National Geographic Adventures

Croatia Island Adventure

  • 8-days kayaking and hiking
  • Activity Rating: Easy to Moderate

Trip Details


Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast enchants with rugged islands, hidden coves, and a rich maritime history dating back to the Venetian Empires. From the walled city of Dubrovnik, the “pearl of the Adriatic,” set out by kayak and paddle along secluded inlets laced with limestone cliffs, all framed by turquoise water. On shore, hike through pine forests, fields of wildflowers, and vineyards to visit medieval monasteries and sun-drenched villages. Further north, venture into the lush hills of the Pelješac Peninsula and soak up the lively seafaring tradition of Orebić. The nearby island of Korčula offers more kayaking exploration and a beautifully preserved medieval town. Throughout our island-hopping adventure, discover Croatia’s unique history and charm.

Trip Highlights

  • Kayak and explore the wooded islands, white pebble beaches, and lush inlets of Croatia’s stunning coast.
  • Climb Vidova Gora, the highest peak of the Adriatic islands, and take in sweeping views of the spectacular Dalmatian coast.
  • Swim and snorkel in Korčula’s quiet coves, then visit the island’s walled town, a World Heritage site.
  • Walk atop Dubrovnik’s magnificent ramparts and explore Split’s white-stoned Diocletian’s Palace.

Itinerary - 8 Days

Day 1 — Split, Croatia

Arrive in the bustling port city of Split, Croatia. Check into our hotel and gather for a tour the Roman-era palace of Diocletian, built by the Roman Emperor in his hometown. In the medieval era, a village was built within the palace’s walls, forming the center of today’s Split. Enter this beguiling maze of marble streets, churches, and fortified walls.
Le Méridien Lav (D)

Day 2 — Split/Hvar

This morning, take a boat to the picturesque island of Hvar, with a landscape of lavender fields, vineyards, limestone cliffs, and emerald coves. Explore the rural interior, dotted with small medieval villages, and join a local artist on her rustic estate for lunch and an olive oil tasting. Then hike an old route across the island to the hamlet of Velo Grablje (once an important producer of rosemary and lavender oils) and through a small canyon to the deserted stone village of Malo Grablje. End at a white pebble beach for a refreshing dip in the Adriatic. (6 miles hiking, 3 hours)
Amfora Hvar Grand Beach (L,D)

Day 3 — Hvar/Pakleni Islands

Today, kayak in the Pakleni Islands, pausing on a beach to enjoy a picnic lunch of market-fresh delicacies. In the afternoon, tour the charming town of Hvar, walking small cobbled alleys draped with bougainvillea and learning their rich history. The walk ends in a beautiful Hapsburg garden where our guide—a trained aromatherapist—talks about the town’s tradition of making aromatic oils. (5 miles kayaking, 4 hours)
Amfora Hvar Grand Beach (B,L,D)

Day 4 — Brač

The largest of the central Dalmatian islands, Brač is famous for rugged natural beauty and for white limestone used for decorative stonework since Roman times. Our private boat drops anchor in the hidden bay of Blaca; hike up to the 450-year-old hermitage surrounded by pine trees, fragrant flowers, and the scents and sights of the sea. The hermitage once traded honey, wine, and olive oil with the Venetians and became known for its gastronomy. Have lunch under old oak trees in a perfectly preserved Dalmatian stone village high in the hills, feasting on local specialties cooked over an open fire. Continue to the top of Mount Vidova, the highest peak in the Dalmatian islands, and shuttle down to the town of Bol, where our boat awaits. (6 miles hiking, 3 hours)
Amfora Hvar Grand Beach (B,L)

Day 5 — Hvar/Korčula

Cruise to the island of Korčula, passing by Hvar’s western shore of craggy cliffs and hidden coves. En route, enjoy lunch and a swim in the sapphire waters of the Adriatic. Arrive at Vela Luka on Korčula and hike to the home of a local producer of Korčula’s renowned Pošip white wine. End the day in the medieval city of Korčula Marco Polo’s hometown, then check into our boutique hotel just across the channel in Orebič, on the Pelješac Peninsula. (4 miles hiking, 2 hours)
Hotel Indijan (B,L,D)

Day 6 — Pelješac Peninsula

Pelješac’s mixture of hilly slopes, warm Adriatic air, and sunny days is perfect for producing Croatia’s best red wine, Dingač, as well as plump oranges, pomegranates, and figs. Hike up to a 15th-century Franciscan monastery and church, and continue to a viewpoint for an extraordinary vista over Dalmatia’s islands. Follow the footpath past abandoned stone houses and ancient chapels, and descend to the coast for a swim in the sea. Try Dingač wines at a local wine cellar and visit one of the most authentic traditional konobe, or taverns, still found in Croatia to savor homemade salamis and bread and freshly caught fish. (4 miles hiking, 2–3 hours)
Hotel Indijan (B,L,D)

Day 7 — Ston/Dubrovnik

A scenic drive takes us to the town of Ston, with one of the longest defensive stone walls in Europe, built to protect salt ponds that brought wealth to the Dubrovnik republic. Ston is also known for its oysters, and we'll visit a local family of oyster farmers. As a grand finale, explore restored Dubrovnik, which became a major maritime power after breaking with the Venetian Republic in the 14th century. Its marble streets are lined with Baroque architecture from the 1600s and surrounded by medieval walls. You may wish to take an optional sunset kayaking tour before our farewell dinner. (4 miles hiking, 1–2 hours)
Hotel Dubrovnik Palace or Grand Villa Argentina (B,L,D)

Day 8 — Dubrovnik

Transfer to the airport for flights home.

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About Adventures

National Geographic Adventures are unique, active itineraries for intrepid travelers that combine spectacular places, cultural interaction, and physical challenge. You'll explore fascinating, off-the-beaten-path places with top guides, and wherever possible, meet National Geographic experts in the field.


  • Jul 03 - 10, 2015
  • Jul 08 - 15, 2015
  • Sep 09 - 16, 2015 (waitlist only)

Trip Cost



Price is per person, double occupancy. For a single room add $950. International airfare to Croatia and return home is not included in the adventure cost.


See special terms and conditions for this adventure.

Activity Level

Easy to Moderate

Croatia’s calm coastal waters are ideal for sea kayaking, while its island trails offer moderate hikes at elevations ranging from 600 feet to 1,700 feet. This trip is suitable for beginner and expert kayakers alike; no previous experience is necessary. During kayaking excursions, we will be paddling stable, two-person sit-on-top kayaks for an average of 2 to 4 hours. Our hikes range from 1 to 3 hours (4 to 6 miles) on good trails. We will stay 7 nights in comfortable hotels and villas infused with local character.

Click here for a description of all activity levels.

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