Croatia: unhurried exploration

MY HUSBAND AND I ARE VISITING CROATIA IN MID 2016. COULD YOU ASSIST US WITH A SUGGESTED ITINERARY, INCLUDING SOME ISLANDS TO VISIT BY FERRY. WHAT WOULD BE A REASONABLE TIME FOR UNHURRIED EXPLORATION?

R. QUINN, VALENTINE

The reason most visitors go to Croatia is to explore the lovely Dalmatian Islands, a group that includes Vis, Korcula, Hvar, Brac, Pag and other throat-clearing names. You could plot your own itinerary around these islands but there's a much easier option which is to take an island-hopping cruise. On a cruise you don't have to worry about ferry timetables or hauling your gear to your hotel but you'll get to see several islands, with plenty of time to linger, take in the sights, swim and lounge about in village squares and you only have to unpack once. The vessels are mostly traditional wooden gulets that carry up to about 20 passengers. Cabins vary a lot with price. At the lower end of the price scale, the backpacker boats attract party animals, but there are choices to suit all tastes on the Sail Croatia sail-croatia.com website, and plenty more if you Google. Cross check your selection with reviews on Tripadvisor tripadvisor.com.au . Most of these vessels operate a one-week itinerary and one of the main bases is the gorgeous little town of Trogir, about an hour's drive north of Spilt, quite close to the city's international airport.

Croatia has much more to offer and a more leisurely tour might take in the Istrian Peninsula, where the town of Pula has one of the finest surviving examples of a Roman amphitheatre, and Plitvice National Park, a pocket of wooded hills wrapped around turquoise lakes, and richly deserving of its World Heritage listing. For a leisurely tour, I'd allow two weeks.

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