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The Leader in Enriching Cultural Experiences since 1958

Worldwide Discovery at Extraordinary Value

2018 Hidden Gems of the Dalmatian Coast & Greece

Croatia: Zagreb, Plitvice Lakes, Split, Hvar, Korcula, Dubrovnik, Gromaca • Montenegro: Kotor, Perast • Albania: Butrint, Saranda • Greece: Corfu, Delphi, Athens

CRUISE COMFORTABLY IN SMALL GROUPS OF 25 ABOARD OUR PRIVATELY OWNED 50-PASSENGER M/V ATHENA
91% Traveler Excellence Rating Read reviews

16 Days from only $5845 including international airfare

Activity Level:

1 2 3 4 5

Moderately Easy

Courtesy Martijn Payens
Mushrooms of Concrete

Discover Albania’s concrete bunkers—sites that, though built for potential warfare, have more creative uses today.

Courtesy Paul Kurti
Out of Sight

Meet four Albanian children who share their hopes, challenges, and dreams—or, in some cases, lack thereof.

Courtesy of Epicurious
How to Make Greek Moussaka

Creamy and savory—moussaka is Greece’s most iconic comfort food. Learn to make this traditional dish.

Courtesy of Dušan Vuleković
Kotor for all seasons

From summer’s exuberant festivals to the sparkling frost of winter, enjoy Kotor in every season.

Courtesy of David Conover & Paul Villanova
Travelogue: Dubrovnik, Croatia 1969

Get a unique glimpse into everyday life of Dubrovnik in the 1960s.

FROM
$5845
16 DAYS
$366/DAY
including international airfare
15 DAYS FROM $4545 Small Ship Adventure Only
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NEW: Activity Level

Our NEW Activity Level rating system ranks our trips on a scale of 1 (easiest) to 5 (most difficult) to help you determine if a trip is right for you. The information below is a general guide to our rating system, but see our itineraries for much more detailed physical activity information about each trip.

Activity Level 1:

1 2 3 4 5

Easy

Travelers should be able to climb 25 stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 1-2 miles over some uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last at least 1-2 hours at a time. Altitude can range from zero to 5,000 feet.

Activity Level 2:

1 2 3 4 5

Moderately Easy

Travelers should be able to climb 40 stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 2-3 miles over some uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last for at least 2-3 hours at a time. Altitude can range from zero to 5,000 feet.

Activity Level 3:

1 2 3 4 5

Moderate

Travelers should be able to climb 60 stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 3 miles over some steep slopes and loose or uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last for 3 or more hours at a time. Altitude can range from 5,000 to 7,000 feet.

Activity Level 4:

1 2 3 4 5

Moderately Strenuous

Travelers should be able to climb 80 stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 4 miles over some steep slopes and loose or uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last for 4 or more hours at a time. Altitude can range from 7,000 to 9,000 feet.

Activity Level 5:

1 2 3 4 5

Strenuous

Travelers should be able to climb 100 or more stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 8 miles over some steep slopes and loose or uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last for 4 or more hours at a time. Altitude can range from 10,000 feet or more.

Itinerary Overview

Visit Croatia, a destination that has enchanted travelers for more than a millennium, on this Small Ship Adventure. Witness turquoise lakes linked by soaring waterfalls … islands enrobed in lavender and myrtle … whitewashed villages perched on sun-baked cliffs. And set off on a Dalmatian Coast voyage aboard our private small ship—expressly designed and constructed for just two small groups of just 25 travelers each. Soak up the medieval beauty of Dubrovnik. Walk in an emperor’s footsteps in Split. Journey to the island that gave Marco Polo his wanderlust. And savor a warm welcome from locals who extend to us a taste of legendary Croatian hospitality. A visit to ancient Delphi and Athens rounds out your discovery on this singular journey of epic beauty.

