||Central and Southern Dalmatia
Jun 01, 2023 - Jun 08, 2023
Sep 21, 2023 - Sep 28, 2023
|Single Supp Cost
Hiking Trip Summary
Croatia is a surprisingly impeccable blend of unique natural beauty, intriguing history, enduring culture and architecture, and irresistible authentic cuisine. Beginning in the vibrant capital city of Zagreb, this 8-day trip captures the essence of Croatia as we travel south through some of its most dramatically beautiful national parks and on to its legendary Dalmatian Coast.
Our 8-day Croatia's Dalmatian Coast Walking Tour will take us to the cascading emerald-green lakes and dazzling waterfalls of Plitvice National Park and to the karst canyons of Paklenica National Park. Arriving at the coast, we will stroll the narrow, marbled streets of the seaside medieval village of Zadar, and explore Split’s Roman ruins and historic old town.
We'll immerse ourselves in island life, traveling to the archipelago of Kornati National Park and then onto the islands of Hvar and Vis. Exploring the trails on and waterways around these islands, we'll learn about their natural, cultural and local history. We'll walk long white pebbled beaches and through medieval villages. We'll have lunch with local artists, taste the locally-produced wines and discover hidden caves with natural swimming holes. Not only will we experience the rhymes of Mediterranean life, but we'll feel how history has washed over these islands.
At the end of each day, we’ll return to our comfortable hotel or island guesthouse with time to relax and enjoy an evening meal of locally-sourced specialties. Join us for this one-of-a-kind journey through the best of Croatia's Dalmatian Coast!
Day 1: Zagreb – Plitvice Lakes National Park - Zadar
Independent travel to Croatia. Our trip will officially begin at 9 am at the Zagreb Sheraton Hotel. After gathering as a group, we’ll have a trip briefing over a morning coffee before heading to Plitvice Lakes National Park, a UNESCO Heritage Site. This is Croatia’s oldest National Park, known for its magnificent waterfalls and cascading lakes. The park boasts over 1200 plant species, including 50 orchid varieties, as well as a plethora of birds and animals. Our 2- to 3-hour trek will take us along a wooden walkway that connects 16 lakes and leads to a magnificent 200’ waterfall.
We’ll finish the day in the charming seaside UNESCO town of Zadar. Walking the streets of the old town reveals vestiges of architecture dating back to the Venetian and Roman eras. Zadar is also famous for its “Sea Organs,” an experimental musical instrument integrated into modern architecture. Tubes located underneath a set of large marble steps play music as the sea waves splash into them. Lunch, Dinner.
Day 2: Zadar – Paklenica National Park – Kornati Islands
In the morning, we’ll transfer to Paklenica Canyon and National Park, a world-renowned rock climbing area. A well-maintained trail will lead us to the Paklenica Hut, passing Anica Kuk Cliff, the largest cliff in the Velebit and considered by some to be the most spectacular rock formation in Croatia! As we walk through the narrowest part of Velika Paklenica Canyon, we’ll come across once-secret bunkers built by the Yugoslav Army during the Cold War as protection in the event of nuclear war.
In the afternoon we’ll board a ferry to Dugi Otok island, our base for exploring the Kornati archipelago National Park. Comprised of 89 islands and reefs, this is the densest archipelago in the Mediterranean. Arguably, Kornati offers one of the best marine landscapes in the world. Our base for the next 2 nights will be a private guesthouse in a small fishing town of Sali, where the owners will spoil us with their rich Mediterranean cuisine of daily fresh-caught seafood. Breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Day 3: Kornati Islands National Park & Telašćica National Park
George Bernard Shaw, when he visited this part of the Adriatic Sea in 1929 proclaimed, “On the last day of the Creation, God desired to crown his work and thus created the Kornati islands out of tears, stars and breath.”
It is most likely that the derivation of Kornati Islands’ name comes from the Latin word corrimare, meaning scattered islands. This archipelago of islands, islets, and reefs, known also as the “nautical paradise,” offers timeless natural beauty, with an exceptionally rich and protected underwater world, picturesque cliffs, dry stone walls, and peaks that offer spectacular 360° viewpoints. Exploring the Kornati Islands by private boat, we’ll learn about their natural and cultural heritage, about their cultivation of olives, honey, and karst sheep pastures, and about what it takes to be a Kurnatar, a true inhabitant of these islands.
