Ever dreamed about a road trip through Croatia? In this article I share the route we have traveled in two weeks. With its azure, clear waters, rugged mountains and cute villages, Croatia is more than worth it. And another plus, it is only a 2 hour flight from Amsterdam ( check airline tickets here, we flew in Croatia to Zagreb)!
How do you take a road trip through Croatia?
Croatia is a country that is ideal for a round trip by car. The roads are very good. In addition, you naturally have more freedom by car to visit multiple places and sights. Especially on the islands, it is very nice to have a car, because you simply cannot visit everything by public transport.
Where Can You Arrange a Rental Car?
This time we chose to rent the car through Easyterra, which we liked. Check here the prices of rental cars from Easyterra. Here too, just like with Sunny Cars, you are insured for everything if you so choose. At Sunny Cars you always have an all-in rental price.
Where Do You Start Your Road Trip?
You can start your road trip from the south in Dubrovnik or from the north in Zagreb or Pula. We wanted to end up at the islands, so that’s why we started our journey in the north in Zagreb. After our arrival in Zagreb we drove straight to Pula the next day. Ideally we would have flown to Pula, but there are no direct flights from Amsterdam to Pula. From Rotterdam it is, so check what the cheapest ticket prices are. This can be quite different.
Croatia Itinerary for Two Weeks
This is our travel route through Croatia. We have been on the road for two weeks. This way you have plenty of time to enjoy the country.
Despite the fact that Pula is a small town with nothing to do on its own, it is an excellent starting point for visiting the rest of Istria. You can also get some excellent dining options here, and the amphitheater is definitely worth a visit. The Kamenjak nature park is located around a ten-minute drive away from Pula city center. In this area, you will find various stunning beaches as well as cliffs from which to jump. For those who like thrill, there are numerous cliffs to jump off of.
The picturesque harbor town of Rovinj is about a 40-minute drive from Pula. Wander around endlessly through the cute, colorful streets. In addition, you will also find numerous terraces where you can relax. And since you are on the coast, you can of course also take a refreshing dip. We spent an afternoon here and that was more than enough, but it is also very nice to spend the night here.
Nice places to stay in Rovinj are for example Hotel Eden, Hotel Lone or Hotel Angelo d’Oro.
Do you like truffles? Then you’ve come to the right place in the town of Motovun. Motovun is known for its truffles, you can even go truffle hunting and find your own truffles! The small village is located on a mountain and is only a few streets in size. It is ideal for lunch and to enjoy a fresh truffle pasta. In addition, it is packed with shops that sell fresh truffle products. So if you like truffle, be sure to bring a jar of truffle paste or a bottle of truffle oil.
Perhaps Croatia’s most famous landmark; the Plitvice Lakes. These lakes are known for their beautiful azure/emerald green, clear lakes and waterfalls. This national park is rightfully on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Plitvice consists of 16 lakes connected by 90 waterfalls. You can visit this beautiful park via various walking routes. Start your day early so you can walk all the routes. To see as much as possible you can cross Lake Kozjak by boat. This tour takes about 15 minutes and you have a great view of the area. Are you planning to visit Plitvice? Make sure you book your tickets at least one day in advance.
After our visit to the Plitvice Lakes, we continued our journey early in the morning to the small town of Sibenik. Sibenik is not very big, but you can eat delicious food and stroll around. In addition, you can book many excursions and visit one of the surrounding islands. We have booked a day trip in the harbor and visited three islands in one day. You will have a few hours on each island to explore the island. We liked it a lot and compared to Sibenik it wasn’t very busy either. On the last island we found a quiet bay where we spent the rest of the afternoon.
Another nice tip; when you drive from Plitvice to Sibenik, make a short stopover at Jasenice, where you will find the Zrmanja River Canyon. It is not very well known and therefore very quiet even in the summer months. It’s really beautiful!
The next stop is the well-known city of Split. This is the third largest city in Croatia. The port of Split is very important because of its location. From here you can visit all the surrounding islands. This is where the ferries leave for the famous islands of Hvar, Brac, Korcula and Vis. This makes Split the perfect base to visit the surrounding islands for a day trip, but of course you can also spend the night here.
When you visit Split you really imagine yourself in the Middle Ages. Within the old city walls you can wander for hours. Be sure to visit the beautiful Diocletian’s Palace. The palace was built in the 4th century and this gem is also on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
You can also visit the cellars of the palace. It is so special to walk around here, because it is centuries old. And nice to know, a number of scenes from Game of Thrones were also filmed in these impressive cellars. So if you’re a GOT fan, be sure to visit these cellars.
In the evening, be sure to take a pleasant walk on the Riva Boulevard and have a drink on one of the many terraces.
Island Hopping on Hvar, Vis & Brac
From Split there are several ferries to the surrounding islands. These go more often in the high season than in the low season, so check the Jadrolinija ferry website . Here you can easily see which ferries go where and when. You can also buy tickets online.
From Split we sailed to the lesser-known island of Vis where we spent the night. If you are looking for less tourism, Vis is highly recommended! It is much quieter and the sea is really beautiful. Be sure to visit the famous Stiniva beach. This is a beautiful bay where you can spend an afternoon. It is a bit of a trip down, but then you also have something! It is about 20 minutes down and half an hour back up.
After our visit to Vis we took the ferry back to Split and from there we went to Hvar by car. Hvar is a fairly large island where you can really do a lot in the area. Besides the fact that Hvar town is very cozy, you can visit many beaches in the area, one of which is even more beautiful than the other! And do you like a party? Then you have come to the right place in Hvar. At Carpe Diem Beach you can dance until the early hours. You can also take a day trip from Hvar to nearby Brac.
Dubrovnik is perhaps the most famous city in Croatia! Known for the many scenes of Game of Thrones. It is one of the best preserved historic cities in the world and it really takes you back in time. Dubrovnik consists of two parts; the new part and the old center with the famous city walls. The old center is an attraction in itself and you can wander around for hours. Be sure to walk over the city walls, which gives you a beautiful view of this impressive city. In about an hour and a half you have walked the entire wall. If you visit Dubrovnik in the summer, start your walk early because of the crowds and heat. The ticket costs about €30, but you can also visit the nearby Fort Lovrijenac. You can also visit Dubrovnik Cathedral,
If you want to escape the crowds for a while, go to Lokrum island for a day, for 10 euros you will be picked up and returned. On the island you can visit a church and a botanical garden or choose to find a spot on one of the many rocks. Oh, and there are a lot of peacocks walking around too!
When Is the Best Time to Travel for a Road Trip Through Croatia?
We went ourselves in the middle of the high season (August), but we found this to be on the busy side. Everything was really packed, so we recommend going a little earlier or just after the high season to avoid this crowds.
The prices are therefore slightly lower and the ferries are also a lot less full, so you don’t have to wait in line as long. In addition, it is also very hot in the high season, about 35 degrees, so during the day you can’t do much more than lie on the beach to cool off.
Despite that, our road trip through Croatia was a great success, so definitely recommended!