Croatia Seven (7) Day Guided Cycling Trip 2011 This is a fantastic Southern Visions seven (7) day guided cycling trip through Croatia, which boasts unparalleled beauty! Despite the recent hype, the pleasures Croatia offers visitors are more timeless than trendy. The glistening Adriatic Sea winds around rocky coves, lapping at pine-‐fringed beaches along 1778 km of coastline. Ports bustle with local fishermen while children dive into the sparkling water. The Croatian islands offer some of the best cycling anywhere, but it’s hard not to get distracted while you’re pedaling because the scenery is so inviting! The cycling on this Croatia trip is considered moderate. The itinerary features a combination of rolling terrain and moderate hills, with a few steep climbs on each of the four islands we visit. Our van support will always be available for those who need assistance during the bike rides. This trip is appropriate for anyone from an athletic/energetic beginning cyclist to an advanced cyclist. Trip Highlights • Professionally guided cycling each day • Island hopping via catamarans & ferries • Winery visit & tasting • Cooking class & dinner with local expert • Walking tours of Korcula & Hvar towns • Farewell party with slide show presentation WHAT YOU GET!!! • An outstanding adventure travel experience • Peace of mind knowing you are with a professional travel and tour company • Use of Puglia’s finest and best maintained bikes • Local and native guides with insider knowledge of Croatia’s secrets and mysteries • 6 nights lodging at 3-‐ and 4-‐star hotels and resorts • 6 breakfasts • 4 lunches • 5 Dinners • Daily snacks & happy hours • Guest shuttles and all luggage transfers • Detailed maps and route notes
Day 1 We will meet at the port of Dubrovnik at 9:00 am. You will find your guide holding a Southern Visions sign. We suggest that you arrive no later than the night before. Catamaran ride to Sobra Lunch: Polace Bourbon Cycling: 39km/24mi Dinner & Lodging: Hotel Odisej www.hotelodisej.hr Our adventure begins in historical and romantic Dubrovnik, one of Eastern Europe’s most unique cities. The historic center is well-‐protected by fortified walls, making it a wonderful place to stroll. Given its location on the Adriatic Sea, Dubrovnik is the perfect place to start our journey. We’ll meet at the port at 9:00 am and catch a catamaran to the nearby island of Mljet. Covered with luxurious vegetation, Mljet has always been a desirable destination for tourists seeking unspoiled natural wonders or retracing the legendary footsteps of Odysseus and St. Paul. We will enjoy lunch in Polace and begin our cycling route there, stopping to explore Mljet National Park and two saltwater lakes. We will finish our ride at the seaside Hotel Odisej, which boasts a caring staff, exceptional customer service, and excellent cuisine. Be sure to get a good night’s rest! Day 2 Transfer to Korcula Island Walking tour of Korcula town Cycling: 37km/23mi Wine tasting at Toreta Winery Dinner at a local farm Lodging: Hotel Feral www.korculainfo.com/places/brna/hotel-‐feral.htm Today we will begin with a boat transfer from Mljet to Korcula Island, one of the greenest in the Adriatic Sea. Like most of the Croatian islands, Korcula was first settled by the Greeks, who gave it the name Korkyra Melaina (Black Corfu) for its dark and densely wooded appearance. Korcula is rich in art and culture, as well as beautiful natural elements such as breathtaking views, tiny and secluded beaches and bays, and uninhabited smaller islands just off the main island’s coast. Legend has it that Marco Polo called Korcula Island home. The main town on the island, also named Korcula, is a typical medieval walled Dalmatian city, with round defensive towers and a cluster of red-‐roofed houses. We will take a walking tour of the town and then give you some time to enjoy lunch on your own in one of the many amazing cafes and restaurants. Then, we will cycle to one of the island’s top vineyards for a lovely wine tasting. You will have some more free time to rest or explore before we head to dinner at a small local farm. Get ready for another exciting day tomorrow! Day 3 Cruise to Hvar Island & Lunch onboard Cycling: 27km/17mi + additional options Dinner & Lodging: Hotel Podstine www.podstine.com After breakfast in Korcula, we will cruise to Hvar Island, enjoying lunch aboard the ship. From the earliest days of seafaring, Hvar was at the center of Adriatic trade routes. With an excellent natural
