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. While this is most clearly seen in the beginning and end of our trip, the contrasting cities of Split and Dubrovnik, every place we go has its own unique feel. We'll visit Diocletian's Palace in Split, learn about traditional life away from the coast and the Alka Tournament in Sinjin, sea kayak in the Pakleni Islands, learn about lavendar production 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. And at the end we'll have a new appreciation of this area that only twenty years ago was largely unknown to modern travelers. Maximum group size: 12


  • 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
  • Savoring Croatian wine and cuisine
  • Experiencing a culture which melds both Italian and Balkan influence into a unique blend


  • A local guide and an AGC guide (If there are fewer than 8 on the trip there will not be an AGC guide)
  • 7 nights double occupancy lodging
  • All meals from dinner the first day to breakfast on the last, except for one dinner
  • Airport transfers anytime at the beginning of the trip and one 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), one dinner, alcoholic beverages, guide gratuities and travel insurance.

Trip Documents

Trip Intro

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. Rating: 1 [2] 3 4 5 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 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 as specified in the itinerary and below.
Split - Hotel Slavija (
Hvar - Hotel Palace (
Korcula - Hotel Korcula (
Dubrovnik - Hotel Lero (

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.

Our trip starts at 1PM 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, including a visit to the Marjan peninsula. Split is best known for Diocletian's Palace and the co-existence of ancient Roman Walls and current commerce is fascinating. It can also be a bit overwhelming and a visit to Marjan is particularly welcome. Marjan, a beautiful and protected park forest with beaches on all three sides, little churches, trails, and viewpoints, is also known as the lungs of the town. The true locals can't imagine living in Split without Marjan - for many it meant first time experiencing nature, love, first day-trip, and first kiss. Greeks built a little temple there dedicated to goddess Diana, and some five centuries ago hermits walled up caves in the vertical rocks and contemplated life 'far from civilization'. It is an easy place to lose yourself, whether exploring its viewpoints or wandering among various species of Mediterranean herbs and plants growing along its paths as they wind through shades of pine trees in the north side. That night we'll go out for our first taste of delicious Croatian cuisine. Overnight Hotel Slavija (D)
Today we start with a transfer to the trailhead. Just up over the hills that separate the coast from the interior is a region of timeless, forgotten border villages that divided the great Turkish and Venetian empires. People have lived precariously for centuries between two great cultures. The old trail we hike is as beautiful as it is fascinating, a route that once served people, trade, transport, outlaws and livestock that winds through nature and sparsely populated hamlets. The area is known as Poljicka Republika - The Republic of Poljica. It was a community which existed in the late Middle Ages and the early modern period in central Dalmatia. Our trail will end in a small abandoned village in a traditional home restored by the local family. We will have the opportunity to enjoy traditional cooking with Mrs. Ljubica and lunch, before we return back to Split. After the meal a short walk to the vehicle that will drive us back to the hotel. Hiking 6 miles, rolling hills with some steep sections (B, L, D)
Today we take a ferry to Stari Grad on Hvar island, known as "the sunny island". 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, through two villages. Lavender production was once central to Hvar's economy and while that is no longer true, small scale production still continues. We start in Velo Grablje in the lavender area. It was founded 500 years ago when Hvar's patricians and nobles sought refuge in the hills during the rise of the disempowered plebeians. Nowadays there are only a few full-time inhabitants in the village; many people maintain their homes there and return for the lavender festival during harvest and distillation. We will meet a local lavender producer and learn about the origins and production of lavender oil in these parts. Then we hike down the canyon to get to Malo Grablje - a little village abandoned in the 1950s due to hardships of life. Walking the alleys between the houses that were once bursting with family life and now reclaimed by vegetation, you can almost hear children play or adults talking about making olive oil. Our efforts are rewarded with a tasty lunch in the special ambience of an authentic local tavern in Malo Grablje. Our walk then continues down to a road where you can return to town for some free time. If you prefer to keep walking, a delightful hike along the coast line will bring you back to town. Regardless of which you choose, we'll share dinner at one of the local restaurants. B, L, D Overnight: Villa Nora or similar Hiking: 3 -5 hours depending on the option you choose
Croatia is defined by its location on the Adriatic and today we will be exploring it by sea kayak! We'll start from Hvar Town, close to our hotel and paddle to the group of small islands called the Pakleni. The origin of the name goes back to the time when the islands were the main source of rosin for local shipbuilders. Today, like then, the islands are covered with thick pine woods providing refreshing shade even during the hottest summer days. The route through narrow straits and along islands reveals small hidden pebble beaches where we can swim, snorkel and relax. Lunch is in a restaurant on the beach and afterwards we return to Hvar.

