Staff Review

Summer holiday on Croatia's Dalmatian Coast

by The Kirker Team

Croatia's beautiful Dalmatian coastline and the many adjacent islands include some of the Mediterranean's most dramatic scenery. Close enough for a weekend break, but with enough variety for a longer, tailor-made holiday, Croatia has seen a surge in popularity in recent years and has become a must-see destination for the discerning summer traveller.'We started our adventure with an early flight into Dubrovnik, which allowed us to make the most of our first day in sunny Croatia. A short coastal drive from the airport is the beautiful village of Ston. Famous for its medieval architecture and impressive city wall, it makes a perfect spot for lunch. Oysters are the local delicacy and a lunch here with views of the blue Adriatic Sea makes the flight seem like a distant memory.'Further up the coast we reached our destination for the night, the city of Split. The second largest city in Croatia has a real buzz to it. The focal point of the old town is the Unesco World Heritage site, Diocletian's Palace. As we strolled back from our (locally caught) fish supper later that evening, the palace was beautifully illuminated and we were accompanied by the sound of a local band playing in the main square.'After an al fresco breakfast the next morning, we were treated to a private city tour which really bought this fascinating city to life. Whilst Split is often thought of as simply a place of coastal beauty, the old town has so much more to offer. Brimming with culture, it is the perfect place to relax on route to the islands or even as a destination on its own for a few days.'Our next stop was the Dalmation island of Hvar, a short Catamaran trip from Split takes you right into the heart of its small harbour. Hvar is home to a cosmopolitan crowd, but lunch drew us to the middle of the island to a family run restaurant serving a selection of barbecued meats and fish. This was a fine recommendation from the Kirker Concierge and one of the most authentic meals of our trip, the owner of the restaurant also treated us to a selection of home made olive oil and wines.'After enjoying the elegant and picturesque island of Hvar, returned by catamaran to Split. From here we continued our travels by road to Mostar, Bosnia. The ancient city of Mostar has been previously known as a place of conflict, and there are still visible signs of the most recent war in the 1990s, but much of the city has been rebuilt and restored. The historic Ottoman-style bridge, destroyed in 1993, is once again the focal point of the beautiful old town after being reconstructed in 2004. Set in a deep valley of the Neretva River, Mostar works wonderfully as a day trip from either Split or Dubrovnik or a stop as you drive between the two. The ability to cross the border simply for a lunchtime visit made a fantastic addition to our trip.'Following a beautiful drive along the coast, we arrived into Dubrovnik at sunset. The walled city is now a UNESCO World Heritage site and sits overlooking the Adriatic Sea. We stayed at the Hotel Bellevue which offers fantastic sea views and even a lift that takes you directly down to the beach. A city tour with an expert local guide is a must, I would suggest late in the afternoon when the city is calm and the cruise ships have sailed. You can explore the winding streets in the Mediterranean sunshine and perhaps walk the famous walls - now famously known as a location for the popular 'Game of Thrones' series. Dubrovnik is especially beautiful lit up at night, where the old town's marble streets are illuminated by the moonlight.'We finished our trip with another border crossing - this time a day trip to neighbouring Montenegro. The drive takes approximately 2 hours and takes in some spectacular views of limestone peaks and glacial lakes. The winding bay of Kotor is truly astonishing and this narrow inlet of the Adriatic Sea resembles a Scandinavian fjord. The historic old town is yet another World Heritage site and surrounded by 9th century city walls. A wonderful finish to our Adriatic coast adventure, Montenegro makes an easy day trip from Dubrovnik, but it is also possible to stay for a couple of days in the charming town of Kotor.'The Dalmatian Coast is an inspiring and refreshing alternative to some of the more well-known parts of the Mediterranean and I would be delighted to offer my own personal advice to help create your perfect tailor-made Adriatic holiday.

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Our expert reservations team regularly travel to a wide range of destinations to explore new cities, visit hotels and to research museums, galleries and restaurants so that we can offer the most up-to-date advice and recommendations.


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