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Spend a week hopping between the beautiful islands of Croatia's Dalmatian Coast. Wander through ancient terracotta-roofed cities, swim and snorkel in crystal clear waters, and sample a variety of delicious locally-produced food and wine.
Explore Tour Leader
13 nights comfortable hotel
Trip maximum 16 Explore Average 11
Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.
Arrive in Split. Our hotel is about 30 minutes drive from the airport.
For those arriving on time our Leader plans to meet you in the hotel reception at 6pm for the welcome meeting. Following this, there is the opportunity for some cheese and wine tasting, a perfect way to break the ice. Nestled amongst the old stone buildings of Split's Old Town, we visit a local bar which provides Croatia's take on a tapas-style experience, offering up the chance to try several cheeses, bread and oils. Locally grown olives and freshly baked baguettes are paired with red and white wines, that have all been produced along the Dalmatian Coast.
If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you'll need to arrive into Split Airport (SPU). Should you miss the welcome meeting, your Leader will inform you of any essential information as soon as you catch up.
Mondo Hotel (or similar)
We wake this morning amongst the terracotta roofs and historic buildings of the port of Split. This charming city has a rich history; originally founded by the Greeks in the 2nd century, the city has seen many empires pass through its walls, having been occupied by the Romans, the Byzantines, and for a large period of history the Venetians. We set off this morning to discover Split on a walking tour starting at the sprawling Diocletian's Palace. Built to honour the Roman Emperor Diocletian, this huge residence makes up around half of the old city and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is widely regarded as the world's most complete and well-preserved Roman Palace, and we will explore much of it this morning. We will also take in the famed Peristyle, the ornate Golden and Silver Gates and the Temple of Jupiter. Following this, there is the opportunity for some cheese and wine tasting, a perfect way to break the ice. Nestled amongst the old stone buildings of Split's Old Town, we visit a local bar which provides Croatia's take on a tapas-style experience, offering up the chance to try several cheeses, bread and oils. Locally grown olives and freshly baked baguettes are paired with red and white wines, that have all been produced along the Dalmatian Coast.
There will be some free time for further exploration before we make our way to the harbour and board the catamaran ferry out to Hvar - the first of our Dalmatian Islands. The journey takes us across the azure waters of the Adriatic and we will reach the lively and cosmopolitan town of Hvar in around one and a half hours. After checking in and freshening up, our Tour Leader will take us for sundowners at a bar overlooking the yacht-lined harbour, well-known for its picturesque sunsets.
Pharos Bayview Hotel (or similar)
Nowhere in Croatia is there more of an air of Venetian Renaissance than on the island of Hvar. The island served as an important naval base for the Venetians in the 16th century, and Renaissance-style facades, churches and far-reaching olive groves pepper the landscape.
This morning we drive up into Hvar's rugged interior and to the village of Velo Grabije. This traditional village lies at the heart of the island's cottage industries and lining the streets are stalls selling locally produced honey, rosemary, oils and of course, lavender. We start our walk from here heading out on foot past the beautiful expansive lavender fields that colour the landscape a deep purple over the late spring and summer months. Hvar was once the historic centre of lavender production, and it's easy to sense why with the calming aromas of lavender accompanying us as we walk. We stop at Malo Grabije village for a refreshment, before continuing our walk past olive groves and undulating farmland down to the coastal town of Milna where we break for lunch. We plan to have some free time here to wander around the town and perhaps take advantage of Milna's beaches before returning by local bus to Hvar. The total walk is approximately six kilometres and will last around two and a half hours, with the majority of the walk being gently downhill to the coast.
This afternoon has been left free to relax or to further explore trendy Hvar town. There is also the option to take a boat trip out to Paklinski Islands. Lying a few kilometres off the coast of Hvar, this chain of islands offers beautiful sandy beaches to relax upon and hidden coves to explore. There will be plenty of opportunity for swimming and snorkelling before the boat returns at sunset.
