7 Day Itinerary Croatia: Enjoy Summer in the Adriatic
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7 Day Itinerary Croatia: Enjoy Summer in the Adriatic

Croatia is becoming a popular summer destination for its beautiful cities and relaxing beaches. If you only have a week, we'd recommend spending the week in the north-east, on the Adriatic coast near Italy. We hope our 7-day Croatia itinerary helps you see the beauty of this stunning country.

Day 1: Zagreb/Rijeka

Before you land in Zagreb, decide if you'd like to explore the city or head straight to the coast. The city shares the European charm of many other capitals, however if you cannot wait to see the beach it's reasonable to skip the city entirely.

Zagreb: City centre is only 20 minutes from the airport, and the downtown core has a lot of charm. The main square, cathedral, and numerous cafes. Seriously, the bar and cafe culture in Croatia is incredible. At night, Ul. Ivana Tkalčića is an lively street for bars and nightlife which we'd highly recommend.

Hotel in the heart of Zagreb: Hotel Jadran

7 Day Itinerary Croatia: visiting Zagreb.

Travel to the coast: there is a daily bus to Rijeka straight from the airport or city-centre, which will be the simplest and most cost-effective way to get to the coast. Rijeka is the largest city in the region, and while it does not have a beach, its main attraction would be the numerous cafe bars. In the morning you can enjoy a cappuccino, while the same spots become lively bars at night. Be sure to catch sunset at Trsat Castle which overlooks the city before enjoying the nightlife the city has to offer.

Stay recommendation: Linden Korzo

7 Day Itinerary Croatia: visiting Rijeka.

Day 2: Istrian Peninsula

Before heading to the beach, we'd recommend a trip to the peninsula that borders Italy. The cities are absolutely stunning, as they were once Italian territory, the ancient architecture of these cities are incredible.

Pula: this stunning seafront city on the tip of the peninsula, the main attraction is the Pula Arena, one of six surviving Roman amphitheatres. Estimated over 2000 years old, it's even older than the one in Rome and it's better preserved. We also enjoyed the Venetian fortress which overlooked the city, from which you can take the underground tunnels all around the historical city centre.

7 Day Itinerary Croatia: visiting Pula.

Rovinj: this fishing port is a popular tourist destination, for good reason. The old town and marinas are gorgeous. Walking around the city and getting lost in the narrow cobblestone streets was incredible. We sat at a cafe bar at night for some wine and couldn't get over the beauty of the city - since we passed on Dubrovnik we're glad we went here. Be aware however, that cruise ships often stop here. The port can be quite busy, and restaurant prices were much higher than other towns.

7 Day Itinerary Croatia: visiting Rovinj.

Porec: Porec is the smallest of these three cities but is not lacking in history and charm. The 6th-century Euphrasian Basilica complex is famous for its gem-studded Byzantine mosaics, and the coastline is an excellent spot for water-sports. The town may not be as lively as the others, but some travellers who want a quiet base to stay may appreciate a town that feels less touristy.

Stay recommendation: Hotel Porec, Apartments Bella (Rovinj), Hostel Antique (Pula)

Day 3 & 4: Krk Island

After two days of exploring, it's time to relax. Krk, the largest island of Croatia, is a great spot to just chill on the beach and enjoy the island lifestyle. Some of the best thing to do with your time in Croatia is to just take life slow. We started many days with a cappuccino and croissant before going to the beach to cool down. Lunch and cafe lounging with sandwiches or calamari and a Gemišt (white wine and sparkling water) was very refreshing. After a sunset swim we'd then be ready for a dinner of a wood-oven pizza or Ćevapi (grilled minced meat). I'd recommend two towns in particular for your stay on Krk.

Vrbnik: a very picturesque village built on the cliffs over the sea. The winding streets of old town were great to walk around - the city actually boasts the narrowest street in the world! The city is also famous for its wine cellars and nearby beaches. The drone gave us some incredible views of this town.

7 Day Itinerary Croatia: visiting Vrbnik.

Baska: this town has a great coast-line, with dozens of restaurants and cafes lining the streets. The beach had beautiful views of the mountains and other islands in the distance as well. This was certainly one of my favourite views of the sea in my entire trip, especially at sunset.

Stay recommendation: Design Hotel Verbenicum (Vrbnik), Valamar Villa Adria (Baska)

Day 5: Selce

I'd recommend taking this day to travel south along the coast and visit a new town and beaches. Crikvenica and Senj are larger cities, with a lot of restaurants, shopping, and amenities. Our favourite town along this coast was Selce, however, as it's a quiet town with a nice local charm. The town also has a great sandy beach which is very rare in this area.

Take some time to relax and enjoy the coast at night, as well as the amazing local cuisine. Book your stay for an additional night or two, to have time for an important day trip.

7 Day Itinerary Croatia: visiting Crikvenica and Selce.

Stay recommendation: Apartments Lino, Luxury Hotel Amabilis

Day 6: Plitvice Lakes

Plitvice Lakes is truly one of the most beautiful parks in the world, without exaggeration. As Senj is less than a 2-hour drive from the park, it's certainly worthwhile to see.

This park has dozens of lakes and cascading waterfalls, with incredibly vibrant colours. The water is so clear you'll spot numerous fish hoping you give them a snack. Your park pass also includes a bus and boat ride around the park, to make getting around easier. The hike is quite easy, but it can take 4-5 hours to see everything. We'd recommend going early and taking your time.

We'll let the pictures speak for the beauty of this place.

Stay recommendation: Rustic Inn River, or consider using Selce as your base.

Day 7: Pag Island

Some travellers may opt to stay in the Crikvenica area to avoid too much travel time, while others may want to explore new coastlines. The final place we'd recommend in the area is Pag island.

There are countless gorgeous beaches on the island, including Zrce Festival Beach and Beach Ručica. You could stay on this island for the full week and have an endless number of beaches to visit for a great island getaway.

7 Day Itinerary Croatia: Pag Island beaches.

Stay recommendation: La Mar, or again take a day trip from Selce.

Final Thoughts

Croatia is a beautiful country with lots to see. We had the luxury to stay in the area for a month, with several locals who were able to show us around daily. We took what we learned and consolidated this trip into what I would recommend travellers to see in a single week. Of course hopping towns each day might not be ideal for each type of traveller. Consider extending the duration of your trip or choosing to not visit one of these recommendations for more down-time to explore your favourite spot.

A couple other important tips; the country is still largely cash-only, however grocery stores and gas stations will accept debit/credit. Also the summers are extremely hot, so be very mindful of the heat.

Finally, we just upgraded our drone so we can take beautiful shots of our future travels. If you're curious which drone we have and how much a professional drone may cost, check it out here.

We also got our flights to Croatia for free. It's surprisingly easy to get enough points to travel across Europe. Check out our guide here.

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