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Croatia & Slovenia


This adventure bounds from the Gothic monuments of Split, through the pristine scenery of Plitvice Lakes National Park and ancient streets of Old Town Zadar, then on to Zagreb. After leaving the Dalmatian coastline, cross into Slovenia to discover the enchanting surrounds of Bled. This jam-packed journey offers lush forest hikes, breathtaking landscapes, medieval architecture and scrumptious food along with a good insight into the ancient Croatian and Slovenian culture.

8 days, from

$1,826

per person

GROUP SIZE

12 people max

ACTIVITY LEVEL

 
2
Trip code: ZMSY
Style: Original
Theme: Explorer

Details

Countries Visited:  Croatia Slovenia
Accommodation: Hotel (4 nights), Guesthouse (1 night), Pension (2 nights)
Transportation: Public bus , Private vehicle , Taxi
Included Meals:

  • 6 breakfasts

Group size: Minimum 1, Max 12

  • Explore beautiful Split, a haven of relaxation and culture where tradition, modernity and a variety of European influences come together. Unwind with a walk along the waterfront promenade and explore the impressive ruins of Diocletian's Palace.

  • Feel the rich heritage of the former capital of Dalmatia with each step on the marble streets of Zadar, and visit a local nunery and learn about their work on the farm.

  • Explore Zagreb and Ljubljana, capitals of Croatia and Slovenia, relax in their extensive green spaces and experience their lively culture.

  • Stroll through Plitvice Lakes National Park, marvelling at luminous lakes and waterfalls that seem to have been sketched by an artist.

  • Explore the Slovenian town of Bled - an active paradise, the beautiful town lies on a stunning lake at the edge of the Julian Alps with an island church that appears to have come straight out of a fairytale.

Itinerary

Show Full Itinerary

Day 1: Split

Dobro Dosli! Welcome to Croatia. If Dubrovnik is considered the heart of Dalmatia, Split is certainly its soul. Situated on a small peninsula on the eastern shores of the Adriatic Sea, it's the second largest city in Croatia. Split grew out from Diocletian's Palace and you can almost see it evolving in a multitude of different ways right before your eyes. Some cultures might have made the palace a museum, but the city of Split has always been a dynamic, vibrant place and the palace houses many businesses as well as being home to locals. After the group meeting, perhaps head out for your first taste of Dalmatian cuisine with the group.

Day 2: Zadar

This morning, you'll travel by local bus northwest to Zadar. For centuries Zadar was the capital city of Dalmatia, and the city's rich heritage is visible at every step. An important coastal town, the musical steps of the ‘Sea Organ’ on Zadar's waterfront express its important relationship with the sea. Trace marble streets through the Old Town and discover Roman ruins in amongst medieval churches. Enjoy some local food and drinks in a city that’s home to a vibrant café culture. Zadarsko pivo is a light beer with a very pleasant taste, just a little bit bitter, with a rich flavour. Afterwards, perhaps treat yourself to a gourmet meal at a contemporary Croatian restaurant. Try lamb in red wine, 'njoki' with Dalmatian ham and rocket salad, or opt for the popular choice of fresh fish: tuna carpaccio or a fillet in scampi sauce. Also try the famous liqueur, Maraskino, made from locally-grown maraschino cherries according to a centuries' old secret recipe. This unique drink was a favourite at European imperial and royal courts and has been produced in Zadar since 1821.

Day 3: Zadar

Head out of the city this morning and enjoy a special experience meeting with the local Benedictine nuns on a visit to their nunnery and their farm. You'll get a chance to connect with them and learn about their way of life in the nunnery and on the farm. You'll even get the opportunity to taste test the preserves and pickles they make on the farm. After some time to explore and meet the locals, you'll head back to Zadar in the afternoon and enjoy free time in this charming and vibrant city.

