Adriatic Coastal cruise with APT Travelmarvel
8-day coastal cruise from £2,795 pp incl. flights
- Call 020 7590 0615
An island-hopping adventure in small-ship luxury with APT Travelmarvel
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- Enjoy an intimate and informal yacht-based Adriatic experience with just 36 guests
- Discover medieval Old Towns & fascinating history
- Swim, snorkel & paddleboard on the azure waters of Croatia's beautiful coastline
- Explore with included 'insider experiences', from road trips to guided city walks
- Discover the beautiful Krka National Park with an included tour
- 1 Night Opatija
- 1 Night Rab
- 1 Night Zadar
- 1 Night Krka National Park
- 1 Night Split
- 1 Night Korčula
- 1 Night Dubrovnik
Krka National Park
Fort Bokar, Dubrovnik, Croatia
Recommended for: History & culture | May holidays | Natural world | Ocean cruise
Island-hop along Croatia's Adriatic coast, showcasing its most beautiful destinations on this luxury small-ship voyage, from the walled city of Dubrovnik to the dramatic waterfalls of Krka National Park. As well as enjoying a programme of included excursions – think ultra-scenic island road trips and guided city tours – you'll also have plenty of time to relax onboard, paddle boarding, swimming and tucking into delicious barbecue lunches. What's more, it's all enjoyed in the most intimate of settings, aboard the MV Princess Eleganza, which was designed especially for sailing the Adriatic coast. Playing host to just 36 guests in a wonderfully informal atmosphere, you can expect free-flowing, complimentary drinks and superb dining inspired by the region. What's more, the ship will dock each night in ports that larger ships are unable to reach, allowing plenty of opportunities to explore Croatia's most picturesque harbours, pausing for al fresco dinners in seaside restaurants and authentic taverns alike.
Day by day itinerary
Day 1 uk to zagreb.
After included VIP airport lounge access, fly from the UK to Zagreb and transfer to Opatija to board MV Princess Eleganza . With a capacity of just 36 guests, expect an intimate, personal experience on board. After settling in to your stylish suite, you'll head to the al fresco dining area for a Captain’s Welcome Dinner with your fellow guests.
Stay: M V Princess Eleganza
Day 2 Krk & Rab
Anchor in to the beautiful island of Krk today, where the ship will dock for a few hours, giving you the chance to swim, snorkel and paddleboard on the Adriatic's crystal-clear waters and relax on the ship's sundeck. Then, after a barbecue lunch on board, sail to Rab where you'll have this evening to discover its picturesque Old Town that's packed full of excellent-preserved medieval architecture – the perfect spot for an al fresco dinner.
Stay: MV Princess Eleganza
Day 3 Pag & Zadar
After breakfast, anchor in to the mountainous island of Pag and, later, Zadar, where you'll enjoy an included afternoon walking tour among the atmospheric Old Town's Roman columns, churches, baroque palaces and Renaissance buildings before returning to MV Princess Eleganza for dinner this evening.
Meals: B L D
Day 4 Krka National Park
Today is a trip highlight as you explore the awe-inspiring natural beauty of Krka National Park, its dramatic waterfalls the emblematic image of many a Croatian postcard. Head out on an included tour – an APT 'Insider Experience' – along the wooden boardwalks and bridges, with the chance to swim in the azure-blue pools before returning to the MV Princess Eleganza to get ready for dinner. With the ship remaining in Sibenik, choose between staying on board or exploring Sibenik's town squares and cobbled streets for dinner tonight.
Stay: MV Princess Eleganza
Day 5 Sibenik, Split
After breakfast, step off the ship for a guided walk through Sibenik's historic, well-preserved Old Town, pausing at the Cathedral of St James and St Michael’s Fortress for wonderful vistas of Sibenik Bay and its neighbouring islands. Later, arrive in to Split for another guided walk through the town, with the chance to sample one of the many local restaurants on the picturesque Riva Promenade for dinner this evening.
Day 6 Vis & Korcula
Arrive in to Vis today, which you'll explore with one of APT's 'Insider Experiences' – an ultra-scenic drive around the island. This remote, untouched island is lined with beautiful white-sand beaches and turquoise waters that frame tiny fishing villages on the harbour. Later, sail to Korcula and stroll through its winding medieval streets before sampling one of the local restaurants tonight.
Day 7 Badija, Dubrovnik
Today will see you arrive in to your penultimate stop, the idyllic island of Badija, for swimming and beach relaxation. Then, continue to Dubrovnik for a guided walk through the city's famous medieval Old Town, pausing at the Gothic-Renaissance Rector’s Palace, the Dominican Monasteries, World Heritage-listed fortress and Pile Gate, which has stood guard at the entry of the walled city for centuries. Later, return to the ship for your final dinner on board with new-found friends.
Day 8 Dubrovnik to UK
After breakfast, disembark and transfer to the airport for your flight back to the UK.
Any element of this cruise can be adjusted to suit your needs. Just contact us to find out more.
Accommodation rating: Superior
Save Up to £500 pp off 2024 sailings Book by: 30 November 2023
- Return scheduled flights from the UK
- Transfers to/from ship
- 7-nights' cruising aboard the MV Princess Eleganza
- Meals as indicated in the itinerary
- Onboard water stations, plus tea and coffee, soft drink, beer and local wine during lunch and dinner on your cruise
- Experience the breath-taking natural beauty of Krka National Park and its dramatic waterfalls
- Enjoy a scenic drive on the untouched island of Vis
- Services of a Travelmarvel Cruise Director and local guides
Selected departure dates from April to September 2023.
