Dalmatian Coast Biking
Road Cycling in Croatia with Backroads
- Explore the reborn Dalmatian Coast by bike, with breathtaking sapphire sea views
- Island-hop along the sun-drenched Adriatic and swim in hidden coves
- Dubrovnik, an architectural masterpiece with turrets, spires and tiled roofs
- Gain insight into Croatia's fascinating history and culture
- The freshest seafood and local cuisine
Biking From Split to Dubrovnik Via Croatia's Island Paradise
245 days of sunshine a year. Sapphire waters. Fresh squid. White-washed limestone villages. Ride in the morning, taking in the views of the Adriatic on the islands of Hvar, Brac and Korcula, then be a part of the view as you boat between islands. And end the day with a swim. Everyone should experience this. It's as relaxing as the Caribbean, as historic as Venice. Nowhere near as crowded as the French Riviera. People have traveled to here for more than 140 years. And yet it still feels like, as the Croatians say, "The Mediterranean as it once was."
- All lodging
- All meals included except 2 lunches and 1 dinner, when you'll have the opportunity to sample local fare on your own
- Expertise and services of our experienced Trip Leaders
- Snacks and beverages between meals
- Private guided tours at museums, historic sites, wineries and other select attractions as noted
- Additional guides and experts from the region on many trips
- Comprehensive Travel Planner with detailed pre-trip information
- On Biking and Multi-Sport trips use of fully equipped Backroads titanium bike plus helmet and accessories
- Park and other entry fees
- Fares for trains, ferries and other modes of travel
- Select coach transfers
- Baggage transfers and porterage
- Backroads water bottle
- Alcoholic beverages (Backroads provides wine at select events)
- Gratuities for Trip Leaders
- Personal expenses
Day by Day Itinerary
On the first day of the trip, meet your Backroads leaders (the folks wearing Backroads T-shirts) at 9 a.m. in the lobby of Hotel Park in Split. Please arrive dressed to ride, or bring your bike clothes in a separate small daypack (along with your bathing suit) and change on the boat to Brac Island.
Boat to Milna, Brac Island 1 Hour
Milna Loop 13 Miles with Shuttle (980-foot elevation gain)
Longer Option: 36 Miles (2,500-foot elevation gain)
Welcome to Croatia! After meeting in Split we take a boat to the fishing and yachting town of Milna on Brac Island. Brac (pronounced BRATCH), whose name means “the big one,” is the largest island of Dalmatia. And with its arid scrub-covered uplands, cypress forests, orange and olive trees, drystone walls and famed cheeses, it‟s also the most Mediterranean of the archipelago. Since ancient Greek times, Brac has been renowned for its milky-white marble, used in the construction of Diocletian‟s palace in Split, numerous buildings in Venice and reputedly the White House in Washington, D.C.
Before heading out on today‟s route, your Backroads leaders fit your bike and give a brief talk on biking techniques and safety. Then get your blood pumping with a mile-long climb that leads you to beautiful riding through picturesque stone villages perched on hillsides. Enjoy vistas of the mainland, old olive groves, ancient crumbling stone walls and white woolly sheep. You‟ll also enjoy your first taste of some big hills! Then turn slightly inland and tackle a few ascents before descending back into Milna for a late picnic lunch and refreshing swim.
This afternoon you‟ll want to listen to your legs when deciding whether to shuttle or bike to tonight‟s hotel, the Palaca Deškovic, a refurbished cultural monument located on one of the many bays on the island‟s north coast. This evening we gather for a festive welcome dinner of slow-cooked regional dishes.
Lodging: Palaca Deškovic
Bol Route 31 Miles with Shuttle (3,500-foot elevation gain)
Shorter Option: 18 Miles (130-foot elevation gain)
Boat to Hvar Island 1 Hour
Shuttle to Hotel 45 Minutes
Shuttle to/from Milna, Hvar 45 Minutes Round-Trip
Today‟s route leaves from Pucisca, following the contours of the coast past Lovrecina Beach. The next leg of the ride serves up the single most difficult series of climbs on the trip, so if you‟re feeling extra ambitious, keep pushing onward and upward! You‟ll ascend straight to Skrip, the oldest village on the island, and on toward Vidova Gora. Continue past the turnoff to Vidova Gora (or take this detour to the top of the mountain—on a clear day the views are unbeatable!) before spinning through rolling hills and along a winding descent all the way into Bol.
