Pearls of the Croatian Coast

Destination: Dalmatian Coast, Croatia

| Activities: Hiking and Culture

Located on the Balkan peninsula and stretched out along the Adriatic Sea, Croatia's Dalmatian Coast is a unique meld of cultures. This is most noticeable at the start and end of our trip in the contrasting cities of Split and Dubrovnik, as well every place we go along the way. We'll visit ancient Diocletian's Palace in Split, sea kayak in the Adriatic Sea, enjoy the sun on Hvar, sample local specialties on Korcula, taste wine and oysters on the Peljasic Peninsula, and walk the walls of Dubrovnik. We'll go beyond sightseeing as we journey off the beaten path on little-known hikes to explore parts of Croatia not often explored by tourists. Maximum group size: 12

Highlights

  • Visiting Split and Dubrovnik, two of Croatia's most vibrant and completely different cities
  • Hiking off the beaten path on Hvar, Korcula, and the Peljasic Peninsula
  • Sea kayaking on the Adriatic Sea
  • Savoring Croatian wine and cuisine, including oysters and olive oil tastings
  • Experiencing a culture which melds both Italian and Balkan influence into a unique blend

Departures and Prices

May 13 to May 20, 2023
$4195.00 - Available
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Inclusions

  • A local guide and an AGC guide (depending on group size)
  • 7 nights double occupancy lodging
  • All meals from dinner the first day to breakfast on the last, unless noted otherwise on the itinerary
  • Airport transfers at the beginning of the trip and group shuttle at the end
  • All transportation (private bus, ferry, private boat) within Croatia
  • All entrance fees and activities as described in the itinerary

Not included: Transportation to Split (SPU) or back from Dubrovnik (DBV), meals excluded from the itinerary, alcoholic beverages, drinks besides water, and guide gratuities and travel insurance.

Trip Documents

Trip Info

This trip is designed for active women in good physical condition who want to combine hiking off the beaten track in Croatia, with learning about its history and local culture, visiting two of its best known cities, and savoring fresh cuisine. A rating of 2 is suitable for any woman who regularly walks at a brisk pace 3 to 4 days a week for 35 - 45 minutes. These trips typically involve 3 to 5 hours of daily activity on hilly terrain. Rating: 1 [2] 3 4 5

On this trip we experience the culture and cuisine of Croatia with plenty of activity, including hiking and sea kayaking. All activities are at an easy to moderate level and suitable for both those with and without experience.

We will be staying in double occupancy rooms with en suite bathrooms in small 3 star hotels. This trip spends 2 nights in Split, 2 nights in Hvar, 1 night in Korcula and 2 nights in Dubrovnik.

Below is the proposed itinerary for the trip. As is true on any adventure travel trip, plans for any specific day may be modified due to weather considerations, unforeseen circumstances, new opportunities, and group interests.

DAY 1
Welcome to Split! Our trip starts at 1:00 PM at our hotel in Split. After a welcome and introductions, our Croatian guide will take us on a walking tour of the Old Town of Split, a jewel of a city that is more than 1700 years old. Split is best known for Diocletian's Palace, an ancient palace built for the Roman emperor in the fourth century AD, and today makes up about half of the Old Town of Split. The co-existence of ancient Roman Walls and current commerce is fascinating and a visit to the palace will give insight into ancient history and how it integrates with the modern world.

Once we've had our fill of busy city life, we will explore the city's largest and most beautiful park on a short hike on the south slopes of Marjan, the "lungs of Split". Enjoy hiking through intertwined pinewood trees and rest in the shade of medieval churches. Marjan is a great way to get in touch with the natural side of Split - learn the various uses of Mediterranean herbs and plants and soak up the forest's meditative atmosphere, just a few minutes away from the hustle and bustle of the city center.

Later this evening, you will enjoy a group Welcome Dinner at a local restaurant, before you enjoy the rest of your evening at leisure.

Overnight: Split (D)
DAY 2
After breakfast we will depart on a transfer to the hinterland of Split. Just up over the hills that separate the coast from the interior is a region of timeless, forgotten border villages that stood in between the great Turkish and Venetian empires. Here, along the fields and hermits' caves dotted archaeological findings, people lived for centuries balanced between two great cultures.

The old trail we'll take is a fascinating stroll through history. Trace the footsteps of travelers, tradesmen, outlaws, and livestock on a path that winds through natural beauty and sparsely populated hamlets. Learn about the complex history of the region while soaking in the beautiful scenery.

