Croatian Island Hopping with Caroline | Miles Morgan Travel
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Croatian Island Hopping with Caroline


In October, I was lucky enough to discover the beauty of the Dalmatian Coast on a small ship Island Hopping Cruise. On board the two-year-old, impressive 36-passenger ship, Mama Marija II was the start of an unforgettable adventure that certainly did not disappoint… This was my first experience of small-ship cruising and definitely not the last!


Day 1 – Dubrovnik

My 8-day adventure began with an early morning flight from London Gatwick to Dubrovnik. We arrived early and transferred to the awaiting ship where we left our luggage to then go and explore. We had a leisurely stroll around the beautiful city with not a cloud in the sky.

After a cool drink, we headed back to the ship late afternoon for a delicious evening meal (after capturing a gorgeous sunset of course) where we met the other passengers, captain and crew… and what a great mix of nationalities and personalities they were from around the globe! I already knew at this point it was going to be the start of a great week ahead. It was a home away from home. Off to bed we went with a smile on our faces looking forward to the next day.


Day 2 - Dubrovnik – Slano

We woke up early, eager to start the day. We enjoyed a delicious buffet breakfast onboard with a huge choice of hot and cold dishes to suit all appetites. Sailing away from Dubrovnik, we enjoyed time on the deck to take in the scenery, wallow in the jacuzzi and relax in the sun.

We then anchored in a beautiful crystal-clear spot to swim, kayak, paddleboard, snorkel and enjoy the refreshing pristine waters…such fun. Followed by time to cruise and dry off ready for a superb 3-course lunch with food that would compete with the world's best restaurants, it really was delicious! We continued to sail on to our first port of call, Slano, where we explored and enjoyed an evening to ourselves to choose one of the many restaurants on offer. There was an excursion to Ston for some Oyster tasting but I’m afraid this wasn’t for us!


Day 3 - Slano - Mijet National Park – Korcula

We departed early morning again, enjoyed the sunrise and then breakfast while cruising to Mijet National Park. One of eight National Parks in Croatia with two saltwater lakes, we docked with plenty of time to explore the island. The views were impressive, the roads were quiet, plenty of photo opportunities and places to stop for a refreshing dip. A boat trip to the Island's Benedictine Monastery to finish up. We walked and walked and the only soul we saw was a resident mongoose, so peaceful. Back on board for another beautiful lunch and another afternoon swim stop we headed to the island of Korcula.

We docked for the evening - I was blown away by its beauty, with the islands cobbled streets, charming little alleyways and great views to the seafront. A tour guide showed guests around the town including a funny and informative history of the explorer Marco Polo and his connections here. We enjoyed a fabulous meal after eventually choosing one of the many restaurants. It was then back of board for a few cocktails!


Day 4 - Korcula – Vis We set sail again, enjoying breakfast on the move towards Vis, stopping for a swim and a leisurely day with lunch on board. Where Mamma Mia 2 was filmed, this island was beautiful, untouched by tourist development and the sunsets were unbelievable again! Yes, more food overlooking the harbour and back on board for a great night's sleep (The beds were amazing - something worth noting).


Day 5 - Vis - Blue Cave – Hvar

Departing from Vis, we began another journey, this time with an early anchor to explore the Blue Cave, only accessible by small boat (prepare to duck!) Deep blue aquamarine water reflects through a gap in the cave against it’s white bottom. Back on board, another swim stop, a swim to a deserted beach on a tiny island gave an appetite for another delicious three-course lunch. On to Hvar, a very busy island during the summer months apparently but just right now in late summer. The sun continued to shine (not a cloud in the sky so far at all!) We joined a guide here for a walk around the beautiful medieval town to hear all about the history and local customs. This concluded with a couple of drinks at a pretty bar followed by another meal at a restaurant before climbing back on board after another busy day.


Day 6 - Hvar - Bol – Trogir

A delicious breakfast again and a gentle cruise to the Island of Brac where one of Europe's most iconic beaches Zlatni Rat lies. Time here to visit the beach, dip in the sea and explore this pretty little town before being back on board again for lunch, yet another well-needed swim stop and on to Trogir which is located on the mainland. One of my favourite places I have to say. Similar to Dubrovnik, Trogir is a UNESCO World Heritage site with palaces, churches, monasteries, towers and castles and yes, another superb sunset! After exploring, we hopped back on board for the Captain's Dinner! Some of you will cringe at this ( I normally would if you know me!) but this was the most enjoyable and fun time. We ate, we laughed, we sang and yes we drank plenty of cocktails while dancing the night away to a live band who were great friends of the Captain…. What a night! Off to bed well in to the early hours was much needed!


Day 7 - Trogir – Split

Now this is where I am sad this is the last day…. After breakfast, another day cruising, swimming, relaxing and arriving in what is now another of my favourite cities. I was there 35 years ago before the divide and although the Old Town remains the same - quirky streets and amazing architecture - it was a vibrant, bustling place in which we were lucky enough to be spending an extra night.


Day 8 - Split

An early breakfast and time to say our Goodbyes to great shipmates and a fantastic crew. We left reluctantly and dragged our cases for our optional night in Split. Another day exploring the old town, the Diocletians palace and the cobbled, well-trodden, streets. The perfect place for any Game of Thrones fan (unfortunately I’m not one of them). I just enjoyed the hustle and bustle of the city and its incredible Ice Cream at Gelateria Emiliana! To sum up an amazing week, the Adriatic Sea is speckled with over 1000 Croatian Islands and the small cruise ships are by far the best way to be able to reach so many hidden, unspoiled destinations where you can escape the noise of the tourists and if you are as lucky as we were, you'll see dolphins en route.

If you fancy a trip like this, then please give me a call on 01242 808549 or call in to our Cheltenham store and I will be delighted to put this spectacular unforgettable experience together for you…


Until next time Croatia…


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