2014 CROATIAN DISCOVERY
Bordering the sparkling Adriatic Sea, Croatia is a coastal nation with over 1,875 islands. The food is wonderful. The wine is delicious. The vistas are outstanding. The people are fun. It is a wonderful country to explore – steeped in history and bustling with old-world flavor!
We’re going to spend the week on a “gulet”. These broad-beamed boats are very popular on the Adriactic. We’ve chosen the MS Marija Magdelena because of its itinerary – it allows each of us to make our own way to Dubrovnik, to arrive any time at all on Saturday, September 20th. In addition, this gulet is “price-sensitive” which means it’s not fancy. But keeping to a budget is important and we’d rather have money for activities and exploring. Someday we can all go back and stay in castles but for right now, we’re going to have FUN!
Saturday, 20 Sep: DUBROVNIK (D)
Welcome to the Dubrovnik, the Jewel of the Adriatic! If you’re just arriving today, the airport is about 45 minutes south of the city. While airport transfers are your own responsibility, we will try to coordinate taxis. If you’re already staying in Dubrovnik, the Port is just a brief taxi ride.
We can embark aboard the MS Marija Magdalena anytime after 2pm. Enjoy a welcome drink and snack while meeting our Captain, the crew members and cruise director.
After you’ve settled in a bit, the rest of the afternoon is free to explore Dubrovnik. The City bus will take you right to the Walls of the Old City.
Tonight, dinner is aboard and we’ll overnight in Dubrovnik.
Sunday, 21 Sep: DUBROVNIK – ISLAND OF OLIPA – SLANO (B,L,D)
From Dubrovnik, we’ll sail north this morning to the Elaphiti Island of Olipa where we’ll stop for a swim, and lunch. Later this afternoon, we’ll continue along the coast to the lovely town of Slano, a perfect place for a long walk along the beach!
Tonight we’ll enjoy an informal wine tasting on the beach and dinner aboard.
After dinner, there are several local spots to explore for drinks and music.
Monday, 22 Sep: SLANO – POMENA, ISLAND OF MLJET (B,L,D)
Sleep in and then enjoy your morning coffee as we sail towards the island of Mljet.
The National Park of Mljet situated on Mljet Island has been described as "Paradise on Earth". This island retreat has two lakes and a monastery in the middle. The air here is so pure and the pine trees reflect so clearly in the surrounding blue sea, Mljet may just be the "enchanted island" from the epic Homer’s Odyssey, where nymph Calypso captured Odysseus.
We will arrive on Mljet after lunch, and you will have the whole afternoon to explore the National Park: swimming in the shallow sea water lakes, kayaking, riding a bike or simply enjoying intact nature. A park bus will take us up to the lakes and monastery.
Tonight, we’ll enjoy dinner aboard in the middle of the harbor and then there’s a lovely little bar adjacent to the Old Walls! It’s a fun overnight in Mljet!
Tuesday, 23 Sep: Mljet – Hvar (B,L,D)
This morning, we’re sailing towards the sunniest of the Croatian Islands, Hvar! Weather depending, we’ll make a swimming stop on the little island of Scedro. It’s also a great stop for a walk before lunch.
In the late afternoon we’ll arrive at the enchanting town of Hvar, a well-known gathering place for international celebrities. Hvar gained glory and power during Middle Ages while being an important port within the Venetian naval empire. Hvar Town has preserved an intricately carved Venetian architecture. Admire the views from the hilltop Spanjol Fortress, where you will look out over the red-tile-roofed town below.
At 4pm, we’ll depart for an amazing cooking event! This evening, you’ll step into the world of secrets of the most authentic Mediteranean cuisine and learn its flavors and tricks. Chef Berti Tudor will host us at the village of Malo Grablje, which was abandoned and left "to the ravages of time" in 1950's.
Annoyed by the rush, crowd and noise in Milna and nearby Hvar Town especially during it's high tourism season periods, Chef Berti decided to get back to his roots. He began restoring his family property - an old brick oven, kitchen, cellar and opened a small family restaurant with just 5 tables offering simple traditional meals prepared mostly with the ingredients that are found in the surrounding area of Malo Grablje.
Chef Berti is a true "Hvar islander". He uses the produce that he that he grows - from wine to olive oil and lavender essential oils and picking rosemary. His lovely family is always there to help us enjoy this totally unique experience - happiness, joy and laugh in the most amazing environment of Malo Grablje where the "sound of silence" is only broken by the occasional bird or grasshopper.
