With the sun casting a warm glow on the city, we started our second day in Split with a delightful breakfast in one of the bustling plazas. Energized and ready for adventure, we set off to explore the city’s fascinating fortress and the vibrant waterfront that hugged its shores.
Eager to delve deeper into the history and culture of Split, we joined a comprehensive bus tour that took us on a captivating journey through the city. The knowledgeable guide pointed out various points of interest, including the tennis club of the famed Croatian tennis player Goran Ivanišević. who achieved an extraordinary feat as a wildcard when he won the Wimbledon championship in 2001. This intriguing tidbit highlighted Split’s rich sporting legacy and its proud connection to the world of tennis.
Following the bus tour, we embarked on a walking tour of the old city, led by a passionate guide who breathed life into every tale and legend. As we meandered through the ancient streets, we discovered the many layers of Split’s past. The city’s history echoed through the centuries, with each stone telling a story of conquest, resilience, and cultural exchange.
Climbing the bell tower of the majestic Cathedral of St. Domnius was an absolute highlight of our day. The tower stood tall and proud, offering commanding views of the city below. From this vantage point, we could truly grasp the magnitude of Split’s historical importance, as well as marvel at the architectural brilliance that had stood the test of time.
Our journey through time continued as we visited the Imperial Roman Mausoleum, a testament to the city’s Roman heritage. Its impeccably preserved structure transported us back to the grandeur of ancient times, where emperors and their legacies were honored. Standing before such a marvel was humbling and served as a reminder of the rich tapestry of history woven into the fabric of Split. Click on thumbnail to view image
As the day drew to a close, we sought out a culinary experience that would delight our taste buds while honoring our dietary preferences. The Pandora GreenBox restaurant, known for its delectable vegan offerings, proved to be the perfect choice. Each dish was a work of art, expertly crafted with locally sourced ingredients, showcasing the innovative and sustainable approach to dining in Split.
With another remarkable day in Split coming to an end, we couldn’t help but reflect on the enchantment and depth of this extraordinary city. Tomorrow, we will embark on our first Backroads adventure, cycling the Dalmatian Coast from Split to Dubrovnik. We were looking forward to meeting and getting to know our new travel companions as we explored this amazing part of the world together.
Video Tour of Split
The morning sun painted the sky with hues of gold as we gathered together, eager to embark on our Croatian adventure. Over a fabulous breakfast at our hotel, we were introduced to our Backroads guides, David, Charlotte, and Mili. Instantly, a sense of camaraderie filled the air, and we knew that this journey would be one to remember.
Our day began with a shuttle ride from the hotel to Mount Mosor in the majestic Dinaric Alps. As we started our ride towards the coastal town of Omis, the landscape unfolded before our eyes, offering panoramic views of the glistening Adriatic Sea. The winding roads led us through quaint villages, where time seemed to stand still, and the spirit of the mountains embraced us.
The Dinaric Alps hold a rich history, shaped by centuries of human settlement and natural forces. These rugged peaks have witnessed the rise and fall of empires, serving as a natural border and a guardian of the land. Cycling through this magnificent terrain was a humbling experience, connecting us with the raw beauty and resilience of nature.
Midday brought us to a local farmhouse, where we were treated to an introduction to Grappa, a traditional Croatian spirit. The warm hospitality of our hosts extended to a home-cooked lunch, featuring a delightful spread of Croatian cuisine. Each dish told a story, honoring the region’s culinary heritage and reflecting the bountiful flavors of the land.
Rejuvenated and filled with culinary delights, we continued our journey, descending through the picturesque Cetina River valley. We enjoyed the winding road through the lush valley as we made our way towards the charming seaside village of Omis. Click on thumbnail to view image
Omis, nestled between the mountains and the Adriatic Sea, has a rich history intertwined with seafaring traditions and a legacy of piracy. In ancient times, it served as a strategic fortress, protecting its inhabitants from invaders. Today, the town exudes an undeniable charm, with its narrow streets, ancient fortresses, and a vibrant waterfront brimming with life.
