Driving the Dalmatian Coast of Croatia is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. It justifiably shows up on almost every list of the most beautiful coastal drives in the world. After spending a few days in Dubrovnik, it was time for us to head back up the coast to Šibenik (our temporary home for this stretch of our European tour).
According to Google maps, it’s about a four-hour drive from Dubrovnik to Šibenik, but that’s only if you don’t drive along the coast the whole time or make any stops. We probably stopped sometimes as often as every 20 minutes, so needless to say we didn’t make it back in anywhere near four hours. To be fair, we also stopped for lunch and a drink as the sun was setting, but it was still a very long day.
The views were incredible throughout the entire drive. On one side, you have the turquoise blue water of the Adriatic and on the other, the Dinaric Alps. You climb to the top of a hill to overlook a large vineyard and the next minute, you descend into a vast open stretch of valley with red roofed houses and small tributaries that lead back out to the sea. The entire coast is speckled with picturesque little villages built into the cliffs or surrounding a small harbor. Along the way, you pass several of Croatia’s major islands including Hvar, Brač, Vis, and Korčula as well as many of the other smaller ones that make up the over 1,000 islands in Croatia’s archipelago.
If you ever get the chance to make this drive, definitely do it! The trip can be shortened by taking highways for sections if you aren’t in the mood to spend too much time driving, but the view is totally worth it. The cost of a rental car was very inexpensive (something like $40 USD), but we paid a fee for returning the car in Šibenik (which doubled the price of the rental). I would also recommend checking out the rental cars at the Dubrovnik airport (way more selection and probably cheaper).
Overall, it was an incredible experience and we’ll hopefully get the chance to compare it to some of the other great coastal drives.
Let us know what some of your favorite drives are in the comments below!