Discover the ancient cities and natural wonders of Croatia's stunning Dalmatian Coastline, starting in the historic city of Split and its 4th-century Diocletian's Palace. Use Split as your hub while enjoying some of the country's most spectacular scenery, including a day trip to Trogir, zip-lining across Cetina River Canyon, hiking along the wooden boardwalks of Plitvice Lakes, and swimming in the emerald lagoons of Krka National Park. End your trip in the "Pearl of the Adriatic", Dubrovnik, where you can walk the old town walls, enjoy a sunrise atop Mount Srđ, and discover the unique history of the region.

Highlights

  • Walk the old town walls and ancient streets of Dubrovnik
  • Swim in emerald lagoons in Krka National Park
  • Meander the cobblestone alleyways of the 4th-century Diocletian's Palace
  • Zip-line across the remarkable Cetina River Canyon
  • Enjoy coastal views and a stunning sunrise atop Mount Srđ

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Explore the Old Town of Split Split
Day 2 Zip Across Cetina River Canyon Split
Day 3 Day Trip to the UNESCO Town of Trogir Split
Day 4 Hike the Wooden Paths in Plitvice Lakes National Park Split
Day 5 Swim in the Waterfalls of Krka National Park Split
Day 6 Arrive in Dubrovnik - Enjoy a Walking Tour of its Old Town Dubrovnik
Day 7 Sunrise from Srđ Mountain Dubrovnik
Day 8 Departure  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Explore the Old Town of Split

Old Town of Split, Croatia
Old Town of Split, Croatia

Welcome to the Dalmatian Coast, one of Croatia's most scenic and historical regions.

You'll start in Split, the second-largest city in Croatia. After settling into your accommodation, explore the Old Town and enjoy its narrow alleys through and around the ancient Diocletian’s Palace, established in the 4th century. You can either meander the city on your own, getting lost in its charming streets and perusing shops and boutiques, or join a local guide for fascinating information about the city's history and tradition.

Diocletian’s Palace is surrounded by 15th-century walls, with narrow medieval streets winding through its pedestrian-only center. Explore the main squares and markets, and don't forget about the old cellars, known as the basement halls. Visit Jupiter's Temple, the Church of St. John the Baptist, and, of course, Saint Domnius Cathedral with its dominating bell tower.

Enjoy dinner in the old town at your leisure. There are plenty of restaurants, cafes, and bars from which to choose. Stop in one of the squares or along the promenade for the best people watching and to experience the buzz of Split. Or, stake your spot in line at Villa Spiza, a quaint bistro serving locally-sourced cuisine that is absolutely worth the wait.

Day 2: Zip Across Cetina River Canyon

Zip-line Experience Across the Cetina River Canyon
Zip-line Experience Across the Cetina River Canyon

Croatia is the perfect combination of incredible ancient cities and spectacular nature. Today you'll experience this combo with a trip to the port town of Omiš, which sits at the mouth of the Cetina River and the remarkable Cetina River Canyon.

The adrenaline-infused zip-line is located in the canyon of the river, about 2 miles (3 km) from Omiš. It consists of eight steel cables set about 500 feet (150 m) above ground. The total length of the cables is nearly 7,000 feet (2,100 m), the longest of which is 2,300 feet (700 m). You'll cross the entire network accompanied by two guides, enjoying the thrill and rush of zipping across the stunning river canyon.

As you cruise across the canyon and make your stops at individual platforms, delight in the incredible views. You can see inland into the mountain range north of Omiš, as well as out towards the turquoise waters of the Adriatic Sea. The experience will last about two and a half hours.

Return to Split for an evening to enjoy at your own pace. If you're feeling up for more experiences in nature, head out to Marjan Forest Park where you can enjoy private swimming, light hiking, and incredible views of the sunset.

Day 3: Day Trip to the UNESCO Town of Trogir

Aerial View of Trogir and its Surroundings
Aerial View of Trogir and its Surroundings

Trogir is located just 18 miles (29 km) from Split, making for an excellent day trip. Its old town is much smaller than Split's, so you can meander its quaint, cobblestone streets in a more casual manner. Its UNESCO core is set on a small island accessible from the mainland by two bridges. Just like in Split, you can either peruse the old town by yourself or follow a guide who will share the secrets of the area's history.

You'll certainly enjoy Trogir's charming streets that are lined with shops and cafes. Narrow alleyways lead to tiny yards complete with stunning architecture. Visit the St. Lawrence Cathedral and climb its tower for a bird's-eye view of the old town. Don't forget St. Sebastian Church and its square with the historical clock tower. Nearby is Cippiko Palace and the old Puerta de la Tierra.

Before heading back to Split, be sure to stroll around Zudika Park, which nearly surrounds the old town and offers beautiful views of the water. End your walk at the stunning, 15th-century Kamerlengo Castle.

