10 Days In Croatia: Your Ultimate 10 Day Itinerary

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Post author SJ

Written by our local expert SJ

Sarah-Jane has lived in Croatia for 10+ years. SJ, as she is known, has been traveling the Balkans & beyond since 2000. She now shares her passion for traveling with her husband & kids.

Planning a 10-day adventure through Croatia independently? Well, strap in because I’ve spent the last 24 years roaming up and down this stunning country, and I’ve got some nuggets of wisdom to share. 

Croatia Travel Blog_10-Day Itinerary In Croatia

From the ancient city walls that tell tales of yesteryears to the tantalizing Mediterranean cuisine that’ll have you coming back for seconds and the crystal-clear waters of the Adriatic Sea perfect for a dip, Croatia is a playground for the curious and the adventurous.

But hold up; it’s not all about the pristine beaches and those spots that got famous through “Game of Thrones.” Croatia is a treasure chest of experiences with its awe-inspiring architecture that’s weathered centuries, national parks that are a photographer’s dream, and a local vibe that’s as welcoming as a warm hug. It’s a unique blend that promises an unforgettable journey.

So, if you’re looking for the inside scoop on how to make the most of your Croatian holiday, stick around.

I’m here to guide you with tips and suggestions that only come from decades of exploration and falling head over heels for this place. Let’s dive into this guide together and uncover the best of Croatia, one day at a time.

How To Spend 10 Days In Croatia Itinerary

Trogir to Dubrovnik - Dubrovnik Stop

Let’s start your journey in Dubrovnik. This place is like the Hollywood of the Adriatic, with its dramatic baroque buildings and marble streets, all perched on the edge of the sea. While you’re here, dive into the local food scene—Croatia’s fast becoming a hotspot for foodies, with wines and olive oils that’ll knock your socks off.

From there, head on to Split, where you’ll get a taste of that cool Venetian vibe, and then there’s Hvar, where soaking up the sun is practically mandatory. It’s a journey that shows off the best of Croatia, top to bottom.

Next up? Plitvice Lakes National Park. Trust me, it’s like walking into a fairytale with all those waterfalls and stunning blue-green lakes. And it just keeps getting better as you hit the coast. Every stop, from the chill islands to the gorgeous Dalmatian coast, feels like flipping to the next page in an epic story.

Ending your Croatian adventure in Zagreb is like stepping into a live history book, but with a lively street vibe that’s totally now—this city’s got style, from its Austro-Hungarian architecture to its buzzing cafés and markets. 

After 10 days here, you won’t just have a bunch of great photos; you’ll take home a bit of Croatia’s soul, too.

Day 1 To Day 3: Dubrovnik

As you kick off your first three days in Croatia, Dubrovnik welcomes you with its storied walls and stunning Adriatic views. Get lost in the Old Town’s alleyways, take a memorable day trip, and unwind on picturesque beaches.

Exploring Old Town

Is Dubrovnik expensive -

Stroll along the Stradun, Dubrovnik’s main thoroughfare, to feel the pulse of the city.

Your first day in Dubrovnik should include a walk atop the city walls – these ancient ramparts offer panoramic views and a glimpse into the past.

Make sure to visit the Rector’s Palace and the Sponza Palace to delve into local history.

After sunset, the streets come alive with a laid-back nightlife, perfect for enjoying a meal or drink under the stars.

Day Trips From Dubrovnik To Montenegro Or Bosnia-Herzegovina


The beauty of Dubrovnik’s location is the accessibility to nearby locales for day trips. A short boat ride transports you to the tranquil Elaphiti Islands, while a car ride brings the charm of Montenegro or Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Mostar within reach.

Each offers a unique cultural experience, so whether you’re looking to explore more of Croatia or step into neighboring countries, your options are plentiful.

Dubrovnik’s Beaches And Cable Car

Best Beaches In Dubrovnik - Thatched canopies and awnings on the beach Copacabana Beach

Spend your third day savoring the beautiful beaches in Croatia right here in Dubrovnik. Whether you choose the popular Banje Beach or the more secluded Lokrum Island, you’re in for crystal-clear waters and pebbly shores.

Don’t miss the chance to take the cable car to the top of Mount Srđ before the day ends; the view from up there is the kind you’ll carry with you long after your trip ends. Remember to capture those moments as the sun dips below the horizon for a truly breathtaking experience.

Day 4, 5 & 6: Split and Hvar

In the heart of the Dalmatian Coast, Split offers a rich mix of history and culture with its ancient sites and vibrant promenades.

From there, you’ll catch a ferry to the sun-soaked island of Hvar, a highlight for many with its historic architecture and trendy atmosphere.