At the end of the tour, we will visit a small, abandoned village, where a local family has carefully restored a traditional stone home. They will be our hosts for traditional lunch, typical for that region. A delicious, home-cooked meal in a historic setting awaits!

After, we will return to Split, and you'll have the rest of the afternoon at leisure to rest or explore until we meet for group dinner.

Hiking 6 miles, rolling hills with some steep sections. Overnight: Split (B, L, D)
DAY 3
Today, we depart on a passenger ferry from Split to Hvar, known as the "sunny island". It is about a 1-hour journey. Although now known as a summer resort, Hvar's history is long and compelling. We'll learn about some of it on our hike today in authentic Dalmatia, passing through the villages of Malo and Velo Grablje on a medieval route.

A short transfer, with beautiful views of the surrounding islands, brings us to our starting point - the village of Velo Grablje. From here, we'll walk towards Malo Grablje along a historic trail, which in medieval times used to be the main road connecting Hvar with Stari Grad on the north side of the island. It will be easy to enjoy the views today as the entire trail is downhill. We will enjoy lunch at small local tavern in Malo Grablje.

In the afternoon, we will continue our hike through villages soaking in a mix of traditional architecture and nature. Along with the history of the area, learn about medical herbs, traditions, challenges of island life, and much more.

If you'd like to hike even further, there is an option to extend your hike and walk from Milna back to Hvar along a small, rocky trail.

Hiking: 3 -5 hours depending on the option you choose. Overnight: Hvar (B L D)
DAY 4
Croatia is defined by its location on the Adriatic and today we will be exploring it by sea - in a kayak! After a short transfer, we'll be treated to a view of the island from the water on a sea kayaking tour. While paddling around the bay, you will see remains an ancient Roman villa, mysterious tombs, and picturesque church nestled on the bare rocks of the point of the bay.

Hopefully you've built up an appetite from paddling because the next stop is a family-owned, ECO certificated olive grove, where you'll enjoy a picnic lunch. Not only will you be able to sample fresh olive oil produced from hand-picked olives grown on site, you'll also be able enjoy a wine tasting. Lunch will be served alongside wines from a young wine-producer in the region who specializes the centuries-old family tradition of wine production.

After the picnic lunch you will have opportunity to visit town of Jelsa to enjoy a chocolate tasting and more exploration. Jelsa is situated in the middle of the north coast of the island of Hvar. It is the only place on the island with an abundance of freshwater, which is the cause of more lush vegetation than in the other areas of the island. At first sight, Jelsa appears to be a relatively new town with 19th-century characteristics. However, a deeper look reveals that it is an old town with a history dating back to ancient times. Tightly packed around the picturesque square, which reaches the waterfront, the town branches off into a labyrinth of small streets that are a delight to explore on foot.

After Jelsa, you'll have some free time in Hvar to explore and enjoy a dinner on your own tonight.

Overnight: Hvar (B L)
DAY 5
After breakfast we get on a local ferry for travel to Korcula. Korcula is a historic and fortified town on the east side of the island, populated even before the Greeks arrived. Later Venetians built the city there in the shape of a fishbone, which served as natural air conditioning by regulating the wind flow, and with walls that protected it not just from possible attack but also from stormy and cold winds in winter. Korculans claim it as the birthplace of the intrepid traveler Marco Polo.

Soon after we leave the town, we will hop on a trail that takes us to the village of Zrnovo - one of the oldest settlements on the island. Its skilled inhabitants are known to be some of the best in wine and olive oil making, agriculture, and stonemasonry. Take time to slow down and appreciate the churches in this little village and notice the wide range of architectural styles.

From Zrnovo, the trail continues to a magical place known as Kocje. It is a labyrinth of strangely shaped dolomite rocks overgrown with ivy and surrounded by holm oak and ferns. Flora is delicately interwoven with cave-like spaces between rocks dressed in moss. We'll spend some time some time exploring its green corridors, aromatic herbs, and looking for the "Fairies' spring".

On the way back from Kocje, we pass through Zrnovo again, on a different route. Along the way, stop to enjoy a traditional meal at the local tavern. At the end of the hike, you'll end up back in the town of Korcula for some free time.

