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Croatia itinerary by car

After visiting the country 3 times, including the mainland and the island, I've managed to identify the best places, which should definitely be included in your itinerary of travel in Croatia by car. For the described route in Croatia you will need at least 18 days! It will be a very quick tour from Dubrovnik to Biograd na Moru, but you will study all the most iconic places and sights to the fullest)

Croatia sightseeing Dubrovnik region

  •     Cavtat - 1 day
  •     old town + walls of Dubrovnik + viewing platforms - 1 day
  •     island of Korcula (ferry Orebic - Korcula) - 1 day

Over the new Pelješac bridge (Pelješac bridge 2022) you get to Makarska region - the pearl of Croatia - a beautiful mountain range

  •     Island Hvar - ferry #1: Drvenik - Sućuraj, ferry #2: Split - Stari Grad (preferred) - 1 day
  •     Podgorje - 1 day
  •     Biokovo nature park - 1 day
  •     Makarska - 1 day
  •     Baška Voda - 1 day
  •     Brela - 1 day

Split Region - Croatia's metropolis

  •     Omis - 1 day
  •     Split - 1 day
  •     Trogir + Rogoznica - 1 day

Sibenik region - hilly region

  •     Primošten - 1 day
  •     Krka Park + Sibenik - 1 day
  •     Vodice - 1 day

Zagreb region - Croatian metropolis

  •     Plitvice Lakes National Park - 2 days (with road from the waterfront)
  •     Zagreb - 1 day

Croatia (Croatia) is a resort country of luxury holidays among the red roofs. Although, to be more accurate, an expensive vacation. Hence, as a positive consequence - it is not overcrowded with vacationers in contrast to neighboring Albania and Montenegro. However, referring to the experienced travelers, we can say that the prices are inflated more than the views and attractions. Greece and Montenegro win on the adequacy of prices, with similar natural beauty and sights of the country.

Our road trip through Croatia continued in August-September 2018, after visiting neighboring Montenegro. Booking accommodation in the first settlement in Croatia, we were immediately confronted with the level of prices. It should be emphasized that the accommodation was booked through the service Booking. In this regard, the prices are not low. Searching for local accommodation for 1-2 days is not reasonable. The effort to find it at a low price can take longer than the benefit of the price difference.

The first city to settle was chosen Cavtat, or rather the village near the road Zvekovica. The aim was to visit Dubrovnik and its surroundings. Therefore were booked 2 nights. Where to stay we chose according to the reviews on the internet, travelers advised either Cavtat or Mlina. In spite of the fact that Mlýny was closer to Dubrovnik, still the majority preferred to settle in Cavtat. In fact, they were right.

Cavtat is the jewel of the Dubrovnik region

It is a small, sparsely populated city on the Adriatic Sea. From the sea side the city is surrounded by a very beautiful and long promenade, consisting of two parts. Having settled in Zvekovice, it is convenient to get to Cavtat in 5 minutes. Almost near the promenade itself, it's pretty easy to park for free and you can walk around. The beauty is the change of places (cafes, stores, beaches) and views during the walk. The walk can last 3 or more hours. Personally, I would classify this town as one of the best in Croatia. There is everything and close: beaches, promenade, and most importantly the cozy location of the city. It is located in the bay and sheltered from the wind and waves. Beautiful ships call at the harbor, which are moored at the pier in the center. Near the pier is a succession of cozy cafes where people sit and enjoy the views. Here you can feel the luxury of Croatia, with its leisurely pace of life and tranquil beauty.

For those who want to stay in Cavtat for a week or two, the town is perfect for a beach holiday. The beaches are many, there are equipped with trestle beds and "wild" on the rocks. There are enough people everywhere not to feel "deserted", but also not too many, when "the apple does not fall on the ground".

Цавтат - центр города и набережной
Цавтат - вид с прогулочной тропы на центр
Цавтат - прогулочная тропа
Цавтат - один из пляжей в высокий сезон (август 2018)


Dubrovnik is a popular tourist attraction in Croatia

We are talking about the old city, walled and with adjoining harbors. There are even regular excursions from Montenegro. In general, it should be understood that there is a region called Dubrovnik, which is not only the old city, but a very large territory of Croatia.

As for the old city, the entrance is free (which is surprising for Croatia). An important point is that parking in the whole country, and Dubrovnik is no exception, is paid or private. Think about it in advance. This is especially true in Dubrovnik. There are no spaces close to the entrance, or they are expensive. There is a huge parking lot for commuters - signs lead to it along the road. Driving off the highway, you can immediately look for this parking lot, not the entrance to the old town.

