Croatia & Culinary Gems of the Adriatic Coast - 2021

7-night small ship cruise with Dubrovnik, Cavtat, Slano, Korčula, Hvar, Split, Krka National Park, Sibenik • Zadar • Opatija • Pula • Kumrovec • Zagreb
  • Morogoj cemetery, Zagreb, Croatia, Europe
  • Private classical concert, Dubrovnik, Croatia
  • Oysters, cuisine, Ston, Croatia, Europe
  • Harbor, Cavtat, Croatia, Europe
  • $457
  • 14
  • 30
15 DAYS FROM $7,148
Moderate Deluxe
Extend Your journey (4 available)
Budva, Montenegro

3 DAYS FROM $799

Lake Bled, Slovenia

4 DAYS FROM $1,199

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“Food is culture, habit, craving, and identity,” claims novelist Jonathan Safran Foer. If so, our 2021 Croatia & Culinary Gems of the Adriatic Coast cruisetour is a flavorsome foray into Croatia’s culture and traditions — and a discovery of its natural beauty.

In this culinary-inspired itinerary from Vantage, you’ll experience Croatia through its remarkably varied cuisine, while touring the country's coastline and inland regions. This lush landscape is a cornucopia of fresh seafood, local meat and cheese, and harvests of “liquid gold:” olive oil and wine. As you'll discover at local estates and home-hosted meals, every dish is packed with flavor and love. With 30 included features and Cultural Connections, you'll experience the best Croatia has to offer — from Krka National Park to the Lavender fields of Hvar.

Your journey also includes a 7-night cruise, where you’ll enjoy an intimate small ship experience aboard the 26-passenger La Perla. Even on board, every meal is a farm-to-table feast — you’ll even get a taste of fresh Ston oysters and local wine supplied by a visiting fisherman, as well as drinks included with lunch and dinner. While soaking up beguiling Adriatic views, six UNESCO World Heritage beckon from the shores ... this is a trip that will delight all your senses! 

Discover even more of this stunning region with optional extensions to neighboring Budva, Montenegro, or to Lake Bled, Slovenia. Plus, take advantage of Reduced Single Supplements (limited availability) to enjoy this journey at an exceptional value — discover Croatia’s culture, cuisine, and dreamy coasts with Vantage today!

Zagreb to Dubrovnik

Pre-Trip Extension

Budva, Montenegro


Lake Bled, Slovenia

FROM: $1199 PER PERSON | 4 DAYS | $300 PER DAY
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DAY 1:

Depart the U.S. and fly overnight to Zagreb

Your journey begins with an overnight flight to Europe. If you’d like to begin early, you can add on an enriching pre-trip extension to Lake Bled, Slovenia, where castles perched on cliffs and mountain villages delight visitors in this tranquil resort.

DAY 2:

Zagreb arrival and Welcome Dinner

If you purchased your airfare from us, you’ll be greeted at the airport by a Vantage representative and transfer to your deluxe hotel. The day is yours to relax and unwind. Perhaps you’ll stroll the park near your hotel — the promenade here leads to a seasonal outdoor café and underground shopping center where you can get your souvenir shopping started early. Or, you may wish to take a stroll around and admire the Vienna-inspired architecture. Enjoy a Welcome Briefing and Dinner at the hotel this evening and get acquainted with your fellow travelers.

Included meals:


DAY 3:

Zagreb's monuments and markets

You'll met your expert local guide this morning for a tour of Zagreb to view the city’s impressive landmarks. As you explore this stunning city, you'll see the Croatian National Theater and Opera House, Croatian Parliament, Prime Minister's office, St. Mark’s Square, the Old City, the Stone Gate, and Zagreb Cathedral.

Visit the bustling Dolac Market — the largest in the nation — where locals from the countryside come to sell locally-grown and produced fruits, vegetables, honey, oils, handicrafts, and more.

Enjoy an afternoon at leisure, perhaps visiting the city's Museum of Broken Relationships. Zagreb has one of the world's most extensive tram systems. So, consider using your free time to board the local tram to the outdoor recreational center at Jarun Lake. There, 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 of other activities.

This evening, if you like, join your Cruise Director and visit some popular pubs and cafés where locals like to gather.

Included Feature:
  • Half-day panoramic tour of Zagreb
Active Feature:
  • Option to ride the local tram to Jarun Lake where you can bike or walk
Cultural Connection:
  • Visit Dolac Market to browse local produce and handicrafts

Included meals:


DAY 4:

Head into the country at Kumrovec, village and open-air museum

Today you’ll head into the countryside to visit Kumrovec, a preserved open-air museum because it's the birthplace of Josip Broz Tito — the Yugoslavian communist revolutionary (and later, dictator) who led the resistance to the Nazi and the fascist forces during World War II. Here, you'll enjoy a lecture on Tito and his role in bridging the Eastern and Western Blocs.

