The Perfect Croatia Itinerary: How To Spend 3 Weeks In Croatia

Perfect Croatia Itinerary

We absolutely loved our time in Croatia. We spent 3 months exploring this beautiful country, which I’d highly recommend if you have the time, but for a holiday this can be done in a much shorter period. Here’s a 3 week Croatia Itinerary that will take you from Croatian Islands to beach cities, from stunning national parks to the capital city.


Croatia Itinerary Map + Overview

Croatia Itinerary Destinations: Dubrovnik | Korcula | Hvar | Brac | Split | Plitvice Lakes National Park | Zagreb (Printable PDF Map at the end of post)

Croatia Itinerary Map

Day 1-4: Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik is the perfect place to start your Croatia Itinerary. Dubrovnik is absolutely beautiful and there’s no place like it. But it turns out everyone is aware of this because Dubrovnik is one of the busiest tourist destinations I’ve been too. As long as you go prepared for crowds, it shouldn’t be too much of a shock. There are also many areas to stay in Dubrovnik that are more peaceful.

Walls Of Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik Croatia Itinerary

Beach In Dubrovnik

Highlights

  • Exploring the streets of the Old Town
  • Spending the day at Banje Beach
  • Walking the city walls
  • A drink at Buza Bar (there is Buza I and Buza II – we preferred Buza II)

Where To Eat

  • Nautika Restaurant
  • Nishta for lunch (vegetarian)
  • Mlinar Bakery for a snack or light meal
  • Dolce Vita Ice Cream

Where To Stay

There are so many different areas to stay in Dubrovnik, that there’s really an area to suit everyone. We go into detail about the areas and hotel options here, but some of my favourite hotels in Dubrovnik include Villa Dubrovnik, Hotel Excelsior and Hotel Kompas.

Read More: Where To Stay In Dubrovnik Croatia: Our Dubrovnik Accommodation Guide

How Long To Stay

I feel like 4 days is a good amount of time in Dubrovnik to see and do the main things, as well as have a relaxing beach day. But having said that, you could easily spend more time exploring and at different beaches and areas. You could easily spend a week here if you have the time.

How To Get To Your Next Destination

Next stop… Korcula! You can get to Korcula on a ferry from Gruz Port area in Dubrovnik. We took a Jadrolinija Ferry which was simple. See Jadrolinija timetables and prices here. Other options are: Krilo ferry | Nona Ana

Day 4 – 8: Korcula

Korcula will be your first island experience in your Croatia Itinerary. There’s something about Korcula that makes it special. I feel like it’s underrated when compared to some other islands, but it has so much to offer. Korcula Old Town has beautiful little cobblestone streets to explore, delicious restaurants and stunning water views. There’s also so much to explore all over the island, as well as smaller islands surrounding it.

Korcula Small Beach

Croatia Itinerary Korcula

Highlights

Where To Eat

  • Restaurant Filippi
  • Nonno
  • Silk Street Food
  • Wine Bar Bokar

Read More: Where To Eat In Korcula Croatia: Cafes, Restaurants, Desserts & Drinks

Where To Stay

Korcula is a fairly large island with so many beautiful areas. But for a first time visit, I don’t think you can beat staying in Korcula Old Town or nearby. Some of my favourite accommodation options in Korcula include Lesic Dimitri Palace, Hotel Korcula and Tara’s Lodge Hotel.

Read More: Where To Stay In Korcula Croatia: Our Korcula Accommodation Guide

How Long To Stay

I feel like if you’re visiting an island you’re there in part to relax. For this reason, I think 4 days would be a good length, just so you can explore and relax. We spent a week here and loved every minute of it. Having said that, if you’re stretched for time, you could get away with 3 days.

How To Get To Your Next Destination

Next stop… Hvar! You can get from Korcula to Hvar by ferry. We went with Jadrolinija again, and this worked fine. See Jadrolinija timetables and prices here. Another option is the Krilo ferry.

