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Duration: 850km - 7 Days
Croatia is fast becoming a popular destination and is perfect to discover on a self-drive holiday. It is blessed with a spectacular coastline and plenty of islands, surrounded by turquoise water. Away from the coast, there is much to see with historic buildings and attractions throughout. Our suggested drive can be done in 7 days but feel free to extend as needed – you could spend weeks driving through Croatia in your rental car.
Your Croatian journey starts in the capital of this fine nation, Zagreb. Take the day to go sightseeing around the city and explore some of the historic buildings, including the majestic Cathedral, the old Stone Gate, as well as St. Marks Church. Join a small group bike riding tour to taste some of the local delicacies or picnic in the beautiful Zrinjevac Park.
We recommend: Art lovers should check out the The Art Pavilion and the Meštrović Gallery for the finest in art and impressive architecture.
Collect your car from a downtown location and leave the capital of Zagreb behind. Head west along the Slovenian border towards the Kvarner Gulf, and marvel at the many idyllic islands in the distance. Spend the afternoon and night in the seaport town of Rijeka.
Due to its ideal costal location, the town was fiercely fought for and was in the hands of many different empires including the Italians and Austro-Hungarian’s. This has had a distinct impact on the architecture, with classic Italian style architecture next to the more typical Yugoslavian style. Take a dinner cruise on the bay or go for a stroll along the Riva promenade. If time permits, take a day to explore one of the many beautiful islands.
We recommend: Find a local restaurant marked with the Kvarner Food label. This means you are tasting only the best local cuisine.
Left: Zagreb / Right: Rijeka
Today’s destination is Plitvice National Park – a truly majestic site. This natural wonder is surrounded by mountains and lush vegetation. Walk or cycle one of the many trails through the limestone canyon and waterfalls, or wander amongst the towering oak trees in the forest. Make sure to have your camera ready!
When you’ve seen all you can at Plitvice, continue onto Zadar, the oldest continuously inhabited Croatian city located on the Dalmatian coast. Zadar is known for its Roman and Venetian gates and city walls. Wander along the walled old town or visit the Moske Orgulje – a real life sea organ. Each incoming wave brings a new note – an incredible masterpiece of sound to experience!
We recommend: Check out the sea organ at different times of the day for a different tune - it changes with the tide!
Leaving Zadar behind today, head to the coastal paradise of Split. On the way call into Trogir, a small town built on an island and connected to the mainland by an iconic stone bridge. Lined with narrow streets and quaint boutiques, a visit to the island is incomplete without seeing St Lawrence Cathedral. Continue on to Split, tonight’s stop.
We recommend: Game of Thrones fans should join one of the tours leaving Split for a glimpse at the locations this famous series was filmed at.
Left: Zadar / Right: Split
As Croatia’s second largest city, the city of Split features a unique blend of ancient and modern themes. This buzzing city is contained within the old walls and dotted with restaurants and bars. Step inside history at Diocletian’s Palace – a UNESCO protected Roman ruin, often named as one of the most imposing structures still around today. Built as a military fortress, imperial residence and fortified town – the city is a museum in itself! Architectural masterpieces of Renaissance and Gothic builds can be found around each corner.
We recommend: There is always exciting events and festivals happening in Split, covering a vast range of celebrations. Be sure to check before you arrive of any upcoming events.
Continue exploring Split in the morning before heading for your final destination – Dubrovnik. The drive from Split takes around 3 hours and skirts both the coast and inland. Upon arrival into Dubrovnik, wonder around the old town, encircled with massive stone walls – a tale from the past.
We recommend: While in Split or Dubrovnik, be sure to try some seafood. Both cities offer amazing fresh quality seafood at market prices!
Left: Dubrovnik / Right: Dubrovnik
Explore Dubrovnik at your own pace – head to one of the gorgeous islands or walk along the city walls for a glimpse of the thriving city from above. Take a cable car ride or visit one of the famous galleries and exhibitions. There's always something to do in Dubrovnik.
Your drive ends today – but congratulations you’ve sampled some of Croatia's best in seven days!