- Explore Diocletian's Palace in Split, dating back to the 4th century
- Rent a scooter to explore Hvar's lavender fields and olive groves
- Admire the Venetian architecture (and great wines) of Korčula
- Wander Dubrovnik's iconic fortress walls, overlooking the Adriatic
|Day 1||Arrive in Split||Split|
|Day 2||Ferry from Split to Hvar||Hvar|
|Day 3||Ferry from Hvar to Korčula||Korčula|
|Day 4||Ferry from Korčula to Dubrovnik||Dubrovnik|
|Day 5||Depart Dubrovnik|
Day 1: Arrive in Split
Welcome to Split and Central Dalmatia! From the airport, you'll have a 45-minute drive to the town center. 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: Ferry from Split to Hvar
This morning, catch a 1.5-hour ferry to the island of 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 port town of the same name. Highlights of Hvar town include its 13th-century walls, a hilltop fortress, and the main square anchored by the Renaissance-era Cathedral.
For some of the best views of the island, Hvar Town, and the nearby Pakleni Islands, it's an idea to take a short walk up to the 16th-century Španjola Fortress. Or, join a kayaking tour and head out on the Adriatic to discover the many secluded coves that outline the island from the sea. For better coverage of the island itself, you may want to join a (wine tasting) cycling or hiking tour to cover some ground and appreciate the variation in island landscape: from lavender plantations to olive groves, from vineyards to pine woods. The less active might opt to rent a scooter for faster coverage of the local scenery.
After the day's adventures, treat yourself to a drink in the ancient piazza of Hvar overlooking the Venetian loggia, 7th-century fortification walls, and the oldest municipal theater in Europe.
Day 3: Ferry from Hvar to Korčula
If you are interested in some dedicated beach time, take the morning to hop aboard a water taxi to one of the Pakleni Islands, a small but beautiful archipelago south of Hvar Town. Wander an island, enjoying gentle walks and swimming in secluded bays before returning to Hvar Town in the early afternoon. Collect your things and catch a ferry to Korčula.
Once on Korčula, 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. Konoba Komin and Konoba Aterina are both good options, with Dalmatian cuisine and sea views.
Day 4: Ferry from Korčula to Dubrovnik
After breakfast, catch a two-hour ferry to Dubrovnik where you will have the day to explore on your own.
Often referred to as the "Pearl of the Adriatic," Dubrovnik is a world-renowned city of exceptional charm. Take the time to explore its 16th-century stone walls, including the Minceta, Lovrijenac and Revelin fortresses, visit Onofrio's Fountain and St. Vlaho's Church, and stroll along the limestone-paved Stradun, Dubrovnik's main street to get your bearings. Dubrovnik offers excellent nightlife and some of Croatia's best restaurants and wine bars.
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 vistas of Dubrovnik and the nearby Elafiti Islands. Here you can explore the 19th-century Fort Imperijal (built during the Napoleonic Wars) before stretching your legs to enjoy unobstructed views of the city as you walk back down the hill. Be sure to take the path going down for the best views and the most direct route home.
Day 5: Depart Dubrovnik
Depending on your departure details 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. Or, 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.