This eight-day itinerary highlights some of Croatia's most popular attractions with a few less-visited gems. Covering the Dalmatian coast from Split to Dubrovnik, you will stop along the way in Ston on the Pelješac Peninsula, as well as enjoy day trips to Trogir, Krka National Park, and the Elafiti Islands. Discover ancient Roman ruins, medieval town centers historic islands, and trek amid rushing waterfalls.

Highlights

  • Walk Split's 1,700-year old stone paved streets, left over from Roman times
  • Swim amid wateralls in Krka National Park
  • Navigate the maze of narrow stone streets on the eclectic island-city of Trogir
  • Walk the ancient fortress walls of Dubrovnik
  • Stroll Cavtat's charming waterfront promenade and explore nearby Sokol Tower

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Welcome to Split! Split
Day 2 Explore Split Split
Day 3 Explore Trogir, Klis, & Solin (Day Trip from Split) Split
Day 4 Visit Krka National Park & Šibenik (Day Trip from Split) Split
Day 5 Split to Ston, Explore Pelješac Peninsula Ston
Day 6 Walking Tour of Dubrovnik Dubrovnik
Day 7 Cavtat & Sokol Grad (Day Trip from Dubrovnik) Dubrovnik
Day 8 Depart Dubrovnik  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to Split!

Split, Croatia
View over Split and Marjan Hill in the background

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 or Fruit Square—a square that got its name from centuries of selling fruit. 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: Explore Split 

Inside the Peristyle of Diocletian's Palace, Split, Croatia
Peristyle Square

Today is yours to explore Split at your own pace. 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. 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 climb the Romanesque bell tower of the Cathedral of St. Dominus (St. Duje)—considered the oldest Catholic cathedral still in use. Another option for great views is to hike or bike to the top of Marjan Hill. The "lungs of the city," the entire Marjan peninsula is dotted with tiny centuries-old churches, large cypress and black pine trees, and Mediterranean plants and herbs.

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.  Afterward, head to Bačvice Beach to relax on the sand warmed by the day's sun before choosing a nearby restaurant for dinner.

Day 3: Explore Trogir, Klis, & Solin (Day Trip from Split)

Klis Fortress, Croatia
Klis Fortress overlooks Klis and the Adriatic

For lovers of history and archaeology, there is a wealth of medieval and Roman history to be found in the immediate surrounds of Split.

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 stone 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, consider a short detour to visit the impressive medieval Klis Fortress. More than 2000-years-old, the fortress perches on top of an isolated rocky eminence and overlooks Split as well as the ancient Roman settlement of Salona (now Solin). Wander the large Roman amphitheater where early Christians were fed to lions—fit for a city of 60,000 at its peak. Salona is remarkably little visited by tourism which makes it an unsung gem for those wanting a more personal yet fascinating Roman experience.

Driving time (Split to Trogir): 1 hour
Driving time (Trogir to Solin/Klis): 30-45 minutes
Driving time (Solin to Split): 20 minutes

Day 4: Visit Krka National Park & Šibenik (Day Trip from Split)

Krka National Park, Croatia
Waterfalls and a stone mill in the Krka National Park

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, head 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. 

Driving time (Split to Krka): 1-1.5 hours
Driving time (Krka to Šibenik): 20 minutes
Driving time (Šibenik to Split): 1.5 hours

Day 5: Split to Ston, Explore Pelješac Peninsula

Croatia - Mali Ston-Waterfront-Aerial
Mali Ston

Today you'll drive down the length of the Dalmatian coast toward Ston, crossing into and out of Bosnia and Herzegovina along the way. Ston—and its twin village, Mali Ston—act as the gateway to the Pelješac Peninsula, a rugged coastal landscape home to one of Croatia's best-known red wines, Dingač. Enjoy the coastal route for a scenic drive and depending on when you arrive, you might like to head farther inland to explore picturesque coastal villages as well as stop to check out a winery (or two!).

If you make it to Orebić on the far western edge of the peninsula, you can explore this seaside town's narrow streets and charming stone villas once occupied by famous sea captains. You can also rent a bike and cycle along the Plavac Mali vineyards to a quiet bay for a swim, snorkel, and bite to eat before heading back to Ston for a rewarding meal of Ston's famous fresh oysters or mussels accompanied by a glass of Dingač.

Driving time (Split to Ston): 2.5-3 hours
Driving time (Ston to Orebić): 1 hour

Day 6: Walking tour of Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik, Croaita
Dubrovnik

Start your day early (around 8 am) to avoid the crowds and to embark on a tour of Dubrovnik where you'll meet your expert guide outside the entrance to the medieval city at the 16th-century Pile Gate. Entering Old Town, you'll uncover centuries of the city's rich history as you listen to stories of local life and legends and of the importance Dubrovnik once held in the era of the Republic. Highlights include Onofrio's Fountain, the 15th century Rector's Palace, Luza Square, the Church of St. Blaise (St. Vlaho), and the café-lined streets of Brsalje Street

After touring the streets and alleys, you'll head for Lovrijenac Fortress as well as the city's impressive defensive walls, the second-largest set of city walls in the world. At certain places the wall rises 75 feet high, offering excellent vantage points for photos of the coastline. 

For the rest of the afternoon, explore Dubrovnik and its surroundings on your own or enjoy the afternoon sun on the nearby beaches. Come early evening, you can get stunning panoramic views over the city and Adriatic by taking the cable car up to Srđ Mountain before descending back down for dinner at one of Dubrovnik's great restaurants.

Day 7: Cavtat & Sokol Grad (Day Trip from Dubrovnik)

Croatia, Town of Cavtat in the Konavle region
Cavtat

Today, head about 30 minutes southeast of Dubrovnik to the small town of Cavtat. This gorgeous harbor village enjoys a postcard-perfect location nestled in a peninsular cove on the Adriatic. It also has quite a bit of history. It was founded in the 7th century as a haven for ancient-Greek Epidaurum refugees after their colony was sacked by invaders. Enjoyable activities here include strolling the waterfront promenade, lazing on pebbly beaches, and whiling away the hours in cafés and restaurants.

After or before Cavtat, depending on your preferences, you will travel a few minutes further southeast to Sokol grad (Hawk Castle) just north of Gruda. Constructed partially on a cliff that overlooks olive terraces, this 14th-century tower is one of the most impressive fortresses in the Dubrovnik area. Sokol grad was used as a defensive strongpoint, housing soldiers, commanders, and an arsenal. Abandoned in the 18th century and restored and reopened in 2013, today visitors can take in the dizzying views from the clifftop ramparts as well as see the commander's quarters, barracks, and view a collection of archeological artifacts from the medieval era.

Driving time (Dubrovnik to Cavtat): 45 minutes
Driving time (Cavtat to Sokol grad): 30 minutes
(Driving time (Sokol grad to Cavtat): 1 hour

Day 8: Depart Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik Bay and historic walls, Croatia
Kayakers explore Dubrovnik's coastline

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.

The drive to the airport from Dubrovnik takes around 45 minutes with normal traffic.

Map

Map of Hidden Gems of Dalmatia: Trogir, Šibenik, Pelješac, & Cavtat - 8 Days
Map of Hidden Gems of Dalmatia: Trogir, Šibenik, Pelješac, & Cavtat - 8 Days