This Discover Wine series focuses on regions of the world that you can visit for wine tasting.
Located along the coastline of Croatia are the rugged and steep vineyards of the Dalmatia wine region. If you’ve not had a Croatian wine before, you’re missing out. Not only are the wines produced in this region something special, they’re also a quaffable reflection of the beautiful surrounds.
You know what you’re going to say next. If you haven’t visited the Dalmatian coast of Croatia yet, you’re absolutely missing out. We highly recommend taking a wine tasting trip to discover the wine growing region of Dalmatia, along with all its many splendors.
The Mediterranean climate of the coastal region of Croatia is particularly well suited for wine production, with long, hot dry summers and mild, short, wet winters. The steep slopes that make up the bulk of the vineyards in the area lend themselves well to daytime sunlight reflecting off the water and ripening the grapes.
Central and South Dalmatia are where many of Croatia’s best (and most expensive) wines are made. You’ll want to explore the entire coast, in order to see and taste all that the offerings.
We’ll give you a good start with our recommended wine trail itinerary below.
What Wines Can You Find There
You can expect to find Plavac Mali, a red wine made from grapes that grow mostly along the Dalmatian coast. If you love deep, dark reds with lots of blackberry and peppery notes, this one stands out.
The vineyard town of Kaštela is where Zinfandel’s ancient vines were rediscovered by a California winemaker who had a premonition that the Crljenak Kaštelanski varietal was related to Zinfandel. When tasting in this area, you’re likely to come across mostly Crljenak (Croatian Zinfandel), Plavac Mali and Babica varietals of red wine.
Although white wine makes up a large portion of Croatia’s wine production, you won’t find as much in this area as you would in the Inland growing region. Red is more prevalent here.
How to Get There
You can also fly into Split, which would give you more immediate access to the wineries in the region. Dubrovnik and the Dalmatian Coast are two of Croatia’s most sought-after destinations, so it seems fitting to fly directly into Dubrovnik and begin your wine tour of southern Dalmatia from there.
Which ever area you choose, there are many great wineries to visit nearby. Once you’ve arrived, a car will be necessary to get around to the various wineries, unless you prefer to join one of the many wine tours operating in the area. I prefer renting a car so you can enjoy and take your time wandering through the vineyard-covered hills and adorable harbour towns along the way.
To explore as many of the Dalmatia wine region wineries as possible, a good central place to stay is Split. There are many great hotels to choose from that will fit any budget and most of them have incredible views of the sea. The Radisson Blu Resort is a good choice for affordable luxury Le Meridien Lav Resort.
In Dubrovnik, choose a hotel along the waterfront just outside the gates. The Hilton Imperial is a good choice, as well as Hotel Bellevue and Rixos Libertas (the latter two being a slightly longer walk to the old city, but with great views of the castle and city walls).
Where to Go For Wine Tasting
Wineries to Visit in Kastela (near Split)
Leaving out of Split, the wineries of Kaštela are just a short drive away.
Your first stop should be at the charming boutique winery, Winery Kovač, where you can stop for a cellar and vineyard tour and tasting. They also produce olive oil from trees on the estate. If you make an appointment in advance, you can have a wine tasting session at the winery with the winemaker. You’ll have a chance to visit their vineyards and winery, taste the wines along with some cheese and homemade olive oil. Email for an appointment.
Vina Bedalov is a small family-owned winery. With an appointment, you can try three of their wines, each paired with a complementary dish. They offer three different levels of tastings. Contact them for more details. There are great views from the winery right out over the water.
From there, head to Kairos Vina. The panoramic outdoor wine bar at Kairos is outstanding. It’s one of the best winery views in the area. You can do a guided tour of the winery plus a wine tasting with food pairing.
Wineries to Visit Near Dubrovnik
Another great area for wine tasting in the Dalmatia region is the Peljesac Peninsula. It’s about a 1.5 hour drive from Dubrovnik, but you will be rewarded by amazing views of the Adriatic Sea.
On the peninsula, you will find Grgic Vina Winery, one of Dalmatia’s most respected and prestigious vineyards. They’re open every day from 9am to 7pm. You can visit Saints Hills Winery for a tour, tasting, or dinner. Just send them an email in advance to set up your visit. It’s also a guest house if you’d rather stay outside the city.
Finally, make your way to the end of the peninsula to Korta Katarina Winery. They offer three types of wine tastings that require an appointment. All visits include a walk through the winery. The basic tasting includes a tasting of their popular wines. The VIP tasting includes paired tapas. And there’s the grand Gastro experience, which includes a 5-course wine paired lunch.
Where to Eat in Dalmatia
Where to Eat in Split
In Split, you’ll find dozens of small cafes and restaurants serving traditional Croatian food and wine. Stop anywhere along the narrow side streets or enjoy a meal at an outdoor table in the square.
You’ll find incredibly fresh seafood at Konoba Nikola (in the same area where you’ll be wine tasting) or try a regional specialty like squid ink risotto at Konoba Matejuska. You really can’t go wrong – so why not just walk around a bit and find what looks the most fun.
Looking for more wine tasting opportunities? Check out Wine & Cheese Bar Paradox in Split.
Where to Eat in Dubrovnik
For dinner, check out Restaurant Nautika, which is located just outside the walls and has a spectacular view of the sea. We also like Restaurant Dubrovnik and the Above 5 Rooftop Restaurant. For lunch, don’t miss the 5- course paired lunch at Korto Katarina (above).
Have you been to Croatia for wine tasting? Share your experience in the comment section. We want to hear all about the wineries you enjoyed the most and the restaurants we absolutely can’t miss when in the area.
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Laura Lynch, creator and writer of Savored Journeys, is an avid world traveler, certified wine expert, and international food specialist. She has written about travel and food for over 20 years and has visited over 75 countries.