Discover the sights and delights of the southern Dalmatian coast on this 8-day itinerary highlighting Dubrovnik, Korčula, Hvar, and Split. This tour will guide you through stunning coastal towns at a comfortable pace as well as take you on excursions to nearby islands, the popular Krka National Park, and historic Šibenik. You'll kayak off the coast of Dubrovnik, bike Korčula Island, and tour the iridescent blue waters of Biševo Island's famed Blue Cave.

Highlights

  • Explore medieval Dubrovnik from the vantage of a kayak
  • Cycle around the island of Korčula, stopping to sample local wines
  • Visit Krka National Park and take a dip amid waterfalls
  • Walk Split's 1,700-year-old stone-paved streets, leftover from Roman times
  • Enjoy lunch on Vis Island after touring its Roman ruins, fortresses, and churches

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 from Hvar to Blue Cave and Vis island Hvar
Day 6 Ferry from Hvar to Split; Walking Tour of Split Split
Day 7 Day Trip to Krka National Park & Šibenik Split
Day 8 Depart Split  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik's Old Town
Ride the cable car to Srđ Mountain for views over Dubrovnik's Old Town

Welcome to Croatia! Upon arrival at Dubrovnik 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 - Rector's Palace
Take a tour of Dubrovnik's top attractions like the Rector's Palace

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

Fortified Korčula
Ride the ferry to fortified Korčula

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

Croatia - View of Korčula from atop Mt. Ilija
View of Korčula from atop Mt. Ilija

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'll 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'll 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 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). 

From here, take the opportunity to 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 from Hvar to Blue Cave and Vis Island

The Blue Cave or Modra špilja
Paddle the iridescent waters of Modra špilja

This morning you will meet your skipper before sailing to the islands of Biševo and Vis.

First, you'll sail to the east coast of Biševo Island, a popular, though often crowded destination, for the mesmerizing, iridescent blue waters of the Blue Cave (Modra špilja). Upon landing on the island, you'll transfer to a cave friendly boat before floating inside the cave to discover the natural phenomena for yourself.

From Biševo, you will then sail to Vis Island to meet with a local guide who will take you to the small fishing towns of Komiža and Vis, showcasing ancient Roman ruins like the thermae (public bath), Levaman Fortress, and St. Jerome's Church and Monastery. Enjoy lunch on the island as well as sample local wines to round out your day of sightseeing natural and ancient wonders.

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

Split
Join a walking tour of historic Split

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: Day Trip to Krka National Park & Šibenik

Croatia - Waterfalls of Krka National Park
Enjoy Krka National Park's many breathtaking waterfalls

Krka National Park is just over an hour's drive away from Split and is a nice place to visit in the morning before the crowds arrive. You can explore Krka on your own by foot or by rental bike, choosing from a number of trails (the shortest being a mile-long or 2 km boardwalk through the falls and small lakes).

Try to visit a couple of sections of the park, including Skradinski Buk, the largest waterfall in the park. After Skradinski Buk, head to Roški Slap, where you can take a short walk across the river to a small set of rapids said to resemble a pearl neckless from above. At Roški Slap, there's a restaurant that serves locally produced prosciutto, cheese, and seasonal salads. Besides waterfalls, the park is also well known for its multiple endemic species of birds, fish, and amphibians. 

After spending the morning in Krka, head to the coastal town of Šibenik for the afternoon. A true Croatian town founded by the Croat king Petar Krešimir IV in the 11th century, Šibenik's is home to impressive fortresses, music festivals, and medieval gardens. Start with a visit to the famous St. James' Cathedral, a UNESCO protected site for good reason, before selecting a restaurant for your dinner— perhaps Pelegrini, a restaurant and wine bar just above the cathedral. Return to Split in the evening.

Day 8: 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).