Croatia Independent Self Drive Tours
This is the tour for those wanting to discover as much of Croatia as possible! Enjoy exploring the country’s most well known cities of Zagreb, Split, Dubrovnik, and Rovinj as well as off the beaten path villages, the stunning rolling hills and charming towns of the Istrian peninsula, one of Croatia’s premier wine growing regions, and several beautiful islands along the Dalmatian Coast.
Croatian DIscovery Tour Highlights*
*An Example of The Exciting Activities Carpe Mundo Can Arrange For You!
This is our suggested itinerary for a self-drive Croatian Discovery trip. The itinerary can be changed and customized to suit your needs.
Welcome to the Balkans! Pick up your rental car at the Zagreb airport, or at another location in the city if requested. Zagreb is the cosmopolitan capital of Croatia, and an exciting city to start your trip. Zagreb was a stop along the Orient Express, making it an i. We will provide a wide variety of suggestions of things to do in the city- from visiting the Old Town and the city’s churches and museums to exploring the outdoor market.
Head to the coastal city of Rovinj, driving through the Istrian Peninsula, known for its hilltop villages, amazing wine, homemade olive oil and truffles. While visiting this part of Istria, you will have plenty of options for wine tastings, exploring small towns, or even go truffle hunting! Motovun and Hum are two beloved towns, with Hum considered to be the smallest town in the world. You can also opt to discover Istria on two wheels biking between villages on the car-free Parenzana Bike Trail. When you arrive in Rovinj, you will be swept away by the gorgeous seaside setting of this medieval town where you will spend the next two nights. In the evening, wander the cobblestone streets, watch the sunset over the Adriatic, and enjoy delicious food from a seaside restaurant.
Choose your adventure today! Rovinj is an incredible city with so much to see and explore both in the old town and in the surrounding area. If you opt to stay in Rovinj, you can take a dip in the crystal clear sea, take a boat tour to the surrounding islands, or enjoy a cooking class! Just a short drive down the coast is one of Croatia’s larger cities, Pula. Pula deserves a walkabout to see the incredibly well preserved Roman architecture throughout the city, including a magnificent Roman amphitheatre. The city is full of great restaurants, historical sites, and interesting features. Venture further south and you’ll make it to a nature park, including the cape of Kamenjak. Just north of Rovinj is the town of Poreč, a popular seaside resort town known for its Byzzantine mosaics and the Euphrasian Basilica which dates back to the 6th century. Return to Rovinj to spend the night.
Leave Istria to head to central Croatia. Two great stops today are Učka Nature Park and the city of Opatija. Učka has fantastic hiking and the mountainous terrain is a fun contrast to the scenery in Istria. Nearby Opatija has been a popular vacation destination for centuries (dubbed the Opatija Riviera), giving it an “old world” feel with beautiful villas. Spend the afternoon visiting museums or people watching while enjoying lunch al fresco at one of the many fantastic restaurants. End the day in the countryside near Plitvice National Park which you will visit tomorrow.
In the morning, get an early start to visit Plitvice National Park, one of the most incredible natural wonders in Europe. Walking along the boardwalks admiring the stunning waterfalls and turquoise lakes. Plitvice is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of the most amazing sites in Croatia. After exploring Plitvice, drive to the city of Split, another UNESCO World Heritage Site. Split is known for its Old Town which is home to Diocletian’s Palace. This was built as a home for the Roman Emperor Diocletian more than 1,700 years ago and has some of the best preserved Roman remnants in Europe. You will love wandering the narrow streets of this enchanting city, discovering quaint shops and hidden restaurants.
Spend the day discovering the magical city of Split, or venture out to explore the nearby area. Take a day cruise to the surrounding islands, visit the “Blue Cave”, or head to the town of Hvar with world-renowned beach clubs and nightlife. If you’re looking for adventure, go rock climbing, canyoning, rafting, sailing, biking, paddleboarding, or kayaking. You can choose to spend tonight either in Split or Hvar.
Enjoy a leisurely morning in either Split or Hvar, and then take an afternoon ferry to the island of Korčula, where you will spend the night in the town of Korčula- the rumored birthplace of Marco Polo. This is one of our favorite towns in Croatia- the compact walled old town is full of beautiful boutiques and delicious restaurants, many with stunning sea views. Korčula also has several small family run wineries- be sure to try Grk, a type of white wine found only on this island!
Take a ferry back to the mainland where you will drive through the Pelješac peninsula to Dubrovnik. Pelješac is dotted with small fishing villages and wineries, making it a delight for the eyes and taste buds! Stop for lunch at a restaurant where you can pick your lobster directly out of the sea, try fresh mussels and seafood, or visit a winery where they age wine in bottles in the sea instead of a cellar! Dubrovnik is perhaps Croatia’s best known city- it has become even more popular recently since it is used as a filming location for Game of Thrones. The walled city is one of the most beautiful in all of the Mediterranean- the entire old town within the city walls is car free and pedestrian only. You can wander the narrow cobblestone streets, eat at a cliffside café, swim at one of the nearby beaches, or go for a sunset sail on the Adriatic! There is an optional cooking class in the countryside where you can learn to make a traditional Croatian meal.
Start the day with a beautiful stroll through the Old Town or along the city walls for a panoramic view. Choose from one of the many activities available in/around Dubrovnik- shop for souvenirs, go kayaking, take a walking tour to learn about the city’s history (or to see the filming locations of Game of Thrones), or relax by the sea! Return your car today or decide to extend your trip to either spend more time in Dubrovnik, return to Split or Zagreb to fly out, or continue heading south to Montenegro!
This is our suggested itinerary; your trip can be customized based on your preferences.
November - April
May, September, October
June, July, August
*Prices are in US Dollars, based on two people traveling together
*Prices are in US Dollars, based on two people traveling together // Luxury car upgrade available upon request
Croatian Discovery: Zagreb to DubrovnikExperience the best of Croatia, with options to see well known sites as well as off the beaten path gems!
Prices vary by accommodation, season and preferred itinerary.
Tours for a number other than 2 or 4 people are possible- pricing will vary depending on the number of rooms desired- contact us for pricing for tours of 1, 3 or 5+ travelers. If you have questions about the self drive tours, check out our Self Drive FAQs or contact us.
To book your trip, please pay a deposit and we will then contact you to collect additional information about your trip.
About the prices: The quoted prices are per person, based on double occupancy. On a rare occasion, the pricing may be slightly higher depending how far in advance the trip is booked, as well as availability at preferred accommodations. Lower prices are available if you are interested in staying at hostels. Any of our self-drive itineraries can be customized for you- please contact us with any requests for modifications.
About the accommodations: The standard price includes private rooms but a bathroom that is shared with other rooms. Upgraded room options include rooms with private bathrooms. Accommodations will vary but will include a mixture of guesthouses, farmhouses, bed & breakfasts, hotels, apartments, or cottages. All of the accommodations we choose are well liked by previous travelers. Further details will be given when we are provided with your trip dates and we can check availability at our preferred lodgings.