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Setting sail from Dubrovnik
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. Formerly known as Ragusa, Dubrovnik is a city with a rich, and occasionally troubled, history; the shelling of the city was one of the most shocking images of the Balkan wars of the 1990s, which makes the painstaking restoration of the old town in the years since all the more remarkable. Make sure you take the time to walk around the walls and soak up the views across the rooftops towards Lokrum island, and the deep sapphire of the Adriatic Sea beyond.
The War Photo museum offers a sobering reminder of the conflicts that convulsed the Balkans in the 1990s. It’s not easy viewing, but it does make you appreciate the extraordinary extent to which Dubrovnik has bounced back.
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’.
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.
Located on the quieter northern stretch of Croatia’s Dalmatian coast, the walled port city of Zadar is an intriguing blend of old and new, where Roman ruins and psychedelic modern art installations sit alongside one another.
Opatija was the favourite seaside resort of the Austro-Hungarian elite during the 19th century, a legacy that lives on in the town's handsome belle époque villas. Take a stroll along the promenade, enjoy a swim in a protected bay or visit the Volosko neighbourhood, home to some excellent seafood restaurants.
Pretty little Piran grew rich thanks to the salt trade, and thrived under both the Venetian Republic and the Austro-Hungarian empire. The well-preserved old town is the highlight of Slovenia’s short stretch of coastline, set on a small peninsula jutting out into the Adriatic.
Arriving in 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 an 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 long, long queues for St Marks might put you off, but just book online in advance for timed entrance and bypass the exhausted tourists.
Your home from home
The World’s Best Yacht, Crystal Esprit, offers a completely new Crystal experience, as adventurous or laid back as you please, with just 62 fellow guests.
What we love
We love the translation of everything that is wonderful about Crystal into a completely new environment - a tiny 62 guest yacht that can take you to the most inaccessible, the most exclusive and the most intimate of ports of call for a unique shipboard experience. An affordable way to live the life.
An astonishing 91 International staff
|Style||If you have a taste for the finer things in life, but love the idea of a relaxed and unregimented environment, Crystal Esprit is going to tick all your boxes.|
Total renovation 2015
Tailor-make your trip
Our favourite hotel in Dubrovnik
We love the intimate Villa Orsula, with just eight lovely bedrooms and excellent sea views, but if you want to stay in the Old Town itself, the Pucic Palace is the one to go for.
Day trips from Dubrovnik
Make the short trip across the border into Bosnia-Herzegovina and visit the pretty little town of Mostar, with its famous stone bridge over the river Neretva.
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.