Tag Archives: dubrovnik

Check it Out: Dubrovnik

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“Those who seek paradise on Earth must come to Dubrovnik,” wrote George Bernard Shaw. Dubrovnik, also known as “the Pearl of the Adriatic” is one of the most beautiful small cities in Europe. With its intricate maze of medieval-esque streets and cafes, it’s a lovely place to explore, even in the winter. The best time to go weather-wise is Easter or Autumn, in between the chilly rain and summer heat—but the Christmas festivities and month-long July outdoor festival are certainly a fabulous excuse to check out the town. Here are some Must-Sees on our List: 

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  1. For an unforgettable view of sea- and cityscape, walk the famous ancient City Walls. Go early in the morning or late evening to avoid the crowds to watch people weave their way among the maze of Dubrovnik streets. The magnificent fortifications date back to the 10th and 13th centuries, reaching 25m in height at their highest. The main entrance is just outside Pile Gate, and is open from 8am to 5:30pm. Admission is 90 krona and it takes about one hour to make the 2 km (1.24 miles) loop, so be sure to pack water and snacks just in case.

  2. Art lovers and history buffs should head over to the Francisco Monastery (14th century), to admire its stunning Gothic-Romanesque architecture. The library that lies within is one of the biggest in Europe, with over 70,000 books, more than 1,200 of which are manuscripts several centuries old. The monastery also houses the third oldest functioning pharmacy in the world, dating back to 1317.

  3. The 15th-century Rector’s Palace is another worthwhile stop. Its elegant halls feature countless pieces of old furniture, paintings and sculpture, an atrium and a theatrical stage. Nearby, the Archaeological Museum also houses an intriguing collection of hundreds of objects (coins, ceramics, glass), dating back from Prehistoric, ancient Egyptian, Roman and early Christian periods. 

  4. Visitors not afraid of heights can take a cable car out to the top of Mount Srd for about 94 kuna ($15) roundtrip. A clear day will grant you views of up to 35 miles and ample photo opportunities. Go at dusk to watch the sunset over the salmon-colored rooftops. On the top of the mountain is also the intriguing Museum of Croatian War of Independence, located with Fort Imperial and worth a visit. Exhibits include documents, art, photographs, weapons, mines, and explosives. When you’re done you can sample some Mediterranean fare with excellent views at the Restaurant Panorama, located at the upper cable car station.

  5. Dubrovnik would be nothing without its port! You can trace the city’s seafaring history at the Maritime Museum. Located in St. John’s Fortress, exhibits include sailors uniforms, navigational instruments, maps and model ships.

  6. If you’re looking for souvenirs, browse Dubrovacka Kuca in the medieval St. Dominik’s Tower—they have an impressive selection of local rakija, wines, olive oil, honey and truffle products.  For fresh seasonal foods, try the morning open-air market on Grunduliceva Poljana in the old town. Visitors into designer clothes and shoes should drop by Maria Concept Store for the latest in forward fashion.

  7. The more adventurous might consider taking a ferry to Mljet National Park and wandering its many hiking trails and 12th-century Benedictine monastery. You can also take a boat out to the beautiful wildlife reserve of Lokrum (departs every half-hour from the Old City Harbour). Ferry companies operate year round to these destinations, and further to Korcula and Split in warm months. 

  8. On the eastern end of the Stradun Street stands the famous stone column fashioned in the form of a knight. According to legend, Orlando and his fleet defended Dubrovnik from a 15-month-long Saracen siege, and in honor of his memory they erected the column in Orlando’s visage.

  9. If you fancy an excursion, drive out to Plitvice Lakes National Park, and admire the beautiful cascades, and unrivaled pools of bright green and blue. Although there are a few buses, the best way to get there is by car, and may require an overnight, as it’s more than 400 kilometers from Dubrovnik.

Visit Dubrovnik and nearby Split and Istria Peninsula on an Adriatic cruise or roadtrip from Zagreb. Call Willamette Intl Travel to discuss options for traveling throughout Croatia. 