Note: the itinerary is operated in reverse on alternate departure dates.
Terms & Conditions: Prices are per person based on two people sharing a twin/double room; prices are subject to availability and possible change; normal booking conditions apply.
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APT to cruise the Adriatic Coast
Award-winning touring company, APT announced it would be sailing a new route on a brand new vessel – the Queen Eleganza .
In partnership with Noble Caledonia, APT will be chartering the brand new Croatian made, yacht-style, small ship along one of the most popular cruise destinations.
The Croatian flagged vessel sets sail on her maiden voyage with Noble Caledonia in the spring of 2018 before embarking on a full season with APT in 2019.
With only 18 passenger cabins, the Queen Eleganza was purpose-built for the Adriatic coasts tight coves and isolated islands, allowing exploration of hidden gems that larger ships cannot access.
The ship accommodates for only 36 passengers onboard and will have a relaxed, resort atmosphere – you can swim in the Adriatic right off the back of the ship.
Guests can grab a drink at the bar or enjoy brunch onboard at the ship’s restaurant and in the evenings, explore Croatian towns and experience the nightlife.
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Adriatic coastal cruise, zagreb to dubrovnik.
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Map & Itinerary
Similar trips, trip inclusions.
- Seven nights cruising aboard the MV Princess Eleganza
- Services of a Travelmarvel Cruise Director and local guides
- 17 meals - 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches and 4 dinners
- Onboard water stations, plus tea and coffee, soft drink, beer and local wine during lunch and dinner on your cruise
- Explore 11 towns, villages and cities
- Discover the medieval Old Town of Dubrovnik on a guided walking tour
- Enjoy a scenic drive on the untouched island of Vis
- Experience the breathtaking natural beauty of Krka National Park and its dramatic waterfalls
- Itinerary and inclusions subject to change
- Prices include transfers, port charges and tipping
- Coastal Cruising itineraries are subject to sailing conditions
- Group transfers are at set times
- Prices are for cruise only. Flights not included unless specified
Designed exclusively for our guests
Enjoy an included special or unique excursion or event
Arrive Zagreb, Opatija, Embark Ship
Arrive in Zagreb and transfer to Opatija to board your ship. After settling in, meet your fellow travellers and Cruise Director during a Captain’s Welcome Dinner.
Stay: Seven Nights, aboard the MV Princess Eleganza
Opatija, Krk, Rab
Enjoy free time in Opatija before you set sail and drop anchor off the beautiful island of Krk, where you can take a refreshing swim in the Adriatic. After lunch on board and a relaxing sailing afternoon, your ship will arrive at the island of Rab. This evening is free to wander the picturesque Old Town of Rab, a perfectly preserved late medieval Adriatic settlement squeezed into a slender peninsula. Wander the white-walled harbour foreshore at leisure, perhaps enjoying dinner at a local restaurant overlooking the vibrant port marina.
Rab, Pag, Zadar
This morning your ship will drop anchor near the island of Pag, where you may like to go for a swim (weather permitting). Arrive in Zadar later in the day and enjoy a guided afternoon walking tour through the atmospheric Old Town. Admire its Roman columns and portals, beautiful churches, baroque palaces and Renaissance buildings. Return to your ship for dinner this evening.
Sibenik, Krka National Park
Experience the natural beauty of Krka National Park.
Sibenik is known as the gateway to the magical Krka National Park, and today you will spend the afternoon at the dramatic waterfalls this area is famous for. Wander along wooden boardwalks and bridges at Skradinski Buk, an azure natural pool with high waterfalls at one end and serene cascades at the other. Afterwards, return to the Princess Eleganza. Your ship remains in port overnight here in Sibenik. Following dinner on board your ship this evening, you may like to head into town to enjoy exploring Sibenik’s beautiful squares, as well as its narrow, winding streets.
After breakfast, enjoy a walk through the historic town of Sibenik. Wander through the well-preserved, white-walled Old Town with your guide, visiting the Cathedral of St James and the impressive St Michael’s Fortress. Enjoy the expansive views of Sibenik Bay and neighbouring islands from the fortress’s open-air theatre, which has been modernised to host summer plays and concerts. Arrive in Split later this afternoon and set out on a guided walk through the town, exploring the Palace of Diocletian. Your ship will moor close to town in the evening, giving you the chance to enjoy dinner in one of the many restaurants located on the picturesque Riva Promenade.
On arrival at the Croatian island of Vis, disembark to explore this remote and largely untouched natural beauty during a scenic drive around the island. Return to the ship for lunch before sailing to Korcula. Join a local guide to explore the city’s maze of cobblestone medieval streets and elegant squares, flanked by palaces of the old nobility. This Old Town may not be as well-known as Dubrovnik, but this destination is every bit as rewarding for those lucky enough to visit. Your ship moors near to the town overnight, meaning you can enjoy dinner in one of the local restaurants.
