September 10-18, 2016
|On this exciting adventure we explore Croatia’s sun-drenched Adriatic Coast and scenic islands. We hike ancient trails on mountainous islands amid pine forests, olive groves and vineyards, swim in the warm turquoise sea at beaches in secluded coves, and visit well-preserved medieval walled towns listed as UNESCO World Heritage Places. Our tour begins in the attractive ancient city of Split, the site of a Roman Emperor’s Palace, on the Adriatic Coast and ends in the extraordinary medieval town of Dubrovnik, and along the way we explore three islands.
We explore Brac Island, one of Croatia’s least-developed and populated islands, noted for its untouched nature and the white limestone which was used to build Diocletian’s Palace. This attractive and sunny island has small coastal villages and a pine and shrub-covered mountainous interior dotted with fertile areas with grape vines, olives and orange groves.
Next we visit Hvar Island, the undisputed jewel of Croatia’s islands. It has a picturesque landscape dotted with small medieval stone villages, fields of lavender, fig and olive groves, vineyards, and a culture dating back to Venetian times. We lodge in Hvar Town, one of the Adriatic’s best-preserved historic towns and a romantic and glamorous destination. We hike to the summit of Saint Nicola at 2,054 feet for a 360 degree view of the blue Adriatic Sea, the coast of Croatia and nearby islands, and the vineyards below.
We also visit the island of Korcula and lodge in Korcula Town, a picturesque thousand year old town surrounded by walls and towers that go back to ancient times. Behind the medieval defensive wall, the Old Town is packed with aristocratic palaces built from limestone from the island’s quarries. The island of Korcula, with its vineyards, olive groves and pine trees, is one of the greenest in the Adriatic. Next we visit the Peljesac Peninsula and hike the 3,153 foot tall Mount Sveti Ilija, the site of a cult of the pre-Christian ancient Slavic god Perum.
Our tour ends in Dubrovnik, an extraordinary medieval town with walls up 82 feet high, with fortress towers and an ancient foot path along the entire wall. The walls encircle an incredible stone-built red-roofed city which juts out into the clear blue-green waters of the Adriatic. The town’s history stretches back over 1,000 years. We hike to the top of Srd Hill, for a view out over the town and the sea, visit the Homeland War museum, hike the wall around the perimeter of the Old Town, explore Old Town, see the Gate of Pile, Clock Tower, big Orofrijes Fountain, Rector’s Palace and other sights.
If you want to extend your adventure in Europe, you can also sign up for the Hikes in the Dolomites tour which starts one week before this tour.
• Hike ancient trails on sun-drenched picturesque islands of the Adriatic Sea to climb mountainous peaks and explore lost villages.
Day 1. Saturday, September 10. Depart U.S. for Croatia
Day 2. Sunday, September 11. Arrive Split, Croatia
Split, an attractive Mediterranean city of 200,000 people, is located on the sun-drenched eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea. With sea, beaches, islands, mountains, culture, heritage, and great restaurants, Split has become a hip tourist destination. It was founded 1700 years ago by the Roman Emperor Diocletian who built a Palace for his retirement and the town of Split developed around the Palace. Diocletian’s Palace, located near our hotel, is exceptionally well-preserved and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. We have the afternoon free to explore Diocletian’s Palace, wander about the ancient alleys in the heart of the city, relax at Bacvice Beach, or enjoy one of the many cafes along the shoreline.
Tonight we have a welcome dinner to meet other hikers on this tour and to discuss details of the tour with our Croatian guide. (D)
Day 3. Monday, September 12. Brac Island Hike
After breakfast we take a 50 minute ferry boat ride to the old fishing village of Supetar on the north coast. First, we hike for 45 minutes to the extraordinary Blaca Monastery. This imposing monastery, set high on a cliff, served as a refuge from the 16th century on, and was still inhabited until the last monk died in 1963. It houses a curious collection of astronomical instruments, old weapons and watches, and a library. Next we climb Vidova Gora, at 2,552 feet the highest peak on Brac Island, and enjoy amazing views to the mainland and surrounding islands. After the hike we stop for lunch in a traditional tavern in the central part of the island. We return to Supetar and catch a ferry boat ride back to Split and our comfortable hotel. Today we hike for about 3-4 hours. (B,L)
Day 4. Tuesday, September 13. Hvar Island Hike
Upon embarking from the ferry boat, we have a 20 minute transfer to the start of our hike. First, we meet a local lavender producer and learn interesting facts about the origin and production of lavender. Next, we visit the village of Velo Grablje which was founded 500 years ago when Hvar’s patricians and nobles sought refuge in the hills during the epic rise of the disempowered plebeians. Nowadays, there are only a few inhabitants in the village throughout the year except when they gather for the lavender festival during the harvest and also to celebrate the village’s saints.