As some of our group took advantage of the inviting beach, immersing themselves in the refreshing waters of the Adriatic, the rest of us indulged in a leisurely moment, sipping on drinks and soaking up the coastal ambiance. The beauty of Omis enveloped us, leaving us yearning for more.
Our day concluded with a scenic drive back to Split, where we reconvened for a memorable group dinner at the hotel. The bonds of friendship began to solidify, as we shared stories, laughter, and the anticipation of what lay ahead. It was a night of celebration, toasting to the experiences we had already shared and the adventures yet to come.
As we bid farewell to Split tomorrow, our journey would take us to the enchanting island of Brac, a place where new horizons and discoveries awaited us on our Croatian odyssey.
Day 1 Ride Video
Stepping aboard the Bodizar, we couldn’t help but admire the craftsmanship and rich history of this vessel. Built in a bygone era, it has weathered the seas and been lovingly restored to its former glory. With a touch of nostalgia and a spirit of exploration, we set sail from Split towards the island that awaited us.
Brac, a jewel in the Dalmatian Archipelago, welcomed us with its timeless beauty. Known for its rich deposits of limestone, the island has a storied history of stonemasonry. Its limestone has graced architectural wonders around the world, including the iconic Diocletian’s Palace in Split. As we embarked on our cycling journey, we were surrounded by stunning coastal views and rolling hills that showcased Brac’s natural splendor.
Following the meandering coastline and ascending scenic rolling hills, we arrived in the charming coastal town of Pucisca. Here, we indulged in a well-deserved break, savoring the flavors of Croatian coffee, hot chocolate, and delectable treats. It was a moment of respite, allowing us to soak in the town’s picturesque ambiance and recharge our spirits.
The journey continued with a thrilling challenge—the highest climb on the Dalmatian Coast. Overcoming the ascent, we were rewarded with breathtaking views and a sense of accomplishment. At the summit, Mili and Dave, awaited us with a selection of beautifully prepared snacks, providing sustenance for the exhilarating downhill ride to the coastal town of Bol.
Once in Bol, we boarded the Bodizar, ready for the next leg of our adventure. Sailing to a secluded bay, we immersed ourselves in the tranquil embrace of a private cove. The azure waters invited us to swim, while the serene atmosphere enveloped us, offering a moment of pure bliss amidst nature’s beauty.
Our voyage continued towards the chic and vibrant Hvar Island, an enchanting destination in the Southern Dalmatian Archipelago. The luxurious Maslina Resort would be our home for the next two nights, a haven of refined comfort and impeccable service. Settling into our accommodations, we marveled at the elegant surroundings and eagerly anticipated the experiences that awaited us. Click on thumbnail to view image
A short drive across the island led us to a local generational restaurant, where a truly memorable dinner awaited. The location was an active lavender farm and the owner gave us a tour of the facilities and explained the harvesting and cooking process in detail. After the tour we all sat down and began our feast. Every bite was a celebration of Croatian cuisine, crafted with expertise and a deep respect for culinary traditions. The flavors danced on our palates, capturing the essence of the region and leaving an indelible mark on our gastronomic memories.
As the night drew to a close, we reflected on the exhilarating day we had experienced. From sailing the seas on the Bodizar to conquering the island’s heights on our bikes, we had witnessed the seamless blend of nature, history, and the thrill of exploration. Tomorrow, Hvar Island would unveil its hidden treasures, inviting us to further immerse ourselves in its charms.
Day 2 Ride Island of Brac then on to Island of Hvar Video
The sun greeted us as we ventured onto the mesmerizing Island of Hvar, a slender gem in the Adriatic Sea. This enchanting island, adorned with fragrant lavender fields, heather, and majestic pines, beckoned us to explore its hidden treasures.
Our day began with a leisurely stretch of mellow riding, immersing ourselves in the island’s natural beauty. The gentle breeze carried the sweet scent of lavender, creating a sensory symphony that accompanied our journey. As we pedaled forward, the landscape gradually transformed, revealing the Stari Grad Plain—a UNESCO World Heritage landscape.