Boarding the catamaran again this morning, we sail down the Dalmatian coast to the island of Korcula, lying in the centre of the archipelago. Korcula is known for its interior of dense pine forests, which once supplied the Venetians with timber for their vast fleets. It's also known for its vineyards, producing some excellent white wines from their indigenous Grk variety of grape. Our base for the next two nights is in the palm-lined streets of Korcula Town, a medieval settlement that enjoys a low-key rustic charm.
This afternoon we travel by bus to the village of Lumbarda, located on the very eastern tip of the island. After some time to get comfortable with your bike, making any necessary adjustments, we begin pedalling out into the countryside on smooth quiet roads through pine forests and past the vineyards this region is famous for. There are also pockets of olive groves along the route, and we plan to make a stop on two sandy beaches, before cycling back into the vineyards and ending our cycling at a local winery. Here we learn about some of the fresh produce made in the area and have the chance to try a selection of prosciutto, local cheeses, as well as figs and olives. We will learn about the three varieties of grape grown on the island; the Grk grape which produces a very balanced flavour, where as the native Posip grape gives a much fuller-bodied flavour with tones of apricots and almonds, and is a golden yellow in colour. The Plavac Mali is a dark red producing a warm, fruity and somewhat soft taste. We sample a variety of wines produced from these grapes, before returning by bus to Korcula Town in the late afternoon, where the rest of the day is free.
The cycling is mostly flat and taken at a gentle pace, taking around three hours to complete the whole excursion (1,5 hours of cycling with stops along the way). The route we cycle is on quiet roads, mainly surfaced with very little motorised traffic. Bicycles and helmets are provided, as well as a specialist cycle guide alongside the Explore Tour Leader.
Marko Polo Hotel (or similar)
This morning we take a 40-minute catamaran out to the lush and beautiful Mljet Island. Awarded National Park status in 1962, the island is the greenest in Croatia and home to just one hotel. It's otherwise made up of verdant green forests, sheltered coves lapped by crystal-clear waters and white-sand beaches.
The Tour Leader will provide a short orientation walk to get your bearings and will run through your options for today, before leaving the rest of the day free to explore at our leisure. Basing ourselves in Pomena, there are a variety of ways to explore the island's lush interior either by foot or bicycle on well-signposted trails, or perhaps explore the coastline by kayak. There are plenty of beaches to choose to relax on, and a choice of restaurants serving up locally produced food and wine. The catamaran this evening back to Korcula is due to depart at 17.20.
We set off by catamaran ferry once more for the scenic cruise through the shimmering blue Adriatic Sea. We travel alongside Dalmatia's rugged and mountainous coastline towards the jewel in its crown, the spectacular walled city of Dubrovnik. Like many Croatian cities, Dubrovnik has seen its share of conquerors and settlers, each adding their own contributions to the city we see today. Extensive renovations during the 1990's and into 2000's has meant that the city is excellently preserved, its old walls housing tiled roofs and white-washed buildings in all their splendour that give the illusion of stepping back in time.
Our hotel in Dubrovnik, Adria Hotel is in Gru\'9e, on the slopes of Srd hill, overlooking Dubrovnik. It has stunning views across the city and surrounding island chains. Dubrovnik Old Town is easily reached by a twenty minute public bus ride and after settling into our hotel we make this journey and start to explore this incredible city on foot. Starting from Pile Square on the eastern side of Dubrovnik, we snake our way through the maze of narrow streets and lively piazzas to take in the Sponza Palace, housing the city's archives, and the intricately carved baroque church of St Blaise. Continuing through the main thoroughfare of Stradun we walk down the Jesuit Staircase, perhaps better known as the 'Steps of the Great Sept of Bailor' used for the 'Walk of Shame' scene in Game of Thrones. Finally we end at the magnificent Rector's Palace, another GOT filming location but an incredible example of Gothic architecture in its own right.
Later in the afternoon there is the option for sea kayaking around the city walls. We climb into our kayaks in Kolorina bay, just outside the Old Town, and after a short safety briefing we begin paddling our way along the coastline, gazing up at the dramatic city walls as they plunge down into the rocks and then the sea. This experience offers an entirely different perspective of the city, especially as the sun starts to dip into the Adriatic and the city lights start to twinkle and glow.
