Coastal Cravings: Island Hopping in Croatia
Explore medieval cities and Roman ruins galore, and kayak around gloriously remote islands on this nine-day Luxury Croatia island hopping tour along the stunning Dalmatian Coast, one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in the Mediterranean.
Itinerary at a Glance:
- Take a guided tour around the ancient walled city of Split
- Sail around the Dubrovnik archipelago and Elafiti Islands aboard a luxury yacht
- Enjoy the bounty of beaches on Korcula
- See a Moreska sword dance performance in Korcula's Old Town
- Experience the buzzing nightlife of Hvar
- Paddle your way around the Pakleni Islands by kayak
- Embark on a white water rafting adventure along the River Cetina
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Day 1: Off to Dubrovnik
Your luxury Croatia island hopping tour begins today with a morning flight from the UK to Dubrovnik taking roughly two-and-three-quarter-hours.
Upon arrival into this historic and beautifully-preserved cultural capital, you will be met and privately transferred to your hotel near the walled Old Town. After unpacking and settling in, refuel with a lazy lunch and then hit the ground running with a private guided tour of the ancient city. There is so much to discover here beyond the usual tourist trail and we only use guides who can get you behind doors typically closed to the public.
The city centre within the huge defensive walls is one of the most interesting, charming and best-preserved medieval cities in the world, and its diminutive size means it can be easily explored on foot. Your guide will really bring the city to life, revealing the secrets of the city away from the Stradun (main street) - such as hidden 16th century graffiti - and explaining what life was like during the infamous siege of 1991-2, while ensuring you cover the better-known sights such as the Sponza Palace and Cathedral of the Assumption.
Your tour will finish up at a bar situated on the ramparts of the city. This is the perfect place to drink in the stunning views over the Adriatic before heading back into the city for dinner in a lovely local restaurant recommended by one of our knowledge Concierge.
Day 2: Sailing the Adriatic
Your luxury Croatia island hopping tour continues today with a full-day's private sailing tour around the Dubrovnik archipelago including the beautiful Elafiti Islands.
You will be collected from your hotel this morning and driven to the main harbour at Gruz for the start of your full-day sailing trip. While lazing on the decks of the yacht, enjoy panoramic views of the walled city and the Elafiti islands, including Kolocep, Lopud and Sipan. Along the way, stop to swim in beautiful bays, catch the sun on sandy beaches and discover historic monuments and tiny votive churches.
Your skipper will be able to recommend a lovely local restaurant for you to stop at for lunch before returning you to Gruz this evening where you will be met and driven back to your hotel.
Pleasantly exhausted after all that fresh sea air, you can then tuck into a hearty dinner and get an early night as you are off up the coast tomorrow morning.
Day 3: Up the Coast to Korcula
Today, you will be transferred along the coast north to the port town of Orebic and from here, you will catch a short ferry over to the island of Korcula - the sixth-largest island in the Adriatic - where we've booked you into one of our favourite boutique hotels in the area
After settling into your hotel, spend the rest of the day as you wish. Perhaps you fancy a more relaxed day after all the excitement of your trip so far. Spend a lazy afternoon beach-hopping from the pebble beach just across from the hotel (which is ideal for swimming in the sea) to the sandy beaches close to the medieval walls of the Old Town. Alternatively, travel a little further afield by taxi to discover the lovely village of Lumbarda - on the eastern tip of the island - which is home to Vela Przina, Bilin Zal and Tatinja beaches.
If you fancy a more active day, mountain biking, hiking or kayak trips to nearby islands are all possible and we can arrange guides and everything else needed to make the trip as energetic or relaxing as your preferences dictate.
This evening, taste the fabulously fresh seafood on offer in one of the many good fish restaurants that line the harbour front - we can recommend the best spots.
Day 4: Exploring Korcula
Today, for the fourth day of your luxury Croatia island hopping tour, you will be met at your hotel by a local guide for a tour of the island.
There is plenty to do, see and taste here and you will start
with a tour of the medieval walled Old Town to get your bearings.
The Old Town is wonderfully picturesque with its narrow streets,
weathered stone buildings and splendid Cathedral Sveti Marko. Along
the way, your guide will point out the Town Statue, which dates
back to 1214 and depicts the prohibition of slavery, making Korcula
the first place in the world to ban the practice.
While exploring Korcula, you may be lucky enough to catch a Moreska sword dance - one of the Adriatic's most unusual customs. See the sparks fly as dancers perform a rendition of a traditional Croatian story with great skill and no little bravery.
Then, you will be driven by your guide around the island to sample some of the island's best wines (Grk and Posip), taste delicious local olive oils or enjoy watersports along the island's coast.
After the tour, we recommend returning to the town to enjoy the many bars and restaurants lining the cobbled streets and St Mark's Square.
Day 5: To Hvar
Today, at the halfway point of your luxury Croatia island hopping tour, you will be transferred from Korcula to Hvar by catamaran between the two islands before making your way to your hotel, which is around a ten-minute walk from the centre of town.
Hvar is developing something of a reputation as a glitzy rival to St Tropez and yet, despite the glitz and glam, the Old Town retains its original charm. Here you'll find a maze of stone alleys and terracotta-roofed houses winding up the hill. There is a picturesque harbour with cobbled stones, a Renaissance cathedral, and a 17th-century piazza housing the majestic St Stephens tower, all serving as reminders of Hvar's history and heritage.
Take the time to explore the town and the stony (but very pretty) beaches. Then, come evening, enjoy a delicious and well-earned meal followed by a taste of the nightlife - if you fancy it - in the lovely bars lining the seafront.
Day 6: Paddling in the Pakleni Islands
After breakfast, you will head off with your instructor from Hvar Town, paddling your kayak across crystal clear waters from one inlet to another and exploring the 14 nearby Pakleni Islands.
You don't need any prior kayak experience, and this is a perfect spot for paddling as well as swimming and snorkelling. You will be provided with a lifejacket, snorkel and a waterproof container for your personal things so all you need is a little arm power and a generous layer of sun lotion.
Stop for lunch in a secluded bay and take things at the pace that best suits you as your guide takes the time to point out interesting geological and natural features along the way. When you're back in Hvar Town, head out for supper at one of the restaurants recommended in our detailed destination Dossier.
Day 7: Time to Split
This morning after breakfast, you will be transferred from Hvar to Split (on the mainland) by catamaran. You will then be met and taken on foot to your hotel in the centre of the Old Town.
After lunch in the old Fruit Market square we've booked you into a tour of the ancient city of Split. Your private guide will show you around the many cultural highlights of the city such as Roman emperor Diocletian's Palace - a fortress-like complex that dates from the 4th century - and the beautiful Baroque Milesi Palace. Your guide will also reveal a few surprises within the beautiful Old Town along the way, so stay tuned.
Day 8: Rafting Adventure
Today, on the penultimate day of your luxury Croatia island hopping tour, adventure is the focus. You will meet your rafting guide in Split Old Town before a 45-minute transfer to the River Cetina, where your three-hour long rafting excursion begins.
In the amazing river canyon, shoot along through Grade II and Grade III rapids with plenty of beautiful scenery to admire along the way… when you're not clinging on for dear life, that is.
Afterwards, reward your bravery with a delicious barbecue lunch on the river banks before returning back to Split.
Day 9: Home Time
Sadly your island-hopping trip has to come to an end. After enjoying a leisurely breakfast at your hotel, pack up your things ready for your morning transfer to the airport. Then it's a two-and-a-half-hour journey back home, arriving back in the UK in the early afternoon.
Arran and Charlotte H are our experts for this itinerary and as seasoned travellers they have the inside track on the most memorable adventures.