I’m Kayley and I am a teacher and travel enthusiast living in Sweden with my husband. A few summers ago, some friends and I decided to leave the boys at home and go on a girls’ trip. We had a few requirements – sun, sea and adventure! With 4 teachers, an 8 week summer break ahead of us, and Europe at our fingertips, it wasn’t hard to come up with the PERFECT trip. Here I’ll share with you our Croatia Itinerary for 10 days – featuring cute airbnbs, cliff jumping adventures and even a cute convertible! For the ultimate summer trip, we’ve got you covered!
Tips for Planning Your Croatia Itinerary
Croatia uses the Croatian Kuna (1 USD = 7 HRK)
Flying In & Out
We flew directly from Stockholm into Dubrovnik Airport, but you could fly into one of its other international airports like Split or Rijeka International Airport. Dubrovnik International Airport is located just 15km from the city, making it super convenient to get to Old Town. Dubrovnik airport offers multiple airport buses for about €5, stopping both in the Old Town and at the main bus station at Gruž harbour. The buses depart 30 minutes after every flight arrival. The website says you can buy tickets from the driver, but when we arrived and tried to get on, he didn’t have any tickets so we had to run back inside to draw cash from an ATM and buy tickets from the booth just inside.
Packing for Croatia
Croatia is really hot and humid over June and July, their summer season. For the most part you’ll only need shorts and tank tops or t-shirts. I packed a comfy maxi dress which was great over sunburn. I recommend packing a pair of trainers, especially if you’re planning on walking down to odysseus caves and doing any hikes (which I highly recommend). Other than that a pair of comfortable/pretty sandals will double up as daily beach shoes as well as evening wear.
How to Get Around
Croatia has multiple modes of transportation, so getting around is fairly easy. For this 10 day Croatia itinerary we utilized ferries, a few buses, Ubers and rented both a car and a scooter. Croatia has a state run ferry company – Jadrolinija, which is reliable and efficient but can be rather difficult to figure out. I would suggest planning your route first, checking ferry schedules and only then booking accommodation. That being said, we booked all our ferry tickets online before the trip, except for the first one from Dubrovnik to Mjlet. We just headed to the ferry terminal early in the morning to get tickets for that day.
Buses are also very common and fairly inexpensive. They provide beautiful scenery especially if traveling along the coast. Don’t expect the bus driver to speak English or be very friendly. Also be aware that if your bag doesn’t fit into the overhead, they charge you cash to put it in the hold.
How to Spend 10 Days in Croatia
In this Croatia itinerary we stuck to the coast and hopped around quite a bit, visiting a few islands with Croatia’s extensive ferry network. We started in Dubrovnik, visited 4 different islands and then ventured back onto the mainland at Split. This is how our 10 day Croatia Itinerary looked:
- Dubrovnik: 1 Night
- Mljet: 1 Night
- Korcula: 2 Nights
- Hvar: 2 Nights
- Bol: 2 Nights
- Split: 1 Night
Day 1: Arrive in Dubrovnik
We arrived in Dubrovnik in the evening and chose only to spend one night there. Living in Europe we can often find cheap flights to main cities over random weekends and so we like to get out of the more touristy places when we have the extra time. We stayed in a little hostel called Anchi Guesthouse which was just a one or two minute walk from the main bus station, and about 5 minutes away from the ferry port that we would be using to get to the islands.
Day 2: Caves and National Parks on Mjlet
We got up early in the morning to go get tickets for the first ferry of the day before returning to pack our things. Along the way, we grabbed burek for breakfast. These cheese or meat pastries became a staple breakfast each morning while we were on route to a new adventure!
The ferry departs from port Gruz in Dubrovnik at 9:15 AM and takes about an hour to get to Mjlet (Sobra port). Our plan was to rent 2 scooters for about €27 a day from the port, but as we arrived something more thrilling caught our eyes! Maybe it was the excitement of the first day of our girls trip but something just screamed girls trip when we caught sight of a beautiful turquoise Fiat soft-top.
Rent a Car or Scooter
Mini brum has an office right at the port, and gave us such friendly service and a well marked map with great advice and recommendations! It was a good thing that all the scooters were already rented so our decision was made as we stuffed our backpacks into the back and hopped in!
I recommend renting some sort of vehicle in Mljet as there is no public transportation on the island. It is an incredibly beautiful island, so you’ll want to be able to explore all over! My only regret this trip is that we didn’t spend more time here.
Mljet is off the coast and probably my favourite part of our 10-day itinerary in Croatia. The whole western third of the island is the National Park which hosts two salt water lakes and an island with a church!
