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The Dalmatian Coast, Croatia

The Dalmatian Coast

Dalmatia

Map of the Istrian Peninsula

Map of Dalmatia

This part of Croatia forms the extreme south of the country and is a thin strip of land becoming ever narrower the further south that you travel.

This in turn can be further divided up into:

Essentially, this part of Croatia is all about the many islands and the narrow strip of coast. There are 79 islands in all. The Dinaric Alps run along the entire coast and they gradually come to an end towards the tip of this region.

Dalmatian Islands and islets

Islands and islets off the Dalmatian coast.

North Dalmatia

North Dalmatia, Zadar & Šibenik County

Sometimes overlooked as a holiday destination in favour of the more famous resorts and islands further down the coast, the North Dalmatian region has much to offer visitors. The area contains the beautiful coastal towns of Zadar and Šibenik as well as a number of natural attractions.

North Dalmatia comprises of:
Zadar County
and of
Šibenik County.

Zadar County

The town of Zadar, North Dalmatia

The town of Zadar, Dalmatia

Zadar County is the northern most region of Dalmatia.

Sea-organ on Zadar beach

Sea-organ on Zadar beach

The town of Zadar

Zadar the town is a respectable rival to the much larger and famous Dubrovnik in the south. An ancient town, built on an isle connected to the mainland.

Zadar County includes the southern part of the island of Pag and has several national parks and natural areas, most most renowned being the Paklenica National Park situated along two impressive canyons.

The Kornati Islands National Park
The Kornati Islands, Zadar County, North Dalmatia

The Kornati Islands, Zadar County, North Dalmatia

The Kornati Isles are the wildest archipelago of islands of Croatia, consisting of about 147 isles and rocks, most of them unpopulated.

The Paklenica National Park
The Paklenica National Park, Zadar County, North Dalmatia

The Paklenica National Park

The park was established in 1949 and is Croatia’s second oldest national park, in the wake of the older Plitvice Lakes National Park (another must see!) in Northern Dalmatia.

Situated in the southern part of the Velebit mountain range, running from the highest peaks to the sea. There are two impressive canyons, Velika Paklenica and Mala Paklenica, a multitude of unusual karst formations, a number of caves and the flora and fauna of the park is rich and diverse.

Properties for sale in and around Zadar

Šibenik County

The town of Šibenik, North Dalmatia

The town of Šibenik, Dalmatia

The town of Šibenik, North Dalmatia

The town of Šibenik, Dalmatia

The town of Šibenik

The town of Šibenik, not as famous a Dubrovnik , Split or Zadar, possesses a strong personality and charm of its own. Šibenik’s cathedral, dating back to 1434, is one of the marvels of the Dalmatian Coast.

In the old quarter of the town, St. Jakov Cathedral lies just below the castle ramparts. Old cobbled streets lead to charming squares where modern fashionable shop windows somehow merge in harmoniously with the noble and elegant architecture of the centuries gone by.

St.Jakov Cathedral, Šibenik, North Dalmatia

St.Jakov Cathedral, Šibenik, North Dalmatia

 
The Krka National Park
Krka National Park, Šibenik County, North Dalmatia

Krka National Park, Šibenik County, North Dalmatia

Visovac, Monastery Island, Krka National Park, North Dalmatia

Visovac, Monastery Island, Krka National Park

The National Park of Krka is one of the natural wonders of Croatia, 15 minutes south of Šibenik in the direction of Kin, and should not be missed.

The Krka National Park covers an area of 111 km2.

The karstic terrain of the national park is full of porous rock through which the Krka river has carved lakes, cascades and caverns. It's a truly remarkable site and one of Croatia's eight national parks.

In the south of the park is the river Krka with a series of spectacular cascading waterfalls.

Plitvice Lake National Park, North Dalmatia

Plitvice Lake National Park, North Dalmatia

Properties for sale in and around Šibenik

Central Dalmatia

Central Dalmatia, Splitsko-Dalmatinska (Split-Dalmacija)

This area, known locally as Splitsko-Dalmatinska (Split-Dalmacija), extends from Trogir to Ploce in the southeast on the mainland. It also covers the islands of Solta, Brac, Hvar and Vis. This is one of the most popular tourist areas on the Croatian coast, so, for convenience, we have divided into four sub-regions:

Central Dalmatia comprises of:
The Trogir & Kaštela Rivieras
The Split & Omis Rivieras
The Makarska Riviera
Hvar, Brac, Vis & Islands.

The Trogir & Kaštela Rivieras

The town of Trogir
Trogir, Central Dalmatia

Trogir, Split-Dalmacija, Central Dalmatia

Trogir, Central Dalmatia

Trogir, Central Dalmatia

Trogir is listed in the register of UNESCO’s World Cultural Heritage sites but is by no means a museum town. Today Trogir is a lively, vibrant, town with pleasant cafes and restaurants and the most fantastic fish market. The bays around Trogir hide beaches offering repose for both body and soul.

