Depart USA for Split, Croatia
Depart home city via your chosen air carrier for Split, arriving the following day, Friday, Oct. 05th.
Arrive Split / 4 nights
Welcome to Croatia--“The Mediterranean as it once was.” After clearing customs, Carl and his local representative will personally meet you and escort you to awaiting transportation. After a short drive, Anne will meet you on arrival at the seaside resort, Hotel Radisson Blu. Our deluxe hotel offers stunning views overlooking the Adriatic Sea. It’s just a short drive from the heart of the Roman city and within walking distance to a nearby marina where many great restaurants are found.
After check-in, the rest of the day is free for you to unpack, freshen-up, rest, relax and explore the property and marina. A local host will staff our FoCA Hospitality Desk in order to answer any questions that you may have.
This evening, please join Carl, Anne and your fellow Friends of Carl and Anne traveling companions… commonly known as FoCAs, for a special “Welcome to Split” cocktail reception followed by dinner at the hotel.
After breakfast, we’ll depart on a half-day tour of the city of Split and its surrounding area. The first stop is a visit to the Palace of the Emperor Diocletian. First built in the 3rd century AD, this structure is still the heart of the old city even today. We will also see Peristil Square where Diocletian made his speeches, and the imperial mausoleum that has now been converted into a Catholic church. Outside the palace are many charming piazzas. At the end of the tour, you’ll have the option of being transferred back to the hotel OR you can stay in the city center to enjoy shopping, lunch, or further sightseeing. Those wishing to remain in the city can either take a taxi (at a nominal charge) or enjoy a 30 minute walk along the coast back to the hotel.
The balance of the afternoon and evening are free to enjoy at your leisure. Your local host at the FoCA Hospitality Desk will be happy to tell you about dining options in Split and to make dinner reservations for you, if you wish. Your host can also answer any other questions that you have about Split, in general.
Personal note: Anne and I will provide you with a list of nearby restaurants at the Marina and in the old town. We will also include their website links so you can have an idea of which ones you may want to consider before arriving in Split.
The Island of Hvar
This morning, after breakfast, we will enjoy a full-day excursion to the island of Hvar. This will be an experience, not just a visit! On a public ferry, we’ll sail along the stunning Dalmatian coastline to the most beautiful of the Dalmatian islands. Known to be the sunniest, Hvar, with its wealth of wild flowers and bountiful fields of scented lavender and rosemary, is a nature-lover’s paradise. Hvar Town is a combination of Renaissance palaces, ancient monasteries and an elegant marina that has made it the most chic resort on the Adriatic Sea. On our tour, you’ll visit the old theatre built in 1612, the arsenal, and the old patrician palaces from the 15th century. The town is best known for its medieval buildings -- the legacy of Venetian rule. Perched high on a hill overlooking the town, the gleaming white limestone walls of the Spanjol Fortress afford breathtaking views for those who take the time to climb to the top.
After our morning sightseeing, it’s time for lunch! A special venue for lunch has been arranged for the group today at a traditional restaurant of the island. After lunch we will journey along the island’s coast to a village with a long tradition of viticulture and winemaking.
Throughout the centuries, people on Hvar cultivated their vineyards with great skill and care, blessed by the warm Mediterranean climate. Some of the finest grape varieties are grown in this area, but it still remains a challenge to turn this agricultural bounty into great wines. The wines from this area have the reputation of being the best of Hvar, with the Plavac red being especially favored. (I see a wine tasting in our future!) At the end of the tour we will travel back to the mainland by ferry and motorcoach to the hotel.
Tonight the evening is on your own. This is your chance to experience some of Split’s fine restaurants … and there is a great variety from which to choose. Croatia cuisine dates back to Proto-Slavic and ancient periods and the differences in the selection of foods and forms of cooking are most notable between those on the mainland and those in coastal regions. Mainland cuisine is influenced by Hungarian, Viennese and Turkish cuisine, while the coastal region bears the influences of the Greek, Roman and Illyrian, as well as of the later Mediterranean cuisine - Italian and French. Croatian cuisine includes seafood from the coastal waters and meat dishes such as cevapcici (sausage-shaped minced meat), raznijici (grilled meat on skewers), sarma (minced rice and meat rolled in cabbage leaves) and djuvec (stew). Yum, yum! And…Croatia is also famous for its excellent wine, both red and white. Sounds like a great night on the town to me!
