Guide to the Dalmatian Coast

All passionate travelers should visit Croatia at some point in their lifetime. This majestic Balkan destination packs in a huge array of appeal, yet still carries an undiscovered charm. 

The highlight of any trip to Croatia is spending time along its magnificent Dalmatian Coast. With so many towns and islands to explore, and so many excellent activities to partake in, we’ve put together our travel guide to this incredible corner of southern Europe. 

What is the Dalmatian Coast?

Dalmatia coast scenery, generic
View of Rabac in Istria

The Dalmatian Coast is off-shore Croatia’s portion of the Adriatic Sea – the larger body of water that separates the Italian peninsula from the Balkans. 

The coast is known for its incredible natural beauty. Glittering azure seas and majestic beaches are backed by dense pine forests, limestone cliffs, and – to the north – soaring mountains. 

The culture and history of the coastline are equally mesmeric, littered with beautifully preserved Medieval old towns, and with a food and wine scene to die for.

Where is it?

Zadar waterfront
Makarska coastline, Croatia

Geographically, the Dalmatian stretch of Croatia’s coast begins from the town of Zadar at the foot of the Northern Velebit Mountains. Heading south, the major towns along the coast at Sibenik, Trogir, Split, the villages of the Makarska Riviera, and finally Dubrovnik, the ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’. 

The many Dalmatian Islands are equally stunning and ripe for visiting. The Kornati Archipelago off Zadar is prime sailing territory, while the island group which includes Brac, Hvar, Vis, Korcula, and Mljet is impossibly beautiful.

When to visit

Old town of Ulcinj, Croatia
Korcula, Croatia

As with the rest of Croatia, the Dalmatian Coast has a typically Mediterranean climate with cool winters and hot summers. Temperatures reach a peak in July and August – as do tourist numbers, with the coinciding European school holidays. 

Therefore in our opinion, the best times to visit are May and June, and then the end of summer in September and early October. At this time you’ll find pleasant sailing conditions, warm waters for swimming, and thinner crowds in the old towns and beaches.

Where to go

View of Split through ancient walls
Aerial view of Vis, Croatia

Any tour of the area should include the city of Split, famed for its Roman Palace which has now been subsumed by the medieval city, and its easy access to inland adventure activities and glittering offshore islands.

At the southern end of Dalmatia, you’ll find the walled city of Dubrovnik. One of the most picturesque towns on the planet, Dubrovnik has found a recent surge in fame as a key shooting location for Game of Thrones 

Along the way, call in of the small islands of Vis or Mljet or larger, trendier Hvar and Brac, or beautiful and atmospheric historic towns of Trogir and Zadar.

Best way to travel the Dalmatian Coast

Adriatic sea luxury cruise
Yachts in Adriatic Sea

While connecting these beautiful towns and islands by road and short ferry journeys is possible, we emphatically believe that the best way to traverse the waters of the Adriatic is on a high-end small ship cruise. 

Our Deluxe and Deluxe Balcony cruises travel between key ports Split and Dubrovnik, calling in on the gorgeous islands of Hvar, Brac, and more, as well as the ancient cities of Zadar, Trogir, Sibenik, and Korčula town.

What to do

Krka National Park waterfalls
Wine and truffles, generic, Croatia

During your cruise, you’ll call in on national parks – such as Krka, with its majestic waterfalls – and head ashore for guided city walks in atmospheric old towns along the coast and on the islands of Vis, Korcula, and others. 

A cruise through the coast is an opportunity to enjoy fine food and wine – with experiences such as oyster farming and truffle tasting – as well as enjoying the verdant natural scenery of pine forests, olive groves, and picturesque sand and pebble beaches.

More information on our market-leading Croatia Cruises can be found here. Contact our dedicated Croatian specialists today to begin your Dalmatian journey: email [email protected], or call on +1 844 637 9747 in the USA or +44 203 950 9613 in UK and Australia, to start planning your getaway now!

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