Check off four of Croatia's spectacular national parks with this active 10-day tour. The adventure starts in Rovinj with a day trip to the islands of Brijuni National Park. Head to the emerald waters of Plitvice Lakes via the medieval hilltop town of Motovun, hike through the rugged landscapes of Paklenica National Park, and take a trip to Krka for waterfalls and wine tasting. Your journey ends in Split, where you'll explore the ancient city and strike out into the countryside for rafting and ziplining in the Cetina Canyon.


  • Explore the unspoiled nature, ancient ruins, and 14 islands of Brijuni National Park
  • Wind through the travertine waters of Plitvice Lakes by boardwalk
  • Unearth Roman and Venetian history in the coastal city of Zadar
  • Hike to views over the Adriatic in the rugged mountains of Paklenica 
  • Soar 6,900 feet (2,100 m) across the Cetina Canyon by zipline

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Zagreb, Transfer to Rovinj Rovinj
Day 2 Day Trip to Brijuni National Park Rovinj
Day 3 Transfer to Plitvice Lakes via Grožnjan & Motovun Plitvice Lakes
Day 4 Walking Tour of Plitvice Lakes National Park, Transfer to Zadar Zadar
Day 5 Hiking Day in Paklenica National Park Zadar
Day 6 Day Trip to Krka National Park & Šibenik Zadar
Day 7 Transfer to Split, Afternoon Walking Tour Split
Day 8 Explore Klis Fortress & Historic Trogir Split
Day 9 Cetina River Rafting & Canyon Ziplining Adventure Split
Day 10 Depart Split  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Zagreb, Transfer to Rovinj

Wander the cobblestone streets of Rovinj on the Adriatic Sea

Welcome to Croatia! After you arrive at the Zagreb International Airport, your driver will take you to your hotel in Rovinj. After you settle in, you'll have the rest of the day to explore this fishing port and the jewel of Croatia's Istrian Peninsula. Once a part of the Venetian empire, the Italian influence is undeniable in the cobblestone streets, colorful shutters, and the looming Baroque tower of St. Euphemia's Church.

Wander through the historic heart of Old Town, discover remnants of the former town walls at Balbi's Arch, and sample Rovinj's specialty, brodet (fish casserole), in the picturesque Tito Square. Meander through the colorful artists' haven of Grisia Street to see the local art on display (and some for sale). Head to the harbor for a boat to the nearby island of St. Catherine for some excellent beaches, and catch a spectacular sunset from Rovinj Pier.

Day 2: Day Trip to Brijuni National Park

Day Trip to Brijuni National Park
Take a ferry to the islands of Brijuni National Park and spend the day exploring its main island

This morning, you'll be transferred to the small coastal town of Fažana, where you'll embark on the short boat ride across the channel to Brijuni National Park. The park protects the Brijuni Islands, a group of 14 islets known for their beauty, wildlife, and archaeological ruins. As the official residence of former Yugoslavian president Tito, the islands were hardly visited for three decades and remain remarkably unspoiled.

The ferry will take you to Veliki Brijun, the park's main island. Hop on the tourist train for a one-hour loop, passing the Roman villa ruins in Verige Bay, a safari park, a Venetian citadel, dinosaur fossils and footprints, and even a small museum. After your return to the port, spend some free time on the island, visiting the beach at Saluga Bay or seeking out one of the oldest olive trees in the Mediterranean (over 1,600 years old and still producing olive oil) before embarking on the ferry to the mainland, where your driver will be waiting to take you back to Rovinj.

Day 3: Transfer to Plitvice Lakes via Groznjan and Motovun

The idyllic medieval town of Motovun, Istria
Taste truffles in the idyllic medieval town of Motovun, Istria

Say farewell to Rovinj as you join your driver for a scenic transfer through Istria, with views of the ancient hilltop towns, olive gardens, vineyards, and numerous picturesque villages. Inland Istria is sometimes called "Little Tuscany" for its hilly scenery, agriculture, and Italian vibes. 

