5 old Croatian cities that you must visit on your holiday in Dalmatia

5 old Croatian cities that you must visit on your holiday in Dalmatia

Welcome to Dalmatia, the magnificent southern region of Croatia charming for its diversity, rich historical and historical heritage of its locals and their history. Guests can sometimes come across very different traditions by travelling only 50 kilometers from one place to another!

The Dalmatian hinterlands, called Zagora, are located a bit farther from the sea and it features interesting local customs, gastronomy and stone architecture that will leave any guest speechless. Locals are very friendly and will give you good tips on where to go and what to try during your visit.

The gastronomical treats here are amazing and everything is always fresh as agriculture is very important to the local life. Tourists can find many traditionally decorated restaurants where they can feel the life of the region, where everything is built with stone and people wear characteristical clothing. Some famous towns here are Sinj, Drniš and Knin.

On the other hand, people living on the coastline and on the islands are proud of their traditions of living by the sea. The fish specialties are a must-try for anyone and your friendly hosts will surely point that out. Here you can find some a bit more famous tourist destinations, like the City of Šibenik, Split, Primošten, Vodice and others.

Did you know that Croatia has 79 islands and about 500 islets parallel to the coast? The largest ones are Brač, Pag and Hvar in Dalmatia. It goes without saying, taking a boat ride along the coast is a must too!

Dalmatia is an excellent choice for your family vacation! With national parks Krka and Kornati, nature parks and untouched nature all around the region, you can take one-day trips to a new location every day! The choices are endless; from boat rides and island hopping to relaxation in the woods and biking the wilderness.

There are many spots you can and should visit in the Croatian south, but here is our pick of 5 old Croatian cities you must visit on your holiday in Dalmatia.

1. Zadar

The city of Zadar is the famous ancient Mediterranean port city surrounded by fortifications recently added on the UNESCO list of protected cultural sights. It is a city of romance, love, passion and wild spirit. Every visitor will feel at home at Zadar as the city will amaze everyone with its rich cultural heritage.

The city of Zadar is situated in the heart of the Adriatic sea and it is the center of the northern Dalmatia region. It is a must-see excursion spot as its surroundings feature 3 nature parks: Telašćica, Velebit and Vransko jezero, 24 bigger islands and around 400 islets. A real treat for a true island-hopper! National park Paklenica is also close and other national parks are only a few hours' drive from the city.

Zadar is heavily influenced by Roman culture and the city itself is built on their architectural styles. The old city center is rich with magnificent monuments of various historical periods. The famous church if St. Donat is a very famous sacral object and a symbol of the city built on the remains of the Roman Forum which is a treat just like the Cathedral of St. Stošija. Take a stroll down the Kalelarga street with its many stores and coffee shops and don't miss the Town Gate, the city walls and museums either!

The church of st. Donat has been used for the Musical Evening of St. Donat which features concerts of Renaissance and Medieval music for more than 50 years!

In the evening take a walk by the sea and listen to the beautiful music made by the sea itself and the unique Sea Organ! Check out the Greeting to the sun, amazing 22-meter diameter circle and glass monument unique in Croatia! While in Zadar, check out the local Maraschino cherry liqueur sweet drink made with a traditional recipe. Check out our offer of villas for rent in Zadar.

2. Šibenik

The City of Šibenik is located in Croatia south in the middle Dalmatia in a beautiful picturesque bay where the Krka river flows into the Adriatic Sea. It is the oldest Croatian city of the Adriatic coast and one of the most fortified that withheld many attackers and invasions.

As the Šibenik city is rich with historical and cultural heritage, its vicinity to two national parks and the stunning archipelago all make it the perfect vacation spot along with characteristic relaxed lifestyle of the locals. It is a city where history and culture combine into a very charming atmosphere irresistible to its guests!

While on vacation in Šibenik, you can visit interesting monuments, like the famous Cathedral of St. James, a UNESCO protected symbol of the city. It shows the beauty of Reninesance construction, it is built entirely of stone without any binding material. If you enjoy sacral architecture, you will definitely enjoy Šibenik as it has more than 20 churches and monasteries!

The city's fortification system is also a thing you should check out during your visit. There are four fortresses around the city that were used for defence. The oldest fortress is the St. Michael fortress which today features concerts and other cultural manifestations.

Barone fortress and St. Ivan fortress are close to one another and give its guests stunning views of the city and the St. Anthony canal. The fourth fortress is the Fortress of St. Nicholas located on the sea and protects the entrance to the Šibenik canal.

Summer in Šibenik is a feast of cultural manifestations, like the International Children's festival with its long-lasting tradition and the Medival fair held along the Šibenik promenade.