The beautiful mediaeval town of Trogir is also a very popular tourist destination so the best time to explore this ancient town is early in the morning, or out of season if possible.

Kamerlengo Castle, Trogir, Central Dalmatia

Kamerlengo Castle, Trogir

 

One can well understand why Croatian, Italian and German film makers come to Trogir to shoot their films. Its cathedral is one of the most beautiful in Croatia.

Yes; the winding streets enclosed by tall stone houses, the castle guarding the harbor do conjure up memories of valiant knights and fair ladies.

The Kaštela Riviera
Kaštel Gomilica, Central Dalmatia

Kaštel Gomilica, Central Dalmatia

Kastela Castle, Central Dalmatia

Kastela Castle, The Kaštela Riviera, Central Dalmatia

The Kaštela Riviera has welcomed guests for more than a hundred years. In the region between Trogir and Split, at the foot of the karst hills, there is a collection of impressive fortresses spread over seven settlements that date back to and before the middle ages.

Built by the nobles of Trogir and Split, to fend off the “Turkish menace”, these fortified homes are surrounded by stone walls and some even have working draw-bridges.

Kaštel Lukšić, Central Dalmatia

Kaštel Lukšić, The Kaštela Riviera,

 

Each castle of course has its own story or legend.

There are many natural wonders and excursions in the region like the old olive orchard of Stafilic castle, with 1500 trees, the Vranjaca cave, the Jadro river and the fortress at Klis.

There is plenty of heritage and old Dalmatian stone charm, and the hordes have yet to discover the Riviera, making it an ideal place to enjoy the tranquility of a quiet Dalmatian holiday by the sea.


The Split & Omis Rivieras

The Split Riviera (Splitsko-Dalmatinska), incorporates the city of Split, the seaside resorts of Podstrana, and Solin, the old Roman town of Salona.

This region is steeped in history and is one of the most fascinating areas in Croatian archaeologically.

Split, Central Dalmatia

Split, Central Dalmatia

The City of Split
Split, Central Dalmatia

Split, Central Dalmatia

Courtyard, Diocletian's Palace, Split, Central Dalmatia

Courtyard, Diocletian's Palace, Split

Split is one of the universally recognized jewels of the Adriatic and is the cultural and economic hub of Central Dalmatia.

The city that grew out of the Palace of the Roman Emperor Diocletian, built around 300 AD, where nearly 3000 inhabitants have been installed for 1700 years.

Today, Split is a place where ancient times live alongside the rhythm of the twentieth century.

Diocletian's Palace by night, Split, Central Dalmatia

Diocletian's Palace by night

Split’s St. Dujmo Cathedral

Sandwiched between Diocletian’s Mausoleum and the Forum, Split Cathedral was constructed in the 13th century.

Via a spiral stone staircase one can climb to the top of the tower and enjoy a spectacular view of Split.

The Omis Riviera
The Omis Riviera, Central Dalmatia

The Omis Riviera, Central Dalmatia

The Omis Riviera, Central Dalmatia

The Omis Gorge, Central Dalmatia

 

Omis is a small town which lies at the mouth of the beautiful emerald-green Cetina River. (more about the Cetina River below)

Steep rock faces tower above either side of the town which is located in front pf the deep ravine gauged out by the river - visually this makes for a very dramatic setting.

During the latter phase of the Ottoman occupation the port of Omis was actually a kind of pirate state.

Although buccaneering is just a faded memory today, Omis still has a very strong boating tradition. Some beautiful boats are still built there some can be seen lined up along the quays.

The Cetina River, Central Dalmatia

The Cetina River, The Omis Riviera, Central Dalmatia

Rafting, Cetina River, Central Dalmatia

Whitewater-Rafting on the Cetina River

The Cetina River is a great source of attraction for many visitors, not least for its beauty and its wildlife. It is also a first-class trout river and provides superb kayaking and white water rafting opportunities.

At the mouth of the river, in Omis, there are numerous boat hire centers and offers of boat trip up the river with lunch at a riverside restaurant further upstream.

The estuary of the Cetina River created a giant sandbank that today forms the sandy Punta Beach in Omis.

Punta Beach, The Omis Riviera, Central Dalmatia

Punta Beach, Omis, Central Dalmatia

For details on theatre festivals & open-air extravaganzas, the summertime trademarks of Split, please view our specific Split page.


The Makarska Riviera

Makarska Beach, The Makarska Riviera, Central Dalmatia

Makarska Beach, The Makarska Riviera, Central Dalmatia

The Makarska Riviera, Central Dalmatia, Splitsko-Dalmatinska (Split-Dalmacija)

 
The Makarska Riviera is one of the most visited and well established holiday destinations in Croatia, not least because it has more beaches than anywhere else....
 