Diocletian’s Palace And Riva Promenade

Split Or Zadar - Split Croatia at sunrise

On your fourth day, you wander the stone walkways of Diocletian’s Palace, the ancient residence of a Roman emperor. This living museum is the pulse of Split, with its labyrinthine alleys leading to hidden bars, shops, and courtyard cafes. Make sure to check out the well-preserved cellars and the Cathedral of Saint Domnius with its impressive bell tower.

Strolling along the Riva Promenade as the sun begins to set, you find the perfect spot to enjoy coastal views, with palm trees framing the waterfront. The promenade is an ideal location for relaxing and people-watching after a day of sightseeing.

Ferry To Hvar

Ferry Jadrolinija

The following day, you board a ferry to Hvar, a quick journey transporting you from the urban charm of Split to the island.

Ferries to Hvar are frequent and offer a chance to see the sparkling Dalmatian Coast from a unique perspective. Ensure to check ferry schedules in advance and arrive early, as they can fill up quickly in peak seasons.


Hvar’s Highlights

Hiking Croatia - Town of Milna waterfront and marina view

Once in Hvar, your journey takes on a more laid-back pace.

Your time in Hvar will be spent wandering the medieval streets, enjoying the vibrant nightlife, and dreaming about those luxurious yachts docked in the harbor. Take time to climb up to the fortress for breathtaking panoramic views of the town and the Pakleni Islands.

While in Hvar, don’t miss visiting the oldest public theatre in Europe or taking a leisurely swim in the clear, azure seas. The local restaurants serve up a feast of fresh seafood and Dalmatian specialties, providing fuel for your exploration of the scenic island vistas.


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Day 7 & Day 8: Plitvice Lakes National Park

Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Plitvice Lakes National Park on the seventh and eighth days of your Croatian journey. Be ready to experience a plethora of waterfalls, lush forests, and serene lakes.

Hiking And Sightseeing

PLITVICE LAKES - Day Trips From Split

Plitvice Lakes National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is an absolute must-see with its enchanting array of 16 terraced lakes coupled with breathtaking waterfalls. To truly appreciate the park’s vastness, you’ll need at least a full day. Better still, two days allow for a more leisurely exploration and the opportunity to uncover its hidden gems.

  • Trail Options: Depending on your energy levels and interest, there are various trails to choose from, ranging from the easy, two-hour P1 route to the more challenging, six-hour K trail. Each path offers unique vistas and experiences, so pick one that aligns with your hiking appetite.
  • Photography Tips: Early morning or late evening are prime times for photography enthusiasts. Not only is the light at its most magical, but you’ll also beat the crowds.
  • What To Bring: Ensure you have comfortable walking shoes, plenty of water, and snacks. Although there are food service areas in the park, keeping hydrated and energized is essential to enjoying your hike.

You’ll be wowed by the mix of dense green forests, peaceful waterfalls, and super clear lakes that look like they’ve been lifted straight out of a postcard. This place is all about the great outdoors at its best, where everything’s in harmony and just waiting for you to explore.

Day 9 & 10: Zagreb

Your final days in Croatia bring you to the lively and cultural streets of Zagreb, the capital city. Immerse yourself in the city’s rich history and relaxed atmosphere before you wrap up your memorable 10-day journey.

Experience the blend of museums and architecture, and enjoy the serene parks and cafes where catching a beautiful sunset is a perfect end to your autumn trip.

Museums And Architecture

Zagreb - Croatia Travel Blog

Zagreb is a treasure trove of museums for every kind of interest. Make sure to swing by the Museum of Broken Relationships. It’s a unique spot that dives into the ups and downs of love stories gone awry. And don’t skip the Croatian Museum of Naïve Art – it’s packed with eye-catching, straightforward art that’s really something special to this area.

For those who dig cool buildings, a walk around Upper Town (Gornji Grad) is a must. You’ll find St. Mark’s Church there, famous for its colorful tiled roof.

Zagreb’s got this grand Austro-Hungarian vibe going on, with some awe-inspiring architecture. Check out the National Theatre and the fancy buildings all over Lower Town for a taste of the city’s style.

Key Museums To Visit:

  • Museum of Broken Relationships
  • Croatian Museum of Naïve Art
  • Mimara Museum

Architectural Highlights:

  • St. Mark’s Church
  • National Theatre
  • Lotrščak Tower

Relaxing In Parks And Cafes

SJ in sunglasses enjoying Advent in Zagreb, holding a cup of coffee.

