Have you been to Croatia or thinking about going?! I HIGHLY recommend it and am sharing my 7 day Croatia Itinerary here!
A lot of people have asked me why we chose to go to Croatia, and it’s pretty simple. We have traveled throughout a lot of Europe including Paris, London, South of France (Nice, St. Tropez, Monaco, and Marseille), through Italy (Rome, Florence, Venice, Capri, Positano, Sorrento, Pompei and Amalfi), Amsterdam, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Germany and I’m probably forgetting a few places lol, and I kept hearing we had to see Croatia. I started researching Croatia since I hadn’t heard much about it in previous years, and I was blown away once I started seeing photos from there. They had most gorgeous beaches, crystal clear blue water and of course historic cities like the ones a lot of you saw in Game of Thrones! If you want to see some amazing photos go check out this Instagram!
Since I am the one to plan all the trips abroad for my husband and I, no travel agents necessary, the first thing I do is start looking into cities to see where we want to stay and I usually look at other blogs for help with itineraries. I saw a 7 day Croatia itinerary online HERE and knew we wanted to do something similar. The next step is to start looking for flights into and out of certain cities and comparing days, times and prices – this is the hardest part, especially since I usually like to use points and I like to at least book Economy Plus when we are doing long-haul flights. I ultimately decided we would fly into Dubrovnik and out of Split on Austrian Airlines booked through Amex Travel using points and then I knew we would travel to Hvar in between by ferry. I asked a few friends who had been to Croatia, and they suggested that we spend most of our time on the island Hvar and that we could island hop from there to see other islands if we wanted to, but that was a great home base! So without further ado, here is our itinerary:
Day 1: Take overnight flight to Dubrovnik and land at 3pm Croatia time. We slept on the plane to ward off jetlag so we could immediately start sightseeing once we landed since we only planned to spend one night in Dubrovnik. We ubered to our hotel, Hotel Kazbek, to drop our bags off and check in, and headed out to catch another uber into Old Town Dubrovnik (our hotel was not walking distance to Old Town, but it was so nice if you don’t mind staying a little ways from the main Old Town part, although it was right next to the ferry port/marina, which was helpful when leaving). Once we got to the Old Town, we walked around and immediately felt like we were transported back in time. The cobblestone streets and little cafes and shops are the cutest. There is so much old world charm. We eventually made our way to Buza Bar which was built into a cliff overlooking the beautiful ocean below and decided to stop in for a drink (or two lol). It was truly magical – you have to make a stop there for a drink and even a swim or a jump off the cliffs if that is more your speed! We watched the sunset and then headed back into the center of town for dinner. I heard Above 5 Restaurant and Proto were both great dinner spots, but it turned out Above 5 books up in advanced so we went to Proto instead for a seafood dinner. We both ordered the truffle shrimp pasta and it was pretty good. By this time it was 9:30 and time to head back home and get some rest after our crazy long travel day.
Day 2: Alarm went off at 8am so we could shower, pack up (leave bags at front desk) and head back to Old Town for a tour of the city called Walls and Wars. Dubrovnik is a walled city with so much history and since we had so little time there, I thought it was important to do a tour so we could see as much as possible. While the tour was strenuous and not for someone out of shape, it was full of historical info, beautiful views and monumental sites. I loved it and it was a great workout to start the day and again helps keep the jetlag at bay. It was also only a 2 hour tour so after that we grabbed lunch at a little sandwich spot before heading back to our hotel. Since we booked our ferry for 4pm, we had an hour to kill and decided to nap by the pool, which was amazing. Then we ubered to the ferry port only 10 minutes away and boarded the ferry 30 minutes before departure without an issue. **Note: I booked our hotels on hotels.com after a lot of research and booked the ferries online HERE.
We took a 3 hour ferry to Hvar and it was super easy. We got to the island Hvar around 7pm and figured out we needed to walk with our bags to the hotel. It was only a 10 minute walk, but it was quite hilly. We checked in to our super cute hotel called Pharos (great location too) and changed clothes and headed back out into the town, about a 10 minute walk, to get dinner. I had gotten a lot of restaurant recs and first on my list was Black Pepper. We got there and there was an hour wait, so we decided to grab a drink at Central Park Bar down the way until our table was ready and I am so glad we did. There were great drinks and seating outside on a lively little street (there are no cars in the old town area) and there was live music. It was so much fun. Then dinner at was so good and worth the wait. We ordered steak and other Croatian recipes and everything we had was so good. Croatians eat a lot of fish and seafood, but there were always pasta choices and steak and of course lots of cheese and prosciutto and more to eat at all the restaurants. Then it was back to the hotel for bed.