shape and nearby small islands blocking perilous winds, the port of Hvar served as a perfect safe haven for boats. When you look back on your time in Hvar, you will remember rich sensory experiences: the feel of sunshine on your face, the sight of beautiful secluded coves, the sound of crickets, the taste of wine, and the smell of heather, rosemary, lavender, and sage. We will take an exhilarating ride along the north coast between Jelsa, Vrboska, and Stari Grad – a stretch that’s especially well-‐suited to cycling. After our group ride, you may choose to clock some extra kilometers on your bike or have some fun in the city center, just 15 minutes away from our hotel. Or, if you prefer, you can explore the sandy white beaches and enjoy unparalleled swimming and snorkeling at a nearby chain of islets known as the Resin Islands. Of course you can always decide just to relax in your room or by the pool at Hotel Podstine, where we will all have dinner together. Don’t worry if you can’t fit everything in today, as we are lucky enough to spend tomorrow again in Hvar! Day 4 Lunch: Antica Resto Hvar walking tour with local guide Cycling: 41 or 61km/30 or 38mi Cooking class & Dinner with Margita Viskovic Lodging: Hotel Podstine www.podstine.com After a hearty breakfast, we will venture out for more cycling through peaceful coves and islets filled with a multitude of pleasant scents, plus a lovely walking tour with a local guide. These activities will waken your senses to the island’s pleasant Mediterranean climate and rich vegetation of palms, aloe, pine trees, laurel, rosemary, and lavender. We will stop for lunch at a delicious local restaurant, Antica Resto, and then catch a little rest at the hotel before enjoying a cooking class and dinner with local superstar Margita Viskovic. We must bid goodbye to Hvar tomorrow, so be sure to make a special memory for yourself tonight! Day 5 Private transfer to Brac Island, Bol Town & Lunch onboard Cycling: 45km/33mi + additional options Lodging: Hotel Elaphusa www.hotelelaphusabrac.com/en/index.aspx After a lovely last breakfast at Hotel Podstine, we will cruise you over to Brac Island for two glorious days in an unspoiled natural environment. Featuring a rich cultural heritage that dates back to prehistoric times, Brac Island offers unique gastronomy, beautiful beaches and bays, crystal blue waters, high quality accommodations at private facilities, and warm hospitality from the locals. We’ll stay two nights at the newly renovated four-‐star Hotel Elaphusa, located in the southern part of the island, along a walking path in a pine forest midway between the town of Bol and Zlatni Rat, Croatia’s most beautiful beach. The hotel’s spa, outdoor pools, and other amenities make it a favorite. A ten-‐minute walk along a seaside path leads you to Bol, with many excellent restaurants and a charming city center. You will be free to explore and enjoy dinner at your own leisure. Brac Island and Bol are among the most visited Croatian destinations for good reason, so be sure to take full advantage of your time here and experience as much as you can. Day 6 Cycling: 48 or 97km/30 or 60mi Farewell gathering & slide show at Hotel Elaphusa Farewell Dinner: Konoba Gust
Lodging: Hotel Elaphusa www.hotelelaphusabrac.com/en/index.aspx We get to wake up to the beautiful town of Bol, ready to start another fantastic day. After breakfast at the hotel, we will cycle into Bol for a journey through history: the Roman baths and stela (grave markers), the ancient Christian sarcophaguses engraved with crosses, the pre-‐Romanic church of Sts. Ivan and Tudor, the bishop’s residence, the Church of Madonna of Graces, the fortified Gothic summer palace, the Renaissance and Baroque Palace with a notable gallery of contemporary Croatian art, and the Church of Madonna of Karmel decorated with angels with the handkerchief of Veronica. You will have some time on your own to explore the area’s beaches and underwater playgrounds or to cycle an extra loop around the city. However you choose to spend your afternoon, your day will end with an amazing Southern Visions-‐style farewell party, starting with a lovely cocktail hour at the hotel and the presentation of a fabulous slide show documenting our adventures, followed by a farewell dinner fondly hosted by your guides at Konoba Gust. Tonight will be filled with friends, fun, and memories! Day 7 Private transfer to Supetar & Split Farewell from the Southern Visions Team We will shuttle you to Supetar, where you will catch your ferry to Split. From there, you can depart for home or other travels. Of course, if you would like to extend your stay in Croatia, Southern Visions is here to help. Remember, Croatians maintain a strong attachment to their native land and traditions, which nourished their dream of independence for so long. Many visitors to the Croatian Islands have been lured to stay longer or come back to continue experiencing and honoring the extraordinary beauty of this wonderfully preserved coastline. Arrival and Departure Logistics Please inform us of your arrival and departure plans. We recommend flying into Dubrovnik and out of Split. Please be sure to note these important contact numbers, in case you need assistance before, during, or after your trip – Puglia: +39 340 264 4128 or +39 392 185 7704; USA +1 800 737 5760.