Croatia Road Trip Itinerary to help you plan your trip.
How beautiful is Croatia! There are clear blue lakes, medieval walled cities, amazing beaches, and stunning natural beauty. After two road trips in Croatia and a total of 4 trips here, we can confidently say that this lovely country in the Balkans can WOW every kind of traveler.
The first time we visited Croatia was in 2016. Back then, we didn’t do any research and did not have any idea about what to do in Croatia. Those were our carefree backpacking and hitchhiking days and we did not have any time constraints.
Back in 2016, our Croatia travel itinerary had nothing on it but Plitvice Lakes and many extra days for spontaneity. I still remember how unreal it felt when we saw Croatia’s natural beauty – especially clear rivers and lakes.
Our second trip to Croatia was in 2018. It was a part of our Balkan road trip from Bosnia. That trip was done in a rented car that we picked up from Serbia. I was pregnant then and had an amazing time.
The third time we road-tripped in Croatia was on our own camper van from Slovenia. We had a better idea about how we wanted to spend our time and where to go in Croatia. During our third trip, we were with our 8-month-old baby. We had limited time and we wanted to spend it well.
We also visited Croatia in 2022 but that wasn’t a road trip each time we saw different places and also some same places, so we had a lot of tips to share.Check Car Rental Prices in Croatia
If you’re on this page, I’m sure you know already where Croatia is. But still, just for the sake of quick information so that you can visualize the map in your head – it is opposite Italy with the Adriatic Sea separating them.
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Croatia has everything – mountains, beaches, and historical towns so a road trip through this gorgeous country in Europe is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It still remains one of our favorite countries in Europe.
Get lost in lush jungle landscapes, stroll streets with charming Romanesque, Renaissance, and Baroque buildings, and enjoy the most pristine beachscapes – there are so many amazing things to do in Croatia.
This guide to the most mesmerizing Croatia road trip will ensure that you have an unforgettable adventure. Soak in the atmosphere of Croatia on a thrilling road trip. Here’s how to do it right.
Starting Point for Croatia Road Trip
So where should you start your epic Croatian road trip? It depends on many factors. The starting points will change based on how you enter Croatia. If you’re flying to the country, then you will most likely land in Zagreb. We suggest you start your road trip in Zagreb if you’re flying into Croatia and renting a car for your journey.Check Car Rental Prices in Croatia
If you’re doing this journey on a camper van or a van, then be sure to check out our mega-detailed post about exploring Europe on a camper van.
If you’re able to find cheap tickets to Croatia where you land at any other airport, then by all means get those. In that case, you can start your Croatia itinerary from another place such as Split or Dubrovnik, and do a circle from there.
In case you’re driving to Croatia from one of the nearby countries, then it makes more sense to start your trip from one of the destinations that’s near the border. We want to make sure that you’re making the most of your travel time by sharing the best routes and stops.
If you’re driving into Croatia from Slovenia, then you can skip Zagreb and start your road trip from Pula instead. However, if you’re driving in from Hungary then it makes more sense to start your trip from Zagreb. Budapest to Zagreb is only 3 – 4 hours by driving.
In case you’re starting your trip from Montenegro or Serbia or Bosnia & Herzegovina – then just do this itinerary in reverse and make Dubrovnik your starting point. From Bosnia-Herzegovina, you can also start your Croatia road trip from Plitvice Lakes.
Our first road trip to Croatia was from Hungary, the second one was from Bosnia, and the third from Slovenia. All these trips had different starting points – Zagreb, Dubrovnik, and Zadar.
Croatia Itinerary: Best Places to Visit in Croatia
We have included many different kinds of places to visit in Croatia that will appeal to all kinds of travelers. Our Croatia travel itinerary has beaches, national parks, historical towns, small towns, and party places. You can edit and modify this itinerary to skip some places to make your trip shorter.
Here’s a map of Croatia with all the suggested places marked for you. You can open this map on Google Maps and on your left you will see an option to send the directions on your phone. Save an offline version of this map on your phone if you have enough space. It will help you when you’re driving.
Here’s our Croatia itinerary, which is actually a combination of two of our separate trips in the Balkans. We’re also suggesting 1 – 2 places that we did not end up visiting but you shouldn’t miss them for your ultimate road trip in Croatia.
