10 Days in Croatia: Itinerary, What to Do & Where to Go

Even if you only have 10 days in Croatia, it’s hard to not fall in love. On my first trip to Southeastern Europe, I attacked my Croatia itinerary with full gusto. I swept down the coast, weaving between islands and the inland. Croatia hasn’t left me since.

When planning a trip to Croatia, you’re not only discovering one of the best places to visit in Europe, you’re signing up for your next travel obsession. The hard part is not figuring out what to do in Croatia in 10 days, it’s what to leave out.

Not sure where to go in Croatia? Follow along with this complete 10-day Croatia itinerary for a taste of this incredible country that’ll keep you aching to come back for more…

10 days in Croatia: Things to know before you go

When to go to Croatia

The weather in Croatia is an interesting case for Europe. It mixes a typical continental European climate in its inland while its coastal area offers a more Mediterranean climate.

While the inland of Croatia is in chilled out state in winter, the southern coastal areas will still be pleasant and mild. (And a milder winter isn’t a bad thing in Europe!)

Plitvice Lakes

The best time to visit Croatia is in either May or September. Like much of Europe, Croatia is a hotbed of tourist activity in the summer months.

While the weather in July and August is spectacular, not all is perfect. As Croatia’s popularity soars, the crowds are getting increasingly unbearable 

The shoulder seasons of May and September are great alternatives to the summer peak season. In late spring and early fall, the weather in Croatia is still pleasant, but the crowds are thinner. This means a more wide open selection of accommodations for your Croatia itinerary. You’ll also enjoy more breathing room as you check out some of the best places to visit in Croatia!

Do I need travel insurance for Croatia?

I hear this question often, and I’ll answer the same as always: Yes, you should get travel insurance for Croatia.

Many travellers skip buying a travel insurance policy. They see it as unnecessary expense, especially for a “safe” European country like Croatia.

Like on any trip, though, the small cost of good travel insurance will more than pay for itself many times over should you need it. Whether its to cover theft, lost baggage, trip cancellation, or emergency medical expenses, it’s a must.

Old Town Split

For Croatia (and anywhere else in the world), I’d recommend checking out the travel insurance policies at World Nomads.

Their policies are designed for adventurous travellers. They offer cover for overseas medical expenses, evacuation, baggage. You’ll also enjoy coverage for a range of adventure sports and activities. (And in a coastal Mediterranean country like Croatia, exciting activities like sea-kayaking are endless. This is a must!)

Unlike most companies, World Nomads will even allow you to buy a policy after you’ve started travelling.

Get a no-obligation travel insurance quote from World Nomads by clicking here.

Getting connected in Croatia

As a modern European country, it’s a hardly a problem staying connected in Croatia. Most restaurants, cafés, and hotels will offer free WiFi to use with your own device.

Waterfall Krka National Park

An even better option for those on-the-go (and who wouldn’t be in an amazing country like Croatia) is to rent a 4G WiFi hotspot for Croatia. With this hotspot, you’ll be able to use your device almost anywhere you want during your Croatia itinerary. You’ll also enjoy unlimited data.

Virtual Private Network (VPN)

However you decide to connect while travelling—whether on public WiFi or with your own device—you need to be aware that your data could be at risk.

That’s why I always suggest connecting through a virtual private network (VPN).

A good travel VPN will allow you to connect through servers around the world. They’ll protect sensitive data like banking information and passwords. They do this by encrypting it using state-of-the-art technology.

Sunset Yacht

For travellers, there’s hardly a better choice than NordVPN.

Connect through one of NordVPN’s over 5,000 global servers. You can rest assured that your data will remain safe from hackers and other scam artists while travelling in Croatia. The VPN uses military-grade double encryption technology. It makes your data virtually impossible to crack.

On top of that, NordVPN has a no-server-logs policy, meaning that none of your browsing or download history is logged at the server level. No logs equals no records.

It’s not just fantastic for travellers visiting countries with strict information laws. It also helps keep yourself safe while surfing at home.

