Why those in the know are going to Central Dalmatia this summer

From incredible beaches to breath-taking scenery: Why those in the know are booking their holiday to Central Dalmatia this summer

  • Journey into the heart of the Adriatic for nature, history and delicious food 

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There is a place where islands bask in brilliant sunshine and the charming squares of ancient towns drip with vibrant flowers. 

Where brooding mountains invite you to explore endless trails and the Mediterranean climate ripens grapes for wine, olives for silky oils and the vegetables on your plate. 

This is Croatia’s Central Dalmatia, the beating heart of the Adriatic.

During the balmy heat of summer, you can explore UNESCO towns and Roman ruins, or simply cool off with a swim in hidden coves and bays. 

Dalmatia is a land of variation and surprise, offering a glimpse into over 2,000 years of culture, a wealth of natural beauty and a patchwork history interlaced with the stunning blues of the Adriatic and emeralds of the hinterland. 

No wonder those in the know are choosing Central Dalmatia for a sunshine break with a difference.

Explore the best beaches

Beautiful beaches abound on the Markaraska Riviera

Found between the fragrant pine forests and the azure waters of the Adriatic south of Split, the endless beaches of the Markaraska Riviera are framed by the magnificent Biokovo mountain range and best enjoyed with a walk along the beautiful waterfront promenade. Here, secret coves provide moments of tranquillity, and unspoilt nature abounds in the dramatic coastal landscape.

On Brač Island, swimming lessons take place in the calm and clear waters of Martinica Beach, sheltered by a 15th-century Dominican Monastery. Scuba diving, fishing and sailing expeditions depart from the four pebble beaches of Molva town. 

In the south of the island, Blaca cove provides a serene sanctuary surrounded by dense forest and deep blue water; the perfect location for an historical cave monastery.

The Golden Horn peninsular on Brač Island

Arrive at Stiniva beach at dawn for a moment of peace

On the island of Vis, a magical spot seemingly frozen in time, Stiniva beach was once voted Europe’s best beach. 

Walking down to the sands from the cliffs above, you’ll be treated to incredible vistas as the trees open up before you. Arrive at dawn for a moment of peace, or for sunset to see the colours of the great cliff faces changing in the dying light of the day.

Step back in time

Trogir is another UNESCO World Heritage City, a Hellenistic city lying on a small island connected to the mainland by a bridge.

Split is an ancient and alluringly vibrant port city. It is famed for the many cultures to have crossed paths there, its intriguing architecture, and for being home to some of the most imposing structures the Romans left behind. 

Built with marble imported from Italy and Greece and sphinxes from Egypt, the Diocletian palace stands guard on the harbour side, home to some 3,000 people and the proud and undying heart of this UNESCO-listed city.

While 12 sphinxes were brought to Split, only one survives. This 3,500-year-old fragment of history can be admired laying between the Peristyle of the palace and the Cathedral of Saint Domnius, Diocletian’s resting place, and another wonderful monument in the city.

Trogir is another UNESCO World Heritage City, a Hellenistic city lying on a small island connected to the mainland by a bridge. 

Here, the architecture and culture of the Grecians, Romans and the Venetians can be seen on every street corner, from the ancient churches to the crests above every door and the 15th-century Kamerlengo Fortress.

Sinkska Alka, a knight’s tournament in Sinj has taken place every August since the 18th Century

The Sinkska Alka is a living and breathing example of Croatian history. A knight’s tournament in Sinj that has taken place every first Sunday in August since the 18th Century, this event passes collective memory down through the generations as a piece of UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage.

An island paradise

One of the most popular spots in this part of Croatia is the island of Hvar. And it’s easy to see why. 

From the historic town of Hvar where you can spend languorous hours people watching in St. Stephen’s Square, enjoy the famous nightlife and discover the oldest theatre in Europe to the incredible beaches to be found around every corner, Hvar truly is a special place to visit at any time of year.

Hvar’s lavender fields are not to be missed

You’ll find small hidden coves like Malo Zarace, where you can be almost guaranteed to have the beach to yourself, as well as better known stretches of sand like Dubovica. Whichever you choose, the crystal clear waters will be warm and the days will be long and sunny.

Hvar is also home to vineyards and fragrant rolling lavender fields so getting out of Hvar town exploring the island is an absolute must.

As is trying the delicious speciality; lavender ice cream! 

Discover unspoilt scenery

See the coast from a different angle on the stunning Bikovo Skywalk

Away from the cities and back to infinite natural riches, the countryside of this intriguing land has much to offer. 

From the untouched beauty of Vis to the Bikovo Skywalk above the beaches of Makarska, whether by daring hike, mountain bike, or watery expedition on the rivers, there are many ways to enjoy the abundant nature of Dalmatia.

Once the fishermen’s secret retreat, the unique Blue Grotto is now open to the world

Heading offshore to the tiny island of Bisevo, an otherworldly light illuminates the interior of a small stone cave in a silvery glow for two hours a day. 

Once the fishermen’s secret retreat, the unique Blue Grotto is now open to the world. 

The Cetina canyon offers white-water rafting, cliff jumping and even the chance to be captured by Omis pirates for a night of merrymaking

For those seeking passion and adventure, the Cetina canyon offers white-water rafting, cliff jumping and even the chance to be captured by Omis pirates for a night of merrymaking and camaraderie in a local restaurant.

Further inland, the rural beauty of the verdant hinterland plays host to multitudes of quaint villages, old-fashioned farms and striking foothills. 

In fact, the Dalmatian back country is bursting with the soul and history of the Croatian people, and hiking through its valleys is a worthy way of exploring the heart of the country.

Savour the cultural cuisine

Often considered to be one of the healthiest cuisines in the world, Croatian dishes have stood the test of time

Dining in the heartland of Croatia offers much more than a burst of energy to get you through your next adventure. 

These lands are a haven of exquisite dishes, with abundant fish, the freshest greens and the various aromatic herbs providing everything needed to have you coming back for seconds. Often considered to be one of the healthiest cuisines in the world, from the blackened squid ink risotto to cured pork, these dishes have stood the test of time.

One such dish is Soparnik of the hinterland, a savoury pie-like dish whose recipe has remained unchanged since the time of the Ottomans in Croatia. This light dish is best paired with another of Dalmatia’s most beloved products, a full-bodied red wine.

The history of wine in Dalmatia dates back to Greek settlers some 2,500 years ago, when they were said to have started vineyards on the islands of Vis, Hvar, and Korcula. 

With over 100 grape varieties don’t leave without trying a glass or two of Dalmatian wine

With over 100 grape varieties, rocky soil, some of the best oak forests in the world from which to make the heavy wine barrels, and more than half of the population involved in some aspect of the winemaking tradition, don’t leave Dalmatia without trying a bottle or two.

Whether it’s sunning on tranquil beaches, experiencing vibrant cities, or undertaking physical challenges that you’re looking for this summer, the variety of Dalmatia is dazzling. 

From ancient squares and rustic villages to modern bars and exquisite cuisine, there’s something here for everyone.

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