Winter Splendor in the Adriatic - 2017

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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Embark on a small ship exploration of the gorgeous Adriatic Sea — while steering clear of crowds — on this off-season journey. Your active, outdoorsy itinerary focuses on the food, culture, and traditions of an unspoiled corner of Europe at a quieter, more serene time of year. Enjoy a seven-night voyage on the privately chartered La Perla, bracketed by two-night stays in excellent hotels in the historic Austro-Hungarian resort town of Opatija and in Croatia’s charming capital, Zagreb. Explore the must-see destinations of Split and Dubrovnik, as well as beautiful Adriatic islands. In addition to cultural discoveries, such as a classical concert, a home-hosted meal, a visit to an authentic prosciutto producer, and a wine tasting, you’ll have numerous opportunities for active excursions that invigorate and fascinate, including walks to charming villages on the Opatija Riviera and along the waterfall trails of National Park, exploring atop Dubrovnik’s great city wall, hiking in a riverside park near Zagreb, and more.

As you meander along the dazzling Dalmatian Coast, where azure waters lap the shores of medieval towns … narrow inlets lead to quaint villages … and steep valleys reveal layer upon layer of history, you’ll enjoy all the privileges and perks of private yachting, while experiencing breathtaking vistas and, of course, the best value in deluxe travel. 

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, and 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 explore Croatia from Zagreb, in a chillier climate amidst the picturesque Julian Alps, to the much milder Mediterranean climate 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. 

Included Meals:


DAY 3:


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 Opportunity: 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:


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.

We will pass through the longest tunnel in Croatia, which connects the northern part of Croatia with Dalmatia – and we’ll start to experience the change from a Continental climate to a Mediterranean one. 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 the priest’s house to learn about a family’s history in this part of Croatia, which was occupied by numerous regimes. A traditional lunch will be served, with Babic wine.

Upon arriving in the historic port of Split, board your elegant ship. Get settled in your cabin, then convene in the dining room for the Captain’s Welcome Dinner. We’ll cast off this evening 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 Opportunity: 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.

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, as we cross the border into 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. The arching stone bridge crosses the Neretva River, and traditionally joined the city’s Croat and Muslim sections. The original 16th-century bridge was destroyed during the 1990s Bosnian conflict, and has since been 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 Old Bridge.

Cultural Connection: Back aboard ship this afternoon, a local fisherman comes aboard to share 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:


We'll arrive today in ancient and beautiful Dubrovnik. On an included tour of the city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, walk along the Stradun (main street) and see the cathedral and the city’s famous fountains.

Cultural Connection: Following the tour, relax in a centuries-old church for a Vantage-exclusive classical concert by the Sorkočević Quartet, whose musicians are members of the Croatian National Philharmonic Orchestra. 

Enjoy the afternoon at leisure. Cultural Connection: In the evening, head to the nearby village of Gromača for a home-hosted dinner, giving you the opportunity to dine with a Croatian family and learn about life in the region, local customs, and their experiences.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 8:


Enjoy the day to freely to explore this endlessly fascinating city more fully, taking further advantage of your Dubrovnik One-Day card. In a city so rich with opportunities for exploration, you’ll have several options — and we’ll give you some tools to help you get the most out of your time here. In addition to the expertise of your Cruise Director, your 24-hour Dubrovnik One-Day card that provides access to the city’s walls, the best galleries and museums, and a full day of public transportation. Perhaps you're interested in seeing some Game of Thrones locations, as many parts of this popular HBO series were filmed here. You can even visit the iconic "Iron Throne."

Active Opportunity: 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.

You’ll also want to consider expanding your discoveries with our full-day optional tour to Montenegro - including the medieval walled city of Kotor and the scenic Bay of Kotor region, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 9:

Korcula Island

As we enter the heart of the Adriatic archipelago, we’ll call at the island of Korcula, where Marco Polo, the great explorer and adventurer, resided and may actually have been born, although that’s not clear. Go ashore for a walking tour of the cobblestoned center, including a visit to the Korcula City Museum, which occupies a former palace. Cultural Connection: Enjoy a presentation about the delicate branching corals that grow in pristine Adriatic waters, and see how they’re used to form elegant jewelry. Active Opportunity: 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:


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 Opportunity: 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 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, an important natural area where waterfalls along the Krka River tumble over great boulders. A distinctive feature of the river and its rich ecosystem is that the saltwater from the Adriatic extends almost 15 miles upstream to the first of the Krka’s cascades. 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 by some local pubs to get a feel for local culture over a drink. Your Cruise Director can recommend some nearby restaurants if you’d like to go for dinner in town. 

Included Meals:

Breakfast  & Lunch

DAY 12:


Your expert local guide will take you for a tour of Zagreb’s impressive landmarks this morning. As you explore this stunning city, you'll 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 the famed Dolac Market where locals from the countryside come to sell their products. During your excursion, you'll have the opportunity to view intriguing reverse oil paintings on glass during a visit to the Croatian Naive Art Gallery. This is also a great place to purchase unique 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 Opportunity: Consider taking a 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 Zagreb 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:


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 Adventure Leader or regional expert.

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Winter Splendor in the Adriatic - 2017

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