Depending on when you arrive, you may have some time to walk around Bol. Stroll down the promenade to check out the famous Zlatni Rat beach and stop at a café to refuel with lunch and a refreshing drink. From Bol we boat to Hvar Island—the chicest and most popular destination of the southern Dalmatian archipelago—followed by a shuttle to our hotel for the next two nights, the spectacular Hotel Adriana. Its central location provides easy access to Hvar Town‟s attractions and bustling nightlife.
Tonight we‟re treated to a truly local experience in the Hvar Island town of Milna. Our friends Mate and Michaela invite us into their home for dinner, serving us fresh seasonal dishes they‟ve prepared from scratch. Weather permitting, we‟ll savor their home cooking outside among the olive trees.
Lodging: Hotel Adriana
Stari Grad Route 26 Miles with Shuttle (1,400-foot elevation gain)
Shorter Option: Levanda 21 Miles with Shuttle (430-foot elevation gain)
Longer Option: 38 Miles (2,740-foot elevation gain)
We devote ourselves to an in-depth exploration of Hvar Island today. A long thin piece of land, Hvar is filled with fragrant lavender, heather and pines, while ragged inlets lapped by translucent waters and a steep central limestone ridge add to the landscape‟s beauty. Our ride offers plunging views in both directions, with the panorama becoming increasingly dramatic during your ascent along Sveti Nikola, the limestone ridge stretching across the middle of the island. Pedal past ancient stone terraces topped by tiny plots of lavender, veggies, grape vines, fig trees and olive groves. After a long winding downhill, enjoy a stretch of mostly flat riding interspersed with some short steep climbs. If you like, take a breather in the quiet town of Vrboska to sip a coffee at a seaside café. Then continue winding along narrow, lightly trafficked roads to the sleepy Greek-settled town of Stari Grad, whose picturesque promenade provides a perfect end to our ride.
We enjoy a light lunch with our friends Vinko and Darinka Lupi, who open their home to us and share the bounty from their garden including their homemade wines and grappa! Their family has been making wines for generations and you can explore their home and beautiful garden. After having your fill, tackle the hills back to Hvar or take a seat in the van.
Later this afternoon in Hvar Town, spend time people-watching in the central square, which is paved entirely with marble and is the largest in Dalmatia. Other architectural gems worth seeing are the 17th-century Venetian arsenal, housing a beautiful theater (the first in Europe to be accessible to the public), and the stunning 15th-century Franciscan monastery with gardens overlooking the sea. This evening you‟re on your own for dinner in Hvar Town; your leaders are always happy to recommend the best restaurants for such local delights as mussels, fresh fish and risotto.
Lodging: Hotel Adriana
Private Boat to Korcula Island 3 Hours
Brna Route 26 Miles (1,700-foot elevation gain)
Longer Option: Olive Grove 31 Miles (2,990-foot elevation gain)
Following breakfast we board a private boat for a scenic sail to Korcula (pronounced KOHR-choo-lah), an island dotted with vineyards, olive groves and forests of pine, oak and cypress. Kick back and enjoy our excursion—it‟s exhilarating to travel amid such beauty. We may even stop for a swim before our picnic lunch onboard.
Once we‟ve landed at the port of Vela Luka, jump on your bike and navigate through this charming port town. Then shift gears and head for a route that features alternating stretches of coastal riding and rolling hills. A two-mile climb provides stunning views of both sides of the island and, if that isn‟t enough, you‟re also rewarded with a winding three-mile descent! Cap off the ride with an easy seaside spin to our quiet waterfront abode, Hotel Feral. You can take a swim or relax on your room‟s balcony before we shuttle to a nearby restaurant for another feast of Croatian cuisine.
Lodging: Hotel Feral
Korcula Town Route 20 Miles (1,070-foot elevation gain)
Ferry & Bus to Dubrovnik 2½ Hours
There‟s nothing like starting the morning with a hearty breakfast and a big long climb! Leaving the hotel, get your heart pumping on an invigorating ascent with a side of stunning sea views. Not to worry—upon reaching the top you‟re in the clear, so settle in for a nice downhill cruise into Korcula Town, the island‟s elegant centerpiece and a reputed birthplace of Marco Polo. Huddled around St. Mark‟s Cathedral, the atmospheric old quarter is known for its narrow rib-like lanes that branch off the “spine” of the main street—a clever layout designed to protect locals from the sun and wind. The Venetians came here in the 10th century and ruled on and off for more than 800 years, leaving a distinct mark on the town‟s culture and architecture. Today Korcula Town is a trove of rough-hewn stone Gothic and Renaissance palaces, courtyards, churches and graceful arched bridges. Korcula‟s thick walls and imposing towers—once a defense against passing pirates and other enemies—date from the 14th century.
