Dubrovnik’s charms reach far beyond the famed beautiful city walls. Discover the undisputed jewel of the Dalmatian Coast, and perhaps cruise to Lokrum Island where a botanical garden, Benedictine monastery, and excellent swimming spots await.. Indulge in specialty foods, local wine and some tranquil swimming spots on the island of Korcula – a quiet escape full of vineyards, olive groves and sleepy villages.. Explore the green island of Mljet – with its small seaside villages and largely untouched environment, and the Renaissance architecture and beautiful beaches of Hvar.. We’ve partnered with non-profit organisation MEET to bring you an ecotourism experience on the little known Kornati Islands where you’ll hike through stunning scenery and enjoy lunch with a welcoming local family.
Jump into the very best of Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast on an unforgettable adventure. Traverse the walls of the Old Town of Dubrovnik, island hop between Korcula, Mljet and Hvar, and wander the harbourside of Split. Walk in the shoes of a local in the city of Sibenik, have lunch with new friends on the spectacular Kornati Islands, venture into the wonderland of Krka National Park and discover the charming streets of Trogir. Your Croatian discovery is full of natural wonders, cultural treasures and locals as warm and welcoming as the Adriatic Sea.
Dobro Dosli! Welcome to Croatia. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. You can arrive at any time during the day as there are no activities planned until this important meeting. Although it experienced devastation during the war in the early 1990s, Dubrovnik’s old town is the undisputed jewel of the Dalmatian Coast. With its tiled roofs and white stone buildings, the old town remains as charming as ever. Extensive restoration has taken place to return it to its original splendour, and even today repairs are still being undertaken. With the sparkling water of the Adriatic in the background, Dubrovnik is picturesque, full of character and can easily be covered on foot. If you do arrive early, why not head out to one of the Elafiti Islands? There's Lopud, a quiet island with lovely hikes, clean beaches and a ruined castle. Kolocep is a sleepy enclave that boasts walks for every fitness level and Sipan, which is the most populated of the isles and reputedly has the most hospitable inhabitants. Alternatively, you might choose to simply laze about on one of Dubrovnik's beaches and people-watch for hours.
Start the day by beating the crowds with an early morning walk along Dubrovnik's famous 2-kilometre-long city walls surrounding the old town. Enjoy views of the sea from the fully intact medieval structure, then enjoy all that Dubrovnik has to offer with the remainder of the day free for you to explore. Visit Big Onofrio's Fountain, a masterpiece built by famous European architect Onofrio della Cava. This 15th-century landmark was built to supply water to the city, flowing from the spigots into the collection trough surrounding it. Be sure to check out the Franciscan monastery with one of the world's oldest, continuously functioning pharmacies, founded in the 13th century. If you still feel energetic after a day exploring the city you can take the switchbacks leading up Srd Hill behind Dubrovnik for spectacular views of the city and the Dalmatian coastline. Otherwise, the newly restored cable car can whisk you to the top in no time. The hill is topped by a castle of Napoleonic times, which now houses the Museum of the Croatian War of Independence.
Peljesac Peninsula / Korcula Island
Journey to Korcula (approximately 4 hours). You will travel along the narrow and scenic Peljesac Peninsula to its very tip. The last stretch to Korcula will be done by car ferry. For the next two nights, stay with generous hosts – locals who rent out their rooms in the summer season. The rooms, while simple, are the best way to put money back into the local economy. In the evening perhaps head out to a local restaurant. Make sure you try the traditional Dalmatian meat loaf, or pasticada (traditional stewed beef), and some fresh grilled vegetables with olive oil, usually served with fresh goat and sheep cheeses, and maybe some smoked ham to tie it all together. Don't forget to have a bit of travarica (a grappa-like drink made with a herb called verbane) and some Korcula cakes for dessert.
Mljet Island National Park / Korcula Island
Today, head on a day trip to the stunning Mljet Island. Mljet is Croatia’s greenest island, with a large section of the north western shores part of a national park. The island is well known for its two salt lakes – Veliko Jezero and Malo Jezero (big lake and small lake) – that are located at the north end of the island. With some of the clearest waters in the world, any of the Adriatic islands shimmer in the sunlight, but Mljet is extra special. Start Mljet's exploration with a short hike into the island's interior, followed by a ferry ride to St Mary's Benedictine Monastery, located on an island in one of the lakes. Spend the day discovering its tiny towns dotted around the island, the weaving and winding coastline full of nature walks and scenic lookouts and, of course, the sandy beaches, tranquil inlets and turquoise blue shores calling out to be explored. Mljet is a little further away and less visited than the tourist hotspots of Brac and Hvar, so you’ll be able to stray away from the crowds and have this peaceful paradise to yourself. Head back to Korcula in the afternoon for a relaxing evening, hopefully full of delicious food and some great local wine.
A hydrofoil ferry takes you to the neighbouring island of Hvar (approximately 90 minutes). Beautiful Hvar has an air of Venice about it and is known as the 'Queen of the Dalmatian Islands'. Upon arrival, get to know the town with its wonderfully preserved Renaissance facades on an orientation walk. Later you may want to visit the 16th century Spanjola Fortress, from where spectacular views over town and this part of the Adriatic can be had. Feel the history when wandering the backstreets of quirky galleries and unique boutiques, watch the fishermen bring the day’s catch into the harbour, and chill out over a few cocktails in a waterside bar.
