Come out of your shell on your own Adriatic island

Even the Romans used to rave about the shellfish served up in southern Dalmatia. Try it for yourself

Even the Romans used to rave about the shellfish served up in southern Dalmatia. Try it for yourself

Cavtat

Founded by the Greeks, this bustling harbour town is a haven for art lovers. Discover the works of Croatia's most notable painter, Vlaho Bukovac, on show in the gallery in the artist's 19th-century former home. Renaissance art is found in the collection of the Monastery of Our Lady of the Snow; for sculpture, take the uphill path to the mausoleum of the Racic family to see the work of Ivan Mestrovic.

By car: E65 east towards Herceg Novi and follow signs; journey time approx 20 mins. By bus: No 10 hourly service from Dubrovnik bus station, approx 30 mins.

Lokrum

This undeveloped sub-tropical island is Dubrovnik's off-shore nature reserve, home to a variety of vegetation, birds and butterflies. There are rock beaches, one for naturists, a salt-water lake and botanical garden. Climb to the island's summit, from the ruined French fort, and you will be rewarded with great views.

By boat: half-hourly from Dubrovnik's old harbour; approx 15 mins.

Lopud

Second largest of the 13 islands that make up the Elafiti archipelago. With a population of 348 and no cars, it offers true isolation. Highlights include a 15th-century Franciscan monastery and a church displaying 16th-century Venetian art. Sunj Bay is considered one of the Adriatic's best beaches.

By boat: ferry from Gruz harbour; approx 50 mins.

Ston and Mali Ston

Famous for Croatia's best oysters and mussels, these two picturesque fishing villages nestle on the Mali Ston channel, renowned since Roman times for its shellfish. Ston is also known for its salt works and walls, built in the 14th century to protect the salt pans. Medieval buildings of note include the Chancery of the Dubrovnik Republic and Sorkocevic Palace.

By car: E65 west and follow signs; approx 1 hour. By bus: three buses daily from Dubrovnik bus station to Orebic; 1 hour plus.

Neretva Delta

A wildlife paradise. The Neretva river wetlands produce Croatia's best citrus fruit and provides shelter for waterfowl and wading birds. At least 200 species of bird are found here. Explore the reedy canals on a trupica (punt).

By car: E65 west, follow the signs to Ploce; approx 1 hour plus.

Cilipi

Situated in the heart of the Konavle, Croatia's southernmost region, the village of Cilipi is known for its folk customs, national costumes and embroidery. Don't miss one of the local folklore performances that take place in front of the church after mass and make sure you stop off at the Konavoski Dvori restaurant to sample specialities such as figs, trout and roast lamb.

By car: take the E65 east towards Herceg Novi and follow signs; approx 45 mins.

Simply Travel (020-8541 2211; www.simplytravel.com) has a seven-night break at the Hotel Zagreb from £425 per person, including flights. Europcar (0870-607 5000; www.europ car.co.uk) offers a week's car hire from £161. Croatian National Tourist Office (020- 8563 7979; www.croatia.hr).

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