Two week itinerary for the best places to visit in Croatia

I spent 2 weeks in the summer of 2017 exploring Croatia with my family. There is enough to experience and explore in this not-so-hidden-gem for a month. Limited time off and other realities for most of us demand a two-week Croatia itinerary.

The two-week Croatia & Slovenia Itinerary we followed, gave us an opportunity to visit UNESCO Heritage sites like Plitvice national park and Ston walls, relax in beautiful islands of Hvar and Vis, explore medieval cities of Split and Dubrovnik.

croatia itinerary
The old town of Dubrovnik is touristy, yet charming.

This itinerary is suitable for family travel, also for travellers who desire to balance the top attractions and city sightseeing with island relaxation and adventure activities. Croatia offers several adventure activities – cycling, kayaking, diving, and we grabbed them with both hands.

2 days in Slovenia was a last-minute addition to our itinerary. We had extra time in Zagreb and decided to use it to visit the lovely city of Ljubljana and stay at the scenic Lake Bled area.

Croatia Itinerary Overview –

Zagreb (1 night) – Lake Bled, Slovenia (1 night) – Zagreb (1 night) – Plitvice national park (1 night) – Split (2 nights) – Hvar (3 nights) – Vis (3 nights) – Dubrovnik (3 nights)

Day 1: Zagreb

We landed in Zagreb via a connect through Frankfurt one late afternoon. By the time we checked into our hotel and settled in, it was already evening. Thankfully, Zagreb gets at least 15 hours of sunlight.

We started with the main square, Ban Josip Jelacic square and took in the drama – the views, the people thronging about, and the energy. My husband and daughter settled into having ice-cream at the swanky Millenium, while I visited the unusual-to-say-the-least Museum of Broken Relationships.

croatia itinerary
St. Marks Church in the Upper Town is worth a visit.

Even if you give this museum a miss, strolling around Upper Town – a charming area full of interesting landmarks, museums and small cafes – is recommended. Another recommended area to explore is the pedestrian-only Tkalčićeva Street, a beautiful street lined with restaurants, cafes and small boutiques.

Day 2 – 3: Ljubljana / Lake Bled

We had decided to limit our time in Zagreb, and while a couple of days are hardly enough to explore neighbouring Slovenia, we did get a delightful whiff and hopefully, would be back someday.

The next morning, we picked up our rental car and drove down to Ljubljana. A beautiful city! I cannot recommend it enough. My favourite part was the pedestrian-only town center with its colourful buildings.

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We did an entertaining food walk in this city – read more on the food walk in Ljubljana. After spending few hours in the city, we drove to our charming B & B in Lake Bled.

We hadn’t planned any activity around Lake Bled. I do recommend renting cycles and exploring the area, for couples with older kids (or without kids). We wanted to reach Zagreb by early evening and thought a visit to Postojna caves (a subterranean cave, one of the key tourist attractions, about 1.5-hour drive away) would eat up the whole day.

We decided on taking a hike in the Vintgar gorge which was just a 15-minute drive away. The walk turned out to be an easy and satisfying half-day trip from Bled – something we enjoyed together as a family.

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The 1.6-km-long Vintgar Gorge – you feel one with nature even with other people around.

Perhaps because it was a Friday, the drive back to Zagreb had a lot more traffic than what we got coming to Ljubljana.

Day 4 – 5: Plitvice National Park

We drove to the most visited attraction in Croatia – Plitvice national park. We reached there by evening and before going to our charming B & B, we parked opposite Entrance 2 and explored the Upper Lakes area. As luck would have it, we had this area mostly to ourselves in the evening.

Even if you do minimalist research on Croatia, you will be warned about the crazy crowds that visit the Plitvice park during summer. This park plays host to more than 1 million visitors each year.

To beat the crowds, we woke up early the next day, had a big breakfast and went to Entrance 1 of the park. We managed to reach Entrance 1 by 8 am and the Lower Lakes area was already crowded. Here is what we did to stay away from the crowds and get the best viewpoints in the park.

