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Croatian Islands; Southern Explorer
8 days - by Air

Price from £799.00 per person*
Departs 14th Oct 2017

Please see Includes tab for flight times

Route: SPLIT → MAKARSKA → MLJET ISLAND → DUBROVNIK → ŠIPAN ISLAND → KORČULA ISLAND → HVAR ISLAND → BRAĆ ISLAND → SPLIT

Split

What's immediately striking about Split, apart from being the home town of Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanišević, is that the town centre is built up inside and around an enormous Roman palace. This was the ultimate retirement home built for the Emperor Diocletian in 305 AD, a fortress- sized mini-city of 9 ½ acres which would have had a small army of staff and opulence beyond imaginings.

A walk round the well-preserved Palace walls is a good place to start, but Split has acquired many exotic influences since Roman times, ranging through Byzantine, Venetian, Napoleonic, Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian. It's a fun place just to mooch around, with shops and boutiques built into the palace walls, street traders, and random a capella choirs popping up on street corners. If you want some peace and quiet in cool, pine-scented air, Marjan Hill to the west is a wooded promontory that gives great views of the peninsula.

Dubrovnik

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Dubrovnik (Turkish Dobro-Venedik - 'Good Venice') has been a tourist magnet since jet travel first discovered the former Yugoslavia. But if you're expecting some '70s era high-rise holiday hell, you'll be pleasantly surprised, because Dubrovnik is a superbly-preserved medieval town. There are intact fortifications, walls, battlements, round towers and arrow slits, all built into the karst cliffs like a fine set of teeth. The city is rated as one of the 10 best medieval walled towns in the world, now also a film location in the HBO series Game of Thrones. A short sightseeing tour of the city is included.

Things to see include: a fine Natural History museum; Mount Srđ with fine views from the top and a cable car to take you there; a Cathedral that contains numerous holy relics including, they claim, one of Christ's nappies; a Dominican monastery with beautiful Gothic cloisters; a Franciscan monastery with Europe's oldest still-working pharmacy; the 16th century arcaded customs house of Sponza Palace, which is Europe's second oldest synagogue, and the house of Marin Držić, Croatia's most famous playwright.

Mljet Island & National Park

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This is a lush National Park with deep forests, gorgeous beaches, vineyards, olive groves, sea caves and coves and even a Roman Palace, second only in size to Diocletian's palace at Split. Mljet was called Melita (land of honey) in Roman times, which causes historians some confusion as Malta has the same derivation. Today it's a National Park, but in the 12th century it was dominated by a Benedictine monastery, built on an island in the Big Lake (Veliko Jezero). In a spectacular failure of forward-thinking, the monks tried to solve their transport problems by digging a huge canal from their lake to the south coast. The result was that both of the island's freshwater lakes turned into seawater lakes. The island was also infested with snakes, a problem which the locals addressed by releasing a shipload of mongooses. The mongooses got rid of the snakes alright - then ate all the birds. You can hire bicycles to explore the area, or else kayaks, scooters and even cars, and today Mljet is a paradise for exotic wildlife - if they can keep out of the way of the mongooses...

Korčula Island

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Around the time that Scotland's hero William Wallace was giving the English a very bad time, across the Mediterranean the swaggering regional superpower was Venice, and Korčula was one of its island territories. In 1298 the Venetians picked a fight with the Genoese and were defeated at the Battle of Korčula. Prisoners were rounded up, and one Venetian galley commander found himself in a Genoese gaol, where he passed the time by telling a lot of tall tales about going to China and meeting Kublai Khan. Posterity might easily have forgotten these tales, but they were published, and 'the world's first tourist' became a celebrity. Whether Korčula was really Marco Polo's birthplace is hotly disputed, but there's no denying the island's rich historical treasures. It's a green island, with gardens full of oranges and lemons, lovely seashores, charming and picturesque villages, old seamen's houses and little votive churches. The town of Korčula itself has one of the best-preserved medieval quarters in the Mediterranean, with narrow streets threading between medieval houses, Venetian palaces and Gothic cloisters. If Marco Polo really came from here, one wonders why he ever left.

 

Hvar Island

This is a heavenly island with pine-forested hills, vineyards, olive groves, orchards and lavender fields, Hvar describes itself as 'the sunniest spot in Europe' and is regularly listed in the top 10 islands by Condé Nast Traveler Magazine. Hvar town is set in a bay at the south-western edge of the island and was a Venetian stronghold and naval base, and still features city walls and many public buildings from the period. Today it's an upmarket and jet-set yachting destination with art galleries, museums and exhibitions, and it also boasts one of the oldest surviving theatres in Europe.

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Šipan Island

This is the largest of the Elafiti Islands (elaphos - Greek for deer, not elephant!), and olives, figs, vines, carob-trees, almond-trees, oranges and citrus fruit are cultivated here. The island has some lovely beaches and is also famed for its numerous palm tree species.