Korcula, Badija, Dubrovnik
Stop at the idyllic island of Badija for a swim in the warm azure waters of the Adriatic Sea before continuing to Dubrovnik. Spend the afternoon on a guided walk through the unrivalled ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’, the medieval Old Town of Dubrovnik. A guided tour of Dubrovnik’s World Heritage-listed fortress begins at the impressive Pile Gate, which has stood guard at the entry of this unique walled city for centuries. Within the ancient fortifications, wander through narrow limestone alleys and marble paved boulevards to see the grand Gothic-Renaissance Rector’s Palace, the Dominican and Franciscan Monasteries, and the inspiring Sponza Palace before returning to your ship later this evening for a Farewell Dinner on board.
Disembark Ship, Depart Dubrovnik
Your journey draws to its conclusion after breakfast this morning with a transfer to the airport.
Travelmarvel's program runs smoothly from go to whoa, with great guides, perfectly paced excursions.
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This small-ship Croatian cruise is perfect for first-time passengers
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Small-ship sailing on APT Travelmarvel’s Princess Eleganza offers a unique look at the Croatian coast, finds Rebecca Barnes
Croatians can’t play cricket – in fact, only around 30 of them know the rules – but they still have a lot of fun wandering around in their cricket whites,” jests our guide Marco, as we look down towards the quirky pitch, flanked by vineyards and vegetable patches. Located alongside a faded airstrip – used in 1944-45 for emergency landings by war-damaged Allied aircraft in distress – the land is now home to Vis Cricket Club, the oldest cricket club in Europe outside the UK to host matches and tournaments.
Taking in the agricultural landscape on unspoilt Vis, said to be Croatia’s greenest island, it’s hard to imagine its Second World War history – the chaos that once ensued and the lives that were lost in between the matches once played here to boost troops’ morale. Another curveball comes 15 minutes’ drive west, in Komiza, a compact harbour town and burgeoning beach resort.
With narrow backstreets and relaxed cafes, I instantly fall in love with the low-key, Bohemian atmosphere, and quietly rejoice when I discover there are still more families here making a living from fishing than tourism. This is small-ship sailing in Croatia with Travelmarvel. And after last year’s sellout maiden season, the line has made this Adriatic Coastal Cruise itinerary its signature Croatian route. With 2024 sailings on sale now, bookings are “keeping pace”, according to the line, as demand for Croatian small-ship cruises remains high.
Back on board APT Travelmarvel’s yacht Princess Eleganza, we sit down to a buffet lunch. Two Croatian ladies run the kitchen, preparing fresh Mediterranean food with love and attention – one evening out on deck they cook the traditional pork dish kotlovina, which we devour with fine local wine.
The itinerary offers a half-board arrangement, with breakfast and either lunches or dinners on the ship – a bonus for independent travellers looking to enjoy leisurely meals ashore, while making the most of the ship staying in most ports until the early hours. The 36-guest Princess Eleganza was built in 2015 and the public areas, restaurant and exterior underwent a makeover last year. The atmosphere on board is relaxed and convivial, helped along by bubbly cruise director Cheri, a powerhouse of energy and knowledge.
And my cosy en suite cabin does not feel cramped, despite it featuring just two small portholes. There’s plenty of storage for a week and the bathroom feels surprisingly spacious; it’s bigger than some of those on the mega cruise ships I’ve been on. Plus, docking is usually in a prime position, although most days you’ll moor alongside similar-sized yachts that you have to meander through, river cruise style, to get ashore.
While there ends up being only one off-the-ship swim stop during the week, I am more than happy chilling out on the roomy sun deck soaking up the views under a blanket – the late summer northerly wind, Bura, has some bite.
Sun, sailing and Skradinski
Novice sailors will appreciate the generally calm sea on this particular route, although we encounter the full force of Croatia’s famous wind one evening, which delays our arrival into Korcula. But that’s not going to stop our fun. The Massimo cocktail bar is at the top of the Medieval tower, and while -adventurous types can stop and drink on the first level, we put personal liability to one side and climb the steep ladder to the top, to enjoy the far-reaching views and cocktails that arrive by pulley.
A visit to the lush Krka National Park in Sibenik is the perfect antidote to an evening of drinking and dining. We start at the Skradinski Buk waterfall – the longest on the Krka River – before venturing along shaded trails. While we don’t spot any one of the 19 species of resident reptiles, there are plenty of endemic plants to brighten up the walk.
This diverse itinerary keeps on giving and the island of Rab, only accessible by boat or ferry, is a personal favourite. Rab is often lauded as the best tourist destination in the Adriatic, and it’s easy to see why, with its pristine old town, stunning medieval architecture and long, slender coastline. After soaking up the late-summer sun on a tranquil pebble beach, we hole up at a Balearic-style beach bar on the coastal path and sip sundowners before heading back to the ship.
“Zadar has the most beautiful sunset in the world,” proclaimed filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock about the popular Croatian city. This resonates when I see the sultry sky morph from orange to pink for myself one evening from the ship’s top deck – just like a tropical cocktail. But Hitchcock’s favourite sunset isn’t the only impressive aspect of cruising the Adriatic coastline: there’s plenty to stop you in your tracks, and seeing it from the water makes it even more special.
✦ Use small ships to attract first-timers to cruising. Their size makes them more intimate and sailings tend to be less formal than traditional ocean and river journeys.
✦ Smaller ships mean better access to harder-to-reach parts of the Adriatic coast, offering more-authentic, off-the-beaten-track experiences away from the crowds.
