The Best of Croatia in 5 Days

Travel Advisor Grace Hilty wearing a tank top standing in front of blue water and brown mountains.
Curated By

Grace Hilty

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  • Boutique Travel

  • Adventure Travel

  • Family Travel

  • Off-the-Beaten-Path Travel

  • Beaches

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  • Croatia

  • Outdoors

  • Local Culture

  • Sightseeing

  • Costal

  • Bucket List-Worthy

An azure sea and beach filled with people in Croatia.
Curator’s statement

Croatia combines the best of summer in Europe: buzzy cocktail bars butting up against crashing waves, luxury hotels dropped in the middle of a historic square and waterfall-studded national parks worth the trek. Surprisingly, Croatia remains a relatively affordable European vacation, perfect for a honeymoon or summer getaway.

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Insider knowledge

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Where to stay

Sheraton Zagreb Hotel

Modern hotel with a glass facade and a large indoor swimming pool perfect for a stay in the Croatian capital.

The Krizmanic Family B&B - Plitvice Lakes

A home-stay style hotel located within a cozy house in a lush garden.

Hotel Vestibul Palace

Set in Split's historic Old Town, this small boutique hotel features classic rooms and suites and an airy restaurant.

Fora Perks
  • $50 hotel / resort credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

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Day 1: Zagreb: Croatia’s Capital City

Girl walking towards a Croatian church.

On day 1, get settled and explore Croatia’s capital. Check into the Sheraton Zagreb, which is centrally located near the action. On foot, head to the the quirky Museum of Broken Relationships, then explore St Mark’s Church, the Cathedral of Zagreb, Upper Town and Jelacic Square.

Day 2: Plitvice National Park

Waterfalls amidst a lush, green landscape in Croatia.

Take the bus from Zagreb to Plitvice (2h15m, buscroatia.com,) and explore the jaw-dropping crystal clear lakes and waterfalls of Plitvice National Park. You can spend the night outside the park in a cute B&B, like Krizmanic Family B&B ,or get back on the bus to head down to Split after you’re done exploring Plitvice (4h south to Split.)

Day 3: Split & Surrounding Day Trips

Sprawling views from a mountain in Croatia.

Take the bus from Plitvice to Split (4h, buscroatia.com). Check into Vestibul Palace in the middle of the historic square. Explore Diocletian’s Palace, Mestrovic Gallery, Bacvice Beach and Beach Bene. If you want to add on a day trip, you can explore Krka National Park, Sibenik, Mostar in Bosnia or the ancient walled city of Trogir.

Day 4: Ferry to Hvar

Pebble beach and sea.

Take the 1 hour ferry from Split to stunning Hvar. Stay at Amfora Hvar Grand Beach Resort or Palace Elisabeth, and spend the day lounging at one of the beach clubs: Pokonji dol Beach, Carpe Diem, Hula Hula or Falko Beach Bar. Grab dinner at Fig Hvar in the town square.

Day 5: Dubrovnik

Panoramic views of the port city of Dubrovnik.

Take the ferry from Hvar to Dubrovnik. Stay at Villa Dubrovnik, outside of the city walls. You’ll be grateful for the distance from the crowds and the impeccable views from your room or suite. In the early evening, take the shuttle into the walled city and walk the old city walls before grabbing a sundown cocktail at Buza Bar. Make sure to get a reservation at Banje Beach Restaurant.

Need to Know

Looking for more travel inspo? Check out Grace's guides 3 Days in Big Sur, California and A Weekend in Carmel-by-the-Sea.

Travel Advisor Grace Hilty wearing a tank top standing in front of blue water and brown mountains.

Travel Advisor

Grace Hilty

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Croatia.