How many of you don't dream of visiting a beautiful country in the summer, with dreamy landscapes, a gorgeous sea and charming cities, to walk around and feel the holiday atmosphere? And of course, close and accessible for anyone willing to travel by car.
- About Croatia
- What to do in Croatia
- Croatia Itinerary - How to visit Croatia by car
Croatia is a country in Central Europe, located in the northwest of the Balkan Peninsula, with a population of approx. 4 million inhabitants. It has an exit to the Adriatic Sea and includes a number of nearby 700 islands, of which around 47 are inhabited.
The official currency It is kuna (1 kuna = 0.64 RON), but from January 1, 2023, the official currency will be the Euro, Croatia being a member of the European Union since 2013. The name of the country in Croatian is Hrvatska, so don't be surprised if you see this name written in different locations.
What to do in Croatia
Croatia offers a multitude of opportunities to spend your vacation: stay in a seaside resort or on an island (the island of Brac with the wonderful beach of Bol, the island of Hvar, Makarska Riviera), city breaks in tourist towns (Dubrovnik, Split, Pula, Rovinj) or exploring nature in the well-known natural parks (Plitvice, Krka).
We wanted to do them all, that's why we preferred the version of a car circuit, in which we combined all three options.
- I visited Split, Dubrovnik, Zagreb
- I went to the famous beach Zlatni Rat beach from Bol
- We enjoyed the beautiful landscapes of Plitvice National Park
- I felt the holiday atmosphere from the famous resorts on Makarska Riviera
- I listened to the sound of the sea Vain, I photographed the wonderful town Primosten from the height and I bathed in the sea with sand from omission
Next, I will describe our route, by day, and we will come up with different recommendations and suggestions related to our experience.
Croatia Itinerary - How to visit Croatia by car
Day 1 – Zagreb
The first day was more on the roads, being the day I arrived in the country. I chose Zagreb as the first stop of our journey, being the closest point to the border. Also, being the capital of the country, it was also our wish to visit it.
As accommodation I booked this apartment from booking, a superb apartment, close to the center and very good for the price. I parked the car on the street, in a public parking lot - it should be mentioned that on Mondays to Fridays, after 10 p.m., Saturdays after 3 p.m. and on Sundays, parking in that central area is free. There are also paid private parking lots in the area, if you don't feel safe parking on the street.
Zagreb is a city surrounded by history, from Austro-Hungarian architecture to its medieval-style center. I recommend you This article, for more details and tourist objectives in the capital of Croatia.
Day 2 – Zagreb – Zadar – Primosten – Split
In the first part of the day, we decided to walk around the city center and have breakfast at one of the beautiful terraces in the city center. We decided to eat strukli, traditional food popular in Zagreb - local cheese, cream and eggs, all baked in a very thin dough. If you arrive in Zagreb, we recommend you to try it too Strukli for breakfast!
After breakfast, we left for Split, with a short stop in Zadar, to visit the beautiful town, with its famous sea organ. From Zagreb to Zadar, there are approximately 280 km, and on the highway you can cover them in about 3 hours.
Zadar is a historic city with a beautiful pedestrian center with marble streets, medieval churches and Roman ruins, perfect for exploring on foot, along with the seafront and port. At the moment, the most famous tourist attraction in Zadar is the famous sea organ, an installation through which sea waves create unique sounds.
From Zadar we started for Split, with a short stop in Primosten, from where we could admire the beautiful island city.
From Zadar to Split, choosing the route in which I quickly visited Primosten, is approximately 170 km. The road is a toll-free road, on the coast of the Adriatic Sea, and offers some beautiful scenery over the sea and the nearby islands. For the panoramic point of Primosten, we recommend the statue of Our Lady of Loreto, on a small hill near Primosten. You can reach the top by car.
In the evening I arrived in Split. The accommodation was also taken from the booking, close to the city center (link). Here you need patience and be careful when parking. The city is very chaotic from the parking point of view: small parking lots, on very narrow roads, there is a high probability of finding your car hit, if it is not parked properly. It should be mentioned that you cannot reach the pedestrian center by car.
Day 3 – Split
I kept the third day to visit Split and take the pulse of the city. Split is the second largest city in Croatia, and one of the most popular destinations in Croatia for tourists. It is suitable for a city break, to spend your stay at the sea here, or to visit different islands, being a starting point for exploring various beautiful locations in the area, such as the islands of Hvar, Brac, Vis or the nature park Krka .
In Split, we walked along the beautiful waterfront with palm trees, through the port, visited the pedestrianized historical center and discovered the main tourist attractions, such as Diocletian's Palace, Golden Gate or Cathedral of St. Dominus.
Day 4 – Brac Island
The next day we decided to visit the most famous beach in Croatia: Zlatni Rat, or Golden Horn Beach.
For this, we woke up early and started to take the ferry to the island of Brac, destination Supetar. From Supetar to Bol, the resort where the famous beach is located, is around 30 km, so for us it was most convenient to go to the island by car.
I bought the ferry tickets from the website https://www.jadrolinija.hr/. A ticket for 2 adults and a car, normal size, cost around 35 euros. Our recommendation is to buy your tickets online and to arrive at the port as early as possible, because it is quite a crowded route. If you arrive later, around 10 o'clock, you run the risk of waiting in line for a few hours at boarding. The ticket bought online is valid for the whole day, not for a specific time.
