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  • Meredith Peters

The Divine Dalmatian Coast of Croatia

Rich in history and natural beauty, the Dalmatian Coast has become a bit of a hotspot in recent years, and it’s no wonder why. Stretching for 250 miles along the Adriatic, this rugged coastline is home to an embarrassment of riches, both natural and manmade. From the Dinaric Alps, whose jagged limestone peaks rise on one side, to the almost impossibly blue Adriatic on the other, this spectacular land awes visitors. Completing this almost perfect picture is an abundance of fairytale-like towns and charming medieval fishing villages.

Dubrovnik, known as the Pearl of the Adriatic, is perhaps the most popular destination along the Dalmatian Coast. The Gothic, Romanesque and Baroque architecture may draw crowds, but don’t let them scare you away—this glorious destination is not to be missed. In the Old Town, the seemingly endless maze of cobblestone streets give way to stunning panoramas of the Adriatic, perfectly highlighted by the red of the terracotta-tiled roofs. Walking atop the ancient city wall, taking a cable car to the top of Mt. SrÐ to enjoy the views, and enjoying the warm water of the Adriatic are just the beginning of the wonderful opportunities this town has to offer.

You can’t take a trip to the Dalmatian Coast without visiting at least one of Croatia’s 1,244 islands. Hvar, perhaps the most well-known, has in recent years become a popular jet-set destination. This distinction has earned the island the nickname the “Croatian Riviera,” and the comparison is apt, as the island is stunningly gorgeous and has no shortage of luxury hotels, designer shops and yachts docked in the bay. Fortunately, Hvar also retains an old-world charm that, when mixed with a certain youthful energy, makes it an enjoyable place to spend a few days.

One of the best ways to explore the Dalmatian Coast is by boat. The Adriatic’s smooth waters, long sunny days and gentle breezes make for ideal sailing conditions, and there is no shortage of available options, from yachts and motorboats to traditional gulets. Stylish, two-masted ships called gulets are often accessorized with oversized pillows, perfect for lounging the day away with family or friends.

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