September is here and it brings those perfect late summer days! Due to the fact that COVID-19 “pushed” tourist season, Croatian summer, coast, and islands have been overcrowded with tourists and visitors. But thanks to September, things are getting back to their place which means better traffic flow without jams, freedom of exploring, and enjoying some of the most-visited sights without worrying about the guy next to you who is waiting for his turn to take a picture of the stunning sunset.
For the past years, the Croatian coast has become one of the most popular destinations for a summer vacation. The coast has a perfect Mediterranean climate, crystal clear sea, amazing cultural and historical sights, towns for exploring, beaches for partying, and more than 1 000 islands to choose from in order to have the best possible vacation suitable for everyone’s preferences.
Due to that, let’s talk about a perfect road trip through the Croatian coast and islands – there is no better freedom than wind in your hair while driving through the field of olives and vines with a breathtaking view over the Adriatic Sea on one side, and beautiful green nature on the other side.
Istria is the largest Croatian peninsula, and it certainly has some of the most beautiful and picturesque towns and places to visit. You can make an itinerary for a road trip for a couple of days along its beautiful coast.
The main roads through Istria are well-made and safe, and they connect all the important towns. When visiting smaller towns, the roads may become a bit urban, but they still provide you with a good approach to the towns and their tourist attractions. Of course, roads are suitable for cars, as well as RVs. But bear in mind that if you want to visit villages, their roads may be covered in gravel. Local people are used to it, but those types of roads may cause some inconvenience for tourists and visitors.
Now, which towns should you put on your itinerary?
Umag is a charming town with 45 km of coast. In the past, the town was a summer residence for the Roman nobilities, and that shine, splendor, and glamour can be seen today in the town’s old core.
After Umag, drive to Poreč and Vrsar. Poreč intertwines the beauties of history and culture with stunning sunsets and picturesque streets, while Vrsar combines traditions of fishing, rich historical heritage, and the beauties of nature. Vrsar is located at the beginning of Lim Bay which will seduce you with its glory.
On the other side of Lim Bay, you can find Rovinj. Now, Rovinj is a perfect summer getaway, especially when we’re talking about its old town with narrow, stone-paved streets. But the thing about the old town is that it doesn’t allow vehicles. But not to worry, you can easily park your car outside!
Drive to Pula and visit the amazing amphitheater, and then visit Rabac, Mošćenička Draga, and Opatija! Finish your road trip in Rijeka or continue to some of the Kvarner’s islands!
It’s hard to make an itinerary for Istria since it has so many places to visit (we’re focusing on the coast now, but its inner towns are quite breathtaking too) and depending on your time, you can visit more or fewer places and towns. Just make sure to create an agenda suitable for your time and preferences!
When it comes to the RVs, make sure you have all the details. So here are some of the most popular RV spots in Istria:
- Camping Val Saline
- Istra Premium Camping Resort
- Camping Polidor
- Arena Stoja Kamp
This region unites islands and coasts, as well as a part of hilly inner country. Kvarner is great for a nice and easy road trip through the Croatian littoral. It has well-made roads which connect all the main spots, from towns to the islands (in combination with bridges and ferries).
From Rijeka, you can simply drive to towns such as Crikvenica, Selce, Novi Vinodolski, and Senj, but what we would recommend you is to visit some of the islands. To get to most of the islands, you need to take a ferry. Ferries are suitable for carrying cars, motorbikes, and RVs, and they provide quite a comfortable ride to your destination.
First things first, visit the island of Krk which is connected to the mainland by a bridge. Krk is not only a great weekend getaway for the local people, but an excellent destination for tourists, families, and kids! It has many small towns like Njivice, Malinska, Krk, and Baška. They have beautiful beaches and fun activities for everyone’s taste! Besides, the island is an amazing place for driving with the wind in your hair.
From Krk, take a ferry to Cres. Cres has beautiful scenery, numerous festivals, and amazing beaches. While driving, you will be seduced by greenery, stone, bays, blue sea, and picturesque towns! Amazing island for a road trip! And once you explore the island, go to the island of Lošinj!
