Most scenic roads in Croatia | Nest Campers

Most scenic roads in Croatia

Road of Taneli Lahiten in Croatia
09. May 2019

As already established in previous blog posts, the best way to really get to know a country and enjoy it to the fullest is by taking a road trip in one of our campervans. In our mission to make your where-to-go and what-to-see planning a bit easier, we made a selection of Croatian most scenic roads. These roads will take your breath away and make your road trip through Croatia unforgettable. 

 

campervan croatia road trip, croatia holiday, campervan croatia
Adventure awaits in Croatia!

 

Croatia roads, panoramic roads in Croatia, Adriatic Highway
Sometimes you won't know where to look - front, back or sideways ... Views along the Adriatic coast are mesmerizing!

 

Croatia is about three times bigger than Slovenia, with 58351km of beautiful coastal line. The landscape is mostly flat and leveled in the Northern part, with low mountains and highlands along the coast, making the relief steep and rocky. The highest point rises to 1831m as a part of Dinaric Alps. Besides the Alps there are two other mountain ranges, Velebit and Velika Kapela aka ´Big Chapel´, that break the flats and make our drive more diverse and beautiful.

If you wish to hop off the mainland, there are over 1000 islands you can choose from. We know this fact does not make your travel planning any easier, but you should visit at least one or two whilst visiting Croatia :) And when you do, double-check the price and departure time of your ferry or bridge options.

A bonus tip from our experiences - make sure you come to the ferry stop bright and early in peak season, as you can easily get stuck waiting for hours in a long queue.


A 300 m (980 ft) long arch bridge connects the southern part of the island Pag to the mainland.

 

With all this diversity to choose from, there raises a question of when is the best time to go for a road trip across Croatia? The answer is simple. There is no wrong time, it all depends on what sort of adventure are you after.

  • Winter months, between November and March, are for those who don´t mind putting an extra layer of clothes on and love to explore when there are no crowds. If you are big on ´sun, sea and cocktails on the beach´, skip Croatia in winter. 
  • Traveling in peak season, July and August are exact opposites. It can be very crowded and much more expensive, may that be road tolls, ferry fees and day to day expenses. Traveling in our campervan at least saves you the hassle of finding good, affordable accommodation and eating out. 
  • Our suggestion is to follow the golden middle - April to June or September to October. This is the shoulder season when the weather is still perfect, beaches not to crowded and prices still affordable.

 

There are 6758kms or 4199.2 miles of roads spreading through Croatia, which means there is plenty to choose from. The roads are in great condition, well signed and are easy to follow. As per scenery, there are a few roads that have been crowned as ´most scenic roads´, passing through Croatia's most beautiful parts.

Croatian roads Croatian roads
Roads in Croatia are generally in great condition and really easy to drive.

 

Adriatic Highway, also known as Jadranska Magistrala

Adriatic coast is one of Croatia's highlights and we're lucky enough there is a windy road that stretches along that beautiful rugged coastline - this road guides us through old city centers, beach towns and along the coast.

The coastal highway, also known as Jadranska Magistrala, is 643,1 km long and is Croatia´s most scenic seaside drive. The road is a part of the national D8 road, which passes through three countries, but the biggest part of it is in Croatia. It stretches from Pesjak on the Slovenian border all the way down to the border with Montenegro, Karasovići. 

Croatian adriatic highway scenic drive croatia
Adriatic Highway - Jadranska Magistrala runs along the coast of Adriatic sea

 

Passing through Rijeka, Senj, Zadar, Šibenik, Split, Opuzen and Dubrovnik, Adriatic Highway was the only connection between the main seaside cities and ports until the 2000's. Saying that it presented a real challenge of keeping the road-rage levels to a normal in summer months for some drivers - just imagine scorching heat and masses of people on the road. Croatia tackled that problem and built a great and modern highway connection mainland. 
 

