- Explore the Old City of Dubrovnik
- Spend a day on Korčula island
- Canoe down the Trebizat Rivver
- Visit St. James Cathedral, a UNESCO site
- Witness the city charm of Zadar and Rijeka
|Day 1||Welcome to Dubrovnik!||Dubrovnik|
|Day 2||Walking Tour of Dubrovnik||Dubrovnik|
|Day 3||Ferry from Dubrovnik to Korčula||Korčula Island|
|Day 4||Korčula to Mostar||Mostar|
|Day 5||Canoe the Trebizat River, Arrive in Split||Split|
|Day 6||Day Trip to Krka National Park & Šibenik||Split|
|Day 7||Explore the Historic Charm of Zadar and Rijeka||Rijeka|
|Day 8||Day of Leisure||Rijeka|
|Day 9||Depart Rijeka|
Day 1: Welcome to Dubrovnik!
Welcome to the "Pearl of the Adriatic." Upon arrival at the airport, you'll transfer to your hotel for check-in. Despite being tired from the journey, you'll likely want to get out and explore. Can't-miss activities include riding the cable car up to Srđ Mountain to take in the sunset over the nearby Elafiti Islands, visiting Lovrijenac and Bokar fortresses, and walking along the smooth, limestone-paved streets of historic Old Town.
A piece of history, Dubrovnik is one of the most ancient fortress cities in Europe. And while there's evidence of settlements as far back as the Byzantine era, this area only came into its own as an important power since the 13th century due in part to its strategic coastal position. Dubrovnik's long and storied history is told in its beautiful Gothic, Renaissance, and baroque churches, monasteries, palaces, and fountains all found within its imposing fortress walls.
After spending some time getting to know the city, duck into one of Dubrovnik's many wine bars to relax. It's a good plan, as there's no better manner in which to celebrate your first day in Croatia than by enjoying a glass of white or red wine as the sun goes down over Dubrovnik's Old Town. For dinner, there are a number of great restaurants you can choose from.
Day 2: Walking Tour of Dubrovnik
Start your day early (around 8 am) to avoid the crowds and to embark on a tour of Dubrovnik where you'll meet your expert guide outside the entrance to the medieval city at the 16th-century Pile Gate. Entering Old Town, you'll uncover centuries of the city's rich history as you listen to stories of local life and legends and of the importance Dubrovnik once held in the era of the Republic. Highlights include Onofrio's Fountain, the 15th-century Rector's Palace, Luza Square, the Church of St. Blaise (St. Vlaho), and the café-lined streets of Brsalje Street.
After touring the streets and alleys, you'll head for Lovrijenac Fortress as well as the city's impressive defensive walls, the second-largest set of city walls in the world. At certain places the wall rises 75 feet high, offering excellent vantage points for photos of the coastline.
For the rest of the afternoon, explore Dubrovnik and its surroundings on your own or enjoy the afternoon sun on the nearby beaches. Come early evening, you can get stunning panoramic views over the city and Adriatic by taking the cable car up to Srđ Mountain before descending back down for dinner at one of Dubrovnik's great restaurants.
Day 3: Ferry from Dubrovnik to Korčula
Hop over to Korčula island this morning, where you can spend the day discovering this little island's numerous restaurants, taverns, shops, and bars as you roam the maze of gray stone houses, alleys, churches, and squares.
Enjoy a traditional lunch of lamb and goat in Korčula's Old Town, one of the finest examples of Venetian architecture on the Dalmatian coast. Next, visit the 14th-century Land Gate on top of an elegant staircase, before heading to the Cathedral of St. Mark to admire its strange sculptures of beasts and people. Art enthusiasts will appreciate a visit to the Bishop's Treasury next door for a small but impressive art collection, including works from Carpaccio, Bassano, and Tiepolo. From there, you may wish to visit the simple house thought to be the birthplace of Marco Polo.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 4: Korčula to Mostar
Today, you will enjoy getting to know Korcula by sea kayak! This four-hour kayaking journey will take you to pebble beaches and secluded, protected coves. A professional guide will lead you from Korčula around islets with stops for swimming, snorkeling, and a few historical tales. You will enjoy an incredible backdrop of Sveti Ilija Mountain.
You will then go on to Mostar, where you can embark on a tour of Herzegovina's cultural capital. The most well-known site is Stari Most, also called the Mostar Bridge, which was commissioned by Suleiman the Magnificent in 1557 and finished in 1566. The Old Bridge stood for 427 years before its destruction but was rebuilt in 2004 to connect the city across the Neretva River.
