Lake-studded mountains, golden sandy beaches and sweeping Adriatic views characterise the overwhelming natural beauty of Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast. The Dalmatian Coast feels lost in time, with medieval villages retaining their stone walls and drawbridges from centuries past. Yet traditional fishing villages now sit next to world-class boutique resorts, and the city of Split boasts a buzzing nightlife and thriving art scene. If you’re looking for a beach holiday in 2018 / 2019 that offers more than meets the eye, the Dalmatian Coast might be the place for you.
You can visit two UNESCO World Heritage sites here, including the Diocletian Palace in Split as well as the medieval settlement of Trogir. The Dinaric Mountains loom overhead, providing lots of rugged walking trails, while secluded and trendy beaches alike can be found all along the coast. After dark, the area’s resorts spring to life with yacht parties, nightclubs and open-air restaurants. From wine tasting to scuba diving, there are activities to suit all tastes in this glamorous coastal hotspot.
Flights to Croatia are cheap, the hotels, whether all inclusive or self catering, are accommodating and as luxurious as you like. With our top deals on cheap holidays to the Dalmatian Coast, how can you go wrong?
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Split is Central Dalmatia’s largest settlement and an ideal base for travel around the region. It was founded in 295 AD by the Roman emperor Diocletian. Diocletian’s Palace occupies the city’s core, with a sprawling complex of amazingly preserved Roman architecture. The very narrow streets were once the corridors of the Diocletian Palace.
Climb the central bell tower of the Cathedral of St Domnius in Split to gain a bird’s eye view of the city, or visit nearby Sibenik to explore the astounding architecture of the Cathedral of St James. Stop off at Brela, an enchanting village in the Biokovo Mountains, or relax on the colourful pebbled beaches of Makarska.
While holidays to the Dalmatian Coast are a dream come true for any architecture enthusiast, those who prefer the great outdoors have a wealth of national parks to explore. Go inland to hike through the wooded trails and waterfalls of Plitvice Lakes National Park, or take a boat to the Kornati Islands to navigate a cluster of azure-tinted underwater coves. Snorkelling, diving, and mountain biking are just a few of the key activities here.
The resorts of Tucepi, Brela and Makarska (plus the island of Hvar if you fancy some island hopping) are fantastic alternatives to the busy Split. These family-friendly resorts, we especially like Makarska, are ideal for a chilled-out beach holiday on the Dalmatian Coast. Plus, the majestic city of Dubrovnik is further down coast, for those who want to extend their stay in Croatia.
The flavours of the Dalmatian Coast are seasonal and fresh and there’s lots of colourful produce. The Adriatic serves as rich inspiration for local gastronomy, and you’ll be able to taste the very freshest catch of the day on your Central Dalmatia holidays. Visit bustling fruit and vegetable markets in Split to see what’s in season, and you’ll likely see the same produce represented on the menu of the day in local cafes. Residents adhere to the classic Mediterranean diet, complemented with fruity olive oil and full-bodied wine. Up and down the Dalmatian Coast, in the resorts of Tucepi, Brela and Makarska, you'll find dozens of fantastic restaurants serving up Croatia's delicious seafood.
You’ll find no shortage of dining outlets wherever you travel in this region, but there’s a high concentration of high-quality restaurants in sophisticated Split. Head to Bokeria for Croatian tapas, a prime location to see and be seen. On Hvar Island, you can taste traditional pastries scented with local lavender and sage, as well as freshly prepared fig jam and orange preserves at the Nonica bakery. And for a true treat, Pojoda on Vis Island is widely renowned for providing some of the most expertly prepared seafood in the entire Adriatic.
Blue Flag beaches, imposing castles and hiking trails for all levels make Dalmatian Coast holidays a good fit for families. Your little prince or princess will enjoy touring the villages in this region, with their real-life fortresses straight out of a fairy tale.
After exploring Diocletian’s Palace in Split, take the little ones down the coast to the Makarska Riviera to build their own sandcastles. Most of the towns along the coastline offer promenades set back from the water’s edge, making them safe for the most unpredictable toddlers to navigate.
Older teens will enjoy a visit to Split or Hvar, with their trendy cafes and premium shopping outlets. Dining out on the Dalmatian Coast is very family friendly, with most restaurants offering children’s portions upon request and a selection of pasta dishes. There’s also a wide range of family-oriented resorts, with kids’ clubs, play areas, and babysitting on hand.
From exploring shipwrecks in the depths of the Adriatic to trekking through ancient pine forests, there are plenty of ways to immerse yourself in the great outdoors. Dalmatian Coast holidays are popular with sailing enthusiasts, and you’ll see multimillion dollar yachts parked in the sleek marinas here. There are boats to hire at all price points, whether you wish to get out on the water in a humble sea kayak or yearn for greater luxury. Scuba diving, snorkelling and swimming are all action-packed ways to spend your days in this sun-kissed stretch of coastline.
