The Dalmatian Coast: A Classic Mothership Kayak Adventure
From the moment we laid eyes on Croatia’s spectacular coastline — where stark serrated mountains meet the sea, forming the verdant Dalmatian Coast and its hundreds upon hundreds of rugged islands — we knew we desperately needed to share it with others.
This archipelago is a wonderland of intricate limestone shorelines, romantic sweeps of olive groves and vineyards, and fascinating harbor settlements steeped in centuries of history.
By kayak and aboard our gorgeous mothership, we make our way from one UNESCO World Heritage Site to another (Dubrovnik, a medieval city that no photo can do justice to, Korcula, a fabulous 14th Century walled town and Trogir, a charming ancient settlement) with lots of other fabulous places in-between, As well as our skilled kayak guide and trip leader, we also meet up with personally handpicked history guides who blow our minds with stories, insights, and illuminating facts.
Our mothership – a luxury 100-foot classic sailing yacht – gives us unparalleled access to staggering sea cliffs, isolated caves and pocket beaches no one else knows about. And it allows us to accommodate the needs of all paddlers. If you feel like a break, simply climb back aboard, sprawl under the sunshine, and let the scent of pine and lemon trees lull you away… And if you’re an experienced kayaker you can spend more time exploring this diverse, intricate coastline.
When we first came here, we didn’t have a strict itinerary — we let ourselves be guided by the winds and our own whims, and it made all the difference. So we’ve preserved that spontaneity on this journey: every day brings something different (historic fortresses, bucolic landscapes, the labyrinths of tiny streets in timeless Venetian villages, wonderful wines), but we don’t glance at our watches much — and we let this region unfold as naturally for you as it did for us.
NASA astronauts claim the Adriatic Sea is the bluest body of water on the planet and after years of paddling its Dalmatian Coast, we can attest to it being the clearest, too! Superlatives abound in Croatia, and our mothership cruise brings you the best of the best as we sail and kayak through the islands between Dubrovnik and Trogir. Dramatic limestone cliffs and spectacular serrated mountains contrast beautifully with romantic swathes of olive groves, vineyards and cypress trees. In ancient Venetian villages, time slows as you meander along cobbled streets, stopping to sip coffee in the shade of bougainvillea. And in the spectacular medieval towns of Dubrovnik, Korcula and Trogir, our knowledgeable local guides bring the past vividly alive. Oh, and did we mention the fabulous food and great wines?
Saunter through the narrow cobblestone alleys of Trogir town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, to a traditional restaurant for your welcome dinner.
A local historian shows you ancient Trogir, one of the oldest settlements in the Mediterranean. Embark your mothership and enjoy a glass of local wine as you sail for the island of Brac.
Sail and kayak to the island of Hvar, much loved by the film star set. In Hvar town, explore its unique main square and historic citadel with spectacular views.
Today’s destination is the remote and little developed island of Vis, which was Tito’s stronghold during WWII. Truly out there!
Cruise and paddle to the spectacular, walled town of Korcula. After a walking tour, climb up a medieval turret to enjoy a sweeping view and a cocktail.
Cruise to the wild and wooded island of Mjlet. Kayak through a maze of remote and uninhabited islets close to the village of Polace, or visit the National Park with its intriguing lakes and medieval monastery.
Feast on mussels “Buzara” – the best in the Med – in the sun-drenched village of Ston!
Drift into sleepy Sipanska Luka for a harbor-side lunch, then hike past fields of pomegranates, figs and olives, to a special ‘hidden place’ for sundowners.
Say farewell to our mothership crew and transfer to Dubrovnik’s Old Town. Enjoy a walking tour of this amazing medieval settlement, then continue to explore on your own until our farewell dinner in a truly hidden restaurant!
After breakfast, bid farewell to your travel companions and transfer to the airport for homeward flights.
Please note: this itinerary serves as an example of trip highlights and is subject to change.
We think of our itineraries as melodies: they have a beginning and an end, a certain arc, dramatic highlights and a few surprises. We like to improvise, to adapt to the mood of our guests or to circumstances that arise — an invitation to a traditional wedding, say, or a local ethnic festival…
Crafting beautiful, harmonious trips with delightful twists is our trade mark and passion.
What is so special about Croatia?