Day-to-Day Itinerary

  • 3 nights from only $845

    With its spectacular mountain scenery, a healthy sub-Alpine climate, crystalline lakes and rivers, and idyllic little medieval towns—Slovenia truly is an amazing corner of the world. Explore Lake Bled and Lake Bohinj, situated in an area with infinite unspoiled natural treasures—including stunning cliffs and majestic mountains. You’ll also venture to smaller, more out-of-the-way towns and historic villages.

    View Extension Itinerary
  • Fly from the U.S. to Zagreb, Croatia.

  • Arrive in Zagreb, where a Grand Circle Cruise Line representative will meet you at the airport and assist with your transfer to your hotel. There, your Trip Leader will take you on an orientation walk of the area. 

    Zagreb is a city of about 750,000 people and has been Croatia's capital since 1557. The city developed between the eleventh and 13th centuries from the two municipalities of Kaptol and Gradec, whose historic remnants still stand today in the Upper Town.

    This evening, enjoy a Welcome Drink before celebrating the start of your journey with a Welcome Dinner.

  • Enjoy a guided tour of Zagreb after breakfast today, beginning with a stroll through the Lower Town, whose well-designed street grid was laid out in the 19th century. Here, you'll be introduced to many of the city's civic and historic monuments.

    Then, take the funicular to the older Upper Town where you’ll pay a visit to the Croatian Museum of Naive Art, dedicated to the untrained European artists of the 20th century. Many of the colorful artworks are done with a childlike simplicity, and the bulk of the intriguing collection is rooted in Croatia. Next, discover Zagreb's medieval landmarks, such as St. Mark’s Church and the neo-Gothic Cathedral of the Assumption, which you will have the opportunity to admire from the inside as well. Your tour ends at Dolac, Zagreb's most colorful open-air market. As you stroll beneath a canopy of bright red umbrellas, peruse the lively stalls and perhaps sample some fresh, local produce.

    You can seek out lunch on your own, then we reconvene for a talk by a local expert on the past and present of Croatia. Then, enjoy a free afternoon to pursue your own interests before enjoying dinner on your own.

  • Enjoy a free day to explore Zagreb independently, perhaps choosing to wander through the city's lush Botanical Gardens, or visit the unique Museum of Broken Relationships. Lunch and dinner will be on your own. 

    Or join our full-day optional tour to the lovely Baroque city of Varazdin. For centuries, this was the home of several aristocratic families, who built magnificent palaces and churches that continue to grace the city today. Varazdin's centerpiece is its moated castle, entered via a drawbridge, which is now a museum featuring antique furniture from different eras. Begun in the twelfth century, the castle was still used as a seat of local government until 1925, and is set in a park with striking landscaping. Lunch is included on this optional tour.

    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    This morning, travel overland to the Plitvice Lakes National Park, where you'll enjoy a walking tour of this beautiful region's lower lakes. Please note that this tour includes uneven ground and several sets of stairs (up to 300 stairs, uphill and downhill).

    This 114-square-mile national park has at its heart 16 impossibly vibrant turquoise lakes linked by a multitude of crashing waterfalls and dramatic cascades. The magnificent natural wonder has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979.

    After an included lunch, continue to Split, which is on the Adriatic seacoast in the Croatian province of Dalmatia. When you arrive in Split, you'll embark your small ship. Meet the crew for a Welcome Drink and Briefing before dinner onboard.

    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    This morning in Split's Old Town, you'll discover the Imperial Palace of the Roman Emperor Diocletian. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is the greatest Roman ruin in Southeastern Europe. As modern Split grew, it built around the site—incorporating their ancient heritage with the new. 

    Built like a fortress with walls 590 feet by 705 feet, the palace was occupied by the Emperor Diocletian from AD 300-313. As you stand in the peristyle (central court) of this grand structure, its scale is sure to impress you.

    The medieval town of Split took shape within the palace walls; Diocletian's Temple of Jupiter was converted into a Christian baptistery and his mausoleum became a cathedral. The entire old section of Split, with the palace as its centerpiece, is a virtual open-air museum with the city's contemporary life bustling through it.

