Croatia Seasonal Splendor - 2018

Opatija • Hvar • Slano • Dubrovnik • Korcula • Split • Zagreb

  • Dubrovnik city tour and a private classical music concert
  • Croatian Home-hosted dinner in a village near Dubrovnik
  • Cruise along the gorgeous Croatian coast aboard the La Perla
  • Zagreb Winter Market
  • Tour of Opatija with beautiful promenade and Villas

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Itinerary at a Glance

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DAYS 1-2:

Depart USA / Overnight Flight / Zagreb, Croatia / Opatija

Fly overnight to Zagreb, Croatia’s capital, then transfer to Opatija, where your boutique hotel will be waiting. You’ll get acquainted your fellow travelers and your Cruise Director at a Welcome Dinner. Cultural Connection: During dinner, you’ll be entertained by a performance of klapa singing — a traditional art form recognized on UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list. (We'll return to explore Zagreb following the cruise portion of our journey.) 

Unforgettable Moment: In the course of your journey, you’ll journey from Zagreb, in the foothills of the picturesque Julian Alps, to the mild Adriatic shores of Dubrovnik. Traveling in the tranquility of the quiet season lets you better appreciate the natural features of this beautiful region, and to explore popular destinations like Split, Zagreb, and Dubrovnik without the high-season crowds.  

Note that if you purchase your airfare from Vantage, you’ll be met by a Vantage representative upon arrival and your one-and-a-half to two-hour transfer from Zagreb to Opatija will be included. If you’re arranging your own airfare, ask when  you book your trip about pre-arranging your transfer with Vantage, at a significant savings over local options.. 

Included Meals:

Dinner

DAY 3:

Opatija

Set off on a walking tour of this lovely seaside town, which once catered to European royalty, taking in Opatija’s stately villas, lovely gardens, and seaside promenade.

Active Feature: Get in some exercise on the long seaside promenade, which was built by Emperor Franz Jozef and connects five towns and villages along the Opatija Riviera. As you skirt the coastline, enjoy ever-changing views of Austro-Hungarian villas and graceful parks facing the sea and islands. For a different experience, try your luck in one of Opatija's casinos. 

Cultural Connection: Before dinner, enjoy an insightful presentation by a local resident about "Everyday Life in Croatia."

Included Meals:

Breakfast

DAY 4:

Opatija / Split / Embark ship

Your journey continues to Split, with a scenic drive through the mountains of central Croatia and along the coastline of northern Dalmatia.

Our route takes us through the longest tunnel in Croatia, connecting northern roatia with coastal Dalmatian and you'll notice the transition from a Continental to a Mediterranean climate. Cultural Connections: As you take in the passing scenery, you’ll be treated to a fascinating discussion about your host country entitled, “Croatian History: From Barbarians to Democratic Society.” You’ll also stop in a typical Dalmatian village, where you’ll visit a house to learn about a family’s experiences in a region that saw considerable strife during the 20th century. A traditional lunch will be served, with wine pressed from Babic grapes, which are indigenous to this area.

Upon arriving in the historic port of Split, it will be time to board ship. Get settled in your cabin, then convene in the dining room for the Captain’s Welcome Dinner. We’ll soon be casting off for our first port of call. (We’ll be back to explore Split later in our voyage.)

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 5:

Hvar Island

Today you’ll arrive at the island of Hvar — a popular yachting destination among the Adriatic islands. On a walking tour, learn about the port town's history, and visit the Benedictine Monastery and the Lace Museum. Following your trek in the city, you'll have time on your own to continue your discoveries. Return for lunch on board and the afternoon at leisure. Active Feature: During your free time this afternoon, go ashore for additional sightseeing by climbing to the ancient prison fortress that overlooks the town. We'll leave this afternoon to sail from the island to the mainland, enjoying the beautiful scenery as we travel.

Cultural Connection: Before dinner, enjoy an informative talk about the healthy Mediterranean diet and sample the local products.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 6:

Slano (Mostar, Bosnia & Herzegovinia)

This morning finds us in Slano, a charming town tucked into a pristine cove. Here we disembark for an excursion to nearby Bosnia & Herzegovina and the historic town of Mostar. Cultural Connection: Upon arrival in Mostar, take a guided tour and visit the city’s famed Old Bridge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that traditionally joined the city’s Catholic and Muslim sections. The original 16th-century span was destroyed during the Bosnian conflict of the 1990s, and has since been meticulously reconstructed. You'll also enjoy an included visit to a "Turkish House" and a local mosque. Afterwards, enjoy a traditional Bosnian lunch, featuring freshly prepared local food and a fantastic view overlooking the bridge. 

Cultural Connection: Back aboard ship, a local fisherman shares freshly gathered oysters and wine from the Bay of Ston. During your tasting, learn how the succulent bivalves are farmed and the culture surrounding them.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 7:

Dubrovnik

We'll arrive today in ancient and beautiful Dubrovnik. If you’re a Game of Thronesfan, this UNESCO World Heritage Site may look familiar — Dubrovnik served as the setting for King’s Landing. On an included tour of the city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, stroll the Stradun (main street), stopping to view the cathedral and the city’s famous fountains. 

