Croatia Cruise Holidays

Croatia’s mystical landscapes, exotic beaches and beguiling culture have been known to captivate even the hardiest traveller. Explore the sparkling seas, medieval towns and rich culture of Croatia with a guide to our favourite ports of call along the Dalmatian coast. With exquisite old towns, delicious food, traditional culture and unspoilt scenery, Croatia has something for everyone.

Croatia Cruise Holiday Highlights

The Eastern European country sits on the Adriatic Sea, encompassing over 1,000 islands. From the metropolitan areas of Zagreb to the coastlines of Pula, there’s much to see.

Explore Croatia on a Mediterranean Fly-Cruise

Mediterranean fly-cruise on Azura is a great way to explore the many charms of our European neighbours. All the classic holiday destinations are on the itinerary – think Croatia ports, where you can also explore less-travelled destinations such as Rovinj and Rijeka.

Cruise Holidays to Croatia

Reasons to visit Croatia on a cruise holiday

Enchanting Views

Those arriving into Rijeka on a cruise to Croatia will see the enchanting views of this rustic town nestled into the hillsides and decorated with bright colours, making for a storybook landscape.

Ancient Old Towns

Anyone arriving into Hvar will be rewarded with the sight of cream-coloured houses with their terracotta roofs lying amid the Hvar hills, while the harbour boats sway quietly on the Dalmatian Riviera. In the city centre, St Stephen’s Square allows for intimate views of the cathedral and is also one of the oldest squares in the region.

Cathedrals and Castles

Battles, wars and revolutions have left their marks and much of this history can be seen in the architecture and art within the many churches and cathedrals.

Croatia Food and Drink

Croatia’s ‘coast of a thousand islands’ name has nothing to do with its delicious Adriatic prawns – it really does have that many islands! But don’t worry if you’re a seafood fan: you’ll be in fish foodie heaven here without the need for a clichéd cocktail sauce. No matter where you go in Croatia, you’ll find fresh fish and seafood specialities prepared in exciting and flavoursome ways. And you’re just as likely to discover delicious shellfish dishes at waterside bars and beach shacks as you are at the finest restaurants. From the 12th-century walled city of Dubrovnik in the south, up along the Dalmatian coast and around to Rovinj near Italy on the Istrian peninsula, the spotlight is well and truly on the ocean and its tasty treats.

Undersea expert, Jacques Cousteau, once said the Adriatic was ‘the world’s most beautiful sea, inside and out’. Today, each region along the coast serves up its own tribute to traditional Croatian cuisine. Dishes such as gregada (fish stew), salata od hobotnice (octopus salad) and dagnje na buzaru (mussels alla buzara) are staple stars of many a menu. The national na bazaru recipe can use any and all combinations of clams, mussels, scampi and shrimps cooked in white wine, garlic, parsley, breadcrumbs, and sometimes tomatoes. So simple, yet simply delicious!

Other Croatian food favourites include smoked and wind-dried ham, stewed beef with noodles and the ever-popular black risotto (crni rižoto), which is as common as fish and chips in the UK. Ask for hobotnica pod pekom (octopus peka): a popular choice of old Croatian and Balkan cookery called peka when food is cooked underneath a bell oven over coals and ashes. The peka method also roasts lamb and veal to perfection as well as, traditionally, swiss chard and other vegetables. You’ll also find baked strukli – made with very thin dough layered with cottage cheese, and there’s a sugared version like strudel if you’ve got a sweet tooth.

For more sweet treats, you can cool down on a hot day with a rožata cold custard pudding, Croatia’s crème caramel. Indulge with some sweet krafne doughnuts or try a deep-fried fritule surprise with a brandy or booze-filled centre. And the heavenly almond and maraschino cherry liqueur flavoured imotska torta with prošek sweet dessert wine in the shortcrust pastry is basically a Bakewell tart, but not as you know it!

While exploring ashore, take time out and join the locals in some laid-back Croatian café culture. Find a spot in the sun (or the shade!) for people watching with a cold pivo (lager) or one of the up-and-coming Croatian craft beers. For a light snack, why not try a selection of traditional tasters: pickled peppers, local cheeses, olives and oily fish like mackerel, tuna, salty sardines and anchovies on crusty fresh baked-bread. Croatian kava (coffee) is very good too and Croatians see coffee time as a way of socialising, connecting with people in piazza cafés and bars, so don’t rush… Enjoy the chocolatey flavour and irresistible fragrance of Franck’s Jubilarna coffee from Zagreb, Croatia’s best-selling queen of coffee for generations. Sit, sip and see if it’s for you?

You’ll also find the climate in Croatia is perfect (just like neighbouring Italy) for making olive oil… and wine! Excellent regional Croatian wine to try includes Pošip white, originally only made on the island of Korčula. This crisp white has apples, almond, vanilla and citrus notes. If you prefer red, try an earthy Teran or Plavac Mali, which describes the ‘small blue’ grapes used to make this bold red wine with blackberry, dark cherry, figs, carob and pepper flavours. Throughout Dalmatia, you’ll have the chance to enjoy a vineyard and konoba (wine cellar) tour where you can sample the locally produced, very fine Croatian wines. The country even has its own Grand Cru from the over 2,000-year-old vineyards set up on Hvar island by Greek settlers.

Now we’ve given you a little taste of what delights you can expect in Croatian food and drink, we look forward to sharing this wonderful country with you on your next holiday.

Where is Dalmatia?

Dalmatia is one of Croatia’s four historical regions, with four counties: Zadar County, Sibenik-Knin County, Split-Dalmatia County and Dubrovnik-Neretva Country. The area we call Dalmatia covers a central coastal strip from Rab Island in the north down to Kotor Bay in the south, all lapped by the Adriatic Sea. All of the islands along this strip are what we call the Dalmatian Islands. The best known are Brac (famous for Zlatni Rat beach and watersports), Hvar (lavender fields and lively, chic towns), Vis (great views and film locations), Mljet (beautiful national park with many inland lakes) and Pag (well-known nightlife and cheese).

Where is the Adriatic Sea?

The Adriatic reaches up from the Mediterranean in 500 mile long arm of semi-enclosed sea. Once described by legendary underwater explorer Jacques Cousteau as ‘the cleanest on earth’, it lies between Croatia’s coast of over 1,000 islands to the east and the Italian, or Appenine, peninsula to the west. Lapping the Gulf of Venice shores at its northernmost, the Adriatic merges into the Greek Ionian to the south, well below Dubrovnik. As well as Croatia, it is bordered by the Balkan countries of Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Albania.