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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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Croatia, the Jewel of the Adriatic

Since emerging from the breakup of Yugoslavia, Croatia has grown into one of the top destinations for vacationers. The timely richness and breathtaking landscapes of this Adriatic country is capturing the attention of travelers from all over the world. Over the course of its history, Croatia’s many conquests have developed into a distinct and charming blend of Mediterranean and Slavic cultures. The best time to go is summer, when streets festivals are abound with music, dancing, and street performers. Here are some of the top places to see in Croatia:

Zagreb – The capital of Croatia boasts charming medieval flavor, Baroque architecture, and clean, wide streets. The Upper Town has developed into a vibrant scene of restaurants and bars, and there are plenty of museums and parks for tourists to enjoy. Major sights include the St. George statue, the Dolac Market, Ban Jelačić Square, and café-strewn Tkalčićeva Street.

photo by Roger Nelson

Dubrovnik – The seaside old town of Dubrovnik is renowned for its enchanting bay, thick fortress walls, and cobblestone streets. Known also by its old name Ragusa, it is said to have been established by Greek sailors, and is a marvelous maze of old stone streets and earth-colored ceramic rooftops. The traveler can delight in countless sights, including medieval towers, fountains, pharmacies, churches, an arboretum and a Franciscan Monastery.

photo by Alex Proimos

Diocletian’s Palace – Arguably the star attraction of Split is Diocletian’s palace, a gorgeous Roman castle built in the 4th century C.E. as the Emperor’s retirement home. Currently undergoing renovations by the World Monuments Fund and registered with UNESCO, the palace measures at about 30,000 square meters and it is lauded as the world’s most complete remains of a Roman palace.

Plitvice Lakes National Park – This pristine park is home to the largest lakes in the country. Altogether it covers over 73,350 acres, all of which are protected by UNESCO and Croatia’s government. Its prime attraction is the 16 interconnected surface lakes that gather in the heart of the park from a network of small rivers and subterranean karst rivers. The lakes’ colors, ranging from azure, green, gray and blue, frequently alter with sunlight, and the ebb and flow of minerals and organisms. Swimming is (understandably) not permitted.

photo by 29cm

Istria – The largest peninsula in the Adriatic, Istria is home to a variety of beautiful and well-preserved attractions. From its Roman and Byzantine ruins, green hills, sloping valleys, basilicas, frescoes and beaches, the peninsula offers something for every type of traveler. Tourists can hop on a ferry to the Brijuni islands, famed for their dinosaur footprints and international zoo, or meander through the charming streets of the Venetian town of Rovinj.

Hvar – The idyllic island of Hvar is a popular site for tourists. The old town is rich with delicate Venetian architecture, two massive fortresses, and ambling hillside streets. The so-called Spanish fortress provides beautiful vistas and houses a collection of amphorae and other historical objects. Once the Adriatic center of culture and trade, Hvar is now a sleepy tourist destination and maintains a number of bountiful galleries, museums and exhibitions.

photo by Jeremy Vandel

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Willamette International Travel agents are highly qualified and experienced in booking tours and itineraries in Croatia. Ask your agent about group, private or individual travel, ranging from simple city tours to day trips to extended schedules. We work with expert tour companies who are local to the area. Check out some of their amazing itineraries on offer this year, such as:

Belgrade to Zagreb – 11 Day/10 Nights; Belgrade (2), Dubrovnik (2), Split (1), Plitvice Lakes (1), Bled (2), Zagreb (2). Escorted motor-coach tour, includes accommodation, daily breakfast, 6 dinners, transport, guided tours, transfers, and professional tour director.

Dubrovnik to Venice – 11 Days/10 Nights; Dubrovnik (3); Split (1); Plitvice Lakes (2); Bled (2); Venice (2). Escorted motor-coach tour, includes accommodation, daily breakfast, 6 dinners, guided tours, transfer and transport.

Scenic Croatia – 8 D/7 N; Zagreb (1), Plitvice Lakes (1), Brac (2), Dubrovnik (3). Hosted private car tour, includes accommodation, sightseeing, transport, and daily breakfast.

Interested in traveling to Croatia with a tour, on a cruise or individually? Willamette International Travel offers a variety of services in and around the Adriatic isles. Call us at 1.503.224.0180 or email at info@wittravel.com.

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