Island Hopping Croatia | The ideal 10 days in Croatia itinerary

Island hopping Croatia has to be on everyone’s travel bucket list. Exploring some of the most beautiful Dalmatian coastline, walking the old towns that have inspired many a famous story, not least the HBO blockbuster, Game of Thrones, to drifting from unspoilt Adriatic island to the next. What more could you possibly want from your holiday destination? And having spent numerous holidays visiting Croatia, we’ve put together a tried and tested ideal 10 days in Croatia itinerary, so you’re in the know before you go, armed with a list of must-visit places and the best things to do.

Why go island hopping in Croatia?

We imagine that you’ve already got your heart set on a trip to the stunning Adriatic Coast, but just in case you need a little more inspiration as to why you should spend your hard earned dosh on 10 days in Croatia, then here are just a couple of reasons:

  • As the saying goes: sun, sea and sand. Any holiday to Croatia will provide you with plenty of all three. And what’s more is that if you’re able to travel in the lower season summer months of May or June and September or October, you’ll still likely have wonderful hot weather, warm seas and more likely empty (ish) beaches.
  • Anyone who is interested in history will be blown away by what’s on offer. From Ancient Romans, the Ottomans through to Venetians have all played their part in sculpting the region. And you’ll have likely seen a lot of the major sights as they were used as filming locations in the Game of Thrones series.
  • It pretty much goes without saying that everyone likes Mediterranean cuisine, and the great news is that the Croatian dishes definitely won’t fail to impress. With influences from Greek to Italian, fresh fish to olives, you can’t help but love the food.
  • And last but by no means least, it is super accessible with cheap flights on low cost carriers – so it’s not going to break the bank. And with any good island-hopping adventure, you can start in one location and depart from another, allowing you to easily meander along the coast.

How long do you need for your Croatian island-hopping adventure?

Ideally you’ll want to spend at least 10 days exploring charming Croatia, but this includes at least a couple of days in Dubrovnik and Split at the start and end of your Croatia itinerary and then a host of island hopping in between.

You could probably just about reduce this itinerary down to a week in Croatia, but we wouldn’t want you to shorten it further than that. However, there are loads of ways to lengthen this to a 2 weeks Croatia itinerary. Check out our bonus locations section at the end for more ideas of where you can go in Croatia if you’ve got a longer stint planned.

What does the perfect Croatia island itinerary look like?

There are so many beautiful places that you can visit in Croatia, but for this 10 day Croatia itinerary we really had to narrow it down to what we believe are the must-visit places…

  • Day 1 & 2: Exploring Split
  • Day 3: Hop over to Brac
  • Day 4:  Travel from Brac to Hvar
  • Day 5 & 6: Enjoy enchanting Hvar
  • Day 7 & 9: Head to Korcula
  • Day 9 & 10: Explore Dubrovnik

Although don’t fret if not all of these tickle your fancy, we’ve got bonus activities for many of the locations, as well as a host of other destinations for you to consider, so you don’t just have to follow our island hopping Croatia itinerary, but can create the best itinerary to suit your travel style.

How to get to Croatia

Flights

Depending on where you’re travelling from (and assuming that you’re not already in a neighbouring country), really the only way is by plane. But the great news is that a number of low-cost European airlines as well as national carriers fly to Croatia.

We have based this 10 days in Croatia itinerary on starting in Split and departing from Dubrovnik, however you could quite easily amend it to start and finish in other locations. If you haven’t yet sorted out your flights, check out the latest offers on Skyscanner.

Travel around Croatia

Bookaway

If you’re looking to book travel around Croatia as part of your itinerary (and let’s be honest unless you plan to just lie by a pool for 10 days in the same spot you’ll need some), we recommend that you check out the latest options on Bookaway for transfers.

They have 24 hour online support, which is a real help when you’re travelling. And what’s more a lot of their routes have great cancellation policy options.

Check out the latest routes and prices with Bookaway.

Car Rentals

If you want to do your own travel around Croatia (and also thinking about skipping some of the islands) then it’s well worth thinking about renting your own car. Driving in Croatia is really easy, we have even rented cars and headed over the border to visit Montenegro.

Check out the latest deals for a hire car in Croatia with Rental Cars.

Travel Insurance for your Croatia holiday

Got your travel insurance booked? We promise to never push a brand or product we don’t personally use, and the travel cover from Safety Wing is a policy we don’t just use, but we highly recommend. They offer some of the most flexible policies, amazing customer service and are affordable too.

Check out the latest travel insurance prices with Safety Wing here.

What are the options for your island hopping Croatia itinerary?

So, when you’re looking to book the island hopping section of your Croatia itinerary, then you really have a couple of options – and generally that will depend on what your travel style is. We generally like to plan everything ourselves and go for the self-booking option – where you travel on the larger ferries from one island to the next.

The alternative is to look at a sailing package, and these are also definitely worth considering as it’ll take the hassle out of a lot of the accommodation booking (you sleep on the boat) and ferry tickets – but then again you’re a little more restricted in the final choice on where you go. That is unless you can get a big group together to book out a ferry.

Both options are great, and it’ll completely depend on what you want from your holiday in Croatia. However, this itinerary will be most useful for those looking to book everything themselves. But whichever option you punt on, there are loads of tips in here on where to go, where to stay and what to do!

Self-booking

Similar to what we mentioned above in getting around Croatia, head over to Bookaway to check out the latest ferry prices for your transport routes.

Then check out accommodation options through a hotel booking company like Agoda.

