A varied natural landscape with dreamy beaches, islands, mountain panoramas and national parks. Lively coastal towns full of culture and history - you can experience all this on a round trip through Croatia.
It's not a surprise that the country is such a popular destination for road trips by camper or car. To make your Croatia holiday an unforgettable experience, we have put together a dream route for you: it offers the perfect mix of a relaxing beach holiday and exciting exploration of the old towns and takes you to the highlights of the country, but also has one or two insider tips in store. You can travel the route in 2 - 3 weeks and, depending on how much time you have, simply skip intermediate stops or add more side trips. The route is also ideal if you're travelling with a rental car and staying in a hotel or holiday home. Have fun!
Travelling from Germany to Croatia by camper or car
There are various routes to get to Croatia from Germany by car or camper van. The easiest route takes you via southern Germany through Austria and Slovenia and takes between six and twelve hours, depending on the starting point and traffic situation. The saying ´the joy is in the journey` definitely applies here, as you will pass many worthwhile stops on your way, for example Salzburg in Austria or Ljubiljana, the capital of Slovenia.
Important to note: in both Austria and Slovenia you need a vignette to use the motorways. You can buy these at petrol stations or in advance for both, Austria and Slovenia.
A toll is also charged on Croatian motorways. Instead of a vignette, you pull out a ticket when you enter the motorway and pay for the kilometres travelled when you leave the toll section. You can find more information here.
Wild camping in Croatia
The biggest question you're probably asking yourself before planning your road trip to Croatia: Is wild camping allowed in the country? Unfortunately, the answer for Croatia is ´no`. Camping away from official campsites is prohibited without exception and is strictly controlled, especially on the coast. Those who break the rule must expect heavy fines. So play it safe and use one of the many beautiful and well-equipped campsites. You can find more information in our blog article: Wild camping in Croatia.
Top travel destinations: The best stops and tips for your Croatia road trip by the sea
With all the great places, it's hard to decide which ones to visit on your holiday. Our favourite route with many tips makes it easy for you to plan your Croatia round trip. For a maximum holiday feeling, it always takes you along the Adriatic coast by the sea: on the Adriatic Highway - a coastal road with wonderful views - you'll pass some of the country's most beautiful towns, islands and beaches. Are you ready? Then let's go!
Stop 1: Start your Croatia tour in the picturesque Istria
Our Croatia road trip begins in the northwest of the country in the Istria region. Not only does a beautiful coastline with turquoise waters and pretty bays await you, but also charming coastal towns. Sounds like the perfect start to your holiday in Croatia, doesn't it? These places should not be missing from your list of destinations:
Rovinj: Located in the south of the Istrian peninsula and idyllically situated by the sea, Rovinj captivates with narrow winding streets, old houses and a southern flair. Make sure you plan a detour to Grisia Street, which is teeming with artists' studios and street vendors.
Pula: The historic but lively city attracts visitors with many sights, such as the amphitheatre (the sixth largest of its kind!) or ancient temples from Roman times. A real insider tip is the Zero Street: the underground tunnel was built as an air-raid shelter during the First World War and today houses exhibitions and even parties in parts.
Rijeka: There is also a lot to see in this town in the Kvarner Bay: admire the panoramic view from Trsat Castle, enjoy the hustle and bustle of the town's market square or explore one of the many idyllic beaches nearby.
Campsite tip: Fancy a first breakfast in Croatia with a view of the sea? The campsite Val Saline Camping near Rovinji offers you direct access to the beach and guarantees pure holiday feeling!
Stop 2: Off to the island! Explore Krk with its idyllic beaches
Did you know that Croatia has over 1,200 islands? So a stop on one of them should not be missing on your Croatia holiday. That's why our road trip continues to the island of Krk, which you can reach easily and free of charge via a mainland bridge. It is one of the largest islands in the country and is known for its countless bays and beaches: many of them are among the most beautiful beaches in Croatia and impress with their excellent water quality and the intense blue colour of the sea. If you feel like you need a bit more action after a relaxing day by the sea, we can recommend a trip to the towns of Krk and Vrbnik. Our tip: Don't miss the ´narrowest street of the world` in Vrbnik, a narrow alley that measures only 40 centimetres at its narrowest point.
Camping tip: The Jezevac Premium Resort t leaves nothing to be desired, thanks to its perfect location just a few minutes' walk from the island's capital Krk and the wide range of sports and leisure activities on offer.
