Croatia is the new “it” place you have to see. It is now on every backpackers itinerary when they jet off to Europe. It has never been easier with so many cheap flights heading into all of the major cities in the country. The only question is should you do a tour or make it on your own? Can you island hop in Croatia on a budget with ease without doing a tour?
- With several itinerary options – some starting in Dubrovnik and others in Split, some are round trips, some visit the islands to the south and some do the islands in the north. You would be hard pressed not to find the perfect itinerary for you.
- They offer a number of styles – for the under 35s backpacker, luxury cruises, sail and cycle and there is even one for young professionals.
- Stress free itineraries – everything is organised
- The obvious being stuck on a boat with 12 people who could potentially annoy the crap out of you.
- Having to go and see things that are on the well trodden path (though there is a reason that those places are so popular so it’s not necessarily a bad thing).
- If you really like a place you can’t stay and get to know it better and if you really hate a place you still have to spend time there.
- For all the ease that a tour can give you it does take away some of your freedom.
So whats the alternative? Especially in Croatia where there are so many beautiful islands that you want to see? And what if you have limited time and funds? How can you see and do as much as possible without resorting to a tour? Here is a quick itinerary based on the same amount of time as the typical Dalmatian tour companies.
Day 1 – Split
- Accommodation: Silver Central Hostel – 17 Euros per night peak season. Close to everything, clean and with great helpful staff.
Do: There is a free walking tour that starts by the harbour every day – the guides are funny and informative, great way to orientate yourself and get a little of the history. Or you could go swimming and watch people play Picigin – or have a go yourself! There are also loads of great shops and restaurants – indulge yourself.
Day 2 – Split to Hvar
- Transport: Jadrolinija runs a ferry to Hvar for about 12 Euros – but check the schedule as it changes
- Accommodation: Dink’s Place – a fun family run affair! 28 Euros per night
- Do: Walk around the old town, eat some amazing food and go swimming… anywhere its all amazing
Day 3 – Hvar
- Transport: Hire a car or a scooter if your game! We negotiated a great rate of 32 Euros a day
- Do: See the other towns of the island such as Zavala and Stari Grad. Stand in a Lavender field, go wine tasting, eat plenty of fresh olives and swim in one of the hundreds of secluded coves you will drive past.
Day 4 – Hvar to Korchula
- Transport: Jump on the Jadrolinija ferry to Korchula for 15 Euros
- Accommodation: We stayed at Dragan’s Den – It was quite far out-of-town, but the staff were amazing, the house was amazing (had a pool!) and the walk was actually a great way to walk off any alcohol that may have accumulated when you were dragged out be the afore mentioned staff on a random night out! It was just 20 Euros per night
- Do: Hire a bike for 3 Euros and ride along the coast – there are some amazing sights as well as some great spots to stop and enjoy a sneaky wine and a swim.
Day 5 – Korchula
- Do: Walk around the town, climb the old bell tower, drink great coffee, climb over the walls and go for a swim, check out the art galleries (Korchula is known for culturing many young artists)
Day 6 – Korchula to Dubrovnik
- Transport: You can catch a ferry and then a bus (pretty much every travel agency on the island can arrange this for you) or you can catch a ferry straight there however check the timetable as these only run on certain days even in the peak season. Bus and Ferry for 20 Euros
- Accommodation: Hostel Villa Angelina Old Town – a bit more expensive at 24 Euros but once again great staff and clean light dorms.
- Do: Walk explore the lane ways, try pancakes at La Dolce Vita, eat dinner at Lady Pi Pi’s, go on a free pub crawl.
Day 7 – Dubrovnik
- Do: Get up early and climb the walls to beat the crowds and see the sun come over the terracotta roofs. Visit the Cliff bar for a cocktail and some cliff jumping – though maybe jump off the cliffs before the cocktail!
Accommodation: 178 Euros for one person
Transport: 47 Euros for one person
When you add everything up it only equals 225 Euros! Much less than 469 Euros for Sail Croatia. Croatia island hoping on a budget – easy!