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Of the constellation of coastal towns in small-yet-beautiful Montenegro, Budva may very well be the brightest star. The town boasts an abundance of beaches, but it is perhaps the charming Stari Grad (Old Town) that impresses travelers most. As picturesque as it is historic, this part of Budva features a timeworn citadel as well as a quaint cluster of churches. The Old Town is adjacent to the marina, where jet-set yachters dock their ships to enjoy the upscale boutiques and eateries in town. Budva also serves as an excellent base from which to explore some of Montenegro’s other gems, which you’ll do on this extension. You’ll experience Cetinje – Montenegro's Old Royal capital, that once welcomed diplomats from all over Europe – as well as Sveti Stefan, a picturesque islet that has welcomed foreign dignitaries and Hollywood celebrities alike. You’ll
Depart the U.S. and fly overnight to Dubrovnik
Today you’ll take an overnight flight to Europe. Or, if you like, begin early with a delightful pre-trip extension to Budva.
Arrive Dubrovnik and come aboard La Perla for a Welcome Dinner
You'll arrive in Dubrovnik today and transfer to your deluxe ship, La Perla, which will be your home for the next seven nights. Once on board, you’ll settle into your cabin before joining your fellow travelers for a delicious Welcome Dinner. Tonight, you will be anchored in Dubrovnik's Old City Harbor (weather permitting) with direct views of the city’s famed fortified walls.
Active Features: During the course of your cruise, opportunities abound for enjoying water sports in the clear, clean waters of the Adriatic. You may choose to enjoy a paddle in the ship's two-person kayak, fishing from the ship or from the private tender, and swimming and snorkeling. Or take an active walk during shore excursions.
Culinary Features: Aboard the La Perla, prepare your palate for the taste-pleasing experience of a lifetime. Croatia features a rustic, Mediterranean cuisine with influences from nearby Italy and Turkey. Enjoy fresh, locally sourced foods — often purchased in bustling, city markets and from well-trusted vendors that you can visit along with us and meet if you’d like. Aboard La Perla, “a fish swims three times: the first time in the sea, the second time in oil, and the third time in wine.”
Exploring Dubrovnik’s Old City, classical concert, and home-hosted dinner in Gromača
Unforgettable Moment: Today, your carefully selected local guide will lead you through Dubrovnik's Old City — a UNESCO World Heritage Site — introducing you to its most heralded landmarks as well as its hidden gems.
Cultural Connection: Following the tour, you’ll relax in a centuries-old church for a Vantage-exclusive private classical concert by the Sorkočević Quartet, who are members of the Croatian National Philharmonic Orchestra.
Return to your ship for lunch, then enjoy a leisurely afternoon. Active Feature: You'll be supplied with a one-day Dubrovnik Card, which provides free entrance to numerous sites around the city, including access to walkway around the top of the walls surrounding the Old City. Your Cruise Director will be happy to recommend things to do and see.
Culinary Feature: Head to nearby Gromača for a home-hosted dinner with a Croatian family to learn about local customs and life in the region. Diners will be split into a few different groups to keep dinners intimate and give everyone the chance to speak with the local families.
Scenic Sailing: As you can imagine, most all sailing on this cruise will be scenic — but be on special lookout as you pass close to the mainland and between islands. You’ll want to step onto the deck and have your camera ready.
Explore bucolic Cavtat
This morning, depart for Cavtat, a beautiful resort town just a short drive away that makes it easy to see why the birthplace of artist Vlaho Bukovac was also his muse. Known most for large compositions and portraits, his fascinating story is surely just part of what you’ll hear about during an included walking tour. You’ll have free time to walk after, or take part in an Active Feature — a walk to the hilltop Racic Mausoleum. Imagined by famed Croatian sculptor, writer, and architect Ivan Mestrovic, the building is made using stone from a local island.
Cultural Connection: Next you’ll visit an old water-powered working mill and learn about how they were a community gathering place and helped fuel the local economy for centuries. This afternoon, head to the village of Ljuta, where you’ll be treated to a light lunch with local specialties like ham, bread, cheese, and homemade wine.
Head back to Dubrovnik and take a scenic afternoon cruise to Slano. Oysters and wine for appetizers before dinner on board.
Tonight, there's a scenic sailing toward Slano, where you'll enjoy a true culinary delight. Cultural Connection & Culinary Feature: You'll be treated to some incredible regional flavors when a local fisherman comes aboard La Perla with his family-owned wine as well as oysters for you to sample. During the sampling, you'll learn about how they are farmed and the culture surrounding this popular shellfish and appreciate the wines, as varietals from the Peljesac peninsula are among the very best in Croatia.
