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The Essential Guide to the Dalmatian Coast

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Extending from the city of Zadar to the border with Montenegro, Dalmatia is known for its dramatic coastline, picturesque beaches, and lively islands. Add mild weather, fresh seafood, and local wine and you have all the makings of an ideal holiday destination. Be sure to hit hot spots like the Old Town of Dubrovnik, the bustling city of Split, and the glamorous island of Hvar, as well as more under-the-radar places like Šibenik (home to two UNESCO World Heritage sites) and Korčula (beloved for its indigenous white wine).
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Široka ul. 24, 23000, Zadar, Croatia
The largest church in Dalmatia, the Roman Catholic Cathedral of St. Anastasia is on a tentative list for UNESCO World Heritage site status. It’s also at the top of Zadar’s tourist must-dos because of its bell tower. Begun in 1452, the...
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Grgura Mrganića 1, 23000, Zadar, Croatia
The most impressive ruins in the Old Town of Zadar can be found at the ancient forum, just steps from the seafront. Commissioned by the first Roman emperor, Augustus, and built between the 1st century B.C.E. and 3rd century C.E., the spectacular...
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Ul. Ćirila Ivekovića 4, 23000, Zadar, Croatia
With Sea Organ and Sun Salutation, architect Nikola Bašić has created two spectacles that harness the beauty of Zadar’s famous sunsets. Sea Organ is a musical instrument fashioned from pipes and holes drilled through stone stairs that...
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Trg pet bunara 1, 23000, Zadar, Croatia
On the edge of Zadar’s historic quarter, steps from Pet Bunara Square, this Slow Food–inspired restaurant invites you to linger over your meal. Grab a seat in the exposed-stone dining room or out on the olive tree–fringed terrace...
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Ul. Butina 2, 22243, Murter, Croatia
Sailing through Kornati National Park—an archipelago of 89 islands, islets, and reefs—is one of Croatia’s most extraordinary experiences. Starting from Telašćica Nature Park on the southeast end of Dugi Otok island, the...
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Lozovac, Croatia
Located near the coastal city of Šibenik, Krka National Park is named for the river that runs through its lush forests and feeds its most famous site, Skradinski Buk—a huge, clear pool that starts and ends in waterfalls. The park is...
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Trg Republike Hrvatske 1, 22000, Šibenik, Croatia
Crowning the buzzy seafront city of Šibenik is the Cathedral of St. James, an architectural masterpiece incorporating both Gothic and Renaissance styles. The triple-nave cathedral is said to be the world’s largest church built...
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Ul Jurja Dalmatinca 1, 22000, Šibenik, Croatia
Voted Croatia’s best restaurant several years in a row, Pelegrini is reason enough to visit Šibenik. The talented owner and chef Rudi Štefan continues to raise the bar at this gorgeous spot, which is housed in an ancient...
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Trg Ivana Pavla II 7, 21220, Trogir, Croatia
Walk through Trogir’s north gate and you’ll find yourself in the historic heart of the city, where the octagonal street plan dates back to the Ancient Greek era. Roam around the maze of stone alleys and admire the Romanesque churches...
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Put Gradine 66, 21220, Trogir, Croatia
This design hotel opened in Trogir near Split in 2016, bringing some modern sophistication to the mid–Dalmatian Coast. The stone building, once a tobacco warehouse, sits on a narrow channel that separates Ciovo Island from the mainland,...
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Dioklecijanova ulica 1, Sredmanuška ul. 11, 21000, Split, Croatia
A UNESCO World Heritage site, this 1,700-year-old palace sits on the Adriatic seafront, serving as the focal point of Split. It was built by the Roman emperor Diocletian as a seaside retirement home and has served as a refuge for many a conqueror...
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Obala Hrvatskog narodnog preporoda 25, 21000, Split, Croatia
A stone’s throw from downtown Split, Marjan is a hilltop park about the same size as New York City’s Central Park. Known as “the lungs of the city,” it’s the ideal urban escape, offering places to run, bike,...
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Running along the side of Diocletian’s Palace is the Riva, a seafront promenade lined with tall palm trees, bustling cafés, and shaded benches. Stretching from the bronze map of Split to the popular Marmontova shopping strip,...
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Ul. Petra Kružića 3, 21000, Split, Croatia
As the daughter of one of Croatia’s most legendary chefs, Ivana Gamulin felt inspired to follow in her late father’s footsteps and open a restaurant. The result is Villa Spiza, a countertop spot within the palace walls, where she and...