Then, join your fellow travelers for a lunch at Grešna Gorica, the first ever private family-owned estate to open in Croatia, serving only the most traditional of North Croatian specialties. Start off with a specially created Grešna Gorica welcome drink and dine on a seasonal menu that may include cold appetizers like homemade sausage and cornbread, zagorje cheese, beef salad, 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. 

You’ll return to your hotel afterward to spend the rest of the day at leisure.

Included Feature:
  • Half-day excursion to Kumrovec
Culinary Feature:
  • Lunch of North Croatian specialties on a private family-owned estate
Cultural Connection:
  • Lecture on Marshal Tito

Included meals:

Breakfast  & lunch

DAY 5:

Travel overland to Opatija, with a Croatian farm experience

Today, you’ll transfer to the seaside city of Opatija through the Croatian Highlands, with amazing views en route.

We'll stop at the farm estate of the Kezele family along the way. Enjoy a tour of the property, including the stables where livestock are kept and the wine cellar, where you'll savor a tasting of the family's excellent vintages. You'll also be treated to a tasty lunch of farm-raised delicacies, made in the family’s traditional kotlovina style. Don’t forget to try the meat and cheese! Later in your tour, you’ll enjoy the opportunity to savor seafood and compare the diversity of Croatian cuisines.

This afternoon, we check in at our deluxe hotel in the seaside resort city of Opatija. Breathe in deeply, listen to the water gently lapping the side of the boats, and you’ll understand why visits here were widely considered therapeutic a century ago. The afternoon is at your leisure for shopping or admiring pristinely groomed gardens. Dinner is on your own tonight. Your Cruise Director can recommend several excellent restaurants; Opatija has one of the best restaurant scenes in Croatia.

Culinary Feature:

  • Wine tasting and lunch at a local farm estate

Included meals:

Breakfast  & lunch

DAY 6:

Discover the Opatija Riviera

After breakfast this morning, you’ll set off on a walking tour to view Opatija’s stately villas, seaside promenade, and lovely gardens. Learn about how and why Opatija was the vacation spot of choice for wealthy Viennese during the height of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Next, you’ll enjoy a tour of the Opatija Riviera’s villages including Moscenice, one of the oldest settlements in the region, where you'll enjoy amazing views and some locally made spirits with an entertaining local guide! Lunch is on your own, with the afternoon at your leisure.

Enjoy a walk along the Opatija Promenade. Take in the lovely views and stop for a bite to eat or a drink. How far you go is up to you — a round-trip walk can cover up to 7.5 miles. Alternatively, you may want to try your luck in one of Opatija's casinos. Back at the hotel this evening, you’ll attend an insightful discussion about everyday life in Croatia, by a local lecturer.

Let us treat you to a local Welcome Dinner with wine at a local restaurant, with a performance of traditional klapa singing — part of UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list.

Included Features:

  • Half-day guided tour of Opatija
  • Tour the villages of Opatija Riviera
Culinary Feature:
  • Dinner accompanied by traditional klapa singing performance
Cultural Connection:
  • Onboard lecture: Everyday Life in Croatia

Included meals:

Breakfast & dinner

DAY 7:

Touring Roman Pula and the Istrian Peninsula

Discover one of the most beautiful regions of western Croatia on a full-day tour of the Istrian Peninsula. Explore Pula Arena, Europe's most complete Roman amphitheater, when we stop in the ancient town of Pula. You'll be able to go beneath the arena floor to see the 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 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. The menu changes seasonally, but you may dine on pancetta with Istrian cheese, figs in syrup, or Istrian dumplings with truffle cream. The Istrian region is one of the few places in the world where truffle is harvested.

Upon your return to Opatija, you'll have the evening at leisure. Perhaps you’ll walk to the nearby village of Volosko, where culinary delights await to be explored.

Included Feature:

  • Full-day tour of Pula and Rovinj, with visit to Pula Arena
Active Feature:
  • Trek to the Church of St. Euphemia in Rovinj
Culinary Feature:
  • Lunch of Istrian cuisine at a local restaurant

Included meals:

Breakfast  & lunch

DAY 8:

Explore ancient Zadar before embarking La Perla

Following breakfast this morning, you’ll begin to head to Zadar — another coastal gem that was named Europe's top destination in 2015 — with a scenic drive through the city of Rijeka, along the Northern Croatian coastline, and through the mountains of central Croatia.

