Gay Group Trip: Treasures of Venice & the Dalmatian Coast Cruise
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Floating like a mirage in its own lagoon, Venice is a city of arched bridges, gondoliers, and blown glass. Blissfully free of cars and UNESCO World Heritage designated, Venice was once the center of a vast maritime empire, and the wealth that grew here can still be enjoyed today. From St Peter’s Basilica to The Grand Canal, there’s no shortage of iconic monuments to marvel at in magical Venice. Take a deep breath at the Bridge of Sighs, gaze on the golden lions and the Renaissance glories of the Doge’s Palace, and glide in a gondola down the Grand Canal.
A sea day needn’t be boring aboard the Royal Clipper, with two swimming pools and a fitness center to enjoy. On your first sea day, there’ll also be plenty of chances to take a dip in the Adriatic with a range of watersports on offer. In the evening you’ll enjoy theme parties and special entertainment geared towards LGBTQ+ travelers.
As you round the protruding headland, the bright red rooftops of Kotor’s Old Town will be the first thing you see. Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, Kotor was a town of arts during its flourishing heyday, and today remnants of the city’s deep cultural influence can still be observed. Founded by the Romans and fortified during the Byzantine era, Koror has been naturally preserved by its geographic isolation. When wandering through the city, make sure you don’t miss the “pillar of shame”, a fascinating artifact of more brutal times.
Dubrovnik’s entire Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site complete with a copper-roofed cathedral, a fountain of masked faces spouting water, and the Sponza Palace, which once held the state mint. Today, you’ll be able to take a ferry with the group to Lokrum Island and enjoy an afternoon at Dubrovnik’s local beach. If the gay beach isn’t screaming out to you, consider taking a cable car to the top of Mount Srd for an outstanding overview of the harbor. End your day at the Buza cafe watching bold divers leap off the cliffs into the crystalline sea.
Zadar was once the capital of Dalmatia, but today the city serves a major hub of international tourism in the region. Separated from the rest of the city by an out-jutting peninsula, Zadar’s Old Town is bustling and beautiful. Here, marble pedestrian streets are littered with Roman ruins and palaces bulge with curious tourists. For centuries, Zadar was an Italian-speaking city, and the language is still widely spoken. The city is also incredibly flat, making it a great place to explore on foot or by bike. From Zadar, you’ll be able to venture into the neighboring region for a private excursion to Krka National Park, famous for its iconic waterfalls and river gorges.
It’s now time to head to the Croatian Riviera, where pebble beaches are washed by pristine waters and the intoxicating scent of lavender fills the air. Hvar has made a name for itself in recent years and can be considered on par with the better-known destinations of Cannes and Capri as one of Europe’s most glamorous coastal destinations. Sail into the city’s stunning harbor, walk the quay, and explore the old town’s Venetian cathedral and impressive bell tower. Be sure to pick up a sachet of the ever-present lavender to sniff as you follow the ancient city walls to the fortress on the hill.
Just southwest of Hvar Town’s harbor is the Pakleni Islands, a collection of 20 small islets that derive their name from the pine tree derivative used to waterproof ships with traditional methods. Summer restaurants and beach bars are built on many of the islands, some of which have excellent beaches that are reachable only by boat. Jerolim, the closest of the islands to Hvar Town, has a famous nude beach.
Defined by its arched profile of terracotta rooftops and bell towers, the Old Town of Rovinj rises from the Adriatic with immense presence. Rovinj was an island before the channel was filled in the 18th century, and is today the perfect size for gentle exploration. There’s an undeniable Italian atmosphere to Rovinj that comes from its fleet of small fishing vessels and Venetian-style piazzas. Dining in Rovinj also reflects the town’s dual heritage, with menus featuring pizza and pasta alongside the town’s locally treasured wild truffles.
Today the ship will return to Venice for departure. You won’t want to miss the spectacular morning views as the group sails into the glorious heart of Venice’s main harbor.
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All the prices on our website do not include flights. We can, of course, arrange them for you.