatia tour. And with the country boasting over 1000 blissful islands, it wouldn’t be a trip well spent without visiting one of its gorgeous isles.
The island boasts historic seafront towns, the tallest peak on the Adriatic isles, and off-the-beaten-path hiking trails in spectacular natural landscapes that will simply leave you breathless.
Travelling by ferry is the most convenient way to reach Brač from Split, with car ferries operating daily from Split’s port to Supetar on the island. Ferries take approximately 1 hour and cost around €10 per person for a return fare. If you have a car, expect to pay roughly €22, with this varying based on the season.
From Supetar, you can drive to Bol, a fantastic seafront town in Brač on the south of the island, in roughly 43 minutes. Buses also operate from Supetar bus station daily, taking roughly an hour and costing around €6 one way per person.
Bol is one of Brač’s most mesmerising seafront settlements that offers an enchanting view into the isles’ history and natural splendour. It is Brač’s oldest coastal town, and is now a paradise for tourists flocking to its beautiful coastal scenes, particularly in search of sun, sea, and sand.
Once you’ve explored the town during a morning out, head on over to Bol’s most iconic attraction - Zlatni Rat beach. The beach’s iconic horn-like formation has been on the cover of travel magazines far and wide. It is one of Europe’s top beaches, offering white pebbled shorelines and hypnotic turquoise waters, perfect for either a day of sunbathing or trying your hand at local watersports - including jet skiing and windsurfing.
Villa Tri Osam boasts spectacular seafront views, and is only a mere 150m from a local beach. Hosting up to 6 people on the beautiful south of Brač island, it’s complete with its own private heated pool and is only 150m from Bol town centre.
Now one of Croatia’s most popular tourist destinations, Dubrovnik is a picturesque hotspot that will make you feel as if you’ve stepped right into a historic fantasy novel.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site praised for its perfectly preserved ancient architecture and boasting spectacular local cuisine, you’ll be head over heels for Dubrovnik and we would recommend it to anyone visiting Croatia.
Dubrovnik is easy to reach from Split. With buses running every few hours and taking roughly four and a half hours to reach, you can expect to pay roughly €15 for a one-way ticket. Equally, driving from Split to Dubrovnik will take a similar amount of time.
Get lost in Dubrovnik’s Old Town during your first day in this fascinating city. Easily navigable on foot, explore its winding cobbled streets and admire its red-roofed, sand-coloured buildings, with a photo-opportunity at every turn. Walk the Stradun - the main high street, and sample the local delicacies at any one of its delectable eateries, for a fine day out full of sightseeing and fine dining.
Croatia has developed its reputation over the years to be somewhat of a wine lovers' paradise. Home to rolling vineyards growing some of the most delicious grapes in Europe, Dubrovnik is within easy reach of some of the country’s best wineries. Skar winery, for example, is a lovely local winery in the heart of Dubrovnik offering a rustic bar in which guests can sample its best selection of wines and liquers.
Villa Dana is a tranquil 4-bedroom villa sleeping up to 8 guests in the heart of Dubrovnik. Located only a 15-minute walk from the historic Old Town, it offers unrivalled views of the Adriatic, with its own private sunbathing and terrace area.
Croatia’s most fascinating destinations and beautiful landscapes can easily be explored on a whistlestop tour of five to seven days, giving you a taste of what this European gem has to offer. From visiting UNESCO-listed national parks to tranquil islands, you’ll no doubt leave with fantastic memories that will last a lifetime.
If you are planning a trip to Croatia and need accommodation for your visit, Vida Villas offer a stunning selection of rental properties around the country. Alternatively, you can contact our team, who will be happy to provide any help or information you may need.