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Take a scenic journey through Croatia and Slovenia on this 15-day tour from lively Dubrovnik to pristine Bled. Experience both history and nature at their best - from Roman ruins and walled cities to unspoilt beaches and rugged islands just off the Adriatic Coast. Quaff wine with locals in Korcula, delve into the ancient history of Split, hike through the Hvar hinterland and be swept up in the magic of Bled. Discover a wealth of European islands and architecture and lose yourself in the serenity of this charming and picturesque region.
Day 1: Dubrovnik
Dobro Dosli! Welcome to Croatia. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. You can arrive at any time during the day as there are no activities planned until this important meeting. Although it experienced devastation during the war in the early 1990s, Dubrovnik’s old town is the undisputed jewel of the Dalmatian Coast. With its tiled roofs and white stone buildings, the old town remains as charming as ever. Extensive restoration has taken place to return it to its original splendour, and even today repairs are still being undertaken. With the sparkling water of the Adriatic in the background, Dubrovnik is picturesque, full of character and can easily be covered on foot. If you do arrive early, why not head out to one of the Elafiti Islands? There's Lopud, a quiet island with lovely hikes, clean beaches and a ruined castle. Kolocep is a sleepy enclave that boasts walks for every fitness level and Sipan, which is the most populated of the isles and reputedly has the most hospitable inhabitants. Alternatively, you might choose to simply laze about on one of Dubrovnik's beaches and people-watch for hours.
Day 2: Dubrovnik
Today is a free day for you to enjoy all that Dubrovnik has to offer. Enjoy views of the sea from the 2-kilometre-long city walls surrounding the town. Visit Big Onofrio's Fountain, a masterpiece built by famous European architect Onofrio della Cava. This 15th-century landmark was built to supply water to the city, flowing from the spigots into the collection trough surrounding it. Be sure to check out the Franciscan monastery with one of the world's oldest, continuously functioning pharmacies, founded in the 13th century. If you still feel energetic after a day exploring the city you can take the switchbacks leading up Srd Hill behind Dubrovnik for spectacular views of the city and the Dalmatian coastline. Otherwise, the newly restored cable car can whisk you to the top in no time. The hill is topped by a castle of Napoleonic times, which now houses the Museum of the Croatian War of Independence.
Day 3: Peljesac Peninsula / Korcula Island
Journey to Korcula (approximately 4 hours). You will travel along the narrow and scenic Peljesac Peninsula to its very tip. The last stretch to Korcula will be done by car ferry. For the next two nights, stay with generous hosts – locals who rent out their rooms in the summer season. The rooms, while simple, are the best way to put money back into the local economy. In the evening perhaps head out to a local restaurant. Make sure you try the traditional Dalmatian meat loaf, or pasticada (traditional stewed beef), and some fresh grilled vegetables with olive oil, usually served with fresh goat and sheep cheeses, and maybe some smoked ham to tie it all together. Don't forget to have a bit of travarica (a grappa-like drink made with a herb called verbane) and some Korcula cakes for dessert.
Day 4: Mljet Island National Park / Korcula Island
Today, head on a day trip to the stunning Mljet Island. Mljet is Croatia’s greenest island, with a large section of the north western shores part of a national park. The island is well known for its two salt lakes – Veliko Jezero and Malo Jezero (big lake and small lake) – that are located at the north end of the island. With some of the clearest waters in the world, any of the Adriatic islands shimmer in the sunlight, but Mljet is extra special. Spend the day discovering its tiny towns dotted around the island, the weaving and winding coastline full of nature walks and scenic lookouts and, of course, the sandy beaches, tranquil inlets and turquoise blue shores calling out to be explored. Mljet is a little further away and less visited than the tourist hotspots of Brac and Hvar, so you’ll be able to stray away from the crowds and have this peaceful paradise to yourself. Head back to Korcula in the afternoon for a relaxing evening, hopefully full of delicious food and some great local wine.