Day 3: We heard Hvar was full of nightlife and beach bars and overall just a good time and it did not disappoint. For our first full day we walked about 10 minutes to a little beach bar we heard about called Hula Hula Beach Bar. It had tables and lounge chairs right on the water that you could rent for the day with waiters to serve food and drinks. We rented two chairs facing the water and decided to park it for the day. We read books, listened to music, chatted with fellow travelers next to us and had the best time ever while sipping mai tais and eating so well. As we were leaving around 6pm it was already turning into a club scene and we heard it would be a full blown party. We decided to head back to the room to shower and head into town for dinner. We tried this little spot tucked into the old town called Giaxa that another blogger recommended and it was beyond good. After gelato we headed back to the room, but the town was abuzz and ready to party!
Day 4: Our second day there we decided to charter a boat with a skipper after talking to a few people about it the day before. It was actually pretty reasonable and super easy to do. We walked to a little stand near the beach bars and did it within 10 minutes. We got our own private James Bond type of boat from 10am – 6:30 pm and it was the best decision we have ever made. It was the most magical and relaxing day of the trip, even with a little rain. We told our skipper that we just wanted to see as many pretty beaches as we could and of course a good lunch spot and that is what he did. He drove us to beach spots all over Hvar where we could get out and swim in their beautiful crystal clear blue waters – no fish, jellyfish or sharks – and we could swim into some of the beaches (which note to self bring water shoes because the beaches are rocky, not sandy). Some were populated with people and little restaurants, but other were deserted and we got them all to ourselves! It was dreamy. Then he took us to a little family-owned restaurant in a little cove for lunch and waited for us to eat and drink at our leisure. After that we headed to a popular beach on another island and the vibe was so cool. We jumped in the water to swim to the beach and hang for a bit before heading back to the boat to rest and lay out for a while. Our last stop was the best of the day and a place I will never forget. It was off in a secluded little cove in what seemed like the middle of nowhere and there was a beach bar called Calma. The water was calm and beautiful and the bar was the prettiest thing ever with lots of instagrammable moments! We got a few drinks there before heading back to where it all began and then back to our hotel. We were on a total happy high after that and decided to go for a low-key pizza and gelato dinner in town before calling it a night.
Day 5: Because we loved spending the day on the water so much we decided to rent a boat again, but this time without the skipper to save money and since my husband grew up driving boats he felt comfortable after seeing what to do and where to go the day before. We got our boat and I am not going to lie it was pretty nerve-wracking at times. I get afraid of big waves, especially in tiny boats, which this one was, and it was not fun driving across the channel to the other island that we had planned to see. Once we made it though, it was all super worth it. We decided to dock up and spend the day at Antonio Patak Beach Restaurant and Bar. We had a cocktail before heading up to the top level for lunch with the most incredible views of the water and channels and other islands. Once we were done eating, we rented lounge chairs on the water and relaxed until we decided to go back to Calma, the beach bar from the day before! We stayed there for a drink and then had to head back to turn out boat in, plus we didn’t love the crazy waves we were driving in. If I had to do it again, I would say do two days with a skipper or take a water taxi to and from the other islands to hang at their beach bars. It was too much responsibility having a boat on our own all day. That night we had an awesome dinner at Dalmatino, but only after making a reservation two days before – the restaurants in Hvar are super busy!
Day 6: Our hotel stay came with amazing free breakfast everyday so we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast and then headed out to the pool for a few hours before grabbing our bags and making the walk down to the ferry port. We were so sad to leave paradise, but at least we had one more night of vacay. We took an hour ferry ride to the city Split. We checked into the Murum Hotel right in the heart of the old town and Diocletian’s Palace (we loved it – very modern and clean inside and the best location) and then headed out to sightsee and grab a cocktail. We were exhausted at this point so we didn’t go to the top of the tower for the views or do an official tour of the palace, but we walked all through the narrow cobblestone streets (no cars in this area), grabbed a delicious lunch in a square at a restaurant called Bepa and shopped along the promenade on the water for gifts and grabbed a drink at a little restaurant/bar overlooking the port. It was so relaxing and nice. After that we went back to the hotel and changed and decided to keep it low key for dinner in the cutest courtyard restaurant right outside of our hotel. It was really good and then we stumbled over to a square with live music and tons of people sitting down outside in the street drinking and listening. It was so much fun, but we had to call it a night at 11 since we had a 4am wake up call.
Day 7: Leave for airport in Split at 7am for a 15 hour flight home.
Overall, we left wanting more and not wanting to leave Croatia. The people are so friendly and welcoming, they all spoke English too, the food is delish and the sites and beaches are seemingly untouched and beyond gorgeous. I think we”ll make it back one day and I highly recommend it if you are thinking about going! Also, one note: we saw on the weather forecast that it was supposed to rain everyday we were in Hvar, which is weird because it is called the sunniest island, but it only rained for an hour the whole trip.
Another note, we waited to go until September 6th because we heard it was super busy and touristy during the summer months and May and Sept are known as the shoulder months. I was really happy with our decisions because it wasn’t crazy hot (like 80 everyday) and because it was still touristy so I can’t imagine how crowded it is during summer. Feel free to email me if you have any questions!