Zagreb – 1 Day
Zagreb is Croatia’s glorious capital, and one of the best places to start your road trip in Croatia if you’re flying in. Pick up your rental car here and make this your beginning point. No, renting isn’t expensive and can turn out to be even cheaper than driving your own car into the country if you’re crossing too many countries.
Just like a typical European capital city, Zagreb also has a medieval-esque old town with cobbled streets and architecture. It is Croatia’s biggest city but you don’t need to spend more than a day here.
In all honestly, you can skip Zagreb if you want to spend more time in nature. It is a suggested starting point because of the ease of starting your journey here.
While in Zagreb, book an apartment for yourself and park your car because the city’s public transport is awesome and affordable. There are trams (ZET – Zagreb Electric Tram), buses, and historical rails. Get a single-day tram ticket so that get on and off as you explore the city. Alternatively, you can get a Vrijednosna Karta that can be used for both trams and buses. Zagreb has Uber too, and it is super affordable.
So wondering how to spend one day in Zagreb? Start at the Upper Town (Gornji grad) and gradually make your way to the Lower Town (Donji grad). You can walk and enjoy the most of Zagreb. As per Lonely Planet, Zagreb is made for strolling. Oh, and there’s free WiFi that’s available around the national theatre in the main city square – how cool is that!
Upper Town is the main old town of Zagreb with medieval architecture. While here, walk around in Strossmayer Promenade, see the Old Town gate, relax in Ribnjak Park, see the Neo-Gothic style cathedral in the Upper Town, and look at St. Mark’s Church and the Serbian Orthodox Church.
With such a rich history in this enchanting capital, it’s a great idea to take a walking tour in Zagreb to really soak in all of its wonders before you start your road trip.
When you get bored of being a tourist in Zagreb, head over to Jarun Lake and relax in one of the bars. You can eat lunch here or have a few sunset drinks to end your day early.
If you’re visiting Zagreb on a Sunday, then take time to check out the Hrelić flea market that’s a little out of the city.
Places to Stay in Zagreb
I stayed in two different hotels in Zagreb in 2022 and I loved both of them. The first was Hotel Orient and we booked a suite that had a separate small room for our daughter too.
Hotel Orient was super comfortable in terms of location and everything. We paid EUR 72 for a night here. I think this was a very good value for money because it wasn’t just a bedroom but a suite with AC. Believe it or not, AC rooms aren’t so common in Europe, unlike Asia or the Americas. Overall, it was perfect for a small family like ours.
The location of Hotel Orient is perfect because there’s a decent parking place so it is perfect for road trips. Also, the main train station was 500 meters away and the bus station was 1.5 KM away.
The second hotel that I stayed in Zagreb was Hotel Europa. I paid the same for this (EUR 72), but it wasn’t really a suite with two rooms. Instead, it was a massive bedroom with an extra single bed for our little girl. This worked out really well too. There was a shopping mall that was less than a kilometer away from the hotel where we went for lunch.
Pula (Istria) – 2 – 3 Days
If you’re driving to Croatia from Slovenia or Italy, it makes total sense to start your trip in Pula and skip Zagreb. Pula is the biggest town in Istria and should be a part of your Croatia itinerary if you want to cover this particular part of the country.
It is a beach destination BUT is more than just pretty beaches, Pula has a lovely old town too. Believe it or not, it was built 3000 years ago by the Illyrians! You can see fascinating landmarks to visit and some of the most well-preserved Roman ruins outside of Italy. It is like a mini Italy within Croatia.
Pula has Rome’s Colosseum look-alike – it is called the Roman Arena. Guess what, it is the 6th largest surviving Roman amphitheater in the world. The entry is 20 Kunas, which is 3 Euros.
I really enjoyed walking around in Pula’s old town. There are two gates and one triumphal arch. Zlatna vrata is the arch and it was built in the 1st Century BC. The gates are Dvojna vrata and Herkulova vrata. These are all decent photography spots especially as the sun starts to set. There’s also a street market that we saw here with amazing cheese, salami, and more.
While we were in Pula, we spent most of our time on the beaches. The beaches aren’t sandy but are pebbly.
