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10 Days in Croatia: The Perfect Croatia Itinerary (For 2023)

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

As someone who has been living in Croatia since 2014, I’ve made it my mission to explore every corner of this beautiful country that I call home. Each year, I venture to new destinations (and revisit a few of my favorites) to bring you the best of Croatia. Using my many years of experience, I’ve put together an itinerary for 10 days in Croatia that is particularly ideal for first-time visitors.

In this guide, I’ll take you through the top destinations, accommodations, and activities in Croatia so that you can see the country’s highlights in just ten days! By following this Croatia itinerary, you’ll have the opportunity to experience the perfect combination of continental Croatia and the island-hopping that most visitors crave.

So without further ado, let’s dive into the exciting locations that await you on your epic Croatia vacation!

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Please see my full disclosure for further information.

When is the Best Time to Visit Croatia

Croatia is an unforgettable holiday destination, no matter when you visit. It has always been a favorite of summer vacationers, but the country can be enjoyed for its beauty and culture all year long. Those searching for sun-filled days spent exploring islands or sailing will love Croatia in July and August; while those looking to take advantage of cooler temperatures and sightseeing opportunities should come during the off-season.

The best time to visit Croatia really depends on what type of holiday you’re after. Here’s a look at what you can expect from each season:

Summer ☀️
For the ultimate Croatia experience filled with sunshine, hot temperatures, island hopping and swimming in the turquoise waters of the Adriatic, you’ll want to visit in July and August. This is also the busiest time of year when prices will be at their peak, but if you don’t mind the crowds, this could be the perfect time for you to visit.

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. Keep in mind though that the weather during this time can be unpredictable, so be prepared for rain in Dubrovnik and other popular destinations.

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. While you may be trading your bathing suit for a furry coat, you’ll have historic landmarks all to yourself. Croatia has always been a favorite of summer vacationers, but the country can be enjoyed for its beauty and culture all year long.

Those searching for sun-filled days spent exploring islands or sailing will love Croatia in the warm months; while those looking to take advantage of cooler temperatures and sightseeing opportunities should come during other seasons. No matter what type of adventure you’re after – there’s a perfect time to experience Croatia!

To make sure you pack the right things for your trip, check out my detailed Croatia packing list.

Art Pavillion in Zagreb in the spring framed by a blooming magnolia tree

How Many Days in Croatia is Enough?

When it comes to Croatia, 10 days is an optimal amount of time to explore the country. With its diverse landscape and incredible attractions, there’s plenty to do and see in just over one week.

Whether you want to relax on the stunning beaches of Dalmatia or explore the breathtaking waterfalls of Plitvice Lakes National Park, a Croatia 10 days itinerary will give you enough time to do it all. From historical landmarks and UNESCO World Heritage Sites to nightlife and incredible local cuisine, Croatia has something for everyone.

Of course, the best itinerary for Croatia would consist of 2-3 weeks of exploration. Many travelers come away from Croatia feeling like they could have stayed longer – so make sure to plan your trip wisely!

The Best Way to Travel Croatia

Rent a car
The best way to see Croatia in 10 days is to rent a car! A road trip in Croatia simply cannot be beat. When you travel Croatia by car, you’ll have the flexibility to stop whenever you want, visit places off the beaten path, and discover the countless hidden gems in Croatia.

If you want to plan a roadtrip in Croatia, I recommend booking a rental car with Discover Cars. They compare both local and international companies to ensure you get the best rate.

It is possible to travel Croatia without a car, but I recommend this option only if you have time for a longer itinerary. 10 days in Croatia, while it may seem like a long time, is really only enough to scratch the surface of the country’s highlights, so you’ll want to save as much time as possible on travel between locations.

Check out my recommended Croatia road trip route for more inspiration.

How to travel around Croatia without a car
Croatia does not have a great railway system, so the best option to travel Croatia without a car is to travel by bus (or coach). I always recommend Flixbus because they are cheap, reliable, and the buses are clean with air conditioning. However, traveling around Croatia by bus will take much longer and will limit how much time you can spend in each location you visit. Plus, your schedule will depend on the arrival and departure times of the bus.

An aerial view of a blue car driving down a winding during a 10 days in Croatia roadtrip.
The best way to travel around Croatia is by car!

10 Days in Croatia: The Perfect Croatia Itinerary

This is the best of Croatia itinerary curated by a local. I have been living in Croatia since 2014 and have traveled the country extensively my entire life (thanks to my Croatian roots!). I’ve spent countless weekends in search of unique destinations and hidden gems to get you off the beaten path and show you authentic Croatia. This Croatia travel itinerary will take you from Zagreb all the way to Dubrovnik over the course of 10 days, allowing you to see the country’s highlights with a sprinkle of insider tips.