✦ Small ships are a great way to meet like-minded people: sell the benefits of making friends for life.
APT Travelmarvel’s eight-day Adriatic Coastal Cruise itinerary from Zagreb to Dubrovnik, costs from £2,795 per person, based on an April 26, 2024, departure. Price includes return flights from the UK. aptouring.co.uk PICTURES: Shutterstock/KellySHUTSTOC
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Mediterranean Cruises and Cruisetours
Experience the cuisine and culture of italian and greek cruises.
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On a Mediterranean cruise with Princess®, explore the homes of Greek gods, Italian artists and multicultural treasures. As you walk down bustling roads and beaches, cultures and history fill the air. Uncover divine legends at the Acropolis, admire religious relics at Dubrovnik’s Cathedral or climb the Leaning Tower of Pisa and soak up sweeping views of the emerald landscapes.
Mediterranean Cruise Options
Mediterranean (From Barcelona)
The gateway to greatness
On these Mediterranean cruises, travel from Spain through some of Europe’s most famous ports as you make your way to Italy. Begin in Barcelona where archaic artwork is on display throughout the city. Then saunter through the lavender fields of Provence when you cruise to Marseille. Or visit Il Campo dei Miracoli, also known as “The Field of Miracles,” a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the heart of Pisa
Mediterranean & Aegean (From Rome)
From one sea to another
Embark on a Mediterranean cruise through the Aegean Sea and stroll through highlights of Italy and Greece while also visiting hidden gems like Montenegro. Sail along the Amalfi Coast and tour ancient ruins, including Pompeii. Then cruise to Mykonos, where windmills and bright white architecture accent the turquoise sea. Continue indulging in dreamy landscapes in Athens where mythology comes to life.
Mediterranean & Adriatic (From Athens)
Culture, cuisine and connections
Marvel at world-renowned landmarks on a Mediterranean cruise through the Adriatic Sea. Arrive into Athens early to explore the original Olympic stadium. Then sail to the black-sand beaches of Santorini before feasting your eyes on the culinary creations of Italy. Fill up on pizzas and pastas in Sicily and Naples before cruising into Barcelona.
13 - 31 Nights
Highlights of Spain Cruisetour
3 nights Madrid
1 night Valencia
2 nights Barcelona
Escorted by a Tour Director
Then board your Mediterranean cruise
Explore Gibraltar, Provence, Genoa and Florence
Select sightseeing included
Most meals included
13 - 28 Nights
Classic Italy Cruisetour
2 nights Venice
2 nights Florence
2 nights Rome
Then sail to Naples and Sicily, depending on your itinerary
Longer Mediterranean cruisetours may also visit ports in Greece, Turkey, France and beyond
10 - 25 Nights
Best of Greece Cruisetour
1 night Athens
1 night Nafplion (only on 2023 cruisetours)
1 night Delphi
1 night Kalambaka
Mediterranean Cruise Ports of Call
Discover some of the world-renowned destinations that await you on a Mediterranean cruise with Princess.
Rooted in Greek mythology, Athens is alive with stories from civilizations of the past. On a cruise to Europe departing from Athens, arrive early to tour the remains of ancient lores — like the Temple of Olympian Zeus and Acropolis — dine at the city’s lively tavernas and admire iconic sculptures bathed in natural light within the Acropolis Museum.
Until it was popularized by the 1992 Olympics, Barcelona was a hidden gem amidst Europe’s diverse landscapes. Now it’s widely recognized for its architectural masterpieces and spirited customs. On European cruises from Barcelona, leave enough time before you depart to visit Park Güell — a UNESCO World Heritage Site — and feel inspired by the colors and unique artistry that lies in the park and throughout the entire city.
As one of the greenest islands in Greece, Corfu is an emerald treasure amidst the colorful Mediterranean landscape. From Paleokastritsa, hike to the mountaintop for unparalleled views of the Ionian Sea. Or get a taste of Corfu when you team up with a famous chef, and handpick local produce that they’ll use to prepare your lunch. Experience it all on a Greek cruise with Princess.
On a Mediterranean cruise to Livorno, travel to Florence or Pisa where artifacts abound. Capture snapshots of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, stop by Michelangelo’s David statue at the Accademia and walk up to the “Gates of Paradise” at the Baptistery. Or explore the countryside and meander through the region’s rolling hills that bear vineyards and green olive groves.
Nestled within Boka Bay lies a medieval gem. Kotor is enrobed in ancient houses, palaces and churches that speak to its 12th-century origins. On a Greek cruise, dine on Montenegrin cuisine in the home of a local chef, appreciate 14th-century Venetian art at St. Tryphon’s Cathedral and taste regional wines along the riviera. Or see another side of the city when you kayak through the tunnels of Lipa Cave.
As the largest port in the Mediterranean, Marseille is the gateway to opportunity. On a Mediterranean cruise, spend the day in Arles, and explore the landscapes that inspired much of Van Gogh’s artwork. Stroll through the MuSaMa, a soap museum, and create your own blend alongside a master soap maker. Or roam the city’s most popular landmark, Notre-Dame de la Garden, a Catholic basilica that overlooks the city.
Famous for its beaches and spirited lifestyle, Mykonos is the heartbeat of Greece. Embark on a jeep safari past the city’s windmills, lighthouses and lakes. Walk past temples and marble-lined sanctuaries in Delos, the birthplace of famous Greek gods. Or soak up a day of relaxation on the beach with the city’s Cycladic architecture as your backdrop — all on a Greek cruise with Princess.
