To truly appreciate a country poised on the crossroads of geographies, cultures and histories, you have to sample bits of its many differences. It seems that each European era and each conqueror left their footprint here: from the Greeks and Romans to the Venetians and Ottomans, to Napoleon and now the EU, Croatia is a mélange of remarkable traces that attract so many to come and explore.
But to truly discover Croatia, your itinerary needs to strike a balance between the raved-about sights and the untamed beauties. The glitz and glam of Hvar or Dubrovnik should never be overlooked, but it is the secret islands, kind people and rich traditions that will make you feel a bond. For this reason, an itinerary in Southern Dalmatia makes for the hallmark of Croatian discovery for first-time visitors.
Food and Wine of Brac
Wines of Hvar
Historic Starigrad town
Caves of Vis
Honey and Olive Oil of Šolta
Walled city of Korcula
Lakes of Mljet National Park
Vineyards of Dingac
Dubrovnik Old Town
Moreska Dance on Korcula
Lastovo Nature Park
Split - Šolta
Croatia counts 10 UNESCO-listed World Heritage sites (and rising!), so a cup of coffee or a glass of wine at the Diocletian’s Palace in Split makes for an honest first impression. Built for one Roman Emperor, and nowadays housing nearly 3.000 people, the bustling Split will feel like in quite a contrast to the quiet island of Šolta, where you are headed for the night.
Šolta - Vis
Among Croatia’s 60 inhabited islands, Šolta remains the untamed one. Explore its traditions of beekeeping, wine, and olive oil making, sustaining in the hands of several local families. Then sail to Vis Island, proud of its limpid waters and the protected submarine world, rich with sunken ships, WWII airplanes and magic marine images that have been hidden for years.
Vis and Blue cave on Biševo
The magic of Vis becomes complete when you get to explore the petite neighbor, Biševo Island and its Blue Cave, a unique natural phenomenon. Enjoy the cave’s blue light and silver glow, then head back to the fishermen's town of Komiža, your harbor for the night. One of the most charming Dalmatian towns, Komiža is a perfect place to taste Adriatic langoustine.
Vis - Hvar
Sailing from Vis to Hvar, stop Pakleni Islands, an archipelago just by Hvar. Known as the heaven for snorkeling and swimming, Pakleni islands are a dash of the true Mediterranean ambiance. Then sail over to the town of Hvar in no time! Known for its great nightlife, bars, and restaurants, Hvar town also treasures its lively history and traditions.
Southern Dalmatia is easy to get around, there is an abundance of heritage, hospitality and high-end accommodation: it checks off all the boxes of a perfect discovery journey. But that doesn’t mean others do not. Along the coast, superbly preserved Mediterranean seascapes take on a surprising variety of imageries, altering from earthy to lushly green as you sail north to south.
Discovery itineraries can revolve around a theme, such as the exploration of Croatia’s incredible UNESCO World heritage, or the stunning national parks, like Mljet, Krka River and Kornati archipelago. Whichever of Croatia’s faces you choose to discover, expect to find kind-hearted people, great food and wines and stunning sceneries at the other end.
Spend the day exploring the island of Hvar and its beautiful shores. Stroll around the town of Hvar, enjoy its beautiful Venetian architecture and lively seafront, or venture on a wineries tour around the island. Or just kick back and relax. Hvar is one of the sunniest islands in the Mediterranean and one of the most fun places on the entire coast!
Hvar - Korčula
Korčula Island, the gateway to the furthest south, was discovered already by the ancient Greeks. Centuries of inhabitation have left remarkable heritage, and Korčula old town is truly the crowning gem. The supposed birth town of the world’s greatest traveler – Marco Polo, this is the place to explore, simply strolling around, discovering the nooks of the curved alleyways.
Korčula - Orebić - Dubrovnik
From Koruča, sail over the strait to reach the mainland and disembark the boat in Orebić on Pelješac peninsula. Dubrovnik’s wine country is a wonderful introduction to the south. As the road to Dubrovnik winds between forests, meadows and vine-laden hills, consider stopping to taste the region’s famous reds, Postup and Dingač, as well as Mali Ston oysters.
Dubrovnik can get busy, even crowded, but little can chip away from the magic of its stone-walled historic core. Wander its geometrically-laid out streets, daring to venture into the unknown: let the stairs lead the way. Behind the scenography of the Game of Thrones King’s Landing, there is an actual town waiting for you to find it. Enjoy this grand finale for heading to Dubrovnik International Airport to fly back home.
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