Journey along the southern Dalmatian coast from the "Pearl of the Adriatic", Dubrovnik, to the historic port city of Split. This eight-day itinerary features the perfect combination of popular attractions, including Korčula Town and Krka National Park, with the slightly less obvious, Cavtat, Koločep, Trogir, and Klis. Along the way, you'll discover ancient Roman ruins and medieval town centers, dine on mussels, sample local wines, and tour the Pelješac Peninsula.

Highlights

  • Watch a Dalmatian sunset over the Elafiti islands from atop Srđ Mountain
  • Sample wine and taste mussels native to the Pelješac peninsula
  • Enjoy Dalmatian cuisine in Marco Polo's hometown of Korčula
  • Explore the famous Diocletian's Palace in Split, dating back to the 4th century
  • Climb the ramparts of Trogir's Kamerlengo Fortress

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Dubrovnik Dubrovnik
Day 2 Explore Dubrovnik's Old Town Dubrovnik
Day 3 Day trip to Cavtat or to Koločep Dubrovnik
Day 4 Explore the Pelješac Peninsula and Korčula Town Ston
Day 5 Drive to Split; Explore the Roman ruins of Old Town Split
Day 6 Day trip to Krka National Park Split
Day 7 Day trip to medieval Trogir, Klis and Salona Split
Day 8 Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik
The Pearl of the Adriatic, Dubrovnik

Welcome to Dubrovnik! After the short airport transfer to your hotel, take the remainder of the day to familiarize yourself with your surroundings. Make your way to Dubrovnik's main street, Stradun, to get your bearings and find yourself one of the many great restaurants or wine bars to kick off your Dalmatian Coast tour. For a pretty view over the Adriatic, watch the setting sun from Buza Bar. 

Day 2: Explore Dubrovnik's Old Town

Dubrovnik, Croatia
Onofrio Fountain hides amid red-tiled buildings in Dubrovnik's historic core

Often referred to as the "Pearl of the Adriatic", Dubrovnik is a world-renowned city of exceptional charm. Meet your guide at the Pile Gate, the historic entrance to the city's Old Town for your walking tour of centuries-old attractions. Wander inside the 16th-century stone walls through side streets and narrow alleys to learn about the local stories and legends. Discover Onofrio's Fountain, Rector's Palace, and Orlando Column, before walking the city walls, the second largest in the world at 75 feet high. Stop to enjoy the vistas overlooking the Adriatic.

Another great option for stellar views is to hike or ride the cable car up to Srđ Mountain for views of the city and the nearby Elafiti Islands. Just before sunset is a great time to head to the top of the hill.

Day 3: Day trip to Cavtat or to Koločep

Sokol Tower
Sokol Tower

Today you will have two options to choose between. You can either head out of Dubrovnik to the charming town of Cavtat to stroll along its promenade, visit the white-stone Račić family mausoleum sculpted by none other than Ivan Meštović, Croatia's most famous sculpture. From here, you will continue on to Donave to visit the impressive Sokol Tower, a fortress partially built into a cliffside.

The second option is to explore Croatia's southernmost inhabited island, Koločep. One of the Elafiti islands, Koločep is only 2.4 square miles and home to roughly 100 people. As there are no cars on the island, it's a great destination to get away from the crowds that flock to Dubrovnik. Choose from any of the scenic walks and hiking trails, kayak around the island, or if you prefer, park yourself on the elusive sandy beach (most Croatian beaches are pebbly). Break up the day with lunch from a great family-run restaurant that serves the country's best-grilled calamari.

Day 4: Explore the Pelješac Peninsula and Korčula Town

Ston defense walls and saltpans, Croatia
View of Ston, its defence walls and still-in-use saltpans

Today you will leave Dubrovnik behind and turn your attention west, first to the Pelješac Peninsula, known for its natural beauty and robust red wine, and then to the island of Korčula. Along the way, stop in Ston to explore one of the longest defensive stone walls in Europe and discover the importance this area held in the 14th century. Enjoy a light meal of fresh oysters or mussel after you climb 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.