Check in to Villa Victor
We checked in early to our gorgeous Airbnb, Villa Victor, and chatted with our super friendly hosts before heading to a small beach cove down the street for the morning. In the afternoon we drove through to the national park. There is an entry fee of 90.00kn per person, or 50.00kn with a valid student card.
Check out the Island of Santa Maria
You can also find a little boat that runs to the island of Santa Maria every 30 minutes or so. We hopped onto that and took a walk around the island and had a little swim in the lake before taking a boat to the next lake drop off spot. The two salt water lakes are interconnected and when the tide changes you’re able to float from the big lake into the small one. Lots of fun!
Go cliff jumping at the Odysseus Caves
Another activity I highly recommend is visiting Odysseus Caves. We went fairly early in the morning in the hopes to avoid the heat and crowds. The heat we couldn’t escape, but the crowds weren’t too bad. The hike down takes about 30 minutes, but depending on your fitness and age, I would give yourself a little more time. Going down wasn’t too bad, but coming back up around midday was quite a climb!
You can easily park along the road by the grocery store, Tommy’s, and then follow the sign board to the path that leads down to the sea. Navigating the cliffs can be a bit treacherous so it’s a good idea to have some sturdy shoes for the hike.
Once on the cliffs, go jump off one into the water! I only managed the lower level which was thrilling enough for me but so cool to swim into the caves and see the sun shining into the cave and reflecting the most magnificent blues and greens!
We spent the day driving around to other beaches and enjoying local food delights like cevapi, a hand rolled, caseless meat sausage, and some more Adriatic beers. The afternoon saw us picking up our bags from Victor Villa, having a last drink with our wonderful hosts and getting the ferry to the next island on our Croatia itinerary – Korčula.
Days 3 & 4: Wine Tasting and Cycling Tours in Korčula
We arrived in Korčula in the late afternoon and easily found a taxi to our accommodation, another sweet little Airbnb in Medvinjak. Medvinjak is located on the north-eastern “corner” of the island. It was close enough to walk to the main town, but with backpacks and late afternoon thirst, we opted for a taxi instead. After settling in, we took a walk into town and had a lovely dinner together in one of the many cozy, alleyway restaurants.
We got going early-ish the next morning to enjoy a full day outdoors in the sunshine. We rented bicycles from one of the many rental stores in town and rode across the island to Lumbarda, a small wine region on the southern coast. The ride to the beach is about 8km, with one big hill to get up and over. I cycle everyday to commute, so I am not unfamiliar with the exercise, but it was a bit daunting on the main road section – the hill requires quite a bit of work!
It just made the swim in the ocean a very well deserved reward! We spent the morning popping into different beaches, swimming, tanning, rehydrating and replenishing energy levels with snacks (like more cevapi) at the beachside restaurants. While the beaches were pretty packed, they had a small town, local feel (some more than others).
On our way back to Korcula, we got waylaid by all the little wine farms, and couldn’t resist stopping in for a little taste. This area is home to the special little grapes that are used to make Grk wine – just one of the 7 wine producers that make Grk here. The charming winemaker’s wife served us and gave us such interesting information and a real value wine-tasting of 3 wines and grappa. The wine buzz may have given us the extra oomph to get going back up the hill and into Korcula.
Being around during one of the many yacht weeks, the evening has the option to turn pretty wild, with many of the yachts docking at different ports each evening. Some of us chose to go out and join in the buzz, while others chose to have a chill night in. Needless to say, we had a slow morning the next day, and took a ferry at midday to the next island on our list – Hvar.
Days 5 & 6: Spanish Fortress and Night Life in Hvar
Hvar is a beautiful little island, next on our trip and a popular tourist spot due to its beautiful fortress, 13th century walls and abundance of coastal bars, clubs and hotspots. The town square is right on the water, where you can view the fortress climbing up above you and spend hours watching people in the sunshine. There are little coves and bays to swim in all around the island, including along the main promenade and port. Some of these are just little drop offs with steps into the water. The floor of the ocean has a lot of rocks, shells and anemones so either make sure you don’t put your feet down or wear a pair of water shoes!
One day we rented scooters and took a ride up to our friend’s cousin’s restaurant Vidikovac Levanda where we enjoyed a beautiful lunch as well as stunning views of lavender fields and high coastal roads overlooking the Adriatic Sea.
We also ended up getting tickets to a party at the nightclub on another small island called Carpe Diem. It was one of those almost all-inclusives where you get an all-you-can-drink party boat (or in our case, the boat was too full so we had access to a bar beforehand) and then a boat ride to the nightclub. It’s not my normal cup of tea, but it was wild and definitely like something from a movie! The whole island was a nightclub – complete with a pizza slice shop at the boat pick up for your way home!
