Try One Of These 5 Day Croatia Itinerary Ideas

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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.

I have made a list of 7 options for how you can spend 5 days in Croatia. I am sure one of these 5-day Croatia Itinerary ideas will suit you!

Croatia serves up a scintillating prospect for travel. With a combination of historical sights, charming Mediterranean towns and landscapes, and a whole lot of beaches and national parks to explore, it’s a heavenly destination.

And with a 5 day Croatia itinerary, you’ll have the chance to tick off some of the country’s big-hitter sights. It’s not a long time, but I’ll help you make the most of it!

However, knowing how to get started when planning your Croatia itinerary can be challenging. It’s not a huge country, but the destinations and attractions spread throughout the country (and its hundreds upon hundreds of islands) are densely packed in.

But don’t worry: I have compiled a list of Croatia 5 day itineraries to suit your travel needs. Whether you’re into coastal towns and island hopping, or you’d prefer to go adventuring in the country’s stunning national parks, our itineraries will inspire you to put together a dream trip to this Mediterranean gem.

Croatia Transport Options – The Best Ways to Travel While in Croatia

Peljesac Bridge Croatia

Getting around Croatia is reasonably straightforward, thanks mainly to it being a well-trodden tourist destination that’s connected by an array of transport options.

Even if you’re traveling to Croatia on a budget, you’ll be able to hop from city to beach without paying excessive amounts.

One thing to take into consideration when it comes to working out your travel itinerary for Croatia is the time of year. In the peak of the summer months, booking ahead is essential for things like bus and boat tickets, while in the winter, services between particularly popular destinations will be reduced. That means you’ll have to take extra care planning your route.

Here are some of the most common ways to get around the while on your 5 day Croatia tour:

Use The Bus

Croatia’s bus networks are modern and reasonably priced, making it easy to travel around Croatia without your own set of wheels. Most of the nation’s bus stations are conveniently located, making travel straightforward. There’s also some healthy competition between the various bus companies, meaning prices can be surprisingly low at times. It’s best to purchase tickets online in advance; otherwise, turn up at the bus station to buy your tickets with plenty of time to spare

Catch A Boat

Hitting the high seas in Croatia is not just a good way to get around — it’s also a highlight of the adventure. Boats in Croatia ferry passengers between a long list of islands and coastal towns and cities throughout the country. These range from ferries, which can be used by cars and foot passengers, all the way to the faster catamarans (foot passengers only). Tickets can be bought online in advance, but note that schedules can be altered due to inclement weather

Hit The Road In Your Own Car

Driving really opens up Croatia. Having a rental car means you’ll be able to travel at your own pace, make stops when and where you want, and keep clear of day-tripping crowds at transit hubs. Croatia’s car hire scene is pretty comprehensive; you’ll find all the main companies operating in big towns and airports around the country. If you’re looking for the cheapest option, the local/regional companies will be your best option. Otherwise, booking in advance is best to get the best deal. One thing to take note of is tolls on highways, which can eat into your daily budget quite quickly

Trains And Flights

For long, cross-country adventures, trains and flights are a good option. The train network in Croatia isn’t great, so I can’t recommend it. Flying is the quickest way to get from A to B if you’re short on time, but you won’t find airports on most of the country’s islands

Private Transfer & Taxis

Connecting the dots between locations and directly to your accommodation (without you having to drive yourself), private transfers and taxis are the ultimate conveniences. You can book these in advance so that your driver is waiting for you when you land at an airport or in a new city. It’s a good option if you’re not on a budget or if you’re traveling with children, as you won’t need to buy separate tickets

Are 5 Days In Croatia Enough

5 Day Croatia Itinerary Ideas - Sibenik

How many days do you need in Croatia? Well, there are plenty of 5-day itineraries out there that allow ample opportunity to see much of what the country has to offer. While 5 days in Croatia might not seem like very much, the country can be split into bite-size portions, allowing you to soak up a lot of different sights within smaller regions.

The Istrian Peninsula, for example, has plenty to keep travelers entertained, while the area around Dubrovnik, Split, and Hvar Island offers a comprehensive introduction to southern Croatia.

