The specific promotions described in this article have now passed, but it remains online so that the resources named will be of future use to travelers.
It may not be the bargain European destination of yesteryear, but the Dalmatian coastline of Croatia is still one of the most alluring and enticing locations on the planet. This spring and summer, there are plenty of tour options by land or by sea. Here is a selection of what's on offer:
Jauntee Travel(tel. 888/371-6826; www.jauntee.com) has an eight-day Highlights of Croatia and Bosnia escorted tour priced from $1,099 per person. Explore the historic region of Croatia, visit medieval towns and Roman ruins, spend a night at famous Plitvice Lakes National Park, experience the charm of Dubrovnik, Zagreb, Split and Zadar and enjoy the beauty of the Dalmatian coast. Tours depart weekly from May 11 to October 5, 2008. The tour includes seven nights' hotel accommodations; English-speaking escort throughout the trip; tours of Dubrovnik, Zagreb, Zadar, Mostar, Sarajevo Osijek, Djakovo and Split; all entrance fees; airport transfers; seven breakfasts; seven dinners and all taxes. Add $100 for July departures and $200 for August trips.
Croatia Only Tours(tel. 206/949-0884; www.croatiaonly.com) has a 13-day land-only extensive tour of Croatia priced at $2,825 per person based on double occupancy. Tours depart on May 16, May 30 and June 13, 2008 and travel the picturesque coast from Dubrovnik to Skradin, including boat trips to the islands of Brac and Hvar, visiting local vineyards and spending time on pristine beaches while being based in the town of Brela (named by Forbes Magazine as The Most Beautiful Beach in Europe). Other trip highlights include the seaside town of Makarska; over the border into Bosnia Herzegovina and the town of Mostar; Pocitelj; the Biokovo Mountains; Korcula; and Split. The group will have eight to 16 travelers and will travel in a private chartered van. The trip price includes13 nights' lodgings at Pension Sosic in Brela; all travel within Croatia; transportation to and from the Split airport; admission fees on all scheduled trips; 13 breakfasts and 13 other meals (lunch or dinner).
Adventure Center's (tel. 800/228-8747; www.adventurecenter.com) 15-day Old Dubrovnik and Dalmatian Island cruise is priced from $2,160 per person land-only plus a local payment of approximately $500. Spend the first few days in Dubrovnik, then visit the Peljesac Peninsular and Cetina Gorge, Diocletian's Palace and Old Split; Plitvice Lakes, Klis Fortress,Trogir and Zadar. Board the Oldtimer cruise and sail to Hvar, Scedro island, Korcula, Mljet island;Vela Luka, Vis island;Solta Island, Milna, Brac Island and Split. The tour includes seven nights' hotel accommodations, seven nights in a cabin, 14 breakfasts, six lunches, one dinner, transportation by chartered bus and ferries and professional tour guide for a group of 14 to 20 travelers. Tours depart weekly from May 30 to September 5, 2008, although the June 6 departure date is already sold out.
Gate One Travel (tel. 800/682-3333; www.gate1travel.com) has aten-day Dalmatian Coast tour that includes round-trip airfare from New York to Dubrovnik and Zagreb back to New York; airline fuel surcharges; eight nights' accommodations in three- and four-star hotels (two nights each at the Argosy Hotel in Dubrovnik, the Hotel Park in Bled and the Regent Esplanade in Zagreb, and one night each at Hotel President in Split and Hotel Jazero in Plitvice Lakes); all transfers;13 meals; sightseeing; an English-speaking tour manager; services of local guides in all major cities; and entrance fees per itinerary. Trip highlights include the Franciscan Monastery in Dubrovnik, Diocletian's Palace in Split, Plitvice Lakes National Park, Postojna Caves, Bled Castle and the Cathedral of Zagreb. Departures on May 2 and 9, September 12,19and26; October 3, 10and 24 are priced from $2,749 or $1,599 land-only. The most expensive dates are in mid- to late May, June and early July, when the price goes up above $3,000 including airfare.
Croatia Travel Agency(tel.800/662-7628 ; www.croatiatravel.com) offers a 13-day Croatia History, Art and Culture (plus a day trip to Venice) trip priced from $2,999 per person for departures on May 31, September 13 and October 11, 2008. This coach tour includes airport transfers in Zagreb and Dubrovnik; 12 nights' accommodations in four and five-star hotels (Hotel Regent Esplanade in Zagreb, Hotel Astorija in Opatija, Hotel President in Zadar, Hotel Park in Split and Hotel Argentina in Dubrovnik); a private tour escort; local English speaking guides for Zagreb, Pula, Venice, Zadar, Trogir, Split, Dubrovnik and Korcula; excursions to Zagorje, Pula, Rovinj, Venice, Plitvice Lakes, Zadar, Trogir, Split, Sibenik, Krka falls, Dubrovnik, Cavtat and Korcula; truffle and wine tastings in Livade; oyster, wine and cheese tasting in Ston; breakfast daily; six dinners; two lunches; entrance fees for Trakoscan castle, National park Plitvicka jezera, Pula's amphitheater, and National Park Krka falls; and boat trips to Venice and Korcula. They also have discounted airfares like New York, Boston or Washington to Zagreb for $610, Miami or Orlando to Zagreb for $710 and Los Angeles or San Francisco to Zagreb for $760. Taxes are additional.
If you can get the discounted fares mentioned above, grab them because the alternatives don't look too pretty. Published airfares from the U.S. to Croatia during spring and summer are rather high, ranging from approximately $1,200 to a whopping $1,900 round-trip including taxes. For example in June, 2008:
- New York to Zagreb -- from $1,205 including taxes flying Malev Hungarian Airlines (www.malev.hu/bp/eng/index.asp) via Budapest
- Washington DC to Dubrovnik -- from $1,353 flying multiple airlines through Orbitz.com (www.orbitz.com)
- Los Angeles to Dubrovnik -- from $1,810 flying multiple airlines through Vayama.com (www.vayama.com)
- Chicago to Zagreb -- from $1,297 flying Swiss International Air through Cheaptickets (www.cheaptickets.com)