A traditional lunch is included. Tuna farms surrounding Zadar were a favorite of the late, great Anthony Bourdain, who featured the region on his hit show No Reservations. We invite you to join us for a lunch at a local restaurant, where you can experience the tuna steak from the region for yourself.

After lunch, you’ll enjoy a walking tour of this Roman-era city, which boasts a historic blend of Ancient, Renaissance, Romanesque, and medieval architecture.

You’ll embark the La Perla this afternoon and settle into your cabin before joining your fellow travelers for a Welcome Briefing and delicious Welcome Dinner. Croatia features a rustic, Mediterranean cuisine with influences from nearby Italy and Turkey. Dine on fresh, locally sourced foods purchased daily from local markets and well-trusted vendors, some of which you may visit, too. To ensure the freshest seafood and best cuts of meat, we work with local fisherman and butchers. We have also brought Illy onboard, the best commercial coffee from Italy, as well as La Perla’s own homegrown blend of olive oil label. No detail has been spared to bring you the most delicious options. Aboard La Perla, you'll soon agree that “a fish swims three times: the first time in the sea, the second time in oil, and the third time in wine.”

During the course of your cruise, opportunities abound for enjoying the clean, clear waters of the Adriatic. You may swim, snorkel, or fish from the ship or from the private tender, or take an active walk during shore excursions.

As you can imagine, most sailing on this cruise will be scenic. Be on the lookout as you pass close to the mainland and between islands today. You’ll want to step onto the deck and have your camera ready.

Included Features:

  • Half-day guided sightseeing tour of Zadar
  • Scenic drive along the Northern Croatian coastline
Culinary Features:
  • Lunch of local tuna steak
  • Meals aboard La Perla, prepared from fresh, locally-sourced ingredients
Cultural Connection:
  • Lecture on Croatian history

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 9:

Natural beauty and rural traditions: Krka National Park & Sibenik

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 falls and a boat ride from magnificent Krka Falls to Skradin (weather permitting).

You’ll also visit Jurlinovi Dvori, a Dalmatian estate with an ethnographic gallery to discover. Be our guest and enjoy a lovely lunch, prepared with centuries-old local traditions from homemade products, including Babić wine, derived from Primosten vineyards, strong and dry and representing the harsh land it grew on.

Upon returning to Sibenik, you’ll set off on a walking tour with a local guide among the ancient streets, where you’ll see the Cathedral of St. James, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

As you sail toward Split, soak up views of St. Anthony's Channel and UNESCO-designated St. Nicholas Fortress.

Included Features:

  • Full-day excursion to Krka National Park
  • Visit to Jurlinovi Dvori, a traditional Dalmatian estate
Active Feature:
  • Trail walks and a boat ride at Krka National Park (weather permitting)
Culinary Feature:
  • Traditional lunch accompanied by local Babić wine
Scenic Sailing:
  • Views of St. Anthony's Channel and UNESCO-designated St. Nicholas Fortress when departing Sibenik

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 10:

Revisit the Roman era at Diocletian’s Palace in Split

This morning, you’ll explore Split, one of the oldest cities in this historic region. In this exciting port, explore ancient Diocletian’s Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which the emperor chose as his retirement home because of its spectacular beauty. Your special tour with a local guide also takes you into the mysterious passages in the lower levels of the palace’s massive structure, where you’ll learn about life thousands of years ago. Again, our Game of Thrones fans may recognize this site as well, as several scenes were filmed here.

You'll have the balance of the day free to discover this fascinating city on your own. Enjoy lunch back aboard La Perla, or stay out and explore. Also, don’t pass up an opportunity for gelato here!

After dinner, you will be treated to local entertainment on board.

Included Feature:

  • Half-day guided walking tour of Split and Diocletian’s Palace and Cellars
Cultural Connection:
  • Onboard entertainment: performance by local musicians

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 11:

Hvar's 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 walking tour this morning and learn the port town's history, hear about local legends, and visit the lace museum, inside the Benedictine Monastery.

Later, discover even more 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. You may also choose to go swimming, snorkeling, or fishing (weather permitting). Active travelers shouldn't miss the walk to Hvar Fortress, with entrance included.

Before dinner, attend an informative lecture about the healthy Mediterranean diet and taste local products.

