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Let yourself into Croatia's best-kept secret - unique active holiday experiences on the beautiful islands of Korčula and Mljet, or nearby Orebić on the peninsula of Pelješac.

Photo: Mljet, Credit: Andrić

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Croatia's islands are like pearls on a necklace strung along the shoreline of the country's Adriatic Sea coast. Untouched nature, warm weather, incredible views, engaging culture, and a deep-rooted history all combine to make the Croatian islands one of the top destinations for travellers wishing to explore this corner of Europe.

Croatia's southern islands of Korčula and Mljet and the nearby Pelješac peninsula will seduce you with their fascinating cultural heritage and beautiful nature and fill your holidays with a wide range of outdoor activities, such as biking, hiking, kayaking, scuba diving, sailing and windsurfing.

Add in the jewel of the Croatian crown, Dubrovnik, a unique medieval city surrounded by iconic city walls and recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, and you've got a recipe for exploration and adventure that's a magnet for international tourists.

Photo: Running in Vela Luka, Credit: Boris Kacan

Why take an adventure holiday in Croatia?

Croatia has soared in popularity as a travel destination because of its Mediterranean location, cultural heritage, mild climate, diverse landscape, and natural wonders. It's also a cheaper place to visit than many western European countries.

Island hopping is one of the best ways to experience the many attractions of the area - one ideal combination for an active holiday here would be to cycle the biking routes on Korčula island, explore the Pelješac hiking routes with the most beautiful panoramic views and trek the Mljet National Park hiking trails on Croatia's greenest island.

Photo Lumbarda, Credit: Boris Kacan

Where are Korčula, Mljet and Orebić?

The two islands of Korčula and Miljet, and Orebic on the Pelješac peninsula - virtually an island itself as it's joined to the coast by a slim strip of land - are located between the cities of Split and Dubrovnik on Croatia's southern Dalmatian coast.

The gateway airports of Split and Dubrovnik are reached by flights from the UK, with several UK carriers. Flight time is around 3hrs.

There are ferry services from Split and Dubrovnik to the islands, and also a ferry link from Orebić to Korčula.

Highlights of the area and nearby Dubrovnik

If you are looking for adrenalin-fuelled activities, sailing, kitesurfing, diving or kayaking are the choice for you. For beginners, there are diving and sailing schools and local guides have created unique tours to bring you near to the tradition and lifestyle of the islanders.

On the mainland, the red-roofed city of Dubrovnik has enchanted visitors for centuries, and a walking tour of Dubrovnik old town is a must-do of any day trip, as is the cable car ride up to Mount Srd, the mountain that rises up above the city.

However, if you visit only one thing when sightseeing here, make it the Dubrovnik walls! Originally constructed in the 10th century, although fortified considerably in 1453, they are 3 metres thick along the sea wall, and 6 metres thick inland. A stroll along the Stradun, the main thoroughfare and a visit to Onofrio's Fountain should also be on your list.

Photo: Korčula Old City, Credit: Boris Kacan


Blessed with a mix of mild Mediterranean and almost subtropical climate, Korčula is warmer than any of the Dalmatian islands north of it. Korčula's scenic landscapes vary from the terraced olive gardens to fertile fields of white grape varieties of pošip and grk, pristine waters in the secluded bays and charming island places of Lumbarda, Smokvica, Blato and Vela Luka as well as the medieval old town of Korčula - the birthplace of explorer Marco Polo - and one of the best-preserved medieval Mediterranean towns.

The old quarter, huddled on a small peninsula, is surrounded by walls, and the streets are arranged in a herringbone pattern allowing free circulation of air but protecting against strong winds. The town's historic sites include the central Gothic and Renaissance Cathedral of St Mark, the Town Hall and the massive city fortifications.

Here you can hike and bike the various island trails or go sea kayaking in crystal-clear water around scattered little islands with an option to go snorkelling or diving. You can go rock climbing in an ambience of green fields and old villages or take advantage of the breezes in the strait of Peljesac to sail or try wind and kite surfing.

Photo: Kayaking in Korčula

The island offers tailor-made activities and a large number of excursions. It's also a great base to explore nearby Pelješac peninsula, famous for its red wines, and the inspiring island of Mljet and its National Park.

As well as a network of bike routes exploring different parts of Korčula, such as Vela Luka and Blato, one highlight is to take on the Great Island Bike Challenge, a 131km circuit, on a mix of asphalt and gravel roads, that visits every corner of the island, including Vela spila, an archaeological site more than 20,000 years old. The route passes through vineyards, olive groves and pine forests, inland to the plains and hills and along the coastline to beaches and bays and through many villages and towns. It's a wonderful way to get to know the island.