Pausing at the charming town of Stari Grad, we indulged in a refreshing cup of coffee, fueling ourselves for the adventure that awaited. It was here that we set our sights on the ascent along Sveti Nikola, the limestone spine of Hvar. The climb was a testament to our determination, rewarded with panoramic views that stretched as far as the eye could see. At the pinnacle, we gathered for a well-deserved break, savoring refreshing beverages and capturing a group photo—an enduring memory of our triumph.
With adrenaline still coursing through our veins, we descended towards the coast to Hvar Town. This ancient settlement, steeped in history, unfolded before us, inviting us to unravel its secrets. We embraced the essence of Dalmatia as we relished in a traditional Dalmatian lunch, savoring the flavors that have graced these shores for generations.
Guided by our knowledgeable tour guide, we embarked on a journey through time, tracing the footsteps of those who had come before us. Hvar Town bore witness to the rise and fall of civilizations, leaving behind architectural marvels and a sense of storied grandeur. Every cobblestone street whispered tales of triumph and turmoil, and the preserved fortress walls stood as guardians of the town’s legacy. Click on thumbnail to view image
As the afternoon unfolded, we made our way back to the hotel, a sanctuary of elegance and relaxation. The inviting infinity pool beckoned, offering respite from the summer heat, while our eyes marveled at the breathtaking vistas that stretched towards the mainland. Nature painted a masterpiece on the horizon, as a thunderstorm brewed, casting an ethereal aura over the landscape.
Just as we retreated to our rooms, seeking solace after a day filled with adventure, the heavens opened up, unleashing a torrential rain shower. Mother Nature’s display was both humbling and captivating, reminding us of the raw power that lies beyond our control. As the storm passed, tranquility returned, and we gathered once again for a wonderful dinner, sharing stories and laughter with our newfound friends.
As we bid each other goodnight and sought restful sleep, we carried with us the memories of fragrant lavender fields, ancient cobblestone streets, and the captivating beauty of Hvar. Tomorrow, another chapter of our Croatian adventure will unfold, promising more surprises and delights as we continued to explore this breathtaking destination.
Day 3 Riding the Island of Hvar Video
As the sun painted the sky with hues of gold, we gathered once again for a delightful breakfast, bidding farewell to the enchanting Maslina resort that had become our sanctuary. Our adventure continued as we embarked on a new chapter, guided by the allure of Korcula Island.
Returning to the port, our anticipation heightened as we stepped aboard the Gallant, a beautifully restored two-master ship. With the wind gently caressing our faces, we motored towards the captivating island of Korcula, a place brimming with history and natural beauty.
Our journey led us to Vela Luka, a port town that had witnessed the ebb and flow of civilizations throughout the centuries. This vibrant town, nestled along the shores, welcomed us with open arms. The island of Korcula, known for its lush landscapes and picturesque towns, lay before us, ready to be explored.
However, before we embarked on our cycling adventure, a special moment awaited us. It was Patty’s 75th birthday, and our guides had planned a surprise celebration. Decorations adorned her bicycle, and a scrumptious baklava treat with flickering candles awaited her. The joyful chorus of “Happy Birthday” echoed through the air, marking the beginning of a day filled with joy and laughter.
With spirits lifted, we embarked on our cycling journey, traversing the captivating landscapes of Korcula Island. Each pedal stroke revealed a new vista, a symphony of colors unfolding before our eyes. The crystal-clear waters of the Adriatic tempted us, and Patty, along with a few others, indulged in a refreshing dip before we settled down for a fabulous lunch at Zavalatica. The tantalizing flavors of the Adriatic cuisine danced on our taste buds, complemented by the coastal breeze that carried the essence of the sea. Click on thumbnail to view image
Rejuvenated and fueled by the culinary delights, we continued our cycling expedition, our destination being Korcula Town—an ancient settlement steeped in history and the birthplace of the legendary explorer Marco Polo. Narrow cobblestone streets beckoned us, inviting us to walk in the footsteps of the past. The rich tapestry of the town’s architecture spoke of centuries-old tales, while the scent of fresh sea air mingled with the aroma of local delicacies.
As the day drew to a close, we found ourselves settled at the Hotel Liburna, blessed with panoramic views of the old town. A group of us ventured into the heart of Korcula for a magical sunset dinner. We raised our glasses in celebration of Patty’s special day, toasting to the adventures we had shared and the friendships we had forged.