Head to Stoja – the beach here was my favorite. Stoja isn’t a single beach here but many of them are together next to a campsite. If you see Google Maps, you will notice how this part looks triangular with multiple beaches. If you’re road-tripping on a van or are carrying a tent, then you can just camp right here in Camping Stoja.
Another beach that stood out to me was Saccorgiana Cove in Verudela. For me, it had everything I needed – peace, nice spots for sitting, and a fun beach bar – Zeppelin.
Apart from Stoja and Saccorgiana Cove, there’s also Valkane Beach, Ambrela Beach, Hawaii Beach, and many other beaches. Most of the beach looked similar but Stoja stood out for me.
FKK in Pula
Pula has some naturalistic beaches that are a little outside the city and are marked FKK. Free body culture exists and it isn’t just for the hippies. Go, shed your clothes, and sunbathe naked in Pula’s FKK beaches.
Where to Stay in Pula
We stayed in a place called Riva Hostel and we loved it. The dorm rooms were excellent and so was the outside sitting area. We were not close to the beach but to the pier, so we could see the water from our windows. The Roman Amphitheatre (Arena) was very close to our hostel.
As mentioned in the section above, the campsite in Stoja is beautiful and is on the beach. You should definitely consider it if you’re looking for a campground in Pula.
Plitvice Lakes National Park – 2 Days
Imagine 16 clear water lakes, all arranged on different levels (like steps) with cascades and waterfalls between them – that’s Plitvice Lakes. This world-renowned national park is truly the best natural wonder in Croatia. It will make your jaw drop and leave you with incredible memories.
Plitvice Lakes National Park is awesome but gets super crowded. Read our guide to the Plitvice Lakes for some useful insider knowledge about tips for avoiding crowds, costs, hiking routes, photo spots, and more. It is best to drive through in the early afternoon as it’ll take around 2 hours to drive here from Zagreb, whereas it’ll take 3 and a half hours from Pula.
Once you arrive, set up for the night so you can be there to enjoy the park early before it gets crowded. Book an apartment that’s nearby and get some rest the night before because you will have to walk a lot inside the national park. We stayed in Bungalows and Camping Korana, which is 5 km away.
It isn’t cheap to park outside Plitvice Lakes entry gates so you can take local transport to save money. Our place of accommodation was running free shuttles to the park so we did not have to worry about this.
No doubt the lakes here are super stunning, but Plitvice Lakes National Park is so much more. Some of the viewpoints, waterfalls, and cascades here are unbelievably gorgeous. There is also a cave too. Take the winding trails that show off Croatia’s unrivaled natural beauty as you bask in the blissful oasis that is the Plitvice Lakes.
Grab the chance to go for one of the world’s best walks as you breathe in the fresh air and admire the limestone canyon before your eyes. This is a truly remarkable area that attracts travelers from all over the world. The entrance fee is only €25 – €30 (180 Kunas).
Where to stay near Plitvice Lakes
There are three hotels inside the Plitvice Lakes National Park and they are a little more expensive than the others. If you stay inside the national park, you will not spend on your internal transport and will also not wait in the long line.
We stayed in a place called Campsite and Bungalows Korana, which is only 5KMs away. Not into camping? No worries, they have bungalows too. It is one of the few places that’s recommended by the National Park and they also run a free shuttle to and from the park every day.
Rastoke, Slunj Day Trip – 1/2 Day [Extend if you like]
Did you know there is a “mini Plitvice Lake” in Croatia? It is in Slunj town, that is not far from the National Park. The complex is called Rastoke and is a good place for a day trip if you want to get off the tourist trail in Croatia.
If you have some more time and would like to experience the “real Croatia” without tourists, then by all means spend some more time in Slunj town. The locals here speak decent English and you won’t have any communication problems. Honestly, I’d rather spend more time in a small town like Slunj and skip other places if I’m visiting Croatia during one of the busier months.
Zadar – 1 Day (Optional)
Zadar is an optional stop because this itinerary already includes similar (and more beautiful) historical coastal destinations like Dubrovnik and Split. If you have time, then by all makes stop here because it is close to Krka National Park and can be a good stopping point for the night. We stopped in Zadar for one night before driving to Krka National Park.