    Return to your small ship for lunch onboard. Then, set off on an exclusive Discovery Series event—our Dalmatian Countryside Experience—to learn how local Dalmatian villagers are preserving their traditional way of life. Accompanied by one of the villagers, you'll journey into the heart of the countryside, to the home of residents committed to honoring their ancestors' lifestyles. There, you'll enjoy a culinary demonstration featuring soparnik (a traditional savory pie) and have a chance to sample local specialties, all while discovering age-old customs and bonding with your hosts. 

    This evening, after a Port Talk from our Trip Leader, enjoy your Captain's Welcome Dinner, followed by traditional folklore entertainment onboard—an exclusive Discovery Series event. 

    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    Ride through this luxuriantly green island—known for its aromatic patches of lavender, rosemary, and heather at certain times of the year—to Hvar town, whose Venetian flavor reflects its long history of rule by that city-state.

    After a brief orientation, you'll have free time here to explore on your own. Next, journey to the quaint seaside village of Vrboska, which lies in a picturesque cove surrounded by pinewood forests and lovely beaches, where you'll enjoy a wine tasting at a small, family-owned winery nearby.

    After lunch aboard the ship, cruise to Korcula, the largest island in the archipelago and home to a picturesque medieval town. You'll also enjoy an exclusive Discovery Series discussion with a local resident, who will reveal the highlights and challenges of life on the island. 

    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    After breakfast, step off your ship and into the heart of historic Korcula which, among other things, has been the center of proud music and dance traditions like the warrior-like Moreska sword dance.

    You'll visit the spot believed by many historians to have been Marco Polo's birthplace (only one stone wall of the house remains). You will also get acquainted with Korcula town's history, which included centuries of rule by Venice, with a visit to its local museum. Learn about the historical importance of the Roman Catholic Church here when you visit St. Mark's Cathedral and the Treasury of the 14th-century Abbey Palace. Then, cruise on to grand Dubrovnik, where you'll dock after dinner this evening, enjoying an exclusive Discovery Series Croatia Today discussion along the way.

    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    With its old section, the Stari Grad, surrounded entirely by white stone walls, Dubrovnik gleams like the proverbial City on a Hill. Regarded today as one of the world's most exquisite walled cities, Dubrovnik's character reflects its storied past as an independent city-state that rivaled Venice. Also known by its Latin name, Ragusa, this was a fortress city that served as the base for a fleet of ships that carried trade between much of Europe and the Middle East. The city-state's period of autonomy extended from 1358 to 1808. In the early 1990s, some of Dubrovnik's historic sites sustained damage during the Balkan conflicts, but the city has been peaceful for more than 20 years and largely restored under UNESCO supervision. This restoration work has been supported with a donation from Grand Circle Foundation.

    You'll discover the highlights of this historic gem during today's city tour, which features visits to the Rector's Palace and a Franciscan monastery housing one of Europe's oldest pharmacies. 

    Later in the afternoon, experience Gromaca, a small village near Dubrovnik. Here, the locals will welcome you into their everyday lives. You'll also have the opportunity to dine with a local family during a Home-Hosted Dinner, an exclusive Discovery Series event.

    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    This morning, your small ship sails through Kotor Bay, the best way to soak in the spectacular views of the steep, verdant slopes reflecting in the pristine water below. After enjoying a brief discussion about this waterway's strategic importance, you'll dock right in the heart of town—something larger ships cannot do—to discover the perfectly preserved historic center of Kotor on a walking tour. In the Middle Ages, this natural harbor on the Adriatic coast was a walled city and an important artistic and commercial center, with well-known schools of masonry and iconography. Here, you'll visit the maritime museum that preserves the rich seafaring heritage of this region. Please note: This walking tour includes several sets of stairs (up to 50 stairs, uphill and downhill).