Sailing Package

Alternatively, if you’re really keen to experience a liveaboard and cruising around the various Adriatic Islands, why not check out G Adventures for the latest package deals that they offer?

Day 1: Split

For our 10 days in Croatia itinerary, we have started in Split, but you could of course switch this itinerary around and instead start in Dubrovnik. They are both amazing cities to explore and great locations to start your Adriatic adventure.

But for us, starting with Split just pips it – Dubrovnik, especially in high season can get very busy – so we find this way around is a slightly gentler way into exploring Croatia.

We have even dedicated 2 days in Split as it’s such a cracking place, and you’ll want to tie in a day trip to the world-famous Krka National Park when you’re in town, and you just can’t cram it all in, in one day…

Now depending on what time your flight lands into Split, will also determine how many attractions you can see on your first day, but if you arrive in nice and early, you should still comfortably be able to cross most of these must-see spots and activities off your list:

10 days in Croatia itinerary - Split cityscape from the Bell Tower

Old Town Walking Tour

As you may well know from many of our other city guides, it’ll come as no surprise that we always look to add in a walking tour of any new city we visit – it really is the best way to get your bearings and see many of the key sights.

And the good news for all you walking lovers, is that Split old town is another great city for pounding the streets. Handily we’ve also added in a walking map for you to follow below – aren’t we super helpful?! So, here’s what to head to on your Split Old Town walking day tour:

  • Diocletian’s Palace – Definitely the most famous location in Split, and making up a chuck of the Old Town, this was the retirement home for Emperor Diocletian and built way back in the 4th century. Make sure you find the Peristyle, Palace Cellars (and Podrum Underground Market) and Vestibule as you wander around this UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you’re a Game of Thrones fan, you may well know some of these sites as some part of the palace were used in filming of the HBO hit series.
  • Saint Domnius Cathedral and Bell Tower – If you make it to the Peristyle then you definitely can’t miss this. It is located right next to it, and a climb up the bell tower offers some of the best views in the city. So, make sure you climb it! The Sveti Duje as it’s known locally is one of the oldest cathedrals in the world, having been transformed in the 7th century from the original mausoleum of Diocletian.
  • Statue of Grgur Ninski – located just outside the Golden Gate of the palace (also known as the North Gate), you’ll find a statue of Gregory of Nin. This huge bronze artwork depicts the medieval Croatian Bishop who is attributed with spreading the Croatian language by holding services in the national language. Don’t forget to give his giant toe a rub, it’s meant to bring you good luck.
  • Old Town Hall and People’s Square – and as a last recommendation for the walking tour, make sure you head to People’s Square to check it and the Old Town Hall out.
Croatia itinerary 10 days - St Domnius Bell Tower

Split Walking Tour Interactive Map:

Although if you aren’t keen to do this walking tour yourself, or really want to understand more of the history behind Split, then we’d definitely recommend that you look into one of the guided tour options. Why not check out this Split Old Town tour on Get Your Guide?

Hike up Marjan Forest Park

For the afternoon in Split, and if you’re done wandering the Split Old Town, and want to see something a bit different, then take a walk up into the Marjan Forest Park for the best views of the city.

Located to the west of the city, Marjan Hill and Forest Park offers a completely different experience to the steaming city streets. And although it’s a little hike up the main stairs to get to the summit (at a relatively low 178m), the panoramic views that you’re afforded make it well worth it – even in the heat of summer.

Just make sure that you take some water, sunscreen and a hat with you… as with most of the Mediterranean, the heat can be overwhelming.

10 days in Croatia itinerary - view from Marjan Hill

Marjan Hill Stairs Location: Marasovića ul., 21000, Split, Croatia

Drinks on Kasjuni Beach

And what better way to reward all your walking, than by heading to one of the best beaches and beach bars in town for afternoon drinks and to watch the sunset?

The good news is that Kasjuni Beach and Joe’s Beach Lounge & Bar are just the other side of Marjan Hill – so that walk up and down definitely isn’t for nothing! Just remember to pack your swimming gear so you can also take a dip and cool off!

Then kick back, grab a sundowner, and watch the sun set over Ciovo Island.

Joe’s Beach Bar Location: Šetalište Ivana Meštrovića 45B, 21000, Split, Croatia

Getting from Split Airport into town

Split International Airport is around 25 kilometres west of Split city centre, but the great news is that there are easy (and cheap) ways to get from the airport into town:

By bus

The cheapest way to get into town from the airport is on the bus, with the local bus being very affordable, but we’d recommend that you go for the ever so slightly more expensive but much more convenient Airport Shuttle Bus.

The Airport Shuttle Bus takes 35 minutes to make the journey between Split Airport and the town centre and only 40 KN (6.15 USD/4.85 GBP.

By ferry

What’s better than taking the Airport Shuttle Bus? Well in Split you can start your holiday in style and take a ferry, yes a ferry, from the airport into town.

There are only 6 ferries running in peak season, so best check that this option will work for you (here is the timetable), and will set you back 45 KN per person (7.00 USD/5.50 GBP).

By taxi

And of course, you can take a taxi into Split from the airport, which depending on the time that you arrive may be your best bet.

Although taxis can be surprisingly expensive in Split! And the 30 minute drive will set you back around 250 KN (38.50 USD/30.50 GBP).

Airport Attraction

One other thing to note, depending on time that you arrive into the airport, or if doing this itinerary in reverse, then it’s well worth trying to stop in to Trogir as it’s so close to the airport.