Only a short drive takes you to the National park Krka where you can relax in the untouched nature. Drive a bit longer and check out the Kornati islands, another national park. Šibenik also has one Michelin-star rated restaurant called The Pellegrini!

The other name of the Šibenik city is Krešimir's city, as it was mentioned for the first time in history in 1066. by Croatian King Petar Krtešimir IV. Rent villa in Šibenik on time! Did you know the city is a part of the Game of Thrones culture? Read more here!

3. Trogir

Welcome to the stunning tiny town of Trogir, located between the more famous cities of Zadar and Split and the perfect hideaway tourist destination you should definitely check out during your trip to southern Croatia.

Being less known, it is a hidden gem of the local tourism industry so you will avoid the crowds and enjoy the local relaxing atmosphere!¨Its small and tight streets just crave to be explored. The city dates back to the 3rd century BC. It was founded by the Greeks and later it was an important Roman city of the region. Because of its diverse history it is rich with cultural heritage.

Everywhere you look in this stunning Dalmatian city there are beautiful architecture and breathtaking views! There are some monuments you shouldn't miss, like the St. Lovre cathedral which dates back to the 13th century with its Radovan portal, one of the most important medieval portals in the eastern Adriatic.

Be sure to visit some of Trogir beaches like the Okrug beach located 5 kilometers from the center with a lot of restaurants, cafes and a water sports center that offers various activities. Pantan beach is great for a trip with children because of its shallow waters and amenities for kids.

The whole city center is under UNESCO protection! You should also visit the Fortress Kamerlengo, a magnificent 15th-century building on the coast of the city. There is also the tower of St. Marko, another part of the defence architecture.

Trogir city today combines the wealth of history, beautiful beaches and culture into an amazing combination for any guest to enjoy! Check out villas in Trogir!

4. Split

The city of Split is the second-largest city in Croatia and the biggest in the Dalmatia region. The town is well known and famous among tourists and it is known for its Mediterranean easy-going lifestyle of the locals, rich culture and history.

The city of Split reflects great traditional culture and it will welcome every guest with open arms! It is home to stunning monuments, like the Diocletian's palace, built in 305 AD. The city was founded by the Greeks in the 2nd century BC. It became the capital of the Roman province of the region after Salona (today's Solin city). Throughout history, Split enjoyed the autonomy as a free city and like all other Dalmatian cities in the region struggled to keep its freedom from Venice and the Hungarians.

Being ruled and influenced by many nations, it kept its face and today it is one of the most beautiful cities of Croatia and southern Dalmatia region and its locals are proud of that.

A walk through the Diocletian palace is a must as the palace is Split's most famous attraction and it is for those who want to feel the history of Roman life. Have a glance at the panorama of the town from the famous Bell tower, have coffee with the locals on the Riva promenade and enjoy a dash of relaxed lifestyle of the Dalmatian people.

Another must-see attraction is the Marjan forest. Take a 30-minute walk to the top of Marjan and breath in the clean air of the Split's amazing forest and enjoy a breathtaking view of the city from the top.

Don't forget that the city has amazing restaurants and beaches! Check out villas for rent in Split and vacation in style.

5. Omiš

The city of Omiš is a small town located in Central Dalmatia at the mouth of the Cetina river. Just like many other cities in Dalmatia, Omiš has a rich historical heritage and evidence of a proud and turbulent history can be found on every corner of Omiš riviera.

Throughout the past Omiš is known as a strong stronghold of pirates and its churches and fortress, like the famous Mirabella and Fortica fortresses, are reminders of the power and might of the infamous pirates that ruled the coastline of the Adriatic Sea in the region.

Pirates used boats called Sagittae (Arrows) to catch trade ships and retire back up to the Cetina river where they couldn't be caught. During these times, Omiš pirates were the most feared on the Adriatic and were receiving large sums of money from Venice, Dubrovnik republic and others. During summer in Omiš, check out Pirate nights to feel the turbulent lifestyle of those times!

Omiš is home to the traditional Festival of the Dalmatian klapa singing and it is the city's highlight of the summer season. Guests can find numerous beaches and untouched nature forests perfect for those who enjoy the outdoors.

Find some fresh air of the Cetina river, its canyon and the surrounding mountaintops, vineyards, olive groves... Omiš city has it all! Cetina offers various adrenaline activities so be sure to add that to your list!


Don't forget to check out our villas in Croatia, book your villa on time and start making memories!


Photos: ZADAR Riva by Velid Jakupović (header photo), Mladen Radolović Mrlja, Zadar