Cres and Lošinj are connected with two drawbridges. Lošinj is an island rich in flora and fauna, while its crystal sea, clean air, and the mild Mediterranean climate attract people from all over the world. Even at the peak of the tourist season, Lošinj is a relaxed and quiet island. You can drive through small towns from one end of the island to the other, with stops to swim, enjoy local cuisine, and explore the island’s beauty and culture.
Island of Krk
- Ježevac Premium Camping Resort by Valamar
- Krk Premium Camping Resort
Island Of Cres
- Camping Kovačine
- Camping Bijar
- Camp Slatina
Island Of Lošinj
- Camping Rapoća
- Camping Village Poljana
- Campsite Čikat
If we’re talking about the most-visited Croatian summer (and autumn) destination, then Dalmatia is certainly the main topic. Dalmatia is one of the oldest regions of Croatia and it’s perfect for a road trip and island hopping. Now, most parts of the region have good roads and you can take a highway to a lot of the main spots. But when it comes to smaller towns and villages, as well as the islands, some roads aren’t in the best shape. You can drive through them but bear in mind that some of them are quite narrow and/or gravel. However, do not let these factors discourage you – the most amazing spots on the islands are often a bit harder to reach, but they will definitely seduce you with their beauty!
When it comes to Dalmatia, make sure to hit the islands! Split is the main port with many ferry lines! Besides, it’s a town that intertwines ancient architecture and spirits with modernity and vividness! From there, you can go to Brač, Šolta, Vis, Hvar, Korčula, Lastovo, Mljet, and more. Due to that, it’s a bit harder to make an itinerary because all of these islands (and more!) hide amazing beauty, heritage, beaches, and coves. Oh, and local, traditional gastronomy which awaits you on these islands is outstanding. Besides, is there a better road trip than driving, wandering, exploring, and discovering all those small places and coves which truly reveal the beauty of each and every island? I think not!
Dense pine forests, warm sun, the song of the crickets, Adriatic Sea, stunning views, interesting cultural heritage and history, and stone-paved villages which hide ancient spirits, while the smell of seafood and local cuisine seduce all your senses – that’s it, that’s what awaits you on the mentioned islands.
Oh, and there are numerous RV spots perfect for your stay!
Things To Consider About Road Trip in Croatia
- You must be over the age of 18 to drive a car and have a valid license.
- People drive on the right side of the road.
- Instead of miles, distances are given in kilometers.
- You can easily rent a car or an RV. Most tourist agencies offer you this option but if not, they always have a good recommendation of a rental agency.
- In case you want to explore southern parts of the country (on the mainland), there is a small part of the Croatian coast that belongs to Bosnia & Herzegovina. That means that if you want to get to Ston, Pelješac, Dubrovnik, or other towns on the south, you will have to enter Bosnia for a few kilometers and then re-enter Croatia. This is a usual practice, and you won’t have any problems, but just wanted to warn you in time, especially if you’re renting a car or RV. Some agencies don’t allow you to cross the country’s border with a rental vehicle so check that in time.
- If you’re hitting the road with a car, make sure to reserve accommodation in advance.
- When road tripping, always check the ferry’s or drawbridge’s schedule. Also, create an itinerary in advance. It doesn’t have to be planned every minute, but just decide which towns or islands to visit on which day, when to go to your next accommodation, where the best RV spots are, and similar plans.
- Usually, restaurants do take credit cards, but when it comes to smaller shops, they mostly take cash only. So, make sure to always have enough money (kuna).
And that’s it! Before your departure, just make sure to get all the information you need and you’re good to go! A road trip through Croatia is certainly one of the best ways to really meet the country, its regions, traditions, heritage, culture, and nature. Just make sure to enjoy with all your senses (that includes local cuisine!).
Now, are you ready for a road trip? Go, enjoy, and explore!
Picture/s: Supplied / Unsplash