The Most Amazing 10-Day Croatia Itinerary

Last updated on November 1st, 2022 at 08:40 pm

Got ten days in Croatia? Plan your trip with the most amazing 10-day Croatia itinerary, curated by a local.

This itinerary is particularly ideal for first-time visitors. It is the perfect combination of continental Croatia and the island-hopping that most visitors crave.

In this guide, I’ll take you through the top destinations, hotels, and activities in Croatia so that you can see the best of this Mediterranean beauty in just ten days!

View over Hvar Town, Croatia

The Most Amazing 10-Day Croatia Itinerary

Day 1: Zagreb

Begin your 10-Day Croatia itinerary in the nation’s capital, Zagreb. With beautiful historic architecture, excellent restaurants, and interesting museums, Croatia’s capital offers a totally different vibe from the coast.

Start your morning at the open-air farmer’s market, Dolac. With its red umbrellas and bustling atmosphere, this market is the beating heart of the city. Sample locally made cheese, dried fruit, and cured meats, and perhaps pick up some fresh fruit for a mid-morning snack.

After you’ve had your fill of the market, take the short walk up to the Upper Town. This hilltop historic district is full of charm and definitely worth exploring for a few hours. Get lost in the tangle of medieval streets, marvel at the Habsburg-style architecture, and take in the best views of the city from Gradec Plateau.

Spend the afternoon in the Lower Town and partake in Zagreb’s vibrant cafe culture. With cafes nearly every few feet, you won’t be hard-pressed to find a place to sit back for a while. A good place to start is in Bogovićeva Street, where the locals hangout.

Visiting Zagreb in the summer also means plenty of summer festivals. Depending on the month you visit in, you’re bound to be around for Summer on Stross, Zagreb Burger Festival, Corona Sunset Sessions, Summer Stage Tuskanac, and more!

Where to stay in Zagreb

Budget: Hostel Bureau
Mid-Range: Palace hotel
Luxury: Esplanade

Day 2: Plitvice Lakes & Rastoke

Plitvice is a network of 16 unbelievably natural blue lakes and cascading waterfalls nestled in the mountainous region of Lika, just about 130km away from Zagreb. This national park is one of the most visited sites in Croatia thanks to its breathtaking views, turquoise waters, and lush vegetation. Home to over 90 waterfalls, it’s no surprise that this wondrous natural landscape has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

If you are visiting Plitvice in the summer, anticipate lots of tourists. It is best to arrive early in the morning (i.e. when the park opens) and you’ll be able to enjoy the park without having to worry about navigating past crowds on the extremely narrow boardwalks.

Plitvice Lakes National Park Croatia

On the way to Plitvice, stop for a break in the lovely little village of Rastoke. Built over a series of watermills, this tiny town paints the perfect picture of what it is like to live in harmony with nature. Beautiful waterfalls and lakes weave through the village homes, providing a delightful place to relax and enjoy the gorgeous surroundings.

Where to stay around Plitvice Lakes

Budget: Green Lakes House
Mid-Range: PLITVICE HOLIDAY RESORT
Luxury: Hotel Degenija

Day 3: Šibenik & Trogir

Šibenik is a wonderful stop as you make your way down south. This historic town boasts some incredible sights like the 15th century stone cathedral of St. James, and impressive views of the Kornati Islands.

After a short visit to Šibenik, continue your way down south toward Trogir, Croatia. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is adorned with castles, towers, enchanting cobblestone streets, and a sparkling waterfront promenade. Spend the afternoon getting lost in Trogir’s striking marble streets before heading to Split for the night.

For more inspiration on how to spend your time in this medieval seaside town, check out these 18 incredible things to do in Trogir.

Day 4: Split

Split is your final stop on the mainland before heading out to the islands, and it is also the place you’ll return your rental car (if you decide to rent one).

A full day in Split is plenty of time to get to know this beautiful city. As soon as you pass through its ancient gates, you’ll instantly become enveloped in its old-world charm.

Begin your morning in the core of the town at Diocletian’s Palace, an ancient Roman palace constructed in the 4th century AD. Sit on the steps of the palace and enjoy your first coffee of the day as you witness 17 centuries of history all around you.

For the most spectacular panoramic view of Split, visit the Cathedral of St. Domnius and climb up to the top of the bell tower.

Spend the afternoon at the beach and swim with the locals at Bačvice. This sandy beach is so shallow you can walk about 50 meters out into the sea before even having to swim!

A walk along the Riva in the evening will complete your perfect day in Split.

Where to stay in Split

Budget: Split Inn Apartments
Mid-Range: Palace Suites Heritage Hotel
Luxury: Hotel Park Split

Day 5: Hvar

In the morning, catch an early morning ferry to Hvar Island.

Famous for its bustling nightlife, spectacular landscapes, and dazzling coastline, Hvar is the first island you’ll visit on this 10-day Croatia itinerary. Home to some of the most stunning beaches in all of Croatia, Hvar is perfect for those who love swimming, sunbathing, and gorgeous nature.

Spend your first day exploring Hvar Town and hitting up some of the nearby beaches. Some of the best beaches on Hvar Island are within walking distance of the Old Town, while others can be reached via scooter or boat.

For more on what to do and see in Hvar Town, check out my ultimate guide to Hvar Town Croatia.

