Croatia has an enviable position in Europe in respect of looking after its environment and as yet it has not succumbed to commercial pressures. The country protects its numerous national parks and nature reserves with their rich plant and tree life, birds, wild animals set in unique geological and hydrological formations.
Croatia landscape offers a memorable experience to nature lovers who wish to explore world of sparkling waterfalls, green mountain rivers and streams and numerous canyons running through dramatic karst terrain.
The Croatian coastline so far has miraculously escaped the overdevelopment experienced in other Mediterranean resorts and visitors love it because of its natural beauty, hospitality and rich cultural heritage. It is a country which fulfils the expectations of lovers of nature and culture equally.
Croatia’s beautiful Adriatic coast has been attracting discerning international travellers since the beginning of tourism, some were so impressed by what they saw they started organizing travel for their friends and later the general public, to see and enjoy the Croatian Dalmatian coast and its islands.
Therefore, we suggest itineraries to cover the Croatian regions of Central and Southern Dalmatia to give you an opportunity to visit major mainland cities and islands. Some of these are situated on Roman remains and all are rich in architecture, history and local character.
5 Best Adriatic Coast Small Ship Cruise Destinations
Adriatic sea – This magnificent part of nature, Croatian coast, 5790 km in length, and its 1244 islands, 67 of which are inhabited, is considered as one of the best indented coasts in the world, and is undoubtedly the most popular small ship cruise destination.
Visiting Croatia and the Croatian Islands you will have the possibility to see and feel the Mediterranean as it used to be – untouched and beautiful nature, secluded bays, cliffs, pebble and sandy beaches that lead to the clear sea…
Croatian islands look like they are a separate world – each island has a life of its own, its own spirit and its own message. Among the Croatian islands, the Kornati islands, a masterpiece of nature, truly stand out, while the small Šibenik islands such as Krapanj are the best places for a secluded vacation. Near Split, is Hvar, the sunniest of all the islands and an island with the oldest theatre in Europe.
Unless you do not have enogh time to read the full text and research the entire cruise offer, here are our favorite cruising spots along the beautifull Adriatic sea! If You want to learn more about the impressive cruise locations along the Adriatic coast, keep on reading!
Dubrovnik – With its marble-paved squares and narrow cobbled streets, churches, palaces and monasteries this beautifully preserved medieval city is undeniably one of Europe’s most picturesque holiday destinations.
This beautifully preserved medieval city is undeniably one of Europe’s most picturesque holiday destinations.
The city’s formidable walls, the churches, monasteries, palaces, marble-paved squares and steep cobble-stepped streets are still intact. If you stroll down the Stradun (the old city main street) you will be greeted by the city full of life with numerous pavement cafes, boutiques and restaurants. During the Dubrovnik Festival ( July and August ) you can attend outdoor concerts and operas.
Places of Interest – visit the fjord of Kotor and the old capital of Montenegro Cetinje. Mostar in Bosnia/ Hercegovina and the islands of Korcula and Mljet.
Split is the biggest Dalmatian city, founded in the early fourth century by the Roman emperor Dioclecian who was Dalmatian by birth. He sent the best Roman builders to build his palace which he occupied during his retirement.
The palace was, and in some ways still is, one of the most remarkable buildings in Europe and which still dominates Split, attracting visitors from all over the world.
The palace inspired the eighteenth century Englishman Robert Adam, who visited the site in 1757 and made numerous drawings which laid the foundation and influenced the Georgian style of architecture in Britain.
Many of the buildings of that period which grace London, Bath and Bristol have elements of architecture copied from his visit to the Palace of Diocletian Split is ideally situated to be used as a base for exploring the middle of the Dalmatian coast.
For many years Korčula has been welcoming visitors who appreciate this idyllic oasis of peace and beauty. The Greeks, who gave it the name of Korkyra Melaine for its dark and densely wooded appearance, first settled the island.
Korcula Town is a well planned walled medieval town built in locally quarried stone renowned world wide for its whiteness. Among the many beautiful buildings clad in this white stone is the Agia Sophia in Istanbul.
From 1420 to 1797 the island was a dependency of Venice, with self-governing status. After Venice, Austria, France and the British held the island from 1813-15.
Korcula’s inhabitants claim that the city was birthplace of Marco Polo. The story goes that he was captured off Korcula by the Genoese in whose prison he wrote his Travels.
Mljet is the westernmost Dalmatian island an oasis of exceptional beauty and tranquillity. This unspoilt island is covered by a dense Mediterranean forest and criss-crossed with a maze of paths.
The sea round the island is deep with an abundance of fish. At the north- west end of the island there are two interconnected lakes with clear blue -green water good for swimming.