Entertainment in Dubrovnik:

  • A walk along the walls of the city (an equipped passage along the entire fortress wall). The walk along the walls of Dubrovnik takes about 1-1.5 hours, cost 20 euros (in 2018) per person (tickets must be kept until the exit, go down the wall only at the end).
  • Funicular ride to the viewpoint. From Dubrovnik itself you can go up the mountain on the elevator, again for 20 euros per person.
  • A walk through the old town itself inside.

If you have, let's face it, "extra" money, you can do the above two points. Or, you can, walk around the city itself inside and outside, along the harbor. These will be the same views you are invited to explore from the walls of the fortress, but for free. Also recommend that you take the car up to the same viewpoint, which takes the elevator from the fortress walls. You need to go on the road to the top, there will be visible where to park (for free). Moreover, the views are more beautiful, just a little bit not reaching the top of the elevator. Entering this road is possible from the road in the direction of Cavtat.

Дубровник - на верх ездит подъемник или справа (с трассы на Цавтат) можно заехать на автомобиле
Дубровник - панорама стен старого города из гавани
Дубровник- лестница - подъем на стены крепости для прогулки по ним (вход платный, 20 евро / чел, билет хранить до выхода, спускаться со стен только в самом конце, иначе назад не пустят, время прогулки 1-1,5 часа)
Дубровник - вид со смотровой площадки (конечная точка подъемника) на старый город, заезд на нее со сторны Цавтата с трассы

Г  - harbor for outside view, Ц - main street for walking, other streets are narrow, C - walls of Dubrovnik, П  - expensive parking lot, Под - Lift

Дубровник - панорама всего региона "Дубровник", старый город-крепость огороженный стенами расположен слева.

If the old town is placed on the right hand, on the left hand is the port part of Dubrovnik. It is huge, but it is not walkable. Cruise liners enter it, many cars pass through and there is a lot of traffic. But it is worth the drive to feel the power and beauty of the international port. We recommend climbing up after crossing the bridge in the direction of Makarska. You will have beautiful views of the whole Dubrovnik region, including the old town and the port with the ships. There are viewing platforms where you can easily park and take photos. There is nothing more to do in Dubrovnik. For a holiday for a week or two, we personally do not recommend it.

Tips for the Dubrovnik region: you can settle in the villages at an affordable price Cavtat and Mlina. Quite cheap is Zvekovica (August 2018 - quite cheap here is 50 euros). Visiting Dubrovnik is better in the evening when the heat is gone, starting at 17:00. Parking, the farther from the old city, the cheaper, near the walls about 400 UAH (170-200 kuna). If you ask local drivers - they will advise you where you can park for free (these streets will be difficult to find, but if you want you can). First you should look at the old town from the viewpoint, drive to it from the road to Cavtat. Then walk inside, through the streets of the old fortress town. Then be sure to look at the city from the side of the harbor, outside the fortress walls of Dubrovnik. Make panoramic photos from the observation deck behind the port of Dubrovnik, just behind the bridge in the direction of Makarska.

Croatia is divided into several regions, the first of which we visited was Dubrovnik. Let's go further.

Makarska is the most picturesque and mountainous region - the pearl of Croatia

If you are on vacation and your goal is relaxation, take the seafront road, not the autobahn. The road will be longer, a little slower, but much more scenic. Up to the Makarska region there is a chain of islands along the coast, so the coastal villages are not of resort interest to you. On the way there is the town of Neum - the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is the only resort town in the country Bosnia Herzegovina. In the season we hit a huge traffic jam, 1-1.5 hours because of the border crossing. We go straight to Podgor, the first town that needs your attention in the Makarska region.

Advice on roads in Croatia: If your goal is to get to know the country, not to get from point A to point B, take the road along the waterfront. All roads in the country are very good. The journey will be longer and longer, but much more scenic.

Podgora - the best combination of beauty, coziness and prices in the region of Makarska

The town successfully combines a beach holiday during the day and promenade in the evening. Beautiful views from the promenade. The town is cozy. To the right of the center of the promenade are pebble beaches with shade from the trees. On all beaches, the water is crystal clear. To the left is a long ridge of equipped beaches. The promenade also extends to the left, up to the next settlement. Prices for housing are adequate. Everything is within easy reach. The town is entirely suitable for a week-two vacation.

Подгора - панорама набережной

Advice for Makarska region: you can stay in Podgorje for 2 or more days. The number of overnight stays will depend on the time you spend on the beach. You can allot 1 day for the acquaintance with Podgora. The second day will take you to Biokovo. We also recommend visiting Makarska, staying for the night in Podgora. A couple of hours will be enough for a walk along the seafront in Makarska.

