Discover Croatia's glittering Dalmatian Coast on this active 11-day journey through UNESCO-listed cities, pristine national parks, and sun-drenched islands. Explore Diocletian's Palace in Split, hike to waterfalls in Krka National Park, and set sail on the Adriatic to visit the island of Hvar. After cycling through the rugged wine country of the Pelješac Peninsula, your adventure ends in the ancient walled city of Dubrovnik.

Highlights

  • Explore the spectacular national parks of Mljet & Krka
  • Visit the historic UNESCO-listed cities of Split, Šibenik, Zadar & Dubrovnik
  • Visit the idyllic islands of Hvar & Lopud
  • Discover the rugged wine country of the Pelješac Peninsula
  • Enjoy hiking, cycling & kayaking excursions along the Dalmatian Coast

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Welcome to Croatia! Split
Day 2 Day Trip to Šibenik & Zadar Split
Day 3 Day Trip to Krka National Park Split
Day 4 Day Trip to Hvar Island Split
Day 5 Explore Diocletian's Palace in Split, Transfer to Ston Ston
Day 6 Explore the Pelješac Penisula or Day Trip to Korčula Island Ston
Day 7 Pelješac Penisula Multisport Excursions Ston
Day 8 Day Trip to Mljet National Park Ston
Day 9 Hike Lopud Island, Transfer to Dubrovnik Dubrovnik
Day 10 Explore Dubrovnik's Old Town  Dubrovnik
Day 11 Depart Dubrovnik  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to Croatia!

Split
Start your adventure in Split

Welcome to Croatia! Upon arrival at the airport, you'll be transferred to your accommodation in the ancient coastal city of Split. Founded 1,700 years ago by Roman Emperor Diocletian, Split's Old Town includes many impressive sites, including Peristyle, the Piazza, and Diocletian's Palace, one of the best-preserved Roman buildings in the world. There's nothing quite like strolling the narrow stone streets inside the palace fortifications and ducking into little cafés/bakeries/bars for a cinnamon roll, ice cream cone, or a glass of wine. 

Get settled into your accommodation, then take an evening stroll along Split's seafront Riva to admire the views over the Adriatic before dinner. 

Day 2: Day Trip to Šibenik & Zadar

Zadar
Waterfront views of Zadar

This morning you'll head up the coast on a day trip to explore the Dalmatian towns of Šibenik and Zadar. Founded by the Croat king Petar Krešimir IV in the 11th century, Šibenik is home to impressive fortresses, music festivals, and medieval gardens. Visit the famous UNESCO-listed St. James Cathedral, take a stroll around the charming Old Town, and climb to the 16th century St. Nicola Fortress

In the afternoon, continue to the ancient Roman city of Zadar. Set on a peninsula surrounded by the sparkling Adriatic Sea, Zadar is a tidy network of polished stone streets and public squares—with a Roman forum dating back to the 1st century CE.  Explore the historic center starting at the Sea Organ, passing the 12th-century cathedral and the Church of St. Simeon. Make sure to take some time for a stroll along Zadar's Riva, a wide ribbon of stone paths bordered by a grassy park on one side and the sea on the other, and sample some of the town's famous ice cream. 

In the evening, you'll return to your accommodations in Split.

Day 3: Day Trip to Krka National Park

Scenic waterfalls in Krka National Park
Scenic waterfalls in Krka National Park 

Today's excursion takes you north to Krka National Park, home to a network of striking waterfalls, including the largest and showiest known as Skradinski Buk. The Krka River, another highlight of the park, carves through the limestone and creates a spectacular canyon on its 44-mile (70 km) journey from the foothills of the Dinaric Alps to Šibenik.

You'll traverse emerald pools and river islands to reach prime lookout spots to view the falls. Skradinski Buk is the final of the seven waterfalls, and Mother Nature saved the best for last. Cascading 149 feet (45 m) down into an emerald lagoon wider than the falls are tall, you'll find restaurants, snack stands, and ice cream shops at the base of this postcard locale to satisfy any food-related cravings, perfect for lunch.  

