Split, Dalmatian Coast, Croatia Hvar, Croatia Fruit - Dubrovnik, Croatia Perast, Montenegro

Essential Dalmatia

Sail down the beautiful rivers
Sail down the beautiful rivers


  • Private Tour of the Ivan Mestrovic Gallery in Split with a Curator
  • Private Wine Tasting in Hvar
  • Private Tasting in Konavle
  • Private Olive Grove Visit and Lunch in Montenegro

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 by simply telling your guide. Your time in Europe is yours to enjoy as you like!

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

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Day 1
Arrival | Split, Croatia

Arrive into Split, where your driver will meet you just outside customs and baggage claim. Please note that no airfare is included in your trip cost. Transfer to your luxury hotel right in the heart of Split’s historic center.

The remainder of your afternoon and evening is at leisure.

Split, the second largest city in Croatia, is a busy maritime and shipbuilding center, but also the home of the Diocletian Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site built in the 3rd Century and covering an enormous area in the heart of Old Town. Your hotel is actually in the remains of the Diocletian Palace.

Exeter Services: Arrival transfer only

Hotel: Judita Palace or Hotel Park

Day 2
Split | Split, Croatia

This morning, your guide will meet you in the hotel lobby to take you for a walking tour of the Old Town Split.

The Diocletian Palace, facing onto the Split harbor, is one of the most impressive Roman architectural

monuments in existence 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 Roman military ranks before finally being 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.

You will have the chance to explore 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, 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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Later today, 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 child 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 Auguste 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 sculpt 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.

This afternoon, your driver and guide will take you a short distance outside of Split to Trogir - a treasury of cultural and historical monuments dating as far back as the 4th Century BC. Set on a small island just off the mainland, Trogir was first settled by the ancient Greeks, before falling under the Romans and later the Byzantines. Destroyed by the Saracens and abandoned in the 12th Century, thanks to its strategic location the town was soon revived and became an artistic and cultural center under the Austro-Hungarians and later the Venetians. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, Old Town Trogir is surrounded by a fortress wall with two gates and is connected to the mainland by a bridge.

Your guide will show you the Gradska loza (the Old City Hall) from the 15th Century, the city walls, and the Kamerlengo Castle, which was once the residence of the Venetian governor. On the sea-side of the island, you may see the Sea Gate, which was built in the 16th Century, and the nearby old fish market, located in an open loggia, surrounded by a colonnade.

Enjoy some time at your leisure to browse the small shops and cafes in Trogir, before heading back to Split.

Exeter Services: Half-Day Vehicle &Driver (4 Hours); Full-Day Guide (8 Hours)

Hotel: Judita Palace or Hotel Park

Day 3
Hvar | Hvar, Croatia

This morning your guide will meet you for the short stroll to the ferry port where you will board one of the scheduled high-speed catamarans to the Island of Hvar.

It is believed that 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). 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. Today, Hvar is one of the most visited destinations on the Dalmatian coast, which is undoubtedly influenced by its stunning location and the fact that it has the highest number of sunny days in the year on the Adriatic coast.

You will arrive on the island right in 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 peacemaking attempt by the then ruler of Hvar. Your guide will explain the major sights here in Old Town, including the harbor, the Renaissance Cathedral, and the Benedictine Convent, where the nuns spend their lives praying and weaving elaborate laces from the fibers of the agave 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 hike to the very top of the fortification is well worth the effort 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).

This afternoon your driver will meet you so you can explore more of the island as you make your way across the island to Stari Grad. 

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Your first stop will be the small coastal town of Jelsa and a visit to the family winery of Tomic – one of the most famous wine producers in all of Croatia. You will be invited to a private tasting of wine and locallyproduced olive oil

Later continue to the town of Stari Grad. Literally translated, Stari Grad means “Old Town” and the

name could not be more appropriate as this UNESCO protected settlement is believed to be the oldest in Croatia. Stari Grad charms the visitor with its authentic Venetian port town ambience as sailing and fishing boats dot the long sheltered bay which leads to the very center of the town and the main squaresurrounded on both sides by historic buildings.

Next, your guide will take you to the Tvrdalj Castle - the fortified residence of the famous Croatian

Renaissance poet and philanthropist, Petar Hektorovic, which has been preserved and now houses an

ethnographic museum. Your guide will also take you into the fort to admire the beauty of its Renaissance garden and seawater fishpond, built in the 16th Century. At the end of your day, board the ferry with your guide for the two hour journey back to Split. Stroll back to your hotel and the remainder of your evening is at leisure.

