Are you in search of laid-back beaches with a hefty dash of ancient history? The Adriatic Sea is a top choice for leisurely cruising. This offshoot of the Mediterranean separates Italy from the Balkan peninsula, also connecting to the Ionian Sea with its smattering of idyllic Greek islands. You’ll be able to explore the trendy beaches of Croatia alongside classic cities like Venice on an Adriatic Sea cruise, showcasing the best of the eastern Mediterranean. Cruise down the Dalmatian Coast where old-world charm meets modern glamour.
The Adriatic Sea
Dubrovnik Old Town - Adriatic Sea
Port of Split - Adriatic Sea
Zadar, Croatia - Adriatic Sea
Bari, Italy - Adriatic Sea
Venice, Italy - Adriatic Sea
Split is Croatia’s second-largest city, offering a glimpse into life on the Dalmatian Coast. Framed by coastal mountains, it gives way to golden beaches and the turquoise Adriatic Sea. Don’t miss the pretty harbour or spectacular architecture of Diocletian’s Palace, built by the Roman emperor in the 4th century. This complex includes over 200 buildings, still used today as they house modern shops, cafes and bars.
Zadar’s Old Town boasts Roman and Venetian ruins, giving it a cool blend of ancient and modern culture. Tick off your sightseeing boxes by visiting the Zadar Cathedral and old city walls, before relaxing in an outdoor café! This Croatian city sits on the scenic Dalmatian coast, making the most of its seaside position with the unique ‘Sea Organ’ and ‘Monument to the Sun’ interactive art installations by the beach.
This Italian port city gives direct access to the Adriatic Sea with its bustling harbour and port. It’s the capital of the Puglia region, with a large university drawing a youthful, energetic population. Stroll through the historic Murat quarter along its promenade and you’ll see grand architecture from centuries past. Don’t miss a peek at the iconic Basilica di San Nicola, which holds the remains of St Nicholas.
The city that’s built on a lagoon, Venice is like no other port and is often referred to as a real life fairy-tale. You’re bound to fall in love with this enchanted city as you take a gondola ride down the Grand Canal where you’ll see historic palaces, churches and gardens. A trip to St. Mark’s Basilica is one of the most valuable treasures in Europe, where history and art is intertwined to create something truly beautiful in the heart of Venice…
Located in southern Croatia, Dubrovnik is known for its Old Town which is encircled by stone walls built in the 16th century. A ride on the cable car will give you a beautiful panoramic view of the city and is a great spot for bird watchers. You can get yourself involved in an Old Town Walking Tour where you can discover the history and culture of this reputable town. For Game of Thrones fans, you can discover the set with a short trip to the island of Lokrum…
Summer’s the high season for Adriatic Sea cruising, with abundant sunshine and holiday vibes. Join in on the festivities with yacht parties and music festivals taking place up and down the Dalmatian Coast during this time. However, if you want to explore hotspots like Dubrovnik and Venice without the queues, you may want to wait until the shoulder months of spring or fall. These bring lower (though still pleasant!) temperatures and thinned-out crowds. Winter cruising’s also growing in popularity in this region, with many itineraries tacking on extra stops in the Greek islands to enjoy a spot of winter sun.
Dubrovnik is a star highlight of any Adriatic cruise. This enchanting city boasts a very well-preserved Old Town, instantly transporting you back in time to the Medieval Era with its ancient walls, rustic fountains and historic monasteries. Stop off in Split to see the sprawling architecture of Diocletian’s Palace, built by the Roman emperor in the 4th century. Venice is another highlight of any cruise here, marked by its romantic canals and piazzas. Some Adriatic Sea cruises will continue on into the Ionian region, where you can soak in the cuisine and architecture of Greek islands like Corfu and Santorini.
You won’t need a visa to visit either Croatia or Italy, the two main countries for an Adriatic Sea cruise. Both are EU member states, allowing you to visit with a valid UK passport for up to 90 days. The same holds true for Greece, which grants you visa-free entry for up to three months as a visitor. If you’re venturing down to Montenegro as well, your passport will suffice for entry; but you’ll also need to make sure it’s valid for three months past your intended date of departure.
When in Croatia, you’ll be able to enjoy the freshest seafood caught straight from the Adriatic Sea. Why not try the light, refreshing octopus salad with a simple dressing of parsley, olive oil and vinegar? Squid ink risotto is a favourite in both Croatia and Italy, available in seaside eateries along the coastline. Croatia’s inland regions are famed for their truffles, particularly in the Istria region where you’ll find them shaved or grated into pasta. Some dishes, like Sarma, blend influences from across the Adriatic region. This Ottoman-derived menu items involves cabbage leaves stuffed with rice and mince. And for a sweet treat, don’t forget the Italian gelato!
"It’s no wonder that George Bernard Shaw was enchanted by this beautiful city, saying “those who seek paradise on Earth should come to Dubrovnik”, as well as describing it as “the pearl of the Adriatic”."
"Jutting out into the Adriatic Sea with a backdrop of rugged limestone mountains, Dubrovnik Old Town is known as one of the world’s finest and most perfectly preserved medieval cities in the world."
"Split - A little gem on the Croatian coast, offering some amazing photo opportunities of it’s architecture, along with charming coastal food and drink spots!"
Smith, Feltham, 08th Nov 2018
This was a very enjoyable cruise with some superb ports of call on a comfortable and exceptionally friendly smaller ship that has managed to fit a lot of facilities into the space available.
Davis, Somerset, 28th Oct 2018
Split in Croatia and Kotor in Montenegro were fascinating and new ports for us. We had an overnight in Venice so we managed an evening Gondola ride.