Included Features:

  • Half-day guided walking tour of Hvar including visit to the Lace Museum
  • Hvar island tour including visit to Stari Grad Plain, a UNESCO-listed site
Cultural Connection:
  • Lecture on the Mediterranean diet

Scenic Sailing:

  • Enjoy scenic cruising from Split to Hvar this morning
  • Soak up more mesmerizing scenery in the afternoon as you cruise from Hvar to the lush, green island of Korčula

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 12:

Experience Dalmatia's best with Korčula & Slano

Farther along the Dalmatian Coast lies the island of Korčula, one of the greenest in the Adriatic. You’ll disembark your yacht this morning for a tour that includes the Korčula City Museum, the island’s ties to explorer Marco Polo, as well as free time to explore on your own. Take a few snapshots near the impressive cannons and check out the quaint shops and views of the waves from seaside coffee shops and bistros.

During your free time, you may also choose to take the La Perla tender to one of the nearby recreational islands or famous beaches.

Later, depart Korčula to head toward Slano, where cruising along the Pelješac peninsula and past Mljet Island National Park is a pure delight. The waters here are crystal-clear. Since Slano is a shallower bay, you will be able to see shells and sea life from the deck. As you sail, you’ll enjoy a lecture about the ancient Dubrovnik Republic.

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 sampling, you'll learn how oysters are farmed and about the culture surrounding this popular shellfish.

In your free time this afternoon, go swimming, snorkeling, or fishing in the clear bay waters (weather permitting). Slano is situated on a small bay that's perfect for swimming.

Included Feature:

  • Half-day guided walking tour of Korčula
Culinary Feature:
  • Sample oysters and wine from a local fisherman
Cultural Connection:
  • Lecture on the Dubrovnik Republic
Scenic Sailing:
  • Cruise from Korčula to Slano

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 13:

Dubrovnik's Old City, private concert, and a home-hosted dinner

You’ll arrive today in ancient and beautiful Dubrovnik, what is sure to be a highlight of your journey. On an included tour of the city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, you’ll be introduced to its most heralded landmarks, as well as its hidden gems. 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.

You'll return to the ship for lunch, then enjoy the afternoon at leisure. Perhaps you’ll head back toward land on the La Perla’s private tender and stroll Stradun, the main thoroughfare with its cafés and shops; or take the tender to visit nearby islands and beaches. Your Cruise Director will also distribute a one-day Dubrovnik card for you to use at your leisure throughout the day, which includes entrance to several museums and galleries, public transport, bus rides, and more.

Head to nearby Gromača for a home-hosted dinner with a Croatian family and 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. You may even be tempted to ask for a recipe or two!

Vantage Exclusive:

  • Private classical concert
Included Feature:
  • Half-day tour of Dubrovnik’s Old City
Cultural Connection:
  • Home-hosted meal with a Croatian family at Gromača
Scenic Sailing:
  • Scenic morning cruising from Slano to Dubrovnik, anchoring in front of the city's iconic fortified walls (weather permitting)

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 14:

Explore bucolic Cavtat

After the hustle and bustle of exploring Dubrovnik yesterday, revel in the laid-back atmosphere of Cavtat. Just a short drive away, this beautiful resort town will show you why the birthplace of artist Vlaho Bukovac was also his inspiration. Known mostly for large compositions and portraits, Bukovac’s fascinating story is surely just part of what you’ll hear about during an included walking tour. You’ll have free time afterward. You can also take part in a walk to the hilltop Račić Mausoleum: imagined by famed Croatian sculptor, writer, and architect Ivan Mestrovic.

Then, head to the village of Ljuta, in Konavle, for a lunch with local specialties like ham, traditionally baked bread, cheese, and homemade wine. You’ll also visit an old water-powered working mill and learn how they used to be a community gathering place and helped fuel the local economy for centuries.

Later this afternoon, enjoy free time in Dubrovnik to make more independent discoveries before your last night onboard La Perla.

Tonight, toast your tour with a special Farewell Dinner.

Included Feature:

  • Half-day guided walking tour of Cavtat
Culinary Feature:
  • Lunch in Ljuta with local ham, bread, cheese, and homemade wine
Cultural Connection:
  • Visit to an old water-powered working mill

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 15:

Fly home or stay on for your post-trip extension in Budva, Montenegro

You’ll disembark the La Perla after breakfast and head to the airport for your flight back home, or begin your extension in Budva, Montenegro.

Included meals:


Post-Trip Extension

Lake Bled, Slovenia

FROM: $1199 PER PERSON | 4 DAYS | $300 PER DAY

Budva, Montenegro


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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Croatia & Culinary Gems of the Adriatic Coast - 2021

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