The hauntingly beautiful Dalmatian coast has been occupied by the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Ottomans and for almost 700 years by the Venetians. This incredible architectural, artistic and cultural legacy is explored in comfort aboard the yacht M/S Barbara, chartered for your exclusive use with just 16 ensuite cabins.
Starting in vibrant Dubrovnik, the former Republic of Ragusa, explore the Stradun, walk the city walls, see the Sponza Palace and visit the baroque Assumption Cathedral, which houses not only a polyptych by Titian but also a piece of the true cross.
Spend time on the island of Mljet in the stunning national park before cruising to Korcula, known to the Knidian Greeks as ‘Black Corcyra’. Today there is a beautifully preserved medieval city and it is claimed that Marco Polo was born there.
Other lovely places include Hvar, an island of great historical significance where the churches house paintings by Tintoretto and Bellini and there is a fine Venetian theatre. Also visit Trogir, with its stunning Renaissance and Baroque buildings.
Our highlight will be Split, a delightful city contained within the walls of a giant palace built by the Roman Emperor Diocletian. Balancing tradition with modernity, the former palace’s labyrinthine streets are now packed with shops, bars and restaurants bringing the imposing remains to life. Travelling in September is ideal as the peak season crowds have departed yet the weather remains balmy.
Itinerary at a glance
Day 1: Tour starts in Dubrovnik
Day 2: Dubrovnik – Šipan
Day 3: Šipan -Mljet
Day 4: Mljet to Korčula
Day 5: Korčula – Hvar
Day 6: Hvar – Trogir
Day 7: Trogir – Split
Day 8: Tour ends in Split
Day 1: 10 September Tour starts in Dubrovnik
Day 2: 11 September Dubrovnik – Šipan
Day 3: 12 September Šipan -Mljet
Day 4: 13 September Mljet to Korčula
Day 5: 14 September Korčula - Hvar
Day 6: 15 September Hvar - Trogir
Day 7: 16 September Trogir - Split
Day 8: 17 September Tour ends in Split
|Cabin Class||Price||Single Supplement||Optional Flight from London||Availability|
|Standard Twin||£2,495||£1,300||-||Waitlist Only|
Share of twin or double bedded cabin with private bathroom, full board, all excursions with local guides including entrance fees, one group airport transfer on arrival and departure (to coincide with recommended flights) expert leader.
Airfare, private airport transfers if needed, travel insurance, drinks, tips to drivers and local guides.
Both British Airways and Easyjet fly from London to Dubrovnik on the start date of this tour but only Easyjet flies from Split to London. Both airlines operate out of/into Gatwick. We are unable to book Easyjet flights on behalf of clients so if you would like to use this option you can either use us to book just the outbound leg with BA (if preferred to Easyjet) or book the whole journey yourself. As a price guide the combined cost of these two legs is about £250 but those who book early may be able to obtain a lower fare whilst those who book late may pay more as availability becomes scarcer.
If you prefer us to book flights with British Airways in both directions we can do so but please note the return leg would be via Rome and in some cases returns to Heathrow, not Gatwick. Please call us for advice.
Very Important: It is essential that you do not make any binding or non-refundable travel arrangements until your place has been confirmed in writing on this tour, that we have confirmed the itinerary will not be reversed and we have reached minimum numbers to guarantee its departure.
We have graded the fitness level required for participation in this tour as Moderate. There are no changes of hotel during the tour, no long flights and no long drives, making it a supremely relaxing way to visit the country. However this is a very full itinerary and there will be a lot of sightseeing so participants must be able to keep up with the group over a period of several hours in order to see everything in the time allocated.
In some places there may be nowhere shady to stand and nowhere to sit down for some time. On board the yacht Barbara there are the usual tripping hazards once encounters when travelling by boat and there are a number of steps down into the cabin decks which may need to be navigated whilst we are underway and the boat is swaying. For the reasons we have given above, this tour is unsuitable for the frail or for anyone who ever needs to use a wheelchair or walking frame or who routinely uses a stick. If unsure, please check with us.
We know that age is not always a reliable indicator of fitness, but prospective participants over the age of 80 will be given a letter to be signed by their GP to say they are fit enough to undertake this tour.
NHS Fit for Travel advises travellers to Croatia don’t normally need any immunisations as long as all UK childhood vaccinations and boosters are up to date. Please seek professional medical advice to discuss your personal circumstances at least 8 week before departure. NHS Fit For Travel Website
A visa is not required for British nationals. Other nationalities should check with their local Croatian consulate.