The kayaking lasts for approximately two hours and is dependant on local sea conditions at the time. No previous experience is required and a full safety briefing is given.
Hotel Adria (or similar)
This morning we make our way by public bus to the cable car station at the foot of Mount Srd. We take the short cable car ride to the hilltop, which offers fantastic views over Dubrovnik and the bay it sits within. We then make our way back down the hill on foot, snaking down the hillside and then following the ancient city walls back into the Old Town of Dubrovnik. From here we go on to discover this incredible city on foot. Starting from Pile Square on the eastern side of Dubrovnik, we snake our way through the maze of narrow streets and lively piazzas to take in the Sponza Palace, housing the city's archives, and the expertly carved baroque church of St Blaise. Continuing through the main thoroughfare of Stradun we walk down the Jesuit Staircase, also known as the 'Steps of the Great Sept of Bailor' used for the 'Walk of Shame' scene in Game of Thrones. Finally, we end at the magnificent Rector's Palace, another GOT filming location but an incredible example of Gothic Architecture in its own right.
This afternoon has been left free for further exploration, visiting one of the nearby beaches or perhaps just sitting in one of the many cafes and taking in the scenery. It is also possible to arrange an optional walk in the beautiful nearby Konavle Valley.
Hotel Vis (or similar)
We set off this morning by bus, shortly crossing the border into neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina, passing rolling countryside on our drive to the UNESCO-listed city of Mostar.
Set on the banks of the Neretva River, Mostar is the epitome of modern-day Bosnia, one lying at the crossroads of Europe, but also at the crossroads of cultures, of shared histories and religions. The city itself is cut in half by the Neretva, with Croat communities on one side and Bosnian Muslims on the other, reflecting this rich cultural heritage.
The town and the Stari Most - its famous 16th century Ottoman bridge - suffered badly during the 1990s Balkan conflict. The bridge and much of the old city, the former capital of Herzegovina, was painstakingly rebuilt after the war and has been restored to its former glory. The five year-long programme of reconstruction went a long way to restoring peace to this shattered region, with international and ethnic cooperation helping to rebuild bridges both literally and figuratively.
Today, we walk the city's old cobbled streets with an expert local guide who will paint a picture of both ancient and more recent history as we take in the buildings, the old Bazaar and the iconic Turkish House. We end our walk at the Stari Most Bridge, which as well as bringing together communities, also serves as a venue for bridge jumping competitions during the summer months.
The rest of the day is free for further exploration and to soak up the atmosphere of this vibrant city.
Hotel Mostar (or similar)
Crossing the border back into Croatia, we make our way by bus to Krka National Park. Less well known but just as beautiful as Plitvice, Krka National Park is host to a series of seven cascading waterfalls, as the Krka River cuts its way through the thick forest of oak and ash. We explore these beautiful surroundings on foot, along single-track trails and across boardwalks to the most scenic of waterfalls - Skradinski Buk. There's plenty of time here for some food, photos and perhaps even a refreshing dip. The walk is a total of two hours, covering around five kilometres and is almost entirely flat.
We continue by bus north to Zadar, reaching the city by the early afternoon. Zadar's Old Town juts out to sea on a small peninsular and is an enchanting mix of Roman ruins, terracotta-tiled roofs and medieval churches. After checking into our hotel and freshening up, we take a short tour of the Old Town this afternoon, taking in the 3rd century Roman Forum and St Donatus Church, which dominates views over the Forum. We then make our way to the seafront to take in the experimental artwork of the unique 'Sea Organ' (a musical staircase) and the 'Sun Salutation', which is a solar light and sound display.
Hotel Porto (or similar)
Continuing north, we hug the rugged Dalmatian coastline as we make our way into the Istrian Peninsular. Istria's rolling farmlands and historic ties with Italy make it somewhat of a gastronomic haven, with quaint hilltop villages and rural farmhouses serving up excellent local produce and many varieties of tipple.