Other Croatia travel planning resources

  • Guidebooks: As much as smartphones are replacing paper guidebooks, I rarely leave home without one as a backup. Among my favourites for the country is Lonely Planet Croatia. If your trip is covering other countries in the region, check out Lonely Planet Southeastern Europe. (It’s out of print, but still available used).
  • Phrasebooks: Although English is becoming more widely spoken in Croatia, it’s never a bad idea to keep a phrasebook handy. The Lonely Planet Croatia Phrasebook is great in a pinch. It should get you speaking with locals quickly.
  • Language learning resources: Going to be travelling in Croatia for an extended period of time? Pick up a copy of Teach Yourself Complete Croatian or Routledge Colloquial Croatian. These audio + book courses will get you to a decent conversational level of Croatian.

Where to go in Croatia: A complete 10-day itinerary

Croatia might not look like much on a map, especially in the shadow of Italy’s big boot across the Adriatic. But as your embark on your Croatia itinerary, you’ll realize that it’s not exactly small. At least not conveniently so.

With only 10 days in Croatia, you can’t expect to see it all.

Shoreline of Split

I’ve optimized this itinerary to give you a cross-section of the best places to visit in Croatia. It zips through the breadth of Croatia. We start with the classic Central European grace of Zagreb and end on the coast with the Venetian charms of Dubrovnik.

Of course, there’s quite a bit in between, too. (Let’s leave that as a surprise for later!)

Zagreb

2 Days

First-time travellers to Croatia are seduced by seaside delights on the Adriatic coastline. It’s no surprise than many leave Zagreb out of their first Croatia itinerary. Sure, Zagreb might not rival other Central European cities like Vienna or Prague. But that doesn’t mean you should leave Croatia without digging into its capital.

Trg bana Jelačića in Zagreb

At the surface, there’s a lot going on. Zagreb is an odd melange. It blends elegant Austro-Hungarian architecture with unsightly leftovers from the Yugoslavian communist era. Between the confusion, you’ll discover a buzzing & walkable city jammed with culture.

What to do in Zagreb

Don’t listen to all the advice to ignore Croatia’s capital. There are plenty of things to do in Zagreb to occupy yourself for a couple days. Besides, how can one come to know Croatia better without spending at least some time in the capital city?

Explore Gornji grad (Upper Town)

Begin your love affair with Zagreb in Gornji grad (Upper Town). Gornji grad is Zagreb’s medieval core, dating back to the 12th century.

In Gornji grad, you’ll walk along cobblestoned streets, dip into cafés, and admire Zagreb’s finest architectural moments. It’s the best way to spend your first 24 hours in Zagreb.

St. Mark's Church

The area’s main square is Trg Jelačić. It’s the best rendezvous point for starting to explore Gornji grad during your itinerary.

Set your sights on Zagreb’s main attractions here. Check out the monumental Zagreb Cathedral overlooking Upper Town. You’ll also find the 13th-century St. Mark’s Church here. Save time to visit one of the oddest museums you’ll ever enter, the Museum of Broken Relationships.

Go museum hopping

Zagreb, quite surprisingly, contains more museums per square foot than any other city in the world. Why not see what all the fuss is about?

Besides the Museum of Broken Relationships in Gornji grad, the best museums in Zagreb include:

  • Mimara Museum (mostly European art)
  • Archeological Museum (antiquities)
  • Croatian Museum of Naïve Art and the Modern Gallery  (19th- and 20th-century fine art)

Like in many European cities, most museums in Zagreb are closed on Mondays.

Breathe in some fresh air at Lake Jarun

Leave behind the stuffy city air. Make the quick trip to Lake Jarun, Zagreb’s most popular recreational escape. Cool off with a quick dip in the lake. Or you can pursue more adventurous activities like kayaking and windsurfing. It’ll help unwind from all the city sightseeing.

Lake Jarun

Not into watersports? The pathways around Lake Jarun are also great for walking or cycling.

Recommended Zagreb tours

Want to maximize your experience in Zagreb? Book yourself on one of these hand-picked tours!

