Is a trip to Croatia on your bucket list? With this Croatia itinerary, you will discover beautiful cities, national parks, and the coast of Dalmatia in three weeks.
About this Croatia Itinerary
With this 3-week Croatia itinerary, you will discover the capital Zagreb, the beautiful Plitvice Lakes, and a large part of the Dalmatia region. Here you will visit several historical cities, an island and a national park.
It is a one-way trip. You’ll start in Zagreb and end in Dubrovnik. You can follow this Croatia itinerary with a (rental) car or by public transport.
Itinerary: 3 weeks in Croatia
Which places will you visit during this 3-week trip to Croatia? Let’s start in Zagreb.
Day 1 & 2: Zagreb
Zagreb is the capital of Croatia and therefore a good starting point of this trip. Check out the historic buildings and fully enjoy the delicious food. There are restaurants everywhere!
- € Hostel tip: The Dots Hostel – hostel with private rooms in a good downtown location.
- €€ Hotel tip: Livris Hotel – Nicely decorated 4* hotel near the bus station.
- Interesting tour: 2.5-hour Croatian War of Independence tour – learn about the fall of Communist Yugoslavia and the Croatian struggle for independence in the War of Independence.
Day 3 & 4: Plitvice Lakes National Park
National Park Plitvice Lakes is perhaps one of the most beautiful places in Croatia. It is a beautiful nature reserve full of blue-green lakes and waterfalls. The many viewpoints and hiking trails make it a great place for a long walk.
Tip Book two nights near Plitvice Lakes National Park, so you can make full use of the quiet moments in the park (early morning and late afternoon).
- € Hostel tip: Falling Lakes Hostel – nice and cozy hostel about 16 kilometers from the national park. With shuttle service to the park and free bicycles.
- €€ Guesthouse tip: Natura Plitvice Lakes – great guesthouse within walking distance of the national park.
Day 5 & 6: Zadar
After the beautiful nature, it is time to visit another city. Zadar is located in the far north of the province of Dalmatia and has a beautiful historic city center. There is a very relaxed atmosphere, you can dive into the sea from the quay and in the evening you can enjoy a great sunset.
- € Hostel tip: Sky Hostel – cozy hostel with spacious rooms within walking distance of the old town.
- €€ Hotel tip: Teatro Verdi Boutique Hotel – nicely decorated 4* hotel in the heart of the old town.
- Fun activity: Explore Zadar with this bike tour.
Day 7 to 10: Ugljan
You should also have some time to relax during your trip to Croatia, right? There are so many beautiful islands that you can visit and Ugljan is one of them. It is only half an hour by ferry from Zadar and you really feel like you are in another world.
Beautiful beaches, friendly people, picturesque villages, and many cycling and hiking trails. A great place to completely unwind.
- € Guesthouse tip: Noa – cozy guest house in Kali.
- €€ Apartment tip: Apartment Kostić – great 2 bedroom apartment. From the balcony, you have a wonderful view of the sea and Zadar.
Day 11 to 13: Šibenik
As far as I’m concerned, Šibenik is one of the hidden gems along the coast of Croatia. Yes, there are some tourists, but not nearly as many as in the other cities. Here too you have a beautiful old city center full of narrow streets and stairs, each time you discover something new. The Saint James Cathedral is also an absolute must-see.
And there’s more! From Šibenik you can easily reach Krka National Park, a beautiful nature reserve that resembles the Plitvice Lakes (but slightly less crowded).
- € Hostel tip: Hostel Sv. Lovre – nicely decorated hostel right in the city center.
- €€ Hotel tip: Heritage Hotel Armerun – beautiful 4* hotel in the old town, near the sea and the beach.
- Fun activity: Private city tour to learn about its interesting history.
Day 14 & 15: Trogir
Trogir is a small town, but it is still a good idea to take some time for this city. In the morning and evening, it is a lot quieter (many people visit Trogir from Split as a day trip) and then it is even more fun to discover the narrow streets. For the best view, climb the cathedral tower.
Trogir is also a nice place to relax for a bit. At Okrug Gornji (slightly south of the city) you will find one of the most beautiful beaches in Croatia.
- € Hostel tip: Hostel Marina Trogir – affordable and clean hostel in the marina.
- €€ Hotel tip: Bifora Heritage Hotel – beautifully decorated 4* hotel near the harbor and the old town.
- Fun Tour: Half Day Speedboat Tour of Three Islands.
Day 16 to 18: Split
Split is the second-largest city in Croatia after Zagreb and the old city center is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. It is a perfect city to stay in a little longer because there is so much to see! The Diocletian’s Palace is a real sight to see. These are the remains of a Roman palace from the fourth century and it is very interesting to see how much has been preserved.
- € Hostel tip: En Route Hostel – colorful hostel a fifteen-minute walk from the center.
- €€ Hotel tip: Judita Palace Heritage Hotel – awesome 4* hotel in a 16th-century building next to Diocletian’s Palace.
- Fun activity: Private tour by rickshaw, including drink and time to take a dip in the sea.
Day 18 to 21: Dubrovnik
The last stop on this Croatia itinerary is perhaps the most beautiful city in Croatia: Dubrovnik. Walk over the ancient walls, enjoy the views, discover the impressive museums and be amazed. There is so much to see here! Fans of the Game of Thrones series will recognize many of the streets and buildings from this city, as it was the setting for the fictional city of Kings Landing.
- € Hostel tip: Hostel 365 For U – colorful hostel with both dorms and private rooms about a mile from the old town.
- €€ Hotel tip: Boutique Hotel Stari Grad – this beautifully decorated 4* hotel is one of only 2 hotels in the old town.
- Fun activity: Game of Thrones walking tour.
Adjustments in this Croatia itinerary
Of course, you don’t necessarily have to stick to this itinerary, if you want you can make a number of adjustments. Things you can do to make your Croatia trip even more fun:
- Ugljan is an island for those seeking tranquility. Would you rather go to a party island or celebrate your relaxing holiday on another island? Then it is best to visit another island from Split. Many ferries leave from Split to different islands, for example to Brac, Hvar or Vis.
- Do you have more time? Then I would suggest visiting more nature reserves (for example National Park Paklenica near Zadar) or more islands.
- The south of Dalmatia is very suitable for making trips to other countries. For example, you can travel from Split and Dubrovnik to Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina. From Dubrovnik you can also easily reach Montenegro, where you can visit the beautiful Bay of Kotor.
Book your trip to Croatia
Would you like to experience this Croatia itinerary yourself? These websites are useful when booking your trip:
- This itinerary starts in Zagreb and ends in Dubrovnik. Both cities have an international airport with many good connections to cities all over the world. Check Skyscanner for options and prices.
- Zagreb is also easily accessible by train from other countries in Europe. Check out schedules and prices at the Rail Europe website.
- Within Croatia you can travel by rental car or by bus.
- At every stop in this Croatia itinerary, there are two tips for accommodations, a hostel, and a hotel. Would you rather look for the best place to spend the night yourself? Check out Booking.com, here you have a wide range of options, many filters and you can compare. If you are looking for special accommodation in nature, it is also worthwhile to look at the website of Nature House.
Read more about Croatia
A holiday to Croatia becomes even more fun with a little preparation. These travel guides can help you with that:
You can also read more about a holiday in Croatia on this website. You might like to check out these posts:
- How expensive is Croatia? | Travel Budget
- The most beautiful places in Croatia | Bucket List
- 18 Most beautiful cities in Croatia
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