Croatia

Highlights of Croatia (2-weeks)

This two-week trip takes you along the length of Croatia’s sparkling coastline from Pula, in the north, to Dubrovnik far in the south. Along the way, you will take in the country’s most spectacular national parks, enjoy plenty of adrenalin activities, soak up the history and have ample opportunity to swim in the extraordinarily clear and enticing waters of the Adriatic.

If you are travelling with younger children we can suggest alternative activities that will be more suitable.

Highlights

  Kayaking in the sparkling Adriatic
  Hiking in spectacular national parks
  Swimming in waterfalls
  White-water rafting
  Navigating towering canyons
  Boat rides to remote archipelagos
  Beautiful Dubrovnik and Split

15 days from £1,625 pp

Plus international flights starting at £200 direct.

A two-week itinerary for a family of four to Croatia will typically cost from around £6,500 including accommodation, car hire and a wide range of activities. Upgrade to more luxurious accommodation and additional activities from £8,000 for a family of four.

View pricing guide

Highlights of Croatia (2-weeks) day-to-day itinerary 

Day 1, Pula
Welcome to Croatia – Dobrodosli! Upon your arrival at Pula airport, you will collect your hire car and take the short 20-minute drive to the accommodation of your choice.

Pula is one of the gems of Croatia’s Istrian Peninsula. It is well known for its perfectly preserved Roman arena, one of the best in the world, and is a superb introduction to the gorgeous aquamarine waters of the Adriatic. Time permitting you can head out into the quaint alleyways of this historic town and indulge in some early souvenir shopping.

This evening enjoy the first of many traditional Croatian meals. Highly recommended is some tasty grilled squid washed down with the excellent local white wine.


Day 2, Pula
This morning you will meet your guide and head off on a half-day tour of your choice – kayaking or biking. With a total coastline of nearly 6,000 kilometres, Croatia was made for sea kayaking. Today’s tour will be your first experience of the idyllic, crystal clear turquoise waters of the Adriatic coast. Alternatively, you can enjoy a 4hr cycle tour through the ancient streets and coast of this city.

The afternoon is free for some sightseeing, shopping or beach time. Highly recommended is a visit to the stunning Roman amphitheatre, right in the centre of the city.


Day 3, Pula – Plitvice Lakes National Park
This morning you will head into the mountains, to Plitvice Lakes National Park. The drive takes around 2 hours but you can stop en route for a scenic hike up Učka Mountain. There is an easy route (30 minutes) or a harder route (5 hours) but both offer superb views of the coast from the top.

On arrival in Plitvice the afternoon is free. Perhaps visit the nearby Deer Valley Farm, part of a breeding programme for red and fallow deer, in a stunningly beautiful hillside location. The children can hand-feed the deer.


Day 4, Plitvice Lake National Park – Paklenica
Plitvice is the oldest national park in Southeast Europe and the largest in Croatia. In 1979, it was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List and is famous for its exceptional natural beauty. The park consists of 16 lakes that fall naturally in cascades separated by natural travertine dams. The lakes are renowned for their distinctive colours, ranging from azure to green, grey or blue. The colours change constantly depending on the number of minerals or organisms in the water and the angle of sunlight.

This is the second most visited destination in the country (after Dubrovnik) and we strongly recommended getting here early. The site opens at 7am in the summer, and although this means an early start, you will be very grateful for this when you see the crowds that start to arrive after 9am. The self-guided sightseeing route is a circular loop and includes the Lower and Upper Lakes area. It combines a series of walking trails, an electric-boat ride and a panoramic train.

Later it’s a 90-minute drive to Starigrad Paklenica, where you will spend the next two nights. Located at the foot of the Velebit Mountains, this historical coastal town attracts visitors for its laid-back vibe. The contrast of the blue Adriatic Sea and the cliffs of Velebit, which tower over the kilometre-long beaches, create a scenic backdrop for your evenings here.


Day 5, Paklenica
Today you will enjoy a guided hike in the extraordinarily beautiful Paklenica National Park. This is one of the most beautiful in the region and features a combination of high craggy peaks and deep rocky gorges, all covered in beech and pine forest. Particularly stunning is the Velika Paklenica canyon, which is more than 14 km long, with steep cliffs sheering up on either side.

Your guide will take you on a 4-5 hour hike through the most impressive parts of the park, stopping for a tasty lunch at Paklenica mountain hut.

In the afternoon enjoy some well-deserved R and R by the beach, or take a gentle wander through town.

Later in the afternoon, there will be plenty of time for enjoying some well deserved R&R at the beach.

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Day 6, Paklenica – Zrmanja River – Sibenik
Today is an exciting water-based day, with an excursion on the picturesque Zrmanja River. This is one of the most beautiful in Europe with perfectly clear, warm water, spectacular canyons and magnificent waterfalls. From your put-in point at Kastel Zegarski you will quickly learn how to paddle before entering the canyon. The first section involves paddling down some easy rapids with time to enjoy the lush scenery and abundant birdlife. You will be able to stop at Krupa waterfall for a swim. The second section is perhaps more dramatic, with many waterfalls where you will stop and more adventurous kids can jump off cliffs to the deep water beneath. Enjoy a picnic lunch en route.

