Our Favorite Croatia Road Trip Experiences

David and I covered a lot of ground during our 48-day Croatia road trip. While we had to skip out on certain areas and activities for the sake of both time and our collective sanity, we managed to stop in each of the seven regions we outlined and explore many places we hadn’t ever been.

While I’ll be delving into the details of specific areas and our experiences with them in future posts, I wanted to do a snappy little recap of our favorite Croatia road trip experiences.

This list is based off of every stop we took and is grouped by region, starting with towns in Dalmatia and moving toward areas in Central Croatia.

There is no rhyme or reason for this organization–I simply took our 2018 itinerary and built our favorite road trip experiences list from there.

Our responses come in at 60 words or less each since my intention was to take a rapid-fire approach to see what immediately came to our thoughts at the utterance of a place name.

It was a fun little exercise to do together (you’ll find both David’s answers and mine below designated by our initials–DL and KP) as it helped us remember little details of our trip and relive happy memories.

I hope you’ll enjoy this quick recap of our favorite Croatia road trip experiences as much as we did creating it!

Ready? Let’s go!

Podgora

  • DL: The views from Galah Apartment, with the Adriatic Sea in the front and Biokovo Mountain in the back.
  • KP: EVERYTHING. Food. Accommodation (Galah Apartment). Views. Beaches. Bars. Yes to it all.
The view from Galah Apartment in Podgora
The beautiful seafront view from Galah Apartment in Podgora

Split

  • DL: Having dinner at To Je Tako then exploring Roman emperor Diocletian’s Palace in the evening.
  • KP: Enjoying traditional Honduran food in the heart of Split’s Old Town at To Je Tako and getting my vegan on at UpCafe.

Sutina

  • DL: Enjoying the calm, country vibe at Bike&Bed House Bazina.
  • KP: Hearing the clucking of chickens, the scatter of cats, and the dinging of bells as the neighbor’s cows walked home for the evening.

Komiža & Vis (Vis Island)

  • DL: Scootering around the island and enjoying the pretty landscape. (We used Rent a Scooter Luna on Ulica Vinka Foretića 9.)
  • KP: Learning about the island’s military history through a Military Tour and meeting an adorable family of stray cats near our rental apartment.
Adorable stray cat family in Komiza on Vis Island
Adorable stray cat family near our rental apartment in Komiža on Vis Island

Biševo Island

  • DL: Swimming through the Monk Seal Cave–it was pretty exhilarating.
  • KP: Swimming through the Monk Seal Cave with David guiding our group of five through the darkness, using only a dim waterproof flashlight for assistance. Amazing!

Imotski

  • DL: The Blue Lake was really cool and its size was impressive. Eating at Eko-Selo Grabovac, a family-run establishment in an abandoned village, was great too.
  • KP: Finally seeing the Blue Lake, the Red Lake, and the Green Lake and having a wonderful late lunch at Eko-Selo Grabovac. My little exploration (sans David) of Imotski’s 10th century Topana Fortress during a sudden downpour was also tons of fun. Everything about this day trip was fantastic, even with the rain!

Trogir

  • DL: Enjoying a bit of UNESCO-protected Klapa singing (a capella) in the center of Trogir’s Old Town.
  • KP: Doing a walking tour of Trogir with our tour guide Sandra, and learning about Trogir’s history followed by a lunch at Mlinica Pantan, a traditional Croatian restaurant Sandra recommended.
Looking down into the Red Lake, Imotski
Looking down into Red Lake during our day trip to Imotski

Sinj

  • DL: Admiring the expansive views of the town from its old hilltop fortress.
  • KP: Ditto. The views are amazing from Sinj’s Old Town–you just gotta be willing to hike up the semi-steep hillside!

Makarska

Fužine

  • DL: Enjoying the views of Lake Bajer from the road at dusk.
  • KP: Eating forest fruit palačinke while watching the sunset from Hotel Bitoraj’s terrace.
The view from Sinj's Old Town
The stunning view from Sinj’s Old Town Fortress

Rijeka

  • DL: Eating Chinese food after a long day.
  • KP: Finally getting a bite to eat after a long car ride from Dalmatia that included dealing with a busted tire.

Rovinj

  • DL: Taking my favorite boat tour around Rovinj’s archipelago and enjoying my favorite truffled steak at La Puntalina.
  • KP: Hanging out with friends and attending my first-ever polo match. Also: grabbing my customary potato pita and Cedevita and heading to the rocky shore in front of St. Euphemia Church.

