Croatia has been having a moment in the European travelsphere for years, thanks in part to tourism driven by iconic Game of Thrones filming locations. Tours or cruises inspired by the hit HBO show are one way to craft a Croatian itinerary, but there’s more to the country than real-life King’s Landing. You won’t be able to see it all in a single trip, but the video below maps out a nine-day Croatia itinerary that’ll give you a taste of the country’s best, from its most iconic Old Town to its second-largest city to its incredible islands.
Three days in Dubrovnik
No Croatia itinerary is complete without Dubrovnik, the city most people picture when they think of Croatia — specifically the ancient stone walls surrounding the Old Town, which stretch from Fort Bokar to the Revelin Fortress. Stradun Street is the main promenade within the walled city and is home to landmarks like palaces and churches, as well as boutiques and eateries to keep you busy. Adventurous types can hike up Mount Srđ for beautiful panoramic views or take a cable car for a faster ascent. If water is more your thing, you can spend your days beach hopping along the coast, or snorkeling and scuba diving offshore. While you’re out there, plan an excursion to Lokrum Island, onetime vacation home of an Austrian archduke, roughly half a mile from the Old Town port.
Three days in Korčula
Located between Dubrovnik and Split, Korčula is an idyllic island off the Dalmatian Coast that provides some of the most beautiful views in the Mediterranean. Korčula also has an Old Town that’s not to be missed, but its most popular sites are beaches, notably Pupnatska Luka Beach. The port town of Vela Luka on the western side of the island is an excellent place to base your stay in Korčula, with a large concentration of hotels, restaurants, and shops, as well as a thriving artist community that brings paintings, sculptures, music, poetry to the island. Visitors also have a range of trails to explore either on foot or horseback, some of which could lead to vineyard tours. Wine is a big deal in Korčula — notably the white Grk and Pošip varieties.
Two days in Hvar
An hour and a half away from Korčula by ferry, Hvar is one of the most popular islands in the Dalmatian archipelago. Sun-drenched beaches, hidden coves, and vibrant nightlife explain why. Much of the action is located in Hvar town, including streets lined with cafes and restaurants where you can enjoy local cuisine and some of Europe’s best wines, while the town of Stari Grad is a sleepier alternative, as well as the site of a UNESCO-listed ancient agricultural landscape called Stari Grad Plain. When you’re not busy boating, kayaking, jet skiing, or paddle boarding, venture to the pristine islets of the Pakleni Islands to find a quiet bay for sunbathing.
One day in Split
The second-largest city in Croatia after capital city Zagreb, Split is a perfect blend of urban life and coastal beauty. Though the majority of the city is modern, Split’s Old Town is packed with must-see monuments and ruins such as Diocletian’s Palace, an ancient Roman palace dating to the turn of the fourth century AD. Many of the city’s most popular restaurants and bars are tucked away within the winding lanes of the palace, as well as lining the main boardwalk that hugs the Riva Harbor. Foodies will also appreciate the Pazar Green Market, a large outdoor farmers market with numerous stalls. Bacvice Beach is Split’s most popular beach, but you’re better off finding a secluded sunbathing spot in the Marjan Forest Park. Then, at night, during peak season, Split becomes a hot spot for nightlife with large clubs open until the wee hours.