Category Archives: General

Follow our Blog and be inspired - you will hear about first-hand experiences in our stunning destinations.

Small Ship Cruising in Croatia

Posted by Aniela Edmond on November 07, 2019

If you are looking for a holiday that combines the dreamy pleasure of relaxing days in the sun with evenings strolling through picturesque towns overflowing with a rich historical and cultural legacy, then Croatia is the destination for you, and there is no better way to experience it than on a Deluxe Small Ship Cruise along the magnificent Croatian coastline.

With its blend of imposing mountain ranges, meandering rivers, picturesque towns and villages and idyllic islands surrounded by the warm, sparkling aquamarine waters of the Adriatic Sea, the Croatian coast is perfect for this type of cruising. So, what can you expect from a week of cruising in one of Europe’s leading tourism hotspots? As you board your Deluxe vessel you will feel like you have boarded your own superyacht and will immediately be wowed by the highest quality of comfort on board these state-of-the-art steel-hulled ships.

With up to 19 elegantly appointed cabins, all with private ensuites and air-conditioning, expect to share your journey with up to 38 other people. Cabins generally come equipped with a safety deposit box, bathroom toiletries, a hair dryer and a modest wardrobe. Some are cleverly designed so that you can tuck your suitcase under the bed, giving you more room to spread out. Cabins are usually allocated to Upper, Main and Lower decks with some vessels offering VIP cabins with panoramic windows or private balconies from which you can enjoy the breathtaking scenery. Otherwise the ships are spacious and comfortable with an abundance of areas to socialise with other guests, or simply relax on the Sun Deck enjoying the gently cooling sea breeze and magnificent views from the comfort of your lounger.

On a typical sailing day you will start the morning being gently awoken by the hum of the boat’s engine as it leaves the port of your overnight stay. Enjoy a delicious buffet-style breakfast as you journey towards your new, exciting destination. Around mid-morning your Captain will drop anchor in one of countless stunning secluded bays, where you can enjoy a refreshing swim stop. Who needs a swimming pool when you can bathe in some of the clearest, cleanest waters in the world? The rear swimming platform on Deluxe vessels makes it easy for guests to get on and off the ship and the crew provides a host of inflatables and noodles for those who wish to lie back and relax.

Back on board, you’ll be treated to a sumptuous four-course lunch expertly prepared by the ship’s skilled chefs, showcasing a blend of traditional Croatian cuisine that includes some of the best and freshest seafood Croatia is known for. No Croatian meal would be complete without a glass of local wine, which is usually included with your meal. Famous for their hospitality, Croatians love nothing more than showering their guests with a great variety of tasty treats and very generous portions, so forget the diet and just enjoy!

By mid- to late afternoon you arrive at your evening’s destination. Most stops, such as Split, Dubrovnik and the islands of Hvar and Korčula, include a city walking tour where you can gain first-hand insight into the region’s history from a local guide. Other less populated islands such as Vis and Mljet allow you to get back to nature and experience a quieter pace of life. In general, the evenings are yours to further explore the enchanting alleyways of these romantic little towns, immerse yourself in local culture and indulge in the cuisine and wines unique to each area.

One of the beauties of small-ship cruising is that the vessels can drop anchor right in the heart of the port towns you visit. This means no uncomfortable commuting from ship to shore via tenders – you can simply step on or off the boat as you please. The ports can be busy so often your boat will be tethered to several others, sometimes stretching out five to ten boats wide. This means crossing from boat to boat as you make your way to and from shore which may require some focus and concentration, especially if you have indulged in some latenight cocktails or local liqueurs during your evening ashore.

Evenings on board are a nice time to relax with fellow travellers, enjoying a drink in the salon or on the rear deck before retiring to your cabin. All vessels have an evening curfew for noise so while the air may carry the sounds of music and revelry from the port, it is not excessive. By the time your week has come to an end you will be leaving the ship feeling both relaxed and invigorated, savouring memories of magical places visited, farewelling new friends and most certainly contemplating when you can return to enjoy the delights of this spectacular country.


Top 5 Things To Do In Zagreb

Posted by Teodora Antunovich on October 01, 2018

1. Enjoy a drink and a spot of people-watching with the locals in Tkalčićeva Street

This charming pedestrian avenue has a long history - the streets used to be an ancient river separating the districts of Kaptol and Gradec. Colourful, quaint, and lined with boutiques, restaurants and cafes, it has the highest concentration of these venues in Croatia. Share a meal or a few drinks with friends at Oliver Twist or Melin, popular spots full of local people and good, affordable beer. Find a place with outdoor seating to enjoy a warm summer evening and people watching, or connecting with fellow travellers.

2. Find a Vincek bakery and indulge in your choice of cake or ice cream

It is rare to find a bakery with so much passion, cultural significance and charm in one place! The family-owned Vincek is the leading Croatian cakery brand, and it was the first to offer the famous Zagreb custard slices topped with whipped cream and high-quality chocolate. Using only the best local ingredients ensures the full Zagreb experience for your dessert. There are a few shops sprinkled around, so it’s easy to find one wherever you explore the city! Unique delicacies include pastries, cakes, fancy biscuits, chestnut puree, ice cream and more to order.

3. Discover the local festivals on offer

Dvorišta Festival, the festival of The Courtyards, is a ten-day unforgettable event. Travellers have a special opportunity to experience some of the beautiful palaces of the Zagreb’s Upper Town. You can also try new flavours with snacks, refreshing drinks and wonderful music artists. This event has won two prestigious awards for the most creative and innovative project in Croatian tourism.

