COASTAL HIGHLIGHTS OF CROATIA 11 DAYS
Day 1: Rovinj
On the magnificent coast of Istria (Croatia), right below the Lim Fjord, Rovinj is the most romantic place on the Mediterranean! The town of Rovinj is the right destination for all who are seeking a sentimental atmosphere of the times that have forever gone by. On the Mediterranean, you can find it here, in the town that began its romantic life on an island, its restricted area resulting in crowded houses, narrow streets and small squares, still untouched by modern urbanism. On the seaside, the town is protected by a high rocky shore and house walls built on cliffs, while the mainland side is protected by solid walls. The town is dominated by the Baroque St. Euphemia's Church, its 60-metre tower providing a view of grey and red rooftops and chimneys, streets and squares, the port and pier with ships and boats, and the marina harbouring yachts. We recommend a drive to Lim Channel - The Lim valley (Limska draga or Limska dolina) is the 35 km long valley of the river Pazinčica, which transforms into the Lim Channel (Limski kanal), a 10 kilometres long estuary. Fishing in the Lim Channel has always been excellent. Now the natural species have been augmented by farmed mussels and oysters which are on offer in two excellent restaurants on the channel.
Day 2: Rovinj–Plitvice–Zadar
After breakfast, it is time to pack and continue your trip towards Zadar. Drive towards Plitvice lakes, Croatia's oldest and most famous national park. Its water scenes, lakes, waterfalls and forests are unique and must-see. The park was included in the UNESCO's World Heritage List in 1979. It is world famous for its lakes arranged in cascades. Currently, 16 lakes can be seen from the surface. These lakes are a result of the confluence of several small rivers and subterranean karst rivers. The lakes are all interconnected and follow the water flow. They are separated by natural dams of travertine, which is deposited by the action of moss, algae, and bacteria. The particularly sensitive travertine barriers are the result of an interplay between water, air and plants. After visiting Plitvice, we recommend a late lunch in Restaurant Degenija, where you can enjoy specialities of Lika, famous for its cheese and lamb.
Day 3: Zadar–Kornati Islands Daytrip
After breakfast, we recommend you take a boat trip to the nearby archipelago Kornati Islands. Kornati consists of 140 islands and reefs which are the most beautiful nature attraction in Croatia. »The gods wanted to crown their creation and on the last day they turned tears, stars and the sea breeze into the isles of Kornati« - George Bernard Shaw, Croatia, 1929. After returning back to Zadar and a short refreshment, we would like to show you the Roman city of Zadar. Wherever you go in Zadar, before you, there were the steps of Illyrians, Romans, Byzantines, Venetians, Napoleon, Habsburgs... At sunset, you can enjoy unique works of art: the Sea Organs and The Greeting to the Sun, located on the town's promenade by the sea.
Day 4: Zadar–Šibenik-Split
Breakfast. Your next destination is Split. While driving to Split you will have a stop at Šibenik to see the main sights of this small beautiful city. Šibenik has its own personality and a youthful and lively atmosphere. Little streets lead to attractive squares where modern windows unite really nice with the fine and stylish architecture of the vanished centuries. One of the things that must be seen is Šibenik's cathedral – St. Jakov (1431-1535). It is an important and beautiful architectural sight from the Renaissance period, listed on UNESCO's World Heritage List. This cathedral was built of limestone and marble from the stonemason's Island of Brač in Croatia. After Šibenik, it is time to drive towards Split. You will be fascinated by the narrow tunnel streets, its magnificent Diocletian Emperor Roman palace situated in the centre of Split, the beautiful cathedral Split-St. Duje, the fruit square, and the Marko Marulić statue. Split is a special city and leaves no one indifferent. Stone houses and kalete or narrow streets are the perfect blend of the glorious past and challenging present.
