Highlights of the Adriatic: Split, Hvar, Dubrovnik Itinerary

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Total Trip:

8 Days
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Countries Visited:

Croatia
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Places Visited:

Split, Trogir, Hvar, Stari Grad, Stiniva, Dubrovnik, Mt Srd, Cavtat, Konavle, Kotor, Perast
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Departure Dates:

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.
You will be seduced by Split, dazzled by Dubrovnik, and heart-warmed by the island of Hvar. This is the best of Croatia’s Adriatic coast in a week with highlights like Trogir, the Blue Cave, Cavtat and a day trip to Montenegro. Soak up the island life, visit vineyards and olive farms, lounge on the coast and immerse yourself in the terracotta charm of the historical destinations.

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Day 1

Split – Wandering Through the Iconic Dalmatian City

Split has always basked in its unrivaled location. Rolling mountains provide a backdrop as they wrap themselves around a soft blue bay. Diocletian’s Palace has the prime location, a 4th-century retreat for Emperor Diocletian. The old city extends around the palace with walls that shimmer white in the sun and roof tiles a faded terracotta color. There is a harmony to the architecture, and you can easily get lost in the mazy knot of central lanes. Do not worry, as getting lost is part of the allure here. Being lost is the best way to explore, as you will find charming streets and small boutiques. You are never really lost, though, as Split is easy to navigate on foot and you will have the afternoon to explore.

Earlier in the morning, you will be greeted at the city’s airport for a short transfer to your hotel. Just a few steps from Diocletian’s Palace, the boutique four-star property has one foot in the past and the other embracing contemporary styles. It will be comfortable while still giving you a keen sense of how the city’s medieval buildings look on the inside. For the evening, it is recommended that you head down the promenade to Riva Harbor, where you can watch the boats coming and going from a cafe terrace.

What's Included:

included

Transfer

included

Accommodation

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Day 2

Split – Seduced by Trogir and Diocletian’s Palace

If it were not for the setting, Trogir would look remarkably like Venice. It was an important town at the height of the Venetian Republic, its center built in grand pre-Renaissance and Renaissance styles. It is also a city on the coast, surrounded by the blue-green of the Adriatic. However, rather than canals, Trogir has a steep maze of streets that are barely wide enough for carts destined for the market. Visit Trogir on a privately guided excursion from Split, your guide helping to navigate such a jumble of streets. Romanesque remains are also evident, particularly in the churches before you ascend towards the town’s magnificent cathedral. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the cathedral is perhaps the best example of Venetian Renaissance architecture outside Venice.

Return to Split, and you will be guided around the central street to inspect the details you might have missed yesterday. Stories accompany the buildings and the harbor-front hums with local Dalmatian life. This is an exuberant city with an atmosphere that has far more to offer than the history and buildings. So even though this guided tour ensures you really discover Diocletian’s Palace, there is more to Split than a Roman emperor from 305 AD. The evening is at your leisure, and your guide can provide advice on where to dine. And whatever time you head out, there will always be life to watch along the banks of the Riva River.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Tour

included

Breakfast

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Day 3

Hvar – Wine Tasting, Medieval Bliss, and Unique Island Flavors

Lavender fields bloom on the island of Hvar. Wild olive groves dot the hills along with the family farms that produce some of Europe’s very finest olive oil. Vineyards tumble down other hills and towards the remains of medieval castles. Small fishing villages dot the coast, as traditional as they always have been. Coves and pebbled beaches are also found along the water, perfect for an hour on your own. You can take the fast catamaran to Hvar and spend the day touring the island, wondering how such diverse highlights can be found on such a slither of land.

During your private tour, you will be exploring villages, tasting oil and wine, wandering around castles and listening to all the old stories. Later in the evening, you can dine at a family olive estate for a dinner that celebrates the island’s diversity. For the other hours, today and tomorrow, you will absorb the ambiance of Stari Grad. Hvar has more than 2,400 years of history, and while it can feel like Europe’s hidden island gem, wealthy Romans and Venetians have been taking vacations here for centuries. Stari Grad is the finest evocation of this history, and your hotel is tucked inside the ancient town surrounded by lantern-lit lanes and the enchantment of history.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Tour

included

Transfer

included

Breakfast

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Day 4

Hvar – Highlights of the Archipelago Small-Group Boat Tour

Hvar’s coastline seems as surreal as the town of Stari Grad. You will see a Blue Cave hidden beneath the sea cliffs, where sunlight penetrates through a subterranean hole, creating a silvery shimmer that cannot be replicated by. See Stiniva Cove, a concealed lagoon surrounded by weather-carved cliffs. Green Cave is another good place for swimming while the Pakleni Islands continue to be the realm of local fishermen. After the three stops on the coast, you will disembark at a small beach where a restaurant will provide a seafood lunch that even the fishermen frequent.

