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Grand Croatia Road Trip

Zagreb - Novigrad - Rovinj - Opatija - Zadar - Omis - Dubrovnik - Korcula - Split - Gračac - Plitvica

Expect on your Grand Croatia Road Trip Itinerary

Beach
Landscape
Benefit-stress ratio
Urban life
Culture
Historical sites
Comfort
Road conditions
Tap to move
  • Motorhome Site
  • Hotels
  • Beach
  • Culture
  • Historical sites
  • Landscape
  • Camping
  • Restaurants
11 Stages 1,019 mi 2.7 h/stage

Best months to drive Grand Croatia Road Trip in Croatia

I II III IV V VI VII VIII IX X XI XII

Grand Croatia Road Trip Itinerary

Croatia Grand Tour is a versatile trip encompassing an array of beautiful Croatian settlements, ancient and medieval landmarks, and stunning landscapes that can be all admired through your car window along the way. This family-friendly adventure will cater to the needs of the most demanding motorists. Experience the top-notch ambiance of Croatian cities and glide along excellent roads valued by drivers from all around the world!

14 number of days
1,019 mi route length
moderate budget
family good for
on the right traffic direction
moderate accident level

Croatia Grand Tour consists of 11 stages that will take you from Northern to Southern Croatia. The trip starts at the Zagreb Airport and takes you east to such places as Karlovac or Novigrad. Afterwards, you will head south and visit Opatija, Rijeka, and Zadar. After a stopover at the southern most part of this trip in Korčula, you will head north to Plitvica and Karlovac again. The finishing line of this trip is the Zagreb Airport; however, we encourage you to continue your Croatian adventure and head for the capital itself!

Zagreb/Photo by robert_marinkovic on Pixabay Zagreb/Photo by robert_marinkovic on Pixabay

  Zagreb
Distance: 1,019 mi, Driving time: 31.9 h, Pace: modest
Airports: ZAG

Your journey starts at the Zagreb Airport. It is precisely the place where you can collect your rental vehicle.

Zagreb Zagreb
Plitvice Plitvice
Dubrovnik Dubrovnik

1 Zagreb - Karlovac - Novigrad
Distance: 181 mi, Driving time: 5.1 h, Pace: modest
dining venues interesting  historic site accommodation options trip plan ↓ See stage route on map

Start your Croatia Grand Tour at the Zagreb Airport where you will have the opportunity to hire a car at one of the car rental companies located at the airport. The first stage of your adventure will cover almost 300 km so there is plenty to see during this stage! First, head for Karlovac located in Central Croatia. Due to the city`s perfect location on the Zagreb-Rijeka highway, the journey will be pleasant, easy, and fast.

Novigrad - Croatia - Europe - Road Trip - Wikimedia Commons Novigrad - Croatia - Europe - Road Trip - Wikimedia Commons
Novigrad - Croatia - Europe - Road Trip - commons.wikimedia.org Novigrad - Croatia - Europe - Road Trip - commons.wikimedia.org

When you reach Karlovac, it is worth taking some time to explore its interesting monuments. Among the most exciting places to visit, you will find the Karlovac Town Hall, Dubovac Castle, Franciscan Monastery, and the Church of Holy Trinity. During this stage, while driving along the smooth surfaces of Croatian roads, you pass through such places as Dugave, Gronje Stative, or Nova Vas. In the end, you reach Novigrad, a treasure trove of tourist highlights for the visiting motorists.

2 Novigrad - Porec - Rovinj
Distance: 35 mi, Driving time: 1.3 h, Pace: modest
dining venues scenic road UNESCO World Heritage Site interesting  historic site accommodation options trip plan ↓ See stage route on map

Novigrad is the jewel of Istria Country with ancient roots. It already existed in the times of Ancient Greece. The town can boast a number of small houses representing the Venetian Gothic style. While in the city, you should also visit the 8th-century Basilica of Saint Pelgaius. After a short break in Novigrad, hop in your car and hit the road to reach Poreč with its stunning harbour and a plethora of lively restaurants.

Rovinj - Croatia - Europe - Road Trip - commons.wikimedia.org Rovinj - Croatia - Europe - Road Trip - commons.wikimedia.org

While in Poreč, you should definitely pay a visit at the Church of Our Lady of Angel, Euphrasian Basilica, Baredin Cave, and Poreč Promenade. Along the promenade, you will find an array of top-notch restaurants serving meals based on fresh local products. After a short ramble, buckle up for some more adventure in Rovinj. While travelling to your final destination, you admire the stunning Croatian coast with plenty of sandy coves and scenic promontories.