2h 45 mins from London to Dubrovnik direct
Will my phone work
Croatia uses the 900 MHz bandwidth so almost all UK phones will work there as long as your provider has authorised its use abroad. Note however that coverage may become limited if we stray too far from the coast.
Dr Nigel Spivey
Dr Nigel Spivey is a Senior Lecturer in Classics (Classical Art and Archaeology) and Fellow and Director of Studies in Classics at Emmanuel College, University of Cambridge. He has written extensively on the Etruscans and on the Olympic Games. As an undergraduate, he was a three-time champion at the Oxford-Cambridge athletics match and remains an active member of the Achilles Club, and Oxbridge sports organisation. He is a popular and engaging lecturer and has presented various television series, including ‘How Art Made the World’ for the BBC.
Lectures during our tours
All our tours are accompanied by an academic ‘trip scholar’ as well as local guides. The local guide or guides provide the day-to-day guiding on our tours, whilst the trip lecturer will give regular lectures on his/her specialist subject throughout to provide an academic overview. Lectures/talks usually last 30-40 minutes including questions and answers (if applicable). These are generally held in the evenings before dinner and attendance is optional. We don’t usually specify before travel which days the lectures will be given (for operational reasons) but guests can expect them roughly every other day as a minimum, with some lecturers giving some kind of talk or presentation more frequently.
Start your holiday early with a hotel stay in Dubrovnik
For those with more time, we highly recommend spending some time in Dubrovnik before your cruise to explore at your leisure or relax on the coast. There is also a greater choice of flights and times if not travelling on a Sunday. There are a few small places to stay in the old city itself, and a wide selection of hotels and resorts nearby on the coast. Favourite hotels include the Pucic Palace in the heart of the old town, and the Grand Villa Argentina which is located at the waterfront with its own private beach, yet only a 10 minute walk from the old city gates. Do let us know if you would like us to make a recommendation and give you a quote.
Extend your stay in Croatia with a hotel stay in Split
Some of our guests may wish to stay on in or near Split so they have more time to delve deep into the city’s past or explore some of the nearby islands or beaches not visited on the cruise. We recommend the Marmonte in the heart of the old town, which has views towards St Duke’s Cathedral.
We have put together a selection of both popular and more serious introductions to different aspects of Croatia and its history/culture. We have provided this list so you can read up on any areas of particular interest to you before you travel if you wish, or choose to study something you enjoyed learning about in further depth once you return from your holiday.
Both the general guides are completely up to date and reviews of each are equally good.
Croatia by Piers Letcher
Publisher: Bradt Travel Guides; 5th edition (25 Mar 2013)
ISBN-10: 1841624535, ISBN-13: 978-1841624532
Croatia by Anja Mutic
Publisher: Lonely Planet Publications; 7th edition edition (19 April 2013)
ISBN-10: 1742203027, ISBN-13: 978-1742203027
Croatia Coast Map
Publisher: Freytag-Berndt (1 April 2004)
ISBN-10: 3707904601, ISBN-13: 978-3707904604
Nicely shaded map covering the Dalmatian Coast from Porec to Dubrovnik at a scale of 1:200,000, perfect for the complex coastline.
Croatian Phrasebook (Lonely Planet)
Publisher: Lonely Planet Publications; 2nd edition (22 Oct 2010)
ISBN-10: 1741045665, ISBN-13: 978-1741045666
A palm-sized handy guide to pronunciation, basic grammar and essential vocabulary for the traveller.
Suggested by your trip lecturer, Dr Peter Sarris
The Illyrians (The Peoples of Europe) by John Wilkes
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; New edition (30 Nov 1995)
ISBN-10: 0631198075, ISBN-13: 978-0631198079
Wilkes (Univ. of London) has tackled the difficult task of presenting a people whose scarce artifacts lack the grandeur of other ancient societies and whose ethnic origins and relationships are still a matter for scholarly debate.
World of Late Antiquity by Peter Brown
Publisher: Thames & Hudson (20 Mar 1989)
ISBN-10: 0500330220, ISBN-13: 978-0500330227
Originally published in 1971, this was a revolutionary book for its time. Brown, Professor of History at Princeton, challenged many of the assumptions about classical civilization that had dominated historiography since Edward Gibbon, painting instead a vibrant portrait of life after the decline of the Roman Empire.
