This fast-paced, 10-day highlights itinerary gives you a taste of four Balkan countries—hopping between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina with fun day trips into Slovenia and Montenegro along the way. You'll check off the Croatian capital of Zagreb, see the fairy-tale setting of Lake Bled, follow the Dalmatian Coast to Zadar, Split, and Dubrovnik, discover where East meets West in Mostar, and wind your way among the Venetian-influenced palaces and plazas of Kotor.


  • Learn more with private guides in Zagreb, Split, Mostar, and Dubrovnik
  • Visit Ljubljana and Lake Bled on a day trip from Zagreb
  • Witness the incredible natural beauty of Plitvice Lakes National Park
  • Join a local family for a special Croatian dinner in the countryside
  • Take a day trip to Montenegro and explore Perast and Kotor

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Zagreb (Croatia), City Walking Tour Zagreb
Day 2 Day Trip to Slovenia: Visit Ljubljana & Bled Zagreb
Day 3 Transfer to Zadar via Plitvice Lakes National Park Zadar
Day 4 Transfer to Split via Šibenik & Trogir Split
Day 5 Explore Split Like a Local, Afternoon Food Tour Split
Day 6 Transfer to Mostar (Bosnia & Herzegovina) via Počitelj, Mostar Walking Tour Mostar
Day 7 Transfer to Dubrovnik (Croatia) via Blagaj & Buna Spring Dubrovnik
Day 8 Dubrovnik Walking Tour, Konavle Region Culinary Experience Dubrovnik
Day 9 Day Trip to Montenegro: Visit Perast & Kotor Dubrovnik
Day 10 Depart Dubrovnik  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Zagreb (Croatia), City Walking Tour

See landmarks like St. Mark's Church on a tour of Zagreb's Upper and Lower Towns

Welcome to Zagreb! Nestled between the slopes of Medvednica mountain and the lush plains along the Sava River, Croatia's capital is where old and new collide. Its Gornji Grad (Upper Town) is filled with cobblestone streets and medieval architecture, including the iconic St. Mark's Church and Lotrščak Tower. This contrasts with the dynamic energy of the contemporary Donji Grad (Lower Town), making Zagreb a timeless European destination. On arrival at the airport, meet a private driver for a transfer to your hotel.

Chock-full of museums, great architecture, trendy neighborhoods, and nightlife, this afternoon, you'll be immersed in Zagreb's delights on a private guided walking tour of the city's top sights. Start at Ban Jelačić, the main square, and wind through the oldest part of Zagreb. Visit Dolac, a buzzing historical market, the Cathedral, Tkalčićeva Street, the Kamenita Vrata (Stone Gate), and St. Mark's Church with its famed multicolored roof. Visit Donji Grad (Lower Town), with its spacious parks and boulevards and the neo-Baroque Croatian National Theater.

Day 2: Day Trip to Slovenia: Visit Ljubljana & Bled

Lake Bled's famous island looks like something out of a fairy tale

Today, you'll embark on an eventful day trip into Slovenia. After breakfast, meet your driver for a two-hour journey to Ljubljana, Slovenia's capital. Start your guided tour in the Old Town, where you'll find the Ljubljana Cathedral, Town Square, and the Triple Bridge. Pass the central market and walk along the river to Ljubljana Castle. Keep an eye out for dragons—you'll see these symbols of the city all over town. Then, enjoy free time and have lunch at a local restaurant. After, you'll continue 45 minutes to Lake Bled, a picture-postcard lake that's a sight to behold in any season.

With your local guide, you'll walk around the lake and learn about the significance of Bled Castle, the oldest in Slovenia. View important monuments, stop at scenic viewpoints, and take a swim in the lake's clear turquoise waters (if it's warm enough). End the day with a slice of a sweet vanilla and custard cream cake called kremna rezina, a specialty from the area. Breathe in fresh Alpine air and enjoy your treat as you take in your surroundings before returning to Zagreb. Lake Bled is one of the most picturesque and calming places in Europe and is well worth the day trip!