Why 5 Days In Croatia Is Not Enough

Duboka Draga Beach _ Zadar Region
Vrsi, Zadar

Spending 5 days in Croatia is excellent — but it’s not ideal. Croatia can seem small, but this Mediterranean nation still clocks in at over 21,000 square miles (that’s almost the same size as West Virginia). Combine that with its long shape and complex coastline, and it can take a surprisingly long time to get from one end of the country to another, especially if you’re not flying.

Then there’s the fact that this is an old corner of Europe. Really old. The region’s history spans millennia, with historic sights that run the gamut from the Neolithic and well-preserved Roman ruins to connections with Venice and Austria.

So while you can tour Croatia in 5 days, you’ll soon find that you’re only at the tip of a much larger iceberg than you expected.

From the medieval walls of the Game of Thrones-famous cities of Split and Dubrovnik to the lesser known — and much longer — Walls of Ston, the historical sights of Croatia are almost unending. And then there are the natural wonders to take into consideration.

PLITVICE LAKES NATIONAL PARK FALL BEST PHOTO
Plitvice Lakes National Park

Croatia is home to the UNESCO-recognized Plitvice Lakes National Park, while much of the country is shaped by karst limestone cliffs and ravines that give it some truly dramatic scenery to discover.

That’s not even taking into consideration its collection of hundreds of islands, from the uninhabited islets of the Kornati Islands to the Mediterranean charm of Hvar, featuring pine forests, vineyards, and beautiful beaches. A visit to any of these places is bound to make you wish you’d booked longer off work.

So when you’re working out how many days to spend in Croatia, you’ll really want to consider what type of trip you want to take. Those who want to spend time on beaches should zone in on some particularly attractive stretches of coastline. At the same time, history buffs should make sure to put only a checklist of the most fascinating historic sights on their itineraries.

That being said, you can still have a fantastic trip — and get a good taster of what Croatia has to offer — with just 5 days. It may not be enough to really understand the country, but it’s definitely enough to realize what an amazing place it is.

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5 Days In Croatia Itinerary Ideas

Medieval Castle of Kamerlengo in Trogir Illuminated in the Night, Croatia
Trogir

These itinerary ideas include extraordinary destinations that will make your trip truly memorable.

There are a few different itineraries that you can follow for your trip to Croatia. Whether you want to start in Zagreb, Dubrovnik, Split, or somewhere completely different, here are some itinerary ideas for Croatia to inspire your travels.

  • Day 1: Explore Trogir
  • Day 2: Head to Split
  • Day 3: Stay in Split for hiking and World Heritage Sites
  • Day 4: Catch the boat over to Bol on Brac Island
  • Day 5: Hop over to Hvar
  • Day 1: Split
  • Day 2: See the ancient town of Vis
  • Day 3: Korcula
  • Day 3: Brac
  • Day 5: Split
  • Day 1: See the capital, Zagreb
  • Day 2: Go hiking in Plitvice National Park
  • Day 3: Head to Zadar via Paklenica National Park
  • Day 4: See the historical sights of Sibenik
  • Day 5: Explore the Kornati Islands
  • Day 1: Dubrovnik
  • Day 2: Get away from it all on the Elafiti Islands
  • Day 3: Discover the impressive city walls of Ston
  • Day 4: Relax on the Peljesac Peninsula
  • Day 5: Korcula
  • Day 1: Zagreb
  • Day 2: Take a trip down to the pretty town of Opatija
  • Day 3: See Rovinj stopping by the hilltop village of Motovun
  • Day 4: Admire the ancient wonders of Pula
  • Day 5: Stop by charming Fazana
  • Day 1: Dubrovnik
  • Day 2: Discover Mljet National Park
  • Day 3: Vis
  • Day 4: Hvar
  • Day 5: Split
CROATIA ITINERARY 5 DAYS

Highlights From These Itineraries

Below you’ll find the highlights from our 5-day Croatia itineraries above. From national parks and beaches to ancient ruins and medieval townscapes, these destinations make up an inspired collection of places across the country. We’ve provided links to a few of them so you can get more in-depth travel info to help you plan your Croatia adventures.