This UNESCO World Heritage town is stunning, offering up some of the best examples of Venetians buildings on the Dalmatian Coast. Think Dubrovnik with far fewer tourists…

Croatia travel itinerary - Trogir

Where to stay in Split

There are lots of great hotels and self-catering options across Split, so the good news is that you’ll definitely find something in your budget. Here are some of our top recommendations for Split hotels:

Budget: Studio Aurelia Palace in the middle of old town is a great budget apartment rental to consider. You’ll get luxury at a reasonable price.

Mid-range: Split Oasis Studio Apartments is another spot right in the middle of Split Old Town, but provides even more luxury, but still at a great price.

Luxury: Heritage Hotel 19 is our suggestion for that special place in Split. Still not hugely expensive but this boutique hotel gets amazing reviews!

Day 2: Split

Krka National Park

Of course you can’t come to Split and not visit one of the most stunning national parks in Croatia, so we have dedicated most of our second day of the 10 days in Croatia itinerary to exploring the beautiful Krka National Park.

Make sure you head out early if you plan to visit on your own – either rent a car or jump on a bus for the 80km trip to the park. The first bus departs Split at 7.00am to Skradin, so will get you to the ferry pier at around 8.15am and the bus will set you back 75 KN (11.50 USD/9.15 GBP).

Then take the ferry to Skradinski Buk, (here are the departure times) the really famous waterfall – although if you don’t want to wait for the ferry, if it’s full or if you want to save some pennies, you can also walk alongside the lake to get to this iconic landmark. We actually walked that route on the way back and found it well worth it.

Make sure you pack your swimmers, suntan cream and some snacks/drinks and relax by the waterfall, have a swim and head off on walks to explore the national park. There’s even an old village that you can head to, up on the hill behind Skradinski Buk to check out.

Depending on what time of year you visit Krka, you’ll have to purchase entry tickets that cost from 30 KN in the quieter winter months, raising to 200 KN over the peak summer period (that’s 4.65 to 30 USD / 3.65 to 24.25 GBP).

How many days in Croatia - Krka National Park

Ferry to Krka National Park: Obala Bana Pavla Subica 2, 22222, Bićine, Croatia

Open: 8.00am to 8.00pm during peak months, times change in Spring, Autumn and Winter. Check out all times here.

Dinner and drinks on the Riva

After a full day relaxing in the Krka National Park, we imagine that you’ll head back to your accommodation in the afternoon, maybe for a quick siesta before heading out for the evening.

And a brilliant place to have a few cocktails and do some good old ‘people watching’ is in the Riva Harbour right on the waterfront. Whether you want the more rustic style (try Adriatic Graso) or looking for some posh nosh (try Brasserie 7) there is something for everyone.

If you’d like some alternative restaurant recommendations, we have a host of our favourite places to eat in our Split itinerary here.

Bonus activities in Split

Klis Fortress

Depending on whether you have the time and energy to do so, we’d recommend that you stop into Klis Fortress on the way back from your trip to Krka… although it does make it much easier if you rent a car for day 2! Hence our recommendation…

You may well know this landmark as another filming location for the hit TV series, Game of Thrones, as it was used as the town of Meereen. And unsurprisingly as a major filming spot, it has seen its tourism numbers hugely peak.

But other than being part of GoT, the fortress has an amazing history stretching back more than a couple of thousand years, from being sieged by the Romans, the seat of many Croatian Kings, a castle for the infamous Knights Templar and through to the Ottoman Empire battling the Venetians – if only those (very thick) walls could talk hey…

And in our opinion the views from the Klis Fortress are worth a trip on their own! Plus, it’s not the most expensive of attractions to visit, with adult tickets costing 60 KN (9.25 USD/7.25 GBP).

10 days in Croatia itinerary - Klis Fortress

Photo credit: Sergei Gussev / Flickr

Location: Kliška tvrđava, 21231, Klis

Open: Daily from 9.00am to 10.00pm

Split Museum of Fine Art

Looking for a little more culture to add into your Croatia itinerary, and you’re a bit of an art-lover? Then add the Museum of Fine Art onto your must-see list.

When you’re on your walking tour of the Split Old Town, the former hospital turned museum is a stone’s throw from the Statue of Gregory of Nin and is home to one of the best Croatian fine art collections.

Location: Ul. kralja Tomislava 15, 21000, Split

Open: Tuesdays to Sundays – 10.00am to 6.00pm, Mondays – closed!

Mestrovic Gallery

An alternative to the Museum of Fine Art, the Mestrovic Gallery is dedicated to the works of Ivan Mestrovic. From his amazing sculptures to designs and drawings it a wonderful place to visit, especially as at the base of Marjan Hill, it has stunning views out to sea.

If you’re not keen on relaxing on Kasjuni Beach, maybe this could be an alternative to consider instead.

10 days in Croatia itinerary - Mestrovic Gallery

Location: Šetalište Ivana Meštrovića 46, 21000, Split, Croatia

Open: Tuesdays to Sundays – 9.00am to 5.00pm, Mondays – closed!

More Beaches

Ok, we get it, some people just want to come to Croatia and spend time on the beach. And we wouldn’t hold that against you – it’s your holiday after all and what better way is there to unwind than with a good book on a towel, with the sound of waves lapping at your feet?

If you want more options than just Kasjuni a couple of the other best beaches in and around Split are Kaštelet beach and Trstenik beach.

Location Kastelet: Šetalište Ivana Meštrovića 39, 21000, Split, Croatia

Location Trstenik: Put Trstenika 34, 21000, Split, Croatia

Jupiter’s Temple

Or if you’re looking for another activity to add into your walking tour, then we’d recommend that you stop in at the beautiful Temple of Jupiter.