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Ul. Marka Marulića 2, 21000, Split, Croatia
A tribute to the zinfandel grape, which originated in Croatia, this restaurant and bar features a zin-centric wine list but also showcases regional favorites like Plavac and Dingač. Of its 100 wines, it offers about 30 by the glass, encouraging...
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Vis, Croatia
A former military base for the Yugoslav National Army, the island of Vis was closed to foreigners for decades. Today, however, it’s one of Croatia’s best-kept secrets, mainly for its beaches, food, and history. Book a tour with Vis...
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Ul. Radića Frane 1, 21420, Bol, Croatia
Originally built as a fortress, this 17th-century Baroque building became Bol’s first hotel nearly a century ago. Today, Hotel Kaštil remains steeped in history, but even its fascinating past can’t upstage the romantic sea views...
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6 Uvala Lozna, 21450, Hvar, Croatia
Just three miles away from Hvar Town, Little Green Bay is a quiet retreat on Lozna Bay, a finger of crystal-clear emerald water that laps against a small pebble beach. Opened in 2016 by a pair of French siblings, the boutique hotel is designed to...
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Catch a taxi at the Old Town’s main bus station and head to Korčula’s first organic wine producer for a taste of the island’s traditional wines. A century after the indigenous grape variety grk disappeared from Korčula, vintner...
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Starting at the sea gate, pick up a map from the tourism board office to get oriented. Then, wander past innumerable shops and cafés, taking note of Korčula’s fishbone layout, which was intended both to protect the town and make use...
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6, Ul. Don. Pavla Poše 1, 20260, Korčula, Croatia
A former 18th-century bishop’s palace in Korčula Old Town, this Relais & Châteaux property has been meticulously restored into an all-suite luxury hotel. Each of the five rooms is decorated along a different theme inspired by the...
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Ulica kralja Petra Krešimira IV, 20000, Dubrovnik, Croatia
In a swift four minutes, the Dubrovnik cable car will deliver you to the top of Mount Srdi for awe-inspiring views of the Old Town and Elaphite Islands. On clear days, you can even see Italy far out on the horizon. Next to the cable-car station is...
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Lokrum, Dubrovnik, Croatia
If you’re looking to escape the tourist hubbub in Dubrovnik’s historic core, follow the locals to Lokrum. Just a 15-minute ferry ride from the Old Town, the island offers magnificent nature walks through botanical gardens and olive...
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One of Dubrovnik’s oldest fortresses stands atop a 100-foot rock, guarding the western land entrance to the Old Town. Vigilantly turned toward Venice, it serves as a monumental tribute to Dubrovnik’s foresight, encapsulated in the...
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Mljet, Croatia
A scenic ferry ride from Dubrovnik, the island of Mljet is home to pristine forests, olive groves, vineyards, ancient Greek artifacts, and one of Croatia’s most beautiful national parks. In the village of Pomena, rent a bike to cycle along...
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Ul. od Sigurate 7, 20000, Dubrovnik, Croatia
A city of red-tiled rooftops, pine- and cypress-shaded hills, and sparkling turquoise waters, the Old Town of Dubrovnik stuns with both its architecture and scenery. Its surrounding stone walls, built between the 11th and 13th centuries to protect...
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Barba offers a fresh take on fast food, serving tasty items like octopus and shrimp burgers, anchovy sandwiches, and fried calamari, all made with today’s catch. Located on a small side street off Stradun, the shop is tiny and...
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Gundulićeva poljana 8, 20000, Dubrovnik, Croatia
This iconic restaurant in the Old Town of Dubrovnik stands out, even against the backdrop of lively Gundulić Square and its innumerable pigeons. From the blue-and-white-striped chairs on the outdoor terrace to the fresh seafood coming out of the...
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Poljana Ruđera Boškovića 7, 20000, Dubrovnik, Croatia
Facing the impressive Jesuit complex in the Old Town, Kopun is just far enough from the tourist hot spots to elevate its already good food with a pinch of serenity. The menu here focuses on traditional delicacies from the region, including a ...
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Ul. Vlaha Bukovca 6, 20000, Dubrovnik, Croatia
It’s all about the view at Villa Dubrovnik, a divine hotel built into the cliff across the bay from the Old Town and Lokrum Island. The restaurant, rooftop bar, spa, and most of the rooms feature the same breathtaking vistas over the...