Travel through three beautiful countries on another fantastic journey designed by our favorite Italian countess, Alessandra Gardino. This unforgettable trip features the discovery of Croatia and Slovenia and also includes stops in fabulous Trieste and always incredible Venice. You will surely be surprised by the rich history of the destinations and sights that we have included in this special itinerary. The ancient Romans and the sophisticated doges of the Venetian Republic left important traces that we will discover together.
Fly from the US to Dubrovnik, Croatia. If you are booking our early arrival option, you will fly from the US to Dubrovnik on May 17 instead
You will be met at the airport on May 18 and taken to your hotel in Dubrovnik. You’ll be able to rest, start exploring the beautiful city of Dubrovnik and maybe do a little shopping before the official beginning of the trip on May 19.
Upon arrival you will be greeted at the airport and transferred to your beautiful and centrally located hotel. If you arrive one day earlier – and/or if your flight from the US takes you into Dubrovnik early enough, you will enjoy a walking tour of the city with a great local guide. In the late afternoon you will meet your fellow travelers and tour leader for a welcome talk and dinner together. Sleep in Dubrovnik, Hotel Dubrovnik Palace or similar.
We will spend the morning exploring Dubrovnik, “The Pearl of the Adriatic Sea”. This beautiful Maritime Republic – through the centuries, a worthy opponent of Venice – was able to preserve its independence for hundreds of years. After lunch, we will transfer to Orebic, where we will spend the next two nights. En route we'll stop to visit Ston and its awesome fortified walls. We will arrive in Orebic in the late afternoon in time to enjoy a beautiful sunset. Sleep in Orebic, Hotel Indijan or similar.
Today we'll enjoy a relaxed visit to the island of Korcula, that lies just off the Dalmatian cost. After a short, scenic, boat ride through the Srait of Peljesac, we'll reach the port of Korcula from where we'll start our exploration of its Venetian Renaissance heritage. According to local legend, Marco Polo was born here. From Marco Polo's alleged house of birth, you'll enjoy a breathtaking view of Korcula, stretching from east to west. After a tour of Korcula Old Town, and its splendid Gothic-Renaissance style Cathedral, you'll have lunch in a quaint restaurant. The afternoon is yours to enjoy the pristine beaches nearby. Sleep in Orebic, Hotel Indijan or similar.
This morning, we'll leave Orebic and head to our next destination: Split. On the way, we'll stop to visit beautiful Trogir. Called by many the “little Venice”, it hosts an extraordinary number of art masterpieces and it is arguably the best-preserved Venetian city on the Dalmatian coastline. After a short drive, we'll get into Split, home for the next two nights. This beautiful city was founded by the Ancient Greeks and then conquered by the Romans – and later become part of the Venetian Republic for more than 350 years. Sleep in Split, Hotel Cornaro or similar.
Today, is dedicated to exploring Split and visit the most important sites of the city, including the famed Palace of Diocletian (which is protected by UNESCO). In the afternoon, you'll have time to just relax or shop on your own. Sleep in Split, Hotel Cornaro or similar.
After leaving our hotel in Split, we'll dedicate the day to absorb the natural beauties of Plitvice National Park, which became a protected area in the 1940’s and a UNESCO site in the late 1970’s. We will see as much as we can of the 16 interconnected lakes and waterfalls which made this park so famous in Europe. We will also learn more about the bird and mammal species which populate the park from an informative nature guide, and weather permitting we will also enjoy a boat excursion on the lake. Sleep in Plitvicka Jezera.
After departure, we will make our way to the very charming settlement of Motovun before heading to nearby Piran. The mountain village of Motovun is very different from most of what we have visited up to now. Its medieval origin still exudes from the strong walls and cobble stone streets. The forests around the city are an incredible habitat for truffles – which will be the highlight of our lunch today, together with wine tasting at a family owned cellar! We'll get into Piran in the afternoon where you will have time to relax or start exploring the little shops and enjoy the beautiful seaside views. Sleep in Piran, Grand Hotel Bernardin or similar.
This morning we’ll make our way to visit a very special site, the Predjama Castle. Perched high on a cliff, it officially dates back to the 16th century but many believe it dates further back when it was the home of the robber knight “Erazem.” In the afternoon we will visit Lipica and learn more about the Lipizaner horse bread. If schedule allows it, we'll enjoy the performance of Lipica's riding school. We will spend the last part of our day relaxing in picturesque Piran. Sleep in Piran, Grand Hotel Bernardin or similar.
Our first destination this morning is Trieste (Italy) where a special visit to the Miramare Habsburg castle will be a real treat. This was the home of Maximilian of Habsburg before he was appointed Emperor of Mexico. All of this area, for a long time Venetian, became the Austro- Hungarian harbor and the Hapsburg empire's only opening to the sea. We will have a wine tasting and a late lunch at a family owned farm house, after a cooking class where we will learn about the traditional food and edible plants. The owners of this farm are very committed to their traditions and are always happy to introduce guests to their heritage. If you are interested we can view traditional clothing items, including the vintage wedding dresses of women of this area. We will then drive back to Piran. This quaint city is totally Venetian in feeling. Most likely founded by Celts, it was part of the Venetian Republic from the 1200’s until the end of the 1700’s. After a short Austrian domain, it was Italian again up to 1954. At that time the area became part of Yugoslavia and most of its population left and went to Italy. With Slovenia’s independence, great efforts were made not to lose this area’s Venetian and Italian culture. Sleep in Piran, Grand Hotel Bernardin or similar.
This morning, we'll drive to back to Slovenia and its beautiful capital, Ljubljana. Here, Medieval, Baroque, and Art Nouveau masterpieces compliment an original character given to the city by the famous architect Jože Plečnik. Together with your local guide, you'll explore the city's main attractions and dine at a quaint restaurant where you'll savor the local cuisine – result of centuries of cultures intertwine. In the afternoon, you'll enjoy time on your own to shop around or ride the picturesque Ljulbjana castle funicular. We'll leave the city before the evening sets, to enjoy the color of the sunset along our scenic drive to Lake Bojini – our home for the next two nights. Sleep in Lake Bojini, Hotel Jezero or similar.
Today, we'll visit Lake Bled, an amazing jewel of nature nestled at the feet of the Julian Alps. Slovenia’s only island, Bled is located in the middle of an alpine lake with mountains on all sides. This spectacular location inspired Slavic populations to venerate Ziva, the goddess of love and fertility. Later, Christians built a church here that is still visited by pilgrims. The village of Bled is one of the most beloved locations in Slovenia. We will enjoy a great boat excursion on the lake before heading to Lake Bojini for a promenade along its shores, home for hundreds of wild flowers. Sleep in Lake Bojini, Hotel Jezero or similar.
We will say good bye to Slovenia and reach Venice today! This afternoon we will explore the city off the beaten track with a great local guide who is a PhD art historian – not only knowledgeable but also a lot of fun! We will then enjoy a great farewell dinner. Sleep in Venice, Antiche Figure or similar
Fly back to the USA from Venice or extend your stay with an additional two-night stay in Venice!
The best of Croatia and Slovenia, ending in Venice
May 19-31, 2018
13 days-12 nights
1 night in Dubrovnik
2 nights in Orebic
2 nights in Split
1 night in Plitvicka Jezera
3 nights in Piran
2 nights in Lake Bojini
1 night in Venice
Price per person – $3,950 USD
Single room supplement – $550