Another great example of what Diocletian did for the town, having built the temple in the 4th century, before it was converted to a church later on.

Location: Ul. Kraj Svetog Ivana 2, Split

Open: Daily from 8.00am to 7.00pm

Day 3: Brac

Now your Adriatic Island hopping part of your Croatia itinerary begins in earnest, with a short hop across to Brač – one of the larger islands in the Adriatic, although often overlooked for the more famous (and glamorous Hvar and Korčula).

We absolutely fell in love with Brac for its charming, relaxed island way of life and rustic vibes. Honestly, if you aren’t looking for an island-hopping adventure, then eking out a few days to rest up on Brac is definitely a great idea.

However, with so much to see on your trip, we’ve only allowed for a one day trip over to Brac, and for that there is one absolutely must-do thing on the island – visit Zlatni Rat.

Zlatni Rat

Don’t be put off by the name, this has nothing to do with rodents… in fact located just outside Bol (where we suggest you stay, but more on that later), you will find one of the most unique beaches in Croatia.

Often called both the Golden Cape and the Golden Horn, Zlatni Rat is a beach spit that pushes out into the Hvar channel, providing you with the perfect place to hang out for the day.

If you have more time to explore the island further, or just aren’t interested in spending your day at the beach, then it’s also worth having Blaca Hermitage on your list – a monastery built into the side of a cliff.

Getting from Split to Brac

The ferry from Split to Brac takes you from the main Split Ferry Port to Milna Pier in around 25 minutes, so is a super easy journey.

Don’t forget to book beforehand as it can get hugely busy, and we’ve seen plenty of people turned away on these routes as they didn’t pre-book.

Check out the latest ferry options and prices with Bookaway.

Where to stay on Brac

There are a number of great different locations to stay over in Brac, but we’d recommend that you head over towards Bol, which is around an hour’s transfer from Milna – as from here it is very easy to get to Zlatni Rat. Definitely reach out to your accommodation once booked as they’ll often help with transfers around the island.

Budget: Villa Juraj – is one of the best budget friendly options in the Bol area. Clean rooms, with a pool. Excellent.

Mid-range: Lifestyle Villa Vitar – if you’re looking for adults only kind of place that’s set back from the beach, has amazing views and a wonderful pool, then this is the place for you.

Luxury: Or if you’ve taking the family, and looking for the best pool and amenities of hotels on the island, as well as being right on the beach, then the Bluesun Hotel Elaphusa is the pick for you.

Day 4: Brac to Hvar

Keeping with island life, we’ve looked at making today a very relaxed travel day, so head to the beach in the morning or get a good lie in (you’re on holiday after all), before you head back to Split and then transfer over to the stunning Hvar.

Best islands in croatia - Hvar

Getting from Brac to Hvar

It’s not at all a long journey, but you’ll want to book a transfer back across from Milna to Split, which takes around 25 minutes, before then heading out from Split over to Hvar – this journey takes a little longer at around an hour’s ferry ride.

Book your Croatia island hopping ferries here.

Where to stay on Hvar

As the ferry arrives into Hvar Town, and being the area of the island with the most accommodation options and the best nightlife, it would also be our suggestion of where to stay if you’re only on the island for a couple of nights. If you’re staying a little longer, then maybe head out towards Stari Grad, Jelsa or even Vrboska. 

Budget: Apartments and Rooms Kampanel – located right bang in the middle of Hvar Old Town, this 3* apartment hotel is really clean, modern and has fantastic amenities!

Mid-range: If you have a little more budget, then we’d recommend that you check out Apartments Villa Tudor, which offers really lovely rooms and is in a convenient location, try and get one of the rooms with a balcony if you can.

Luxury: Still surprisingly not a crazy budget, the Heritage Hotel Dea is a beautiful hotel. Located in the Hvar old town, you’ll have all the attractions on your doorstep.

Tip: It’s good to note that accommodation (especially in summer) can be really expensive on Hvar, and if you want to save some money, then maybe only stay here for 1 night, and stay longer on Korcula!

Day 5: Hvar

When you hit little island paradises like Hvar, you may well be like us where you want to spend a little bit of time checking out some of the major landmarks, but then the rest of your time kicking back and really enjoying the beautiful surroundings that you find yourself in. So, for the next couple of days on Hvar, we’d recommend that you spend the first day walking around the Old Town and taking it in…

10 days in Croatia itinerary - Hvar Monastery

See the sights in Hvar Old Town

The first thing to point out is that the Old Town can get busy in the peak summer months, especially with day trippers and cruise ship visitors, so staying on the island will allow you to start your day early and explore some of the more famous location in relative peace.

A few of the must-visit places in the Hvar Old Town include:

  • St. Stephen’s Square and Cathedral – The main placa (or square) of the town runs from the harbour all the way to the beautiful St Stephen’s Cathedral. You’ll find yourself here more than you expect with it being the hub of restaurants and cafes in the town.
  • Hvar Loggia and Clock Tower – The new Loggia built around the turn of the 16th century is a stunning building to take a quick photo. Although it was once a courthouse it is now part of the Palace Elizabeth Hotel.
  • Hvar’s Arsenal – Opposite the Loggia and Clock Tower, you’ll find the Arsenal which is home to a theatre (actually the first theatre in Croatia), and Gallery of Modern Art. What was once a workshop for war ships, then rebuilt in the 1600s to what you see today.
  • Franciscan Monastery – this 15th century monastery is another wonderful building to visit as you wander the Old Town. If you’re a fan of art and history, this houses a stunning painting of the Last Supper, as well as a number of Roman and Venetian artefacts.
  • Fortica – Also known as the Spanjola Fortress, you’ll want to head up to the fort for the best views of Hvar Town.
Islands of Croatia - Hvar Fortica

Hvar Old Town interactive map:

Day 6: Hvar

And for day 6 of your Croatia itinerary, it’s a far more relaxing one, where we’d suggest that you head to one of the breath-taking beaches to relax.