Zagreb

Zagreb christmas night scenery

Croatia’s landlocked capital, Zagreb, is the largest city in the country. This northern city may not have the coastal charm of Dubrovnik or Split, but it still packs a punch in terms of sightseeing.

Exploring here means meandering the red roofs and cobbled lanes of the Upper Town (complete with Gothic cathedrals and medieval buildings) and spending time in the Lower Town with its attractive parks, bustling city squares, and interesting museums. It’s the perfect jumping-off point to explore the northern portion of Croatia.

Read more about Zagreb here ↳

Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik is well known these days to fans of Star Wars and Game of Thrones. The list of filming locations draws tourists to the Old Town — a walled city with a warren of cobbled streets edged by Baroque palaces and Gothic churches. Though it can get busy with tourists during the peak summer months, there are plenty of chances to escape the crowds’ thanks to nearby beaches and the opportunity to hike up Mount Srd.

Read more about Dubrovnik here ↳

Split

Another Croatian destination famous for its Game of Thrones filming locations, the southern city of Split is another historical coastal town awash with beautiful buildings and picturesque streets. Centered around Diocletian’s Palace, built in 305 AD, Split’s Old Town is strewn with relics of the past. Island-hopping adventures await travelers eager for more.

Read more about Split here ↳

Zadar

With its own Roman ruins, centuries-old churches, and youthful cafe scene, Zadar is the antidote to the tourist crowds of Dubrovnik and Split. Situated on a peninsula, the port town has enough sights to keep you entertained for more than a day. There are also some excellent transport links that can get you from the mainland to some far-flung Adriatic islands if you want to get off the beaten track.

Read more about Zadar here ↳

Hvar

The island of Hvar is one of many idyllic islets that dot the Dalmatian coast. This dreamy destination is famous for its sunny weather and attracts Croatian and international vacationers alike.

While Hvar has an exclusive side, complete with yachts and expensive clubs to match, there’s also a down-to-earth, Mediterranean atmosphere to much of the island. Needless to say, you’ll probably want to stay longer.

Read more about Hvar here ↳

Plitvice National Park

Plitvice Lakes National Park is Croatia’s most famous natural wonderland. Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, spanning over 74,000 acres, Plitvice is famed for its karst landscape and terraced lakes connected by waterfalls. Most people visit on a day trip; stay longer, and you’ll get to indulge in the scenery (think hiking and rafting) for more than just a few hours.

Read about accommodation in Plitvice here ↳

Elafiti Islands

Situated to the northwest of Dubrovnik, the family-friendly Elafiti Islands have a relaxed atmosphere and are an ideal escape from Croatia’s crowded coastal cities — at least in the height of summer.

Though made up of 14 islands, the main islands in the archipelago are Lopud (car-free), Kolocep, and Sipan. Spend some time zipping between them by boat to discover old-world villages, Roman ruins, and sparkling beaches.

Read more about the Elafiti Islands here ↳

Mljet National Park

Comprising the northern end of the island of Mljet, this forested national park is a gem for nature lovers looking to delve into unspoiled landscapes. Famed for its connections to Greek mythology (legend has it that Odysseus spent seven years here), today, it attracts hikers, campers, and beach-goers who want some adventure.

Read more about Mljet National Park here ↳

Trogir

Day trippers often visit Trogir from Split, but staying longer is worth it. The attractive island, connected to the mainland by bridges, jostles with picturesque buildings and plenty of history.

It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, thanks to its slew of Venetian architecture, Romanesque towers, and Gothic churches. And Game of Thrones fans will better know it as the city of Qarth.

Read more about Trogir here ↳

Rovinj

Over on the Istrian Peninsula’s west coast, Rovinj is a timeworn fishing port with Roman, Byzantine, Frankish, Venetian, and Austrian connections. Known in Italian as Rovigno (Italian is an official language here as well as Croatian), the town is an enticing mix of pedestrianized streets, soaring churches, and local squares to discover. The summer months see it bustling with families on vacation.

