STE’s Holiday Editor, Tony Taylor, reports on his experiences on a Saga Holidays tour along the Dalmation Coast.
We had taken two touring holidays previously with Saga Holidays and were pleased with both of them (see posts on Moghuls and Palaces in India and Siam Island Adventure in Thailand). We had visited Croatia before, but that was just a day trip over the border from Hungary to Varazdin in Northern Croatia.
The 14 day Saga tour Jewels of Croatia enabled us to explore a 200 mile stretch of the Dalmatian Coast of Croatia, staying at three different hotels. We travelled in October, which we hoped would be a quiet time of year, but still reasonably warm.
Our flight was from Gatwick following an overnight stay with parking at the Holiday Inn. Our previous two tours with Saga included their convenient door to door service as they involved long haul flights, but this doesn’t apply to European tours.
We arrived at Split in the early evening and were driven to the Hotel President in Solin for a four night stay. It was pleasing to find that the hotel had a Saga lounge, where free drinks were available. It was also conveniently situated, enabling us to walk into Solin, a pretty village with some lovely waterside areas and a number of shops and banks.
The most notable optional tour from here was to Sibenik, a historic town with a pleasant harbour and Cathedral, and then on to Krka National Park. For Saga’s optional tours you pay an additional fee. As the hotel was all-inclusive, we were provided with a packed lunch.
Krka National Park with its many waterfalls was spectacular, with torrents of water and pleasant walks. It reminded me of the Iguassu Falls in South America, but on a far smaller scale. Needless to say most of the walking involved slopes and steep stairs and the scenic trail around the falls took about an hour. For less spritely senior travellers, a boat trip around the park is a good option.
Included half day excursions were to the remains of the Roman town of Salona and to Trogir, a small town on an island, with very narrow streets. We had a pleasant stroll through these streets and along the seafront to the fort.
Next stop was the island of Brac for a seven night stay at the Hotel Kaktus in Supertar. We had a short time to explore Split before catching the Brac ferry. This short visit persuaded us to catch the ferry back from Supertar, to spend another day at Split, visiting the Diocletian’s Palace, the large market and the waterfront.
Hotel Kaktus has beautiful grounds and fronts on to a beach. Supertar is an attractive little town, an easy half mile walk from the hotel. The Saga holiday includes a tour of the island, stopping along the way at Pucisca, a pretty town with a stonemasons college.
We chose not to take any of the optional Saga excursions, which included a boat trip and wine tasting. Instead we joined a morning walk organized by the Hotel to Mirca. But having enjoyed our packed lunch (again provided in place of the all-inclusive hotel lunch), we continued through the pretty olive groves along the coastal footpath to the lovely harbour village of Sutivan. It was a good day’s walk, with rests for a drink by the harbour and a picnic.
Local buses departing from Supertar were cheap and convenient. We used these on a couple of occasions, including to Bol on the other side of the island where we spent a full day. We walked from the town centre past the harbour to the east of the town, then back through the town and along the tree lined path to the cape of Zlatni Rat, with its beautiful shingle beach, often referred to as the ‘Golden Cape’.
It proved a leisurely day walking and seeing the sights, with appropriate breaks for refreshments. We did meet fellow Saga travellers taking one of the optional tours, but they had very limited time at Bol!
Our final three nights were at Tucepi, in the Bluesun Hotel Alga. From here we took the optional excursion to Dubrovnik, with a brief stop in Bosnia en route. We had heard much about Dubrovnik and were not disappointed.
The Old Town was interesting and the hour long walk around the walls was well worth doing, with lovely views into and away from the town. However, this did require climbing many steep steps, so definitely only for more spritely senior travellers!
The friendly, helpful tour guide was English, but married to a Croatian, so she knew the country well. We were fortunate to have good weather, mainly sunny and temperatures in the mid twenties C. It was also pleasantly quiet, but we did hear that in the school holidays, these islands can be busy and noisy. Once again we were very pleased with the whole experience on a Saga Holidays tour.
POSTED 4th SEPTEMBER 2015 by TONY TAYLOR