Croatia’s Katarina Line is expanding its land tour packages for 2019 as Croatian tourism continues to surge in popularity, with travellers from Canada and the US among the fastest-growing markets.
According to Daniel Hauptfeld, marketing director for Katarina Line, the cruise company is designing these tours to provide faster, more direct connections with its small ship cruises. This will allow Katarina Line guests to more seamlessly extend their vacations with a combination of cruise/land tours that focus on wine, gastronomy, culture and soft adventures like hiking and biking, among other themes.
One of Katarina Line’s most popular tour extensions is the Coast Express, a three-night program available from Zagreb to Split, Zagreb to Opatija, and Venice to Split. Among the tours’ highlights is a visit to Plitvice Lakes National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site that consists of 16 terraced lakes connected by a series of waterfalls. Guests enjoy a guided, three-hour walk among the crystal clear waters that includes a boat ride on Kozjak Lake, the largest lake in the park, and a scenic train ride back to the entrance. Guided tours are also offered in each city that immerses visitors in the historic architecture, culture and ancient traditions of the region. All tours feature English speaking guides and private buses.
Prices for the Coast Express tour start at $660 per person, based on double occupancy, and include one half-board and two bed and breakfast services, visitor’s taxes and all transfers as per the itinerary.
“Combining a land tour with a cruise on the Adriatic provides visitors with the ‘best of both worlds,’” said Hauptfeld. “Visitors enjoy the beauty of the Croatian coastlines and its picturesque cities that are rich in history.”
The nine-day Croatian Rhapsody tour from Zagreb to Dubrovnik is one of the company’s most diverse packages for small groups and is also a big hit with food and wine lovers. The emphasis is on the palate, with guests introduced to such Croatian specialties as Štrukli, a popular dish in Zagreb composed of dough and various types of filling. Truffles are also on the itinerary, with a guided tour of the Istrian peninsula and the 2,000 year old Roman Colosseum capped off with what is often called, “a gourmet gem worth its weight in gold.”
A tour of Plitvice Lakes National Park is followed with a visit to the famous Zadar Sea Organs, an architectural installation that harnesses sea waves to create music. Afterward, guests enjoy an exclusive wine tasting at the famous Bibich Winery, which was featured in Anthony Bourdain’s special on Croatia. Among the vintages tasted will be the Dalmatian Debit white wine and Shiraz Cuvée and Merlot, accompanied by Croatian-style Tapas.
Guests will also visit the town of Trogir, whose history can be traced some 2,300 years with influences from the Greeks, Romans and Venetians. Its high concentration of old palaces, churches, towers and fortress has earned it the nickname of the “floating museum town.”
In Dubrovnik, near the town of Ston, guests will visit a local winery for a taste of the famous Plavac Mali, the primary red wine grape grown along the Dalmatian coast wine and a very close relative to the Zinfandel.
Prices for Croatia Rhapsody start at $1,465 per person, double occupancy.
Katarina Line can also provide fully customizable tours to meet the needs of small groups and special interest groups.