We make several stops as we travel through the countryside, first stopping at the Aura Distillery, famed for its brandy as well as its locally-made jams. We learn about the entire process from fermentation, distillation in hand-made cauldrons to fruit maceration and ageing. We have the chance to sample three different types of jams and a variety of brandies varying in age and strength.
Next we enjoy a farmhouse lunch - freshly made Istrian pasta with truffles is highly recommended! After lunch we try our hand at truffle hunting. Setting off on foot into the nearby woods, we learn from a master-family that have been hunting truffles in this region for generations. Alongside a team of dogs we learn the tricks of the trade and what to look out for, hoping to spot some elusive but much-prized truffles.
After the hunt we continue by bus to our final destination, the beautiful coastal town of Vrsar.
Aminess Hotel Laguna (or similar)
We set off this morning to explore two important Istrian towns; the beautiful port town of Rovinj, and the ancient settlement of Pula.
We start just a few kilometres down the coast in the charming town of Rovinj. Pastel painted stone houses vie for position over the picturesque harbour and the town's historic centre is compact, with its old cobbled streets easily explored on foot. The church of St Euphemia is a beautiful baroque-period building that dominates much of the town's skyline, and its bell tower offers excellent panoramic views over the sea of red roofs below. We spend time exploring the church, its bell tower and cellar, as well as the town's charming piazza before travelling down the coast to the tip of the peninsular and to historic Pula.
In Roman times Pula grew to become an important trading port for the empire, and much of this evidence still remains today. The town's amphitheatre is its main focal point - it is the only remaining Roman amphitheatre in the World to have all four sides intact, and it is still in use today for concerts and events, some 2,000 years later. After some time taking in the great amphitheatre, we follow Pula's old Roman walls to the imposing Temple of Augustus and then on to the stone arch Gate of Hercules.
After lunch, we make our way back to Novigrad, where the afternoon is free to relax at the beach, or perhaps try out some optional stand-up paddleboarding or kayaking around the rugged coastline.
We leave Croatia behind today, driving north and cross the border into Slovenia. We soon reach the coastline and the charming Riviera town of Piran. We have some time to explore this ancient town and its piazzas, patrician villas and pretty harbour. Having been part of the Venetian Empire for a large part of its history, Piran is more Italian in feel, and to get a true flavour of this chic seaside town be sure to try some home-made gelato by the seafront.
We then continue our journey by bus, arriving beside Lake Bled just after midday.
Lake Bled's turquoise waters are set to a backdrop of jagged mountains, and set in the centre of the lake is the 16th century Church of Assumption. It's easy to see why Bled was one of the most fashionable European resorts in the early 20th century and was even the summer of former Yugoslavian President Tito. We explore the lake this afternoon along with Bled Castle, a medieval fortress perched atop a rocky outcrop with a towering view of the lake and town below. For those interested in photography, or just want to take in the view there is the option this afternoon for a walk up to a viewpoint over Lake Bled to witness sunset (or sunrise tomorrow morning). The walk will be four kilometres with around 600 metres of ascent.
Please note that on the 14/05 & 11/06 departures, the group will be staying in Lake Bohinj at the Bohinj ECO Hotel & Wellness Hotel for the two last nights. Due to this, the itinerary will slighly change however but please be reassured that you won't miss any elements included in the trip.
Hotel Savica Garni (or similar)
This morning we drive out to Vintgar Gorge inside the Triglav National Park. Carved out by the glacial Radovna river, this natural gorge is 1.6 kilometres in length with near-verticle walls. We take the trail that runs along boardwalks deep inside the gorge and ends at the 13 metre high Sum Waterfall.
We then continue by bus through the National Park and onto Lake Bohinj, which is fed by glacial melt that runs down from the mountains high up above. From here we take the Vogel Cable Car which elevates us over 1,000 metres above the lake-side in just four minutes, up to the Vogel Ski station at 1,535 metres above sea level. From here there are panoramic views over the lake and out to far-reaching mountains, and we plan to take a short walk to make the most of the mountain views. The two-kilometre loop takes us past a mountain pasture and provides excellent opportunities to spot the flora and fauna of this high mountain area.
