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Croatia — Jewel of the Adriatic

Saturday, May 11 – Saturday, May 25, 2024

Day 1: Saturday, May 11


Upon arrival at Zagreb International Airport you will be met and transferred to your hotel. This evening meet your Expanding Horizons escort and fellow travelers in the hotel lobby.  We will walk a short distance to a local Zagreb restaurant for tonight’s welcome dinner. (D)

OVERNIGHT: Le Premier Hotel Zagreb (2 nights)

Day 2: Sunday, May 12


This morning we have a guided walking tour to explore the heritage of Zagreb. In the fortified, medieval Upper Town, see St. Mark’s Church, with its multicolor tiled roof, the lavishly baroque St. Catherine’s Church, Parliament, the government palace, and many fine old buildings. The lower city is presided over by a statue of a mounted Ban Jelacic in the main square. Zagreb’s Stone Gate is a mystical place and the most significant shrine in Zagreb. Light a candle and pray for health, happiness, good luck and love. Following our walking tour, depart by coach towards Jastrebarsko, along the Plešivica Wine Road. Visit and enjoy a splendid gourmet lunch at Korak Winery, one of the most famous wineries on Croatia’s most popular continental wine region. In the cellar taste some of their delicious Riesling, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines. The perfect hilltop view gives the winery a unique panorama. In the afternoon return to Zagreb. This evening is at leisure to dine independently. (B,L)

Day 3 Monday, May 13


Journey from Zagreb to Plitvice Lakes, stopping in the picturesque watermill village of Rastoke. Here cascading falls and traditional wooden houses create a fairytale setting. En route to Plitvice Lakes, stop for a lunch before continuing to the most beautiful and oldest national park in Croatia, with 16 lakes connected by magnificent waterfalls. Located in the Lika Mountains, walk through much of the park before a boat ride across emerald green Lake Kozjak. Spend some 4 hours here, with time to relax and take in the pristine beauty of this unique area. Dinner tonight will be at our hotel. (B,L,D)

OVERNIGHT: 1 night PLITVICE LAKES – Hotel Placich (or similar)

Day 4: Tuesday, May 14


The charming Opatija Riviera is a smaller but very similar version of the more famous French Riviera. Since the mid-1800’s royal families, celebrities and musicians have summered in Opatija. There’s a real café-society here. We’ll hear the history of Opatija and see this seaside city’s many monuments. Walk the famous Franz Joseph promenade “Lungomare” to the fishermen’s village of Volosko.  This is home to some of the best seafood restaurants in Croatia.  At the Choco Bar sample exclusive chocolate cocktails, cakes and ice-cream. Dinner tonight will be in an Opatija local restaurant. (B,D)

OVERNIGHT: 2 nights OPATIJA – Hotel Bristol (or similar)

Day 5: Wednesday, May 15


Today explore the Istrian Peninsula, often called “Croatia’s Tuscany”. The town of Rovinj sits alone on a small peninsula and has a strong Italian influence. Stroll along cobbled Mediterranean streets passing by numerous art galleries. From St. Euphemia Church take in amazing views of the surrounding Adriatic islands. This afternoon dine at a rural tavern, with a lunch featuring local wines, olive oil and truffles. Before returning to Opatija, stop in Motovun, one of Istria’s hilltop towns surrounded by lush vineyards.  A tasting of the renowned Istrian wines of Roxanich will complete the day. (B,L)

Day 6: Thursday, May 16


Today we drive the scenic Adriatic coastal road, a Croatian equivalent to California’s Hwy. 1 drive through Big Sur, passing Krk, Rab, Novilja and Pag islands.  Enjoy a simple lunch en route at a picturesque seaside restaurant.  Arrive in Zadar in the afternoon.  Tonight’s dinner is arranged at Pet Bunara, a colorful local restaurant with marvelous Dalmatian cuisine. (B,T,D)

OVERNIGHT: 1 night in ZADAR – Hotel Kolovare (or similar)

Day 7: Friday, May 17


Zadar is the oldest university town in Croatia, with an immense historical heritage. See the 1st Century Roman Forum and the 9th Century St. Donat Church, the Museum of Ancient Glass, over 30 churches, majestic family palaces and villas. The Zadar waterfront has the fascinating Sea Organ and the “Greeting to the Sun” light installations. Later visit Trogir, a UNESCO site with its own fascinating 2,300-year history. Trogir was created under the influence of ancient Greeks, Romans, and then the Venetians. This small island has numerous palaces, churches, towers and prominent fortresses. Enjoy a guided walking tour, followed by lunch featuring the traditional and delicious Dalmatian stew “pašticada”. This afternoon travel to Split. (B,L)

OVERNIGHT: 1 night in SPLIT – Hotel Jupiter (or similar)

Day 8: Saturday, May 18


Split is another historic Croatian city on the Adriatic Sea, a UNESCO World Heritage site with an abundance of Roman architecture.  Of special interest is the magnificent Diocletian Palace, once home to the Roman Emperor.  At 2pm board the vessel Avangard for check-in, followed by welcome cocktails and lunch on board. Leaving Split, depart for Hvar, 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, including the Renaissance cathedral and the oldest community theater in Europe, founded in 1612. Hike up to the fortress along the zig-zag path that overlooks the harbor with dramatic scenic views of Pakleni Islands. Hvar has ample nightlife and entertainment including plentiful restaurants, bars and clubs. Many are open long into the night.