In terms of hiking, we climb to the highest point of Big Kornat Island for astonishing views over the archipelago. The icing on the cake will be our sunset hike to the viewpoint on Dugi Otok island where we'll enjoy views over the salt lake of Telascica National Park. Breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Day 4: Krka National Park – Split – Hvar island
In an early morning departure, we’ll leave the Kornati Islands and head to Krka National Park, located in the middle-lower course of the Krka River in central Dalmatia. Over centuries, coursing its way through the limestone rock that lies between the Dinaric Mountains and the sea, the Krka River has created a delightfully beautiful landscape of deep gorges, crystal ponds, and terraced waterfalls. We will walk the more inland reaches of the park and follow a series of wooden walkways to Skradin buk, a riot of 17 waterfalls that descend from a height of almost 160 feet.
In the afternoon, we’ll continue to the UNESCO-designated old city center of Split, which is one of the most magnificent Dalmatian towns and dates back to Roman days. We’ll have time for a short walk through ancient Roman ruins of Diocletian’s Palace before boarding a ferry to the island of Hvar.
The sunniest of Croatia’s islands, Hvar is regarded as the most beautiful island in the region. Influenced by ancient Greeks, Romans, and later on by the Venetians, this is an island of aromatic herbs, dramatic landscapes, emerald coves, and picturesque villages with surprisingly beautiful architecture. Breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Day 5: Explore Hvar island
Departing directly from our hotel in the town of Hvar, our walk will take us along a white pebble beach perfect for a morning dip. Arriving at the seaside village of Milna, we’ll head inland to explore small medieval hamlets where locals still live the slow Mediterranean pace of life. With luck, in the now deserted stone village of Malo Grablje, we might find Berti, a local icon and the last descendant of a once-mighty Tudor clan whose herbal spirits have become a legend. Continuing to the village of Velo Grablje, which was once one of the largest producers of rosemary oil, we’ll meet our friend Marinka. A local artist whose house is an open-air gallery surrounded by fig trees, Marinka will offer us a delicious lunch with ingredients right from her organic vegetable and herb gardens.
Hvar is known for Plavac wine, a top-quality red wine native to the Dalmatia region and said to be a ‘father’ of Zinfandel. The afternoon treats us to a boutique wine tasting at the nearby town of Jelsa, leaving us time to enjoy the beach before dinner. Breakfast, lunch. Dinner on your own.
Day 6: Hvar island – Vis island
This morning we’ll meet our local guide, Carmen, for a walking tour of the town of Hvar. As Carmen regales us with the richness of Hvar’s local history, we’ll take in the town’s atmosphere as we wander small cobbled alleys adorned with bougainvillea, admire the old Venetian architecture, stroll the cafe-lined main square in front of the Venetian loggia, and breathe in the aromas of lavender and sage being sold from stalls overlooking the harbor. Our walk concludes in a beautiful Habsburg garden where Carmen, the island’s only licensed and formally-educated aromatherapist, describes the process of making the aromatic oils for which the town is so famous.
In the afternoon, after time to explore and have lunch on your own, our adventure continues to the most pristine part of Dalmatia and for many local sailors, the most intriguing and beautiful island of all, Vis. Once closed to foreign tourists as part of the former Yugoslavia, Vis offers a peek at a more untouched corner of the Mediterranean. Our day ends in the beautiful town of Vis. Breakfast, dinner. Lunch on your own.
Day 7: Explore the Island of Vis
Vis is an island of captivating natural beauty and intriguing history. The island is a big producer of carob and is also known for its good wines and fine brandies. During WWII, Vis was home to an important airstrip for the Allies transporting wounded pilots back from the Balkans.
