Senior travel in 2019 is great and booming. But while hotels and resorts offer more and more yoga and health, meditation and yoga holidays, some elderly prefer to go on an active holiday and enjoy nature hikes, mountain climbing, and even canoe trips, discovering what Europe has to offer from a different perspective.
Senior Holidays in Europe
other Balkan countries for great food, go and visit some of our previous blogs. But if you want to treat yourself well, and allow your body to relax on holiday while giving it enough active time, keep reading and learn what great Balkan destinations to visit and add to your South-Eastern Europe bucket list when going on winter or spring holidays 2019. CuddlyNest put up an itinerary for your active, adventurous, and yet not too much physically demanding holidays – and we are sure you would love to get some relaxation time with SPA and beauty retreats in between!
Balkan and Greece Itinerary Plan for Active Seniors
Balkan and Greece itinerary is a great option if you are looking for a laid-back travel destination country and want to go somewhere you’ve never been before. From Croatia to Montenegro, from Greece to Albania, there are well-known and popular destinations as well as harder to reach, much more rural and even abandoned nature-only places.
- Split, Croatia
- Brac Island, Croatia
- Pasjača Beach, Croatia
- Vranjina, Montenegro
- Locven and Skadar Lake National Parks, Montenegro
- Durrës, Albania
- Sarandë, Albania
- Corfu, Greece
- Patras, Greece
Split, Croatia Best SPA and Nearby Beaches
While Split is the capital of Croatia and one of the best-connected cities in the region, there is not much nature around the city, apart from the very well-kept white sandy beach. To relax and care for your health, we recommend staying at SPA apartments and enjoy the Split hospitality for very affordable prices.
There is a SPA and wellness centre also in Divota Apartment hotel, where private studio apartments in Veli Varos District just 5 minutes from the UNESCO-listed Diocletian’s Palace and the Riva seaside Promenade. The rooms have access to massages and SPA and wellness centres.
If you are more into hotels than private apartments, Hotel Park Split has a seasonal outdoor pool, and couped with SPA and wellness centre Filomena Priska Spa on its underground floor. The center includes a hot tub, sauna and even a gym! Located on one of the Split’ s most famous beaches Bacvice, it is Make sure to try out their 19th century inspired massages, facial and body treatments, as well as services like waxing, manicure and pedicures.
Makarska, Sumartin and Brac Island
To truly enjoy the wild spirit and sense the Split itself, you must dive into island-hopping even if only for a short time. From Split, you can travel to Makarska, a nearby town just a 1-hour ride away. Makarska is known for its Riviera beaches, and seafront promenade, but to get to less crowded and wilder beaches, we suggest visiting Kačić Square and then continuing to port and getting on a ferry to Brač island.
How to get to Makarska
To get to Makarska, get on a Promet Makarska bus. It will take a little over 1 hour from Split to Makarska. Get your tickets at the bus station, but check the schedule or if you wish to, then book your tickets on their website. The bus goes hourly from 5 am to 10.30 pm daily, and you can get a ticket for 50 HRR, approximately €7.
Sumartin and Brac.
Sumartin and Brač Island are an old and scarcely populated island. Sumartin village is the youngest town on the island, homing around 500 people only. Established in the 17th century, the town comprises Fraciscian monastery, and some other religious buildings, among old farmhouses. When visiting Brac island, take it slowly and enjoy the local wines, food, and other . If you earlier visited Split and saw the UNESCO inscribed Diocletian palace. Built for Emperor around 4 AD, today it forms around half of Split old town. If you wonder where the material for the magnificent building was taken, then it is just there, in Brac. Near Supertar, there were dolomite Rasohe quarry, in which slaves worked day and night to gather material for the palace. Still today, you can see a small engraving – the legend says the picture was engraved by slaves asking for guidance and strength to Hercules, the Roman hero famous for strenht and other features. When visiting Splitska, Smartin and other places in Barc, you can rent a bike to get around the island faster.
There are also several SPA resorts and nature and eco-travel guest houses offered for staying at and enjoying your holidays in a laid-back, natural atmosphere on this Croatian island.
Makarska to Brač Island ferry
To get from Makarska to Sumartin, you can take a ferry by Jardolinija route 638. The service runs 3 times a day in the off-season, 4 times a day in June and September, and 5 times a day in July and August. The ferry costs 30 HKR for an adult, but you can check more precise ticket information here.
Best Beach in 2019: Visit Croatia Pasjača Beach
If you are keen to see one of the wild beaches compromising both white sand, pristine blue water and even some cliffs, then look for it no more and head to the now-famous Pasjaca beach. It was claimed to be the best beach in the world in 2019, sporting the 1st place and ranking above the world-famous beaches of Spain and Greece. If you can catch both, we also suggest going to Nugal beach just to see what the hype is about.
As for the origins of the beach, it is not exactly a natural beach, as you may expect. Developed from a symbiosis of man and nature, the origins of the Pasjac (or Popovic) beach date back to 1955 when there was a tunnel constructed, leading to the sea. Workers left the excavated rocks just there, and in a few years, the waves crashed against to fill the shore with white sand at the bottom of the majestic cliffs on Konavile. Today, you can, therefore, see both white sand and cliff shore watered by the blue Medditarea sea water.
