September 16-23, 2016
Gay Group Tour of Croatia — HIGHLIGHTS
- The stunning walled city of Dubrovnik — one of Europe’s hottest destinations
- Split‘s spectacular and unusual ancient core — a remnant of Ancient Rome.
- Glitzy and gorgeous Hvar — an island destination that easily stands up to the likes of other rich playgrounds
- The beauty of Krka National Park with its series of waterfalls and pools and the 15th-century Franciscan monastery in Visovac Lake
- A visit to one of Croatia’s best winemakers for tastings and a delicious meal
- Enchanting Trogir — a postcard-perfect coastal jewel in Croatia’s crown
- A day trip into the neighboring country of Montenegro and the old quarter of Kotor with its imposing fortress and labyrinth streets
- Beautiful architecture from the Venetian Republic era
- Several UNESCO World Heritage Sites
- The convenience of just two hotel bases
- Download Detailed Itinerary
Croatia is generously endowed with natural and man-made wonders, a rich repository of culture, a complicated history, and people who are warm and welcoming. Croatia’s charms include endless beaches and clear blue sea, a wealth of Roman ruins, medieval hilltop castles, and an impressive collection of natural sights.
Despite the turmoil of the 1990s that erupted with the breakdown of the former Yugoslavia, today’s Balkan countries are on the rise, and that certainly includes Croatia as the European Union’s newest member state as of 2013.
Its Dalmatian Coast is spectacular, and this coast – the east side of the Adriatic Sea – is arguably prettier than the western coast (sorry, Italy). It is a sun-washed mosaic of red-tile roofs, bell towers, lush vegetation, and beautiful beaches. The region’s history is rich with very visible Roman and Venetian influences plus a mild Mediterranean climate. With the mark of Greek, Roman, and Venetian cultures — and the Dinaric Alps and the Adriatic Sea as backdrops — this skinny strip of land squished between Bosnia-Herzegovina and the sea shows off one gorgeous place after another.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites on this itinerary include:
- Historical complex of Split with the Palace of Diocletian
- Historic city of Trogir
- Old city of Dubrovnik
- Natural and culturo-historical region of Kotor
Diocletian’s Palace, completed in A.D. 305 in Split, isn’t what is normally thought of as a palace. The Roman Emperor built his estate in such a grand manner that it was converted into a city after his death. Stroll down Split’s Riva, the city’s spiffy, busy promenade along the harbor, and you’ll see sidewalk cafes and restaurant tables that are rarely empty. A nearby excursion takes us to Trogir, one of the most enchanting towns on the Adriatic. It’s a postcard-perfect jewel in Croatia’s crown, with its well-preserved decorative stonework and intact medieval character. The entire town is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
We witness the beauty of Krka National Park with its waterfalls, gorges, and traces of ancient settlements along the Krka River. The falls were formed by deposits of limestone sediment (travertine), and Skradinski Buk is considered one of the best falls in Europe as it extends about half a mile and tumbles 150 feet over 17 distinct travertine deposits.
A ferry ride from Split takes us for the day to Hvar island — known for sun, glamour, and herbal fragrance, mainly lavender. Hvar town can certainly boast its share of celebrities, but many more visitors are just hip (or hip wannabe) tourists looking for a beautiful, sun-drenched, seaside place with good restaurants and nightlife. But there is some solid history here, too, and fine architecture with churches, a fortress, clock tower and monastery dating from the 15th to 19th centuries.
A stop between Split and Dubrovnik shows us the 3-mile, 14th-century defensive wall that stretches above the town of Ston from both sides and forms a horseshoe above it in the hills resembling (sort of) the Great Wall of China from a distance. Ston is well known for its oyster beds and its salt pans, and its restaurants serve fabulous versions of oysters and mussels fresh from Malostonski Bay — quite a pleasant place for a lunch stop.
The UNESCO World Heritage city of Dubrovnik has been referred to as the “Pearl of the Adriatic, a “city of stone and light,” and it is stunning. In the early 1990s shelling by Serbia wreaked havoc on the beautiful city, but now it has regained its composure and sparkles just as it did 500 years ago when it was a major sea power and endowed with Renaissance beauty. It’s now bustling with an international crowd that comes for its historic churches and buildings; designer shops; restaurants; ancient art and modern galleries; sculpted fountains and bell towers; and most famous of all, its ancient city walls, of which you can walk the entirety.
Dramatically beautiful Kotor (in the neighboring country of Montenegro) has a wonderful old town center with a labyrinth of marbled streets, pretty architecture, and defensive walls dating from the 9th to the 18th centuries rising steeply up the mountain behind it. Kotor makes for a pleasant day trip from Dubrovnik and also sits on one of Europe’s largest fjords so it’s just a striking setting overall.