Italy’s capital city is something of a dream. Grand chapels and stone angels line the roads, whispering secrets of Rome’s past. On a cruise to Europe from Rome, arrive early to toss a coin into Trevi Fountain. Legend has it, you’ll be guaranteed return to The Eternal City. Then walk in the footsteps of Emperors at the Colosseum, and receive a blessing from the Pope at St. Peter’s Square.
Santorini is the epitome of Greece. Wander into the welcoming cafes in Oia, a village teeming with whitewashed buildings and blue-domed roofs. Continue to some of the world’s oldest vineyards and taste the bouquet of wines produced on the island, making sure to visit the black-sand beach of Kamari before heading back to your Mediterranean cruise ship.
Why Cruise the Mediterranean
In lands where the culture is as flavorful as the cuisine, the splendor of the Mediterranean speaks for itself.
With mouthwatering entrees and confections, the Mediterranean invites you to embark on a gourmet tour through iconic cities. Reawaken your taste buds with Italian classics like pastas, pizzas and gelato. Or fill your plate with gyros, keftethes and baklava on a Greek cruise. From breakfast to dinner and every delectable dessert in between, the best is before you with Princess.
Bold reds and crisp whites
The countryside of Italy and Greece are home to some of the most flavorful wines around the globe. With sun and warm temperatures year-round, vineyards are flourishing with grapes by the harvest season. Sip on Italy’s red wines, or sample Greece’s white blends. From sweet Lambruscos to earthy Bordeauxs, fill up your glass on a Mediterranean cruise with Princess.
Where history comes to life
From towers and temples to cities and shorelines, the Mediterranean is sprinkled with remains of civilizations past. Step back in time on a tour through ancient ruins on a Mediterranean cruise with Princess. Imagine life as a gladiator at the Colosseum, explore Greek mythology at the Parthenon and discover the archeological excavations of Pompeii — a lost city and UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Art Galleries & Museums
Artistic ingenuity abounds
From the treasures on land to the jewels within museums, the Mediterranean is a true work of art. On an Italian cruise, see portraits from the Renaissance period at the Uffizi Museum in Florence, and admire Michelangelo’s masterpieces at the Vatican Museum in Rome. Or walk in the footsteps of celebrated artists that called these regions home — like Picasso and Dali — and allow their work to spark your creativity.
A vision of natural beauty
Visions of sparkling coasts and crystalline waters welcome you to the Mediterranean. Dip your toes on the black-sand coast of Santorini on a Greek cruise. Head to Salerno to spend the day in Positano relaxing on the white beaches and admiring the pastel houses that decorate the cliffs around you. Or travel to Mykonos with your loved ones and daydream on the city’s long stretch of golden sand and stroll in the sunshine.
Our award-winning Mediterranean cruise shore excursions bring you to iconic beaches, landmarks and ancient artifacts. See the yacht-lined shores of Kotor while riding on a tuk tuk, an electric rickshaw. Savor the flavors of “Koum Kouat” liqueur, created from Corfu’s exclusive citrus plant. Or stroll along the streets of Dubrovnik’s Old town, one of the most well-preserved medieval cities in the world.
From chefs and beverage makers to artists and guides, meet the many personalities that call the Mediterranean home with our Local Connections program. On a Mediterranean cruise, voyage to an olive tree farm just outside of Provence, and join your hosts for a unique olive oil tasting. Or explore the Archaeological Museum of Naples with a local artist, and accompany them for lunch to dive even deeper in Italy’s art scene.
Enjoy even more opportunities to experience the colors, cultures and flavors of the Mediterranean with More Ashore late-night departures and overnight stays. Witness the beautiful sunset in Mykonos on a Greek cruise. Sit front-row for a flamenco dance, and savor a paella dinner during an evening in Barcelona. Or stroll the illuminated streets of Genoa with gelato in hand after a traditional Italian dinner.
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Vegas hits the seas
Experience the thrill of cards, dice, roulette and blackjack at the casino onboard our European cruises. Learn from experts — like our staff or perhaps other guests nearby — and put your skills to the test. More casual players can pull up a seat at the slot machines for the same adrenaline at their own speed. For an afternoon full of games, join fellow travelers for Bingo, or compete in scheduled group tournaments.
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10 Adriatic Cruise Ports You Need to Visit
One day, while cruising the internet, we discovered an unbelievable deal on what might have been the best Mediterranean cruise ship itinerary we had ever seen: 10 Adriiatic cruise ports and four countries in 11 days. Who could resist such an opportunity?
All we’d need to do was focus on enjoying ourselves while sailing the Mediterranean Sea from Rome ( Civitavecchia ) to Athens (Piraeus). We delighted in every destination and site, especially because almost every one was new. We’d only been to one of them before (that would be Venice).
10 Adriatic cruise ports you need to visit
Anyway, this article is a summary of the 10 Mediterranean cruise ports that our cruise ship docked at along the way. Holland America really did its research; every one is worth visiting!
I’ve included links to related stories and the best tours you can take at each port.
