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LAKE BLED, CROATIAN ISLANDS & MOUNTAIN SCENES

  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • Fares
  • Accommodation

A journey overview

  • Ljubljana
  • Lake Bled
  • Postojna Caves
  • Rovinj
  • The Lady Eleganza
  • Mali Lošinj
  • Zadar
  • Šibenik
  • Split
  • Omiš
  • Hvar
  • Korčula
  • Elaphiti Islands
  • Kotor
  • Dubrovnik

17 Days Ocean Voyages
  • Departing:
  • 13 Aug 2021

From lovely Ljubljana to fabled Dubrovnik, we explore the towns, islands, beaches, bays and rivers of the Adriatic Coast. The core of our journey, limited to 34 guests, is 11 nights aboard the cruising yacht MV Lady Eleganza, small enough to sail into secluded inlets and tiny coves and to moor in the heart of big cities and peaceful villages.

Slovenia and The Dalmation Coast land only 2021 Map

Itinerary

Our grand adventure begins with our flight to Zagreb and a private coach transfer across the border into Slovenia and its charming riverside capital, Ljubljana. We check in to the luxurious InterContinental Ljubljana, and settle in with Welcome Dinner and cocktails before a well-earned sleep.

Ljubljana is emerging as a major culinary destination, and we have a chance to enjoy some of its bounty at lunch. Ljubljana Castle has overlooked and protected the capital for 900 years, and we ride the funicular railway to gaze over the city and view the towers, chapel, prison and museums within the medieval walls.

En route to Lake Bled, we visit delightful Škofja Loka, a time capsule of medieval architecture. We explore Bled Castle before we check into our hotel’s lake-view rooms, and enjoy cocktails and dinner on the waterside terrace. The island in the lake beckons, so we are rowed by traditional pletna boat to climb the 99 steps of its baroque stairway to the 17th-century church. Following a private guided exploration of the town, the afternoon is free.

We descend into the massive Postojna Cave complex to ride the electric train through its floodlit interior before the port of Rovinj welcomes us to Croatia and our home for the next 11 nights, the luxury cruising yacht Lady Eleganza. The work of Croatian craftsmen, this newly built vessel is nimble enough to glide into the alluring nooks and crannies of the coast from which bigger ships are excluded. We’re welcomed with drinks and dinner.

A morning outing in Rovinj sets us up for our departure for Pula, a treasure trove of majestic Roman ruins, highlighted by the Arena within whose walls – still virtually intact – 23,000 spectators once watched deadly gladiatorial battles. We try local Istrian wines, in particular the famous Malvasia. Lošinj island once surpassed Venice as a maritime power, and Mali Lošinj, which we discover on a walk, is characterised by pastel-coloured ship captains’ villas along its waterfront, with green-clad hills as a backdrop.

We sail to lively Zadar, a maritime city located on a small peninsula. It too once rivalled Venice and retains an historic core of Roman ruins. From there we visit the Zrmanja Canyon, a deep 69 kilometre-long gash through rugged karst limestone country. In Krka National Park we meander along wooden boardwalks and traverse bridges to view its spectacular waterfalls. The port town of Šibenik serves as the starting place for visits to the national park, and our early evening walk reveals its striking historic heart.

The Romans made their mark on Split, and we explore Diocletian’s Palace, regarded as one of the finest ancient structures still existing. This is a living monument – more than 3000 people reside within its walls. We venture down the coast to Omiš to cruise the emerald waters of the Cetina River. Hvar Island is a place of stark contrasts – Hvar Town is glitzy, and busy with partygoers, but its evocative Old Town features a cathedral, Franciscan monastery and Benedictine convent. Stari Grad, where we will arrive, is altogether more tranquil, with a riverside terrace made for leisurely strolling.

We walk in Marco Polo’s footsteps on the streets of Korčula. The great Venetian explorer is said to have been born here, although evidence is scant. In the spirit of the great explorer we visit the house in which it is thought he was born, and trace a path through Korčula’s mesmerising medieval labyrinth. There are 14 islands in the Elaphiti group, just offshore busy Dubrovnik. Only three are inhabited - Koločep, Lopud and Šipan – and we encounter them on a lazy day of village walks, swimming and snorkelling.

A new country, and another spectacular setting awaits us in the Bay of Kotor. The town is walled, and framed by steep cliffs. We walk worn cobblestone alleyways, gelatis in hand, to visit the maritime museum, cathedral and Orthodox church. The main focus is the tiny man-made island on which sits Our Lady of the Rocks church. It’s a place of history, myth and legend, and we enjoy champagne at sunset and a musical performance in the chapel.

‘The Pearl of the Adriatic’ is our ship’s final destination. Part fortress, part fairytale, Dubrovnik graces the coast in its medieval-walled, red-roofed perfection. We walk through the Old Town’s World Heritage-listed streets, encountering palaces, monasteries and churches, with plenty of free time to explore at our own pace. And we say goodbye to Lady Eleganza with an exclusive Farewell Dinner and drinks at the Gjivoje family summer residence.

After breakfast we transfer to Dubrovnik Airport for our return flights, having gained a unique insight into the history and culture of a special part of modern Europe.

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