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ISTRIAN PENINSULA & THE BALKANS

  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • Fares
  • Accommodation

A journey overview

  • Venice
  • Queen Eleganza
  • Split
  • Dubrovnik
  • Sveti Stefan
  • Kotor
  • Sarande
  • Athens

21 Days Explorations
  • Departing:
  • 21 May 2020

Countless civilisations have come, been taken by the region’s beauty, and stayed. Until another, mightier empire arrived, that is. Each left reminders of their presence in striking architecture and distinct cultures. Beginning on Croatia’s Istrian Peninsula, much of this languid exploration takes place aboard the privately chartered Queen Eleganza, a beautifully crafted vessel with space for just 30 Captain’s Choice guests. Experience Montenegro from the exclusive island of Sveti Stefan, delve into Albania, and finish with a history lesson in Greece.

Map

Itinerary

Arriving at Baglioni Hotel Luna on the Venetian Lagoon, we enjoy dinner at its award-winning restaurant. Awake to a golden halo of a spring morning on the bustling waterside and enjoy a stroll along streets paved with cobblestones. A private tour of St Mark’s Basilica reveals an overwhelming number of intricate mosaics among a wealth of other historical artefacts.

Winston Churchill’s most famous World War II speech took place in the Italian town of Trieste. During a brief stop, we view Piazza Unità d’Italia square from the Church of San Giusto. We travel onto Rovinj where our cruise begins. With the small, newly built Queen Eleganza at our disposal, we set sail into the sleepy Istrian Peninsula.

Pine forests and pebbled beaches skim past as we head for the Brijuni Archipelago. Here, we spend time on the island of Veliki Brijun. A short cruise away to the mainland is Pula, where we explore Roman ruins amid labyrinthine streets. On the island of Pag, we are guided through its Old Town, where medieval buildings are squeezed together on the waterfront. We then head to a restaurant on the island of Rab to sample the local cuisine.

Just as stunning as its coast are Croatia’s inland attractions and, after docking in Zadar, we head to Zrmanja Gorge. Krka National Park, meanwhile, is a place of spectacular gorges, deep turquoise water and waterfalls. We take in Roški Slap, a waterfall which tumbles 46 metres over 17 limestone steps. We then spend time strolling through the streets of Šibenik.

Further along the coast, we come across Venetian-style buildings at Trogir, situated on a small island. The emperor Diocletian chose Split as the site of his retirement palace and, to this day, it still makes up most of Split’s Old Town. Near the town of Omiš, we take to the waters of the river Cetina aboard a small boat. On the island of Hvar, we explore St Stephen’s Cathedral, its adjoining square, and the Franciscan Monastery.

We take our time wandering through the charming Old Town on Korčula Island. Sailing into Dubrovnik, our gaze is drawn toward the russet-coloured roofs sprawled over a gentle incline. We marvel at the Rector’s Palace and the Franciscan monastery. Along the coast of Montenegro, we find the island of Sveti Stefan, home to the luxurious resort Aman Sveti Stefan. Over two nights, we stay in lavish private rooms overlooking the Adriatic.

Kotor welcomes us with its red-roofed buildings and imposing mountains. Crossing the border into Albania, we stop at one of the oldest cities in the Balkans, Shkodër. From its castle, we admire views of the largest lake in southeast Europe, then head into the pedestrian centre for lunch. Continue to Durrës before arriving at the Rogner Hotel, Tirana’s most prestigious address, swathed by lush Mediterranean gardens.

Following Tirana’s wide boulevards, we arrive at Skanderbeg Square and the Palace of Culture. A cluster of hillside houses then herald our arrival into Berat, where we let our feet lead us through the medieval quarter. We then head for Sarandë, a resort town resting along a horseshoe-shaped bay on the Ionian Sea. We stop at Porto Palermo Castle before arriving at Hotel Butrinti.

Butrint was recognised as Albania’s first World Heritage-listed site and we explore the ruins of this former Roman city, before enjoying a feast at a tavern in Ksamil. In Athens, we dedicate our time to exploring its ancient sites, including the Panathenaic Stadium, Presidential Palace, and the Acropolis. On our final night, we gather on the rooftop of the Hotel Grand Bretagne for a Farewell Dinner, with commanding views of the Acropolis.

After breakfast, the time has come to farewell our group.

Brochure

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