After this full-day tour, you will have some downtime in Stari Grad, either relaxing at the hotel or trying out a different cafe on the plaza. Move into the evening, and you will head out to an abandoned part of the island to a medieval village that has turned into a ghost town. It is, however, not entirely abandoned for there is a farmhouse that still provides a traditional konoba experience. Hear the village’s story, soak up the soul of the farmhouse, and eat traditional farmhouse dishes with all the produce coming from Hvar Island. A konoba is the most traditional dining experience you can have in Croatia, and the one on Hvar is as unique as they come.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Tour

included

Breakfast

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Day 5

Dubrovnik – The Epic Historical City on the Coast

The fast catamaran to Dubrovnik is always fun as you cruise across the distinctive blue tone of the Adriatic. You will arrive like the explorers of old and into the pier beneath the imposing city walls. Meet a guide and walk to your hotel, a small five-star property inside the Old Town city walls. This location is ideal for a several night stay, and most visitors stay outside the city walls so that you will find the Old Town streets wonderfully quiet after dusk. Wrought-iron lanterns illuminate the streets during the evening hours, and you could spend many hours simply strolling around after dark.

To get you acquainted with the where and the how, you will spend the day on a guided walking tour of the city. Start on the city walls and walk almost two kilometers along the thick fortifications. Descend into the streets where a handful of landmarks help narrate the history of this city republic. You will head to the coastal promenade and then take the cable car to Mt Srd, a rugged mountain that towers high over Dubrovnik. From up here, you can reflect on the views that have frequented Game of Thrones, before the first of your evenings in the Old Town.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Tour

included

Transfer

included

Breakfast

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Day 6

Dubrovnik – A Day Trip Exploring the Mystery of Montenegro

Travel south from Dubrovnik, and you will soon be in Montenegro. You will be traveling along the Adriatic coastline, and the landscapes are now a little rougher around the edges. Montenegro is barely a slither of land stretched along the coast with everything centered on a handful of towns. Kotor is the most iconic, a walled city that rivals Dubrovnik for charm yet sees barely ten percent of the visitors. You will walk on marble streets here across the cobbles of a city that is still dominated by small and traditional establishments with cafes, taverns, haberdasheries, butchers, bakeries.

Dubva is a little further along the coast, a beach town that the Croatians escape to when they want a vacation. It is an interesting place for lunch before you take the road back north, where you will stop at an old village with even more intrigue. Perast was once glorious, and its wealth is shown in palaces and elaborate churches. The city never retained this wealth, and at the turn of each subsequent century, it seemed that Perast would become a ghost village. A few people have returned, and with the help of the tourist trickle, this once grand town is finding some life once more. Today is a relaxed tour, and you will return to Dubrovnik before sunset.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Tour

included

Breakfast

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Day 7

Dubrovnik – Exploring Cavtat and Rural Croatian Life

After six full days on the coast, a day in the Konavle region is a great chance to see another side to Croatia. Several dozen rural farming villages are found here, each one seemingly smaller than the last. There is old history as well, such as fortified remains and the melancholy tales of war. Cavtat came before Dubrovnik, and you will have a coffee in town while listening to the stories. Spend time in one of the villages and join a local family on a farm and cooking experience. You will see how life is lived here, and see how it has not really changed in centuries, something best shown by the archaic farmyard equipment that still dots the region. Return to Dubrovnik in the early afternoon, and the rest of the day is at your leisure.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Tour

included

Breakfast

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Day 8

Dubrovnik – Departure

Late check-out has been arranged, so there is one final chance to walk around Dubrovnik’s Old Town, which you really cannot get tired of doing. You will be transferred to the airport and your outbound flight.