    Following an onboard lunch, depart for Perast. There, you'll take small boats to visit the baroque Our Lady of the Rocks shrine on a man-made islet. The shrine contains 68 paintings by local 17th-century artist Tripo Kokolja, while its greatest treasure is the icon of Our Lady of the Rock, painted by the Dubrovnik artist Lovro Marinov Dobricevic. This evening, enjoy dinner onboard.

    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    Enjoy the morning at leisure. Or, you may join an optional tour to Montenegro's cultural heart and one-time capital, Cetinje. Along the way enjoy a scenic uphill ride that culminates in a spectacular view of Kotor Bay. Then, stop in the village of Njegusi, famous for their smoked ham and a local cheese. Sample a few of Njegusi's home-grown delicacies before continuing on to historic Cetinje, nestled at the foot of Mount Lovcen and encircled by steep hills. After a guided tour of the palace of King Nikola, you'll have free time to explore the cultural treasures of this ancient royal town, such as the Njegos Mausoleum or the National Museum of Montenegro. Please note: This optional tour includes a drive along a steep, narrow mountain road.

    You'll then reunite with your fellow passengers for lunch onboard, followed by time to explore as you please before your ship sets sail for Saranda, Albania.

    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    Arrive early this morning in Saranda, Albania. Then travel overland to visit the ruins of Butrint, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

    Inhabited since prehistoric times, Butrint was the site of a Greek colony, a Roman city, and a bishopric of the Byzantine Empire. Following a period of prosperity under the Byzantines, then a brief occupation by the Venetians, the city was abandoned in the late Middle Ages after marshes formed in the area. The present archaeological site is a repository of ruins representing each period in the city's development.

    After lunch onboard, enjoy an exclusive Discovery Series discussion on Greece and the European Union. Then you'll visit a local children's shelter supported by Grand Circle Foundation. Here, you'll meet the principal and spend time getting to know the children, including insights into their daily lives and hobbies. Many of our travelers have cited this experience as one of the highlights of their trip; an emotional and fulfilling moment that stayed with them long after they returned home. 

    Tonight, enjoy dinner, as well as traditional live music, at a family-owned tavern.

  • Today, enjoy a fairy-tale excursion to Achilleion Palace, the 19th-century villa of Elizabeth, Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary.

    In her time, she was known by the nickname “Sisi” and was as popular as England's late Princess Diana. Uncomfortable with the constraints of court life in Vienna, Sisi retreated to Corfu in her later years and immersed herself in the world of the ancient Greeks. Today, you'll tour the palatial villa she had built in Corfu between the years 1890-1892, which she named the Achillion. The large Neo-classical building and the vast gardens surrounding it are lavishly decorated with artwork, including two notable statues of Sisi's favorite Greek hero, Achilles. Please note: This walking tour includes several sets of stairs (up to 90 stairs, uphill and downhill).

    Enjoy lunch onboard before before departing for our overnight cruise to Itea, the port from which you will explore Delphi.

    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    This morning, disembark in Itea for about a 40-minute ride to start Delphi tour. Here you'll enjoy a half-day of discovery, including the Temple of Apollo, where the oracle once prophesied. This ancient sanctuary is beautifully set in a landscape fit for a god, at the foot of a mountain with a vista over olive groves to the Bay of Itea.

    Those entering this place in ancient times first purified themselves at the nearby Sanctuary of Athena, where the enigmatic Tholos—a round building of unknown purpose—stands as it has since the fourth century BC. As we approach the Temple of Apollo, you'll walk the Sacred Way used by ancient Greeks, such as the historian Plutarch, who was a priest of Apollo at Delphi. You'll see treasuries built here by the Athenians, the Thebans, the Corinthians, and the Syracusans—the great societies of their day—and enter the theater, built to seat 5,000 people, from which it's possible to get an amazing view if you climb to the top row.

