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Croatia: Dalmatian Coast, Split to Dubrovnik

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Cycle Croatia’s stunning Dalmatian Islands, exploring emerald-green hills, traditional stone villages, magnificent beaches and the medieval treasures of Split and Dubrovnik.

Self-Guided Biking

  • Daily Mileage: 20 - 35|
  • Biking: 2 - 5 hr
Activity Moderate
Moderate
E-Bikes Available
E-Bikes Available
Airplane
Air Package Available
Self-Guided Tour
Self-Guided Tour

Starting From

10-day Self-Guided Air+

$4,495

7-day Bike Vacation Only

$3,395

Per person, double occupancy

Croatia: Dalmatian Coast, Split to Dubrovnik

Cycle Croatia’s stunning Dalmatian Islands, a richly layered canvas of emerald-green hills, soaring dolomite mountains and crystalline Adriatic waters. Our inn-to-inn itinerary leads you from the historic jewel of Split to the medieval burg of Dubrovnik. Along the way, take in breathtaking vistas as you island-hop by ferry and private boat, riding tranquil island routes to hidden coves, magnificent beaches and beloved UNESCO World Heritage sites. Pedal past the luminous white-stone walls and fragrant rosemary fields of Brač. Traverse the fertile Stari Grad Plain and legendary vineyards of Hvar. And spin along the mountainous spine of Korcula, with spectacular views all around. You’ll set your own pace on this Croatia bike tour, lingering as you wish over lunch in medieval towns and relaxing at waterfront hotels with front-row sunset views.

What to Expect

This tour offers a combination of rolling terrain and moderate-to-challenging hills on mainly paved narrow country roads, with no dedicated bike paths. Most traffic is encountered while arriving and departing in port towns and at ferry docks. Please verify your bike selection for this tour as it is not always possible to change bikes once you arrive on tour. Travel with your friends and family—we can accommodate multiple guests on this self-guided vacation. Our 24/7 support system is available if needed.

  • Daily Mileage: 20 - 35|
  • Biking: 2 - 5 hr
Activity Moderate Moderate
Cycling
Bar Graph Beginner - Experienced
Cyclists
24/7 Support System 24/7 Support
System

Tour Highlights

  • Ride inn to inn, assisted by ferry and private boat, soaking up the magnificence of the most stunning Dalmatian Islands – Brač, Hvar and Korcula
  • Enjoy easy access to Zlatni Rat, Croatia’s most renowned beach, from seaside accommodations with spectacular views
  • Cycle along numerous beautiful beaches and coves kissed by the crystalline waters of the Adriatic, stopping as you wish for a refreshing dip
  • Pedal the scenic byways of Dalmatia’s famed ancient vineyards and olive groves and sample their wines and oils during delectable meals
  • Bike through Hvar’s tranquil, UNESCO-protected Stari Grad Plain, untouched since the days of ancient Greece, en route to historic Hvar Town
  • Discover the birthplace of legendary traveler Marco Polo among the charming, medieval streets of Korcula’s Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site
  • Explore Dubrovnik, an astonishingly preserved, red-roofed medieval treasure and UNESCO World Heritage site encircled by dramatic ramparts

Climate Information

Temperatures

Average High /
Low Temperature (°F):

May71º/56º

Jun79º/63º

Jul85º/67º

Aug84º/67º

Sep78º/61º

Oct69º/54º

Average
Precipitation:

May2.4 in

Jun1.9 in

Jul1.1 in

Aug1.7 in

Sep2.6 in

Oct3.4 in

What's Included

Self-Guided Air+

Bike Vacation Only

Roundtrip international airfare Check
Detailed information for your independent travel to/from arrival and departure airports Check
One night in Split and one night in Dubrovnik in conveniently located hotels with breakfasts included Check
6 nights in resort hotels Check Check
6 meals: 6 breakfasts, 0 lunches, 0 dinners Check Check

Tour Bikes

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Road Bicycle (Carbon frame)

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Step-Through (Mixte Hybrid) Comfort Bicycle

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Step-Over (Diamond) Comfort Bicycle

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Electric-Assisted Bicycle (E-bike)

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Self-Guided Biking Packages Include:

Custom VBT bike, helmet, and bike bag

Welcome orientation and bike fitting with local host

Luggage transfers

Ride with GPS and daily route notes

VBT Road Book with destination information

24/7 support system

Flat kit and multi-tool

Your choice of VBT branded gear for your adventure

Itinerary

Sat, Apr 24 to Mon, May 3 - 2021

Show Itinerary:

Depart home for Croatia. The particulars of your arrival overseas are detailed with your flight itinerary.

Upon arrival at Split Airport (SPU), make your independent travel arrangements to your city center hotel. For details, refer to your VBT Handbook.

