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What is the Dalmatian Coast?

The Dalmatian Coast, a breathtaking stretch along the Adriatic Sea, is Croatia's prized jewel. Known for its crystal-clear waters, historic towns, and over a thousand islands, it's a paradise for travelers seeking beauty and adventure. With a rich cultural tapestry and sumptuous cuisine, it's more than a destination; it's an experience. Ready to explore its hidden gems?
O. Wallace
O. Wallace

The Dalmatian Coast is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful places to visit in Europe. It is a strip of coast, dotted by hundreds of islands, on the west side of Croatia (Hrvatska), bordered by the east coast of the Adriatic Sea. The Dalmatian Coast is known for its lush, forested islands, clean, sparkling water, fairy-tale towns and cities and diverse cultural influences. The largest city to the north is Split, and to the south, Dubrovnik. Other main cities in this region include Dubrov, Sibenik and Zadar, and among the largest islands are Brač, Hvar, Korčula, Mljet and Dugi Otok.

The beauty, unique geography and temperate climate have made the Dalmatian Coast a highly disputed region for centuries. Its Mediterranean-like climate, karst, or limestone, geography and coastal access is highly desirable. The name originates with the Dalmatae, an Illyrian tribe that inhabited the region during the first millennium BCE. Starting around 220 BCE, the Roman Empire slowly gained power over the region, and by the time of Christ, the region was nearly completely Romanized.

The Jesuit Church of St. Ignatius is in Dubrovnik.
The Jesuit Church of St. Ignatius is in Dubrovnik.

After the fall of Rome, the region was subsequently ruled by the Goths, the Byzantine Empire, the Avars, Slavs and the Ottoman Empire. Due to the numerous changes in rule, in addition to many wars and rebellions, the Dalmatian Coast became a fractured kingdom, resulting in numerous principalities and states. The Romanized Dalmatians continued to struggle to retain power, but by the 10th century, the Venetians attempted to assert power. The lasting vestiges of the Byzantine, and especially Venetian, influences are evidenced by the coast’s culture and architecture.

In modern times, the Dalmatian Coast has been controlled by the French, Hungarians, Serbians and Austrians, though its people continued to struggle for unification. After World War I, the Dalmatian Coast was fractured yet again. Most of the region was part of a unified Yugoslavia until its fall in 1991, and it became what we now know as Croatia.

Today, peace has returned to the Dalmatian Coast, and it has gained popularity with tourists due to its remote, yet easily accessible islands with charming towns and beautiful marinas. Boating, swimming and fishing are favorite pastimes for both locals and visitors. The Dalmatian Coast has much to offer the visitor in its culture, architecture and natural beauty. The Palace at Diocletian in Split is famed for its architecture, and the city of Dubrovnik is revered for its city walls and tiled roofs. In addition to the stunning man-made attractions of the Dalmatian Coast, the proximity of unique and unparalleled national parks, both on the coast and further inland draws people from around the world.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Dalmatian Coast and where is it located?

The Dalmatian Coast is a picturesque region along the eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea, belonging to Croatia. It stretches from the island of Rab in the north to the Bay of Kotor in the south. Known for its crystal-clear waters, historic towns, and numerous islands, the Dalmatian Coast is a blend of natural beauty and cultural heritage, making it a popular destination for travelers seeking both relaxation and exploration.

What are some must-visit cities or islands on the Dalmatian Coast?

Key destinations on the Dalmatian Coast include the ancient city of Dubrovnik, known for its well-preserved medieval walls and historic architecture. Split, with its UNESCO-listed Diocletian's Palace, offers a unique blend of ancient and modern life. The islands of Hvar, known for its vibrant nightlife and lavender fields, and Korčula, with its charming old town, are also top picks. The Kornati archipelago, a national park, is a haven for boaters and nature lovers.

What is the best time of year to visit the Dalmatian Coast?

The ideal time to visit the Dalmatian Coast is during the shoulder seasons of May-June and September-October. During these months, the weather is pleasant, and the summer crowds have thinned out, providing a more relaxed experience. According to the Croatian Meteorological and Hydrological Service, the average temperature in these months ranges from 20°C to 25°C, perfect for outdoor activities and swimming.

What are some popular activities to do on the Dalmatian Coast?

Visitors to the Dalmatian Coast can indulge in a variety of activities. Sailing among the myriad of islands is a favorite pastime, as is exploring the region's historical sites like the Roman ruins in Split or the Renaissance architecture in Dubrovnik. For adventure seekers, there's kayaking, diving, and hiking in Biokovo Nature Park. Food enthusiasts can enjoy fresh seafood and local Croatian wines at the coast's many taverns and restaurants.

How can travelers contribute to sustainable tourism on the Dalmatian Coast?

Travelers can support sustainable tourism on the Dalmatian Coast by choosing eco-friendly accommodations, participating in responsible tours that respect the environment and local communities, and by dining at restaurants that source ingredients locally. Additionally, visitors should be mindful of their environmental impact by minimizing waste, conserving water, and respecting natural habitats. Engaging with local culture and purchasing local crafts can also help support the regional economy in a sustainable way.

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Discussion Comments


The Dalmatian coast is indeed a beautiful place to visit. The whole Adriatic coast on the Croatian side is dotted with islands, large and small, populated and non populated, lush green and barren.

The sea is clear and blue, and people friendly and welcoming. The area has a very long history. It is interspersed with many little towns that are centuries old. A very different and memorable place to vacation.

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    • The Jesuit Church of St. Ignatius is in Dubrovnik.
      By: Jjava
      The Jesuit Church of St. Ignatius is in Dubrovnik.