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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.
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.
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.
Croatia: Komiza (Vis)
Of all Croatia’s myriad inhabited islands, Vis is the furthest from the mainland, and was off-limits to tourists for many years, reserved for the Yugoslav military. The resulting lack of development is a big part of the island’s appeal, along with stunning scenery, excellent food and wine, and the attractive little towns of Komiza and Vis Town.
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.
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.
The largest town on Slovenia’s sliver of Adriatic coastline, Koper has an attractive medieval centre and some impressive Venetian architecture. There is also a sizeable Italian community here, reflected in the bilingual road signs, and it's a short drive across the border to the former Habsburg city of Trieste.
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
Just 56 fortunate couples enjoy a completely relaxed al fresco holiday experience and a quirky individual style of service that is way beyond the norm.
What we love
This has to be one of our favourite travel experiences. We love the al fresco feel, dining outside for all meals if you wish, and even spending the night sleeping under the stars on the Balinese dream beds. The totally laid back style means SeaDream is the ultimate chill.
|Crew||95 International Staff|
|Style||A place where you are nurtured, indulged and cared for, with no rules and no schedule. Lots of action if that's what you want, or nothing at all if you prefer.|
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.