Offering rugged natural beauty and—if you ignore unsightly communist-era development—an "immaculate built heritage," the Dalmatian Coast is "certainly one of the jewels of the Mediterranean." That said, "things are changing as the area becomes more popular." Dubrovnik, for example, has bounced back from the shelling it endured in the '90s, but it now "serves as a mall for cruise-ship passengers."
Here is a representative sampling of additional anonymous comments from the panelists. They are not necessarily the views of the National Geographic Society:
"Despite some inappropriate development from the communist era, the region appears to be making fairly strenuous efforts to maintain and preserve the natural quality of its coastline. A lot of investment is going into upgrading physical infrastructure, but service standards can still be patchy."
"Most of the Dalmatian Coast remains humble and relatively underdeveloped. Culture seems to effervesce from the people who live here along the most picturesque shoreline in the world. Though it is one of the most remarkably well-preserved World Heritage sites in Europe, it appears to serve as a shopping mall for cruise-ship passengers."
"Environmental quality is high, due to the not heavily industrialized hinterland. Has both natural and cultural appeal. Though tourism is by far the most important branch of the economy, its seasonal character means that it cannot provide the local population with sufficient income."
"Cruise tourism a major threat. Dubrovnik a disaster in peak season."
2014 Traveler Photo Contest
See all the winning images from the 2014 Traveler Photo Contest.