A Road Trip Through Croatia: A Travel Guide (Part 1)

This month, I got to check off one destination from my travel wish list – A Croatia trip!

That’s right, I just got back from a 10-day tour of the country. I traveled solo (more on this soon!) and explored Croatia in one of the best ways – Via a road trip! From the northern part of the country all the way down to Dubrovnik. If you’re visiting Croatia, I highly recommend traveling this way!

Why? Well, to answer that, I figured I ‘d break up my Croatia travel guide into a three-part series. That way, I can really get into more details. So, each post will cover my itinerary, tips for traveling in Croatia, and things to do in each city I explored. My hope is that you’ve stumbled on my little post as you’re searching for more info about Croatia travel and that you find it helpful as you plan your upcoming trip. Enjoy!

Croatia Travel: Getting Around

As I mentioned earlier, I traveled by myself to Croatia, and so navigating a new country had me a little nervous at first. But as I started to move around, I soon realized that there was nothing to be nervous about. Croatia is SUPER easy to travel through.

If you’re driving, like I did, there’s a couple of perks:

  1. There’s essentially one main drag going North / South along the coast, which hits most of the cities you’ll want to add to your itinerary.
  2. If you’re from the US, then I have great news for you. They drive on the same side of the road as we do! So no confusion there.

Note for road trippers though: There are tolls along the main drag. Just so be ready to spend about 50 to 90 kuna (about $8-$15 USD) each time you have to pay along the way. You can pay with either cash or card.

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This photo was taken while crossing the mountain range to and from Plitvice Lakes National Park. A quick car photo, but as always, don’t take pictures and drive!

My experience navigating was very easy, too. I didn’t have any problems with the Internet while abroad, so I was able to effortlessly use my GPS on my phone to get from place to place with no problems.

FYI: I booked my rental car from Hertz (via Orbitz), which was very easy to do. When I picked up my rental, all I needed to show was a credit card, a valid drivers license, and a passport. Make sure you get travel insurance, too! It will come in handy if you cause any damage, large or small, to the rental vehicle. You’ll usually see an optional request for damage and collision if you’re booking online. Otherwise, you might also be covered by your credit card.

Places To Visit In Croatia

The other perk of traveling through Croatia is that it’s a small country, full of small, beautiful cities. So, you can explore a lot even if you don’t have a ton of time. I had about six full days, which allowed me to explore:

  • Split for two days
  • Plitvice and Rastoke for one day
  • Makarska for one day
  • Dubrovnik for two days

In this post, I’ll cover my time in Split, Part 2 will cover my adventures in Plitvice Lakes National Park, and the last post, Part 3, will show off the beautiful cities of Makarska and Dubrovnik.

Things To Do In Croatia: The City of Split

I flew in and out of Split, so the historic city was my first impression of Croatia. And I loved it! I stayed in this awesome little Airbnb that was centrally located in the city.

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Split is a small city so you can see everything in about a day. However, I stayed for two nights, which I thought was enough time to explore a bit more and start to feel comfortable navigating on my own for the first time in a new country.

So, here are my recommendations for things to do in Split, Croatia:

  • Wake up early, grab a coffee, and head to the Diocletian’s Palace. I walked over around 7 am and there were just two other people with me, which is amazing because usually, it’s pretty packed! Did you know that these ruins are considered one the most impressive Roman buildings to survive? As such, it’s now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which makes it extra special.

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  • If you want idyllic village views, head to Voćni Trg, which used to be a fruit square way back when. You should be able to find it easily on Google Map. It’s fun to just wander around and take photos of the all the old buildings and cute storefronts.

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  • The Riva is a great place for a leisurely stroll along the waterfront. There’s an ample supply of restaurants you can choose from if you’re looking for a bite to eat with a view.

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  • Similar to my early morning rise recommendation with the Diocletian’s Palace, the Prokurative square (also known as the Republic Square) is another great spot to wander through in the AM. The square is surrounded by a pink building that was modeled after the St. Mark’s Square in Venice. Here, too, you can find all sorts of cafes if you’re looking for food.

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  • Looking for a hike? Then head on over to the Marjan Forest Park. There are trails all throughout the peninsula that offers great views of Split and the Adriatic Sea, beaches were you can swim, and some old churches you can explore. It’s the perfect spot if you’re looking for a quieter afternoon.

And here are a few great places to grab food and/or drinks while in the city:

  • Bokeria Kitchen + Wine Bar: Its away from the main spots, so it’s a little unassuming, but I really enjoyed this place. I found it randomly as I was exploring all the little streets and alleyways of Split. And it ended up being on the list that my Airbnb host recommended, too! It has such a cool vibe, which makes for a great spot for dinner and/or drinks in the evening.
  • If you want some Insta-worthy pics, head to the Olive Tree Vintage Cafe along the Riva. You can opt to sit outside under a canopy and enjoy the waterfront views, or you can head indoors and check out the large olive tree deco for a great photo opp. It’s a nice little spot to grab a drink in the evening.
  • If you head to Marjan Park, make sure to stop at Teraca Vidilica for a drink. You sit outside on a terrace, which makes for a great observation point of the city and the sea after a day in the park.

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There are SO many great places to visit in Croatia, and I’m so happy that my first vibe of the country started in Split. I met some of the nicest people. And like I mentioned earlier, it’s a small city. So for me, it wasn’t super overwhelming, which was welcoming for someone traveling on their own for the first time!

More to come on my road trip through Croatia. So, stay tuned for Part 2 and Part 3, coming soon! Make sure you don’t miss ’em – Follow me on Instagram or subscribe to my email newsletter so you never miss a beat. 🙂

Let’s go places,
Sarah

P.S., I used Airbnb to book all of my accommodations while in Croatia. And if you’ve followed my blog for a while, I’ve loved on Airbnb before. It really is a great resource to find unique places to stay AND meet locals while traveling. And lucky you! If you’re booking on Airbnb for the first time, you can grab $40 worth of travel credit by using my referral link. Enjoy!

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Have you been to Split? What are your favorite things about the city? Share with us in the comments section below.

All photos on this blog are mine. Feel free to share but please credit me with a link back to the blog. Much appreciated and thank you for your support!

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