After arriving on the island, in Supetar, I drove towards Widow Gora, the highest point on the Croatian islands, from where we had a superb panoramic view of the Adriatic Sea, the surrounding islands and the beach Golden Horn.
From there, I started towards Bol resort, and then to the beach Golden Horn. Parking in the beach area costs 100 kuna (13 euros), and it was valid for the whole day.
As soon as you arrive at the beach, you will be amazed by everything you see around you: a gorgeous water color, a wonderful view, there is also a relaxation area where you can have a meal. You can spend a whole day there, without missing anything. The beach is pebbled, as it is on most beaches in Croatia, but if you have the right slippers for the bath, this will not be an impediment. It is a place you must visit if you come to Croatia!
Because in the evening we had accommodation in Baska Voda, a resort on the Makarska riviera, the best thing for us was to return to the mainland on the route Sumartin - Makarska. I bought the ferry tickets online, with the mention that, this time, the time on the ticket had to be respected. From Makarska to Baska Voda is only 10 km.
See here accommodation in Baska Voda.
Day 5 – Croatian Riviera: Baska Voda, Brela, Makarska
On this day, we wanted to enjoy everything that the Croatian Riviera has to offer: chic resorts, full of color, many tourists, a long beach, several kilometers long, palm trees, sea and lots of sun.
We started on foot from Baska Voda towards Brela, on a 3 kilometer long cliff. Baska Voda and Brela are two popular resorts, located on the Makarska Riviera. Along the entire length of this seafront you will find beaches full of tourists excited by the sea, the color of the water and the surrounding landscapes. We also took advantage of the walk, and took a bath when the heat became too much. The beach is pebbled, but with the right slippers, you won't feel any discomfort. In the resorts there are terraces, shops and places to eat.
After dinner, I took the car and made a short visit to Makarska, being the main city on this coast. We took the pulse of the city, we walked around the center and on the seafront from the port, we had dinner at a terrace in the central area.
Day 6 – Omis, Dubrovnik
The next day we wanted to visit the only sandy beach in Croatia, so we set off in the morning for Omis, a distance of 25 km from Baska Voda.
We were very pleased with the resort and Beach FROM omission: wide beach, warm water, sand everywhere, and the view offered by the rocks in the town was extraordinary. We were sorry that we didn't have more time to spend in that resort, but we will definitely come back!
After lunch, I left Omis by car for Dubrovnik, 200 km away. Even if it doesn't seem like a long distance, it seemed to us the most tiring road in Croatia: we only went on national roads, many curves and low speed limits. A distance that on the highway you could do in half an hour, here we needed almost 4 hours to reach our destination. But we were glad to cross the new bridge completed this summer, which connects Dubrovnik with the rest of the country. Thus, we no longer had to go through Bosnia to reach the southern part of the country.
Dubrovnik doesn't need many words, the pictures probably say it all. Considered the "Pearl of the Adriatic", it represents one of the most beautiful tourist destinations to visit in Europe. The old center of the city offers a medieval air and gives you the impression that you have entered another century, you feel like in a movie once you have passed the gates of the fortress. Probably for this reason they also chose those from game of thrones to film here. Everything is very well set up, and as a tourist, you need at least two days to explore everything:
- You can climb the walls of the fortress. We did it too, and the ticket cost 250 kuna (33 euros), taken directly from the entrance. The landscapes seen from the walls are superb, both of the fortress, of the entire city of Dubrovnik, and of the Adriatic Sea.
- You can take the cable car up to the panoramic point, from where you have a view of the entire old city of Dubrovnik. We decided to go by car to this point, and the conclusion is that it is worth getting there, to see Dubrovnik from above, either by cable car or by car
Day 7 – Dubrovnik
The next day we continued to visit Dubrovnik, in the first part of the day we climbed the walls of the fortress and visited the panoramic point of the city (mentioned above), and in the afternoon we went to Plitvice, where the next morning we were going to visit the park. The distance covered was approximately 430 km, and I stayed in a village near the entrance to the park. There are many guesthouses in the area, at an affordable price. This one was our accommodation.
Day 8 – Plitvice
The last day in Croatia I booked to visit the most famous tourist destination in Croatia, namely Plitvice National Park.
We entered at 8 am, from entrance number 1, and we chose to do route C, a 4-6 hour route, through which we visited both parts of the park: the upper lakes, respectively the lower ones. The ticket cost 300 kuna (40 euros), and it had to be bought online, at least a few days before.
We leave you some pictures, to understand the charm and beauty of this park, known all over the world.
After visiting the park, I started slowly towards the house. Because the road was quite long, we decided to make a stop to sleep in the first town on the border with Hungary, Nagykanizsa. Our accommodation here.
This was our route for a week in Croatia. We left Cluj on Saturday morning, we returned the following Sunday evening. Of course, this is only a variant of the itinerary, and if we had more time, we would definitely have wanted to visit other locations, such as: the island of Hvar, the cities of Pula, Rovinj and the surrounding areas, the park national Krka. But they will remain on the list for the next vacation in Croatia.
Croatia is beautiful and is very attractive for any type of tourism: for people passionate about the sea, the beach, nature, history, it is suitable both for city breaks and for vacation destinations by the sea.