Jewel-toned waters and thundering waterfalls, towering mountains and sheer cliffs, ancient towns and primeval forests. These are just some of the wonders offered by the exquisite Dalmatian Coast.
We begin our journey in the country of Croatia, exploring both the mainland and several islands. A recent addition to the EU, Croatia is quickly becoming a must-see destination due to its enchanting beauty and old-world splendor. Walk the marble streets of the Old Town of Dubrovnik, surrounded by quaint dwellings and centuries old battlements. Traverse wooden bridges over the vast, crystal blue lakes of Plitvice Lakes National Park and be awed by the innumerable cascading waterfalls. Tour spectacularly preserved Roman ruins in Split and enduring medieval buildings in Rab. The delightfully diverse landscape, turbulent history, and prideful population make Croatia a destination you won’t want to miss.
From Croatia, we move on to the neighboring nation of Montenegro, where our cruise ends. With its serene coastlines, rolling hills, and medieval towns, Montenegro is visually similar to Croatia on a smaller scale. The walled in Old Town of Kotor features narrow cobblestone streets, medieval architecture, and spectacular views of the bay and the surrounding mountains.
Day by Day Itinerary
DAY 1 ZAGREB
Arrive in Zagreb and transfer to the Hotel Westin Zagreb. Enjoy the day at your leisure.
DAY 2 ZAGREB
After breakfast, we will take a walking tour of Zagreb, Croatia’s capital. Beginning in Lower Zagreb, we ascend by cable railway to the Lotrscak Tower and historical Upper Zagreb. Visit St. Mark’s Square and St. Mark’s Church, the Croatian Parliament, and more. Explore the local Dolac farmers market and Ban Jelacic Square, the central square of the city. Walk uphill to Kaptol, where you will find the gothic Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The remainder of the afternoon is yours to spend as you choose. Take this opportunity to visit one of Zagreb’s many museums, such as Mimara Art Museum, Croatian Museum of Naïve Art, or the Museum of Broken Relationships, dedicated to failed love. For dinner, experience local Croatian cuisine at one of Zagreb’s many restaurants or cafes. Those who want to see the city after dark may join the tour director for a pub-crawl tour through the local microbrewery and pubs. (B)
DAY 3 ZAGREB / OPATIJA
After breakfast, we depart by bus for Opatija, with a stop en route in the city of Karlovac. Initially a fortress built to defend against the ever-present threat of the Ottoman Empire, Karlovac’s old town forms a six-pointed star surrounding a central square. Visit the Homeland War Museum, an open-air exhibit on the site of a former military facility, and attend a lecture, “Yugoslavia, History of Conflicts.” Enjoy lunch on your own before boarding the bus to Opatija. On arrival in the early afternoon, we’ll check in to the Hotel 4 Opatijska Cvijet or similar. Spend the rest of the day as you choose, perhaps visiting local beaches for swimming and snorkeling, or exploring the manicured fields of nearby Park Angiolina. For dinner, consider the traditional Croatian cuisine at our hotel’s Camellia restaurant. (b)
DAY 4 OPATIJA / ISTRIAN PENINSULA
After breakfast, we depart for the city of Pula on the Istria peninsula, where archeological findings date back over 40,000 years BC. Pula’s most famous site is The Arena, sixth-largest Roman amphitheater in the world, built in the first century. From Pula, we drive to the coastal port of Rovinj. The peninsula town sometimes referred to as “little Venice,” fell under the rule of the Venetian Empire for 500 years, which contributed significantly to its architecture and culture. We will walk the cobblestone streets, particularly Grisia Street, where artists from all over Croatia display their work. Next, we’ll travel to a local farm in the hills of Istria for a truffle-hunting excursion. Truffles are featured in some of the dishes we’ll enjoy over lunch on the farm, and you can sample the famous local white wine, malvazija. Return to Opatija for dinner on your own. Overnight at the hotel. (B,L)
DAY 5 OPATIJA / PLITVICE LAKES NATIONAL PARK
We depart Opatija after breakfast and drive south along the Mediterranean coast, taking in a panoramic view of the northern Adriatic Islands. Arrive at Plitvice Lake National Park by late morning. The park is known for its chain of 16 natural lakes, myriad waterfalls, and limestone caves. Named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979, the park is home to bears, wolves, and several rare species of birds. Enjoy lunch on your own, followed by a ferry ride on the park’s largest lake, Kozjak. Enjoy supper in the park. Overnight in the Hotel Jezero or similar. (B,D)
DAY 6 PLITVICE / MOSTAR / DUBROVNIK
After breakfast, we depart Plitvice and travel to Dubrovnik via Bosnia and Herzegovina. This panoramic drive through the Bosnian countryside provides spectacular views of the mountains, green hills, and the rivers of Oriental Bosnia. We’ll stop for a walking tour in the city of Mostar in southern Bosnia along the Neretva River. Visit the Koski Mehmed Paša Mosque, the 17th-century Turkish House, and Stari Most, a reconstructed medieval bridge. Destroyed during conflict in the 1990s, the bridge and much of the Old Town were restored with the assistance of UNESCO. We’ll have lunch within view of the historic bridge, then depart for Dubrovnik, the “Pearl of the Adriatic.” Arrive in the late evening for dinner and overnight in Hotel Valamar LA Croma or similar. (B,L)
DAY 7 DUBROVNIK
After breakfast, we explore the Old Town of Dubrovnik. Enter through Pile Gate, the 15th-century traditional entrance to the town, for a sightseeing tour, which includes the Stradun main street, Onofrio Fountain, Orlando Column, 16th-century Sponza Palace, and the Old Port. Enjoy lunch at your leisure before departing through Pile Gate for Gruz Harbour, where we will board our ship and enjoy a welcome dinner. (B,D)
DAY 8 SPLIT
