Hard Core

sea kayaking expedition in Croatia- Adriatic experience - 600 km. Sea kayak tour from Dubrovnik to Opatija covering almost the entire Croatian coast.

21 days
Price per person: 4200 €

This is not more stroll in the park, ladies and gentlemen.
This is the exhilarating extremist tour.
A good level of fitness is required.
A good standard of sea kayak experience is required.
You must be able “suck it up” when you feel aches and pains, because we will have to cross some long distance of open sea. We will have some bad weather so you must be able to keep your nerve and stay calm.
You absolutely must be a team person.
Should you not be willing or able to complete the trip, we will put you up in a lovely resort in the world-known town of Trogir and provide transfer to the airport and accommodation the night before your flight. No refunds are made once the tour has started.
You must be able to cover 35 km per day minimum. A support boat will always be near us all the way. But not always seen. A van will carry our luggage and equipment from base to base and is also always near us at the closest spot on land. Your guides will be in radio contact with the support boat and van at all times.
The guides are multilingual and experts in sea kayaking and they have ten’s of thousands of miles of sea kayaking experience. They will take care of you and tell you all about the history, wildlife and nature of the Croatian coast along the way.

Equimpment: sea kayaks Prijon Excursion (double) or Touryak (single)

The Hard Core sea kayak expedition includes:
accommodation ( double room occupancy ); 3 meals a day : breakfast – lunch – dinner ( no drinks); Sea kayaks – single or double seaters; Equipment – paddles, life jackets, sprayhoods, dry bags, tents, floor mats; Expert guides; Transfer from Dubrovnik airport; transfer to Rijeka airport; Insurance; Entrance fees to museums and national parks, ferry rides

The Hard Core sea kayak expedition does not include:
Transfer from or to any airports other then the two above mentioned above. Transfer can be arranged at extra cost. Dry or wet suits. Sleeping bags – can be organized. Drinks. Various special person items ( hygienic, medical etc.). Airfare , flights.

THE EXPEDITION

On day one will pick you up from the airport and take you to our accommodation in Dubrovnik. We will brief you on the tour over lunch or dinner depending on your time of arrival. We’ll spend the night in the magnificent town of Dubrovnik.
There is no set timetable for this tour. The route is set but it is impossible to say exactly when we get where in advance. Once we get an idea of your fitness we can start planning. But we are also dependent on the weather and sometimes we will be forced to hitch a ride with a ferry.
Accommodation is booked on a daily bases and since we are travelling out of season, finding rooms in lovely hotels, pensions or resorts is no problem.
We’ll have breakfast and dinner in our hotels or in many cases we’ll have dinner in some of the most romantic Dalmatian restaurants on the coast. Most of the time we will provide packed lunches except when we pass a famous restaurant, which we will just have to visit for lunch.
We will leave the magical town of Dubrovnik and commandeer our sea kayaks just out side the impressive walls of the city.
You will get your first taste of adventure when you see the equipment- the sea kayaks, life jackets, sprayhoods, paddles, drybags and so on. We’ll introduce you to the skipper of our small support boat. Generally a 5 meter R.I.B. with a powerful engine.

The adventure starts now, as we immerse ourselves into the beauty of the Adriatic sea and into an unknown and fantastic schedule.
We’ll head due west to the gorgeous island of Šipan in the Elafit group of islands. Šipan is an amazingly pretty island and has been home to the residences of the rich and famous for hundreds of years. From C.E.O.’s to members of the old Dubrovnik aristocracy to Hollywood “A listers”, they all love to come an chill here.

In the weeks ahead we’ll visit the sparsely inhabited island and National park of Mljet, population 1111, the Pelješac peninsula famous for its vineyards and oyster beds. We’ll have dinner in one of the most famous oyster farms in the world and visit the birth place of Marco Polo on the island of Korčula. Every real explorer has to visit his home at least once in a lifetime.

Sea kayaking in the Adriatic sea on a calm, warm day is a simply magical experience, even though every day is a physical challenge. The wonderful surroundings of nature, wildlife, ancient fishing villages and ports make the whole thing seem effortless. Over the course of a few days the members of the group become closer, become friends.

We’ll then head further west, away from Marco Polo’s home to the island of Hvar, again one of the world’s favourite holiday spots for the rich and famous, also the home to the oldest theatre on the Balkans. Northwest of Hvar lies the island of Brač, with one of Europe’s most desirable windsurf beaches (windy all year round) by the town of Bol. In the ancient town of Split, where the last Roman emperor Diocletian lived and built his retirement palace, we’ll take a one day break from sea kayaking to give you a chance to recuperate. It also gives your guides a chance to see their families. They are all from Split.

