Natural Beauty and Old World Charm in Croatia and Slovenia
We’ve paired up these two countries on the Adriatic Sea to create a spectacular travel experience. Both Croatia and Slovenia offer stunning examples of both natural beauty and Old World Charm. Jaw-dropping waterways painted deep blue and emerald green, delicious local food, outdoor recreation opportunities, and a culture steeped in history make this an unforgettable tour.
- Stroll or hike your way through Plitvice National Park’s forested reserve that features 16 crystal blue terraced lakes linked by innumerable waterfalls.
- Enjoy the quiet serenity and the breathtaking beauty of the Soca River Valley nestled in the Julian Alps.
- Taste and learn about Istria’s exquisite wines, meats, cheeses, and produce from the small, local farmers and growers who craft them.
- Take an evening cruise and watch the sun set over the Adriatic.
- Walk Ljubljana’s quaint and vibrant downtown, or see it from above with a visit to the historic castle that overlooks Slovenia’s city center.
- Take a field trip to learn about WWI from the original trenches.
- Discover the magic of picture-perfect Lake Bled.
Day 1 – Welcome to Croatia. Dobrodošli!
Arrive in Zagreb, the capital city of Croatia, and take a private transfer to your hotel. Then join your local guide, an expert in culture and history, on a walking tour. Discover the city’s unique Austro-Hungarian architecture and the cobblestoned streets of Upper Town. Later in the afternoon, you’ll be given the opportunity to explore on your own. Shop for crafts or souvenirs, visit a museum, ride the shortest funicular railway in the world, or sample fresh foods from the renowned Dolac Farmer’s Market.
Day 2 – Zagreb
There’s no better place to learn about Croatia’s history and culture than Zagreb’s most beloved and noteworthy landmarks: Mirgoj. More than just a cemetery, it’s an open-air art gallery filled with admired architecture, landscape, and sculpture. Through a detailed tour of the cemetery, the story of Croatia unfolds. After a late lunch, enjoy private transfer to the region around Plitvice Lakes National Park.
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Day 3 – Plitvicka to Pula
Bring your camera along to capture some of the most spectacular natural views you will experience in your lifetime! Wind your way through a limestone canyon and sixteen crystal clear, terraced lakes connected by innumerable waterfalls in Plitvice National Park. For much of this light hike you’ll be “walking on water” via an innovative and extensive wooden trail system.
After lunch travel to the Croatian city of Pula and check in to your hotel. Enjoy the evening exploring this destination known for its mild climate, ancient Roman architecture, and views of the turquoise waters of the Adriatic.
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Day 4 – Pula to Rovinj
Tour Pula’s well-preserved Roman amphitheater with your guide. The amphitheater was built between 27 BC – 68 AD and resembles its famous counterpart, the Coliseum in Rome. Today, this arena is still being used as an event venue for concerts, cinematic productions, and even ice hockey games!
Travel further to Rovinj, Croatia and enjoy the squares of Old Town, Punta Corrente’s beautiful green space, and the Saint Euphemia Cathedral.
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Day 5 – Istria’s Olive Oils and Artisans
The first known writings about Istria reference its most important regional product—olive oil. Visit an award winning local olive oil producer and learn how this “liquid gold” is extracted from olives and used for cooking, body care products, and medication. Sample a variety of flavors and discover which olive oil should be used in different dishes.
In the afternoon, visit the art colony of Grožnjan-Grisignana, a small Istrian town of great cultural significance and irresistible charm. Groznjan sits atop a hill with spectacular views over the Mirna valley. This castle town has only 100 inhabitants but is home to over 30 art galleries and specialty food shops. Eat lunch, stroll the streets, read about the history, and shop.
Enjoy free time in Rovinj. Consider renting a bike or take a sunset cruise on the Adriatic.
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Day 6 – Kras Wine Country
Wake up early to view the sunrise and watch the fishing boats come in with their catch of the day. After breakfast, travel to Kobarid. Along the way, visit the home of a family involved in the winemaking business. Learn about the process of making Teran, a wine produced uniquely in this microclimate of the Kras region of Slovenia. Eat a delicious traditional meal prepared by your host.
Travel to Kobarid, Slovenia.
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Day 7 – Kobarid – The Outdoor Enthusiast’s Paradise
Learn about Slovenia’s long tradition of beekeeping from a local expert. Experience the entire process of honey making from the hive to the drippy, sticky deliciousness!
After a lunch of artisan wood oven pizza, hike along the Soca River and the Kozjak brook that feeds into it. The trail ends at one of the most picturesque waterfalls in all of Slovenia.
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Day 8 – War and Peace
Take a walk back in time to understand one of the key historical events that shaped the Soca River Valley and its people–World War I. Your guide, a history expert, will offer explanation and personal insights as you make your way through the WWI museum and then explore the well-preserved WWI trenches atop a nearby mountain. You’ll have views of the whole area that served as the theatre for the battles between the Italian and Austro-Hungarian forces. Enjoy the picturesque and serene setting with a picnic lunch. Return to the valley to watch the sun set from the WWI monument.
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Day 9 – Another Mountain Top Experience!
Today’s excursion will take you into a part of the Triglav National Park for a day at a small farm alpine village that few tourists get to see. Sit down for a drink with a hospitable local Tolmin Cheese producer and learn about how this cheese is crafted and why people reserve their wheels long before they are ready for purchase. Enjoy a comfortable and leisurely five-course lunch of local homemade dishes that include Tolmin as a central feature. On the way back to Kobarid, stop at the spectacular Tolmin gorge overlook. The rest of the afternoon and evening are for you to relax.
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Day 10 – Lake Bled
Walk through the Vintgar Gorge, a natural gorge carved by the Radovna River. The water is a translucent aqua color, so clear you can see trout swimming all along the way. At the end of this refreshing trail you will find the 26-meter Šum waterfall.
After a picnic lunch, check in to your hotel then head to Lake Bled to enjoy all the beauty and recreation this favorite location has to offer. A fairytale castle perched on an island in the middle of the lake can be reached by boat. An optional hike up to an overlook of the lake will also be available for those who are interested (moderate to strenuous).
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Day 11 – Lake Bohinj Park
Hike a forested path around stunning Lake Bohinj, the centerpiece of the park and Slovenia’s largest glacial lake. Take the Vogel Cable Car to see Triglav from above. If you are feeling particularly energetic, climb 500 stairs to get a view of the 78-meter high Savica waterfall. Discover the numerous other lakes, creeks and rivers that are scattered throughout the park. From there, travel on to Ljubljana.
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Day 12 – The National Capital of Ljubljana
Slovenia’s capital, Ljubljana, is a visitor’s dream. Pedestrian bridges, attractions in their own right, allow for easy movement over the Ljubljanica river – the central feature of this charming Old World European city. You’ll take an historic walking tour with your guide that concludes with a ride up the funicular to the famous Ljubljana castle on Castle Hill, offering a spectacular 360-degree overlook.
The remainder of the afternoon and evening are yours to discover something new or to revisit something you saw earlier in the day.
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Day 13 – Until we meet again – Zbogom
Enjoy and any last minute excursions into the city if time permits before transfer to Ljubljana’s Jože Pučnik Airport for your return flight home.
Includes 12 nights accommodations, all ground transportation, all breakfasts, 8 lunches, and 4 dinners and full private guide services. Excludes airfare.