A road trip along the Dalmatian coast line. Starting in Dubrovnik, driving through Brac island, Split, Trogir, and Krk national park.
We wanted a warm sunny place for our summer vacations and because so many people suggested Croacia we decided to give it a try. We were there for 10 days in July.
We rented a car in Dubrovnik and drove all the way up to Skradin.
We knew we weren't going to have time to visit every city we wanted to, and we also knew that taking ferrys to the islands was quite expensive and time consuming, so we decided to choose only one island: Brac.
We also decided that we weren't going to stop much between Dubrovnik and Markarska.
We even though about starting the trip in Split but I really wanted to visit Dubrovnik.
We slept in local "apartments". Basically when you try to book a stay in airbnb or booking, you will mainly find what the Croatian people call: Apartments.
Most of the times this means a room with private toilet and a small kitchen, that is part of someones house. So you basically feel you are living in someones private house.
I personally loved this, and felt closer to their culture and way of living.
Most people didn't speak very good English. But everyone was very nice and some even offered homemade meals.
Driving in Croatia is absolutely nuts!
The road along the coast, although very curvy and super close to the edge of the cliff, is very well kept, wide and nice to drive in. But the Croatian drives are out of this world! They drive so fast! They would out take us in the most curvy roads ever, in dangerous situations and at a very high speed.
If you drive from Dubrovnik up to Split, or the other way around, you'll need to cross the Bosnian borders. Make sure you have your passport with you, and that you don't have any wine or tobacco cause you'll pay extra taxes on those.
You should also expect some traffic, especially on your way to Dubrovnik. So if you have a flight to catch, make sure to go with time. Besides that everything went smoothly.
Click HERE for the map with pins
Although we landed in Dubrovnik, we decided to drive north right away and visit Dubrovnik at the end of our trip. But, since it is probably the most famous city in Croatia I will start with it in this post.
The best way to describe Dubrovnik Old town is as the backstage of a medieval movie.
It's so perfectly conserved that it doesn't feel real. While walking the streets I could actually imagine myself as a princess from another era. And of course, you can recognize all the Game of thrones spots.
I would advise you to buy the Pass card. It gives you free entrance to a lot of attractions (including the old town walls) and free use of public transports.
My favorite attraction in Old town was by far walking on the city walls! I also enjoyed visiting the Cultural Historical Museum.
A must go is the Srd mountain view point. You can take the cable car up or, if you're afraid of heights like me, you can take an Uber. The view of the Old town from up there is just incredible!
Lapad is a "newer" area of the city. We took a bus to the tip of the peninsula and spent a whole day exploring it's coast line by foot.
The rocky areas by the coast serve as bathing areas, with metal ladders into the water. In the rocks you'll find small concrete patches to lay the towel on, or areas with sun lounger chairs. Our favorite area was the one by the Levanat restaurant.
If you prefer a sand/pebble beach you can always go to the more turistic Sunset beach.
We also enjoyed stopping by the Cave bar More. You can come here during the day so you can enjoy a cocktail on their outside lounge area and swim a bit. Or during the night to sit in the inside bar that is an actual cave, with stalactites and glass floors that make you walk on top of the abyss.
Brac was my absolute favorite part of the trip!
We stayed accommodated 4 days in Bol, and 4 in Supetar. But we also visited Skrip, Selca, Povlja and Sutivan.
I have another blog post solely about the island of Brac.
Click HERE for the Brac island blog post.
We took the ferry from Supetar in the Island of Brac to Split and stayed there for 2 days.
Although Split also has a medieval old city, I would say that it is bigger, more urban and busy than Dubrovnik.
The spectacular thing about this city is that some of the ancient architecture has been kept intact and incorporated into newer buildings, like St. Duje’s Cathedral that still have parts of the previous 4th-century mausoleum.
You definitely have a lot to see! From the Peristil Square with the Diocletian’s Palace to the endless medieval streets of the old town, where you'll definitely get lost!
The Riva promenade is a great place to have a stroll along the harbor and looking out to the Adriatic sea. We had lunch at Konoba Marjan restaurant. We were served a gigantic tray of fresh fish. It was delicious!