  • Zagreb Walking Tour With Funicular Ride: Discover Zagreb’s most compelling charms on this 2.5-hour guided walking tour of the city centre. Includes a ride on the city’s 125-year-old funicular railway to Upper Town.
  • Zagreb City Hop-On Hop-Off Panoramic Bus: Explore Zagreb at leisure with this convenient hop-on hop-off bus tour through the city! Audio commentary in 10 languages and free on-board WiFi is provided. Your ticket also includes 24-hours of discounts at selected Zagreb attractions, museums & restaurants.
  • Zagreb Traditional Culinary Walking Tour: Taste some of the best dishes from five different regions in Croatia on this 3.5-hour food & drink tour! Excursion includes six different taste tests along with a local wine tasting.

Where to stay in Zagreb

When scoping out where to stay in Zagreb during your Croatia itinerary, I’d recommend staying in or around the city centre. Grabbing a room here, you’ll be close to all Zagreb’s best attractions. Here are a couple excellent choices:

  • Hotel Academia is a delightful modern 4-star hotel that’s a short walk from Upper Town. Rooms are quiet, spacious and feature awesome city and garden views. Some rooms include private balconies.
  • Palace Hotel Zagreb is a brilliant mid-range hotel. It’s set in a historical building soaked in Central European grace inside and out. The historical core of the city is a short 5-minute walk away.
  • Esplanade Zagreb Hotel is a grand luxury hotel that feels more like a Habsburg palace than a hotel for tourists. Luxurious furnishings are set to warm soothing colour palette. It creates a regal calm unmatched by other accommodations in Zagreb.

Getting to Zagreb

Flight deals to Zagreb, unfortunately, aren’t as plentiful as other European destinations. From the United States, the lowest fares to Zagreb start at about $515.

Flying to Zagreb from Canada, expect to pay at least C$820 return. You might be able to save money by flying into a major European hub and moving on to Zagreb with a lower-cost carrier.

Plitvice Lakes National Park

1 Day

Bask in European nature at its most glorious. Slide down from Zagreb to Plitvice Lakes National Park.

This national park features a series of 16 interconnected cascading lakes. The lakes are painted with ever-changing greens and blues. Plitvice Lakes National Park is one of best places to visit in Croatia. It can’t be missed on any first-time Croatia itinerary!

What to do in Plitvice Lakes National Park

Want to enjoy yourself at Plitvice Lakes National Park? It’s as easy as following the wooden footbridges & pathways. The paths snake through crystalline lakes, waterfalls, caves and karst landscapes.

There are two major sections of Plitvice Lakes—the Upper Lakes and the Lower Lakes. They’re connected by a 18.3-kilometre route.

Waterfall at Plitvice Lakes

Some travellers only choose one or the other. It’s tight to fit in both on day trips from Zagreb or Zadar. To get the full Plitvice Lakes experience though, I’d recommend taking in both.

At normal speed, the full walking route will take the better part of a day.

Other routes, mixing walking with scenic train and boat rides, can be completed in a half day. For full details on all the different sightseeing programmes available at the park, click here.

TIP: Plitvice Lakes is one of the most popular places in Croatia. Grabbing yourself a Plitvice Lake Skip-the-Line Ticket can save you a MASSIVE amount of time. It’ll help you skip the often insanely-long queue.

Recommended Plitvice Lakes tours

Want an extra special Plitvice Lakes experience? Book yourself onto one of these excellent recommended tours!

Where to stay near Plitvice Lakes National Park

The general rule around Plitvice Lakes is the closer you get to the park, the more you’ll pay for a room. Still, you’ll find some excellent value in the multitude of authentic guesthouses scattered around the area. Here are some of the best places to stay around Plitvice Lakes National Park:

  • House Biba & Leona: is a quiet, modern and friendly guesthouse in Rastovača. It’s only a 10-minute walk from Entrance 1. The accommodations here offer better value than the hotels and guesthouses further into the park.
  • House Zupan is a comfy guesthouse in the quiet village of Rastovača. Rooms are modern and spacious and include balconies for relaxing at the end of the day.
  • Guest House Plitvice Hills is a lovely guesthouse nestled in a beautiful natural location in Korenica. The views onto the hills of Plitvice from the room balconies are marvellous.

