Jewels of the Adriatic Cruise
Balkans & Dalmatian Coast
Croatia * Bosnia-Herzegovina * Montenegro
September 2018 • 12 Days • Price TBA
This program includes two diverse segments—a 4-night land program that explores Montenegro and the Herzegovina region of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and a 7-night cruise through the Croatian islands of the Adriatic along the Dalmatian Coast.
Now accepting Early Bird deposits on this potential 2018 tour! If 25 Early Birds are received for this departure, we’ll add it to the official 2018 Schedule. An Early Bird is a $50 deposit that holds your spot during the planning stages of a trip, when we don’t have a set itinerary or dates. Early Birds are always refundable!
The Adriatic Sea is that ancient Mediterranean buffer between Europe’s Italian Peninsula and Balkan Peninsula. It links these two spheres of Europe historically, economically, and culturally, yet the differences between the two peninsulas are vast and intriguing.
The Balkan side is bordered by a disproportionately long Croatian shoreline, bejeweled with over one thousand sun-drenched islands sharing much that is culturally Croatia, yet each with a distinctive ambience, story, and flair. Cruising the islands has stirred the imagination of travelers for eons, interrupted, in modern times by post-World War II Yugoslavian communism, then even more so by the Yugoslavian Wars of the 1990s.
The land-based segment of the program provides a more textured glimpse of the region, an opportunity to see how the contrast of religions is exploited by the dark side of human nature. But even here, in Herzegovina, the natural beauty is augmented by the charm of experiencing different points of view, the Islamic remnants of Turkish occupation, the Orthodox influence of Serbia, the Catholic faith of Croatia, and the hope of restoration.
A day in Montenegro is a pure delight of non-stop scenic drama—the massive Bay of Kotor, reminiscent of the fjords of Norway, seen from a shoreline walk as well as from the mountaintops above.
- Brac – an island that makes its living from quarries of limestone which produced some of the columns used in the building of our own White House
- Mljet – offering Croatia’s oldest national park and a delightful walk around two brilliant blue salt-water lakes, with a challenge hike to an amazing vista over the lakes and the Adriatic beyond
- Hvar – sunniest island in Croatia, a Venetian naval base during the golden era of Venice and a thriving modern-day industry in lavender
- Dubrovnik – a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the loveliest cities on the Croatian coast, once an independent republic and medieval rival to Venice
- Bay of Kotor, Montenegro – arguably one of the most beautiful bays in Europe featuring UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kotor
- Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina – offering a flavor of Islam and the Orient, remnants of the Turkish occupation
This is a draft itinerary. Revisions are currently being made, and an updated itinerary with dates and pricing will be made available!
- 4 nights in superior tourist-class (3 star) or better hotel accommodations in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina with all land travel as outlined
- 8-day/7-night Adriatic cruise aboard our chartered ship from Dubrovnik, returning to Dubrovnik
- Port fees and cruise fuel surcharges (subject to change)
- 26 meals: All breakfasts, 8 lunches, and 7 dinners*
- 10 walks as listed
- Fees for IVV walking credit (if sanctioned)
- All tipping for local guides and coach drivers
- Cultural & historical expertise of our national guide for full trip – both land and sea
- WAI guide service throughout (2 guides)
- Koski Mehmed-Pasha’s Mosque – Mostar
- Biscevic’s Turkish House – Mostar
- Kravice Falls – Herzegovina
- Radimlja necropolis – Herzegovina
- Zavala Monastery – Herzegovina
- Kotor serpentine road – Montenegro
- Dubrovnik Wall Walk – Croatia
- Korčula guided walking tour – Korčula
- Pučiše stonemason school – Brač
- Brač Museum – Brač
- Diocletian’s Palace tour – Split
- Hvar Island driving tour – Hvar
- Korčula cultural tour – Korčula
- Mljet National Park – Mljet
- Mount Srd gondola – Dubrovnik
- Plus more fun stops & amazing sights than we can list!
* (BLD) indicates included meals: breakfast, lunch, or dinner
“Friendliness, skill of guides (both American and International) is what prompts me to come back to WAI.”
-JoAnn K; Timonium, MD
“Scott and Ruth guided us with grace, patience, humor, and efficiency – great team…Good mix of walks and spectacular views, mixed with history.”
-Diane T; Seattle, WA
“The highlights: Scenery was amazing, hearing stories and history from the local guides, the ship experience.”
-Sharon B; NS, Canada
“I believe the whole trip was well planned and organized. All the local guides were very knowledgeable and informative.”
-Fred F; Anacortes, WA
“I wasn’t prepared for the beauty of this area of the world. Awesome!”
-Karen H; Portland, OR
“Loved walking thru villages and countryside – helps me imagine the life of the locals and historic times… Awesome trip! Wonderful opportunity to see the world and experience local culture. I learned a ton, WAI makes history real, informative and fun. We covered a lot of territory – geographically and educationally. I feel incredibly blessed to have traveled with you.”
-Kathie B; Sunnyvale, CA
“The white hills, red tile roofs and blue water of the Adriatic, loved it all and I’m so thankful I got to experience it.”
-Shirley L; Renton, WA
“The cruise was delightful – just the right size ship with a wonderful crew.”
-Carol W; Medford, OR
“I felt that Scott and Ruth did an outstanding job in every area, the walks, the info, the changes in schedules; they were outstanding. Loved the relaxing atmosphere of the Vita. The staff/crew was impeccable.”
-Carol O; Winlock, WA
“The boat was lovely and it was great having it all to ourselves!”
-Kate Q; Spokane, WA
“I have enjoyed this trip greatly. Everyone was so nice – the guides, the crew and other guides. Would recommend to all.”
-Dana N; Issaquah, WA
“Local great guides – familiar with history and can express emotion and point of view that is understandable…Entire trip full of pleasant and educational surprises.”
-John S; Oakland, CA
“This week on the Vita was unforgettable.”
-Marion N; Woodinville, WA
“Scott and Ruth were great communicators. They made each transition smooth – so conscientious, respectful and professional. They are the poster children for being the quintessential tour guide!”
-Mary Jo G; Haddonfield, NJ
“Scott and Ruth are excellent guides. We hope to travel with them again.”
-Daryl T; Seattle, WA
Tour Pace: 1 2 3 4 5
Walk Challenge: 1 2 3 4 5
Scott and Ruth Burk have spent much of their free time over the last two decades exploring the world, while successfully instilling wanderlust in their two teenage children. Ruth now operates her own business as a writer consultant for high tech companies, and Scott serves as an air traffic control manager for the Portland, Oregon airport. They love travelling and sharing their experiences with others!
Pero Moretic will be with us for the duration of Jewels of the Adriatic, as our national guide on the coach and our cruise director aboard ship. He is an active member of the local mountaineering society, and his primary hobbies are travelling and cooking. Fluent in Croatian, Italian, English, and Russian, Pero enjoys all aspects of travel, but focuses especially on absorbing more of the history and culture of regions through which he traverses. Pero loves to explore on his own, has backpacked through South America and is currently planning a road trip to America’s National Parks. He looks forward to sharing the history and fascinating interplay of diverse Adriatic and Balkan cultures with you!
This is a draft itinerary. Revisions are currently being made, and an updated itinerary with dates and pricing will be made available!
Day 1: Arrive Croatia (D)
You arrive Croatia today, flying into Dubrovnik Airport. We rendezvous at our hotel in the delightful maritime village of Mlini. The next 12 days include exploration in the Balkan countries of Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Montenegro, as well as cruising amongst the sun-soaked islands along the Adriatic Dalmatian Coast. Our hotel in Mlini is on the water; those arriving early may consider opportunities for walking a coastal path, or boating to neighboring villages or Dubrovnik. The first group activity is a welcome meeting this evening, followed by dinner.
Day 2: Mlini – Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina (BD)
Blagaj Dervish House Walk – 3 km, rated 1B
Mostar, A Taste of Turkey Walk – 3 km, rated 1B
We motor west along the Croatian coast this morning before turning inland to cross the border into Bosnia-Herzegovina. The Islamic influence of centuries of Turkish occupation is evident in the quiet little village of Počitelj. Everything is built from stone, from a perfectly preserved hamam (Turkish bath) to the quiet little mosque. Continuing inland, we reach Blagaj for our first walk, following the Buna River past more picturesque Turkish-era architecture to the river’s astonishing source—a massive spring at the base of a cliff. Mostar was a jewel of Herzegovina, a model of cross-cultural and inter-religious community until tensions of the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s literally tore the town apart. Its charm is being restored along with a slow regeneration of trust. No place allows more opportunity to grasp the complex and tragic phenomenon of the Yugoslav Wars.
Day 3: Mostar – Cavtat, Croatia (BL)
In a region associated more with war than waterfalls, Kravice Falls comes as a delightful surprise! Multiple cataracts spill dramatically over a bowl-shaped cliff, like a miniature Iguaҫu Falls (Brazil). Continuing east, we stop at Radimlja to view one of Bosnia-Herzegovina’s most valuable medieval monuments, a mysterious necropolis (cemetery) of tombstones strikingly decorated with relief carvings and cut in a variety of shapes and sizes. We continue deeper into Herzegovina for lunch in the remote settlement of Zavala, followed by a visit to a 13th century Orthodox Monastery, a significant center of cultural and religious life in eastern Herzegovina. We return to Cavtat through another reminder of ethnic/religious conflict—the self-proclaimed Serbian Autonomous Region of Herzegovina, a Serb enclave within the largely Catholic region of Herzegovina.
Day 4: Activities in Montenegro (BD)
Bay of Kotor Walk – 8 km, rated 1A
Today is devoted to Montenegro, starting with an easy stroll through idyllic, seaside villages along the shore of the stunningly beautiful Bay of Kotor, largest harbor in the eastern Mediterranean. An extended break for lunch in the ancient, UNESCO World Heritage town of Kotor offers time to wander the town’s delightful lanes. Consider joining us for a hike up fortifications to the commanding fortress above town for breathtaking views over the bay. Or consider opting for more expansive views as our bus ascends the serpentine road above town—one of Europe’s most panoramic drives! We return through continuous Mediterranean vistas to Cavtat for our last night ashore before embarking for the Adriatic islands.
Day 5: Cavtat – Embark at Dubrovnik, Croatia (BL)
Sailing to Korčula on island of Korčula
Dubrovnik Wall Walk – 6 km, rated 2B
Dubrovnik, another UNESCO World Heritage Site, has much to offer the walking traveler. We view Old Town from a medieval wall walk, encircling an enclave of lovely squares, palaces, churches, and other architectural monuments to the glories of centuries past. Following lunch, we board the our ship for the start of a seven-night cruise, sailing through azure blue seas to the island of Korčula. Our intimate, chartered vessel is a great way to explore the islands off the Dalmatian coast.
Day 6: Korčula – Postira, Croatia (BLD)
Sailing from island of Korčula to island of Brač
A guided walking tour introduces us to Korčula, a charming town of stone with medieval roots built on an oval peninsula which local legend claims as the birthplace of the renowned merchant traveler Marco Polo. Our cruise continues between Pelješac Peninsula and the island of Hvar to the island of Brač, set beside a deep fiord. Pučišća (pronounced “Puchishche”) is our destination— its white stone buildings with red tiled roofs inviting us to explore. Pučišća was built on stone, and island quarries have produced limestone columns for such architectural monuments as Washington, DC’s White House and Vienna’s Parliament House. Our visit here includes a stop at the stonemasons’ school, preserving the island’s traditional vocation as a livelihood for future generations. We dine aboard ship while repositioning up the coast to Postira.
Day 7: Postira – Split, Croatia (BL)
Sailing from island of Brač to Split
Skrip to Splitska St. Helena Walk – 3.5 km, rated 2B
Lovrecina Bay Walk – 5 km, rated 1B
The Croatian side of the Adriatic Sea has ancient connections to the Roman Empire. Atop the island of Brač, we find the diminutive village of Skrip, birthplace of Helena, mother of the 4th century Roman emperor Constantine. Our walk starts in a humble museum boasting treasures from the Roman era and earlier, wanders past ageless stone structures, (a medieval church named in Helena’s honor), and through olive groves. Part two of our walk is less historic and more relaxing as we follow a coastal path along the shoreline of the island through forest and gardens past secluded coves. The day finishes across the channel in the mainland city of Split. A guided walking tour here introduces us to impressive Roman-era Diocletian’s Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979, which serves a startlingly practical commercial and residential purpose in the heart of the city.
Day 8: Split – Jelsa, Croatia (BL)
Sailing from Split to island of Hvar
Split Marjan Park Walk – 7 km, rated 2A
Vrboska to Jelsa Dalmatian Delights Walk – 7 km, rated 1A
After an early breakfast, a walk through nearby Marjan Park provides sweeping views over the sea, finishing at a lively green market along the harbor. The day continues with a voyage to the island of Hvar, renowned as Croatia’s sunniest island. After a driving tour through the quiet rural north side of the island, we walk between two port towns—the charming 15th century fishing village of Vrboska, with its thriving yacht marina, and the 14th century maritime center of Jelsa, with a welcoming waterfront promenade. Enjoy the local ambiance this evening with dinner on your own in delightful Jelsa.
Day 9: Jelsa – Vela Luka, Croatia (BLD)
Sailing from island of Hvar to island of Korčula
After cruising the islands this morning, with a possible swimming stop in a secluded bay, we arrive in Vela Luka town. Located on the western part of the island of Korčula Island in a deep and large bay, Vela Luka is surrounded by many coves, ringed by hillsides of vineyards, olive trees, figs, and pine trees. We board a coach from Vela Luka for a series of three cultural visits for which the island is justly famous: the privately owned Zlokic olive oil factory to taste olive oil and homemade products; Barilo ethno and folk museum, housing artifacts and objects from traditional peasant life in island villages; and a local winery to sample renowned Dalmatian wines, accompanied by various cheeses.
Day 10: Vela Luka – Pomena, Croatia (BLD)
Sailing from island of Korčula to island of Mljet
Mljet National Park Walk – 10 km, rated 1B
Arriving this afternoon on the island of Mljet, we anticipate the privilege of exploring Croatia’s oldest national park. Two lovely lakes form the centerpiece of the park, bearing the not-so-original names Small and Big Lake. Small Lake boasts a surreal shade of iridescent blue, while 12th century Italian Benedictines used an island in the center of Big Lake to plant an impressive church, which we plan to visit by boat. Our walk on the island of Mljet features a challenge option that climbs a hill providing postcard-perfect panoramas of both lakes, and the sea beyond.
Day 11: Pomena – Dubrovnik (BLD)
Sailing from island of Mljet to Dubrovnik
Mount Srd Walk – 2 km, rated 1A (unsanctioned)
Our final cruise takes us along the shores of the Elaphiti Islands, where we stop for a final dip in the beautiful Adriatic Sea. Arriving at Dubrovnik, we have free time to enjoy the Old Town before boarding the gondola for Mount Srd. Instrumental in the defense of Dubrovnik during the Yugoslav Wars, Mount Srd offers our final stunning series of Adriatic views. We walk from the viewpoint to the nearby village of Bosanka for a traditional “under the iron bell” dinner before returning to port for our last night in Croatia.
Day 12: Depart from Dubrovnik (B)
We depart for home this morning, leaving this blessed corner of the Balkan Peninsula on the shores of the sun-washed Dalmatian Coast. What a privilege to sample the history, culture, and scenery of the Adriatic Riviera!
How do I lock in my place on this Adventure?
Call or mail in your Early Bird ($50) to save your spot! A maximum of 34 travelers will be accepted on this Adventure.
First Time Traveler Savings
In appreciation for joining us for your first Walking Adventure, we offer new travelers a $400 credit on international tours!
Group Travel Credit
Start a Group of 5 or more to receive a discount on this Adventure!
Check out more information on the Group Travel Program.
How is airfare arranged?
The official start and finish point for this Adventure is the Dubrovnik Airport (also known as Čilipi Airport)—airport code DBV. More details about flight arrangements and travel agent contact information will be made available after this itinerary has been finalized.
What about the walks?
We generally walk at a pace of 2 to 3 miles per hour. In most cases, we are not “strolling.” We are walking at a relaxed but steady pace. Your experience will be significantly affected by your level of physical fitness. The success of the walks is therefore predicated upon walkers having this minimum level of fitness. If not walking regularly at home, we strongly recommend that you make a priority of “training” beforehand in order to both enjoy the trip and avoid medical issues due to overexertion. If you have questions about your ability to participate, please talk with our office at 1.800.779.0353.
We have adopted a walk difficulty rating system that is similar to one used by the American Volkssport Association (AVA), which contains a numeric indicator for trail incline and an alpha indicator for trail terrain. The explanation for this system is presented below.
1. Very small hills or very little stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: up to 200 feet.
2. Some moderate hills and stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: 200-1000 feet.
3. Some significant hill or stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: 1000-2000 feet.
4. Lots of significant hills or stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: 2000-3500 feet.
5. Many steep hills. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: more than 3500 feet.
A. Almost entirely on pavement.
B. A significant part of the route is on well-groomed trails with very few obstacles.
C. A significant part of the route is on somewhat difficult terrain (rocky / rooted paths or soft sand).
D. A significant part of the route is on very difficult terrain.
E. The majority of the route is on very difficult terrain.
What happens next?
We are currently developing the itinerary for this Adventure. Once the itinerary is released, we will accept registration deposits ($500) to save space.
If you have Early Birded with a refundable $50 deposit, your spot on the tour will be held for 2 weeks after the itinerary is published while you make a decision on whether or not you’d like to register. If you decide not to join us for this tour, your Early Bird can be refunded or transferred to another tour.
Take a few minutes to peruse this itinerary: envision yourself cruising through the islands of the Adriatic, walking in places where you can almost hear the stomping of the Roman soldiers’ boots, or driving through the hills of Herzegovina, connecting with the age-old culture of the Balkans where elements of the East still permeate daily life. Walking is still and always will be the best way to experience our world. Give us a call and talk to one of our Adventure Consultants about how to join us for this unforgettable program in the Balkans and along the Dalmatian Coast of the Adriatic!