- See lush waterfalls in Krka National Park
- Tour Vis Island by private sailboat
- Cycle and sample wine from Hvar's Lumbarda region
- Explore historic highlights of Dubrovnik, the "Pearl of the Adriatic"
- Sail the remote–and largely uninhabited–Elafiti Islands
|Day 1||Welcome to Split!||Split|
|Day 2||Visit Krka National Park & Šibenik (Day Trip from Split)||Split|
|Day 3||Rafting, Zip-lining, & Canyoning on the Cetina River||Split|
|Day 4||Ferry from Split to Hvar, Sea Kayaking around Pakleni Islands||Hvar Town|
|Day 5||Hvar Offroad Tour||Hvar Town|
|Day 6||Private Sailing Tour around Vis Island (Day Trip from Hvar)||Hvar Town|
|Day 7||Ferry from Hvar to Korčula||Korčula Town|
|Day 8||Cycling & Wine Tasting Tour in Lumbarda||Korčula Town|
|Day 9||Korčula to Dubrovnik via Pelješac Peninsula, Stopping at Ston||Dubrovnik|
|Day 10||Explore Dubrovnik, the "Pearl of the Adriatic"||Dubrovnik|
|Day 11||Sail the Elafiti Islands: Koločep, Šipan, & Lopud||Dubrovnik|
|Day 12||Konavle Wine Tasting Tour||Dubrovnik|
|Day 13||Depart Dubrovnik|
Day 1: Welcome to 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 (Fruit Square). 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: Visit Krka National Park & Šibenik (Day Trip from Split)
Krka National Park is just over an hour's drive away from Split and is a nice place to visit in the morning before the crowds arrive. With seven waterfalls—the largest and most impressive being Skradinski Buk—Krka National Park is one of Croatia's top-rated parks home to a network of striking waterfalls. The Krka River, another highlight of the park, carves through the limestone and creates a spectacular canyon on its 44-mile journey (70 km) from the foothills of the Dinaric Alps to Šibenik.
Follow the winding wooden paths that traverse emerald pools and river islands to prime lookout spots in which to view the falls where 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. Mother Nature saved the best for last with Skradinski Buk. Cascading 78 feet (24 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 picture-perfect locale to satisfy any food-related cravings.
After spending the morning in Krka, drive 20 minutes to the coastal town of Šibenik for the afternoon. A true Croatian town founded by the Croat king Petar Krešimir IV in the 11th century, Šibenik is home to impressive fortresses, music festivals, and medieval gardens. Start with a visit to the famous UNESCO-protected St. James' Cathedral, before selecting a restaurant for your dinner—perhaps Pelegrini, a Michelin Star restaurant and wine bar just above the cathedral.
Day 3: Rafting, Zip-lining, & Canyoning on the Cetina River
You'll get an early start this morning to drive an hour south along the coast to Zadvarje for a day of rafting and canyoning the Cetina River, ending with the option to zip-line in Omiš.
You'll begin with rafting in a protected area of the river canyon popular with tourists every summer. The quiet parts of the river, as well as the second and third-grade rapids, create the perfect combination of relaxation with high-adrenaline adventure over the course of three hours. Next, you'll meet your guide and change into your gear (wetsuit, life vest, and helmet) to hike, climb, slide, swim, and cliff jump (optional) your way down the river until you reach Omiš. Celebrate the fun with a break for lunch, before taking the early afternoon to zip-line over the Cetina.
After lunch, you'll experience a true adrenaline rush. You'll have the chance to zip your way across the magnificent Cetina River Canyon suspended by a harness and wire. There are eight wires in total running a length of 6,890 feet (2,100 m), the highest wire reaching 492 feet (150 m) above the river canyon. Enjoy incredible bird’s eye views of the surrounding scenery on this three-hour excursion.
After the tour is complete, you'll transfer 45 minutes back to Split.
Day 4: Ferry from Split to Hvar, Sea Kayaking around Pakleni Islands
This morning you'll catch a two-hour 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.
Day 5: Hvar Offroad Tour
Enjoy a full day of guided offroading fun as you cover the undulating island terrain, accented with vineyard-covered hills, thick olive groves, and fragrant fields full of rosemary and lavender. Set out from Hvar Town along a dirt road to the abandoned 16th-century village of Malo Grablje before carrying on to the slightly older, UNESCO-protected Velo Grablje. Once home to a thriving lavender industry, Velo Grablje is slowly undergoing a revival. Today, only a few people inhabit the village throughout the year, but many gather for the annual lavender festival.
Stop for an authentic lunch at a family-run tavern where your meal is traditionally prepared using locally sourced ingredients and the peka, a bell-shaped lid that is covered in coal. Next, you'll spend a little time relaxing on Soline beach on the northern coast of the island near Vrboska before it's time to head up Vidikovac for views over the Stari Grad Plain, an agricultural landscape that was first colonized by the Greeks and is still maintained today, as well as Stari Grad itself, Croatia's oldest township.