Day 5: Hvar Island
A hydrofoil ferry takes you to the neighbouring island of Hvar (approximately 90 minutes). Beautiful Hvar has an air of Venice about it and is known as the 'Queen of the Dalmatian Islands'. Wander around a town with wonderfully preserved Renaissance facades, hike past dramatic jagged limestone cliffs and slow your pace to enjoy the undulating farms, fields of lavender and rosemary, and ancient olive groves. Upon arrival, get to know the town with an orientation walk. Later you may want to visit the 16th century Spanjola Fortress, from where spectacular views over town and this part of the Adriatic can be had. Feel the history when wandering the backstreets of quirky galleries and unique boutiques, watch the fishermen bring the day’s catch into the harbour, and chill out over a few cocktails in a waterside bar.
Day 6: Hvar Island
Today is a free day to explore this island at your leisure. Perhaps take a bus to the interior of Hvar Island where you can take a leisurely hike through the abandoned villages of Velo Grablje and Malo Grablje, gently descending all the way down to the sea at Milna Bay. On the way you can witness what remains of the typical Mediterranean life that flourished on the Croatian islands in the 18th and 19th centuries. Cool down in the shimmering waters upon arrival into the little town of Milna where the hike ends. Alternatively there are plenty of other options for exciting activities in town. Maybe take a short boat ride to the nearby Pakleni islands – largely uninhabited and often described as being among the most beautiful in the world. If you’re not feeling super energetic today, spend the day lounging at one of the island's many quiet beaches and enjoy a sunset stroll along the harbour promenade. In the evening head to Hora – a local farm-style restaurant, where you’ll have an included dinner in the surrounds of fields and farmland. It will be a relaxing night for your group.
Day 7: Split
Catch a boat to Split (approximately 1 hour). Situated on a small peninsula on the eastern shores of the Adriatic Sea, Split is the second largest city in Croatia. Join a local guide for a walking tour of this stunning seaside town and get to know its history. See the original and fantastically preserved basements under the city, as well as the Cathedral in Diocletian's Peristyle and Jupiter's Temple. Explore the impressive ruins of Diocletian's Palace – Split's most imposing structure and some of the most interesting ruins on the Adriatic coast. Portions of the Palace are over 1700 years old and there’s ample time to walk around. 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 Split is a dynamic and vibrant place, and now the palace houses many businesses and homes. If your feet get tired, why not grab a drink at a cafe on the Riva Promenade and people watch for a while? Be sure get your group together for a harbourside dinner – it’s time for more of a relax!
Day 8: Split
Take a full day to explore Split further. You might like to take a day trip to the surrounding area and visit the ancient Roman city of Salona, or the sleepy towns of Trogir or Sibenik. There will be a meeting at 6 pm to welcome any new travellers joining you on the next stage of your adventure. In the evening why not head out for some fresh seafood with your travel companions?
Day 9: Zadar
Travel by local bus northwest to Zadar (approximately 3 hours). 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 10: Pag Island / Zadar
Today embark on a full day trip to Pag Island (approximately 1 hour from Zadar). The karst island of Pag is home to sheep, and a determined group of islanders who wring themselves a living from the barren, rocky landscape. Settled in pre-Roman times, the island has been at the mercy of the shifting fortunes of various Dalmatian rulers, and today reminders of its prosperous salt-mining past are visible around the island. Explore the old town of Pag, or swim in one of the shallow coves near town that make Pag Island a popular destination for beachgoers. Meet a producer of the island's renowned paški sir – Pag cheese. Eaten sliced with black olives or ham, or grated and used instead of Parmesan, paški sir is salty with a sharp tangy flavour. This distinctive cheese comes from Pag Island's sheep, who roam the rocky island eating aromatic herbs and grass on slopes coated in salt deposits by strong sea winds. The milk is collected in May, left unpasteurised during fermentation, then rubbed with sea salt and olive oil and left to age anywhere from six months to a year. Indulge in some of the cheese along with some local wine. This is followed by lunch, which is usually lamb cooked under the bell, with a vegetarian option available also. Once back in Zadar perhaps visit the famous modern ‘Greeting to the Sun’ and the more ancient St. Donat`s Church and St. Anastasia’s Cathedral.