Your first stop is Grožnjan, a small, quaint place known for its artistic colony and incredible views of surrounding terraced olive groves, vineyards, and the sea. Once an important stronghold for the Venetians, the city went into decline with the 18th-century collapse of their empire until a revival in the 1960s. Pop into artisan shops to support the locals and stick around for lunch at one of the cafés overlooking the valley. 

Continue to Motovun, Croatia's most famous medieval hilltop town. The tiny village, surrounded by awe-inspiring views of the Mirna Valley, is full of well-preserved buildings in various architectural styles and 13th-century winding cobblestone streets. Pass through the old town gate while enjoying countryside views, stopping for a coffee at a café, or buying some truffle products, Motovun's specialty. At the end of the day, you'll be dropped off at your accommodations near Plitvice Lakes National Park.

Day 4: Walking Tour of Plitvice Lakes National Park, Transfer to Zadar

Plitvice Lakes National Park
Meander the boardwalks of Plitvice Lakes National Park

Welcome to Croatia's most famous national park: Plitvice Lakes. Considered a "natural masterpiece," this UNESCO World Heritage Site is characterized by emerald green and blue travertine lakes, over 90 cascading waterfalls, as well as extensive beech and pine forests full of local wildlife. Walk along the wooded boardwalks that traverse the park with your guide, who will lead you to the best viewpoints of the falls and give a background of the park's history and natural features.

Next, you'll get back on the road and continue south to the ancient capital of Zadar, the perfect city to arrive in after a day in the storybook wilderness. Walk around and explore the walled Old Town—a treasure trove of ancient city ruins and architecture from Roman and medieval times—and discover the ninth-century Church of St. Donatus, an ancient Venetian city wall, and the Roman Forum dating back to the first century. Climb the 180 steps to the top of the Cathedral Bell Tower for views of the town and sea.

In the evening, head to the Riva, Zadar's sea promenade, to experience the famous Sea Organ. This urban installation/musical instrument is formed by tubing within the stone steps, which uses the waves and the breezes to make haunting music. Take in a legendary sunset, once called "the best in the world" by Alfred Hitchcock from Café Brazil, before discovering the pretty patterned lights of the "Monument to the Sun."

Day 5: Hiking Day in Paklenica National Park

Rugged mountains of Paklenica National Park
Trek through the rugged mountains of Paklenica National Park
Plan your trip to Croatia
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
This morning, you'll get up early to transfer 45 minutes inland to Paklenica National Park, the most accessible hiking area in the southern Velebit mountains. Made up of dramatic karst formations, the park is most known for two limestone gorges, Velika Paklenica (Big Paklenica) and Mala Paklenica (Small Paklenica), which run down toward the sea and offer hiking and rock-climbing galore. Upon arrival, you'll meet your guide, lace up your hiking boots, and trek through black pine and beech forests under the craggy limestone cliffs of Velika Paklenica.
After a full day of hiking, you'll be transferred back to Zadar in time to catch another famous sunset. 

Day 6: Day Trip to Krka National Park & Šibenik

Krka National Park
See the beautiful waterfalls of Krka National Park

An hour south of Zadar takes you to another of Croatia's natural wonders: Krka National Park. Krka is known for it's network of impressive waterfalls, including the iconic Skradinski Buk, a series of 17 falls spread over 2,600 feet (800 m) with a height of 147 feet (45 m). You'll also find the picturesque Krka River, which creates a spectacular limestone canyon within the park. In addition to the natural beauty, explore the Roman ruins at the Burnum Amphitheater and the 13th-century Krka Monastery on the riverbank.

After touring Krka, continue to a nearby family-owned winery for a delicious food and wine pairing. Tour the vineyard and taste exclusive wines from the native skradin grape, along with wine varieties such as debit, an intriguing, saltier white, or the silky-smooth lasina red. Alongside the wine sampling, taste local specialties such as Dalmatinski pršut (cured ham) or dinarski sir (a hard cheese variety).

