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.
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)
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)
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)
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)
Cruise to the island of Korčula, sailing past 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)
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)
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)
Transfer to the airport for flights home.
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.
Price is per person, double occupancy. For a single room, add $1,100 in 2014 and $950 in 2015. International airfare to Croatia and return home is not included in the adventure cost.
GROUP SIZE: 8–16
See special terms and conditions for this adventure.
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.
Call to speak with an Adventure specialist about this trip.