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Croatia island hopping: How to do Dalmatia in one week

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Hvar (Photo: Geio Tischler/Unsplash)

By Iva Šurjak

Whether it is all the boss will allow you off work, or you have a tight schedule, seven days is plenty of time to experience some amazing Croatian islands.

Croatia’s coast is dotted with a multitude of magnificent islands and islets, 1,244 to be precise. Croatia’s islands offer a great glimpse into the culture, cuisine and lifestyle of the Croatian people, as well as possessing some of the world’s most amazing beaches and nature.

With Croatia’s islands and islets encompass close to 6,000 kilometres of coastline, exploring them all is impossible in one week. You will need to come back a few times, which is not such a bad thing. So what to do in a week? This ultimate week-long island hopping trip will focus on Croatia’s Dalmatian islands after arriving in the city of Split on the coast.

Split (1 night)

Croatian island hopping: Dalmatia for a week

Split

Split is one of the most popular places to start a trip through Croatia’s coast as it is home to one of the country’s main airports and is located right on the coast. Split is also one of the oldest cities in the area.

Diocletian’s Palace

What to check out

Some attractions in Split worth checking out include Diocletian’s Palace, Marjan hill, the Cathedral of Saint Domnius, Ivan Meštrović Gallery and if sport is up your alley then Hajduk Split’s Poljud stadium is open for tours. There is also the magnificent waterfront lined with cafes to chill out at.

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Waterfront

Brač (1 night)

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Brač (Photo: Perica Oreskovic/Unsplash)

First island on the hop is the island of Brač. It is the third largest island in Croatia and is just over 50 km from Split. The island is best known for the white-pebble beach Zlatni Rat. The island’s tallest peak is Vidova gora, which stands at 780 m, making it the highest island point in the Adriatic.

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Zlatni Rat beach on the island of Brač

What to check out

A trip to Zlatni Rat beach in Bol is a must, as too is a climb up Vidova gora, which offers some spectacular views. The stunning Blaca Hermitage (Pustinja Blaca) eco-museum, located on the southern side of Brač, is well worth seeing, as too is the Supetar cemetery. Wine and olive oil tasting trips are also popular on the island.

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Blaca Hermitage (Photo: Kork/Public domain)

Transport: From Split you can catch the ferry to Brač (Bol)

Hvar (2 nights)

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Hvar

Hvar is just south of Brač and is one of the most popular islands in Croatia. Hvar has welcomed a stream of celebrities over the years and it is not hard to see why. An amazingly beautiful island with its own stunning secluded islands and coves.

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Hvar

What to check out

A walk up to the fortress is mandatory for the breathtaking views. It is also worth checking out the Pakleni islands in front of Hvar. Dubovica and Jagoda are other top spots, whilst Tvrdalj Castle in Stari Grad for those interested in history is worth a visit. Walking around the town of Hvar and soaking in the Mediterranean atmosphere is also cool.

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Tvrdalj in Stari Grad on Hvar (Photo credit: F.G./CC BY-SA 3.0)

Transport: You can reach Hvar from Brač (Bol) by taking a ferry

Korčula (2 nights)

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Korčula (Photo: Goran Ivos/Unsplash)

Next stop on the hop is Korčula. Named recently by the New York Times as one of the places to visit, Korčula is known as the home of Marco Polo. Korčula is also known for the medieval towers and walls fortifying its harbour. The central square features the 14th century Cathedral of St. Mark. There are also some gorgeous coves and beaches on the island.

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Korčula

What to check out

A walking tour of the old town, which will take in Marco Polo’s house and the famous Korčula Cathedral, is a must. If beaches are your thing then check out the amazing Pupnatska Luka cove, or the sand beach Przina in Lumbarda. There will likely also be a Moreška dance performance going on so if it is have a look.

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Pupnatska Luka (Photo: Falk2/CC BY-SA 3.0 de)

Korčula Old Town (Photo: Patricia Jekki)

Transport: You can reach Korčula from Hvar by taking a ferry 

Mljet (day trip)

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Mljet

Mljet is home to one of Croatia’s National Park’s. The Mljet National Park includes the western part of the island, Veliko jezero, Malo jezero, Soline Bay and a sea belt 500 m wide from the most prominent cape of Mljet covering an area of 54 km. The island of Mljet is mentioned around 950 by the Byzantine Emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogenitos.

What to check out

Since it is a day trip the best thing to do is check out Mljet National Park. You can buy tickets for the park at kiosks Pomena and Polače. From both villages you can walk or cycle to Malo Jezero and Veliko Jezero as no cars are allowed. There is a Benedictine monastery on an isle in the middle of Veliko Jezero too.

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Mljet (Photo: Ivan Bagic/Unsplash)

Transport: You can reach Mljet from Korčula by taking a return ferry

Dubrovnik (1 night)

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Dubrovnik

Although not an island this is the best place end the island hopping trip as Dubrovnik it is on the ferry route and is truly one of the most beautiful places to see in Croatia. Its distinctive Old Town, surrounded by 16th century stone walls, make it one of Europe’s most stunning destinations.

What to check out

A tour of the ancient city walls should be ticked off. If impressive architecture is your thing then check out the baroque St. Blaise Church, the Renaissance Sponza Palace and the Gothic Rector’s Palace, now a history museum. A stroll along the paved Stradun, which is lined with shops and restaurants, is a must, also taking a cable car up Mt. Srd for the view. For Game of Thrones fans there are tours of filming locations.

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Dubrovnik

Transport: You can reach Dubrovnik from Korčula by taking a ferry

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