Croatia and Montenegro: An Adriatic Adventure

Zadar, Split, Dubrovnik, Kotor

Zadar: 2 nights
Split: 2 nights
Dubrovnik: 2 nights
Kotor: 2 nights

9 days Itinerary

Along the clear, azure Adriatic Sea, Croatia has one of the most spectacular coastlines with over a thousand blissful islands and centuries old harbour towns. Countless pebble beaches front the calm waters, offering the possibility of water sports and yachting, making it one of Europe’s top tourist destinations. Historical remains of Roman and Venetian era architecture of the towns and cities are an additional draw.  A significant part of the hit series Game of Thrones was shot in Croatia, leading to many tours in Dubrovnik and Split.

Croatia offers a diverse culinary experience with a variety of Mediterranean based cuisine and authentic Croatian recipes. Grape cultivation and wine production too are an integral part of the culture.

Zadar: 2 nights

(45 min by flight or 3 hours by road from Zagreb)

Zadar is a vibrant and fascinating town on the Adriatic coast. Its pedestrian old town is built on a small peninsula jutting out into the sea. A variety of rulers left their mark on the architecture and the culture of the city. The churches dating from the 9th to the 13th centuries are historical marvels filled with superbly preserved paintings and ornate treasures.

The seafront is famous for two unique modern art installations, the Sea Organ and the Sun Salutation. Designed by a local architect Nikola Bašić and powered by nature, they enthrall visitors with a fantastic sound and light show.

Zadar Speciality:

Maraschino Cherry Liqueur:

Marasca cherries grow wild in the Zadar region on the Dalmatian coast. The globally known Maraschino liqueur is made from these cherries. It is an aromatic, sweet, smooth and intense liqueur with herbal and nutty flavours. 

It was first made in the 16th century by Dominican monks in Zadar. Commercial production started in the 18th century while Zadar was still under Venetian rule. It was the preferred drink of various personalities like Napoleon, Casanova, Hitchcock and Hemingway amongst many others.

Maraschino is usually enjoyed as a digestif served chilled. It is also used extensively in cocktails and desserts.

The famous local brand is:

Maraska has a rich and glorious tradition in liqueur production. More than five centuries of experience goes into the making of Maraschino liqueur and other alcoholic drinks. Apart from them, Maraska also makes non-alcoholic drinks, jams and candied cherries. The factory shop is the best place to buy its products.

Zadar is a perfect base for exciting day trips in the surrounding region.

(1 hr 30 min by car or 2 hrs 15 min by bus)

This is a Unesco world heritage site and Croatia’s most visited national park. Forested hillsides surround 16 emerald green lakes connected by thundering waterfalls. The area is home to a wide  variety of animal and bird species.One can go around on a network of footpaths and wooden bridges which crisscross the park or take boat rides on the lakes. The park welcomes over a million visitors each year.

( 2.45 hrs from Zadar by boat)

This is an archipelago of 89 islands, islets and reefs, mostly uninhabited. Day excursions from Zadar are possible by private boat charters or tour operators. Sailing around them and swimming in the shallows is an experience of a lifetime. Craggy rocks, sheer cliffs and sandy beaches create a dramatic coastline.

Split: 2 nights

( 1 hr 45 min from Zadar by car )

Split is Croatia’s second largest city after Zagreb. It was built by the Roman emperor Diocletian on the shores of the Adriatic Sea. His palace was more like a fortress with a mini city inside.

Today many shops, restaurants and some homes can be found within the walls making it the oldest inhabited palace. It has some exquisite stone work and historic treasures.The whole old town of Split is a Unesco world heritage site. 

Wine and Olive Oil day trip from Split:

Croatia produces some great wines but it is best known for the export of its Crljenak grape (also known as Tribidrag) variety from which the famous Zinfandel is made. The origins were from the town of Kaštela near Split. The area is home to many great wineries. The micro-climate and the soil diversity aid in the making of some excellent wines.

Croatia also produces world class quality olive oil. Though the area under cultivation is much smaller compared to Greece or Italy, the taste and aroma are responsible for Croatian olive oil winning many awards.

1.Kaštela area Wineries and Olive oil:
(30 min by road from Split)

The Kaštela area is known for its red wines from Crljenak (Zinfandel), Plavac Mali and Babica varietals. The popular wineries are:

Putalj produces Zinfandel, Plavac Mali and Rosé labels. The wines are medium bodied and aromatic. The tasting includes wines and extra virgin olive oil paired with bread and cheese.

Kuzmanić winery:

The Kuzmanić winery dates back to the early 18th century. Award winning wines are offered in a tasting session paired with traditional Dalmatian snacks and homemade olive oil.

2. Brač island Wineries and Olive oil:

( 1 hr 30 min by ferry from Split )

Brač island has wineries producing excellent Plavac Mali red wines and there is an olive oil museum which offers tasting with various grappas, cheese, capers and olives. Two well known wineries are Senjković winery and Stina winery. The most  famous Zlatni Rat beach is nearby the Stina winery.

Sightseeing day trip from Split:

Hvar and Korčula islands:
(Split to Hvar is around 1 hr by ferry or catamaran and Hvar to Korčula around 50 min)

There are many tour companies which offer a day trip from Split to Hvar and Korčula. 