Our day will be spent exploring the many facets of the island. We’ll hike up Mt Hum, the highest point on the island and the location of Tito’s cave, a secret stronghold where the partisan leader, and then president of Yugoslavia, was hiding until the end of the WWII. We’ll then visit the local winemaker and enjoy a scenic hike to the secret cove of Stiniva, where a 12-foot entrance from the sea brings us to a natural swimming pool surrounded by high cliffs. In the afternoon we’ll visit the local village where they still breed donkeys, once an important work animal in Dalmatia. Our last stop will be the small but rustically beautiful settlement of Komiza on the sea. An old fishing port dating back to the 12th century, a cluster of 17th and 18th-century buildings grace the harbor. Breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Day 8: Ferry back to Split – end of the tour
Unfortunately, every fairy tale has to end. We return to Split via the ferry, arriving late morning.
If you wish to have your own room, there is a single supplement charge. Please let us know if you would like a single at the time of registration. If you are traveling alone and would like to share a room, we will match you with a roommate. If there is no one with whom you can share, there is a charge of $500 for this “forced” single.
- All accommodations - 5 nights in 4* hotels, 2 nights in private guesthouse
- All breakfasts
- 6 picnic lunches
- 6 dinners
- Transportation as outlined in the itinerary
- National Park entrance fees
- Guided walking tours
- Wine tasting
- Great hiking and terrific memories!
Airfare, 2 lunches, 1 dinner, optional/individual transfers or excursions, items not on set dinner menu, beverages, tips to guides, insurance, items of a personal nature.
We will stay in several different locations. As our luggage will be transferred from location to location along with the group, you will only need to carry a daypack during our walks. We still encourage our trip members to bring a medium-sized bag they can manage easily by themselves, given that our accommodations may have narrow hallways and no elevators. See our sample packing list.
ACCOMMODATIONS AND FACILITIES
Accommodations: All accommodations for our Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast trip, with the exception of nights in the Kornati Islands, will be comfortable 4-star hotels. In the Kornati islands, our accommodation will be a private villa. Rooms will be double occupancy with private facilities. A limited number of single, private rooms will be available at a supplemental cost.
The trip will begin in the city of Zagreb and end in the city of Split. Both cities are serviced by nearby airports. It is possible to book flights into Zagreb and out of Split.
WHO WOULD LIKE THIS TRIP?
The Dalmatian Coast is renowned for its exquisite natural and architectural beauty and, despite the increase in travel to this corner of Europe, it remains relatively unspoiled compared to other Mediterranean destinations. This is a wonderful trip for those who enjoy a balance between being active and spending time in some of the area’s more beautiful and historically significant sites. The inviting mildness of Dalmatia’s mid-September climate also provides a welcome extension of summer.
This trip officially begins at the Zagreb Sheraton Hotel in the city of Zagreb at 9:00 am on Day 1. Your guide will meet you for a morning orientation before heading to Plitvice Lakes National Park and then onto the town of Zadar. While it may be possible to fly into Zagreb the morning of Day 1, we recommend you arrive at least the day before. We are happy to provide a list of recommended hotels and/or assist in booking extra nights.
The trip will end in Split, the evening of Day 8.
Please contact us for a more detailed itinerary, more information, or to register. We're also happy to supply a list of past participants willing to share honest insights into this guided Dalmation Coast Walking Tour experience.
Reserving This Trip
A deposit of $500 along with your completed registration forms will reserve a space on your requested trip. We accept MasterCard, Visa, and American Express card as well as personal checks. To make a deposit, you may either follow one of the “Reserve a Trip” links below, give us a call at 1-888-845-5781, or include your payment information in the
area provided when completing your registration forms.
The balance is due 75 days prior to departure for most of our trips. When applying less than 75 days prior to departure, full payment is due. For final payments, we accept MasterCard, Visa, and American Express, as well as personal checks.
As confirmation of receipt of your deposit, we will send you a comprehensive packet of information pertaining to your trip, an invoice for final payment and additional information including release agreement form, medical information form, travel information, and packing list. Upon receipt of final payment and no later than 30 days prior to your trip start, you will receive trip rendezvous information and a list of accommodations. Returning trip participants will receive a 5% discount on most trips.
Receipt of all forms will finalize your registration.