Croatia’s Dalmatian Islands are widely considered among the world’s most magnificent archipelagos. Conde Nast Traveler has even ranked Hvar among the top ten most beautiful islands. Their strategic location has drawn empires – from Greeks and Romans to Habsburgs and Ottomans. The Venetian navy once staked a claim here, as did Napoleon.
But really, who can blame anyone for coveting these jewels? Life slows down here, and your biggest decision is which toe to dip into Adriatic waters first. For a taste of a centuries-old heritage, peruse the piers of an old world fishing village. Nature lovers can coast past fields of rosemary and lavender, with dramatic coastal views. History buffs can browse medieval Nerezisca or explore Skrip, an ancient village dating to pre-Roman times – both on Brac. Or linger in the rustic, traditional mountain village of Pitve on Hvar.
National pride – for history and for heritage – is unbreakable here. Even after the civil strife of the 1990s, Croatian resilience and openness inspires visitors to embrace every nuance of their warm culture. Even these Dalmatian islands seem resilient: a floral abundance emerges from scarcity. On these primarily karst, white-stone landscapes, forests of evergreen and holm oak overlook the sea. And though fertile soils are sparse, and lakes and rivers difficult to find, underwater springs (and robust water conservation efforts) feed a rich crop of olives and fruit. Vineyards prosper here too, and produce memorable whites such as Prc and full-bodied reds like Plavac … perfect to accompany stews, goulashes, and all manner of seafood – from octopus to cuttlefish.
Click this link to read more about Croatia: The Dalmatian Islands Bicycling Tour.