Join us aboard the MS Otac Nikola for a voyage of adventure to the beautiful islands and towns of mid-Dalmatia. Every day brings a new destination, whether it’s a historic city, an idyllic island, a scenic lake or a picturesque harbour. Escape to secluded beaches or roam through remote pine-clad isles, swim in crystalline waters or soak in the sun’s rays on the deck... this week will linger long in the memory.
Trogir: The sculpted main west portal in St Lawrence’s Cathedral is considered the most significant work in the Romanesque-Gothic style in Croatia
Dubrovnik: Climb the Maskeron gargoyle at the Franciscan Monastery and take your top off while balancing on it – legend has it that your wish will be granted
Lopud: Dive into the crystalline waters off this beautiful island and stroll along the sandy beaches when taking a relaxing break from the cruising
A wide range of optional excursions and pre and post-programme extensions are available on request. Please ask tour designer Ira Buntic for rates and conditions
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
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
Trogir: Small is beautiful as you’ll discover in this historic town surrounded by water and which boasts various palaces, churches, ancient walls and a castle
The adventure begins in the 'floating town' of Trogir, which is completely surrounded by water. Here you will receive a traditional Croatian welcome from the captain and crew before sitting for dinner and getting a good night’s sleep – because seven days of sheer bliss await.
Bid farewell to Trogir and cruise along the Hvar Channel, which separates Hvar island from Brac island to the north, passing the legendary white pebble beach of Zlatni Rat, which means Golden Horn. It 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. If weather conditions are favourable, the MS Otac Nikola will anchor off the beach and you can dive into the crystalline waters for a swim but if the weather isn’t clement, the boat will dock at Bol. You can explore this pretty harbour town at your leisure or maybe even stroll to Zlatni Rat, which is just under 2km away. Back on board, continue in an easterly direction towards the mainland, enjoying lunch on board and passing Makarska and the 1,760-metre-high Sveti Jure peak in the afternoon. Dock in Makarska itself in the evening and explore its picture-postcard harbour, streets and squares, where you will encounter medieval and baroque churches, and merchants’ palaces from when Makarska was an important outpost of the Republic of Venice. The town comes alive at night as the lights flicker off the waters in the bay and the rhythms of seasonal entertainment waft through the air.
Enjoy breakfast on board at Makarska before sailing in a south-easterly direction towards the Peljesac peninsula, which juts out of Dalmatia so much that it could be mistaken for an island, and onward to Korcula, an island just a few kilometres off the peninsula. Dock at Korcula town in the northeast of the island and explore this small peninsula, barely 200 metres wide by 200 metres long, which is completely covered by the partially walled old town. 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. Just a few minutes’ walk from the tower is the main square, where the 15th century St Mark’s Cathedral is located as well as the adjacent Bishop’s Palace, which dates from the Renaissance. Every corner you turn brings you to a new attraction, whether it be the Revelin Tower gate in the city walls or the Abbey Treasury. Other buildings of note in both the old town and beyond the walls include the palaces that belonged to the Ismaili, Arneri and Gabrielis families, the latter of which is now the town museum, the city hall and a number of chapels, churches and monasteries.
Follow in Marco Polo’s footsteps and sail out of Korcula for adventures new, heading southwards past the 65km-long Peljesac peninsula. It is renowned for the sun-drenched karst slopes that produce the best red wines in Croatia: varieties known as Postup and Dingac. Contemplate the rugged beauty of the landscape as the boat glides along the water with the waves gently lapping against the hull. Cruising through the Mljet Strait, arrive at the Elaphiti (Deer) Islands, an archipelago of 13 isles, of which 10 are uninhabited. Dock at Lopud, the second-largest of the islands, and enjoy some time relaxing in one of its famous sandy beaches. Lunch on board and continue cruising towards Dubrovnik. Sail in the shadow of the city’s medieval walls, which crown jagged cliffs that jut out into the Adriatic. Enjoy this awe-inspiring panoramic view before continuing to Lokrum island, half a nautical mile from Dubrovnik, to cruise around this wild outpost covered by dense pine forests. In the far north of the island, at its highest point, you can see rising through the woods Fort Royal Castle, which was built by Napoleonic forces more than 200 years ago. Sail back to the mainland to rest after yet another epic day discovering the islands and cities of mid-Dalmatia.
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, wooded island is steeped in legend and is characterised by its natural, unspoiled beauty. Ancient myths claimed that both Odysseus and St Paul the apostle 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 the two scenic salt-water lakes in the island. Most of 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, with secluded beaches washed by crystalline waters close at hand and the two lakes just a short walk away through the forest while a hike up to the hills affords stunning views over the island. An optional boat ride to the isle and the now-abandoned but well-preserved monastery is available.
The odyssey continues this morning with a cruise in the channel between Peljesac and Korcula towards Hvar, the largest town in the island of the same name. The harbour could not be more charming, with most of the 16 islands of the Pakleni archipelago facing the waterfront. Enjoy lunch on board before exploring this historic town, which is crammed with attractions, many dating from its time as a Venetian commercial hub. The town lies at the foot of an imposing castle, known as the Spanish Fortress, which is reached by attractive steep streets often running parallel to the remains of the old city walls. From the castle ramparts there are stunning views over the town, bay and islands. Down below, the beating heart of Hvar is the Pjaca, where the top four landmarks are located: St Stephen’s Cathedral, the Loggia, the Arsenal and the Paladini Palace. Wander the narrow cobblestone alleys and encounter beguiling buildings such as St Roch’s Church and the haunting Hektorovic Palace, an unfinished Gothic ruin. Perhaps you might want to explore beyond Hvar town and discover other parts of the island during your free time. Stari Grad is one of Europe’s oldest continuously inhabited towns and is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with an ancient Greek agricultural system in the nearby Stari Grad Plain. Vrboska is known as ‘Little Venice’ and is famed for the romantic bridges over its central canal, while in Jelsa each Venetian church seems to be even more beautiful than the other
Cruise to the tiny town of Trogir and spend a morning exploring the streets of the historic port, which is completely surrounded by the sea. Despite its miniscule size – it is barely 600 metres long and 300 wide – Trogir packs an astonishing amount of heritage into its narrow, cobbled streets and squares, which in parts are still hemmed in by ancient walls. Wander through cool cobblestoned alleys that open onto pretty plazas and stroll along the palm-lined waterfront of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Admire the imposing medieval Kamerlengo Castle, behold beautiful Baroque palaces and venerable Venetian churches, and discover the majestic Romanesque-Gothic St Lawrence’s Cathedral. A comprehensive recent restoration of this 12th century cathedral permits a new perspective on the intricacy of its designs, with the carvings in the main west portal resplendent in their newly revealed detail. It is one of a number of attractions in the main square, which also features the Cipiko Palace, the loggia, the city hall, the town clock tower and St Barbara’s Church.
Enjoy one final breakfast on board before alighting and continuing your adventure, whether it is home or somewhere else in our beautiful country.