Few other cities can claim Split’s bragging rights as the former retirement estate of a Roman emperor. In fact, the Emperor Diocletian’s palace remains the center of this fascinating city, with much of the residence assimilated into daily life here. It’s a remarkable blend of ancient and modern that you’ll want to explore once you settle in.

VBT provides you with City Information that includes information and recommendations for what to see and do in Split. Enjoy the rest of the day to relax or to begin exploring this beautiful city on your own.

Accommodation: Cornaro Hotel, Split
Included Meals: None

Meet your VBT local host at 10:00 a.m., along with any other VBT guests departing on the same day, for your Welcome orientation in the lobby of the Cornaro Hotel (Sinjska ulica 6/Ulica kralja Tomislava 9, Split, Croatia, Tel 011 + 385 21 644 200). Please be dressed and ready for cycling. Your local host will be carrying a VBT sign and/or wearing a VBT garment.

The Welcome orientation with your VBT local host includes:
• An overview of the itinerary
• Bike fitting and equipment familiarization
• Review of the Ride with GPS navigation app
• Important contact information in case you need to reach your VBT local host
• Safety briefing
• Local suggestions (restaurants, things to do, etc.)

Following the Welcome orientation, begin your thrilling exploration of the magnificent Dalmatian Islands. You can ride or walk your bike the short distance to the Split ferry port (750 meters, just under .5 mile). Your local host will let you know the correct ferry to board and where to purchase your ticket. Your 50-minute scenic ferry delivers you to the town of Supetar on the island of Brač?.

Supetar is a vibrant little town on the north side of Brač?, the third largest island of the Dalmatians renowned for its wine and its luminous white stone that was used to construct not only Diocletian’s Palace in ancient times, but also the White House in Washington DC and the Reichstag in Berlin. You begin riding the moment you wheel off the ship, hugging the splendid northern coast and passing through the fishing village of Splitska, admiring its quaint harbor. The ride into Postira, a charming 14th-century seaside hamlet nestled between the Adriatic and emerald-green hills that host olive and pine groves. As you pass through, take time to admire the remains of the basilica in Lovrecina, a bay where you might be tempted to dig your toes into a beautiful sandy beach.

As you approach the port town of Pucisca, you cycle inland and climb to the highest point of the day’s ride, the ancient medieval settlements of Praznica and Gornji Humac. These rustic island hamlets began small clusters of shepherds’ houses. Then, enjoy the reward for your uphill climb—an invigorating coast to the southern shores of Brač. Your destination is the town of Bol, conveniently (and happily!) located on the edge of Zlatni Rat (“Golden Horn”), a stunning beach along a gently sloping spit of land reaching into the Adriatic. A refreshing swim in crystalline waters might be in order once you’re checked into your beachfront hotel. Dinner is on your own this evening, perhaps a freshly prepared seafood dish.

Today’s Rides:
Supetar to Bol: 45 km (28 miles)

Supetar to Bol via Dol: 51 km (32 miles)

What to Expect:
You depart the Supetar ferry and ride along the northern coast of Brač, right along the sea on some segments and just inland on others. You follow mainly flat or gently rolling roads for the first 10 km (6 miles). Just before the 10-kilometer point (6.2 miles), you can choose to do an out-and-back down a deep valley to the charming stone village of Dol. Returning here, the terrain becomes more rolling between 10 and 23 km (6 and 14 miles). Outside Pucisca, you turn south and inland at 23 km (14 miles) and start a sustained ascent for about 6 km (4 miles). You reach a plateau at Praznica and then reach the highest point just past Gornji Humac. You are rewarded with breathtaking views during your descent to the southern coast and the town of Bol and Zlatni Rat beach.

Accommodation: Hotel Elaphusa, Brač
Included Meals: Breakfast

Cycle from your hotel this morning in time to catch your private boat from Bol to the port of Jelsa on the island of Hvar. (In the event of inclement weather, the private boat cannot run. If this is the case, your local host will explain how to take a ferry back to Split, then catch a public ferry from Split to Hvar. This change is rare and would result in a long travel day, but you can make up for it tomorrow with a loop ride on Hvar.)

Long regaled as one of the world’s most beautiful islands, including by the readers of Condé Nast Traveler magazine, Hvar seduces with its lavender fields and sleepy villages. This long, narrow island, 42 miles in length and just three miles wide at its narrowest point, is cloaked in pine forests, vineyards, olive groves and fruit orchards and boasts a rich and fertile coastal plain. Historically, it played a central role in trade and in the rise of the Venetian Empire thanks to its central position in the Adriatic.