1. Civitavecchia, Italy (Rome Cruise Port)
Civitavecchia is the seaport closest to Rome and is one of the Mediterranean’s largest cruise ports. Strictly speaking, Civitavecchia is not an Adriatic seaport. It lies on the Tyrennhian Sea, which borders Italy’s western coastline. However, I’ve included it because most Mediterranean cruises begin or end there, no matter the itinerary.
Because we had never been to this part of Italy before, we arrived a few days early so we could take a look around the city before departure. Also, it was added insurance that a train delay on the day of the cruise would not cause us to miss the sailing.
Things to do in Civitavecchia
There’s so much to enjoy in Civitavecchia that we never bothered to leave the city, even for the two nearby thermal baths that date from the time of Christ. If you don’t want to look around the ancient town, other popular activities include:
- See pre-Republic ruins and uncover the Etruscan heritage of Italy on an excursion to Tuscania and the Tarquinia necropolis.
- Take a day trip to Rome to see the impressive Colosseum, Arch of Constantine and Imperial Forum, and then marvel at artistic masterpieces in the Vatican Museums.
- Spend the day in the beautiful Tuscan countryside to visit a local winery, the Archeological Park and Tomb of François, and enjoy a full Tuscan lunch.
2. Venice, Italy
Venice, that iconic city of canals and gondolas, was literally built out of the marshes of the Adriatic. It is the most popular Mediterranean cruise port of all … even more so than Rome.
One of the most romantic cities in the world, Venice offers picturesque scenery and classic artwork at every turn. It has often been called the “home of the Renaissance” and was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. From the Grand Canal to the Doge’s Palace in St. Mark’s Square, every canal, bridge, and building seems to be a masterpiece of architecture and every dish promises to be a masterpiece of cuisine.
Things to do in Venice
Popular activities include:
- Chic shopping on Rialto Bridge or at Piazza San Marco.
- A once-in-a-lifetime gondola tour, to get a canal-level view of Venice and its sinking buildings.
- Visiting the famous Bridge of Sighs and the Doge’s Palace.
If you’ve already been-there-done-that in Venice, visit another island in the Venetian Lagoon. You can take a vaporetto and explore an island on your own, or book a tour like this one and see a few islands in a few hours.
- For an authentic souvenir of Venice, the island of Murano has produced exquisite Venetian glass for centuries (vases and jewelry are popular mementos)
- The colorful island of Burano is ideal for photography. This is where you need to shop if you’re looking for authentic, handmade Venetian lace.
3. Ravenna, Italy
It’s a shame more Adriatic ocean cruises don’t stop at Ravenna and that it isn’t a well-known tourist destination. Once the capital of the Western Roman Empire, Ravenna is famed for its exquisite Arian and Byzantine mosaics. Eight locations are so special they have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site .
Take the Basilica of Sant’ Apolinare, for example. What may look like a lovely collection of tiny, bright tiles on close inspection will, when you step back, transform into a vivid image of a sea voyage, an image of Jesus, or a choir of angels. Waxing philosophical for a moment, I guess everything resolves into clarity if you can just achieve the proper perspective.
Another interesting fact: Italy’s great Dante Alighieri (author of The Divine Comedy), is buried in Ravenna, and you can visit his tomb (free).
What to do in Ravenna
- We took the hop-on/hop-off bus in Ravenna, but the infrequent schedule was so frustrating that we ended up walking to many sites. If you hire a guide , you’ll save time and see more.
- Notable out-of-town excursions include Bologna, Ferrara, and the Ferrari museum.
- You can even leave Italy and tour San Marino, the world’s oldest surviving republic. San Marino has remained free since 301 A.D., even during the Renaissance and World War II. This tiny country, which covers a total area of only 23 square miles and has a population of only about 22,000, is completely landlocked by Italy. Click here to learn more.
4. Dubrovnik, Croatia
Dubrovnik is one of the most popular Mediterranean cruise stops and competes with Venice for port activity. However, even though Venice once controlled the Dalmatian coastline, the two cities couldn’t be more different. Dubrovnik’s striking red-tiled roofs and impressive 12 th -century defensive walls have made it one of the finest and best-preserved medieval cities in the world.
Dubrovnik is full of quaint bazaars and markets, Baroque churches, museums, palaces, and monasteries. Take time to meander through the less crowded side streets that have been polished smooth over centuries of use, and stop for a bite to eat at a local restaurant or café to people watch.
Climb the steps to the top of the walls (admission charge) and walk around the perimeter of the city. They will offer a unique perspective of Old Dubrovnik and the Adriatic. Just remember to we ar a hat and sunglasses, and bring water. The city’s pale stone walls radiate heat and reflect sunlight.
What else to do in Dubrovnik
- Take a Game of Thrones tour and see where King’s Landing scenes were filmed. (You may even hear stories from behind the scenes; some of the tour guides were Game of Thrones extras and stand-ins.)
- The best views of Dubrovnik and the Adriatic are, without a doubt, from the top of Mount Srd. Take a cable car to the top (or hire a driver, as we did), enjoy the restaurant at the top, and give your camera a workout.
- Soak up the sun at the city’s nearby beach
- Enjoy the local atmosphere in Cavtat, a picturesque resort town.
- Cross the border into Bosnia and Herzegovina to visit the religious pilgrimage site of Medjugore and take in the stunning natural beauty of the town of Mostar, with its iconic bridge arching over the meandering river below. (Bring your passport!)
