From Andrew Harper:
Unlike the heavily urbanized French Riviera or overbuilt stretches of the Spanish and Italian shorelines, Croatia’s Dalmatian coast remains remarkably unchanged. Bone-white mountains rear dramatically above the Adriatic, an expanse of cobalt blue bordered by aromatic shrubs and dotted with more than 1,000 islands. Here, you can rediscover the Mediterranean world of 50 years ago. In addition to this stirring scenery, the long history of the region (Dalmatia was originally a Roman province) has endowed it with two of the most intriguing cities in Europe, Split and Dubrovnik, both of which are UNESCO World Heritage sites. In the Middle Ages, Dubrovnik was a city-state of sufficient wealth and influence to rival Venice. And today, it remains a magical place, with an extraordinarily picturesque walled city (intact despite the best efforts of Serb gunners during the Balkan upheavals of the early 1990s). Split grew up around the palace that the Roman Emperor Diocletian built at the water’s edge in A.D. 300, and its enchanting old town contains many impressive Italianate Belle Epoque buildings.
Until recently, the absence of charming and comfortable places to stay meant that the only agreeable way to visit the Dalmatian coast was by boat. Many visitors will still wish to spend time afloat, but a new crop of luxury hotels provides a fine choice of pre- or post-cruise options. A spell on land also makes it easy to take escorted tours to places such as the exquisite medieval town of Mostar in Bosnia. An ideal itinerary would contain a mixture of sightseeing and pure relaxation.
Split and Dubrovnik are so interesting that they merit at least two days each of exploration. Afterward, an excursion to the lovely Croatian island of Hvar (reached from Split) is virtually mandatory. The best months of the year to travel are June-July and September-October.- Andrew Harper
WHEN TO VISIT:
After a chilly and rainy winter, spring comes to Croatia at the beginning of May. Summer is hot and sunny.
TIME: Six hours ahead of New York (EST).
CURRENCY: Most recommended hotels quote rates in euros (€). Fluctuating ratevalued at €1.00 = US$1.23 as of December 2014.
U.S. EMBASSY: Zagreb, Tel. 1-661-2200.
DIRECT DIAL CODES: To phone hotels in Croatia, dial 011 (international access) + 385 (Croatia code) + city code and local numbers in listings.
GENERAL INFORMATION: Visit croatia.hr before your trip.