A spectacular coastline, and a quintessentially Mediterranean landscape dotted with groves of olives, figs, lemons and pomegranates, as well as the vineyards that produce Croatia’s tasty wines. And that’s not all! Croatia’s medieval villages and towns are lovingly preserved, and strolling their cobbled streets is truly like going back in time. The Italian-influenced cuisine is wonderful: local prosciutto, cheeses and olives, perfect pizzas, great risottos, amazing seafood and the best gelato we’ve ever tasted. Add to all this a myriad of paddling opportunities in a crystal clear sea that NASA astronauts have pronounced as the bluest body of water on the planet, and you can appreciate why it’s one of our very favorite places!
How do I get there?
You can reach Croatia from a number of European hubs. Croatia Airlines has connections from London Heathrow and London Gatwick, Frankfurt, Munich, Dusseldorf, Vienna, Rome, Paris and Amsterdam. British Airways and Easy Jet also offer some connections from the UK.
What are the physical activities on the trip and what level of fitness do I need?
A reasonable level of fitness is required. , Typically, we will be kayaking for a maximum of four hours a day (sometimes less) with breaks and boat support. We have two cultural walking tours, which are very easy physically, and we do some hiking in the National Parks. We are also offering stand up paddle boarding as an optional activity on some days, and for this no experience is necessary.
Do I have to be an experience Kayaker?
No. This is trip is suitable for all levels of kayakers, but if are a beginner we recommend that you take an introductory day course, and do some paddling on top of that so that you feel comfortable in a kayak. Getting out of the kayak and into the support boat is always an option. During the trip we will be offering some kayak instruction and tips on technique, as well as a demonstration of assisted rescue.
What happens if I want to stop paddling?
On the main kayaking days we will have a support boat. If you decide you need to stop, you can get into the support boat at any time.
I’m a vegetarian, is that a problem?
Not at all! Please let us know in advance, however, and advise us on your dietary preferences.
Do I need a visa?
North Americans do not need a visa for Croatia. You will need a passport that is valid a few months beyond the end of your stay in Europe.
Do I need insurance?
Medical insurance, including emergency evacuation, is mandatory on all our trips. We also strongly advise you to purchase trip cancellation insurance.
Do I need vaccinations?
Your routine vaccinations (tetanus/diphtheria, polio, etc.) should be up to date.
Are bugs a problem?
In general, not at all, however, it’s always worth having some insect repellent along with you on land.
What does the trip price cover?
Airport transfers on the first and last days of the trip, all cultural tour guiding, park fees and entrance fees, all accommodation, kayak guiding, instruction and equipment, most meals (one or two dinners may be on your own: please check the itinerary) and water.
What does the trip price not cover?
International and domestic flights, soft and alcoholic drinks, bike rentals, etc., personal insurance and gratuities.
How can I access cash when I'm on the trip?
ATMs are readily available in Split, Skradin, Novigrad and Zadar. They will not be available in the Sibernik Archipelago. Please ensure you have a card with a 4-digit pin number.
What clothes and equipment will I need?
When you sign up for the trip, we will provide you with a comprehensive clothes and equipment list.
I’m travelling alone, is that a problem?
Absolutely not. We have many guests who travel with us on their own. They appreciate the camaraderie of our Hidden Places groups, and usually go home with new found friends. If you wish to have your own hotel room, a single supplement applies.
Can I talk to someone who has previously travelled with you?
Of course. Just ask and we will be happy to put you in touch with one of our Hidden Places guests.
from US $5190 per person
Private: May through Sep
Kayaking, short hikes, swimming, historical tours
7 nights on classic yacht
2 nights in small hotels
Dubrovnik/Trogir or Trogir/Dubrovnik, depending on the departure
Thanks for sharing your passion with us: the Croatian culture, cuisine, the kayaking, our mothership and the exceptional crew. It will stay with us for a long time.
The boat, crew and guides were excellent. Our trip definitely exceeded all our expectations.
‘Perfect’ is the word that has so often come to mind: our mothership, our food, the water, the air, the towns, our tour guides... We so appreciate your discoveries and your willingness to share them with us.
Excellent! Our guide should be the Hidden Places Employee of the Year!
"Couldn’t have been better! I would recommend this trip as top drawer, and I would love to do it again."
The history of Croatia is fascinating and the crew, the guiding, and the people we’ve met were all fantastic. You did not miss a detail and you’ve given us the trip of a life time.
Kayaking and exploring the beauty of Croatia, we felt in harmony with nature and truly appreciated the kayak instruction, great meals and the concern you showed for all of us.
Our guide was absolutely the best. She and the crew had our best interests at all times. Loved every moment!
The whole experience was wonderful.
Best selling author Maria Coffey and photographer/veterinarian Dag Goering. Travel with us and fall off the map!