5. Split, Croatia
Split, the second largest city in Croatia, began in the 6 th century BC. It has endured everything from Greek rule to Roman domination to post-war Socialist politics and is now a powerful port and tourist destination.
With a history like that, it’s no surprise that Split’s historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here you’ll find historic Diocletian’s Palace, the old Castle market, and plenty of buildings sporting Roman or Venetian architectural styles.
Things to do in Split, Croatia
- Take a brief tour of the city on the free walking tour (be nice and tip the guide well).
- Check out the local farmers’ market for some fresh fruit, olives, or a sample of the local cheese.
- Look for a wine shop that offers tastings or just order a glass with your meal. We discovered one in a hidden corner of the city and can’t say enough good things about Croatian wines. Few if any Croatian wines are available in the U.S. American wine distributors are missing a golden opportunity, that’s for sure.
- Sail by catamaran to Hvar and Pakleni Islands. Explore Hvar’s old town and stop to swim in peaceful bays before returning to Split as the sun sets.
6. Kotor, Montenegro
You’ll find plenty of natural beauty, Venetian architecture, and ancient history in Kotor, Montenegro. The town lies on the Bay of Kotor, a secluded inlet, partially hidden from the Adriatic by towering limestone cliffs. Kotor earned its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site both for its medieval city and its picturesque landscape. It could easily be called the most beautiful town in Montenegro.
Kotor was settled during ancient Roman times (168 BC) and its historical sites abound. The two most outstanding spots are Cathedral of Saint Tryphon in the old town (built in 1166) and the ancient walls that surround the city. The walls were built for protection by the Republic of Venice.
Things to do in Kotor
- Kotor’s main square, Piazza of the Arms, has a beautiful old stone clock tower and offers a variety of excellent restaurants, cafés and shops that will keep you busy for quite a while. But please, don’t miss the less touristed side streets, where you can often find even better prices, more attentive service and more authentic local dishes.
- Wine lovers, rejoice! Local wineries produce absolutely amazing wines at incredibly low prices.
- There’s a hop-on/hop-off tour bus that runs between Kotor and Perast.
- In Perast, you can enjoy a short cruise to Our Lady of the Rocks, a manmade island in the bay. Legend has it that the island was formed over centuries by seamen who tossed rocks in the sea to keep an ancient oath. Today, the islet has a small church and historic paintings, including a 17 th century baroque masterpiece from Perast.
- You can also take a highly-rated private tour to visit some fascinating towns along the bay.
7. Corfu, Greece
The second largest Greek island in the Ionian Sea, Corfu (or Kérkyra, as it is locally known) serves both as a major tourist destination and a producer of olive oil and local wines. Its neoclassical houses and ancient fortifications dating from the Venetian era, are what gave Old Town Corfu its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Corfu is the perfect place to wander. Meander along ancient bougainvillea-laden cobblestone streets, among buildings sporting Venice’s characteristic arches, and visit Greek churches such as the church dedicated to Our Lady of the Cave or Saint Spyridon church, where the body of the island’s patron saint lies.
Whether you take the HOHO sightseeing bus or explore the town on foot, make sure you cross the moat to visit Kerkyra’s ancient Palacio Frourio (old citadel). It was built by the Venetians and is now used for cultural events and concerts.
What to see in Corfu (Kerkyra)
- Nearby Achilleion Palace is a favorite with cruisers. Also known as Sissy’s Palace, it is full of magnificent statues that honor the strong and brave Achilles, warrior of the Trojan War. Cruise ships offer tours, or you can visit on your own.
- To get a break from all the UNESCO sites and tourist-packed attractions, spend all or part of your day at a local beach. Glyfada beach is well known for its crystal clear waters, while the large surface of soft sand is surrounded by tree-covered cliffs and imposing rocky formations.
- Visit award-winning Governor’s Olive Mill, take a guided walk through the ancient olive groves, and learn how to taste and recognize high-quality olive oil just as the professionals do.
ⓘ TIP: For an authentic taste of Greece, order horiatiki salata for lunch. It’s a true Greek salad. We liked it so much that we had it every day and never got tired of it. To find out what makes it special, read my recipe for authentic Greek salad.
8. Katakolon, Greece
If you want to experience a sleepy Greek town, visit Katakolon on a day when no cruise ship is expected. Only 612 people live in this tiny port town, so there’s little activity unless a cruise ship docks.
Katakolon cruise port is known as the gateway to one of Greece’s most legendary sites. Mount Olympus was the most sacred site for the ancient Greeks, who believed it was the home of the gods. It was also the birthplace of the modern Olympic Games (776 B.C.). Many of the structures that can still be seen today date even further back than that.
What to do in Katakolon
- Most cruise passengers opt for the bus excursion to Mount Olympus, but you can take the train there on your own if you’re on a budget. If you’d like a guided tour but don’t fancy being part of a tour group, you can also book a private tour and share the price with two or three others.
- Katakolon has an interesting museum as well as a tourist train that runs around the area. We took it out to a little beach and enjoyed a delightful lunch along with a lovely view of the Adriatic. If you’re a beach lover, this might make a nice option in the warmer months.
- The tourist train also stops at Mercouri Estate. This working farm and winery has been family-owned for nearly 150 years. Use the opportunity to sample some of Greece’s delicious wines.
9. Nafplio, Greece
Nafplio, also known as Nafplion, was one of our favorite Adriatic cruise ports because of its stunning scenery and fascinating past.