If you do decide to stop in Zadar, then go explore the old town that has 34 churches. The beach that’s closest to the city center is Kolovare. You can also visit Vitrenjak Beach and Borik Beach.
So what’s unmissable in Zadar? The Sea Organ – it is really cool. There are tubes that are installed under marble steps that play music with the sea waves.
Where to Stay in Zadar
We stayed in a place called Apartment Maruna that had everything we needed. Our rooms were air-conditioned, which was a blessing considering the summer heat. Our apartment had a nice and compact kitchen and a toilet. We also had a sitting area that was outside. It was the perfect place to stay for us.
Krka National Park – 1 Day
Krka National Park is one of Croatia’s most beautiful and fun at the same time. The drive will likely take you up to 2 hours, so we suggest leaving Plitvice Lakes in time to reach this park in the early afternoon.
Plitvice Lakes is stunning but you can’t jump into any of the lakes or waterfalls there. On the other hand, you can swim in Krka National Park instead. The waterfall in Krka National Park is massive and the biggest waterfall – Skradinski Buk creates a very big natural pool which makes the perfect swimming hole.
In order to enter the national park, you can either hike for 3.4 km, or take a ferry from Skradin to Skradinski Buk Ferry Pier. The hiking path isn’t shaded with trees so in summer you will literally die if you decide to hike. You can also cycle through. During summer, taking a ferry is the easiest option and the ferry is free if you have your park tickets.
In order to take the ferry, you have to reach Skradin and you can park your car nearby, the parking spot is marked as Parking Skradin KRKA on Google Maps. Parking is super expensive! I think we paid 1 euro per hour.
The ferry queues were long in August but they’re pretty normal during other months. Before you stand in the queue for the ferry, you need to also buy the Krka National Park entry tickets. Thankfully the staff was pretty efficient and the ticket queues moved very fast. There is also a toilet in this area, not far from the ticket booth.
The ferry ride lasts for 20 minutes and is fun because you get to see the beauty of the Krka River and the bridge.
If you want to compare the beauty, then Plitvice Lakes National Park definitely wins. However, if you want to cool down and take a dip in the waterfall then you will love Krka National Park. Just like Plitvice Lakes, Krka National Park tends to get crowded as well, so visit super early or in the late afternoon to avoid crowds.
We found a smaller swimming hole which was near the main Skradinski Buk but was hidden because of the trees. Because of this, not many people were swimming here.
We visited in August and it was very crowded. The only time we could enjoy the waterfall without people was during the late afternoon. My friend Selin [Sollunatic Photos] visited a month before us and Skradinski Buk waterfall looks so empty in her photos.
Unlike Plitvice Lakes, you don’t need to walk that much inside Krka National Park. If you’re doing this trip with a baby in a stroller, then Krka National Park will be an easier destination and you should skip Plitvice Lakes.
The Krka National Park is home to many outstanding parts of Croatia’s history, including traditional watermills, and the Krka Monastery. Sightsee ancient Roman catacombs, exquisite cascades, and the park’s most popular site; its seven waterfalls.
Take advantage of a Krka National Park tour to see all the park’s attractions and the best trails. The entrance fee is €20 (150 kunas) per person, and it’s well worth it.
Get a waterproof case for your camera or a GoPro to create memorable photos as you spend your day swimming in Krka National Park. Apart from that, there’s so much to explore here, so let your free spirit go wild as you find hidden gems scattered within the park.
After you take a long walk through the park, refresh yourself in the crystal clear blue waters of the waterfalls. We suggest you spend a night at nearby accommodation, or book a tent and camp the night at the camping facilities 2KMs away. This is a fantastic way to embrace the wonder that makes Croatia’s indigenous landscapes renowned.
Where to stay near Krka National Park
We camped in Camp Marina, one of the smaller campsites near Krka National Park. This campsite was perfect for us because we found a place in the corner with a view. It is 5 km away from the main parking area that’s close to the ferry pier. This campsite has rooms too, so you can book a room if you’re not up for camping.
Another option is Rooms Ive, a great spot for the night. It is 6 km away and you can enjoy barbecue facilities, free parking, privacy, and air-conditioned rooms. Have a comfortable night’s rest before continuing on your Croatia road trip.