For a quieter setting, drive to the Roški Slap area of the park for a peaceful hike with fewer crowds, or visit the idyllic island of Visovac in the middle of the river. Home to an active Franciscan monastery, a five minute boat ride takes you to the island, where you can join a short guided tour.

Day 4: Day Trip to Hvar Island

Views across Hvar to the Palenki Islands

This morning you'll make your way to Split's harbor and set sail for the island of Hvar. Renowned for its natural setting, mild climate, and historic town of the same name, Hvar's sunny, Mediterranean climate has attracted visitors for thousands of years. Spend your day exploring Hvar Town, where you can visit the Renaissance-era Cathedral of St. Stephen or climb the steps to the terrace outside of the historic Arsenal to enjoy views over the harbor and the surrounding area. 

For some of the best views of the island, Hvar Town, and the nearby Pakleni Islands, take a short walk up to the 16th-century Španjola Fortress. Then 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.

Other options include a private speedboat excursion to the nearby islands of Vis or Biševo, or arranging for a memorable home-cooked meal by local chef. As the sun sets, you'll return to your accommodations in Split for the evening.

Day 5: Explore Diocletian's Palace in Split, Transfer to Ston

The marble streets of Diocletian's Palace

This morning you can explore Split at your own pace. Travelers come from far and wide to walk along the city's Riviera-esque waterfront and tour the impressive Diocletian’s Palace, located in the heart of the historic center. This "city within a city" is a maze of narrow alleyways within stone fortifications originally built for Emperor Diocletian back at the turn of the fourth century CE. You can enjoy the city on your own or stroll the streets on a guided tour of the city. A tour is ideal as the guide will be able to point out all the hidden gems within the walls of the palace.

In the afternoon, you'll transfer to the rugged Pelješac Peninsula. A mountainous finger of land reaching into the Adriatic Sea, the Pelješac region is home to Croatia's finest red wines, tastiest oysters, and some of the best sand and shingle beaches in the country. Your base for the next four nights is Ston, a peaceful little town with lots of history and a great culinary reputation. Get settled into your accommodation, then set off on a hike along the city's famous medieval walls. Built to keep invaders away from the area's precious saltpans, the 14th-century marvel is the longest fortified city wall on the continent. The preserved section for walking is less than 2 miles (3.2 km) and rewards hikers with breathtaking vistas as you climb, ending at Ston's tiny idyllic neighbor of Mali Ston.

For dinner, choose a local restaurant to sample the area's famous fresh oysters or mussels paired with a glass of the region's renowned Dingač red wine.

Day 6: Explore the Pelješac Penisula or Day Trip to Korčula island

Ston and the famous salt plants - vie from the Walls
Ston's famous city walls and salt pans

Today's schedule is flexible, leaving you with free time to explore more of the Pelješac region with a visit to some nearby wineries to taste the local reds, or a cycling trip through lush vineyards overlooking the sea.

If preferred, you can hop over to Korčula Island for a day spent discovering its gorgeous mix of beaches, vineyards, villages, and quiet, harbor-side restaurants and resorts. Roam the maze of gray stone houses, alleys, churches, and squares of 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 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 unassuming local house thought to be the birthplace of Marco Polo, before returning to the mainland and your accommodations in Ston.

Day 7: Pelješac Penisula Multisport Excursions

Cycling Pelješac
Cycle through the scenic vineyards of Pelješac

Today is devoted to outdoor adventure in the small village of Žuljana, where you can embark on a series of memorable excursions. Set off on a hike to visit St. John's Peak, which offers sweeping views across Pelješac, Mljet Island, Korčula, Lastovo, and Ston Bay, or head to the coast to explore hidden beaches and coves by kayak or stand-up paddleboard. A cycling tour takes you from the middle of the peninsula to the seaside, through lush vineyards of the famed Dingač wine country. 

