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7 Spectacular Experiences in Croatia, the Jewel of the Adriatic

With its stunning coastline, natural wonders and medieval cities, Croatia is one of Europe’s most diverse and desirable destinations.

1. Sail from Split to Dubrovnik

Start off in Split, an ancient port city with Roman monuments, and end in the UNESCO-listed old town of Dubrovnik with its marble streets and old buildings.

Experience a different island on the Dalmatian coast each day of your holiday. Hvar is the sunniest island in Croatia with a lovely medieval town. Korcula is rich in Gothic and Renaissance architecture. Slano is a small village with a long sandy bay and ancient ruins. Relax on the beaches of Brač and explore the ruins of Vis. Discover Mljet with its verdant vegetation and vineyards. In Ston, you’ll see oyster farms and defensive walls second only to the Great Wall of China.

Enjoy guided walking tours, wine and oyster tasting as well as opportunities to swim, hike and ride bikes. G Adventures offers a sailing tour of eight days, including an expert guide, accommodation, transport and more.

2. Hike Through Croatia’s National Parks

A walking holiday gives you the opportunity to explore Croatia’s extraordinarily beautiful national parks. Plitvice Lakes National Park has 16 terraced crystal-blue lakes with many waterfalls, making it the most popular tourist attraction. There are eight different hiking routes in the park, with the shortest taking three hours to complete.

Risnjak National Park has green river valleys and forested hillsides with many different paths and trails for hikers. From the entrance of the park, it takes about three hours each way to walk to the peak of Veliki Risnjak (1,528 meters high). See a great variety of wildlife and plant species.

Walk in the mountains of Northern Velebit National Park on one of the many well-marked walking and mountaineering trails that suit walkers and hikers of all abilities. One of the popular trails is 57 km long (Premužiceva staza), and its first 16 km offer breathtaking views over the Adriatic Sea.

Tucan Travel offers an eight-day-long hiking tour, walking for two to four hours each day. It departs in August or September.

3. Cycle the Dalmatian Coast

Cycling is a great way to experience the Dalmatian coastline, with its many cultural and historical points of interest. Experience medieval towns, seaside villages and pebble bays with the clearest water in the Mediterranean. The roads are mostly tarmac and a good mix of rolling and flat terrain. Some of the hills are quite tough and making sure you have the necessary skills is important before attempting this tour.

Enjoy a circular ride of the island of Hvar. Ride along the island to the port where you can take a ferry to Korcula. Take a scenic ride on this forested island and on to Lumbarda. Ride through the vineyards of the Peljesac Peninsula toward the mainland. Transfer to Dubrovnik and have a free day for exploring.

Exodus Travels offers an eight-day tour package from Split to Dubrovnik. This is a small group bicycle tour with hotel accommodation and an expert guide.

4. A Week of Walking in Dubrovnik

Go beyond the well-trodden tourist paths in Dubrovnik and follow narrow cobble paths to upper alleys, where you are exposed to a way of life that has been lived for centuries. This is a walled city with intriguing, narrow streets, towers and fortresses.

Go in the cable car to the summit of Mount Srd, where you’ll have panoramic views of the terracotta city roofs and quiet, secluded bays.

Explore the nearby Elafiti Islands, a short boat trip away, where you can experience local markets, visit countless small churches and take in the relaxed, Adriatic way of life. Koločep is the closest island with coastal cliffs, pebble beaches and olive groves. In neighboring Lopud, you can see an 11th-century Benedictine monastery and visit the largest sandy beach in Dubrovnik.

Ramblers Walking Holidays offers an opportunity to explore the hidden corners of Dubrovnik and the Elafiti Islands. It offers a seven-day walking and sightseeing holiday.

5. Live Like a Local

Experience a local living adventure in Southern Dalmatia. You will spend a week walking, cycling and sailing in Dubrovnik and head off to a rustic villa home every evening. Here, you will live like a local, eating local food and drinking local wine.

Take a hands-on cooking class with the hosts using fresh local ingredients. Get the opportunity to learn all about wine, olive oil and prosecco production. Take a full-day boat trip and stop to swim in a few spots before spending an afternoon on a secluded beach. Go on a cycling excursion, stopping off for a picnic lunch. Enjoy a day trip to Dubrovnik.

This seven-day local living adventure is available from G Adventures.

6. Adventure Sailing Weekend

Experience a sailing adventure on the Dalmatian coast in a modern catamaran. You will have the opportunity to snorkel, paddle-board, swim and cycle. Enjoy sampling the legendary food and wine of the region.

Every evening, you will moor near small villages where you can stroll around and experience the restaurants and bars in the harbors. You will be able to sip sundowners and watch the sun set over the Adriatic Sea.

Artisan Travel offers a three-night sailing adventure that departs in September.

7. Gourmet Cycling Tour

Istria is the largest Croatian peninsula, with vineyards, historic hilltop towns, green forests and rivers. The coastal strip, or Blue Istria, is very popular with tourists during the sunny months. The interior, or Green Istria, offers a world of forests, vineyards, hilltop towns, olive groves and rivers. Go on a leisurely gourmet cycling tour and pass through hidden medieval towns, including the charming former Roman colony of Porec.

Taste the great Istrian wines, sample the culinary specialties and enjoy the relaxed pace giving you plenty of time to explore. Meander through vineyards, cruise promenades, explore historic buildings and stop for wine and olive tastings. The journey from Buje to Pula includes a breathtaking ride along the Parenzana rail line.

KE Adventure Travel offers a seven-day-long cycling tour across the Istrian Peninsula.

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