When to go: The summer tourist season runs from June to September on Croatia's Dalmatian coast, but many hotels, ferries, shops, and restaurants are also operating in May and October. July and August can be particularly crowded.
Getting there: This can be the hardest part. Dubrovnik is at the far tip of Croatia, hemmed in by the Bosnian Serbs' republic and Yugoslavia. Croatia Airlines flies here from Zagreb, but most tourists arrive by surface transport.
The drive from Trieste, Italy, is 12 winding hours, so many prefer the 20-hour ferry ride from Split. Either way you'll want to break your journey in one of Croatia's other historic towns such as Split, Hvar, or Korcula, each a destination in itself. There are buses from Split, Zagreb, and other cities.
From the United States, Zagreb is the closest major airport, but it's considerably cheaper to fly into Budapest, Hungary, and take an affordable overnight train to Rijeka or Split. Vienna is another option, but the train fares are several times higher.
Money: Postwar Croatia is extremely expensive, but you can find good deals as you head into southern Dalmatia because of the tourist shortage. Expect prices similar to those in Italy.
Lodging: Ranges from luxury waterfront hotels (with their own beaches) to private pensions. For the latter, don't be tricked into taking a room near the ferry port in Gruz or some other suburb as you're likely to find comparable quarters closer to the Old City.
Safety: Like most of Croatia, the Dalmatian coast is extremely safe. You're likely to face surly, dishonest waiters and cabdrivers (both Croatian specialties), but the presence of tens of thousands of NATO troops in Bosnia has neutralized the threat of resumed warfare.