Today is a free day to explore this island at your leisure. Perhaps take a bus to the interior of Hvar Island where you can take a leisurely hike through the abandoned villages of Velo Grablje and Malo Grablje, gently descending all the way down to the sea at Milna Bay. On the way you can witness what remains of the typical Mediterranean life that flourished on the Croatian islands in the 18th and 19th centuries. Hike past dramatic jagged limestone cliffs and slow your pace to enjoy the undulating farms, fields of lavender and rosemary, and ancient olive groves. Cool down in the shimmering waters upon arrival into the little town of Milna where the hike ends. Alternatively there are plenty of other options for exciting activities in town. Maybe take a short boat ride to the nearby Pakleni islands – largely uninhabited and often described as being among the most beautiful in the world. If you’re not feeling super energetic today, spend the day lounging at one of the island's many quiet beaches and enjoy a sunset stroll along the harbour promenade. In the evening head to Hora – a local farm-style restaurant, where you’ll have an included dinner in the surrounds of UNESCO-protected fields and farmland, where little has changed since the Ancient Greeks arrived almost 2400 years ago. Taste award winning wines, olive oils and other Dalmatian delicacies like local cheese and prosciutto accompanied with a traditional peka style meal or grill and finish with a Dalmatian desert.
Catch a boat to Split (approximately 1 hour). Situated on a small peninsula on the eastern shores of the Adriatic Sea, Split is the second largest city in Croatia. Join a local guide for a walking tour of this stunning seaside town and get to know its history. See the original and fantastically preserved basements under the city, as well as the Cathedral in Diocletian's Peristyle and Jupiter's Temple. Explore the impressive ruins of Diocletian's Palace – Split's most imposing structure and some of the most interesting ruins on the Adriatic coast. Portions of the Palace are over 1700 years old and there’s ample time to walk around. Split grew out from Diocletian's Palace and you can almost see it evolving in a multitude of different ways right before your eyes. Some cultures might have made the palace a museum, but Split is a dynamic and vibrant place, and now the palace houses many businesses and homes. If your feet get tired, why not grab a drink at a cafe on the Riva Promenade and people watch for a while? Be sure get your group together for a harbourside dinner – it’s time for more of a relax!
Split / Sibenik
A meeting will take place at 12pm today in Split to welcome any new travellers joining you for the next part of your adventure; but you won’t hang around for long – the wonders of Central Dalmatia are waiting! Do as the locals do and hop aboard a bus bound for Sibenik, a beautiful city on the Adriatic coast with a spellbinding history. Settle in on arrival then head out to get to know the city in the best way possible – through the eyes of a local. Meet with an inhabitant of Sibenik who will show you a side of their city that most don’t get to see as you explore the winding cobbled streets of the Old Town, stopping in to visit the creative artisans and artists who make up so much of the fabric of the town. Your local guide will then take you to a little-known tavern down a quiet alleyway to experience marenda, a light meal between lunch and dinner and a big part of the culture in Sibenik. Later this evening, you may like to head out for dinner in the town with your new travel companions and get to know each other over a glass of local rakija.
Betina / Colentum / Murter
Say goodbye to Sibenik and cross a bridge over the Adriatic Sea to the island of Murter. On arrival, get to know the island during a bicycle tour and pedal through the main town to the village of Betina, a charming little place filled with history. Betina holds a long tradition of wooden shipbuilding, and while here, you’ll pay a visit to the Betina Museum of Wooden Shipbuilding to learn about the history of the industry and its importance to the village. Take a short stroll to the St. Roko church before continuing to the ancient Roman city of Colentum. Your leader will fill you in on the history of this archaeological site as you explore the ruins of a Villa rustica, Roman cistern and ancient mosaics. But there’s more here than meets the eye – as the sea level was much lower a few thousand years ago, many of the remains of the city now sit underwater. Don snorkelling gear and get beneath the surface to explore an underwater wonderland of ancient artefacts. After returning to dry land, the rest of the afternoon is yours.
Kornati Islands / Sibenik
Rise bright and early for a transfer to the port, where you’ll jump aboard our private boat to the incredible Kornati Islands archipelago. Enjoy breakfast on board the boat as you take in the fresh sea air and charming views of fisherman’s cottages along the way. The islands are best explored on foot, so on arrival you’ll set off on a hike to uncover the history and legends of Kornati. Sharing food and drink is a big part of Croatian culture, so for lunch today you’ll sit down with a local family, enjoy some homemade local specialties, and hear firsthand stories about life on the island to get a glimpse at what daily life looks like. You’ll hear about the importance of olive oil production to the Dalmatia region and learn the true meaning of the olive tree from the locals who know it best. And of course no visit to Dalmatia would be complete without an olive oil tasting session. This afternoon you'll see the islands from a different perspective as you snorkel through the clear waters, then it’s back to the mainland via boat for another night in Sibenik. The evening is yours to explore more of what this fascinating city has to offer – your leader will know all the best spots for an authentic dinner experience!
Krka National Park / Sibenik
Krka National Park looks like something straight out of a fairy tale – from its tiered waterfalls and vibrant Krka river to beautiful woodlands and roman ruins, this is truly a magical place. It’s surprising this national park isn’t better known, but that’s good for you as you can hike and explore without the crowds. Venture into the park with your leader at the helm and traverse criss-crossing paths and bridges dotted with old watermills and little stone houses immortalised as museums. Take some time to explore the park at your own pace. Return to Sibenik for another evening at leisure.
Trogir / Split
Hop on a local bus to Trogir this morning. On arrival, you'll meet a local guide who will take you on a walk to get acquainted with this delightful seaside town, whose medieval walls are bursting with beautiful Romanesque, Renaissance and baroque buildings. Take some time to explore, perhaps have lunch, then catch a transfer back to Split. You can expect to arrive in the late afternoon, at which point your adventure will come to an end. If you’d like to stay on in Split, just get in touch ahead of time and we’d be happy to arrange additional accommodation (subject to availability).