Posted by: viewfromtheriva | September 18, 2010

Island-hopping the Adriatic aboard the M.V. Magellan


Last week we boarded the new 35 meter M.V Magellan in Dubrovnik and headed out for a week long voyage island-hopping the southern Adriatic.

The Magellan is one of a small group of new, luxe class steel-hulled boats for 16-40 passengers that offer large cabins, great bathrooms, air conditioning, lots of shore excursions and gorgeous cruising.

Although our cabin was below, even our peek-a-boo view was thrilling!

With 18 cabins and a 7 person crew, the Magellan is one of the larger boats doing the week long Dalmatian island cruises.  For less than what it costs for a week at a three star hotel with breakfast each day, a cruise on the Magellan gives you three meals a day, 8 included excursions and all those lovely islands.

Our stateroom was below deck, but it was enormous with a large bathroom, plenty of storage and being a new ship, clean as a whistle.

Up top, the main salon serves as a dining room and day room; while outside, the all teak decks offer plenty of walk around space, aft tables and chairs and an upper deck sun-space.

The Magellan also has a computer with free internet,a nice feature; as well as a flat screen TV and lots of books to read.  The cruise season runs May-October and the boat leaves from Dubrovnik most of the time, so we took the bus from Split to meet the ship.

Although it’s almost a 5 hour ride, there are lots of stops and  the picture-postcard trip down the winding coast is always wonderful–sometimes just meters away from the shore.

Monsters of the deep in Dubrovnik

We felt like Lilliputians as we slid out of the marina past some of the world’s largest ocean liners, like the new Queen Victoria, which looks like an office tower on its side and probably holds 5000 people.

First stop was Ston, a  medieval village with salt pans over 2,000 years old and the second longest wall in Europe, surpassed only by Hadrian’s Wall between Scotland and England. Almost 5km of serpentine stonework winding its way between the salt pan village of Ston and its neighboring village of Mali Ston, the Ston wall system  was built by the Venetians in the 15th century as a defense against the Turks and like Diocletian’s Palace here in Split, was never breached by any invading army.

From high up on the rampart walls around Ston, the views are stupendous

The ancient salt pans of Ston

Still harvested today, most of the salt is sold for commercial use, but we bought a small sack that’s perfect for food.

Later that night, a rare treat–famous Ston oysters and a sensational dinner at Bota Sare, a landmark restaurant built on the remains of an old medieval castle.

Next it was off to a wine tasting at the famous Grgich Winery in Trstenik, on the Peljesac Peninsula.Grgich is Croatia’s most famous wine-maker, celebrated for having left his homeland with $33 in his pocket to make his fortune in California, where he eventually founded Grgich Hills Estate Winery and went on to fame and fortune for his award-winning vintages.

Sleepy Trstenik on the Pelejac peninsula, home of Grgich Winery

We tasted a white wine, Posip as well as a red, Plavac Mali.  The tour was short, but informative.  And check out these barrels–imported from France!

Imported from France, the barrels used to age Grgich wine are used for only 5 years then disposed of

Our next port of call was the paradise island of Mljet, where ships are only allowed to dock for short periods of time to limit the number of visitors as well as the impact.  Part of Croatia’s national park system, Mjlet is lined with bike and hiking trails and in the middle of the island are two lakes.  In the middle of one of them is an ancient monastery.

In the center of the stone floor in the Mljet Monastery is a fitted mosaic shaped like the sun

We rented bikes and tooled around, stopping for a swim and after visiting the monastery, took a dreamy short boat launch back to reality with the monastery framed against the sun and the Magellan.

Perched on its own island on one of the lakes is the Mljet Monastery

After visiting always gorgeous Hvar and spending the night (see our recent blog for photos and description), it was off to Split (no photos because as you know, we live here!).

Due to bad weather, we weren’t able to go from Split to Vis and the Blue Cave, but instead cruised into Vela Luka on Korcula island and the next day, Korcula town, a real treasure.

One of the many charming side streets in Korcula town

Instead of taking more time to see Vela Luka before the boat sailed around the island to Korcula town, we opted to take the l hour bus to Korcula town to see the island’smarvelous interior–deep valleys, vineyards, olive groves, towns suspended in the ravines–one terrific scene after the other!

The imposing main gate to the Old Town of Korcula

The legendary home of Marco Polo, Korcula has a very compact Old Town that can be easily walked in about an hour.  Lots of ancient churches (one with a famous Tintoretto painting, but sorry, no photos allowed), great shopping (jewelry and art) and a continuous waterfront promenade of restaurants with zillions of tables all facing the harbor.

One of the many Renaissance details adorning Korcula churches

We found Konoba Komin on a side alley just off the main square once inside the gate (it’s on your right).  Wow, a really authentic konoba with its own peka grill!

The black risotto was the best I ever had, the mussels in wine, garlic and olive oil were fabulous and the surprise winner was a sensational fish soup that I wanted to bottle and take home.  Do not even think of leaving Korcula without eating there!

All too soon, our wonderful week was over….a great group of passengers (from New Zealand, So. Africa, UK, Germany, US, Australia and more!), a staff and crew that knocked themselves out to make us feel welcome and an itinerary that was just divine.

If you would like more information, just contact Tatjana at http://www.dalmatino-travel.com or Tatjana Marasovic <tatjana@dalmatino-travel.com>

Enjoy our new Croatian vacation portal

Read more about Croatia at secret dalmatia’s unique blog

Coming to Split?  www.thehotelsofsplit.com

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Responses

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  2. I visited Croatioa last year and Loved it. I wish I could visit soon.

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