Split – 2 Days
Split is undoubtedly one of the most popular cities in Croatia, it also happens to be the largest city in the Dalmatia region. The drive here will take just over an hour, so we suggest leaving Krka National Park in the early morning to enjoy lunchtime in the city.
This coastal urban city is never short of incredible sights and sounds, and it’s an exciting place to enjoy on a Croatia road trip. The city boasts still waters that reflect the shimmering sun and makes for the most wonderful place to go on a Croatian cruise.
Split has amazing beaches so make sure you spend some time soaking up the sun. Fill the day with a boat ride to the blue lagoons and sightseeing ancient architecture like Diocletian’s Palace. You can also taste world-class cuisine with Italian influences or visit the charming Old Town.
This is a fabulous spot on our Croatian road trip itinerary to grab some souvenirs and have a sundowner whilst gazing over the dazzling Adriatic Sea. One of the best ways to enjoy the local vibe and feel the hum of Split’s city life is to take a stroll through the scenic Riva Promenade.
For those who enjoy hiking, be sure to have a go at climbing Marjan Hill. Split is the kind of city that has something for everyone.
Where to Stay in Split
Split has so many charming and unique hotels. One of our favorite spots is the Heritage Hotel Antique Split. This hotel combines the old with the new and is an affordable, elegant hotel in Split.
Hvar – 2 Days
C’mon, you’re in Croatia so you’ve got to visit at least one island! One cannot travel to this country without island-hopping and making time to see the famous Croatian scenery of the cities that lay just off the coastline.
Although you won’t be able to drive to Hvar, you’re able to take your car on the ferry. The ferry costs are around €17 (127 Kunas) and you can catch one at 7:30, 10:00, or 16:30 daily. During peak months [summer], the queues are annoyingly long for ferries, so try your best to take the earliest one.
Alternatively, you can make things easy for yourself and park your car in Split. Book a Hvar island tour from Split, which will cover your transport costs. The ride is likely to take you an hour to two, so take the earliest ride out possible.
This island will take you back in time and teach you about the colorful history of Croatia. While you’re here, make time to appreciate the 13th-century walls and architecture. As well as one of the most popular features, the Renaissance-era Hvar Cathedral.
However, there is more to this island than its city. One of the must-see attractions is the enchanting Monk Seal Cave, also known as the Blue Cave.
Take a load off after a long day of traveling around Hvar and laze out on one of the divine beaches, one of the best being Dubovica Beach. Let the day fade and enjoy a night’s stay on the island.
Where to stay in Hvar
Hvar is renowned for having excellent accommodation options, with plenty of resorts and villas. For the full Hvar experience, look at staying at a beach resort. Our top choice is Amfora Hvar Grand Beach Resort, but if you’re looking for something cheaper, the Pharos Hvar Hotel will not disappoint.
Dubrovnik – 2 Days
Another unmissable thing to do on a Croatian road trip would be to visit the enthralling and extravagantly beautiful city of Dubrovnik. Highly touristy so make sure you thoroughly read this post.
To get to Dubrovnik, you’ll need to leave Hvar and catch the 7:30 a.m. ferry back to Split. Your tickets will likely cost around €17 (127 Kunas). After you return to Split from Hvar, the drive to Dubrovnik is around 3 and a half hours. Seeing as this is a long drive, stop off and have a bite to eat at Kapetanova Kuca on the way for some local cuisine.
Dubrovnik is thriving with historical hubs, museums, restaurants, and shops. It also fronts the dreamy Adriatic Sea. There is plenty to do here, and riding through the quaint streets will be a venture in itself.
The city has also become synonymous with the Game of Thrones TV series, as it’s where some of the most iconic scenes of King’s Landing have been shot. You can learn more about this on a Game of Thrones tour. The series showcases the captivating, 16th-century walls that make up the border of Dubrovnik’s Old Town.
The best part about Dubrovnik is that everything is just minutes away from each other by walking. This walled city is the proud home to many well-preserved, ancient structures, such as the St. Blaise Church and Sponza Palace. A walk through the city is a must!
Admire architecture from both the Renaissance, Baroque, Gothic, and Roman styles as you see first-hand the blend of culture that this remarkable city has. After your walk, head over to your accommodation spot for some much-needed R’n’r.
