7 days in Croatia for the Adventurous Traveler
Arts & Culture
Croatia is a popular travel destination for its stunning national parks, beautiful coastline, and rich history. In Split, you can wander through the old town to see ancient Roman architecture and then head to the active promenade at the Port of Split, only a few minutes walk away. Hvar shines with its pristine beaches and active nightlife, yet there's a whole island worth exploring. The capital city of Dubrovnik captivates with its well-preserved medieval charm, so allow yourself to get lost within its old city walls.
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Where to stay
Judita Palace Heritage Hotel
Charming boutique hotel in a 16th-century palace set on the lively Pjaca Square in Old Town, within walking distance of restaurants and shops.
Adriana, hvar spa hotel
Stylish boutique hotel in Hvar offering rooms, suites and penthouses, plus a rooftop pool with panoramic views of the town below.
The Excelsior Hotel
A chic five-star stay renowned for its luxurious accommodations and views of the Aegean Sea.
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Overview of Day 1
Day 1: Arrive in Split
Check into your hotel and head out to explore the old town. You can walk up to Diocletian's Palace and wander through this UNESCO World Heritage sight. History buffs will want to join a walking tour, or you can explore on your own. Don't miss the People's Square (Pjaca), the main square filled with shops and bars, and then stroll over to the Riva, a tree-lined promenade facing the harbor. Here you can grab a bite to eat or a drink and enjoy some live music and people-watching.
I recommend dinner at ZOI restaurant, located within the walls of Diocletian's Palace. Book a table on the beautiful terrace and watch the sunset.
Overview of Day 2
Day 2: Rafting on the Cetina River
Greet your driver at the Port in the morning and they will take you to the meeting point for your rafting adventure down the Cetina River. The rapids are grade 2-3 so this is suitable for all skill levels and you can stop along the way for some photo ops. There are several tours offered and some include additional adventures, so choose accordingly. Our group of six split up into 2 rafts, with the guide joining us in one. Following our journey, we finished with a lunch spread featuring the traditional Dalmatian peka - a blend of meats and vegetables cooked in a large iron dome. Your driver will take you back to Split, where you can roam the streets and explore Republic Square before heading to dinner at Bokeria Kitchen & Wine.
Overview of Day 3
Day 3: Krka National Park and Sibenik
Book a private car and head out to Krka National Park, a natural wonder known for its cascading waterfalls, crystal clear lakes, and lush greenery. Hikers will appreciate the park's network of wooden walkways and trails, while nature lovers will love the park's diverse flora and fauna, and all will marvel at the Skradinski Buk network of waterfalls. It gets crowded in the summer, so plan on arriving early. Making your way through should take around two hours, but there are spots to sit and rest, or have a picnic lunch. Following your visit to Krka, stop off in Sibenik, a picturesque coastal city, renowned for its rich history and stunning architecture. Check out the St. James Cathedral while you stroll through the old town's narrow streets. Don't miss St. Michael's Fortress, offering panoramic views of the Adriatic Sea. There's also a lively waterfront promenade where you can grab a snack or drink. After this active day trip, enjoy dinner back in Split and pack up for tomorrow's early-morning ferry departure.
Overview of Day 4
Day 4: Travel to Hvar Island
Take a relaxing morning ferry ride over to the island of Hvar, where you'll marvel at the impressive fleet of yachts lining the harbor. The ferry ride is only an hour, so you'll have plenty of time to drop your bags at the hotel and roam the streets of Hvar town, or if you're there in the summer, you can relax at one of the island's many beautiful beaches. After dinner, you can hit the bars or nightclubs if that's your thing - there are plenty to choose from.
Overview of Day 5
Day 5: Boat Day
A trip to Hvar wouldn't be complete without a day on the water, visiting the Three Caves (there are more than three, but those get all the attention) and exploring the islands. You'll see thehttp://www.three-caves-tour.com/on the island of Vis, where you can stop and snorkel. Then head over to Bisevo, home of the Blue Grotto and Blue Cave, and finally the Monk Seal Cave. There are so many places to visit, so trust your skipper and enjoy the day. Make sure you bring long sleeves or a light jacket - even in the summer, it can protect you from the sun and the chill. Don't miss dinner at Passarola. The setting is beautiful and the catch of the day is outstanding.
Overview of Day 6
Day 6: Explore the island of Hvar
There's more to this island than just Hvar town, and there is more than one way to get around. You can travel by bus, car, scooter (our original plan, but I wouldn't recommend unless you're experienced) or, in our case, all-terrain vehicle. Yes, they can share the road. It's exhilarating and definitely for the adventurous type. Check out Stari Grad, one of the oldest towns in Croatia, and a quiet alternative to the lively Hvar town. Go see the Stari Grad Plain, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Next, head to Jelsa and walk around its charming harbor and have lunch at one of the many restaurants lining the waterfront. Following this day of exploration, take an evening ferry to Dubrovnik.
Overview of Day 7
Days 7 & 8: Dubrovnik
Start your day with an early morning hike up Mount Srd, or depending on when you're traveling, a walk along the City Walls since it tends to get very crowded and hot in the summertime. This is also a great activity late in the afternoon so you can watch the sunset.
You may need to look for it, but don't miss the crowd of people watching the cliff jumpers at Buza Bar and join in the fun if you dare. Take some time to explore the Old Town's narrow streets, historic buildings, and charming squares. Venture out on an exhilarating sea-kayaking adventure along the city's coastline. You'll paddle beneath city walls and explore hidden caves and beaches. Enjoy dinner at Above 5 Rooftop restaurant - a gem located on a rooftop with views of the entire old town.
Need to Know
Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out my guide, Small Towns of the Italian Riviera.
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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Croatia.