If you spend your vacation in Croatia, you naturally want to explore the area and see as much of the holiday country as possible. Sometimes it seems difficult to organize day trips and road trips, as there are a seemingly endless number of destinations and you may not even know what is worthwhile and what can be done in one day. So read the following blog and get inspired for a little one-day road trip in Dalmatia.
Croatia is a popular and suitable holiday country to organize a road trip to travel from town to town, i.e. a round trip. There are countless places along the coast in Croatia between the popular cities of Pula, Zadar, Split and Dubrovnik and on the islands Of Croatia that you absolutely have to see during your stay in Croatia, but you don't have to organize a week-long road trip to discover the beauties of the Croatian nature and picturesque cities. Spend your luxurious vacation in the Zadar region and start your one-day road trip through Dalmatia from the region´s center, Zadar, which you can fill with a number of travel destinations to get to know Croatia and the Adriatic Sea from its most beautiful side. You can of course start a route similar to this one from Pula, Split or Dubrovnik to discover the surrounding small towns and natural beauties and you will see that you don'z have to visit only one nation park in Croatia to marvel the nature beauties during yout stay in Croatia.
In this blog, I relieve you of the planning part of the road trip and offer you an itinerary, because from my own experience I know how difficult planning a road trip can be if you don't exactly know which town or city to visit, what is worthwhile seeing in the holiday country and what can be done in a day during a road trip. The following blog is basically a real itinerary for a one-day road trip in Croatia organized from morning to evening with fantastic destinations in Dalmatia that can all be easily visited in one day and I am sure that you are not familiar with all of them. Our journey starts in Zadar and takes us to Trogir not far from Split, which means that you can also start this road trip with these destinations during your stay in Split. On the way back to your luxurious holiday home with pool in the Zadar region, we will discover many places and cities that will leave you speechless, so let's start right away.
Start in The City Zadar in the north of Dalmatia
Our little road trip starts of course in the city of Zadar in your luxurious holiday home. Zadar is a suitable place to star a road trip for one day, because Zadar is located in central Dalmatia in Croatia, so you can visit many places during a road trip, but you will have enough time to disvocer all the beauties of the surroundings. Your road trip should start around 8:00 a.m. so that you have enough time for the individual stops. Before you set off, stock up on some food and drinks because you never know what's going to happen on a road trip, even if it's only for a day. In Zadar you can enjoy a coffee in the morning on the picturesque peninsula with a view of the sea in Croatia, because what else could be nicer in the morning to wake you up? After a leisure start to the day, we will follow our itinerary and are already heading south from Zadar to the town of Trogir, via the A1 motorway in the direction of the city of Split. Note that all motorways in Croatia are toll roads. It's about 130 km from Zadar to Trogir near Split, so it's not a long drive to our first stop.
1st Stop: The Picturesque City of Trogir Near Split
At around 10:00 a.m. you will make you first stop in Trogir near Split. The city of Trogir is a delightful little town directly on the Adriatic Sea of Croatia, which is connected to the island of Ciovo behind it via its peninsula. You can park your car and explore the rest of the way on foot, because the city is not too big and yet there is a lot to see in Trogir. The old town of Trogir is a mixture of Renaissance, Baroque and Romanticism and the winding streets around the cathedral enchant with their charm. The Cathedral of St. Lawrence, built in the 13th century, is richly decorated on the inside and tells an eventful story. The cathedral is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
A stroll along the beautiful promenade takes you directly to the Kamerlengo fortress near the old town, which was built in the 15th century. It was named after the high administrative officer of the former Venetian Republic and it served to protect the republic. On the Trogir peninsula there are other historical buildings to marvel at, such as the city box or the bell tower of St. Sebastian, which, like the cathedral, is located on the John Paul II square and forms the center of the old town of Trogir. If you feel hungry during the city tour in Trogir, I recommend the Konoba Tomo restaurant in the old town. The restaurant is bursting with charm and the menu features typical Croatian and Dalmatian dishes that are freshly prepared. The staff will take care of you while you enjoy the view of the alleys of the picturesque old town while you eat. After refreshment, our road trip in Croatia continues at around 1 p.m.
2nd Stop: Ciovo Island & the Hermit Church of Our Lady of Prizidnice
Our road trip in Croatia takes us to the island of Ciovo, which is located directly behind the city of Trogir and can be easily reached via the bridge. After the bridge, turn left and drive for about 20 minutes to our next stop where you can enjoy the view of the coast of Croatia and the city of Split from the island of Ciovo, as the road trip takes us to the southern tip of the island. The hermit Church of Our Lady of Prizidnica is located near the town of Slatine, in the midst of untouched nature of the island. It protrudes between the rocks and lies directly above the sea in Croatia. It was built in the 16th century in honor of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary. During the visit to the church you will have an incredible view of the Adriatic Sea, be able to enjoy the untouched nature of Croatia and let the overall experience sink in. After a short stay and some vacation photos, our one-day road trip continues north.
