Croatia and Slovenia
Treasures of the Adriatic
Dubrovnik ... Trogir ... Split ... Zadar ... Zagreb ...
Ljubljana ... Lake Bled ... Venice
Day One – US Departure
Day Two – Dubrovnik: After connecting in a gateway city, we arrive in Dubrovnik and are greeted by our tour manager and coach driver. As we motor to our hotel, we will be oriented to our visit.
Day Three – Dubrovnik: Founded as the Republic of Ragusa, Dubrovnik survived as a city-state the ambitions of both Venetians and Turks through the centuries. It was a natural disaster, the earthquake of 1667, which resulted in the creation of the old city we see today. Following breakfast, our morning sightseeing tour includes the Franciscan Monastery with Europe’s third oldest pharmacy, the Rector’s Palace and the Cathedral. The afternoon and evening are free for sightseeing and shopping.
Day Four – Dubrovnik / Trogir / Split: This morning we will depart Dubrovnik to drive the spectacular Dalmatian Coast en route to Split. We will visit Trogir, almost perfectly preserved as a mediaeval town under Venetian influence for almost four centuries before arriving in Split for our overnight.
Day Five – Split: Today the second largest city and most important port of Croatia, the old town of Split developed essentially out of one building, the Palace of the Roman Emperor Diocletian, who retired to his native Dalmatia in 305 AD. Future generations, settlers and invaders remodeled and adapted the buildings for more than one thousand years and today the boundaries of the Palace still house the city’s Cathedral, Baptistery, mediaeval dwellings and modern shops and cafes, as well as remains of the Palace itself. Our morning city tour will explore this vibrant city, with the remainder of the day for individual pursuits – perhaps take a ferry to explore one of the nearby islands of Brac or Hvar.
Day Six – Split / Zadar: This morning our journey bears witness to the vast natural contrasts in this small country, as we travel along the spectacular coastline, where the mountains sweep dramatically down to the sea and out to the islands. In the early afternoon we will arrive in Zadar to explore its rich culture and history, from Roman foundations through 400 years of Venetian domination. Our walking tour of the compact old town will include the Forum and St. Donatus Church, after which there will perhaps be time to try the world famous cherry liqueur Zadar Maraschino, before we check into our hotel for our overnight.
Day Seven - Zadar / Plitvice Lakes / Zagreb: This morning we will depart the Dalmatian coast, to enjoy some of Croatia’s most pastoral inland scenery. We will take time to visit the highlight of the Plitvice National Park, a series of 16 natural lakes linked by waterfalls and cascades, whose waters glisten turquoise from the distance. With justification the region is considered to offer the most captivating scenery in the country. In the early evening, we will arrive in the Croatian capital of Zagreb for dour overnight.
Day Eight - Zagreb / Ljubljana: Following breakfast this morning, we will enjoy our city tour of this fascinating city with our local guide, including the fortified Upper Town, the city’s historical center, St. Mark’s Church with its multi-coloured roof, the Cathedral, the Croatian National Theatre and the University. Following free time for lunch and shopping, we will depart Zagreb in the middle of the afternoon and drive to the Slovene border. We will arrive in Ljubljna in the early evening for our overnight.
Day Nine – Ljubljana (Bled Excursion): This morning’s tour of Ljubljana explores the long history of a city dating back to Roman times. Dominated by its 500 year old fortress and almost surrounded by its river, the city’s picturesque location is enhanced by its unique mix of Baroque and Art Nouveau architecture. We will see the Cathedral of St. Nicholas, Opera House, the Dragon Bridge, the colourful Central Market Square and take the funicular train up to the Castle. There will be time for lunch before we drive the short distance to Lake Bled, the only lake in Slovenia. Here we will enjoy the spectacular Alpine scenery, with the majesty of the mountains reflected in the thermal waters of the lake, before returning to Ljubljana for an evening at leisure.
Day Ten – Ljubljana / Lipica / Skocjan Caves / Venice: This morning we will leave Ljubljana to begin our intensive experience of Slovenia’s history, culture and natural landscape. We will visit the tiny village of Lipica, original home of the Lipizzaner horses of the Spanish Riding School in Vienna. Depending on the time of year, as well as visiting the horses in their natural surroundings, we will enjoy the unique experience of watching a performance of the ‘dancing’ stallions. In the afternoon we will experience the unique natural phenomenon of the Skocjan Caves, regarded as the highlight of any visit to the region. Created by underwater rivers eroding the limestone rock each of the caves is more spectacular and fantastical than the one before, an exotic jungle of stalactites and stalagmites. Later we will cross into Italy and in the early evening we will arrive in Venice/Mestre for our overnight.
Day Eleven - Venice: This morning we will board a motor launch and travel through the canals to the islands of Venice. Our walking tour will include St. Mark’s Basilica, a visit of one of the glass factories, for which the city is so famous, and views of the Doge’s Palace and Bridge of Sighs. After free time for lunch and shopping, we will enjoy our farewell dinner in one of the local restaurants, before returning to the mainland for our final overnight.
Day Twelve – Venice / USA: This morning we begin our journey home.