Split / Optional tour to the UNESCO City of Trogir
Today is at your leisure and open for relaxing, shopping and exploring on your own. However, you may want to consider taking an optional tour (additional cost) to the magnificent UNESCO city of Trogir. You will meet your local guide who will accompany you on the motorcoach for a short ride to Trogir. This wonderful city is known as the ‘Jewel of the Adriatic’ and is a UNESCO World Heritage site, acknowledged for the beauty of its buildings and fortifications. The city is abundant with palaces, churches, towers and the impressive 15th Century Kamerlengo Fortress which is located on a small island. Trogir’s grandest building is the 13th Century Cathedral of St Lawrence whose main west portal is a Romanesque-Gothic styled masterpiece by Radovan. Other important sites include the 13th century Duke’s Palace, the 15th century city walls, the 17th century City Gate, 15th century Cipiko Palaces, the city loggia and numerous 13th century churches and buildings. At the end of the tour, you’ll transfer back to the Hotel Radisson Blu.
Please give this optional tour serious consideration as this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see one of the best UNESCO World Heritage cities in existence today.
This is your last night in Split so enjoy a memorable evening in this spectacular city. Dine at one of the many specialty restaurants at the nearby marina or search out one of Split’s many “special hide-away” restaurants. You’re sure to enjoy whichever you choose!
Split / Dubrovnik via Mali Ston & Ston / 4 nights Dubrovnik
Today, after breakfast, our motorcoach will take us south along the coast to Dubrovnik, stopping en-route at the ancient village of Mali Ston. Here, we’ll experience an extraordinary lunch including an oyster tasting at one of Mali Stons’ most popular restaurants, the Bota Sare Tavern.
Check out this YouTube video Here and read about it by clicking Here. Enjoy, these are great links!
Ston is also known as the city with the second biggest walls in the world. The quaint town was a military fort of the Ragusan Republic whose defensive walls (from 14th century) are a notable feat of medieval architecture evident even today. There are more than 3 miles of walls extending from Veliki Ston, the historic center of the town, to St. Michael’s Mount and to Mali Ston. The 41 towers, 7 bastions, and 2 forts make this one of the largest and most intriguing defensive structures in the world.
Our tour will also include a visit to the famous Grgic winery in Trpanj on the Pelješac Peninsula where we will have the opportunity to taste two wines, served with snacks. The red wine is Plavac Mali is produced on site; the white wine is Pošip, vinified on the island of Korcula. After the tasting, we continue our journey to Dubrovnik.
Arrive in Dubrovnik in the late afternoon to check-in to the beautiful, deluxe Gran Villa Argentina Hotel for the next four nights…Dubrovnik's traditional luxury address! The Grand Villa Argentina Hotel combines elegant exclusivity with exquisite attention to detail. This luxurious hotel is ideally situated just outside the famed walls of Dubrovnik. Sitting on a steep ledge leading to the sea, views of the Adriatic, the island of Lokrum and the old harbor of Dubrovnik are visible throughout the hotel, its extensive gardens and seaside beach. Click Here for more.
Tonight’s dinner is at your leisure. But before you “hit the streets” to find that perfect little restaurant or taverna in Old Town Dubrovnik, Carl and Anne invite you to join your fellow FoCAs this evening for a one hour “Welcome to Dubrovnik” cocktail reception.
Also, a local host will be at the FoCA Hospitality Desk to help you with any assistance that you may need such as directions, restaurant recommendations and dinner reservations. Whatever you require, they are there to help you!
