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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.
Walking the entire length of the walls involves a lot of steps, and it can be quite exhausting in the hot Croatian sun. If you’d rather just see a smaller section, the Minčeta tower provides the best photo opportunities.
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.
Bosnia and Herzegovina: Neum
Neum is something of a geographical oddity, the only town on Bosnia’s 12-mile sliver of the Dalmatian Coast. Fun fact: the only country in the world with a shorter coastline than Bosnia is Monaco! The town itself is not the prettiest, but a call here is something of a cruising collector’s item, and you can take a day trip to nearby Dubrovnik or Mostar.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.