Getting to Plitvice Lakes National Park

Only planning one day (and one night) in Plitvice on your itinerary? You’ll need to leave Zagreb as early as possible. Early morning departures include 5:45am (85 HRK) and 7:30am (92 HRK). The bus takes about two and a half hours.

Split

2 Days

Few cities surprised me more than Split. As the bus drew into Split, the views were polluted with some of the worst (or, best?) socialist blocks ever constructed. I instantly second-guessed my decision to include Split on my Croatia itinerary.

Old Town Split

Luckily, my first impressions of Croatia’s second-largest city were far removed from reality. Split is shockingly awesome. And, unfortunately, much like its glitzier compatriot to the south, Dubrovnik, the secret’s out.

Even with the crowds, there’s still magic in the air. Don’t take my word for it. Add a little Dalmatian spice to your Croatia trip by sprinkling a Split itinerary atop.

What to do in Split

A dramatic setting lends an air of sophistication to Split. The city is wedged between mountains and the sparkling Adriatic. Etched with ancient flair, Split impresses even the pickiest of travellers to Croatia. It’s rare to find a city whose centre rivals its seaviews. If there’s any I’d vouch for, it’s Split.

Get started planning your trip with these top things to do in Split

Explore Old Town and Diocletian’s Palace

Weary of Roman sites that are nothing more than pillars of main structures toppled centuries ago? You’re in luck.

Entering into Old Town and Diocletian’s Palace in Split is like stepping into a fantasy world. No stretch of the imagination is needed to envision its grandeur; it’s still there.

Old Town Split

Hemmed into the remains of Diocletian’s Palace, Split’s Old Town is unlike any other in Europe.

Marbled streets criss-cross the ancient centre. They weave through ancient buildings that’ve found new life as bars, restaurants, shops, and guesthouses. Wandering around aimlessly, stopping for a bite or drink, is one of the best things to do in Split.

Diocletian's Palace in Split

Among the most impressive sights is Peristil Square (Peristylium), the heart of the palace. The Roman architecture here is among the best preserved in the world. It instantly transports you back to ancient times—if you can ignore the horde of tourists.

Also on the square is the magnificent Cathedral of Saint Domnius, rooted as far back as the 7th century. Head up the cathedral’s famous (and picturesque) bell tower for sweeping views over Split.

Cool down in the Adriatic Sea

Sure, Split isn’t Hvar, Krk or Korcula. That doesn’t mean there’s nowhere to dip your toes into the Adriatic!

Split’s Bacvice Beach might not strike you as one of the best beaches in Croatia. When visiting Split though, there’s no closer place to relax and cool down in the Adriatic than here. Be forewarned: On warm summer days, Bacvice Beach gets jammed with locals.

Use this as a chance to practice your Croatian and make some new friends. (It’s surprisingly easy in these parts!)

Adriatic Sea in Split

Even better (and quieter) are the beaches around Marjan Hill. Kasjuni Beach and Bene Beach are especially worthwhile. Expect about a 40- to 50-minute walk to get to either from central Split.

Hop on a day trip to Trogir

Besides exploring the city, there’s a ton of great day trips from Split. If you’ve only got one extra day on your Croatia itinerary, none is better than a half-day or full-day trip to Trogir.

A short 40-minute bus ride from Split transports you to this striking UNESCO-listed medieval town.

Trogir’s Old Town is corralled by 15th-century walls. Within the walls is a mishmash of Renaissance and Romanesque architecture. Its snaking marble alleyways are like those in Split or Zadar. They hide restaurants, cafés and guesthouses deep its their recesses.

Old Town Trogir

Walk along the delightful seaside promenade of Trogir. It shuns the modern-riviera-tinged glitziness of Split’s with its more traditional look. It’s a relaxing way to spend an afternoon.

Stick around Trogir for dinner and beer or coffee for a delicious seafood meal with a view.

Recommended Split tours

Want to make the most out of your time in Split? Add one of these hand-picked & recommended tours to your trip itinerary!

