Legend has it a Greek god was flying around carrying a bag of diamonds. The bag broke, and the stones scattered – creating what's now the 1,186 islands and reefs dotting the Adriatic Sea off the Dalmatian coast.
Fast-forward to today, and the gems of the Adriatic are packed with all kinds of tourists, from hikers and overnight backpackers to visitors stopping by for a few hours of yoga exercises. Others will soon be there on what's billed as “The Most Unusual Biking Tours” in which passengers will hop off small cruise boats to spend a good part of the day cycling around the islands past the ruins of Roman cities, Greek statues and medieval forts.
Offered by global tour operator Mediterra, the cycling cruises are slated to start island-hopping on Saturdays from early April through October, 2013. Each of the seven-night tours will leave from the Croatian city of Split on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean and stop at these seven spots in the Dalmatians: Brac, Hvar, Korcula (said to be the birthplace of Marco Polo), Mijet, Peljesac (where Zinfandel wines originated), Makarska and Omis.
Traditional Mediterranean gullets and other small ships with up to 20 cabins will be used for the cruise-and-cycle tours and for a half-dozen other types of cruises scheduled by Mediterra in the area.
Prices for the cycling tour start at $1,995 per person, double occupancy, including two meals a day and bikes. Passengers who bring their own bikes receive a $100 credit.
Getting there: International flights from New York-JFK, Chicago-O'Hare, Atlanta, and other major U.S. gateways land at European hubs such as Frankfurt, Munich and Istanbul, from which domestic flights continue to Split.