With all of the beaches, islands, and breathtaking sights you’ll see along the way, it wouldn’t be a surprise if you decided to stay longer in Croatia! The truth is, 10 days is just enough to get a taste of what the country has to offer…and then it keeps you coming back for more. 😉

Without further ado, here is your ultimate Croatia 10 day itinerary!

Day 1: Zagreb

Begin your 10 day Croatia itinerary in the nation’s capital of Zagreb. With beautiful historic architecture, excellent restaurants, and interesting museums, Zagreb 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 rooftop of St. Mark’s Church, and take in the best views of the city from Gradec Plateau. For a truly one-of-a-kind museum experience, pop into the Museum of Broken Relationships for a quirky and engaging exhibit.

St. Mark's Church on a cobblestone square in Zagreb Croatia's Upper Town

Next, it’s time to take the funicular to the Lower Town to partake in Zagreb’s vibrant cafe culture. With cafes nearly every few feet, you won’t be hard-pressed to find a spot to sit back for a while. A good place to start is in Bogovićeva Street, where the locals hangout. End day one in Tkalčićeva Street – a pedestrian-only lane flanked with bars and restaurants galore.

When the night is over, slip back into your accommodation (hopefully you’ve chosen one of the best hotels in Zagreb!) and get ready for a nature-packed day 2.

If you’re visiting Zagreb in the summer, get ready for the city’s iconic 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!

Want to spend more time in Zagreb? Check out this 48 hour Zagreb itinerary or get inspired by some of these awesome day trips from Zagreb.

Day 2: Plitvice Lakes & Rastoke

No ultimate Croatia itinerary would be complete without a visit to the world-famous Plitvice Lakes National Park. 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.

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.

Best Places to Stay Around Plitvice Lakes:

An aerial view of the waterfalls at Plitvice Lakes National Park on a 10 day Croatia itinerary

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.

Near Šibenik is another Croatia national park famous for its waterfalls – Krka National Park. If you are debating between Plitvice Lakes National Park or Krka National Park, Plitvice Lakes (in my opinion) is the clear winner. However, Krka National Park is worth visiting if you are a nature-lover and your schedule allows it. Krka waterfalls can be seen in less than half a day, making it an easy stop on a Croatia coastal road trip.

After a short visit to Šibenik (or Krka National Park) 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 incredible things to do in Trogir.

Itinerary for Croatia including a stop in the charming town of 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 with a walking tour of Diocletian’s Palace, an ancient Roman palace constructed in the 4th century AD. Sit on the steps of the palace (also called the Peristyle) 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, Split’s most famous beach! 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 (waterfront promenade) in the evening will complete your perfect day in Split.

If you want to stay longer than one day in Split, I recommend checking out some of the highest rated Split boat tours and spending a day on the Adriatic Sea!

Where to stay in Split:

Split waterfront promenade with mountains in the background.

Got more time? It’s easy to spend a few days in Split or visit the nearby town of Omis for a rafting adventure down the Cetina River!

Day 5: Hvar

In the morning, catch an early morning ferry to Hvar Island. The ferry from Split to Hvar departs frequently during the summer months and the journey lasts about 1 hour (just be sure to choose the high-speed catamaran).

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 the morning of your first day exploring Hvar Town and visiting the most notable attractions like the Cathedral of St. Stephen and the Hvar Public Theater. Enjoy a coffee at one of the many cafes that surround St. Stephen’s Square before heading to some of the nearby beaches where you’ll spend the rest of the afternoon.

Some of the best beaches on Hvar Island, like Hula Hula Beach, are within walking distance of the Old Town, while others (like Dubovica, Lučišće, Milna, Zaraće, Grebišće, and Jagodna Bay) can be reached via scooter or boat. Check out my guide for more on what to do and see in Hvar Town.

Where to stay on Hvar Island:

The waterfront promenade of Hvar Island in Croatia.

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 archipelago is easy. Simply catch one of the taxi boats leaving from the main dock in Hvar Town. These boats typically depart every 20 minutes starting at 11:00 AM every day of the week during high season.

Wrap up your visit to Hvar by climbing up to the Španola Fortress (also called Fortica Fortress) and watching the sun go down over Hvar Town Bay and the Pakleni archipelago. After sunset, head back into town for a delicious local meal or hit up one of the many bars for a taste of the island’s famous nightlife scene.

View of Hvar Bay and the Pakleni Islands from the Spanjola Fortress that sits just above Hvar Town.