As we returned to the hotel, a sense of contentment enveloped us. The memories of this extraordinary day, filled with laughter, scenic vistas, and the joy of celebrating Patty’s milestone birthday, would forever be etched in our hearts. Our journey continued to unfold, promising more enchanting destinations and unforgettable moments.
Day 4 Riding the Island of Korcula Video
Today marked our final day of cycling, a bittersweet moment as we prepared to bid farewell to the idyllic island of Korcula. The day’s ride was divided into two distinct parts, each offering its own charm and captivating scenery.
Our first leg took us on a captivating loop ride through the island’s heartland. Pedaling through quaint villages, we immersed ourselves in the rhythm of local life. Vineyards and olive groves painted the landscape with vibrant hues, their bountiful harvest promising the rich flavors of the region. As we ventured further, the sights and scents of the Mediterranean countryside enveloped us, leaving an indelible mark on our journey.
The second part of our ride was a leisurely jaunt along a country road, hugging the coastline as we made our way to the picturesque port town of Racisce. Enchanted by the town’s beauty, I was momentarily captivated and found myself tumbling head over heels as I missed a speed bump. Thankfully, our vigilant guides were quick to assist me, tending to my wounded left elbow with care and concern. With a heavy heart, I realized that my ride had come to an end. Mili kindly arranged for transportation back to the hotel, allowing me to rest and recuperate.
Our group then headed into Korcula where we had a delightful lunch at a local restaurant overlooking the shimmering Adriatic. After lunch we all met at the clocktower then walked down to the port to catch a water taxi back to the mainland. From there, we embarked on a luxurious bus journey down the scenic Peljesac Peninsula, with Dubrovnik beckoning us in the distance. Our final destination awaited us—the iconic Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik. This magnificent hotel, built in 1897, exuded an aura of timeless elegance, a testament to the rich history of this walled city. Click on thumbnail to view image
After settling in Patty and I made my way to the emergency room in Dubrovnik to have my elbow checked. The bustling city’s renowned medical professionals attended to my injury, confirming a fracture. Although it meant missing the farewell trip dinner, which we heard was a resounding success. The group enjoyed, savoring the flavors of the region and toasting to the unforgettable experiences we all had shared throughout our Croatian adventure.
With mixed emotions, I retired early, my mind filled with the memories of the cycling journey that had come to an end a tiny bit sooner than anticipated. However, the allure of Dubrovnik and its storied past promised new discoveries and captivating sights. Tomorrow, we would venture through the ancient walls, stepping back in time to explore the marvels that awaited within the old city’s narrow alleys and grand plazas.
Day 5 Ride Around Korcula Town the Transfer to Dubrovnik
With the taste of a delightful breakfast still lingering on our palates, we eagerly assembled for a captivating day of discovery in Dubrovnik. Our first stop was the magnificent Fort Lovrijenac, a commanding fortress often dubbed as Dubrovnik’s Gibraltar.
Perched atop a rugged cliff, Fort Lovrijenac stood tall and proud, its stone walls weathered by centuries of history. Built in the 11th century, this imposing stronghold served as a sentinel, guarding the city against invading forces and witnessing countless battles that shaped Dubrovnik’s fate.
As we ventured within the fortress, we were transported back in time, surrounded by the echoes of valor and resilience that once reverberated within these ancient walls. Our expert guide regaled us with tales of the fort’s strategic significance, revealing the legends that have become woven into its very fabric.
From its elevated vantage point, Fort Lovrijenac offered panoramic vistas of the sparkling Adriatic Sea and the terracotta rooftops of the old walled city. This fortification played an integral role in the defense of Dubrovnik, its strategic location commanding awe-inspiring views that allowed the city’s defenders to anticipate enemy advances and protect their beloved home. Click on thumbnail to view image
Leaving behind the fortress’s storied past, we eagerly ventured into the heart of Dubrovnik’s old walled city, a UNESCO World Heritage site that beckoned with its timeless allure. Stepping through the ancient gates, we found ourselves transported to a world where history seamlessly intertwined with modern life.
