The Dalmatian Coast is best known for its climate: Mediterranean on the coastline, but quickly changing to alpine just inland, in mountains which roll right down to the sea in a particularly picturesque way. There are a number of lovely towns and cities lining the coast, many containing the best places to stay in the Dalmatian Coast, and all of which seem to have their best face facing out to sea, so one of the best ways to appreciate this area's beauty is from the deck of a yacht.
Island hopping, around what are really flooded peaks of the same alpine range, is certainly a good way to explore the region, but many spots along the coastline deserve more than a drop in. Some of the best places to stay on the Dalmatian Coast have good links to other local centres, making it easy to hop around from a land-base.
Northern Dalmatia stretches from the Kvarner Riviera to Split, including Zadar and Trogir. Split is the largest city in the region, so makes an easy base, and its Old Town, built around a vast Roman palace, is exceptionally beautiful. Zadar is the other large town in the region, again with an impressive Old Town littered with Roman ruins, medieval churches and excellent museums.
But Northern Dalmatia is probably better known for its scenery, with some breathtakingly lovely National Parks, and some of the least built up islands along the Dalmatian Coast. Pasman and Uglijan are examples of those less built up islands. Beautiful Pag has some of the region's best sandy beaches, as well as the famous party resort of Novalja.
The most famous Dalmatian islands are in the centre of the region. Starting with Solta, just off the coast from Split and heading south you'll hit Brac, Hvar, Vis and Korčula. Solta is well developed and very visitor-friendly; Brac is lush with pines and figs and is known for its clear waters; Hvar has the fertile vineyards, gorgeous beaches and medieval towns; Vis has more of those lovely, sandy bays and beaches, and Korčula, the largest, is loved by cyclists.
The southerly part of the Dalmatian Coast is where you'll see palm trees and olive groves along the ribbon of Adriatic blue, but the grey cliffs and peaks are still right behind the coast. This is also where you'll find Dubrovnik. A favourite of famous aesthete Elizabeth Taylor, Dubrovnik's sheltered, emerald harbour, it's 13th Century walled town and it's Stradun, one of the world's most beautiful main streets, are endlessly enchanting. It sounds over the top, but you'll see...
If you're going to visit during the busy summer months, the best places to stay in the Dalmatian Coast will get booked up well in advance. So either get organised and plan ahead or come in the quieter months when this beautiful region is far less crowded!
Fantastically modern hostel from a newly renovated 19th century warehouse. A range of modern minimal rooms, dorm-style rooms, and suites provide excellent value accommodation for families and groups of friends. Simple but delicious pizzeria and access to all the sights.
Hrvatska, Dalmatian Coast
Idyllic seaside hotel in fisherman's village. Contemporary rooms have light wood furniture, artworks and some with sea facing balconies. Excellent Mediterranean cuisine using local, organic produce. Pretty and great value.
Traditional apartments, excellent value, just a five minute walk from Buza beach. Apartments have kitchenettes, extra beds, wifi, and wonderful city views over the Old Town. Rooms are rather antique but offer unbeatable rates. Ideal for anyone on a budget, very convenient too.
An idyllic stone cottage B&B on the waterfront. Contemporary boutique rooms in bright colours, gorgeous open terraces with sea views, excellent table d'hotes with produce straight from the garden. Snorkelling, diving, exploring. An active beach holiday in a remote spot.
A simple but stylish collection of rooms and apartments with kitchenettes in central Dubrovnik. Creamy rooms and two bedroom suites have wooden floors and minimal furnishings. An excellent value spot for families, groups of friends, or those on a budget.
A boutique collection of apartments in the Old Town. Light, airy, and contemporary decoration within a 17th century townhouse. Each suite has all the mod cons, including DVD players, and a kitchenette. A great option for a family or a couple for a summer beach holiday or a winter retreat.
Cavtat, Dalmatian Coast
A good choice for a less touristic holiday on the Dalmatian coastline. A traditional hotel in the town of Cavtat within striking distance of the beach. Simple, but very spacious, rooms have parquet floors and mahogany furnishings. A bit off the beaten track, but better value.
An old-town hotel perfect for the cultural explorer. 21 minimalist chic rooms with kingsize beds and big bathrooms. Many historic sights, day trips, and lots of beach life. A sumptuous seaside spot for couples.
