Experience the natural beauty of Croatia with this weeklong adventure through four of its most dramatic national parks. Explore Brijuni National Park near the Venetian town of Rovinj and immerse yourself in the medieval hill towns of Istria; then, it's off to the winding boardwalks and turquoise pools of Plitvice Lakes. Transfer to the seaside town of Zadar next, where you'll take day trips to hike through the craggy peaks at Paklenica National Park, and chase waterfalls and taste local wines around Krka.


  • Take a ferry to the islands of Brijuni National Park for ruins, wildlife, and beaches
  • Sample local truffles in the medieval hilltop town of Motovun
  • Meander the boardwalk that traverses the incredible Plitvice Lakes Park
  • Embark on a rugged guided hike through the limestone gorges of Paklenica
  • Taste excellent Croatian wine near the waterfalls of Krka National Park

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 Explore Medieval Istria: Motovun & Grožnjan, Transfer to Plitvice Lakes  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 Depart Zadar  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Zagreb, Transfer to Rovinj

Explore the jewel of Istria, the charming fishing village of Rovinj

Welcome to Croatia! After you arrive at the Zagreb International Airport, meet your driver for a transfer three hours west to the coastal Adriatic town of Rovinj. After you settle in, you'll have the rest of the day free to get the lay of the land. This fishing port and the jewel of Croatia's Istria region was once a part of the Republic of Venice. The Italian influence is undeniable in the cobblestone streets, colorful shutters, and the looming Baroque tower of St. Euphemia's Church.

Fill your time in beautiful Rovinj by wandering the historic heart of Old Town and discovering remnants of the former town walls at Balbi's Arch. Take in harbor views and sample Rovinj's specialty, brodet (fish casserole), in Tito Square. Walk the colorful artist's haven of Grisia Street, where you'll find all sorts of local art on display (and some for sale). Hop a boat to the nearby island of Santa Katarina for some excellent beaches, or catch the spectacular sunset from Rovinj Pier.

Day 2: Day Trip to Brijuni National Park

Day Trip to Brijuni National Park
Take a day trip to Brijuni National Park for the gorgeous coastline and intriguing ruins

It's time for your first national park in Croatia! 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 for three decades, the islands were off-limits and remain well-preserved.

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 tiny 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: Explore Medieval Istria: Motovun & Grožnjan, Transfer to Plitvice Lakes 

The idyllic medieval town of Motovun, Istria
Stop to explore the idyllic medieval hilltop town of Motovun on your way to Plitvice

Grab your bags and say farewell to Rovinj as your driver takes you on a road trip north through scenic Istria, with views of the ancient hilltop towns, olive gardens, vineyards, and numerous picturesque villages. Stop after an hour to explore 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, such as Romanesque, Gothic, and Renaissance. Walk through the streets, sampling truffles sourced from the nearby forests and purchasing local handicrafts or delicacies from the many small shops. 

Your next stop is nearby Grožnjan, another medieval hilltop town, this one surrounded by terraced olive groves and vineyards. Once an important stronghold for the Venetians, the city declined with the 18th-century collapse of their empire until a revival in the 1960s. Today, Grožnjan is known as an artist's enclave, with numerous studios and galleries scattered through the maze of narrow cobblestone lanes.

Then, it's time to get back on the road, with a 3.5-hour driver taking you to your accommodations for the night near Plitvice Lakes National Park. Rest up after the long journey, and get some rest for tomorrow's active trip into the park.

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

Plitvice Lakes National Park
Take the boardwalk through Plitvice Lakes National Park to find incredible waterfalls

Welcome to Croatia's most famous national park: Plitvice Lakes. Considered a "natural masterpiece," this UNESCO Heritage Site is characterized by emerald green and blue travertine lakes, over 90 cascading waterfalls, numerous caves, as well as extensive beech and pine forests full of local wildlife. Today, you'll 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. 

After your trek through Plitvice, you'll be transferred 1.5 hours southwest to Zadar, one of the Adriatic's most vibrant and fascinating towns. 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 of St. Anastasia's bell tower for views of the town and sea.

In the evening, head to the Riva, Zadar's sea promenade, to watch the sunset from 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. Once called "the most beautiful sunset in the world" by Alfred Hitchcock, a dusk in Zadar is not to be missed. 

Day 5: Hiking Day in Paklenica National Park

Rugged mountains of Paklenica National Park
Hike through the rugged mountains of Paklenica National Park
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. 
Plan your trip to Croatia
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
After a day enjoying the mountain air and sweeping vistas of Paklenica, you'll be transferred back to Zadar in time to catch another sunset. 

Day 6: Day Trip to Krka National Park & Šibenik

Krka National Park (photo by Fabian Kuhne)
Marvel at the 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: Depart Zadar

Enjoy one final sunset in the seaside town of Zadar
It's time to say farewell to Croatia. Check out of your hotel and meet your driver for your quick transfer to the Zadar Airport. Safe travels wherever the road takes you next! 

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Map of National Parks of Croatia: Brijuni, Plitvice Lakes, Paklenica & Krka - 7 Days
Map of National Parks of Croatia: Brijuni, Plitvice Lakes, Paklenica & Krka - 7 Days