On this 8-day expedition cruise aboard Ave Maria, discover the best of the Southern Dalmatian islands as you immerse yourself in experiences around the majority of Croatia's historical regions, make lasting memories. Starting off, enjoy a guided tour around the historic town of Split before traversing to the wonderful island of Brač for a nice swim at the most famous beach in Dalmatia, Zlatni Rat. After a sumptuous lunch at Hvar, tour the breath-taking Renaissance cathedral before visiting the magnificent natural phenomenon at the small island of Biševo, the Blue Cave. Towards the latter part of the trip, uncover rich culture and heritage as you tour across the historical islands of Korčula, Mjlet, Slano and Dubrovnik. This cruise disembarks at Dubrovnik.
Transfer from the Split airport to Split harbour for check-in from 14.00h onwards. After settling in, enjoy the guided tour of Split, a historic town under UNESCO world heritage protection with an abundance of Roman architecture – of special interest is the magnificent Diocletian Palace, once the home to the Roman Emperor. After the tour, return to the ship for a welcome meet & greet cocktail reception on board. Overnight in Split.
Morning departure to the island of Brač, where swimming is planned at the most famous beach in Dalmatia – Zlatni Rat near Bol. Its shingle promontory shifts from side to side as the wind and waves constantly cause the beach shape to change. Bol is a typical fishermen’s village converted into a popular tourist destination yet retaining its charm. Continue towards the jet-set island of Hvar with lunch on board at the Pakleni Islands. Hvar is the longest and sunniest island in the Adriatic, known for lush lavender fields and breath-taking beauty. Arrive in the afternoon for a guided tour of the town’s historical landmarks - the Renaissance cathedral with its original tower, and the oldest community theatre in Europe founded in 1612. Hike up the zig-zag path to the town fort overlooking the harbour for lovely scenic views of the vessel and the Pakleni islands. In the evening Hvar offers a great choice of entertainment - numerous restaurants, bars and clubs with many open long into the night. Overnight in the port.
Early morning cruise towards the small island Biševo to visit the Blue Cave, a magnificent natural phenomenon (entrance to be paid on the spot – approx. 10-15 EUR). As sometimes weather conditions can be very unpredictable, the possibility of a cave visit will depend on those conditions however, you will be notified in time. Continue to the island of Vis, once a strategic naval Yugoslav base and closed to the public for years. Due to this isolation, Vis retains a special charm – “the Mediterranean as it once was” making it really interesting to visit. Situated on the northern side of the island, Vis has developed near the remains of ancient Issa, the first urban centre in Croatia. Sample local wines. If interested, visit the remains of the Roman Thermal Place, the City Museum or simply take a walk enjoying the views of the beautiful Villae Rusticae situated along the waterfront. Overnight in the port of Vis.
Early morning departure towards the island of Korčula, best known as the birthplace of Marco Polo. Stop for lunch in one of the secluded bays en route. Afternoon arrival in Korčula followed by a guided walking tour of this enchanting town surrounded by walls and one of the best-preserved medieval cities in the Mediterranean. The fishbone street pattern was used in Korčula Old Town’s design to provide a natural cooling effect providing citizens with sheltered and comfortable accommodation. Optional excursion to a small village near Korčula for a typical Dalmatian dinner and to find out more about the history and traditional way of living. Overnight in Korčula.
The next morning, head further south to the Island of Mljet. The legend says Greek hero Odysseus spent years on this island when he was captured by the nymph Calypso. Join the cruise manager for a stroll to the famous salt lakes in the Mljet National Park and enjoy the boat ride to St. Mary Isle to visit an ancient Benedictine monastery, an old abbey and a Church dating back to the 12th Century. Alternatively, rent kayaks, bicycles, scooters or convertible cars to roam around the National Park or island on your own, but beware of the nymphs! Enjoy the peace and tranquillity of the island. Overnight in port Polača or Pomena.
Departure for the small village of Slano on the mainland, a peaceful fishermen's village and the starting point for Ston, another, once fortified small village famous for its oysters. After exploring the town’s vast medieval ramparts, heading for a small village nearby Mali Ston to learn more about oysters and a special tasting of this delicacy. Transfer back to the vessel for the Captain’s dinner with live entertainment.
Early morning departure to Dubrovnik, one of the world's most beautifully preserved medieval cities. Before tied up at the Gruž harbour, enjoy a cruise alongside the old Dubrovnik city walls while lunch is served on deck. After docking, transfer to the old town for the guided walking tour of this magical town. Take the cable car from the Old Town to Srđ mountain to enjoy scenic views of the Walls and the Elaphiti Islands. Meander through the narrow streets, exploring the Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architecture or walk on top of the 1940 m long city walls. Overnight in Dubrovnik.
Day 8: Dubrovnik | Disembark
Gather for one final breakfast on the vessel, followed by goodbyes to your crew and new friends.
Everything was amazing! The planning with Adventure Life went smoothly. The actual trip was fantastic! One of the best trips I have experienced. The cruise staff members were knowledgeable and attentive. I will be writing more about this on the blog!