Cultural Connections: Following the tour, relax in a centuries-old church for a Vantage-exclusive classical concert by quartet of musicians from the Croatian National Philharmonic Orchestra. The afternoon is at leisure, then head to a nearby village for a home-hosted dinner, an opportunity to share stories and laughs with a welcoming Croatian family.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 8:

Dubrovnik

In a city rich with possibilities for exploration, we’ll help you get the most out of your time here. In addition to tapping the expertise of your Cruise Director, you’ll receive a Dubrovnik One-Day card that provides access to the city’s walls, the best galleries and museums, and a full day of public transportation. For example, Game of Thrones, for example, can use the card to visit locations where the series was filmed, and see a replica of the Iron Throne. 


Active Feature: Consider exploring the top of the city wall, which you can follow around its mile-plus length for different perspectives of the red-roofed Old City and the harbor.

Alternatively, consider expanding your discoveries with our full-day optional tour to Montenegro. Just over an hour’s drive from Dubrovnik finds you following the shore of the fjord-like Bay of Kotor, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Our destination is the medieval city of Kotor. Tucked against cliffs in a corner of the bay, this compact city is surrounded by a formidable three-mile wall. You’ll feel as if you’ve stepped back in time as you stroll the car-free streets, and enjoy an included lunch in a local restaurant.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 9:

Korcula Island

Resuming cruising, we enter the heart of the Adriatic archipelago — more than 1,600 islands that dot the sea off Croatia’s coast. Calling at the island of Korcula, go ashore in the ancient port town for a walking tour that includes a visit to the Marco Polo Museum. The museum is located in the house that is believed to be the birthplace of the famed world traveler. Cultural Connection: Enjoy a presentation about the delicate branching corals that grow in pristine Adriatic waters, and see how they’re artfully crafted into elegant jewelry. Active Feature: Stay ashore for the afternoon and do further exploring on your own, including longer walks.

Cultural Connections: Later this afternoon, enjoy a fascinating lecture about the once-powerful city-state known as the Dubrovnik Republic. Afterwards, enjoy a tasting of local wines at a local wine bar, before dinner aboard ship.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 10:

Split

This morning finds us back in Split, one of the oldest cities in this ancient region. You'll discover that almost the entire port area is built in and around the remains of massive Diocletian’s Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. One unique aspect is that 5,000 people reside and carry on their daily lives within the designated UNESCO area. 

Unforgettable Moment: Your special tour of the palace includes the eerie passageways and vaulted rooms of the basement level. If you’re a Game of Thrones fan, you may recognize this as the lair of Daenerys Targaryen’s dragons. Active Feature: For additional sightseeing and walking, your Cruise Director can point the way to the Marjan Forest Park, a serene nature area covering a hill adjacent to the city. Follow walking paths through the dense Mediterranean pine forest to spectacular sea views and gorgeous beaches. You’ll have the afternoon free to further explore Split, or you may join our optional tour to another UNESCO World Heritage Site, the ancient city of Trogir. 

Cultural Connection: Enjoy the Captain’s Farewell Dinner, with local entertainment.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 11:

Split / Disembark ship / Zagreb

Bidding farewell to La Perla, we travel first to spectacular Krka National Park, where waterfalls along the Krka River tumble over great boulders. A distinctive feature of the river is that the saltwater from the sea extends almost 15 miles upstream to the first of the Krka’s cascades, creating a rich marine ecosystem. Active Feature: Walk to viewing sites along the park’s extensive series of pathways. Cultural Connection: As our excursion continues through the scenic Dalmatian region, we’ll stop to visit a producer of prosciutto, the fine dry-cured ham that is traditionally served in paper-thin slices. You’ll learn how traditional prosciutto is made and served, and enjoy an included lunch featuring other local traditional and home-made specialties.

Arriving in Zagreb, check into your centrally located hotel, and enjoy dinner on your own. Cultural Connection: If you’re interested, join your Cruise Director after dinner on a pub crawl in Zagreb’s main square. We’ll explore a bit and stop into a few pubs to mingle with locals over a drink. Your Cruise Director can recommend nearby restaurants for dinner. 

Included Meals:

Breakfast  & Lunch

DAY 12:

Zagreb

Your expert local guide will take you on a tour of Zagreb’s landmarks this morning. As you explore this delightful city, see the Croatian National Theater and Opera House, Croatian Parliament and the Prime Minister's office, St. Mark’s Square, the Old City, the Stone Gate, and Zagreb Cathedral. 

Cultural Connection: Visit lively Dolac Market, where people from the countryside come to sell their products. During your excursion, you'll have the opportunity to view unusual reverse oil paintings on glass during a visit to the Croatian Naive Art Gallery. This is an excellent place to purchase Croatian products and souvenirs. 

Unforgettable Moment: This pleasant, lively city was recently named one of Europe's top winter destinations. The rest of the day is yours at leisure to explore Zagreb at your own pace. Active Feature: Consider taking the local tram to Jarun Lake, where you can walk a six-kilometer trail or simply stroll along the banks of the Sava River. Alternatively, enjoy exploring further in the Zagreb museums and markets. Enjoy a Farewell Dinner in the hotel this evening.

Included Meals:

Breakfast & Dinner

DAY 13:

Zagreb /Return home

Transfer to the airport for your return home. Better yet, continue your explorations of this fascinating region with our post-trip extension to beautiful Lake Bled, Slovenia, located in the foothills of the Julian Alps.

Included Meals:

Breakfast

Important Notice: The above day-by-day itineraries are preliminary and therefore subject to change. If changes occur while on tour, you will be notified by your Vantage Cruise Director or regional expert.

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