Day 5: Canoe the Trebizat River, Arrive in Split
Today is reserved for a different kind of active adventure: paddling the Trebižat River, an offshoot of the larger Neretva, on a fun canoe trip. You'll transfer to the starting point along the Trebižat, where you'll paddle and swim your way down the river, all the while enjoying the natural setting until it's time for lunch.
After lunch, you will travel back to Croatia and visit the city of Split. Start at Pjaca Square for pretty views of white marble tiles, the Iron Gate (the western entrance to Diocletian's Palace), a Romanesque clock tower with the remains of a medieval sundial, and the 15th-century Town Hall. Stop for lunch at Trattoria Bajamont, just north of the Iron Gate. From there, visit the popular Voćni trg or Fruit Square. Here you can enjoy renaissance architecture, influenced during Split's Venetian era. For a bit of shopping and a bite to eat, head to Marmont Street.
In the evening, take a stroll along Split's seafront Riva to admire the waterfront views before finding the off-beat Konoba Dioklecijan restaurant, just to the left of the Bronze Gate, its outdoor terrace built into the walls of Diocletian's Palace.
Day 6: Day Trip to Krka National Park & Šibenik
Krka National Park is just over an hour's drive away from Split and is a nice place to visit in the morning before the crowds arrive (it's one of Croatia's most popular national parks, established in 1985). You can explore Krka on your own by foot or by rental bike, choosing from a number of trails (the shortest being a mile-long or 2 km boardwalk through waterfalls and small lakes).
Try to visit a couple of sections of the park, including Skradinski Buk, the largest waterfall in the park. After Skradinski Buk, head to Roški Slap, where you can take a short walk across the river to a small set of rapids said to resemble a pearl neckless from above. At Roški Slap, there's a restaurant that serves locally produced prosciutto, cheese, and seasonal salads. Besides its waterfalls, the park is also well-known for its multiple endemic species of birds, fish, and amphibians.
After spending the morning in Krka, head to the coastal town of Šibenik for the afternoon. A true Croatian town founded by the Croat king Petar Krešimir IV in the 11th century, Šibenik's is home to impressive fortresses, music festivals, and medieval gardens. Start with a visit to the famous St. James Cathedral, a UNESCO protected site, before selecting a restaurant for your dinner—perhaps Pelegrini, a restaurant and wine bar just above the cathedral. Return to Split in the evening.
Day 7: Explore the Historic Charm of Zadar and Rijeka
Today, you'll spend time exploring the Adriatic coast as you make your way from Split up to Rijeka, stopping in the city of Zadar.
A historical center of the Dalmatian Coast, Zadar is famous for its picturesque coastline full of islands and vibrant blue waters, as well as fresh seafood and sunsets. You can stroll along Zadar's Riva, a wide ribbon of stone paths bordered by a grassy park on one side and the sea on the other. It runs along Old Town’s waterfront, where it comes alive at night with vendors and Dalmatian a cappella groups called Klapa that serenade the passersby, including folks on yachts who dock there.
In the afternoon, you will continue towards Rijeka, a harbor city in the Kvarner Bay. You will begin your city tour with a stroll along Korzo Street lined with cafes, and you will reach the Clock Tower, the Rijeka city symbol located at the entrance to the Old Town. Visit the Rijeka Cathedral of St. Vitus, then pop into the nearby Celtic Café Bard where you can get some refreshments.
Day 8: Day of Leisure
Today is your day to explore. The transfer will be at your disposal to take you wherever you wish to go.
While you can spend the day however you please, an afternoon visit to Opatija is recommended. A popular tourist destination since the 19th century, Opatija is known for its Mediterranean climate and historic Habsburg-era buildings, remnants of its touristic past. Stroll along the famous Lungomare, a promenade that follows the Adriatic coastline before finding a restaurant for a bite to eat and a drink with a view that overlooks the Kvarner Gulf.
Day 9: Depart Rijeka
Spend the morning doing some shopping or simply having a cup of coffee in a cafe on the pier, if your departure flight time allows. Make your way to the airport for your trip home. Safe travels!
More Croatia Itineraries
Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Croatia? Check out these other Croatia itineraries, with outdoor adventures, cultural trips, and best-of tours to hit the highlights.
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