So, where to begin? To make life easier for you, we’ve divided the best things to do in Dalmatia into two itineraries – one from Split, and one from Zadar.
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Starting out from Split in south Dalmatia
Extravagant islands, grand nature and gorgeous history. If it’s iconic you’re after, this is the itinerary for you.
Wine, dine and unwind like a Hollywood star in Hvar
Hvar is Croatia’s buzziest island. (And once you’ve sampled its incredible wines, you’ll get where that buzz is coming from!). Of course, all that vino needs good company. With a cuisine that includes fresh lobster linguine, lavender ice cream and signature Gregada fish stew, Hvar does not disappoint.
- Leave the fancy yachts behind and smell the lavender in Velo Grablje
- Marvel at baroque architecture
- Go sailing and snorkeling on the Pakleni islands
How to get to Hvar? A 1 hour 40 minute ferry from Split will take you there. A day trip is doable, but we’d suggest overnighting to enjoy the epic nightlife.
Follow in the tracks of Daenerys in Trogir
Not even 20 miles from Split is the historical town of Trogir. Its claim to fame is its fully intact fortress, which starred as the city of Qarth in Game of Thrones. But that’s just part of the picture. The whole town centre is one big UNESCO World Heritage Site – and one of best things to do if you want to time travel in Dalmatia.
Let your jaw drop at the cliffs of Omiš
With sheer white cliffs rising right out of an ageless town, Omiš looks like poetry come to life. But don’t get too carried away with pondering and marvelling because we’re heading up into those dizzying heights. If you’re up for it, get a heart-stopping view of the Cetina Canyon from a zipline, and we guarantee you won’t be forgetting about this place for a very long time.
- Go rafting on the Cetina River and visit the Gubavica waterfall
- Replenish yourself with slice after slice of spinachy Soparnik
How to get to Omiš: Take a FlixBus from Split and get there in under an hour.
Dive into blue in Vis and Biševo
The main attraction here is Biševo’s Blue Grotto, reached by a short boat ride from the main island of Vis. It’s a place so brilliant it may have inspired Eiffel 64’s famous song. Time it right and you’ll see sun rays plunge into the cave and wash the entire cave in blue light.
- Enjoy what might be Croatia’s best pizza at Karijola
- Experienced diver? Discover the remains of an American WWII bomber
How to get to Vis: With a ferry from Split, you’ll get there in 2.5 hours.
Reach peak beach bliss on Brač
Picture an arrowhead of white sand, pointing toward the Adriatic Sea – almost as if guiding you in the right direction. To your right is the mainland and Makarska’s sea of green. To your left, nothing but deep blue. Brač’s Zlatni Rat – as in, “Golden Horn” – is one of the best things to do in Dalmatia and, dare we say, in the world?
- See Croatia’s most beautiful beach from above from Vidova Gora
- Give windsurfing a go at Zlatni Rat
- Hop to the mainland for a hike through Makarska and Biokovo
How to get to Brač: Catch a catamaran from Split, then jet to Bol for the famous beach.
See beauty on a grand scale at Krka National Park
Plitvice might get the glory, but the waterfalls and lagoons of Krka National Park are not to be overlooked. And due its (relatively) hidden gem status, you can have more of it to yourself.
- Beat the crowds by visiting before July or after August
- Marvel at Visovac Island and its monastery with a boat ride through the canyons.
- Bring plenty of snacks and water.
How to get there: It’s around an hour’s drive from Split, or 30 minutes from neighbouring Šibenik.
Savour the historical charm of Split
Split, hanging off the coast like a pearl on a necklace, is the starting point for many of the best things to do in Dalmatia. But it’s a must-see in its own right, thanks to a lovely, palm-lined old town, the delicate architecture of Diocletian’s Palace and last but not least, its many gastronomical gems.
- Try black risotto with inky cuttlefish.
- Want turf, not surf? Indulge in Pašticada, a dish consisting of juicy beef, rich sauce and gnocchi
- Take in a panorama view on Marjan Hill or from the Bell Tower
Zooming in on Zadar and north Dalmatia
This itinerary will show you a calmer side of the coast – one full of island getaways and nature. But watch out, behind that balmy facade is a quirky, artistic soul.
Fall(s) in love with with Plitvice
With its cascading pools, criss-crossing waterfalls and lush forests, Plitvice Lakes National Park looks like the place the gods go to get away from it all. This UNESCO Heritage Site gets most of its visitors in summer. But we’ll let you into a secret, Plitvice is at its most beautiful in autumn, when the leaves turn to red and gold and the falls reach their mightiest.
How to get to Plitvice Lakes National Park: It’s easiest to get there by car or bus from Zadar, which should take 1.5 hours.
Take a loooong time enjoying Dugi Otok
Dugi Otok means “Long Island” in Croatian, and considering its almost 30 mile end-to-end span, that makes sense. All of that coastal stretch makes for plenty of sandy, secluded beaches and impressive clifftop views. All of which raises the question – how is this place still a hidden gem?
- Bask in the glory of the queen of Dugi Otok’s beaches, Sakarun Beach
- Discover a salt lake in the middle of the island within Telašćica Nature Park
- Stay overnight in a lighthouse near Veli Rat
How to get to Dugi Otok? A 1.5 hour ferry from Zadar will take you there. Renting a car? Do it in Zadar before you leave.
Get salty on Pag
Pag, close enough to mainland that you can just drive over, has a rugged and otherworldly terrain, courtesy of salt winds sweeping over the island. It’s thanks to these winds (and the tanginess they add to the diet of the island’s sheep) that we’re blessed with the one-of-a-kind Pag cheese.
- Visit Pag’s salt pans
- Go rock climbing at Stogaj
- Couple Pag cheese with Pršut (a.k.a. Croatian prosciutto) and a dry local wine
Find tranquility on the island of Silba
Closed to cars at all times, Silba turns away bikers in July and August too. So find yourself a quiet spot, lay back, and enjoy having nothing around you but the sound of sea waves and a gentle summer evening’s breeze. Bliss.
How to get to Silba: For all the getaway potential it offers, the island is surprisingly well connected via ferries from Zadar and Pula.
Get stunned by the sunset in Zadar
There are plenty of beautiful sunsets on the Dalmatian Coast. But Zadar’s is the only one that comes with a modern art experience. Listen as the sounds of the sea get turned into a soundtrack by the Sea Organ, and watch as lights flicker and play in tune to solar activity at its sister art installation, Greeting to the Sun.
- Visit the world’s smallest cathedral in Nin.
- Try a Maraschino liqueur in the heartland of these famous sour cherries.
Get to magical islands, majestic waterfalls, fairytale forests and amazing Adriatic food for less with flights to everywhere from Dubrovnik to Split to Zadar.
Discover a place where wine and olive oil flow as freely as rivers. Roman wonders, fog-capped sunrises, fresh truffles, secluded beaches – they’re all on the menu.