Day 11: Plitvice Lakes National Park
Take a drive inland and travel north to your next base of Grabovac (approximately 2 hours). 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. 16 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 12: Pula
Take the drive to Pula, the capital of the province of Istria (approximately 4 hours). A Roman amphitheatre, a wealth of architectural sights and a hedonistic bent make Pula a great place to catch a concert or sample some Istrian cuisine. Pula has a long history as a Roman citadel, a pirate target and a naval port, and today this regional and economic centre is powered by shipbuilding, textiles, metals and glass. On a free day, a wander through Pula's Old Town is like a step back in time to its heyday as a Roman regional administrative centre. Follow the Roman walls and pass through the Triumphal Arch of Sergius from 27 BC. On the pedestrianized streets of the Old Town, see the ancient Forum, whose sole remaining structure is the Temple of Augustus, rebuilt after almost total devastation in World War II. The Roman Amphitheatre is Pula's most impressive sight. Overlooking the harbour, it was built in the 1st century and designed to hold up to 20,000 spectators, who revelled in the bloodthirsty gladiatorial contests shown there. It’s a spectacular sight as the sun sets.
Day 13: Rovinj / Bled
Cross the border into Slovenia and travel into the Julian Alps to Bled (approximately 3.5 hours). En route, stop in the coastal gem of Rovinj, one of the best-kept towns on the Adriatic Coast. There will be time to wander the picturesque streets this morning, taking in colourful buildings and a splendid waterfront with a relaxed Mediterranean feel. Through the centuries, Rovinj’s character has enchanted many an artist or writer, including Jules Verne. Climb the campanile of Sv Euphemia Cathedral in the middle of the old town, or browse the stands of the daily open-air market for truffles, olive oil, seafood or fruit and vegetables. Alternatively, you may just want to find a spot for a cold drink and watch the world go by. After another short drive, arrive in 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 14: Bled
This morning embark on a walk around beautiful Lake Bled with your leader (approx 2 hours). 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 15: 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.
- Dubrovnik - Dubrovnik Card (1 day local transport and entry to sites)
- Dubrovnik - City Walls Walk
- Mljet Island - Day Trip to Mljet Island National Park
- Hvar Island - Dinner at Hora Farm Restaurant Stari Grad
- Split - City Walking Tour with Local Guide
- Split - Diocletian's Palace
- Pag Island - Visit to Cheese Maker with Cheese Degustation & Lunch
- Pag Island - Day Trip
- Plitvice Lakes - National Park Visit
- Pula - Roman Arena
- Bled - Walk around Lake Bled
5 Breakfast(s) Included
1 Lunch(es) Included
1 Dinner(s) Included
Question: How many suitcases can I take with me on my trip?
Question: Is Airfare Included in the Price?
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The trip was both both educational and exciting. I very much enjoyed the sights and culture.
The itinerary was just as I expected! The guide was very good as were the accomodations
Intrepid did such a great job. I never had to worry about where I was supposed to be and it felt so good not to worry about a thing but just to enjoy myself. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable about culture and history.
Taiwan people very friendly. Accommodation were centrally located and easily accessible. Did extra activities then in brochure which was greatly.
Larus our tour guide did an excellent job and was very attentive to our needs. He is very knowledgeable and has a great sense of humor.
Our guide Tarang chandola was exceptional. Courteous, knowledgeable, organized, polite, professional and went above and beyond taking care of our needs and requests offen anticipating what that might be. He made sure we all had the best possible time and offered suggestions to meet the needs of everyone on the tour. This made the trip even more enjoyable.
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