Croatia became an independent nation in 1991, and about two decades later, it was one of the most prominent filming sites for the hit HBO series, “Game of Thrones,” revealing its glory to millions of viewers. Today, it’s considered one of the most popular travel destinations on the planet, which means odds are, you’ve probably heard more than a few people raving about visiting the country one of our Dalmatian coast cruises. Read on to find out more about our small cruise ships in Croatia and what you can see during your time aboard.
Dalmatian Coast Cruises: What Is Everyone Raving About?
The southernmost stretch of Croatia’s 3,600-mile coastline, island jewels are scattered just offshore and towering limestone cliffs rise from the crystal-clear blue sea, drawing many to hop aboard and experience its delights.
You Can Visit Beautiful Old Towns Like Dubrovnik, Split and Korcula
The enchanting Old Towns are just one of the reasons so many are attracted to Croatia. On a Split to Dubrovnik cruise, and many other itineraries, you’ll explore some of the best, including Dubrovnik, Split and Korcula. Inspirational walking tours of these historic centers are often included, allowing you to step back in time, following a local guide to learn about their history and daily life while strolling the cobbled streets. In Dubrovnik you can even walk atop the medieval defensive walls that encircle the Old City, with the glistening expanse of the Adriatic on one side, and the endless red-tiled roofs and enticing streets on the other. Korcula, the alleged birthplace of world explorer Marco Polo, has an especially alluring walled Old Town with a storybook feel, while nearly half of Split’s ancient center is covered by Diocletian’s Palace, the emperor’s retirement residence that gave birth to the city some 1,700 years ago.
Explore Stunning National Parks Like Krka and Mljet
Some of the most well-known images of the country showcase its remarkable natural sights, many of which can be found in national parks like Krka and Mljet. A Croatia cruise is a great way to explore them – itineraries on small ships typically include multiple land excursions, allowing you to get to know your destination more than you would cruising one of those huge vessels. Krka National Park is a favorite, with abundant flora and fauna, including more than 220 species of birds, making it a birdwatchers’ paradise. It’s most famous, however, for its waterfalls. There are seven, including Skradinski buk, the highest in the Mediterranean, plunging more than 150 feet.
Mljet is renowned for its lush, green landscapes, an “Eden-like” destination home to two saltwater lakes in dazzling emerald hues, surrounded by dense forest. In the middle of “Great Lake,” is St. Mary Islet, which hosts the ruins of a 12th-century Benedictine monastery and church.
Sample Fresh Oysters in Ston and Wine Tasting at Tomic Winery in Hvar
Popular among foodies and wine connoisseurs alike, on a luxury Croatia cruise you can expect to enjoy gourmet meals on the ship, prepared fresh by the onboard chef, with ingredients often hand-picked in the destinations that are visited. But you’ll also enjoy special experiences like sampling fresh oysters in the village of Ston on Slano Island where the clear saltwater and minerals infuse the local oysters with delectable flavors that have make them some of the world’s best. Just imagine tasting them right from the sea!
Wine tasting at Hvar’s Tomic Winery is included on many itineraries too. One of the island’s leading family-run wineries, its tradition of wine-making dates back 150 years. You’ll be able to sample multiple wines, paired with local appetizers, while listening to the stories of each one, like its signature wine, Prosek, the original Dalmatian dessert wine, along with red, white and rosé wines.
Meet Just 36 Like-Minded People On Board From the US, UK and Australia
The experiences you enjoy while on and off the ship bring opportunities to get know your fellow island-hopping passengers. With just 36 others on board, typically from the US, UK and Australia, it feels more like traveling with friends. These cruises tend to attract like-minded people who don’t want to be just another number on a massive ship, preferring to delve into local culture, enjoy some adventure, educational experiences and authentic cuisine, actively engaging in the destinations. Many tend to be social, making it a fun environment to get to know others from around the world, but at the same time, that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to enjoy some privacy. Even on smaller vessels, there are lounges and nooks for curling up with a good book, cabins are spacious, and the sundeck is always a fabulous place to relax on a comfy lounger, enjoying quiet contemplation while watching the awe-inspiring scenery pass by.
Swim Off the Back of the Ship in Beautiful Bays and Snorkel in the Crystal-Clear Sea
A Dalmatian coast small ship cruise isn’t just about the destinations, it’s about time on and in the water too. The crystal-clear sea, in shades ranging from aquamarine to sapphire, can easily be accessed via ladders at the back of the ship during swim stops – and, with the frequent sunshine in the region, there are usually many. The Adriatic is like a natural pool, with the water like glass particularly from late spring through early fall, with the temperature averaging 22 to 30°C (72 to 86°F). It blends perfectly with the sky, so when you jump in and come back up to the surface, look around – the islands on the horizon appear as if they’re floating. You might even see a pod of dolphins, or a sea turtle swimming past. As the ships have snorkel gear, you can even grab a snorkel, mask and fins to discover a spectacular underwater world.