Discover the Dalmatian Coast on this 6-day tour of Croatia, starting in the city of Split with its 4th-century Diocletian's Palace and sprawling Marjan Park. Head inland to explore one of the country's waterfall-infused parks (Krka or Plitvice) before heading south to Dubrovnik to walk its old town and historic walls. Along the way, stop on the Pelješac Peninsula for old fortifications, world-famous oysters, and delicious red wine, plus an optional kayaking excursion.

Highlights

  • Wander the cobbled streets of Split's 4th-century Diocletian's Palace
  • Explore the Pelješac Peninsula wine region and walk the old Ston Walls
  • Traverse the city walls of Dubrovnik and admire its historic Old Town
  • Hike along rivers, lakes, and waterfalls in Krka or Plitvice National Parks

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Transfer to Split - Explore the Old Town Split
Day 2 Explore Diocletian's Palace and Marjan Park Split
Day 3 Enjoy a day trip to the waterfalls and lakes of Krka or Plitvice Split
Day 4 Explore the Pelješac Peninsula - Transfer to Dubrovnik Dubrovnik
Day 5 Discover Dubrovnik's Old Town, beaches, and islands Dubrovnik
Day 6 Depart Dubrovnik  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Transfer to Split - Explore the Old Town

Diocletian Palace in Split
Diocletian's Palace in Split

Welcome to Croatia! You'll start your exploration of the Dalmatian Coast in the country's second-largest city, the seaport of Split.

As you arrive in Split, take some time to settle into your accommodation and relax, then head out to enjoy the city's historic Old Town and waterfront promenade. Tomorrow, you'll have plenty of time to properly explore the city, so for tonight, just stroll through its cobbled streets in search of dinner. You'll find plenty of eateries in the historic Diocletian's Palace, which is the perfect place for an evening walk. Enjoy its colonnaded square, Peristil with its dominating monument, Saint Domnius Bell Tower. 

If you don't mind a long (but worth it) wait, check out the popular restaurant Villa Spiza or enjoy wine and cheese at Paradox. Afterward, bear the long line at Hajduk for exceptional ice cream. Your cone will pair perfectly with an evening stroll along the promenade.

Day 2: Explore Diocletian's Palace and Marjan Park

Harbor Promenade, Split
Harbor and Promenade in Split

You'll certainly need the entire day to explore all that Split has to offer. Start in Peristyle Square, taking in the 3,500-year-old sphinxes that Diocletian brought back from Egypt, then head into the 4th-century Diocletian's Palace. As you start exploring, take part in a much-loved ritual among Dalmatian people: drinking coffee. Grab a seat at one of the Palace's terraced cafe and sip your coffee amongst ancient ruins.

After your coffee, continue walking through Diocletian Palace. Stroll through the slick cobbled streets to the People's Square and admire the Mediterranean architecture. Stroll by the old clock tower on your way to Saint Domnius Bell Tower, where you can admire the ancient colonnades and pass through the open Mozaik Podrum. Then wrap around to the Palace's old cellars. If you're a Game of Thrones fan, you'll certainly recognize this filming location.

For stunning views over the city and Adriatic be sure to climb the Romanesque bell tower of the Cathedral of St. Dominus (St. Duje), which is considered the oldest Catholic cathedral still in use. Another option for great views is to hike or bike to the top of Marjan Hill. As the "lungs of the city," the entire Marjan Peninsula is dotted with centuries-old churches, large cypress and black pine trees, and Mediterranean plants and herbs. 

Spend your afternoon relaxing on the beach with a visit to either Firule Beach or Bacvice Beach, both with perfectly swimmable, narrow waters. The beaches are also lined with restaurants if you'd to enjoy dinner outside of the Old Town.

Day 3: Enjoy a day trip to the waterfalls and lakes of Krka or Plitvice

Krka Waterfalls
Krka Waterfalls

Today you'll have the opportunity to visit one of Croatia's beautiful national parks. You have the choice between Krka National Park and Plitvice Lakes National Park. Both feature incredible scenery filled with dense forests, lakes, rivers, and waterfalls. The biggest difference is that you can swim in the lakes and waterfalls in Krka while you can't enter the water in Plitvice.

