Do you want visit Croatia? Do you have a 2 week itinerary in Croatia? Do you want to know where to sleep in Croatia in this or that city? How to move from one city to another and know the real driving times? In this article I tell you everything you need to know to discover this magnificent destination that is Croatia!
Here is the plan of this article to save time (use the menu on the right to access the desired section):
- A part of Croatian history for your good
- Visit croatia - Itinerary of 2 weeks or 10 days in Croatia
- Croatia Tour - Depart from Zagreb
- Visit Plitvice Lakes and where to stay
- Visit Zadar and the Kornati Islands and where to stay
- Visit Šibenik and Split and where to stay
- Visit the island of Hvar and where to stay.
- Visit the island of Mljet and where to stay
- Visit Dubrovnik and where to stay (my full article here "what to see in Dubrovnik")
- Alquiler de yates and Dubrovnik
1) A bit of Croatian history
It is difficult to summarize the turbulent history of Croatia… But we will try anyway. Since ancient times it has been at the crossroads of different cultures and has been occupied and / or coveted by different empires. It was during the Roman and later Byzantine occupation that a form of unity appeared.
The independent Croatian kingdom emerged in the early Middle Ages, but was associated since the XNUMXth century with the Hungarian crown and then with Austria-Hungary. Influences vary from province to province: Dalmatia was long under Venetian occupation, while Slavonia belonged to Hungary.
Let's take a look at the recent history of Croatia: united with its Slavic neighbors, it forms with them the Kingdom of the Croats and Slovenes, which becomes the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1929.
Germany occupied it during World War II and formed the independent state of Croatia in 1941, which was later liberated by the Communists. From 1945 to 1990, Croatia was a state of the Republic of Yugoslavia. After the 1990 elections, Croatia declared its independence, but the Serbs did not recognize it and war broke out.
Internationally recognized in 1992, Croatia was rocked by war until 1998, a little over 20 years ago… Since the 2000s, the country became more democratic and opened up strongly. Tourism is developing there at great speed.
- Currency in Croatia
Although it has been a member of the European Union since 2013, Croatia is not in the euro zone: the local currency is the kuna.
- 1 kuna croat = 0,13 €
- 1 euro = 7,43 kn (conversion January 2019)
As in almost everywhere, avoid changing your money in France, when you arrive at the airport or even at the exchange offices: it is not very advantageous. Go to a bankomat (ATM) and make a few large withdrawals rather than many small ones to minimize bank charges.
Tip before you go: some banks like Advanzia Bank or Hello Bank offer credit cards that allow you to pay free of charge abroad. Also consider the innovative Revolut and N26 banking services that make travelers' lives easier by allowing them to pay in all currencies with a single credit card.
2) Visit Croatia - 2 weeks or 10 days itinerary
Here we are, what to see in Croatia? What itinerary to do to discover Croatia in 2 weeks?
Preparing your Croatia itinerary is a series of dilemmas. The entire coastline is magnificent, and even the interior has some surprises for you.
So here is the15-day itinerary in Croatia that I advise you to do. It was not easy to make the decisions for this stay in Croatia, there is so much to see! If you only have 10 days, keep only one of the two islands I recommend (Hvar and Mljet) and eliminate Sibenik.
I was in Croatia for two weeks. The route I suggest is the one I followed, with some post-hoc enhancements based on my meetings and discussions on the site.
- Day 1: Arrival in Zagreb, visit and overnight.
- Day 2: Visit Zagreb, departure to Plitvice and accommodation in Plitvice.
- Day 3: Plitvice Lakes National Park, overnight in Plitvice
- Day 4: Departure to Zadar, visit and night in the place.
- Day 5: Excursion to the Kornati Islands from Zadar, accommodation in Zadar.
- Day 6: Departure for Split, stopover in Šibenik to spend the day there, night in Split
- Day 7: Visit and accommodation in Split.
- Day 8: Departure for the island of Hvar, visit and accommodation in Hvar.
- Day 9: Visit and accommodation in Hvar.
- Day 10: Visit and accommodation in Hvar.
- Day 11: Departure to the island of Mljet, visit and night in Mljet
- Day 12: Visit and accommodation in Mljet.
- Day 13: Departure for Dubrovnik, visit and accommodation in Dubrovnik.