Naturally, the next day we all had a little sleep in before packing up once again and heading to the ferry port – but not before picking up some more burek for our boat ride!
Days 7 & 8: Beach-Hopping in Bol, Bra
We stayed in Bol while on Brac and spent a relatively chilled few days enjoying local beaches and restaurants. We spent a good few hours frying in the sun on the popular Zlatni Rat – a white pebbled peninsula of a beach. The shape of the tip is forever changing due to the currents and wind. This particular beach is packed in the summer, but has beach chairs and umbrellas as well as crystal clear waters.
My favorite beach however, was Beach Bijela Kuća, on the opposite end of Bol, past the ferry port. It is a delightfully sheltered cove, with lots of rocky platforms and sections to set up on. We enjoyed our last lunch with all four of us together at the little restaurant on the corner, Ribarska Kućica.
I really would have liked to go up to Vidova Gora – the highest peak in the Adriatics, offering the best views of Zlatni Rat beach. The hike is accessible from Bol but is about a 5.5km hike up (11km round trip). Apparently it gets pretty technical towards the top and it’s recommended to have at least 4-5 hours to be able to spend some time enjoying the view.
At that point in our trip, the group of us were quite “adventured out” and we opted to laze on the beach rather than mission up mountains in the humidity. But, now that I’m back home I’m already planning when my husband and I can go back to do the hike!
Two of our four had a flight the next day out of Dubrovnik so we took a ferry all the way back to spend the evening in Dubrovnik. The remaining two of us spent the afternoon on the beach, before having pedicures and enjoying tapas, al fresco on our apartment patio.
Day 9: Roman Ruins in Split
The next morning we took a ferry back to the mainland, arriving at Split. It was raining when we arrived and the ferry port was a mess with so much traffic! We got an uber to our Airbnb – a small room in a couples home. They were the sweetest family who invited us to have lunch with them and chat around the dining room table. Their son spoke English really well and my friend could speak Croatian which really helped!
By the time we had finished lunch and chats, the sun had come out so we took a bus into town and explored the harbor front market, ogled all the super yachts and visited Kasjuni Beach – a more secluded, but still touristy, pebble/rock beach. The beach is about a 40 minute walk along the coast or you can hop on a bus that goes a few times an hour. We took an uber there, and a bus back.
On the way back we stopped to walk up through a neighborhood to a viewpoint, Prva Vidilica Na Marjanu (Marjan Hill). There is a little cafe up at the top and a view of Old Town Split. If you continue further up, there are more trails and viewpoints. Unfortunately for us, the rain came down, (and our hunger came up) so we went back down and stopped in for an early dinner at a cute little restaurant terrace to hide away from the rain.
Once the afternoon thunder shower had passed we took a walk through the old town. Almost half of the town is made up of Diocletian’s palace – the ancient Roman ruins. It makes walking through the town feel so unreal. The ruins are some of the most well-preserved from that time, and many of the shops and alleyways run right through them. I would love to come here with my husband one day – he also loves this history stuff!
Day 10: Return to Dubrovnik
This was probably the worst part of my trip, where I felt the most anxious, but looking back I’m not sure why. Everything ran as it should have but I was stressed out about traveling the whole day on my own. It was a long day of traveling and the bus driver (on the very first leg of the journey) was mean to me so it set me off haha.
Be warned – if your bag doesn’t fit in the overhead compartment (which really only fits a handbag) you have to pay extra for it to be in the hold. I was super sad about this as I had kept the exact amount of cash on me to buy a pastry for a bus snack and instead had to use it to pay for my bag!
But other than that, the bus ran smoothly from Split to Dubrovnik – about 4 to 6 hours depending on the route and driver etc. I would recommend taking a window seat on the right as the views over the ocean are incredible, not to mention all the little seaside towns! The route takes you through a small section of Bosnia, so there can sometimes be a little delay at the border when passports are being checked.
The bus arrives at the main station in Dubrovnik, which is exactly where the shuttle buses to the airport depart from. I bought a ticket from the booth and hopped straight onto the airport bus. As I understand it, there are a few different companies so there should be a bus leaving fairly frequently. It works on the flight schedule – normally a bus departs 90 minutes before domestic flights and 2 hours before international flights.
Croatia is full of so much natural beauty – from mountains to lakes and beaches. We barely made a scratch on the surface – I can’t wait to return with my husband in tow! Do you have any hidden gems that you would include in your Croatia itinerary?
For more posts on the Balkans, check these next:
- 10 Best Places to Visit in Slovenia
- Best of Albania From a Local: Beaches, Bars, and UNESCO sites
- Dubrovnik: Stay at a Sobe in Old Town
- War Torn Sarajevo, a Culture Shock
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