How to get from Brac to Pasjaca
To get from Brac island to Pasjaca, the easiest way is to go from Supertar to Split by ferry, and then take a bus from Split to Popovic. The whole trip will take around 4 hours, and cost from €31. The bus route is not going by the seaside but is surely a picturesque journey, taking you through the mountainous region of Dio Kanjona Rijeke Cetine, the Dio Canion of the river Cetina.
Bay of Kotori, Montenegro
To continue your road trip, you can head to the nearby Cavtat caostal town to rent a car and go further on your own into the nature parks of Montenegro. The car drive from Cavtat to Kostanjica in Kotor, just by the Bay of Kotor in Montenegro will take you no more than a 1-hour drive, and the road is simply beautiful, with flat and landscape, small road going through the coastal towns. If you are not in a rush, definitely stop at Igalo Игало in Montenegro, take a dip in the water at Tople, walk the promenade and see the Old Škver Harbor, before heading to Kamenari passing Savina Monastery in Herceg-Novi, on the way overseeing the most beautiful bay in Montenegro, Boka Kortska.
Cavtat Car Rental
Renting a car at Cavtat Croatia will not cost you a fortune. While some car companies allow you to drop a car off at your hotel in Cavtat for free and renting within Croatia will be around £54 for an economy car but you would have to pay €40 to take it into Montenegro. Axa rental service offers the prepayment to be around £21 for the excess, while for other companies, like iCrahire, it would cost 45 Euros for the green card to take it out of Croatia. There is also another cost you must take into account, hence the insurance To reduce the insurance to zero, you can use iCarhire and reduce the 1500 euro excess to £20 for the week to reduce it to zero. However, the company will still need your card to reserve the insured amount, and 15 euros to reduce the excess. All in all, you will hardly spend over 100 euros for a week of car rental, and the money will get you much further than taking buses. However, we only suggest booking a car after going to the islands, as ferry fees can quickly add up if you want to take your car with you.
Ferry from Kamenari to Lepetani
To get from Kamenari to Lepetani by car, you cannot take a ferry or ride the walking bridge connecting Kamenari to Lepetani. Instead, you shall ride all the way the scenic route by the inner part of the bay, and going through Dobrota and Kotor towns. Whilst on the road, we recommend also take a chance and enjoy the local cuisine, and get some of the best Montenegro food, ordering either the tasty fish soup or squid-ink-colored black risotto at one of the restaurants in the towns.
Lovcen National Park, Montenegro
Visit Lovcen National Park, Montenegro
Visiting Lovcen National Park is a must if you want to wind off and just enjoy the wild beauty of Montenegro. From weeklong meditation retreats on your own in the 62 km2 area in the central highest part of the mount Lovcen, to wandering the historical buildings, farmhouses and village guvnas, cottages in katuns and more man-made but integrated spaces. The mountainous region is popular with tourists but less so in September and October season. The best time to camp here in July and August, but for a digital recharge, or off-grid life for a few days to relax your senses and get back the health, you may also visit the park in the shoulder season.
Lovcen National Park Practical Information: Entrance Fees and Accommodation
To enter the National park, you must buy a ticket for £2, but the entrance for children under 7 years old is free. You can also camp here, with your tent or camper. Sleeping in nature will cost you 10€ while there are also several hotels located within the nature park, hence Hotel Ivanov Konak ad Hotel Monte Rosa. The former one also has a bicycle and car rental for your convenience.
Skadar Lake National Park in Montenegro
After taking time in Cetinje in Lovcen National Park, you can drive further to either Podgorica and Budva, to visit either the capital or one of the best-rated resort towns in Montenegro. However, you can just continue along the road M23 from Centinje t Podgorica, and take a turn at Meterizi, turning onto a small countryside road going to Skadar. Skadar is well known for its nature, and the lake feels untouched by men.
If you wish to deep dive into nature and relax, then gong for birdwatching either alone equipped with a book and binocular, or in an organized tour, you can spot all kinds of birds all season long. As for other activities, like boat rides, you can relax taking a sunset ride into the beautiful lake.
Before coming to the lake itself, you will pass by the Rijeka Crnojevića, Ријека Црнојевића. To take the most from the local cuisine, we suggest having lunch with the local scallops in the Old Bridge Restaurant, alternatively heading to the nearby Šinđon and get some lake fresh food fro the Eko Restaurant Šinđon.
Balkan Itinerary: Visit Virpazar
Virpazar is one of the smallest villages around the lake, at the same time offering one of the best options for winding off, taking a break from city life and enjoying yoga retreat, off-grid life, and fresh air all day, all night. With a population of a little over 300 inhabitants, both Serbs and Montenegrins, the village is the perfect place to escape the city buzz. When bored, you can climb up the Besac Castle which is open every day and watch the lake from up.
The Balkan nature itinerary will be continued by a trip to Albania and rural Greek islands.