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After having lunch at a restaurant near Entrance 1, we drove down to Split, returned the rental car and checked into our hotel in the old town. The buzz in the old town during summer is marvellous, and I loved our decision to stay in the old town.

Day 6: Split

We woke up to some Dalmatian singing – we were staying at the Vestibul Palace – by a group that was performing nearby for tourists. We spent the day roaming around the old town in Split – we explored the underground caves, bought ferry tickets for next day, had long lazy meals, climbed the bell tower and soaked in the atmosphere.

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We had time to visit and stay at 2 beautiful Croatian islands after Split, but you can also consider a sailing day trip to nearby islands from Split.

Day 7 – 9: Hvar island

The Croatia itinerary we followed gave us ample time to relax on 2 different islands. We took a morning (Jadrolinjia) ferry to Hvar.

The tag of “one of the 10 most beautiful islands in the world” sits well on Hvar. This being June, there is breathing space. We were transferred to our resort – Little Green Bay, a new luxury property set within a secluded bay.

croatia itinerary

We like to indulge in some activities during our travel – sometimes individually and at times, together as a family where possible. Hvar offered some opportunities – a cycling tour on offbeat trails that my husband loved and my first time diving experience in the Adriatic sea.

Hvar has a reputation of being a party town. While that is true, this beautiful island also offers a lot to couples and families. We rented a car in Hvar town to explore the island. You could drive through Stari Grad Plain, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and look at old olive tree plantations and lavender fields. And visit the towns of Jelsa and Vrboska on the island.

For the culturally inclined, a visit to the Fortica is a must. Even if you are uninterested in the history, the views looking down over Hvar town and Pakleni islands are stunning.

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Day 10 – 11: Vis island

We planned to spend the next 2 days in Vis, one of the furthest inhabited islands in Croatia. Direct ferry plies only once a week from Hvar to Vis, so a trip to this island needs some advance planning.

Instead of taking 2 ferries at different times –  morning ferry from Hvar to Split, and the evening ferry from Split to Vis – we found a boat taxi. There are several you would find docked in Hvar town, and it is a matter of negotiating the price for a private transfer to Vis.

croatia itinerary

Cycling is popular in Vis, my husband did another off-road cycling trip with a local. And then the day went on an interesting Military tour. Tourists were not allowed on the island of Vis prior to 1989 and it was the military base for the Yugoslav National Army. This makes for some unique spots on this island.

The next morning, with increasing winds and choppy sea, our kayaking tour was cancelled. We rented cycles to explore the village of Kut and Vis town in an easy way.

Day 13: Makraska Riviera / Ston

The morning started early with us on a Krilo ferry from Vis island to Split.

In Split, we cancelled our plan of taking a ferry to Dubrovnik and opted to drive instead. We rented a car just for the day (via Last minute rental) and drove towards Makarska. What a wonderful drive!

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En route, we stopped at Mali Ston for lunch and climbed the Ston walls thereafter. Ston, in my opinion, is quite underrated. The afternoon we visited, there was hardly any visitor to be found.

The Walls of Ston are a series of defensive stone walls, originally more than 7 km long (today 5.5 km long wall links Ston to Mali Ston). They surrounded and protected the city of Ston, part of the erstwhile Republic of Ragusa.

And then we dropped off the car in Lapad, before taking a taxi to the old town of Dubrovnik.

Day 14 – 15: Dubrovnik

Our Croatia itinerary ended in the touristy and yet charming Dubrovnik. We loved staying in the old town (apartment booked via Dubrovnik Rentals). We woke up early to walk the old town walls; the stunning views of the Adriatic Sea and the entire old town don’t disappoint.

We had booked the sunset kayaking tour, and that turned out to be a good, albeit a tiring experience. There are at least 7 or 8 companies outside Pile Gate, that run kayaking tours around Dubrovnik, and we were very happy with our choice of Adventure Dalmatia.

croatia itinerary

The cable car ride to the top of Srd hill, just behind the walled city, was the highlight of the next day. The Imperial fortress on top of Srd hill, hosts the Museum of the Patriotic War, with an extensive collection. A visit to the Franciscan Monastery on Placa street was interesting.

