Enjoy the natural wonders and culinary delights of Croatia, Slovenia and Italy

Discover the rich artistic heritage, incredible natural attractions and acclaimed cuisine of Croatia, Slovenia and Italy on this ten-day small group adventure from Dubrovnik to Venice. Soak up Split’s stunning ocean views, Dubrovnik's famous walls and wander through the pristine natural beauty of Plitvice Lakes National Park. Become acquainted with Croatia’s capital, Zagreb, on a guided walking tour, explore Ljubljana’s Old City and be romanced and entranced by Venice. Taking in both famous landmarks and lesser-known attractions, this trip is bound to enthral European novices and aficionados alike.

Start
Dubrovnik, Croatia
Finish
Venice, Italy
Countries
Croatia,
Italy,
Slovenia
Themes
Explorer
Code
ZMRI
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1 Max 16
Carbon offset
129kg pp per trip


Highlights

  • Split is a haven of relaxation and culture. Unwind with a walk along the waterfront promenade and admire the impressive ruins of Diocletian's Palace
  • Stroll through Plitvice Lakes National Park, marvelling at luminous lakes and waterfalls that appear to have been sketched by an artist
  • Croatia's amazing array of food specialities mix multiple European influences, and Zagreb harnesses the best of them. Feast on Mediterranean fresh seafood, Italian-influenced antipasti and the crunchy, doughy dessert of fritule
  • Explore the streets, medieval buildings and restored castle of Ljubljana’s charming Old Town on foot
  • Romantic Venice is like no other city in the world. Be bewitched by its labyrinth of alleyways and canals, lagoon islands and endless historic attractions

Itinerary

Dobro Dosli! Welcome to Croatia. The undisputed jewel of the Dalmatian Coast, Dubrovnik is a beautiful white stone town surrounded entirely by city walls. Although it experienced devastation during the war in the early 1990s, the old town – with its tiled roofs and stone buildings – remains as charming as ever, with extensive restoration to return it to its original splendour. With the sparkling water of the Adriatic in the background, Dubrovnik is picturesque, full of character and can easily be covered on foot. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm today, and you can arrive at anytime before then – check with reception to confirm the time and place. If you can't arrange a flight that will have you arrive at the hotel by early evening, you may wish to arrive a day early. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please have these on hand. After the meeting, perhaps head out for a walk around Dubrovnik to help find your feet. Later on, possibly enjoy a meal with the group so you can get to know your fellow travellers.

Today is free to explore the beaches and scenery of this idyllic coastal city that overlooks the Adriatic. Maybe take a walk along the city walls of ‘Game of Thrones’ fame, enjoying views of the sparkling Adriatic Sea in this renowned jewel of the Dalmatian Coast. Visit Big Onofrio's Fountain, built by architect Onofrio della Cava in the 15th century to supply water to the city. Perhaps check out the Franciscan monastery, home to one of the world's oldest continuously-functioning pharmacies, founded in the 13th century. Perhaps check out the 13th-century Franciscan monastery or the Sponza and Rector's Palaces, the only Renaissance buildings in the city to survive a devastating earthquake and fire in 1667. You might like to check out the city's War Photography Museum, or if you have time, even take a boat trip to nearby Lokrum Island, where you will find the French-built Fort Royal Castle, a monastery and a botanical garden that dates back to when the Austrian archduke Maximilian had his holiday home on the island. Otherwise, maybe relax on the pristine Banje beach.
Take a public bus for about three hours up the coast to Split. If Dubrovnik is considered the heart of Dalmatia, Split is certainly its soul. Situated on a small peninsula on the eastern shores of the Adriatic Sea, it's the second largest city in Croatia. This stunning seaside town is home to some of the most beautiful beaches on the coast. Enjoy a free afternoon exploring the historic streets, and make sure you see the World Heritage-listed Diocletian's Palace and the historic city of Trogir. Split grew out from Diocletian's Palace and you can almost see it evolving in a multitude of different ways. Diocletian (245-313 AD) was a Roman Emperor infamous for his cruel treatment of Christians in the 3rd century. He chose the peninsula at Split to build this huge palace for his retirement. Some cultures might have made the palace a museum, but the city of Split has always been a dynamic and vibrant place, and 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. You can get lots of local interaction in Split, such as at the fish market on Marmontova or the markets just outside the palace walls.

Take a daytrip out to the island of Brac, the third largest of Croatia's islands and host to enchanting harbour villages, set among steep cliffs and a distinctly Mediterranean landscape. Villagers have farmed wine, olive oil, figs and almonds in the difficult interior of this rock-strewn island for centuries, but it's the small, beach-side towns that draw the crowds. Brac's most famous export is the gleaming white stone mined from the island's quarries, cladding buildings as deep in antiquity as Diocletian's Palace in Split, and as far afield as the White House in Washington DC. Visit the town of Supetar and spend a day exploring this island, or simply take it easy, lie on the famous Zlatni Rat beach and enjoy the sun with a drink in your hand.
Today you will visit one of Croatia's most beautiful sites – Plitvice Lakes National Park. The park was given World Heritage status 20 years ago and comprises 19 hectares of wooded hills that surround 16 stunning turquoise lakes, all connected by a series of waterfalls. The area is populated by deer, bears, wolves, boars and some rare bird species, and the thick, primeval forest vegetation of beech trees, fir spruce and white pine adds another element to the park's beauty. You’ll have free time to explore here – all trails in the national park are well marked so it's difficult to get lost, but please follow the national park rules, which your leader will outline to you. A series of wooden walkways pass over the landscape, ensuring that there's as little impact on the park as possible. Look to the canopy for over 120 species of birds, including hawks and owls. After your memorable visit to the lakes, drive to the walled city of Zadar. For centuries Zadar was the capital city of Dalmatia, and the city's rich heritage is visible at every step. Take an afternoon orientation walk on arrival. Your leader will point out local amenities and attractions you might want to visit along the way, so ask any questions you might have about the city during the walk.