  • Split Game of Thrones Filming Locations Tour: If you’re a mega-fan of GoT, you’ll love this quick guided tour. It visits some of HBO series’ most recognizable settings filmed in Split. It includes the eerie cellars of Diocletian’s Palace.
  • Split Walking Tour: Catch the city’s top sites during your trip to Croatia on this 75-minute guided tour! It includes a thorough exploration of Old Town and a relaxing walk along the Riva promenade.
  • Mostar and Medjugorje Day Tour from Split: If you’ve got the time, don’t miss the chance to visit the beautiful Bosnian city of Mostar. The tour also includes time in Medjugorje, a famous Catholic pilgrimage site.
  • Full-Day Private Sibenik and Trogir Day Trip from Split: Kill two birds with one stone on this full-day tour of two beautiful towns along the Dalmatian Coast. The tour includes transportation and pickup. You’ll also get a private guided walking tour of both Sibenik and Trogir.

Where to stay in Split

With the city’s soaring popularity, accommodations costs are rising in Split. They’ve become especially pricy in & around Diocletian’s Palace. It’s made choosing where to stay in Split ever more difficult.

With the awesomeness in Split’s ancient centre though, it’s hard to recommend staying anywhere else. Even if it’s a tad pricier here than other areas, your Croatia itinerary will thank you. Here are a few of the best places to stay in Split…

  • Apartment Venus of the Palace is a great apartment within Diocletian’s Palace. With many of its neighbours pushing over $200-300 per night, this clean & reasonably-priced gem is a rare find in central Split.
  • Palace Inn Rooms is modern guesthouse in a historic building located within the old city walls. The views onto the centre are stunning.
  • Hotel Slavija is delightful mid-range hotel. It fuses the design of its historic building with hip contemporary elements. Its style is all onto its own. Most rooms include balconies overlooking Split’s historic centre.
  • Villa Split Heritage Hotel is a gorgeous luxury hotel that shows off the roots of its 10th-century building at every moment. From the exposed wood beams to the stone & mortar walls, it’s full of charm. Even with its history peering around every corner, the hotel features modern fixtures and finishes.

Getting to Split

The long ride between Zagreb and Split takes between 5-7 hours. Some of these buses stop en route at Plitvice Lakes National Park. The earliest departures from Plitvice leave at 9:30am at arrive in Split at 1:30pm ($15-22).

Hvar

2 Days

What’s a trip to Croatia without a little island hopping?

As you know, 10 days in Croatia won’t give you much time to explore the islands of the Adriatic to their fullest. Still, don’t leave the magical island of Hvar out of your Croatia travel plans.

Hvar Island

Hvar has developed a reputation as the glitziest destination in Croatia. It’s not unfounded. Prices across Croatia have climbed in recent years. Nowhere is it more noticeable than Hvar Island.

No, Hvar isn’t among the most budget-friendly places to visit in Croatia. But you don’t have to be a carry-carrying celebrity to afford it either. (Don’t be surprised if you run into a few though!)

What to do in Hvar

Old medieval towns aren’t at a premium when you visit Croatia. Somehow, this one seems special.

There’s plenty to love in Hvar. You’ll dazzle at sweeping seaviews. You’ll wander back in time on the marble medieval alleyways. You’ll feel gentle sea breeze caress the promenade. Either way, digging into all the things to do in Hvar will steal away at least a couple days on your Croatia itinerary.

Add a few more days on the island if you want to experience some day trips from Hvar such as Brac Island or the Blue Cave.

Digging into Hvar Town

Pleasant Hvar Town is where most travellers base themselves, especially if you’ve only got one day in Hvar.

There’s plenty to see in Hvar. The attractions range from age-old churches to fortresses that repelled invaders for centuries.

Hvar Town Harbour

Get your Hvar sightseeing started on St. Stephen’s Square (Trg sv. Stjepan), flanking the port. St. Stephen’s Cathedral, with its distinctive Romanesque 17th-century bell tower, is one of the main landmarks of Hvar Town. Hardly a postcard of Hvar isn’t framed by it.

