The Adriatic Sea touches the coast of Croatia, its pristine waters enveloping Croatia’s many islands, and separating Croatia from the east coast of Italy. Known as the Dalmatian Coast, it was once an important jewel in the treasure that was the Roman Empire. Today, life in the coastal towns, and islands, has been influenced by thousands of years of culture, and of patterns of living that have been governed by the richness of the sea, a pleasant climate and bountiful crops. Traditions run deep here, and can still be experienced today, although life is also guided by contemporary views and the ability to adapt to modern ways.
The Dalmatian Coast is being rediscovered today. It was once, when part of Yugoslavia, a very popular destination for Europeans and Brits seeking a cheap holiday in a piece of paradise, but with the ripping apart of Yugoslavia and some quite nasty fighting, visitors stayed away in droves. With the outbreak of peace, and a less austere government in place, the Dalmatian Coast has once again become a great place to visit.
Perhaps the best known town on the coast is Dubrovnik, which is both an ancient and quite beautiful historic town and port which boasts an Old Town containing six metre thick fortified walls, marble squares, palaces, fountains and a perfect attitude to life that is experienced in its cafes, restaurants and bars.
Split, which is larger than Dubrovnik and Croatia’s second largest city, is set in the centre of the coast. With a history dating back to the 3rd century, Split is an attractive city full of historic white buildings, and home to Diocletian’s Palace. In Split you have it all: Roman ruins, medieval architecture and a truly relaxed Mediterranean atmosphere.
Other cities on the mainland include Opatija, which is a very popular tourist resort. It boasts stunning parks, lovely villas, wonderful promenades and some outstanding beaches.
Plitvice is close to many wonderful natural attractions, including the Plitvice Lakes which are included in a national park. Here there are some 20 lakes, many of which are connected, some stunning waterfalls and a number of caves.
Zadar is popular because of its multitude of coves and bays, lovely beaches and historic monuments.
The most popular islands off the coast are Hvar, whose town has a fascinating labyrinth of streets, a fortress with spectacular views, plus a very good nightlife.
Korcula has a reputation for having one of the most beautiful old towns in Dalmatia, which includes a fortress and impressive city walls, plus beaches and some popular resorts.