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Help with Croatia Itinerary - Split to Rovinj with Plitvice

My wife and I are interested in visiting Croatia in late-May for a little over a week after having spent the previous week touring Tuscany/Rome in Italy. Right now, my best intercontinental flight options have us going from Rome to Split, though we have the most interest in spending most of our travels visiting the Istria region. We'd also like to visit Plitvice and/or Krka national parks since we will be nearer to them if arriving in Split. I am open to renting a car for getting around if it is recommended. I'd like some input on the itinerary to see if it is reasonable. Thanks in advance!

Day 1: Arrive in Split from Rome in early AM, visit Split during day and stay in Split overnight.

Day 2: Visit Krka from Split, head to Zadar (or alternative closer to Plitvice) after Krka to stay the night.
(Note: we can cut out this leg of the trip and just go Split -> Plitvice on Day 2 and skip Krka/Zadar if the itinerary is too dense, allocating the extra day to Istria or other if recommended.)

Day 3: Visit Plitvice in early AM from Zadar (or alternative), make the long trek to Rovinj from Plitvice in afternoon.

Day 4: Explore Rovinj all day.

Days 5-7: Explore Istria cities (Motovun, Pula, Porec, Bale, etc. etc.)

Day 8: Istria in AM, head to Zagreb to stay overnight for flight next morning (we're not too interested in any substantial time in Zagreb other than to make our early AM flight)

Day 9: Flight home.

Does that sound a bit compact for the time frame? I'd love any advice from seasoned travelers. We definitely want to try to see different regions of Croatia, but will be mindful of overloading ourselves. Having a few days in Istria is probably the most important to us.


Posted by
5295 posts
  • Day 1 - I would choose to stay in Sibenik the first night. Have a quick look at Trogir along the way.
  • Day 2 - Drive to Plitvice, have a look at Skradin or Zadar on the way.
  • Day 3 - Visit Plitvice
  • Day 4 - Drive to Rovinj, visit Slunj on the way
  • Day 5 - Istria, staying in Rovinj
  • Day 6 - Istria, staying in Rovinj
  • Day 7 - Istria, staying in Rovinj
  • Day 8 - Head to Zagreb
Posted by
1666 posts

I visited Croatia last May (along with Slovenia, and Bosnia). I spent three nights in Rovinj. I would definitely recommend renting a car, as public transportation is not as easy in Croatia as in other parts of Europe.

My personal opinion is that three nights in Rovinj are more than adequate. Exploring Rovinj itself will not take a full day; you can expand it to a full day by renting bicycles and getting out of the old town (there's a nice bike path along the harbor), but even then, it's a small, compact area.

You can also visit pretty much all of the hill towns in one day, and still have time to make it to Pula.

If you really want to explore Istria in depth, stretch it to a fourth night so you have three full days, but after Tuscany, you'll be seeing a lot of similar kinds of places -- very charming hill towns that have been frozen in time. I loved it, but I felt that one day in Rovinj and one day to explore Istrian hill towns were enough. (And don't miss Groznjan; it was far and away my favorite of the hill towns, and, in fact, it's probably my favorite hill town comparing with the ones I visited on a different trip to Tuscany.)

I also loved Plitvice. I was in Rovinj first, and after an early start I drove from there to Plitvice and still had plenty of time to visit the park the same day without feeling rushed. So if you stay close to Plitvice, you could visit the park in the morning and then drive to Rovinj.

I agree that a visit to Trogir (half hour drive from Split) is worthwhile. You might consider visiting Split and then spending the night in Trogir. (There are a lot of places near the harbor in Split where you can stow your luggage for the day.)

I didn't get to Krka, so I can't comment on that.

If you want to do something really different on this trip, drive from Plitvice to Bihac, which is just across the border in Bosnia, about a half hour drive. You will have a significantly different experience there compared with anything else you're seeing on this trip.

What I came away with from all my research and planning was that there is no bad itinerary in this part of Europe. Whatever you see, you will love. Enjoy your trip!

Posted by
2 posts

Thank you all for the valuable replies and recommendations. I'll take another look at our itinerary with the feedback received and see what will work out best for us!