Take a ferry across the water to the island of Vis. Its mountainous interior offers plenty of heart-pounding walks, giving way to spectacular views at each summit. From here, you can take a boat trip to the smaller islet Bisevo, which is known for its Blue Grotto. Approach this mysterious grotto at midday to experience an ethereal blue lighting effect.
From coarse gravel to powder-white sand, the beaches are dramatically varied. During your holidays on the Dalmatian Coast, you can go island hopping to find your perfect shore. One of the most popular islands is the island of Hvar, accessible from many points along the Dalmatian Coast. You'll find historic villages and gorgeous beaches.
Brac Island is one of the best bets. It’s home to Zlatni Rat, a shingled beach that attracts hordes of windsurfers and families in search of relaxation alike. Its vast size means that there’s no shortage of space, and the beach never feels crowded even in the height of tourist season. Baska Voda is a popular seaside village for families due to its Blue Flag beaches and array of facilities, while Brela offers shady coves for couples to bask in one another’s company.
If you’re staying in Split, Bacvice Beach is a sizzling social centre as well as a place to relax. You may spot locals playing a game of ‘picigin’, a Dalmatian sport involving a small ball and plenty of acrobatic leaps. Sun loungers and umbrellas are available for hire, and there are lots of ice cream vendors and outdoor cafes where you can admire the views.
Alternative destinations for beaches on the Dalmatian Coast include Tucepi, Makarska and Brela, each with their own Croatian charm and a relaxing atmosphere which will complete your holidays, and of course, Dubrovnik and its surrounding beaches in Southern Dalmatia are a must-see if you want to extend your trip down the Dalmatian Coast.
Hvar is a go-to European destination for chic, trendy bars and a nonstop nightlife. This is primarily based in Hvar Town, a place that rarely sleeps during the summer months. Nightclubs are open until the sun rises, with pulsing electronic beats and live rock shows on hand to entertain the young and glamorous clientele. These are often hidden away inside former monasteries like Veneranda, or feature flowering terraces spilling out onto the beach. Yet you’ll also find more laid-back vibes at spots like Hula Hula, a mellow beach bar to admire the sunset or cool down after a long day on the sands.
Another nightlife destination to tick off your Dalmatian Coast holidays to-do list is central Split. You can view up-and-coming indie rock bands at atmospheric venues like Quasimodo and the O’Hara Music Clubs, or find gritty electronic performances in the city’s underground spaces. Split’s waterfront is lined with welcoming terraced bars that transform into discos at night. The Dalmatian Coast is also home to the resorts of Tucepi, Brela and Makarska, where you'll find a relaxed vibe and a cafe culture.
Vast sea views, secluded beaches and luxurious resorts make Central Dalmatia holidays ripe for romance. The turquoise-hued waters of the Dalmatian Coast are dappled with verdant islands just waiting to be explored. Couples can visit nearly isolated islands like Solta, covered in a network of twisted olive groves and earthy vineyards. Stop for a meal in the settlement of Maslinica, with its 18th-century castle and terraced restaurants.
Hire a car and take a scenic drive along the Kastela Riviera, nestled between Trogir and Split with the Karst Hills looming overhead. This region includes seven impossibly quaint settlements, blanketed by stone walls and fortified with draw bridges. Rich with legend, they provide a charming day out for couples. Naturally, the Dalmatian Coast's beaches are also a prime spot for leisure time. Relax with your loved one on a pair of sun loungers and let the sun’s warmth wash over you. At night, linger over a sunset-tinted dinner before hitting the dance floor in one of Split’s sophisticated nightclubs.
During your holidays on the Dalmatian Coast, you’ll have the opportunity to visit some of the world’s most well-preserved medieval settlements. Cosmopolitan Split is a thriving hub for contemporary artists, with avant-garde performances juxtaposed against its ancient streets. Its outer wall shows marks of the centuries of sieges the city has endured, while inside you’ll find a wealth of museums and art galleries. In addition to the must-see Roman ramparts of the Diocletian Palace, you can visit the Split Archaeological Museum and Museum of Croatian Archaeological Monuments here. View glittering jewellery and meticulously detailed pottery excavated from the Central Dalmatian region.
For more recent masterpieces, head to the Split Gallery of Modern Art to view sculptures and paintings in a high-tech, airy space. There’s much to offer outside of Split as well, from Roman ruins to baroque cathedrals. The region’s stately churches offer a glimpse at architectural and cultural changes throughout the years. Visit the lovely stone towers of the Church of St. Nicholas in Vis for a charming example. Further down the coast, romantic and historic Dubrovnik is home to narrow streets, art galleries and old world charm.
Check out some of our most popular cheap holiday destinations in central dalmatia