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Itinerary for One Week in Croatia - Any Suggestions/Advice?

I'm headed to Croatia in early September for about a week, and I'd love any comments/advice/warnings on the itinerary we've put together!

Friday: We arrive in Dubrovnik late and have arranged to pick up our rental car at the airport (since the hotel has free parking). We've booked two nights at the Hotel Bellevue, outside of the old town.

Saturday: Private sailing excursion to the Elifiti islands (10am-5pm). They've promised us a visit all three Elafiti islands with a chance to swim, sail (as wind provides) and have a lunch on one of the islands. We'll head into town for dinner. Any recommendations? I've heard good things about Proto and D'vino wine bar and Konoba Bonaca. And I feel like we have to stop for a cocktail at Cafe Buza! :)

Sunday: I've been told we should avoid the old town during the day. After some morning time at the beach, I've come up with a couple of options: head to lunch at a seaside konoba and do the cable car in the afternoon OR drive up to Peljasic peninsula for beaches and oysters/wine. I'd love any suggestions, though! We'll aim to get to the city walls by 5:30pm, and then do dinner at the Victoria restaurant at the Villa Orsula. Any thing we should be mindful of, in terms of opening/closing hours or anything else, on a Sunday?

Monday: Drive to Drvenik to catch the ferry to Hvar. We can do lunch in Sucuraj, I think? Then we'll drive to Stari Grad to check in to our hotel. Any tips for Stari Grad?

Tuesday: I'd love to explore the island and Hvar town. Has anyone done a wine tour they'd recommend? Any restaurant recommendations in Hvar town?

Wednesday: We'll be up early to take the ferry over to Split, and then I'd like to drive the coastal road through Primosten and Trogir as we head toward the Plitvice Lakes. Maybe stop for lunch in Sibenik or Zadar? We just need to end up at our hotel near Plitvice Lakes before too late in the evening, so any tips along that route would be much appreciated.

Thursday: Tour Plitvice Lakes early in the day, grab a quick lunch and then drive to Rovinj. I'm hoping we can check in to our hotel (the Monte Mulini) before 6pm and then eat dinner in town. Any favorite spots in Rovinj we should check out?

Friday: I'd like to explore Rovinj a bit and also drive around some of the hill towns in Istria. I've heard good things about Grožnjan, and everyone seems to stop at Motovun.

Saturday: We'll have some time in the morning, but we'll be headed to Slovenia by early afternoon.

Posted by
5687 posts

That's a fast itinerary for sure (though I travel fast too). Yes, as I replied to you on the other thread, Grožnjan is great, by far my favorite of the four towns I visited.

I loved Sibenik. I liked Zadar too - it's a shame you can't stop at both, but Zadar is more of a detour from the A1 than Sibenik is, so I'd probably stop there.

There isn't much in the way of food at Plitvice. The park hotels serve dinner I think. There isn't much of a town nearby. I ate at the pizza place that also rents ski equipment. If that doesn't suit you, try to eat before you get to Plitvice - and I don't necessarily think it's so bad to arrive late if the place can accommodate you. If you don't mind burgers from a snack bar, you can eat lunch inside the park the next day if you want

Rovinj is small - and wonderful - but "exploring" it doesn't necessarily take much time. But it's a nice place to come back to for dinner at night.

Posted by
594 posts

You definitely want to do the old town walls of Dubrovnik at the end of the day. There was hardly anyone there when I did it in early September two years ago. Seeing the sunset from here is amazing. So, I think you can afford to get here a little later, but I don't know their hours on Sunday's.

The RS guidebook has some good recommendations for food in Rovinj. I went to one, but can't remember the name of it off the top of my head and Google Maps is not being helpful. It's on the south side of the "peninsula" (opposite side of town from your hotel) and has a great outdoor patio with great views of the town. It does get busy, so you might want to reserve. Sorry I can't think of the name right now.

Are you going to Ljubljana and Bled? If so, and if this is your first time in Slovenia, the food is AMAZING!

Posted by
9 posts

Gabriel/Andrew - So helpful! Thank you!

And Gabriel, we are indeed headed to Ljubljana and Lake Bled for a couple of days (before finishing up the trip in Vienna). I'm glad to hear we have more great meals to look forward to there! :)

Posted by
594 posts

Drop me a line if you need restaurant suggestions. Will you be in Ljubljana on a Friday?

Posted by
5687 posts

I guess I'd opt for walking the walls of Dubrovnik as early as you can in the morning (which is when I did it a few years ago) - before it gets hot, and in September, it can still get really hot in Dubrovnik. I know it was a very warm day in early October when I walked the walls, even in the morning. I wouldn't have wanted to do it late in the day. But of course, in the morning you have to compete with cruise ship tourists, so try to get there as early as they open the walls.

There are other great choices to see sunset in Dubrovnik e.g. the Buza Bar(s).

Posted by
16 posts

I don't have suggestions, because we haven't been yet, but our trip to Croatia is in a couple weeks and our itinerary is almost identical! I keep thinking it is a bit fast too, but I think totally doable.


Posted by
1166 posts

We just returned from a two week trip through Croatia and Slovenia.

  1. We stayed in Hvar Town, not Stari Grad. Have you considered it instead of Stari Grad ? It is only 15 minutes away and just lovely. We did not think it was too resort-ish. We stayed at Olive Tree Apartments which had an amazing balcony overlooking the harbor and 2 minutes walk into town.

  2. We drove the opposite direction from your itinerary, so we drove into Sucarej to take the ferry into Drvenik. Sucarej was SMALL ! And the road from Sucarej into Hvar Town was extremely narrow…..

  3. We drove from Rovinj to Plitvice to arrive BEFORE dark. We stayed at Hotel Deginija and they have a restaurant - there aren't many food options ! And then got to Plitvice at 7:45 to hike EVERY trail - we finished by 2 and drove to Split. Your itinerary is spot on.

  4. We did not get to Sibenik or Trogir, but everyone on here loves them - they would be great spots for a lunch break.

Posted by
9 posts

Carla, this is so helpful! Thank you! And Christine, I'd love any insight/tips when you get back from your trip. :)

We just returned from an 8-day tour of Croatia mid-July and had the most amazing time.

You have a great itinerary. I would def do the Dubrovnik walls at sunset and check out a little bar called Buza which is a hole in the walls (there are 2, actually. Fun to walk around and find!) We didn't get to take the tram up to the fortress Trg but would have liked to.

Hvar Town is amazing. We stayed near there not in Stari Grad. Have to recommend a restaurant called Dalmatino Hvar- make a reservation! Mind blowing food and service. We rented a boat and did a little tour of the islands and lunch and drinks on Palmizana beach. But with only one day I would just stay in Hvar. Walk up to the old fortress above Hvar Town in the morning or evening for a great view of the city and harbor.

We didn't get to Rovinj or Pula but those will be on the next trip for sure, based on what I've heard from friends who grew up in Trieste vacationing there.

We did 2 days in Zadar and LOVED it as well. Definitely another great stop!

You will LOVE Plitvice lakes! No recommendations other than try the strudel they sell on the way into/out of the park. ;0P

Oh man, I am SO jealous. I can't imagine a better vacation ever in my life. Have a blast!

Posted by
9 posts

Alysson - Thanks so much! Just made a reservation for your restaurant recommendation in Hvar. :)