The protected park "Biokovo" - car ride on the serpentine mountain

From Podgora starts the serpentine road leading directly to Biokovo. The serpentine has pockets for passing cars, but is quite narrow in places. In the morning there are the least cars, so this is the most comfortable time to start visiting the reserve. By lunchtime, traffic jams begin and frequent passing is required. Although there are a lot of pockets, but often the one going up has to turn back. Hence the conclusion to skip up in the morning, and then go down a little bit and enjoy the views. Most of the road is absolutely comfortable, but just near the peak of St. George serpentine is very steep and quite narrow. During the day with a large number of cars it might be uncomfortable even for an experienced driver. By the way, don't expect any special views at this peak, rather enjoy the adrenaline of driving over the serpentine over the precipices.

Биоково - панорамный вид на пике Святой Юрий, виден горный серпантин

Vosac Peak is lower and you will reach it by car from St. George Peak. This peak requires you to climb on foot to enjoy the views of the sea, the town and the whole Makarska region. It is worth it. It is about 30-60 minutes of slow walking up the trail. At the top it is fresh and breezy, you can grab a jacket. After the descent, there are nice tables waiting for you in the woods to park your car. Here you can have breakfast with some food taken from home. In the morning, leaving at 6-7 a.m., you are unlikely to want to eat. And after a drive to St. George's Peak, walking on the Vosak Peak, your appetite will be a lion! Here the cage with food will be quite appropriate.

Биоково Vosac - пеший подъем по тропе 30-60 минут до пика и обзорной площадки (кстати наверху домик - это магазин с напитками)
Биоково - панорамный вид с видовой площадки пика Vosac (пеший подъем около 40 минут), внизу город Макарска

Then there is a car descent to the first observation point, where we also take pictures. The views are of average quality. And somewhere in this region, you are sure to meet a herd of horses on the road! They do not go off the road willingly. You have to drive a little bit and call them through the open window with fruits and vegetables. They won't keep you waiting long. We had cucumbers. They were eaten quickly and neatly.) By the way the cucumbers were taken on the advice from the Internet, all who visited Biokovo write about it! There are no horses in the morning, they come out in the afternoon.

Биоково - лошади на дороге, привычные к авто и людям
Биоково - лошади очень привычные к людям и авто (кстати, прочитали эту информацию в интернете и специально взяли огурцы)

Advice for the Biokovo Reserve: leave as soon as it begins to dawn. Take your breakfast with you. Take apples, carrots, cucumbers, etc. to feed the horses. It takes you up to 30 minutes to get to the pass barrier of the reserve. Entry fee is paid, counted by the number of people - 7 euros/person, there is a children's ticket. First, drive without stops to St. Jure Peak (St Jure, 1768 m). Then you have to go back down a bit and turn right to Vosac peak (1400 m). You will have to walk up to the observation point by following the sign to "Sea view". From the top you can admire the panorama of Makarska and the homonymous town. The descent from Vosak peak will be faster, about 20 minutes. Lunch at the parking lot after the physical exertion and rest, or rather relax in the woods. After continue your descent by car along the road. On the way you will be able to make the final photo near the "Restaurant" - the first observation deck on the ascent to the top.

Descent from Biokovo it is logical to end with a walk through the village of Tučepi. You can also just visit the town of Makarska itself. After Biokovo you are released around lunch time. The whole cultural program in the reserve takes about 6 hours. This is a tour of the two peaks, climbing the peak on foot and having breakfast in the woods, and of course all the photo sessions.


Makarska - Croatia's beautiful metropolis

We set aside a day to spend the night in Makarska. However, from personal experience we do not recommend it. It is better to just come for a walk, for example after visiting Biokovo. Makarska is undoubtedly a very beautiful city. But he is like most metropolitan cities, is not cozy and comfortable in terms of relaxation. As a tour, a couple of three hours, Makarska chic.

Макарска - панорамный вид на набережную и гору-заповедник Биоково

The peninsula to the right of the center of Makarska will take you 1-2 hours to walk. It is a very slow walk, with pictures of every bush and resting on benches. The views are beautiful, a must visit. By the way the walking part is called a park. In fact, just a trail, in some places just trampled by people. Then 30 minutes to the central part of the promenade. It is a port with a ferry, so the walk is specific.

