‘All the smiles. All the laughs. All the sweat…’
Trip of the Week: Active Croatia Island Sail
Looking for the perfect mix of relaxation and exercise? A sunny getaway, where your excitement level is almost as high as your step count? Well, look no further than Active Croatia Island Sail.
This 8-day cruise is set aboard one of Contiki’s very own ships, with a stunning backdrop of Croatia’s biggest hits and beautiful hidden gems. You’ll see life from a new perspective on breathtaking hikes and bike rides, through vineyards and along coastlines – working up a sweat under the Croatian sun as you go. Travelling with a tight-knit group, you’ll discover Croatia’s stunning views (from angles high and low), take plenty of dips in the sea, and get your fill of the very best local cuisine.
We talked to our Trip Manager Sarah to get all the juicy details on our new favourite trip.
Hi Sarah. First up, can you give me 3 reasons why I’ll love this trip?
The highlights of croatia. Getting active. Travelling with a local guide.
“It combines all the best bits of our normal Croatia Island Sail trip so you won’t be missing out on any of those activities, but then there’s the added element of all the active experiences every day.
“It hits all of Croatia’s popular destinations like Dubrovnik and Split, but with all the hiking and biking and the adventures, you get to see a lot of areas that are off the beaten path which you wouldn’t normally have reason to see.
“And finally, it’s the crew. On the Active Croatia Island Sail there’s a Trip Manager, the boat crew, plus a local Croatian biking and hiking guide, and so with this added presence you really get to know the place.”
This trip is for me if I want…
A little bit of everything.
“If you want to experience all the best bits of Croatia and have a true mix of chill times, swimming, biking, hiking, a little bit of partying, and rest and relaxation. It’s truly everything combined in one trip… with no headaches as well. We plan absolutely everything for you from equipment hiring, to planning the itinerary, and accommodation and meals.
“It’s all the laughs and all the smiles and all the sweat – without any of the hassle.”
What’s the most spellbinding view?
The Old Town, Dubrovnik.
“It’s hard to choose, but I would have to say the view at the end of the hike in Dubrovnik, when you can look back over all of Old Town and the path you’ve just taken to get there. This isn’t on any of the other Croatia trips so it’s a really unique view and one that I think a lot of travellers will remember and look back on, because of how pretty it is, but also because of how much effort they put into getting there.”
What’s the tastiest food experience?
The onboard barbeque lunch.
“It’s full of locally sourced meats and produce, and the freshest seafood, all lovingly made by the boat crew and served right on the boat for the group. It’s really unique, something that you only get to do on Contiki and we have that on the 2nd day of the trip so it’s a great way to get that local taste right away!”
“The boat is fully equipped with everything you need. It has air conditioning and ensuite bed and baths, which not many tourism boats have. It also has a lovely breakfast room for all those meals with the group in the morning, and it has a gorgeous deck for some sun-bathing while we’re sailing between spots…
“Of course, there’s storage space for all our equipment and bikes, and there’s still plenty of room leftover to chill! It’s a great ship, we’re all really proud of it.”
How about the best spot for culture-vultures?
The HerStory walking tour in Split.
“When we stop here, our guests can go on the HerStory Walking Tour which takes you around the city and tells you all about the history of the women who helped found it. It’s super interesting and I think everyone who experiences it always loves it.
“It’s a great way to look at history through a different lens and maybe learn something new as well.”
What’s the most jaw-dropping Included Experience?
The Korčula Bike Ride
“All of the hikes – just because they’re off the beaten path and a lot of the travellers may not normally head up this way. The sites are really beautiful, it’s amazing to see nature in this way with a small group. They’re the highlight of the trip, and for good reason. I think they live up to our guests’ expectations big time!
“Personally though, the bike ride along Korčula is my favourite because it’s along the coast and you can see all the turquoise water Croatia is famous for. When we head back to the boat, it’s usually around sunset – which is just always so pretty.”
Which Free Time Add-On will give my friends the most FOMO?
The City Walls Kayaking Tour, Dubrovnik
“It’s a nice change of pace from all the hiking and biking because we’re in kayaks this time, just outside of Dubrovnik.
“The water is always nice and there’s a small island we stop on to take a break and the travellers are always welcome to have a swim and cool off! People also really love this one because of the Game of Thrones references. This is where some of the scenes were filmed – the ones in King’s Landing I think. So, for fans of that show this is definitely at the top of their list because they get to see it in real life.”
What will surprise me about the trip?
“Maybe a lot of people think booking an active holiday can be quite daunting… maybe they worry it will be too much and they won’t be able to keep up. But when you’re with the group, everyone keeps each other going and we stop and take breaks anyway.
“And also, just the views. How stunning everything is. You’ll be surprised at just how much you fall in love with Croatia.”
If this trip was a song, it’d be:
‘I Ain’t Worried’ by OneRepublic.
“I like it because it makes me think of the beach scene from that movie [Top Gun: Maverick], of those guys just having fun all together on the beach. And also, you shouldn’t be worried! No one is worried on the trip! We have it all covered for you, you just have to relax.”
Describe the trip in 3 words:
“Sunny. Swimming. Scenic. That’s alliteration.”
What’s the funniest story you’ve heard/seen happen on this trip?
“Oh, on a trip once, we had someone who thought that when we said “swim stops” we meant that we were all going to be swimming between each island. But the islands are kilometres and kilometres apart, you could swim if you wanted maybe, but it’s very very active, more than we offer on this trip!
“Anyway, he was quite worried and said that he wasn’t a very strong swimmer and that he was worried he wouldn’t make it to the next stop. We all had a nice laugh about it after explaining that we’d just be staying on the boat between islands. It became a bit of an inside joke after that for the rest of the trip and he took it really well.”
Which part of this trip makes you love your job?
“The best part of being a trip manager, and I guess with this the best part of any holiday, is knowing that it’s not about the destination, it’s all about the journey. Which, sounds very cliché I know, but it’s true, and it’s really great to be able to show other people that.
“You know, we’re not rushing to get to the next stop, everybody genuinely enjoys every part of the day and the cruise itself is so fantastic to be on. As a trip manager it’s really rewarding to just see the group having so much fun with each other and I can tell that they love every minute of it from start to finish.”
Here’s what our travellers say:
“Our Trip Manager was fantastic, she made us feel so welcome and checked in with us regularly. She really cares about the guest experience and is a huge credit to Contiki!”
“The on-boat team was so hardworking and kind, they’re a huge part of why the entire week ran so smoothly.”
“Both trip guides were absolutely amazing and showed their experience throughout. The crew were also fantastic, and I felt free to ask any questions I had.”