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Setting sail from Venice
Venice is a city like no other, a marble maze of turquoise canals criss-crossed by beautiful bridges, overflowing with palaces, churches and charming little piazzas. No matter how many times you've seen it in photographs, that first glimpse of the Grand Canal will simply take your breath away; it hardly seems credible that such a eye-popping scene could exist outside of a Canaletto painting. Of course Venice is a city that draws big crowds, especially in summer, but don't let this put you off; even the busiest areas are never more than a few steps from a quiet courtyard or a secluded square.
The Peggy Guggenheim Collection houses an eclectic assortment of works from the likes of Picasso, Magritte and Jackson Pollock. There is also a lovely garden facing on to the Grand Canal, with a rather rude sculpture of a rider on horseback.
Draped in vineyards and olive groves, the verdant Croatian island of Korcula is famous for its white wine and is said by some to be the birthplace of Marco Polo. The main settlement, Korcula Town, bears more than a passing resemblance to Dubrovnik, with a historic centre encircled by medieval walls and towers.
One of the Dalmatian coast’s lesser known cities, Šibenik is notable for its compact medieval centre, UNESCO-listed Gothic-Renaissance cathedral and crumbling fortresses. The nearby islands of Zlarin and Prvić also make for an enjoyable day trip.
Croatia’s second city enjoys a dramatic setting, hugging a sweeping bay against a backdrop of sheer grey mountains. Split's labyrinthine old town is contained within the remarkable Roman ruins of Diocletian’s Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and spills out onto the buzzing seafront Riva promenade.
We never fail to be moved when we see the terracotta roofs and honey-golden walls of Dubrovnik, and a stroll around the perfectly preserved old town is a highlight of any visit to the Dalmatian coast. Make sure you take the time to walk around the walls and soak up the marvellous sea views.
Kotor sits at the head of a beautiful, fjord-like bay, hemmed in by glowering mountains. The compact, walled old town is Montenegro’s star attraction, a warren of little alleyways and shady squares that is often described as a ‘mini Dubrovnik’.
Hvar is the most popular of Croatia’s islands, a ruggedly beautiful place carpeted with lavender fields and dotted with little villages. The island’s capital, Hvar Town, is a charming collection of marble streets arranged around a harbour, and it gets very busy in the summer months.
Pula is a busy commercial port on the Istrian coast, best known for its impressive Roman remains. The imposing Roman amphitheatre in the centre of town is impossible to miss, and the Habsburg emperors also contributed some handsome architecture during the 19th century.
Rovinj is undoubtedly the highlight of the Istrian coast, a picturesque medieval fishing port with a strong Italian influence discernible in everything from the elegant architecture to the bilingual street signs. A day trip to one of the nearby islands also makes for an enjoyable excursion.
Arriving in Venice
The long, long queues for St Marks might put you off, but just book online in advance for timed entrance and bypass the exhausted tourists.
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Your home from home
Sleek and stylish, Le Boréal, Le Soléal, L'Austral and Le Lyrial are wonderful small ships which blend luxury, intimacy with a discreet elegance and a tasteful décor.
What we love
The muted natural tones that make up the modern and minimalist interior of these excellent small ships are enhanced by playful splashes of colour which creates some of the most stylish ships we've seen. The accommodation is flexible; staterooms can be combined to create expansive suites and the restaurants live up to the outstanding gastronomic reputation that you'd expect from a French flag cruise line.
|Style||Refined with a wonderful mix of a modern super yacht and nautical tradition, all with a French flair.|
Tailor-make your trip
Our favourite hotel in Venice
The Metropole is an old favourite for its quieter location and lovely lagoon views.
See more of the Veneto
If you’ve time, take the train to Padova and visit the Scrovegni Chapel.