Introduction

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.