This voyage leaves from Venice and returns there, which is undoubtedly why it’s one of our most popular. In between, you will sail the Dalmatian coast, with ancient cliffside cities on the shimmering Adriatic Sea. Because Azamara ships are smaller, we will be able to slowly sail Croatia’s spectacular inside passage before arriving at the island of Hvar. This tranquilly gorgeous harbor has been mostly popular with yachters, and many celebrities trying not to be spotted. Or are they? Go where the celebrities go to escape the spotlight – on an off-road exploration through the island’s remote villages and rolling vineyards. Smell the lavender, and work up an appetite for lobster with homemade spaghetti and a glass of local wine. In Kotor, you can walk all the way up to St. John’s Fortress on top of the ancient stone walls. The views are spectacular. Dubrovnik is outstanding – the whole city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Walk along the ancient walls so beautiful you can’t help but feel joy. Then shop for leather, Konavle embroidery, or gold – joy of a different kind. Then back to where you started, Venice, for an overnight there – reminding you why you booked this voyage.
Travel Best Bets Package Includes
- Round trip airfare from Vancouver to Venice
- 7 night cruise aboard Azamara Quest
- Round trip transfers from airport to pier and pier to airport
- Select standard spirits, international beers and wines
- Bottled water, soft drinks, specialty coffees and teas
- Self-service laundry
- Shuttle service to and from port communities, where available
- Concierge services for personal guidance and reservations
August 18 – 26, 2018
|Inside||Outside||Balcony||Taxes & Fees|
|Victoria, Comox, Kelowna from $300 more|
Please call to inquire for flights from other departure cities.
|Date||Port of Call||Arrive||Depart|
|August 19||Venice, Italy||-||6:00pm|
|August 20||Zadar, Croatia||8:00am||5:00pm|
|August 21||Croatia Inside Passage||5:00pm||7:00pm|
|August 21||Hvar, Croatia||8:00am||10:00pm|
|August 22||Kotor, Montenegro||9:30am||10:00pm|
|August 23||Dubrovnik, Croatia||8:00am||10:00pm|
|August 24||Sibenik, Croatia||9:00am||5:00pm|
|August 25||Venice, Italy||9:00am||-|
|August 26||Venice, Italy||-||-|
It’s hard to not get swept up in the romance and beauty of Venice, so we say why fight it? Let yourself be taken in by the city’s many charms as you stroll along the cobblestone streets, overarching bridges, and world-famous canals. And then plan on doing a little more walking. Consisting of more than 100 islands, Venice is Europe’s largest urban car-free area. So the only means for getting around (on dry land, at least) are your own two feet—unless, of course, you travel by water taxi or gondola. And let’s face it: If you don’t go on a gondola ride when you’re in Venice, you’ll never hear the end of it back home! Fortunately, we’re about to cut back on your walking time considerably: As of 2015, Azamara will be docking at the San Basilio cruise terminal, a mere 25-minute meander away from Venice’s city center. Which means you’ll have even more time for doing things like people watching in the Piazza San Marco, sampling Veneto wines, and shopping for everything from Murano glass to swathes of silk.
Zadar is a study in contrast. It’s a place where cobblestone streets lead to contemporary buildings, and where nature and technology flawlessly unite. Take the work of architect Nikola Bašić for example. He’s the mind behind two of Zadar’s most fascinating man-made attractions: the Sea Organ and the Greeting to the Sun. The former harnesses the power of the wind and the sea to make beautiful music, while the later collects the sun’s energy during the day to create a spectacular light show at night. But if you’re more into finding harmony created by good ol’ Mother Nature, the Croatian countryside is just a short drive away. The nearby Krka National Park and Plitvice National Park contain stunning natural wonders like cascades, waterfalls, canyons, lakes, and rare flora and fauna, not to mention an extremely wide variety of bird and animal species. Of course, life is really all about balance, so be sure to sample the local libation, Maraschino, while you’re here. Made from marasca cherries, distilleries in Zadar have been producing this traditional liqueur since the 16th century. Cheers, or as they say in Croatia, zivjeli to that!