Overnight: Korcula. (B L)
DAY 6
Today we explore the Peljesac Peninsula. We will depart on a private boat transfer from Korcula to the Peljesac pennisula, only a 30 minute journey across the channel. Our trail for the morning starts not far from the small village of Viganj. We will ascend on a rocky trail through vineyards and stone terraces onto a ridge with stunning views of the Adriatic and Korcula. We then descend to the port of Orebic to end our hike.

After the hike we will proceed to the small town of Ston. The peninsula is known as a paradise of seafood, with oysters being a local favorite. Visit a local producer and learn about oyster growing. Get ready to taste some of the best oysters in Europe! But don't fill up too much - we'll also enjoy in locally prepared lunch.

In the afternoon, you'll transfer to your hotel in Dubrovnik.

Overnight: Dubrovnik. (B L D)
DAY 7
Dubrovnik - a city of exceptional beauty, known as the Pearl of the Adriatic! Pictures can't do it justice, and now is your chance to see it with your own eyes. From the amazing perspective of the city walls, admire the sea of red roofs on ancient stone houses, towers, churches and impressive palaces spread across this traffic-free city. The Republic of Ragusa, the historic name of Dubrovnik, was an independent state for four and a half centuries. The city's history dates back long before that, with archeological findings suggesting it was founded by Greek sailors. The Republic's independence, maintained for centuries against the Ottomans and Venetians, ended with the arrival of the Napoleon's troops. Today, you'll meet a local guide for a city tour of Old Town and learn about the past and present of this majestic city.

After the city tour depart on a transfer outside of Dubrovnik to an area known as Konavle. After lunch at a family-owned tavern, we'll visit one of the last places we can still see the process of handmade silk production. In the past silk was a very important material in this area, and we will visit a family who demonstrates the traditional manufacturing process, from the cocoon to the delicate details of traditional costumes from Dubrovnik.

Tonight we'll share one final dinner together, raising a glass to toast each other and our new found appreciation of Croatian culture, history, and cuisine.

(B L D)
DAY 8
You are free to leave anytime this morning. We'll arrange shuttles to the airport based on departure times. (B)

4.8

(22 reviews)
4.7 Food
4.4 Lodging
4.8 Safety
5
(17)
4
(5)
3
(0)
2
(0)
1
(0)

*These are the unfiltered reviews of women who have been on this trip in answer to the question "What made this trip special for you?". We take reviews very seriously and often tweak itineraries based on feedback. Please feel free to contact us about any questions you have.

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Pamela C.
3 years ago

We stayed in lovely accommodations, had wonderful food, and a wonderful guide. We were introduced to many of the local artisans, families, and food. Loved the kayaking and the luncheon spot. Everything was well organized and ran smoothy. Just wish we had had more hiking, but the weather prevented some of the hiking plans. Vedran was an excellent guide--very well spoken, organized, and flexible.

Kathy S.
3 years ago

Best trip ever! Our guide Vedran, our small group of 6, our hiking and cultural experiences and the scenery.

Cynthia I.
3 years ago

Absolutely love meeting in the Homes of Croatian people. They were so gracious. Vedrans extensive knowledge of the history and culture was invaluable, no price could be put on that. Love the 2 city tours. Nevis has a dry wit while communicating her expertise.

Karla H.
3 years ago

Would like to have done a little more hiking but weather did not cooperate. Overall a great trip, however.

Cindy S.
4 years ago

Meeting local Croatians in the countryside to enjoy their marvelous lunches.

Karen R.
4 years ago

The food and meeting people in small villages

Marian O.
4 years ago

Food Guides Scenery Unique Experiences Swimming in the Aegean Sea The hiking difficulty surprised me, as did the virtual dearth of scheduled free time ("you have an hour" or less, to rest, look around, swim at the hotel, repack, shower, see the town, etc. felt minimal.) I know some people love to move and "do" something every second, (there was a comment from a non swimmer that being in the Sea for more than 45 min was too much time "to not be doing anything." hmmmm, I thought i was doing something, just not hiking, one of my favorite times on the trip. No matter what trip I go on, I value and appreciate some personal time. Constant "doing", well, That is not me. Is that the idea with AGC trips? I guess I would like to know that going forward.

Linda C.
4 years ago

Highlights - The three 'farm' lunches that were integrated with cultural history and local families; the silk demonstration, kayaking. Disappointment - A more-than-average number of the participants did not appear to be prepared for the trip's activity level. Ambivalent about the wine tasting.