From your landing port in the old fishing port of Jelsa—where you can pause to admire the well-preserved houses of local ship captains—you cycle along the northern coast, passing fields of poppies, rosemary and lavender that open up to sweeping views and an endless network of stone walls. This is the Stari Grad Plain, an agricultural landscape first cultivated by the Greeks in the 4th century BC. Today this UNESCO World Heritage site is sparsely populated and rich in dramatic vistas that stretch clear across the sea to neighboring islands and the mainland.

At about 9 km (6 miles), you pedal into the town of Stari Grad, one of the oldest towns in Europe. Linger here a while if you wish, gazing upon its many churches and perhaps the impressive Biankini Palace. You might prefer to return tomorrow if the siren call of the beach doesn’t lure you. From Stari Grad, continue with a long climb, then a thrilling descent into Hvar Town, a 16th-century Croatian town with a strong Venetian influence. Once you settle in, you might marvel at the vast Saint Stephen’s Square, the largest in the Adriatic after Saint Mark’s in Venice. And stop by the Arsenal, built in 1612 as the first municipal theater—Europe’s oldest and perhaps smallest. Its lofty purpose in its day was to bridge the divide between classes, despite that women were not admitted until the second half of the 19th century.

As you explore, keep your eyes open for a dinner spot; they are plentiful and delicious in Hvar Town!

Today’s Ride:
Jelsa to Hvar Town: 32 km (20 miles)

What to Expect:
After ferrying to the port of Jelsa on the island of Hvar, you follow a flat route for the first 10 km (6 miles) through classic Mediterranean landscapes. A sustained ascent of about 10 km (6 miles) brings you to the ride’s highest point in the middle of the island, then you descend another 10 km (6 miles), followed by a short climb that delivers you to Hvar Town. Busier streets here lined with hotels and shops lead you to your hotel.

Accommodation: Hotel Podstine, Hvar
Included Meals: Breakfast

Enjoy a wealth of options on this Stay Put Day, exploring in a style that suits you and following your own interests. For more beach and less bike, you might take a short five-mile spin to Vira Beach, set among pine forests on a lovely cove that opens to a beautiful harbor. Or make the easy ride to Dubovica, whose pebble-strewn beach sits scenically at the foot of sloping hills. If a longer ride calls to you, return to Stari Grad, retracing yesterday’s route, cycling through vineyards and olive groves that date back to the ancient Greeks. Nestled at the end of a narrow bay, this authentic Dalmatian town was established in 384 BC by the ancient Greeks. Explore its stone architecture along cobbled streets and perhaps visit the historic Dominican Monastery. You find lunch options in the charming main square. For a longer option, continue from Stari Grad back to the port of Jelsa and on to the port of Vrboska.

Alternately, you may explore Hvar Town, where it is said that every stone in its buildings tells a story. Peruse the treasures of the massive Pjaca, or town square, see Saint Stephen’s Cathedral and its elegant bell tower, view the beloved Arsenal, home to the first civic theater in Europe, and walk up to the Venetian-era Fortica Fortress for sweeping city and sea views.

Your hotel can also assist you if you’d like to head out into the waters for world-class scuba diving, kayaking and boating.

Enjoy dinner in Hvar Town or at your hotel’s restaurant.

Today’s Rides:
Hvar Town to Dubovica Beach out and back: 23 km (14 miles)

What to Expect:
A fairly flat ride, this route through Hvar Town leads to Dubovica Beach, situated on the island’s southern coast. Enjoy stunning views there and back, and perhaps enjoy lunch on the beach.

Hvar Town to Stari Grad loop: 46 km (28 miles)

What to Expect:
Your ride to Stari Grad involves one major climb of about 7 km (4 miles) through Brusje, beloved for its purple lavender fields. An exhilarating descent ends in the island’s oldest town, Stari Grad, where you can have lunch before returning.

Hvar Town to Vrboska loop: 64 km (40 miles)

What to Expect:
This longest option includes the ascent north through Brusje toward Stari Grad (about 7 km, 4 miles), followed by flat riding to the ports of Jelsa and Vrboska. Returning through Stari Grad at about km 41 (mile 25), climb about 10 km (6 miles), before the return descent to Hvar Town.

Accommodation: Hotel Podstine, Hvar
Included Meals: Breakfast

You depart the island of Hvar today by private boat to Korcula Island, the sixth-largest Adriatic island and a wonderful cycling destination of quiet country roads and astonishingly beautiful vistas. (In the event of inclement weather, the private boat cannot run. If this is the case, your local host will explain how to take a ferry back to Split, then catch a public ferry from Split to Vela Luka on the island of Korcula. This change is rare and would result in a long travel day; your local host can assist with taxi or transfer options once on Korcula Island to shorten your ride to your hotel if needed.)

