Hey, what if we went to Croatia for 4th of July?
That’s really all it took for my boyfriend and I to start planning our somewhat last minute European road trip.
Within 48 hours of deciding to go to Croatia, we had charted out our entire 9 day itinerary, booked our flights, and cashed in our loyalty points for accommodations.
Both of us are incredibly “type A” so all of our plans were, of course, neatly documented in a Google spreadsheet complete with hour by hour plans. (And yes, it was color coded.)
When planning, we intentionally decided to flip the traditional Croatia road trip route, which starts in Dubrovnik and ends in Zagreb, and opted to fly into Zagreb first. We wanted to front load our trip with National Parks and smaller cities, so that we could fight jet lag with movement and then relax in the back half of our trip, spending two days each in Split, Hvar and Dubrovnik.
I’ll go more in depth on the destinations we visited in subsequent posts, but here’s a quite overview of our stops:
→Plitvice National Park
→Krka National Park
Our overnight Lufthansa flight to Zagreb was admittedly a splurge but was worth it as we got to the city by 10am and didn’t have to waste a day on travel. They say time is money, right?
At the Zagreb airport we picked up our rental car, a sleek black BMW. Honestly, there’s a lot of ways to visit Croatia but I cannot imagine it without a car (especially one with good navigation). Every city on our trip was no more than a few hours driving distance and Croatia’s car ferries (Jadrolinja) make it easy to access the islands as well. And while no car could make Josh love driving on Croatia’s cliffside roads, he did enjoying cruising Croatia’s A1 highway while I took car naps and changed radio stations as I was politely excused from driving.
Overall, we found Croatia super easy to navigate as the main roads are well marked, a lot of people speak English, and Croatian is similar enough to Polish and Russian that I was able to fill in some gaps for us.
(This is probably a good time to mention that my Russian is good enough for me to read Warning: Proceed with Caution on a road sign, but continue to lead us down a steep, one car cliff road directly to a heavily guarded hydroelectric plant and NOT the waterfall we were looking for.)
Other than two instances were we turned down a wrong road and the time I left my iPhone in an Uber in Dubrovnik (oops), the entire trip went of without a hitch- even the weather was perfect.
From the captivating National Parks to charming historic cities, fresh Mediterranean food to crisp local wines, I cannot recommend road tripping through Croatia enough! If you are planning a trip, reach out and I’ll share our spreadsheet masterpiece.