As you make your way across the peninsula, you will have the opportunity to visit a couple of wineries to sample local varietals, like Dingač, a red from the town of the same name. Continue west to Orebić to board your ferry for a quick ride to Korčula. Today Korčula is known for its beauty, hidden beaches, and quiet coves, as a great cycling destination, and for authentic local white wines, Grk and Pošip. The town itself is one of the finest examples of Venetian architecture on the Dalmatian coast and is likely the birthplace of Marco Polo.

Discover Korčula Town's numerous restaurants, taverns, shops, and bars, as you meander the maze of gray stone buildings, alleys, and squares. In the late afternoon, you will return to Ston where you will stay overnight.

Day 5: Drive to Split - Explore the Roman ruins of Old Town

Croatia - Split - Early morning at the peristyle or peristil inside Diocletians Palace in Old Town
Discover the Peristyle (and sphinx) inside Diocletian's Palace

This morning you will travel up the Dalmatian Coast to the UNESCO-protected port city of Split (about 2.5 hours). 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 most famous of all, Diocletian's Palace. 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.

For stunning views over the city and Adriatic be sure to hike or bike to the top of Marjan Hill. The entire Marjan peninsula is dotted with tiny centuries-old churches, large cypress and black pine trees, and Mediterranean plants and herbs and is commonly referred to as the "lungs of the city". In addition to the stunning vistas, you'll be rewarded with attractions less visited: the Jewish cemetery and 13th and 15th-century churches, St. Nicholas and St. Jerome, respectively.  

Day 6: Day trip to Krka National Park

Krka National Park, Croatia
Captivating scenery of Krka National Park

Today's excursion has you visiting Krka National Park, only a short distance away. Follow the winding wooden paths that traverse emerald pools to viewpoints of the majestic series of falls and enjoy a quick swim if the mood strikes. One great section to explore starts at Skradinski Buk, the largest (and loudest) waterfall on the Krka River. Here you will have the chance to visit the restored ethnic village and discover how people used to live along the river bank. A lesser-known fact is the park used to have the oldest power plant in Europe; people in nearby Šibenik were the first Europeans with electricity.

From there, head to the less visited Roški Slap, where you can enjoy quiet walks or hikes of the area, before riding across the river on a five-minute boat ride to tour the Visovac Monastery. Besides waterfalls, the park is also well known for its multiple endemic species of birds, fish, and amphibians, so keep a keen eye for the natural wildlife.

Day 7: Day trip to medieval Trogir, Klis and Salona

Croatia - Trogir - View over the island from Kamerlengo Fortress
View over Trogir from Kamerlengo Fortress

Thirty minutes up the coast, located on a small island, a stepping stone between the mainland and the much larger Čiovo, is the ancient coastal city of Trogir. Rich in medieval, Renaissance, baroque, and Romanesque architecture, you will have time to navigate the narrow stoney streets, every five minutes of walking taking you to the island's edge. Explore the historic core, starting with the Garagnin-Fanfogna Palace, working your way to the Cathedral of St. Lawrence to admire Radovan's 13th-century Romanesque portal and the bizarre creatures around the doorposts.

Stroll along the Riva, finding your way to the 15th-century Kamerlengo Fortress for a great panoramic view over the island. and don't be surprised if you're serenaded by traditional acapella groups called klapa, along your way.

On your return back to Split, consider a short detour to visit the impressive medieval Klis Fortress. The more than 2000-year-old fortress is perched on top of an isolated rocky eminence and overlooks Split as well as the ancient Roman settlement of Salona—the original capital of the Roman province of Dalmatae. 

Day 8: Depart

Split promenade
Stroll along the Split promenade

Enjoy an early morning stroll along Split's promenade, shaded by the palm trees, before you ready yourself for your onward travel.

Map

Map of Hidden Gems of Dalmatia: Dubrovnik to Split - 8 Days
Map of Hidden Gems of Dalmatia: Dubrovnik to Split - 8 Days