    Then enter the nearby Delphi Archaeological Museum. The unmatched holdings here include the larger-than-life bronze Charioteer, dating to about 470 BC, one of the finest surviving works of antiquity. The museum is filled with other masterpieces from the Archaic, Classical, and Roman periods, including scenes of the gods watching the Trojan War, a nine-statue family monument from the fourth century BC, and a sculpture of Roman Emperor Hadrian's son Antinoos. Please note that this walking tour includes steep ground and several sets of stairs (up to 150 stairs, uphill and downhill).

    Return to the ship for lunch, followed by a free afternoon. Once back onboard, your small ship will cruise through the legendary Corinth Canal, a passage too narrow for larger ships to traverse. You’ll also sail beneath the Rio Anti Bridge, which was built for the much-anticipated 2000 Olympics in Greece.

    Enjoy dinner onboard.

    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    Arrive in Athens today and enjoy a tour of this lovely historic city. Ride past the historic Panathenean Stadium, originally constructed in 330 BC and restored for the first "modern" Olympic Games in 1896, the Greek Parliament building, where the ceremonial guards in traditional Greek dress watch over the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and the Neo-Classical Presidential Palace. You'll also enjoy a city center walking tour. 

    This afternoon, you'll savor lunch at a local restaurant, followed by free time to make further discoveries on your own.

    This evening, gather for a cocktail and Farewell Dinner.

    • Meals included:

    Depart for the airport to catch your flight back to the U.S.

  • POST-TRIP EXTENSION:
    Ancient Glories: Olympia, Nafplion & Athens

    5 nights from only $1195

    Journey far back in time to the Peloponnese, a peninsula south of mainland Greece steeped in ancient myths and enveloped in rugged scenic beauty. Discover the Neo-classical splendor of Nafplion, the Bronze Age culture of ancient Mycenae, and the sanctuary of Zeus in Ancient Olympia, home of the first Olympian Games. Conclude your exploration of the ancient Greek world with a two-night stay in Athens.

    View Extension Itinerary
  • 5 nights from only $1195

    Journey far back in time to the Peloponnese—a peninsula south of mainland Greece steeped in ancient myths and enveloped in rugged scenic beauty. Discover the Neo-classical splendor of Nafplion, the Bronze Age culture of ancient Mycenae, and the sanctuary of Zeus in Ancient Olympia, home of the first Olympian Games. Begin your exploration of the ancient Greek world with a two-night stay in Athens.

    View Extension Itinerary
  • Fly from the U.S. to Athens, Greece.

  • Arrive in Athens, where a Grand Circle representative meets you at the airport and assists with your transfer to our hotel. Travelers on the Ancient Glories pre-trip extension will join you today. This afternoon, enjoy a short orientation walk with your Trip Leader in the vicinity of the hotel.

    This evening, enjoy dinner at your hotel.

    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    After breakfast, enjoy a tour of the lovely historic city of Athens. Ride past the historic Panathenean Stadium, originally constructed in 330 BC and restored for the first "modern" Olympic Games in 1896; the Greek Parliament building, where ceremonial guards in traditional Greek dress watch over the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier; and the Presidential Palace. Designed in Neo-classical style, the three-story Presidential Palace elegantly combines elements of Greek, Roman, and Renaissance architecture. Then enjoy a city center walking tour.

    You'll then depart for Mikrolimano and enjoy an included lunch at a local restaurant before embarking your ship. Begin your Dalmatian Coast voyage by sailing through the Corinth Canal, a passage too narrow for larger ships to traverse. You’ll also sail beneath the Rio Anti Bridge, which was built for the much-anticipated 2000 Olympics in Greece. As you cruise, meet your crew for a Welcome Drink and a briefing before dinner on board. Late this evening, arrive in Itea, a port town near Delphi, where you'll overnight onboard in the port.

    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    This morning, disembark in Itea for about a 40-minute ride to Delphi. Here, you'll enjoy a half day of discovery, including the Temple of Apollo, where the oracle once prophesied. This ancient sanctuary is beautifully set in a landscape fit for a god, at the foot of a mountain with a vista over olive groves to the Bay of Itea.

