If you’re searching for the best Croatia 10-day itinerary, you’re in the right place!

Although Croatia is small, it has got so much beauty all over the country. It’s necessary to have at least a week to explore Croatia, and if you have time for this Croatia 10-day itinerary, you’ll manage to see the majority of the most popular destinations.

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WHY CHOOSE THIS CROATIA 10-DAY ITINERARY?

If you’ve got less than 10 days, you’ll really only get to see Split, Dubrovnik, and and island or two. With 10 days you get to make a much broader itinerary, perfect for your first time in Croatia. This Croatia 10-day itinerary includes all the must-see locations without being totally overwhelming. It’s still crowded since there’s so much to see in Croatia, but you can slow down and leave out some of the locations if that’s what you’d prefer.

If you have less days, check out the following itineraries I’ve written:

>>> Perfect 7-day Croatia Itinerary for a Magical Week on the Coast

>>> Croatia 5-day itinerary: Zagreb, Plitvice Lakes, and Istria

>>> Croatia 5-day Itinerary: Split, Dubrovnik, and the islands

BEST CROATIA 10-DAY ITINERARY:

Day 1-2: Zagreb

Zagreb, the capital city of Croatia, is a vibrant and historic destination worthy of a visit, so this Croatia 10-day itinerary recommends 2 days in Zagreb.

Zagreb has the biggest international airport in the country, so you’ll probably fly straight to Croatia’s capital. Once you’re in Zagreb, check into a hotel or an AirBnB and explore the city for 2 days.

Zagreb is defined by its Austro-Hungarian architecture, cobblestone streets, and lively squares and parks. Zagreb’s historic Upper Town has several medieval landmarks like the Stone Gate and the Lotrščak Tower, while the Lower Town is full of lush parks, museums, and galleries.

Here’s a detailed 2-day Zagreb itinerary that will help you out a great deal. If you want to add some additional things to do, check out the 20 best things to do in Zagreb.

Here’s a quick list of landmarks you cannot miss:

  • Upper Town (St. Mark’s Church, Stross Promenade, Tkalčićeva Street)
  • Zagreb Cathedral
  • Zrinjevac Park
  • Ilica Street
  • Josip Jelacic Square
  • Maksimir Park
  • Botanic Garden

Zagreb is well-connected by public transportation. Use trams or buses to get around the city – they’re very cheap. You can buy tram and bus tickets for 0.60 euros at Tisak shops.

Day 3-4: Istria (Rovinj, Pula, and Motovun)

Istria is a picturesque peninsula in the northwest of Croatia, famous for its stunning coastal landscapes, charming hilltop towns, and rich cultural heritage. This region resembles Italy with gorgeous Adriatic beaches, vineyards, olive groves, and gorgeous cobbled streets in charming small towns.

Rovinj

Day three start by driving to Rovinj, on the Istrian peninsula. If you’ve come by car or rented one, the drive will be quick and painless. You can get to Rovinj for less than 3 hours. If you’re choosing public transport, the quickest ride is around 4 and a half hours and it costs around 25 euros.

Rovinj is one of Croatia’s most charming towns, with its narrow cobblestone streets and colorful buildings. It’s a stunning gem often named one of the prettiest towns in Croatia. Along exploring Rovinj’s gorgeous streets, here’s a list of other several things to do:

  • Visit St. Euphemia Church and bell tower
  • Explore the harbor for some of the best views
  • Have a drink at Mediterraneo Bar near the sea

Pula

On day four, your second day in Istria, continue on to Pula. Pula is a city located on the tip of Croatia’s Istrian peninsula, on the Adriatic Sea. It is known for its rich history, stunning coastline, and well-preserved Roman ruins. From Rovinj, it will take you 40 minutes to reach the city.

The best and most important landmark you’ll visit in Pula is the Pula Arena – an old Roman amphitheater dating back to the 1st century AD. After the amphitheater, you can wander through the old historic center and explore landmarks such as the Temple of Augustus and the Arch of the Sergii.

Motovun

Half a day is enough for Pula, so in the afternoon, continue to Motovun, a small but gorgeous town on a hilltop. It will take you an hour to reach Motovun from Pula, just in time for some late lunch or early dinner. Motovun is known for its truffle delicacies, so don’t miss out on some delicious food there!

After a great meal, explore the old, charming town by wandering through the narrow streets and enjoy the gorgeous panoramic views from the top of the hill.

Here are some additional stunning towns in Istria you might want to explore!

Istria is best explored by car, as public transportation can be limited. Consider renting a car to have more flexibility in your itinerary.

Day 5: Plitvice Lakes National Park or Krka National Park

Day 5 is the day for waterfalls, but you will have to pick which ones you’d like to visit more. It’s impossible to fit both into this Croatia 10-day itinerary!

OPTION 1 – Plitvice Lakes

Plitvice Lakes National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its breathtaking natural beauty located in central Croatia. This stunning is home to a series of cascading lakes and several waterfalls surrounded by forests, making a fairytale scene.

It’s a 3-hour drive from Istria to Plitvice, so either start your drive really early, or drive to Plitvice the night before and find accommodation near the national park.

You can explore the park via well-maintained wooden walkways and hiking trails and admire the crystal-clear turquoise waters, vibrant greenery, and diverse wildlife. This will be an unforgettable experience for nature lovers, photographers, and outdoor enthusiasts.