If you continue walking on the same street of the restaurant, up the long street with steps, you'll eventually get to the top of Marjan park. Here you'll find a lovely view point looking at Split city center and several historical points.
At the end of the day we took a small touristic open train to Bene beach. The way was lovely! Through curvy roads covered by large pine trees, along steep hills to the ocean. The beach was lovely, enclosed by rocks where you could sit and with a restaurant.
From Split, we drove around 40 min until our next stop, Trogir. Trogir is an historical town and harbour situated on a small island that have two bridge connections to the mainlaind and to the Otok island. It is part of the UNESCO list of world heritage sites for it's venetian architecture.
This town if full of history, and you can definitely see that just by roaming it's streets. With a mix of medieval, renaissance and baroque styles and traces of old buildings that used to be there. Trogir streets are a true labyrinth! We got lost a couple of times, thinking we were on the opposite side of town and always ending up in the same streets.
It's a small town yet there are so many churches I couldn't even count. The Cathdral of St. Laurence is probably the most beautiful one, with an incredible sculpted portal.
The Fortress Kamerlengo is a must visit! It was a lot of fun going up the steep stairs to the tower and the view from up there was amazing.
We ate delicious mussels at Marijana restaurant.
SKRADIN & KRK natural park
From Trogir we drove 1 hour to Skradin. This small town is mostly known for being the "gate" to Krk natural park. It is from Skradin that you can take the boat to the park.
Besides that, there is not much to do in Skadrin.
However, one of the best meals we had on the whole trip was at Konoba Dalmatino restaurant. Ask for the squid! You will not regret it!
KRK natural park
When you are at the Krka National Park there are several places of interest. Well, the whole park is huge! There are footpaths, view points, boat trips, museums, restaurants, archeological remais and waterfalls.
Because the park is so big, you really need to choose what is the most important for you to visit. For us it was the Skradinski buk. An impressive waterfall with several levels, and the best part is, it is one of the few waterfalls where you can actually swim!
To get there, you'll need to buy a ticket and catch the boat in Skradin. The boat is quite rustic and the whole boat trip is very pleasant. You also have the option to walk until the waterfall from the city center, which is an 1 hour hike.
I'm not going to lie tough, Skradinski buk was packed with tourists! At first it was a bit of a shock, since I was expecting a very "natural" place.
We swam in the waterfall and the water was freaking cold! Yet, it was totally worth it because the whole experience is unforgettable. There are little "islands" made of rock and tree roots where you can sit while contemplating the view, with your feet dipped in the water.
We actually stopped in Makarska town twice. Once to catch the boat to the Islands, and another on our way back to Dubrovnik. Although we weren't here for a long time we could really appreciate the relaxing vibe of the town and the amazing background view of the tall steep rocky mountains.
We had lunch at Tempera Streetfood & Bar. They have some amazing fish dishes! We were very pleased with our tuna steak.
We went exploring a bit the beaches close to Makarska. We were at the famous Nugal beach which is a nudist beach, accessible by boat or by some very steep cliff stairs.
But our favorite beach in this area was definitely Plaža Kraljev gaj. A tiny tiny nudist beach, completely hidden away from the crowds.
I do have to warn you that to reach these beaches you'll need to park far away and hike for a bit, and the way is not very clear (we got a bit lost).
On our way back to Dubrovnik, our last stop was Brela. A small coastal village with stunning beaches. The most famous is Punta Rata which although it was beautiful, it was completely full of people, and the parking was becoming a very stressful situations. So we decided to drive a bit further on the coast and settled in Plaža Podrače beach.
When you are in Plaža Podrače you can walk along the coast on a kind of concrete promenade and pass by different small beaches. It was on this promenade that we found the La Bomba restaurant where we had a lovely dinner and a couple of fun cocktails.
And that was the end of our Dalmatian road trip! It was definitely a trip we wont forget! With interesting cities full of history, breathtaking nature, paradisiacal beaches and delicious food.
Still, there was so much left to see, so we are definitely coming back one day!
Watch HERE the videos of our trip to Dalmatia: