Cruising the Adriatic   13 comments

Cruising the Adriatic

Jan. 27 – Feb. 14, 2010

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We visited the absolutely beautiful area of Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia & Herzegovina mostly by small ship.  Interestingly enough we began our trip in the snow in Zagreb Croatia, and ended our trip two and a half weeks later in Zagreb in the snow.  While we were on the ship in the Adriatic we experienced pretty good weather even though it was cold.  Away from the coast and in the mountains it was all about snow and I actually loved it because it was like being in a winter wonderland.  This was our twenty-second trip with Overseas Adventure Travel, which is our favorite travel company.   

Map picture
Save Money: If you decide you’d like to go on this or any Grand Circle Travel or Overseas Adventure Travel trip, and you are a first time traveler with them, they will give you $100 off any trip if you mention the name of my travel blog and my customer #561413. New travelers instantly receive $100 off the cost of the trip, and I will receive $100 when you depart on your trip.

We flew into Zagreb, spent the day and night, then headed to the Adriatic coast to begin our ten night adventure on OAT’s Small Ship, the Athena.  Our itinerary would take us to Zadar, Sibenik, Krka Falls, Split, Hvar Island, Dubrovnik (all in Croatia) Kotor Island and Cetinje Montengro, Mostar and Blagaj Bosnia, then to Opatija, Zagreb and Varazdin Croatia.

View boat

Pictures of the Athena….our cabin, our little balcony, and the lounge. 

View Zadar

  The peninsula town of Zadar Croatia has Roman ruins dating back to the 3rd century BC, when the Holy Roman Empire ruled the city.

View Sibenik
View Sibenik 2
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Sibenik Croatia is a hillside city that fans out like an amphitheatre with late-Middle Ages architecture.  We enjoyed strolling around the tangled streets and alleys then took a hike to the top of the hill overlooking the town.  The Cathedral of St. James, (built 1431-1536) is famous for its sculptures carved all along the outside of the church.

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Krka Falls is a series of cascading waterfalls that comprises one of Croatia’s true natural wonders.


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  The entire old section of Split Croatia, with the palace as its centerpiece, is the Imperial Palace of the Roman Emperor Diocietian and was occupied by Diocietian from  300 – 313 AD.  It is a virtual open-air museum with the city’s contemporary life bustling through it.

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Hvar Island is the longest of the Croatian Isles.  It is supposed to be one of the sunniest spots in Europe.  The first three pictures are of the port town which certainly was a pleasant lovely place.  We then drove around the island, finding it to be mountainous with lavender fields and vineyards.  Loved the sleepy little towns.

View dubrovnik
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Dubrovnik Croatia is one of my favorite places.  It is regarded as one of the world’s most exquisite walled cities.  It was a fortress city that served as the base for a fleet of ships that carried trade between much of Europe and the Middle east during the years from 1358 to 1808.

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While in Dubrovnik we were fortunate to be there for St. Blaise Day.  St. Blaise is the patron saint of the city and his feast is celebrated yearly on Feb. 3, when relics of the saint, his head, and a few bones from his body are paraded in reliquaries.  We were there early and got to see a lot of church groups marching and singing into town.  They paraded the Saint all around town (bottom picture left) and then took him back to the St. Blaise Church (bottom picture right.)

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Jim & I walked around the top of the walls of the ancient city.  It is 1 1/4 miles around the walkway and is undoubtedly the most fabulous ancient wall-city we will ever walk on.  We had done the same walk in Dec. 2005, but the wind was blowing so hard it about blew us off the wall, and then it would rain so hard we’d almost wash off the wall.  Not this time.  It was a beautiful walk, and the only thing we were missing was the sunshine.

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We cruised through Europe’s deepest fjord as we headed to Croatia’s southern neighbor, Montenegro.  The scenery was just beautiful!  In these pictures we were cruising to Kotor Montenegro, a small Mediterranean country at the foot of the Balkan mountain range.

View Kotor
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Kotor Montenegro happens to be another one of my favorite towns.  It is truly a picturesque walled city, with one of the largest and best-preserved medieval areas of the Adriatic region.  In the picture on the left note the trail up to the walled fort that overlooks the town on the tip top of the mountain.

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On the mountain above Kotor is an ancient fort.  There is a trail that leads to the top.  Jim & I decided to hike to the top, however only Jim accomplished the feat.  I got scared on the crumbling trail and only went half way.  He got some French kids to take his picture under the flag to prove he had been there.  He found his way down on the back side of the mountain and arrived at the ship just before dark.

View Cetinje
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From Kotor we drove over the mountains to the 15th century town of Cetinje Montengro and guess what we found?  Yep, snow!

View Korcula
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We docked just outside the fortified towers of Korcula Town, Croatia.  It is a charmingly quaint little medieval walled town on an island in the Adriatic.  It was easy to walk on every narrow little twisted street…it was rather like walking back into time. 

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It happened to be “Carnival” in Korcula the night we were there.  The crew and a few of us dressed up and attended the festivities.  Well…it was dancing, drinking and parading around in costumes with lighted candles.  It was rather fun!

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Mostar Bosnia & Herzegovina is famous for this bridge.  The city is named for the watchtowers of its historic bridge.  The bridge spans the Neretva River, which divides the town into Muslim and Croat sections and was built in the 16th century.  The original structure was destroyed by a bomb during the Bosnian conflict in 1993, and UNESCO helped fund its rebuilding to look just like the original.

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  We bid the Athena good-bye (1st picture) and drove by bus up the coast and over the mountains to Opatija, which is located in northern Croatia back down the mountains and on the coast. 

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Opatija Croatia has a fantastic promenade that goes along the coast about eight miles (1st picture)   In Dec. 2005 when Jim & I were there we walked the entire promenade, believe it or not!  This time we had time for only a short walk, however I did find a fix-upper located right on the waters edge (middle picture).  Sunset while walking on the promenade (3rd picture).

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We spent the last four nights in the snow in Zagreb, which is the capital and located in the northeast part of Croatia.


 Varazdin Croatia was another one of my favorite towns.  Jim & I  decided to take the train on a 2 1/2 hour trip to the northeastern corner of Croatia.  The entire day it snowed huge flakes and there was a lot of snow in Varazdin, making it an even more beautiful place.  We strolled around town and also went to the castle which was begun in the 12th century and today it is a museum featuring everything antique.


A couple of months before our trip I
purchased tickets on-line to see the ballet “Swan Lake” at the
Croatian National Theatre
in Zagreb.  We had splendid box seats
for the fabulous production!   We have seen “Swan Lake” twice in the
last three months, first in Vienna Austria and now in Zagreb, and I’d go
see it again at a moments notice.

And thus ends our Adriatic Adventure where we had the privilege of experiencing balmy Mediterranean days and also Winter Wonderland days with buckets of snow.  

Posted February 14, 2010 by marilynfarmer in Travel

13 responses to “Cruising the Adriatic

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  1. Hi-loved your blog on your Adriatic Adventure. We are leaving for that same trip next Friday and it is our 1st OAT trip ! Have already signed up for a GCT trip in Spring.
    Can you advise on the level of “dress-up” for dinner and especially the Welcome/Farewell dinners on the Adriatic cruise? Do men need jackets, etc.?
    Appreciate your assistance & can’t wait for our adventure to begin.

  2. Rally appreciated your account of this OAT trip. Nice work!

    Mary & I, active 78 year olds, are departing on this tour January 11, 2011.

    Any special advice for us? Any walks particularly long, strenous, or



  3. Wow, we are headed on this trip Dec. 30 – January 13th. Did not expect the snow so this has been a great education! What a great web site, I am really impressed with all the work you put into it. Thank you!

    • Hello Veronica. I think we are on the same trip as you. We are Lisa and Jeff from Daytona Beach, FL. We look forward to meeting you. We also didn’t expect such extreme weather. Now we know what to pack.

  4. Big thank you, what a fun way to see vacations.

  5. Your website/blog is truly beautiful. Thanks so much!


  6. Thank you for such an informative blog! Great photos. This was very helpful. We are leaving for this trip with OAT on Dec. 26, 2010. We are taking both the pre-trip and post-trip extensions. This is our 12th GCT/OAT trip and we have been very happy with them.

  7. Wonderful photos and blog. I’m leaving on this trip Dec 28 and still trying to decide between parka and raincoat with zip out lining. I know Zagreb will be cold but other areas have temps in the 50’s. How about laundry facilities? I like to travel light if at all possible. I’m excited to go and actually look forward to the snow (I live in San Diego). Thanks for the blog. Love the special effects.

  8. We’re going on this trip 1/18/11 and absolutely loved your information and pictures!

  9. What a lovely experience your photos and commentary are. You would be a pleasure to travel with. We hope to take that trip in warmer and sunnier times. I get a little down without enough sun but you almost made me a believer. Many more happy journeys!

  10. Thanks for all the hard work and the imput , we have booked this trip for the coming Nov. , you have help us immensely in our dress and to confirm it will
    we a great place to visit. We have many trips with GCT and have not been disappointed yet, this looks like it will be cold , but very interesting.

  11. As a frequent GCT/OAT traveler, I have really enjoyed looking at this blog! I was in contact with you a couple of years ago prior to one of my trips, but I have forgotten just which one now. You were very helpful to me at the time. Doing Patagonia and Beyond with OAT in three weeks and am really looking forward to it. Also, doing Christmas Markets on the Danube next December. What a wonderful way to get ready for Christmas!

    Suzanne Matthews, Beverly Hills, FL
    • We have never done Patagonia and Beyond with OAT. I have listened to some others visit about it and I know it will be a great trip for you. You will love the Christmas Markets on the Danube next December. They have an optional to Salzburg one day. In fact it’s the day you are docked in Linz. We had planned to do it but didn’t because that was just two days after our daughters emergency appendectomy so we decided being out all day might be a bit much for her. The people we talked thought it was a very good optional and really enjoyed the day. You’d better collect some mugs and drink that gluhwein and check out the various flavors that are available in all the towns! Glad you enjoyed my blog. Happy travels to you.

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