Other things to do on Hvar Island

If you’re looking for an alternative to a Pakleni Island day trip, there are plenty of other activities and places to visit on Hvar. Here are a few I’d recommend:

  • Stari Grad – Stari Grad is the oldest settlement not only on Hvar Island, but in all of Croatia! A quaint and peaceful village situated on the northern side of the island, Stari Grad is a must-visit on any visit to Hvar. Roam around the streets lined with Venetian-Renaissance buildings, ice cream stands, al fresco bars, and charming souvenir shops for a more laidback experience on Hvar.
  • Blue Cave Tour – one of the most incredible and popular activities you can do while visiting Hvar is to take a day trip to the Blue Cave. It is not possible to visit this magical cave on your own, so if you want to visit you’ll have to take a guided tour (many visitors say that this is a highlight of their Croatia trip!).
  • Vrboska – a small but charming fishing village filled with many small bridges give Vrboska the nickname “Little Venice”. Although tiny, this town is bursting with culture and scenery, featuring a unique 15th century fortress-church (St. Mary). The atmosphere in Vrboska is very inimate, with plenty of parks, cafes and restaurants to enjoy. It is best visited when paired with a stop at the nearby town of Jelsa.

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.

Fun fact: Did you know that the last recorded shark attack in Croatia actually happened off the coast of Vis?

Stiniva Bay, one of the most beautiful beaches on Vis Island in Croatia.

Day 8: Vis

On your second day on Vis, delve deeper into the fascinating history of Vis Island on a military tour. This 3-hour tour covers a visit to the island’s 19th century fortress, Fort George, a tour through the mysterious submarine tunnels, and end at the highest point on the island for a spectacular panorama of Komiža.

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 Island:

View over Komiza on the island of Vis in Croatia.

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, get your bearings by joining a walking tour around the Old Town. This walking tour will take you around the city walls where you can admire the stunning sea of bright orange rooftops agains the backdrop of the cool blue sea. While on the tour, you’ll learn about the town’s magnificent history and how the walls came to be.

If you’re a Game of Thrones fan, you’ll probably be interested in seeing some of the show’s filming locations. This tour will take you behind the scenes of King’s Landing and the capital of the Seven Kingdoms where you’ll learn about the cinematic magic that brought the series to life from your expert local guide. This Game of Thrones Walking Tour includes entrance to the city walls with an opportunity to upgrade to include a trip to Trsteno Arboretum, the site used as the King’s Landing palace gardens.

Find out how expensive is Dubrovnik and how to set your daily budget for when you visit!

An aerial view of Dubrovnik's cathedral and town square.

After you’ve toured the city walls, pay a visit to the 15th-century Onofrio Fountain and fill up your reusable water bottle before strolling down Stradun getting lost in the old town streets.

End your day with a cable car ride up to the top of Mount Srd for sunset! For a truly memorable evening, consider making a reservation at Panorama Restaurant and enjoy a Mediterranean-style meal alongside the most breathtaking views of Dubrovnik.

Where to stay in Dubrovnik:

Day 10: Dubrovnik

Spend your final day in Croatia visiting Lokrum Island – the perfect day trip from Dubrovnik.

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.

End your last day in Croatia at one of Dubrovnik’s most famous watering holes, Buža Bar, perched on the jagged cliffs just outside the Old Town walls. Take in the sunset as you witness (or join) the brave locals and tourists dive from the cliffs into the azure waters below – an experience for the books!

A view of Dubrovnik's orange rooftops from an old stone window in the city walls.

Extend your trip from Dubrovnik:

If you have more time or want to extend your 10 day Croatia trip, you can easily do so by adding on a few day tours to nearby islands (or countries)! Here are some day trips from Dubrovnik I’d recommend:

Elafiti Islands – located just off the coast of Croatia, the Elafiti Islands are a dreamy day trip from Dubrovnik. This archipelago features 6 islands that dot the glimmering Adriatic Sea, each of them offering something unique to uncover. Stop by Šipan and lounge on its stunning beaches, go snorkeling in the countless crystal clear bays, and explore the ancient Franciscan Monastery built in 1452.

Konavle – Head south just 30 kilometers from Dubrovnik to explore the golden region of Konavle. Stretching from the darling town of Cavtat to the border of Montenegro, Konavle is the ideal place for a day trip. Within its rolling hills, you’ll find charming villages laced with waterfalls and watermills. This area is also considered the “Golden Valley” of Dubrovnik as it boasts the most fertile soil. Konavle is also home to one of the most beautiful beaches in Croatia – Pasjača Beach.

Mljet National Park – Mljet is an island that is well-known to locals, yet remains a hidden gem to many tourists who visit Croatia. It is the most forested island in Croatia, with a national park carpeting over half of its land. This verdant oasis is a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of Dubrovnik. Days there are spent biking around the islands very own saltwater lakes, hiking through the Mediterranean flora, and relaxing on immaculate beaches. You can easily explore Mljet National Park on a day trip from Dubrovnik.

