12 Days in Croatia, Montenegro, and Malta: The Budget & Itinerary

12 Days in Croatia, Montenegro, & Malta

We’ve finally sorted through all our wedding stuff (if you’ve gotten married before, you know what I’m talking about) and I found a few spare moments last week to sort through our honeymoon photos. D and I are headed off to London and Paris later this week (in keeping of our wedding vows to act as one another’s travel buddies), but we’ve got a lineup of photos and details of all the places we visited on our honeymoon. In typical Darwin style, we’ll kick this off by sharing our full itinerary and budget for the 12 days we spent in Croatia, Montenegro, and Malta. Really I should just cross off Montenegro because we only went there for a day trip, but it’s worth a mention anyhow. A few notes in hindsight:

  • Avoid transferring through Frankfurt if at all possible. We found the airport to be enormous and inefficient, with inconsistent security policies.
  • In the name of transparency, we’ve shared the majority of our expenses (dining not included). We were on our honeymoon, so we felt it was worth it to splurge a bit on experiences (a la day trips vis-a-vis island hopping in the Dalmatian Coast). We kept costs reasonable on airfare and hotels by utilizing points wherever possible.
  • Long story short: Prolong your stay in Croatia because it’s insanely beautiful. You’re probably okay skipping Montenegro and Malta if you’re short on time.

Click for the full itinerary, and check back for reviews on our lodging, dining, and travel experiences!


Day 1- Sunday, 5/24

Travel: Washington Dulles (IAD) to Split Airport (SPU) via Frankfurt (FRA)
6:05 PM IAD >> 8:00 AM FRA (+1 day) 
12:05 PM FRA >> 1:45 PM SPU

  • 120,000 United miles + $330 (60,000 United miles/person + $165 taxes & fees/person)

Day 2- Monday, 5/25

Arrive in Split, Explore
Overnight: Divota Apartments ($428: $126/night x 3 + $50 tax & service charge)
Plinarska 75, Split 21000

  • Afternoon: Arrive, transfer to Split via airport shuttle ($9: $4.50/person), drop off bags at hotel
  • Explore Split waterfront & promenade; Old city walls; Diocletian’s Palace

Day 3- Tuesday, 5/26

Daytrip: Hvar & Pakleni Islands
Overnight: Divota Apartments, Split

Day 4- Wednesday, 5/27

Daytrip: Plitvice Lakes
Overnight: Divota Apartments, Split

  • Tour booked via Viator, run by EuroAdria, $152 ($76/person)

Day 5- Thursday, 5/28

Travel: Split to Dubrovnik via Croatia Bus
12:30 Split Bus Station>>16:15 Dubrovnik Bus Station
Bus tickets: $36 ($18/person)
Overnight: Dubrovnik Celenga Apartments ($446: $110/night)
Svetoga Josipa 13, Dubrovnik

  • Late afternoon: Arrive at Dubrovnik bus station. Take 1A, 1B, or 1C bus to Pile Gate ($4: $2/person). Check into hotel (located within Old City walls)
  • Explore alleyways & architecture; people watch

Day 6- Friday, 5/29

Daytrip: Korcula, Ston, & Wine Tasting
Overnight: Dubrovnik Celenga Apartments

  • Tour booked via Viator, run by SuperTours, $124 ($62/person)

Day 7- Saturday, 5/30

Explore Dubrovnik
Overnight: Dubrovnik Celenga Apartments

  • Morning: Hike city walls; explore Fort Lovrijenac ($29: $14.50/person- entrance to both)
  • Morning: Take cable car up to catch birds eye view of city ($31: $15.50/person)
  • Afternoon: Taxi-boat to Lokrum Island ($12: $6/person); spend the remainder of day sunbathing and nature watching

Day 8- Sunday, 5/31

Daytrip: Montenegro
Overnight: Dubrovnik Celenga Apartments

  • Tour booked via Viator, $120 ($60/person)

Day 9- Monday, 6/1

Travel: Dubrovnik (DBV) to Malta (MLA) via Frankfurt (FRA)
7:25 AM DBV >> 9:30 AM FRA 
1:55 PM FRA >> 4:20 PM MLA 
Overnight: Radisson Blu, Saint Julians (100,000 Club Carlson points: 50k/night + 2nd night free with Club Carlson card)
St. Julians, Malta

  • Transportation to hotel via taxi ($22)
  • Evening: Explore Paceville and Saint Julians

Day 10- Tuesday, 6/2

Daytrip: Gozo and Comino Islands
Overnight: Radisson Blu, Saint Julians

  • Morning: Ferry to Gozo Island ($9: $4.50/person), Tour via Hop On, Hop Off bus ($33: $16.50/person).
  • Afternoon: Boat to Comino Island ($22: $11/person), Blue Lagoon. Return to Malta via ferry.

Day 11- Wednesday, 6/3

Explore Malta, Relax at Resort
Overnight: Radisson Blu, Saint Julians

  • Morning: Malta sights via Hop On, Hop Off bus ($44: $22/person)
  • Afternoon: Relax at resort, dinner in Saint Julians

Day 12- Thursday, 6/4

Travel: Malta (MLA) to Washington Dulles (IAD) via Frankfurt (FRA)
12:50 PM MLA >> 3:30 PM FRA 
5:00 PM FRA >> 7:45 PM IAD 

  • Taxi to MLA: $22


Analysis: While certainly not our thriftiest vacation, you’ll see that a large chunk of the budget was spent on daytrips and excursions. One area we could have spent a little less money was on lodging, but seeing as both hotels we paid for were under $130/night, it was worth the small splurge for comfort on our honeymoon. All in all, we felt that it was money was well spent. *Does not include points used for airfare & hotel in Malta; does not include meals.


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