In the afternoon we'll have a tour of the town. Although the area of the town was inhabited more than two millennia ago by Illyrians and later by Greeks and Romans, Hvar began to flourish during the Venetian Empire when it served as a naval base. This is most evident in the architecture of the Arsenal where they repaired galleons, one of the oldest municipal theaters in Europe, the cathedral, and possibly the longest square in Dalmatia. We'll start at the fortress that dominates the town. Known as "Spanjola" it tells stories of the past times. It is a beautiful viewpoint, with Hvar's port and the archipelago of Pakleni spread out below you. Dinner is on your own tonight and after the tour you can explore one of the many restaurants the town is known for. (B, L)
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 famous Italian traveler Marco Polo. We'll follow a trail out of town to the village of Zrnovo, one of the oldest settlements on the island and known for wine and olive oil making, agriculture, and stonemasonry. The churches of this little village, spread across a relatively large area, are known for the diversity of their different visions and architectural styles. We can stop here for a quick coffee and then proceed into the field to a trail that leads to a magical place known as Kocje. Kocje is a labyrinth of strangely shaped dolomite rocks, overgrown with ivy, surrounded by holm oak and fern. The flora is interwoven in a most delicate way with cave-like spaces between the rocks dressed in moss, seemingly hiding some primordial secrets. Although this protected area is relatively small we'll enjoy spending some time exploring its green corridors, aromatic herbs, or looking for the "Fairies' spring". On the way back from Kocje we pass through Zrnovo again, this time choosing a different route. Along the way we'll sample local products, prepared using traditional recipes and typical local ingredients. We'll have lunch in a small tavern, before returning to our hotel. Overnight Hotel KorculaHotel Korcula (B, L, D)
Today we explore the Peljesac Peninsula. Taking a ferry to the beginning of our hike, our trail starts in the small village of Viganj. From here we ascend on a rocky trail through vineyards and stone terraces onto a ridge with stunning views of the Adriatic and Korcula. We descend to the port of Orebic, home to a new maritime museum. From there it's off to one of the famous Peljesac wine producers. The peninsula is famous for its wines, especially the red wines that grow on steep southern exposed slopes. We'll sample teas made of home- or wild-grown ingredients, small biscuits, cheese, wine, and oil with one of the most-esteemed winemakers of this area, Milos. Our next stop is an oyster farm! We'll learn how oysters, a well-known aphrodisiac, are grown and then have an opportunity to sample them. As we continue our journey, we'll take a short break in the small town of Ston. It is a town with majestic walls, the oldest in Europe, and an old salt processing plant, the pride of the Republic of Dubrovnik. We then continue our journey to majestic Dubrovnik, made famous by Game of Thrones, but always the best known destination in Croatia. After checking into our hotel, we'll have time to explore before or after dinner. Overnight Hotel Lero in Dubrovnik B,L,D
No photos in the world can match viewing Dubrovnik with your own eyes, especially from the amazing perspective of the city walls where you see almost countless red roofs of old stone houses, not to mention the towers, churches and palaces. 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, however, and new archeological findings suggest it was founded by Greek sailors. The Republic's independence, which was skillfully lead and preciously maintained against the Ottomans and Venetians, ended with the arrival of the Napoleon's troops. History left traces on Dubrovnik and the mentality of its people, as evidenced by amazing architectural, artistic and cultural achievements. On top of everything else, it is situated in a very beautiful part of Croatia with the hinterland only recently being rediscovered and reevaluated on one side and the archipelago of Elafiti islands counting as the Adriatic’s finest gems on the other.

Today will be both educational and inspiring. After the morning guided tour of the city, we will journey to the hinterland of Dubrovnik where we will learn about the amazing history of the area and visit the fortress Sokolgrad. 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)
You are free to leave anytime this morning. We'll arrange shuttles to the airport based on departure times. (B)


(22 reviews)
4.7 Food
4.4 Lodging
4.8 Safety

*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.
3 years ago

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

Karen R.
3 years ago

The food and meeting people in small villages

Marian O.
3 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.
3 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.
3 years ago

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

Sally K.
3 years ago

Sally K.
3 years ago

Kathleen R.
3 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.
3 years ago

Beautiful locations and great food

Laurie B.
4 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.
4 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.
4 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.
4 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.
4 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.
4 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.
4 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.
4 years ago

Margaret T.
4 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.