When you have finished, drive to Šibenik, an atmospheric harbour town perched on a hillside on the edge of the Adriatic. The imposing cathedral and fortress dominate the town’s skyline and provide an impressive backdrop.


Day 7, Kornati National Park
Just off the coast of Šibenik, the turquoise waters of the Adriatic are dotted with a series of pristine islands that comprise the Kornati National Park. Some islands feature soaring cliffs that drop sharply into the water, others have gently shelving beaches. Although there are no longer any permanent settlements here, olive groves and fig and lemon orchards dot the islands and are tended by residents of nearby Murter Island.

You will spend the day exploring the islands by speed boat. Stop on secluded beaches to swim, cliff jump and snorkel and enjoy a simple lunch at a local taverna.

Return to Šibenik for a second night.


Day 8, Krka National Park – Split
Today you will head along the coast to Split. En route, you may like to visit Krka National Park with its amazing collection of waterfalls. Unlike in Plitvice you are allowed to swim in the waterfalls here and can spend a very pleasant morning exploring on foot and by boat. Skradinski Buk falls are particularly impressive, with the water cascading down a series of levels and finishing in a beautiful shallow pool that is ideal for swimming.

You will end the day in Split. This is the second-largest city in the country, and a beguiling mix of ancient and modern sandwiched between mountains and sea. The old town centres around the magnificent Diocletian’s Palace, built in 305 AD but the Roman Emperor Diocletian. Surrounding the palace is a lattice of narrow cobbled streets, peppered with attractive street-side cafes.


Day 9, Cetina River white-water rafting – Dubrovnik
A day of adrenalin today, as you take a white-water rafting excursion on the Cetina River. The rafting here is a mixture of Grade II and III rapids and is suitable for children aged 8+. You will be accompanied by a specialist rafting guide who will navigate the rapids with great skill but will also keep you entertained along the way.

Amidst the rapids and obstacles, there are stretches of the river where it flows gently, forming tranquil green pools where you will be able to stop and swim.

The excursion finishes near the town of Omiš which has an excellent farm-style restaurant where you can sample traditional Dalmatian dishes. From here it’s a 3-hour drive to Dubrovnik.


Day 10, Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik is known as the Pearl of the Adriatic and with good reason. It is impossibly, improbably pretty, surrounded by the azure waters of the Adriatic, which contrast so strikingly with the terracotta roofs and imposing city walls. The polished, white, limestone streets of this UNESCO world heritage site have been walked by countless visitors, who marvel at how well the ancient buildings have been preserved, even after attacks and earthquakes.

You have a full day to explore the town, following the weaving pedestrianised streets past medieval buildings and walled fortifications with the shimmer of the Adriatic a constant backdrop. The city is undeniably busy in the summer months but no less impressive for it. The secret is to explore slowly, following some of the backstreets and stopping frequently in a pavement café to watch the world go by and soak up the scene.


Day 11, Dubrovnik – Elephiti Islands
Dubrovnik sits right on the edge of the Adriatic, and just off the coast here is a string of beautiful islands which make up the Elephiti archipelago. This is where those-in-the-know come to escape the crowds and enjoy some R & R. The islands are densely forested and dotted with quiet villages that lead down to picturesque beaches. The water here, as along the whole Croatian coast, is crystal clear and a startlingly bright turquoise.

After breakfast, you will take the ferry to Lopud and check into your hotel, with superb beach views. Although Lopud is quite close to Dubrovnik and is the most popular of the Elephati Islands, it remains relatively uncrowded. Famous for its sandy beaches, it has a bevy of great little restaurants and café bars. Each day the local fishermen will deliver the day’s catch to the restaurant and you can enjoy this freshly barbequed, washed down with the excellent local white Graševina wine.


Days 12-13, Elephiti Islands
You have two free days to relax and enjoy the beach.

There are masses of activities available for those who want them. Older children will enjoy hiring a SUP and paddling to Sunj beach where you can cliff-jump off the rocky outcrops and snorkel in the clear, clean water. Drop off your SUP here and then take a golf cart back to your hotel.

Another great option is a day tour in which you kayak across the channel to neighbouring Šipan island before donning masks and snorkels to swim underwater into a cave. This is illuminated by rays of sunlight that give off a surreal green glow. From here you swap kayak for mountain bike and cycle through ancient olive groves and vineyards, past stone villas and wild fig trees to a local taverna where you will enjoy lunch.


Day 14, Elephiti Islands – Dubrovnik
After a relaxing morning, take the ferry back to Dubrovnik for your final night. As you have already spent two nights in the town, you may wish to spend your final night in the countryside. We can advise on the best option for your family.


Day 15, Departure
Make your way to the airport for your flight home.

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Call us and we will be happy to provide you with a free-of-charge no obligation itinerary and quotation designed for you.

01728 752751

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