Day 3: Transfer to Zadar via Plitvice Lakes National Park

Boardwalk leading to waterfalls in Plitvice Lakes National Park
Plitvice Lakes National Park is a masterpiece of natural beauty

Plitvice Lakes National Park is Croatia's most beloved natural wonder, gorgeous at any time of year. This UNESCO-protected park is a must-visit for any traveler to Croatia, with its 16 glassy emerald green and blue travertine lakes, more than 90 cascading waterfalls, and numerous caves. The terraced lakes are surrounded by beech and pine forests and are home to extensive wildlife. This morning, a private driver will collect you for the four-hour transfer to Zadar, stopping at Plitvice en route. 

When you arrive in Plitvice Lakes National Park, a local guide will be waiting to share the best sights and explain the significance of its history and natural features. Together, you'll walk throughout the park, along wooded boardwalks, and past the spectacular lakes and falls. Afterward, continue to Zadar, one of the most vibrant towns on the Adriatic Sea. Steeped in history but with a dynamic cultural life, walk around the walled Old Town to discover ancient city ruins and architecture from Roman and medieval times, such as the first-century Roman Forum.

Spend some time at the sea promenade and visit Zadar's Sea Organ just before sunset. Tubing within the stone steps transforms the movement of the waves and the sea breezes into a series of haunting chords. From here, you'll enjoy a spectacular sunset and uninterrupted views over the sea.

Day 4: Transfer to Split via Šibenik & Trogir

St. James Cathedral in Sibenik
Wander through the Old Town of Šibenik and see St. James' Cathedral

This morning, continue south along the Dalmatian Coast to Split. Halfway along the 2.5-hour transfer, you'll pause in Šibenik, a traditional Croatian town founded by the Croat king Petar Krešimir IV in the 11th century. Šibenik is home to impressive fortresses, music festivals, and medieval gardens, which you'll explore with a private guide. Start with a visit to the famous UNESCO-protected St. James' Cathedral, and learn about the history and culture of Šibenik before continuing to Trogir, a beautiful island fortress town with more than 2,000 years of history.

Listen for the harmonies of Trogir's famous Dalmatian a cappella singers as you explore the UNESCO site with your free time. For Instagram-worthy photos, head to Kamerlengo Castle, a fortress built by the Venetians in the 15th century, and take in the incredible panoramic views of Trogir from atop its battlements. Continue to Split, an ancient coastal city founded 1,700 years ago by the Roman emperor Diocletian. His former Roman palace complex, Diocletian's Palace, forms the medieval streets that wind through Split's pedestrian-only center.

Today, Split's vivid and unique Old Town is loaded with galleries, boutiques, cafés, and bars to discover. Check into your hotel, then venture out when evening falls and the UNESCO-listed site comes alive. Watch as the setting sun casts a glow on the palace walls and a maze of narrow cobbled streets. 

Day 5: Explore Split Like a Local, Afternoon Food Tour

Looking across the Old Town of Split, all the way to Marjan Hill
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Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

This morning, you'll explore more of the ancient coastal city of Split with a private guide. Over two hours, you'll wander through Split's Old Town, which revolves around the well-preserved Diocletian's Palace. You'll see life in Split through the eyes of a local and step back in time with curious stories about the history of how the city came to be.

After, delve deeper into the sights, sounds, and flavors of Split on a two-hour food tour. Meet your guide in front of the Split Green Market, and set off for a short walk through Diocletian's Palace to a great restaurant known for its handmade macaruni pasta, which you'll pair with glasses of local wine from southern Croatia. Try delicious Croatian prosciutto and cheeses, then taste homemade soparnik pie, a local specialty. Taste flavorful local olive oils, then visit another charming restaurant for seafood specialties with a glass of wine.

Day 6: Transfer to Mostar (Bosnia & Herzegovina) via Počitelj, Mostar Walking Tour

Mostar's famous Ottoman-era bridge serves as a symbol of unity after the Bosnian War of the 1990s

Today's two-hour transfer to Mostar takes you across the border into Bosnia and Herzegovina. Along the way, your private driver will make a special stop at Počitelj. Take a walk through the cobbled streets of this medieval Bosnian town and explore on your own. Located on the banks of the Neretva River, a stop at its historic forts will afford you amazing views across the Neretva Valley. Appreciate the Ottoman architecture and Počitelj's many historical buildings and structures that date back to the 15th century.

