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Visit the best places and hidden gems with this Croatia road trip itinerary.

Croatia always looks so good in pictures. Almost unreal… But let me tell you, it’s all real and as beautiful as ever! The stunning nature, clear blue water, beautiful old cities, and pristine beaches. Croatia has it all. This country won’t disappoint you. Here is a complete Croatia road trip itinerary for you!

croatia road trip

I’ve been to Croatia three times now, and I’m loving the country more and more! Croatia’s just so beautiful and its people are wonderful and welcoming! Croatia is a country you should visit at least once in your life.

The road trip itinerary we made, I’d definitely recommend! It doesn’t matter how you’d like to travel, most things are possible with this route. This route covers everything about Croatia you need to see.

The order I’m writing in is in my opinion the most logical order to travel by. But of course, you can just start in a different city or take bits and pieces from this itinerary.

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road trip Croatia

About Croatia

The Republic of Croatia is a country located in the northwestern part of the Balkan peninsula. This country has 3 main regions: Slavonia, Istria, and Dalmatia. Slavonia is more inland and where the capital Zagreb is located. Istria and Dalmatia are both located on the Adriatic coast.

In the Adriatic sea, there are over 1100 Croatian islands. Of which some are great to visit by boat.

The spoken language in Croatia is Croatian, but especially younger people speak English as well. In Croatia, they used to pay with the Croatian Kuna. But since January 1st, 2023, their currency is the Euro (€).

Many places in Croatia still accept Kuna.

croatia road trip

Croatia is a country of breathtaking nature, historic cities, the best beaches, and rich culture. This country is perfect for everyone to visit.

Book your flights with Kiwi, to get the cheapest deals!

Best time to visit Croatia on a road trip

Croatia has become a more and more popular destination over the years. It used to be a real hidden gem, but now Croatia’s more popular than ever before!

And that has caused prices to go up in the high season and crowds to crawl all over the cities and national parks.

And that’s something we certainly don’t want.

That’s why you should visit Croatia in the shoulder seasons. I recommend visiting Croatia in April/May or in September/October. You’ll still have good weather, but fewer crowds and lower prices.

Croatia road trip itinerary

This itinerary is not for a certain amount of time. Doesn’t matter if you go for 10, 14, or even 18 days. It’s just the order and places that you should pin in your itinerary.

Now, here it comes!


Let’s start off in Pula! This first location is a beautiful old city in the North of the country, in the province called Istria. Istria was once part of Italy, therefore the city is a little more Italian than Croatian. The city itself has a cute little old town, ancient Roman buildings, and beautiful beaches. This is a perfect first stop because this city shows a little of the beauty that’s yet to come. Definitely worth a visit!

Visit pula

Things to do in Pula:

  • Admire the Pula Arena from the in- and outside!
  • Take a picture of the Temple of August
  • Explore the Zerostrasse: Underground tunnels in the city
  • Make sure to stop by the Istrian Olive Museum
  • Go searching for the Arch of Sergii
  • Take a refreshing dip at Plaza Ambrela (beach)

Pula is not overwhelmingly big, so 2 days are enough to explore the city, but you can always stay longer.

Related: Pula, Croatia: An Expert Travel Guide!

croatia road trip


I still don’t know how to pronounce it. But Krk is maybe the most stunning place we’ve been to in Croatia. It is an island you can get to by car. We especially went to the city Krk. This city is a magical place…

The old town is just lovely and it’s right by the sea. The beautiful rocky beach is only a 2-minute walk from the city. Everything’s just really close and it’s just perfect.

I’ve really got no words to describe this place. Krk just must be included in your trip!

krk island croatia

Activities in Krk:

  • Admire Kamplin square
  • Visit the Krk cathedral
  • Drink a cocktail in the Secret Garden
  • Have some dinner (with cocktails) at Punta Di Galetto
  • Go for a swim at Punta Di Galetto beach

We stayed here for 4 days. At the end of our 3 days, we extended our stay because we just weren’t ready to leave. We were living in a fairytale. Overall, 2 days is enough to get a good taste of Krk.

Bonus tip: This little island has its very own app called Krk Hike. We went on a 5 km hike and we found the most beautiful hidden gems.

Another important tip: If you’re looking for affordable camping, make sure to check out Camper Stop Felix. A lovely old lady welcomed us there and charged us only €35 euros per night! You won’t find anything cheaper than that in Krk!

Croatia road trip
The hidden gem we found on our hike.


Aaahh, Zadar… My one love… The city I fell for…

This city you must visit. It has an alluring old town, a great harbor, and a giant organ, played by the sea. Yes, there really is. I still haven’t figured out how it works, but it works. It doesn’t sound great or sounds like anything at all… But it’s great to just visit and listen to it for a while.

Croatia road trip itinerary

And the nightlife… It’s just incredible! Live bands playing in the great square, and coziness all around. I’m hardly a night person, but this city made me want to be one.

