Split, Dalmatian Coast, Croatia Dubrovnik, Croatia

Self-Drive Dalmatia

Sail down the beautiful rivers
Sail down the beautiful rivers

Exeter International White Glove Self-Drive Program Includes:

  • A pre-programmed GPS system for you to use while in Europe.
  • Every day will be set up for you and you can’t get lost!
  • 24-hours local help line available to you as you travel and manned exclusively by Exeter local staff.
  • Our expert advice in finding the perfect car for your trip. Your car will be waiting for you to pick up locally and will show you exactly where to return it when you are finished.
  • The freedom to deviate and explore on your own and then jump back into your planned itinerary at any time.

The following is just a suggested daily touring schedule. You will have complete control over your daily schedule and may change your plans at any time simply by telling your guide or by deviating from your Exeter-provided GPS itinerary. Your time in Europe is yours to enjoy as you like!

For custom luxury travel, tours and self drive programs to Croatia, please contact one of our travel experts.

Captivating Croatia Downloadable PDF

White Glove Self-Drive Downloadable PDF

Day 1
Arrival | Split

Arrival into Split.  Your driver will meet you in your hotel lobby for your transfer into the heart of the city.

Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.

Exeter Services: Transfers

Hotel: Park Hotel Split

Day 2
Split | Split

This morning, your guide will meet you in the hotel lobby at 10AM for a walking tour.

The Diocletian Palace, facing onto the Split harbor, is one of the most impressive Roman architectural monuments and is protected as a UNESCO Heritage Site. The Roman Emperor Diocletian, noted for his persecution of early Christians, was supposedly a native of nearby Salona before rising through the military ranks and getting appointed as emperor by his legions.  He ruled for 20 years before abdicating and retiring to this palace. After his death, the palace was gradually abandoned until the 7th century when refugees from the surrounding areas, fleeing foreign invasions, sought shelter within the palace’s protective walls. In the following centuries, the castle’s population outgrew its capacity and the town sprawled outside the walls. Nowadays, Split is a major port and industrial center, as well as a perfect base for day trips to many nearby attractions.

You will have the chance to wander around the more than 200 buildings within the boundaries of the Diocletian Palace complex, many of which are still homes, while others house cafes, restaurants, and shops. Like a typical Roman fort (castrum), in its original form the palace had a roughly square layout and was surrounded by a thick wall with gates and watchtowers. Some of the best-preserved sites you can visit are the Vestibule, the Temple of Jupiter, the Peristyle, and Diocletian’s Mausoleum – now the Cathedral of St. Dominus.

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After a break for lunch, payable locally, your guide and driver will take you on a private visit to the gallery of Ivan Mestrovic - the most celebrated Croatian artist of the 20th Century. Even as a youngster in rural Croatia, Mestrovic demonstrated a unique talent for molding clay. This talent was later honed in Zagreb and Vienna from which emerged an exquisite artist whose brilliant creativity translated itself into sculpture. He was a colleague and friend of the famous French sculptor Antoine Rodin in Vienna. During World War II Ivan Mestrovic was imprisoned but later freed when the Vatican intervened on his behalf and he later came to the United States to teach and create until his death in 1962. He is buried in a mausoleum that he designed himself. The artist was known for immortalizing womanhood in pieces such as Maternity and the History of Croatia. The gallery in Split was the original residence of the artist.

The rest of the afternoon can be spent on the Marjan Hill overlooking the city. This park is a popular retreat for the locals. Interestingly, you may also visit Old Jewish cemetery that dates back to 1573.

Exeter Services: Full-Day Guide, Half-Day Car & Driver.

Hotel: Park Hotel Split

Day 3
Split | Split

This morning meet your guide in the hotel lobby at 10AM for a day trip to Hvar on your private boat.

It is believed that the Hvar Island has been inhabited since Antiquity. In the 4th Century BC, Greek settlers founded a trade colony here and called it Pharos (the Greek word for lighthouse). Later, as part of the Roman province of Dalmatia, the island was called Fara. When the Slavs settled here in the 7th century, they started calling the island Hvar. In the following centuries, Venetians and Habsburgs sought to control the island because of its strategic location, fertile soil, and secluded harbors. Nowadays, Hvar is one of the most visited destinations on the Dalmatian coast, which is undoubtedly influenced by its fabulous location and the fact that it has the highest number of sunny days in the year on the Adriatic coast, but also thanks to the island’s long tradition culture and the arts.

