- Marvel at Split's 3,500 year old stone sphinxes brought back from Egypt
- Enjoy Dalmatian cuisine in Marco Polo's hometown of Korčula
- Discover the wooded and rocky Pakleni Islands by sail boat
- Roam the marble streets and admire the baroque buildings of Dubrovnik's Old Town
- Day trip to visit the medieval coastal village of Kotor in Montenegro
|Day 1||Welcome to Split!||Split|
|Day 2||Historical Walking Tour of Split||Split|
|Day 3||Ferry from Split to Hvar, Sunset Sea Kayaking||Hvar Town|
|Day 4||Sail the Pakleni Islands Archipelago||Hvar Town|
|Day 5||Ferry from Hvar to Korčula, Cycling & Wine Tasting Tour in Lumbarda||Korčula Town|
|Day 6||Korčula to Ston via Pelješac Peninsula||Ston|
|Day 7||Explore Ston, Transfer to Dubrovnik||Dubrovnik|
|Day 8||Historical Walking Tour of Dubrovnik||Dubrovnik|
|Day 9||Day Trip to Montenegro||Dubrovnik|
|Day 10||Depart Dubrovnik|
Day 1: Welcome to Split!
From the airport, it's a short (45-minute) drive to the center of Split. Depending on your arrival time, check into your hotel and take the rest of the day to explore the historic port city on your own.
Founded 1,700 years ago by the Roman emperor Diocletian, Split's Old Town consists of 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. Start in Peristyle Square, taking in the 3,500-year-old sphinxes Diocletian brought back from Egypt before exploring the 4th-century complex. From there pass through the Iron Gate and into Pjaca Square for pretty views of white marble tiles, a Romanesque clock tower with the remains of a medieval sundial, and the 15th-century Town Hall.
In the evening, take a stroll along Split's seafront Riva to admire the waterfront views before finding the off-beat Konoba Dioklecijan restaurant, just to the left of the Bronze Gate for a bite to eat, its outdoor terrace built into the walls of Diocletian's Palace.
Day 2: Historical Walking Tour of Split
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, the Cathedral of St. Dominus, the Piazza, and Diocletian's Palace, one of the best-preserved Roman buildings in the world. Meet your expert guide in Peristyle Square for a walking tour, taking in the 3,500-year-old sphinxes Diocletian brought back from Egypt before exploring the 4th-century Diocletian's Palace and other noteworthy sites.
If there's time following your tour, climb the Romanesque bell tower of the Cathedral of St. Dominus (St. Duje)—considered the oldest Catholic cathedral still in use—for stunning views over the city and Adriatic. Another option for great views is to hike or bike to the top of Marjan Hill. The entire Marjan peninsula is dotted with tiny centuries-old churches, large cypress and black pine trees, and Mediterranean plants and herbs and is commonly referred to as the "lungs of the city". In addition to the stunning vistas, you'll be rewarded with attractions less visited: the Jewish cemetery and 13th and 15th-century churches, St. Nicholas and St. Jerome, respectively.
Afterward, head to Bačvice Beach and relax on the sand warmed by the day's sun before choosing a nearby restaurant for dinner.
Day 3: Ferry from Split to Hvar, Sunset Sea Kayaking
This morning you will catch the one-hour ferry from Split to Hvar and check into your hotel. A Croatian island in the Adriatic Sea, Hvar is a popular destination with tourists due to its natural setting, mild climate, and its historic town of the same name. You'll have the late morning to explore Hvar Town. Visit St. Stephen's Cathedral and climb the steps to the terrace outside of the historic Arsenal to enjoy views over the harbor and the surrounding area.
In the afternoon, pack your swimwear and towel and head to Hvar Town's beachfront for your guided sunset kayaking tour to the nearby Pakleni Islands. The islands are the most beautiful part of the Hvar Riviera and are a favorite retreat for locals seeking to escape the summer heat. Altogether, there are 14 wooded and rocky islets, which you will get a chance to explore by kayak with a striking pink sky as a backdrop.
Day 4: Sail the Pakleni Islands Archipelago
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 5: Ferry from Hvar to Korčula, Cycling & Wine Tasting Tour in Lumbarda
Onwards to Korčula! Once on the island, you'll transfer to your hotel in Korčula Town to settle in, drop off your luggage, and meet your guide to join a wine tasting cycling tour across the island. Pick up your bike and with your guide, you'll head to the Lumbarda region on the southeastern tip of the island. 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 gentle 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 grape variety that will pair well with your lunch or dinner. Some of Croatia's best white wines are produced on Korčula and you won't be left wanting.