Day 5: Split–Ston–Dubrovnik
After breakfast and check out, drive towards Dubrovnik. On your way to Dubrovnik we recommend you stop at the fortified city of Ston (northwest of Dubrovnik). This beautiful old town was among the first towns in Europe to be built according to a town-planning project. Its 5 km long stone walls are especially interesting. During the Medieval period, city walls were protecting the town and today those walls attract hundreds of visitors who are amazed by their length and preservation. Other attractions include the famous oyster and mussel farms and old salt-works where salt is still produced today from sea water. Continue towards Dubrovnik where we suggest a walk through the main street called Stradun and enjoy the views of the beautiful ancient surrounding monuments.
Day 6: Dubrovnik
For the best experience of history and Old Town of Dubrovnik, we suggest you take a half-day tour with an English speaking guide: the tour starts at 10:00 at the lobby of your hotel. Explore the stunning architecture and history of this world famous City. Witness Dubrovnik's rich history and discover its magnificent buildings, palaces and treasures. Starting at Onofrio's Fountain, which has brought fresh drinking water into the city for centuries, the tour leads you through the Old Town of Dubrovnik to St. Saviour's Church, the grandiose Franciscan and Dominican church, the church of St. Blaise (Dubrovnik's patron saint) with its stories and legends, the Cathedral, the Rector's Palace, Sponza Palace and Orlando's Column. Witness Dubrovnik's rich history and discover its magnificent treasures. The tour continues towards the Old Port that once was the key of Dubrovnik's trading and maritime success. In the Old Port you will hear the legends of the famous quarantine and the nearby fortresses of St. Luke and St. John as well as the story about the Galleons & Karakas, the ships from Dubrovnik that were well known throughout the Mediterranean, all of which were built and loaded in the legendary Arsenal (today the popular City Café). After the walking tour through Old Town, next on your way are the City Walls. They are almost 2 km long and are the 4th longest walls in the world. They have the most marvellous views you can imagine.
Day 7: Dubrovnik–Elaphite Islands Daytour
Today we suggest taking a full day excursion to beautiful Elaphite Islands. This excursion gives you an opportunity to visit and explore Elaphite islands in a completely different way. You will stop on every island and enjoy its outstanding beauty and historical sites. Numerous marine caves, attractive forms of rocks and well-indented coast of islands formed by the constant influence of the sea are true natural attractions that will satisfy all nature lovers. After departure, you will pass by the Dubrovnik city walls from sea side, and then you will have a ride around the famous Dubrovnik reefs. The first island to be visited is Island Koločep, where you will take a break to relax, swim and explore the natural beauties of the Mediterranean sea caves. From Island Koločep (depending on weather conditions) you will continue towards St. Andrew's Island and visit the largest light house in southern Dalmatia. After St. Andrew's Island, you will continue towards Island Lopud that abounds with beautiful sandy beaches, pine and cypress parks, historical monuments and Medieval architecture. On the Island of Lopud you will visit the most famous sandy beach in southern Dalmatia named Šunj and stop for swim. Next on our way is Island Šipan where you will visit the famous castle Skočibuha in the settlement of Sudjuradj. In the late afternoon, return to Dubrovnik.
Day 8: Dubrovnik–Split–Hvar
This morning you will head back toward Split through the beautiful Makarska region. Upon arrival, drop off the car at the city depot. In the afternoon, we suggest a leisurely walk along the old town, by the beach, exploring small squares and city parks.
Day 9-10: Hvar Island
According to the Traveller magazine from 1997, what makes Hvar one of the most desirable vacation destinations and undoubtedly one of the ten most beautiful islands in the world is its untouched nature, a clear blue sky, crystal clear sea, lovely coves and beaches, scents and nuances of the picturesque lavender fields, vineyards, and olive groves, as well as numerous historical and cultural sights and hospitable locals. Spend your days soaking in the sun, people-watching and enjoying the great local food. We suggest a visit to the nearby islands of Pakleni for a nice swim and rest in the shade of a pine forest.
Day 11: Hvar Island–Split
After check-out take a speedboat back to Split and continue onward to the airport. Should you decide to extend your stay with visits to Zagreb and other parts of Croatia, we will be happy to modify the itinerary accordingly.
Please note: this is an itinerary suggestion and can be organised as a tour with a local guide through the complete programme. It can also be done as a self-drive or as an add-on to the programme for Slovenia. It can be modified, shortened or extended as per your wishes.