If heaven really was a place on earth, then we’re pretty sure it would be the island of Hvar. Bold statement? Maybe. But we can offer plenty to back that up. To start with, Hvar is known as the “Sunniest Place in Europe”, receiving an average of 7.7 hours of sunshine per day. So naturally sunbathing is a favorite pastime here, especially at the beaches of Dubovica and the Pakleni Islands. And if you’ve forgot your swimsuit, not to worry: You can always go to Jerolim, “one of the best nudist destinations in the world.” There are plenty more jaw-dropping sights to be seen here: lush olive groves, fruit orchards, fields of lavender, and dozens of vineyards, since Hvar is considered one of the top winemaking regions in Croatia. Head to Hvar Town, where you can pair a crisp white posip with the local delicacy of grilled squid drizzled in olive oil, and then settle in at one of the many restaurants and cafés that overlook the Adriatic Sea. That way you’ll have a prime viewing (and participatory) spot when the sun finally goes down…and when Hvar really lights up. Sounds like heaven to us!
Don’t be surprised if you leave a piece of your heart in Kotor. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the old town is filled with churches, shops, bars, restaurants, and hidden piazzas. (The latter are perfect for enjoying a nice glass of Montenegrin wine like the subtle red Vranac or dry white Krstač.) The entire city is surrounded by stone, both in the form of imposing Mount Saint John and by towering ancient walls, creating a cozy feeling of protection when you walk the cobblestone streets. And speaking of cobblestone streets, the maze-like arrangement can confuse even the locals, so don’t be too concerned if you take a wrong turn or two. Luckily, landmarks like the 12th century St. Tryphon Cathedral, and the Church of Our Lady of Health stand tall in the sky and can help guide you. When in doubt, just stick to the left (or right); the triangular layout will eventually lead you back to the main entrance, marked by the 16th century Sea Gate. If you’re up for a challenge, climb the 1,350 steps to the top of the upper town walls. Standing nearly three miles above the city, you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views of the entire city and bay, as well as the medieval St. John’s fortress.
George Bernard Shaw once said, “Those who seek paradise on Earth should come to Dubrovnik and find it.” We tend to agree. For in this UNESCO World Heritage Site, paradise is found behind the massive stonewalls that protect winding streets, charming squares, and red-roofed buildings dating back to the 7th century. Even the walls themselves are spectacular and a “must walk” along the top. Not only will you get wow-worthy photos, but you can also scout the pedestrian-only Old Town for the stalls you’ll want to visit on your next adventure: shopping. Look for shoes, leather, and traditional Konavle embroidery—and with a goldsmith trade that goes back to the 13th century, the quality and price of gold, coral, and filigree silver jewelry here is outstanding. After a little retail therapy, go to the Franciscan Monastery Museum, home to one of Europe’s oldest pharmacies where many of the lotions and potions are still made from ancient recipes. Take the cable car up to the top of Mount Srd, then relax at the end of the day with a glass of rakija.
Just 55 miles north of Split is the city of Sibenik, situated where the River Krka meets the Adriatic. Since 1066, it has been under rule by Croatians, Venetians, Austro-Hungarians, Yugoslavians, and once again back to Croatians—which has resulted in a diversity of international influences. This is particularly evident in the old part of Sibenik, with its many churches, palaces, Dalmatian houses, as well in the city’s stone walls and four fortresses: St. John, St. Michael, St. Nicholas and Šubićaevac. A must see is the Cathedral Sveti Jakov, and if you love the great outdoors, then visit Krka National Park or Kornati National Park. One of the best ways to see Sibenik is to lose yourself (but not really!) in the side streets and alleys that lead to charming shops and squares. Since the countryside around Sibenik is a major wine-producing region, be sure to take a break at one of the city’s many restaurants and enjoy a local red babićpaired with some fresh Adriatic seafood.
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