This week-long itinerary covers the highlights of the Dalmatian coast in a short amount of time, combining diverse cultural exploration with a few outdoor adventures. You'll have private historical tours of the ancient cities of Dubrovnik and Split, as well as sail around the Pakleni Islands and cycle through some of the best local vineyards of Korčula.

Highlights

  • Roam the marble streets of Dubrovnik's Old Town
  • Cycle around the island of Korčula, stopping to sample local wines
  • Enjoy an exciting day of sailing around the Pakleni Islands
  • Walk Split's 1,700-year-old stone-paved streets, leftover from Roman times

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Dubrovnik Dubrovnik
Day 2 Historical Walking Tour of Dubrovnik Dubrovnik
Day 3 Ferry from Dubrovnik to Korčula Korčula
Day 4 Korčula Cycling & Wine Tasting Tour; Ferry to Hvar Hvar
Day 5 Sail the Pakleni Islands Archipelago Hvar
Day 6 Ferry from Hvar to Split; Walking Tour of Split Split
Day 7 Depart Split  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Dubrovnik

Croatia - Dubrovnik - Dubrovnik's old city walls
Walk Dubrovnik's impressive walls for views over the Adriatic

Welcome to Dubrovnik! Upon arrival at the airport, you'll drive to your hotel to check in. Depending on your arrival time, the rest of the day will be yours to settle in and explore the historic city on your own. 

Often referred to as the "Pearl of the Adriatic," Dubrovnik is a world-renowned city of exceptional charm. Take some time to explore its 16th-century stone walls, including the Minceta, Lovrijenac and Revelin fortresses, visit Onofrio's Fountain and the Church of Saint Blaise (St. Vlaho), and stroll along the limestone-paved Stradun, Dubrovnik's main street to get your bearings. Dubrovnik also offers excellent nightlife and some of Croatia's best restaurants and wine bars. 

In the late afternoon, hop aboard a cable car and ride to the top of Srđ Mountain for stunning views of Dubrovnik and the nearby  Elafiti Islands. For some exercise, you can walk back down the hill while enjoying views of the city below.

Day 2: Historical Walking Tour of Dubrovnik

Croatia - Dubrovnik - The Onofrio Fountain
Head to Onofrio's Fountain to people watch

Start your day early (around 8 am) to avoid the crowds and to embark on a guided tour of Dubrovnik where you'll meet your expert guide outside the entrance to the medieval city at the 16th-century Pile Gate. Entering Old Town, you'll uncover centuries of the city's rich history as you listen to stories of local life and legends and of the importance Dubrovnik once held in the era of the Republic. Highlights include Onofrio's  Fountain, the 15th century Rector's Palace, Luza Square, the Church of St. Blaise (St. Vlaho), and the café-lined streets of Brsalje Street

After touring the streets and alleys, you'll head for Lovrijenac Fortress as well as the city's impressive defensive walls, the second-largest set of city walls in the world. At certain places the wall rises 75 feet high, offering excellent vantage points for photos of the coastline. 

For the rest of the afternoon, explore Dubrovnik and its surroundings on your own or enjoy the afternoon sun on the nearby beaches. Come early evening, you can get stunning panoramic views over the city and Adriatic by taking the cable car up to Srđ Mountain before descending back down for dinner at one of Dubrovnik's great restaurants.

Day 3: Ferry from Dubrovnik to Korčula

Lumbarda beach, Korcula, Croatia
Relax on Lumbarda beach

Catch a two-hour ferry from Dubrovnik to Korčula in the morning. The afternoon and evening are yours to discover this little island's numerous restaurants, taverns, shops, and bars as you roam the maze of gray stone houses, alleys, churches, and squares. 

Enjoy a traditional lunch of lamb and goat in Korčula's Old Town, one of the finest examples of Venetian architecture on the Dalmatian coast. Next, visit the 14th-century Land Gate on top of an elegant staircase, before heading to the St. Mark's Cathedral to admire its strange sculptures of beasts and people. Art enthusiasts will appreciate a visit to the Bishop's Treasury next door for a small but impressive art collection, including works from Carpaccio, Bassano, and Tiepolo. From there, you may wish to visit the unremarkable house thought to be the birthplace of Marco Polo.