From the port town of Vela Luka at the island’s western end, you ascend to Korcula’s heights and cycle along the spine of the island, savoring fantastic views and passing through charming villages such as Cara, Pupnat and finally Žrnovo. Your route ducks in and out of cypress forests, skirting vineyards that produce the local Grk grape, and aromatic low-lying Mediterranean maquis. As you ride, the dolomitic mountains of the Peljesac Peninsula appear to the north just across the Peljesac Channel. By ride’s end, you coast into Korcula Town, the birthplace of Marco Polo, often called a miniature Dubrovnik for its beautiful medieval buildings and stonework.

The heart of the Old Town, a cluster of Renaissance and Gothic buildings, sticks into the channel like a thumb. The ingenious fishbone layout of its streets was designed to welcome the cooling winds of the summer mistral from the west and block the icy winds of the winter bura from the northeast. Its red-roofed pastiche and round defensive towers are a delight to behold.

Settle into your seaside hotel, your base for the next two nights. For dinner on your own, you may enjoy the hotel’s offerings or select from the many konobas in town.

Today’s Ride Choice:
Vela Luka to Korcula Town: 47 km (30 miles)

What to Expect:
Cycling from the small port of Vela Luka, you enter the countryside quickly and gain elevation for about 6 km (4 miles) after passing the town of Blato. Winding through forest and vineyards, you follow rolling terrain through Cara. Your steady climb is mixed with some short steep ascents and descents, eventually bringing you to the highest point of the day. Riding along the plateau for about 4 km (2.5 miles), you pass through the town of Pupnat, then begin your descent through the village of Žrnovo. Here, you may pause to visit its St. Martin’s Church. Later, you arrive in the seaside port town of Korcula. Your hotel is just outside town.

Vela Luka to Korcula Town coastal route: 55.6 km (35 miles)

What to Expect:
This longer option adds about five more miles of coastal riding and over 300 feet of climbing. Cycling from the small port of Vela Luka, you enter the countryside quickly and gain elevation for about 6 km (4 miles) after passing the town of Blato, then turn south to the coast, descending about 2 miles. Enjoy a few miles along the sea, then begin asending to Smokvika, Cara, and Pupnat, then begin your descent through the village of Žrnovo. Here, you may pause to visit its St. Martin’s Church. Later, you arrive in the seaside port town of Korcula. Your hotel is just outside town.

Accommodation: Hotel Liburna, Korcula
Included Meals: Breakfast

Tranquil, picturesque and resplendent in its seaside setting, the UNESCO World Heritage site of Korcula is precisely the kind of town where you want to spend a leisurely day. Our Stay Put Day lets you do just that, pursuing your own desires by bike, foot or water. As this is your final day with your bike, you might want to spend some time on the saddle exploring the area’s nooks and hideaways in nearby villages and beaches. Our route to Lumbarda’s sandy, calm sands, for instance, leads you through ancient vineyards that produce the island’s renowned Grk white wine. Another longer ride leads you along scenic roads to the town of Racišce. The beautiful wooden schooners – known as trabakula – that once graced its harbor have been replaced by more modern ships, but plenty of tiny fishing and sailing boats still lend the town a distinct charm.

Alternately, you might set out on foot to explore the city’s defenses, visit St. Mark’s Cathedral and Abbey Treasury, learn about the famed native son at the Marco Polo Museum or gain more insight into the island-town’s past and culture at the Korcula Town Museum. The Old Town boasts ample inviting art galleries and shops.

The surrounding crystal-clear waters are ideal for exploring, too. Paddle along the shore in a rented kayak or on a stand-up paddleboard. You might even try your hand at windsurfing. Step into the sister hotel of your accommodation for a soothing massage, sauna, whirlpool or swim at the wellness center, at an additional fee. This evening, your hotel concierge can help you find the ideal restaurant to celebrate your Dalmatian Island adventure!

Today’s Rides:
Korcula Town to Lumbarda out and back: 19 km (12 miles)

What to Expect:
This relatively easy out-and-back ride features some rolling terrain of short ascents and descents, delivering you to Lumbarda and its sandy beach.

Korcula Town to Racišce out and back: 28.5 km (18 miles)

What to Expect: Ride along the northern coast of the island, winding past small villages with sea views and following inland routes through macquis and vineyard terrain before descending to the small protected port of Racišce. Retrace your way back the same way.

Korcula Town to Racišce long loop: 32 km (20 miles)

What to Expect:
This inland route gains elevation for the first 10 km (6 miles), peaking at a ridge overlooking the northern coast of the island. Then you descend about 5 km (3 miles) to the coast, navigating some switchbacks to the town of Kneže. Continue toward the town of Racišce joining the coastline at about 16 km (10 miles) just outside the port. Then cruise through town, stopping where you’d like for lunch. You loop back out of town and trace the coastal route back to Korcula Town and your hotel (about 15 km, 9 miles).