Day 8 – 12: Hvar

Hvar is often seen as the party island, but it’s so much more than that. Hvar Town is beautiful with amazing architecture and things to do. The water is holiday blue, the food is delicious and there are even smaller islands to visit from here (and they’re amazing).

Hvar Town Croatia Itinerary

Pakleni Croatia Itinerary

Highlights

  • Visiting the Pakleni Islands
  • Lunch at Zori Restaurant
  • Views from Hvar Fortress
  • Exploring Hvar Town

Where To Eat

  • Zori Restaurant
  • Fig Cafe Bar
  • Dalmatino
  • Green Goodness

Read More: Where To Eat In Hvar Croatia

Where To Stay

Hvar is a large island with lots of different towns and areas to stay. For a first time trip, I would recommend staying in Hvar Town. Some of my favourite Hvar accommodation options are Hotel Adriana, Amfora Hvar, Hvar Riva Rooms and Pharos Hvar Hotel.

Read More: Where To Stay In Hvar Croatia: Our Hvar Accommodation Guide

How Long To Stay

If you can spend 4 nights on Hvar that would be great. Of course, you can probably see and do a lot in 2 – 3 days, but it’s always nice to have more time to relax when you’re on an island if possible.

How To Get To Your Next Destination

Next stop… Brac! We got a ferry from Hvar to Brac. There are two main ports on Brac Island, so make sure you pick the one that’s best for where you’re staying. We chose to stay in Bol, so got a Jadrolinija Ferry to Bol.

Day 12 – 14: Brac

Brac is another beautiful Croatian island. We stayed in Bol and loved it there, but I feel like it’s a great place to hire a car so you can explore more of the island. As much as I enjoyed Bol, I feel like there wasn’t as much to do there when compared to the previous islands without having transport.

Bol Brac Croatia

Highlights

  • Zlatni Rat Beach
  • Stina Winery

Where To Eat

  • Pizzeria Topolino
  • Argola Sandwich Bar
  • Fruitland for a smoothie (Zlatni Rat Beach)
  • B058 Gelato

Where To Stay

We stayed in Bol, which is a great area to stay. It’s near a port and also walking distance to Zlatni Rat Beach. It’s a great base, especially if you don’t have a car. Some of my favourite Brac accommodation options are Bluesun Hotel Elaphusa, Boutique Hotel Bol and Hotel Kastil.

How Long To Stay

If you’re not planning to hire a car I feel like 2 days would be enough time. If you’re planning on hiring a car, I would add on a couple more days, depending on how much you’re exploring.

How To Get To Your Next Destination

Next stop… Split! We got the Jadrolinija Ferry from Brac (Bol) to Split.

Day 14 – 17: Split (Trogir + Krka)

There are so many things to do in Split itself, including Diocletian’s Palace, the Old Town, the beaches and Marjan Park. And then you have some great options for days trips to places like Trogir and Krka National Park.

Split Croatia

Krka National Park Croatia Itinerary

Trogir Croatia

Highlights

  • Diocletian’s Palace (and underneath)
  • Split Old Town
  • Green Market
  • Marjan Park
  • Krka National Park
  • Trogir

Where To Eat

  • Bokeria
  • Kantun Paulina
  • Articok
  • Apetit
  • Paradox Wine & Cheese Bar

Read More: Where To Eat In Split Croatia: Cafes, Restaurants, Desserts & Markets

Where To Stay

For a first time trip to Split, I would stay in the Old Town or nearby, for example, in the neighbourhoods of Varos or Bacvice. Some of my favourite Split accommodation options are Abokamento Boutique Rooms, Piano Nobile Rooms, Murum Heritage Hotel, Palace Judita Heritage Hotel and Hotel Park Split.

Read More: Where To Stay In Split Croatia: Our Split Accommodation Guide

How Long To Stay

If you’re not planning on doing any day trips than 2 – 3 days in Split would be great. But if you want to do Krka National Park, that will take a full day, and Trogir will take a half day, so I would add that onto your time.