After a moment to absorb the breathtaking surroundings, you'll ascend Hvar's tallest peak, St. Nicholas for additional sweeping vistas over the Adriatic and neighboring islands like Brač, Korčula, and Vis and possibly even the east coast of Italy! On your way down the sloping hillside lies Sveta Nedija, a village surrounded by vineyards so steep they’re renowned the world over for being extraordinarily difficult to tend; but they're also known for the high-quality red wine they produce from the Dalmatian plavac grape. Continue along the southern edge of Hvar as you make your way back to your accommodation.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 6: Private Sailing Tour around Vis Island (Day Trip from Hvar)
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). If there is 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 7: Ferry from Hvar to Korčula
Collect your things and catch a two-hour 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 five miles (eight 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.
Day 8: Cycling & Wine Tasting Tour in Lumbarda
Spend the day on a cycling tour (private or with a group) across the island from Korčula Town to Lumbarda with stops along the way to visit beaches and wineries. Pick up your bike and meet your guide in Korčula and ride out of the town south toward Lumbarda. You will cycle 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, 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).
Take some time to relax on one of Lumbarda's beaches before returning to Korčula Town for the evening.
Day 9: Korčula to Dubrovnik via Pelješac Peninsula, Stopping at Ston
Make your way to the ferry terminal in either Korčula Old Town (foot passengers) or nearby Dominče (car ferries) to transfer the short distance to Orebić on the Pelješac peninsula. After spending a little time exploring the seaside town's narrow streets and charming stone villas once occupied by famous sea captains, you'll continue your journey southeast to the medieval city of Ston. Along the way, there will be a number of opportunities to stop to visit vineyards and sample wines the rugged landscape is known for, namely Dingač, Croatia's most well-known red, though there's also Plavac Mali or Pošip vineyards you can check out as well.
Once in Ston, you can trek 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. Savor 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!
And when it's time, make your way to your accommodation in the historic coastal fortress city of Dubrovnik, just an hour away. The remainder of the day will be 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, the "Pearl of the Adriatic"
Spend the day as you like, exploring this ancient medieval city. Start with an early morning visit to the quaint, open-air Gundulić Square Market for authentic Dubrovnik wares, like dried lavender, local brandies, and dried fruits. Take a stroll through the narrow streets of Old Town finding your way to historic attractions like the morale-boosting 15th-century Orlando's Column or the dainty Onofrio's Little Fountain. If you have an hour, circuit the impressive city walls beginning and ending at Pile Gate, where you can also access Lovrijenac fortress for fantastic views of the city and its walls.
Break up your sight-seeing and be sure to sample the local cuisine. Dubrovnik's location on the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro means there are unique fusion cuisine to be discovered as well as downright wild fast food options (think octopus burgers). Of course, you can also find Italian-inspired comfort food like pasta in meat sauce, black risotto, and basic but hearty meat-and-potato dishes.
In the afternoon, head to Banje beach for a swim or indulge in a kayaking trip to explore nearby Lokrum island. Though if you desire to get out of the city, consider joining a half-day excursion to the charming town of Cavtat and the Konavle region. Alternatively, you might like to venture further afield to discover Montenegro's Bay of Kotor. Whatever you decide, a great way to end the day is to catch the sunset from the water on a sunset dinner cruise (2.5 hours) on a replica of a traditional karaka ship or from your own private boat. Enjoy the view of Old Town from this vantage point.
Day 11: Sail the Elafiti Islands: Koločep, Šipan, & Lopud
Today is reserved for a fun day of sailing to three of the Elafiti Islands: Koločep, Šipan, and Lopud. Set between Dubrovnik and the Pelješac peninsula to the north, the small archipelago consists of 13 lush islands where only these three are presently inhabited.
Your first island stop is Koločep (referred to by locals as "Kalamota"). The southernmost inhabited island in Croatia is little over a square mile, and home to just over 150 year-round residents and there are no cars on the island adding to its relaxed, unspoiled atmosphere. From here you'll continue to make your way to Suđurađ on Šipan, the largest of the Elafiti, to discover the walled summer villa of a 16th-century shipowner.
Next, you'll set your course for Dubrovnik, stopping at Lopud on the return. Once functioning as a weekend retreat for Dubrovnik's nobility, Lopud was home to many of Dubrovnik's merchant fleet—ruins of the many shipowner homes still occupy the corners of Lopud's only village of the same name. Here you'll have the opportunity to explore the 15th-century Franciscan monastery that overlooks the village as well as take in the Croatian Adriatic beauty.
Day 12: Konavle Wine Tasting Tour
This morning you'll head into the Konavle, a famous wine region that stretches from Cavtat to the south-easterly tip of Croatia at the Montenegrin border. Its small population lives in some 32 villages scattered across the fertile land where you'll have the opportunity to visit three wineries and their famous winemakers—all families whose tradition of winemaking has endured for centuries.
The tour lasts six hours and starts with a shuttle transfer and a panoramic drive along the coast to Konavle. First, you'll stop at the awarded winemaker, Crvik, to taste the local white, red, and rosé, including a unique white, Dubrovacka malvasia, pressed from old grapes from the days of the Dubrovnik Republic.
Next, you'll continue to another winery belonging to the Ljubić family, where you'll taste merlot and a variety of herb liqueurs, as well as enjoy a traditional meal in their wine cellar. From here, you'll carry on through the Konavle Valley to the Karaman family's award-winning winery to sample their dry dessert wines, Prošek alongside traditional Padispanj cake.
Day 13: Depart Dubrovnik
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.
Transfer to the airport from Dubrovnik, which takes about 45 minutes with normal traffic.