Similar to Split, Dubrovnik also has a hub for locals and travelers to get together and take in the one-of-a-kind atmosphere of this Croatian city. In the morning, venture to Stradun, where you can walk on limestone paving and enjoy the unique city life. Choose from any one of the many restaurants have a delicious breakfast, and then spoil yourself in one of the shops.
Where to stay in Dubrovnik
Why not splurge for your night in Dubrovnik with a stay at the Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik? Enjoy a night of luxury and rejuvenate at the onsite spa. Alternatively, for a more low-key evening at a budget-friendly rate, spend your night at the comfortable and beautiful Hotel Vis.
Kravice Waterfall Day trip from Dubrovnik [Bosnia & Herzegovina]
While you’re on the road, why not make an extended journey to Bosnia and Herzegovina to see the exceptional Kravice Waterfall (also called the Kravica Waterfall)? This will give you the opportunity to see the nearby Koćuša Waterfall. It will take around 2 and a half hours to get here from Dubrovnik, and the drive itself is really enjoyable.
The entrance fee changes depending on the time of year, expect to pay €3 (6 Kunas) between October to May, €4 (8 Kunas) between June to September, and €5 (10 Kunas) between July to August.
The Kravice waterfall is a jaw-droppingly beautiful sight to see. It originates from the Trebižat River and seamlessly cascades down the crevasses of the jungle. You can ensure that you get to see its sister waterfall, the Koćuša Waterfall, by taking a guided waterfall tour.
This outstanding natural attraction is growing ever more popular as an increasing amount of travelers enjoy its magical plummeting. Be sure to visit early, before it gets too crowded.
You can go on one of the walking trails that will show you insurmountable natural paradises. Afterward, wash off and rejuvenate in the inviting water pool created by the Kravice Waterfall.
This is the perfect way to wrap up your road trip!
Where to stay near Kravice Waterfalls
Extend the time of your stay and enjoy this location for a whole day by booking into the Apartment Kravica. This ideal accommodation spot provides a way for you to stay only 400 meters from the waterfall itself. Relax knowing there’s no more driving involved for the day, and kick back here for the night.
Brela – [Optional Stop on your way back]
In case you have rented a car from Zagreb and you have to return it there before you fly off, then you have to drive back from Dubrovnik. There is an amazing coastal destination that will be on your way, is called Brela. It is on the Makarska Riviera.
Brela has amazing beaches with a backdrop of mountains. You can see the Biokovo mountain from most of the beaches in Brela. The most iconic spot in Brela is the Brela Stone. It is perhaps the most photographed part of this destination. Brela Stone is on Brela beach.
Brela’s loveliest beach is Punta Rata, make sure you go there. In pictures, Punta Rata looks sandy but in reality, it is a pebble beach.
Brela boasts of 6.5 KM long coast. If you’re traveling with small children, take them to Soline Beach because there’s a children’s playground there. The beaches of Vruja are a little secluded and you can avoid crowds there.
Where to Stay in Brela
Is it safe to drive around Croatia?
We didn’t just drive around Croatia only once but three times. We also visited Croatia with our 8-month-old baby and later when she was 3 years old. We never felt unsafe here and found everything here to be very easy.
Croatia is one of the few countries where it appeared that the locals respected and followed the rules, which made driving easier than some other countries. The roads, toll situation, parking situation, etcetera were easy to understand.
Tips for Driving in Croatia
Here are some basic tips that you need to keep in mind while driving in Croatia:
- If you have driven in any European country, then driving in Croatia isn’t any different. When in Croatia, you drive on the right side of the road.
- The emergency number for road assistance in Croatia is 1987.
- As in most of European countries, you are required to drive with the headlights during the day in winter months.
- The roads are well maintained in Croatia. The Croatian motorways are not always wide, they can be winding and narrow.
- An amazing thing that I noticed about driving in Europe is how other drivers flash their lights at you to let you know that there are traffic police nearby.
- You need to pay a toll fee on the roads that connect Zagreb with Zadar, Split, and Rijeka.
- If you’re planning to enter any of the non-EU countries on the same car from Croatia, then make sure your car has a “green card”. Our rental car from Serbia had one.
- The maximum level of permitted alcohol level in blood while driving is 0.5% in Croatia.