Accommodation: Hotel Liburna, Korcula
Included Meals: Breakfast

After breakfast, you board a private boat at your hotel and cross the Peljesac Channel to the historic sea captains’ town of Orebic on the Peljesac Peninsula on Croatia’s mainland. Your driver meets you here and transfers you to Dubrovnik, the celebrated UNESCO World Heritage site lovingly known as the “Pearl of the Adriatic.” Your 112-km (about 70-mile) drive takes in some of Croatia’s most breathtaking vistas of cypress, maquis, vineyards, stone walls and villages, with ample opportunity to gaze upon the shimmering waters of the Adriatic from the foothills of dolomitic mountains.

Upon arrival at your luxurious five-star hotel, there’ll be time to indulge in your hotel’s seaside spa amenities at your own expense, take a dip in the Adriatic at the private beach or hop on the convenient city bus to Dubrovnik’s Old Town. Rising on a limestone promontory between the blue sea and rising hills, this dramatic city was the center of the Ragusa Republic for 450 years and a formidable rival of the Venetian Republic. Today, its remarkably preserved 1.3 miles of ramparts that still encircle the medieval town are open to pedestrians and present you with one of Europe’s most scenic and incredible walks. Get a bird’s-eye view of the layout and the terra-cotta roofs before continuing your discovery at street level, following narrow warrens to Romanesque cloisters, the Rector’s Palace and the shops along the marble-paved Placa. You find plenty of dinner options here, or you may dine back at your hotel.

Non-riding day

Accommodation: Hotel Dubrovnik Palace, Dubrovnik
Included Meals: Breakfast

Enjoy breakfast at your hotel. VBT provides you with City Information and recommendations for what to see and do in Dubrovnik. In the Old Town, you might spend the morning exploring the Dubrovnik Cathedral or the Sponza Palace. Or perhaps visit the Franciscan Church and Monastery, whose library holds some 30,000 volumes. This afternoon, relax at your 5-star hotel.

Accommodation: Hotel Dubrovnik Palace, Dubrovnik
Included Meals: Breakfast

After breakfast* this morning, allow yourself a minimum of 2 1/2 hours prior to your flight departure to get to the Dubrovnik Airport (DBV); for details, refer to your VBT Handbook. This timeframe includes an approximately 30-minute taxi ride and around 2 hours of recommended pre-flight check-in time.

* Please note: For guests with early-morning departures, breakfast at the hotel may not be available. Please check with the front desk to verify the times that breakfast is served.

Included Meals: Breakfast

Mon, Apr 26 to Sun, May 2 - 2021

Show Itinerary:

We suggest arriving in Croatia at least one day prior to the tour’s start date. Make your own independent travel arrangements to Split. For details, refer to your VBT Handbook. Meet your VBT local host at 10:00 a.m., along with any other VBT guests departing on the same day, for your Welcome orientation in the lobby of the Cornaro Hotel (Sinjska ulica 6/Ulica kralja Tomislava 9, Split, Croatia, Tel 011 + 385 21 644 200). Please be dressed and ready for cycling. Your local host will be carrying a VBT sign and/or wearing a VBT garment.

The Welcome orientation with your VBT local host includes:
• An overview of the itinerary
• Bike fitting and equipment familiarization
• Review of the Ride with GPS navigation app
• Important contact information in case you need to reach your VBT local host
• Safety briefing
• Local suggestions (restaurants, things to do, etc.)

Following the Welcome orientation, begin your thrilling exploration of the magnificent Dalmatian Islands. You can ride or walk your bike the short distance to the Split ferry port (750 meters, just under .5 mile). Your local host will let you know the correct ferry to board and where to purchase your ticket. Your 50-minute scenic ferry delivers you to the town of Supetar on the island of Brač?.

Supetar is a vibrant little town on the north side of Brač?, the third largest island of the Dalmatians renowned for its wine and its luminous white stone that was used to construct not only Diocletian’s Palace in ancient times, but also the White House in Washington DC and the Reichstag in Berlin. You begin riding the moment you wheel off the ship, hugging the splendid northern coast and passing through the fishing village of Splitska, admiring its quaint harbor. The ride into Postira, a charming 14th-century seaside hamlet nestled between the Adriatic and emerald-green hills that host olive and pine groves. As you pass through, take time to admire the remains of the basilica in Lovrecina, a bay where you might be tempted to dig your toes into a beautiful sandy beach.