- Day 14: Visit Dubrovnik and then return to Zagreb
In the following sections, I go into the details of what to do. I'll also tell you where to stay in a particular city (Zagreb, Plitvice, Zadar, Split, Hvar island, Mljet island, Dubrovnik), where to eat and go out ...
3) Circuit of Croatia - Depart from Zagreb
Therefore, I suggest you land in Zagreb, the capital of Croatia. During my stay, for my part, I landed in Split and did not go to the capital ...
According to all the travelers I've met, I missed something! The atmosphere of the capital is very different from that of the coast, and the prices are lower: an interesting point, because as you will see, Croatia is not as “cheap” as you imagine. ...
From Zagreb airport it is easy to get to the center, even by public transport. Take buses 290 and then 268 and wait about 1 hour. By car, it will take about 25 minutes.
- Where to stay in Zagreb
The Croatian capital can be divided into three parts: Gornji Grad (the upper city), Donji Grad (the lower city) and the rest of the city, which is more residential and of little tourist interest.
I advise you to sleep in Donji Grad: it is livelier and more modern than the upper city… And then, you will not need to lift your luggage!
If you prefer quiet environments, prefer the upper city. In any case, absolutely avoid the new city (Novi Zagreb), really boring. In the map below, we can see that the accommodation is still concentrated where there is action ...
Some great housing ideas:
- Virtus apartments and rooms
- Apartment Ferk
- Apartment La Linea
- What to visit in Zagreb, what to see in Zagreb?
Like all cities in Croatia, Zagreb is on a human scale - you can easily explore it on foot. If you are driving, park outside the city, as traffic is difficult with all trams.
Many tourist attractions are concentrated in the upper town: the iconic Place Saint-Mark and its church with its recognizable roof, the open-air market at Place Dolac (especially popular on Saturdays), the Saint-Stéphane Cathedral, the Sainte-Marie church , the museum of broken hearts ... (Yes, you read that right!)
When you need a little break, have a coffee in one of the many shops on Tkalčićeva Street or Place des Fleurs (Cvjetni Trg). And don't miss the beautiful sunset over the Strossmayer promenade (Strossmayerovo šetalište), the little Montmartre in Zagreb.
You will see that Gornji Grad is a labyrinth of small alleys and stairs ... The opposite of Donji Grad, where Viennese architecture predominates. In fact, this part of the city was destroyed by an earthquake in 1880, when Zagreb belonged to the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The upper and lower parts are connected by a small funicular.
In Donji Grad, don't miss the Croatian National Theater, Zrinjevac Park and the main Jelacic square from where the main street Ilica begins.
- Where can we have a drink, eat something in a nice place?
Zagreb is a good place to go out: in the old town, bars and restaurants are concentrated on Tkaliciceva Street and around the Flower Square.
In the lower city, you can exit through Ilica, or through Opatinova and Radiceva streets.
4) Visit the Plitvice lakes
From Zagreb, allow about 2 hours to drive to Plitvice.
The Plitvice Lakes National Park is one of the greatest wonders of Croatia. Created in April 1949, it has been a UNESCO world heritage site since 1979.
- What to see in Plitvice?
It is a huge natural area, formed by 16 large turquoise lakes, surrounded by forest. These lakes are connected to each other by 92 waterfalls and small rivers.
Very protected (human intervention is not allowed) despite the million visitors it receives each year, the park is home to a very rich flora and fauna: many fish, lynxes, deer, bears, wolves ...
Obviously, they will not be the only ones who want to visit a site of this type. Starting at 9 am, groups of tourists come and assault the park. Also, my first tip would be to arrive as early as possible, ideally 7:30 am!
You'll skip the line at the entrance and enjoy a few hours of rest before the rush.
There are several hiking trails, numbered A to K, for a 2 to 8 hour walk. I followed the 18 kilometer K trail to enjoy the site in a quiet area away from the crowds - it's accessible if you exercise regularly and aren't in a rush.
Otherwise, trail H at the beginning of entrance 2 allows you to be as close to the lakes as possible by going downhill through the site. You can also mix the routes, according to your wishes. Transportation to go from one point to another or to cross the lakes is free.
- How much does the entrance to Plitvice Lakes National Park cost?
