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4-5 Days in Croatia - Please help with Itinerary

My husband, daughter and I have unfortunately a very limited time to visit Croatia and we would like to see as much as possible, then come back another year with more time.

We are planning on taking the Ferry from Venice to Rovinj on August 7th, 2014 (unfortunately there is only 1 evening Ferry) - then we will most likely rent a car in Rovinj.

We could spend 2 nights in Rovinj then drive to Plitvice Lakes for the day and end up in Zadar at the end of the day.
Spend the 3rd night in Zadar, visit during the day, then drive down to Split.
We could then either spend 2 nights in Split, or on one of the Islands, either Brac/Vis or Hvar.

So 2 nights in Rovinj, 1 night in Zadar, 2 nights Split or Islands.

We will fly out of Split. Do you think this is doable? Any recommendation you could give us would be much appreciated.

Thank you so much,

Posted by
5294 posts

I would skip any islands, Ferries run on limited schedules, even getting to Hvar and back may be difficult in a day. Keep the schedule you have, spend your last part in Split and include the town (almost Island) of Trogir that is very nearby.

Posted by
4322 posts

I have been to Croatia numerous times and just returned from the latest trip a few days ago. Great country!

I think you are trying to do too much when you drive from Rovinj to the lakes and then on to Zadar. You'll be exhausted. Zadar is my least favorite city in this area, so I say stay the night at the lakes and go on to Split the next day. You probably wouldn't see anything in Zadar anyway. As for Split, it is a fascinating city, but be sure to stay in the center as it gets pretty ugly, pretty quick. As you will basically only have 1.5 days in Split, I wouldn't wander too far (but Trogir is beautiful).

  • Aug. 8 - Arrive Rovinj, spend night
  • Aug. 9 - Rovinj, spend night
  • Aug. 10 - Travel to Lakes, spend night
  • Aug. 11 - Travel to Split, spend night
  • Aug. 12 - Split, spend night
  • Fly out of Split.
Posted by
2 posts

Paul and Emily,
Thank you very much for your answers. I was worried about doing too much and with your help I think we can actually have a really nice time and see as much as can be expected during a short trip.

Trogir does look beautiful so we will visit there while staying in Split and not try adding any islands.

I have a couple more questions if you wouldn't mind commenting on them as well.

1) Emily, would you mind telling me what you mean by "it gets pretty ugly, pretty quick"? Does it get sketchy at night, or something like that? Our daughter is 24, what is the night life in Split? I doubt that she would go out by herself, but just wondering.

2) I am not sure about Plitvice Lakes in the middle of August. My husband really wants to go, but I think it will be way to crowded. Would you recommend we go?

3) Do you have any recommendations for Hotels in Rovinj, around Plitvice Lakes and Split? We are looking at moderately priced hotels or Bed and Breakfasts and maybe splurge a little more at the end of the trip in Split.

thanks again for your great suggestions.

Posted by
4322 posts

By ugly, I literally mean ugly. Think 1960s concrete housing blocks. Safe, but ugly. Stay in the center, which I found fascinating and beautiful. Nightlife - I have no idea. We have small children, so that wasn't on our itinerary. You daughter, however, should seek something out as Croats know how to have fun!

Posted by
16856 posts

Sounds like you've had some good advice. Rick's crowd-avoidance advice at Plitvice is to make the effort to be out on the trails early or late - either starting by 8:30 a.m. or after 15:00. The coast can be also very crowded in August, which means slower driving and longer wait times for ferries, especially on weekends.

Posted by
2991 posts

Do you already have your flight home from Split?

With just 4-5 days, I'd consider just staying in Istria maybe Plitvice and/or possibly dipping into Slovenia then flying home from Zagreb. Take a look at Rick Steves' Croatia and Slovenia guidebook for some ideas. There are some lovely small towns in Istria. You'll be spending quite a lot of time in the car if you drive to Zadar and/or Split this trip. I'd concentrate on the north.

If you already have your flight scheduled from Split, consider flying from one of the smaller cities (Pula or Rijeka) on Croatia Airlines to maximize your time !

Posted by
5 posts

Rick is correct about hiking early in Plitvice. We had the first boat across the lake. It only had 5 people on it. We were able to hike for a hour by ourselves! It is a different experience than getting on a tram that has 100 people to go hiking. We stayed at closest hotel to do this and it was worth it!