Montenegro – Just 45 kilometers south of Dubrovnik, Montenegro’s coast offers untouched natural beauty and breathtaking scenery. Extend your vacation or take a day trip from Montenegro to Dubrovnik by crossing the border to discover the enchanting towns of Perast, Kotor, and Budva.

The town of Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina with the Mostar Bridge connected both sides of the town.
A day trip from Dubrovnik to Mostar is a great way to extend your Croatia itinerary!

Mostar, Bosnia & Herzegovina – You may have seen photos of Mostar’s iconic bridge (Stari Most), but there is so much more to be discovered when you visit Mostar on a day trip from Dubrovnik. Influences of the town’s Ottoman past are still evident throughout the ancient streets where you’ll stumble upon the old Turkish bazaar and shops preparing traditional Turkish coffee, which make for a truly unique experience. Extend your visit with a trip to the nearby Kravice Waterfalls where you can enjoy a dip in the waterfall pool.

Peljesac Peninsula – A one hour drive north of Dubrovnik will take you to the land of oysters and wine. One of the best places to visit is the town of Ston, a medieval hamlet best known for its impressive 5.5 kilometer long defense wall (the second longest in Europe!). Wander through the picturesque, time-honored alleyways of the old town and visit the salt works, a place where salt has been produced for nearly 2,000 years. Of course, no visit to Ston is complete without sampling some of the town’s tasty oysters that are grown and harvested in the bay of Mali Ston.

Italy – while Croatia and Italy might not share a border, it is actually super easy to extend your trip to Italy from Dubrovnik by taking overnight the ferry across to Bari. There you can explore the striking town’s of southern Italy like Alberobello, Matera, and Polignano a Mare. Be sure to check out these Italy and Croatia itinerary ideas for more inspiration!


What will 10 days in Croatia cost?

You should plan to spend around €100 per day while visiting Croatia. This is based on a mid-range budget and can vary based on how much or how little you wish to spend. This daily estimate does not include the price of accommodation or airline tickets.

Is 10 days enough for Croatia?

10 days is enough to see the highlights of Croatia and get a taste of what the country has to offer.

What is the best month to visit Croatia?

To experience the best of Croatia’s coast and islands, you should visit in July or August.

Is it easy to island hop in Croatia?

Island hopping in Croatia is pretty easy. There are public ferries and high speed catamarans that run daily during high season, making travel between the islands fast and efficient.

What country to combine with Croatia?

One of the best countries to combine with Croatia is Italy! Check out these Italy and Croatia itinerary ideas for some inspiration.

Final Thoughts: 10-Day Croatia Itinerary

That wraps up your Croatia 10 day itinerary.

It goes without saying that this is only one of many itineraries through this gorgeous country. This Croatia travel route can serve as the starting foundation for your dream vacation that you tweak to fit your needs.

As mentioned at the beginning of this post, it is difficult to fit all of Croatia into just 10 short days. 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.

Before you go…I highly recommend spending a few days island hopping in Croatia – it’s one of the best ways to experience the country!

Croatia Trip Planner

💸 What is the currency in Croatia?
As of January 1st, 2023, the official currency of Croatia is the Euro and NOT the Kuna (which is also the name of the national animal of Croatia).

🇭🇷 What language do they speak in Croatia?
Croatian is the official language of Croatia. Learn some phrases in Croatian before your trip with the Ling app!

🚑 Should I buy Croatia travel insurance?
10000% YES – Seriously, don’t leave home without it. You never know what can happen on the road. I like SafetyWing because they provide excellent coverage for as little as $1.50 a day.

📱 Will my phone work in Croatia?
Maybe – check with your provider to see if you’ll have service while traveling Croatia. If you don’t have service (or it’s too expensive) I recommend getting an eSIM like Airalo. Airalo allows you to have data while traveling without the high costs of roaming. They have super affordable plans available for 190+ countries, including Croatia. Download the app and get your plan before you leave home so that you have data as soon as you touch down in Croatia!

🏨 What’s the best way to book my Croatia accommodations?
For Croatia hotels, Booking is by far the best site.

🛫 What’s the best site to buy Croatia flights?
I always use Skyscanner to find the cheapest flights.

🚗  Is it safe to rent a Car in Croatia?
Yes! – In fact, renting a car in Croatia is one of the best ways to see the country! I recommend Discover Cars because they check both local and international rental companies to ensure you get the best deal. (Get your Croatia road trip itinerary here)

💦 Is it safe to drink the water in Croatia?
Tap water in Croatia is completely safe to drink, so bring your reusable water bottle and fill up!

🪪 Do I need a visa for Croatia?
Depending on where you are coming from you may or may not need a visa to enter Croatia. Check the official Republic of Croatia Ministry of Foreign Affairs website for more information on who should apply for a visa.

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