To the left of downtown is a walking trail to the "touted" nudist beach, "Nugal beach," supposedly with views. In the end, it is a road through the woods, about an hour long at an average walking pace, along the coast - beautiful, but the views do not change and it becomes too monotonous a walk. At the end, the beach is ordinary, no views. That is, if you're passing through town, don't even build this route into your schedule. We had an overnight stay in town, so we were looking for somewhere to walk. Beaches by the way all are already crowded with people, unlike Cavtat.

Макарска - часть дороги вокруг полуостровка, пляжи местные

We passed through the neighboring towns without stopping, but through all the embankments. Any of the villages Baška voda and Brela are worthy of your attention for an overnight stay. Again for the purpose of relaxing on the beach, evening promenade and visiting Makarska as an excursion.

Then we headed to the next region of Croatia, through Omis.

Omis is a "photogenic" unconventional city in Croatia.

Its special location gives it a special charm. However, 1 day with an overnight stay is also enough to explore it. We must visit the fortress with climbing up to the top, just for the photo. The entrance fee is 50 kuna/person. Walking through the streets of the old city in the daytime will take a couple of hours. You can also walk deep into the mountains through the tunnels. By evening, you can watch the lights of the now new town come on, walk along the sea and riverfront. This is the end of the review of the city of Omis. For a holiday, it is not very suitable. Prices there are overpriced, as in Dubrovnik. You will have to live far away from the beach and travel by car. The beaches on the sea are open and blown around by the wind. The city is beautiful and very "photogenic", but for rest and relaxation is not suitable.

Омиш - панорама с крепости на город вдоль реки
Омиш - панорама с крепости на выход в море

Then our way was to Split region with overnight stay for 2 days in Trogir. Already by experience in Makarska, in Split we stopped at the seafront and drove through the center of the city by car. Nowhere even wanted to stop. The beaches are already "like in Albania", full of people. There was a lot of traffic in the city. Didn't like it at all.

Trogir is a "mini version" of Dubrovnik

All localities in Split region are small and unremarkable. We considered Trogir on the internet reviews as suitable for a beach holiday and booked 2 days. As a result, 1 day for Trogir and no overnight stay - our advice from experience. A couple of hours is enough to explore every corner of the old town and the promenade of Trogir. The old town is very similar to Dubrovnik: a fortress wall, polished stone paved streets, little houses-they are shops, etc. If you want you can drive to the left of the central promenade across the bridge. The road will go along the "resort places" - the houses along the beaches. But here the water is not azure and murky. As if where in the city there is a drain of some kind. In the city went to walk on foot, about an hour in one direction by an easy walking step. Maximum, I liked to sit on the shore, watching the planes take off and land at the airfield, on the other side in 1 km.

Трогир - пляжная набережная с домиками вдоль берега, длинною десяток километров

Rogoznica - a relaxing vacation in Croatia

In Rogoznica we stayed for 2 days. The town is suitable for a beach holiday. There are no sights in the neighborhood. Despite this, the town has a special charm because of its geographical location. All the houses are on the shore in the bay - no waves or wind, the water is crystal clear. Minus is a large presence of sea urchins on the rocks. To go into the water is better in slippers and on the stones do not put your feet in the water. In some places on Rogoznica there are sandy beaches quite large, with a smooth entrance to the water.

The promenade of Rogoznica is very comfortable - a wide path goes around the island, across the bridge and beyond. The views change during the walk, from one beautiful to even more beautiful. The central part of the walk is small and interesting only in the evening, when the lights are on. The town in general is small and cozy. Prices in the village are not cheap, but justified by the beauty of nature. It is necessary to settle just on the island where the evening promenade takes place. It is better on the opposite side relative to the center of the island (marked with an L). The center is located immediately at the exit from the bridge (marked C). In Rogoznica, Dubrovnik, Cavtat and other cities in Croatia is strongly felt the luxury of European life - beautiful houses with red roofs, expensive yachts in the bays in huge numbers. Remarkable is also the fact that all this luxury is in the bosom of beautiful nature - mountains, sea and a lot of greenery, all around are clean and well-groomed. It is safe to call Croatia a place of cultural rest for elite and intelligent people.

Рогозница - план поселка. Ж - лучшее место для жилья. Ц - центр / вечерний променад. Дорога вокруг острова слева вся прогулочная. Справа только вдоль набережной с яхтами, далее камни и тропки лесные.
Рогозница - панорамный вид на центральную часть города
Рогозница - вид на центральную часть города с противоположной стороны (относительно фото выше), прогулочная дорога вокруг острова

After Rogoznica, we turned towards home. We drove through Sibenik through the promenade and the city center without stopping. The metropolitan style is felt in everything. The embankment is cargo-port - there is no place to walk. Traffic jams, lots of people. On the way we stayed overnight in Rovanjska.

