In this blog we`ll try to bring you closer to Dalmatian Hinterland, a part of Dalmatia that is ideal for a day tour and activities such as hiking, mountaineering, bicycling, rafting or just driving and admiring the rugged region. Word Hinterland in Croatian language is called “zagora” which means “behind the hill” which perfectly describes this region bordered from sea with hills and mountains.
Dalmatian Hinterland, author: Čačvina, source: Wikimedia Commons
Just a half an hour drive from Dalmatian tourist centers like Split, Trogir, Sibenik or Makarska, Dalmatian Hinterland reveals itself as a gem worth discovering. The geographical area of Dalmatian Hinterland incorporates southern inland area of Croatia region Dalmatia that is separated from the narrow coast line by a mountain range of Kozjak, Mosor, Omiska Dinara Biokovo and Rilic to the south.
Dinara mountain, author: Martin Brož, source: Wikimedia Commons
Highest mountain in Croatia, Dinara, makes the northern frontier that follows today’s international border between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. From the east and west region is bordered with rivers Krka and Neretva.
Dalmatian Hinterland, source: Pixabay
Dalmatian Hinterland consists mainly of relatively low altitudes and small valleys with bare hills covered in thickets and low forest.
The name Dalmatia comes from the tribe Delmatians that according to the historical sources inhabited the area between the river Krka and Cetina. Their capital was at Delminium (Dalm in Old Illyrian means – shepherd, hence Delminium = place of grazing, pasture), whose name was preserved in the modern-day town of Tomislavgrad (also known among locals as Dumno or Duvno). In Albanian Delme or dalme still means sheep.
This region was a part of Roman province Illyricum which was later renamed Dalmatia after the warlike and fierce tribe of Delmatians. After the collapse of Roman empire this region found itself at the borders of great empires (Holly Roman Empire and Byzantium, Austro – Habsburg monarchy and the Ottoman empire). Map of Illyric tribes, author: Hxseek, source: English Wikipedia
For the purposes of this blog, we`ll divide it in three parts. Firstly, we will introduce the western part of Dalmatian Hinterland that is ideal for a day tour from Sibenik. It is positioned between river Krka on the west and Dinara mountain range on the north. Larger population area located around towns of Drnis, Vrlika and Knin.
In our second blog we`ll describe the middle part of Dalmatian Hinterland and towns of Sinj and Trilj. This is a region best visited in a day tour from Split and finally in our third blog we are visiting the eastern part of Dalmatian Hinterland and towns of Imotski and Vrgorac.
Western Dalmatian Hinterland
A day tour to western part of Dalmatian Hinterland should most definitely include Krka Waterfalls National Park and island of Visovac. Other location you should not miss are towns of Drnis, Vrlika and Knin. Each of them has a lot to offer to its guests.
Krka Waterfalls National Park
Krka Waterfalls National Park consists of 7 waterfalls of which Skradinski Buk is the most famous and photographed one. Immensely rich flora and fauna along with breathtaking scenery is a good incentive to visit.
Some 860 species of plants and 222 bird species can be found here which puts Krka Waterfalls National Park on the map of most valuable ornithology places in Europe.
Chimney Bellflower,author H. Zell, source: Wikimedia Commons
There are well marked trails all around the park that are ideal for hiking and bicycling. Boat tours on river Krka are also an excellent way to explore the park.
For more information about Krka Waterfalls National park please read our blog “Worth a visit: Krka Waterfalls National Park in Croatia.”
While visiting Krka Waterfalls National Park be sure not to skip a visit to Visovac island. On this small island on Krka river you will find a 17th century Franciscan monastery and museum. The monastery keeps a very valuable collection of books, works of art and various other documents.
Island Visovac, source: Pixabay
There is a boat excursion you can take from Skradinski buk which includes a 30-minute tour of the island.
Skradinski buk waterfall source: Pixabay
Half an hour from Sibenik surrounded with mountains Promina, Svilaja and Mosec small town of Drnis is located.
Drnis, author: gorchfin, source: Wikimedia Commons
What to see?
Day tour to Drnis should include a visit to Gradina Fortress that offers great view over the parts of Drnis and river Cikola canyon.
Gradina Fortress, author: Roberta F., source: Wikimedia Commons
Mausoleum of Ivan Mestrovic, famous Croatian sculptor whose works are placed all over the world, is located 10-minute drive outside Drnis.
Mausoleum of Ivan Mestrovic, source: Pixabay
Old Roman town Burnum, that originated from Roman military camp, with amphitheater is located 30-minute drive from Drnis.
Burnum amphitheater, author: Carole Raddato, source: Wikimedia Commons
If you are interested to have a more adrenaline fused visit to Drnis you can take a zip line over Cikola river canyon or explore the canyon on foot.
Zipline, source: Pixabay
Exploring the Cikola canyon and river bed is available only during summer when the river bed is dry. Bicycling or hiking on Promina Mountain is also popular among visitors.
What to eat?
After above mentioned activities be sure to try out some of the local delicacy in one of the restaurants that can be found in the area.
