Croatia is a country that has seen a boom in tourism over the past decade. With some of Europe’s most beautiful coastline and more than its fair share of UNESCO World Heritage sites its great Croatia finally getting the recognition it deserves. There’s a lot to see and do here but if you’re like me you’ll be pushed for time and want to make the most of time in this culturally and historically rich nation. So with this in mind I’ve put together an itinerary covering some of the best of Croatia and also some hidden wonders in between. You should be able to cover this journey within one week but if you have more time I urge you to slow down and soak up the sights. You wont regret it in Croatia!
Start – Dubrovnik
They say save the best until last but many would say Dubrovnik is one of the best places to visit in Croatia, its also one of the most accessible with daily flights to Croatia arriving from all over Europe. This walled city celebrates some of the beauty and history of Croatia and is filled with plenty to explore. The beautiful white-stone buildings are extremely photogenic and there’s plenty to see and do here too. Definitely take in at least some of the city wall tour, some 2 kilometres long and 22 metres high, giving you great views of the town. The best time is in the afternoon when the sun is starting to drop and temperatures are a little cooler.
There’s a fabulous cable car to the peak of the hill above Dubrovnik with more great views. Remember to take your camera! For some of the best fish you’ll ever eat head to the restaurants close to the harbour. You can also kayak out to the Elafiti islands, or get a ferry if you’re feeling lazy. Definitely worth the excursion. Make the most of your evenings in Dubrovnik too as there are plenty of tiny bars and restaurants hidden up unsuspecting alleyways.
With so much worth seeing I’d recommend at least 2 full days in Dubrovnik before moving on to your next Croatian destination!
The popularity of Dubrovnik can be a little overwhelming at times but you’ll feel right at home on the island of Korcula. Its green and lush woodland peaks offer beautiful views of the Adriatic sea and Croatian coastline, while the fertile lands of the island are home to local farmers and small villages. its here that you can get back to nature and explore a few quiet settlements, with numerous fishing villages along its coastline and red rooted homes dotted on the hillsides.
There’s also plenty of water sports available here and tourism is slowly growing with modest but great value accommodation. Korcula town is where you’re likely to visit first and there’s plenty of excursions from here to help you view all that the island has to offer. Its an island just shouting to be explored so take some comfortable walking shoes and worry about sleep when you’re back on the main land.
Again its probably best to have at least 2 full days here to take in both the old town and some amazing excursions further in land.
Often referred to as the Queen of the Islands, Hvar has a rich mixture of landscapes and architecture too. Some of the most beautiful beaches can be found here with some dramatic cliffs too. The atmosphere here is distinctly relaxed and slow where even the locals appear as if they’re on holiday. Locals often claim Hvar is one of the sunniest place in Europe but the tourist crowds have yet to discover this fact.
The beaches are never crowded, the cobbled streets are free of hustle and bustle. The loudest thing on the island would be the ferries taking people to nearby islands, equally as beautiful as Hvar is. Its a real hidden paradise that you’ll always feel sad leaving. You can of course head out over the island and check out the many vineyards, olive groves and lavender lined streets of nearby villages, or you could just relax at one of the most picturesque of outdoor cafes, order a glass of wine, enjoy the view and read a good book.
Time here can easily slip away so if you’re looking for a break from busy days elsewhere on your trip you’ll no doubt lose a few days here. A night will recharge your spiritual batteries, a day or two is meditation for the soul.
Finish – Split
Heading further north on our beautiful Croatian itinerary, we end our travels in the city of Split. Here you’ll find a colourful mixture of old and new. Where the ancient history of this nation meets the modern day head-on. Once the city was a proud and powerful Palace, since ruined (and worth visiting) some 190,000 people call Split home, and who could blame them?! Diocletian, the Roman Emperor in 295AD ordered a palace to be built here where he would spend his last remaining days. These days its a UNESCO world heritage site and one of Split’s top tourist attractions. Its also free to enter so a must while you’re here.
A walk along the Riva Promenade is another must although the signs call it “Obala Hrvatskog Narodnog Preporoda”. A great place to people watch and see the cute little boats bobbing around in the water. The walkway was recently renovated and is a great place to relax, take in the sites, sounds and smells of this great city. There’s plenty of places to eat, drink and be merry here too so you’ll no doubt want to spend maybe an afternoon and evening here. If you’re feeling active a brisk walk up Marjan Hill it worth it for the views and the greenery too.
The beaches here are a must too with Bacvice Beach and Kasjuni Beach being two of my favourites. The first being a more young and lively affair while the latter is definitely more peaceful and relaxing. I would recommend 2 or 3 days here if you have time. A mixture of active and relaxing days to end your wonderful Croatian experience. I guarantee you’ll love Croatia!