Beach day…

Unsurprisingly there are a number of fabulous little beaches in Hvar and even more little secret hidden gems, but we’ve listed a few of the best ‘better known’ beaches that are either close to Hvar Old Town or near to other larger towns on the island, which means you could also explore these too!

  • Beach Pokonji dol – maybe the most popular beach near to Hvar Old Town, this beautiful bay and beach offers crystal clear water, delicious restaurants nearby and you can rent loungers and umbrellas. Just make sure you get there early to claim a good spot.
  • Beach Dubovica – Halfway between Hvar Old Town and Stari Grad, this little gem of a beach is positively quiet compared to those closer to Old Town. A brilliant beach bar and solitude, what more could you want?
  • Beach Prapatna – On the north of the island just past Jelsa (so you’ll want to rent a car), this beach feels very away from it and Unspoilt. Surely its worth that little bit extra effort!?

Stari Grad

Although if you’re interested in checking out other parts of Hvar, then we’d definitely recommend that you head to Stari Grad, a much quieter part of the island in comparison to Hvar Old Town.

Walk the city streets, and stumble into the Tvradlj Castle, the most famous in Stari Grad.

Island hopping in Croatia - Stari Grad Hvar

Day 7: Korcula

Let’s move on to our favourite Adriatic Island: Korcula. No island hopping trip in Croatia would be complete without visiting it.

We have again split the itinerary for Korcula into a day of exploring the best sights and then another to relax on the beach and work on that tan.

Korcula’s Old Town

So first up, as soon as you’re off the ferry, we’d recommend dumping your luggage and heading straight out to the Old Town. And there’s something about this Old Town which makes it our favourite of them all.

Croatian island hopping - Korcula

Town Walls

Kick off your Korcula itinerary with a loop of the old town walls in next to no time. There are some darling little cafes and restaurants lined along the walk, perfect places to stop in for a refreshment or two (or three)… got to keep energised after all!

Cathedral of Saint Mark

As you meander your way from intriguing lane to backstreet, you’ll eventually stumble on the Cathedral of St Mark, which sits in the middle of the Old Town.

House of Marco Polo

The world-famous explorer, turned great swimming pool game, Marco Polo was supposedly born in Korcula! And they have a museum in the home where he apparently lived – although not the most detailed museum of the man, it’s definitely worth a stop in.

Drinks at Massimo’s

And a final stop for the afternoon is to head into Zakerja Tower, where at the top is Massimo’s Bar. A couple of ladders to reach the top of this old town fortification, but you’ll be rewarded with the best views in Korcula, and there is no better place to watch the sunset, with a couple of dubious (and overpriced) cocktails…

10 days in Croatia itinerary - Korcula City Walls

Getting from Hvar to Korcula

The ferry from Hvar to Korcula departs up to 5 times each day and takes just over an hour to make the crossing.

The ferries depart from Hvar Harbour in Hvar Town and take you to the Western Pier right next to Korcula Old Town.

Make sure you book beforehand as many of these popular routes fully sell out, especially in the summer months.

Check out the latest ferry option with Bookaway here.

Where to stay in Korcula

If you’re going to ‘splash the cash’ on any accommodation, then if you can get a reservation (this place books up months in advance) you must try out Tara’s Lodge. When we next head back to Croatia on our next island hopping adventure, this will be the first place we book.

But just in case it’s not in your price range – here are another couple of options:

Budget: Looking for a hostel option? Then Hostel Korcula is perfect for you. Air-conditioned rooms, that are well-appointed (for dorms), right in the middle of town – super cheap too.

Mid-range: With a rustic island chic feel, great amenities and in a perfect location, Apartments Marta is a super option.

Day 8: Korcula

On day 8 of this 10 days in Croatia itinerary, we have dedicated to full-on relaxation, spend time at one of Korcula’s amazing beaches! Here are a few that you should consider visiting, but there are loads of beautiful spots, so it may well be worth checking which beach is closest to your accommodation.

As we said above, we actually stayed at Tara’s Lodge on our last visit (can’t recommend it highly enough), which had its own little private beach out front and beautiful flat bay for swimming, so didn’t have to venture far!

Other stunning beaches

  • Vaja Bay, Racisce – this small pebble beach and bay is only about 15km out of Korcula old town. You’ll likely fall in love with this place.
  • Prizba Beach – on the southern shoreline of the island, and so a bit out of the way (about an hour’s drive from the Old Town), but well worth it as the beach continues out to a headland. One of the prettiest beaches in Korcula.

There really is a bevy of beautiful beaches, so your best bet is to rent a car and venture along the coast to find your own little secret spot.

Korcula beach - island hopping in Croatia

Photo Credit: Remus Pereni / Flickr

Day 9: Dubrovnik

And so finally, you arrive into the Pearl of the Adriatic, Dubrovnik. We really have saved the best for last, with this city being a highlight of any Croatia itinerary. Depending on what time your ferry docks into the port will determine how much you’re able to include in your 2 days in Dubrovnik, but we think that what we’ve suggested is very achievable.

