More than 1,200 islands line Croatia’s Dalmatian coast, making a sea voyage the best way to explore this corner of the Adriatic. The islands used to rely on small coastal trading ships to deliver their supplies, before highways and modern ferries supplanted them. Many of these vintage ships have now been re-purposed to carry 20-40 passengers on leisurely, informal cruises.
“Croatia’s Coastal Voyages,” one of Traveler’s 2011 Tours of a Lifetime, offers one- and two-week round-trip cruises through the northern, central, and southern Adriatic. The operator, Maris Freighter Cruises, takes travelers to coastal cities like Dubrovnik and Split, orange-roofed island towns such as Hvar and Korcula, and stops at pebbly beaches and vineyards along the way.
The Dalmatian islands are also home to almost 50 lighthouses, all built in the 19th century. Many of the lighthouses have guest accommodations that can be rented out, including Plocica, which offers a sandy beach, and Prisnjak, located on an uninhabited island with excellent fishing. For more on the Croatian lighthouse experience, see our feature “A Light on the Croatian Coast,” from May-June 2011.
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Photo by Aaron Huey