If beaches are what you're after, rent a bike or ride the bus the 5 miles (8 km) to the sandy beaches of Lumbarda. Afterward, grab a bite to eat and pair it with the local dry white, Grk, indigenous to Lumbarda and nowhere else.

Day 4: Korčula Cycling & Wine Tasting Tour - Ferry to Hvar

Wineries near Lumbarda
Ride a rented bike through Grk wineries in Lumbarda

Today, you will join a cycling tour and cross the island from Korčula town to Lumbarda with stops along the way to visit beaches and local wineries. You'll pick up your bikes and meet your local guide in the center of Korčula, before riding out of town and heading south toward Lumbarda.

You will cycle through fields, villages, and wineries, covering asphalt, gravel, and dirt roads with vistas opening up to the Adriatic Sea as well as to the impressive Mt. Ilija on the nearby Pelješac peninsula. This route explores the ancient and historical sites of the eastern side of the island as you work your way to the spread-out village of Lumbarda. Boasting beautiful beaches and centuries-old winemaking traditions, the village of Lumbarda is home to Grk, a white wine grape variety.

You will have the opportunity to visit Bire Winery, a family-run winery that produces Grk wine as well as its own varietals, including a rosé. All the wineries in the area produce Grk wine which is unique to this region because of its sandy soil and Plavac Mali (a red grape grown extensively across South Dalmatia that acts as a pollinator for the Grk vines which only have female flowering parts). 

From there, relax on one of Lumbarda's beaches before transferring back to Korčula town to catch a ferry to Hvar island (1.5 hours).

Day 5: Sail the Pakleni Islands Archipelago

Pakleni Islands Archipelago in the far distance
Pakleni Islands Archipelago in the far distance

Today you'll spend a full day enjoying the sun and sea on a sailing boat. In the morning, join your group sailing adventure and depart the port in Hvar Town to venture out to the Pakleni Islands, just off the coast of Hvar. The trip will include two stops, one for a swim and snorkel and the other for a picnic lunch on board before returning to Hvar Town in the afternoon. This is the perfect opportunity to admire one of the best views of the town, its café and yacht-filled harbor the nearest thing Croatia has to the Côte D'Azur riviera. 

The name Pakleni originates from the days when the islands were the main source of resin for local shipbuilders (from paklinski to mean 'resin'). The islands are the most beautiful part of the Hvar Riviera offering the best beaches and are a favorite retreat for locals seeking to escape the summer heat.

Day 6: Ferry from Hvar to Split - Walking Tour of Split

Croatia - Split - Old Roman walls above the Bronze Gate
Discover Split's old Roman walls above the Bronze Gate

In the morning, you'll catch a one-hour ferry from Hvar to Split to check into your accommodation before setting out to explore your surroundings on a walking tour. An ancient coastal city founded 1,700 years ago by Roman Emperor Diocletian, Split's Old Town includes a number of impressive sites, including Peristyle, Cathedral of St. Dominus, the Piazza, and Diocletian's Palace, one of the best-preserved Roman buildings in the world.

Depending on a time that suits you, you'll meet your local guide for a private tour of Split's popular attractions, where you'll start in Peristyle Square, taking in the 3,500-year-old sphinxes Diocletian brought back from Egypt before exploring the 4th-century Diocletian's Palace. Other noteworthy attractions include the seafront Riva, the Iron Gate, Pjaca Square, and the 15th-century Town Hall.

Day 7: Depart Split

Wander Split and discover its ancient buildings
Wander Split and discover its ancient buildings

If you have a free morning before departing, check out the Green Market (Pazar Market). A lively fruit and vegetable outdoor market just east of the Diocletian Palace, this is a great place to see how the locals shop and to pick up some fruit for your flight home. Farmers from the surrounding areas of Split come into town every day to sell their seasonal local produce from sunrise to 2 pm. 

Depending on traffic, it usually takes 45 minutes to travel from Old Town to the airport. Best to arrive at the airport at least two hours prior to your international departure (and with some extra time to drop off your rental car, if you have one).