Hvar is the most glamorous of all the Dalmatian islands with chic restaurants and fashionable party spots. Hvar city’s pedestrian Old town has a beautiful main square with a 16th century cathedral and is overlooked by a hilltop fortress. The island is full of olive groves, fruit orchards and lavender fields.

The town of Korčula was built under Venetian rule. It is a fortified town with medieval squares, churches, palaces and houses. And hence also known as ‘Little Dubrovnik. The white wine Pošip is made in the wineries on the island. There are dense forests as well as delightful beaches to explore.

Dubrovnik: 2 nights

(Around 3 hrs 30 min by road or 5 hrs by ferry from Split)

Dubrovnik is the capital of Croatia and its most famous tourist destination. The Old Town is a Unesco world heritage site with its ancient city walls and stone architecture.

A walk on the ramparts (around 2 kms) is the most popular attraction. It provides spectacular views over the red rooftops and the shimmering blue Adriatic Sea. Dubrovnik is often described as ‘the Pearl of the Adriatic’.

Some of the local dishes are: (Vegetarian)

It is a soup of mixed vegetables, herbs and wild collard greens cooked with olive oil.


This is a vegetable stew made with a combination of tomatoes, peppers ,onions, garlic and parsley. The ingredients are fried first and then stewed.


This is a savoury pie filled with Swiss Chard cheese. There is even an annual Soparnik festival held in Dugi Rat (near Split) in July.


This is Dubrovnik’s most famous dessert. It is crème brulee with an addition of rose liqueur. It is often served with slices of fruit, syrup and cream.


This is a sweet pudding made from Quince (a pear shaped fruit).  It is a jelly-like dessert poured into moulds of different shapes.

Popular Vegetarian friendly restaurants:

Using local produce, this restaurant offers healthy and exciting vegetarian and vegan fare.

This is a family owned restaurant with food based on a farm-to-table concept. Feels like home is their motto. The ingredients are sourced from farms in Dubrovnik’s surroundings.

A family owned restaurant, Orka focuses on cuisine which is a modern interpretation of traditional food, using fresh, local ingredients and paired with excellent Croatian wines. The location is in a historical 16th century villa with views of the surrounding sea.

A traditional yet unique restaurant in the Old Town. It presents an innovative take on the flavours of Croatian cuisine inspired by old Dalmatian recipes.

This restaurant is all about location. Situated on top of the Srd hill, Panorama offers spectacular views of the old city and the nearby islands of the Adriatic Riviera. A mediterranean menu is enhanced with refreshing cocktails and a great selection of wines.

Kotor: 2 nights

( 1 hour 50 min by road from Dubrovnik)

Montenegro is another beautiful Balkan country on the Adriatic Sea. The terrain ranges from high mountains to coastal plains with climate varying from Mediterranean to Continental. In spite of being a small nation, it is increasingly becoming a popular  travel destination owing to the picturesque hamlets, fortified towns, the fjord-like Bay of Kotor and its national parks.

Kotor sightseeing:

Located in the stunning Bay of Kotor, the Old Town of Kotor looks straight out of a fairy tale. Backed by limestone cliffs, the 9th century city walls surround the Unesco World Heritage town. Venetian era architecture and winding cobblestone streets attract a lot of tourists from all over. 

The City Walls cover around 4.5 kms and are 2 to 16 m wide and upto 20 m high. A walk on the walls provides breathtaking views across the bay and the old town attractions. There are 3 well preserved gates for entry into the town.


(15 min by road from Kotor)

Located in the middle part of the Bay of Kotor,  Perast is a pretty hillside town with grand stone palaces and churches from the Venetian rule period. It is a Unesco World Heritage site.The most famous church is Our Lady of the Rocks on an island off Perast. The Main Street has many charming cafés along the seaside where the best thing to eat is the Peraška Torta, a delicious almond cake.

Day trip to Budva and Sveti Stefan:

(Budva is 30 min by road from Kotor and Sveti Stefan is 15 min from Budva)

Located on the stretch of the coastline called the Budva Riviera, Old Town Budva (Stari Grad) has a 2500 years old history. Marble streets and Venetian walls lend a historic character. The beaches, within a walking distance from the town, are backed by the aquamarine waters of the Adriatic Sea. They are lined up with many restaurants having outdoor seating. Budva Riviera is very popular for its vibrant nightlife and has come to be known as the playground for the super yacht owners.

Also located on the Budva Riviera, Sveti Stefan is connected to the mainland by a narrow strip of land with picturesque pink pebble beaches on either side. The 15th century village is now owned by a resort chain and only the hotel guests are allowed to visit.

Tara Canyon, Durmitor National park and Lake Skadar are other attractions if there is spare time.

Montenegrin Cuisine:

The food of Montenegro is influenced by its neighbours as well as continental Europe. The emphasis is on simple and filling recipes created with fresh and organic ingredients. 

The best way to experience their culinary delights is by joining a short duration cooking class in Kotor. A 4 hour class will have a tour to the Kotor food market, cookery lesson with a professional Montenegrin chef and tasting of the prepared food with local wine. 

Some of the cooking classes being offered are:

Having enjoyed the charms of Croatia and Montenegro, this Culinary journey on the Adriatic Sea ends with an onward connection from Kotor.

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