How Many Days to Spend in Croatia?

Text "how many days to spend in Croatia" and a picture of Split in the background with a church and palm trees

Croatia has so much to offer and I am often asked how many days a tourist should dedicate to exploring and enjoying the best of Croatia.

So, how many days to spend in Croatia?

7-10 days is enough to experience Croatia without rushing and ruining your trip. You will have the best time in Croatia if you choose a single itinerary such as one in Dalmatia, Istria, Kvarner, or continental Croatia per visit, and save other locations for the next vacation.

I will further explain how many days are enough for which itinerary and why.

Croatia in 2-3 days

If you are staying just over the weekend or for 2 or 3 days, you should stay at one location such as in the capital city of Zagreb or any other city rich with attractions such as Dubrovnik, and explore the best of the city and around it.

I would not advise you to take on popular itineraries in Dalmatia because such a limited time won’t be sufficient for anything but for plenty of rushing which will lead to stress and many missed opportunities.

However, staying in one of the bigger cities and discovering it thoroughly with nearby attractions around it will be a good choice.

For instance, Zagreb has beautiful museums, a cathedral, an old town and monuments, a zoo,  taverns, restaurants, and parks which will occupy your attention for 2 whole days. 

If you have another day you can venture around Zagreb to the medieval fortified town of Medvedgrad, hike Medvednica mountain, visit the Krapina Neanderthal site which is 50 minutes from Zagreb by car, and explore the magnificent castles Trakoscan and Veliki Tabor.

At Dubrovnik, you can turn yourself into a slow-walking spectator, stroll through the old town and iconic City walls of Dubrovnik where the Game of Thrones TV series was filmed, and later enjoy the restaurants and nearby beaches at which you can participate in water sports.

Combine the mentioned with a few visits to Dubrovnik monuments and museums with a hike to the mountain Srđ with a spectacular view over the city and your 2-3 days won’t be wasted!

Alternatively, you can take a trip around Kvarner where you can stop in Rijeka and Opatija and continue exploring Istrian medieval villages and towns, one of the few last preserved amphitheaters in the world in Pula, romantic Rovinj with idyllic beaches, and Brijuni archipelago national park.

2-3 days will be enough for this short itinerary and if you are a fan of truffles, wine, and olive oil you’ll have an opportunity to enjoy them in the villages by the road as you advance your itinerary.

While I would still advise that you reserve at least 5 days to optimize your experience in this Istrian itinerary, 3 days is doable as long as you cut some attractions off!

Croatia in 5 days

Staying in Croatia for up to 5 days will be sufficient time for short itineraries such as the one I mentioned for Istria. You will have some extra time to further explore Kvarner and its islands if you are staying for a full 5 days.

I would recommend that you spend the majority of your time in Istria with just 2 stops in Rijeka and Opatija where you will spend no more than a day exploring the cities and having lunch and then continuing to Istria.

However, Kvarner has its charms and if you want to explore it alone it will take you at least whole 5 days. 

We are talking about the islands of Cres, Krk, Losinj, Rab and Silba which are ideal for organizing the Kvarner island-hopping itinerary. 

Each island has something different from another, from the autochthonous plants that create authentic air odor, to delicious food specialties, and picturesque fish towns with hidden gems such as hidden caves, idyllic landscapes, and more.

What makes the Kvarner itineraries special is the fact that both just 30 minutes from Rijeka are the islands, but so are the mountains!

This means that you can explore a completely different setting in Gorski kotar which is full of lush forests, lakes, and fresh mountainous air after breathing fresh sea air! One thing is certain, your lungs are up for a nice surprise!

So, for the best time without rushing either choose Istria or Kvarner for your up to 5 days itinerary!

Croatia in 7-10 days

If you have the luxury to stay for a whole week or 10 days, the previously mentioned itineraries above are still an excellent choice, but now another opportunity unlocks the Dalmatian itineraries!

I am a believer that going to Dalmatia requires at least 7 days but the more days you have, the better.

Why is this so?

Well, you first have to understand something called “fjaka”, a term only known to Dalmatians and those who visited Dalmatia in the past.

Fjaka is best described as a feeling of not being willing to work, but being willing to slowly appreciate the time, the surroundings, and good food and beverages. In other words, letting life happen around you with minimal interference on your side to enjoy it fully!

Due to this fascinating anomaly in reality, you will be forced to slow down and enjoy every corner of magical Dalmatia.

This will make rushing from one site to another impossible, and even if you try to hurry things up, the locals will lure you into the abyss of Fjaka.

But worry not! Fjaka is not there to hurt you but to help you experience the Dalmatian coast and islands in their full glory, and understandable this needs time on your end.

After all, what else can you expect in the land of hot weather, with the most beautiful beaches, the cleanest sea, and food in the world?

Nobody can resist this piece of heaven, and everybody becomes indulged in it.

How does the itinerary look? Well, there is so much to see but you start with cities such as Zadar, Split, and Dubrovnik and smaller cities, towns, and villages in between. Then you take on an island hopping adventure and visit islands such as Korcula, Vis, Hvar, Mljet, Brac, and many more. 

After that, your heart is already Dalmatian and you can’t help yourself but write down all the things you didn’t have the time to see but will see the next year when you plan your return.

After that, you go to Plitvice lakes (usually from Zadar) where you enjoy the magical waterfalls and forests before finishing your itinerary in Zagreb.

Croatia in 2 weeks or more

Unfortunately, most people can’t save this much time for an itinerary of a lifetime, but there’s always next year’s vacation.

In this much time, you can visit even more hidden gems on the Dalmatian itinerary, then complete the Kvarner and Istrian itinerary, and even visit continental Croatia which is less popular due to the lack of summer-time attractions, but rich in its continental beauties and history.

Moreover, it’s possible and highly recommendable to visit foreign countries such as Bosnia, Slovenia and Montenegro.

I have written about Bosnia and Slovenia as my suggestions for the countries to combine with your Croatian itinerary, so if you are interested you can check it out.


Croatia is a small country, but there’s so much to see and experience that rushing is never an option!

I have focused on popular Dalmatian, Kvarner, and Istrian itineraries which will showcase the best of summer-time Croatia.

Bear in mind, that if you are coming off-season (which can be smart as there are fewer crowds and the prices are lower) you can visit these same places but also explore continental Croatia which is less represented in the media.

Start with Zagreb, then move to Varaždin, explore the rich wine yards of Croatian Zagorje, then explore Međimurje and Slavonia.

From there you can continue to Bosnia and explore Sarajevo and Mostar and fall in love with Bosnian hospitality and food or visit the famous lake Bled in Slavonia, the options are numerous and you can find more suggestions on our website! 


Dino is a local who has spent 27 years of his life in Croatia. He's here to provide you with useful information and some local guidance.

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