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Aerial view of two islands in the Zadar archipelago in Dalmatia, Croatia
27 March, 20234 minute read

Sailing the islands of Dalmatia

If you’re looking for a holiday that is rich in scenery, culture and experience, then you should heartily consider sailing the islands of Dalmatia. Croatia’s Adriatic coastline boasts a wealth of spectacular towns and beautiful beaches, making for a truly delightful cruise.

Of course, it is possible to book a hotel in Split or Dubrovnik and then do some Croatian island-hopping from a city base. But for a complete and convenient experience, you simply cannot beat touring the islands on a cruise ship.

So, relax with a cuppa as we take you through the many reasons why a Croatian island cruise is the perfect solution to your summer break.

Why are cruises the best Croatian island holidays?

Firstly, the weather is excellent. In early summertime, thermometers may hit up to 30ºC during the day, making it hot enough for enjoyment but also comfortable for exploring. The sea breeze helps to keep the heat at bay. In the evenings, temperatures are a little fresher - we would suggest light cardigans over t-shirts.

Secondly, the beaches and coves you’ll visit are simply stunning. With turquoise waters, golden beaches and verdant hillsides beyond, your senses will be inspired and delighted by your surrounds. In particular, the sunsets you can witness off the coast of Croatia are not to be missed!

Finally, everything is taken care of on a cruise. There’s no need to run around finding places to eat and organising trips – the tour has organised that on your behalf! As night falls on the cruise ship, the group activities will include entertainment, traditional music, and dinner.

You can relax in the knowledge that you will experience all the highlights the islands have to offer, without spending countless hours booking trips and scouting out restaurants. Holidays are for enjoyment, after all!

Naturally, you may be starting to get curious about the island treasures that you will enjoy on an Adriatic cruise. Read on to learn some quick teasers of what your trip would hold in store.

Mljet - natural beauty

View across clear waters to Saint Mary island inside Mljet National Park in Croatia

Mljet is the emerald gem amongst the treasure trove of Dalmatian coastal islands. It is better known as 'Green Island' due to the thick and thriving vegetation, and also as 'Odysseus Island' because myths say the Greek hero was once shipwrecked here.

The western forested part of the island is Mljet National Park. Veliko Jezero saltwater lake sits within the park, home to a secluded Benedictine monastery on a small island. A boat tour of the lakes will give you an amazing panoramic view of rich natural beauty.

As you travel around this immensely scenic Croatian island, you will be inspired by the peaceful and sublime scenery. However, your experience of the delights of Dalmatia is only just beginning - the ship will soon take you on to the next must-see spot.

Korcula - vineyards and Venetian architecture

View across the terracotta rooftops of the historic town of Korcula, Croatia

Covered in lush woodland and bordered by charming coves, Korcula Island epitomises the Adriatic islands. Its interior is green and hilly, with many olive groves and vineyards scattered among idyllic villages.

The Venetians ruled the island from the 15th to the 18th centuries, and built the main settlement during this time. Korcula Town therefore sports striking Renaissance architecture as a result.

On the guided tour of Korcula Town, you will learn all about the history and culture of the region. For example, you will hear all about the ingenuity of the Venetians who designed the town’s layout to account for the local weather, plus the claims that a famous son of Venice, Marco Polo, actually hailed from the island.

Hvar - sun, scents and celebrities

Small boats are moored in a harbour on the island of Hvar, Croatia

Regularly showcasing the glamorous yachts of the fashionable and famous in its harbours, Hvar Island has been called “the new St Tropez” by some. However, there is much more to the longest Dalmatian island than bold and beautiful celebrity patrons who travel there to holiday.

The city of Hvar boasts the best nightlife on the Adriatic, but the island is also home to a fertile plain called Velo Polje, where a range of fruits and vegetables are grown including grapes, oranges and lemons. Much lavender is cultivated on the terraced hillside plots, and the harvest is used in the perfume industry.

With treats to tempt all the senses, it’s little wonder that Hvar regularly features on top 10 lists of the most beautiful islands in the world. As you tour both the manmade and natural areas, you’ll soon come around to a similar view – it’s a true gem!

How do you get to the Dalmatian islands?

The Dalmatian Islands are scattered right along Croatia's craggy coastline. You'll need to travel by boat to reach them, as you'd expect. Our Dalmatian Island Explorer holidays set sail from Dubrovnik, but other jumping off points along the Dalmatian coastline include Split, Trogir and Rabac. It's best to decide which islands you'd like to visit before you choose your departure point. There are dozens to pick from, and as they're scattered across a wide area, it's better to concentrate on a 'section' rather than trying to cram too many into one trip.

The convenient way to island-hop

The islands of Dalmatia provide an experience that everyone should savour at least once in their lifetime. By taking a cruise along the coast of Croatia, you are craftily choosing the simplest way to see all that they have to offer.

Of course, your trip along the Adriatic coast has even more riches to be revealed. You can see just why the medieval port of Dubrovnik was dubbed “paradise on Earth” by George Bernard Shaw, and taste the famous wares of the Grgic winery. But those are topics for another day…

Find out more about our Dalmatian Island Explorer.

Image of blog author Nicola James

Nicola considers herself very lucky to have had the opportunity to visit a number of places around the world and these experiences usually involve searching for as many kinds of wildlife as possible. Recent highlights include penguins in Antarctica, bears and whales in Canada and Alaska and sea otters in California - but there are always more animals to search for.

Nicola | About the author

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