The Croatian Coast
An Active Adventure for the Discerning Traveller
Equally attractive to active younger explorers and to more seasoned travelers, Croatia is calling. Adagio’s meandering sojourn along the sun-bathed coast provides an experience that far exceeds a mere tourist visit. You’ll learn of Croatia’s eventful history. Over the centuries their governments have included Greek, Roman and Early Croatian, Venetian, Austrian and more recently the Yugoslavian government with which we are more familiar. But just as important, you’ll enjoy a true holiday of superb yet simple food and wine, and the chance to blend in with the locals by adopting their no-stress lifestyle.
Our 9-day tour of the Croatian coastline will take you from the romantic and picturesque town of Rovinj, the gem of the Istrian peninsula in the north, down the rugged Dalmatian coast toward the region’s capital of Split. Affectionately called ‘the most beautiful city in the world’ by its locals and the home of UNESCO-protected Diocletian’s Palace, Split is underrated and you’re among the lucky few to discover it before the crowds. Our journey ends in the medieval ‘pearl of the Adriatic’, Dubrovnik, on the southern tip of Croatia. Enhanced with an array of activities such as scenic bike rides, island hopping, hiking trips, kayaking tours, visits to family farms, and carefully selected gastronomic experiences, this exciting adventure along the Croatian Adriatic will engage all your senses and provide a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
This trip can also be run on a custom basis for specific groups on alternative dates. Please inquire for more information.
DAY 1 – Rovinj
Independent arrival (we recommend the ferry from Venice) and check-in at the Angelo d’Oro Heritage Hotel in the center of Rovinj, an elegant boutique property located in a former 17th century Bishop’s Palace. Take some time to settle in and relax. This evening, wander with your guide through the picturesque town of Rovinj, nestled on a peninsula dominated by the lofty bell tower of the Church of St. Euphemia. The labyrinth of narrow streets climbing up to the church is lined with art galleries and shops, offering plenty of temptations. After the pleasant stroll, enjoy cocktails at Valentino’s bar, followed by a welcome dinner in a local restaurant, where we have booked the best table on the terrace for you to enjoy the spectacular view of Rovinj and its fabled sunset while sipping a glass of wine. Cheers – or shall we say, “Živjeli “! Welcome drink, D
Lodging for the next two nights: Angelo d’Oro Heritage Hotel (comfort rooms with city view)
DAY 2 – Exploring the Istrian Peninsula
After a hearty breakfast you will depart for the town of Grožnjan, where you will hop an E-bike for a scenic guided tour through the serene verdant surroundings of rural Istria. Explore small hilltop towns with ease thanks to the “little engine” on your bike! At midday, stop at a family-owned farm for an authentic meal made from locally grown ingredients and homemade wine. After lunch, continue cycling to the town of Motovun, a quaint artistic oasis on top of a hill, where the E-bike tour will end. Free time to wander through the maze of Motovun’s cobbled streets and lovely squares. From there we’ll give you a lift back to Rovinj for a pleasant leisurely evening and a well-deserved rest after this eventful day. B,L
DAY 3 – Rovinj – Pula – Split
Hearty breakfast and checkout, followed by a scenic 40-minute flight from the Pula Airport to Split, Croatia’s second largest city. Feel the wind in your hair as you’re whisked from the airport to the Split city center via speedboat, then disembark right in the inviting old town center. Start the afternoon with a food & wine pairing treat at Zinfandel Food & Wine Bar, where you can treat your palate to some scrumptious bites and a bottle of premium, locally-produced wine.
After the savory lunch it’s time for hotel check-in and free time during which you can relax and re-charge your batteries for the late-afternoon guided walking tour of Split. Split is not only a city; it is a living monument of antique architecture intertwined with early Christian, Byzantine and Medieval art, listed as a World Heritage Site since 1979. The city originated from a spacious Roman palace built by the charismatic Roman Emperor Diocletian as his retirement residence. From a place of pagan worship housing the Emperor’s mausoleum, over the centuries the structure has evolved into a true Mediterranean city featuring one of the first Christian cathedrals in the world, dedicated to Split’s patron saint – St. Domnius. The Imperial substructures, the Peristyle, temples, sphinxes, medieval palaces, fruit market, fish market, picturesque streets and squares… the vivid pulse of the city will capture you! Dinner on your own tonight. B,L
Lodging for the next three nights: 4* Luxe Hotel, Split (superior sea view rooms with mini-balcony)
DAY 4 – Walking and drinking on the Island of Brač
The morning ferry ride (50 minutes) to the island of Brač marks the beginning of Day 4 and the chance to explore this magnificent island on foot. Upon disembarking in the town of Supetar, you will journey to the starting point of an easy 30- to 40-minute ascent to the Blaca Hermitage – a monastic complex built around a stone cave in which Croatian monks found shelter from the Turks. Using the hermitage as a farm, school and a private astronomical observatory, the monks produced wine, grew olive trees, pressed the oil, raised sheep, oxen and mules, and tended to more than 230 unique stone-carved bee hives. Apart from the interesting historical facts, your guide will also share numerous legendary tales about this magnificent place, which was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List in 2007.
After visiting the monastery, continue ascending toward Obršje, one of the many abandoned shepherds’ villages on the island. There’s a bit of time for some picturesque photos, then we’ll move on to the Senjković winery. This fourth-generation family-owned “hip and humble” winery presents superb examples of the grapes indigenous to the island. You’ll visit a 200 year old wine cellar and then sit down in their simple courtyard to a seven (small!) course slow food tasting lunch paired with wines. On the way back to the ferry you’ll stop at the top of Vidova Gora Hill. At 780 meters, the highest peak of the island of Brač and the highest mountain peak of the Adriatic islands offers a stunning view of the town of Bol and the famous “white tongue” Golden Horn beach (Croatia’s most spectacular), as well as of the remarkable UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Stari Grad Plain on the neighboring island of Hvar – the unique land division system deriving from Ancient Greek times.