Read more about Rovinj here ↳

Vis

Once a naval base, Vis has flourished as a tourist draw since it was “opened up” in the late 1980s. Located around 35 miles from Split, it’s the most far-flung of Croatia’s island destinations. Its decades-long isolation and distance from the mainland have allowed its flora and fauna to thrive. Add in ancient churches and Roman ruins for extra historical charm.

Read more about Vis here ↳

Bol

The ever-popular vacation destination of Bol lies on the island of Brac, just off the coast of Split. Fringed by its pine tree-clad pebble beach, Zlatni Rat, the town is centered around its glistening marina.

Bol’s streets are colored with overflowing flowers and lined with old stone buildings. Historic sights may be lacking when compared to other parts of Croatia, but it’s a charming, centuries-old spot that buzzes with life in the summer.

Read more about Bol here ↳

Pula

Pula sits on the southern end of the Istrian Peninsula. This coastal city has a lot going for it — and it’s been a strategic location for various civilizations since prehistory. Romans, Ostrogoths, and even World War II forces stationed here have all left their mark.

Most impressive of all is the Roman amphitheater, set right in the center of time, that was constructed between 27 BC and 68 AD. It’s one of the largest Roman arenas still standing today.

Read more about Pula here ↳

Korcula

For more Croatian island hopping, Korcula awaits. The slender island is a patchwork of old-world villages dotted with olive groves and vineyards. Its old town is a hidden gem, while its quiet beaches and secret coves on the southern coast can indulge even the most world-weary traveler.

Traditional festivals, crafts, and folk music remain an important part of life in Korcula.

Read more about Korcula here ↳

Fazana

The fishing village of Fanzana is enchanting. Think pastel-painted harborside buildings, local fare served up in down-to-earth eateries, and postcard-perfect beaches (several, in fact). Though small, it is a popular vacation hotspot — thanks to all those beaches — and a jumping-off point for the islands of Brijuni National Park.

Paklenica National Park

Outdoor enthusiasts flock to Paklenica National Park for its rugged karst scenery and winding trails. The landscape here is shaped by river canyons and tall limestone cliffs that bristle with forests of black pine, the haunt of wildlife from eagles and falcons to deer and bears. Hiking, as well as rock climbing, is very popular here.

Read more about Paklenica National Park here ↳

Kornati Islands

Made up of over 140 uninhabited islands, the Kornati Islands are an undeniable attraction for adventurous travelers. Spanning around 115 square miles, the archipelago features gleaming karst cliffs, rugged coastlines, and intriguing rock formations — a striking contrast to the ultramarine blue of the Adriatic Sea.

Read more about the Kornati Islands here ↳

Ston

Ston is an intriguing place. Strategically located on a peninsula and once an important town of the maritime Republic of Ragusa, the town is famed for its 3.4-mile-long defensive walls — the longest in Europe (and in the world, after the Great Wall of China). Within its medieval walls, Ston boasts a fascinating old town, pedestrianized streets to wander, and a booming gastronomic scene. It’s particularly famous for the mussels and oysters that grow in the channel between the town and the mainland.

Read more about Ston here ↳

Peljesac Peninsula

Beginning at Ston and piercing the Adriatic Sea to the west, the Peljesac Peninsula brims with dramatic mountains, verdant valleys, relaxed towns, and historic settlements. Though noted for its wine production, the peninsula is also a prime destination for road trips along its winding coastal routes.

Read more about the Peljesac Peninsula here ↳

Opatija

Featuring promenades, 19th-century vacation villas, and manicured gardens, Opatija was once a booming resort town during the Hapsburg era. Though not as glitzy as in its heyday and lacking in terms of beaches, the town has had a resurgence among well-heeled travelers who come for Opatija’s grand hotels, amiable year-round climate, and high-end dining scene.

Hopefully, I have helped you with some ideas for an amazing five days in Croatia itinerary — it’s time for an incredible adventure!

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