Stop 3: Follow in the footsteps of history in Zadar
On the dreamlike coastal road, our round trip through Croatia continues south to the next peninsula. Here, the historic city of Zadar is waiting to be explored. In the almost 3,000-year-old city with the ruins of the Roman fortress and other historical buildings, you will feel like you are travelling back in time. On the other hand, you can experience modern flair at the colourful light installation ´Greetings to the Sun`, which promises a unique colour spectacle at sunset. To experience Zadar with all your senses, you can then listen to the sounds of the sea organ, which are produced solely by the movement of the waves.
Campsite tip: The small, cosy campsite Kamp Dido is located 7 km from Zadar directly by the sea and has its own pebble beach.
Stop 4: Stroll through the old town in Croatia's cultural metropolis Split
On the onward journey to the next destination of the Croatia round trip, you can once again enjoy the fantastic views of the sea, beaches and coastal towns along the Adriatic Highway - ther's a reason why it's considered by many to be one of the most beautiful coastal roads in the world. Once you arrive in Split, Croatia's second largest city, you can take a long walk through the beautiful old town with its many impressive buildings. The Roman Diocletian's Palace is the highlight of the port city and has even been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. An insider tip to escape the tourist crowds is the Vrh Marjana viewing platform, from which you can overlook the city against the imposing mountain landscape in the background.
Campsite tip: Camping Stobreč Split combines nautical recreation by the sea with ideal proximity to the city, making it perfect for your Croatian holiday.
Stop 5: Lie in the sun on Croatia's most beautiful beach on the island of Brač
If you long for relaxation, sandy beaches and sea views after exploring the city, you can take the ferry from Split to the island of Brač which takes about an hour. This detour on your Croatia round trip is worth it just for a day at Zlatni Rat, which is considered the most beautiful and most photographed beach in Croatia due to its special shape. The more secluded Murvica Beach, on the other hand, is still an insider tip and ideal for snorkelling.
Camping tip: At the camping site Camping Kito Bol you are guaranteed to feel at home, not least because of the friendly owners, who will even cook for you in their own restaurant in the evenings.
Stop 6: Explore the dream bays on the Makarska Riviera
From Brač, we take the ferry back to the mainland in a car or camper and then a little further south to Makarska. The town in central Dalmatia has a picturesque location directly on the sea against the backdrop of rocky mountain ranges. The many beautiful bays and pebble beaches along the Makarska Riviera coastline and the lively evening atmosphere in the alleyways of the harbour town make it the perfect holiday destination and offer ideal conditions for a beach holiday.
Campsite tip: If you're looking for a relaxing spot for your camper, lined with pine and olive trees, you can stay at the family-run campsite Camping Krvavica.
Stop 7: Walk through Croatia's top destination Dubrovnik
With beautiful views from the camper or car window, we continue to a must-see of your Croatia holiday by the sea: Dubrovnik. As the way there takes you a little way through Bosnia and Herzogovina, border controls may occur here. Ever since a part of the series ´Game of Thrones` was filmed in Dubrovnik, the city has become an attraction for tourists. We therefore recommend that you start exploring the city as early as possible in the morning. Let yourself be inspired by the medieval flair and the great palaces as you stroll through the old town. The best views are to be had on a walk along the impressive city wall.
Camping tip: For your Croatia holiday, we recommend the well-maintained Camp Pod Maslinom with a view of the sea: it's a bit more relaxed here than at the campsites in the immediate vicinity of the city, but you can still get to the centre of Dubrovnik by bus in just 15 minutes.
Stop 8: Admire the Plitvice Lakes at the end of your Croatia tour
On the journey back to the north of the country, the Plitvice Lakes National Park awaits you once again with a true nature experience. Surrounded by lush green forest landscapes, 16 lakes with clear, turquoise water flowing into each other, connected by cascades and waterfalls. Hiking trails on boardwalks allow you to experience this landscape up close. We think it's worth the not entirely inexpensive entrance fee. It is best to buy your ticket for the national park online before your trip. If you have more time and want to split the stage, it is also worth visiting the Krka National Park with its impressive waterfalls or Zagreb, the capital of Croatia.
Camping tip: The ideal starting point for your excursion to the Plitvice Lakes is the Plitvice Holiday Resort. Especially big adventurers can even swap their bed in the camper for a tree house here.
After visiting the national parks, your camera's memory is probably full... a sign that your holiday is coming to an end and it's time for the return journey to Germany. You can take the same route back.
We think: Croatia is unbelievably multifaceted and thus inspires in many ways. Dream beaches, rocky bays and crystal-clear water, coastal roads and mountain landscapes, historic buildings and lively alleyways in the old town: there really is something for everyone to enjoy here. Hopefully we could convince you with our travel tips and you also feel like spending a Croatia holiday by car or camper by the seaside? Then rent one of our campers and let's go!