How To Get To Your Next Destination

Next stop… Plitvice Lakes National Park! We got the bus from Split to Plitvice Lakes National Park, which took about 4.5 hours. We did this through Prijevoz Knezevic which you can book online at getbybus.com or buy your tickets at Split bus station.

Day 17 – 19: Plitvice Lakes National Park

There’s a lot of hype about Plitvice Lakes National Park, but it’s all completely warranted. It’s absolutely stunning. Plitvice Lakes is one place we were so happy was part of our Croatia Itinerary. We stayed nearby in Rastovaca, and as we arrived in the afternoon after 4.5 hours on a bus we decided to stay 2 nights, so we could get up early the next morning and visit Plitvice Lakes, then have a relaxing night then move on the next day.

Plitvice Lakes Croatia Itinerary

Rastovaca Sunrise Croatia

Highlights

  • Plitvice Lakes National Park
  • Staying in peaceful Rastovaca

Where To Stay

There are many villages surrounding Plitvice Lakes National Park. We stayed in Rastovaca as you could walk to entrance 1 in about 25 minutes. Search for places to stay near entrance 1 | entrance 2 | entrance 3.

How Long To Stay

Plitvice Lakes National Park can technically be done as a day trip. I would only consider it as a day trip if I was coming from and returning to Zagreb, as this is closer. I wouldn’t do this as a day trip from Split as it takes 4.5 hours on a bus to get there, which I think would take away from your experience, and it’s also best to get there when it opens. Staying the night before you go is great as you get to experience the peaceful countryside near Plitvice and you can also get there when it opens and hopefully avoid some of the crowds. We stayed two nights, which was really only one full day, and loved this.

How To Get To Your Next Destination

Next stop… Zagreb! We got to Zagreb by bus. We booked this online through Autotrans and it took about 2.5 hours.

Read More: Plitvice Lakes National Park: Our Experience and 6 Things You Should Know

Day 19 – 22: Zagreb

The last stop on your Croatia Itinerary. Zagreb is often overlooked but it absolutely shouldn’t be. Zagreb is the Capital of Croatia and a beautiful city. There’s a lot to explore, eat and do, I have such amazing memories of my time here.

Zagreb City Streets Croatia

Zagreb Park Croatia

Zagreb Croatia Itinerary

Highlights

  • Saint Marks Church
  • Tkalciceva street
  • Ilica street
  • Botanical Gardens
  • Dolac Market
  • Tomislav Park

Where To Eat

  • Vinodol
  • Dezman Bar
  • Yellow Submarine
  • La Struk
  • Mundoaka Street Food

Read More: Where To Eat In Zagreb Croatia: Delicious Restaurants, Casual Eats, Burgers, Coffee, Dessert & Markets

Where To Stay

Staying in the city centre or nearby is best. Some of my favourite Zagreb accommodation options are Esplanade Zagreb Hotel, Sheraton Zagreb and DoubleTree by Hilton Zagreb.

Read More: Where To Stay In Zagreb Croatia: Our Zagreb Accommodation Guide

How Long To Stay

2 – 4 nights is a good amount of time to see the main sights in Zagreb. Although 2 days would be fine, I feel like Zagreb reveals itself slowly, so the longer you stay the more you might enjoy it.

How To Get To Your Next Destination 

That’s the end of your Croatia Itinerary! You could, of course, choose to continue, in which case you could explore more of Croatia or its neighbouring countries. In Croatia, some other places that would be great include Istria, Zadar and other Croatian Islands. Montenegro and Bosnia & Herzegovina are also neighbouring countries that are definitely worth exploring and spending some time. From Zagreb, we continued onto Slovenia. Have a great time in Croatia!

Read More: What To Pack For Croatia Carry-On Only + Printable Croatia Packing List


Printable Croatia Itinerary Map

Croatia Itineary Map Image

Get your free printable Croatia Itinerary Map here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Planning your Croatia Itinerary? Let us know if you have any questions in the comments below…

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