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One Week in Croatia

One Week in Croatia
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There is so much to pack into one week in Croatia! The scenic country boasts over 1200 idyllic islands, medieval cities, film locations, art, culture, and picturesque national parks with jade-hued lakes. If you’re flying into Dubrovnik, Split, or Zagreb, here are a few ideas of places to explore on your itinerary, so you can enjoy different aspects to this magical Balkan country.

One Week in Croatia

Day 1 – Dubrovnik

Morning

The glorious medieval city of Dubrovnik is a wonderful place to begin your one week in Croatia. Start your day with a cable car ride to the top of Mount Srd for the best views of the city and shimmering blue Adriatic Sea. Take a stroll to the fortress, hike along the trails, and get your bearings of Dubrovnik from an elevated perspective.

Afternoon

On your return to the Old City, sample delicious tapas and regional wines for lunch near Stradun, Dubrovnik’s main shopping street. Then enjoy a leisurely walking tour before exploring the history of Dubrovnik Cathedral and Sponza Palace, where ancient manuscripts are kept.

Evening

In the evening, enjoy a romantic walk along the city walls as Dubrovnik illuminates or enjoy a delicious dinner of seafood and regional dishes by the harbor at sunset. If you’re in the party mood, you can enjoy a fun pub crawl around Dubrovnik or sample regional wines and cheeses in the city’s many wine bars.

Day 2 – Dubrovnik & Makarska

Morning

Begin Day 2 of your one week in Croatia with a Game of Thrones tour to take in all the best filming locations in the city. The walking tour allows you ample opportunity to see where you’re your favorite scenes were filmed and learn a little more about the heritage and architecture from a knowledgeable guide. On the tour, you’ll take in Pile Bay – the show’s Blackwater Bay, Ploče Gate, and Lovrijenac Fort – famously known as the ‘Red Keep’.

Afternoon

Around 2.5 hours drive from Dubrovnik is the riviera town of Makarska. The pretty town is blessed with pristine secluded beaches and a palm fringed promenade with terrace cafes and fine dining restaurants. For incredible views, take an afternoon excursion to Biokovo Nature Park. With hiking opportunities aplenty, rich vegetation, and endemic wildlife, it’s a wonderful place to explore at your own pace. Alternatively, head for Ramova Beach, flanked by aquamarine waters and emerald pines, to soak up the sun for a few hours.

Evening

Dine like a local and order some “ispod peke”. This unusual sounding dish is fish, prepared Dalmatian style over hot embers for a couple of hours, so the fish tenderly falls off the bone. Follow with coffee and an after-dinner stroll along the promenade. Then consider indulging in something a little different – a night dive. These evening dives explore subterranean wonderlands of the Adriatic, exploring shipwrecks, eels, and scorpion-fish while testing your skills with a spot of digital underwater photography! If you prefer to remain on terra firma, Makarska Observatory offers star-gazing evenings where you can map constellations and learn about the mysteries of the universe.

Day 3 – Split

Morning

Just an hour’s drive away is the historic city of Split. You may recognize the city if you’re a Game of Thrones fan as many of its landmarks are featured in the hit TV show. The best way to experience them is with a Game of Thrones themed tour! The beating heart of the city is Diocletian’s Palace, a magnificent 4th century complex with towering columns, ornate Roman architecture, and original paving stones. Take a guided tour to learn more about this fascinating UNESCO World Heritage Site, Peristil Square – the original Roman Forum, and St. Duje’s Cathedral with its Romanesque wooden doors and tower which opens to the skies. For the best views of Split and the Adriatic Sea, climb the Campanile bell tower and imagine life in the city during Roman times as you look over red rooftops.

Afternoon

Drive to Klis Fortress, 10 kilometres northeast of Split, for an incredible insight into the history of the region. This imposing hillside fortress may have been a prominent filming location for Game of Thrones, but it’s also impressive if you aren’t a fan of the show. Framed by towering cliffs and patchwork landscapes, it dates to the ancient Illyrians, and throughout medieval times it was the seat of Kings of Croatia. Take a picnic, stay for the sunset, and be completely captivated by the natural beauty of the region.

