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From Split to Dubrovnik, the blue sea pounds relentlessly against white rocks, but each Croatian island shares a different story, offers its own food and wine, and harbors unique customs. It can be seen in the wilderness of Mljet National Park, heard in the national songs of Korcula, and felt in the arid, rocky landscape of Mount Ilija. By walking and hiking its towns and countryside, one discovers the essence of Dalmatia. Where nature and culture meet, you will discover a humble way of life and passionate people, a rich history punctuated by medieval battles, and the heroic tales of Jason and the Argonauts.
During this tour, you will experience staying in first-class and charming accommodations in ideal locations with beautiful views.
Grand Villa Argentina combines exclusivity and attention to detail, with spectacular views of the sea and the surrounding pine tree-clad mountains, and exudes regal, old-world charm. Just minutes from the old town in Dubrovnik, it has been an exclusive enclave in the city for nearly 60 years. Accommodations are as outlined in the itinerary, although we reserve the right to change these should the need arise. You will spend one night in this gorgeous hotel.
A seaside hideaway just steps from the old city center of Hvar, the hotel offers a spa, a rooftop terrace with a swimming pool, and panoramic views of the cathedral, the piazza, and the bay. Hotel Adriana is Croatias first and only member of the Leading Small Hotels of the World. You will spend three nights in this hotel.
This family-run hotel, a combination of traditional and modern, is located on a peaceful beach in the center of Orebic, and features a restaurant with delicious food and local Dingac wine. You will be spending three nights in this hotel.
Hike and kayak through the enchanting Dalmatian Islands. Visit with local farmers, artisans, and winemakers. Indulge in culinary delights, and relax in deluxe, seaside accommodations on this tour of Croatia's Dalmatian Coast. Through orchards, olive groves, and wine terraces, you explore the unique traditions on the Dalmatian islands. Along the way, you visit and dine with local people, and feast on traditional delicacies.
The first day of your tour begins with a walk through the bustling city of Split, one of the Adriatics most vibrant ports of call. Through the centuries, it has changed hands between Greeks and Romans, Byzantines, Venetians, and Austrians (among others), but perhaps the citys greatest claim to fame is its enormous, third-century Palace of Diocletian. Created as the Roman emperors retirement home, the structure is an important example of transitional style, comprising an imperial villa, Hellenistic town, and Roman camp.
This afternoon, you will enjoy lunch and an olive oil tasting in town, before boarding a ferry to the island of Hvar. Upon arrival, you will visit the charming town of Jelsa, located in central Hvar between the islands two highest mountains, St. Nikola and Hum. Tonight, you will enjoy a wine tasting at one of Croatias most well-known vintners, Tomic, where the pillared stone cellar is modeled after a Roman dining room and constructed using materials and methods originally employed by Diocletian. At days end, retire to your boutique hotel in the town of Hvar, offering panoramic views of the town and the marina. The days walk will be easy and last for about 3-4 hours.
Today begins with a hike from the hamlet of Velo Grablje to Malo Grablje, an abandoned stone village that preserves important examples of Croatian architecture dating from the 9th through the 12th centuries. Later this morning, the downhill trail will take you from rugged canyons to the coast, and the tranquil bay town of Milna. Continue along emerald coves and white pebble beaches laced with the scent of pine trees, on your return to Hvar.
This evening, visit the unspoiled villages of Hvars northern coast, where youll be dinner guests at the historic estate of a local artist. Enjoy a homemade meal made from local organic products, and an artist-led studio tour. Todays walk will consist in 3-5 hours of hiking, easy to moderate as level of difficulty, at about 600 feet above sea level, for approximately 7 miles.
This morning, youll travel to the Adriatic Sea for a sea-kayaking excursion to the Pakleni Islands, an emerald archipelago just a short distance from the town of Hvar. Here, white-pebble beaches and secluded coves are dotted with Aleppo pines, once an import source for the resin that was used for centuries as a protective coating for the islands sea-faring galleys.
In the afternoon, return to Hvar for a stroll inside the citys 13th-century walls to its sprawling central square, Trg Svetog Stjepana. Enjoy a talk with the islands foremost aromatherapist. As the day wanes, you may choose to make the climb up to Fortress panjol, a medieval citadel built to defend the city against the Turks. Here the views of Hvars Old Town and the setting sun are unparalleled. Todays physical activity will consist in 2-4 hours of easy sea kayaking and 1-2 hours of walking.
The fourth day begins with a transfer to Hvars eastern-most tip, where youll board a ferry for the 20-minutes voyage back to the mainland. Your first destination this afternoon is the Neretva Plain, an hours drive inland. Rolling fields, clear rivers, and the distant outline of the Dinaric Alps are highlights of this region, known as the Croatian California for its ability to produce the best selection of citrus fruit in the country. Stop by a local vendor to sample delicacies such as tangerine honey and walnut shnaptz. As youll make your way south, youll briefly cross the border into Bosnia before returning to Croatia and your destination, the Peljesac Peninsula and the town of Ston.