As you approach the port town of Pucisca, you cycle inland and climb to the highest point of the day’s ride, the ancient medieval settlements of Praznica and Gornji Humac. These rustic island hamlets began small clusters of shepherds’ houses. Then, enjoy the reward for your uphill climb—an invigorating coast to the southern shores of Brač. Your destination is the town of Bol, conveniently (and happily!) located on the edge of Zlatni Rat (“Golden Horn”), a stunning beach along a gently sloping spit of land reaching into the Adriatic. A refreshing swim in crystalline waters might be in order once you’re checked into your beachfront hotel. Dinner is on your own this evening, perhaps a freshly prepared seafood dish.

Today’s Rides:
Supetar to Bol: 45 km (28 miles)

Supetar to Bol via Dol: 51 km (32 miles)

What to Expect:
You depart the Supetar ferry and ride along the northern coast of Brač, right along the sea on some segments and just inland on others. You follow mainly flat or gently rolling roads for the first 10 km (6 miles). Just before the 10-kilometer point (6.2 miles), you can choose to do an out-and-back down a deep valley to the charming stone village of Dol. Returning here, the terrain becomes more rolling between 10 and 23 km (6 and 14 miles). Outside Pucisca, you turn south and inland at 23 km (14 miles) and start a sustained ascent for about 6 km (4 miles). You reach a plateau at Praznica and then reach the highest point just past Gornji Humac. You are rewarded with breathtaking views during your descent to the southern coast and the town of Bol and Zlatni Rat beach.

Accommodation: Hotel Elaphusa, Brač

Cycle from your hotel this morning in time to catch your private boat from Bol to the port of Jelsa on the island of Hvar. (In the event of inclement weather, the private boat cannot run. If this is the case, your local host will explain how to take a ferry back to Split, then catch a public ferry from Split to Hvar. This change is rare and would result in a long travel day, but you can make up for it tomorrow with a loop ride on Hvar.)

Long regaled as one of the world’s most beautiful islands, including by the readers of Condé Nast Traveler magazine, Hvar seduces with its lavender fields and sleepy villages. This long, narrow island, 42 miles in length and just three miles wide at its narrowest point, is cloaked in pine forests, vineyards, olive groves and fruit orchards and boasts a rich and fertile coastal plain. Historically, it played a central role in trade and in the rise of the Venetian Empire thanks to its central position in the Adriatic.

From your landing port in the old fishing port of Jelsa—where you can pause to admire the well-preserved houses of local ship captains—you cycle along the northern coast, passing fields of poppies, rosemary and lavender that open up to sweeping views and an endless network of stone walls. This is the Stari Grad Plain, an agricultural landscape first cultivated by the Greeks in the 4th century BC. Today this UNESCO World Heritage site is sparsely populated and rich in dramatic vistas that stretch clear across the sea to neighboring islands and the mainland.

At about 9 km (6 miles), you pedal into the town of Stari Grad, one of the oldest towns in Europe. Linger here a while if you wish, gazing upon its many churches and perhaps the impressive Biankini Palace. You might prefer to return tomorrow if the siren call of the beach doesn’t lure you. From Stari Grad, continue with a long climb, then a thrilling descent into Hvar Town, a 16th-century Croatian town with a strong Venetian influence. Once you settle in, you might marvel at the vast Saint Stephen’s Square, the largest in the Adriatic after Saint Mark’s in Venice. And stop by the Arsenal, built in 1612 as the first municipal theater—Europe’s oldest and perhaps smallest. Its lofty purpose in its day was to bridge the divide between classes, despite that women were not admitted until the second half of the 19th century.

As you explore, keep your eyes open for a dinner spot; they are plentiful and delicious in Hvar Town!

Today’s Ride:
Jelsa to Hvar Town: 32 km (20 miles)

What to Expect:
After ferrying to the port of Jelsa on the island of Hvar, you follow a flat route for the first 10 km (6 miles) through classic Mediterranean landscapes. A sustained ascent of about 10 km (6 miles) brings you to the ride’s highest point in the middle of the island, then you descend another 10 km (6 miles), followed by a short climb that delivers you to Hvar Town. Busier streets here lined with hotels and shops lead you to your hotel.

Accommodation: Hotel Podstine, Hvar
Included Meals: Breakfast

Enjoy a wealth of options on this Stay Put Day, exploring in a style that suits you and following your own interests. For more beach and less bike, you might take a short five-mile spin to Vira Beach, set among pine forests on a lovely cove that opens to a beautiful harbor. Or make the easy ride to Dubovica, whose pebble-strewn beach sits scenically at the foot of sloping hills. If a longer ride calls to you, return to Stari Grad, retracing yesterday’s route, cycling through vineyards and olive groves that date back to the ancient Greeks. Nestled at the end of a narrow bay, this authentic Dalmatian town was established in 384 BC by the ancient Greeks. Explore its stone architecture along cobbled streets and perhaps visit the historic Dominican Monastery. You find lunch options in the charming main square. For a longer option, continue from Stari Grad back to the port of Jelsa and on to the port of Vrboska.

