WHY IT RATES: These new itineraries from Wild Women Expeditions allow travelers to experience the country in great depth, exploring far off the beaten path.—Mia Taylor, TravelPulse Senior Writer
Just across the Adriatic Sea from Italy is the sun-splashed shoreline of Croatia, sometimes known as Dalmatia.
In 2019, Wild Women Expeditions will host multiple departures of two new, distinct itineraries that embrace the blue waters and high-altitude wilderness of this secret Riviera.
Kaleidoscopic Croatian Multisport is a 13-day active immersion in nature and culture that promises up to six hours of hiking or four hours each of paddling and cycling most days. Departures in 2019 include May 23, September 1, September 22 and October 13. The per person (double occupancy) rate of $4,695 includes:
—12 nights shared accommodations in locally owned hotels and guesthouses
—All breakfasts and lunches and some dinners
—Ground transportation from Zagreb to Dubrovnik
—Airport transfers on Day 13
—All equipment required for activities outlined in the itinerary
—All national park or entrance fees required to deliver the activities
—English-speaking female lead guide plus support staff
This itinerary begins in Croatia’s capital city, Zagreb, before departing for Kopacki Rit Nature Park on the Croatian-Serbian border.
During a homestay, guests will prepare dinner and perhaps hear stories about the history of what life was like in Tito’s Yugoslavia before the Balkan states erupted into being in the early 1990s.
Croatia’s pride and joy are its national and nature parks. Kopacki Rit Nature Park on the Danube floodplain is dubbed the European Amazon for its rich biodiversity and abundance of bird and wildlife.
After exploring this wildest side of Croatia, the itinerary weaves through the mountains, tracing vestiges of Celtic and Roman civilizations en route to Dubrovnik. After hiking in Papuk Nature Park, guests will finish the day by arriving in Samobor to enjoy dinner and kremsnite, a puff pastry with custard cream unique to these high altitudes.
Guests will further explore the Sambor Highlands before embarking on a hiking tour the following day through Plitvice Lakes National Park, home to more than 16 lakes that cascade from one to the next.
Leaving mountains behind, guests arrive in Split, a 1700-year-old city with the palace of a Roman emperor, Diocletian, dating from 4th century AD. Guests roll up their sleeves to play with clay, making souvenirs with natural elements and tools.
Swimming, snorkeling, and kayaking follow an overnight on Hvar, one of the countless islands in this region. Guests will then sail to Vis, an island that until 25 years ago housed the largest military base in the former Yugoslavia alongside traditional Dalmatian stone villages, many abandoned.
Before touring Dubrovnik comes a day on bicycles past vineyards, farms, and dwellings scarred by war from 1991-1995. A local family hosts a dinner with homemade bread and cheeses, local wines and prosek.
Dubrovnik residents in the early 1990s survived for six months on just bread and water as houses and shops were shelled inside 14th-century walls. Today’s Dubrovnik is a high-energy destination.
Kornati Islands Kayak Adventure is a 10-night itinerary being offered in 2019 with June 12 and September 12 departures. The per person rate is $4,495 includes:
—10-night accommodations in small hotels, fisherman guest houses, self-catering apartment and on sailboats
—Single or double sea kayaks, the use of skirts, paddles PFD’s, paddling jackets, dry bags and all safety gear
—Ground and sea transportation from Zadar to Split
—English-speaking female certified sea kayak guide(s)
—All national park or entrance fees
The adventure begins in Zadar on the Dalmatian coast between Split (north) and Dubrovnik (south). This ancient center combines 8th-century religious art with Roman artifacts and Sea Organ, an installation that captures the music of the waves.
One of the least accessible places in Croatia is Kornati National Park, which exposes a jagged coastline with a rich submarine eco-system, natural beauty, and interesting geomorphology.
Guests paddle by bottlenose dolphins and slow-but-lovable loggerhead sea turtles through a labyrinth of small islands, reefs, and islets that make up 12 percent of all the islands in the Croatian Adriatic.
Cliffs drop steeply to the sea, which supports families of fisherfolk who offer hospitality over home-made meals. Written documents from the 10th century confirm one island’s fishing tradition of 1000 years.
In the Sibenik archipelago, a sailboat lends support for an open-sea crossing to a community of 249 islands, of which only six are inhabited.
An undiscovered jewel on this archipelago is Zlarin, where, since the 14th century, islanders have been diving for colorful sea corals.
A sea paddle to Krka National Park reveals a karst phenomenon with seven travertine waterfalls, numerous endemic endangered species, and over 1000 plant and 225 bird species.
Speleology lovers are drawn to some 40 grottoes and pits; others to medieval fortresses, harbingers of the bustle of civilization that lies ahead in the farewell city of Split.
SOURCE: Wild Women Expeditions press release
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