Makarska

A popular Riviera town set in a bay against a backdrop of mountains. Things to see are the 13th century St Peter's church, the 16th century monastery or 17th century cathedral. Or just enjoy a careless wander among the lively harbour bars and boutiques. You never know, you might run into Garry Kasparov in the street, as the great chess player has a summer home here.

Bol on Brač Island

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A fisherman's village turned tourist town, Bol is on the south side of Brač Island and is home to Ziatni Rat, a sand spit that juts out into the sea and is the most famous beach on the Dalmatian coast.

This tour is organised and operated by Omega Holidays plc ABTA V4782 ATOL 6081

  • Return flight from your chosen airport to Split
  • Airport taxes and return transfer from the airport to the embarkation port
  • Omega exclusive return transfers from airport to embarkation point
  • Guided tour of Dubrovnik
  • Daily cabin cleaning
  • Mid – week cabin cleaning, linen and towel change
  • 2 towels per person
  • Services of ship staff on–board, including information, assistance
  • 7 HB meals (breakfast and lunch or breakfast and dinner)
  • En–suite under–deck cabin with air conditioning (on–deck cabins are available at a supplement of £84pp)
  • Visits to Makarska, Mljet, Dubrovnik, Šipan/Trstenik, Korčula, Hvar and Split
  • Captain's dinner
  • One piece of hold luggage (an allowance of at least 20kgs per person, depending on airline, to be confirmed on receipt of itinerary)
  • Services of an Omega tour manager / English–speaking representative
  • VAT

To maximise the enjoyment of this holiday a certain amount of walking is essential. Passengers will need to ascend/descend steps when moving between decks.

NOTE – There is a €25 pp per week charge for berthing/docking, payable locally.

FLIGHT DETAILS

† Our prices include your flights for which we have allowed a reasonable budget. The holiday prices quoted in the brochure are those anticipated at the time of publishing, but may increase or decrease according to the cost of the flights. You will be advised of the up–to–date price when making your booking. The date of operation and flight times are subject to change, and availability will be confirmed at the time of your booking. Flight times are stated in local times.

Due to operational reasons there may be a short wait at the airport for clients arriving/departing on other flight(s).

Ryanair, easyJet & Jet2 – Important Information. The airlines, Ryanair, easyJet and Jet2, require that you are able to check in online. Whilst the procedure is quite simple it does of course mean that you require access to a computer and printer. Failure to check in for both your outward and return flight will result in you being denied boarding and Omega will not be liable for any monies lost. Omega are of course prevented from doing this for you due to security reasons. Full details will be sent with your travel itinerary.

Flights ↔ Split
AirportOutboundReturnAirline
Bristol06:45 / 10:2011:00 / 12:45easyJet
Gatwick05:50 / 09:2010:00 / 11:35easyJet
Leeds Bradford14:20 / 18:2019:05 / 21:10Jet2
Luton14:50 / 18:2019:00 / 20:40easyJet
Manchester08:40 / 12:3513:35 / 15:35Jet2
Newcastle17:20 / 21:1021:50 / 23:50easyJet
Stansted06:25 / 09:5510:35 / 12:10easyJet
These flight times are correct at the time of publishing but may not be available on all dates and are subject to change without notice

Saturday Travel to your chosen airport for your flight to Split, where you will be transferred to the port for embarkation. The boat sets sail at 1pm, heading south along the Dalmatian coast for Makarska. Note those arriving on late flights after sailing time (Newcastle, Leeds Bradford and Luton airports), there will be transfers by private taxi to Makarska (included in price). Manchester arrivals will be transferred by taxi to Krilo Port. Overnight in Makarska.

Sunday Breakfast and then weigh anchor for Mljet Island National Park, with included lunch on board.

Monday Back to the mainland today for a stopover at Dubrovnik, with a guided tour.

Tuesday The morning is free to spend exploring the city. Around noon, we'll embark for the islands. Because island harbours are small the Captain will check ahead for a mooring space and set sail either for Trstenik on the Pelješac Peninsula, or for the island of Šipan.

Wednesday After breakfast we depart for Korčula Island. Lunch on board in the bay of Korčula town. Optional sightseeing tour and wine tasting.

Thursday An early departure today for the Pakleni Islands and a swim stop before continuing to Hvar, where you can join an optional sightseeing tour.

Friday Morning voyage to Brač Island and a visit to Croatia's most famous beach, the ‘Golden Horn' near Bol. After lunch we set sail, with an afternoon stop, before returning to Split for our final overnight, where there will be an optional guided tour. Captain's dinner in the evening.

Saturday After an early breakfast, check out and transfer to the airport for your flight home. Those with afternoon or evening flights can leave luggage at the port (around €2 per item) until it's time to transfer to the airport.

Here are some example hotels or similar ones that we use for this break, actual availability may change with the travel date you choose.

Some hotels have an additional supplement per person, as shown below. Supplements are stated for the break (not per night)

Croatia - Southern Explorer,
Cruise along the central Croatian coast and around the southern islands. Relax, enjoy the Mediterranean scenery and visit the many places of interest en route, including Dubrovnik. Optional excursions available.
 

Quote: NWN03

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