This is a perfect third location on this itinerary. Pula and Krk just went to sleep in the evening, and that’s great as well. But just to experience the nightlife of Zadar is worth everything.

Things to do in Zadar

  • Listen to the sea organ (of course)
  • Admire the Roman Forum
  • Visit the interesting Archaeological Museum Zadar
  • Make sure to check out all the churches
  • Take a walk in Queen Jelena Madijevka Park
  • Admire the Zadar City Walls
Visit Zadar

In my opinion, staying here for 2 to 3 days is enough.


Yep, here it is. The second-largest city in Croatia. One of the most visited cities. And no wonder why. This city has everything. And I mean, really everything. You’ve got a labyrinth-like old town, boats everywhere, great nightlife, it even has nature.

If you’ve grown tired of the city, you can visit the beautiful Marjan Hill Park. It’s located right next to the city. Within 314 steps you’ll reach the top of the hill, which is 178 meters high. You’ll have a beautiful view of the city of Split and the surrounding areas. And on your way down again, you may want to visit one of the beaches beneath the park. They are stunning!

split itinerary
Marjan Hill park

How extended your stay will be, really depends on what activities you want to do. Do look into the activities, there are lots of great things to experience:

  • Diocletian’s palace
  • The fruit square
  • The Golden Gate
  • Riva Boulevard
  • The Solin Ruins
  • Klis Fortress
  • Marjan Hill park
  • One of the islands: Brac, Solta, Hvar, or Vis.

Make sure to book a tour on GetYourGuide. We booked an islands and blue lagoon tour and couldn’t be happier! This was our best memory of Split!

Split itinerary

As you see, there are a lot of things you can do in Split. Make sure to stay here long enough to do everything you want. I recommend staying for 3 to 4 days.



Also known as Kings Landing. This city is a real tourist city. Why? The series Game of Thrones was filmed here! But I can tell you for sure, that Dubrovnik is beautiful. I can’t say more, you have to see for yourself.

Dubrovnik can get really crowded in summer. Also, mark that you may have to cross the border of Bosnia and Herzegovina to enter this southern city of Croatia.

Game of thrones dubrovnik

Things to do in Dubrovnik

  • Walk Dubrovnik’s famous city walls
  • Get lost in the fairytale-like old town
  • Visit the Dubrava Observation Point (at sunrise or sunset is recommended)
  • Admire the Lovrijenac fortress
  • Take a walk through Velika and Mala Petka Forest Park
  • Go for a swim at Bellevue Beach

2 days is enough to explore this city.

Hostels are the go-to budget accommodation in Croatia. They’re clean, safe, and super fun! Check out the best deals on Hostelworld!

Knin and Cetina

If you want to see a little more of the countryside of Croatia, I’d recommend visiting Knin and Cetina. The villages aren’t exactly appealing, but nature is. There’s the Cetina River spring, lots of waterfalls, caves, and a beautiful fortress in Knin. If you’re a nature seeker, this location is for you.

Visit cetina river spring
Cetina River spring

Don’t miss:

  • Cetina River freshwater Spring
  • Dinara: Croatia’s highest mountain peak
  • Knin Fortress
  • Waterfall Krčić

Staying for 1 night is enough to see the best places in the area.

Croatia road trip
Knin Fortress

Now, you can skip this if you don’t have the time to visit. But I highly recommend taking a look.

Plitvice Lakes

On your way up to Zagreb, there’s a perfect location called: Plitvice Lakes. This is the biggest national park in Croatia and one of the oldest in Europe. This UNESCO site consists of 16 lakes, all connected by stunning waterfalls.

The entrance fee may be a little expensive, with €40 euros per adult in the high season. And in summer it may get very crowded. However, it’s definitely worth visiting this park at least once in your life.

I recommend visiting all of Croatia in the shoulder season, especially Plitvice Lakes, as it will be much cheaper and less crowded!

You can see the entire park in a day. I’d recommend going early in the morning and then driving up to Zagreb (2-hour drive) in the afternoon. You could also stay the night somewhere near the park.

Plitvice lakes guide

For a lot of useful information on visiting the Plitvice Lakes, check out this Plitvice Lakes guide!


Last but not least: Zagreb! This modern, yet old city should be included in your trip. There are so many things to do in Zagreb, that you’ll need an entire month to see everything! However, you can see many things in Zagreb in just one day.

Make sure to visit:

  • Tunnel Grič
  • Lotrščak Tower
  • Monument of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
  • Cathedral of Zagreb
  • Many (funky) museums
places in Zagreb

Bonus tip: Visit Maksimir Park. There are walking trails, lakes, wildlife (including turtles), and a zoo. We sat at one of the lakes for hours and watched the turtles swim by.

Final thoughts on this Croatia road trip itinerary

Of course, there are a lot of places to visit in Croatia, but sadly we couldn’t visit them all. I think that this itinerary kinda sums up everything you need to see in Croatia. Happy travels!

Let us know why you want to visit Croatia in the comments below!

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