Today after breakfast, meet our guide in the hotel lobby for a transfer to the historical city center of Dubrovnik. Start the day from the Old Harbor with a walking tour of the Old City of Dubrovnik, proclaimed a city museum by UNESCO. The old city is surrounded by a circuit of city walls, over a mile in length with a watch tower in each corner. They are truly a masterpiece of medieval and renaissance architecture. We will stroll along the centuries-old main city promenade, called Stradun, to its end, where we’ll visit a 14th century Franciscan Monastery with a cloister that ranks among the most inspiring sites of the city.
Also included in the tour is a fantastic cable car ride to the top of Mount Srd (yes…Srd). At the summit, you’ll enjoy breathtaking views and photo opportunities of Dubrovnik’s picturesque harbor and the dramatic Adriatic coastline with its many islands. At the end of the tour, you can transfer back to the Hotel or remain in town for more adventure. For those of you wishing to remain in town, you can take a taxi or public bus (both are readily available) or enjoy a short walk back to the hotel.
You are free this evening to explore this magnificent fortified town own your own.
Dubrovnik / Optional Full Day Montenegro Tour
Today is a free day. However, a very special full-day optional tour (additional cost) has been arranged for our group to Montenegro, Croatia’s beautiful neighboring country. Since you are so close, you shouldn’t miss this opportunity!
The tour begins with a drive (approx. 1 hour 45 minutes) to the town of Kotor, where you will meet your local guide. Kotor is located along one of Montenegro's most beautiful bays, and was once a city of traders and famous sailors. The Old City of Kotor is a well-preserved town, typical of the Middle Ages, and was built between the 12th and 14th centuries. Medieval architecture and numerous monuments of cultural heritage have made Kotor a UNESCO listed “World Historical Heritage Site."
After free time for lunch and some time to explore on your own, we will drive over Mount Lovcen to Cetinje, the former capital of Montenegro. There we will visit the National Museum of Montenegro, which is located in a former royal residence, and the monastery whose fence was made out of the barrels of captured enemy rifles in 1450. From Cetinje, we travel on to Budva, which is one of the oldest settlements on the Adriatic Sea dating back to the 5th Century BC. In the middle ages when Budva was under Venetian rule, the town was fortified by powerful walls to protect against the Ottoman invasion. The walls encompass a lively town with many small shops, restaurants and cafes. Budva is an ancient town that lies on a little island that was linked to land by a sandbar -- over time, this became a peninsula. Visitors often marvel at its surrounding 15th century ramparts, and medieval fortification system consisting of city gates, defense walls and towers. Inside the walls, you’ll find the town to be a combination of narrow streets and small squares, with superb monuments of the different Mediterranean cultures marking its development. This town is an amazing site to behold, and will be a special treat for the photographers in our group. In the late afternoon, we’ll transfer back to Dubrovnik, arriving in the early evening.
This evening will be free for you to enjoy Dubrovnik, your wonderful hotel and dinner on your own and at your leisure. After a long and exciting day, you may just want to dine at one of the great restaurants in the hotel overlooking the Adriatic Sea. For those of you still feeling “feisty,” a stroll into the old town may allow you to find one more “gem” of a restaurant.
Today, the morning and afternoon are open for you to do what you wish! After a leisurely breakfast, you may choose to stroll to Old Town Dubrovnik and mix with the locals, do a little last minute shopping, or find that perfect outdoor taverna overlooking the Adriatic Sea for some lunch accompanied by a couple (couple?) glasses of Opolo, Plavac or Malvazija, (great Croatian red and white wines.) Watch the world go by. It’s up to you!
Even though our journey has come to an end, there is still time for one last get together before we bring a close to this year’s trip. Tonight, please join Carl and Anne and your fellow FoCA travel partners for a very special evening in the beautiful Croatian hinterlands known as the Konvale Valley (which has been inhabited for over 4,000 years!). A traditional Croatian dinner will be served to our group at a very unique location. This special night includes a traditional Croatian meal while being entertained by local musicians. Tonight everyone is Croatian!
Dubrovnik to the USA
After breakfast, transfer from the hotel to the airport for check-in. Depart from Dubrovnik to the USA and home city via your chosen air carrier. Arrive the same day.
Sretan put…(Good journey homeward!)…see you next year in Peru!
Carl & Anne