Duration: 07 Days
COUNTRIES VISITED: Croatia
PLACES VISITED: Dubrovnik, Elaphiti Islands, Hvar Island, Pakleni Islands & Split.
Dubrovnik is a gem of a destination along the Adriatic Sea, and the perfect place to introduce the pleasures of your Croatian holiday. After settling into your accommodation, head straight toward the Old Town to navigate the labyrinth of alleyways and limestone streets to soak in the sights and sounds of this historic city.
Take a walk along the mile-long white stone walls which surround the medieval old town for renowned views of the orange-roofed village (this is King’s Landing, for any Game of Thrones fans) and distant islands that dot the horizon.
The Old Town of Dubrovnik likely left a lasting impression on you from yesterday evening. Head back for an early morning ride up the cable car to the top of Mt. Srd for an unmatchable vantage point. Have a well-deserved snack or drink at Panorama Restaurant atop the mountain before heading (or hiking) back down to level surface.
Later on, switch into swimwear and meet your personal skipper for an afternoon private tour of the Elaphiti Islands. Just north of Dubrovnik, these 13 islands are largely untouched (with less than 1,000 total inhabitants between all of them), and practically made for hopping from one to the next. Eat, drink, laugh and live large aboard your boat as you zoom from beach to beach, celebrating fun in the sun all across this small island chain.
Hvar island is Croatia’s crown jewel, and travellers from all corners of the globe flock to the country’s literal sunniest spot. Dense nature, picture-perfect beaches, a bustling main town, local wines, fresh cuisine and general luxurious island living – what more could you ask for? The ferry from Dubrovnik to Hvar is 3 hours in length, and two separate companies run routes. Check in to your hotel, have a swim and a shower before heading into Hvar Town to enjoy some of the Mediterranean’s best nightlife offerings.
The glamour of Hvar Town is otherworldly and well worth experiencing, but take this day to venture off into other corners of the island. Rent e-bikes and pedal past the endless lavender fields of Brusje before making your way into historically quaint Starigrad for a seaside lunch. Rent a car or scooter instead to continue onward to Jelsa for wine tasting at Vina Tomic (Hvar and the entire Dalmatian coast are famous for the dark and flavourful Plavac Mali grape). Switch directions to head south, breeze past the pine trees and dense olive groves to reach Zavala and enjoy its string of beautiful secluded beaches before making your way back by sunset.
You’ve likely noticed the seemingly untouched little islands all along Hvar’s coast. These are the Pakleni Islands: 16 in total, all together barely spanning 6 miles, they are perfect to hop from one to the next. Some are geared toward the yacht-party club crowd (like Marinkovac), while others favour a more serene atmosphere (like Jerolim).
Grab a water taxi in Hvar Town to the largest island (Sveti Klement, referred to as big island), the closest (Galesnik), or book a tour to see several of them and more (like the famous Blue Cave). For an evening dinner and proper farewell for Hvar, look no further than Dalmatino, a self-proclaimed steak and fish house that doubles down on good times by introducing brandy tastings throughout your meal.
The ferry from Hvar to Split is just shy of one hour with multiple departures daily via Kapetan Luka. Don’t let the name fool you while exploring this new town – Split is very much geared for couples travel, and an afternoon walk along its palm-tree-lined riverfront promenade (prime for people-watching) will certainly prove as much. After checking in to your accommodation, explore the Gallery of Fine Arts for a tour through 700 years of Croatian art in an enormous 18th century building.
Move over into the maze of ancient alleyways that make up Diocletian’s Palace – one of the greatest remaining Roman ruins, originally built in the year 305 A.D. Shop to your heart’s content, or just admire the collision between old and new – it’s rare to see everyday activities going on in a former ancient emperor’s palace. Nearby Zinfandel pairs local wines with some of the city’s best fresh seafood, and in a port city like Split that might be the wise move for dinner.
Enjoy a tasty breakfast before returning the Airport and catching your return flight home.