Southeastern Europe in the Middle Ages 500-1250 by Florin Curta
Publisher: Cambridge University Press (31 Aug 2006)
ISBN-10: 0521894522, ISBN-13: 978-0521894524
This authoritative 2006 survey draws on historical and archaeological sources in the narration of 750 years of the history of the Balkan region. It explores the rise of medieval states, the conversion to Christianity, the monastic movement and the role of material culture in the representation of power.
Byzantium and Venice: A Study in Diplomatic and Cultural Relations by Donald M Nicol
Publisher: Cambridge University Press; Reprint edition (7 May 1992)
ISBN-10: 0521428947, ISBN-13: 978-0521428941
Price: £39.90 or used from £24
This book traces the diplomatic, cultural and commercial links between Constantinople and Venice from the foundation of the Venetian republic to the fall of the Byzantine Empire.
Croatia, A Nation Forged in War by Marcus Tanner
Publisher: Yale University Press; 3rd Revised edition (21 May 2010)
ISBN-10: 0300163940, ISBN-13: 978-0300163940
A modern history of Croatia from its medieval origins to Nazi occupation through to the present day by the British correspondent to Croatia for The Independent who reported from the region during the events of 1993.
Dubrovnik, A History by Robin Harris
Publisher: Saqi Books; New edition (31 Jan 2006)
ISBN-10: 0863569595, ISBN-13: 978-0863569593
Harris, a journalist who writes frequently on the Balkans, presents a comprehensive portrait of the historically important maritime city-state in this nicely illustrated, scholarly and readable history of Dubrovnik.
Palgrave Concise Historical Atlas of the Balkans by Dennis Hupchick & Harold E Cox
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan (17 Oct 2001)
ISBN-10: 031223970X, ISBN-13: 978-0312239701
The changing borders and complex history of the Balkans, clearly and concisely shown through 50 double-page maps and accompanying essays, organized chronologically.
The Balkans: From the End of Byzantium to the Present Day by Mark Mazower
Publisher: Phoenix; New edition (20 Jun 2002)
ISBN-10: 1842125443, ISBN-13: 978-1842125441
A brief and engaging survey of the complex and often contentious history of the Balkans. With eloquence and insight, Mazower addresses the issues of geography, nationalism and modern nation-building in the region. Mazower’s narrative ranges broadly both in time and in space, treating the former Turkish domains in Europe as part of a common if complex historical inheritance.
Yugoslavia, Death of a Nation by Laura Silber and Allan Little
Publisher: Penguin Books Australia; Revised edition (Jan 1997)
ISBN-10: 0140262636, ISBN-13: 978-0140262636
Called “one of the finest volumes to come out of the war” by the New York Times, this book combines eyewitness reports, political commentary and documentary photographs to elucidate the origins and aftermath of the breakup of Yugoslavia.
The Venetian Empire, A Sea Voyage by Jan Morris
Publisher: Penguin; New edition (4 Jan 1990)
ISBN-10: 0140119949, ISBN-13: 978-0140119947
Part history, part travel writing, Morris reconstructs the whole of the glittering dominion of the Venetian Republic in this evocative account of a journey by sea along historic trade routes to the Adriatic and beyond.
A History of Venice by John Julius Norwich
Publisher: Penguin; Re-issue edition (4 Oct 2012)
ISBN-10: 0241953049, ISBN-13: 978-0241953044
Acknowledged to be the standard English work on the subject, Norwich’s captivating History of Venice tells the story of this most remarkable of cities including its colonies and empire from 727 to 1797.
Central Europe: Enemies, Neighbours, Friends by Lonnie Johnson
Publisher: OUP USA; Third Edition (8 April 2010)
ISBN-10: 0195386647, ISBN-13: 978-0195386646
An excellent historic overview of Croatia, Slovenia, and their neighbouring countries, making make an enormous expanse of history accessible to the average reader in very few pages.
Croatia: Aspects of Art, Architecture and Cultural Heritage With Introduction by John Julius Norwich
Publisher: Frances Lincoln (19 Nov 2009)
ISBN-10: 071122921X, ISBN-13: 978-0711229211
Price: £19.20 (Hardcover)
Leading specialists analyse the key cultural developments in this small country’s history, from the Roman remains on the Adriatic coast, through the gothic splendour of the Dalmatian cities in the Middle Ages and intensive artistic exchange with Italy during the Renaissance, to the grand houses and art collections of continental Croatia. Marcus Binney’s tour around old castles is quirky but rewarding while Brian Sewell demolishes the artistic credibility of the founder of Zagreb’s newest museum with characteristic aplomb. Opinionated and beautifully illustrated.