You will arrive on the island and to the town of Hvar.  Through the course of history, Hvar Town has been a melting pot of cultures and influences and is still bursting with history, art and culture, and the home of Europe’s oldest municipal theater, which was built in the early 17th century over an arsenal in a peace-making attempt by the then ruler of Hvar. 

You may start from Hvar’s main square, right next to the harbor, which is dominated by the Renaissance Cathedral with its distinctive bell tower dedicated to St. Stephen. The square is surrounded by buildings dating from the 16th – 17th centuries when the town was an important Venetian trading and seafaring center. Also in this part of town, you may wish to visit the Benedictine Convent, where the nuns spend their lives praying and weaving elaborate laces from the fibers of the agava plant. The convent’s museum shows some delicate and intricate lace designs, some dating to the late 19th century.

To the north of the main square and towering over the town, you may decide to explore Hvar’s fortress, which is known as Spanjola as it was partially built by Spanish engineers.  The steep hike to the very top of the fortification is well worth it for the beautiful views over the bay. As you continue your walk south of the harbor and along the row of cafes and bars to the other side of the town, you will come to the Franciscan monastery and the exquisite Church of Gospa od Milosti (Our Lady of Charity).  The still functioning monastery dates back to the 14th Century when it started as a hospice for ill sailors. Its museum houses a collection of works by Venetian and Croatian artists, including a magnificent 17th-century painting of the Last Supper by an unknown artist, as well as coins from as early as the 4th century BC and Greek amphorae.

This afternoon utilize your boat to see some of the coast of Hvar as well as the neighboring Pakleni Islands.  These islands face the town of Hvar and are uninhabited and mostly woodlands.  They feature a myriad of small secluded beaches.  Some of these are nude beaches, so please do let your guide and skipper know if you would like to avoid this.  You can stop as you desire for swimming, snorkeling or using the boat’s Bladefish.

Return to the harbor in Split by 5PM.  The remainder of your day is at leisure.

Exeter Services: Full-Day Guide; Boat Charter

Hotel: Park Hotel Split

Day 4
Trogir | Trogir

This morning at 10:00, enjoy a visit to Trogir, a short distance from Split. The island of Trogir is an architectural gem in the middle of Dalmatia. Trogir is resplendent with Medieval and Renaissance Venetian architecture. Every doorway and window is a piece of artwork.

Of particular note is the cathedral of St. Lawrence with its Romanesque façade. Make sure you do not miss St. John’s cathedral, under UNESCO’s protection, with the master Dalmatian sculptor Radovan’s Portal from 13th century. Your guide will also be happy to take you to the Church of St. Barbara – the oldest basilica in the region! You may also see Gradska loza (Old City Hall) from 15th century, city walls, as well as the Duke’s Palace, Kamerlengo Tower, and Cipiko Palace from 13th century, with various valuable sculptures and facades. And this afternoon, you may explore Trogir’s Museum – which is located in several palaces.

 On your way back to Split, you may want to stop and visit Salona. Your guide will explain the importance of this former Venetian stronghold, as you explore the ruins that remain.

Afternoon return to Split for the rest of the day at leisure.

Exeter Services: Car, Driver & Guide (6 hrs)

Hotel: Park Hotel Split

Day 5
Mostar | Mostar

Today, your rental car will be delivered to your hotel as you set out to Dubrovnik. As you driver south along the Dalmatian coast, You will cross the border into the now independent country of Bosnia-Herzegovina, which, together with Croatia, was once part of the Yugoslav Federation.

Mostar is the unofficial capital of Herzegovina and is the fifth-largest city in the country. Mostar was named after its famous UNESCO-protected Old Bridge (Stari Most) and the towers on its sides, knows as the ‘bridge keepers’ (mostari). Before its destruction during the Bosnian war in 1993, people from around the world used to come to see the 500-year old bridge, a trend which now continues after it was rebuilt in 2004 and again connects the banks of the Neretva River.

