DALMATIAN COAST, Croatia | 1 week road trip from Split to Dubrovnik

Katja CROATIA Leave a Comment

Going to Croatia at least once in the summer time is a almost a must for most of Slovenians, including me. This year we found a week of time in the last moment, so we drove off with my little old car without any fixed plans – we just knew we want to go to Split where we would look for a ferry to an island. Any island, it really did not matter.

When: July 2010

Visited: Split, Brela, Baska voda, Makarska, Tucepi, Ston, Praprotno, Slano, Dubrovnik

How: with our car

Stayed in: private rooms



I have to say I´m quite a fan of Dalmatia – especially the ISLANDS. It´s just always so relaxing and peaceful. After about 4 hours of driving we reached SPLIT PORT and looked at the ferry connections to some of the islands. But due to the peak season there was such a chaos, that we decided to explore the MAINLAND instead. The COASTAL DRIVE all the way down to DUBROVNIK seemed like a doable plan for a week and in the end it did not dissapoint at all.

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SPLIT | Unesco Eorld Heritage site, seaside promenade, historical old city centre, summer festivals, lively atmosphere and more

But first just a short stay in Split – which is actually pretty big. Getting to the PORT is pretty easy, signs are everywhere so you can´t miss it. We left the car at one of the little streets close to the port and WALKED OUR WAY THROUGH THE OLD TOWN, which is really stunning and it actually deserves a couple of days visit.



But even if you don´t have a couple of days, it is worth a stop even if you just have time for an afternoon or an evening visit. Don´t miss the famous DIOCLETIAN PALACE, which is also under UNESCO and climb up a BELL TOWER to enjoy the views. In the summer evenings there are many concerts/live music and other events you can take part at. Such a great atmosphere.


When we were kids and making holidays in Croatia year after year, one of the things we did almost every evening was having a stroll at the marina, watching boats and eating ice cream. Sometimes I still like to do that, for the good old times 😉



BRELA & BAŠKA VODA | the best beaches on Makarska riviera

Woohoo our first BEACH destination – Brela! BRELA and BAŠKA VODA are two smaller coastal towns connected with a nice COASTAL WALKING PATH. People mostly stay in Brela as it offers more accommodation. I´ve heard that Brela has the NICEST BEACH on the whole mainland coastline, so we had to see it now. But because we had no room reservations and it was peak season, FINDING ACCOMMODATION was really hard. The point was, there were usually free rooms for more than 2 persons, or the owners wanted us to stay minimum 3 days. But as we only had a week for the whole trip, we just could not do that. That´s why we always ended up sleeping in small rooms faaaar away from the beach, mostly uphill above the main road ;). But who cares, we burned some extra calories while walking to and from the beach.


We can confirm, the beach is awesome! I just love the smell of the PINE TREES while reading books under the sun and not having a care in the world. Ahhhh. And then there is this ROCK! The rock. It is basically on every postcard from this area. Isn´t this spectacular? It is sticking out of the sea just a few metres from the walking path, so it´s pretty easy to swim to.



And the SUNSETS – orange skies with the sound of waves, eating something delicious and drinking a cold beer of a glass of wine, just perfect ;).


MAKARSKA | larger town under the mighty Biokovo mountains

Moving on, on the way to TUČEPI we stopped in MAKARSKA TOWN, for breakfast. It´s the biggest town in the area and you can take a ferry to island BRAČ from here. What I like about the whole region (which is also called Makarska btw) are the mighty BIOKOVO MOUNTAINS at the back. It´s the combination of sea + beach + green olive trees + rocky mountains that make great views!


TUČEPI | popular seaside resort on Makarska riviera

Only about half an hour drive from Brela we spent 2 nights in Tucepi. I believe this is the place my mom spent her summer holidays as a kid often, so I kept hearing the name and how nice it was. I have to say, yes, it is nice, but extremely full in July. That was insane, THE BEACH WAS PACKED. So we were there when everyone else went for lunch and late in the afternoon when many already left ;). In the meantime we were eating and walking around or just swimming for a very looong time.




Also here, the same story with the rooms – we ended up staying 2 nights because we could not find a room for just one day. In the end we went to the local tourist agency and they found us a place!


Time to leave again – a good 1,5 hrs of driving along the COASTLINE with these amazing VIEWS made our day already. You can make a stop and leave the car along the road somewhere if you see a nice bay under the road – taking a swim between car driving is a great idea ;).

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STON | historically important town with one of the best preserved citty walls in Europe

We suddenly felt hungry plus we spotted a very interesting long stone WALL on the hills and spontaneously decided to make a stop. The little town is called Ston (this place was completely new to me also, which was great).



Mmmm and gues what? They have teh best OYSTERS in Croatia.They were delicious. The restaurant is on the right side when you drive into the Mali Ston (“Little Ston”) – a great place to have a bite and a glass of wine.

ston oysters

A very short drive and you end up in VELIKI STON (“Big Ston”) – we were lucky to coincidently run into LOCAL CELEBRATIONS, music was playing everywhere, there was much food and everybody had good mood. The plan of climbing the wall was easily forgotten – to our excuse, there were almost 40C and we rather stayed between the cool stone walls and enjoyed the action in the town.

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PRAPROTNO | nice bay on Pelješac peninsula

Technically, Ston is already on the PELJEŠAC PENINSULA – and if you drive just a couple of kilometres more you end up on the other side, in the place called Praprotno. From here you can catch a ferry to MLJET or continue driving towards the tip of the peninsula. We did neither. We were so full of food we just crashed on the beach for a while :).


SLANO | peaceful calm bay and small town on the way to Dubrovnik

Good that the days are long in the summer and even if we felt really lazy, we still had enough time to move to the next place – we looked at the map and tried our luck in a LITTLE VILLAGE called Slano, just 25 kilometres south of Praprotno. Finally we were very lucky with finding a room – we got one directly at the beach! With a small balcony over the sea, overlooking the little church. So cool!

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DUBROVNIK | one of the best and most beautiful Croatian cities

We used SLANO AS A BASE to visit Dubrovnik as we thought it might be hard to get a good room without a reservation there. It´s just 35 km FROM SLANO, so we were there very early in the morning, ready to explore. We left the car in one of the garages outside the old town, which is a car free zone.


The day was a bit exhausting as it was EXTREMELY HOT and we walked all the way around on the FORT WALLS and then later on all over through THE OLD CITY CENTRE – but it was totally worth it. The views are spectacular and up there you get some wind breeze and it´s not so hot, although I advice not to go there at the hottest hours of the day. In the last years there are also more and more CRUISE SHIPS coming in to Dubrovnik – and when they come, it´s tourists everywhere. So try to get the best out of your visit in the early hours ;).

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There are not many BEACHES close to the city centre, but there are some nice ones on the outskirts. We´ve also seen many groups kayaking around the fort area, you can take trips to the small neighbouring islands, visit museums and churches, galleries, shop and eat in those really cute RESTAURANTS. If you ever been to Italy – this narrow alleys look similar sometimes. Beautiful city with the whole old town being under UNESCO since 1979 is well worth visiting.


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That´s it, the end of a great week. Having driven 1500 km down south and back up to LJUBLJANA was a great way to see THE BEST OF DALMATIA´S COASTLINE – so if you cannot decide on an island, this road trip is definitely a great choice!



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