This cycling trip has changed more times than an untrained baby in diapers. We started planning this trip in 2019, and (so far), the trip has been postponed at least 3 times!!! But it will be worth it, as my dear friends, Paul and Christina are great friends, dedicated cyclists, and great story tellers. The Dalmatian Coast is one of the best for cycling, beaches, historical sites, wine, and just hanging out. We start and end in Split, though I would love to visit Dubrovnik as well.
Split is known for its beaches and fortress like complex at its center, Diocletian Palace, erected by the Roman emperor Diocletian in the 4th century. Once home to thousands, its sprawling remains now include more than 200 buildings. Within its white stone walls and under its courtyards and galleries are shops, bars, cafes, cathedrals, hotels and several houses. Check in starts at 10:30, and the ship leaves the harbor at 1pm sharp. Here is the itinerary, in their words.
Day 1, Milna.
We depart from Split harbor at 1pm with lunch served onboard, as you get to know your fellow shipmates. We sail from the mainland and head toward the island of Brac, arriving mid-afternoon. Once we arrive at our destination we will fit and distribute the bikes, becoming familiar with the equipment ahead of our week on two wheels!
Our first ride begins as we cycle to Bobovišça, a small hamlet set on the western side of Brac just under the mountain top, overlooking the sea. You will be able to dive into the turquoise water here or enjoy a coffee. Upon return to Milna, we suggest you take a ride along the stunning coastline. We spend the night in the harbor of Milna, whose picturesque natural stone houses border the deep bay. (18 Km)
Day 2, Bol.
Today we will set off on a challenging and rewarding cycle as we explore Brac Island. This first stage begins with a climb to the crest of a hill, past stunning local flora. The white stone visible here was used to build the White House in Washington and the Reichstag in Berlin. At the 35km mark, you have the opportunity to try traditional food and wine in a local village (please note lunch is optional). The panoramic views of the neighboring island of Hvar are well worth the ascent!
In Bol itself, you can visit the Golden Horn beach (about 2.5km from the port), take a swim, or stroll through the local streets. The ship anchors for the night in Bol, with dinner served onboard. (50Km)
Day 3, Hvar.
This morning we’ll sail across to the island of Hvar, that is famous for its multi-colored fields of rosemary and lavender. On the first cycling stage you’ll make your way through the many villages on the island via paved and gravel roads.
From Jelsa, we cycle towards Vrboska and then down to Stari Grad, one of Croatia’s oldest towns (dating back to 385BC), where we will stop for a break. We continue on towards Hvar Town, passing through the villages of Grablje (known for its wine and olive oil) and Brusje. The day ends at the historical town of Hvar for an opportunity to visit the cathedral and Gothic palaces. We spend the night in Hvar Town harbor, with dinner served onboard. (23 Km)
Day 4, Korcula.
Today we will ride from Racisce – Lumbarda. The peaceful and secluded gardens of cypress trees here make Korcula one of the most beautiful of the Adriatic islands. Korcula claims to be the birthplace of Marco Polo and the name can be seen all over the island.
Our final destination is the medieval town of Korcula with its attractive narrow streets. This is where we will spend the night, with dinner being served onboard. (20 Km)
Day 5, Miljet.
While breakfast is served onboard, the boat will sail across to the island of Mjlet, also known as Honey-Island. Mljet is a beautiful island, featuring two lakes (Great Lake and Small Lake). In the 12th century, Benedictine built a monastery here in a secluded spot, surrounded by pine and oak forests. Today this area is a National Park and the high point of any tour of Dalmatia. You can cycle around the National Park’s salt-water lake, in which there is actually another island.
After lunch you are free to explore more of the island by bike or perhaps swim or kayak in the Small Lake. The ship will overnight in the port of Pomena on Mljet. (12 Km)
Day 6, Makarska.
This morning we sail toward the Peljesac peninsula where we’ll start our ride from either Kuciste or Viganj. We cycle through this famous wine growing region toward Orebic where we will have a short break and take in the beautiful countryside. On the ride back the climb is not easy, but rewards you with magnificent views of the neighbouring island of Korcula. We’ll meet the boat in Loviste where a delicious lunch will be served onboard. This afternoon, take in the Adriatic Sea as your ship cruises into Makarska for the evening, a popular town at the base of the impressive Biokovo mountain range. (27 Km)
Day 7, Split.
After breakfast onboard, we will take our last bike ride of the week. The route takes us to Radmanove Mlinice, where the “Winnetou” movies were filmed, along the valley of the Cetina river, right underneath the mountains. In Omis, you can visit the Mirabella Fortress, which offers views over the channel towards Brac island.
After lunch onboard, the ship will sail back to the city of Split, where you can take a tour of the fascinating Roman Diocletian’s Palace. After a relaxed city walk in this unique historic town, you return to your ship in the nearby harbour. (27 Km)
Day 8, Split
This morning it’s time for an early onboard breakfast, before saying goodbye to the crew and all of your new friends. Please note, it is possible for you to leave the ship as early as needed on Saturday morning to catch flights, as all ships will be in port by Friday night.
As you can see, we do not go as far south as Dubrovnik. And the maximum ride on any day is 50 Km, or about 32 miles. Many are using e-bikes, but I am undecided on a hybrid or a road bike.
So, why go on a boat-bike tour?
New perspectives, of course.
Relaxing cycle paths and roads, maybe.
Live in a fairy tale, like Snow White?
Spacious and comfortable. (No packing and repacking each day)
Discover some good wines and places to eat.
Enjoy a small group setting each night over dinner and tell war stories.
At the end of this week, my friends go on a guided tour through some of eastern Europe. I am taking a bus down to Dubrovnik and spending a few nights. I have always wanted to visit the famous walled city. This is as close as I will get, so why not go? After Dubrovnik, you might be surprised to find out where I will go. Stay tuned!
After that, a BIG surprise. Somewhere you would never expect me!