OVERNIGHT: 7 nights aboard motor yacht AVANGARD

Day 9: Sunday, May 19


Early morning cruise toward the small island Biševo to visit the Blue Cave, a stunning natural phenomenon.  Visiting is subject to weather conditions. If the cave is accessible an entrance fee must be paid – approx. 10-15 euro.  Later continue to the island of Vis, once a strategic and secretive Yugoslav naval base. Decades of isolation left a special charm here. On the island’s northern side lie the ruins of ancient Issar. Stroll through the Roman Thermal Palace, the City Museum or along the lovely waterfront. Vis Island has marvelous small restaurants and cafes. This evening is at leisure for independent dining. (B,L,T)

Day 10: Monday, May 20


Sail to the island of Korčula, the birthplace of Marco Polo, stopping for lunch in one of the secluded bays. Arrive in Korčula this afternoon. This enchanting town is one of the best-preserved medieval cities in the Mediterranean. Korcula’s streets were paved in a fishbone pattern, providing a natural cooling effect.  Later journey a short distance to a small hilltop village to experience a typical Dalmatian lifestyle with dinner, cooked over wood coals at Benin Restaurant.  (B,L,D)

Day 11: Tuesday, May 21


Venture south to the Island of Mljet. Legend has it that the epic Greek hero Odysseus spent years on this island when he was captured by the nymph Calypso. Mljet Island is the site of numerous ancient shipwrecks.   After our swim stop, stroll to the famous salt lakes in the Mljet National Park, followed by a boat ride to St. Mary Isle to visit an ancient Benedictine Monastery, Abbey and 12th century church.  Alternatively, kayaks, bicycles, scooters or convertible cars can be rented to roam the national park or explore the island on your own. Beware of the nymphs!  There are great seafood restaurants ashore on Mljet. This evening is at leisure for independent dining. (B,L)

Day 12: Wednesday, May 22


Leaving Mljet, sail to the small mainland village of Slano, a peaceful fishermen’s village.  This is also the starting point for Ston, another fortified small village renowned for its high-quality oysters. Explore the town’s medieval ramparts, followed by a special oyster tasting in the village of Mali Ston. Afterward there is a short walking tour of Ston town.  See the famous Salt Works here.  This was the source of much of Dubrovnik’s wealth during the Renaissance years. Enormous walls protected the town from invaders coveting salt, a precious commodity before refrigeration.  Tonight a light dinner is served on board. (B,T,D)

Day 13: Thursday, May 23


Early morning departure to Dubrovnik, one of the world’s most beautifully preserved medieval cities. Before tying up at the Gruž Harbor, 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 city. Board the cable car from Dubrovnik Old Town to Srđ Mountain for scenic views of the city and Elaphiti Islands. Meander through narrow streets lined with buildings displaying Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architecture.  Walk along the massive city walls before returning to the ship. Tonight is the Captain’s Dinner with live entertainment. (B,CD)

Day 14: Friday, May 24


After breakfast today is free to discover the Old Town Dubrovnik on your own. The cruise manager can arrange optional different excursions such as:

  • Visit of the old mill and lunch
  • Wine tasting and lunch and visit of Trsteno Arboretum
  • Full day excursion to Kotor, Montenegro

This evening enjoy a Farewell Dinner on board.(B,D)

Day 15: Saturday, May 25


After breakfast, transfer to Dubrovnik Airport for onward flights.


Due to specific mooring conditions and requirements in some Croatian ports, Katarina Line ships are moored side by side, making it necessary for the clients to cross from one ship to another with gaps in between ships in order to get to the shore. In such cases clients need to take special care when crossing and do this at their own risk. Crew assistance will be given to those needing and requesting it.  

Cruise not recommended for clients in wheelchairs or with limited mobility.

Katarina Line and the captain of the vessel reserve the right to change and modify the route due to weather conditions as well as conditions in the ports visited. The order of visits may be different than published in case of ports being overly crowded and too busy and with the intention to give the customer a better experience overall.


Expanding Horizons reserves the right to amend the program and provide alternative arrangements without notification.