The entrance fee depends on the date of your visit:
- In high season (July, August) it costs around € 25.
- In mid season (April, May, June, September, October) it is around € 20.
- In winter, it is much cheaper: count around € 8!
To which must be added the price of parking if you come by car, which is around € 1 per hour.
In short, it is expensive. But despite these high prices and the influx of tourists, this is definitely a must-see. The walk is simply magical: we walk along paths arranged over clear water, with the sound of waterfalls and the singing of birds ...
- Where to stay in Plitvice?
You don't need to sleep in hotels in Plitvice - it's expensive and often charmless. But there are accommodations in all the surrounding towns: you will quickly notice that there is not much else in the area ...
The guest rooms (or overs) are generally simple and neat, and the locals are welcoming.
I slept in Grabovac, less than a 10 minute drive from Plitvice. For example, you can sleep at House Matijević Šimić, or even closer to the park at Apartments Bramado, two of the best in the area.
5) Visit Zadar and the Kornati islands
Now head to the coast: head to Zadar, which is about 1h30 from Plitvice! Smaller than Split and quieter than Dubrovnik, Zadar is a pleasant seaside city with a rich heritage.
It is a very good base to explore the region. The many islands of the Zadar archipelago are all more beautiful than the following ...
You will have enough half a day to visit the city center, entrenched behind its Venetian fortifications. Start from the People's Square (Narodni trg) and wander through the alleys.
You will find the Captain's Palace (Kneževa palača) and many churches. Don't miss the open-air market at the foot of the Saint-Donat church. Nearby are also the remains of an ancient Roman forum.
When you have finished your tour, head to the boardwalk, don't miss the sunset to see you sitting on the sea organ.
This curious musical instrument is the symbol of modern Zadar: integrated into a flight of stairs overlooking the sea, the organs emit sounds thanks to the movements of the water that enters and leaves. Awesome!
- Where to stay in Zadar?
6) Visit Šibenik and Split
After your stay in Zadar, head along the coast towards Split, about a 2 hour drive away. Halfway through, stop at Šibenik if you have time. It is the first city founded by the Croatian people and its cathedral is listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Don't be put off by the suburbs made up mostly of apartment buildings - the city center is magnificent!
You can stroll through its small streets and admire the whiteness of the Saint-Jacques cathedral, as well as the Saint-Michel fortress (Sv Mihovil) dating from the XNUMXth century. Also take a look at the fortresses of Saint-Nicolas and Saint-Jean ...
After your visit to Šibenik is over, head to Split, about an hour's drive away.
It is a very surprising city, since it was built in its interior then around the palace of the Roman emperor Diocletian (built around the year 300). Some streets you will walk through will therefore be more than 1700 years old! No wonder the tiles are so smooth and shiny ...
Split is a tourist city, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO for this famous palace, but also for the Saint-Domnius Cathedral.
When it comes to tourism, think also of the archaeological museum, the Riva (the promenade), the fish and fruit and vegetable markets, as well as the park located on the Marjan hill, where you will find beautiful beaches for bathing.
- Where to stay in Split?
Party-goers will start the evening with a drink at the Riva and enjoy the sunset. Regardless of which bar you go to, you should know that nights start later in Croatia - don't go too early! Downtown, I liked the Gaga Caffe Bar, in a small courtyard. And for shots, it's ShotGun!
7) Visit the island of Hvar
Did you party well in Split? If you haven't had enough, I have a perfect destination for you: the island of Hvar.
- How do I get to Hvar?
Without a car, a catamaran will take you to the island in 1 hour for about € 15 / person.
With a car, count € 60 for the vehicle and two adults, and a 2-hour ferry ride. More information on the ferries in Croatia, for example.
- What to do, what to see in Hvar?
It's difficult to tell you more about Hvar, because once is not customary, I bet on a quieter island, Mljet, which I present to you right after. But I have been told a lot of good things about Hvar, which is a party destination (nicknamed the "Croatian Saint-Tropez"), but not only.
Its rich heritage and magnificent landscapes also make it a great place to travel with the family. Also, in addition to partying on the Hvar Pub Crawl, you can stroll through the alleys of the pretty town of Hvar, admire the view from the Spanish fortress, swim, go see the lavender fields ...