3 Rovinj - Pula - Opatija
Distance: 76 mi, Driving time: 3.3 h, Pace: slow
dining venues scenic road stretches of winding road interesting  historic site accommodation options attractive landscape trip plan ↓ See stage route on map

Rovinj is not only a well-known tourist resort, but also an active fishing port; therefore, do not forget to try some of the delicacies available at the restaurants specialising in seafood and fish-based meals. Interestingly, the town is officially bilingual with its residents speaking both Croatian and Italian. Many of the houses located in the town are notable examples of Venetian style. Among the most interesting landmarks and attractions, you will find St Euphemia Basilica, Monkodonja, and Limska Draga Fjord. It is also worth taking some time to drive around the town and admire the unique topography.

Opatija - Croatia - Europe - Road Trip - commons.wikimedia.org Opatija - Croatia - Europe - Road Trip - commons.wikimedia.org

From Rovinj, your trip continues to Pula, an ancient Roman outpost. With plenty of Roman remnants, Pula will captivate the lovers of both history and archaeology. One of the most popular attractions in the city is, of course, the perfectly preserved Roman amphitheatre. Be sure to visit such places as the Temple of Augustus and the Pula Aquarium as well. After a short stopover, take E751 road to reach the finishing line of this lap, Opatija.

4 Opatija - Rijeka - Senj - Zadar
Distance: 147 mi, Driving time: 4.1 h, Pace: modest
dining venues scenic road stretches of winding road accommodation options interesting  historic site attractive landscape trip plan ↓ See stage route on map

Opatija is one of the traditional seaside resorts enjoying a brilliant location on the Kvarner Gulf. Its hot climate and excellent landmarks are a perfect combination that lures thousands of tourists on an annual basis. When in Opatija, you should definitely check out Villa Angiolina, the Maiden with the Seagull, and St Jacob Church. The beach lovers should also visit Opatija Beach. From Opatija, you take E61 road to reach Rijeka, another perfect seaside resort.

Zadar - Croatia - Europe - Road Trip - Wikimedia Commons Zadar - Croatia - Europe - Road Trip - Wikimedia Commons
Zadar - Croatia - Europe - Road Trip - Wikimedia Commons Zadar - Croatia - Europe - Road Trip - Wikimedia Commons

Rijeka is considered a brilliant gateway to the Croatian islands, these are visible even from the mainland. Rijeka is a perfect combination of a harbour town and a seaside resort. Its Dalmatian charm will enchant you with brilliant culture and top-notch cuisine. From Rijeka, you head further south to Senj, located at a distance of 60 km away. While driving along the coastline, you will have the opportunity to admire the stunning Dalmatian isles and sandy coves. Afterwards, take E65 road to reach Zadar, the final destination of this road trip lap.

5 Zadar - Šibenik - Trogir - Omis
Distance: 121 mi, Driving time: 5.5 h, Pace: slow
dining venues scenic road stretches of winding road UNESCO World Heritage Site interesting  historic site accommodation options camper parking available trip plan ↓ See stage route on map

Zadar is characterised by a myriad of attractions and entertainment venues. Your experience in Zadar will be even more pleasant thanks to the impeccable state of Croatian roads in this region. Old Roman ruins, medieval fortifications, and lively restaurants are the quintessence of the city. After a short stroll around the town centre, travel around 90 km to Sibenik, another seaside resort. It is an industrial and a cultural hub welcoming motorists with stunning architecture.

Omis - Croatia - Europe - Road Trip - Wikimedia Commons Omis - Croatia - Europe - Road Trip - Wikimedia Commons

In Sibenik, you will be taken away by the unique ambiance and beautiful beaches. Travel to St Michael Fortress to admire a picturesque panorama of the settlement. The town is also known for the Sibenik Bridge that offers beautiful views on the sea. After a short stopover, travel to Trogir by taking the coastal road no 8 through such places as Brodanica or Rogoznica. Reach the final destination of this stage, namely Omis.

6 Omis - Makarska - Dubrovnik
Distance: 119 mi, Driving time: 3.6 h, Pace: modest
dining venues scenic road stretches of winding road accommodation options camper parking available UNESCO World Heritage Site interesting  historic site trip plan ↓ See stage route on map

Omis is the starting point of the sixth stage of your trip. You can also begin with a short exploration of the town itself. Among the most interesting historical monuments, you will find Mirabella Fortress, the Church of St Euphemia, and Starigrad Fortress. There is plenty to see for the lovers of history and architecture. After a short break in the town, head for Makarska that is probably one of the most popular places on the Croatian coast. Makarska will be an ideal starting base for trips to the Biokovo Nature Park.