Day 16: Morning flight back home.

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Placa street is empty at 450 in the morning.

For additional information for planning your trip to Croatia, visit the Croatia Tourist Board.

Also, read other family-friendly itineraries in Europe –

La Dolce Vita: The classic two-week Italy Itinerary

Greece with kids: A 10-day Itinerary for a family trip

Places to visit in Turkey: The classic ‘Cultural Triangle’ Itinerary


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Croatia-Itinerary


If you’ve been to Croatia, what was the favourite part of your trip?

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Author: Shweta Singhal

Hi! I am Shweta, the zest behind this blog . I play several roles – parent to a 6-year old, adventure enthusiast, travel blogger, generally open to trying out new things in life. Besides travel, I love books and theatre and art. I would love to hear from you; do drop a comment. Join me on Instagram / Twitter @zestinatote.

25 thoughts

  1. Croatia looks so amazing! I don’t know why more people don’t have it on their top 10 list! I can’t wait to visit one day soon. Thanks for the amazing itinerary. Thanks for the killer photos

  2. We visited Zadar last year, and it left us with a strong desire to see so much more of the country. You’ve shared a great itinerary, and we’ll certainly be earmarking some of these suggestions for a future trip! Thanks!

    1. Thanks for reading it. Croatia is a lovely country, and there is so much to explore. Even 2 weeks don’t do justice – we had to let go of Istria region, but wanted a un-rushed relaxed family vacation where there is time to explore and experience more.

    1. There is enough to experience and explore for a month. in 2 weeks, we didn’t even visit the Istria region. So many different islands with unique characteristics to go to.

    1. Road travel does give you some freedom and flexibility. And ferry tickets can be taken a day in advance. Croatia lived up to all my expectations and more!

  3. Ah, it looks s beautiful. I had been hoping to go to Croatia this year; postponing it for another time, and this post will help with my planning! I do recommend you go back to Slovenia – it’s a truly beautiful little country 🙂

    1. Slovenia was a last minute addition to our Croatia itinerary. two days dont do justice to that gorgeous country. I will definitely go back.

  4. What a dreamy itinerary! We loved Croatia during our visit last June. We were in Split and Dubrovnik via cruise ship stops. We had a limited time and have already decided we want to do road trips and ferry around to the other islands like what you did. Hvar looks so beautiful.

  5. I absolutely loved Croatia. In 2 week husband and I did Split – Dubrovnik – Korcula – Mljet – Trogir (incl Krk NP). Loved it and would go back in a heartbeat. Your itinary looks like a winner to me!
    #weekendwanderlust

    1. It is tough choosing which islands to go to. I tossed between Vis and Mljet for the longest time. The good part is that whichever one you choose, would be great. Croatia is truly amazing.

    1. You must Edith, you will love it. There is a reason why Plitvice is the most visted attraction in Croatia; it is a place unlike any I have seen. I am told Krka national park is equally beautiful.

    1. I would say, couple of days. One day definitely exploring the charming old town. Another day doing an activity (cycling, hiking, rock climbing) at Marjan hill or at the beach or exploring couple of neighbourhoods, depending on your interest.

  6. I would really like to do a similar trip. I kind of have the plan, now I need the time to do it. There is a lot to do in the area but I know I have to compromise on some things. I am thinking about skipping the islands but that seems like a bad idea. #WeekendWanderlust

    1. Thanks for dropping by. Its amazing how much there is to explore and experience in Croatia given the size of the country. We didn’t even venture to Istria region.

    1. Thanks for dropping by. There are limits to how early we can reach places at time, travelling with a kid. But one trick that works for us is to stay in old towns / near historic places, where at least I can get up early and get my fill. Early morning walk in Dubrovnik, with only cats and cleaners for company, was one such scenario.

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