Although a small country, you’d be surprised by how much time you could spend exploring Croatia. From peaceful islands to party towns to beautiful mountain lakes, Croatia has a bit of everything.
Many visitors to Croatia only focus on the coast but to get a real sense of this country you need both time inland and along the Adriatic Sea. If you’re not driving then it’s easy to use transfers in Croatia to help you get around the country. This also allows you to fly into one city and out of another without having to pay hefty one way car hire charges.
Here are our suggestions for a two week itinerary of Croatia that will let you see many of the highlights, from coast to capital. So, what are you waiting for?
Speaking of the capital, Zagreb has everything a Eastern European capital needs – gorgeous architecture, an old city centre, museums, and breathtaking churches. Zagreb has much more though with great nightlife, fine dining, and a modern touch of elegance. Be sure to spend some of your time in the city visiting the old town and touring St. Stephen’s Cathedral. For a bit of fresh air, head up Medvednica, the mountain standing watch over the city where you can see the preserved Medvedgrad fortress.
Plitvice Lakes National Park
Not only is it the largest national park in Croatia and the oldest in this area of Europe, Plitvice Lakes National Park is also a UNESCO World Heritage site. The park is famous for its multi-color lakes. The sixteen lakes, connected together through a series of beautiful waterfalls, range in color from green to grey to blue. The colors vary depending on each lakes unique mineral composition and the range of algaes and organisms found in the water.
It’s now time to head to Croatia’s famous coastline. While there are highlights to see all along the coast, for a short 2 week visit we suggest sticking to the southern half of the coast. That means heading to the city of Zadar, right at the heart of the Croatian coastline.
Zadar is often overlooked and seen more as a stopover when visiting the various sites along the Croatian coast but the city itself has a nice mix of history and modern flair. For great nightlife though, oddly enough you will have to leave the city and head for the nearby island of Pag, famous originally for cheese and now for incredible parties.
Leaving Zadar and heading south, you will be within a short drive to a number of great Croatian treasures. Krka National Park is a great place for an afternoon swim under a waterfall, the Kornati Islands are the ultimate in peaceful Croatian living, and Solin is home to some great Roman Ruins.
By now you will be arriving in Split, one of Croatia’s most popular cities. It is most famous for the Diocletian Palace Complex, the world’s most complete remains of a Roman palace. The palace has, over the centuries, been completely incorporated into the city with the old walls now home to local restaurants, shops, and even homes. It is quite a sight to see, the combination of ancient ruins and a modern day city but thankfully the Croatians have carefully preserved a good deal of the original palace.
From Split it is also possible to visit a number of Croatian islands, either on day trips or for longer island getaways. A popular day trip option is to visit the island of Brac, where you can tour small towns, museums, and local wineries.
As your trip winds down, head to Dubrovnik on the very southern tip of Croatia. Another picturesque Croatian city on the sea, Dubrovnik has its own set of interesting museums, medieval walls, churches, and a cute pedestrian-only city center. Here is your chance, at the end of whirlwind trip to just take in the beauty of the Adriatic Sea and enjoy the way Croatia has so preserved her history from the mountains to the shore.
Great tips on spending two weeks in Croatia. I’d just add a visit to Trogir while staying in Split. Also if you are a foodie, you should definitely visit Istria, a northern Adriatic region of Croatia.