I have posted links to photos and the video slideshows I’ve made, below. Just keep scrolling to find them. “Sea Kayaking in Vrgada” is the first one I put up after our trip was over.
This is the official story and map of our trip.
Croatia Multisport Itinerary:
- Day 1; June 10th, 2010
Your trip begins today in Zagreb, Croatia. Arrive by late afternoon and transfer on your own to the hotel for the evening. Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, is a lively and colorful city and is reasonably manageable on foot. Our hotel is well located for exploring the city's main attractions. This evening we will meet in the hotel lobby for a welcome drink and brief orientation where we will have the chance to discuss the upcoming itinerary and get to know our guides and fellow travelers. Dinner on your own.
- Day 2
Meet in the hotel lobby after breakfast and head out to Plitvice Lakes National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Croatia’s premiere inland destination. The drive to the park is through lovely countryside. Once at Plitvice we have the day to explore on foot. Plitvice Park is a spectacular karst landscape, a sequence of sixteen turquoise lakes linked together with cascading falls and travertine pools. The lakes are surrounded by beech and pine forests and are home to extensive wildlife. We enjoy a picnic lunch along the trail. This evening we retire to the tiny village of Korana located in a picture-postcard riverside setting near Plitvice Park. Tonight, weather permitting, our village hosts prepare a riverside barbeque. All meals included.
Hiking: 4-6 miles; Terrain: easy, well marked paths.
- Day 3
Today is all about exploring the lovely pastoral Croatian countryside by bicycle. We cycle roads that are nearly traffic free around Rakovica, a community founded in the Middle Ages and known historically for the 1871 uprising led by Eugen Kvaternik. While unsuccessful, it was the first attempt to win independence for the state of Croatia. Cycling through traditional villages, we come to Barac's Caves, where we stop to explore the cave's fascinating karsts formations. According to the oral tradition of the local people, a man named Barać fought heroically and defeated a raging Turkish giant near these caves which were thereafter named in his honor. On the way back, we have a homemade lunch in one of the villages nearby. Relax this evening in the peaceful Korana Village while enjoying a traditional supper. All meals included.
Biking: 4 hours; Terrain: rolling hills.
- Day 4
After saying goodbye to our village hosts we continue south to the "Wild West" narrow canyons of the Zrmanja and Krupa Rivers. We visit the medieval Krupa Monastery en route. Built in 1317 by monks from Bosnia, it is the oldest orthodox monastery in Croatia. Once at the river and after a short instructional introduction to paddling (watercraft may be raft or sit-upon kayaks depending upon the river conditions), we push off for an afternoon of refreshing fun on the clear, warm and green waters of these Croatian rivers, considered two of the most beautiful in Europe. Waterfalls and easy rapids, hidden swimming pools, steep sided canyons and, very likely, no one else on the river but our group – it doesn't get better than this! We overnight in the coastal city of Novigrad which has retained its Mediterranean architecture. All meals included.
Kayaking or rafting: Class I/II rapids, 3-4hours.
- Day 5
Less than an hour's drive from Novigrad is Paklenica National Park, part of a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve and a favorite hiking destination for the locals. Lying on the southeast slopes of the Velebit Mountains near the coast and cut by two awe-inspiring gorges, Mala Paklenica and Velika, Paklenica's scenery is one of the most pristine in the whole Mediterranean. The lofty peaks making up this range offer huge views of both coastal and mountain scenery. There are several wonderful hikes through beech and black pine forests to choose from depending upon weather and other factors. One possibility is the trail leading to Borisov Dom, a high mountain hut popular with alpinists. We return to Novigrad for the evening. Breakfast and lunch included; dinner on your own.
Hiking: 8 miles; elevation gain 1,000'- 2,000', optional 2,800'.
- Day 6
Croatia has more than 3,500 miles of stunning coastline dotted with 1,700 islands of all descriptions. Our morning begins with a short ride on a local wooden boat to the small island of Vrgada where we enjoy a day of kayaking. This lovely island has no cars, no hotels and has one of the finest sandy beaches you'll ever dig your toes into. Paddling comfortable sit-upon kayaks we explore the bays and the beaches while having ample time to swim in the clear azure waters, bask in the sun and savor a delicious beach picnic. This evening we transfer to the charming medieval, island town of Trogir, a UNESCO World Heritage site that dates back to the Greek colonists in the third century BC and is considered a remarkable example of continued urban dwelling. The well-preserved town is a labyrinth of cobblestone streets with stone bridges, a 13th-century cathedral and 15th-century fortress built by the Venetians, a true step back in time. Breakfast and lunch included; dinner on your own.