Back on the (jovial!) ferry for the ride back to Split, where you will arrive in early evening. Enjoy the city’s rich and lively bar scene and/or fine dining opportunities tonight. B,L with wine pairing
DAY 5 – Free day in Split / Lavish dinner
Today is yours! Explore the 1700-year-old city of Split at your own pace. You may enjoy simply strolling around the old town center soaking in the atmosphere of the vibrant streets and admiring the various architectural styles fused together in the uniquely charming fabric of the city. Art and history buffs can visit one of the city’s numerous museums and galleries. Sports enthusiasts can spend the day in nature on Split’s iconic Marjan hill, where finally the Croatian flag proudly flies in place of the Yugoslav flag that stood there for 40 years. Here you can jog, hike, trek, cycle, swim or free climb. If you are an adventurous foodie, treat yourself to a tasting of exotic middle European delicacies in one of the city’s countless catering establishments. In any case, Split is a colourful postcard providing a myriad of options that can cater to any taste.
* For those of you whose love for food also includes a talent for cooking, we can organize an optional cooking class (with lunch included!), preceded by shopping at the traditional fish and farmers’ markets.
In the evening we have a gastronomic experience in store for you: an authentic gourmet meal paired with premium, locally-produced wine, and presented with a modern twist (either Makarun or Bokeria). B,D
DAY 6 – Split – Dubrovnik (Island-hopping day)
Shortly after breakfast and hotel checkout you will hop a speedboat and set off on a full-day trip toward Dubrovnik, stopping at several memorable points along the way. The first one is the island of Hvar, a rather busy summer destination frequently visited by celebrities. Although Hvar’s present-day reputation is that of a glitzy party hub, it is in fact one of the oldest tourist destinations in the Adriatic. Its pearl is the small bay town of Hvar in which 16th century walls surround beautifully ornamented Gothic palaces and traffic-free marble streets.
There are several options for the first break on today’s island-hopping tour: if the group prefers to visit the cultural sights, we can organise a guided walk through the old town followed by a coffee break. If, however, crystal-clear waters, hidden beaches and deserted lagoons sound more appealing to you, we can visit the Paklinski Islands, a scenic chain of wooded islets which stretch out immediately in front of the town, for some swimming and chill-out time in one of the beach bars. Ultimately, the decision may depend on the weather.
Continuing southward, you will stop for lunch in the town of Korčula. Your destination: a local tavern, renowned for its outstanding food and tucked away in a quiet street at the very heart of the town. Before reaching Dubrovnik, you can stop again for a swim (or hiking) break either on the island of Mljet or one of the Elaphite islands. Upon arrival in Dubrovnik, you can stroll the Lapad peninsula where your hotel is situated, or around the nearby city center. B,L
Lodging for the next three nights: 4* Kompas Hotel (superior sea view rooms with balcony)
DAY 7 – Dubrovnik – City Walls from the Sea and …
After a leisurely breakfast, how about kayaking [additional fee] beneath Dubrovnik city walls, enjoying the view of the majestic towering ramparts from the sea? Plan B in case of crowds in the waters right below the walls: same thing but at the nearby Zaton Bay, Dubrovnik’s green and unspoilt oasis of tranquillity boasting aristocratic summer mansions. Those who opt to kayak will be finished by midday. Either way, you’ll have several hours to immerse in the lively atmosphere of Croatia’s most popular tourist destination before the early evening walking tour of Dubrovnik city walls and the old town.
The walk will begin on the city walls and continue with the city’s lifeline, Stradun promenade, which encompasses all the major sights of Dubrovnik’s historic center. Starting from the Gate of Pile and the Church of Saint Saviour, you will see Onofrio’s Fountain, Franciscan and Dominican churches, the bell tower, old city harbor, and the Cathedral – each a significant historic landmark. The crown jewel of Dubrovnik is the Knežev Dvor, or the Rector’s Palace, now the city`s historical museum.
For a proper closure of the day, you will enjoy dinner on the terrace of one of the finest restaurants, Proto, where the superbly cooked dishes (fish is the specialty here) will be paired with exquisite local wines. B,D
DAY 8 – Dubrovnik
As Dubrovnik has a lot to offer, today we can arrange activities [additional fee] tailored to your specific interests. How about a “Game of Thrones” tour? Or one focused on the recent Homeland War period? Jewish heritage? Gastronomy? The afternoon will be free for you to spend as you please, with suggestions of where to shop for unique items to bring back to friends and family … and yourself!
To round off this exciting and diverse 9-day tour in style, we have organized a farewell dinner in a restaurant whose name will give you a hint of what to expect (apart from great food!) – offering an enchanting view of the old town of Dubrovnik, the Panorama restaurant is famous for its simple but distinctive dishes and we will reach it by the iconic Dubrovnik cable car.
Transportation back to your hotel will be provided at the end of the evening. B, D
DAY 9 – Dubrovnik – departure day
Sadly, this is the morning of farewell. After breakfast and hotel checkout, independent transfer to the Dubrovnik airport. Dreaming of future destinations!
Note: We can also offer pre- or post-stay add-ons, such as an additional stay in Slovenia, Istria, Dubrovnik, Montenegro, or Bosnia & Herzegovina.
We can also offer pre- or post-stay add-ons, such as an additional stay in Slovenia, Istria, Dubrovnik, Montenegro, or Bosnia & Herzegovina. Please contact us if you are interested in this trip for an individual group on a custom basis; we offer advantageous pricing for this option.