Upon your arrival in Mostar, a local guide will meet you and will take you on an overview walking tour of Mostar’s Old Town. You will, of course, walk along the Old Bridge and to Mostar’s cobbled Ottoman Quarter, which houses the city’s artists and craftsmen, as well as beautiful 16th – century mosques, museums and cafes. It is believed that before the Ottomans occupied this region in the 15th century, Mostar was only a small settlement with a suspension bridge over the river. Thanks to its strategic location, Mostar soon became an important Ottoman military and administrative center. In the following centuries, the town grew and prospered from the trade with the nearby Dubrovnik. This is the period when many of the Islamic structures like mosques and madrasas were built.  At the end of the 19th century, the Austro-Hungarians briefly annexed Bosnia and Herzegovina and some examples of Viennese architecture still can be seen around the Old Town. The city was badly damaged during the 1990s military conflict and suffered immeasurable architectural destruction. Although most of the Old Town is now rebuilt, some rubble and ruins are still to be seen.

Continue this afternoon with your journey to Dubrovnik.  Upon arrival, check-in at your hotel Villa Dubrovnik.  The remainder of your evening is at leisure.

Exeter Services: Half-Day Guide in Mostar

Hotel: Villa Dubrovnik

Day 6
Dubrovnik | Dubrovnik

This morning at 10:00, your guide will meet you for a half-day tour of the Old Town.

You will start at the Ploce Gate (East Gate), one of the two extremities of the walled city. As you descend down the stone steps of the fortification you will see the old Harbor Front of the city overlooking the Adriatic and the islands off the coast. Continue to Dubrovnik’s Main Square of the Loggia Loza, situated at the eastern extremity of the Stradun, which runs through the walled city from East to West. The square is at the heart of Dubrovnik, and is surrounded by its most important buildings.

You will visit the Church of St. Blaise with its distinctive baroque façade. Next door, step into the Rector’s Palace. The Rector was the highest authority in the city and his palace now houses the Museum of Dubrovnik. Over 15,000 works are on display documenting the economic and cultural history of the city. Next door to the Rector’s Palace is the ancient town hall which today houses the National Theater of Dubrovnik.

If you wish, your guide will also take you into the Dubrovnik Cathedral and its treasury famous for its ancient relics including a fragment of the cross on which it is believed that Jesus was crucified. The treasury also houses a collection of gold and silver artifacts and sacred objects.

You can also visit the Franciscan monastery of the “Order of Little Brothers” (Ordo Fratrum Minorum) with one of the three oldest pharmacies in Europe. The monastery contains numerous medical books that belonged to English kings’ physicians, as well as 10th century manuscripts.

Afternoon at leisure.   

Exeter Services: Half-Day Guide

Hotel: Villa Dubrovnik

Day 7
Montenegro | Montenegro

This morning at 10:00, your driver will meet you for a full day excursion to Montenegro. A local guide will meet you at the border.

First, depart to the port town of Kotor. Start your visit to the Catholic Cathedral of St. Triphun from 12th century with reliquaries of St. Triphun from 9th century. Continue to the Orthodox Church of St Luca from 12th century, as well as the Franciscan Church of St. Clare from 16th century featuring a magnificent baroque marble altar.

Continue towards Njegoci – a typical Montenegrin village. After a short break, head to Cetinje for a visit to King Nicola’s Museum – the only king of Montenegro.

Later, your guide will also take you into the Monastery of St. Peter - where the reliquary known as the “right hand with three fingers of St. Joan Baptist.”

Exeter Services: Car, Driver & Local Guide

Hotel: Villa Dubrovnik

Day 8
Dubrovnik | Dubrovnik

Today, enjoy at leisure. If you wish, you may decide to explore the countryside around Dubrovnik, the Konavle region.

 Exeter Services: None

Hotel: Villa Dubrovnik

Day 9
Departure | Dubrovnik

Today, check out of the hotel and drive to Dubrovnik airport to return your car.

 Exeter Services: None

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