Emma Clarendon chats about her recent adventures to Croatia and why it is great to see the country on a cruise.

Dazzling blue skies (well…for the most part with the occasional down pour thrown in), beautiful countryside and plenty of history, there is certainly no denying that Croatia has plenty to recommend it and seeing it by going on a cruise means you can get to see a variety in one go.

While it is certainly not my first cruise (this is my third one and once again I went with P&O Cruises), I did still have a sense of anticipation from the second that I stepped onboard Azura to the sadness I felt as I disembarked from Valletta in Malta (where I boarded and still a place I need to explore properly!). Everything was expertly organised and I can not fault the standard of customer service that I experienced onboard which helped me relax throughout the trip. The fact that I was recognised by one member of staff (I had last been onboard this particular ship back in August) was a nice little surprise.

But on with the trip! Our first port of call was to pull into Split, Croatia’s second largest city and with a wonderful port (in fact one of the most dazzling that I have experienced on my cruises) that is filled with plenty of bustling restaurants and bars that seemed to be filled to the brim with people. But the trip I chose to do at this particular stop was to take a trip into the countryside to Omis, a charming little town that sits beside the river and surrounded by impressive mountain views. While the weather took a turn for the worse (I can’t remember the last time I ended up being so soaked), those of us on the trip managed to enjoy a platter of meat and cheese for lunch, while listening to some traditional Croatian music – a very relaxing experience. Next up was a river cruise that meandered its way along the Cetina River, dazzling us all with impressive views – including at one point an extremely impressive waterfall that made me long to explore more. Once back in the centre of the town, we were able to explore for a little time before the heavens opened and nearly drowned us all!

Our second port stop was to the city of Zadar, equally rich in history and stunning places to visit in the near vicinity. The tour that I opted to do saw me along with others visit the instantly charming town of Sibenik – a place I have to say that I instantly fell in love with, thanks to the blend of history attached to it, along with the many gorgeous perspectives available to enjoy and I have to say it is a place that I would love to visit once again because of this. While our tour guide this day was wonderful and clearly knowledgable – I felt it was difficult to take in absolutely everything he was saying – a bit of an information overload!

The second stop of the day, was to enjoy a delicious lunch at the Juriono Vidvori family home (as well as making friends with a donkey who I decided to name Doug for no other reason aside from the fact it seemed to suit him). The whole experience was wonderfully rustic and enjoyable – complete with more traditional Croatian music!

On our way back from this lunch, we then stopped into Zadar itself (somewhat rushed as we ran out of time due to mistakes timing wise) that once again had a bit of a rustic feel about it and it would have been lovely to have spent more time to explore there more. By this point the headphones that linked us to our tour guide’s headset was becoming a little more unpredictable and so difficult to take much in – but I’m sure that it was fascinating but I choose to take in what I was seeing instead!

More adventure was to come thanks to the city of Dubrovnik, complete with boat trip, a tour of city (within its walls) and dazzling pictures being taken from a picturesque spot. An adventurous boat trip due to the unpredictable weather (not kidding I nearly ended up overboard) and being chased by pirates (or so it seemed due to a Game of Thrones replica boat filled with tourists following us). But the weather calmed down by the time we pulled into the harbour and although I have never really seen much of Game of Thrones, I could see why the city made such a great location for filming. It felt rich with drama! We were told that everything is expensive in this city and to stay in places outside the city walls but I would love to come back and experience it fully for myself!

Our final stop on this cruise was to Corfu, somewhere I had visited last year for a friend’s wedding and an utterly calming place to visit. This time around, I was able to visit the old town side of the island and explore many of its hustling side streets and enjoy just wondering around and exploring the many advantageous view points this particular pat of the island has to offer. Yes, I almost missed this tour due to oversleeping but I’m so pleased I managed to wake up with 15 minutes to spare and join the tour! The old town is well worth exploring and I could have spent all day there making the most of all that it had to offer, particularly with dazzling churches that really deserve to be seen (but may not be able to take pictures of).

I also finally got to go to the beach! On this trip we were lucky to pay a visit to a beach in Paleokastritsa, with its crystal clear water and again mountainous surroundings was the perfect way to even spend the brief half an hour. With places to rest and grab an ice cream it was well worth a visit!

Overall, this was an incredible experience and I’m already hopefully looking forward to another trip to Croatia and Corfu of course!

By Emma Clarendon


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