Driving the coast of Croatia: Amazing Dalmatian Road Trip

Our Croatia road trip. Driving the coast of Croatia Dalmatian coast itinerary. Places to visit near Dubrovnik. Mali Ston oysters, things to do in Korcula Island
Driving the coast of Croatia, Dalmatian road trip from Dubrovnik

Driving the coast of Croatia is a great opportunity to enjoy the beautiful views on the way through Dalmatian coast. We went to an amazing Dalmatian road trip around Dubrovnik. At this part of our Dalmatian road trip, we drove along Croatian coast from Ploce to Dubrovnik with a detour to Peljesac Peninsula, Ston, Orebic and Korcula Island.

Surprisingly, there was the city of Neum, a Bosnia and Herzegovina land, in the middle of our drive. At my blog post below, you can find how we passed the Neum corridor, details of driving the coast of Croatia and information about the places to visit on the Croatian coast.

Our road trips in Croatia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina

Previously, we went for a day trip from Dubrovnik to Kotor and drove through the southernmost parts of Dalmatian coast. Then, we continued driving from Kotor to Mostar. After we spent a night and a a day in Mostar, it was time to hit the road again and we explored places to visit near Mostar on our way back to Croatia. At the end, we found ourselves on the Dalmatian coast again, ready to explore the beauties of the coast of Croatia.

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The roads while driving the coast of Croatia, Dalmatian road trip
The roads on Dalmatian coast, Croatia

Trip from Ploce to Neum border

Trip Duration: 35 minutes

Ploce is a little touristic town with a seaport where you can board a ferry to Trpanj in Peljesac Peninsula. Normally, we were planning to catch the ferry from Ploce to Trpanj. Then, from there we would have a short drive to Orebic where we would catch another ferry to Korcula Island. Thus, we were planning to stay on Croatian lands to avoid one more border crossing. Unfortunately we missed the ferry in Ploce and had to drive all the coast to Orebic. After our drive I can say, I’m glad we missed the ferry. It was a joy driving the coast of Croatia.

The beautiful Neretva

Ploce is also the place where Neretva River is pouring into the Adriatic Sea forming the incredible Neretva Delta. Previously, during our road trip in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Neretva River had accompanied us at most of the parts. When we once again, met Neretva river now in Croatian lands, we inevitably thought, “Oh my, what a great river it is this Neretva!”

The greatness of the road trips are, sometimes you have no idea of the existence of some beauties on your route before your trip. During your journey, you literally discover them by yourself and get amazed with the beauties on your sight. Your journey expands into full other perspective with the things you discover on your trip. It was same with Neretva Delta for us.

Neretva Delta

If I knew about Neretva Delta before, I would definitely stop for a short break to enjoy it more. During our road trip I was impressed with the view of the delta with its canals and shores. Fertile lands with tangerine orchards, fruits and vegetable plantations were set just behind the delta. There were local fruits and veggies sellers all through our way.

With a quick search after my trip I learned that, Neretva Delta is under protection and an internationally important wetland. Bird watching, kite surfing, swimming in its sandy beaches (which is quite rare in Croatia) are some of the attractions at this beautiful delta. You also can walk on the sandbars into the sea there for hundreds of meters with seawater only ankle hight.

Neum Corridor passing

Trip Duration: 10 minutes (including border crossings)

We were very hesitant about Neum passing because of its multi border crossings. During our trip, we found out that there was nothing to worry about it. Actually, there was the Neum Agreement between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina that granted free passage of Croatian transit traffic between the two territories of Croatian lands.

City of Neum, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Dalmatian road trip
City of Neum, Bosnia and Herzegovina

While entering the Neum Corridor, only Croatian border checked our passports. Afterwards, we drove very shortly on Bosnian lands and we already were at the exiting border. There should be some kind of automatic scan there as no-one checked our passports at the exit. We were just allowed to cross without any border examination.

On the other hand, city of Neum is the only town on the Bosnia and Herzegovina’s 25 km coastline. (The road between the two checkpoint borders is much shorter) It is also the only access of the country to the Adriatic Sea. That makes Neum a huge touristic resort. There were many big hotels and touristic places on our way through Neum.

