Cruising the Dalmatian Islands: A Guide to the Best Routes and Itineraries

With over a thousand Dalmatian Islands to explore, you may be wondering what the best route to cruising Croatia’s Islands is. After all, it can be difficult to decide on an itinerary when everywhere looks so beautiful.

Set sail aboard a luxury Croatian cruise to uncover the magnificence of the Dalmatian Coast. Of course, you may wish to visit the angelic islands of Hvar and Korcula but you may also want to venture to more under-the-radar destinations during your adventure.

The Adriatic Coast is home to some of the most stunning islands in the world, including the marvelous beauty of Vis and the glorious landscape of Dugi Otok. 

Wherever you choose to head on your Dalmatia cruise, prepare to be met with unspoilt natural surroundings, enchanting medieval cities and breathtaking shorelines. 

To help you decide where to visit while exploring Croatia’s islands, we have shared key information on the area and some of the top sailing routes and itineraries.

Where is the Dalmatian Coast?

Dalmatian Coast

The Dalmatian Coast refers to the Croatian area of the Adriatic Sea. Its waters are crystal-clear and lie scattered with a string of breathtaking islands that are renowned for their dazzling beaches and stunning historic architecture.

How to Get Around the Islands in Croatia

Croatia cruise
Signature Cruise Mobile

You have several options when it comes to deciding how to get around the islands in Croatia. We have shared several below to help you plan your Dalmation getaway.

Join a Small-Ship Croatia Cruise

Going on a small-ship Croatia cruise is one of the best ways to discover the immense beauty found along the country’s coastline.

These sleek vessels are designed to provide a luxurious travel experience while also remaining small and nimble enough to take you off the beaten track to hidden gems that most tourists miss out on.

On a Private Cruise Tour

Private cruise tours offer another brilliant way of exploring the islands in Croatia. With a bespoke and customizable itinerary, you can select each and every destination that you’d like to visit, without having to worry about the hassle of planning.

One of the best things about a private cruise tour is that you can tick off bucket list destinations, while also having the freedom to sail to lesser-known destinations that can be difficult to organize by yourself. 

The Best Routes and Itineraries

Hvar Island

For those of you looking for the best routes and itineraries for a Croatia Islands cruise, we have listed several of our top recommendations below. In doing so, we hope to provide some inspiration and help you decide how you would like to explore this wonderful corner of the world. 

Split to Dubrovnik

Embark on an eleven-day adventure of a lifetime from Split to Dubrovnik on a luxury Croatia cruise and check off must-visit sites such as Hvar, Vis and Korcula along the way. This route offers a wonderful approach to exploring the glorious Dalmatian Coast. 

The full seven-night itinerary covers Split, Trogir, Hvar, Vis, Korcula, Slano and Dubrovnik. We have shared some highlights of the journey below.


Begin the adventure in one of the best places to visit in Croatia, Split. This dazzlingly beautiful city offers a sensational taste of quintessential Mediterranean life. You’ll be spoilt for things to do in this wonderful part of the country. 

One of the best things to do in Split is visit the iconic Diocletian’s Palace. The glorious UNESCO World Heritage site is nothing short of breathtaking, home to some of the world’s most well-preserved Roman architecture along with boutique shops, art galleries and wine bars. 

Take a guided tour of Diocletian’s Palace to get the full experience, before returning to the boat for a cocktail al fresco.


You will also be able to visit one of Croatia’s most romantic islands, Hvar, on this Dalmatia cruise adventure. The landmass is postcard-perfect, with fragrant lavender fields, vineyards and a stunning coastline. 

En route to this gorgeous island, you will also be able to stop for a swim at one of the most beautiful places in Croatia. Zlatni Rat, otherwise known as Golden Horn Beach, has a spectacular, cone-like shape that is lined with soft pebbles, electric blue waters and a forest of pine trees.


Head to Vis, one of the best hidden gems in Croatia. The island was closed to tourists for 50 years while it served as a military base. As a consequence, it lies completely unspoilt having not seen the same degree of development as other areas of the country. 

Vis Island is one of the most captivating destinations to visit on a Dalmatia cruise, with its wild coastline home to dazzling beaches with crystal clear waters and pebbled shores. You’ll also be able to visit the Blue Cave, which just happens to be one of the best things to do in Croatia.

Dubrovnik Walls
Croatia Korcula

Dubrovnik to Split

Beginning your journey at Dubrovnik and ending in Split provides another wonderful route for a cruise to Croatia Islands. You’ll need seven nights to explore the gorgeous destinations and all that they have to offer throughout the adventure.