Along with Chef Berti, we will explore this abandoned village and its gardens, pick capers from the 400 years old house façade, forage for wild rosemary that we’ll will use with dinner, harvest some fresh salad from the stony soil, pick up some wild onion and cook the most tasteful meal you ever tried and create a unique memory for your family & friends. Along the way, we’ll hear stories of its ancient past. Back at the restaurant, we’ll prepare a traditional dinner including peka and a wild boar “hunters stew”.
Returning to the boat late in the evening, there will still be time to stroll the bustling promenade and explore handcraft, souvenir and wine stores as well as numerous open air cafes.
Excursion: Cooking Class in the abandoned village of Malo Grablie. Overnight in Hvar.
Wednesday, 24 Sep: HVAR – ISLAND OF BRAC – SPLIT (B,L,D)
This morning we’ll set sail, stopping at the island of Brac for swimming and a robust hike.
After lunch, we arrive in the gorgeous coastal city of Split. On the UNESCO World Heritage List, 1700 year-old Split is built around a Diocletian Palace and remains a crown jewel of Dalmatia.
This afternoon we’ll do a walking tour of the Old Town. Then there will be plenty of time to discover the hidden gems of Split - wine cellars, craft stores, little cafes along the Promenade.... Dinner tonight is aboard and I suspect that we will find many additional opportunities for evening fun! Overnight in Split.
Thursday, 25 Sep: SPLIT – KORCULA (B,L,D)
If you’re up early, we’ll head out for a walk through the fish and farmer’s market in Split before setting sailing for the magical island of Korcula, the birthplace of Marco Polo!
This is a lovely afternoon to explore this ancient town. Wander the 26 narrow cobbled streets of Korcula old town and indulge in the outstanding architecture, from the majestic Gothic-Baroque Cathedral of St Mark to the Venetian inspired palace of the Gabrielis family, which now houses the Town Museum. Discover the tales of the explorer Marco Polo by visiting his family home or learn about Korcula’s religious traditions by visiting the many churches, Icon Museum and Abbey Treasury. Complete your tour by walking the circumference of this enchanting old town and marvel at the historic towers, ensuring you climb the Revelin Tower for the views.
At 4pm, we’ll leave for another amazing cooking event – Pasta Making at the Konoba Belin in the small village of Zeljko! Our evening will begin with a welcome drink and then we’re off on a walking tour of the little hamlet. The Konoba Belin family’s roots in the area go back hundreds of years and they are always anxious to share their history and heritage with visitors.
Back in the kitchen, we’ll embark on our cooking class – fried zucchini with rosemary, homemade pasta and meat sauce. Zrnovski makaruni, a succulent, hand-rolled, cigar-shaped pasta is a local favorite.
After class, we’ll enjoy some local wine with Belin’s homemade ham, cheese and olives. Then our wonderful dinner under their beautiful arbor.
After dinner, we’ll return to the Old Town where we can stroll through beautiful cobbled streets and perhaps try every flavor of gelato that we can find!
Overnight in Korcula.
Friday, 26 Sep: KORCULA – swim break en route – DUBROVNIK (B,L,D)
This morning’s sail will take us along the magnificent shores of the Elaphiti archipelago, consisting of fifteen islands stretched northwest of Dubrovnik. With their beautiful beaches and pristine scenery, Elephiti attracts tourists and visitors from all over the world. Depending on the weather, we’ll enjoy a swim break enroute.
What you will first notice from the ship in the afternoon hours will be the fairy-tale seaside fortress with its 14th century ramparts - the main landmark of Dubrovnik, the city rightfully named “The Pearl of the Adriatic”. It is the Old Town that everyone comes to see when visiting this jewel–city ; its buildings with narrow alleyways, red-bricked roofs and a smattering of churches all encased by high city walls which are a must to walk. Dubrovnik is a cultural treat where science, philosophy and literature flourished in the Middle Ages.
The options this afternoon are astounding - perhaps you'd enjoy a city tour, concentrating on its historic and artistic heritage or maybe you'd enjoy walking along the walls of the Old Town and a visit to the Cathedral, Franciscan Monastery, Rector`s Palace or any of the other attractions of this precious and beautiful UNESCO site. There's even time to take the tram up the hill over the city and walk back down to admire the views over the Adriatic. Shopping? Today would be your day! And if you still need a few more hours at the beach, there's time for that too! The city bus departs from the harbor and will take you directly downtown.
