The Selfish Guide to Croatia
[This is a separate guide from the one for our Game of Thrones tour in Northern Ireland and Croatia but there is overlap between the two.]
Mr. Selfish and I spent about a week driving around Croatia. We visited Zadar, Plitvice Lakes National Park, Split, and Dubrovnik. Here was our itinerary:
I’m glad that our itinerary was in this order since Zadar was the most underwhelming city and Dubrovnik exceeded all expectations.
Zadar: A Good Starter City
Our first stop in Croatia was Zadar since we were able to get a direct flight from Dublin. It was a very pretty city but not nearly as scenic as Split and Dubrovnik.
Zadar is primarily known for its churches and Roman ruins.
We also walked along the water and hung out near the sea organ, which works with the waves through its 35 pipes to create music.
The real draw is Zadar’s proximity to Kornati National Park, which is an easy day trip to take. Kornati boasts of a chain of 140 islands surrounded by beautiful azure waters.
Here is our Google map for Zadar:
Plitvice Lakes National Park: Get There Early!
Plitvice Lakes National Park is about 2.5 hours away from Zadar. Mr. Selfish and I decided to spend the night near Plitvice and spend a full day there instead of doing a day trip.
It was certainly beautiful, and we had the park mostly to ourselves in the morning.
By the afternoon, Plitvice was packed to the gills with tour groups from large charter buses. So if you plan on visiting Plitvice, definitely go in the morning before the hoards arrive!
From Plitvice, it was a 20-minute drive to Bihać, Bosnia. Even though we were only there for a brief time, it was a delightful city next to the Una River. It was also much cheaper than anywhere we had been in Croatia.
Split: Ramping Up In Beauty
Our third stop in Croatia was Split. Mr. Selfish and I didn’t really have high expectations for Split, but we should have, because it was great. The city is right on the water and has tons of nice ruins.
I recommend just wandering the alleyways in Split and enjoying the architecture.
I also recommend walking up to Park Marjan for the sunset. It’s an easy trek and the view is epic.
Right outside of Split is Klis Fortress, a medieval fortress with history dating back to the 3rd century B.C. It looks badass.
If you drive from Split to Dubrovnik, you have to drive through Bosnia. Since we were already in Bosnia, we decided to stop in Neum at Agrotourism Matusko for a farm-to-table lunch. The food was great, and the host was amiable. I highly recommend it!
Here is our Google map for Split:
Dubrovnik: The Pinnacle of Croatia
Lastly, Mr. Selfish and I stayed in Dubrovnik for three nights. It certainly is the pearl of the Adriatic. It was breathtakingly beautiful. We have never seen a walled city so amazingly preserved and maintained before.
I highly recommend walking the wall in the morning. Once again, you want to avoid the crowds as much as possible. Plus, Mr. Selfish and I visited in August so the later it got, the hotter it was.
Take your time on the wall otherwise. It is a magnificent walk.
Wandering inside the walled city is no slouch either.
You can also buy a museum pass in Dubrovnik. With this pass, Mr. Selfish and I enjoyed the Rector’s Palace and the Rupe Ethnographic Museum.
Lastly, you can take a 10-minute boat ride to Lokrum Island. There are some nice swimming holes on the island so bring your bathing suits!
Also, on Lokrum Island, you can hike to Fort Royal Castle for an elevated view of Dubrovnik. Mr. Selfish took some nice shots from the top of the fort.
Here is our Google map for Dubrovnik:
Although it was certainly beautiful, Croatia was a bit more touristy and crowded with Italian, German, and French tourists than we thought it would be. Plus, I was surprised to find that even though Croatia had its own currency, the prices at most of the prices we visited were linked to the Euro and you could even pay in Euro, which means that most places were overpriced. So, if you plan on visiting Croatia, you probably need to adjust your expectations. It may be generally undiscovered by Americans but the Europeans know all about it.
[Disclaimer: These were our personal Google map for Croatia. It is possible that not all of the pins are accurate since we did not visit all of them.]