After soaking up all that culture, kick back in one of Zagreb’s green spots. Park Zrinjevac is just the place to chill on a bench for some top-notch people-watching or meander around under a bunch of trees. If you’re here in the fall, it’s even better with all the leaves changing colors and that cool, crisp air—perfect sweater weather.

As your Croatian adventure starts to wrap up, dive into the local coffee scene on Tkalčićeva Street. This place is lined with cozy cafes and restaurants where you can grab a hot coffee or try some tasty local sweets. Time your coffee break around sunset for an extra special treat. Watching the city glow in the evening light is the cherry on top of your trip.

Parks For Leisure:

  • Park Zrinjevac
  • Botanical Gardens
  • Maksimir Park

Popular Cafes:

  • Café Jutro
  • Velvet Café
  • Finjak

Don’t forget to grab a map from any tourist info spot. It’ll make getting around Zagreb a breeze. Have a blast exploring the city’s lively vibe and take some time to relax in its peaceful green spaces. It’s the perfect mix of urban excitement and natural chill.


Other 10 Day Itinerary Ideas

If you’re up for mixing things up on your 10-day trip through Croatia, why not switch out a few stops for some equally awesome places?

Let’s talk about slotting in Istria, Zadar, and Krka National Park into your itinerary. This way, you’re guaranteed a journey packed with new discoveries and some seriously cool spots.

Exploring Istria: A Cultural And Gastronomic Delight

Swap Days 1-3

Things To Do In Rovinj - Croatia Travel Blog

Instead of starting your trip in Dubrovnik, fly into Pula early in the morning and begin your Croatian tour in the heart of Istria. This region is renowned for its Italian influence, superb food and wine, and picturesque towns. Spend time wandering through Rovinj’s cobblestone streets, visit the Roman amphitheater in Pula, and indulge in a truffle hunting tour.

A rental car would be the best way to explore Istria’s rolling hills and vineyards at your own pace, providing a comfortable place to relax after a day of exploration.

Adding Zadar: A Blend Of Ancient And Modern

Swap Days 4-5

Split or Zadar - Zadar Greeting to the sun

Replace a day in Split or Hvar with Zadar, one of the most beautiful cities on the Adriatic coast. Zadar offers a unique mix of ancient ruins, medieval architecture, and modern installations like the Sea Organ and Sun Salutation.

A guided tour can help you discover the best of Zadar, from the Roman Forum to the stunning sunsets that Alfred Hitchcock once described as the most beautiful in the world. Spend time in Zadar to enjoy its laid-back atmosphere, vibrant cafes, and excellent seafood.


A Trip To Krka National Park: Nature’s Masterpiece

Swap Day 6

Things to do in the Balkans_Krka-Waterfall | Balkans Travel Blog

Dedicate a full-day or half-day trip to Krka National Park, swapping out a day originally planned for city sightseeing. A short drive from Zadar, Krka is famed for its cascading waterfalls and serene walking trails.

Here, you can spend time marveling at one of the most beautiful natural phenomena in Croatia. Swimming is allowed in certain areas, offering a refreshing break from the summer heat. Consider booking a tour with a guide to find the best spots in the park, or rent a car for the flexibility to visit early in the morning or later in the afternoon to avoid the crowds.


Island Hopping The Dalmatian Coast

Swap Days 9-10

Embrace the Adriatic Sea. Instead of concluding your trip with a visit to Zagreb, consider dedicating the final full days of your itinerary to exploring the enchanting Croatian islands.

The islands of the Dalmatian coast, such as Korčula, Brač, and Vis, offer a perfect way to unwind with their laid-back vibes, crystal-clear waters, and rich history.

Getting Started Early In The Morning

Begin your island-hopping adventure early in the morning from Split or Dubrovnik, using these cities as your launching points. Ferries and catamarans connect the mainland to the islands efficiently, allowing for a smooth transition between destinations.


Things To Do In Korcula

Often referred to as a mini-Dubrovnik, Korčula is known for its fortified town and the claim to be the birthplace of Marco Polo. Spend time wandering through its medieval streets and enjoy a guided tour to learn about its history.

The island is also famous for its superb local wines, making it a must-visit for food and wine enthusiasts.



Best Beaches In Croatia: Zlatni Rat - Travel Reviews - Croatia Travel Blog

Best known for the Zlatni Rat beach, often pictured in Croatia’s tourism materials, Brač offers more than just stunning beaches.

Explore the island’s interior for a taste of authentic Dalmatian life, and consider a half-day trip to the Vidova Gora for breathtaking views.



Vis Croatia Cruises

The furthest island from the mainland, Vis is the perfect spot for travelers seeking peace and tranquility. Renowned for its unspoiled nature, Vis offers exquisite culinary delights and is ideal for foodies.