Drnis prosciutto and sheep milk cheese preserved in "dried sheep skin" are an absolute must if you find yourself in Drnis area. Sheep cheese is being held for approximately two months in a bag made of specially processed sheep skin to ferment and that process is what gives this cheese its unique taste.
An interesting fact is that Drnis prosciutto was served at the Coronation celebration of Queen Elizabeth II in 1952. For the Golden Jubilee, marking 50 years on the throne, prosciutto was sent as a gift to the Queen and a letter of thanks from Her Majesty is kept in Drnis City Museum.
Picturesque town Vrlika nicely nestled between mountains Svilaja and Dinara in recent years is becoming more popular among tourist seeking untouched nature and spending a more active vacation. It is some half an hour drive from Drnis and some hour and half car drive from Split.
Vrlika and Prozor Fortress, author: BiljanaST, source: Wikimedia Commons
What to see?
We recommend a visit to spring of Cetina River. Spring is some 115 meters deep and because of the shape and colors that flow through the crystal-clear water it is called “Eye of Dalmatia”.
Cetina river spring, author: Mladen Bozickovic, source: Wikimedia Commons
Above the spring there is a newly built lookout point from which you can observe the spring from bird`s eye view and make spectacular photos to share with your family and friends.
Cetina river spring
Located not far from the Cetina river spring, Church of Holy Salvation is located.
Church of Holy Salvation, author: Stjepko Krehula, source: Wikimedia Commons
It was built in the 9thcentury and it is the oldest pre-Romanic church in Croatia. It is also the only pre-schism church constructed with a bell tower which is still standing.
Towering above Vrlika, fortress Prozor that was built from turn from 14thto 15th century as a part of defenses against the Ottomans, offers impressive views over the surrounding area.
From here you have an undisturbed view on Peruca Lake and Dinara mountain.
Most impressive landmark of Vrlika is surely Mount Dinara.
Dinara mountain, author: Inatan, source: Wikimedia Commons
It is a part of Dinaric Alps that stretches from Slovenia towards Albania in west-east direction. Troglav, standing at 1913 meters, is the highest peak of this rouged mountain and it is located in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Highest peak on Croatia side is Sinjal (also called Dinara) standing at 1831 meter.
The easiest route to the top is from Glavas, near Kijevo. It takes about 4-5 hours (one way) to get to the top, but once there the views and surrounding are absolutely mesmerizing.
Area around Vrlika is ideal for a weekend getaway or one day trip filled with lots of outdoor activities such as hiking, bicycling, mountaineering, horseback riding, fishing and hunting.
What to eat?
Fresh and seasonal ingredients is what you can expect while visiting Dalmatian Hinterland and Vrlika is no different. If you find yourself visiting here among freshly prepared meals, be sure to try Vrlicki donut that is considered as a culinary trade mark of the area.
One hour drive from Sibenik, Knin, administrative center of the region is located. From early medieval period Knin held a great importance because of its position as a crossroad leading from hinterland to the coast. Importance of Knin can be observed at its nickname "The Royal Town", "The Key to Croatia" or "The Gate to Dalmatia".
Knin Fortress, author: Aleksandar Topuzović, source: Wikimedia Commons
What to see?
For a day tour in Knin you should most definitely climb the Knin Fortress. Towering at 345 meters above sea level and some 100 meters above Knin this is the second largest military fortification in Europe that is preserved to these days. Offering amazing views over Knin and surroundings Knin Fortress also includes museum, exhibition galleries and a restaurant.
The view from Knin Fortress, author: SmirnofLeary, source: Wikimedia Commons
The Days of Zvonimir is a medieval reenactment of life in this region during11thcentury. In the days of manifestation, the locals and visitor learn about the rich history of Knin through various workshops and local handcraft activities.
If you are more incline in spending a day in the nature than you have come to the right place. The surrounding of Knin is ideal for outdoor activities.
River rafting, source: Pixabay
Bicycling along Krkcic river and admire amazing Krcic Waterfall.
Krcic waterfall, author: Gaytom1983, source: Wikimedia Commons
Take a hike across Dinara mountain or visit the spring of Krka River on foot or by bicycle are all activities in which you can partake while visiting Knin.
Hiking on Dinara mountain, author: ZovkoM, source: Wikimedia Commons
What to eat?
Located in the continent, Knin`s gastronomical experience is predominately based on dishes that includes meat. If you choose Knin for a day tour, be sure to try out some of the local specialties such as Count stew and grilled trout.
Grilled trout, source: Pixabay
Villa Silence with Heated Pool
If you are interested in getting to know this part of Dalmatia, we recommend a stay at Luxury Villa Silence with Heated Pool.
Villa Silence with Heated Pool
Located near Sibenik, this luxurious mansion is an excellent starting point for unveiling the beauties of Dalmatian Hinterland.
Villa Silence with Heated Pool
We hope that our short guide on what to see and do in Dalmatian Hinterland while vacationing in the Sibenik area will provide you with the best possible experience. Be sure to write us back and share your impressions.