Note: You can make this day the ultimate luxury experience by chartering a private motorboat for the day. Please inquire for details. 

Exeter Services: Half-Day Vehicle &Driver (4 Hours); Full-Day Guide (8 Hours)

Hotel: Judita Palace or Hotel Park

Day 4
Mostar | Mostar, Bosnia

This morning, your private driver will meet you in the hotel lobby to take you south along the Dalmatian coast toward Dubrovnik. You will cross the border into the now independent country of Bosnia-Herzegovina, which, together with Croatia, was once part of the Yugoslav Federation.

Early this afternoon you will reach enchanting Mostar, the unofficial capital of Herzegovina, which is situated on the Neretva River. Mostar was named after its famous UNESCO-protected Old Bridge (Stari Most) and the towers on its sides, known as the ‘bridge keepers’ (mostari). Before its destruction during the Bosnian war in 1993, people from around the world came 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 arrival in Mostar, your local guide will meet you and will take you on an overview walking tour of

Mostar’s Old Town (it is largely pedestrian-only). 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. 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 Old Town.

Continue this afternoon with your journey to Dubrovnik. Upon arrival, your driver will take you to your stunning, seaside hotel – the newly renovated Villa Dubrovnik. The remainder of your evening is at leisure.

Exeter Services: Full-Day Vehicle & Driver (8 Hours); Half-Day Guide (4 Hours)

Hotel: Excelsior or Villa Dubrovnik

Day 5
Dubrovnik | Dubrovnik, Croatia

This morning, your guide will meet you at your hotel for an overview walking tour of the historic center of Dubrovnik, which is protected as a UNESCO Heritage site. Guests of Villa Dubrovnik are invited to use the hotel’s private motorboat to transfer to Old Town and you won’t want to miss this entrance into the historic district!

You will first see the old Harbor Front of the city overlooking the Adriatic and the islands off the coast. As you continue into town, you will come to Dubrovnik’s main square - the Loggia Loza, situated at the eastern extremity of the Stradun – the centuries-old promenade which runs through the walled city from East to West. Interestingly, the Stradun was once a marshy canal separating the Ragusa (Dubrovnik) Island from the mainland, which was later filled in and paved. The Loggia square is at the heart of Dubrovnik, and is surrounded by its most important and historic buildings.

Your guide will show you the Church of St. Blaise with its distinctive baroque façade. On the main altar stands a statue of Dubrovnik’s patron saint made of gold plated silver and holding a model of the city from the middle ages.

Next, you can 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 or art 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.

Later, your guide will also take you into the Dubrovnik Cathedral and its treasury famous for its ancient relics including a fragment of the ‘true cross’ on which it is believed that Jesus was crucified. The treasury also houses a collection of gold and silver artifacts and sacred objects. It is said that the English King Richard the Lionheart was shipwrecked nearby on his return from the Third Crusade so he built the original cathedral on this spot to thank God for his salvation.

This afternoon, you can also visit Dubrovnik’s Sephardic Synagogue. The synagogue was established in

the 15th century, survived earthquakes and wars, and is still in service today. Its simple Gothic exterior is a remarkable contrast with the Baroque interiors featuring arches, spiraled columns, and a delicately

carved wooden ark. The ark, together with precious ritual objects and 13th and 14th century Torah scrolls brought from Spain after the expulsion, were saved during the Second World War by a local family which used underground passages to smuggle them out of the synagogue. Some of these ritual objects are now displayed in a small museum under the temple.

You can also visit the museum in the Franciscan monastery of the “Order of Minor Friars,” which includes one of the three oldest pharmacies in Europe, which is still serving customers today. Part of the Franciscans’ mission was to take care of the health of the local residents, so they opened the pharmacy in 1317 and it has been in operation ever since. The monastery contains numerous medieval pharmacists’ tools and medical books, which belonged to the English kings’ physicians, as well as 10th century manuscripts.

As your energy allows, your guide will take you for a walk atop the fortress walls surrounding the Old Town. Just over a mile long, this stroll usually takes about an hour and will help you get your bearings and enjoy the sweeping views of historic Dubrovnik and the sea.

The remainder of your afternoon is at leisure. You can stay in the city to enjoy the shops and cafes or return to your hotel and indulge in the spa.

Note: All touring today is on foot on cobblestones. Please wear appropriate footwear.

