Visit five stops and cover more than 430 kilometres in just eight days. It can be done. Oh yes, it can be done.
Day 1: Arrive in Zadar
Arrive in Zadar, make your way to the old town centre and get settled into your accommodations. After a quick freshen up, it’s time to head out and explore the city. Start by heading towards the edge of the peninsula and seeing two of Zadar’s most famous sights: the Sea Organ and the Monument to the Sun.
The Sea Organ is a “man-made organ… [that] works with the motion of the waves and 35 pipes to create a musical soundscape.” (source) No matter the time of day or night, the music and sounds created by the Sea Organ are hauntingly beautiful and quite soothing.
The Monument to the Sun is a “22-meter diameter circle, with the photo-voltage solar modules underneath” (source). It’s best experienced at night when the panels are emitting the light absorbed throughout the day, changing colours and creating mesmerising patterns.
Day 2: Day Trip – Plitvice Lakes National Park
Get up bright and early to make your way to the Zadar bus station where you’ll meet your coach that will ferry you two hours north to the unbelievable, must-see Plitvice Lakes National Park.
Upon arrival, head immediately for the tram that will take you to the top of the park. Spend the next few hours winding your way down along the paths and walkways, past the 16 terraced lakes and the waterfalls that join them.
Once you’ve seen all there is to see (or it’s just time to catch your bus) head back to Zadar. After a quick shower, it’s time to head out on the town for a couple of drinks, dinner of Black (Cuttlefish) Risotto followed by a delicious gelato on the walk back to your accommodations.
Day 3: Travel – Split
Check out of your hotel and, again, make your way to the bus station to hop on the coach that will cruise along the coast south to Split, Croatia.
Throughout the three-plus hour journey, the bus will wind along the coast, taking you through small towns and villages, past vineyards and national parks, and alongside white sand beaches and turquoise waters. It’s hard to imagine taking a three-hour bus ride without the need of a book, but the scenery around you is distraction enough.
Once settled in Split, head straight for the historic centre of Split, Diocletian’s Palace. Spend the afternoon and evening enjoying the sunshine and the sights of this clean and charming city.
Day 4: Day Trip – Mostar
Another day, another bus.
Because it’s so close, why not take the opportunity to hop the border and visit Mostar. Buses and excursions run frequently from Split, so there’s no reason not to take the opportunity to see this gem and its famous Stari Most (Old Bridge).
Mostar “was the most heavily bombed of any Bosnian city during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina following the breakup of Yugoslavia” (source) and has since been rebuilt. Spend the afternoon roaming the streets, and experiencing the lively and beautiful city.
Day 5: Split
After a few days of epic travels, why not take a bit of time to relax and soak up the sun – I mean, this is a vacation after all.
Start the day by climbing Marjan’s Hill, located to the west of the city and taking in the beautiful bird’s eye views of Split and it’s many neighbourhoods. Don’t worry, the hike isn’t too bad; it’s only ten minutes and worth every steep step!
From Marjan’s Hill head back down to the city and keep on going. Walk along the Riva, passed the ferry port and continue making your way to Split’s delicious beaches.
Bacvice Beach is Split’s most famous beach with shallow waters and a long stretch of sand. We found it to be quite crowded, so we kept on walking until we found the less busy, but equally nice Firule Beach. Not only was the beach less crowded, but the price of the beach chairs and umbrellas was 20HRK less!
So, why not pull up a chair and spend a day catching some rays and staring out into the blue abyss.
Day 6: Travel Dubrovnik
No rest for the wicked! After a day of relaxing and exploring, it’s time to get on the road again and make your way even further south to Dubrovnik.
Once checked in and freshened up, head out on the town. It’s been a long few days, so why not find a fabulous spot, pull up a chair and sip on a Croatian wine or two.
Day 7: Dubrovnik
After a nice lie-in, head out and explore Dubrovnik. A relatively small city, Dubrovnik is one of the Mediterranean’s top attraction. Explore the city’s winding streets and alleyways; walk along the city walls, taking in the stunning views of the Adriatic and the city; find charming cafes where you can sip on coffees while snacking on sweet Croatian treats.
There’s a lot to see, do and eat, so you’ll have no problem filling your day and night in Dubrovnik!
Day 8: Travel to Zadar
Wake up ridiculously early to grab the bus that will take you back to Zadar. Make sure you’ve got a book and snacks because it’s a loooong ride.
Depending on when you are scheduled to leave, either spend the afternoon heading straight to the airport (the bus runs frequently from the Old Town and the bus station, and costs just 25HRK per person), or head into the town and do a little bit of last minute exploring before you say goodbye to Croatia.
Throughout our entire trip, we used GetByBus to book our bus journeys. It was easy and reasonably priced, and I would highly recommend it to anyone. #NotAnAd
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This is not the exact itinerary that we followed on our recent trip. This is what we had originally planned, but due to a few extenuating circumstances we had to adapt it; however, if I could do it over again, this is *exactly* how I’d spend my eight days in Croatia.
All photos courtesy of Pixabay.com.
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