Rovanjska - small town on the way to the reserve Krka

We found out from the Internet, that people spent the night in Rovanjska, when they were traveling on the way to the park Krka. The town is small, or rather small. But the promenade for such a town is not small. It is long, clean, with benches and parking places. But everything around is depressing. Everything is inversely proportional to the metropolis - no stores, no cars, and yes people are rare.

Rovanjska - набережная

Zagreb - the cultural center of architecture and the capital of Croatia

Our next stop for a walk and overnight stay was the city of Zagreb, the capital of Croatia. Zagreb is analogous to Ukrainian Lviv, Dutch Amsterdam, etc. We advise to walk around the main cultural sites. One day is more than enough time to travel around the city. All attractions are marked on the map (we were given at the settlement), it was very convenient to move around on it. Everything is collected in one place, around the central square B.Elacic and the central street Ilica. As an entertainment you can take a streetcar ride along the whole central street.

Загреб - панорама города с обзорной площадки. Нужно пройти по тонелю или подняться на "древнем" эсклаторе от центральной площади до парка.
Загреб - центральная улица Илица
Загреб - центральная площадь Б. Елачича
Загреб - одна из улиц. Район где сосредоточены все достопримечательности "старого города"

Nature and views in Croatia depend on the region of the country - from the mountains to the hills

Dubrovnik region is hilly-mountainous. The most beautiful mountainous region is Makarska. There are many paths along the water and chic promenades, but we learned about it during a trip to Croatia in 2022) Split - Sibennik - Zadar region - there are no mountains anymore. Hilly terrain.

The whole of Croatia is divided into island and continental parts, like Greece. Ferries go to the islands. Most of the Croatian islands go along the coast, which makes a huge part of the continental waterfront unattractive to tourists. Our route was exactly along the continental waterfront.

The clarity of the sea water in Croatia is crystal clear, transparent, but without much azure

The water is mostly just clear everywhere, even in the big cities. And crystal - in the villages and small towns, in some places azure.

The population and visiting tourists in Croatia - European culture throughout.

People - there is a very strong contrast with Albania. There is a "European" culture in everything. They try to keep order and cleanliness. The beaches are clean and not very crowded. On the beaches and walking areas there is no accumulation of garbage and "fragrant" garbage cans. Throughout the country, drivers are disciplined, even cars with Italian plates behave differently. If in Albania, the dividing and reserve lanes are used by Albanian and Italian drivers "as I want". Here, if there is a queue of cars, not a single one moves into these lanes. Everyone uses warning light signals, such as turn signals, which again is not the case in Albania. To clarify, sound signals are not used, such as in Sri Lanka. So in Colombo in general, you need earplugs, especially at rush hour.

It so happened that we visited by turns Albania and Croatia with an interval of 2 weeks. We can conclude that these two countries are antipodes of each other.

Fruits and food in Croatia - you will have to look for delicacies

Croatia lags far behind neighboring Montenegro in the range of products and prices. Prsut and cheese are more expensive in Croatia - it is logical, their homeland is Montenegro. But that is why figs in Montenegro, both white and blue, large and small, cost no more than 3 euros per kg. And in Croatia - small white "peas", not figs, priced from 5 euros. Along the whole road there are many trees of such small figs, so if you want you can eat them for free. There are no selected figs and at the markets you will be sold exactly the same, as you pick from the tree. In general there is not much fruit. In Ukraine there are 10 varieties of peaches and nectarines. In Croatia, there are peaches and nectarines, without any "white swan", "apple or plum. And the prices are twice higher than in Ukraine. Considering that these fruits do not grow in Ukraine, unlike in Croatia.

Automobile roads in Croatia are on the highest level.

Lodging in Croatia - offers a lot, but all absolutely expensive.

Prices for accommodation are exaggerated exorbitantly. There is no cheap accommodation. In terms of beauty and "purity" Croatia can easily be for many holidays. However, if we compare the nature and adequacy of prices - it is clearly better to go to Montenegro.

So, Croatia is a must-see. The length of the continental promenade is huge. If it is necessary to choose a region for relaxation and rest, it is unequivocally Makarska. If you are interested in sightseeing - the Dubrovnik region. In the interior of Croatia, there are several nature reserves - nature parks. Having read online reviews, we did not visit them. Because we were in high season, and at this time, everyone complains about the large influx of people in Krka and Plitvice Lakes. Also from the internet we heard that there is a lot of tourism on the islands of Croatia, we did not visit them. We had a goal - the continental promenade of the Balkan Peninsula in a month. And we successfully achieved it!


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