Croatia Cruise & Walking Tour Write a review
Our trip begins in fascinating Split, a historic port on the Adriatic Sea and formerly home to Roman Emperor Diocletian, whose palace forms the heart of the town’s center. Here you board your private yacht, a 90-foot all wood “gulet” with a friendly crew of four. The yacht serves both as your hotel and transport to access wonderful walks throughout the islands. At night we vary our anchorages between secluded bays and charming fishing ports. The sea is a gorgeous turquoise, the islands are redolent with lavender, vineyards, and olive groves, and the towns we visit welcome you with their rich history and beautiful Venetian architecture. The trip also features a supplemental stay in captivating Dubrovnik (see below** for details).
Croatia Walk and Cruise Tour Includes:
Croatia Cruise & Walking Tour itinerary Request full itinerary
The Dalmatian islands have smitten Roman Emperors, Venetian traders, and since 2008, us! We visit tiny Šolta island, whose remote villages seem locked in time. Brač is the largest of the islands and has a rich history that goes back to Neolithic times. Condé Nast magazine voted Hvar island among the “Ten Most Beautiful Islands in the World”. Spend some time in its lovely main town which boasts beautiful Renaissance architecture, and then get out to explore its scenic interior. Our final island, far-flung Vis, has indeed been locked in time as it was off-limits to tourists until 1992. It features two of Dalmatia’s most quaint and historic seaside villages.
There is no better way to explore these beautiful islands than by private yacht and we have reserved our favorite Croatian gulet and crew. The gulet is a two-masted sailing ketch/motor yacht. It is broad-beamed for extra stability and deck space. The boat has 6 double cabins available for guests and all cabins have an en suite bathroom and screened-in stand-up shower. You can unpack for a week yet your floating hotel has a different view every day! Furthermore, you can opt in and out of our daily walks. You can choose to stay on the yacht, have a swim, try sea kayaking, or just relax on deck while the others walk. All of the sea travel is done during the day, so nights are serene as we stay in sheltered bays or in small fishing ports (no seasickness!).
Arrive independently in Split. There are several flights a day from European hubs or ferries from Italy. Meet your guide(s) and the rest of your group at 11:00 am for a guided visit of historic Split, or meet us at 16:00 to board the boat. Split’s historic center is unique as it was built around the Roman Emperor Diocletian’s Palace. Built in 295 AD as his retirement home (the only Emperor ever to retire!), it covers more than 3,000 square meters and was built with materials brought from Egypt and Greece. The palace included exquisite temples, vast reception chambers, and extensive private apartments within its huge walls, and now forms the nucleus of the modern city. We board our yacht in Split, and then cruise out into the sparkling Adriatic. A one-hour cruise takes us to the island of Šolta where we anchor in a bay, enjoy a swim, and then have dinner on board. Overnight Šolta.
We drop-off in Necujam bay then have a leisurely walk through olive groves and along ancient stone walls to Grohote for coffee break. We have a fascinating visit with the last commercial bee keeper on the island. Goran speaks excellent English and shares his knowledge and passion for the essential bee. “Give Bees a Chance!” Have lunch on board and a swim, then motor over to Pucišca on Brač island. You have some free time to explore the back-streets of this beautiful and historic sea-port before heading to dinner in a local konoba (trattoria). Overnight in Pucišca (Brač Island).
This morning features a quick visit of the last stone stone-cutting school in Croatia where youths learn to become quarriers and sculptors. The local limestone has been quarried since Roman times and they say that even the White House contains stone quarried from here. A 1.5-hour hike brings you to Skrip village, where we have a brief visit of the surprisingly rich archaeological museum followed by an olive oil tasting inside a medieval castle. Cap it all off with lunch with a local family in their backyard garden. A van shuttle then takes us up to Vidova Gora for a spectacular view (it’s the highest point in the Adriatic!), and then a scenic walk down a wild ravine to the coast via the 16th century Blaca Monastery. Enjoy a wonderful swim in lovely warm water before boarding the yacht and cruising to Hvar island for dinner. Overnight Starigrad, Hvar island.