When making your way down south to Dubrovnik or Montenegro, there is a lot to see and discover, but we've selected a few spots along the way especially worth a detour:

  • Zavratnica Cove is a hidden treasure, located 110km south of Rijeka along Adriatic Highway (between islands Rab and Pag). It's easy to find it if you know where to look for it - a short walk from the ferry point for the island of Rab, Port of Jablana.
     

    Zavratnica Adriatic highway
    Zavratnica is one of the most beautiful coves on the Croatian Adriatic coast,
    also designated a „protected landscape“ in 1964 owing to its unique natural features.
     

  • Nin and it´s beaches are a real gem. Croatia´s coast is mostly rocky, but there are a few sandy beaches you can find. North of Zadar you'll find a cute historic town, Nin, with beautiful sandy beaches and an amazing view over the Velebit mountain range you don´t want to miss.

nin beach, croatia beach
Nin beaches, photo credit: https://www.croatia.hr/en-GB
 

  • Skradin is the entrance point of Krka National park, just north of Šibenik. Go for lunch in one of the many beachside restaurants and stretch your legs with a walk around the yacht-filled harbor.

Town Skradin, Croatia
Coastal town Skradin, photo credit: www.grad-skradin.hr

 

  • Prevlaka peninsula, formerly used as a Yugoslavian Army base is the last stop before you end your Adriatic adventure. Rent a bike, explore the forgotten barracks and get some insight on Yugoslavia war times. 
     

    Prevlaka peninsula, croatia
    Prevlaka Peninsula, photo credit: https://kodex.me/

Whether you decide to drive the whole of Adriatic Highway or just a part of it, driving it is one of the ´must-do´s´ when campervanning through Croatia.
 

Roads of Velebit

Following Adriatic Highway, you will get to know a lot about the coastal region, but the importance and the beauty of the mountains should not be overlooked. There are three roads curved into the Velebit mountain range which have great historical importance.

Velebit roads were built by Habsburg Monarchy in the 18th and 19th centuries to connect the coast to the inland, exchanging various goods. The build of the roads was advanced for that time, with massive support walls and a great drainage system. The surface of the roads was solid rock, which was essential to outstanding strong winds and heavy rain.

Velebit mountain road
In 1978, the Velebit mountain range was included in the UNESCO International Biosphere Reserve Network.
 

Velebit road
Velebit road.

 

Theresiana Road and Premužić trail are both used as educational trails and are on the list of cultural goods of the Republic of Croatia, that can truly be discovered only by tramping/hiking and definitely worth a visit. But the true adventure begins on Majstorska road, which is campervan friendly and allows some majestic views along the way.

  • Theresiana Road, named after Maria Theresa, was built in 1786 and was one of the most important mountain passes, connecting the port town of Karlobag and the mainland military base of Gospić. The construction was issued by Maria Theresa´s son, Austrian Emperor, Joseph II. Premužić trail is a 57km long mountain trail, which connects the peak areas of northern and central Velebit. It was designed by Ante Premužić and constructed in 3 years. It is thought to be a real masterpiece, as it seamlessly blends into the environment.
     
  • Majstorska road is also included on the list of cultural goods of the Republic of Croatia and was built as a shortcut to the Dalmatia region in 1832. Not only for the transit of the goods, but this road was also used as a postal road between Vienna and Zadar. This road passes a significant natural phenomenon - Tulove grede - big blocks, peaks and towers of limestone.

 

Velebit road, croatia road, moajstorska cesta, tulove grede

Tulove grede road is 41km long, half asphalted and half gravel. ​It is maintained regularly and in a good shape, therefore easily traveled.It offers some of the best views of Zadar and islands one simply cannot miss.
photo credit: https://ezadar.rtl.hr/

 

 

We covered two out of many scenic roads in Croatia in more detail, but if you have more time to explore Croatia, there are other roads you should take your campervan to - Jozefinska road, Posavska Road and Road between Zagorje and Međimurje. Each of them is revealing different parts of the country and different scenery.

 

Be sure to take enough time and get ready to be amazed by all the beauty Croatia has to offer.

Nest Campers croatia, campervan croatia
Stop often.

 

 

Written by: 

Martina Mestek

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