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Feedback on 12 day Croatia itinerary

I am planning to take my 18 year old daughter to Croatia late June/July as a graduation gift and would greatly appreciate feedback on my itinerary. We would like to see some highlights & beaches but go slow enough to savor our surroundings and interact with the locals. We will have a car rental which we intend to return in Split, before heading out to the isalnds. Also, if you have a "must eat at" recommendation, please chime in! Much appreciated!

2 days/2 nights Zagreb
*Explore Upper & lower (Jalacic square, Dolac market, church, popular streets, palace & museum)
*Spend morning/afternoon at either Jarun Lake or Maksimir Park before moving on to our next destination

1.5 days/2 nights Jezerce
*Late afternoon arrival, followed by a relaxing evening
*Spend Day 2 leisurely hiking Plitvice, followed by a relaxing evening

1 night Skradin
*Take short detour to Zadar to see the sea organ & enjoy lunch on the way to Skradin
*Check out Skradin, followed by a relaxing evening
*Spend the next morning & early afternoon at KRKA
*Drive on to Split, return rental car
*Catch ferry at 4:30pm to Hvar

2.5 days/2 nights Hvar
*Explore Hvar town, followed by a relaxing evening

*Day 1, Take 3 Cave Tour
*Day 2, consider seeing lavender fields and/or Stari Grad

2.5 days/2 nights Vis
*Enjoy relaxing evening
*Explore Vis & its beaches (Open for any suggestions)

2 days/nights Split
*See highlights of Split via Segway tour

*Explore & stay at Palace
*Day 2, consider river rafting Cetnia

Day 12, return home

Posted by
1424 posts

What a lovely gift for your daughter! And I admire your desire to not rush from place to place, attempting to cram in as much as possible.

I do think you could cut a day from Plitvice. If you arrive in the afternoon and get to the park right as it opens at 7am the next morning (which you should do to stay ahead of the crowds), you will be finished by lunchtime or early afternoon. It is not an all-day activity, and there's really not anything else to do there. I would take the day away from there and add it on later in the trip. Maybe an extra night on one of the islands (which are more appropriate places for relaxation).

I also recommend a day trip from Split to Trogir.

One other thing: you're probably best off not picking up your rental car until you depart from Zagreb. You won't need it for your first two days there.

Have a great trip!

Posted by
1424 posts

Oh, I also have a question for you. You mention that you want to interact with locals. I'm genuinely interested in knowing what strategies you have to accomplish this, since you will be, for the most part, in places and situations where you're more likely to interact with other travelers. It's something a lot of us hope to do when we travel and I'm guessing most of us fall short on this goal.

Do you have any ideas on how to meet and engage with local residents on this trip?

Posted by
4751 posts

It does depend on the weather, but the Hvar lavender is usually cut round about the middle of June.

At that time of year, if you want a quiet, relaxing evening, I would stay in Stari Grad or Jelsa, not Hvar town, which will be in full party mode.

You can only get from Hvar to Vis directly on a Tuesday, otherwise, you will take most of the day to travel via Split. I would question whether it’s worth changing islands for only 2 nights ie 1 full day on each island. If you are just going to Vis for the beach, stay on Hvar OR scrap Hvar and just stay on Vis.

Trogir is worth visiting from Split.

Posted by
2079 posts

Agree on consolidating Vis and Hvar.
I usually advise three days for Vis, as it takes longer to get there and that way you have two whole days. However, it is really best to have wheels on Vis. In July, I would skip Hvar town, but a stay in Stari Grad would be nice.
Hvar has more bus service, plus from Hvar town there are boats to small islands. In Vis, you have a bus from Vis to Komiza and that's about it.
I would not want less than three nights on any island really, but I am a hiker so more time in Plitvice was pleasant for us.

Posted by
41 posts

Thank you for all of your suggestions.

Lane, it's definately a bit of a balancing act. I know that we will be mostly amongst tourists while taking in the popular sights. However, for me, a one time trip to somewhere like Rome would feel incomplete if I did not make a point oif seeing the Colosseum or the Sixteenth Chapel. I'm pretty social so I am not afraid to stike up conversation with fellow diners or ask questions of vendors at the local market. Also, I try to stay at family owned B & B and make it a point to engage in conversation. I will often ask them where the locals tend to dine or go to Ireland it was often the town pub!

I will give some thought about shaving off a day at Plitvice but if I do so, that would make for a long day. If so, we would hike Plitvice from opening until about 1pm, then drive to Zadar in order to see the sea organ and then drive on to Skradin. Is seeing/listening to the sea organ in Zadar in the mid afternoon worth the one hour detour?

The transfer from Hvar to Vis is in fact on a Tuesday, so ferry transport should not be an issue. However, I will consider consolidating my time in Hvar/Vis or, I can add an extra day on to my trip and stay an additonal night in VIS. Probably a personal preference question but is there enough to do in VIs for three days or would this be mostly just "chill" time?

I will also re-evauate adding a day trip to Trogir from Split. This might be a nice thing to do in place of the river rafting and cheaper! I know we can river raft anytime but the reviews said it was an absolutely beautiful trip.

Posted by
26 posts

I definitely agree with other comments on consolidating your time in Hvar/Vis. If you are looking to experience local life you have better chances to do so on Vis. Hvar (especially town of Hvar) will be crowded that time a year. Vis is more of a chill out place with less tourists but you have plenty of things to see & do. As someone already mentioned, I believe you will have the best experience of Vis if you bring a car. Here you can see some suggestions on things to do on Croatian islands including Vis