We have an easy seaside walk this morning from Starigrad to Vrboska through the UNESCO World Heritage Starigrad plain, which has been cultivated since Greek times (the same stone walls have been delineating the fields for more than 2,000 years!). You will find a few surprise visits today, from the cultural to the culinary, which will whet your appetite for lunch back on the boat. A short cruise takes us to a secluded bay for an afternoon swim before dropping us off in Hvar town, which is one of the most beautiful in Croatia. We lead you up to the 16th century Venetian fort for wonderful views out over the terracotta rooftops of the city and out to sea. You'll have some free time to wander through the colorful streets and alleyways, peruse the boutiques, or sit and relax at a cafe with a drink. We have dinner in town. Overnight near Hvar town.
Start your day with a refreshing dip in the warm Adriatic before a short van transfer into the island’s interior. Pass fields of lavender and a surreal landscape of stone piles, walls, and abandoned terraces. A scenic two-hour walk from village to village terminates in a small bay where your boat awaits you. Have a swim and then lunch on board. An afternoon motor takes us over to the isolated island of Vis, where we tie up to the jetty at Vis town. An evening walk takes you through the village and out to a seaside promontory for sunset, then dinner in one of Croatia’s best restuarants. Overnight Vis.
Our walk takes us along the coast to a maze of abandoned bunkers and tunnels developed by General Tito during and after the Second World War. Vis island was a strategically important island at the time, being the only territory in Yugoslavia not occupied by Axis forces. After our “Guns of Navarone” experience, cruise to neighbouring Biševo island, which boasts its own “blue grotto.” Walk across the island to a gorgeous bay where we have a relaxing late lunch and swim. A short cruise then takes us back to Vis Island and an optional evening walk that offers beautiful views onto charming Komiža village, perhaps the most beloved villages in the whole island chain. Dinner and overnight in Komiža.
A morning cruise after breakfast brings us to Milna village on Brač, where we disembark for a walk up to a lonely chapel built high on the hill overlooking two beautiful fishing villages. Time for a last swim before continuing to Trogir, a gorgeous medieval port town which is also a World Heritage site. Final night dinner on board. Overnight Trogir.
The trip ends this morning after breakfast in Trogir, which is conveniently only a ten-minute taxi ride to the Split airport. You can check your bags and explore the streets of this lovely town before your flights or ferries home.
While you are on the Dalmatian coast, don’t miss the UNESCO World Heritage city of Dubrovnik. It’s only a 4-hour (scenic!) bus ride along the coast from Split, so you could add it on either before or after your boat trip. You will be met by our friendly local guide who will make sure you get your bearings when you get in, then the following day she will give you a two-hour guided visit of the town, known as the “Pearl of the Adriatic.” Dubrovnik is encircled by more than a mile of huge stone walls originally built between the 13th and 16th centuries to protect the city from invaders coming from the sea. Stay another day or two to visit some of the outlying islands, like nearby Lokrum or the beautiful city of Korčula, birthplace of Marco Polo! Contact us for details. We can offer a fully-guided 2-3 day option or just provide you with information.
We will be walking through cities, along farm properties, through woods, and over scrubby terrain. It is often rocky (hiking shoes are recommended) and there are some short climbs. We walk from 2–4 hours a day, with options to extend or shorten the walk. Of course, the boat allows us the option of really relaxing and watching the beautiful coastline unfold as you lie on deck with a good book. The choice is yours.
Activity Level 2 + = Easy to Moderate Plus:
In general: This is an Easy to Moderate tour for fit hikers, and a little challenging but do-able for not-so-fit hikers.
Terrain: Flat to gently rolling terrain but with some rocky, rugged terrain. May have some short, relatively steep climbs and descents, but nothing longer than 30 minutes of sustained ascents or descents. The walks are shorter in distance than those found on a 3 rated tour.
Actual walking time: Between 2-4 hours per day, mostly in the morning but sometimes also in the afternoon.
Distances: Usually between 7 and 10 kms/4.5 and 6 miles. Max distance is 12 kms/7 miles.
