Explore the history and culture of the Dalmatian Coast, starting in the walled fortress city of Dubrovnik, where you'll enjoy a guided walking tour, an optional kayak excursion, and sunset atop Srđ Hill. Hike across Koločep Island and discover its Blue Cave, then go oyster and wine tasting on Pelješac Peninsula. End your trip in the city of Split, where you'll explore the historic Diocletian's Palace, hike through Marjan Park, and enjoy an afternoon on the beach.

Highlights

  • Explore Split's Diocletian's Palace and hike through Marjan Park
  • Discover Dubrovnik's history with a walking tour and kayak excursion
  • Taste local wine and oysters on Pelješac Peninsula
  • Hike on Koločep, Croatia's southernmost inhabited island
  • Take the cable car to Srđ Hill to enjoy the sunset over Dubrovnik and the islands

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Dubrovnik - Explore Dubrovnik
Day 2 Discover Dubrovnik's Old Town, beaches, and islands Dubrovnik
Day 3 Hike on Koločep, Croatia's southernmost inhabited island Dubrovnik
Day 4 Go kayaking and try local wines on the Pelješac Peninsula Dubrovnik
Day 5 Transfer to Split - Peruse the Old Town Split
Day 6 Explore Diocletian's Palace and Marjan Park Split
Day 7 Depart Split Split

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Dubrovnik - Explore

The Beach and Harbor of Dubrovnik
The Beach and Harbor of Dubrovnik

Welcome to Croatia!

Upon arriving at the airport in Dubrovnik, you'll transfer to your hotel in the city center. After taking some time to settle into your accommodation and freshen up, familiarize yourself with Dubrovnik by walking around its historic core, one of the most ancient fortress cities in Europe.

Known as the "Pearl of the Adriatic", Dubrovnik is a place of history. While there's evidence of settlements as far back as the Byzantine era, this region 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.

After checking into your hotel, head out into the Old Town, walking along its walls and visiting the Lovrijenac and Bokar fortresses. There are almost too many sights to see, but you can't miss the Saint Ignatius Church or the Dubrovnik Cathedral. Other interesting monuments include Sponza Palace, the Dominican Monastery, and the Dubrovnik Synagogue. Outside the walls, you can visit the Porat and West Harbour.

As the sun starts to set, you can't miss riding 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 a nightcap.

Day 2: 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.

Day 3: Hike on Koločep, Croatia's southernmost inhabited island

Koločep Island, Croatia
Koločep Island, Croatia

Koločep is the southernmost inhabited island in Croatia, with only 2.4 square miles (6.2 square km) and approximately 100 people living on it during the whole year. There are no cars on Koločep, or as the local people call it, Kalamota. It's an excellent island to explore on a day trip from Dubrovnik, enjoying its quiet tranquility with a hike and a swim.

In the morning, you'll catch a 20-minute ferry from Dubrovnik. Upon arriving on the island, take some time to admire the houses and buildings near the port, enjoying lunch at a family-owned cafe on the water where you can try grilled calamari. Then start your hike through the island. You'll walk along its shores and through its leafy hills, ending at the Blue Cave on the southern side of the island.  

On your way back, you can stop for a swim at one of the beaches, such as Don Đivan or Bige.  You can also explore the hilltop pink church, known for its narrow doorway. 

In the late afternoon, you'll return to Dubrovnik in time for dinner in the Old Town.

Day 4: Go kayaking and try local wines on the Pelješac Peninsula

Sunset Views on Pelješac Peninsula
Sunset Views on Pelješac Peninsula

Pelješac is the second-biggest Croatian peninsula, situated in Dubrovnik County north of the city. As you enter the peninsula, stop in Ston, a unique city known for the longest fortified system in Europe and the oldest active salt plant on 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 return to Dubrovnik.

Day 5: Transfer to Split - Peruse the Old Town

Diocletian Palace in Split
Diocletian Palace in Split

In the morning, you'll catch a bus to Croatia's second-largest city, the coastal 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.

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 6: Explore Diocletian's Palace and Marjan Park

Diocletian's Palace, Split
Diocletian's Palace, 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 7: Depart Split

Split Promenade at Sunset
Split Promenade at Sunset

Enjoy your final morning in Croatia, strolling through Diocletian's Palace and Split's waterfront one last time. When you're ready, you'll transfer to the airport in time to catch your flight.