After, continue to Mostar, known for its old Turkish houses and its iconic bridge, Stari Most. A fascinating site where culture and religion collide, the city is often described as a place where "East meets West." Spanning a deep valley of the Neretva River, Mostar developed in the 15th and 16th centuries as an Ottoman frontier town. You'll meet a local guide who will share its rich history as you explore the highlights. Visit the UNESCO-listed Stari Most and wander between the Franciscan Monastery, Kajtaz House, and the shops and restaurants along Kujundžiluk Street. You'll also stop for a taste of true Bosnian coffee.

Day 7: Transfer to Dubrovnik (Croatia) via Blagaj & Buna Spring

Discover Blagaj and Buna Spring
Discover an enchanting natural spring overlooked by a 16th-century monastery in Blagaj

This morning, a private driver will collect you for the 2.5-hour transfer to Dubrovnik, one of Croatia's most famous coastal cities. En route, you'll stop at Blagaj, a small and historic village home to the Vrelo Bune. At this Bosnian spring, and in front of towering cliffs, stands the beautiful 16th-century tekija, a Dervish monastery from the Ottoman period. Take a few photos and enjoy the pristine nature that surrounds you.

Continue to Dubrovnik, the "Pearl of the Adriatic." This Croatian coastal destination is one of Europe's most ancient fortress cities. Robust city walls enclose its UNESCO-listed Old Town, and within, you'll find well-preserved Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque structures, including the City Walls and Sponza Palace. Check into your hotel, then set out to explore the Old Town at your leisure. End your first day in Dubrovnik at one of the city's many wine bars with a glass of white or red as the sun goes down.

Day 8: Dubrovnik Walking Tour, Konavle Region Culinary Experience

Explore Dubrovnik and its terracotta Old Town with a guide

This morning, you'll explore your surroundings on a private guided walking tour of the old city. Entering the medieval Old Town through the 16th-century Pile Gate to 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. This 90-minute walk includes highlights such as 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.

In the afternoon, you might like to hike up or ride the cable car to Mount Srđ to take in the sunset and stunning panoramic views over the city and Adriatic. In the evening, you'll be whisked out to a family farmhouse in the countryside. Meet your hosts and learn about regional gastronomy and Croatian culture and history. You'll help pick fresh vegetables and prepare a four-course Croatian dinner. When it comes time to sit down and taste your efforts, you'll get to pair each dish with homemade wines. Živeli!

Day 9: Day Trip to Montenegro: Visit Perast & Kotor

The Church of Our Lady of Remedy in the Fortress of Kotor, overlooking the Bay of Kotor

Check off another country on your travel bucket list today when you cross the border into Montenegro. This tiny Balkan nation borders both Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina to the south and is known for the beautiful beaches and medieval villages along its Adriatic coastline. A private driver and guide will collect you for today's day trip, which sets off early to make the most of your day.

After reaching Montenegro, enjoy a scenic drive around the Bay of Kotor before stopping at the charming village of Perast, which feels like a little piece of Venice on the Adriatic. Learn about history through the stories and legends and don't miss taking a boat ride to a small island called Our Lady of the Rocks, the only human-made island on the Adriatic. From Perast, you'll continue to the medieval coastal village of Kotor. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is built on a sloping mountain and abounds with Venetian palaces and Romanesque churches. After plenty of time to explore, return to Dubrovnik.

Day 10: Depart Dubrovnik

Wave goodbye to Dubrovnik and make your way to the airport

Make the most of your final hours on the Adriatic this morning with a scenic stroll, some souvenir shopping, or a little beach time. When the time comes, a driver will collect you for the 45-minute private transfer to Dubrovnik Airport. Safe travels!

More Great Croatia Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Croatia? Check out these other Croatia itineraries, explore different ways to spend 10 days in the Balkans, or discover the best time to visit Croatia.


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Map of Whirlwind Balkan Highlights Tour - 10 Days
Map of Whirlwind Balkan Highlights Tour - 10 Days