If you opt for Krka National Park, you'll also learn about the history of the communities along the banks of the Krka River with a visit to the restored ethnic-village near Skradinski Buk Waterfall. After exploring the museum and waterfall, you'll drive to the less-crowded area of the park known as Roški Slap. Here you can enjoy quiet walks and hikes, as well as visit a small, prehistoric cave. You'll end your day by exploring the islet Visovac, which is home to an active Franciscan monastery. 

A slightly longer drive takes you to your other option, Plitvice Lakes, which is Croatia's most popular national park. Since 1979 the park has been a part of the UNESCO World Heritage register, as it's home to a unique design of waterways and about one-third of known orchids in Croatia. Here you can hike along dirt trails and wooden boardwalks while visiting an array of waterfalls, lakes, and rivers.

Plitvice earned its name thanks to the 16 lakes set in the park. Interestingly, they make up only 2% of the property while the rest includes forests and protected wilderness areas that are not accessible to the public.

In the evening, you'll return to Split in time to find dinner along its bustling waterfront.

Day 4: Explore the Pelješac Peninsula - Transfer to Dubrovnik

The Harbor of Ston with its old Stone Walls
The Harbor of Ston with its old Stone Walls

In the morning, you'll leave Split and head south toward Dubrovnik. Along the way, you'll stop on the Pelješac Peninsula, which is the second-biggest peninsula in the country. As you arrive, your first stop will be the city of Ston, which is known for the longest fortified system in Europe and the oldest active salt plant in the entire Mediterranean. There's also a long tradition of growing oysters and mussels on the peninsula.

Start with a walk along the old city walls, then you can enjoy an optional kayaking trip around Mali Ston Bay. From the water, you can admire little islets and oyster farms, as well as enjoy views of the Ston Walls from the seaside.

Pelješac is also known for its heritage red wine. Essentially, the entire peninsula is a wine region, home of the most famous red wine in Croatia, Dingač. The peninsula's steep slopes at nearly 70 degrees and consistent climate create ideal growing conditions for grapes. After kayaking, you can stop to taste the region's oysters and wine at local farms and vineyards. 

In the evening, you'll continue to Dubrovnik and settle into your accommodation. Tomorrow you'll enjoy a full tour of the city, so enjoy your first few hours walking through its historic Old Town and enjoying dinner at one of the bistros along its charming, stone alleyways.

Day 5: Discover Dubrovnik's Old Town, beaches, and islands

The Walls of Dubrovnik
The Walls of Dubrovnik

Today is all about Dubrovnik. One of the best ways to truly understand this city's vast and complex history is with a walking tour. You'll meet your guide at the entrance of the Old Town at Pile Gate and make your way down Stradun, the city's main street.

As you walk, your guide will divulge interesting stories, legends, and facts all about Dubrovnik and the local life of the region. You'll escape down side streets and learn about the importance of once the great Dubrovnik Republic. You'll make stops at some of the city's highlights, including Onorfious Fountain, Rector's Palace, the Dubrovnik Cathedral, and more. End your tour at the open-air Gundulić Square Market for authentic Dubrovnik products, like dried lavender, local brandies, and dried fruits.

By the afternoon, you'll say goodbye to your guide and enjoy lunch on your own. Afterward, start your walk along the famous walls, which are the second biggest in the world. At some points, the wall is nearly 75 feet (23 m) high, giving you incredible views over the Old Town and out into the sea.

In the afternoon, head to Banje Beach for a swim and some relaxation. You can also opt to join a kayak excursion around the harbor and out to the small island of Otok Lokrum.

In the evening, catch the sunset from the water on a sunset dinner cruise aboard a traditional karaka ship, or from your own private boat. You can also opt for the cable car up to Srđ Mountain to take in the views over the nearby Elafiti Islands. Afterward, stroll down Dubrovnik's streets to find a hip bistro for dinner and a wine bar for your final night in Croatia.

Day 6: Depart Dubrovnik

Outdoor Terrace in Dubrovnik
Outdoor Terrace in Dubrovnik

Enjoy your final morning in Dubrovnik. If you have time, you can spend the morning strolling through the Old Town and visiting any sights you missed. When you're ready, you'll transfer to the airport in time for your flight.