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Flavours of Northern Croatia & Slovenia
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At a glance
Experience nouvelle cuisine, Slovenian style, on the shores of Lake Bled Sample specialities of Croatia’s Istrian Peninsula, known as Little Tuscany Travel through little-known rural regions off the main tourist trail
What's included
  • Return flights from the UK
  • Private transfers to and from the airport
  • 8 nights’ boutique hotels accommodation
  • Back-Roads tour leader
  • Luxury mini-coach transportation
  • Local guide in Plitvice Lakes
  • European breakfast daily (B)
  • 3 x evening meals (D)
  • 1 x lunch (L)
  • Two wine tastings
  • Included Entrances: Boat ride to St Mary's Island & Bled Castle, Predjama Castle, Postojna Caves, Predjama Castle, Motovun hilltop transport, Bell Ringers Collection in Rukavac, Plitvice Lakes National Park, Kumrovec Village and Trakoscan Castle.
What's not included
  • Driver/tour leader gratuity is at your discretion.
  • Lunches (unless otherwise stated), social drinks, meals on free nights,&rsquo items of a personal nature and entrance fees when not listed in the schedule of inclusions.
  • Occasional optional evening theatre/festival visits and entrances not detailed in the tour inclusions.
  • Incidental expenses, such as room service incurred at hotels. All expenses are to be settled prior to leaving the accommodation.
  • Laundry costs and any shipping charges for the return of purchases made on tour, or for the return of property lost on tour.
  • Pre and post tour accommodation.
  • Unless otherwise listed in the inclusions, transfers are not included in the tour price.
Day 1

Arrive into Ljubljana and enjoy a private transfer to your pre-tour accommodation where the rest of your day is at leisure.

Day 2
Ljubljana - Lake Bled

Circled by snow-dusted mountains and emerald countryside, Ljubljana, Slovenia provides a sensational opening act for our tour. Leaving the city, we wind our way towards Vintgar Gorge. Here, our path takes us along wooden walkways and bridges that hug the rocks and criss-cross the Radovna River’s rapids, pools and waterfalls. Next, we swap rugged terrain for a warm welcome in Bled. Enjoy some free time and take in glorious views of the clear blue lake, set against the sublime backdrop of the Karavanke and the Julian Alps. Our first day ends with the chance to get to know your fellow travellers better over a delicious dinner. (D)

Overnight: Hotel Triglav (or similar)

Day 3
Lake Bled

Today we wake to the sight of natural wonder, Lake Bled. Morning sees us boarding a boat out to the tiny island in its centre, to explore the medieval castle and small church. For a bigger-picture view of the lake, we travel to Bled Castle. Perched atop a cliff, it’s the quintessential image of a centuries-old fortress. We wander the towers and ramparts, and peer into the region’s distant past at the museum. The terrace offers aweinspiring photo opportunities, with panoramas that reach as far as Mount Triglav, Slovenia’s tallest mountain. Then it’s back to Bled, where the evening is yours to spend as you wish. (B)

Overnight: Hotel Triglav (or similar)

Day 4
Lake Bled - Postojna Caves - Opatija

With its pristine lakes, forests and soaring mountains, Slovenia’s countryside will stay in your mind forever. But more marvels await under your feet. Our day begins with a tour of the Postojna Caves – the largest cave system in Europe. You’ll feel you’ve stepped into a fantasy epic as you explore immense caverns dripping with stalactites. Then it’s back into the sunlight to visit another surreal site: Predjama Castle. The creators of this Renaissance fortress took a unique approach to defence, by building it in the centre of a 123-metre-high cliff. From here, we leave Slovenia for Opatija, Croatia – our home for the next three nights. Tonight, we settle into this delightful town that seems straight from the French Riviera with a group dinner. (B, D)

Overnight: Hotel Palace Bellevue (or similar)

Day 5
Opatija - Istrian Peninsula - Opatija

Lush, green forests and hilltop medieval villages. Row upon row of grape vines and olive trees. You could be forgiven for thinking we’ve strayed into Tuscany. But this is the Istrian Peninsula, Croatia’s gourmet heartland. Our first stop is Rovinji, where we stroll along historic streets, soaking up the atmosphere of this sleepy coastal village. To get a real flavour of life in Istria, we stop off at a local winemaker to taste Croatian wine and olive oil, before exploring Motovun, set high above Mirna River Valley. Evening brings us back to Opatija and some time to yourself. (B)

Overnight: Hotel Palace Bellevue (or similar)

Day 6
Opatija – Permani – Opatija

We dive straight into local life this morning as we learn about the history of Croatia’s largest port - it was here, in 1866 that the first torpedo was tested. After working up an appetite, we continue north to the rural village of Permani, where our local host treats us to a homemade lunch. In the afternoon, there’s time to explore an intriguing museum with traditional masks in Rukavac before returning to Opatija for an evening at leisure. (B, L)

Overnight: Hotel Palace Bellevue (or similar)

Day 7
Opatija - Plitvice Lakes

Today we discover one of Croatia’s most astounding natural sites: the 16 cascading lakes of UNESCO protected Plitvice National Park. Walking trails follow the lakes on their journey, allowing us to watch as the water transforms from emerald green to azure blue – a remarkable process explained by our local guide. To give this beautiful region the justice of a full day’s exploration, tonight we stay in a nearby town. (B)

Overnight: Hotel Degenija (or similar) 

Day 8
Plitvice Lakes - Zagreb

This morning we bid farewell to Plitvice for a day uncovering the delicious subtleties of Croatian viniculture. Our journey takes us to Plesivica, a wine region on the gentle slopes of the Samobor mountain range. Here small, family-owned wineries grow prized white grape varieties including Grasevina, Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc and Sauvignon – as well as Croatia’s answer to Beaujolais: Portugizec. We’ll have the chance to try many of these in a tasting session, before travelling on to Zagreb. Croatia’s capital is known for its thriving cafe culture, with countless coffee spots, bars and restaurants welcoming guests long into the evening. Making it the perfect spot for a final, farewell dinner. (B, D)

Overnight: Hotel Jagerhorn (or similar)

Day 9
Zagreb - Zagorje - Zagreb

Before our adventure comes to a close, we venture north into the enchanting landscapes of Croatia’s hinterland, Hrvatsko Zagorje. This is a place with great cultural significance. We visit Kumrovec ethno village for a snapshot of life in the late 19th century, when revolutionary leader, Marshal Tito was born here. The village is also home to the beautiful Trakoscan Castle. Built in the 13th century and extensively renovated, it houses a fascinating collection of historic artefacts. After a full day of excursions, we travel back to Zagreb to begin the journey home. (B)

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