Croatia is an amazing country with arguably the nicest people in the whole world. Of course, there are great sights as well, not to mention the Game of Thrones sites. In this post, we will be sharing our Croatia itinerary and telling you about:
- When to go?
- What to pack?
- Our Croatia itinerary
- Visa for Croatia
- Resources from where we booked car rental, stay etc.
1. When to go?
I am sure Croatia is beautiful anytime of the year, but summer is the best time. June to August is when the party scene is at its maximum, with July being the peak.
We were there in Croatia from 2nd June – 11th June and the party scene in Pag Island was starting up. The temperature isn’t too high if you are going from India, but the direct sunlight could be itchy, so do apply loads of sun screen.
2. What to pack?
Carry summer clothes, shorts, t-shirts, skirts, dresses etc. Don’t forget your sunglasses, cap, hat and sunscreen. Additionally, do take your swimming costume if you love water.
Another important item to buy is swimming shoes (like one shown below), to protect you from Sea urchins that are in abundance. You can buy it from Decathlon or in a local beach side shop in Croatia.
3. Our Croatia Itinerary
Usually people land in Dubrovnik, pick up a car, travel all the way up to Zagreb and fly out of Zagreb. However, we found was that return flights from Delhi to Zagreb were way cheaper. Hence, we booked our return trip for Delhi-Zagreb-Delhi and then booked another flight from Zagreb to Dubrovnik. We then picked up rental car in Dubrovnik and drove up north towards Zagreb. Following is our detailed Croatia itinerary:
We landed at Zagreb airport at around 2 PM local time. Post that we checked into our apartment in Zagreb city. After refreshing ourselves with a few beers it was shopping time.
Zagreb is the capital city of Croatia and has a rich history. We noticed live music events going on at various squares with small cafes around. The city has a lively feel to it. Post dinner, we went to Hangar Club to party. By the time we called it a night it was already 4 AM.
Post breakfast, we left for the Zagreb airport as we had our flight for Dubrovnik, which is our favourite part of the Croatia itinerary. We landed there at around 3 PM. After checking in to our apartment in Dubrovnik (Apartments Ira: our host was a lovely woman who made sure our stay was comfortable) and having lunch, we left to explore Dubrovnik. Buza bar or more commonly known as hole in the wall bar (because literally a hole in the wall leads you to this bar) was our first stop. It is a cliff side bar, with ocean right next to it. While you may visit the bar on your tour of Dubrovnik walls, we decided to relax in Buza bar on our first evening in Dubrovnik.
After spending around 3 hours at the Buza bar, we decided to have dinner at Rozario restaurant which is known for its Seafood.
Post dinner we joined a group for pub hopping in the old city. We visited and drank at a few different pubs before ending up in Club Revelin. And what an ambience and music it has. It is a medieval fortress that has been converted into a nightclub. It is a must go club to party in Dubrovnik and a bonus we had was that Paul Van Dyk was performing here the same night.
We started our day with a visit back to Old town to do a tour of the walls of Dubrovnik. The entire Old town has an amazing vibe to it, with small souvenir shops, street performers and of course the whole Game of Thrones feel to it.
The tour of the entire wall which is of around 2 Km length, took us around an hour and a half as we were stopping a lot for pictures.
After a hectic day in the Old city and the walls of Dubrovnik, we went to Lapad beach to relax a bit. At night we had our dinner at Banje beach restaurant and nightclub. We did spend some time post dinner at the restaurants private pier and beach but left early as we had to start early next morning.
We bid goodbye to our amazing host at Apartment Ira to pick up our rental car. After spending around an hour picking up the car, we started on our amazing coastline drive from Dubrovnik. With clear blue water on one side and cliffs on the other, the entire drive is amazing.
Our first stop was Makarska, which is a quaint little port town. It is known for its honey, oranges and beaches. After having lunch in Makarska, we left for our apartment in Split, where we relaxed a bit. We then decided to hang out in Narodni square, which is the main square in Split. For dinner, we went to a restaurant on Riva waterfront which is walking distance from Narodni square. We made sure not to drink a lot as we had to do Scuba the very next day.
Our next stop was Hvar island. After dropping our rental car, we took a ferry at 9:15 AM.
Ferry ride was around an hour long. Once we arrived at Hvar port, we picked up a rental car to travel around the island.
In Hvar, we had booked an intro Scuba dive with Nautica Hvar dive center. We found them to be extremely helpful. They even offered us free pick up and drop from our apartment and were super accommodating of our needs.
After the Scuba dive and a quick nap, we went out for dinner. In case you want to party, you can try out Hula Hula beach bar or Veneranda.
Our first adventure of the day was to do a five island tour on boat. It was a great tour where we had multiple opportunities to take a dip in the water by directly jumping off our boat. The tour also included a visit to blue cave and green cave, where again we took a dip.
Post that we visited Stiniva Cove where we spent time snorkeling. There was also a stop over at Blue Lagoon for snorkeling and Pakleni island for lunch. The last stop of the tour was at Lounge bar Laganini at Palmizana island. It was a beautiful bar, though a little expensive.