Art of the Byzantine Era by David Talbot Rice
Publisher: Thames & Hudson; Reprint edition (29 April 1963)
ISBN-10: 0500200041, ISBN-13: 978-0500200049
Wide-ranging and literate, this thoroughly illustrated introduction to Byzantine art is an indispensable classic.
Black Lamb and Grey Falcon by Rebecca West (1941)
Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd; New edition (27 July 2006)
ISBN-10: 1841957879, ISBN-13: 978-1841957876
Written as the world was becoming enmeshed in WWII, West’s masterpiece recounts her journeys through Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia, Macedonia and Montenegro, weaving her observations into a seamless narrative. Iconic but rather challenging tome.
Balkan Ghosts, A Journey through History by Robert D. Kaplan
Publisher: Vintage Books; Vintage Departures ed edition (Mar 1994)
ISBN-10: 0679749810, ISBN-13: 978-0679749813
Price: (Second Hand) from £0.37
Kaplan interweaves the history, art and culture of Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Romania and Greece with his travels in this portrait of the region.
Croatia: Travels in Undiscovered Country by Tony Fabijančić
Publisher: University of Alberta Press (1 Feb 2003)
ISBN-10: 0888643977, ISBN-13: 978-0888643971
In his travels through Croatia, Tony Fabijancic saw a world of peasants, shepherds and fishermen irrevocably giving way to the new reality of a modern European state. With a deft and sure touch, he records moments that capture the lingering spirit of the old world even as the former fabric of this place is unravelling forever.
Café Europa – Life after Communism by Slavenka Drakulić
Publisher: Abacus (10 Oct 1996)
ISBN-10: 0349107297, ISBN-13: 978-0349107295
An excellent read, wittily detailing the pervasive infiltration of Western culture in Eastern Europe, and highlighting the reluctance with which the West handles Eastern European culture. Drakulic is a Croatian journalist, novelist and contributing editor at The Nation.
How We Survived Communism and Even Laughed by Slavenka Drakulić
Publisher: Harper Perennial; 1st Harper Perennial edition (May 1993)
ISBN-10: 0060975407, ISBN-13: 978-0060975401
Price: Available second hand from £4.57
These short essays capture the absurdity, struggle and day-to-day reality of being a woman in Yugoslavia under Communism.
Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh by Slobodan Novak (1968)
Publisher: Autumn Hill Books; Reprint edition (28 Feb 2008)
ISBN-10: 0975444468, ISBN-13: 978-0975444467
Considered to be one of the pivotal works of 20th-century literature, Novak’s writing is compared to that of Chekhov, Borges, Beckett and Kiš. Originally only published in Yugoslavia this book has recently been translated into English. The novel is set on the island of Rab, where an elderly Madonna is dying, and her carer – the narrator – reminisces about his life, love, the state, religion, duty and memory.
Croatia, Through Writers’ Eyes Edited by Barnaby Rogerson
Publisher: Eland Publishing Ltd (25 Aug 2006)
ISBN-10: 0907871895, ISBN-13: 978-0907871897
This collection of stories, tales and travel narratives illuminates the history and culture of Croatia. Including contributions by Rebecca West, Lawrence Durrell and Fitzroy MacLean.
The Bridge over the Drina by Ivo Andric
Publisher: Harvill Press; New Ed edition (5 April 1994)
ISBN-10: 1860460585, ISBN-13: 978-1860460586
This highly recommended novel won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1961. A fantastic introduction to the study of Balkan and Ottoman history, this fictionalised historical account captures the complexity of Christian and Muslim relations during Ottoman occupation in a spellbindingly evocative way. Hewn of stone, the bridge dividing the town of Visegrad was Andric’s inspiration.
The Island of the World by Michael D O’Brien
Publisher: Ignatius Press (15 Jun 2010)
ISBN-10: 1586174908, ISBN-13: 978-1586174903
As an alternative to the usual reporter dispatches from Croatia in the 1990s, this novel follows the Croatian protagonist Josip Lasta through the second world war and the wars of the 1990s to eventual redemption. Have tissues at hand.
Do Angels Cry?: Tales of the War by Matko Marusic
Publisher: Ooligan Press (30 Dec 2008)
ISBN-10: 1932010238, ISBN-13: 978-1932010237
A touching collection of short stories from the Croatian war of the 1990’s which is especially poignant now, 20 years on.