Laurie L.
4 years ago

Cultural immersion for activities (silk), families (meal/experience venues that would never be found in tourist books)

Sally K.
4 years ago

Sally K.
4 years ago

Kathleen R.
4 years ago

I like learning about the culture of the area so the interaction with local folks - those presenting meals and those presenting cultural facts - was great. I like that we change venues periodically. I was disappointed that the hiking took up so much of our time that we did not have as much "free" time on our own to visit or tour around the areas we visited .

Elizabeth K.
4 years ago

Beautiful locations and great food

Laurie B.
5 years ago

Lunch in small farms and intimate settings with a lot of healthy food, a lot of it organic. Beautiful scenery. Korchula (sp?) island was probably my favorite. I love being near the water. Both guides were great. Vedrun had a group of middle age and up women figured out very quickly. He kept things fun and interesting. Deb is great, I've been on other trips with her, always great.

Cheryl R.
5 years ago

Sorry this took a while but I only just got home. I am usually a solo traveller but a friend persuaded me to come with her to Croatia. The planning and the guide were excellent, and I enjoyed getting off the beaten track with some fun women. I will always remember the lunches we shared at the homes in remote villages.

Patricia G.
5 years ago

I was very pleased with the trip. It was definitely a level 2 hike and that's what I expected. I liked the size of the group. We saw a nice mix of that part of the Croatia. Our guides were excellent.

Shari D.
5 years ago

I was not quite sure what to expect from Croatia, but it was wonderful!!! The trip was a good mixture of physical activity alternating with other stuff - appropriately labeled a "2".

Deb C.
5 years ago

Each day was a new cultural experience. I learned so much about Croatia and its history. The presentations of the food and wine culture were the best of any AGC trip I have taken (see my food comment). I also enjoyed the "silk making" presentation. This was so special...a look back at the life of a 19th century Croatian woman and how the making of her life garments prepared her for future married life.

Carol M.
5 years ago

Split: exploring the walled city; visiting the monastery and being served grappa! Beautiful seaside walks; hearing the a cappella singers Hvar: beautiful walk to ancient village where were serenaded by a man playing the accordion Grappa! Day 3: the finest dining all prepared by a chef who is also a vintner The best white wine I've ever tasted Spectacular hike along the coast; discovering a beach with rounded rocks Korcula! scenic hiking capped off by a 5-star homemade multi-course meal served by 2 friendly hosts Dubrovnik: the silk museum; the salt mine and spectacular scenery, interesting tour and such amazing dining! this trip is tops!

Jan M.
5 years ago

All the hiking and kayaking w/the beautiful coastline in view....the wonderful leadership that made Croatia come alive for us.

Maxanne W.
5 years ago

Margaret T.
5 years ago

This was the smoothest "first trip" I've been on (and I've been on several). I credit both our guides for making this a seamless experience. The food was great, the scenery out of this world. I loved the hiking and the sea kayaking. Olive oil tasting/lunch, the lunch on day 3 halfway through the hike (where the afternoon was optional), wine tasting were my favorite lunch/meals. Opportunity for improvement: A couple of days were a little too packed - so we really didn't have time to wander the towns. I would recommend elminating some items. My recommendation - On Hvar, we had 2-3 hours but didn't know there were streets to wander. On Korcula, we didn't have any time to explore - maybe cut out oyster tasting from that day so more time to explore (a lot of people don't eat oysters - and having wine tasting followed by oysters followed by lunch was a bit much). Day to Dubrovnik, eliminate fortress, but keep spinning.

  1. Where do we eat?

    Your breakfasts will be buffets at the hotels where you are staying. Dinners are in restaurants with typically a choice of a first course and a fish or meat entree. Lunches may either be picnics or in restaurants.
  2. What dietary preferences or restrictions can you accommodate on this trip?

    Vegetarian options for this trip are available but may be more limited than you are used to. If you are concerned about having enough protein during your trip, plan to bring some plant-based protein sources such as nut butter, instant dried hummus, or high-protein energy bars. If you cannot eat gluten or if you have other dietary restrictions i.e. vegan, you will need to bring some supplemental food with you.
  3. I will be coming by myself. Do I need to pay a single supplement?

    You only need to pay a single supplement if you want to guarantee you have your own room. Otherwise we’ll pair you up with someone and then switch roommates every time we switch lodging.
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