Arrive in Split in the morning. As you begin your walking tour from the pier, your guide will discuss the town’s history, highlighting Diocletian’s Palace, which has been continuously inhabited for more than 1,700 years. Your tour of this fine example of late Roman Empire architecture begins in a basement substructure so remarkably preserved, it has helped archaeologists understand the construction of palatial buildings. The highpoint of your tour is the heart of the palace, the Peristyle, featuring the emperor’s private quarters, the mausoleum, and several temples. Next, enjoy some free time in this magical town. After lunch on board, take in a scenic drive along the Riviera of the Seven Castles (locally known as Kastela). Afterward, we’ll visit a small island squeezed between the mainland and the larger island of Ciovo and connected to the mainland by a bridge. We’ll visit Trogir’s main attraction, the Cathedral of St. Lawrence that represents one of Croatia’s finest examples of sacral architecture. Other local buildings include the loggia, the town hall, and the Cipiko palace. You’ll enjoy some leisure time for exploring the old town of Trogir before the return drive to Split. (B,L,D)
DAY 9 RAB
After breakfast, we’ll venture into Rab, a town of rare charm, packed with grand old houses and buildings. Your guided walking tour will show you some of the most interesting features of this lovely town, including a view of the cathedral, a three-nave basilica dedicated to the 12th-century Saint Mary. Further in town, you will see the church of Justina. You’ll also enjoy the opportunity to see the Church of St. John the Baptist and ruins of the ancient basilica the Princes Palace, and the sculptures of Draga and Kaliforni in the town’s main square. In the afternoon, we sail toward the south, passing between the beautiful Kornati Islands to Sibenik. Overnight at sea. (B,L,D)
DAY 10 SIBENIK
Leave the town of Sibenik by coach. Ride through the karst hinterland toward the famous Krka river waterfalls. Located in lovely Krka National Park, the falls cascade over 17 natural barriers. After some free time in the park, board the coach and continue toward the small town of Primosten, on the islet close to the mainland that is famous for its huge and beautiful vineyards. On return to Sibenik, enjoy a guided walking tour of the town founded by Croats more than a thousand years ago. Sibenik is famous for the ancient fortresses surrounding it and for its monumental gothic-Renaissance Cathedral of St. James, as well as the narrow streets and numerous churches scattered around the town and surrounding areas. The tour will take you through the old part of the town, where you will see the Cathedral of St. James, the city hall, the baroque orthodox church, and the commercial and crafts center. Overnight in port. (B,L,D)
DAY 11 HVAR / KORCULA
Early this morning, we sail to Hvar, longest of the Croatian islands and home to three towns. The largest town, also named Hvar, served as an important harbor for Venice's Adriatic fleet from the late 12th century through most of the 18th. Join a promenade up to the Renaissance cathedral, round the 16th-century town well, down to the arsenal with its striking portal, and over to the dock. Then, return to the square for a visit to the cathedral and its graceful 17th-century bell tower. Through narrow streets, visitors walk to the 15th-century Franciscan monastery to the impressive Renaissance cloister, the old refectory that today houses a collection of lace, manuscripts and books; and the church, with its remarkable collection of paintings. Early this afternoon, we’ll take a leisurely sail to Korcula, arriving late evening. Overnight in port. (B,L,D)
DAY 12 KORCULA
Your guide will explain why Korcula’s Old Town is a masterwork of architecture and urban planning. The layout of the town streets takes advantage of the different winds to clear the air, something like a natural air-conditioning system. Korcula is also known as the birthplace of Marco Polo, whose alleged birth house stands in the heart of the Old Town. Later, board a coach for the village of Lumbarda, where the Milina-Bire family has lived for centuries. Half a century ago, they decided to use the knowledge they had amassed as amateur vintners and founded their own small winery. Guests will see how the wine is made, and tour the intriguing wine cellar, decorated with the wine-production tools of the past. Here, your host, the owner of the vineyard, will tell you about wine making and the family’s history producing wines in Lumbarda. You will enjoy the opportunity to sample red and white wine and local liqueurs with a snack. (B,L,D)
DAY 13 KOTOR
Early this morning, we arrive in the Bay of Kotor. Our walking tour will take us through Kotor’s medieval quarter and bustling market, past beautiful Renaissance buildings. The well-preserved, fortified walls of Kotor were built by the Venetians in 1420 and continuously strengthened until the 18th century. Encapsulating the whole of Old Town, the 5-km-long walls form a fortress which could resist attacks from the sea and survive long sieges. Visit the Cathedral of St. Tryphon, constructed in 1166 and built on the remains of a former 9th-century temple. Later, you can walk back to the pier or enjoy free time to explore on your own. Late-evening arrival In Dubrovnik. Overnight in port. (B,L,D)
DAY 14 DUBROVNIK
Disembark and transfer to the airport for you return flight. (B)
Ports of Call
Discover the Dalmatian Coast the best way: By small ship! Hop from port to port and indulge in the regions history, culture and beauty.
Discover a 3 masted Motorsailer which can accommodate up to 49 passengers in 24 cabins. The "Panorama" was launched in 1993 and has been rebuilt in 2001, followed by a latest renovation in 2014. In 2014, the Upper Deck cabins and Lounge, as well as the Main Deck cabin en suite bathrooms and Lounge have been refitted. This state of the art Motorsailer has performed several Atlantic Ocean crossings and has sailed from the Seychelles to Monte Carlo and from the Black Sea to Tunis and offers the highest standard of accommodation and comfort safety.
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