Croatia is one of the world’s hottest and fastest-growing holiday destinations today, especially among British travellers. In fact, during the first half of 2018 alone, about 1.4 million visitors came to the country. All this is thanks to its generally warm and sunny weather, accessibility, atmospheric Roman ruins, and, of course, its Game of Thrones appeal. Whether you’re a GoT fan or not, your exploration of Croatia’s highlights will surely be one for the books.
If you’re ready to take on a new adventure, we recommend staying for more than three days to amply experience Croatia. With its more than 1,000 islands, historic cities like Dubrovnik and Split, and the Dinaric Alps, you’ll definitely be kept busy exploring during your entire stay here. There are various cities that you can’t miss visiting, as well as countryside views that should be on every Croatian trip’s itinerary. It boasts lush forests, waterfalls, and breathtaking views of the Adriatic. Plus, consider spending another day for personally seeing the filming locations of HBO’s famous Game of Thrones series. Before packing your bags, go ahead and check out this itinerary we’re recommending for an experience of Croatia that’s like no other!
Day 1 Explore The Beautiful City of Split in the Diocletian’s Palace, Bell Tower of Domnius Cathedral, Old Town, and Riva Promenade
Your first stop in Croatia really depends on your preferences but many tourists find arriving in Split a great way to have a sense of the country’s culture and sceneries. It’s best to just drop the map and get lost in the city’s winding streets and experience its mix of ancient history and modern life. It’s Croatia’s largest city and boasts a laidback vibe, with an intricate knot of cobbled streets. Dalmatians are stereotyped as real coffee drinkers whose drinking culture is sacrosanct.
Then, visit the city’s most famous attraction, the Diocletian’s Palace, which sits in the Old Town and was built for Emperor Diocletian in 305 AD. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the palace features three main phases, namely the Peristyle or the centre of the palace, the Cardo or one of the main streets through the palace, and the Cellar. Don’t miss to explore the Cellar, especially as this was where Daenerys kept her dragon when she was in Meereen.
While inside the palace, check out the St. Domnius Cathedral and its bell tower, which is the world’s oldest Catholic cathedral. It’s 60-metres high and has 183 steps from the ground to the top. It may not be easy climbing it but there is a viewing platform halfway up where you can stop and take a break at. Reaching the top, you’ll enjoy breathtaking views of Split and a refreshing breeze coming from the Adriatic.
From here, jump to the Old Town for a good meal at any of its fashionable cafes and restaurants, specifically in the People’s Square, which is situated in the heart of the Old Town. Then, burn the calories by enjoying a stroll on the Riva Promenade, which is the harbour of Split overlooking the Adriatic Sea and characterised by colourful buildings and palm trees. It’s the locals’ favourite spot for afternoon coffee and lazy evenings. Considered the stage of Split’s city life, you can easily catch entertainment and cultural events and a fun Split carnival.
Day 2 A Visit in the Croatian Islands, featuring Solta, Honey Tasting, and a Cave Exploration
Start your day early to get the most of this Croatian Islands experience. Take a ferry from Split’s port and head for Solta Island, with a beautiful sunrise view over the Adriatic Sea to wait for along the journey. This island is practically a suburb of Croatia’s Adriatic metropolis because it’s only 19 kilometres away from the city. You can explore this hilly island’s steep shores and deep bays with herbs and shrubs that carpet the place.
Make sure to taste the best honey in Europe, which Solta is famous for, by visiting the Tvrdic Honey Farm. This is the best opportunity to get up-close and personal with the traditional way Croatians make delicious and organic honey.
From here, take your time wandering around the local area to behold some of the smaller yet quaint villages such as Stomorska, Gornje, Maslinica, and Stelo. Get ready to feel like you’re being transported 200 years back with the glass and metal buildings surrounding you. Stomorska is situated on the southeast of Solta famous for its nautical and fishing traditions. It features a picturesque waterfront and stunning beaches, as well as an image of the local fishermen selling their catch in the early morning. Plus, it’s nice to catch the sight of sailing boats, old stone houses, and even taverns and modern cafes.
Pay a visit next to a family-owned winery where you can watch their wine-making process and treat yourself to tasting some traditional wines, anchovies, morning-baked bread, and juicy olives. Then, return to Split and continue your excursion to the Vranjaca Cave, which is about an hour away from the centre of the city. Get to the floor of the cave by descending a long staircase for an estimated 15 minutes, passing by sleeping bats. A guide will give you a tour of the cave as you experience its year-round, constant temperature of 15 degrees Celsius. Of course, your eyes can take delight at the sight of numerous stalactites and stalagmites that have been around for centuries.
Day 3 Exploring Central Dalmatia
It’s never a complete Croatian adventure without visiting Dalmatia, which is why you should see the famous five springs, namely Grab, Ruda, Cetina, Ovrlja, and Rumin. You’ll be fascinated to see these pristine springs whose water can be taken in straight from the source! Drinking from it is truly an experience for every traveller with no need to worry about the water’s potability. The springs are very deep and all you need is the freshly-surfaced water.
In the afternoon, make sure to head to Sinj where you can try frog legs at a local restaurant.
There is still so much to see and experience in Croatia, which is why we suggest spending more than three days here. But if you’re pressed for time, these recommendations suffice for a great adventure in the GoT country.