Saturday, 29 April 2017

Breathtaking Highlights of a Balkan Cruise!



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You probably know the feeling: You’ve arrived at your summer holiday destination, you can’t wait to hit the beach and then … it rains. You find yourself wishing you had gone somewhere warm and sunny with an almost zero chance of rain. A good way to do this is to go enjoy yourself on a cruise holiday in the Balkan region.

The Balkan Peninsula is an area of land in the Mediterranean that borders on the Adriatic, Ionian, Aegean, Marmara and Black Seas. These are the waters that heroes of ancient myths and legends sailed, heroes like Odysseus and Jason and the Argonauts. A cruise here is like following in their slipstream but without the monsters and the conniving gods and goddesses.

One of the best ways to enjoy yourself on a cruise holiday in the Balkans is to sail the Adriatic Sea and especially the Dalmatian coast of Croatia, with its rugged coastline dotted with mountainous islands and hidden bays. Itineraries vary according to cruise line and the type of cruise you choose, but most include visits to Dubrovnik and Split as well as Dalmatian islands like Hvar and Mljet.

Dubrovnik with its thick walls surrounding the Old Town is a history buff’s paradise. The city has been around since at least the early Middle Ages, but it’s known mainly for its Renaissance architecture. The Sponza Palace, St Saviour Church and the Rectors Palace are some of the architectural treasures dating from this period. During the Siege of Dubrovnik in from 1991 to 1992, artillery shelling damaged some parts of the Old Town. Even though the damage has been repaired, guides can still point out where it occurred.

Near Dubrovnik lies the forested island of Mljet. Beaches, campsites and a national park with two saltwater lakes make the island a great place to get away from it all. The one hotel here is named after Odysseus, a reminder that this is where the nymph Calypso held Homer’s hero captive for seven years.

Hvar is an island closer to Split and is one of the most popular islands in this part of the world. In summer, it hosts the Hvar Summer Festival but its towns can become overrun by tourists. If this makes you want to head into the hills, you will love the hiking paths and the smell of lavender from the fields. There are, of course, wonderful beaches for swimming too.

Split is one of the oldest and most fascinating cities in the region. Here it is entirely possible to walk among grey buildings from the era of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and then stumble upon a Roman mosaic. The Roman-era Diocletian’s Palace is the historical heart of this city. If by this stage of your cruise you need to release some energy, there are many modern sports facilities. After all, this is the hometown of legendary sports champions like tennis player Goran Ivanisevic.

Of course a cruise in this region is not only about visiting places on land. You will be spending quite a bit of time at sea too. The climate here is Mediterranean with long, hot and dry summer days so that you can really soak up the sun.

 

 

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