Buje

  • DL: Taking Kristina for all she’s worth in Monopoly Deal while dining at San Servolo’s Steakhouse.
  • KP: Relaxing in saunas at San Servolo Resort, experiencing my first Beer Spa, and spending quality time with David.
The San Servolo Beer Spa experience
Enjoying my San Servolo Beer Spa experience

Buzet

  • DL: Going on a truffle hunt with Prodan Tartufi and having truffled eggs for the first time.
  • KP: I’ve been wanting to go on a truffle hunt and was thrilled to finally do so with Prodan Tartufi. The hunt was fun, interesting, and informative and THE FOOD afterwards was AMAZING. A truffle-filled three-course meal paired with homemade wine and soda–YUM! Plus, the Prodan family is so incredibly sweet. A five-star experience, for sure.

Kotli

  • DL: Journeying down to the small watermill-created waterfall.
  • KP: Seeing one of my favorite Istrian villages again and maneuvering around water and rocks to get to where the water drops beautifully into the river tributary.

Grožnjan

  • DL: Enjoying the views of rolling landscape all around the hilltop town and popping in and out of artist studios.
  • KP: The views of green on green and green extending for miles and miles. The art is always nice, too.
Our first course at Prodan Tartufi
Our delicious truffled first course at Prodan Tartufi–YUM!

Trieste (Italy)

  • DL: Visiting the home studio of Triesten artist, Paolo Hrovatin and admiring the cool fountains he crafted from local limestone.
  • KP: Hanging out with friends, meeting artist Paolo Hrovatin at his home studio, and enjoying wine and munchies at a traditional osmica home tavern.

Novalja (Pag Island)

  • DL: Hanging out with my friend Sam who joined us for part of our road trip.
  • KP: Walking into town and seeing what has changed and what has remained the same after 7 years away.

Lun-Tovarnele (Pag Island)

  • DL: Having a lunch of freshly caught fish at Restaurant Jadran which overlooks the Adriatic Sea.
  • KP: Walking through Lun’s centuries-old olive groves and enjoying the peace and quiet of the pre-season while ambling along Tovarnele’s seaside promenade.
The view from Restaurant Jadran in Lun-Tovarnele
The beautiful blue-on-blue view from Restaurant Jadran in Lun-Tovarnele–just WOW!

Nin

  • DL: Taking (funny) pictures in front of the Church of the Holy Cross.
  • KP: The gazpacho at Restoran Sokol Nin. It was a welcomed treat on an especially hot day.

Zadar

  • DL: Zadar’s Old Town walls were pretty cool, and I made friends with a dog and threw him a ball.
  • KP: Finally hearing/seeing the Sea Organ and finding a new (Croatian-made) summer dress at BLU.

Vinkovci

  • DL: Enjoying a fully Croatian concert with family that featured a military jazz orchestra and rock band Opća Opasnost.
  • KP: Taking walks around Lake Banja with family and attending a concert on our last evening in Vinkovci.
Church of the Holy Cross in Nin
The 9th century Church of the Holy Cross in Nin

Osijek

  • DL: Spending time with family while walking around the city and having beer and burek in the Old Town.
  • KP: Marveling at the beautiful colors of Osijek’s Old Town area.

Kutina

  • DL: Asking locals for restaurant suggestions got us nowhere so we ended up with burek from Lidl and were happy.
  • KP: I thoroughly enjoyed my cheese burek from Lidl. Not the best, but it kicked the hunger in my belly during our drive from Zagorje to Slavonia.

Vukovar

  • DL: Learning about the history of Vukovar from our tour guide, Antonia of Educational Travel Worldwide.
  • KP: Ditto. I enjoyed Antonia’s stories about Vukovar and also appreciated gaining a better understanding of what happened in Vukovar during the Homeland War.
Vukovar's city center
Crossing a bridge into Vukovar’s city center

Ilok

  • DL: Enjoying the views from Principovac Estate with Iločki Podrumi wine in hand.
  • KP: The tour through Iločki Podrumi’s wine cellar was really interesting as was our visit to the Principovac Estate that is surrounded by such stunning landscape. I could have stayed there drinking wine and admiring the view forever.