Kayaking: 3 hours.
- Day 7
A last day of exploring takes us to Krka National Park with its fantastic karst formations and travertine waterfalls. We explore the park's extensive waterways and complex history dating back to late 10th century and first Croatian kings. One of the options is a visit to Skradinski Buk waterfall, the place where second hydro plant in the world was built, just a few years after the one on Niagara Falls. Return to Trogir and enjoy late afternoon in the old town before final evening dinner and a celebration of an amazing adventure. All meals included.
Hiking: 3-6 miles; well marked paths.
- Day 8
This morning we have an early rising and light breakfast before transferring to the international airport at Split for return flights home. Breakfast included.
Day 1; June 17th 2010
After breakfast we depart Trogir and travel to Split for a tour of Diocletian's Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This massive palace was built by Emperor Diocletian at the turn of the fourth century AD for his retirement. It's a fascinating place to explore and one of the most famous architectural and cultural features on Croatia's Adriatic coast. Next we head to Biokovo Mountain for a spectacular hike. Biokovo is part of the Dinaric Alps system which stretches from Slovenia, through Croatia, and as far south as Albania. Together with the Velebit Mountains, this is the closest the chain gets to the sea. The view of the monumental rocky face of Biokovo with cliffs, scree slopes, towers, and gullies is impressive. Our local hiking guide is a walking encyclopedia and will bring to life the rich flora of the area for you. We enjoy lunch in one of the old villages at the base of the mountain. We finish the day by crossing the border from Croatia into Bosnia and Herzegovina where we will stay the evening at a family owned hotel and restaurant situated on river Trebižat in the charming town of in Ljubuski. All meals included.
Hiking: 3 hours, 1,300 feet elevation gain.
Wake to the sounds of one of the loveliest rivers in Bosnia and Herzegovina. After breakfast we enjoy a canoe trip on narrow Trebižat River where we paddle surrounded by lush forests teeming with birds and the stunningly beautiful karst landscape formed by the river over thousands of years. In the afternoon we visit Mostar, the economic and cultural center of Herzegovina. Over five centuries old, Mostar is wedged dramatically between high mountains divided by the Neretva River. Without question the highlight of Mostar is the Old Bridge (Stari Most) which was originally built in 1566 by the Ottoman Empire. Destroyed during the war in 1993 but rebuilt in 2004 in its original form, the Old Bridge is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Leaving Mostar in the late afternoon, we continue our drive south to the seaside village of Zaton, just outside the city of Dubrovnik (7 miles), our home for the next three nights. Zaton is a picturesque village set in a deep bay that offers us access to the bustle of Dubrovnik while providing a quiet and traditional setting from which to base our explorations. All meals included.
Canoeing: 3 hours.
This morning it's off to southern Croatia's "undiscovered paradise" – the Elafiti Islands. Depending on the weather, water conditions and group make-up, we paddle our kayaks directly from our home base in Zaton or take a short ride on a local ferry to the smallest of the Elafiti Islands, Kolocep. The island has fragrant cypress and pine forests creeping down rocky hillsides to beautiful sandy beaches and warm waters. We spend our day exploring the island coast by kayaking, short walks, and relaxed beach time. This evening we take a short drive up Mt. Srdj for a wonderful sunset over Dubrovnik and the Elafiti Islands before heading to Old Town for dinner and evening entertainment. All meals included.
Kayaking 4-6 hours.
Following breakfast this morning we head into Dubrovnik for a guided tour of its fascinating Old Town. Certainly one of the world's most beautiful and iconic fortified cities, Dubrovnik is a medieval port consisting of bastions, fortresses, bell towers, drawbridges, cathedrals and an endless, interesting maze of terracotta-roofed houses and shops. Your guide will share the rich history of the city while opening up some its hidden backdoors. You have time to explore more on your own as well as choose from Dubrovnik's many open-air cafes for lunch. Don't miss the walk along the city walls for the best views of the city! A visit to Lokrum Island, less than a mile from Dubrovnik, is also an option for today. The island is a nature reserve with trails, lovely swimming beaches, as well as an old abandoned fort built by the French in 1806 located on the summit of the island. Return to Zaton this evening for a final dinner together. Breakfast and dinner included.
We provide one group transfer to Dubrovnik international airport for flights home today. Breakfast included (if flight departure time allows).