• Megan Kate

The 12 Night Croatian Coastal Road Trip For £450 | Budget Travel Itinerary

Hands up if the arrival of a global pandemic ruined your travel plans? Mine too!

This August David and I were going to spend 12 nights travelling down the coast of Croatia from Zadar to Dubrovnik, but when the pandemic hit we decided to cancel all of our 2020 plans as a precaution. Anyway, as luck would have it, Croatia is now back open to UK residents with no isolation requirements at either end, so technically we could have gone. We've decided to keep the trip cancelled in order to plan for some other exciting opportunities we've got lined up this year, but I really did find us some bloody good deals at the time! I thought rather than let this (honestly quite perfect) budget itinerary go to waste, I'd tell you all about what would have been our plan, in case you need any inspiration for a Croatian holiday of your own.

So first of all a little bit of info about what our requirements were when booking:

  • We don't drive, so we needed city-to-city transport to be included in our budget

  • We wanted all accommodation to be private (we had hostel trips planned all year and wanted a treat)

  • We wanted there to be reasonable kitchen space in each place, to help save money on food costs

  • We wanted to visit Krka National Park and Plitvice Lakes National Park somewhere along the way

  • We wanted to visit an Island

  • We wanted each place to have free cancellation in case our plans changed

  • We wanted to end on at least 2 nights in the capital city, Dubrovnik

We wanted all of this for less than £500 each including flights, and you'll never believe it, but we did it with money to spare!

While a lot of our specific accommodation choices may not be available for you, I'll include some similarly priced options for you to stay in, that are still available and with free cancellation, just in case.

Also, as some of you know, Croatia is included in the Interrail programme, which was actually the initial plan for getting around the country (I went interrailing in 2016 and loved it). However after a lot of research, turns out train travel within Croatia is actually pretty abysmal. Plus, the city route we chose would have required the '3 Days Within 1 Month' Croatia ticket, priced at £56 each, ad we managed to find the same (and much easier) routes via bus for just £30.

Anyway, enough rambling, here is our 12 night itinerary down the Croatian coast line for less than £450 each:

Flight to Zadar (ZAD) from Manchester(MAN): £42

The price for this flight has gone up substantially since, however you can still fly direct from London Gatwick (LGW) for £47, with EasyJet on the same day we were going (29/08)- it's also a flexiticket flight. The average one way EasyJet flight from LGW to ZAD throughout most of August and September is around £50, if you need less specific price references.

3 Night's Accommodation in Zadar: £135/ £67.50 each @ Rooms Marko Polo

A twin room here is still available for this price, on our chosen dates (29/08-01/10) or a double will cost you £149.

There a few other places available in the area with a similar budget, such as Apartments Dado, who are renting a double apartment at just £133. Prices in this area tend to remain this price throughout the year.

Plitvice Lakes Day Trip from Zadar: £50 via GetYourGuide

This price is the same all year round and includes transport from Zadar.

Bus from Zadar to Skradin: £7.50 via GetByBus (50 minute average journey time)

This company was actually recommended to me by a Croatian friend of mine as an alternative to Interrail, and I'm so glad I looked into it! They have bus routes between all major cities and towns within the country for really great prices. This price doesn't fluctuate much no matter which time of year you visit.

2 Night's Accommodation in Skradin: £63/ £31.50 each @ Rooms Mudri

A double room here on our selected dates (01/09-03/09) is still available at the exact same price that we paid, and after some extra research it seems that this price is roughly the same for the whole of Summer. There are lots of different budget apartments and hotels in the area where you can expect to get 2 nights stay for less than £100. Apartment Balinovaca looks lovely and is even cheaper than Rooms Mudri.

Entrance to Krka National Park: £13 paid at the entrance kiosk.

The reason you're in Skradin is so that you can walk up to the entrance point of this beautiful park in less than 5 minutes, cutting costs massively as there's no need to pay for a tour company to take you there. Prices increase in June, July and August to £24 so make sure you consider this when booking. Visit their website here.

Bus from Skradin to Split: £8.00 via GetByBus (1hr 15 minute journey time)

We planned to do this early in the morning as Split wasn't actually our end destination for the day.

Boat from Split to the Island of Vis: £6.50 using Croatia Ferries

We decided on Vis as it's a lot quieter than it's more famous neighbour, Hvar. The island is a paradise of beaches and relaxation which was exactly what we wanted. The ferries depart 3 times per day throughout August & September and take anywhere between 1hr 30 and 2hrs 20, depending which route you take. The ferry prices to Hvar are the same.

3 Night's Accommodation in Vis: £190/ £95 each @ Studio Apartments Kuljis

We wanted to make our break on the island as relaxing as possible and so we splurged a little more here than anywhere else. This studio is still available for our dates (03/09-06/09) and has actually come down in price to just £171. There are 2 main areas to stay on the island: the main town of Vis which is where the ferry drops you off, and where most of the shops and restaurants are, or in Komiza on the other side of the island which is a lot quieter. A taxi to Komiza will take around 20 minutes. The average price in Vis during August/ September for 3 nights is around £170, so there are plenty of budget options including Apartments Edo which was our second option, who have 3 nights currently available for £168.

Return Boat to Split: £6.50 using Croatia Ferries

Again, we were going to head back on the earliest ferry to make sure we get a full 24 hours to explore Split itself.

1 Night Accommodation in Split: £48/ £24 each @ Apartments Tudor

This was possibly our best find of the trip, as the 'Double Room With Terrace' is actually a little cabin that's completely separate to the other apartments, and I really love the idea of that! We were meant to stay here for the night of 06/09 and the room is still available for £1 more than we paid. This price isn't as common for the area but there are other places you can book for a similar price, such as Apartments Stone House.

Bus from Split to Dubrovnik: £14 via GetByBus (4 hour journey time)

Considering this is the longest transfer time on the trip, I don't think that's half bad!

3 Night's Accommodation in Dubrovnik: £133/ £66.50 each @ Apartments Lucic

I honestly cannot believe we managed to find a place in the heart of the Old Town for such an incredible price. Most reasonable places are located just outside, in the area of Lapad. I know a few people who have stayed in the Lapad area and say it's beautiful and just a short walk/ bus ride to the Old Town, so that's always good to know! These apartments are still available at the same price for the nights we were meant to stay (07/09-10/09) so definitely take a look if you can. If this place gets booked up before you can get to it, try Apartments Mandic or Apartments Zora for great prices in Lapad.

Flight from Dubrovnik (DBV) to Manchester (MAN): £18

I honestly couldn't believe the price when I first saw it, I thought there must have been a catch! Unfortunately, again, prices to Manchester have more than doubled but you can still get a flight for £26 direct to London Gatwick (LGW) with an EasyJet flexiticket. How amazing is that?!

And so there you have it, our 12 night road trip grand total was exactly £450 each!

For our £500 maximum budget we could have thrown in a top rated 3 Island Day Tour (£44) or Game Of Thrones Tour (£18) in Dubrovnik for good measure, and still had a few £££ left over.

What do you think, is this the kind of itinerary you like to follow? We definitely favour National Parks, old towns and places of natural beauty when we travel but I'd love to hear about what your favourite things to see abroad are. Let me know if you do anything similar, and make sure you follow my Instagram to see my next adventure happen in real time.

Speak soon, Meg x

*Prices, especially flight prices, fluctuate day to day and may have changed between the time of writing this post and the time you go to book. This article contains prices quoted on 07/07/2020 as per the below: