Pedal your way through Dalmatia's most beautiful landscapes with this eight-day island-hopping cruise aboard the MB Mali Ante or the MB Otac Nikola. Every morning brings a new destination, whether it’s a historic town, a verdant forest, a scenic lake or a picturesque harbour. Escape to secluded beaches and cycle through remote pine-clad parks, swim in crystalline waters or soak in the sun’s rays on the deck – every activity is fun. All routes are moderate in level with a total cycling time of 23 hours and distance of just under 120km on asphalted terrain..
Korcula: The historic stone tower in which medieval traveller and chronicler Marco Polo is said to have been born in is now a museum dedicated to his life
Dubrovnik: Savour the city like a local by trying specialities such as sugar-coated almonds and arancini, which are sweetened strips of orange peel
Jelsa: Take home the scents of Hvar in the form of dried lavender bags and lavender oil for your chests of drawers and wardrobes
A wide range of optional excursions and pre and post-programme extensions are available on request. Please ask tour designer Iva Decovski for rates and conditions
Dubrovnik: Protected by magnificent medieval walls, the atmospheric capital of the historic Republic of Ragusa is a treasure trove of palaces and churches
Mljet: The western half of this paradisiacal pine-clad island is a natural park famed for a lake with an islet, which is home to a well-preserved former monastery
Hvar: Historic Hvar town boasts an imposing hilltop castle and a wealth of Venetian churches and palaces clustered around a lively harbour
Brac: Home to the stunning Golden Horn beach, which nestles at the foot of the highest peak in any of the Adriatic islands
Makarska: This vibrant spot in the Dalmatian Riviera is crammed with medieval and baroque architecture
Korcula: Locals claim that Marco Polo began his life’s journey in this tiny town, which covers a peninsula in the northeast of the island of the same name
Peljesac: A sun-drenched peninsula that is renowned for its robust wines and rugged landscapes
The adventure begins in Dubrovnik, the ever-resplendent ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’, where you will be collected and transferred to your boat. Enjoy a traditional Croatian welcome from the captain and crew before sitting for dinner (or cold platter if a late arrival) and getting a good night’s sleep because seven days of sheer bliss await.
Transfer from Dubrovnik to the village of Zvekovica for a morning cycle in the Konavle valley. Limber up for a week of healthy and enjoyable sightseeing by starting off with an easy-going cycle from Zvekovica to the hamlet of Ljuta. This verdant valley exudes a timeless air and is dotted with chapels, cloisters and the summer villas of Dubrovnik’s former patrician families. Ride on tracks that cut through cypress forests, vineyards and olive groves. Pass through remote villages that seem to have been almost forgotten by the sands of time and enjoy views of the imposing Mount Sniježnica in the distance. Pause for a break and enjoy breathtaking vistas of the karst slopes of the valley before arriving at tiny Ljuta. Visit an old watermill and hear all about traditional flour making techniques from a miller. Cap off the morning with snacks and some local brandy before returning to Dubrovnik for lunch on board the ship.
Sail out into the open sea after breakfast and feel the gentle Adriatic breeze wash over you as the boat cruises to magical Mljet. This remote, pine-clad island is steeped in legend and radiates natural, unspoiled beauty. Ancient myths claimed that both Odysseus and St Paul were shipwrecked here, with the former seduced by a nymph daughter of Poseidon and setting up home with her in a cave. In medieval times, the island became a feudal fiefdom of the Benedictine monks, who for centuries ruled it and its inhabitants from a monastery on St Mary’s Isle, which is in one of the two scenic saltwater lakes in the island. The western half of Mljet is a national park and it is in an inlet here that the tiny harbour of Pomena is to be found. Dock here and explore the surrounding area by bike, with secluded beaches washed by crystalline waters close at hand and the lakes just a short cycle away through a deep pine forest while a ride along hidden tracks up to the hills affords stunning views over the island. Optional barbeque dinner – supplement on board ship.