Evening

There’s something special about dining in Split. Croatia’s second city is a foodie’s dream, with lively cafes and waterfront restaurant menus filled with bountiful fish dishes and meat grilled to perfection. If your idea of a perfect evening out in Croatia is sitting in a charming taverna with checkered tablecloths, old family photographs on the walls, and fishing nets casually draped from the ceiling, you’ve come to the right place. For those seeking something a little more vibrant, Split has a whole host of indie band and DJ nights, terrace bars, and buzzing nightclubs.

Day 4 – Brač

Morning

If you fancy exploring one of Croatia’s 1200 islands, halfway through your one week in Croatia is a great time to do so. Several companies in Split offer day excursions to Brač – a glamorous island, favored by the international jet set, filled with archaeological treasures, vineyards, and secluded beaches. Car ferries operate from Split to Supetar in Brač with a journey time of just 50 minutes, meaning you have plenty of time to spend the day exploring. Alternatively, should you wish to make the journey a little more special, hire a boat and captain or navigate the vessel yourself!

Afternoon

On arrival, take a walk along the palm-lined promenade, admiring shuttered buildings and architectural highlights, then try your hand at windsurfing by Brac’s iconic beach Zlatni Rat, before venturing inland to sample local wines. The island’s Stina winery produces Plavac mali – a variety of wine for which Dalmatia is famous. Indulge in a few glasses before heading back via the karst caves, where monks and hermits used to live. Inside the caves, you will see intricately carved stone shapes of dragons, birds, humans, and the moon which date back thousands of years.

Evening

Stay on the island for dinner if you can. In the village of Dol, not far from Supetar, you can sample octopus, Dalmatian beef stew with gnocchi, ispod peke – slow cooked fish, and other delights in a large 16th century estate house known as Konoba Dol – Kastil Gospodnetic. It’s a stunning location for a romantic dinner and the perfect conclusion to your day on beautiful Brač.

Day 5 – Šibenik

Morning

Šibenik is a beautiful city with Medieval, Renaissance, and Venetian architecture, piazzas lined with cafes, and a pretty waterfront flanked by tall honey-colored stone buildings. The town is not as touristy as many other areas of Croatia which makes it all the more appealing. If you’re a Game of Thrones fan you can see the Iron Bank – which was filmed at St James Cathedral – and several filming locations around the harbor.

Afternoon

The Dalmatian Ethno Village is a relatively new attraction to the area, providing great insight into the lives of local people throughout the ages. Just a few kilometres from Šibenik, it allows visitors to watch how traditional foods are prepared, plus there’s a craft fair where you can pick up souvenirs, partake in weaving workshops, and observe an original olive press and watermill!

Evening

Evenings in Šibenik are traditionally Dalmatian. It’s not unusual, while ambling through the streets, to hear lilting sounds of traditional acapella sung by locals. During the week, in Mala Loža square, baritones and tenors sing as you sip wine and dine on traditional dishes just like mama used to make.

Day 6 – Plitvice Lakes National Park

Morning

Plitvice Lakes National Park is less than 2 hours’ drive from Šibenik and a must for your One Week in Croatia itinerary. It’s the country’s most popular attraction with limestone canyons and 16 turquoise lakes, interlinked by waterfalls and set among dense forest abundant with wildlife.

Afternoon

There are fabulous restaurants for lunch in the park! Then you can enjoy a leisurely boat ride on the lakes to see the cascades up close and try your hand at some photography.

Evening

There are several luxury boutique hotels nearby, so stay overnight and enjoy the peaceful ambiance before your early morning journey to wherever you’re itinerary takes you next!

Day 7 – Zagreb

Morning

Depending on which airport you’re flying home from, you could head back to Split or continue onto bustling Zagreb. The country’s capital city marks the border of Central and Eastern Europe, with a multitude of historic landmarks and interesting museums to visit. If you feel like your one week in Croatia itinerary needs an international destination as well, you can even head to Ljubljana for a day tour from here!

Afternoon

Culture lovers will enjoy Mimara Museum, which showcases works from Rubens, Renoir, Monet, and Goya, or exploring the Archaeological Museum to uncover Zagreb’s rich history. If you adore all things science and technology, there’s only one place to be – the Technical Museum Nikola Tesla which displays his many ground-breaking inventions.

Evening

Unlike Croatia’s coastal cities, Zagreb has more Viennese influences in its architecture. The pedestrian streets of Gradec are peppered with charming restaurants and shops. And if you’re in need of live music or a drink, Tkalčićeva Street is where locals go to party.

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