Outdoor adventures abound on this active 8-day journey through some of Croatia's most breathtaking landscapes. Hike to the waterfalls of Plitvice Lakes and Krka, raft down the Zrmanja and Cetina Rivers, and trek to the famous limestone cliffs of Paklenica. In between adrenaline-filled excursions, spend your downtime soaking up culture and history in the ancient Dalmatian ports of Split, Skradin, and Trogir.

Highlights

  • Immerse yourself in the ancient Roman port of Split
  • Explore the waterfalls, rivers & lakes of Plitvice Lakes & Krka
  • Hike the limestone cliffs of Paklenica National Park
  • Raft down the stunning Zrmanja & Cetina Rivers
  • Discover the UNESCO-listed island city of Trogir

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Welcome to Croatia - Split Split
Day 2 Raft & Zipline on the Cetina River Split
Day 3 Krka National Park  Split
Day 4 Paklenica National Park - Skradin Skradin
Day 5 Plitvice Lakes National Park  Skradin
Day 6 Watersports on the Zrmanja River Skradin
Day 7 Trogir Trogir
Day 8 Depart Split   

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to Croatia - Split

Welcome to the Adriatic port of Split
Welcome to the Adriatic port of Split

Welcome to Croatia! Upon arrival at the airport, you'll transfer to your accommodation in the ancient coastal city of Split. Founded 1,700 years ago by Roman Emperor Diocletian, Split's Old Town includes many impressive sites, including Peristyle, the Piazza, and Diocletian's Palace, one of the best-preserved Roman buildings in the world. The palace has changed its appearance over the centuries as a medieval city grew up around it, but it's still one of the best-preserved examples of Roman architecture in Croatia. There's nothing quite like strolling the narrow stone streets inside the palace fortifications and ducking into little cafés/bakeries/bars for a cinnamon roll, ice cream cone, or a glass of wine. You can enjoy the city on your own or stroll the streets on a guided tour.

For stunning views over the city and Adriatic be sure to climb the Romanesque bell tower of the Cathedral of St. Dominus (St. Duje)—considered the oldest Catholic cathedral still in use. Another option for great views is to hike or bike to the top of Marjan Hill. The "lungs of the city," the entire Marjan peninsula is dotted with tiny centuries-old churches, large cypress and black pine trees, and Mediterranean plants and herbs. In addition to the stunning vistas, you'll be rewarded with attractions less visited: the Jewish cemetery and 13th and 15th-century churches, St. Nicholas and St. Jerome, respectively.  

Day 2: Raft & Zipline on the Cetina River

The Cetina River with Omiš and the Adriatic in the distance
The Cetina River with Omiš and the Adriatic in the distance

Get an early start this morning to drive south to Zadvarje for a day of rafting the Cetina River, ending with the option to zipline in Omiš

You'll begin with rafting in a protected area of the river canyon popular with tourists every summer. The quiet parts of the river, as well as the second and third-grade rapids, create the perfect combination of relaxation and high-adrenaline adventure over the course of three hours. Celebrate the fun with a break for lunch, before taking the early afternoon to experience a true adrenaline rush as you zip your way across the magnificent Cetina River Canyon suspended by a harness and wire. There are eight wires in total running a length of 6,890 feet (2,100 m), the highest wire reaching 492 feet (150 m) above the river canyon. Enjoy incredible bird’s eye views of the surrounding scenery on this three-hour excursion.

After the tour is complete, you'll transfer back to Split.

Day 3: Krka National Park

Hike to scenic waterfalls in Krka National Park
Hike to scenic waterfalls in Krka National Park

Take a day trip to Krka National Park today, home to a network of striking waterfalls, including the largest and showiest known as Skradinski Buk. The Krka River, another highlight of the park, carves through the limestone and creates a spectacular canyon on its 44-mile (70 km) journey from the foothills of the Dinaric Alps to Šibenik.