The Byzantines took control of it in the eleventh century, followed by the Venetians, the Ottomans, and finally, the French. After the Greek War of Independence, Nafplio was the first capital of the newly born Greek state from 1823 to 1834).
As one of the largest Mediterranean cruise ports, Nafplion offers passengers a wide range of entertainment options. Clear waters, endless adorable shops, and miles of scenic walking trails await you, not to mention the town beach, where you’ll frequently spot locals casting for everything from flying fish to octopus.
There’s lots to see, as well.
What to do in Nafplio
- The impressivie Palamidi Fortress that looms over Návplion played a large role in the Greek independence effort of 1822. It’s worth a visit for the views, if nothing else.
- At the castle of Acronauplia, the oldest part of Návplion, you will see stone walls dating back to pre-classical times.
- For history buffs who like archaeological sites, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Mycenae is just a short bus ride away. Or you can book a half-day tour that includes an olive oil tasting along with a visit to Epidavros, another World Heritage Site.
- Local guides can take you on a walking tour through Nafplio and show you its most picturesque alleys and important sites. Afterward, walk through the beautiful old town on your own to check out its many intriguing museums and inviting restaurants.
- If you enjoy olive oil, wine, honey, olive oil or cooking, get to know Greek gastronomy via culinary tours around Nafplio.
10. Piraeus, Greece (Athens Cruise Port)
Our tenth and final Adriatic cruise port was Piraeus, which serves Athens. As soon as we disembarked we headed straight to the capital city. Athens was the epicenter of the classical world in the 4th and 5th centuries B.C., and much of its rich history and culture has survived until today. The city’s major must-see is the Acropolis, which can be seen from everywhere in the city. Due to its historic significance, it too is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Visit the Acropolis to get a closeup look at the Parthenon, the temple of Athena Nike and the stone amphitheater called the Odeon of Herod Atticus. While there you can also climb Mars Hill, where the apostle Paul addressed the leaders of Athens (see Acts 17:16-34).
We also really enjoyed the Monostiraki neighborhood, the National Archaeological Museum and watching the Changing of the Guard at Syntagma Square. Highly recommend all three.
Best time of year for a Mediterranean cruise
If you plan to visit any of these cruise ports, you should know that the region gets unbearably hot, unreasonably expensive, and extremely crowded in the summer. Spring and fall offer lower temperatures, better prices, and fewer crowds.
Ready to go?
Whether you’re looking for an adventure or a peaceful respite, the Adriatic Coast has something perfect waiting for you. Soak up the sun on one of Croatia’s many gorgeous beaches, explore Venetian canals lined with centuries-old buildings, or take a hike in the stunning Italian Alps.
No matter what you choose to do, you’re sure to have an amazing time cruising along the Adriatic Coast!
ⓘ TIP: Book some extra time in Athens so you can explore the city and visit one of the famous Greek islands.
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Written by Linda
Linda is multilingual and has been to over 50 countries. Her insatiable love of travel, cuisine, and foreign languages inspired her to create As We Saw It, where she documents her trips, shares practical itineraries, and offers insider tips. She’s passionate about helping fellow travelers save time, money, and hassle, and loves to discover new places to explore.
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8 thoughts on “10 adriatic cruise ports you need to visit”.
I didn’t like Venice much, but maybe that’s only my impression. Next week I will be in Athens. What would you reccommend to visit? Your top 3? 🙂
Our Top 3 in Athens? Well, we cheat because we like to take the hop on/hop-off tour bus to get an overview and see what looks intriguing. Not sure if that counts as one of the three, lol.
Of what we saw on our bus tour, our first would be (of course) the Acropolis — besides the Parthenon be sure to see the Odeon of Herodes Atticus and climb the Aeropagus, which not only has fabulous views but was important in Greek and Biblical history besides (see Acts 17:24).
Second, we’d recommend walking around Plaka, which is the oldest neighborhood (conveniently near the Acropolis). It lies between Syntagma and Monastiraki Square. Highly recommend the Changing of the Guard at Syntagma and shop/eating in Monastiraki.
Third, because of Greece’s ancient history we really liked the National Archaeological Museum. We’re fans of world-class museums, but if you’re not, then perhaps you’ll take the bus as #3. 🙂
I think cruises are a great way to discover the world. They give you an sneak preview of what different places have to offer and helps you decide if you want to come back and do a more in-depth exploration later.
Yes, you’re right, Anda. It’s also very convenient for people who travel to collect passport stamps. One day in a country, then on to the next!
Amazing pictures, beautiful countries and great overview. cruising is not my favorite way to travel but you could definitely “sample” quite a few countries in one trip- which may work just great for some people and some trips!!
You’re right; cruising is good for a quick overview.
Awww, this does look really amazing! I have been to many of the countries that you describe. But not the ports. Found you through #TheWeeklyPostcard.
Of the ones I mentioned, which country was your favorite?
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Apartments Mezhdunarodnaya 4
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- Excellent 11
- Very Good 8
- All languages ( 22 )
- Russian ( 16 )
- English ( 5 )
- Spanish ( 1 )
" As lower as better to rich the room. As higher as better to see Moscow view. "
" River view side has only a partial view being restricted by buildings from the wing where we stayed, my city view room had a better view. "
" All rooms are OK "
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