Dubrovnik - Croatia - Europe - Road Trip - Flickr Dubrovnik - Croatia - Europe - Road Trip - Flickr
Dubrovnik - Croatia - Europe - Road Trip - Wikimedia Commons Dubrovnik - Croatia - Europe - Road Trip - Wikimedia Commons

For those who would like to focus on the exploration of Croatian urban jewels, Makarska is a great opportunity to see a true instance of Croatian Riviera. Its Old Town is full of narrow stone streets, beautiful architectural pieces, and fruit markets that create unique ambience that the travellers can soak up for hours on end. Check out St Mark Cathedral, St Peter church, and the 16th-century Franciscan Monastery. Later, buckle up and return to the coastal road no 8 to reach Dubrovnik.

7 Dubrovnik - Ston - Korcula
Distance: 76 mi, Driving time: 2.5 h, Pace: modest
ferry crossing dining venues scenic road sections of narrow road interesting  historic site accommodation options trip plan ↓ See stage route on map

The seventh stage of Croatia Grand Tour takes you back north to such places as Ston and Korčula. Ston is located at a distance of around 60 km away. On your way back north, you will have an opportunity to admire the greatness of the Croatian coastline again. Take coastal road no 8 through such settlements as Zaton or Doli. On your left-hand side, you will see scenic beaches lined with seashells and pretty stones, a truly idyllic and relaxing view.

Korcula  - Croatia - Europe - Road Trip - Wikimedia Commons Korcula - Croatia - Europe - Road Trip - Wikimedia Commons
Korcula  - Croatia - Europe - Road Trip - Wikimedia Commons Korcula - Croatia - Europe - Road Trip - Wikimedia Commons

From Ston, you travel through Potomje and Orebić to Korčula lying just off the Dalmatian coast. This small settlement is popular for holding the Korkyra Baroque Festival that is a showcase of Baroque music. Check out the Romanesque-Gothic Cathedral of St Mark and the 15th-century Franciscan monastery that lies nearby. After a short stroll around the town centre, hop in your car to begin the next stage of your trip.

8 Korcula - Vela Luka - Split
Distance: 38 mi, Driving time: 1.1 h, Pace: modest
ferry crossing dining venues scenic road sections of narrow road accommodation options UNESCO World Heritage Site interesting  historic site trip plan ↓ See stage route on map

This stage of Croatia Grand Tour will cover almost 300 km and will take you approximately 6 hours on the road. Along the way, you will see spectacular views of the coastline and enjoy a number of interesting small settlements spread along the Croatian coast. The next destination of your rip is Vela Luka located still on the island of Korčula. Its inhabitants are a blend of fishermen and farmers. It is a great place for the lovers of archaeology thanks to the many dig sites located in its near vicinity.

Split - Croatia - Europe - Road Trip - Wikimedia Commons Split - Croatia - Europe - Road Trip - Wikimedia Commons

After the exploration of Vela Luka, you return to the Croatian mainland and head for the finishing line of this lap, namely Split. The city is a place where modernity and antiquity meet. Croatia`s second largest settlements will welcome motorists with impeccable roads, spectacular landmarks, and top-notch dining venues. Visit Cathedral of St Dominicus, admire the Temple of Jupiter, and take a stroll around the towering Klis Fortress before hitting the road again.

9 Split - Sinj - Knin - Gračac
Distance: 87 mi, Driving time: 2.2 h, Pace: fast
dining venues accommodation options interesting  historic site trip plan ↓ See stage route on map

There are 140 km ahead of you during this stage. Start from the beautiful Split and travel in the north-eastern direction to Sinj, located at a distance of around 35 km away. Take E65 road through such places as Osoje, Kraj, and Brnaze. This section of the road is characterised by top-notch state and impeccable infrastructure. Sinj will welcome you with small-town architecture and delicious cuisine. From Sinj, you travel further north to Knin which is located around 70 km away.

Gračac - Croatia - Europe - Road Trip - commons.wikimedia.org Gračac - Croatia - Europe - Road Trip - commons.wikimedia.org

From Knijn, another small Croatian settlements, you travel to the final destination of this lap, namely Gračac. The main attractions around the town are Lake Stikada and the karst field of Gračac. Nearby, you will also find Cerovac Caves open for sightseeing. Along the way to Gračac, you have the opportunity to admire the stunning mountainous region of Croatia.