On your journey from Dubrovnik to Split, you can visit Ston, Korcula, Vis, Hvar and Trogir. We have shared a few stand-out moments of the itinerary.


Ston is a picturesque medieval village that connects the Peljesac Peninsula with mainland Croatia. The historic area is famed for its huge stone wall which traces back to 1333. A fascinating sight to see, the structure stretches 7 kilometers long and has protected the city for thousands of years. 

Along with The Walls of Ston, the city is famed for its oysters. You can visit a farm dedicated to sourcing these tasty seafood treats to try them at their very freshest. Wash it all down with a glass of local wine.


Exploring the idyllic island of Korcula is one of the most romantic things to do in Croatia. The landmass is absolutely gorgeous and a wonderful addition to a Croatian islands cruise itinerary. You’ll find glorious beaches awaiting you at this picturesque islet, where you can go for a swim or rest by the shore.

Another highlight of Korcula is that it produces some of the best Croatian wines. Be sure to sample some of the delicious local grape juice during your visit. Take a guided tour to discover the secrets of the island’s enchanting Old Town. A local guide will lead the way, taking you to all of the top sites and sharing the fascinating history of the area.


Trogir is a stunning town situated on the tiny island of Čiovo in southern Croatia. This gorgeous area makes a wonderful place to explore on a cruise in Dalmatia. It is UNESCO-protected and home to what many consider to be the best-preserved medieval town in Europe.

The Old Town is one of the smallest in Croatia and can be covered in 15 minutes. However, you’ll want to give yourself longer to explore its beauty as its idyllic cobblestone streets look straight out of a fairytale. The enchanting architecture showcases a blend of Baroque, Gothic, Renaissance and Romanesque styles. 

Wander along quaint little lanes, popping in for traditional cakes and a fresh coffee. 

Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

Northern Croatia Cruise

If you’re seeking a unique Dalmatia cruise experience, you may wish to head to the north of Croatia. Here you will be able to explore magnificent, lesser-known destinations along with many of the country’s top attractions.

Your seven-night journey will begin in Split before heading to Sibenik, then Galesnjak Island, Zadar, Plitvice Lakes National Park, Telascica National Park, Kornati National Park, Primosten and then returning to Split. We have provided a snapshot of some of these wonderful destinations below. 


The ancient city of Sibenik offers a taste of peace and serenity and is one of the oldest coastal towns in Croatia. The ancient metropolis is absolutely gorgeous, with stunning architecture and sensational sea views.

One of the highlights of the town is Sibenik Cathedral. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is a triple-nave Catholic basilica home to a frieze decorated with 71 hand-sculpted profiles of women, men and children. Also a foodie paradise, you will be able to sample an array of exquisite local delicacies such as prosciutto, olive oil and cheese.

Another must-visit attraction in Sibenik is the St. Michael’s Fortress, a medieval fortress perched high on a hill that offers breathtaking panoramic views of the city and the Adriatic Sea. 

Plitvice Lakes National Park

Discover the magnificent beauty of Plitvice Lakes National Park during your cruise along the Dalmatian coast. Follow the trails leading through the glorious landscape, surrounded by flourishing greenery and tumbling turquoise waterfalls. 

You’ll find that there is plenty to explore during your visit. Plitvice sprawls over 30,000 acres and is home to sixteen lakes and over 90 waterfalls. The jaw-droppingly gorgeous surroundings make it one of the best places to see in Croatia.

Telascica National Park

Telascica National Park is a sensational bay located along the southeastern coast of the island of Dugi Otok. The magnificent landscape is a tapestry of cliffs, saltwater lakes and stunning beaches. Hike across the glorious landscape to see it in all of its glory. 

You’ll be surrounded by 650-meter-high cliffs and a bright turquoise lake renowned for its unique healing properties. Telascica National Park is completely unspoilt and beautiful, making it a must-visit on a cruise in Croatia.


Prepare to embark on the adventure of a lifetime on a small ship cruise to the top sites in Croatia. Serving up stunning natural scenery, fascinating heritage and a spectacular culinary scene, you simply cannot go wrong in this remarkable part of the world. 

Choosing the best Croatia cruise itinerary for you all comes down to a matter of personal preference. Are you mainly wanting to tick off the must-see attractions or investigate more unconventional spots? The choice is up to you.

All you need to do is decide what kind of experience you’re after as the Dalmation Coast has something for every and all types of travelers. No matter which itinerary or route you choose, prepare to be blown away by awe-inspiring scenery in this wonderful part of the world.

Looking to explore the Dalmatian Islands? Check out our spectacular range of private tours and small ship cruises that take you to all of the top attractions in the country, along with its hidden treasures. Contact us to begin the most incredible adventure in Croatia.

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