Central Dalmatia is the most action-packed and diverse part of Croatia, with pretty islands, quiet ports, rugged mountains, numerous castles and an emerging culinary scene, as well as three Unesco World Heritage sites: Diocletian’s Palace in Split, the medieval walled town of Trogir and the ancient strip fields of the Stari Grad plain on the island of Hvar. Throughout it all, the rugged 1500m-high Dinaric Range provides a dramatic background.
Hot spots include the buzzing Mediterranean-flavoured city of Split and gorgeous little Hvar Town, where the cashed meet the trashed on the Adriatic's most glamorous party island. But if it's relaxation you're after, there are seductive sandy beaches and pebbly coves scattered about islands near and far.
Best of all, Dalmatia is usually warmer than Istria or the Kvarner Gulf. You can plunge into the crystalline Adriatic from the middle of May right up until the end of September.
- Diocletian’s Palace Discovering Split's ancient heart in Diocletian’s Palace, a quarter that buzzes day and night.
- Vis Savouring the food and beaches of one of Croatia’s remotest islands.
- Zlatni Rat Stretching out on Zlatni Rat, Croatia’s most photogenic beach, in the pretty town of Bol.
- Hvar Town Capping off endless beach days with sunset cocktails and back-lane boogie sessions.
- Biokovo Nature Park Hiking up dramatic peaks and enjoying views right across the Adriatic to far-off Italy.
- Trogir Taking in the remarkably preserved Romanesque and Renaissance architecture of this tiny World Heritage star.
- Brač Exploring the historic hamlets of the island's interior and the sleepy little towns scattered around the coast.
When to Go
May Sunny, less crowded, and the sea is already warm enough for swimming.
Jun–Aug The best weather and a full roster of festivities but overflowing with tourists.
Sep Come for warm seas and lower prices after the summer hordes have left.