More than just a summer destination, the islands are great to visit in the spring and autumn too. If you're taking a trip to Korčula in September, visiting the Vela Luka Outdoors Festival is a must, offering MTB and trail races, a kids' race, concert, and after party on the beach. In the spring, a mid-distance triathlon, the Marco Polo Challenge, also takes place on the island.

Photo: View of Orebić and the Franciscan Monastery, Credit: Tourist Board Orebić


Directly opposite Korčula, and just a short ferry ride away, is Orebić, the main town on the Pelješac peninsula.

Don't be fooled by the tranquillity of this place; Orebić is perfect for swimming and sunbathing, or for hiking along marked paths, cycling, walking by the sea, or a wine tour to the famous wineries and wine cellars.

The Pelješac peninsula has five mountain bike circular trails, covering 184km, that take you to hidden coves, beautiful beaches, taverns, olive groves and vineyards. From Orebić on the southern side of the peninsula, you have two well-maintained trails (1 and 5), and if you like mysterious places, try taking the Kuna Pelješka-Janjina-Trpanj-Oskorušno-Kuna route (2). If you wish, you can also take the section of the old Napoleon Road connecting Ston and Putnikovići. EuroVelo 8, also known as the Mediterranean route, passes through the Pelješac area as well.

Photo: Looking towards Orebić, Credit: Andrea šain

Walkers can choose from six hiking trails with a total length of 39 km. Four of them lead to the highest peak of St Elijah 961m above Orebić. Pelješac’s most famous hiking destination is also the greatest challenge for hikers. The view from the top is truly spectacular, with the islands of Korčula, Brač, Hvar, Vis, Mljet laid out before you. On clear days, you can even see the outlines of Italy. On the other side – the Neretva River, and the mountains of Biokovo and Mosor.

On the water, windsurfers will relish the chance to test their skills in the Mistral winds blowing through the Pelješac channel.

The Maritime Museum is also a must-see, and on the hill above the town, sits the Franciscan monastery museum with votive paintings of sailors and their families. In the monastery, visit the church and the scenic viewpoint of Our Lady of Angels.

Photo: Mljet, Credit: Unimedija


The most beautiful and most forested island in the Adriatic.  Mljet National Park makes up most of the island, and there are several villages, two saltwater lakes - Veliko and Malo jezero - and a Benedictine monastery on the islet of sv. Marija [St Mary]. In Polače there are some of the best natural anchorages in the Adriatic.

Preserved from the Illyrian period, there are many fortifications and tombs, and the best preserved are those on the hill of Veliki Gradac, Veliko jezero and the fortress at Vodice, above the water source at Vodice at Babino Polje. The Roman Palace, which is the largest after Diocletian’s Palace in Split and the Arena in Pula, is a part of the valuable heritage of the island of Mljet.

Popular activities on the island are biking, kayaking, scuba diving and exploring the many caves. But the best way to appreciate Mljet's unspoilt nature, its mysticism, olive groves, vineyards and rich forests is simply to walk the island's network of 'recreational trails'.

Highlights of these include:

Trail A: Pomena to Pomena

A moderately-demanding marked 8.7km loop around Mljet's two beautiful lakes - the Great Lake and the Small Lake. The trail also crosses the Great Bridge where the sea and lakes connect.

Find more information about this route here.

Photo: St. Mary, Mljet, Credit: Unimedija

Trail B: Polače to Polače

A slightly longer circuit walk at 12.2km - but with no real climbing - that is centred on the island's Great Lake. The trail follows the shoreline and includes the Roman palace remains and a ferry ride to the islet of St Mary's with its Benedictine monastery.

Find more information about this route here

Trail C: Polače to Pomena

A relatively easy 5km trail, passing along the lake shore and taking in the Roman palace remains and the small village of Govedari. Can also be done the other way round, or as an out-and-back.

Find more information about this route here.

Trail D: Polače to Polače

A more demanding variation on Trail B: this 14.8km hike includes a climb to Montokuc lookout point from where there are spectacular views.

Find more information about this route here.

Trail E: Pomena to Pomena

A 13.5km variant to Trail A, which also takes in the climb to Montokuc.

Find more information about this route here.

For mountain bikers, many of these trails also have their own - longer - MTB versions that also include a demanding 18.5 route from Blato to Vrbovica.

To find out more about this fantastic area, go to, and