Although, if you’re not that keen on what we have suggested for your time in Dubrovnik then we have lots of additional activities as well as day trips to consider!

10 days in Croatia itinerary - Dubrovnik Old Town roofs

Fort Lovrijenac

As soon as you’ve got to your accommodation and dropped off your bags, head out to one of the great Croatia landmarks, Fort Lovrijenac.

Located just outside the famous Old Town walls, the Fort is believed to have been built back in the early 1000s, but the first documentation of officials at the fort was in 1301 with the appointment of the Commander of the Fort.

Another location on the Adriatic that was used in the TV series, Game of Thrones, also known as Dubrovnik’s Gibraltar and St Lawrence Fort, it was built, as legend has it, to fend off the Venetians. The location had already been scouted by the attackers as the perfect spot to build their own fortress, but by the time they arrived with supplies, the people of Dubrovnik had already constructed Fort Lovrijenac, forcing the Venetians to head for home.

Tickets for adults is 50KN (7.50 USD/6.00 GBP).

Croatia travel guide - Fort Lovrijenac

Location: Ul. Od Tabakarije 29, 20000, Dubrovnik

Open: 8.00am to 7.00pm daily

Wander Dubrovnik Old Town

And what better way to spend the afternoon than wandering the beautiful streets of the Old Town – just remember to bring some comfy walking shoes! As with Split, we have curated a bit of a walking tour for Dubrovnik, along with an interactive map below with the places not to miss.

  • Stradun – This stunning off-white limestone paved street has to be one of our favourite streets in all of Europe. Running across the city from east to west and from the Pile Gate to Ploce Gate (two other attractions), this main street of the old town is the perfect place to start your city tour. There are two Onofrio’s fountains from the 1400s at each end, and lots of shops and cafes to explore along its length.
  • Saint Ignatius Church – Constructed in 1725, and with an equally beautiful staircase out front, this church should definitely be on any walking tour of the Old Town.
  • Dubrovnik Cathedral – Another beauty of a church to visit in Dubrovnik, and in our opinion this one has a pretty cool history – it was part funded by Richard the Lionheart (the other goody from Robin Hood), who was shipwrecked near Dubrovnik on his way back from the Crusades! It has been restored a few times, especially after the 1667 earthquake that destroyed much of the city.
  • Franciscan Monastery & Museum – This 14th century monastery, just inside the city walls and off the Placa (or main street) is a really fascinating place to visit, with it’s 17th century library – home to 20,000 books – as well as Europe’s oldest still functioning pharmacy.
Best Croatia itinerary - spend time at the Dubrovnik Cathedral

Dubrovnik Walking Tour Interactive Map:

Although if you’re not to keen on exploring the city on your own, or even want a guide that will share some of the history of the region, then check out some of the Dubrovnik tours available on Get Your Guide.

Sunset Drinks at Buza Bar

And after all that stomping around town, what better way to finish up your first day in Dubrovnik than sundowners at the secret hole in the wall, Buza Bar?

Accessed through an opening in the city walls, you’ll have cocktail in one hand and panoramic views out across the Adriatic Sea. What more could you want?

Trip Croatia itinerary - Buza Bar for sunset in Dubrovnik

Photo Credit: Colleen Elizabeth/Flickr

Top tip: Try and head there at least an hour before sunset as it can get pretty busy!

Location: Crijevićeva ul. 9, 20000, Dubrovnik

Open: Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays & Sundays – 8.00am to 2.00am, Tuesdays 12.00pm to 5.00pm, Fridays – Closed!

Getting from Korcula to Dubrovnik

The trip between the island of Korcula and the amazing destination of Dubrovnik is actually a really lovely ferry ride, with the journey taking around 2 hours 30 minutes. You’ll depart from Korcula Old Town area (or the Western Pier right next to it) and arrive into Dubrovnik harbour, which is a short bus or taxi journey across to the Old Town.

Although make sure you book early especially in high season as it gets booked out!

Check out the latest ticket prices for the ferry with Bookaway.

Top tip: It’s a good idea to try and be one of the first off the ferry when you get into Dubrovnik or you may well be waiting a while for a taxi or bus across to the Old Town.

Where to stay in Dubrovnik

Make sure that you look to stay in and around the Old Town, as you’ve only got a couple of days to explore, you don’t want to waste much time going back and forth. Although the prices in the Old Town are a bit more expensive it’s well worth it and you can still find some absolute gems! Here are some cracking recommendations:

Budget: Either Villa Four Winds II or Villa Four Winds III would be right at the top of our reasonably priced places to stay in the Old Town list. Great reviews, modern and well-appointed with everything you need for a couple of days. Plus, they are bang in the middle of Old Town.

Mid-range: Domnius Little Palace, is a great boutique hotel right near to the main attractions.

Luxury: Villa Glavic gets our nod at the higher end of the market, although a few minutes’ walk outside of the Old Town, you get a pool with world class service. Go on treat yourself.

Top tip: As we mention in our packing tips, we’d suggest against a large wheeled case that you can’t lift – there are often a lot of steps up to the apartments in Dubrovnik and you don’t want to be one of those people struggling to carry your luggage up to your accommodation. If you’re adamant for a wheeled case, check out some of the great wheeled backpacks that are now available.

Day 10: Dubrovnik

Walk the City Walls

So, onto your last morning of your 10 day Croatia itinerary – get up early and start off with a walk of the Old City Walls! Head up onto the walls as soon as they open at 8.00am and you’re likely to have this major attraction pretty much to yourself… surely worth that early start?