The ticket is 40 euros per person in the high season, and for more information on Plitvice lakes you can read my Ultimate Guide to Plitvice Lakes by a Local!

Arrive early to avoid crowds, especially during peak tourist seasons. Wear comfortable walking shoes and bring water and snacks for the hike.

OPTION 2 – Krka National Park

Krka National Park is a gorgeous natural paradise located in southern Croatia, famous for its stunning waterfalls, lush vegetation, and crystal-clear pools. Krka is further from Istria, but closer to all the following locations you’ll visit, such as Split or Hvar.

You can explore the park via wooden boardwalks, from which you can admire the majestic waterfalls and gaze at the gorgeous pools of water. Unfortunately, you cannot swim in this national park like you could before, but it’s still absolutely worthy of a visit.

From Istria, it will take you around 4 hours to reach this park, but as it’s not as big as Plitvice lakes, you can see in in one afternoon. Because of that, you don’t have to stress that you won’t have enough time to explore it fully in a day.

Personally, I would visit Plitvice Lakes out of the two, but if you’d like to get to the coast quicker, Krka is also a great national park to explore!

Wear comfortable walking shoes and bring insect repellent for protection against mosquitoes, especially in the summer months.

Day 6-7: Split and Hvar Island

After Plitvice or Krka national park, continue your way to Split. Split is a historic coastal city in Croatia, known for its ancient Roman ruins, vibrant waterfront promenade, and lively atmosphere. It must have a spot on this Croatia 10-day itinerary!

Split

At its center lies the UNESCO-listed Diocletian’s Palace, an impressive Roman monument with many narrow streets, energetic squares, and historical landmarks. Split’s waterfront promenade, known as the Riva, offers stunning views of the Adriatic Sea and is a popular spot for strolling, people-watching, and enjoying sunset views.

You can reach Split in 2.5 hours from Plitvice, and 1 hour from Krka National Park.

Use your one day in Split to explore the UNESCO-listed Diocletian’s Palace and the rest of the old town, stroll along the Riva promenade, and hike up Marjan Hill for panoramic views. Read my 2-day Split itinerary for more information on the best things to do in Split.

Hvar

The next day, go to Split’s port and catch a ferry to Hvar. There are several ferries each day, the ride takes 1 hour and the ticket price ranges from 5-20 euros, depending on the ferry company and the demand. On Hvar, spend the day exploring its charming towns, beautiful beaches, and lavender fields.

Some of the places you cannot miss on Hvar are:

  • Old town of Hvar Town
  • Delicious restaurants by the sea
  • Beaches Dubovica or Pokonji Dol
  • Hvar Fortress

In the evening either return to your accommodation in Split, or stay overnight and return to Split in the morning.

Ferries to Hvar Island can get crowded during peak season, so book tickets in advance if possible. Consider staying overnight on Hvar to fully experience its nightlife and scenic beauty.

Day 8-10: Dubrovnik and Elaphiti Islands

From Split continue to your final destination on this holiday, Dubrovnik. It will take you just under 3 hours to reach Dubrovnik by car. If you’re using public transportation, the bus ride will take at least 4 hours and the ticket prices range from 13-20 euros, depending on the time and the crowds. You can also use a ferry – it costs around 50 euros and lasts 5.5 hours.

Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik is a historic coastal town which many love for its stunning medieval architecture, fortified walls, and picturesque setting. The Old Town is something out of a dream with narrow cobblestone streets, historic buildings, and charming squares. This Croatia 10-day itinerary would be totally incomplete without Dubrovnik.

Dubrovnik’s natural beauty is not only its historic core but its nearby beaches, islands, and scenic viewpoints offering opportunities for relaxation and exploration.

You can find plenty of information in my Ultimate Dubrovnik guide which will help you organize your trip better.

Here are a few key attractions you must see in 2 days in Dubrovnik:

  • City Walls
  • Old Town and Stradun
  • Mount Srđ
  • Banje Beach
  • Buža Bar
  • Fort Lovrijenac
  • Lokrum island

Dubrovnik can get very crowded, especially when cruise ships are in port. Visit popular attractions early in the morning or later in the afternoon to avoid the crowds.

Lopud

Use one of your days in Dubrovnik for a tour of the Elaphiti islands, Lopud in particular. Elaphiti Archipelago is a must-visit while in Dubrovnik because it will take you away from the crowds of Dubrovnik to some more peaceful locations.

Elaphiti Archipelago consists of 3 bigger islands – Šipan, Koločep, and Lopud. You can get a boat tour such as this one which will take you to the three islands over the course of 8 hours with lunch on board.

If you’re not up for a tour, you can get a ferry directly to Lopud. The ferry ride lasts around 45 minutes and it costs 10 euros round trip. Lopud is a peaceful oasis away from the bustle of Dubrovnik and I would recommend it to everyone. There are no cars on the island so you can enjoy walking freely, and the island has one of the nicest beaches in Croatia. Šunj Beach is a long sandy beach with shallow waters perfect for sunbathing and snorkeling.

Read more about how to spend 1 perfect day on Lopud right here, and organize the best day trip from Dubrovnik!

I hope this Croatia 10-day itinerary was useful to you and provided some inspiration for your planning!

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