The best of Croatia

Explore the sparkling seas, medieval towns and rich culture of Croatia with a guide to our favourite ports of call along the Dalmatian coast

Dubrovnik: the Pearl of the Adriatic

‘Those who seek paradise on Earth should come to Dubrovnik.’ The words of George Bernard Shaw, who dubbed the city ‘the pearl of the Adriatic’, ring true. Arriving in the UNESCO World Heritage city, visitors cannot fail to be wowed by the vibrant colours of the ancient city rising from the sea. Be dazzled by rich terracotta roofs, gleaming white city walls, lush green foliage and the sapphire blue waters of the Adriatic.

Dubrovnik’s main claim to fame is its fantastic city walls. Dating back to the 9th century, the walls were built to protect the city from the Turks and now enclose a pedestrian-only old town. Wander round the city’s marbled streets on a Best of Dubrovnik shore experience or get a bird’s-eye view of the city from the cable car, which travels from the city walls up to the top of Srd Hill in under four minutes.

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Split: World Heritage awaits

Croatia is not lacking in historical sites, with ramparts and medieval walls being a familiar site to many of the towns and cities. The port of Split, the second largest city in Croatia, does not fail to deliver on this – Diocletian’s Palace, built at the turn of the 4th century, forms the heart of the old town and is one of the best-preserved Roman palaces in Europe.

Wander the pedestrianised streets of the town centre on a walking tour, pop into a konoba (wine cellar) for a taste of the local tipples, or explore natural beauty and wonder at the power of the waterfalls in Krka National Park.

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Hvar: the lavender-scented isle

Croatia is made up of more than a thousand islands, but Hvar is one of the most famous. Experience the Croatian Riviera to the max in Hvar Town, where the rich and famous flock to its marble streets. The capital’s yachts, cool cocktail bars and shimmering waters make this a fashionable hotspot in summer.

But this pretty island has much more to offer outside of the capital’s walls. Purple fields of lavender, vast olive groves, lush pine forests, fruit orchards and vineyards make up the landscape of this fertile island. Explore the lay of the land on one of the mountain bike or hiking shore experiences, or view the landscape from a different perspective on a sea kayaking shore experience.

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Korcula: seeking seclusion

The reputed birthplace of famed explorer Marco Polo, Korcula is an island brimming with history and natural beauty. Like much of Croatia, 14th-century walls surround Korcula’s medieval old town, with many narrow lanes branching off the main street providing a cool and shady retreat from the heat of the summer sun. But the real beauty lies in the secluded coves and beaches dotted around the island’s rim, where you can gather your thoughts and relax in the beautiful surroundings.

Explore what the island has to offer and sample some local wines with the Charming Korcula shore experience or relax on a cruise around Korcula’s archipelago of 20 islands.