Visit the highlights of Croatia's famous Dalmatian coast on this quick 5-day itinerary. Starting in Dubrovnik you'll make your way to Ston on the Pelješac Peninsula and visit the island of Korčula, ending your stay in the coastal city of Split. You'll explore medieval towns and ancient Roman ruins, bike through wine country, and feast on fresh oysters and mussels.

Highlights

  • Explore the marble streets and baroque buildings of Dubrovnik's Old Town
  • Bike the Konavle wine region on a guided tour and sample local wines
  • Drive through the Pelješac Peninsula and sample Dingač wine
  • Find your way to Marco Polo's former home on Korčula
  • Discover the famous Diocletian's Palace in Split, dating back to the 4th century

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Welcome to Dubrovnik! Dubrovnik
Day 2 Cycle through Konavle Wine Country Dubrovnik
Day 3 Dubrovnik to Ston, Afternoon in Korčula Ston
Day 4 Ston to Split, Walking Tour of Split Split
Day 5 Depart Split  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to Dubrovnik!

Old city walls and the Adriatic
Old city walls and the Adriatic

This is a treat because you'll be arriving in one of the most ancient fortress cities in Europe. Known as the "Adriatic Pearl," Dubrovnik is a piece of history. While there's evidence of settlements as far back as the Byzantine era, this area only came into its own in the 12th and 13th centuries when it was under the rule of the Venetians. 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.

Upon arrival at the airport, you'll transfer to your hotel for check-in. Despite being tired from the journey, you'll likely want to get out and explore. Can't-miss activities include strolling Dubrovnik's historic 75-foot walls, visiting Lovrijenac and Bokar fortresses, and walking along the smooth, limestone-paved streets of historic Old Town

After spending some time getting to know the city, duck into one of Dubrovnik's many wine bars to relax. It's a good plan, as there's no better manner in which to celebrate your first day in Croatia than by enjoying a glass of white or red wine as the sun goes down over Dubrovnik's Old Town. For dinner, there are a number of great restaurants you can choose from.

Day 2: Cycle through Konavle Wine Country

Waterfront town of Cavtat, Konavle
Waterfront town of Cavtat, Konavle

This morning you'll meet your driver to transfer to a starting point in Konavle, a famous wine region south of Dubrovnik. Here, you'll switch gears and hop on your bike to spend the day cycling through small villages and valleys. For lunch, your guide will lead you to a restaurant on the Ljuta river where you'll have the opportunity to participate in sampling local brandies. Afterward, continue biking past orchards, vineyards, and farms and get a real sense of Konavle country before returning to Dubrovnik in the late afternoon.

Driving time (Dubrovnik to Konavle): 30 minutes

Day 3: Dubrovnik to Ston, Afternoon in Korčula

View of Ston, its defense wall, and saltpans
View of Ston, its defense wall, and saltpans

Today you will head west of Dubrovnik to explore the Pelješac Peninsula, and, if time allows, you will have the option to visit Korčula Town on the island of Korčula.

The Pelješac Peninsula, known for its rugged scenery, robust red wines, and tasty oysters, is a spit of land that stretches for 40 miles (65 km) west of the mainland. Pelješac is home to a number of small towns and villages: Orebić, connecting Pelješac to Korčula, and twin settlements, Ston and Mali Ston, sit opposite each other at the isthmus of the peninsula. You will have the choice of renting a car in Dubrovnik and exploring the peninsula and Korčula on your own or hiring a driver for a guided tour. 

Stop in Ston to explore one of the longest defensive stone walls in Europe (originally built to keep predators away from the town's saltpans) and discover the importance this area held in the 14th century. Enjoy a light meal of locally grown, fresh oysters or mussels after you climb part of the parapet walkway of Ston's wall for beautiful views over the town and its glittering saltpans—one of the oldest and still active in the Mediterranean!

Continue on your way to Orebić, stopping to sample Dingač, Croatia's most well-known red, and other varietals at any of the numerous vineyards populating the area. Once in Orebić, you may wish to wander its narrow streets, noting the charming stone villas—once occupied by famous sea captains.

From here, board a ferry for a quick ride to Korčula. The afternoon is yours to discover this little island's Old Town and its numerous restaurants, taverns, shops, and bars as you roam the maze of stone houses, alleys, churches, and squares. Enjoy a delicious meal paired with a local white, Grk or Pošip, as you admire some of the finest examples of Venetian architecture on the Dalmatian coast—and likely the birthplace of Marco Polo himself. Return to Ston in the evening.

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

Day 4: Ston to Split, Walking Tour of Split

Split
Split

In the morning, you'll drive northwest from Ston to Split to check into your accommodation before setting out to explore your surroundings on a walking tour. 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, Cathedral of St. Dominus, the Piazza, and Diocletian's Palace, one of the best-preserved Roman buildings in the world. 

Depending on a time that suits you, you'll meet your local guide for a private tour of Split's popular attractions, where you'll start in Peristyle Square, taking in the 3,500-year-old sphinxes Diocletian brought back from Egypt before exploring the 4th-century Diocletian's Palace. Other noteworthy attractions include the Iron Gate, Pjaca Square, 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.

Driving time: 2.5-3.5 hours

Day 5: Depart Split

Wander Split and discover its ancient buildings
Wander Split and discover its ancient buildings

If you have a free morning before departing, check out the Green Market (Pazar Market). A lively fruit and vegetable outdoor market just east of the Diocletian Palace, this is a great place to see how the locals shop and to pick up some fruit for your flight home. Farmers from the surrounding areas of Split come into town every day to sell their seasonal local produce from sunrise to 2 pm. 

Depending on traffic, it usually takes 45 minutes to travel from Old Town to the airport. Best to arrive at the airport at least two hours prior to your international departure (and with some extra time to drop off your rental car, if you have one).