Scenic Sailing: Cruising around Slano is pure delight. The waters here are crystal-clear, and because Slano is a shallower bay, you can see shells and sea life from the deck.
Discover the Dalmatian islands of Korčula and Hvar
Farther up the Dalmatian Coast lies the island of Korčula, one of the greenest in the Adriatic.
Cultural Connections: As you cruise to this stunning island, you’ll enjoy a lecture about the famous Dubrovnik Republic. During lunch on board, you'll arrive in Korčula and dock under the walls of the old city. You’ll disembark your yacht for a tour that includes the Korčula City Museum, as well as free time to explore on your own. Active Feature: Enjoy additional opportunities for swimming and other water sports this afternoon.
Later this afternoon, set sail for Hvar — one of the most popular Croatian islands. Arrive this evening. Take the opportunity to explore the area after dinner, perhaps to visit a pub to mingle with the locals over drinks.
Exploring Hvar and its UNESCO treasures
An idyllic Mediterranean port, Hvar is a popular celebrity destination known for its vast fields of lavender, ancient olive trees, and fruit orchards.
Set off on a guided sightseeing tour of Hvar in the morning. Learn the town's history, hear about local legends, and visit the lace museum inside the Benedictine Monastery.
Later, discover even more that Hvar offers on an island tour, including a visit to Stari Grad Plain, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Return for lunch on board and take the afternoon to explore Hvar at your leisure. Active Feature: During free time, enjoy swimming, snorkeling, or kayaking (weather permitting). Later, walk to Hvar Fortress, with entrance included so take in the magnificent views on top.
Cultural Connection: Before dinner, attend an informative lecture about the healthy Mediterranean diet and taste local products. Cruise to Split during dinner this evening, docking overnight at the town center.
Revisit the Roman era at Diocletian’s Palace in Split
Welcome to Split, one of the oldest cities in this historic region. Active Feature: Explore the ancient Diocletian’s Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which the emperor chose as his retirement home because of the area’s spectacular beauty. Your special tour takes you into the mysterious passages in the lower levels of the massive structure.
You'll have the balance of the day free to explore this fascinating city on your own. Active Feature: If you're up for more exercise, you can walk to Marjan Park, where limestone cliffs enclose a lovely cove.
Natural beauty and rural traditions: Krka National Park and Sibenik
Active Feature: Keep your camera handy today as you explore some of the Adriatic's most stunning landscapes. Your first stop is Krka National Park, where waterfalls tumble through dramatic gorges. Your visit includes walks on the trails around the fall and a boat ride from magnificent Krka Falls to Skradin (weather permitting).
Cultural Connection and Active Feature: Your next stop is Jurlinovi Dvori, a Dalmatian estate with an ethnographic gallery to discover. Here your traditional local lunch is included.
Upon returning to Sibenik, set off on a walking tour among the medieval streets, where you’ll see the Cathedral of St. James, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Cultural Connection: Tonight, toast the conclusion of the cruise portion of your journey at the Farewell Dinner, with local musicians boarding ship to provide entertainment.
Scenic Sailing: According to travelers and locals alike, sailing around Primosten Burnji offers a remarkable sunset — be on the lookout!
Exploring ancient Zadar and beyond
Following breakfast this morning, disembark La Perla to set off on a sightseeing tour of Zadar — another coastal gem that was named Europe's top destination in 2016 and was inducted as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2017. This Roman-era city boasts a historic blend of Renaissance, Romanesque, and medieval architecture.
Culinary Feature: Zadar was a favorite of the late, great Anthony Bourdain who featured the region in his hit show, No Reservations. We invite you to join us for a special lunch at a local restaurant where you can experience the flavors of this region for yourself. Zadar is famous for its tuna so be sure to savor a filet of freshly-caught tuna steak.
We’ll continue on to Opatija today with a scenic drive through the mountains of central Croatia, along the northern Croatian coastline, and through the city of Rijeka. Cultural Connection: As you take in the passing scenery, you’ll be treated to a fascinating discussion about Croatian history.
Check in to your elegant hotel upon arrival late this afternoon.
Discover Opatija: Jewel of the Adriatic
After breakfast, enjoy a walking tour of this lovely seaside town, which once catered to European royalty taking in Opatija’s stately villas, seaside promenade, and lovely gardens. Continue to tour the Opatija Riviera’s villages, including Moscenice — and be charmed by the amazing views.
