During our Croatian journey, it was impossible for us to miss the Dalmatian coast and its beautiful cities such as Zadar, Sibenik, Split, Ston (and Mali Ston) nor to avoid the must-see Dubrovnik, made famous thanks to the cinematic art. If we didn’t have the opportunity to visit Zadar and its famous sea organ, we could really enjoy our trip along the Adriatic Sea!
Sibenik, the 4 fortresses city
In Šibenik, we let ourselves be guided by the old town atmosphere and small cobbled streets, driven by the local life. We climbed up to the St. Michael fortress, in order to admire the panoramic view of the city and the canal (note: entrance is not free, and apart from the view from the ramparts, we did not see much interest in visiting this empty fortress, transformed into a concert hall during summertime). We also visited the St. James Cathedral, remarkable with its white stones from Brač and dome, and St. Nicholas fortress – located at the entrance of the Šibenik canal. Built on an island and accessible on foot (but closed to the public for renovations), this fortress really stands out with its thick walls and 32 loopholes. The must ist that this place was used as a movie set for the famous Games of Thrones series and this fortress is located in front of a promenade along the bay, once militarized (whose barracks and bunkers are still well preserved!).
As for the 2 other fortresses (St John’s fortress and Barone fortress), they are pretty much like St Michael fortress: relatively well preserved stone walls, but hiding emptiness… a waste of time and money in our eyes, who had preferred to visit Krka National Park located only 10 km from Šibenik!
Split, at the crossroads of croatian islands and Dalmatian coast
As soon as we put a foot in Split, we walked towards the old citadel, and didn’t waste any time exploring all the narrow streets and covered passages: Diocletian’s palace, Cathedral, Dominican monastery, hallway, the palace cellars transformed into a handicraft center… It was really a sight to behold! If you are looking for more authenticity (and much less tourists!), we suggest you walk to St. Frane Catholic Church, on Frane Tudmana square, and then climb up to the heights of old Split, located behind it. You will probably reach Marjan hill, from which you can admire the citadel and Split harbor. The park on Marjan Hill is full of small stone churches, including St. Nicholas and St. Jerome churches, near which a hermitage has been dug out of the rock!
The must-sees on the road along the Dalmatian coast
From Split to Dubrovnik, the road led us through very unattractive cities such as Makarska (very touristic) and Ploče (very concrete-ish) . Fortunately, we found some interesting spots!
On our way back to the small town of Omiš – which offers nothing special to our eyes except a long beach to swim in the fresh waters of the Adriatic Sea – our driver followed a small winding road, thus leads into the Omiš canyon. He finally stopped us at the small church “Sveti Juraj”: to enjoy the view of the canyon, Biokovo mountains and Brač island, our driver could not have had a better idea!
Ston (Mali Ston)
On the way to Dubrovnik, we had the opportunity to make a short stop in Ston (and Mali Ston), a typical Dalmatian village with its stone houses and red tiles, but mostly known for its fortress and its great wall, the largest in Europe! Don’t miss the visit of Ston and Mali Ston, a village located on the other side of the wall, famous for its seafood served with the best wines (Dingač) produced on Orebić peninsula!
Unfortunately closed in low season, we had to resign to not climb the Sveti Jure peak – the highest peak of Biokovo nature park. And it’s a pity, because the hike through the mountains massif really made us want to go there!
The famous Dubrovnik
And we ended our journey on the Dalmatian coast by visiting Dubrovnik, this fortified city very well known by movie and series lovers… We won’t write another guide about the must-sees in Dubrovnik, but we will be delighted to give you our tips to enjoy this city out of the beaten paths:
- To get the best view of Dubrovnik, take the hiking trail to the War Museum (entrance of the trail is located at 4, Jadranska cesta)
- You can swim free of charge near the walled city when bar-restaurants are closed (if not, you are obliged to pay for a drink) or from the small pebble beach, accessible from the pier leading to the Porporela lighthouse
- You can also admire the fortress, turquoise waters and Lokrum island far from the tourists, from the old road between Dubrovnik and Cavtat: to go there, take the direction of the abandoned hotel-restaurant called “the Belvedere” and go up towards Orsula park!
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* Post written according to our personal experience *