Where to stay on Hvar Island

Budget: Hostel Villa Zorana
Mid-range: Vintage House Al Pozzo
Luxury: Amfora Grand Beach resort

Day 6: Hvar + Pakleni Islands

On Day 2, spend the entire day hopping around the Pakleni (or Paklinski) Islands. This gorgeous chain of wooded islands sits right across from Hvar Town. The Pakleni Islands are known for their crystal clear bays, striking lagoons, secret beaches, and elegant beach bars.

Getting to this glorious chain of islands is easy. Simply catch one of the boats leaving from the main dock in Hvar Town. These boats typically leave every 20 minutes starting at 11:00 AM every day of the week during high season.

Top off your visit to Hvar by watching the sun go down from the fortress, followed by a delicious local meal or a night out on the town.

Sunset over Hvar Town from the fortress

Day 7: Vis

The next morning, catch a ferry to one of the most beautiful islands off the Dalmatian coast – Vis.

Unlike many other Croatian destinations, it is one of the few islands that has been successful in preserving its authenticity, thanks to its remote location. While visiting Vis, you can expect to experience unspoiled nature, untouched beaches, gourmet delicacies, and most of all, peace and quiet.

Spend your first day on the island beach hopping. Some noteworthy stops include Komiza, Srebrna, Stiniva, and Stončica. Renting a scooter on the island is highly recommended, as it will allow you to freely explore all of the beaches and hidden villages.

Stiniva Beach Croatia

Day 8: Vis

On your second day on Vis, take an organized tour to the Blue Cave. Situated on the east side of the island of Bisevo, the Blue Cave is a fascinating natural phenomenon. At only certain times of the day, the sunlight streams through the top of the cave, illuminating it in a magical shade of bright blue.

When you arrive back to Vis in the afternoon, hop on your motorbike and head inland to experience authentic island cuisine at Darko Agroturizam. A reservation is required, but it is so worth it as the ambiance of this traditional tavern is unreal. Imagine dining on homemade bread, cheese, wine, and more under 400-year-old grape vines!

Where to stay on Vis

Budget: Apartments & Room Lemon
Mid-Range: Apartments Sole
Luxury: Central Stone House Komiza

Day 9: Dubrovnik

The final stop of your 10-day Croatia itinerary is none other than the magnificent city of Dubrovnik.

Nicknamed the Pearl of the Adriatic, Dubrovnik is one Croatian destination that you absolutely must see (despite the crowds). It is one of the most complete and preserved walled cities in the world and is also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

On your first day in Dubrovnik, spend a few hours walking the city walls and admiring the stunning combination of bright orange rooftops and cool blue sea. I highly recommend doing this early in the morning before it gets too hot.

After you’ve toured the city walls, pay a visit to the 15th-century Onofrio Fountain and stroll down Stradun before getting lost in the old town streets.

Dubrovnik Croatia rooftops

Day 10: Dubrovnik

Spend your final day in Dubrovnik visiting the island of Lokrum.

Just a short 20-minute ferry ride away from Dubrovnik, this enchanting island is adorned with a 19th-century botanical garden, immaculate beaches, and hidden coves. Not to mention, there are peacocks and rabbits roaming around the island that make the experience so much more magical.

One of the best ways to discover Lokrum is by renting a kayak to explore the crystal clear waters and striking coastline.

Where to stay in Dubrovnik:

Budget: Old Town Hostel
Mid-Range: Royal Neptun Hotel
Luxury: Hotel Excelsior
View over Dubrovnik, Croatia

This sadly wraps up your 10-day Croatia itinerary. It goes without saying that this is only one of many itineraries through this gorgeous country.

After traveling to Croatia my entire life and living here for the last five years, it was really tough to fit the best of Croatia into just 10 short days. However, I am aware that many people do not have the luxury to spend months traveling through this amazing Mediterranean nation.

Luckily, if you do have more time, your trip to Croatia can easily be extended by spending a few extra days in some of the destinations included in this itinerary.

An even better way to spend your extra days, though, would be to seek out some lesser-known Croatian beauties. Consider adding the following to your itinerary:

Hvar Town Croatia

When to Go

Croatia has become a ridiculously popular summer destination over the last several years and definitely has the crowds to match. If you’re looking to avoid the masses, here are the best times to visit Croatia:

Early Fall

Early fall is hands-down the absolute best time to visit Croatia. Early-to-mid September is ideal if you want a classic Croatia experience filled with plenty of sunshine and swimming. The best part is, the summer crowds have cleared out quite a bit by this time, making for a much more enjoyable visit.

Late Spring/Early Summer

Late spring (think May) is also a fantastic time to visit Croatia. However, if you are planning on doing lots of swimming, you better love cold water! The sea hasn’t had a chance to warm up yet from the summer heat, so expect cooler beach days.

Winter

Winter is a wonderful time to visit Croatia if you love empty cities and low prices. There’s no doubt visiting in the winter will be a totally different Croatia trip.

Keep in mind you’ll be trading your bathing suit for a fuzzy coat, but you’ll also have historic landmarks all to yourself.

Check out my post on why you should visit Dubrovnik in the winter to find out what you can expect!

Have you ever visited Croatia? Help a fellow traveler out and share your must-visit destinations in the comments below!

Go Beyond 10 Days in Croatia

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