Dalmatia: Where to Sleep, Eat and Play

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Spanning 4,694 square miles, the narrow coastal region of Dalmatia is one of Croatia’s most historically rich regions—stretching from Rab to the Bay of Kotor. Freckled with medieval villages, vineyards and olive groves, area’s history is ancient and its name is derived from the Dalmate, an Illyrian tribe that lived along the Adriatic coast as early as the 4th century BC. In addition to the Dinaric Mountains and the adjoining mainland, Dalmatia has 79 islands and about 500 islets, making it the perfect destination for yachting. Because of the scorching summers and frosty winters, the best times of year to fly to Dalmatia in a private jet are late spring and early autumn.

Sleep

Art Hotel Kalelarga

Located in Zadar, in the northern Dalmatia region, Art Hotel Kalelarga is an upscale accommodation with carefully curated furnishings and décor. The hotel has thematically designed guestrooms, such as a café- and street art-inspired rooms. The studio apartment is the largest and resembles a lofty suite.

Palace Judita Heritage Hotel

Located in the pedestrian-only area of Split in central Dalmatia, the Palace Judita Heritage Hotel is steps away from Diocletian’s palace. The beautiful accommodation is perfect for culture and history lovers as it offers amazing views of the surrounding Romanesque, gothic and renaissance architectural features. Book the Deluxe Double Room with Balcony for its superior views of Old Town.

Hotel Excelsior

A beachfront hotel with great views of Dubrovnik’s Old Town, the Hotel Excelsior in southern Croatia dates back to 1913 and is the accommodation of choice for royalty and guests. The renovated villa features its own private beach, tranquil gardens and three restaurants. Book the Penthouse Suite for its sweeping views of the Adriatic and Old Town.

Eat

Foša

You’ll find Foša in its namesake Zadar port, just steps away from the 14th century Kopnena Vrata (Rown Walls). The seasonal menu features traditional Croatian seafood dishes accented with modern elements. Try the grilled squid or tuna with Swiss chard.

Villa Kaliopa

Located in the exotic gardens of a 16th-century Gariboldi manision, Vialla Kaliopa on Vladimira Naora in Vis is where those with the biggest yachts like to eat. The restaurant’s menu changes daily, depending on the day’s seafood catch. Your menu is a platter of the available fresh fish and shellfish that a server brings to your table.

Dalmatino

One of Dubrovnik’s newest restaurants, Dalmatino in the heart of Old Town has a cozy dining room surrounded by the building’s original stone walls. The “slow food” restaurant sources its ingredients from local growers and fishermen. Try the mussels in a creamy wine sauce, followed by chocolate fondant for dessert.

Play

Northern Dalmatia

Charter a yacht and explore the beautiful Kornati Islands and the Zadar archipelago. Then picnic on Pag Island, where you’ll find some of the country’s shallowest beaches. In the evening, make your way to the Zadar Sea Organ for a unique concert experience, featuring 35 organ pipes beneath marble steps that make noise as the wind and waves push air in and out in unexpected harmony. Be sure to check out the Katedrala sv. Stošije (Zadar Cathedral), an early Byzantine church and the largest basilica in the country.

Central Dalmatia

Central Dalmatia is ideal for island hopping. Visit Split to explore Diocletian’s Palace, which dates back to the third century. Climb to Vidova Gora on the island of Brač and cool off in the Sutivan waters. Then sail to Biševo and check out the Modra Spilja (Blue Cave, or Grotto) on the island’s east side.

Southern Dalmatia

In Dubrovnik, the Old Town’s medieval 13th-century streets are made of polished limestone, the same stone used for the area’s fountains, museums, churches and palaces. For the best view of the city, ride a cable car to the top of Mt. Srđ. If you enjoy wine tasting, make your way to the vineyards on the Pelješac Peninsula.

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