Next, we hike down the canyon to visit the village of Malo Grablje which was abandoned in the 1950’s due to hardship. We have a delicious lunch in one of the island’s most authentic taverns near the village. We hike the coast back to Hvar Town, check into our hotel and have the opportunity to explore the Town or spend time at the nearby beach.
We lodge at the Hotel Palace, a popular historical hotel located near the town center with views to the ancient piazza and the sea. This four star hotel has comfortable rooms, a pool, restaurant and other amenities. We hike for about 4-5 hours today. (B,L)
Day 5. Wednesday, September 14. Hike to Saint Nicola Peak
Day 6. Thursday, September 15. Morning Free in Hvar Town & then to Korcula Town
When we arrive, we check into the Hotel Korsal Korcula, a four star hotel located on the beach. Our rooms have a mini bar, satellite TV, free Wi-Fi, telephones, and are air conditioned. We have the rest of the afternoon to explore the medieval Old Town. Interesting sites behind the medieval walls include the Cathedral of Saint Mark, a Renaissance Cathedral; Land Gate, the main entrance to the fortified old town; and the Marco Polo House. Other options include time at the beach. (B,L).
Day 7. Friday, September 16. Hike Mount Sveti Ilija & Then to Dubrovnik
Upon our arrival in Dubrovnik we will be escorted to the Hotel Bellevue, a five star hotel located in the historical center of the Town. The hotel has a sun terrace, indoor & outdoor pools, Turkish steam bath, hot tub and Jacuzzi, fitness center, gym and spa with massage, and free Wi-Fi. (B,L)
Day 8. Saturday, September 17, Tour Dubrovnik.
In the morning we hike (1-2 hours) to the top of Srd Hill, at an elevation of 1,352 feet, for a view out over the town and the sea. Later in the morning we visit a museum located in an old 19th century fortress built by the French and dedicated to the Homeland War in Dubrovnik during the 90’s. After lunch we will continue our exploration with our cultural guide. We will hike the City Wall around the perimeter of the Old Town, explore Old Town, walk down the Stradun (the most famous street), and then see the Gate of Pile, the Clock Tower, big Orofrijes Fountain, Rector’s Palace, and other sights.
Tonight we have a farewell dinner in of the most exclusive restaurant in Dubrovnik. (B,D)
Day 9. Sunday, September 18. Return to the USA
COST: Costs below are based on double room occupancy.
COST INCLUDES: Lodging, all breakfasts, lunches & dinners where noted, all sea and land transportation (ferry boats & private automobiles), airport transfers, Croatian guides and an American tour director.
COST DOES NOT INCLUDE: Personal expenses, international airfares to and from Croatia, travel insurance, drinks and alcoholic beverages with meals, and those lunches and dinners not included in the itinerary.
We hike on well-maintained trails with our Croatian guide for up to 5-6 hours on some days. Most of the hikes are rated moderate in terms of difficulty, however hikes on some days have ascents and descents in excess of 2,000 feet and are rated as more difficult.
REGISTRATION AND INFORMATION
If you would like additional information, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us locally at 303-449-0990 or toll free at 1-877-440-0990. Our office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Mountain Time) Monday through Friday.
You may also download our trip registration form, and mail it in to us.
Beach at Dubrovnik
Adriatic Sea, Split
Cathedral at Diocletian’s
Diocletian’s Palace, Split
View from Vidova Gora
Velo Grablje, Hvar
St. Stephen’s Square, Hvar
Seascape of Korcula Island
Walls of Dubrovnik
Medieval Wall, Dubrovnik