Continue to the picturesque port of Šibenik at the mouth of the Krka River. The charming town is home to the UNESCO Heritage Site of St. James Cathedral, a stone church built between 1431 and 1535. The grand, towering dome can be seen from miles away. After plenty of time to explore the town and the cathedral, you'll be transferred back to your accommodation for your final night in Zadar. 

Day 7: Transfer to Split, Afternoon Walking Tour 

Take a walking tour through Split's famous Roman complex, Diocletian's Palace

Today, a 1.5-hour transfer takes you down the coast to Split, Croatia's second-largest city. Known for its gorgeous location on the Adriatic Sea, this ancient port city is home to Roman ruins, fantastic seafood, historic streets, and lovely beaches. Settle in, then join your guide this afternoon for a two-hour walking tour of this "flower of the Mediterranean."

Founded 1,700 years ago by Roman emperor Diocletian, Split's most famous site is the vast Diocletian's Palace, one of the best-preserved Roman buildings in the world. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, its pedestrian-only cobblestone streets are full of charming cafés, bars, restaurants, galleries, and boutiques. With the help of your experienced guide, you'll see Split's historic center through the eyes of a local as you learn about its history and visit key spots like the Peristyle (central square), the Cardo (main street), and the cellars.

Once you've explored the palace, continue to the surrounding streets of Old Town, climb the bell tower of St. Domnius Cathedral, and stroll the Riva promenade along the harbor.

Day 8: Explore Klis Fortress & Historic Trogir

Trogir, Croatia
Take in the ocean views from the medieval Klis Fortress

Today, you'll join your guide for a half-day exploration of the ancient coastal city of Trogir. Set on a small island in the Adriatic, just 30 minutes up the coast from Split, this tiny city is reachable from the mainland via several bridges. The island is a UNESCO Heritage Site and a photographer's dream—so don't forget your camera! As you navigate the narrow stone streets, head toward the Garagnin-Fanfogna Palace to see the City Museum, then make your way to the Cathedral of St. Lawrence. Here, admire Radovan's 13th-century Romanesque Portal and the bizarre creatures around the doorposts.

Next, stroll along the seafront Riva, admiring medieval fortress walls as you're serenaded by the traditional Croatian a capella groups, known as klapa, that frequent the boardwalk. Savor the incredible sea views as you head to the 15th-century Kamerlengo Fortress. Ascend its ramparts for the best views of the island. 

Before your return to Split, take a short detour to the impressive Klis Fortress. Perched on a clifftop above a town of the same name, this medieval relic, founded in the second century BCE, is now known as a filming location from "Game of Thrones." Climb over the fortifications, visit the small museum, and take in sweeping views of the valley from the top of St. Vitus' Church at the center of the fortress. 

Day 9: Cetina River Rafting & Canyon Ziplining Adventure

End your day of adventure in Omiš, where you'll zipline across the Cetina Canyon

This morning, head into the countryside around Split for a thrilling whitewater trip down the Cetina River. The rapids are exciting yet gentle, allowing you to enjoy the canyon's scenery, full of waterfalls, caves, and lush greenery. The rafting trip ends at Radmanove Mlinice, an open-air restaurant in a beautiful old watermill, where you'll be served a traditional Croatian meal.

In the afternoon, you'll backtrack to the pirate town of Omiš, the gateway to the Cetina River. Here, you'll meet your zipline instructor for a short orientation before heading to the most famous zipline in Croatia, across the Cetina Canyon. Strap yourself in and descend the canyon by the eight steel cables, which afford you breathtaking views of the canyon and river below. After an invigorating day of outdoor adventure, you'll head back to Split to enjoy your final night in Croatia. 

Day 10: Depart Split

Split and Marjan Hill in the distance
Enjoy one last sunset in Split before leaving Croatia for your next destination

It's time to say farewell to Croatia. Your driver will pick you up at your hotel in Split and transfer you to Split International Airport in plenty of time to catch your departing flight. Safe travels!

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Map of Croatia National Parks Adventure - 10 Days
Map of Croatia National Parks Adventure - 10 Days