Croatia itinerary (including a day trip to Mostar)

Croatia itinerary (including a day trip to Mostar)

Croatia itinerary –  The land of 1000 islands

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Croatia has so much to offer – beaches, historical sites, national parks, great food and their own wine, and GOT sites for those who are fans. And Croatian coast is speckled with islands. They are all different in size and character and it is recommended to go on island hopping.

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One of the Croatian Islands

Where to stay in Croatia

We stayed in a little place called Stobrec just outside of Split. Split is a beautiful coastal town with an amazing historical old city. And as you may know, Game of Thrones was filmed in Split, among several other places in Croatia. Split has beaches, marina, old town and of course many tourists. Its location makes it super popular. The nearby located islands such as Trogir and Hvar, but also only a few hours drive to Dubrovnik and Mostar in Bosnia-Herzegovina, makes Split one of the most popular tourist destinations in Croatia. There are tons of things to do around Split and it is a great base for exploring Croatia.

Hotels in Split

We booked our hotel Ark Beach Apartments through TripAdvisor. This 4* hotel is a family run hotel and has only 15 rooms. Its location is perfect if you want to stay close to the sea. It took about 10 min to walk to the centrum of Stobrec where there were restaurants and few convenient stores. This hotel has also a pool with sunbeds and a huge barbeque. Croatians love to barbeque their food – and it tastes amazing. Read a deeper review of the hotel here.

But the best part of the hotel was the host and his family. They go really out of their way for you. If you want to stay out of the worst tourist jam I can really recommend this place. We had a two room apartment with a balcony overlooking the sea. Although you don’t stay in your apartment while on vacation it is lovely to have a beautiful view to wake up to.

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The view from the hotel room

Stobrec used to be a fishing village but is now an administrative part of Split. It had quite a few restaurants in the centrum, a little church overlooking the sea and a sandy beach. It took 5-10 min to walk to the bus station that took us to the city of Split. The bus ride took approximately 10 min.

When it comes to beaches they are different from the ones you are used to in Spain, France or Italy. The water is so clear it’s unbelievable. There were mostly pebble beaches in the area we stayed at and luck of sand is the reason the water is so see-through. If you move a little further out to Podstrana you will find luxury resorts, yacht rentals, and Casino. There is a water activity “park” off the beach as well – which is a huge fun for older kids.

FIND YOUR PERFECT ACCOMMODATION HERE



The best part of staying in Stobrec is that you are off the tourist trail, but still very close to everything.croatia itinerary, things to do in split, day trip to mostar, croatia itinerary 10 days, croatia vacation itinerary

Things to do in Split

Split is a great base for exploration. There are lots of things to do in and around Split. Just a few short hours drive there are National Parks, the famous Dubrovnik and Mostar in Bosnia-Herzegovina. But if you want to stay in Split and explore the city here are a few suggestions for things to do.

A trip to Blue Lagoon

We wanted to do a Blue Lagoon tour and get our tickets on the spot but ended up with nothing, as it was sold out – bummer!

Kayaking

Walking tour in the city

Game of Thrones locations tour

If you are a GOT lover you might want to go on a walking tour of GOT locations.

A culinary tour including lunch

If you want to get out of Split and explore more of Croatia you can go on a day trip to a Krka National Park, Plitvice Lakes National Park, Dubrovnik or even Mostar in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Visiting the surrounding islands is highly recommended too. The only problem you will have is that you won’t be able to do them all 🙂 Have a plan, choose your most desired activity and get your tickets in advance. All thought Croatia doesn’t have sandy beaches like Spain, France, and Italy, you should spend some times relaxing by the water under the pine trees. The water is amazingly clear and see-through, but be aware of sea-urchins.

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The see-through water of the Adriatic sea

Day trips out of Split

Explore 5 islands and Blue Caves on a 12-hour trip. Tours are set from Split and Trogir.

If you love nature and historic sites you should visit Krka National Park and Šibenik and its St. James’s Cathedral, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

And if you really want to see something more than ancient sites and islands head to Plitvice Lakes National Park, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Your path towards the lakes and waterfalls will start in the woods, continue by boat and end by a panoramic train ride.

A day trip to Mostar from Split

If you have time I would recommend you to take a day trip to Mostar in Bosnia-Herzegovina. We rented a car at the hotel and our host was very helpful with the car hire. The agency he recommended delivered and picked up our car at the hotel, which was very convenient. Split is located about 2 hours drive from Bosnia-Herzegovina’s border which made it easy to go on a day trip.
I love history and architecture and Mostar had both. The city was totally destroyed during the Balkan war but is now rebuild and Bosnia-Herzegovina is becoming a larger tourist attraction. Mostar is located in Southern Bosnia-Herzegovina and has a population of approximately 106K. The city is a cultural capital in its region and 5th largest in Herzegovina. Mostar is situated on the Neretva River and was named after the bridge watchers – mostari, who in the medieval times guarded Stari Most – Old Bridge.
The river Neretva under the bridge comes down from the mountains and holds about +7C. The bridge is a huge tourist attraction – be aware of that! During summer you can see free divers jumping off the bridge into the cold water – that’s 24 m down – crazy, but fun for tourists. Since it was raining that day there were no jumpers 🙁

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The view of Stari Most

Although Mostar’s inhabitants are mostly of Islamic and Christian religions, they have always been open to people with other religious beliefs. You will be surprised to see churches and mosques side by side in this small town and it is an absolutely wonderful sight!