Exeter Services: Half-Day Guide (4 Hours)

Hotel:  Excelsior or Villa Dubrovnik

Day 6
Konavle Region | Konavale, Croatia

This morning, your driver and guide will take you farther south along the Dalmatian coast to the town of Cavtat. This historic town dates back to the 6th Century BC and was first a Greek colony and later a Roman town called Ephidaurum. When Slav tribes invaded the area in the 7th century, the local population sought refuge up the coast where they established Ragusa, which later expanded to become today’s Dubrovnik. Today, Cavtat is one of the most charming towns on the coast and retains a small town, laid-back ambience. Of historic interest here is the Baltazar Bogisic Collection, which includes many fine paintings and works of art and is housed in a 16th century Count’s Palace. You will also see a Franciscan monastery from the 16th century and a monument designed by Mestrovic.

Later, you will continue your drive through the southern Dalmatian countryside and the region known as Konavle. This is Dalmatia at its most traditional, where people still maintain the old customs and authentic costumes and cultivate olives and vineyards.

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This afternoon you will visit the winery of Niko Karaman, a local enologist who is quickly making a name for his tiny operation. He is known for dry wines and exquisite sweet Prosek (dessert wine) that he makes from rare indigenous grapes. His wines have already been awarded the title of World’s Best Dessert Wine in 2009. Konavle is also known for its excellent cuisine and we recommend having lunch at the restaurant Konovaski Dvori, a traditional southern Dalmatian restaurant located on the banks of the Ljuta river. (Cost of lunch is not included).

Later this afternoon, your driver and guide will take you back to Dubrovnik. The rest of the evening will be at your leisure.

Exeter Services: Half-Day Vehicle, Driver & Guide (4 Hours)

Hotel: Excelsior or Villa Dubrovnik

Day 7
Montenegro | Kotor, Montenegro

This morning, after an early start, your driver will take you to the southernmost tip of Croatia where you will continue across the border into Montenegro, which used to be a part of the former Yugoslavia but has been an independent country since the referendum in 2006. The country’s name, meaning “Black Mountain,” probably dates back to the era of Venetian hegemony over the Adriatic coast in the middle ages. Once you cross the border, your Montenegrin guide will join you for the day.

Your first stop today is the port town of Kotor. Located at the head of a deep fjord, Kotor’s fortified Old Town was strategically built at the foot of a high cliff and is today protected by UNESCO. The fortified Old Town bears similarities with the one in Dubrovnik, but is smaller and more idyllic in some ways. The best way to explore this very compact part of town is to simply allow yourself to get lost in the maze of narrow streets and small squares and to wander around admiring the historic buildings. (of course your guide will be with you, so you can’t get that lost!)

A good place to start is the Main Gate, which once led directly to the bay and where ships used to tie up, have their cargo and papers examined, and pay taxes. Continuing your walk south, you may stop to visit the Catholic Cathedral of St. Triphun, which was originally built in the 11th Century, but was later reconstructed several times due to the damage caused by earthquakes. Its Romanesque-gothic interiors feature 14th Century frescoes, vaulted roofs and a gilded-silver iconostasis.

Time and fitness permitting, you may consider climbing the 1,500 steps of Kotor’s old fortress walls on the hills above the town (for the physically fit, this climb is one of the true highlights of a trip to Montenegro!). The fortifications were started in the early middle ages by the Byzantines after expelling the Goths and were later expanded by the Venetians. Throughout the centuries, the city survived many attacks and was successively controlled by Bulgarians, Serbians, Venetians, Ottomans, and Austro-Hungarians. Today, the impressive city walls stretch some 3 miles from the waterfront to the steep cliffs above the town, range in thickness from 5 to 50 feet, and offer some of the best views over the Old Town and the dramatic fjords that surround the town.

Later today continue toward Lustica village, approximately 45 minutes away from Kotor.

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Today you will meet the Moric family, locally famous for their olive oil production. This olive grove is family owned and operated in an area renowned for the quality and complexity of its extraordinary artisan olive oils produced with purity, flavor and character. Today you will be invited to savor the goodness of their Estate grown artisan oils. All of the olives are organically and sustainable farmed and hand-harvested.

You will also have the opportunity to get to know the Moric family, witness how they produce their domestic olive oil and enjoy a homemade meal of Montenegrin specialties. This afternoon, you will continue your trip back to Dubrovnik and your hotel for an evening at your leisure.

Exeter Services: Full-Day Vehicle & Driver; Montenegro Guide

Hotel: Excelsior or Villa Dubrovnik

Day 8
Departure | Dubrovnik, Croatia

Morning at leisure before check-out and transfer to the airport for your onward flight.

Exeter Services: Departure Transfer Only

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