From St. Stephen’s Square, explore the ageless streets of Hvar at leisure. Look out for the Late Renaissance style Loggia and 15th-century Franciscan Monastery to the south of town.

While in Hvar also don’t miss out on a trip up to Tvrđava Španjola (Spanish Fort) or Fortica. This 16th-century fortress was an important site in the history of Croatia. Today, it serves up fantastic views over Hvar and the Adriatic. The entrance fee is 25 HRK.

Traverse the sands of time in Stari Grad

Prepare for confusion. Besides Hvar Town, there’s another port on the northern shores of the island: Stari Grad (Old Town).

Your eyes haven’t deceived you: Hvar Town is old. (Thirteenth-century qualifies, no?) But Stari Grad keeps true to its name. The foundations of the Stari Grad stretch back to 384 BC. Stari Grad was once known at the ancient Greek city of Pharos. Today, it’s a subdued alternative to the tourist-laden and hedonistic Hvar Town.

Stari Grad Harbour

Stari Grad’s most impressive site is Tvrdalj Castle. This “castle” was the summer house of Croatian poet Petar Hektorović.

Since Hektorović’s time, the Tvrdalj’s design has changed drastically. The one feature that remains—and the most compelling—is the seawater fish pond set amidst a beautiful Renaissance garden.

When visiting, make time to check out the Stari Grad Plain. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the most important historical sites in Croatia and in Europe as a whole. The plain dates back to the ancient Greeks. To understand the ancient history of the area and the nation, it’s a must-see during your ultimate first-time Croatia itinerary.

The layout of the agricultural plots maintains the original configuration of the Greeks. The crops grown here include grapes and olives. They still follow many of the same traditions that sprouted up in antiquity.

Relax on the secluded beaches of the Pakleni Islands

Every trip to Hvar and Croatia itinerary deserves a stop in the Pakleni Islands. At some point, you’ll want to diverge from the huge crowds of Hvar and other mainstream Croatian destinations. Escaping to the Pakleni Islands is your chance.

Jerolim Pakleni Islands
Several islands form the chain including Galesnik, Jerolim, Marinkovac, and Sveti Klement. If you only have time for one destination in the Pakleni Islands, make it the small village of Palmizana on Sveti Klement.

The crystalline waters around Palmizana are fringed by lush pine forests. It’s one of the best places around Hvar to go scuba diving or snorkelling.

Ferries between Hvar and Palmizana leave daily.

Recommended Hvar tours

Ready to squeeze the most out of your Hvar experience? Check out these recommended tours!

  • Hvar Wine Tasting Tour: Visit Hvar’s lesser-known side on this 3-hour wine tasting tour. Also includes some perfectly-paired local appetizers.
  • Hvar Hidden Gems Tour: Move beyond Hvar’s more obvious charms on this excellent half-day guided tour. Includes stops in lesser-known locations. Highlights include the lavender fields of Brusje and the ancient village of Velo Grablje. You’ll also visit the abandoned village of Malo Grablje. The tour caps off with a delicious local meal.
  • Hvar Small-Group Walking Tour: Discover many of the top sites in Hvar on this 2-hour walking tour. The excursion starts with brilliant panoramic views at Fortic Fortress. Afterwards, you’ll enjoy a guide walk through Hvar’s historic centre.
  • Hvar Beaches Speedboat Tour: Get your adrenaline pumping on this full-day speedboat tour. It whips you around Hvar and the Pakleni Islands in search of the area’s best beaches and snorkeling opportunities.

Where to stay in Hvar

Ever question Croatia’s popularity? Just look to the large selection of accommodations in Hvar. Many of the top choices for where to stay in Hvar book up fast, especially during Croatia’s summer high season.