Lunch is on your own, and the afternoon is at your leisure. Active Feature and Unforgettable Moment: Enjoy a walk along the Opatija Promenade for lovely views and perhaps stop for a bite to eat or a drink. How far you go is up to you — a roundtrip walk can cover up to 7.5 miles and, in total, connects 7 towns and villages of the Opatija Riviera. Alternatively, you may want to try your luck in one of Opatija's casinos.
Cultural Connections: Back at the hotel this evening, you can attend an insightful discussion about "Everyday Life in Croatia" by a local lecturer. Let us treat you to dinner at a local restaurant, to be entertained with a traditional performance of klapa singing — part of UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list.
Touring Roman Pula and the Istrian Peninsula
Explore one of the most beautiful regions of Croatia on a full-day tour of the Istrian Peninsula. Active Features: During our stop in the ancient town of Pula, explore Europe's most complete Roman amphitheater. During our visit, you'll be able to go beneath the arena floor to see the actual passageways and rooms where gladiators and their foes, including wild animals, awaited their turn in combat. Our tour also takes us to the picturesque coastal town of Rovinj, which was part of the Venice's mercantile empire and has a distinctive Venetian aspect to it. For the best views of the town and the harbor, make the mile-and-a-quarter trek uphill to St. Eufemia church — it's well worth the effort! Your tour includes a stop for lunch at a local restaurant. Upon your return to Opatija, you'll have the evening at leisure.
Travel overland to Zagreb with a Croatian farm experience
Today, transfer to Zagreb through the hills of central Croatia, with amazing views en route. Cultural Connection & Culinary Feature: Along the way, we'll stop at the farm estate of the Kezele family. Tour the stables where livestock is kept and the wine cellar to savor a tasting of the family's excellent wine — before being treated to a tasty lunch of farm-raised delicacies. While savoring an opportunity to compare the cuisine and traditions of inland Croatia with that of the coastal communities you've been visiting. This afternoon we check in to our hotel in the center of Zagreb. Enjoy the evening free to explore this pleasant, low-key capital on your own. If you like, stop into your hotel's casino to try your luck.
Enjoy the best of Zagreb: monuments, museums, and markets
You'll be met by your expert local guide this morning for a tour of Zagreb to view the city’s impressive landmarks, including the Croatian National Theater and Opera House, Croatian Parliament and Prime Minister's office, St. Mark’s Square, the Old City, the Stone Gate, and Zagreb Cathedral.
Cultural Connection: Visit the bustling Dolac Market, where locals from the countryside come to sell locally-grown and produced fruits, vegetables, honey, oil, handicrafts and more.
Active Features: Enjoy a free afternoon. Zagreb has one of the world's most extensive tram systems, so consider boarding the local tram to the outdoor recreational center at Jarun Lake. Here, you can enjoy the walking trails or rent a bike to go for a spin. Your Vantage Cruise Director will be happy to assist with directions or suggestions for other activities. This evening, we invite you to join your Cruise Director for a pub crawl to popular bars and cafés.
Croatian country traditions at Tito’s birthplace, Kumrovec
Today, head into the countryside to visit Kumrovec, the birthplace of Marshal Tito — the Yugoslavian statesman who led the resistance to Nazi and fascist forces during World War II and established a communist state. His home and village are maintained as museum of traditional rural life in northern Croatia.
Cultural Connection and Unforgettable Moment: Enjoy a fascinating discussion on "Tito: The Bridge between East and West."
Culinary Feature: Join us for an exclusive lunch at Gresna Gorcia, a private family-owned estate where we can savor a locally-sourced and traditionally prepared meal. Start off with a specially created Welcome Drink and dine on a seasonal menu that may include cold appetizers like homemade sausage, zagorje cheese, beef salad, homemade cornbread, beef soup, and main courses of duck with mlinci flatbread and roast veal. Treat yourself with decadent desserts like Zagorje Strudel and a glass of homemade wine.
Fly home from Zagreb or stay on for your Lake Bled post-trip extension in Slovenia
Following breakfast this morning, you’ll transfer to the Zagreb Airport for your flight home. Or, continue to Bled, Slovenia for the post-trip extension.
Enhance your Adriatic cruise by stealing away to Lake Bled, Slovenia, for a four-day stay at a tranquil resort surrounded by the majestic Julian Alps. Take daily excursions to the region’s beautiful sights, such as Bled Castle, set on a cliff high above the lake. Cultural Connections — including visits to a mountain village and a gingerbread maker — give you insight into the unique local lifestyle. Stay at a grand lakeside resort that offers unbeatable views and relax after each day of sightseeing.
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.