Surfaces: Trails consisting of mostly compact earth, gravelly earth, and sometimes dirt-gravel roads and on occasion rocky and uneven trails. .
Footing: Good, but on occasion you have to pay attention to where and how you place your feet. Proper hiking shoes with thick soles with good treads are required. Sport sandals, running shoes and tennis shoes are not adequate.
Specifics: Flat to rolling terrain but often on uneven, rocky trails. Daily activity between 2-4 hours per day, mostly in the morning. Max distance 10 km (6 mi.). Note: a typical day starts with a drop-off from the boat and a morning walk of a few hours with a stop along the way. We often end the morning walk at a beach or cove where we are picked up by the boat. Then we have lunch, cruise to our next destination, and sometimes have a short afternoon walk. This tour can become very easy if you choose to skip some of the walks and enjoy relaxing on the boat!
Hiking Poles: Not required, but if you habitually use hiking poles then you will find them helpful.
Compared to the Cinque Terre: This tour is significantly easier than the hikes in the Cinque Terre.
Other: This tour is appropriate for fit first time “hikers” who enjoy walking and who have good balance and are coordinated.
Easy to Moderate Plus Tours: in this category are all of our boat–based tours in Turkey, Croatia, and Greece if you decide to do all of the walks on offer. On these trips, we usually do a walk in the morning, return to the boat for a swim and then lunch, then cruise, then sometimes drop off for another late afternoon hike, which you could skip and just relax on the boat. Your guides of course can advise you of the difficulty level and the terrain and footing of each walk. Other Easy to Moderate Plus tours are: Tuscany Val d’Orcia & Maremma Walk and Provence Walk
Getting There: we board our yacht around 4 p.m. either in Split or in nearby Trogir (25 km north of Split), so we meet up in Split mid-afternoon and then make our way together to the boat. You may choose to do an extension to Dubrovnik (which is accessible via 4-hour bus ride from Split), or you can also fly into one city and out of the other.
Air: Most international flights arrive in Zagreb, but it is much simpler to fly directly into Split (or Dubrovnik) from London, Frankfurt, Vienna, or Rome – the four cities that have direct flights into Split with Croatia Airlines. EasyJet also has cheap flights in and out of both cities, and there are currently low-cost options like Transavia to Split from Paris-Orly, or from London-Gatwick with Thomson Airlines. See the Split Airport and Dubrovnik Airport websites for more details.
Rail: Croatia’s mountainous coastline makes it unsuitable for rail access to Split and Dubrovnik. There are trains, but many of them link through Zagreb, inland, so unless you are planning on arriving overland from Budapest this is not the option for you. Trains from Italy fare no better: you can get to the border at Trieste, just past Venice, but then the trains move into the interior and the only option for traveling south is by bus. Ten hour bus. There are also ferries which hop down the coast, which would be nice option for those with time on their hands and a smattering of Croatian.
Sea: arriving by ferry from Italy is yet another option for those who wish to dip into Italy before beginning their Croatian odyssey. There are overnight ferries from Venice, Ancona, and Bari to both Split and Dubrovnik, and there are even hydrofoils from Ancona, ferrying you across the Adriatic in just a few hours. See the SNAV ferry website for more information, or Adriatica Navigazione or the Croatian Jadrolinija lines.
Getting Away at the End of the Trip: our trip ends in Split or nearby Trogir at 9 a.m. on Saturday morning. We can arrange for transport to the airport (only 10 mins from Trogir) or back to Split.
If you book a trip with us you will receive detailed information about how to get to the start of your trip, or feel free to e-mail us with any specific travel questions.
Did the Croatian trip after having a great experience on the Turkish walk and sail tour. Another Customwalks epic - spectacular scenery, a great mix of walking, swimming and lots of unexpected and fun treats along the way. The boat and guides were great, as were our fellow travellers, most of whom were repeats from our earlier Turkish trip. Just do it!
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Another Sail and walking tour in a beautiful country. Great guides, hikes, views, food, fun and enjoyment. Highly recommend this trip to anyone looking for excitement and a beautiful experience.
by T Woodall from Atlanta, Georgia USA