You’ll need to book far ahead of time to snag one of these top-rated hotels & best places to stay in Hvar…

  • Dela B&B is a fantastic guesthouse located just outside of the tourist bubble of Hvar. It features a swimming pool and chilled out lounge area with superb sea and island views. The owners offer a free shuttle to and from the centre.
  • Guesthouse Kampanel is a newly-renovated guesthouse set in a historic Dalmatian building. The excellent value rooms are located steps away from the main square of Hvar.
  • Adriana Hvar Spa Hotel is one of Hvar’s most luxurious places to stay. Rooms feature head-turning contemporary furnishings. They also deal out incredible views of Hvar and its harbour. The hotel includes a rooftop pool with amazing panoramic vistas and an on-site spa for your relaxation.

Getting to Hvar

There are fast Jadrolinija ferries between Split and Hvar every day at 9:15am and 9:45am (100 HRK). The journey takes just over an hour.

Dubvronik

3 Days

The first time I spotted Dubrovnik, I was stunned. I felt as if I’d stepped onto a movie set or into a theme park. I couldn’t imagine that a city like this—where people grew up, lived, raised families, and worked—actually existed.

Rooftops in Old Town, Dubrovnik

Thanks in large part to Game of Thrones, tourism hordes are now approaching critical mass. Even so, Dubrovnik still lives up to its moniker, “The Pearl of the Adriatic.”

No single city put Croatia on travellers’ radar more than Dubrovnik. As much as every Croatian city possesses the power to enthrall, Dubrovnik does it more forcefully.

Trust me: You’re not going to want to skip out on adding Dubrovnik to your Croatia itinerary.

(And if the crowds are your biggest deterrent, visit Croatia in winter when it’s far more peaceful.)

What to do in Dubrovnik

First impressions are etched quickly when you first lay eyes upon Dubrovnik’s magical Old Town. Its ancient city walls once shielded the independent republic of Ragusa. Today, Dubrovnik Old Town is as graceful as any of the best medieval European towns. History lurks around every corner.

Dazzle yourself in Dubrovnik Old Town

Many of the best things to do in Dubrovnik unfold on a walk through Old Town.

Start your first 24 hours in Dubrovnik with a stroll along the City Walls, one of the best photo spots in Dubrovnik. Atop the two-kilometre walkway you’ll marvel at spectacular views over Dubrovnik and the Adriatic. Head out as early as possible when the crowds are at their smallest and the midday heat has yet to set upon the stones.

The walls open to the public at 8am. Expect to pay about 120 kuna.

Cathedral of the Assumption in Dubrovnik

Elsewhere, Dubrovnik Old Town is ablaze with more architectural brilliance.

Every major European style from the last 500 years—whether Gothic, Renaissance or Baroque—graces the streets of Dubrovnik. Nearly every corner in the ancient city centre hides a palace or a church that’ll stop you dead in your tracks. There’s far too many to list here!

Some of the most eye-catching buildings in Old Town include:

  • Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary (Dubrovnik Cathedral)
  • Franciscan Monastery
  • Rector’s Palace
  • Sponza Palace
Dip into the Adriatic

Like in all great coastal Croatian cities, the beach is never far away in Dubrovnik. The closest to the centre, Banje Beach, isn’t necessarily the best choice. Although there’s a quieter private area for a fee, the public section of the beach can get a little rowdy.

Beach in Dubrovnik

Better yet is to find a beach further afoot. Hop on a ferry to Lokrum Island (80HRK return) from Dubrovnik’s port. You’ll get to relax on beaches with smaller crowds.

Spot Dubrovnik from above on Mount Srđ

Love epic panoramas? Set aside time for a trip up Mount Srđ. The views from the top of the mountain over the city are spectacular.

Dubrovnik Cable Car

Although there’s a cable car to the top of Mount Srđ from the centre, strap on a solid pair of hiking shoes and tough out a 90-minute walk for the best views.

Take a day trip to Mostar

Got an extra day in Dubrovnik? I’d highly recommend escaping Croatia (temporarily!) and throw in a day trip to Mostar in Bosnia & Herzegovina. Mostar showcases unmistakable Ottoman architecture. Mosques feature more prominently in the skyline than churches. Mostar has a completely different feel than any place on this itinerary.