Enjoy the rest of the evening in Split at your leisure.

Day 4: Hike the Wooden Paths in Plitvice Lakes National Park

Plitvice Lakes National Park
Plitvice Lakes National Park

After an early morning breakfast, you'll make the journey to the stunning, turquoise waters of Plitvice Lakes National Park. This protected area is one of Croatia's natural wonders, listed under UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites. During the busy summer months, it can get quite crowded on the narrow wooden walkways and ferries that transfer you around the park, so it's best to get an early start.

Upon arriving in the park, you can either enjoy the lakes by yourself or with a privately-guided tour that includes more information and insights about its history. If you do opt to go on your own, consider starting at the second entrance, as it's a bit less crowded and allows you to see both the upper and lower lakes. If you're looking for a peaceful trail, try the upper route. Not only is it less crowded, but it also gives amazing views of the lakes before heading down into the lower area.

You'll break for lunch in the park and continue to explore the lakes for the rest of the afternoon. Head back to Split in time for dinner.

Day 5: Swim in the Waterfalls of Krka National Park

Swimming Lagoon in Krka National Park
Swimming Lagoon in Krka National Park

Prepare for an unforgettable day trip to yet another remarkable natural wonder. In the morning, you'll transfer one hour from Split to Krka National Park, which is home to Croatia's other drop-dead gorgeous network of waterfalls. As if the beauty of these falls isn't enough, you'll also be able to take a dip in one of the lagoons as Krka is the only national park in Croatia where swimming is allowed.

In total, there are seven waterfalls in this 54 square-mile (139 square-km) national park, all formed by the Krka River. The falls are accessible by a 1.5-mile (2.5-km) boardwalk that follows a circular route through a forest around the falls. You can complete the easy path in well under an hour, passing by gullies and over river islands featuring prime lookout spots.

Saving the best for last, Skradinski Buk is the final of the seven waterfalls, cascading 78 feet (24 meters) down into an emerald lagoon. At the base of this picturesque locale, visitors will find restaurants, snack stands, and ice cream shops.

After lunch, you'll complete the route around the falls and make your way back to Split.

Day 6: Arrive in Dubrovnik - Enjoy a Walking Tour of its Old Town

The Historic Old Town of Dubrovnik
The Historic Old Town of Dubrovnik

This morning, you'll transfer down the coast to one of Croatia's most popular destinations: Dubrovnik. As one of the most ancient fortress cities in Europe, this gem is known as the "Pearl of the Adriatic". While there's evidence of settlements as far back as the Byzantine Empire, the area was only established as an important power during the 13th century, due in part to its strategic coastal position. Dubrovnik's long and storied history is told in its beautiful Gothic, Renaissance, and baroque churches, monasteries, palaces, and fountains, all found within its imposing fortress walls. 

Upon arrival, you'll settle into your accommodation before embarking on a guided walking tour of Dubrovnik's historic Old Town. Start your tour at the 16th-century Pile Gate, where you can enter the medieval city and uncover centuries of Dubrovnik's rich history. Listen to stories and legends about local life in the city, as well as the importance Dubrovnik once held. Highlights include Onofrio's Fountain, the 15th-century Rector's Palace, the Church of St. Blaise (St. Vlaho), and the café-lined Brsalje Street. 

After spending some time getting to know the city, you'll want to duck into one of Dubrovnik's many wine bars to relax. Alternatively, come early evening, you can get stunning panoramic views over the city and the Adriatic Sea by taking the cable car up to Srđ Mountain. Descend back down in time for dinner at one of Dubrovnik's great restaurants.

Day 7: Sunrise from Srđ Mountain

View From Srd Mountain
View From Srđ Mountain

There's no better vantage point in which to enjoy sweeping views of Dubrovnik and the surrounding coast than atop Srđ Mountain. ,Requiring a vigorous hike, this peak looks out over the city from 1,351 feet (412 meters) high. The steep trailhead to the top runs just under 1.5 miles (2.5 km), which takes about an hour to reach the viewing point. If you'd rather save your energy for more city walking, you can opt for the cable car.

At the top, you'll enjoy the amazing views up and down the Dalmatian coast for miles in each direction. If you're a history buff, the old Fort Imperial houses a museum dedicated to the Croatian War for Independence, which was fought against Serbian forces from 1991-1995. It features over 500 exhibits including war documents, maps, weapons, flags, logbooks, and more.

After taking in the views and history, you can either hike down the same trail or take the cable car back to the city center. Enjoy the rest of your day in Dubrovnik at your leisure. Because this is your final night in beautiful Croatia, stop at one of the bars along the city walls for a breathtaking sunset.

Day 8: Departure

City Beach in Dubrovik
City Beach in Dubronvik

It's time to say goodbye to Croatia and the stunning Dalmatian Coast. After breakfast, you'll transfer to the airport to catch your flight home or to continue on to your next destination.