Spend time discovering its hidden coves and beaches, with a possible visit to the Blue Cave on the nearby Biševo island.

Planning Your 10 Day Croatia Itinerary

When you’re gearing up for an epic 10-day adventure in Croatia, there are a few key points you’ll want to tick off your list to ensure everything goes smoothly—from the ideal time for your visit, navigating the country, sorting your stay, to what you should definitely pack.

Best Time To Visit Croatia

Heart shaped island of Galesnjak in Zadar archipelago

Croatia is at its best from May to September when the sun’s out, and the sea’s just right for diving in. If you want to miss the biggest crowds but still catch great weather, aim for June or September. You’ll get all the sunny vibes and open attractions without the squeeze of the July and August rush.

Getting Around Croatia

Sailing Holidays Croatia: Why You Should Book A Sailing Trip - SJ Catamaran

Renting a car is an excellent option if you’re craving the freedom to explore at your own pace. Just remember, Croatia uses the Euro as its currency, so budget accordingly for rental and fuel costs.

If driving isn’t your style, the country also boasts an efficient network of buses and ferries that can get you to most places on your itinerary.

Transport Options Pros Cons
Car Rental Flexibility, Convenience Cost, Parking
Buses Cost-effective, Extensive Network Time-consuming
Ferries Access to Islands, Scenic Views Weather-dependent, Less Frequent

Accommodation Booking Tips

Get ahead of the game and book your accommodation early, especially if you’re traveling in the peak season. Croatia offers a range of stays from seaside hotels to charming Airbnbs. Ensure you’re close to the areas highlighted in your itinerary to save on travel time and cost.

Tour Bookings

Use platforms like Get Your Guide or Discover Cars to book guided tours or a rental car. These services offer the best company options for exploring new areas and ensure you make the most of your visit without the hassle of public transportation.

Traveler Packing Essentials

What To Wear In The Balkans

As you pack for Croatia, include a blend of beachwear and casual chic for the evenings. Don’t forget comfortable shoes for those cobbled streets and an excellent camera to capture the scenic views. Bring a mix of layers since coastal areas can be breezy, and flip-flops are a must for those pebbly beaches.

10-Day Croatia Itinerary FAQS

Planning your 10-day jaunt through Croatia doesn’t have to be a puzzle. Here’s a treasure trove of tips to ensure your Croatian itinerary checks all the boxes for an unforgettable adventure.


What are the must-visit places for a 10-day trip to Croatia?

Your 10-day Croatian itinerary should include Zagreb for its historical allure, the Plitvice Lakes for nature’s splendor, Split’s blend of ancient and modern life, and the timeless beauty of Dubrovnik’s old town. Venturing to at least one island, like Hvar or Korčula, is also a must for the quintessential Adriatic experience.

Can you suggest a family-friendly itinerary for a 10-day vacation in Croatia?

Families can relish in a mix of beach fun and cultural sites. Start in Dubrovnik with its fortresses and walkable walls, move to Split for Diocletian’s Palace exploration, and unwind on the family-friendly beaches of Brac Island. Krka National Park’s waterfalls provide an exhilarating day trip, while Istria offers theme parks and dinosaur trails.

How can I explore the Croatian islands over 10 days?

Set sail from Split, hopping between the charismatic islands of Hvar, Brač, and Vis, each offering stunning coves and historic sites. Dedicate time to savor the local cuisine and wander through lavender fields or vineyards. Island-hopping by ferry is a convenient way to navigate these gems of the Adriatic Sea.

What’s the best way to enjoy Croatia in 10 days without renting a car?

Leverage Croatia’s extensive network of buses and ferries. Start in a pedestrian-friendly city like Zagreb, take a bus to explore the lakes and waterfalls of Plitvice, then continue to Split and onward to Dubrovnik by bus, enjoying the scenic coastal route. Ferries will carry you to the islands for day trips.

Which historic and cultural sites should I not miss during my 10-day stay in Croatia?

Delve into the past by visiting the amphitheater in Pula, exploring Diocletian’s Palace in Split, and stepping back in time as you walk the walls of Dubrovnik. Don’t miss out on the medieval charm of Trogir and the Renaissance pleasures offered by the old town of Šibenik.

Are there any recommended coastal routes for a memorable 10-day road trip in Croatia?

Embark on a coastal journey starting in Istria for a taste of Venice-like Rovinj before heading to the Opatija Riviera. Cruise down the Dalmatian Coast to capture Split’s urban pulse and Dubrovnik’s storied lanes. The Makarska Riviera provides breathtaking views with a backdrop of the Biokovo Mountain Range.

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