10 Gračac - Plitvice Lakes N.P. - Plitvica
Distance: 48 mi, Driving time: 1.0 h, Pace: fast
dining venues scenic road stretches of winding road UNESCO World Heritage Site attractive landscape accommodation options trip plan ↓ See stage route on map

The tenth stage of this road trip will take you approximately 3 hours and 80 km of beautiful roads and stunning landscapes. From Gračac, travel to Plitvička Jezera which are part of a large national park. The place is considered one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country. It can be found in the mountainous karst area, at a stone`s throw from the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina. The national park is a great highlight in itself with plenty of diverse landscapes, butterfly and animal species, and stunning panoramas.

Plitvica - Croatia - Europe - Road Trip - Wikimedia Commons Plitvica - Croatia - Europe - Road Trip - Wikimedia Commons
Plitvica - Croatia - Europe - Road Trip - commons.wikimedia.org Plitvica - Croatia - Europe - Road Trip - commons.wikimedia.org

From Plitvička Jezera, you head for the finishing line of this stage Plitvica, located nearby. It is a perfect spot for those who enjoy natural landscapes. On all sides, you will be surrounded by stunning flora and fauna. Besides, Plitvica is a perfect location for those who would like to venture into the most distant and unexplored recesses of the famous nature park. After some time spent around the beauty of Mother Nature, buckle up to begin the next stage of your road trip.

11 Plitvica - Karlovac - Zagreb
Distance: 90 mi, Driving time: 2.0 h, Pace: fast
dining venues accommodation options interesting  historic site trip plan ↓ See stage route on map

From Plitvica, you take D1 road and head north to Karlovac, located around 85 km away. During this stage, you will have a myriad of opportunities to take a stopover at one of the smaller Croatian settlements to soak up the idyllic atmosphere and admire the one of a kind backdrop of these places. This stage is a showcase of Croatian beauty at its best.

Zagreb - Croatia - Europe - Road Trip - Вікіпедія Zagreb - Croatia - Europe - Road Trip - Вікіпедія

Karlovac offers a considerable choice of tourist highlights. These include the Holy Nikolai Orthodox Church, the River Korana, Trinity Church, and plenty of small-town architecture examples. After a short break in Karlovac, return on the road to reach the Zagreb Airport, the finishing line of your road trip. However, do not worry, you can prolong your Croatian experience by taking public transport to the capital of Croatia.

  Zagreb
Airports: ZAG

After leaving your car at the Zagreb Airport, you have 12 km to cover to reach the city centre. You can pre-book a private or shared transfer or take the airport bus which can be found outside the main Arrival Terminal. The whole trip will take you approximately 25-30 minutes to reach the very centre of Zagreb, a city made for long strolls and family rambles.

Admire the stunning architecture, marvel at the beauty of medieval housing, and eat a local delicacy at one of the lively and buzzing restaurants in the city centre. Art fans should head for the Croatian Museum of Naive Art or Croatian Association of Artists, whereas those who enjoy admiring architecture should definitely consider a visit at Mirogoj, Dolac Market, or Lotrsčak Tower. The capital offers best restaurants, shopping venues, entertainment spots, and museums in the country. Lose yourself in the variety of experiences that Zagreb offers. After a long day full of sightseeing and delicious food, travel back to the Zagreb Airport!