3rd Stop: The legendary Dragon's Eye Lake near Rogoznica
Our journey takes us north. We drive about an hour by car from Ciovo via Trogir and then towards Rogoznica on the Magistrala. Near this town, which is located south of the town of Sibenik and Primosten, lies the mystical lake on the Gradina peninsula, known as the Dragon's Eye (Cro: Zmajevo oko). This salt water lake is around 15 m deep at its deepest point and is only approx. 100 m away from the Adriatic Sea of Croatia. The lake is a true natural phenomenon, as it has layers of water of different colors and is connected to the sea by a channel in the rock.
There are many myths and legends about the origin of the dragon's eye, the most interesting of which is that of the dragon Murin. To protect the residents, he asked every year for the most beautiful girl to take her as his wife, but none of them survived the first night with the dragon. When the dragon chose a girl that Aristotle also noticed, the latter challenged the dragon and mortally wounded him in a fight. The dragon tore its own eyes out, with one landing behind the island of Mljet and the other falling at its feet, melting the stone below. This is how the pit is said to have originated, which then filled with sea water. But do not worry, despite this mystical legend and the geological properties, the lake is suitable for swimming and I assure you that a little detour to the dragon's eye is definitely worth it! After marveling at the dragon's eye, we continue our one-day road trip and make our way towards Primosten, which is about 15 minutes away, but we don't go directly to the town of Primosten.
4th Stop: Our Lady of Loreto Statue & The Breathtaking View of Primosten
We stay in the indescribable nature of Croatia and pay a visit to Our Lady of Loreto Statue during our one-day road trip. This is a statue located on a mountain directly on the coast of Croatia not far from the city of Primosten. The exit to Our Lady of Loreto Statue is marked on the Magistrala and you can get almost to the top by car. Once on the mountain you can marvel at the 17 m high statue and then enjoy a 360 ° view of the Adriatic Sea of Croatia, the islands, Primosten and the vineyards of Bucavac. The view is so indescribable that you basically don't even know where to look. After you have taken a few vacation photos, you can take a short break in the café right next to Our Lady of Loreto Statue. That's right, coffee break with an unforgettable view! And after the previous stops during our one-day road trip, it should now be around 5 p.m., so just the right time for a short break and for a fantastic view while the sun is making the Adriatic Sea in Croatia sparkle and the view of the sea seems endless.
5th Stop: The Historical City of Sibenik with Its Numerous Fortresses
Around 6 p.m. we continue our road trip in Croatia and drive along the Magistrala road to the city of Sibenik to our last stop during the road trip. There is an eventful history behind Sibenik, because Sibenik is the first town in Croatia to be mentioned in a document. It is known for its fortresses, which date from the time of the Venetian Republic, and for its Cathedral of St. Jacob, which is located in the old town of the city of Sibenik and fascinates numerous visitors with its ornate facade. So, before you reminiscence about your whole day and the reoad trip with a delicious dinner, explore this jewel of the Adriatic and marvel at one of the few cities on earth that has two buildings on the UNESCO World Heritage List, namely the Cathedral of St. Jacob and the fortress of St. Nikola, climb the city's many stairs and enjoy views of the St. Ante Canal and the islands off the coast of Croatia. Sibenik is also considered as the entrance to the National Park Krka Waterfalls, which you can visit during a whole day trip.
We will crown our one-day road trip in Croatia with a delicious dinner in the Michelin-star Restaurant Pelegrini in the center of the city of Sibenik. The restaurant is located right next to the Cathedral of St. Jacob and offers you an unforgettable view while you taste the Pelegrini's offerings. The restaurant is one of the best in Croatia and it really deserves its award. On the Pelegrini's menu you will find dishes that are freshly prepared by true professionals using seasonal ingredients and the numerous awards speak for the quality of the gastronomic offer. The service at the Pelegrini takes care of its guests so that nothing is left to be desired. Let yourself be pampered by the delicacies of the kitchen in Pelegrini and look back on an eventful day full of Croatian culture and nature.
As the day comes to an end, we slowly make our way back to Zadar along the Magistrala, which is considered to be the most beautiful road in Croatia and during the road trip you will also convince yourself of this fact as the coastal cities in Croatia and the sea are shining in the warm colors of the setting sun. The drive from Sibenik to Zadar along the Magistrala takes about an hour, so you arrive at your villa at a suitable time and can relive what you have experienced during the road trip in Croatia and exchange impressions with your loved ones. These itinerary deliberately does not include national parks such as the Plitvice Lakes National Park or the Krka Waterfalls National Park, as you can spend a whole day in these national parks, so we decided to present you some smaller destinations in Croatia.
I hope that this travel guide for a one-day road trip has shown you how to fill a whole day of vacation in Croatia with a few travel destinations in order to get to know Croatia a whole lot better. Feel free to try this route, you are sure to be amazed! And if you need a dreamlike accommodation for your dream vacation, take a look at our wide range of luxurious holiday homes with pool along the Croatian Adriatic. At Adriatic Luxury Villas you will find everything from modern to rustic, in the hinterland or directly by the sea. There is something for every taste from the historical city of Pula to the gorgeous city of Dubrovnik.
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Thank you for reading and have a nice road trip through Dalmatia! 😊