Art Park, is located between Strossmayer Promenade and Tomićeva Street. This spot was transformed into an urban park and a vibrant open-air museum. Stop by to experience summer art, play ping-pong, listen to concerts, try yoga or drawing sessions, watch films, have a cold beverage or a local craft beer and just relax.

4. Visit Mirogoj cemetery

For those who love history and architecture, this is one of the most beautiful cemeteries in Europe. Located at the base of Mount Medvednica, it’s an easy 30 minute walk from the city centre, or a 10 minute drive. Designed in 1876 by Austrian-born architect Herman Bollé, the majestic arcade is topped by a string of cupolas. Explore the arcades, pavilions and tombs to feel the connecting generations of Zagreb and quiet beauty of the design.

5. Explore the city on foot

This is single handedly the best way to experience everything Zagreb has to offer, in every season. Simply exploring the gorgeous shop-lined streets beneath leafy trees (or freshly fallen snow) will lead you to discover some of the most charming spots. Keep an eye out for the iconic St Mark’s Church, try the view from Lotrščak Tower, pick up fresh produce from Dolac Markets, wander Tkalčićeva Street, or choose the perfect souvenir shopping on Ilica Street.

Self-Drive & Small Ship Cruise

Posted by Teodora Antunovich on July 02, 2018

Desa Posa from Croatia Times Travel discusses her most recent visit to Croatia where she Self-Drove and experienced its sensational Adriatic Coastline by Small Ship Cruise.

Have you ever thought about visiting Croatia? If not, after reading about my most recent travel experience I am certain you will be enticed to visit this stunning destination and even some of its surrounding countries.

After landing in Zagreb, we headed straight to our hotel for a much-needed shower and quick rest before setting off to explore this fascinating city. Zagreb is home to a mix of 18th and 19th century buildings with many charming parks, squares and city markets, and we found a lovely local restaurant for an evening meal and a few quiet drinks in the city centre. 

The following morning, we set off on our adventures following the Tailored Self-Drive Itinerary that Croatia Times Travel had prepared for us. We opted for our rental car to be delivered to our hotel and after setting the GPS we were off! Leaving the city behind, we travelled to Rastoke, an easy 1 hour and 30-minute drive along the motorway (110 kilometres). This 300-year-old small watermill village is located at a natural phenomenon where the Slunjčica River splits into several river branches, flowing across cascades into the Korana River. The village has grown around the river with many small waterfalls and is well-worth a stop en-route to Plitvice Lakes National Park.

After sightseeing and a coffee we made our way to our accommodation at the beautiful Plitvice Lakes National Park. This 295 sq-km forest reserve in central Croatia is known for a chain of 16 terraced lakes, connected by 92 cascading waterfalls that extend into a breathtaking limestone canyon. Walkways and hiking trails wind around and across the water, and an electric boat links the 12 upper and 4 lower lakes. The natural wonders of Plitvice exceeded all expectations!

Spending the night in Plitvice gave us more time to explore both the upper and lower lakes. You don’t have to be super fit, but with all the amazing scenery you need time to explore the natural phenomenon at leisure and to allow time to take plenty of photos. I highly recommend you take a sensible pair of walking shoes.

Next stop was Poreč. Driving into central Istria was a sight to behold with its many Tuscan influences. We took time to explore the back roads of Motovun and sample many truffle-influenced meals, including ice cream! We decided to spend a couple of nights in Poreč as our base. Day trips were the perfect way to visit various wineries, enjoy the local charm and partake in a wine or two! Istria offers a place for people looking for a mixture of history, culture & gourmet experiences.

The highlight of our trip was our Small Ship Cruise the Coastal Heritage Luxury Cruise on MS Stella Maris from Poreč to Dubrovnik. This is a new route for the 2018 season and the itinerary is more ‘off the beaten track’ and comprehensive than the traditional cruises from Split to Dubrovnik. The Stella Maris cruises the entire Croatian Coastline over a period of 7 nights.

Some highlights included stopping in Pula, Rovinj, Brijuni, Zadar and Dubrovnik just to name a few! That also included visits to two National Parks and two UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Mljet National Park is one of the most alluring and a definite favourite! The deep vegetation, crisp pine forests and dreamy turquoise and clear green saltwater lakes are exceptionally scenic. A new destination greeted us each day, with a walking tour by a local guide, enchanting us with their local knowledge and history of the region.

Meals were exceptional with 4-course lunches and dinners, so don’t expect to come home lighter! We ate some of the best, freshest seafood we’ve ever had. A vibrant mixture of Australians, Canadians, Americans and New Zealanders were on board, and the weather for early May was lovely.

After our cruise, we stayed an extra night in Dubrovnik so we could enjoy a full day visit to Mostar. We took a private tour with a driver, and the scenery was stunning as we entered Bosnia & Herzegovina. We also made time to stop at the Kravice Waterfalls, one of Europe’s most spectacular natural sights. These 25m cascades are described as a “Mini Niagara” and feature a natural pool at the base. Our driver suggested that we take a dip in the falls which was very refreshing. Finally we headed to Mostar with its Turkish influences, and of course the Stari Most, the famous reconstructed bridge and the perfect final photo opportunity.

I cannot believe how many incredible and unforgettable experiences we were able to enjoy on our trip. Our itinerary was tailored by Croatia Times Travel and we could not have done it without their expert guidance and care.