    Those entering this place in ancient times first purified themselves at the nearby Sanctuary of Athena, where the enigmatic Tholos—a round building of unknown purpose—stands as it has since the fourth century BC. As you approach the Temple of Apollo, you'll walk the Sacred Way used by ancient Greeks such as the historian Plutarch, who was a priest of Apollo at Delphi. You'll see treasuries built here by the Athenians, the Thebans, the Corinthians, and the Syracusans—the great societies of their day—and enter the theater, built to seat 5,000 people. If you climb to the top row, you're rewarded with an amazing view.

    Then, enter the nearby Delphi Archaeological Museum. The unmatched holdings here include the larger-than-life bronze Charioteer, dating to about 470 BC, one of the finest surviving works of antiquity. The museum is filled with other masterpieces from the Archaic, Classical, and Roman periods, including scenes of the gods watching the Trojan War, a nine-statue family monument from the fourth century BC, and a sculpture of Roman Emperor Hadrian's son Antinoos. Please note that this walking tour includes steep ground and several sets of stairs (up to 150 stairs, uphill and downhill).

    Later, return to the ship for lunch, after which you can explore the city of Itea and make your own discoveries.

    Tonight enjoy a Captain's Welcome Dinner as your ship cruises through the night to Corfu.

    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    This morning, you'll enjoy a fairy-tale excursion to Achilleion Palace, the 19th-century villa of Elizabeth, Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary.

    In her day, Elizabeth was known by the nickname of “Sisi,” and was as popular as England's late Princess Diana. Uncomfortable with the constraints of court life in Vienna, Sisi retreated to Corfu in her later years and immersed herself in the world of the ancient Greeks. Today, you'll tour the Achillion—the palatial villa she commissioned in Corfu between the years 1890-1892. The large Neo-classical building and vast gardens surrounding it are lavishly decorated with artwork, including two notable statues of Sisi's favorite Greek hero, Achilles. Please note: This walking tour includes several sets of stairs (up to 90 stairs, uphill and downhill).

    After enjoying lunch onboard, enjoy an exclusive Discovery Series discussion on Greece and the European Union. The rest of the afternoon is yours to discover Corfu at leisure. Then tonight, enjoy dinner, as well as traditional live music, at a family-owned tavern.

    Return to the ship later this evening. The ship remains moored through the night at Corfu.

    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    Cruise this morning to Saranda, Albania, then travel overland to visit the ruins of Butrint, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

    Inhabited since prehistoric times, Butrint was at various times the site of a Greek colony, a Roman city, and a bishopric of the Byzantine Empire. Following a period of prosperity under the Byzantines, then a brief occupation by the Venetians, the city was abandoned in the late Middle Ages after marshes formed in the area. The present archaeological site is a repository of ruins representing each period in the city's development.

    Then return to Saranda, where you'll visit a local children's shelter supported by Grand Circle Foundation. Here, you'll meet the principal and spend time getting to know the children, including insights into their daily lives and hobbies.

    Afterwards, enjoy an onboard lunch before going on a discovery walk of Saranda. Then, we sail for Kotor, located in the tiny Republic of Montenegro.

    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    This morning, your small ship sails through Kotor Bay, the best way to soak in the spectacular views of the steep, verdant slopes reflecting in the pristine water below. After a brief discussion about this waterway's strategic importance, you'll dock right in the heart of town—something larger ships cannot do—to discover the perfectly preserved historic center of Kotor on a walking tour In the Middle Ages, this natural harbor on the Adriatic coast was a walled city and an important artistic and commercial center, with well-known schools of masonry and iconography. Here, you'll visit the maritime museum that preserves the rich seafaring heritage of this region. Please note: This walking tour includes several sets of stairs (up to 50 stairs, uphill and downhill).

    Following an onboard lunch, depart for Perast. There, you'll take small boats to visit the baroque Our Lady of the Rocks shrine on a man-made islet. The shrine contains 68 paintings by local 17th-century artist Tripo Kokolja, while its greatest treasure is the icon of Our Lady of the Rock, painted by the Dubrovnik artist Lovro Marinov Dobricevic.