The old walled city, with its labyrinthine streets and vibrant plazas, bore witness to centuries of Dubrovnik’s resplendent past. Founded in the 7th century, the city emerged as a maritime power, its influence extending far beyond its fortified walls. Through trade and diplomacy, Dubrovnik flourished, becoming a beacon of culture, art, and intellectualism during the Renaissance.
As we wandered through the narrow cobblestone alleys, we marveled at the architectural wonders that stood before us. The Gothic-Renaissance facades, adorned with intricate carvings and elegant balconies, whispered stories of a bygone era. At every turn, we encountered hidden gems—a charming monastery courtyard, a picturesque church steeped in history, or a quaint café bustling with locals and visitors alike. After sadly saying goodbye to our trip guides a group of us took a narrow passageway through the 12 meter thick wall we emerged a small quaint seaside bar where we enjoyed aperol spritz and shared our best memories of our time together in Croatia. We all agreed the the Backroads team had exceeded our expectations and delivered on their promise of a truly memorable experience. Click on thumbnail to view image
After bidding farewell to newfound friends over a few farewell drinks, we set off for an unforgettable experience atop Srd Hill, reached by the Dubrovnik Cable Car. As the cable car ascended, we marveled at the panoramic views unfurling before us.
Arriving at the pinnacle of Srd Hill, we found ourselves standing in awe at the Panorama restaurant, a sanctuary that boasted commanding views of Dubrovnik’s terracotta rooftops stretching towards the Adriatic Sea, while the surrounding mountains embraced the city with their rugged beauty. The scene was a masterpiece, a canvas of contrasting hues merging the azure blue of the sea with the vibrant reds and oranges of the rooftops below.
Seated at a table overlooking this majestic vista, we indulged in a delectable lunch that tantalized our taste buds while our eyes feasted on the picturesque panorama. The flavors of Croatia came alive on our plates, showcasing the region’s culinary heritage with each bite.
Feeling invigorated by the meal, we embarked on a journey through time as we explored Fort Imperial, nestled atop Srd Hill. This historic fortress, originally constructed in the early 19th century by the French, played a significant role in the tumultuous events of Dubrovnik’s recent past.
The exhibit within Fort Imperial provided a somber reflection on the homeland war, a conflict that marked the early 1990s and deeply impacted the people of Croatia. Through poignant displays, photographs, and personal narratives, we gained a deeper understanding of the struggles, resilience, and triumphs that defined this era.
Fort Imperial stood as a testament to the resilience of the Croatian people, a symbol of their determination to preserve their cultural heritage in the face of adversity. From the fort’s vantage point, we could see the scars of war that had long since healed, replaced by a city that had emerged stronger and more vibrant than ever. Click on thumbnail to view image
After descending back into the city Patty, with her adventurous spirit, eagerly accepted the challenge of traversing the 6,360-foot-long wall that encircled the entire old city.
Stepping onto the wall, she transported back in time, surrounded by centuries of history and fortified beauty. The imposing stone ramparts stood as a testament to the city’s resilience throughout the ages. From her elevated position, she marveled at the orange-tiled rooftops dotting the labyrinthine streets below, and the azure expanse of the Adriatic Sea stretching beyond the city’s protective embrace.
She was treated to breathtaking views at every turn. Dubrovnik’s architectural wonders unfolded before her eyes—the baroque palaces, elegant churches, and ornate fountains that punctuated the city’s landscape. The city walls themselves held stories of the past within their weathered stones. Constructed between the 12th and 17th centuries, they served as a formidable defense system, protecting the precious treasures within Dubrovnik’s medieval core. From their vantage point, the walls had witnessed sieges, conquests, and the ebb and flow of generations.
As the day drew to a close, we gathered for a final farewell, raising glasses filled with the essence of camaraderie and adventure. We expressed our heartfelt gratitude to our companions for making this journey truly remarkable. Croatia had woven its magic around us, leaving an indelible mark on our hearts. Tomorrow would bring new horizons and adventures, but Croatia would forever hold a special place within us. The country’s diverse landscapes, rich heritage, and warm hospitality had left an indelible impression. Click on thumbnail to view image
Video Tour of Dubrovnik