Alternately, you may explore Hvar Town, where it is said that every stone in its buildings tells a story. Peruse the treasures of the massive Pjaca, or town square, see Saint Stephen’s Cathedral and its elegant bell tower, view the beloved Arsenal, home to the first civic theater in Europe, and walk up to the Venetian-era Fortica Fortress for sweeping city and sea views.

Your hotel can also assist you if you’d like to head out into the waters for world-class scuba diving, kayaking and boating.

Enjoy dinner in Hvar Town or at your hotel’s restaurant.

Today’s Rides:
Hvar Town to Dubovica Beach out and back: 23 km (14 miles)

What to Expect:
A fairly flat ride, this route through Hvar Town leads to Dubovica Beach, situated on the island’s southern coast. Enjoy stunning views there and back, and perhaps enjoy lunch on the beach.

Hvar Town to Stari Grad loop: 46 km (28 miles)

What to Expect:
Your ride to Stari Grad involves one major climb of about 7 km (4 miles) through Brusje, beloved for its purple lavender fields. An exhilarating descent ends in the island’s oldest town, Stari Grad, where you can have lunch before returning.

Hvar Town to Vrboska loop: 64 km (40 miles)

What to Expect:
This longest option includes the ascent north through Brusje toward Stari Grad (about 7 km, 4 miles), followed by flat riding to the ports of Jelsa and Vrboska. Returning through Stari Grad at about km 41 (mile 25), climb about 10 km (6 miles), before the return descent to Hvar Town.

Accommodation: Hotel Podstine, Hvar
Included Meals: Breakfast

You depart the island of Hvar today by private boat to Korcula Island, the sixth-largest Adriatic island and a wonderful cycling destination of quiet country roads and astonishingly beautiful vistas. (In the event of inclement weather, the private boat cannot run. If this is the case, your local host will explain how to take a ferry back to Split, then catch a public ferry from Split to Vela Luka on the island of Korcula. This change is rare and would result in a long travel day; your local host can assist with taxi or transfer options once on Korcula Island to shorten your ride to your hotel if needed.)

From the port town of Vela Luka at the island’s western end, you ascend to Korcula’s heights and cycle along the spine of the island, savoring fantastic views and passing through charming villages such as Cara, Pupnat and finally Žrnovo. Your route ducks in and out of cypress forests, skirting vineyards that produce the local Grk grape, and aromatic low-lying Mediterranean maquis. As you ride, the dolomitic mountains of the Peljesac Peninsula appear to the north just across the Peljesac Channel. By ride’s end, you coast into Korcula Town, the birthplace of Marco Polo, often called a miniature Dubrovnik for its beautiful medieval buildings and stonework.

The heart of the Old Town, a cluster of Renaissance and Gothic buildings, sticks into the channel like a thumb. The ingenious fishbone layout of its streets was designed to welcome the cooling winds of the summer mistral from the west and block the icy winds of the winter bura from the northeast. Its red-roofed pastiche and round defensive towers are a delight to behold.

Settle into your seaside hotel, your base for the next two nights. For dinner on your own, you may enjoy the hotel’s offerings or select from the many konobas in town.

Today’s Ride Choice:
Vela Luka to Korcula Town: 47 km (30 miles)

What to Expect:
Cycling from the small port of Vela Luka, you enter the countryside quickly and gain elevation for about 6 km (4 miles) after passing the town of Blato. Winding through forest and vineyards, you follow rolling terrain through Cara. Your steady climb is mixed with some short steep ascents and descents, eventually bringing you to the highest point of the day. Riding along the plateau for about 4 km (2.5 miles), you pass through the town of Pupnat, then begin your descent through the village of Žrnovo. Here, you may pause to visit its St. Martin’s Church. Later, you arrive in the seaside port town of Korcula. Your hotel is just outside town.

Vela Luka to Korcula Town coastal route: 55.6 km (35 miles)

What to Expect:
This longer option adds about five more miles of coastal riding and over 300 feet of climbing. Cycling from the small port of Vela Luka, you enter the countryside quickly and gain elevation for about 6 km (4 miles) after passing the town of Blato, then turn south to the coast, descending about 2 miles. Enjoy a few miles along the sea, then begin asending to Smokvika, Cara, and Pupnat, then begin your descent through the village of Žrnovo. Here, you may pause to visit its St. Martin’s Church. Later, you arrive in the seaside port town of Korcula. Your hotel is just outside town.