    This evening, enjoy dinner onboard.

    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    Today, you may spend the morning relaxing onboard, or choose our optional tour to Montenegro's cultural heart and one-time capital, Cetinje.

    Along the way, you'll enjoy a scenic uphill ride that culminates in a spectacular view of Kotor Bay. Then, stop in the village of Njegusi, famous for its smoked ham and a local cheese. Sample a few of Njegusi's home-grown delicacies before continuing on to historic Cetinje, nestled at the foot of Mount Lovcen and encircled by steep hills. After a guided tour of the palace of King Nikola, you'll have some free time to explore the cultural treasures of this ancient royal town, such as the Njegos Mausoleum or the National Museum of Montenegro. Please note: This tour includes a drive along a steep, narrow mountain road.

    You'll then reunite with your fellow passengers for lunch onboard, followed by time to explore as you please before your ship sets sail for Dubrovnik.

    Prior to dinner this evening, enjoy an informative discussion about daily life and politics in contemporary Croatia, an exclusive Discovery Series event.

    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    With its old section, the Stari Grad, surrounded entirely by white stone walls, Dubrovnik gleams like the proverbial City on a Hill. Regarded today as one of the world's most exquisite walled cities, Dubrovnik's character reflects its storied past as an independent city-state that rivaled Venice. Also known by its Latin name, Ragusa, this was a fortress city that served as the base for a fleet of ships that carried trade between much of Europe and the Middle East. The city-state's period of autonomy extended from 1358 to 1808. In the early 1990s, some of Dubrovnik's historic sites sustained damage during the Balkan conflicts, but the city has been peaceful for more than 20 years and largely restored under UNESCO supervision. This restoration work has been supported with a donation from Grand Circle Foundation.

    You'll discover the highlights of this historic gem during today's city tour, which features visits to the Rector's Palace and a Franciscan monastery housing one of Europe's oldest pharmacies. 

    Later in the afternoon, experience Gromaca, a small village near Dubrovnik. Here, the locals will welcome you into their everyday lives. You'll also have the opportunity to dine with a local family during a Home-Hosted Dinner, an exclusive Discovery Series event.

    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    After breakfast, embark on an included tour of Korcula. Visit the spot believed by many historians to have been Marco Polo's birthplace (only one stone wall of the house remains). You'll also get acquainted with Korcula town's history—which included centuries of Venetian rule—with a visit to its local museum. Learn about the historical importance of the Roman Catholic Church here when you visit St. Mark's Cathedral and the treasury of the 14th-century Abbey Palace.

    Return to your ship for lunch onboard, and in the afternoon, you can continue your individual exploration of Korcula island or just relax on the Sun Deck of your ship. This evening, you'll enjoy an exclusive Discovery Series discussion with a local resident, who will reveal the highlights and challenges of life on the island. Then, following your nightly Port Talk, join your fellow travelers in the ship's dining room for dinner. 

    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    Ride through this luxuriantly green island—known for its aromatic patches of lavender, rosemary, and heather at certain times of the year—to Hvar town, whose Venetian flavor reflects its long history of rule by that city-state.

    After a brief orientation, you'll have free time here to explore on your own. Next, journey to the quaint seaside village of Vrboska, which lies in a picturesque cove surrounded by pinewood forests and lovely beaches, where you'll enjoy a wine tasting at a small, family-owned winery nearby.

    After lunch aboard the ship, cruise to Split, where you'll dock and take a short orientation walk of the area. Then enjoy dinner, followed by traditional folklore entertainment onboard.

    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    This morning in Split, you'll discover the Imperial Palace of the Roman Emperor Diocletian. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is the greatest Roman ruin in Southeastern Europe.