Mostar

Topping the list of the top things to see in Mostar is its Old Bridge (Stari Most). Built in the 16th-century, the bridge became famous during the Bosnian War when it was destroyed by Croat forces. Just a decade later, Stari Most was rebuilt and reopened. Once again, it took its rightful place as one of the must-see attractions in the former Yugoslavia.

Recommended Dubrovnik tours

Want to make the most out of your visit to Dubrovnik? Book yourself onto one of these recommended tours!

  • Dubrovnik Game of Thrones Tour: Fans of the hit HBO show will love a chance to see the King’s Landing firsthand on this excellent 2-hour Game of Thrones theme tour.
  • Dubrovnik Sea Kayaking Tour: Catch Dubrovnik from a different angle on this active sea adventure! Visits include Lokrum Island, hidden caves and snorkeling in the Adriatic.
  • Dubrovnik Sunset Cruise With Dinner: See the city at its finest from afar as you float into the sunset on the Adriatic on this 2-hour dinner cruise.
  • Mostar and Kravice Waterfalls Day Tour: Escape the bustle of Dubrovnik for the lovely city of Mostar just across the border in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Mostar is famous for its Ottoman-influenced Old Town and Old Bridge. The tour also visits the beautiful Kravice Waterfalls.

Where to stay in Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik is Croatia’s most popular destination. And with its continued rise in popularity, choosing where to stay in Dubrovnik gets more difficult year after year. To find yourself in one of the best hotels in Dubrovnik, you’ll often need to book months ahead.

Private accommodations fill the gap between hotels and hostels. But with the ever-increasing inventory, it can be a bit of a nightmare to negotiate the entire selection.

Get your search for accommodations in Dubrovnik started with these few ideas…

  • Apartments Festa is a brilliant apartment set in a beautiful historic building in the heart of Old Town. Value for the rooms is superb.
  • Guest House Tomasi is a small guesthouse offering excellent value self-catering units. It’s located in the middle of of the historical centre of Dubrovnik and just steps away from the beach.
  • Grand Villa Argentina is a grand historical villa not far from the historic centre. It’s drenched with mind-blowing vistas of Dubrovnik’s Old Town and the Adriatic Sea. The hotel features both a swimming pool and direct access to the beach for the ultimate in Dalmatian coast relaxation.

Getting to Dubrovnik

Jadrolinija ferries between Hvar and Dubrovnik depart daily at the inconvenient time of 5:45pm arriving at 9:00pm (190 HRK). The Kapetan Luka ferries are faster and leave daily during high season at 8:45am (190 HRK).

10-day Croatia itinerary: Tips, tweaks & more places to visit

  • Want to experience more of Dalmatia? Fit in the delightful cities of Zadar and Sibenik located north of Split on the Dalmatian Coast.
  • Craving a little more nature? Spend the day at Krka National Park, located an hour from Split. Or visit Mljet National Park, a couple hours from Dubrovnik by car and ferry.
  • Need more relaxation on the beach? Zip over to the incredible Croatian islands of Krk, Korcula or Brac.
  • Looking for more Roman flair in Croatia? Visit the cities of Rovinj or Pula on the Istrian Peninsula.

Beyond Croatia in 10 days: Where to visit next

  • Bosnia & Herzegovina: Dive into this underrated country through the beautiful city of Mostar. It’s just a couple hours from Dubrovnik. Continue on to the gutsy capital of Sarajevo.
  • Montenegro: More beach-bumming lies just south of Dubrovnik in Montenegro. Dig into the country starting with the fjord-side town of Kotor. The nearby walled town of Budva is a mini-Dubrovnik in the making.
  • Slovenia: End your trip in Zagreb instead to zip over to one of Europe’s most beautiful cities, Ljubljana. Follow along with this 10-day Slovenia itinerary to get the most out of your trip.
Ryan O'Rourke

Ryan O'Rourke is a Canadian traveller, food & drink aficionado, and the founder & editor of Treksplorer. Join Ryan as he explores the world two to three weeks at a time from his home base of Canada with Treksplorer's independent and unsponsored mid-range luxury travel guides including itineraries, things to do, where to stay, when to visit, and hiking & walking trails.

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