Once in Ston, take a two-hour hike along the villages famous 14th-century stone wall. At more than three miles long (second only in length to Chinas Great Wall), the impressive structure once housed 14 towers, and was used to protect both the Dubrovnik Republics western borders and Stons valuable salt pans, which are still in use today. Today ends in Orebic, a charming resort town where youll check in at the beach-front, Hotel Indijan, at the foot of Saint Ilija Mountain. Todays walk will consist in an easy, 2-hour hike for approximately 2 miles.
Following breakfast, a short ferry transfer brings you across the channel to the scenic island of Korcula for an educational city tour by a renowned local guide. Korcula towns grid of marble streets and whitewashed buildings are rich in history and architecture, and the island is known as a cultural epicenter where ages-old folk music, dancing, and religious ceremonies can still be observed. Have a few hours break of sea kayaking on the crystalline waters around Korcula, where small islands offer a plethora of sunny beach hamlets and hidden lagoons to explore. Back on land, have an afternoon tasting of some of the Peljesac Peninsulas acclaimed wines, often considered the best in the country.
For dinner this evening, you may want to try one of the local konobas-restaurants that originated as fishermens hangouts, where hardworking seafarers could enjoy their catch at a meal cooked by the restaurant owner. Located in the hills above Peljesac, the konobas showcase regional Dalmatian cuisine such as air-dried ham or prut, and dishes baked under the bell, a traditional method of cooking meat and vegetable dishes in a metal dome buried in glowing embers. This evenings meal is sure to be a savory and sumptuous feast. Todays physical activity will consist in 1 hour easy walking and 2-4 hours of easy sea kayaking.
Today, a private boat brings you to the forested island of Mljet, just east of Korcula. The islands epic beauty was first chronicled in Homers The Odyssey as the place that captivated Odysseus for seven years. Today, Mljets northwest half has been preserved as a national park, and you will spend the day hiking along pine-shaded paths to one of the islands unique saltwater lakes. After this adventure, return by boat to Orebic for the night. Todays physical activity will consist in a 3 to 4 hours moderately difficult hike at about 700 foot elevation gain, for approximately 7 miles.
This mornings hike takes you to the slopes of nearby Mount Ilija, the highest mountain on the Peljesac Peninsula. Mount Ilija offers one of the best vistas in Dalmatia, with views of the surrounding Dinaric Alps, the islands of Korcula, Brac, Hvar, Vis, and Mljet, the Neretva River Delta, Dubrovnik, and even the outline of Mount Orijen in Montenegro. Begin in Orebic, slowly ascending through vineyards, past an old Franciscan monastery, and along the coast to the town of Viganj. Later this afternoon, make your way to the mainland and Dubrovnik.
Known as the pearl of the Adriatic, Dubrovniks walls have protected this vibrant republic for more than five centuries, and many of its historic treasures-from marble streets to Baroque buildings and even a pharmacy thats been in business since the middle ages survive today. Among Dubrovniks many highlights are the views from its one-mile walkway around the city walls, the vibrant local scene along its pedestrian-friendly Stradun promenade, and of course, its endless bounty of delicious, fresh-caught seafood. Spend your last celebratory night at a deluxe hotel located near the Old Town. Todays walk will be an easy to moderate, 2 to 3 hours hike on trails, at about 650 foot elevation gain, for approximately 6 miles.
Boat ride to the island of Mljet and hike along wooded paths to an old monastery
Discover the Dalmatian town of Split
Explore Dubrovnik, the pearl of the Adriatic
Hike along the slopes of Mount Ilija and the islands of Dalmatia
Hike from the village of Velo Grablje to the nearby hamlet of Malo Grablje
Hike to the Fortress Spanjol
Kayak among the Pakleni Islands
Kayak on the warm Adriatic Sea
Tour the town of Hvar and
Tour the town of Korcula
Travel across the Neretva Plain to the Pelkesac Peninsula and the small town of Ston
This retreat will take place in Croatia, along the Dalmatian Coast.
While hiking and kayaking along the Dalmatian Coast, do take time to savor Croatia's finest culinary delights. From olive oil in Split, oysters in Ston, Dingac wine on the Peljesac Peninsula, and tangerine honey and brandy produced on the Neretva plain, you will enjoy mouthwatering tastes, as well as home-cooked meals and Dalmatian feasts. You will be having daily breakfast, seven lunches, and six dinners, with plenty of local wines and beers tastings.
The nearest airport to the location is Split Airport (SPU).