- Where to sleep in Hvar?
Let's keep it simple: for partygoers it's in Hvar, and for those looking for a little more peace and authenticity, they prefer Stari Grad. Personally I prefer Hvar!
8) Visita la isla de Mljet
Tired of partying in Split and Hvar? I have good news for you: we are going to Mljet (pronounced “crumb”), a much quieter and more exotic island, for lovers of beautiful nature!
- How do I get to Mljet?
If you don't have a car, take the catamaran that will take you from Hvar to Pomena, on the island of Mljet, in about 2 hours. Also, you will be directly on the right side of the island!
With a vehicle, the road is longer. It may be more interesting to visit Dubrovnik first and then go to Mljet from there. In this case, count 4h30 to do Hvar - Dubrovnik by ferry + car, and 1h30 to go from Dubrovnik to the port of Sobra, by Mljet.
- What to do, what to see in Mljet?
I fell in love with this haven of peace. The island has an unusual shape, very elongated (35 kilometers long, by only 3 wide), but you will not necessarily have to cover it completely. In fact, the west of the island where the national park is located is the most interesting part.
In the center of the park, there are two lakes, Malo Jezero (the little one) and Veliko Jezero (the big one), where the water is warm and translucent. They are surrounded by fragrant Mediterranean vegetation.
The landscaped paths allow you to explore the lakes entirely, on foot or by bicycle. Entrance to the park is not free (125 kN from the beginning of June to the end of September, or about € 18) but is valid for the entire stay. Out of season, you'll get by for € 10.
In addition to walking and swimming by the lakes, you can visit the Monastery of Santa Maria (Samostan Sv. Marije) and its Romanesque church: it is in fact located on a small island in the middle of the large lake! You will arrive in a small boat from Mali Most and Pristaniste - it is included in your entrance ticket.
You can also climb the highest peak on the island: Montokuc (!). Don't worry, the walk is accessible to everyone and, above all, the view is well worth it!
Elsewhere on the island, visit the Ulysses cave near Babino Polje or the beautiful sandy beaches of Saplunara (the easternmost part).
- Where to stay in Mljet?
It is best to sleep directly in the national park. I recommend Pomena, the port at the west end of the island, or Polace, from where you can access the lakes on foot, with a short walk.
- Where to eat in Mljet?
We are not going to lie to ourselves: it is not crazy when it comes to restaurants and bars in Mljet. Also, that's not why we go there ... but to relax, enjoy nature and tranquility.
Still, you have to eat well. In Pomena, I recommend the Konoba Herc. In Polace, I really liked the Stella Maris.
9) Visit Dubrovnik
Are you renewed, ready to continue the adventure? Continuation and end of our road trip to Dubrovnik, the pearl of the Adriatic. Here is my article on Dubrovnik "What to see in Dubrovnik".
- How do I get to Dubrovnik?
If you are driving from Mljet, you will depart from the port of Sobra and sail to the port of Prapratno (30 minutes) - see the Jadrolinija website for more information. Then you will have 1 hour drive to Dubrovnik.
If you don't have a car, a catamaran will take you directly from Polace or Sobra to Dubrovnik.
- What to do, what to see in Dubrovnik?
I wrote a detailed article “Visit Dubrovnik”, so I recommend that you know what to do in Dubrovnik!
Well there you go, I think you have all the keys in hand to visit Croatia 2 weeks and know where to sleep in Croatia as it should be.
Do not hesitate to leave a comment at the bottom of the page to give me your impressions, share a good address, a hotel, a bar ... Sharing is good;)
- And you, what was your itinerary in Croatia?
- Where did you stay in Croatia?
- Do you have an interesting address to share? A roadmap for Croatia to share?
- Feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of the page!
See you soon!
Other items not to be missed!
- Rent a boat from Dubrovnik
- What to see in Dubrovnik
- Where to sleep in Dubrovnik
- Visit the island of Naxos - Cyclades
- Visit Amorgos - Cyclades
- Visit Santorini - Cyclades
- Visit Paros - Cyclades
- Visit Athens
- What to see in Venice
- Where to sleep in Venice
- Visit the Cinque Terre
- Where to sleep in Cinque Terre
- Visit Malta
- Where to sleep Malta
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