I have a detailed post about road-tripping in the Balkans that contains tips. Be sure to check that out too.
Best Time to Go to Croatia
Croatia is at its best in summer and autumn. August is the busiest month for Croatia [and most of Europe] and isn’t the best, so avoid that month. Early summer time is perfect for enjoying the waterfalls that Croatia is famous for, beaches, and over all natural beauty. September and October are decent months too, because they aren’t as busy as summer months.
Is Croatia cheap to travel to? Our Budget & Mistakes
Back in 2016 when we first visited Croatia, we expected it to be very cheap. No that wasn’t the case. We knew better when we revisited it in 2019.
The thing is, Croatia isn’t expensive when you compare it to the touristy Western European countries (like France, and Switzerland) but is expensive as compared to the nearby Czechia, Hungary, Slovenia, etc. Croatia is actually getting more and more expensive each year because of tourism.
If you travel smart and buy groceries from a supermarket to cook your own food, you won’t find Croatia very expensive. Instead of booking a room, try to find an apartment on Booking.com. It is sometimes possible to find one for as low as EUR 25 for two people. Most apartments include kitchens too. Of course, the prices go high as you get closer to the popular destinations.
Our mistake – we spent too much money on eating out even though we had the ability to cook our own meals in our van. While we were in Zadar, we rented an entire apartment that included a kitchen. We did not eat breakfast before driving to Krka National Park and ended up eating an overpriced meal in a fancy restaurant that’s close to the entry point of the national park.
The entry for Croatia’s beautiful National Parks isn’t cheap, but that shouldn’t be a reason for avoiding them. The most beautiful place in Croatia is the Plitvice Lakes National Park – please don’t skip it.
While planning a budget for your Croatia road trip, keep in mind the toll costs, national park entrances, and parking fees among all other things.
Is Croatia Safe to Travel Alone?
Croatia is very safe. In our two visits to this amazing country, we met many travelers and a majority were traveling solo in Croatia. We did not hear about even a single incident that would make us doubt the safety aspect here.
If you’re a solo woman traveler and are planning a trip to Croatia then you will be happy to know it is one of the safest countries for you. As a thumb rule, be aware of your surroundings and keep your belongings safe when you visit crowded areas.
Where to go After Croatia?
Bosnia & Herzegovina
Bosnia & Herzegovina is the best place to go after Croatia. The country’s natural beauty is stunning. Unlike Croatia, it is yet to be affected by mass tourism. Go visit the Kravice Waterfalls, Una National Park or Vjetrenica cave to see the natural beauty – we loved all of them. If you like historical towns, then explore Mostar or Visegrad. Both these destinations are famous for their Ottoman style old bridges.
Slovenia is a stunning country that will charm you. Spend a few days in Slovenia’s Triglav National Park where you can camp right next to Lake Bohinj. Bohinj isn’t far from the more famous Lake Bled and is more beautiful.
I have been to Hungary only once, and I spent most of my time in Budapest and then I went to the S.U.N. Festival in the country side. I did not find Hungary to be as beautiful as the nearby countries, maybe because I did not get a chance to explore it. If you like to party, then Budapest has one of the craziest party scenes in this part of Europe.
Montenegro’s flower-shaped Kotor Bay is very close to Dubrovnik and you can visit it very easily after your road trip in Croatia. I also recommend Durmitor National Park, which we enjoyed more than Kotor Bay. Driving in Montenegro is amazing because the roads are winding and there are many viewpoints where you can stop your car and rest.
Conclusion of Our Croatia Road Trip Itinerary
Road trips are a brilliant way to live in the moment and remember life really is about the journey, not the destination. Croatia is one of the world’s most fascinating destinations and provides the perfect mixture of historic charm and tropical terrain for a road trip you will never forget.
Our Croatia road trip guide will take you to all of the most awe-inspiring locations throughout the country, and allow you to really feel its unique ambiance. Enjoy all of the must-see attractions and highlights as you cruise Croatia with our itinerary in hand. Appreciate a travel experience that may even inspire you to start your own Croatia travel blog.
We wish you unending adventures and hope that you’re able to get the most out of your time in Croatia’s flourishing cities and beachscapes on this spellbinding road trip.