After exploring Split in 48 hours, it’s time to discover the jewels of the central and southern Dalmatian coast.
From Split, take a day trip to the ancient ruins of Salona and Trogir. With a car, you can see both in one day, but by bus it’s harder to make the connection; check at the bus station.
From Split, don your best sailor’s cap to cruise the central Dalmatian islands. Buy tickets at the Jadrolinija offices or Kapetan Luka. In summer there can be long queues; even if you buy your tickets online, you have to get in line to pick them up.
From Split, the first stop is Brac Island with its famous Zlatni Rat beach, near Bol.
Then ferry from Brac to Hvar Town. If you can’t catch a direct ferry, take one to Stari Grad or Jelsa, and continue to Hvar Town with a coach transfer.
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The popularity Hvar island increased sharply after Condé Nast Traveler declared it to be one of the ten most beautiful islands in the world. Today it’s referred to as the ‘Croatian St. Tropez’ with a rich history, beautiful beaches and fields of aromatic lavender. A summer party atmosphere brings celebrities and trendsetters from around the world. Hvar is also known as Suncani Hvar or ‘sunny Hvar’ because of it’s impressive 2700 hours of sunshine a year.
From Hvar Town to Vis, take a catamaran (daily in the season). If it’s not running when you want to go, you’ll have to ferry back to Split and then onto Vis.
Jutting out from other Adriatic islands, Vis was once the furthest outpost of the Yugoslav Army in the Adriatic. Tourism began to develop with the demilitarisation of the island at the beginning of the Croatian Homeland War (1991-1995) and since 1989 it’s been opened to non-military visitors — i.e. the rest of us.
Spend some time in Vis Town and then take the coach service to the quiet beachside hamlet of Komiza — perfect for a couple of days of peace. From Komiza take an excursion boat to the island of Bisevo to view it’s stunning Blue Grotto.
To get from Vis Town to Korcula Island, you have two options: 1) Go back to Split and ferry to Korcula Town, or 2) Sail back to Hvar and take the ferry from there. The latter route might save the most time, but confirm connections at the Jadrolinija office on Vis.
From Korcula Town take a catamaran to Mljet, docking at Pomena.
You’ll know Mljet from Homer’s legendary hero Odysseus, who stayed for seven years on the island — or so the locals will tell you. Spend a day (or two) at the wonderful Mljet National Park with its two salt water lakes.
From Mljet it’s onto the ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’ — Dubrovnik. Spend two days in this magnificent medieval city; Games of Thrones fans will be delighted as they are welcomed to Kings Landing.
After Dubrovnik, head north to return to Split, stopping at Mali (little) Ston and Ston, the oyster capital of Croatia. Ston boasts the second longest fortified walls in the world (after the Great Wall of China).
Continue north to Makarska to climb Mount Biokovo, which, on a clear day, offers views of Italy. eep heading north until to reach Split.
If you’re taking a coach from Dubrovnik to Split, sit the left side for wonderful views of the islands scattered throughout this part of the Adriatic.