Spend some time relaxing on one of Lumbarda's beaches before returning to Korčula Town. You'll have the rest of the afternoon 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.
Ferry time (Hvar to Korčula): 1.5 hours
Cycling tour duration: 3-5 hours
Day 6: Korčula to Ston via Pelješac Peninsula
Make your way to the ferry terminal in either Korčula Old Town (foot passengers) or nearby Dominče (car ferries) to transfer the short distance to Orebić on the Pelješac Peninsula. Wander the seaside town's narrow streets, noting the charming stone villas once occupied by famous sea captains. From here, you'll continue your journey southeast to your hotel in the medieval city of Ston, stopping to sample Dingač, Croatia's most well-known red at any of the numerous vineyards populating the rugged landscape.
If there's interest, rent a bike and cycle along the Mali Plavac vineyards to a quiet bay for a swim, snorkel, and lunch break before carrying on to Ston, twin settlement to Mali Ston on the opposite end of the peninsula's isthmus. End the day with a meal of Ston's famous fresh oysters or mussels accompanied by a glass of local Dingač red wine.
Ferry time (Korčula to Orebić): 30 minutes
Driving time (Korčula to Ston): 1 hour
Day 7: Explore Ston, Transfer to Dubrovnik
Take the better part of the day to explore Ston, its surroundings, and of course its impressive fortified walls—the longest on the continent (originally built to keep predators away from the town's saltpans) and discover the importance this area held in the 14th century. Enjoy beautiful views over the Adriatic and Ston and its glittering saltpans—one of the oldest and still active in the Mediterranean—from a parapet walkway.
Rent a kayak and paddle amid oyster and mussel farms in Ston's bay, taking in the striking views of the walls from the sea. Alternatively, if you're looking for more of a beach day, find your way to Prapratno, just over a mile away for access to the peninsula's largest sandy beach.
When it's time, make your way to your accommodation in the historic coastal fortress city of Dubrovnik. The remainder of the day will be at your leisure, allowing time for you to wander and explore this magical city. Depending on when you arrive, you may have time to hop aboard a cable car and ride to the top of Srđ Mountain for stunning vistas of Dubrovnik and the nearby Elafiti Islands.
Driving time (Ston to Dubrovnik): 1 hour
Day 8: Historical Walking Tour of Dubrovnik
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 9: Day Trip to Montenegro
Today you'll get to check off another country on your travel bucket list as you make a day trip to Montenegro. This Balkan nation borders Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina to the south and is known for the beautiful beaches and medieval villages along its Adriatic coastline.
You'll want to get an early start to allow time for the border crossing. After crossing over, you'll enjoy a scenic drive around the Bay of Kotor before stopping at the village of Perast, which is a little bit of Venice on the Adriatic. From here, you'll make the 20-minute drive to stop and explore the medieval coastal village of Kotor. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is built on a sloping mountain and abounds with Venetian palaces and Romanesque churches.
Kotor is also an ancient fortress town as evidenced by the medieval stone ramparts that run up the mountain to the Fortress of St. John, which dates to the 6th century. You can reach this fortress by hiking up some 1,350 steps from town to a height of roughly 820 feet (250 m). When you're ready, find your way back to Dubrovnik.
Know that you can do this trip on your own (with a rental car) or hire the services of a private driver. Navigating the border crossing and finding parking in Montenegro can be challenging, however, so it's recommended that you opt for a private driver.
Driving time (Dubrovnik to Perast): 2 hours
Driving time (Kotor to Dubrovnik):
Day 10: Depart Dubrovnik
Depending on when you depart, you may have time to visit one of Dubrovnik's museums, like the Franciscan Monastery and Museum. This large complex houses many treasures, including the world's third oldest pharmacy dating from 1317.
Alternatively, for a collection of 15,000 pieces of interesting works, visit the Rector's Palace and Cultural Historical Museum. Wander this well-preserved palace-turned-museum and explore its exhibits, some detailing life in the Republic of Ragusa during medieval times.
The drive to the airport from Dubrovnik takes around 45 minutes with normal traffic.