What's Included:

included

Transfer

included

Breakfast

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Trip Highlights

  • Celebrate the atmosphere of Dubrovnik, a marble city with a treasure chest of cultural and historical monuments
  • Be seduced by Split, a surprising old city that has much more to offer than world-famous Diocletian’s Palace
  • Soak up the Adriatic island life with a couple of nights on Havar to explore the vineyards, villages, pebbled beaches and UNESCO World Heritage Stari Grad
  • Uncover alternative impressions as you spend a day in neighboring Montenegro, including the grand village of Perast and Kotor’s mystical old town
  • Discover a living history by spending a morning in the walled village of Trogir, where Romanesque and Renaissance architecture stands side by side
  • Get a sense of rural Croatian life with a day in the Konavle region, which includes a cooking class at an old olive oil estate
  • Watch the water shimmer as you explore a remote Adriatic coastline on a boat tour from Hvar
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Detailed Description

Croatia always feels like a summer love story, even if you visit in the winter and especially if you only visit for a week. Fortified coastal towns provide a seductive introduction as the architecture tempts you with Renaissance flourishes, Romanesque roots, and Venetian details. Expressive landscapes will be fascinating as vineyards stretch through the hills and waters that may be blue or green dependent on your angle. You will be won over at first glance and soon be immersed in the country’s charm from daily excursions to quiet evenings walking along the lantern-lit streets.

Perhaps what will seduce you most is the harmony of contrasting influences. Croatia has been fought over for 2,000 years with every competing kingdom or empire leaving something behind. Take Diocletian’s Palace as an example, a 4th-century retreat that is now the centerpiece of Split.  You could also consider Trogir’s Gothic Cathedral that was built by the Venetians, or perhaps a Napoleon Fortress on the island of Hvar that was built some 21 centuries after Stari Grad was founded. With good local guides, you will find evidence of the Ottomans with some superb Renaissance architecture with stories and styles brought from Venice as the civilizations manifest themselves in neighboring Montenegro as well.

This handcrafted luxury tour spends a week on the coast with overnight stays in the three most iconic of Croatia’s destinations. While there is a huge amount of detail to uncover, there is no need to rush head over heels. Croatia will reveal more when you move slowly, such are the niches and subtleties. Authentic and atmospheric, Split always provides a loveable introduction to the country. Hvar is the most sublime of the islands, mixing a stunning seascape with old stone towns.  Dubrovnik is the city republic preserved, taking you on a journey that is every bit as inspiring as the city’s fame.

Your first day in Split will be relaxed, and you will find it a great city to walk around without a guide. Your initial impressions are followed by a morning excursion to Trogir, where a knot of narrow lanes will lead you through a Venetian-inspired town. Your guide will also help you to uncover the secrets of Diocletian’s Palace the next day, and there are some superb places found along the harbor for an evening meal. The Split Promenade has a sultry evening atmosphere for most of the year, something that always helps in Croatia’s love story.

Take the fast catamaran from Split to Hvar, and then spend day three discovering the full range of highlights. You will travel to the green interior where the wild olive groves extend past vineyards. Follow the lavender roads to Napoleon Fortress and keep it low key in the village of Jelsa before you marvel at every square inch of Stari Grad. Dinner is at a family estate and your accommodation is nestled amongst a UNESCO World Heritage pedestrianized old town. After the highlights of the area, you will spend the next day on the water with a small-group boat tour taking you along a dazzling cliff-lined coastline. Explore the Blue and Green caves, bask on a hidden beach, and finish the day with a traditional konoba dinner.

There will be a direct catamaran from Hvar to Dubrovnik, and you will arrive like the travelers of old and into Dubrovnik’s pier. While the city has been made even more famous as a set for Star Wars and Game of Thrones, it will still feel as though you are wandering around a medieval era. Authenticity has been retained and tradition never seems to die here. Spend most of the day on a guided walking tour, and then gaze down on the city from Mt Srd. Your five-star hotel is inside the city gates, and the marble streets will keep you company on three separate evenings. Spend the next day in the Konavle region, a different kind of local experience to Dubrovnik. For further contrast, you can visit Montenegro on a day tour, where they have their own cities from past republics.

For more tour options, please visit the Croatia tours section or the reviews for Croatia tours on Zicasso.

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Starting Price

$1595 per person (excluding international flights)

This trip is customizable for your private travel.
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What's Included

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.

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