Makarska Riviera Sunset, Central Dalmatia

Sunset, The Makarska Riviera, Central Dalmatia

Makarska Riviera, Central Dalmatia

The Makarska Riviera, Central Dalmatia

...it stretches from Brela in the north to Gradac in the south, a sixty kilometer chain of unexploited and unspoiled towns and little fishing villages nestled amongst dark green cypresses and pines.

The beaches on the Makarska Riviera are particularly beautiful. They are clean, are well surveyed. Most beaches are encompassed by pine forests - very convenient if you‘re seeking a bit of shade. Specially built promenades connect all the different little resorts along the coast.

The town of Makarska
The town of Makarska, Central Dalmatia

The town of Makarska, Makarska Riviera, Central Dalmatia

The town of Makarska, Makarska Riviera, Central Dalmatia

Makarska

The town presents one of the most dramatic natural settings in Croatia.

Makarska is bordered on one side by the turquoise Adriatic sea and on the other side by the cliff faces of Biokovo, the highest Mediterranean coastal mountain (1762 m).

Makarska itself is a lively town with a superb pedestrian center full of chic shops, restaurants and bars with a maze of ancient streets and squares paved in white flagstones.

Festivals and carnivals take place all year round in Makarska; starting each year with Mardi Gras in February.

The town center of Makarska, Central Dalmatia

The town of center Makarska, Makarska Riviera, Central Dalmatia

North of Makarska
Baska Voda, Makarska Riviera, Central Dalmatia

Baska Voda, Makarska Riviera, Central Dalmatia

To the north of Makarska are the resorts of Krvavica, Bratus, Promajna, Baska Voda and Brela.

Baska Voda Beach, Makarska Riviera, Central Dalmatia

Baska Voda Beach

All are worth a visit but one can note Baska Voda & Brela for their quiet marinas and superb restaurants, and both are particularly well known for their beautiful idyllic coves and white beaches.

Baska Voda is a charming little resort which, like Makarska, has the imposing Biokovo mountain as a backdrop. It has a marina, a seafront promenade lined with palm trees and a wealth of cafes and restaurants.

Baska Voda Beach, Makarska Riviera, Central Dalmatia

Baska Voda at night

One of Baska Voda‘s biggest attractions is its beaches, which lie either side of the marina, a stone‘s throw from the cafes and restaurants. Baska Voda is a very popular watering whole for local people as well as holiday makers so is a lively town all year round.

It is well worth considering a visit to Baska Voda during off-peak season times, the weather can be very agreeable even in February.

Brela Beach, Makarska Riviera, Central Dalmatia

Brela Beech, Makarska Riviera

Brela is the next village down from Baska Voda and it is one of the oldest beach resorts on the Dalmatian Coast.

The old village itself is actually very small but the resort is made up of 7 km of uninterrupted white beaches and coves with a pine tree lined promenade running along its whole length. Despite its popularity the natural beauty of the Brela coastline has not been spoilt.

The Brela Stone, Zlatni rat beach, Makarska Riviera

The Brela Stone, Zlatni rat beach, Makarska Riviera

The above photograph of the Brela landmark (or seamark!) known as the Brela stone - a rock that long ago stumbled from Biokovo into the sea and is now covered with pine trees is located off the Zlatni rat beach . It has become the icon representing Croatian tourism. In 2004, American magazine “Forbes” proclaimed it the most beautiful beach in Europe.


South of Makarska
Živogošće, Makarska Riviera

Živogošće, Makarska Riviera

Tucepi Beach, Makarska Riviera

Tucepi Beach, Makarska Riviera

To the south of Makarska are the coastal resorts of Tucepi, with its beautiful long stretch of white beach.

Podgora, with its lovely quiet marina.

Drasnice, Igrane, Živogošće and Drvenik, from where one can get a ferry to the island of Hvar.

Furthermost south are Zaostrog, standing amidst pine trees and olive groves, and Gradac, the second largest town on the Makarskan Riviera after Makarska.

Zaostrog beach, Makarska Riviera

Zaostrog beach, Makarska Riviera


Brac, Hvar, Vis & Islands

Dalmatian Islands map

The Croatian Adriatic has an excellent reputation for mixing modern chic with classic Mediterranean tradition. This is especially so in regard to the Dalmatian islands.

With the exception of a few - inevitable - resort settlements, local tourism has avoided megalomaniac corporate development.

Instead, developing a contemporary boutique approach to hotels, restaurants and yachting marinas that goes hand in hand with a much older holiday culture of private accommodation and local food and wine.

