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Split and North itinerary

Hello, planning a trip this summer. Open jaw NYC to Split then out of Zagreb. Wanted to see if anyone would have advice of an itinerary.

Arrive July 4 mid day, leave July 15 afternoon.

Edited Posted:
Last year we went to the beaches of Dubrovnik and fell in love! Which is why we are returning. We love exploring Old cities, and seeing the natural beauty of the beaches. We are not history museum people, but did get a good recommendation already from someone who could give us a walking tour and provide us with the history of Split.

We would like to see Krka, Plitvice (if possible), and either hire a boat for a day from Split and explore islands (anyone have any recommendations- we had a great company in DBV for about 400 euro for the full day which included gas and captain), or we would be open to going to an island for a few nights if people thought our time allowed.

We love hiking and spending time outdoors. We are 30, and although not real party animals, we will be with another couple and would be happy to have a night life scene (Hvar). How’s Zadar? Not trying to cram in too much.

Open to renting a car if needed (or hiring if not much more expensive than renting- any advice on this). We will have our luggage (most likely 4 bigger suitcases) so we will need to be mindful of that. When we were in Dubrovnik someone told us crime rate was extremely low so I was not worried about leaving luggage in the car as long as if was covered if we did rent a car if Split and the other cities are the same.

We have not purchased our return ticket yet so we could return from Split to NYC if needed (I think the route is just a bit longer).

Posted by
19385 posts

Do you plan to rent a car, or will you be using buses and trains?

You have just ten full days, so you won't have time for all of this:

  • Trogir (very near Split, easy day-trip, I assume)
  • Sibenik
  • Zadar (a sort of mini-Dubrovnik without a walkable wall, so not a top priority on a short trip like this)
  • Plitvice Lakes National Park. Spend the night before the visit at a hotel inside or very near the park so you can enter at opening time and have some time before the hordes arrive. If you can arrive by mid-afternoon, you can see part of the park later, after a lot of the day-trippers have departed. This strategy is absolutely critical. You do not want to treat Plitvice as a day-trip from Split or Zagreb or as an in-transit visit. This would be a top priority for me.
  • Perhaps an island. Others can suggest their favorites. Logistical practicality will be a key issue.
  • Istrian Peninsula (but this really needs 4 nights, or perhaps just 3 if you have a car)
  • I'd alot a minimum of one full day in Zagreb, more it you're an art-lover because there are lots of interesting museums.

If you prefer to be more adventurous, you could head east out of Split to Mostar and/or Sarajevo.

Posted by
2009 posts

If you'll have a car, from Plitvice you can drive in an evening to the Istrian peninsula. We spent a full day in Plitvice, so we stayed in Opatija to limit driving that day. The following day we made short visits to Pula and Rovinj on the way to Porec, where we spent the night before continuing our 16 day trip into Piran, Ljubljana and Lake Bled, Slovenia. Then back to Zagreb for our flight.

You wouldn't have time for all that, but could pick and choose.

Posted by
5024 posts

You don’t say what your interests are or if you are hiring a car. Your first and last days don’t count if you are going to be suffering from jet lag. What interested you to book Croatia?

Split itself needs at least a full day. Nearby Trogir is a half day plus trip. If you want 3 nights on an island, I would take the ferry to Stari Grad on Hvar. Hvar town will be full of noisy partygoers in the summer, so is best avoided, unless you want to join them.

If you hire a car from Split, you could see Krka National Park and Plitvice, but Plitvice will be busy, so stay the night before to try to beat the crowds.

Do you want beach time?

Istria needs at least 4 nights, ideally 5 as it’s quite a drive to get there.

Posted by
27 posts

Just updated the post with some more of our interests- thanks for the idea Jennifer- I was pretty vague in my initial post :)

Posted by
19385 posts

You'd have to be very careful about car size if you need to accommodate four people with "likely 4 bigger suitcases". Trunks of European cars are generally not large at all. Ignore this comment if you've traveled in this same party of four before and know the luggage will fit in the type of car you would rent.

I have no personal experience with theft from cars in Europe, but I believe it's fairly prevalent in places with a lot of tourists passing through (who are perceived as likely to have good stuff in the trunk, whether they do or not). There have been warnings about this in guidebooks going back at least to the 1960s, and that was a time when the typical tourist didn't have a thousand dollars worth of tablets/smartphones with him. Having been pickpocketed in an historic town in Bulgaria (where I'd put the risk a great deal lower than along the Croatian coast), I'd suggest proceeding with caution.

I can't say anything about nightlife possibilities in Zadar (though Google might turn up something) because I arrived fairly late on a rainy evening and went straight to my lodgings, so I only saw the town in the daytime.

Posted by
2080 posts

If you want to include Plitvice, do the Zagreb return. If Krka scratches that itch, it is close enough for a day trip from Split and I'd go with a Split return.
You could go to Vis for a few days, then spend some time in Split, then stop at Plitvice en route to Zagreb. After four visits to Croatia, Vis remains my favorite for beaches. You do need to use wheels of some sort to get to the best ones though (car can be rented on island, or scooter, or bike if you are of heartier stock than me--steep hill getting out of Vis town and it will be HOT).
If you are going to rent a car, try to limit the bags to carry-on size at least. No car would be necessary though.

Posted by
72 posts

To reach Plitvice and to see the park takes many hours. Naturally, you will be tired. I suggest if you are with the car to book accommodation somewhere on D 52 road. has a hotel, flight, and car rentals.