Considered by many to be the most beautiful region of Croatia, Dalmatia is a place of many beauties. Thinking of visiting Dalmatia? Here are the ten things you absolutely got to try.
Hit the beach – Most people come to Croatia for a classic, sunbathing holiday, and Dalmatia is just the place for that: there are literally hundreds of beaches dotted along the coastline. They’re clean and safe; most of them are pebble, but there are a few sand beaches as well. Usually beaches are where the most of the action is during the summer: cafes are full, people are playing volleyball, engaging in various water sports, sunbathing… there are quite a few beach bars as well, meaning that the good time at the beach continues all night long.
Enjoy the cuisine – Dalmatian cuisine is widely renowned for its seafood delicacies. There are restaurants offering traditional Dalmatian cuisines everywhere, but If you’re looking for something truly authentic, visit a “konoba”. Konoba is a type of tavern, often family-owned, offering local wines and traditional wishes. The cuisine of Dalmatia is heavily based on fish, boiled vegetables and mild spices; grilled sardines, cod or the octopus salad are just some of the region’s specialties. The winemaking tradition is strong as well, and there are dozens of great wines, which are mostly produced in the islands.
Go sailing – There are over a thousand islands in the Croatian part of the Adriatic, and the sea itself is crystal clear, warm, and without much strong tides. Spending time at the sea is one of the fundamental Dalmatian experiences – no holiday can be complete without it. Renting a boat is probably the richest way to get to know Dalmatia: you get to spend time at the sea, you explore beautiful islands and archipelago, and you can stop at any town you like and spend some time at the mainland as well.
Explore the National Parks – Croatia has eight national parks, five of which are in Dalmatia or in its vicinity; you can enjoy the waterfalls and spectacular relief of Plitvice Lakes and Krka National Parks or embark on a boat trip to witness the barren islands of Kornati archipelago. The diversity of each park is even more amazing, and each deserves a visit in its own right. It’s perhaps the best way to experience the beauty of nature the country has to offer, and it’s a great family activity as well.
Visit the Diocletian’s Palace and other UNESCO heritage sites – Croatia’s rich history has left some truly amazing landmarks, but those who made it on the prestigious UNESCO World Heritage List are the best of the best. The country has seven such sites, and most of them are in Dalmatia, such as the Cathedral of St. James in Šibenik, the ancient Roman Diocletian Palace in Split, the entire historic core of the town of the Trogir, and the Old City of Dubrovnik. The Palace is especially attractive – it was built almost 1700 years ago as a retirement site for the Roman Emperor Diocletian and its remnants continue to stand to this day. These structures tell stories of kings, wars, noblemen, sailors and common people, which shaped the history of the region for centuries.
Go hiking – Inland Dalmatia provides plenty of opportunities for hiking: it’s beautiful karst landscape, rich flora and fauna, and spectacular sights guarantee you a great time. Spending a day in such beautiful nature, so close to the wildlife, is a truly cathartic experience. Hike trails differ in length and difficulty, and you don’t have to be a serious hiker to embark on a one. You can go with various tours organized by local tourist agencies, on your own. Suit up, bring plenty of water, and the sights you’ll see when you climb are going to be amazing.
Road Trip – If you think sailing’s not for you, you can explore Dalmatia by car. There are so many little villages and towns, each with their own landmarks, little restaurants, beaches and interesting people: just pick a direction and drive! Renting a car is pretty simple in Croatia and the roads are great as well. If you drive the motorway you’ll travel simple and fast and most of larger towns are connected by motorways, but the true charm of road trip lies in taking the old, local roads, and enjoy the panoramic views of coastal roads just a few meters away from the sea.
Play sports – Dalmatians love all kinds of sports and there are football, basketball, volleyball, tennis courts everywhere. Small-scale tournaments aimed at tourists are often organized by local tourist authorities, and beach sports are especially popular; you can dive, parasail, jet-ski, paraglide at any larger beach. Make your Dalmatian holiday a dynamic one! Cycling and jogging trails are numerous, and most of them are designed in such a way that you’ll spend time among olive groves, pine trees or the rocky slopes of Dalmatia.
Attend a music festival – Music festivals have become increasingly popular in Dalmatia, especially among young tourists. There are dozens of them, varying in size and music genre. Most of them are focused on electronic music and are often situated very close to the coastline; this way festival goers can enjoy the music and the beaches at the same time. Others, such as the Super Uho, in Šibenik, focus on rock music. Still, the largest by far is the annual Ultra Music Festival in Split, attracting more than 30 000 visitors each year.
Visit Dubrovnik – The crown jewel of Croatia is in its deep south: Dubrovnik, one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Its massive walls, Old Town and the main promenade of Stradun will charm you, and so will the friendly locals. Dubrovnik is a favourite Mediterranean destination for many Hollywood celebrities, and although prices are expensive in some parts of the city, it’s affordable to regular folks as well. Enjoy the stone architecture, the famous Dubrovnik arboretum, and the cable car which will take you all the way up above the city, allowing you to enjoy the view.