Road Trip in Croatia – Dubrovnik, Zadar & Split

road trip in Croatia - hanging out in Dubrovnik

Part of my travel mission is to visit at least 2 new countries/places every year. One of them this year was a road trip to Croatia for one week. Let me share my 7 days Croatia itinerary and opinion about this country with you.

7 Days Croatia Itinerary

We started our 7 Days Croatia Itinerary with a directly fly from Dublin to Dubrovnik, where we stayed for 2 days. Then rented a car and visited Zadar (2 days) with a day trip to Plitvice National park, and finally Split (3 days), before going back for one more night to Dubrovnik.

Accommodation in Croatia

In regards to our accommodation, we booked rooms/apartments with Airbnb each time.

First of all, we had the friendliest hosts ever, who always welcomed us with fresh lemonade and sweets.

Secondly, it was very cheap compared to hotels, very clean, included parking and often within walking distance to the city center.

On average we paid between 15-20€ per night.

Road Trip in Croatia

Dubrovnik Sights

The first stop during our road trip in Croatia was Dubrovnik. This city became very popular after parts of the series Games of Thrones have been filmed there. It is actually a very tiny city that can barely cope with so many tourists, so I don’t recommend visiting during high season.

On our first day in Dubrovnik, we wandered around the city center and got lost in the small streets. We climbed many stairs, visited the port, had ice cream and a delicious dinner in the city.

Banje Beach

The next day we felt a bit lazy (from the early flight the day before) and actually went to the nearby Banje beach. Very clear and clean water, but also very small and crowded, so we just spent around 2h there.

City Walls Dubrovnik

Afterward, we decided to visit the City Walls which can kind of be compared with the Chinese Wall (of course much smaller), and basically surround the city center.

From there you have a beautiful view above Dubrovnik city with all its red roofs. In order to visit the walls, you have to pay an entrance fee of around 15€ which is totally worth it.

IMPORTANT for all GOT fans: The famous King’s Landing has been filmed there.

Buzar Bar – Cliff Bar

One must-do while in Dubrovnik is to enjoy a drink in the Buzar Bar, a cliff bar located on the southern side of the city.

It is a nice chance to escape the crowded city center of the old town and relax while enjoying a cold beer and watching the sunset if you come in the evening. During the day, you will even see people sunbathing on the rocks. 

Possible day trips from Dubrovnik

One option is to take a boat at the old port of Dubrovnik and visit the nearby island Lokum. It only takes 15 mins. to get there and the boat should only cost 5€ (40 Kuna). If it costs more than that, it’s a rip-off. 

Another option is to take a bus to the quiet city of Cavtat, which is also close to the airport. There are fewer tourists, lots of opportunities for delicious food and a cute little promenade to walk along. The bus only costs 1-2€. 

Food in Dubrovnik

When it comes to food, you will find plenty of restaurants in Dubrovnik City but be warned, it is very expensive. You better expect around 25-30€ per fish/meat dish. The only cheaper option is pizza and pasta.

We went for one expensive meal and it was very delicious and fresh like the fish has just been caught from the sea.

Tuna Steak in Croatia

A really cool place to eat in is the 360 degrees restaurant. Unfortunately, we did not eat there, as we had no idea that you have to book in advance and all the days were always fully booked. You must reserve online beforehand, should you be interested.

Visit Zadar

The next stop during our 7 days road trip in Croatia was Zadar. This city is around 3x bigger than Dubrovnik and I will tell you three cool things to do there.

Sun Salutation

The Sun Salutation (The Greeting to the Sun) is a multi-layered glass plate on the ground, just next to the Sea Organ. When the sun sets the lighting elements in the glass plates to turn on and follow a programmed pattern, creating a fun light show in the rhythm of the waves.

Sea Organ

Visit the Sea Organ along the promenade in the old city center. It is basically an experimental instrument made out of stone plates where you can sit on. Each time a wave comes, it creates music that is created underneath the stone plates based on the motion of the waves. Really cool place to chill and relax.

Watch the sunset

Watch the sunset before enjoying the Sun Salutation, right next to it. It is the perfect spot to watch the sun go down, as you can actually see the movement of how it slowly vanishes. Super incredible!

From Zadar we also did a day trip to Plitvice National Park. I have written a separate blog post about it.

Visit Split

The last city we visited during our road trip in Croatia was Split. This city is again bigger than Dubrovnik, and I really enjoyed the lively vibe of it.

In the old city center, you can spend hours shopping and will constantly smell lavender (tea, soaps, liquors, etc.) everywhere you go. The most famous place to visit is the “Palace” which actually looks more like a fortress. When you enter, you go through kind of an underground tunnel where you will find lots of stands with jewelry. A paradise for women.

Every day in the evening there is a traditional dance show (Folklore) in front of the entrance of the palace in the square, which is fun to watch. We went there around 8 pm, but times may differ.

One thing we wanted to do in Split was a wine tour, but we were late with our bookings. However, if you want to do one, check out the following Airbnb Experiences. Most of them have lots of good reviews and are very affordable compared to other offers.

Finally, when you walk along the promenade, you will find lots of providers offering boat tours to all different kinds of islands – a perfect day trip!

Personal Opinion about Croatia

All in all, I have to say I was positively surprised about Croatia. It was super clean, I felt very safe at all times, and the hosts of all our Airbnb’s have been the kindest and loveliest people ever.

As mentioned before, each time we were welcomed with fresh lemonade, cake, fruit plates or other kinds of sweets. All hosts spoke great English and we had meaningful and interesting conversations.

I really can’t wait to be back and do another road trip in Croatia to discover the north.

One last thing: 7 days definitely were not enough for this big country. Our trip was a bit rushed and we could have done much more if we planned better.

General Tips for a Road Trip in Croatia

Here I have a few more general tips for a road trip in Croatia, you might find useful: 

  • Drink tab water to save money as it is very clean and prices for water bottles in cities like Dubrovnik can be high.
  • Take shoes for the beach as most of their beaches are stone beaches that can get very hot, and have many sea eagles.
  • If you see the word “Konoba” (translation: tavern) you can be sure to get big portions of food for a cheap price
  • You will find Wifi almost everywhere you go.
  • Rent a car to be more flexible as it is very cheap and gives you the opportunity to explore more of beautiful Croatia.
  • Don’t travel in high season as Croatia has many smalls cities that can are easily overcrowded.

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