    Built like a fortress with walls 590 feet by 705 feet, the palace was occupied by the Emperor Diocletian from AD 300-313. As you stand in the peristyle (central court) of this grand structure, its scale is sure to impress you.

    The medieval town of Split took shape within the palace walls; Diocletian's Temple of Jupiter was converted into a Christian baptistery and his mausoleum became a cathedral. The entire old section of Split, with the palace as its centerpiece, is a virtual open-air museum with the city's contemporary life bustling through it.

    Return to your small ship for lunch onboard. Then, learn how local Dalmatian villagers are preserving the traditional way of life in this region during an exclusive Discovery Series event, our Dalmatian Countryside Experience tour. You'll be joined by a local resident for an in-depth look at everyday life, and journey into the heart of the countryside, to the home of residents committed to honoring their ancestors' lifestyles. There, you'll enjoy a culinary demonstration featuring soparnik (a traditional savory pie) and have a chance to sample local specialties, all while discovering age-old customs and bonding with your hosts.

    After a Port Talk from your Trip Leader, you'll enjoy a Captain's Farewell Dinner onboard this evening.

  • This morning, disembark your ship and travel overland to the Plitvice Lakes region, stopping for an included lunch en route. Afterwards, enjoy a walking tour of this beautiful region's lower lakes. Please note: This tour includes uneven ground and several sets of stairs (up to 300 stairs, uphill and downhill).

    This 114-square-mile national park has at its heart 16 impossibly vibrant turquoise lakes linked by a multitude of crashing waterfalls and dramatic cascades. The magnificent natural wonder has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979.

    Continue to Zagreb and check in to your hotel. This evening, dinner is on your own in Zagreb.

  • Enjoy a guided tour of Zagreb after breakfast today, beginning with a stroll through the Lower Town, whose well-designed street grid was laid out in the 19th century. Here, you'll be introduced to many of the city's civic and historic monuments.

    Then, take the funicular to the older Upper Town where you’ll pay a visit to the Croatian Museum of Naive Art, dedicated to the untrained European artists of the 20th century. Many of the colorful artworks are done with a childlike simplicity, and the bulk of the intriguing collection is rooted in Croatia. Next, discover Zagreb's medieval landmarks, such as St. Mark’s Church and the neo-Gothic Cathedral of the Assumption, which you will have the opportunity to admire from the inside as well. Your tour ends at Dolac, Zagreb's most colorful open-air market. As you stroll beneath a canopy of bright red umbrellas, peruse the lively stalls and perhaps sample some fresh, local produce.

    You can seek out lunch on your own, followed by a free afternoon to pursue your own interests before a local expert gives a presentation on Croatia's past and present. Then, enjoy dinner on your own.

  • Enjoy a free day to make your own discoveries in Zagreb, with lunch on your own. Or join our full-day optional tour to the lovely Baroque city of Varazdin.

    For centuries, this was the home of several aristocratic families, who built magnificent palaces and churches that continue to grace the city today. Varazdin's centerpiece is its moated castle, entered via a drawbridge, which is now a museum featuring antique furniture from different eras. Begun in the twelfth century, the castle was still used as a seat of local government until 1925, and is set in a park with striking landscaping. The cost of this optional tour includes lunch.

    This evening, gather with your fellow travelers for a Farewell Dinner.

    • Meals included:

    Depart for the airport to catch your flight back to the U.S. Or begin your post-trip extension in Bled, Slovenia.

  • POST-TRIP EXTENSION:
    Bled, Slovenia

    3 nights from only $845

    With its spectacular mountain scenery, a healthy sub-Alpine climate, crystalline lakes and rivers, and idyllic little medieval towns—Slovenia truly is an amazing corner of the world. Explore Lake Bled and Lake Bohinj, situated in an area with infinite unspoiled natural treasures—including stunning cliffs and majestic mountains. You’ll also venture to smaller, more out-of-the-way towns and historic villages.

    View Extension Itinerary

Click below to read our Travel Planning Guide on Hidden Gems of the Dalmatian Coast & Greece

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