After returning to Hvar by 5 PM, we had a relatively free day. Hence, we decided to go to Ivan Dolac to visit a few vineyards. What we didn’t know was that we would be in for a surprise en-route. We took a longer route via Pitve-Zavala road and figured out that the route passes through a 1.4 KM long man-made tunnel. Once you enter the tunnel, you would feel as if you have entered a mine with your car. It is unlit and wide enough only for a one way traffic, which is controlled by a signal system at both ends of the tunnel.
We continued our journey to Ivan Dolac, where we visited a family house. The family is into wine business and has its own vineyards. While we didn’t get to tour the vineyards, the family was nice enough to accommodate us late in the evening. The lady offered us different wines from their vineyard and they were good. We bought a couple of bottles from them and were off on our way back to Hvar.
We took a 8 AM ferry from Hvar (Stari Grad) back to Split. Once at Split, we had our breakfast and picked up our rental to leave for Pag Islands. While Pag is an island, it is connected with the mainland via a bridge, so you can travel by car.
We reached Pag Island by afternoon where our accommodation was in Novalja area, as here is where the biggest party scene in Pag happens and all the clubs are around. After having lunch, we had purchased tickets for a boat party in Zrce Booze Cruise. Till this day Mrs. FIRE Forty makes sure I am embarrassed when she is narrating my drunken escapade post party. But, it was an amazing experience, we met a lot of folks and are still in touch with some of them. While a lot of things happened post party, but rest of the day is a big blur for me, so let’s call it a day at this point.
While I was still hungover, Mrs. FIRE Forty was furious the next morning. So, we went out for a nice breakfast and some much needed coffee. Post that, we headed out to Zadar. It is another relatively bigger city not far from Pag island. We spent some time just sitting at the stairs of Zadar sea organ and enjoyed the soothing music being played as sea waves hit the tubes located underneath a large marble.
Zadar has some good restaurants and we decided to have lunch here. In the evening, we went to party at Zrce beach. But since the Booze Cruise, none of us were in a position to drink even a drop of alcohol. However, some of the world’s best clubs are at Zrce beach and you must visit Papaya Club, Noa Beach Club, Kalypso Club and Aquarius. You can buy a single pass to enter all of these clubs and since all of them are on the same beach, you can do a club hopping.
After having breakfast and checking out from Novalja, our next destination was Plitvice National Park. A lot of people might hate me for this, but if there was one place in entire Croatia that we wouldn’t mind skipping it would be Plitvice National Park. We found it a bit over hyped. Although, I can’t say that about the quaint little town on Slunj near Plitvice National Park where we stayed at Apartment Loza. And our hosts were really very warm people. In fact, our hostess had prepared apple pies for us which were really amazing.
After checking-in, we went straight to Plitvice National Park. There are 7 hiking routes A, B, C, E, F, H, K with length between 3 KM to 18 KM that one can take. We took trail B that covers whole lower lakes and includes a boat and train ride.
In the evening, we were simply walking in Slunj and ended up having dinner at restaurant Petro in Rastoke. The restaurant is built on top of a small waterfall and you could sit right by it while having dinner.
Before we knew, end of our Croatia itinerary was already here, as we packed our bags and bid goodbyes to our hosts. We headed towards the Zagreb airport to take a flight back home. And that is the end of our Croatia itinerary.
4. Visa for Croatia
Croatia is still not in Schengen zone completely (it will be in a while, but was not till 2017). Hence, you must apply for a Croatian Visa even if you have a valid Schengen visa if you are visiting Croatia from India.
Update: Since end of 2018, you can travel to Croatia with a valid Schengen Visa. Try to get a multiple entry visa as while travelling from Dubrovnik to Zagreb you will cross-over into Bosnia.
Attached here is the Visa form, this is latest as on March 2019. You can either apply from VFS or submit the form directly to Embassy of Croatia. I would suggest to apply directly to Croatia embassy (why pay fee to VFS). Click here to visit the official Visa page of Croatia for Indians to check visa requirements and procedure.
Once you fill up the form, submit it to Croatia embassy where you would be called for an interview. Official website mentions that it takes 15 days to issue visa from date of submission but for us it took only a week.
5. Resources from where we booked:
- Flight bookings – Skyscanner.com and Skiplagged.com are great to fight cheap flights. I recommend installing their mobile apps
- Hotel bookings – We used Booking.com to book hotels with free cancellation. And a few were from AirBnB.
- Car rentals – In Dubrovnik, we booked from Activerent. In Hvar, we booked from Sun City Hvar and in Split, we booked from Unirent.
- Scuba – We booked from Nautica Hvar dive center. Here is there Facebook page link (https://www.facebook.com/nauticahvardive/).
- Boat party – We booked the Zrce Booze Cruise from their website.
- Ferry to and from Hvar – We booked directly from Jadrolinja ferry website
Let us know in the comments section below if you liked our Croatia itinerary or anything else you think we might have missed. After reading our Croatia itinerary, you may also want to check out our Iceland itinerary.