Then past the 7 villages of Kaštela which were initially build as summer retreats for Venetian royalty. The 7 Kaštela villages were one of the world’s first official tourist resorts. We will go bird watching in the Pantana nature reserve 1 km east of the UNESCO world heritage town of Trogir. Trogir was founded 2220 years ago by the old Greeks. South west of Trogir we’ll have lunch in a restaurant that can only be reached by boat, on the island of Veli Drvenik. Veli Drvenik and Mali Drvenik and the unspoiled waters surrounding them are relatively undiscovered by mainstream tourism and you get a feeling of time gone by when you visit here. We’ll spend the night in the small resort of Vela Rina on Mali Drvenik and let ourselves be spoiled by its great chef. He specialises in typical Dalmatian cuisine.
West passed the largest marina in Dalmatia, Marina Frapa in Rogoznica and on to Primošten, a small picturesque village island just of the coast. Primošten looks like it has just appeared out of a fairy tale.

Now we’ll head to one of the loveliest spot for sea kayaking in Croatia. Šibenik. The breathtakingly beautiful town with its many islands and isles just of its coast is just gorgeous. The island of Krapanj is just 400 meter offshore and peaks at 1,25 meter above sea level. The island has a strong and old tradition of sponge diving. We’ll visit the sponge diver museum and get an idea how people use to make a living here long ago. Sponge diving used to be a tough job. Šibenik has the most secure natural port in the Adriatic. You will see what I mean when we take the narrow canal of Saint Anton passed the fortress of Saint Nicholas to the town and on to the river Krka.

We’ll continue 10 km up the River in to the magnificent Krka national park to the amazing waterfalls of Skradinski buk. We’ll visit the monastery of Visovac on the island below the waterfalls. Back and west towards Zadar we’ll see the Vransko jezero nature reserve. Far to our left we’ll see the mystical looking National park of Kornati with it’s multitude of islands.

A visit to the island of Murter is a must. It lies 10 meters of shore and is connected to the mainland by an old stone bridge. Murter has a large population of donkeys. I kid you not. West again passed the spectacular islands of Pašman and Ugljan, which are joined by a bridge, is Zadar the administrative centre of northern Dalmatia. Zadar is a beautiful town steeped in culture and history. Watch the amazing sunset while the waves play music composed by the sea, on a water organ comprised of about 50 organ pipes, build by a local artist right on the beach, under the promenade of the old city.

20 km due west lies the town of Nin which was home to the first Croatian kings. Nin has a lot of archaeological dig sites. Also the mud on the beach here is a well known medicine against rheumatism.

Through the narrow canal of “ Ljubačka vrata” between the island of Pag and the mainland. Seeing the Velebit mountain range for the first time will leave you breathless. Velebit will be our companion to the north of us almost to the end of our journey. Velebit is home to two national parks and one nature reserve. One never tires looking at these beautiful mountains. You will find some parts of Velebit and the north side of Pag very barron but yet beautiful. This is due to the fierce “bura” – north wind – which blows here in the winter. It is beautiful site to be here in the winter and watch this wind whip up waves and make the mist dance across from Velebit to Pag.

From the safety of the shore, off course. Not from a sea kayak. We like a challenge but sea kayaking in a winter bura would be madness. Pag is the 5th longest island in Croatia and famous for its salt farms, cheeses an lace work. You will see many of the women of Pag sitting outside in front of their houses doing lace work in the afternoon shade.
West to the island of Rab. A real beauty. A treasure of the Croatian coast. We’ll visit the old town of Rab which was founded by the old Greeks. But we’ll have some very special Dalmatian food for lunch or dinner. Passed it are isles of Saint Gregor, Prvić and we’ll join our friend, Velebit, again along the coast. He will keep watch over us on the way to Senj, the oldest town on the upper Adriatic. Its 3.000 years old. Senj is an ancient pirate stronghold. We’ll raise the Jolly Roger and join in the fun. Only kidding. In the 16th century, Croatian pirates used to attack Venetian convoys from her. They were on the way to Trogir and Dubrovnik. The pirates fortress was situated just under the town and is a tourist attraction today. Senj lies dead on the 45 meridian. This is not as significant as the equator but you can be sure of a party.

Our next destination, yes, due west, is the town of Vrbnik on Croatian largest island, Krk. Here the most famous Croatian white wine is produced, “Vrbnička žlahtina”. We’ll invite you to make up your own mind wether it is also Croatian best white wine. But usually by the end of the evening everybody agrees.

Back to see our friend, Velebit, and visit the old maritime town of Bakar on the mainland. Bakar has for hundreds of years been home to a world famous maritime college and has produced some of the best captains and sailors in the world. It was also along with Trogir and Dubrovnik one of biggest trading posts on the Adriatic.

Passed that is the city of Rijeka which has the largest harbour in Croatia and is a very important administrative town in the region. Today, Rijeka is the gate way to Croatia for most goods arriving by sea.
And finally, perhaps sadly, Opatia, our final destination.
Opatija has been a tourist destination for 160 years. The town is filled with villas built during the Austro Hungarian occupation of Croatia. They are wonderful buildings and bare witness to the past and present wealth of the town. The term “Lungo mare” to describe the promenade of a town was coined here and later used all over the Mediterranean. Opatija also hosts the grand prix in motorcycle racing and is called the Monte Carlo of the Adriatic coast.
Later we’ll check in to our hotel and meet for our farewell dinner.
The best way to judge how a tour went is the last scene at the airport. There are always tears after such a long journey, when a group that started out as strangers says goodbye as friends.

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