If you’ve not been to Croatia yet, you’re missing out, in my opinion - It’s beautiful! The Adriatic Sea lapping the shores of Croatia is so blue, the landscape so full of natural beauty, and the towns and cities boast ancient Roman architecture.
The view from Osejava Forest Park in Makarska
Croatia is a small country and though there are public buses between the main towns and cities, the best way to explore is to hire a car, so you can get off the beaten track and go at your own pace. Away from the mainland sits hundreds of islands, though many are uninhabited. The most visited islands are Brac, Hvar, Korcula, Mljet and the Elaphiti Islands - you could quite easily spend a couple of weeks island-hopping and there are many tour packages that offer this, however if you want to go it alone, you can catch a ferry from the mainland.
I’ve written several blogs on the various places we visited during our two weeks in Croatia, but if you want the full itinerary, read on…
My two-week Croatian itinerary
Days 1 - 5 - Split & Hvar
We flew into Split and after catching a coach from the airport to the main coach station, we arrived at our apartment early in the afternoon. There are a couple of different buses that take you into Split, but this is the one we used.
We booked an apartment, just a short walk from the Golden Gate - the entryway to the Diocletian’s Palace which was a great location as we were close to everything, yet it was still nice and quiet.
Personally, I really liked Split. I loved walking around the grand Roman buildings, particularly in the evenings when there’s often musicians playing and everyone sits enjoying a drink or an ice cream outside in one of the squares, or along the promenade. Whilst Split has all the modern shops, bars and restaurants associated with a city, there’s a couple of small beaches, plus the Marjan forest park to explore. Read my full blog on split here.
Diocletian's Palace in Split
Split is also a great base to explore the surrounding Islands as there are regular ferries from here. We took a ferry across to Hvar Town where we spent the day wandering around the town, enjoying the bars and restaurants and the stunning views over Hvar Bay. See my recommendations for how to spend a day in Hvar.
The fishing port of Hvar Town
Days 6 - 8 - Krka National Park & Zadar
After spending 4 full days in Split, we hired a car and set off early morning and headed to Krka National Park. It’s so easy to drive in Croatia and having our own car meant we could be really flexible with our time. You can read about Krka and Croatia’s other National parks, in my blog here.
Krka National Park
After spending the day at Krka National park, we continued travelling North to Zadar. We spent 3 nights in Zadar and had two full days to explore this Roman-Venetian City. Zadar is a great place to visit. It feel like a smaller, more laid back version of Split, which I loved. Check out my recommendations for what to do in Zadar, here.
The church of St. Donat in the Historic centre of Zadar
Day 9 -10 - Plitvice National Park
We really enjoyed our few days in Zadar, wandering around the ancient city, but it was time to move on and we headed North again, driving the two hours to Plitvice National Park. You’ve most likely seen many gorgeous photos of waterfalls at Plitvice, and although the park is stunning, it is just so busy! I guarantee that whoever is managing to get those perfect shots where it appears that no-one is around went very early morning! You can read about my experience of Plitvice National Park, here.
We decided to stay overnight near Plitvice National Park - the idea was originally that we would have the opportunity to head back into the park the following morning, however we felt that we had covered a lot of ground the day before, so instead, we drove back to Split, where we dropped off the car and caught the hour-long bus to take us to our final destination of the trip - Makarska.
Plitvice National Park
Days 11 - 15 - Makarska
We had spent the first 10 days of the trip racking up the steps, exploring some of the towns and national parks of Croatia, so we really just wanted the last few days of the trip to be relaxed and we took things at a much slower pace.
We stayed at the Dalmacija Sunny Hotel, which was located right on the beach in the centre of Makarska. We combined mornings exploring the town, nearby forest parks and beaches with afternoons lazing at the hotel pool - it was a perfect end to the holiday.
Makarska is also a great location to explore some of the islands off the coast - read about Makarska in my post, here.
Makarska town overlooked by the Mount Biokovo range
All links on this website are my own recommendations or sites I found useful when planning and are not affiliated. I do not receive any commission from including these links within this blog.