Enjoy a free day in Zadar, so check out both the upper town and the lower town to understand the city's culture. The tallest building in town is the gothic Zagreb Cathedral, with iconic twin spires that can be seen from virtually everywhere in the city. Ban Jelacic Square is the city's central point, which is surrounded by multiple structures that reflect different periods of Zagreb's past. There is so much to see and do in this harbour city, the hard thing is deciding what to choose. There are a number of excellent museums to visit including the Museum of Church Art, the Archaeological Museum and the National Museum. Don't forget to visit the famous ‘Greeting to the Sun’ and the ‘Sea Organ’, two of the more modern sights of Zadar. The latter is a man-made organ on Zadar's Riva that works with the motion of the waves and 35 pipes to create a musical soundscape. You could also visit the vibrant fish markets of this port town, take a dip in the clear costal waters, or explore the café culture and do some people watching. Your leader will also be able to offer you suggestions. One of the more unusual places you could visit is the Museum of Broken Relationships, which documents the history of failed relationships and unrequited love.
Travel by train across the Slovenian border and arrive in the cosmopolitan capital (pronounced 'Lyub-Li-Yana') (approximately 2.5 hours). On arrival into Ljubljana, check in to your accommodation and then head out to get to know the city. Located in the centre of Slovenia, Ljubljana is a city full of style and sophistication, history, monuments, churches, museums and great restaurants. In your free time, you can wander around the old city centre, renowned for its unique architectural appearance. The Old Town consists of three main squares and Baroque houses, and you can visit the Ljubljana Castle, the Town Hall and Cathedral of St. Nicholas, and the Dragon Bridge. Stop at the city centre Prešeren Square, dedicated to the Slovenian romantic poet, France Prešeren. With views of the Triple Bridge and Ljubljana Castle on one side, and a magnificent Franciscan church on the other, you’ll feel like you’ve just walked right into a scene from a beautiful postcard. Maybe also drop by the open market under the arcade. This evening enjoy Ljubljana by night.

There may be time on Day 8 to take an optional day trip to Bled. With immense natural beauty, Bled, together with its surroundings, ranks among the most beautiful of alpine resorts. With a stunning lake, a castle, a picturesque island church and plenty of outdoor activities, Bled is a great place to explore. It's renowned for its mild, healing climate and thermal lake water. Maybe head to the cliff-top Old Bled Castle, dating from the 15th 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. 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. There's also plenty of action for adrenaline junkies: rafting, caving, cycling, canoeing, boating, and swimming, to name a few.
This morning travel by bus to one of the world's most unique cities, legendary, romantic Venice, the final destination of this trip (approximately 3.5 hours). A grand city of canals, Venice is built over a hundred small islands connected by 400 bridges. This watery wonderland of bridges, towers, piazzas, canals, churches and gondolas – practically unchanged for 600 years – is literally sinking under the weight of its iconic sights. Still rich with artistic masterpieces, modern Venice combines history with contemporary life through food, performance, art and architecture. The best way to enjoy your free time and explore is by foot, taking in all the famous sights – the Grand Canal, the Rialto Bridge, Doge's Palace (the ruler of Venice), the Piazza San Marco with its golden Basilica, and of course, the evocative Bridge of Sighs. Wander the cobblestone streets and spacious piazzas, crossing hundreds of tiny bridges. There are shops, markets, galleries and churches around every corner. Don't miss taking a gondola trip through the romantic canals or sampling a slice of region's desert speciality, tiramisu (coffee-soaked sponge cake). Simply enjoy getting lost crossing the hundreds of bridges and uncovering your own slice of Venice. In the evening, perhaps join your fellow travellers for a final group dinner at a local restaurant. Venice is famous for its specialities of fresh lobster and squid ink spaghetti dishes, so make sure you give one a try as this trip comes to an end.

On the final day of the trip, there are no activities planned and you're able to depart the accommodation at any time. As there is so much to do in Venice we recommend you to extend your stay by a few days. We are happy to book additional accommodation for you, subject to availability. Please enquire at the time of booking.
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Inclusions

Meals
n/a
Transport
Train, Public bus, Private vehicle, Ferry
Accommodation
Guesthouse (2 nights), Hostel (4 nights), Hotel (1 night), Pension (2 nights)
Included activities
  • Plitvice Lakes National Park

Dates

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Trip notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what’s included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

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Reviews

Our Dubrovnik to Venice trips score an average of 4.6 out of 5 based on 5 reviews in the last year.

Split to Venice , June 2015

Split to Venice , June 2015

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