A beautiful stone house on Lopud Island with stunning sea views in a privileged location. Simple traditional rooms, some with private balconies, roof top terrace and pool, excellent restaurant and BBQs, and immediate access to the sea. An ideal spot for a peaceful romantic getaway or wedding.
A renovated stone town house with a collection of contemporary chic rooms, studio apartments and one house. Interiors are all white with wooden floors and all the mod cons. Kitchens, sitting rooms, and in the thick of all the attractions. Stylish and family friendly.
A good four star option a few minutes from Zadar's old town. Traditional elegant rooms, some sleep up to 4, with subtle lighting, rich fabrics, and wallpapered walls. Excellent restaurant and terrace, spa and business room. A good choice for any traveller.
A stunning little guesthouse-hotel. Contemporary classic rooms have four poster beds, beige tones, and elegant furniture. Wonderful sea views from sprawling terraces, swimming pool, and walking distance to the beach and restaurants.
A beautiful Five Star hotel crafted by local architects from the rock face in Dubrovnik. Designer rooms, suites, and villas are contemporary with sea facing balconies, some with private jacuzzis. Excellent restaurant, pool, spa, private rocky beach, and lots of privacy. Romantic luxury.
State of the art glass hotel set in the cliff face in central Dubrovnik. Contemporary designer rooms, family suites, and suites have neutral tones, all the high techery and private balconies. Two restaurants, excellent spa, and immediate access to all the sights. A luxury spot, very family friendly.
Maslinica, Dalmatian Coast
A beautiful Croatian castle renovation of the island of Solta, a boat ride from Split. A historic house with beautiful interiors that echo tradition. Enormous suites sleep between 4 and 6, all with private balconies looking onto the pool. Romantic, remote, and family friendly.
A modern five-star hotel with mesmerising vistas of the Adriatic. A short walk from Dubrovnik's stunning historic centre, the hotel's superb spa is the perfect place to relax after a day's exploring. Palatial rooms fitted with terrace showcase the area's natural beauty. A coastal oasis.
A historic townhouse hotel in the the centre of Dubrovnik's old town. The sandstone building has traditional rooms and suites with wooden beamed ceilings, parquet floors and paintings on the walls. Lovely frescoed bar and restaurant. An authentic choice right in the thick of it. Family friendly.
Brač, Hrvatska, Dalmatian Coast
Traditional Mediterranean boutique on the island of Brac. Colourful Mediterranean rooms, gorgeous garden terrace with pool, stunning sea views, and a spa. Perfect for a beach holiday on a sunny island. Not far from all the attractions and boat life.
A luxury boutique castle hotel, previously a holiday home, in the heritage bay of Lapad. Stunning rooms and suites, traditional in style with wooden beamed ceilings and attractive furnishings. Fantastic regional restaurant, pool and courtyard, and speed boats to hire.
Petrčane, Dalmatian Coast
A fabulous contemporary spa hotel on the Petrcane peninsula. Panoramic ocean views, a state of the art spa covering two floors, fantastic Dalmatian cuisine, and charming nautical themed rooms and suites with all the mod cons. A sophisticated choice for a spa and beach holiday, family friendly too.
A romantic hotel just near Diocletian's Mausoleum. Beautiful rooms and suites have stone walls, creamy furnishings, wooden floors and all the mod cons. Charming terrace, sitting room, library and restaurant. A stylish spot for a stop-over in Split.
A stunning Dalmatian villa sits on the waterfront with breathtaking views, its own private beach, and a full service spa. Rooms and suites, slightly traditional, but very luxurious with private balconies. Three excellent restaurants, beauty salon, spa treatments, two pools, and picturesque gardens.
A traditional Dalmatian house with chic minimal interiors in central Split. Rooms and suites have original stone walls, big sky lights, white walls, and sparse furnishings. Good Mediterranean restaurant and walking distance to all the attractions. A stylish spot for Split.
Korčula, Dalmatian Coast
Gorgeous collection of boutique apartments in the Bay of Korcula. Creamy, chic suites with all the mod-cons. Variety of watersports in the beautiful bay, Mediterranean spa and wine-tasting in the hotel. Ideal for families or romantic breaks in the sun.
The ultimate in romantic chic. A beautiful traditional Mediterranean villa with stylish modern rooms and fantastic amenities. Luscious gardens lead to a private beach, a renowned chef provides fantastic cuisine from terraces, and sea views drift over the bay and islands. Luxurious, highly romantic.