The odyssey continues with a morning in the open sea, cruising between Pelješac and Korčula, and by Sućuraj before arriving at the port of Jelsa on the island of Hvar. The harbour could not be more picturesque, located deep inside a beautiful inlet and flanked by a waterfront of historic stone merchants' houses and warehouses. Today’s cycle covers a scenic route from Jelsa to Stari Grad, which was founded by Greek colonists in 384 BC and is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Hop on your bike and ride along the coastal gravel track enjoying wonderful views of the Adriatic and Brač Island to the north and discover small inland settlements as well as olive groves and vineyards, which have remained virtually untouched for 24 centuries. This area is known as the Stari Grad Plain and it retains the original Greek agricultural system based on a grid introduced by colonists from Paros in the fourth century BC. The landscape features ancient walls and small stone shelters that divided land parcels, which were irrigated by the very first rainwater recovery system involving the use of tanks and gutters. It looks today much like it would have appeared 2,400 years ago. Arrive at stunning Stari Grad itself and enjoy a well-earned rest. Like Jelsa, the picturesque harbour also lies at the end of long inlet flanked by historic buildings. Explore the old town and discover landmarks such as Tvrdalj Castle and the beautiful baroque St Stephen’s Church, which are among the many attractions dotted throughout the town’s stone streets. Return to the boat by evening time.
Today features a cycle in beautiful Brač Island in the morning. Depart Jelsa and sail across the Hvar Channel towards the harbour of Bol in Brač. The route starts and ends in this pretty port and is just 7km long, taking about 90 minutes. Ride along the coastal road from Bol to Zlatni Rat, which means Golden Horn. This pebble beach changes shape and position depending on the winds, and is rightly considered the most beautiful strand in the Adriatic – the scene could not be more dreamlike, with the beach bordered by a pine grove and nestling at the foot of the 780-metre-high Vidova Gora, the highest peak in any of the Adriatic islands. Enjoy the stunning setting for about two hours, with the opportunity to bathe in the crystalline waters. Return to the harbour and board the ship to continue westwards towards the mainland, docking in Makarska, a former Venetian stronghold that hugs a sheltered bay. Enjoy a short break in the town before returning to the boat.
Enjoy breakfast at Makarska before sailing east towards the Pelješac peninsula, which juts out of Dalmatia so much that it could be mistaken for an island, and onward to Korčula, an island just a few kilometres off the peninsula. Dock at the pretty fishing village of Račišće, in the north of the island, and enjoy lunch here before beginning the afternoon’s cycle. Ride along the coastal road, with views of islets and the Peljesac peninsula, passing through the harbour of Medvidnjak and on towards the picturesque fishing village of Lumbarda in the south-east. The route features bucolic landscapes of old stone houses, dense woodlands and the scents of aromatic Adriatic plants. It’s hard not to feel you are in some latter-day Garden of Eden. Lumbarda is built around small bay and the hills behind it are covered with large, sandy vineyards. Relax for a while here or maybe take a dip in the amazing Adriatic waters, before continuing the cycle to Korčula, where the route ends. Korčula old town covers a small peninsula, which is barely 200 metres wide by 200 metres long. Local legend has it that Marco Polo, the great merchant traveller and chronicler of the medieval Orient, was born here and the rustic tower-house believed to have been his birthplace and home is now a museum dedicated to his life and achievements. An optional wine tasting will be available this evening.
Follow in Marco Polo’s footsteps and sail out of Korčula for adventures new, heading towards the 65km-long Pelješac peninsula, which is renowned for the sun-drenched karst slopes that produce the best red wines in Croatia: Postup and Dingac. The morning cycling route starts at the coastal hamlet of Trstenik, which is at the halfway point on the Adriatic side of the peninsula. Pedal along a coastal track, passing vineyards and secluded coves before arriving at Žuljana, which is located in an inlet washed by the turquoise waters of Žuljana Bay. Continue to the beautiful pebble beach of Vučine, where you can swim in the crystal-clear waters. Ride through the remote uninhabited villages of Racici, Pivcici and Jeici, ending the cycle at the port of Trstenik. In the late afternoon, transfer to the port of Slano. An optional elegant dinner is available tonight on board at an additional supplement.
Today the ship cruises towards Dubrovnik port before alighting and continuing your adventure, whether it is home or somewhere else in our beautiful country. (All departures for flights before 15:00 will have transfer at about 07:00 from Slano, either by Gulliver Travel or at own arrangement.)