The walls are relatively expensive at 200 KN for an adult (30 USD/24 GBP) but we think that it’s definitely worth it to explore this 2km long attraction.

10 days in Croatia itinerary - Dubrovnik City Walls View

Top tip: Get your tickets the evening before for the next day and you won’t have to queue in the morning.

Take a Game of Thrones Tour

After you’ve explored the walls and had some lunch, what better way to spend the afternoon than with a GoT tour? If you’re massive GoT fans like us, then this will be an absolute must when visiting Dubrovnik!

As you’ll likely know, Kings Landing was originally filmed in Dubrovnik, so if you want to see in person the most famous sections like Red Keep, Cersi’s Walk of Shame and Blackwater Bay, you’ll want to have an experienced guide showing you around.

Dubrovnik island hopping Croatia - Game of Thrones

Why not check out these Dubrovnik Game of Thrones Tours.

Cable Car to Mount Srd

And our final must-do attraction while in Dubrovnik is to head up Srd Hill which will give you the best views back over the red-roofed vistas of Dubrovnik.

The base of the Dubrovnik Cable Car is not far from Ploce Gate, and will take you to the top of the mountain in a few minutes… although if you are feeling particularly energetic you could walk it (this is a better option first thing in the morning though as it can be pretty hot).

Alongside the amazing views back to Dubrovnik, you’ll also see Lokrum Island and the Elafiti Islands, both excellent places to visit if you have more time. And there is also a Napoleon built fortress atop Srd to explore – the Fort Imperial, built in the 1800s and much more recently used in the siege of Dubrovnik. Now home to an interesting museum, the Homeland War Museum, that will give you a really good understanding of what the city endured during that war.

Tickets for the cable car will set you back 100 KN (15 USD/12.00 GBP).

Croatia itinerary - Mount Srd panorama

Location: Ulica kralja Petra Krešimira IV, 20000, Dubrovnik

Open: 9.00am to 12.00am daily

Getting to Dubrovnik Airport from the Old Town

Dubrovnik’s Airport is actually around 22km away from the Old Town in Čilipi, but the good news is that there are a number of easy ways to get there:

By bus

Definitely our best recommendation for getting from the Old Town to the airport is with the Airport Shuttle Bus – it departs from the main bus station in Gruz, swings on by Pile Gate and then ends up at the airport, takes around 30 minutes or so and only costs 55 KN (8.25 USD/6.50 GBP).

Alternatively, you can take the even cheaper local buses, any of routes 11, 27, 31 or 38 that will take you from Dubrovnik to the airport, and are a cheaper alternative at 18 KN per person (2.75 USD/2.15 GBP). Check out the routes here, although note it is a little more complicated than the airport shuttle.

By taxi

If working out the buses isn’t for you, running a little late (we’ve all been there) or are travelling at less than palatable hour, then maybe a taxi will be your best bet. You’ll see them parked outside the main gates of the Old Town, and it’ll cost you around 250 KN for the trip (40 USD/30 GBP).

Or if you’re already got it, then try Uber to book your trip.

Bonus things to do in Dubrovnik

Check out Lokrum Island

If you’ve got a bit more time on either day in Dubrovnik we’d highly recommend that you take a tour over to visit Lokrum Island, a mere 600m from Dubrovnik harbour (the old one in the Old Town not the new ferry port).

This little chunk of land has some really interesting buildings and attractions to explore including the Benedictine Monastery, Charlotte’s Well, its own Dead Sea and a Botanical Gardens with stunning peacocks.

Check out this tour option if you’re keen!

Croatian island hopping - Peacocks on Lokrum Island

Relax on the beaches

Now just in case you haven’t had enough time to relax on the beaches while island hopping, or in a desperate attempt to add a final layer of tan, just so your colleagues know you’ve been somewhere nice, you could also grab a good book and head to one of the beaches for a day. Here are a few of the top ones to pick in and around Dubrovnik:

  • Danče Beach – just outside the Old Town and very popular with the locals, it can be surprisingly quiet during the week.
  • Sveti Jakov Beach – one of the prettiest beaches in Dubrovnik, and about a mile’s walk from the Old Town.
  • Banje Beach – right near to Ploce Gate and so gets very busy, but the best view back to the Old Town harbour and out across to Lokrum.
10 days in Croatia itinerary - Dubrovnik beaches

Day trip to the Elaphiti Islands

So, maybe your tan is on point, but you didn’t get enough of the island-hopping experience? Well then why not check out a day trip to the 3 Elaphiti Islands: Koločep, Šipan and Lopud?

Here is a great day trip to the Elaphiti Islands to consider.

Sea Kayaking Tour

Or maybe you’re more of the adventure type and keen to try out a totally different way to explore Dubrovnik? Try your hand at a sea kayak tour.

From exploring the Old Town walls from a very different perspective, to heading over to seek out hidden caves on Lokrum, this offers a fun way to discover other parts of this amazing city.

10 days in Croatia itinerary map

Bonus islands to add to your Croatia island hopping itinerary

There may well be other islands that you have your heart set on visiting, but as we had to select only our top locations in a 10 days in Croatia itinerary piece, we had to omit a few absolute gems. So if you aren’t sure about all our recommended places, then why not consider adding some of these to your Croatia island hopping section?

Mljet

The most southern and eastern large island along the Dalmatian Coast, Mljet’s western part is covered with the large Mljet National Park, which is almost worth the trip on its own – being potentially the most stunning natural place on any of these islands.

Go snorkelling in the crystal clear waters and see the Mljet Coral Reef, and visit the beautiful bay at Prožurska Luka. It really feels that you can find seclusion on this Adriatic isle.

