From the Dinaric Alps in the North to the Mediterranean in the South, the Dalmatian Coast stretches languidly as the Adriatic sea laps at its shores. Dalmatia is a delightful blend of old world influences. Venetian clock towers, Greek fortresses, Byzantine art, and Roman ruins meld into a vintage as mellow as the fine wines from its vineyards.
Our first favourite port of call is Rovinj. Perched at the western most tip of the Istrian Peninsula, Rovinj is a town steeped in romance. Perched on a rocky outcrop just across the sea from Venice, tall spires rise out of a colourful cloud of charming buildings, nestled among narrow cobblestoned by-lanes. One can spend hours just walking its streets, stopping at local konobas for a coffee or a chilled pint of beer.
Rovinj is one of the jumping off spots from which one can visit the Istrian Peninsula’s Byzantine and Roman ruins in places like Porec and Pula, stroll through its vineyards, hunt for truffles in its forests, or take a delightful bicycle ride through its quaint villages where Austro-Hungarian remnants of empire blend in with Venetian and Roman vestiges of history.
Take a turn south to continue to Zadar. This medieval era fortification makes a powerful impression, even today. A walk through this walled city takes you back to another world. But Zadar transports you to another world in a literal sense as well – this is the place from where one can explore the beautiful Kornati Archipelago – thousands of tiny islands that collectively make up a national heritage site. For those who love nature and the water, Kornati is a piece of heaven. Snorkel, dive, sail through the azure waters that snake through these delightful islands.
As we head further south, we pause for a brief moment at Trogir. A tiny island joined to the mainland by a causeway, Trogir oozes charm, serenity and romance. As the church bells toll and the water laps gently at its limestone walls, time stands still. Sunsets at Trogir have a fairy-tale quality – a honeymooner’s delight. Dine on delightful fresh seafood, olive oil and wine from local vineyards. Blissfully peaceful, Trogir is the perfect place to catch your breath along the journey – even as it takes your breath away.
Smack dab in the center of the Dalmatian Coast, Split’s name suits its location – it literally divides the north of Dalmatia from the south. Vastly dominated by the vestiges of Emperor Diocletian’s roman palace complex, Split is a study in living history. Live, dine, shop, explore and wander among the ancient walls of this magnificent complex that stretches out in the city center for miles. Lively and full of warm friendly people, Split is non-stop fun. The bustling water front is a great place to sit at a café and watch the world go by, even as the boats line up at the harbor from all across the coast. It’s also the ideal place from which to explore some of the best islands in Croatia including Hvar, Brac and Vis.
Imbibe the island vibe the minute you step foot on Hvar. In July and August, the lavender fields bloom in purple splendor, giving the landscape a heady fragrance and dusky hue. Clearly we aren’t the only ones who think Hvar is something special. The Romans, Spaniards, Venetians, Greeks, Byzantines and Ottomans each staked their claim in Hvar at different points in time. As a result, the island is a historical patchwork of architectural styles, history, and culture. It’s also grown into one of Central Europe’s hottest party spots and the sleepy village by day turns into a vibrant hot spot at night as you dance your life away under the stars.
They don’t call it the Pearl of the Adriatic for nothing – Dubrovnik continues to charm all those who visit. The glorious Southern European sun bounces happily off the white limestone walls of this city steeped in history. Dubrovnik has a picture-postcard quality to it – red tiled roofs overlook a quaint harbor and the sparkling serenity of the Adriatic Sea. One can wander its streets for days on end and still not see it all. It is a city full of serendipity – impromptu street performances, a church concert, an art gallery tucked into the side of an old monastery, a gelateria that makes you swoon, this is Dubrovnik. Dubrovnik is an architecture lover’s delight and its stunning facades and interiors tell of many stories.
Fascinated already? Travel with us to discover more.