You'll traverse emerald pools and river islands to reach prime lookout spots to view the falls. Skradinski Buk is the final of the seven waterfalls, and Mother Nature saved the best for last. Cascading 149 feet (45 m) down into an emerald lagoon wider than the falls are tall, you'll find restaurants, snack stands, and ice cream shops at the base of this postcard locale to satisfy any food-related cravings, perfect for lunch.  

After exploring Skradinski Buk, drive to the Roški Slap area of the park for a change of scene. This spot is less busy and offers an opportunity for nice walks or hikes, as well as visiting a small cave from prehistoric times. You can also take a five-minute boat ride to the beautiful Islet Visovac, where a local guide will take you on a quick tour of the island and its Franciscan monastery.

Day 4: Paklenica National Park - Skradin

Hike the dramatic limestone canyons of Paklenica National Park

Today takes you north 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 and Mala Paklenica (literally meaning Big Paklenica and Small Paklenica) which run down toward the sea and offer plenty of hiking and rock-climbing options for the active traveler.  

Embark on a guided hike through Velika Paklenica, following a  well-maintained route for a mid-morning hike through black-pine and beech forests under craggy limestone cliffs that tower 1,312 feet (400 m) overhead. The 8-mile (14 km) loop takes you past one of the most famous rock-climbing locations in Europe, you'll follow the creek upstream to reach a secret destination for a delicious traditional lunch. 

After the hike, continue to the beautiful Dalmatian village of Skradin. This charming small town with a long history is situated on the river banks of the Krka River and next to a charming small marina and serves as your base for the next three nights. Feel free to walk around on your own before dinner or take a short walk to the small fortress above the town.

Day 5: Plitvice Lakes National Park 

Boardwalks wind their way through Plitvice Lakes National Park
Boardwalks wind their way through Plitvice Lakes National Park

Today, you'll make your way to Plitvice Lakes National Park, one of Croatia's most popular national parks. A must-visit for any traveler to Croatia, the UNESCO-protected park is comprised of an exquisite collection of 16 glassy emerald green and blue travertine lakes, more than 90 cascading waterfalls that seemingly cover every corner of the park, and numerous caves. The terraced lakes are surrounded by beech and pine forests and are home to extensive wildlife. 

Choose one of eight different hiking trails, ranging from three to eight hours in duration, where the upper lakes tend to be less crowded during the peak season. You may wish to bring a bought lunch with you to enjoy a picnic, before returning to Skradin in the afternoon.

Day 6: Watersports on the Zrmanja River

Kayak through canyons and rivers on the Zrmanja River
Kayak through canyons and rapids on the Zrmanja River

Experience an adrenaline-fueled excursion down the Zrmanja River amid Velebit's craggy karst landscape. Depending upon the day's water level, you will either whitewater kayak or raft the Zrmanja, enjoying the dramatic scenery of rapids, waterfalls, and crystalline waters.

The river is suitable for beginners, with no large rapids and only a few small drops. Visoki Buk is the largest and most picturesque of the falls and serves as a great place to stop for pictures and a short walk to explore. 

In the afternoon you'll return to your accommodation in Skradin.

Day 7: Trogir

The island city of Trogir
The island city of Trogir

This morning, head south to Trogir. At more than 2,000 years old, Trogir is one of Croatia's Unesco World Heritage Sites and a great example of a beautiful island fortress town. It's a small place, and it doesn't take longer than about five minutes to walk from any point in Trogir's historic center to reach the sea. 

Your afternoon is free to explore. Stroll the narrow cobbled streets, enjoy the romanesque architecture and medieval stone walls, and don't be surprised if you hear the harmonies of Trogir's famous Dalmatian Accapella singers carrying through the air. For Instagram-worthy photos, head to Kamerlengo Castle, a fortress built by the Venetians in the 15th century. From atop its battlements, you'll have incredible panoramic views of Trogir and the surrounding area.

Day 8: Depart Split 

Split's waterfront at sunset
Split's waterfront at sunset

Bid Croatia farewell today as you transfer to the airport to catch your flight home. Safe travels!

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