The best time to visit Croatia is when it is off-tourist season. Which means avoid going there between May and September as every place I will mention in this article will be crowded with tourists. I was there in April and it was still slightly touristy in places like Dubrovnik.
The towns along the dalmatian / adriatic coast is absolutely breathtaking. When you pass by these towns you will notice many stone houses with terracotta roofs on top of sea cliffs. Traveling within Croatia is pretty easy as the bus connection is frequent and reliable.
Here was my itinerary for Croatia. I spent 14 days (two weeks) in Croatia altogether. But you can customize your itinerary based on your plans.
- Zagreb – 3 days
- Plitvice park – 1 day stop over
- Zadar – 2 days
- Split – 3 days
- Hvar – 2 day
- Dubrovnik – 3 days
If you are coming into Croatia by plane then you most probably land in the capital city of Croatia, Zagreb is still cold in April. Take a rain coat with you as it rains in April. One must thing to do in Zagreb is to go to Museum of broken Relationships. I thought the museum concept was funny and unique. If you are one of those tech/science geeks you can visit the Nikola Tesla Science museum located in the center of Zagreb. There is still an ongoing debate whether Tesla was a Croat or a Serb. We don’t want to get in the middle of this debate.
2. Plitvice National park
A forest reserve in the center of Croatia, Plitvice park is filled with numerous waterfalls, limestone canyon and walking trails. You can either spend a night here or just stop by on your way to Zadar from Zagreb. The sight is spectacular from the top. In the summer people go for swimming in these waterfalls.
You can check the schedule here for bus timings from Zagreb to Plitvice park.
Zadar is best known for its Roman and Venetian ruins, churches and bell towers. The city was fortified with a wall in the 16th century to prevent attacks from the invading Ottomans. When you are in Zadar make sure to check out the Sea of Organs that produces random harmonic sounds. Also worth visiting is the Solar Sun salutation that consists of three hundred multilayered solar cell plates that lits up when the sun goes down. Try the black risotto here. It is delicious. It is black because of the ink color from Squid fish.
You can get to Zadar from Plitvice by bus.
Split is the second-largest city of Croatia located on the eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea. It is a transport hub to many of the islands off the shore like Hvar and Vis. Many cruise ships come dock here in the summer season. Split is home to the Roman emperor Diocletian’s palace. He built it A.D 305 and you can still visit the palace for a small fee. Historically speaking Split has been part of many empires so it possesses many traditions and cultural influences from these occupations. The historic center of Split is included in the UNESCO list of World heritage sites.
There are frequent bus services between Zadar and Split (and Dubrvnik and Split).
Hvar can be one day trip or more depending on how much you like the beach lifestyle. It is only a short 2 hour ferry from Split. There is a fortress here as well. I recommend checking out the nightclubs in Hvar.
The most iconic destination of Croatia is none other than Dubrovnik. Best known for the King’s landing in the HBO TV show Game of Thrones (GOT). You must take a cable car ride up to the top of the hill to get some spectacular views of the city walls and the shore. I highly recommend going here to see the sunset.