Exploring the Region
Transportation vagaries in Upper Dalmatia make logistics difficult for people who want to see a lot in a short time. Covering the maximum amount of territory during a trip to the coast north of Split can be accomplished with careful planning, however. Most visitors to Pag spend a weekend or more on the beach at Novalja, swimming and sunbathing by day and enjoying music and dancing by night, while visitors to Zadar might make that city a base for a week or more of excursions to the mountains of Paklenica National Park and the scattered islets of Kornati National Park.
Others might spend their entire stay in Zadar, investigating its imposing churches and ancient monuments before venturing out of the city for day trips on local ferries to see some of the area’s numerous offshore islands, such as Dugi Otok and Pašman in the Zadar Archipelago. Those who head south will need at least a day to discover Šibenik, plus a day to see Krka National Park.
It's fairly simple to access all the major coastal sites in Upper Dalmatia by driving down from Rijeka (in the neighboring Kvarner region), but it's much trickier to coordinate ferry connections from the mainland to and between the islands.
Visitor Information -- Coastal Dalmatia is Croatia’s most celebrated region, and tourism services are well organized and developed. For tourist office contact information in Upper Dalmatia see “Visitor Information” for individual cities below, or contact the Croatia National Tourist Office.
Getting There -- Bus travel, which is efficient and economical in this region, is the most popular mode of public transportation. Croatian buses are air-conditioned and can not only get you from one mainland destination to another, they’ll also provide transport to islands served by larger ferries. See the Zagreb bus station website (www.akz.hr) for times.
Getting Around -- Private autois the most efficient and comfortable way to visit the Upper (or Lower) Dalmatian coast because you’ll be able to set your own schedule, linger where you find something you like, and move on when you don’t. But note that parking can be a problem (most old towns are pedestrian-only, so you have to leave your car outside the walls) and taking the car onto ferries adds huge expense to your journey. For those who don’t have their own transportation, buses are the next best way to explore the mainland coast. Regular ferries link coastal towns with major Dalmatian islands. To discover the islands in the best way possible, if you have the means, you can rent a yachtand map out a sea tour with the help of a professional skipper. Split and Dubrovnik have major airports, and Zadar has a smaller (but increasingly busy) one. All are connected by air with Zagreb. Note that rail travel is not a convenient way to explore Upper Dalmatia, as very few towns have train stations (though it is the ideal way to travel direct from Zagreb to Split in Lower Dalmatia).