Konjščina

  • DL: I bought a stick to practice Kung Fu for fun and enjoyed my time with Stick while we were chilling in the countryside.
  • KP: Being home ❤

Varaždin

  • DL: Kristina getting me freshly baked bread and making me soup while I was feeling sick.
  • KP: Walking around Varaždin’s Old Town area, enjoying the charming decor and cozy vibes of our accommodation, Stylish Studio Varaždin, and chatting with Martina (the studio’s owner) and her partner over some beers.
Varazdin's Old Town fortress
Varaždin’s beautiful Old Town fortress/castle

Gornja Stubica

  • DL: Getting a random tour of Oršić Castle with Kristina of Aura Rustica.
  • KP: Meeting Kristina of Aura Rustica Travel Agency in person for the first time and learning about Zagorje area history through an unplanned tour of Oršić Castle.

Oroslavje

  • DL: I picked Kristina up from her hair appointment.
  • KP: It’s always a pleasure to get my hair cut and colored at Salon Katarina–the service is great and Anita (owner and stylist) is phenomenal.

Zabok

  • DL: Hanging out with our friends and enjoying an evening of eating and drinking with them.
  • KP: Attending the Zagorje Hot Air Balloon Rally and spending time with our close friends.
Zagorje Hot Air Balloon Rally in Zabok
Zagorje Hot Air Balloon Rally 2018 in Zabok

Tuheljske Toplice

  • DL: I stayed at home and played video games while Kristina was at the spa.
  • KP: I had such a wonderful afternoon at Terme Tuhelj, a wellness resort in Zagorje. I enjoyed a hot stone massage, a pedicure, a relaxing walk, and a healthy lunch at the terrace restaurant. (Special thanks once again to my friends for the thoughtful Terme Tuhelj gift card!)

Medimurje

  • DL: Being tricked into eating a very large family meal after being initially presented with some sweets and fruit. The sweets and fruit soon turned into a table full of food.
  • KP: Spending time with family we don’t often get to see and eating yummy homemade vegetarian food.

Zlatar Bistrica

  • DL: Attending Kristina’s cousin’s orchestra anniversary concert.
  • KP: Spending time with family and eating at a long-time family favorite restaurant, Restoran Purga.
Relaxing at Terme Tuhelj Wellness Resort
Terme Tuhelj Wellness Resort in Tuheljske Toplice

Krapina

  • DL: Enjoying the company of our funny waiter at Vuglec Breg and chatting with Kristina of Aura Rustica.
  • KP: Enjoying a wine tasting and hearty vegetarian meal (they made me tofu skewers! ❤ ) at Vuglec Breg and touring the Krapina Neanderthal Museum, which I hadn’t been to in some time.

Trakošćan

  • DL: Touring Trakošćan Castle with Kristina of Aura Rustica.
  • KP: Visiting Trakošćan Castle after many years away and learning more about the castle’s history than I ever knew before thanks to Kristina of Aura Rustica.

Lepoglava

  • DL: Learning about Croatia’s oldest prison that sits right in the middle of Lepoglava and seeing the local restaurant that prisoners work at as part of their rehabilitation.
  • KP: Learning about the history of lace-making and the amount of work that goes into making Lepoglava’s beautiful UNESCO-protected lace.
Lepoglava'a UNESCO-protected lace
The intricacy of Lepoglava’a UNESCO-protected lace

Zagreb

  • DL: Drinking PAN and taking part in a family reunion-esque fest that consisted of lots of rakija and other alcoholic beverages.
  • KP: Meeting my Croatian language teacher in person for the first time (she works for Školica Croatian Language School–you can take lessons online!) and witnessing David’s hilarious rakija initiation into my family.

And that’s that! More stories to come soon from our 48-day Croatia road trip and my experiences with Croatia in general. Thanks, as always, for reading!


*Please note that David and I received complimentary stays at Galah Apartment and Stylish Studio Varaždin and a complimentary truffle hunt with Prodan Tartufi, but all opinions expressed are 100% our own. All links included in this post are purely informational; there are no affiliate links or ads.

6 thoughts on “Our Favorite Croatia Road Trip Experiences

  1. Love this! I’ve been to many of the areas you mention and they all have lasting memories for me. If I could have been a fly on the wall at sny point listed, it’s David’s rakija initiation with the family that I would have loved to witness!

  2. I’m so happy you got to take this trip! It really motivates me to get out of my comfort zone. I truly hope to go to Croatia one day! I’ll have tons of information now where to go 🙂

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