Tag Archives: adriatic

Why Slovenia should be next on your Bucket List

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Slovenia is popping up all over travelers’ bucket lists, and we couldn’t be more pleased! This small country, nestled between Italy and Croatia, has been overlooked for too long. With stunning, sculpturesque architecture, mirror-like lakes and thick forests, Slovenia is a paradise for both the outdoors enthusiast and the amateur historian!

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In Spring this year our clients Bob and Joyce drove around this lovely land, exploring the exquisite Lake Bled and the underground Škocjan cave. Another client spent their Christmas holidays on the lakeshore. Whatever the season, Slovenia is a natural playground thanks to its Alpine lakes, white rivers and snow-capped peaks. Visitors can take part in white-water rafting, spelunking, cycling, hang-gliding.

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Ljubljana

Ljubljana is a fascinating capital, with lush green spaces, a white-washed, fanciful Old Town, outdoor cafés and the Ljubljanica River that separates the older and the modern districts. You’ll also find mansion-like Ljubljana Castle, ruins of Roman City Walls, and Metelkova City—a self-declared autonomous district for artists and various subcultures. The military barracks has been converted into bars and nightclubs. The “City of Bridges” is so-called thanks to the Dragon Bridge, with its four dragon statues, and the Triple Bridge, is a trifecta of three bridges that connects the old town with the modern. 

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Postojna Cave

Postojna Cave is a 15-mile long karst cave system in southwestern Slovenia. The cave train has been taking visitors for 140 years on its 2.3 mile long journey.

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Lake Bled

The iconic Lake Bled is one of the more famous destinations in Slovenia. On the lakeshore, taste Slovene cheese and Bled cream cake. You can also visit the imposing Bled Castle, perched on a cliff overlooking the lake. 

Piran

Venetian-styled, pastel colored Piran is a coastal town with heavy Italian influences. Even the dialect of Slovene sounds ever so slightly Italian.

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Goriska Brda

Often called a “Fairytale Landscape,” the Goriska Hills are a microregion of vineyards and olive orchards. The ideal setting for a cozy farmstay amid fruit trees.

Portorož

Portorož, the “Port of Roses,” is a seaside resort and spa town, a popular site for health resorts since hte 19th century.

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Lake Bohinj

Lake Bohinj is located within the Julian Alps, a local mountain beauty. You can walk along its verdant shoreline or catch a cable car to Mt. Vogel.

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How to Go

We recommend to rent a car from Italy, spend a few days in Slovenia, before continuing south through the Istrian Peninsula and the Dalmatian Coast. Call Willamette Intl Travel plan your itinerary, car and hotels!

If you prefer going with an expert guide and group, our friends Tradesco Tours offer an affordable 7-Day / 6-Night Highlights of Slovenia. 

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Filed under Europe, Slovenia

Cruise the Adriatic Sea with Star Clippers

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How about a cruise down the romantic Dalmatian coast this Fall? Few experiences rival embarking a tallship in full sails in the canals of Venice and sailing down the Croatian coast.

Star Clippers is a luxury ship experience with a casual vibe. In September and October, their 170-passenger flagship Star Clipper sails to colorful and irresistible locales in Croatia and the Greek Isles.

The size and nature of the ship allows it to visit ports inaccessible to larger cruise ships. Explore the tiny port of Hvar Island, a favorite getaway for Byzantines and Venetians. Marvel at the architectural jewel that is Dubrovnik. Coast along Montenegro to the unspoiled medieval city of Kotor, and farther south into the colorful harbor of Mykonos.

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Equipped with 4 masts and 16 sails, the Clipper sails no more than 17 knots through the alluring Adriatic Sea. Onboard facilities include an elegant dining room, library, piano lounge and tropical bar.

WIT Agents Nancy and Linda have sailed with Star Clippers, around the Caribbean and Tahiti respectively, and rave about the line. They’d love to tell you more! Drop them a line for some firsthand feedback. Or call our agency at 503-224-0180 for more information.