The island of Brac
Brac: Zlanti-Rat peninsular beach

Brac: Zlanti-Rat peninsular beach

Scuba-diving off Brac

Scuba-diving off Brac

Less than an hour by ferry from Split or Makarska, Brac is the third biggest island on the Croatian Coast and the biggest of Dalmatia. There are many resorts on Brac, such as Supetar, Milna, Postira & Pucisca which are beautiful little ports, and most famous of all, Bol, which is home to the Zlanti Rat peninsular beach, used in so many publicity shots.

Many holiday activities are available on the island, including scuba diving, paragliding & wind surfing.

The island of Hvar
Stari-Grad in the island of Hvar

Stari-Grad in the island of Hvar

Zavala beach, Havar

Zavala beach, Havar

Hvar is perfect for peaceful living and rest and it’s hard to say what is most beautiful about the island, its welcoming breath or its history.

The town of Hvar is exceptionally beautiful, enough to seduce Hollywood stars such as Brad Pitt, Sharon Stone & Steven Spielberg, who said that Hvar was the most beautiful island in the world.

Other resorts on the island are Stari Grad, Jelsa & Sucuraj, all charming little ports.

The island of Vis
Srebrena cove on the island of Vis

Srebrena cove on the island of Vis

Modra Spilja - blue cave on the island of Vis

Modra Spilja, Island of Vis

Vis is Croatia’s most distant island and a tourist oasis of untouched beauty.

It produces some of the best olives, figs, almonds and lemons in Croatia. It is said that nowhere in the Mediterranean can you eat such tasty fish and lobster, prepared the same way as the ancient Vis fishermen used to do.

Nearby is the famous Modra Spilja, the famous underwater blue cave.

The island of Vis

South Dalmatia

South Dalmatia, Zadar & Šibenik County

South Dalmatia, consists of just Dubrovnik - Neretva County.

It is separated from the rest of Croatia by a 4 km long stretch of Bosnian coast around Neum. Although there are border check points across the gap there are no restrictions of passage.

There is more to the region than just Dubrovnik; it also includes the Peljesac Peninsula, the islands of Korcula and Mljet.

Dubrovnik - Neretva County

Trupica boat, Neretva River delta

Trupica boat, Neretva River delta

Elaphite-Islands, Dubrovnik-Neretva County

Elaphite-Islands, Dubrovnik-Neretva County

Neretva County is a relatively narrow coastal area, the Neretva river delta with its coastline and a series of islands just off the mainland.

The most significant islands in South Dalmatia are Korčula, Mljet, Lastovo and those in the Elaphite archipelago.

The cities in the county are: Dubrovnik, Korčula, Ploče, Metković and Opuzen .

The center of the county and its capital is the city of Dubrovnik.

Dubrovnik and  Fort-Lovrijenac

Dubrovnik and Fort-Lovrijenac or is it Kings Landing in "Game of Thrones"?

Dubrovnik-Pile Gate

Pile Gate, Dubrovnik

 

The city of Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik, said to be one of the most beautiful towns in Europe, is surrounded by ramparts that were built in the 16th century, with churches, palaces, monuments, monasteries and museums that could take years to fully explore.

However, Dubrovnik is far from being a museum city.

Dubrovnik - city streets

Dubrovnik - city streets

The old town is a maze of streets paved with white flagstones, which, over the centuries have been buffed to a shine by people’s feet. There are long narrow allies with hundreds of steps descending from the ramparts, with bars, shops and galleries on either side.

Entry cars to the old town of Dubrovnik is proscribed. However there is ample parking space provided outside the ramparts.

Dubrovnik - iconic panorama

Dubrovnik - iconic panorama

Beautiful and preserved medieval Korcula, Croatia

Beautiful and well preserved medieval Korcula

Žitna Beach, Žitna Bay, Korcula

Žitna Beach, Žitna Bay, Korcula

Korčula

Korčula is an island off the mainland's Pelješac peninsula and the town (also named Korcula) is another one of Croatia’s jewels.

The town of Korčula, in the northeast of the South Dalmatian island of Korčula, is among the most beautiful and best preserved medieval towns on the Croatian coast and in all of the Mediterranean, and is justly referred to as “Little Dubrovnik.”

Mljet National Park, Dalmatia

Mljet National Park
The above picture published with courtesy of: Yacht-Rent - Yacht Charter Croatia.

The island of Mljet, Dalmatia

The island of Mljet, Dalmatia

Mljet National Park

Mljet is an island south-west of Dubrovnik. The western part of the island is a National Park with two deep bays which are referred to as lakes because of their very narrow outlets to the sea.

With lush and diverse Mediterranean vegetation, the park also has valuable Antique monuments and a 13th century Benedictine monastery set upon an islet in the centre of the lake.

Mljet National Park, Dalmatia

Mljet National Park

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