Croatia History Hopping

Venice to Porto Montenegro. A 14-day cruise through three nations and a dozen empires.

Palaces, Piazzas & Protected Sights

To cruise from Venice through Croatia and Montenegro is to witness two millennia of culture, garlanded across 14,000km of coastline. Watch a Verdi opera in a Roman amphitheatre - in Pula. Drink Greek grape varieties beside a Byzantine fresco - in Rovinj. Or saunter along a seaside promenade built by the French, adorned by the Austrians and strolled by every nationality on earth - in Split. We haven’t mentioned Croatia’s 1,200 islands yet. Croatia is built on boats. It’s a country where island kids do the school run on ferries and fishing vessels. If you want to scuba World War II wrecks, kayak to an island monastery or swim inside a legendary cave, we have one essential piece of advice. Visit on a yacht.



Today begins on Europe’s richest ‘street’. Start by kayaking down the Grand Canal. Your private guide will pause at the Gritti Palace for Riva cocktails: white rum, blue curacao, orange bitters. Sail further back in time to the uninhabited island of Lazzaretto Nuovo. This former monastery island is only accessible by boat.



Wake up in Rovinj. Wealthy Venetians used this terracotta-roofed town as a holiday destination. Ride in your RIB to Casanova’s seafood trail. The Venetian writer frequented Croatia’s Lim Fjord to lunch on aphrodisiacal amounts of oysters. Ever heard of ‘the Adriatic Titanic’? The 85m Baron Gautsch shipwreck sits in 30m of cerulean seas. Take an afternoon dive with your yacht’s Seabob.



Today you’ll moor in Pula. Its Roman amphitheatre is Croatia’s best-preserved ancient monument. Kids can play gladiators. Adults can stroll to winebar Enoteca Istriana beside the Temple of Augustus. Sip historically good Istrian varieties like Malvasia. Shakespeare waxed lyrical about the grape. Select rare vintages to be served on board later.



Jump off your tender by Zadar’s magnificent Land Gate. Your guide will escort you through a living UNESCO World Heritage Site. Zadar has Byzantine and Austro-Hungarian sights aplenty. The port’s best pit stop is beside the Roman Forum. Bars here have served Pošip white wines since Julius Caesar ruled the region.



Wake up in Sibenik. Thanks to Venetian occupation, this seaside city is a mini-Dubrovnik. Its labyrinthine stone streets host a UNESCO-listed cathedral alongside lashings of slivovitz brandy. Load up your Kindle after lunch. Because this afternoon your yacht will relocate to the Kornati Island National Park. These 140 paradisiacal islands offer zero culture, zero cars and zero people.



Need a pick-me-up this morning? Then sip espressos inside a marble palace. The centre of Split was once the private mansion of Roman Emperor Diocletian. His chambers and corridors have been subsumed by boutiques and bars. Your crew will download Series 4 of Game of Thrones. You’ll recognise the Klis Fortress, an impregnable castle with delicious sea views across to your yacht.



Today you will anchor off Vis. This historically unique island was once a secret military base. Swim through a submarine tunnel. Dive the wreck of a B-17 Flying Fortress bomber. Or race scooters along a vertiginous highway-to-nowhere built by the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It’s like no other island on earth.



Today you’ll meet Marco Polo. The Korcula-born explorer would still recognise the port’s eight medieval towers. Climb up one for awesome Adriatic views. Or take a historic horseback ride across the island interior, which hides honey farms and olive mills. It’s equally fun by bike. The best sunset? Back on your yacht, overlooking the medieval town.



This morning your crew have organised eBikes. Because beyond Hvar’s chic bars sits a working UNESCO World Heritage Site. Ride through vineyards, olive orchards and history itself. The best sunset spot? Overlook your yacht from the Venetian fortress above Hvar Town. No need to check the weather. Hvar receives 2,800 annual sunshine hours.



Today you will anchor off lonesome Lastovo. Population 792. This timeless island was off-limits until the 1990s as a socialist submarine base. Paddleboard inside a submarine pen. Be the sole hiker on 200km of trails. Or kayak to 45 uninhabited islands that surround the main island for pirate adventures and seascooter snorkels. The only restaurant in the vicinity is the one on board your charter yacht.



This morning you’ll swim into antiquity. Greek explorer Odysseus took refuge in a secret cave on Mljet’s southern shore. Rays of sun pierce the inky grotto like a million-dollar glitterball. Hungry? Then row back in time to the Benedictine monastery on Veliko Jezero. In true Croatian style, the monastery also hosts a restaurant serving local wine and organic game.



Rise early and beat the Dubrovnik crowds with a city wall hike. These towering fortifications fended off Saracen, Venetian and Ottoman attackers - before starring as King’s Landing in Game of Thrones. Temperature rising? Take a kayak and explore underneath Dubrovnik’s St John’s Castle. Then snorkel for red mullet and octopus. Your crew will prepare sushi and smoothies for when you return on board.



Today you’ll reposition to Kotor. This fortified port is ringed by 5km of city walls - longer and less trodden than those in Dubrovnik. History comes alive inside the Bay of Kotor’s island churches. They appear like little chunks of Venice, floated from across the Adriatic Sea. RIB, row or paddleboard between them to gaze at glorious icons and ancient scrolls.

Porto Montenegro


This morning a helicopter awaits. Your destination is Cetinje. Montenegro’s former capital is a lost-in-time spectacle of crumbling embassies and seven museums. Return to Porto Montenegro to step inside a real-life submarine. The P-831 HERO, built in 1964 as a Yugoslav attack sub, is now a beguiling open-air museum.