For pics from Nancy’s Caribbean cruise on the Star Clipper, check out our gallery: https://wittravel.wordpress.com/gallery/star-clipper-portholes/

 “The Star Clipper experience is all about relaxation and rejuvenation, not sticking to a script. This will sound weird but I’m especially excited about my last night onboard! Why? I can enjoy dinner, socializing with my new friends, and savoring the wonderful week I’ve had and NOT race to meet the deadline to have my luggage outside my cabin! Nor do I have weave between masses of bags littering the hallways. Cruising on Star Clipper really means that the vacation fun doesn’t shrink on the last night; it rolls through breakfast.” ~~ Nancy

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Filed under Croatia, Cruises, Europe, Greece, Italy, Star Clipper

Your Summer Guide to Cruising the Adriatic Sea

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Hunting a unique destination? Explore the Adriatic Sea, one of Europe’s most alluring waterways. Uncover ancient heritage and breathtaking bays. A variety of cruise options sail from Venice, Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast and into the emerald waters of Greece and Turkey. 

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sample itinerary, photo credit Star Clippers

There’s nothing quite like sailing out of Venice, traveling past the MOSE flood control gates one minute, and by fishermen in small boats the next. The MOSE project is a system of mobile gates installed at various inlets that temporarily isolate the Venetian Lagoon from the Adriatic during high tides. Check out more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MOSE_Project

Interesting sidebar: The Italian government has recently been considering banning large cruise ships into the Venetian lagoon due to concern over environmental damage. The issue hasn’t been put into law yet, but for who knows how long? This year or the next might be the last time you can sail from Venice on a larger cruise vessel! (UPDATE: Italy overturned the ban but just for now!)

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Mediterranean Port, photo credit WIT Agent Nancy

Crystal Cruises: Crystal is offering 6-day sailings from Corfu to Venice. Explore the Dalmatian coast at leisure, from Dubrovnik and Korcula in Croatia to Koper in Slovenia. This Adriatic getaway sails on the Crystal Serenity and serves 1,070 guests.

Royal Caribbean: RCI’s 1,830-guest Splendour of the Seas sails a near-pure 7-night Greek itinerary out of Venice this year, as well as a roundtrip Venice that stops in the archaeological wonder of Kusadasi (Ephesus), Turkey. Go island-hopping in the emerald waters from the Ionians to the Cyclades.

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Windstar: Prefer a vessel more intimate? Windstar’s small ships 212-guest Star Pride and 310-guest Wind Surf sail July to October between Venice and Athens. In 8-9 days, they sail from magnificent ports such as Athens, Butrint, Hvar and Dubrovnik. The Wind Surf will take you to hidden gems of the Croatian Riviera: Brindisi, Gythion, and Rovinj, memorable days of breathtaking sunsets on teak decks below white sails. The Star Pride sails to secret Greek Isles: Hydra, Corinth Canal, Delphi, as well as the salmon-roofed Montenegrin port of Kotor.

Star Clippers: This summer and fall Star Clippers’ 170-passenger flagship will be embarking on a classic 12-day cruise through the Adriatic from Athens to Venice. The ship sails to familiar destinations such as Hvar, Corfu, Santorini and Mykonos, as well the irresistible beaches of Cikat Bay and Katakolon. The fleet of Star Clippers is all traditional tall-mast sailing ships, with 4 masts, 16 sails, traveling languidly at no more than 17 knots at its fastest. A perambulatory and nostalgic way to enjoy the seas. (Star Clipper’s June 28 sailing starts at $2,714 per person and includes a free upgrade.)

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Star Clippers, photo credit WIT Agent Nancy

Princess Cruises: If you’re looking for a longer itinerary on a larger vessel, Princess may be your best bet: the 12-day Grand Mediterranean sails eastward on the Dalmatian, through Athens and Istanbul, before curving westward to Rome, Livorno, Toulon in France and Barcelona in Spain. This sailing is on the brand-new and sparkling 3,560-guest Regal Princess, due out next month May 2014, and space is filling up quickly!

Interested in finding out more about what’s on offer? Call Willamette Intl Travel agents today. Our staff has sailed with all of these lines and would love to find the Adriatic itinerary that’s right for you and your family. Call now: both 2014 and 2015 Europe seasons are open to book. Ask us about Spring Sales; several cruise lines are offering perks such as reduced deposit, no single supplement and last minute discounts.

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Filed under Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Europe, Greece, Italy, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Star Clipper, Travel by Ship, Windstar Cruises