Usually when you want to go on holiday you are limited in terms of how much time you can really take off. Typically, it’s no more than a couple of days.
However, if you are lucky enough to have a bit more time, perhaps a week or two, you should definitely try to make the most out of it by traveling along the fascinating Croatian coastline.
There is so much to see, so I organised the entire trip by days spent in each town, starting first up north in the Istrian Peninsula and then heading south towards the Dalmatian coast.
Here’s how I spent 10 days in the Coastline of Croatia
- 2 Days in Pula
I flew to Pula as it was cheaper than any other city in Croatia, and also because it is located right in the coast, more precisely in the Istrian Peninsula which meant finding a nice city like Pula with a fascinating history and crystal clear beaches nearby.
Highlights: Best beaches are located in Punta Verudela and Medulin, take a boat from Rovinj to explore the Brijuni islands, the Roman amphitheater is impressive and one the world’s best preserved, the Arch of Sergii and the Temple of Augustus are a must see. The marina and harbour near the Riviera Hotel are Pula’s citizens pride and joy. There’s a local food market every morning in the city centre.
- 2 Days in Zadar
Probably one of the most charming cities in all Croatia, it has a lot to offer. The City Guided tour provided by the Tourist Information Centre is worth your time. You don’t want to miss its sunsets, the sea organ and the Greeting to the Sun, specially during the night.
Highlights: When the sun goes down walk along the sea promenade called Riva, admire Zadar’s Romanesque architecture and its Venetian gates in the city walls, enjoy great views from the top of the Cathedral Bell tower, and taste of the local Maraschino liqueur.
- 2 Days in Split
Split is the place to be if you’re looking for a city with good nightlife and lots of partying. Overall I wasn’t that impressed with the city although Diocletian’s Palace is quite stunning and you can find many interesting stalls and artwork there. However, the main reason to come here is because from Split you can easily get to many beautiful islands, such as Hvar, Brač, Biševo and Pakleni which are definitely worth visiting.
Highlights: The Blue Cave in Biševo, Hvar town, swimming in the Blue Lagoon and Stiniva beach. I’d suggest doing the 5 Island Tour if you’re up for a bit of an adventure and don’t mind starting your day very early (Boats leave about 8:00 am). This trip will take your entire day, so plan accordingly. Also check out the list of events at the National Theatre in Split you might be as lucky as I was to find frow tickets to the opera in the middle of Diocletian’s Palace…
- 4 Days in Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik is all you have heard and more. Yes, it is such an incredible place that you feel you are in a movie set. No wonder why it has become so popular amongst film makers. Its city walls made my jaw drop a few times. It’s worth getting the Dubrovnik Card to enter most of the places of interest and saving some money. The accommodation can be quite expensive in the city and surroundings so try to book well in advance.
Highlights: Take the cable car up the mountain because the panoramic views are beyond beautiful, do some kayaking in the city and watch the sun set as you row back to shore, definitely pay a visit to the City Walls and Fort Lovrijenac, and of course a good City and GOT Walking Tour is a good way to spend a couple of hours.
- Renting a car is key, it gives you freedom to move around and saves you money on flights, the roads are in top condition. The tolls are inexpensive, I spent about 30 Euros there and back.
- If you’re driving towards Dubrovnik. Don’t forget to bring your passport with you and keep it handy as you will be stopped by police at the Bosnian border town of Neum which is the only way to cross back into Croatia. Expect some traffic and queues in both directions especially during high season.
- Check out properly all kayaking tours and boat excursions to the islands, there are many tourist traps promising things they can’t fulfill. To avoid disappointment be sure to ask things like: what operator runs the excursion?, what type of food is included?, is there free time during the trip?, timings, etc.
- Try to book in advance a stay in Dubrovnik. It gets packed and super expensive. Also try to stay outside the walled city you’ll pay much less.
- Be sure to bring with you a pair of water shoes otherwise you won’t enjoy swimming. The Croatian coast is all about stones and rocks, and you might also find sea urchins.
- If you can try to avoid the month of July: no matter where you go in Croatia it will be flocked by hordes of tourists. Not nice.
- Sunblock all the time. Don’t underestimate the sun in Croatia.
- Try to get some money out (Official currency is Kuna) before you go on the road, sometimes it’s not easy to find ATMs or pay with cards in the tolls.