Combine all these excursions for an activity-filled day, or choose just one and spend the rest of your downtime relaxing on the beach, returning to Ston for the evening. 

Day 8: Day Trip to Mljet National Park 

Lakeside pine trees on Mljet

This morning you'll transfer to the nearby island of Mljet to spend the day in the magnificent Mljet National Park.

Considered the greenest of the larger Adriatic islands off the Croatian coast, Mljet is a thin strip of land parallel to the Pelješac Peninsula and runs 20 miles (32 km) long and up to 2 miles (3 km) wide. The park itself covers a third of the island and is made up of lakes and bays, dense forests, and olive groves.

Walk or cycle through the unspoiled western side of the island in the National Park and stop to enjoy a unique swim in any of the beautiful lush coves. Popular sights worth a visit include Veliko and Malo Jezero (two salt lakes in the park, connected by a narrow canal), Soline Bay, and a sea-belt some 500 miles wide off the Cape of Mljet. If the mood should strike, stop for a swim in the lakes (which are invariably warmer than the open Adriatic Sea). There's also the option to visit an atmospheric 12th-century Benedictine monastery. 

In the afternoon you'll transfer back to the mainland and return to Ston for the evening. 

Day 9: Hike Lopud Island, Transfer to Dubrovnik

A coastal trail on Lopud
A coastal trail on Lopud

Today starts with a boat ride to the Elafiti Island of Lopud. During Dubrovnik's historic prime, Lopud functioned as a weekend retreat for the city's nobility and was home to many of its merchant fleet—ruins of the many shipowner homes still occupy the corners of Lopud's only village of the same name. Covering an area of nearly two square miles (4.6 square km), Lopud is the most economically developed of the Elafiti Islands and is home to the region's largest sandy beach, Šunj. Here you can wade into the shallow water for 300 feet (91 m) before the need to swim takes over.

For the more active traveler, there are several hiking trails to choose between that lead you among Mediterranean and subtropical vegetation, though you might like to trek the 6-mile (10 km) loop around the larger part of the island. You will be rewarded with some of the island's best attractions, including a visit to the Sutvrac fortress where you will have stunning panoramic views of nearby Šipan and the Pelješac Peninsula to the north. For lunch, you can hike to one of the island's farms to enjoy homemade fare prepared by a local family.

In the afternoon, make your way to your accommodation in the historic coastal fortress city of Dubrovnik. The remainder of the evening is at your leisure, allowing time for you to wander and explore this magical city. Climb the 16th-century city walls for incredible views of countless red rooftops of old stone houses, towers, turrets, churches, and palaces. And be sure to find your way to the limestone-paved Stradun, Dubrovnik's main street to get your bearings and choose from some of Croatia's best restaurants and wine bars.

Day 10: Explore Dubrovnik's Old Town 

Dubrovnik's city walls

Today is all about Dubrovnik! Known as the "Pearl of the Adriatic," Dubrovnik is a world-renowned city of exceptional charm. Throughout the middle ages, it was a fortress port encircled by stone walls and filled with baroque churches and renaissance/gothic palaces that still stand today. 

There's no better way to pass the time in Dubrovnik than to spend an afternoon strolling its historic walls and smooth, limestone-paved streets while marveling at the spirit of the city. Can't-miss activities include riding the cable car up to Srđ Mountain to take in the sunset over the nearby Elafiti Islands and visiting the Lovrijenac fortress—recognizable for its starring role in Game of Thrones. A tour with a local guide will be that much more rewarding, as they will lead you to the best spots and offer insight into Dubrovnik's culture and history. 

Day 11: Depart Dubrovnik

Sunset over Dubrovnik
Sunset over Dubrovnik

After breakfast, you'll be transported to the airport to say your goodbyes to Croatia and catch your flight home. Safe travels!

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