If you’ve been to Croatia or know somebody who’s been, then you’re familiar with the usual holiday itinerary most visitors go for: Dubrovnik – Hvar – Split or Dubrovnik only.
Yes, the UNESCO-protected walls of this Medieval Old Town are fascinating, but staying there is rather pricey. Moreover, if you’ve done this itinerary yourself, you might be looking for something new and different.
There are many other destinations in Croatia you can visit with less money and still have an amazing holiday.
We’ve created two different itineraries to Croatia’s unconventional destinations to give you an idea where to go instead.
Option 1: Croatia’s northern coast (10 nights)
Fly to Rijeka or Zagreb Airport.
First stop: Start in Rijeka, the wonderful coastal city situated in Kvarner region in the north-west of Croatia.
Rijeka is a chic, trendy place with buzzing Korzo promenade and interesting sights and museums. Spend three days/two nights in Rijeka, exploring the city and visiting the Trsat castle, set about 135 meters above sea level.
Second stop: Get a coach or a private transfer to the beautiful Island of Krk, Croatia’s largest island (even though sharing the title with the Island of Cres!).
A home to the Baška tablet, one of the most important historic monuments from the Medieval history of Croatia, Krk Island is one of Croatia’s most beautiful destinations.
Spend the next five days/four nights exploring Krk Island and its surroundings!
The Frankopan castle is probably the biggest tourist attraction, named after the Medieval noble family of Frankopan who ruled this area. Spend the evenings strolling the historic streets of Krk Old Town and tasting the local specialities in one of the restaurants by the sea. Watersports, cycling and hiking are very popular on the island.
For those enjoying geology and natural attractions, Krk is a home to some of Croatia’s most interesting caves and coves; one of them is the Biserujka Cave.
For a day trip, head to the nearby Island of Lošinj, Croatia’s “island of vitality”.
Lošinj hosts the Jazz Festival and is a home to Croatian Apoxyomenos – the bronze statue of an athlete from the Ancient Greek period.
Apoxyomenos was taken from the Adriatic Sea near the coast of Lošinj in 1999 and is exhibited in the Museum of Apoxyomenos in Mali Lošinj.
Third stop: Get a coach or a private transfer from Krk Island to Zadar.
Depart early in the morning, so that you have some time to explore the centre of Zadar before heading to the island of Murter, connected to the mainland by a bridge.
Spend the last five days/four nights in Murter.
Murter is very easy to reach and unspoiled by tourism; this peaceful oasis is a great choice for a relaxing summer holiday.
Throughout history, Murther has always been known for the high-quality olive oil production and boasts some of Croatia’s most beautiful beaches.
The most famous is the Slanica beach situated in the town of Murter. This beach has both sandy and rocky parts, with various sporting facilities, restaurants and beach bars.
Because it’s so close to the mainland, from Murter you can easily visit other places in this region of Croatia.
A day out to the Krka Waterfalls National Park is a perfect choice for families. Another great destination to visit on a day trip is the nearby city of Šibenik, boasting the Medieval Old Town and the UNESCO-protected St James’ Church.
Fly back home from Zadar Airport.
Option 2: Continental Croatia with Budapest (7 nights)
Fly to Zagreb Airport.
Take a coach or a private transfer from Zagreb to Slavonski Brod, situated in the heart of Croatia’s eastern region of Slavonia.
With endless farmland stretching in every direction, mouthwatering and incredibly inexpensive food and wine, this underrated region is a perfect choice for all foodies!
Slavonski Brod is one of the biggest cities in the region, set by the Sava River. Spend three days/two nights in Slavonski Brod.
Explore the city centre boasting the wide promenade lined with cafes and the 18th-century fortress built by the Habsburgs to protect the Empire from the Ottomans.
From Slavonski Brod, go on a day trip to Ilok to visit the magnificent Ilok castle and the famous wine cellars.
Second stop: Get a coach, train or a private transfer to Osijek, the largest city in Slavonia, situated by the Drava River. Spend the next five days/four nights exploring Osijek and its surroundings!
Osijek is a university centre and therefore always lively.
With the beautiful fortified Old Town (popularly called “Tvrđa”) featuring countless cafés, restaurants and clubs, Osijek is the favourite youth destination of this part of Croatia.
Many visitors enjoy a cup of coffee or a cocktail in one of the floating bars set on the Drava River. The city centre is lined with beautiful art nouveau buildings, squares and chic hotels.
Visit the wine region of Baranya, where many owners are happy to open the doors of their wine cellars to tourists who wish to taste their wine along with some local food.
Have a traditional lunch in Karanac Ethno Village, and visit the “Street of the Forgotten Time”, the exhibition of old arts and crafts of Slavonia.
Third stop: Get a coach, train or a private transfer from Osijek to Hungary and its capital city of Budapest. Spend the last night in Budapest.
Explore the beautiful Budapest, visiting the Buda Castle District and the Downtown, boasting magnificent Hungarian Parliament building and the chic Váci street.
Fly back home from Budapest Airport.