Travel around Croatia and you'll fall in love with the inlets and islands of the Adriatic—this is a dazzlingly beautiful trip of rustic red rooftops, old city walls and a sea so enticing it escapes all adjectives. Pack your bags and dive in.
Days 1 to 2: Split
Arrive into Split and spend a day exploring the old town. Surrounded by dramatic coastal mountains, Split has a pretty old town but it’s also Croatia’s second biggest city, and a vibrant urban hub. Wander around the cathedral, explore the main palace and make time the next morning to walkup the Marjan hill for one of the best views in the city, or follow the coastal path to the sandy city beach at Bačvice, just around the bay, having lunch at Dvor restaurant along the way.
Days 2 to 4: Bol
From Split, take the 50-minute car ferry over to the island of Brač. If you arrive into Supetar you’ll need to take a 40 minute taxi ride or bus journey across the island to reach Bol. Hire a bike—you’ll want to stretch your legs, and island views with the breeze in your hair is a holiday memory worth having. Don’t miss Zlatni Rat—often referred to as the Golden Cape or Golden Horn, it’s the most famous beach in Croatia and is just a 20-minute walk from the harbour town of Bol. Constantly changing shape due to wind, wave and sea currents, Zlatni Rat is a protected natural area surrounded by pine forest.
Days 4 to 6: Hvar
Cross over to Hvar—you’ll need to head west from Bol to Milna to catch the once-a-day (at the time of writing) ferry, which takes 30 minutes. Yes, Hvar has a party reputation, but there’s also a peaceful side to it, with plenty of local bars and restaurants to please even the most discerning of diners. Walk up to the hilltop fortress for the best views in town and spend the afternoon at the private beach at your hotel—Little Green Bay.
Peppered with sun loungers, this is serious tranquillity. Take advantage of the hotel’s free snorkelling masks and paddle boards—the sea is so still here, fall in or not, you’ll be in heaven.
Days 6 to 8: Korçula
Next stop—the island of Korçula for two nights (it’s an hour and 15 minutes on the catamaran from Hvar). Hire a bike and cycle the island’s country lanes, through vineyards and olive groves. Stay at Lesic Dimitri Palace in the heart of the old town, and you’ll wake to the charming sound of church bells. Elegant and refined, this is intimate luxury at its best. With only five suites, it’s a unique stay in a transformed 18th century palace—each suite has its own private entrance, so privacy is the order of the day.
From here, take the ferry to Dubrovnik—it’s four and a half hours, so book the early morning departure if you can bear it (our ferry left as early as 5.30am).
Days 8 to 10: Dubrovnik
Once in Dubrovnik, you won’t be disappointed. Spend your first afternoon walking the city walls for beautiful views out over the water and red tiled rooftops, then enjoy a sundowner at the Buza bar—literally a hole in the city wall. It’s easy to miss but persevere, it’s a (not-so hidden) gem.
For some beach time, try Sveti Jakov beach at just a mile from the old town (or take the number 5 or 8 bus). For a spectacular end to your stay, book in for dinner or drinks at the Panorama Restaurant. You’ve guessed it, it’s got the best views in the city—take the 4-minute cable car from just outside the north side of the city walls.
Up next in our series of holiday-highlights is this 14-day guide to the gastronomic delights of Galicia and northern Spain.