A few years ago we had one of our best vacations ever, we fell in love with Croatia and vowed to be back. It is such an amazing country, with great views, beautiful beaches, great food and so much to see and do! This was the first time we went there. We had to make some tough decisions because there are just so many places, many islands and cities to visit and we had only 12 days in Croatia.
Everywhere we went we stayed in Airbnb’s or serviced apartments. In our research we found that this is what many people do, and it was also a great way to take advantage of the local markets and spend less money in eating out all the time. It was difficult to decide how to spend our 12 days in Croatia because the country is quite long. We decided to start in Dubrovnik and finish in Split, in between we stayed in Korcula, visited Mljet for a day and then stayed in Hvar, before making our way back home.
If you are also planning to visit and are not sure how to spend your days in Croatia and are stuck as to what to visit and where to go this beginner’s itinerary for 12 days in Croatia will not disappoint, I promise! The travel times in between each place we visited were not too long and we had enough time to wander around and relax by the beach while still getting the feeling that we were actually seeing Croatia.
Day 1: Fly into Dubrovnik
We had to spend some time checking in to our Airbnb and getting familiar with the area. We went to the supermarket close by to have some food for the next day’s breakfast at least. We spent the afternoon walking in the Old Town inside the city walls. We had dinner at an awesome restaurant right in front of the Marina and enjoyed watching passerby’s and drinking Croatian wine.
Day 2: Walk the city walls and go to Banje beach
You can’t miss a walk around Dubrovnik’s city walls. There is just something about the views from up there with the water meeting the rooftops of the city. Spend the rest of the day at Banje beach, it is a beach right by the city walls, so you don’t need to go far and have the rest of the day to enjoy and relax.
Day 3: Take a bus and visit Montenegro’s Kotor
We took a bus that took us through the border into Montenegro where we were able to walk around the beautiful old town in Kotor and then spend the day at the beach before heading back into Dubrovnik just in time for dinner.
If you prefer to stay in Croatia, take a boat to the nearby islands and in the afternoon take the cable car to the top fort, it is said to have stunning views, unfortunately we missed it.
Day 4: Take the bus into Korcula
We took a bus at around noon, the bus takes you on the ferry and then with the ferry you cross onto Korcula arriving at the main bus station in Korcula. The ride lasts for around 3 hours. We spent the afternoon walking around Korcula and sitting at the beach closest to our apartment.
Day 5: Spend the day at the beach
Korcula is known for its beaches, it has at least a couple sandy beaches, which is an exception for Croatian beaches. The water is beautiful and crystal clear but the beaches are normally rocky (if you are visiting with children make sure they have water shoes, and consider them for yourself too). We had a beach really close to our apartment so took the entire day to swim and relax.
Day 6: Take a boat to the nearby island of Mljet
Mljet is a beautiful national park that is about 30 minutes away from Korcula. We spent the whole day there. It is Croatia’s greenest island and it has a sandy shore. It is also home to two salted lakes inside the island. Once you arrive you will be able to rent bikes to get around, which turned out to be a great way to explore the island.
Day 7: Go to the sandy beaches in Lumbarda
This was probably the most fun day of all the days we spent in Korcula, we rented a moped and took a ride to Lumbarda. We made a ton of stops along the way to take pictures of the vineyards and the beautiful sights we encountered. We arrived in Lumbarda which was on the opposite side of town more or less and spent the entire day there.
Day 8: Check-out and take the ferry to Hvar
The ferry from Korcula into Hvar takes between 1:15-1:35 minutes and runs 4 times per day during high season and less during low season. Depending on the time you arrive into Hvar, after check-in spend the afternoon walking around the island. Visit St. Stephen’s Cathedral and its square, walk up the stairway into the Spanjola fortress, if you can be there during sunset you will get a fantastic view over the Island.
Day 9: Rent a boat and explore Jerolim island
Rent a boat to drive yourself (you can also take a guided boat tour of the nearby islands). Visit the green and blue caves and make sure to swim in them! Stop at Jerolim island which is maybe 15-20 minutes away from Hvar, it is pretty much uninhabited and has a bar where you can have something to eat. Spend the day enjoying the island.
Day 10: Decide between Brac or Jesla
For today you can choose to take a ferry or water taxi to the island of Brac and spend the day there exploring the island and enjoying your day at the beach or take a taxi or rent a moped and make your way to the resort town of Jesla. Either option you are sure to find lots of things to do and see.
Day 11: Take the ferry to Split
During high season you can find up to 18 ferry rides between Hvar and Split, so you will likely not have a problem finding the right time to suit your needs. If you arrive early to Split you could try to make it to Krka national park which is about an hour away, you can find the timetable here. On your way back walk around the city center and visit the Docletian palace, St. Duje’s cathedral and Peristil Square
Day 12: Fly home
Depending on the time of your flight you may want to have breakfast and head to the airport. If you have a flight in the afternoon or evening head to Marjan and enjoy your last hours at one of the beaches nearby.
This is how we spent 12 days in Croatia during our vacation there. We would love to hear from you! Have you been in any other cities in Croatia? What did you think about them?