Amazing architecture from Roman glories to Baroque splendor. Natural beauty from the sparkling turquoise waters of the Adriatic to the Alpine scenery of Slovenia. Beautiful lakes, stunning coastal scenery, vineyards & fresh seafood. Villages lost in time, walled cities and bustling ports and winding cobblestone streets that beckon and beguile with restaurants and shops…are all not to be missed. These are the Gems of the Adriatic.
Day 1 - Depart for Zagreb, Croatia
Arrive at the airport for our overnight flight to Zagreb, Croatia, a country that George Bernard Shaw christened “Paradise on Earth.” It is a country with some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, the world’s most atmospheric Roman ruin, one of its finest amphitheaters, exceptional food, great wines, and richly historic cities that you never thought to visit.
Day 2 - Arrive Zagreb
Arrive in Zagreb and meet our personal driver who will bring us to our accommodations for the evening. Here, we will have a welcome dinner, followed by a free evening to enjoy the city or relax. Zagreb is a charming city with a laid-back vibe and a strong coffee culture. (D)
Day 3 - Zagreb - Ljubljana, Slovenia
After breakfast, we will check out of our hotel and meet our local guide for a city tour of Zagreb, the capital and largest city in Croatia. It’s distinguished by its 18th and 19th century Austro-Hungarian architecture. At its center, Upper Town is the most romantic part of the city as well as the oldest. It has many historical landmarks, including remains of town walls dating to the medieval period, secret passages, small museums, art galleries, and bars. After the tour, you will have free time to explore the town before departing for Ljubljana, Slovenia where we will overnight for two nights. Tonight, we enjoy dinner at a local restaurant with fresh, traditional cuisine. (B, D)
Day 4 - Ljubljana - Bled
Following breakfast, we travel to Bled, a resort town nestled in the Julian Alps, which is often mentioned as “The Pearl” of the Alpine region. Beautifully situated in the middle of Lake Bled, amid its emerald-green waters, is the Church of the Assumption of Mary. The 11th-century Bled Castle is perched on a cliff high above the lake and is the oldest in Slovenia.
Our guided tour today includes a traditional ride in a wooden boat called a Pletna to Bled Island, and admission to the Church of Mary and Bled Castle. After, we will return to Ljubljana for a guided tour of this colorful, compact and charming city. Don’t miss a photo op at the Dragon Bridge that is adorned with fierce dragons, the mascot of the city. (B)
Day 5 - Ljubljana - Postojna Cave - Opatija, Croatia
This morning, after breakfast at our hotel, our adventures continue into the southwestern part of Slovenia, to the region of Kras. It is a land of rare beauty, secret underground waters and caves, a special climate, and scarce vegetation. The biggest Slovenian cave is called Postojna. Today, we will be taking a ride on the underground train and enjoying the world’s only double-track cave railway. *Please note, the cave has a constant temperature of 50 degrees, to make sure you are not cold, you should wear suitable footwear and a jacket.*
We continue to Opatija, a favorite destination of the Viennese elite during the Hapsburg Empire and check into our hotel. (B, D)
Day 6 - Opatija - Rovinj - Motovun
After breakfast, we travel to Rovinj located on the Istrian Peninsula. Rovinj is romantic, historic, and looks and feels more Italian than Croatian. To get the lay of the land we start our day with a guided tour of the city through its meandering cobblestone streets, colorful alleys, Venetian-style houses, interesting courtyards, art galleries and more.
Leaving Rovinj we head to Motovun, a small medieval hill town nestled atop a 900-foot hill overlooking the Mirna River Valley. Motovun is also a foodie hotspot with the largest truffle in the world found here in 1999! A highlight today is to delve into the deep, dark, damp Motovun Forest that surrounds the town to search with the experts for hidden treasure…truffles! We will have the rare experience to see a demonstration on how locals search for truffles with trained dogs, followed by a tasting! Afterward, we will have a guided tour of the medieval-like village of Motovun. This evening, we will return to our hotel in Opatija. (B)
Day 7 - Opatija - Plitvice Lakes National Park
Our day starts after breakfast, as we head off to Plitvice Lakes. Situated in a thick forest, Plitvice Lakes are considered one of the most beautiful natural phenomena in the world. Sixteen lakes are joined by 92 waterfalls created by the sedimentation of travertine, that cascade through this unspoiled landscape. Dense forests of beech, fir, and spruce surround the park; there are also flowering meadows, springs, and caves. The brown bear is one of the many protected animals here. Plitvice Lakes was declared a National Park in 1949, and since 1979, this area has been on the UNESCO’s List of World Natural Heritage Sites. (B,L,D)
Day 8 - Plitvice Lakes National Park - Split
Today, our travels bring us to the city of Split, straddling a peninsula at the foot of the Marjan hill amid the backdrop of the Kozjak and Mosor mountains. It is the second-largest city in Croatia and an urban and cultural center at the crossroads of Dalmatia. After settling in enjoy free time before our city tour, lunch, and sightseeing. As we wander through the cellars and gardens, we’ll get a chance to see several ancient artifacts, and several areas still under excavation. (B)
Day 9 - Split - Pelješac - Dubrovnik
After breakfast, we drive along the Pelješac Peninsula famed for its rugged coastline, pebble beaches, sleepy villages, saltpans, wine, and seafood- namely oysters. Our destination today is the somnolent village of Ston surrounded by its spectacular 14th-century city walls, considered to be the second-longest in the world and dubbed, “European Great Wall.” The Pelješac Peninsula is known as the Oyster Capital of Croatia. On today’s adventure, we will go on a boat ride to a local Oyster Farm. While onboard, we will have an Oyster Tasting, with a glass of local wine.
This afternoon, we say goodbye to Ston and head to Dubrovnik for the evening where we will check into our hotel. This evening we will have dinner at the hotel and share the experiences of the day. (B, D)
Day 10 - Dubrovnik
Our day starts after breakfast when we meet our local guide for our city tour of Dubrovnik, listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site since 1979. This wonderfully preserved city is encircled by powerful walls and fortresses that encompass Old Town’s beautifully preserved blend of architecture. Highlights of Old Town also include the Franciscan Monastery constructed in 1317, the 14th-century Lovrijenac Fortress, the Old Town Port, and the Dubrovnik Cathedral. After the tour, we have the afternoon and evening on our own to explore the treasures of this magnificent city. (B)
Day 11 - Dubrovnik
After breakfast, you will have the day to explore all the wonders Dubrovnik has to offer. You can tour the many local forts and palaces, spend the day at one of the many beaches, take the cable car up above the Old Town, a boat ride to the Island of Lokrum, or sit back and enjoy some local cuisine. The possibilities are endless in this magical city! In the evening, we will have a farewell dinner at a local restaurant with traditional music. (B, D)
Day 12 - Depart Dubrovnik
Today we say goodbye to the wonders of Croatia and Slovenia and to the new friends we have made and to the adventures that we have had. Breakfast is included this morning before we depart to the airport. (B)