Grand Croatia Road Trip Summary

We believe that the presented itinerary idea gave you multiple inspirations for your future holidays.
The plan we’ve prepared can be used as a base that can be recreated in its entirety or only partially and that can be enriched with original attractions of your choice.
If you are planning on travelling by car in Croatia, there are a number of vital road rules to follow and a bunch of elements to be mindful of to make your road adventure smooth and safe. The following road rules will surely become useful for all holidaymakers considering car rental or renting a camper in Croatia.
Sightseeing around Croatia in a vehicle requires you to follow the local road regulations. When moving around Croatia in a car, it is best to avoid alcohol at any cost. Travellers should remember that the allowed consumption limit is extremely low and equals only 0.5‰. Exceeding the maximum allowed speed limit, which is 31mph, around the city may lead to a speeding ticket. Around rural areas, holidaymakers can travel at at speeds up to 56mph. Exceeding 81mph on motorways is penalised. In order to stay safe, it is best to drive with your headlights on at daytime and equip your vehicle with a fire extinguisher and first aid kit.
You’re probably wondering about the costs of the whole trip. Depending on the budget option that you choose, the total cost of the whole road trip may vary. A wide range of budget options is described below.
We estimate that the cheapest offer when it comes to gasoline to cover the planned 12 stages while travelling around Croatia can equal as much as 159 GBP. Travel expenses connected with economy accommodation will cost up to about 521 GBP. If this option is your target, you will spend around 639 GBP on food and restaurants. Travellers will have to pay around 444 GBP if they aim for the cheapest hire car option as well. Thus, going for car rental will increase the costs of the road trip from around 1,319 GBP to roughly 1,763 GBP.
Holidaymakers who are looking for greater comfort and the standard option should be prepared to pay the maximum of 211 GBP for the gasoline needed to cover the tour. If you are into standard accommodation options, expect that the expenses can amount up to more or less 912 GBP. Drivers may expect that the standard option in terms of restaurants and food will cost about 852 GBP. Travellers who want to cover the trip in a standard hire vehicle can expect a cost of more or less 533 GBP. Drivers who would like to rent a car will pay roughly 2,508 GBP for the whole itinerary, whereas those who are not interested in vehicle rental will spend approximately 1,975 GBP.
The highest level of comfort of the premium option will come up to the expectations of the most demanding drivers. Drivers who would like to rent a car will pay more or less 4,396 GBP for the whole trip, whereas those who are not interested in vehicle rental will spend about 2,975 GBP. Travellers who would like to cover the road trip in a premium rental car should expect a cost of about 1,421 GBP. When it comes to the top standard version of the tour, you need to spend the maximum of 264 GBP on the fuel needed to cover the itinerary. Holidaymakers should expect to pay approximately 1,279 GBP for food and restaurants and more or less 1,432 GBP for accommodation options if they are searching for the exclusive standard of services.
Our trip is also superb for camper enthusiasts. If you choose this travel means, the expenses are roughly 2,664 GBP. If you are wondering about the gasoline costs for the whole tour, they will amount to about 317 GBP. Holidayers who would like to go for camper hire should expect to pay roughly 326 GBP for overnight stays and more or less 639 GBP for expenses connected with food.
The section Road Trip Costs presents all the mentioned details in an easy to follow manner.
The part of Croatia described in our Grand Croatia Road Trip is perfect to be visited between May and September. There are numerous interesting road adventures that we offer on our website if Grand Croatia Road Trip has sparked your creativity. The great versatility of road trips will definitely come up to the expectations of the most demanding travellers.
  • Road Trip Costs
  • How much does it cost to go on a Grand Croatia Road Trip in Croatia?
  • Economy
    Low budget options by car rental, accommodation and catering. In- and Out-bound travel expenses are not included.
    • rent & more 444 GBP
    • drive & more 159 GBP
    • sleep & more 521 GBP
    • eat & more 639 GBP
    • Total (est. for 2 prs.) 1,319 GBP
    • Total (est. for 2 prs.) incl. rented car 1,763 GBP
  • Standard
    Mid budget options by car rental, accommodation and catering. In- and Out-bound travel expenses are not included.
    • rent & more 533 GBP
    • drive & more 211 GBP
    • sleep & more 912 GBP
    • eat & more 852 GBP
    • Total (est. for 2 prs.) 1,975 GBP
    • Total (est. for 2 prs.) incl. rented car 2,508 GBP
  • Premium
    High budget options by car rental, accommodation and catering. In- and Out-bound travel expenses are not included.
    • rent & more 1,421 GBP
    • drive & more 264 GBP
    • sleep & more 1,432 GBP
    • eat & more 1,279 GBP
    • Total (est. for 2 prs.) 2,975 GBP
    • Total (est. for 2 prs.) incl. rented car 4,396 GBP
  • Camper
    On the road in RV, overnight at camp grounds with self cooking. In- and Out-bound travel expenses are not included.
    • rent & more 2,664 GBP
    • drive & more 317 GBP
    • sleep & more 326 GBP
    • eat & more 639 GBP
    • Total (est. for 2 prs.) 1,282 GBP
    • Total (est. for 2 prs.) incl. rented car 3,946 GBP

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Facts for safer driving in Croatia

drink drive limit
0.5
max speed urban
31 mph
max speed rural
56 mph
max speed highway
81 mph
headlights at daytime
on
fire extinguisher
no
tolls
yes
seat belts
yes