Trip from Neum to Orebic

Trip Duration: 1 hour 20 minutes

After a short trip from Neum, we left the Dubrovnik road and turned into Peljesac Peninsula. The ferry to Korcula Island was departing from the little seaside town of Orebic, which was located by the end of the peninsula.

Peljesac Peninsula

We drove through the winding roads of Peljesac peninsula just before sunset. The sun, turned into a golden ball in front of us. It was setting into the blue waters of the Adriatic Sea, it was incredible!

Korcula Island and Peljesac Peninsula in sunset, driving the coasts of Croatia
Korcula Island and Peljesac Peninsula in sunset, Croatia

While driving along the coast of the Peljesac Peninsula, it wasn’t long that we noticed we were going through a gorgeous place. There were vineyards all around with grape bunches hanging on the vines. Later, we’ve learnt that actually we were at the heart of Croatian wines there. Also, there were olive trees orchards and pine forests throughout our way. Cyclist were all around, enjoying a ride in this incredible nature.

Ferry crossing from Orebic to Korcula

Trip Duration: 15 minutes

Ferry crossing from Orebic to Korcula Island, Croatian coast
Ferry crossing from Orebic to Korcula Island

Ferry crossing from Orebic to Korcula Island takes only 15 minutes. During summer, ferries run many times during the day. We considered leaving the car at a parking place in Orebic and going to the island without car. After a quick search, we’ve found out there wasn’t convenient public transportation from the ferry port to the Korcula Old Town. So, decided to take our car with us. (Definitely, ferry tickets change according you are with or without a car.) We booked a good place to stay in Korcula at walking distance to the old town that had a free parking space. And off we go, let’s explore Korcula!

Korcula Island

Korcula Island, Croatia road trip
Korcula Island, Croatia

Island hopping in Croatia is quite common tourist attraction since it’s very easy to travel to islands using public ferry transportation. Hvar, Korcula and Brac are among the most visited islands for different preferences, such as natural beauties, beaches and nightlife. Being not far to Dubrovnik and thanks to its gorgeous looking old town and great foodie scene, Korcula Island was our choice to visit at this Croatia itinerary. As soon as we set foot on the island, we acknowledged that we definitely made a right choice!

Things to do in Korcula Old Town

Narrow streets of Korcula Old Town, Croatia
Narrow streets of Korcula Old Town

Korcula Old Town is a beautiful, fortified town on the east coast of the island of Korcula. The old city is surrounded by historic walls all around. Thera are two main gates, Land Gate (Kopnena Vrata) and Sea Gate (Morska Vrata), and a few towers scattered through the walls. The town plan of the old town itself is very interesting and unique with all the streets arranged in a herringbone pattern, allowing air circulation and protection at the same time.

Places to see in Korcula Old Town

  • St. Mark’s Cathedral
  • House of Marco Polo
  • Land Gate

We loved getting lost in the narrow streets of Korcula Old Town. Morning strolls among the colorful cafes facing the sea and the walls were so delightful. We sipped our coffees by the crystal clean waters surrounding the island. At the time of our visit, some people were enjoying the less crowded late summer beaches just next to the old town.

Actually, all of the old town of Korcula had great laid back summer vacation atmosphere with its beaches all around and many cafes, restaurants and bars scattered on the cobbled streets and many squares. And we loved that!

Coast of Korcula Island, Croatia
Korcula Island has a great laid back summer vacation vibe

We had an incredible, romantic dinner at a TripAdvisor awarded restaurant in a beautiful corner of the old town. Al fresco dining with some historical old town scenery was spectacular! I must add that Korcula Island is a foodie paradise with its many fine dining, seafood and local cuisine options. It has Michelin star rated restaurants as well.

Korcula offers some white wine verities like Prosip, Rukatac and Grk that are native to the island. It also has producers of olive oil that received prestigious certificate of PDO (protected designations of origin).

Where to stay in Korcula?

We stayed one night in Korcula Island for an exploration trip but we would love to come back and have a longer summer vacation in the future. It’s certainly worth to spend at least three – four days (or more) there and enjoy all it has to offer deeply.

Aminess Korcula Heritage Hotel (Booking.com score 9.0 / for more than 350 reviews) is the oldest hotel in town which offers a delightful stay with some awesome sea views. This prestigious hotel is just at the heart of the old town and includes an excellent breakfast.