Tonight is our final informal wine tasting and farewell dinner. Then it’s off to “JAZZ IT UP! with Jose Feliciano” featuring Jose Feliciano & His Band. As part of the Dubrovnik Jazz and Wine Festival, we've been invited to hear Jose and his band perform a private concert for the Sponsors of the Festival at the Sun Gardens Dubrovnik on the coast, a few miles north of Gruz harbor. This very special event includes an intimate “up-close-and-personal” concert and an opportunity to meet Jose for photos and autographs! Wines, catering and sweets will also be served. After the concert, there still will be an hour to two to explore Dubrovnik at night! Perhaps a bit of music and a bit more wine? Overnight in Dubrovnik.
Saturday, 27 Sep: DUBROVNIK (B)
Breakfast and disembarkation by 09:00 AM. It’s an early morning as some may have air departures before noon. However, if you’re staying on, Dubrovnik is a wonderful base for discovery and Southern Dalmatia will continue to welcome you with its many charms.
Airport and/or hotel transfers are on your own but we’ll coordinate them based on your destination and departure time.
Everything noted above is included in the price of $1,500 USD. Additionally, Croatian Tourist Tax and Dubrovnik Port Fees are included as well as the entrance fee to the National Park on Mljet. All meals beginning with dinner on Saturday, September 20th through breakfast on Saturday, September 27th are included. All tours as indicated are included. However, beverages on the boat and while on shore are not included (except where indicated). Airport and/or hotel transfers are on your own but we will try and coordinate them for purposes of convenience and economy.
As of today, we have nine Croatia Discovers! Our optioned cabins are full.
• Up to 22 days prior to the tour – 15%
• 21-15 days prior to the tour – 50%
• 14-8 days prior to the tour – 75%
• 7-0 days and no-show – 100%
We heartily suggest travel insurance and will provide additional suggestions with your paid deposit invoice.
A bit about MaryAnne Pulizzi, our Travel Consultant…MaryAnne and I have worked and travelled together for over 30 years. Professionally associated with Diplomat Travel, MaryAnne lives in Rome during the winter and in Dubrovnik in the Summer and Fall. She’s alot of fun and you’ll all get a chance to meet her during the week. If you want to do anything in Croatia, before or after this trip, I heartily encourage you to chat with her. She really is the best travel planner that I know in Croatia. Her email is MAPulizzi@MAPTravelRoma.com
This is an extremely casual trip. The weather is going to be beautiful. You’ll need a pair of shorts, tee shirts, a bathing suit, jeans, sneakers and one pair of pants/skirt – all packed in soft luggage that can fold up. The rooms on the boat are tiny and we’ll have upper and lower beds in the twin cabins. You won’t get seasick. Gulets are the best way to enjoy the islands!
Airport and port transfers are on your own but we can arrange them for a nominal cost when we have the final number of travelers.
Pre-cruise week of “Off-the-Beaten Path Adventure” - Almost 30 years ago, when I first set foot in this magical maritime country, I decided that I would ultimately wind up there. While many things have changed over time, including the name of the country, my decision has remained steadfast. However, each year, there is more and more to discover. The week before our cruise, I’ve planned a few days of “peeking around the corners” and seeing what happens in the countryside PLUS a little outdoor fun, lots of food, some cooking, a great deal of wine and some testing of travelling mettle. If you’d like to join me, I’ll be happy to give you more details.
FRIDAY NIGHT, SEPTEMBER 19th
If you're in Dubrovnik, I've reserved seven seats for a performance by the Lindo Folklore Ensemble.
"Moj je dragi najbolji, njega svaka cura voli, jer on plese Lindjo" ...or in rough translation - My beloved is the best, every girl likes him because he dances Lindjo - is a 1994 song by a Croatian pop-rock band called Gracia. - even today it truly is so!
The Folklore ensamble Lindo was founded in 1964 to promote traditional dances and songs of the Republic of Croatia. Lindo first started performing a year later, in 1965 and by today became a brand name when speaking of tourism in the city of Dubrovnik.
Lindo itself is the most popular dance of the Dubrovnik coastal region and has been danced in the same manner for over 200 years. The dance is accompanied by the lijerica - an old South Dalmatian instrument with three strings, which came from the Eastern Mediterranean and Greece in late 18th century.
We'll gather downtown in plenty of time for a toast before the performance!
I will be arriving in Croatia on Sunday, September 14th and will post my itinerary here.