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Dalmatia

Vacation paradise in Central Croatia

Dalmatia is located in southern Croatia and is a popular vacation destination. The peninsula between the Zadar health resort and the bay of Kotor is well developed for tourism and, in comparison with Istria in the northwestern part of the country, has a greater wealth of sights and more popular bathing beaches. Southern Dalmatia extends to the border of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The name Dalmatia can be traced back to the Illyrian tribe of the Delmatians, who settled the region in the first century AD. In the past, Dalmatia was much larger, and its influence reached to Albania and Serbia.

Jagged and varied, the coast of Dalmatia is about 1,200 kilometers long. Cliffs and crags dominate the landscape. In Dalmatia there are 942 islands – the greatest share of the over 1,000 Croatian islands. The islands are vestiges of the mountainous landscape of the Dinaric mainland, protruding from the sea. While the coastal region around Trogir and Zadar is very fertile and is frequented by numerous tourists, the southern segments of the Velebit coast are steep and difficult to approach.

A Mediterranean climate dominates In Dalmatia. The summers are dry and rich in sunny days. The winters are relatively mild and rainy. Characteristic of the region’s climate are the hot Scirocco winds. Occasionally the cold, katabatic Bora wind blows across the region at up to 250 km/h. Tourism is concentrated in Central Dalmatia, where the most pleasant beaches and fascinating sights are found. The Greeks and Romans left behind remarkable architecture, and as well, Dalmatia’s natural beauties are a magnet for many enthusiastic tourists.

Sights to see in Dalmatia

Dalmatia fascinates with its mixture of historically significant architecture, impressive natural beauties and broad sandy beaches. Split, Dalmatia’s largest city, is located on the Marjan peninsula. The Palace of Diocletian is one of the grandest sights of the region. Emperor Diocletian’s home is more than 200 meters long. Massive fortifications also surround Split’s city center. With the royal palace or the cathedral, it offers architectural treasures well worth a visit.

The harbor city of Trogir is unique in Eastern Europe. This major attraction for tourists visiting Dalmatia offers impressive witness to the architecture of past times. Trogir’s old town is located on a peninsula and can be entered through an ancient archway. A walk leads to John Paul II Square, where the town loggia and the St. Laurentius church form an impressive architectural ensemble. Relics of Trogir’s magnificent past are displayed in the city museum, located in a beautiful patrician house.

Rich in cultural monuments is as well Zadar, Dalmatia’s second-largest city. Nin is Croatia’s oldest settlement, and worth seeing for its intact medieval cityscape. Romans and Illyrians also left their traces in the streets of Privlaka. Hobby sea captains anchor in the largest Adriatic marina in Bibinje. From the city harbor, it is not far to the idyllic old town of Biograd na Moru. Primosten is known as the “pearl of the Adriatic Sea.” The beautiful old town is also called Raduca. The city archway is simultaneously the best-loved photo motif and attraction in the center of Primosten.

Hikes in the Biokovo Mountains can begin in the health resort town of Makarska. Tourists will feel a sense of Alpine flair when they climb the Sveti Jure. With its ancient churches and charming avenues, the town is also worth a visit for less athletic types. In the parish church a collection of icons rewards a visit. A stroll along the palm-tree-lined shore promenade is likewise a rewarding experience. Since 1981, the landscape of Biokovo has been protected in a national park. The mountains reach heights of up to 1,700 meters and can be explored on numerous paths and roads. An overview of the region’s rich flora is provided by the botanical garden in Kotisina. A hike to the peak of the Sveti Jure can be completed from Makarska in about five hours. For the demanding path, Alpine equipment is recommended. Alternatively, the mountain peak with its magnificent views can also be reached by motor vehicle. The national park is crossed by a 60-kilometer long hiking trail. For these hikes, vacationers should allow about three days. With a bit of luck, visitors can catch a glimpse of lynx or mountain goats (chamois).