Accommodation: Hotel Liburna, Korcula
Included Meals: Breakfast

Tranquil, picturesque and resplendent in its seaside setting, the UNESCO World Heritage site of Korcula is precisely the kind of town where you want to spend a leisurely day. Our Stay Put Day lets you do just that, pursuing your own desires by bike, foot or water. As this is your final day with your bike, you might want to spend some time on the saddle exploring the area’s nooks and hideaways in nearby villages and beaches. Our route to Lumbarda’s sandy, calm sands, for instance, leads you through ancient vineyards that produce the island’s renowned Grk white wine. Another longer ride leads you along scenic roads to the town of Racišce. The beautiful wooden schooners – known as trabakula – that once graced its harbor have been replaced by more modern ships, but plenty of tiny fishing and sailing boats still lend the town a distinct charm.

Alternately, you might set out on foot to explore the city’s defenses, visit St. Mark’s Cathedral and Abbey Treasury, learn about the famed native son at the Marco Polo Museum or gain more insight into the island-town’s past and culture at the Korcula Town Museum. The Old Town boasts ample inviting art galleries and shops.

The surrounding crystal-clear waters are ideal for exploring, too. Paddle along the shore in a rented kayak or on a stand-up paddleboard. You might even try your hand at windsurfing. Step into the sister hotel of your accommodation for a soothing massage, sauna, whirlpool or swim at the wellness center, at an additional fee. This evening, your hotel concierge can help you find the ideal restaurant to celebrate your Dalmatian Island adventure!

Today’s Rides:
Korcula Town to Lumbarda out and back: 19 km (12 miles)

What to Expect:
This relatively easy out-and-back ride features some rolling terrain of short ascents and descents, delivering you to Lumbarda and its sandy beach.

Korcula Town to Racišce out and back: 28.5 km (18 miles)

What to Expect: Ride along the northern coast of the island, winding past small villages with sea views and following inland routes through macquis and vineyard terrain before descending to the small protected port of Racišce. Retrace your way back the same way.

Korcula Town to Racišce long loop: 32 km (20 miles)

What to Expect:
This inland route gains elevation for the first 10 km (6 miles), peaking at a ridge overlooking the northern coast of the island. Then you descend about 5 km (3 miles) to the coast, navigating some switchbacks to the town of Kneže. Continue toward the town of Racišce joining the coastline at about 16 km (10 miles) just outside the port. Then cruise through town, stopping where you’d like for lunch. You loop back out of town and trace the coastal route back to Korcula Town and your hotel (about 15 km, 9 miles).

Accommodation: Hotel Liburna, Korcula
Included Meals: Breakfast

After breakfast, you board a private boat at your hotel and cross the Peljesac Channel to the historic sea captains’ town of Orebic on the Peljesac Peninsula on Croatia’s mainland. Your driver meets you here and transfers you to Dubrovnik, the celebrated UNESCO World Heritage site lovingly known as the “Pearl of the Adriatic.” Your 112-km (about 70-mile) drive takes in some of Croatia’s most breathtaking vistas of cypress, maquis, vineyards, stone walls and villages, with ample opportunity to gaze upon the shimmering waters of the Adriatic from the foothills of dolomitic mountains.

Upon arrival at your luxurious five-star hotel, there’ll be time to indulge in your hotel’s seaside spa amenities at your own expense, take a dip in the Adriatic at the private beach or hop on the convenient city bus to Dubrovnik’s Old Town. Rising on a limestone promontory between the blue sea and rising hills, this dramatic city was the center of the Ragusa Republic for 450 years and a formidable rival of the Venetian Republic. Today, its remarkably preserved 1.3 miles of ramparts that still encircle the medieval town are open to pedestrians and present you with one of Europe’s most scenic and incredible walks. Get a bird’s-eye view of the layout and the terra-cotta roofs before continuing your discovery at street level, following narrow warrens to Romanesque cloisters, the Rector’s Palace and the shops along the marble-paved Placa. You find plenty of dinner options here, or you may dine back at your hotel.

Non-riding day

Accommodation: Hotel Dubrovnik Palace, Dubrovnik
Included Meals: Breakfast

Enjoy breakfast at your hotel in Dubrovnik and depart on your own on your onward travels. For details, refer to your VBT Handbook. Depending upon your destination, it may not be possible to depart for the U.S. on the last day of the tour. Please check airline schedules carefully. If you plan to schedule return flights immediately following the tour’s conclusion, please call your airline directly for specific check-in requirements.

Accommodation: Hotel Dubrovnik Palace, Dubrovnik
Included Meals: Breakfast

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Dates & Prices

Self-Guided Air+

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