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The view from Stari Most

The drive to Mostar was very pleasant and scenic on both sides of the border. Remember to bring your passport for customs as you will be crossing borders. It can take up to an hour to get through the customs depending on the queue. Although it rained a lot the day we went and was only +14C, Mostar was a nice experience and I would definitely recommend it. The old town with its street sellers was very charming and the food was ok.

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Streets of the old town in Mostar

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Coffee break in Mostar

If you decide to go on an organized trip to Mostar you can buy your tour here.

Old town Split

I love old towns and their history and Split old town is perfect. It’s ancient architecture and the narrow streets are amazing. The drawback is all the crowds and heat during high season. If you have the chance to go off-season, do that.

Split is the largest city on the Adriatic Coast and the second-largest in Croatia. Its location made it an attractive target for the Romans, Venetians, Austrians, French, Italian and Yugoslavian empires. Due to the influence of different cultures and religions Split’s old town has an amazing mixture of history and architecture. If you want to go on walking tour in Split Old town you can book your tickets here. I always try to book my tickets online before I go, that removes the possibilities of trips beings sold out (as I have experienced before).

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Sites such as Diocletian’s Palace and Mausoleum, the Grgur Ninski Statue and the Cathedral and Bell Tower of St. Domnius justify its position as a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site.  Old Town in Split has many restaurants and is a great day trip destination if you stay outside the city.

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By the harbor of Split

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Narrow streets of the old town Split

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Overcrowded in the old town of Split

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Goofing around being a tourist. I tried to pretend I was afraid, but it looks more like I sing opera

Croatia is still a lot cheaper than its big brothers and sisters – Spain, France, and Italy, which makes it to a great vacation country. It has also a younger vibe than the above-mentioned countries. Croatia produces its own wine, which they are very proud of and the food is amazing. The country has a great tradition of barbecuing the food and it tastes great. There is a lot of meat and fish on the menu, especially catch of the day is always a great surprise. As I mentioned in the beginning – research the stuff you want to do in advance and pre-book your tickets. It makes your stay so much easier and more comfortable. Let me just tell you that I learned my lesson, at the price of missed Blue Lagoon 🙁 But if I should mention one thing that disappointed me it was the pebble beaches. Luckily no one took a shot of me when I was trying to stumble across the hot sharp stones, moaning like a crazy lady, trying to get to the beautiful clear water. Once I was in the water the stones were slippery and I had to watch out for sea urchins, at least you could see them rather clearly 🙂 So, bring your bathing shoes! (is that even a thing?)

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Sunset

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Flying home

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11 Comments

  1. April 7, 2018 / 10:35 pm

    I almost had a plan in place to visit Croatia a year ago but it fell apart. Seeing this great itinerary makes me wanna start planning mine again asap 🙂 Beautiful photos!

  2. February 2, 2018 / 7:07 am

    wow. The city of Mostar is stunning – the river, its narrow streets and buildings.

  3. February 1, 2018 / 2:45 pm

    I had absolutely no idea that Croatia had so many islands! I must admit, I always thought of it just as part of Europe with no islands. Oops!

    The view from your apartment is lovely – just look at the colour of the sea! Definitely a great choice of accommodation, if only to wake up to that beautiful view.

    Split looks like such a unique town full of so much culture and heritage.

    Great blog post!

  4. February 1, 2018 / 12:26 pm

    Looks like an amazing trip. I’m going to have to add Croatia to my “must visit” list.

    • Travelletters
      February 1, 2018 / 2:40 pm

      That’s great, Erin! Croatia is beautiful 🙂

  5. February 1, 2018 / 11:19 am

    Just added this to my bucket list. Amazing pics

    • Travelletters
      February 1, 2018 / 2:39 pm

      Thank you! That’s cool! I would like to go back, so it’s still on my list 🙂

  6. January 28, 2018 / 5:06 pm

    Wow I never realized how beautiful it is there!!

    • Travelletters
      January 30, 2018 / 8:55 am

      It has everything – mountains, amazingly clean sea water, historic sites and great food. The only thing I missed is a sandy beach 🙂

  7. January 28, 2018 / 2:32 pm

    Croatia!!! I love’d how some parts of Croatia is not as crowded as the other cities of Spain. I’ve only been to Zagreb during our stopover trip from Slovenia on our way to Budapest. I definitely agree that Croatia is affordable compared to Germany and Austria which were a part of our Journey that summer. I originally wanted to visit Split but thought that should be a separate trip on its own and not a stopover trip. This post makes me want to book my flight back to Croatia, and fulfill my dreams of seeing the city of Split 🙂

    • Travelletters
      January 30, 2018 / 8:54 am

      And if you manage to go off season you would avoid most of the crowdes and I reckon it would be even cheaper. I would love to go back and maybe stay on an island this time 🙂

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