Apartments Milion (Booking.com score 9.3 / for more than 170 reviews) and Guest House Dijana (Booking.com score 9.1 / for more than 80 reviews) are some budget friendly accommodations set in the old town of Korcula.

For more choice and the prices of Korcula hotels, please click here.

Trip from Korcula Island to Ston and Mali Ston

Trip Duration: 1 hour 10 minutes

After a delightful morning on Korcula Island, we were ready to catch the ferry back to Orebic and Peljesac peninsula. We drove all the stunning way back to the starting point of the peninsula and found the little villages Ston and Mali Ston.

Ston and Mali Ston

The Wall of Ston, Croatia road trip
“The Wall of Ston” overlooking the village from the mountain.

Mali Ston and its larger sister village Ston are located where Peljesac meets the mainland Croatia and are less than an hour drive to Dubrovnik. We’ve heard about Mali Ston on a Rick Stein BBC show where the Mali Ston locals insisted that they have the best oysters in the world. The bay of Mali Ston has a unique mix of freshwater and saltwater, making it ideal for oyster farming.

Things to do in Ston and Mali Ston

Mali Ston village, oysters, coast of Croatia
Mali Ston village is famous for its oysters

Ston and Mali Ston are linked together with “the Wall of Ston“, which looks like a miniature form of the Great Wall of China. The fortification system in Ston is the second largest in the world after the Great Wall of China. In addition, Ston is one of the oldest salt producing places in Mediterranean which has been in use for some 4000 years. However, for us, the main reason to visit Mali Ston was a restaurant that is featured as one of 100 Best Restaurants in Croatia: Kapetanova Kuca.

Mali Ston oysters, Kapetanova Kuca, Croatia
Black risotto, Kapetanova Kuca, Croatia
Kapetanova Kuca restaurant, Mali Ston, where to eat near Dubrovnik
Kapetanova Kuca restaurant, Mali Ston

We had the restaurant special Black Cuttlefish risotto and seafood spaghetti after some delicious and fresh Mali Ston oysters. Both the black risotto and the seafood spaghetti were perfectly cooked. The seafood delicacy salad of crabs, octopus and seashells were also very delicious. I can easily say that it was the best meal we had during our whole trip. Also, the prices were quite affordable, especially compared to the places in Dubrovnik. Even if you stay just in Dubrovnik, try to visit Mali Ston and Kapetanova Kuca for a little feast!

Trip from Mali Ston to Mount Srj in Dubrovnik

Trip Duration: 1 hour 15 minutes

Dubrovnik view, coast of Croatia road trip
Dubrovnik view from Mount Srj

After a quite a long D-tour through the cities and countries surrounding Dubrovnik, it was the time to explore Dubrovnik itself. First, we drove to Mount Srd for some breathtaking views of Dubrovnik old town. People normally travel to the top of the hill by the cable car from Dubrovnik old town. Since we still had our rental car, we preferred to go by car before returning it in Dubrovnik city center. We climbed to the top of the mountain, going through some narrow and steep roads at some parts. Nevertheless, the view of red tiled old city of Dubrovnik and the Adriatic Sea was definitely worth it!

Trip from Mount Srj to Dubrovnik city center

Trip Duration: 10 minutes

After we came back from the mountain we returned our rental car in the branch in Dubrovnik Rixos Hotel and were ready to explore the old town on foot. Walking the short way from Rixos Hotel to Dubrovnik Old Town, we noticed some cute coves with people sunbathing and swimming in the coves. Obviously, Dubrovnik was a great city with plenty to offer and it definitely was “the pearl of the Adriatic“!

Dubrovnik Old Town

Dubrovnik Old Town streets, Croatia road trip
Main Street of Dubrovnik Old Town

Dubrovnik is one of the worlds best protected walled cities with a great medieval architecture. It is situated on Dalmatian coast overlooking the calm blue Adriatic Sea. Old City of Dubrovnik is a UNESCO World Heritage site with beautiful preserved city walls, Renaissance, Gothic and Baroque churches, monasteries, palaces and fountains. It is one of the most prominent touristic city of the Mediterranean. Walking through the streets of Dubrovnik Old Town would certainly transfer you to the medieval times!

For detailed information about things to do in Dubrovnik Old Town, check out my blog post:

The best Balkan itinerary in 5 days

Check out my posts for my whole Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina trip

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