Of Croatia's 3,600 miles of glimmering coastline, the most famous (and touristed) stretch is its southernmost region: the Dalmatian Coast. Paralleling it are the rugged Dinaric Alps, whose geology helps make for remarkably clear seawater and hundreds of craggy islands (the most appealing are Hvar and Korčula). Here you'll find Croatia's top tourist town, Dubrovnik, and the big city of Split, with its impressive Roman ruins.
At a Glance
▲▲▲ Dubrovnik Giant Old City of narrow lanes lined with stone houses, wrapped in some of Europe's best-preserved medieval fortifications — with a scenic wall walk, tons of crowds, great beaches, modest but engaging museums, a exciting mountaintop viewpoint, an epic past and difficult but inspiring recent history, and a well-earned reputation as Croatia's single best destination.
▲▲ Split Unofficial capital city and transit hub of the Dalmatian Coast, with a port-city urbanity, people-filled seaside promenade, and lived-in warren of twisting lanes sprouting out of a massive Roman palace. Nearby is the sweet, sleepy town of Trogir, the Plitvice-like waterfalls of Krka National Park, and the likewise Roman-ruin-studded midsize city of Zadar.
▲▲ Hvar Ritzy island and Old Town known for its fishing-town heritage, stout overhead castle, jet-set cachet, high prices, lavender-draped interior, fine beaches, and easy escapes to nearby islets.
▲▲ Korčula Low-key, charmingly rustic, relatively affordable island and walled peninsular Old Town facing craggy mountains, giving it the feel of a mini-Dubrovnik.
▲ Near Dubrovnik Boat excursions from Dubrovnik's Old Port, art-packed resort village of Cavtat, Trsteno Arboretum, walled town of Ston, vineyard-draped Pelješac Peninsula, and national park on the island of Mljet.