Day 4: Plitvice Lakes National Park

Take a drive inland and travel north to your next base of Grabovac. Here, you’ll visit Plitvice Lakes National Park, a misty Eden of endless waterfalls and spectral blue lakes. Fed by the Bijela and Crna (White and Black) Rivers, the waters tumble from a high, tree-lined ridge down through the valley and skirt dense forests of beech, spruce and pine. A series of wooden walkways pass over the landscape, ensuring there’s little impact upon the park. Sixteen stunning turquoise lakes, fed by underground springs, are split into the upper and lower lakes. The upper are in the dolomite cliffs, where rushing water weaves in and out of the karst, dropping dramatically down to the lower lakes, with enchanting forests, grottoes and steep cliffs. This interplay of water, rock, and plant-life creates a wondrous, dynamic landscape, changing the water colour from azure to bright green, deep blue to grey. Look to the canopy for over 120 species of birds, including hawks and owls. The butterflies that hover through the trees transform the park into a riot of colour in the autumn. Even amongst this pristine natural beauty, the Plitvice Lakes are shadowed by the region's history. The 1991 civil war erupted here after rebel Serbs took control of the park's headquarters, holding the park for the duration of the war and devastating infrastructure, though thankfully leaving the natural landscape intact.

Day 5: Zagreb

Continue to Croatia’s capital and largest city, Zagreb. Full of parks and squares, Zagreb is a laid-back place, proud of its coffee culture and the perfect spot to simply wander. Follow your leader on an orientation walk upon arrival and then enjoy some free time for the rest of your day here. Maybe join in one of the many free walking tours in the city and engage with a local here to learn about their daily life, or browse the city’s stunning architecture from neo-baroque to gothic and more. You could check out Tkalciceva Street’s lively social scene, or head up Medvednica Mountain where the views stretch as far as neighboring Slovenia on a clear day. To live like a local, may be head to Zagreb’s open-air markets where you’ll find all kinds of fresh vegetables, nuts, honey and liqueurs. With plenty of things to do and sights to see in this city, your choices for today are endless.

Day 6: Ljubljana/ Bled

This morning, take the train and cross the border to Ljubljana first. One of the smallest capital in Europe, Ljubljana makes up by being one of the greenest and vibrant city in Europe.Follow your leader on an orientation walk here and then take the funicular up to Ljubljana Castle where you'll have a great view of the city. After some time here, take a local public bus and continue to Bled, situated on the stunning lake of the same name. Take in the mountainous backdrop, lake, and impressive cliff-top fortress, which all combine to make this a wonderful place to visit. There are many outdoor activities to get the blood pumping in Bled: rafting, caving, canoeing and swimming, to name a few.

Day 7: Bled

This morning embark on a walk around beautiful Lake Bled with your leader. This scenic walk passes some impressive villas, mostly from the beginning of the 19th century, including the residence of the former Yugoslav president 'Marshal' Tito – today the Hotel Vila Bled. The rest of the day is free for you to explore all that Bled and the surrounding area has to offer. If you’re feeling active, consider riding out to Vintgar Gorge (4 kilometres) and walk through the natural canyon. Bled is renowned for its mild, healing climate and thermal lake water. Maybe head to the 100 metre high cliff-top Old Bled Castle, dating from the 11th century and overlooking sparkling Lake Bled, then take a Pletna boat ride (a wooden, awning-covered boat rowed by a special oarsman) to the island on Lake Bled – climb up the 99 steps to St Mary's Church and ring the wishing bell. Be sure to seek out the famous Bled cream cake, which isn’t hard; nearly every cafe and cake shop in town claims that theirs is the best. You might even consider doing a day trip to nearby Ljubljana, Slovenia's compact yet cosmopolitan capital city. Then, why not celebrate the end of a remarkable journey with a final group meal.

Day 8: Bled

There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time. As there is so much to see and do in Bled and the surrounding mountains you may want to consider extending your trip and stay longer in Bled. We are able to book additional accommodation for you, subject to availability. Please enquire at the time of booking.