Heading back down the mountain we drive back to Bled where the rest of the afternoon is free to relax in the tranquil surroundings, or if you are feeling active there are plenty of options. There is a six kilometre walk or cycle around the lake, rowing boats can be hired or you can take a swim in the lake's warm thermal waters. It is also possible to take a traditional gondola across to the island to explore inside the Church of Assumption.
The trip ends after breakfast at our hotel in Bled.
There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart from Bled at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day, luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you'll need to depart from Ljubljana International Airport (LJU), which is 30 minutes drive from the hotel.
The Croatian Adriatic has a Mediterranean climate with mild winters and warm, dry, sunny summers. There is a chance of sporadic rain in spring and autumn, though generally it is in the form of short showers. Thunderstorms can occur in summer, generally helping to cool the air. Hvar Island gets the most sunshine in summer with 10-12 hours each day, followed by Split, Korcula Island and Dubrovnik with around 7-8 hours. Temperatures from May to October are generally in the low to mid 20's (in °C), but can reach into the 30's (in °C) in July and August. Trip itineraries with boat cruises can occasionally be disrupted due to bad weather.
2 Pin Round
Hvar - Half day boat trip to Pakleni Islands: €50 Mljet Island - Cycle hire: €8 per hour / €25 for 3-6 hours / ebike an additional €25 p/p, Kayak hire (2 seater): €20 per hour / €50 for 3-6 hours Dubrovnik - Sunset sea kayaking (subject to availablity): €45
July and August are the hottest months and lightweight cotton clothing is best. During spring and autumn temperatures can be lower or drop during the evenings and there is also a stronger possibility of rain, although light rainwear may be needed at any time of year. Layered clothing and a warm fleece are recommended for cooler evenings along with a waterproof jacket. Ladies should take a headscarf to cover their head when entering religious sites.
Comfortable walking shoes plus sandals/flip flops for relaxing. You may find a pair of old shoes or sandals useful for swimming off rocks and stoney beaches.
One main piece of baggage and a daypack. Remember that you will have to carry your own luggage between our bus and your accommodation so don't overload yourself.
We advise taking a water bottle for our included walks and cycle rides as well as sun glasses, sunscreen and a sun hat. To cut down on your plastic consumption we would also recommend bringing a reusable drink straw, travel coffee cup and a shopping bag with you. In case of emergency, it is advisable to carry a first aid kit and a torch. You might find mosquito repellent handy and bring a swimming suit and towel for any of the water-based activities.
Bus, 4WD, Bicycle, Boat
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Please refer to our COVID-19 entry requirements page for any country-specific conditions of entry. Whilst we strive to update this on a regular basis we recommend you also check the FCDO website for the latest advice on entry requirements in this fast-evolving situation. Information can change at any time.
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Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. However, please note that if you voluntarily make any changes to your booking including changing your trip or departure date, any additional costs or charges incurred will not be covered. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions
Croatia: Visas are not required by UK, Australian, New Zealand, US or Canadian citizens. Other nationalities should consult their local embassy or consular office.
If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may be able to apply through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.
Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.
Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information.
You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.
Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The complimentary transfers will be arranged from the Explore designated airport or train station to your trips joining point, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. Generally the airport or station that Explore have selected will be the one that is closest to the town or city where the trip starts, or the one nearest to the joining point. It will be either an airport or train station but not both.
The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.
Free transfers are not available for Polar customers.
If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.
For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here
It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.
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You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.
We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.
On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.
Although not mandatory, there a lot of activities on this trip are focussed around or in the water, so to get the most out of the trip, the abiliy to swim is strongly encouraged. If wishing to particpate in any of the water-based activities, the ability to swim is essential.
Nothing compulsory, but we recommend being up-to-date with your routine vaccination courses and boosters as recommended in the UK including protection against measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, diphtheria, hepatitis A, typhoid and polio. Tick-borne encephalitis protection is recommended by some medical sources at certain times of the year. Ticks are most active between spring and late autumn. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.