Around an hour from Dubrovnik on the catamaran, Mljet, it’s easy to head to the island for a couple of days. Book your ticket to Mljet here.

10 days in Croatia itinerary - Mljet National Park

Vis

Another island that so nearly made it into our itinerary, but loses out to the Brac, Hvar and Korcula combo… however, Vis which is located a little further offshore than Hvar and to the northwest of Korcula is definitely worth your consideration.

Known as a great place to head out and explore Bisevo island (and the infamous Blue Grotto), amongst other small islands around, Vis also has Stiniva Beach which was named the best in Europe back in 2016… so you know it’s good.

And in case you haven’t got enough movie madness with all the Game of Thrones filming locations, you may be interested to know that Mamma Mia 2 was filmed on this stunning little island.

10 days in Croatia itinerary - Blue Cave from Vis

Photo credit: Dronepicr / Flickr

Solta

Brac’s little brother, Solta is a very short trip across from Split, so if you’re actually just interested doing day trips out from the coast rather than a full island-hopping itinerary, then Solta is another cracking island to consider.

Surprisingly less explored than many of the other surrounding Dalmatian islands, this little treasure is perfect if you’re looking to get away from it all and relax on the beaches.

Bonus ideas for places to visit on your Croatia itinerary

We totally understand that the whole idea of island hopping around Croatia’s Adriatic coast may not be for everyone, or you may have even been to some of these locations previously and looking for other ideas, or even better yet, can extend your holiday and want more inspiration of what to add to your Croatia itinerary. With that in mind, here are some places to consider:

Plitvice Lakes National Park

One of the most beautiful spots in Croatia, and if you have time we’d definitely suggest that you try and add Plitvice Lakes into your Croatia itinerary, especially as it’s only a 3.5 hour drive away from Split, you could almost add it as a day trip!

This world-famous landmark is known for its brilliant turquoise coloured lakes and cascading waterfalls. With 16 lakes to explore and winding paths you’ll want to spend at least a day exploring the region.

Croatia itinerary 10 days - Plitvice Lakes National Park

Zadar

If you’re looking for an alternative island hopping region of Croatia for your 10 day itinerary, then you should head to the beautiful coastal town of Zadar. Similar to Split it’s another great destination to start an island hopping adventure.

Some of the best Croatian islands to check out from Zadar in the northern Adriatic Sea include Rab, Cres and Krk. And although not as popular as those we’ve chosen in our 10 day Croatia itinerary, they all offer amazing beaches, and a very relaxed holiday destination.

Croatian islands guide - Island of Rab

Mostar

Moving slightly away from Croatia, and just over the border in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mostar has become a major destination (and day trip) for those holidaying in Croatia.

Thanks to the hugely Instagrammable Old Bridge, known as the Stari Most and built by the Ottomans in the 16th century, it could well be a must-visit location as part of your Croatia holiday itinerary.

Croatia itinerary 10 days - day trip to Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Zagreb

Now the capital of Croatia isn’t somewhere that we’ve ventured to in over 15 years! Which is one of the reasons it isn’t a must in our itinerary but more of a nice to have…

Although if you do have your heart set on it, make sure that you check out the Zagreb Cathedral, visit the Tomislavac town square and hike Medvednica Mountain.

Given its location from other major attractions and the coastline, we think that you’re better off adding Zagreb as a weekend getaway rather than into a 10 day trip.

Planning a trip to Croatia - add Zagreb to your itinerary

Kotor

Only 2 hours from Dubrovnik in neighbouring Montenegro, the World Heritage city of Kotor should be on your day trips from Dubrovnik list. Not only for the activities when you get there, but also the stunning scenic drive around the Bay of Kotor to get there.

Make sure you have the time and energy to hike up to the Kotor Fortress, as well as walk the old town walls, and visit the churches.

Croatia vacation itinerary - day trip to Kotor Montenegro

When is the best time of year to visit Croatia?

Obviously you could check out Croatia almost year round, but our favourite months to visit of the year are the ‘shoulder’ periods that sit either side of the peak summer holidays of July and August.

Not only are July and August ridiculously hot but, with European summer holidays, they are the busiest and most expensive times to travel to Croatia.

We’d definitely pip for either late May or early June for warm days and cooler nights, or the September and October months, where the summer peak is over, but the sun has warmed the Adriatic nicely.

What to pack for your 10 days in Croatia?

Our best advice for packing for your 10 days in Croatia is to either choose a backpack or at least wheeled backpack for your luggage… when you’re moving from location to location often, wheeled suitcases and the Mediterranean cobbled streets don’t always mix so well.

We love these Osprey backpacks as they have a day pack attached. Which is great for all those mini adventures that you’ll be going on. Or, alternatively, if backpacking really ain’t your thing, then try out the wheeled backpacks, that offer the best of both worlds!

Alongside the camera ideas we have below, we’d also definitely suggest that you get a dry bag for your time on boats, kayaks or even at the beach.

The rest, it’s beaches and exploring old towns, so you know the drill: relaxed clothes, flip-flops,  swimmers, sunglasses, a decent portable towel, suntan cream and a travel adaptor

What camera equipment and other gear do we use?

We’re living proof that you don’t need the most expensive gear to travel the world and take good photos. Here are some of our must have items that make it into the packing list for all our travels.

So, what do you think of this epic Croatia travel guide? Ready to pack your bags for the Dalmatian coast? If we’ve missed anything off this Croatia itinerary or something has changed since we put this together, please do drop us a quick note in the comments below!


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