Another good place to swim is a sandy beach at the furthest eastern point of the island, which is considered to be the finest in Croatia.
On the larger island there is an old Benedictine monastery.
The best-preserved western part of the island has been designated a national park .Available activities: diving, sailing ,kayaking.
To explore the National Park you can hire a bicycle
Situated on a tiny island, Trogir is a tiny Dalmatian charming town and one of the Unesco world heritage sites. The town has an impressive collection of churches, old squares, monuments, narrow streets…
The old name of Trogir is Tragurion, which means “Goat Island” and the city was built by the Syracuse Greeks back in the 3rd century. After the Greeks the city was ruled by Romans, Venetians, French, Austrians, Italian and Germans.
Apart from many interesting architectural and historical sites Trogir offers a warm climate, lush green surroundings, a number of good restaurants cafes and bars along its pretty Riva promenade and a maze of old cobbled streets…
As an island, Trogir is connected to the mainland by an old stone bridge and the connection with the Island of Čiovo is achieved by a mobile bridge.
All Cruise Locations Along the Adriatic Coast
The Croatian Adriatic is an unique holiday destination. It is an area of culture, history and unspoilt beauty; a land of medieval towns, richly decorated places, blue seas and aromatic pine trees. Many aspects of Croatian architecture are similar to Italian and French.
The Adriatic Sea can be divided into 4 basic parts: Istria & Kvarner, North Dalmatia, Central Dalmatia and South Dalmatia.
Istria & Kvarner
Istria, the largest peninsula in the Adriatic, embraces the northern Croatian coast. This charming Mediterranean holiday region is an experience of nature and culture in one: the lush, green shady pine forests stretch as far as the romantic coastline where they meet the azure blue sea. Everyone will find the ideal spot to lounge in the sun on the extensive pebble and rock beaches. The crystal-clear, high-quality water is perfect for swimming – and water sport fans are guaranteed plenty of fun.
The coastal towns and the many small islands of the Kvarner region offer a rich vegetation and many natural wonders. The islands are often rocky on the coast and offer the holiday makers a lot of nature but also beautiful beaches . The small places on the islands are often primeval and you can visit many things.
The Zadar region is the northernmost part of Dalmatia, the welcome gateway for all those arriving from the northern Adriatic. The first and perhaps most intense experience of this area is the intense colors, especially the harmony of the intense blue of the sea, over which the dark green pines or olive trees sink right down to the sea. On top of all this, you have to add the white Dalmatian stone that touches the coast or, in minced form, forms the pebble beaches that attract numerous tourists …
This region tells better than a book with its center, the three thousand year old Zadar, the city with the largest researched Roman forum on this side of the Adriatic and the unique Romanesque churches of St. Donat / Sv. Donat, St. Anastasia / Sv. Stošija and St. Chrysogonus / Sv. Krševan, as well as the oldest Croatian royal city, the nearby Nin, which boasts the smallest cathedral in the world (the Church of the Holy Cross is only 36 steps long!)
Olives, wild aromatic plants, white stone as a contrast to the greenery and the mountain Biokovo, whose foothills descend to the sea … this area is truly extraordinary and the beauty of the many stories and cultural events that make this region always interesting, is attractive and well attended …
When in 305 the almost world-wide Roman emperor Diocletian decided to build his summer residence and spend the rest of his life in it, there was no doubt where he would build it. He marked a special point on the map of the Adriatic in the heart of Dalmatia, in the well-protected bay of fertile Aspalathos (Split), shielded from the sea side by the islands of the Split archipelago and from the land side by high mountains – the future city of Split.
Dubrovnik, the center of the southernmost Dalmatian region and its best-known representative, is the star of the prestigious world-famous magazines and tops the list of the most beautiful cities in the world. Artists, members of royal families and global jet setters come to visit and search for inspiration year after year. Dubrovnik belongs to them, but also to all those who have only visited once. It’s easy, Dubrovnik and you connect the same threads after your first visit …
“Anyone looking for paradise on earth should come to Dubrovnik”. Charmed by the city, wrote George Bernard Shaw on the occasion of his visit. The well-preserved walls surround the city in an uninterrupted length of 1940 meters. The place is unrivaled at home and abroad, which earned it the title “Pearl of the Adriatic”, and it was placed under the protection of UNESCO. Dubrovnik, built over centuries by the best builders and artists, is located in the far south of Croatia, in a warm Mediterranean climate. Not only Mediterranean but also subtropical vegetation thrives here: fragrant lemons, oranges and mandarins, lush palm trees and agaves in the Renaissance parks and blooming gardens of the medieval stone palaces and in the secluded monasteries.