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Dubrovnik + The Dalmatian Coast

Things to do in Dubrovnik + The Dalmatian Coast

Between the two regions, Dubrovnik and the Dalmatian Coast offer an endless parade of historic sights, sweeping panoramic views and cultural curiosities sure to satisfy the most cosmopolitan traveler. Any list of things to do in Dubrovnik should include a tour of the magnificent city walls, built between the 13th and 15th centuries to protect the city’s residents from the Ottoman Turks. Other can’t-miss historic sights include Pile Gate, the 16th-century gateway to the city, guarded by the statue of St. Blaise, Dubrovnik’s patron saint; the Franciscan Monastery & Museum, which preserves the ruined doorway of a once-majestic monastery destroyed in the 17th century, as well as a lushly landscaped, mid-14th century cloister; and the Gothic-Renaissance Rector’s Palace, renown for its incredible sculptural ornamentation. For awe-inspiring aerial views of Dubrovnik, take the cable car from north of the city walls to the summit of Mt Srđ. It overlooks the terracotta rooftops of the old town, the sparkling waters of the Adriatic, and the Elfati and Lokrum islands.

Travelers looking for things to do on the Dalmatian Coast should take advantage of the region’s gorgeous lakes and parks. Plitvice National Park, a World Heritage site, encompasses 16 beautiful lakes connected by waterfalls and cascades, as well as the reed-bordered Lake Visovac and Skradinski Buk, the park’s largest waterfall. Visitors to the Dalmatian Coast should also soak in the region’s religious history. Storied cathedrals and churches in the area include the Cathedral of St. James, the Church of St. Donat, and St. Simeon’s Church.

A massive renovation in the past several years has made the neo-Renaissance building near Banja beach the best place to gain perspective on Croatia's unique 19th-century artists; it houses more than 2,000 works by native painters and sculptors.

This Hvar bar, restaurant, and lounge fronts the beach, where during the day visitors relax by sunbathing, swimming, and diving. More proactive guests opt for beach volleyball or a spa treatment in a palm-leaf-roofed bamboo hut.

A two-hour ferry ride from Split, Hvar has medieval hilltop monasteries.

There are 17 churches in the Old Town, but if you only have time for one, make it the Baroque, domed Dubrovnik cathedral. Titian's polyptych The Assumption hangs behind the main altar.

This tiny outdoor café near Plokata Square serves cakes, pastries, and ice cream. Overlooking the Peljesac Channel, the terrace is surrounded by a planter wall filled with flowers and has rows of small round tables covered with floral linens.

Charter a gulet, a two-masted wooden sailboat that accommodates 8-16 passengers.

Inside the fortress-like cloister—built around the same time as the city walls—you'll find a rich collection of Renaissance paintings and hundreds of illuminated manuscripts.

Located in the 15th-century Zackerjan Tower on Old Town’s waterfront, this cocktail bar has views of the Peljesac Channel from the rooftop terrace. Prime seating is located on the upper level, which can only be accessed by carefully climbing a steep, wooden ladder in the inner chamber.

U.K.-based Croatian Villas has more than 350 beautiful houses set along the water and on hilltops all over the country, from Dubrovnik to the Istrian peninsula, which many travelers call the less-touristed (and more affordable) Tuscany.

When the sun sets, tourists pack into the cafés around Stradun. Natives, however, head farther afield, congregating along Bana Jelacica between Old Town and Gruz. The club of choice: the ever-popular Roxy.

Quite possibly the perfect beach bar, this hole-in-the-wall unfolds across a series of terraces hewn to the cliffs with nothing but a narrow railing between your table and the Adriatic. To reach it, walk through a tiny opening in the Old Town ramparts, marked by a sign that reads COLD DRINKS.

Take a 30-minute ferry ride from Split to this beautiful island. Spend the day sampling locally made cheeses and wines, and strolling along golden-sand Zlatni Rat beach.

This nearly 150-year-old traditional Milanese millinery shop still makes its impeccably crafted hats on the original molds.

Winemaker Miljenko Grgic, better known as Mike Grgich, became famous for producing the Chardonnay that helped Napa Valley best the French in a 1976 blind tasting. He returned to his Croatian homeland to open Grgić Vina with daughter Violet in 1996.

Explore the hidden coves and almost 100 islands in this beautiful park.