After exploring town on your own and refueling with lunch, meet up with the group on the waterfront, where we board a ferry for a short cruise across the channel to the Peljesac Peninsula. After disembarking we take a scenic bus ride to Dubrovnik and our home for the night, the Imperial Hilton, located just outside the old town‟s gates. The sunlit indoor pool may look inviting, or you can just soak up the striking views of your surroundings before we head out for this evening‟s farewell dinner in the city‟s historic center.
Lodging: Imperial Hilton
Guided Walk on Dubrovnik’s City Wall 45 Minutes
This morning we take a guided walking tour atop Dubrovnik‟s ancient city wall, an enormous defensive structure replete with turrets and towers. Enjoy commanding vistas of the old town, a World Heritage site, the harbor and the Adriatic Sea. Our tour—and our trip—end back at the hotel, where we say our goodbyes.
About The Operator:
Every Backroads vacation is a one-of-a-kind adventure, where serendipity is supported - often invisibly - by a well choreographed backstage effort. After 30 years of practice, we've perfected the craft of creating and delivering world-class experiences and service, both hallmarks of a carefree Backroads vacation.
We ease your trip preparation with little extras, from a recommended packing list to lodging suggestions for before and after your trip. During your vacation, we make sure your luggage is waiting in your room, you have a cool drink or a lift when you desire them, and travel logistics are handled so you can focus on fun and relaxation.
Anticipating and responding to your needs - that is our commitment!Worldwide Presence
The Best Routes
All Backroads itineraries have been carefully researched by our team of 23 Trip Specialists and 9 Regional Managers to ensure you experience the very best way to explore the region. And before your trip, the routes are once again tested by our Trip Leaders-each and every season.
Seven Days of Service
Your Backroads Trip Consultants are available 7 days a week, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT, to answer your questions.
We've designed our trips with plenty of options that let you personalize each day and make the most of your vacation. And on each day of the trip (or the night before if you're heading out early), you'll receive a Daily Snapshot that gives you all of the important information you need so that you have control of your precious time.
Bikes & Accessories
All Biking and Multisport Trips include use of a fully equipped, custom-designed Backroads Titanium bike. Choose either upright or drop handlebars. Backroads is also unique among travel companies in manufacturing our own line of custom-designed kids' bikes. For the younger ones we offer the Burley d'Lite trailer and Burley Piccolo trailercycle.
A Choice of Lodging
We're the only company that distinguishes between Premiere Inns and Casual Inns, making it easy for you to choose a trip that suits your personal style. We provide an honest assessment of each hotel giving you an assurance of quality you can trust.
Backroads has been taking responsible travel seriously since our first trip over 30 years ago. While traveling on two feet or two wheels is the ultimate minimal-impact approach to traveling, we recognize that any travel has an impact and so we do everything we can to make the impact as light and as positive as possible.
When you're out exploring, you may welcome some time to yourself, but when needed, we are there. We pioneered on-trip vehicle support and we continue to perfect it. Read more about On-Trip Support.
Local experts team up with your Backroads leaders, offering firsthand perspectives to enhance your overall experience. From explorations of historic and cultural sites, to culinary adventures showcasing traditional cuisine, to visits with special friends we've made over the years, we take you into the heart of a region with an immediacy and authenticity you'll never forget.
One of the biggest benefits of traveling with Backroads is the wonderful folks you travel with-adventurers who appreciate the Backroads level of quality, pursue new experiences with a passion and take their fun as seriously as they take their work. "People less interested in impressing each other than in having a good time," is how Departures magazine captured the spirit of our guests. Join us-and travel in terrific company.
Nobody knows families like Backroads. From our designated Kid Coordinators to extra vehicle support to custom-designed kids' bikes (a Backroads exclusive), we've considered all angles important to families. Each family trip balances quality time together and apart, with welcome opportunities for everyone to take a break and recharge-something that's virtually impossible to achieve when you vacation on your own.
Your Trip is Guaranteed
At Backroads we're so committed to providing you with an extraordinary experience that we guarantee the quality of your trip. We value our relationship with you, our guest, and want it to be mutually rewarding and long-term.
Our Leaders Make the Trip
You'll find Backroads Trip Leaders to be the best you've ever traveled with. That's not an idle claim-it's backed by the most rigorous recruiting, hiring, training and guest satisfaction programs in the business. View the full scoop on our leaders and why you'll love them.