Discover the best of Croatia's Dalmatian coast in a week. Starting in the historic port city of Split, you'll wander through Diocletian's Palace and ancient Roman ruins before taking off for the islands of Hvar and Korčula, Marco Polo's former home. End the trip with a scenic drive through the Pelješac Peninsula—Croatia's famous wine region—before enjoying two nights in the fortressed city of Dubrovnik.

Highlights

  • Marvel at Split's ancient stone sphinxes brought back from Egypt 3,500 years ago
  • Kayak and snorkel around the beautiful Pakleni Islands off the coast of Hvar
  • Cycle across Korčula, stopping to sample local wines endemic to the island
  • Explore Ston's stonewalls and saltpans before feasting on oysters and mussels
  • Watch a Dalmatian sunset over the Elafiti islands from atop Dubrovnik's Srđ Mountain

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Welcome to Split! Split
Day 2 Ferry from Split to Hvar, Sea Kayaking around Pakleni Islands Hvar Town
Day 3 Private Sailing Tour around Vis Island (Day Trip from Hvar) Hvar Town
Day 4 Ferry from Hvar to Korčula, Cycling & Wine Tasting in Lumbarda Korčula Town
Day 5 Korčula to Dubrovnik via Pelješac Peninsula's Wine Region Dubrovnik
Day 6 Walking Tour of Dubrovnik Dubrovnik
Day 7 Depart Dubrovnik  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to Split!

Waterfront of the city of Split
Waterfront of the city of 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 settle into your accommodation before taking the rest of the afternoon to explore the ancient port city on your own.

Start at Pjaca Square for pretty views of white marble tiles, the Iron Gate (the western entrance to Diocletian's Palace), a Romanesque clock tower with the remains of a medieval sundial, and the 15th-century Town Hall. Stop for lunch at Trattoria Bajamont, just north of the Iron Gate. From there, visit the popular Voćni trg or Fruit Square—a square that got its name from centuries of selling fruit. Here you can enjoy renaissance architecture, influenced during Split's Venetian era. For a bit of shopping and a bite to eat head to Marmont Street, though you'll want to make your way to the waterfront to catch the sunset.

In the evening, take a stroll along Split's seafront Riva to admire the views over the Adriatic 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 famed Diocletian's Palace.

Day 2: Ferry from Split to Hvar, Sea Kayaking around Pakleni Islands

Galesnik Island, the first in line of the Pakleni Islands
Galesnik Island, the first in line of the Pakleni Islands

This morning you'll catch a 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.

Ferry time: 1.5-2 hours

Day 3: Private Sailing Tour around Vis Island (Day Trip from Hvar)

Enjoy a day of sailing around the island of Vis
Beautiful Stiniva Bay on Vis Island 

Take the day to enjoy the sun and sea from the vantage of a private sailboat (with skipper) as you make your way to the small, nearby island of Vis. You'll depart from Hvar Port on the western coast of the island for a leisurely full day of sailing. Lunch is arranged on the boat where there will be time to drop anchor for swimming and snorkeling before docking to explore some of the island's beaches and quaint towns, like the small fishing town of Komiža and Vis.

You might consider hiring a guide to tour the ancient Roman ruins, like the thermae (public bath), the Levaman Fortress, and St. Jerome's Church and Monastery. And if crowds don't deter you, you make your way to Biševo Island, a popular destination to see the mesmerizing iridescent blue waters of the Blue Cave (Modra špilja). And if there's time and interest, visit Ravnik Island, off the southern coast of Vis to swim inside the Green Cave—a special treat as you aren't allowed to do so in the Blue Cave. 

Day 4: Ferry from Hvar to Korčula, Cycling & Wine Tasting in Lumbarda

View of Korčula's Old Town from the sea
View of Korčula's Old Town from the sea

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'll ride 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.

You'll also 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 due to its sandy soil and Plavac Mali (a red grape grown extensively across South Dalmatia that acts as a pollinator for the Grk vines). 

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 5: Korčula to Dubrovnik via Pelješac Peninsula's Wine Region

Mali Ston, Croatia
Mali Ston, Croatia

Wave farewell to Korčula and make your way overland along the Pelješac Peninsula—home of Croatia's best-known red wines (Dingac and Postup). Should you choose, you can take a tour of one of the area's family-run wineries and sample Dingač's famous reds or opt to cycle along the Plavac Mali vineyards to a quiet bay for a swim, snorkel, and a lunch break. 

After lunch, hop back into your private van and make your way to Ston—home of the longest fortified city walls on the continent (originally built to keep invaders away from the town's saltpans) and famous for its oysters and mussels. Take a walk on the walls before rewarding your efforts with a light meal of Ston's famous fresh oysters or mussels accompanied by a glass of local Dingač red wine.

When you're ready, make your way to the historic coastal fortress city of Dubrovnik. The early evening will be at your leisure, allowing time for you to wander and explore this magical city. You might like to consider finding your way to Buza Bar to enjoy a cocktail while taking in the sunset.

Ferry time (Korčula to Orebić): 30 minutes
Driving time (Orebić to Ston): 1 hour
Driving time (Ston to Dubrovnik): 1 hour

Day 6: Walking Tour of Dubrovnik

St. Blaise Church on Stradun
St. Blaise Church on Stradun

Start your day early (around 8 am) to avoid the crowds and to embark on a 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 7: Depart Dubrovnik

Rector's Palace
Rector's Palace

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.