Best of the Balkans: Slovenia to Croatia

A rich and turbulent history, the medieval castles, sparkling turquoise sea, snow-capped peaks and ancient walled cities of Croatia will enthral.

Journey Overview

Beautiful cities, dramatic mountain scenery, pristine lakes and golden beaches, this journey covers it all. You’ll discover Baroque architecture in abundance, flavoursome cuisine and robust wines plus ancient walled cities and emerald green forests. From Slovenia to Croatia and the sparkling Dalmatian coast, there is also the opportunity to explore Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Journey Highlights

  • Stroll across the famous bridges of Ljubljana
  • Float across the glacial waters of Lake Bled on a traditional Slovenian gondola
  • Hike the scenic trails of Plitvice Lakes National Park, a UNESCO site
  • Visit the famous lavender villages on the Island of Hvar
  • Discover Split’s ancient Roman history with a visit to the Diocletian Palace

Journey Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Zagreb, Croatia – Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Enjoy a warm welcome into the Croatian capital and transfer directly across the border into Slovenia and its petite capital Ljubljana.
Grand Union Hotel (Deluxe Room) 

Day 2: Ljubljana.

Explore the architectural and culinary highlights of the capital on foot today. Characterised by its beautiful Baroque architecture, you’ll also discover cobbled streets, dainty bridges, old churches and plenty of green spaces. Pause at the Triple Bridge, a group of three bridges crossing the Ljubljanica River connecting the historical, medieval, town on one bank, and the modern metropolis on the other. Time to admire the Cathedral, stop by the Plesnik open market and stroll through the Prešeren and Congress Squares. The 900-year-old Ljubljana Castle is a highlight, towering above the city, accessible by funicular railway for panoramic views. As you meander through the streets, discover the many gastronomic delights of the city. Stop at neighbourhood restaurants, the central market, coffee houses and food stalls where you have the chance to chat with locals and try the local fare. 
Grand Union Hotel (Deluxe Room)  | Meals: B

Day 3: Ljubljana – Design Your Day Lake Bled - Zagreb, Croatia.

Discover one of Slovenia’s most scenic locations today on a visit to Lake Bled, whose emerald green waters with looming peaks of the Alps combine to create an idyllic natural setting. Hop aboard an old-fashioned hand-propelled gondola, known as a “pletna”, for a private cruise across the lake to the picture-postcard island in the centre where the charming Church of the Assumption’s 15th century belfry looms above the trees.

Returning to shore, recharge with a cup of tea and a slice of the famous Bled cream cake before a stroll around the lake and on to Bled Castle which perches above the glacial waters and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and countryside. While you’re there, take part in wine tasting and lunch (lunch payable locally) or continue to the town of Radovljice for lunch (payable locally) and visit a famous gingerbread museum which also specialises in beekeeping and honey. Arrive in Zagreb later today.  
Esplanade ZagrebHotel (Deluxe Room) | Meals: B

Day 4: Zagreb.

Admire the city from a panoramic viewpoint his morning before strolling around the Upper Town taking in St Mark’s Church, City Hall, Parliament, St Stephen’s Cathedral and Ban Jelačić Square.  Enjoy the afternoon at leisure.   
Esplanade ZagrebHotel (Deluxe Room) | Meals: B

Day 5: Zagreb - Plitvice Lakes - Split.

Journey south to Split stopping on the way in the beautiful Plitvice Lakes National Park where you’ll be dazzled by some of Croatia’s most stunning scenery. Often described as one of the greatest natural wonders of Eastern Europe, this spectacular scenic region is made up of miles of shimmering turquoise lakes and cascading waterfalls that are linked by emerald forests and meadows of wild flowers. Explore on foot and get an understanding of why this magnificent area has been included in the UNESCO Register of World Natural Heritage.    
Vestibul Palace (Superior Room) | Meals: B

Day 6: Split – Dubrovnik, Design Your Day Split.

Awake to the sound of church bells and Klapa singers and take to the streets on a walking tour of this lively seaport where you’ll discover amidst a maze of medieval streets the imposing Palace of the Roman Emperor Diocletian built in the 3rd century AD.  Admire the richly decorated octagonal St Dominus Cathedral, originally the Emperor’s mausoleum, before taking a stroll around the lively “Green Market”. Smell the fresh seasonal produce, taste “soparnik”, the traditional local pastry treat, and meet a family of olive oil producers.     
Vestibul Palace (Superior Room) | Meals: B

Day 7: Split - Hvar - Split.

A treat in store today when you take to the sparkling waters of the Adriatic on a catamaran trip down the stunning Dalmatian coast to the beautiful island of Hvar. Soak up the atmosphere of picturesque Hvar Town, built by the Venetian Doges, with its combination of Renaissance palaces, ancient monasteries and elegant marina, and understand why it has become one of the most glamorous resorts on the Adriatic Sea. Don’t miss the old theatre, built in 1612, the arsenal, and the 15th century patrician palaces and soak up the breathtaking views from the gleaming limestone walls of the Spanjol Fortress which perches high above the town. 

Afterwards, you are invited to a lovely olive grove near the village of Vrisnik for a traditional picnic lunch at the estate of the island's best olive oil producer, Borivoj Bojanic and his wife Zeljka. Continue to the centre of the island and drive along the old road of lavender, which passes the villages of Brusje, Velo Grablje and Selca, where can find what remains of Hvar's proud lavender tradition – Velo Grablje was once the capital of lavender production for all Dalmatia. Next stop is Dola village where you visit a dairy farm with a very small herd of goats. Learn about Croatia’s traditional cheese making and sample some of its goat’s cheese in crepes or marinated in aromatic herbs and olive oil. Return to Hvar town for the catamaran trip back to Split.     
Vestibul Palace (Superior Room) | Meals: BL

Day 8: Design Your Day Split – Dubrovnik.

Today on your journey south to Dubrovnik you have some choices. First to experience the Bosnian hinterland and picturesque Mostar where a walking tour introduces you to the old town. Famous for its ‘Stari Most’ (old bridge), which spans the turquoise waters of the Neretva River some 21 metres below, the bridge is a UNESCO World Heritage site and as you cross from the west bank you will be crossing the ancient point where East and West symbolically met. During Turkish rule, the city was an important trade centre and the Old Bazaar Kujundziluk, which was named after the goldsmiths who crafted their wares there, still flourishes today. You will find many artisans selling their traditionally handcrafted goods including beautiful carpets, paintings, copper and brassware and jewellery. Finish off the experience with a visit to the oldest mosque in Mostar, the Cejvan Cehaj Mosque which was built in 1552, and the Koski Mehmed pasa Mosque built in 1617 where it is possible to climb the spiral stairs of the minaret for a spectacular view of the town.

Or, visit Medugorje, also in the Bosnian hinterlands, an important Catholic pilgrimage destination. Since the Virgin Mary allegedly appeared here in 1981, millions of visitors have been drawn to the site. It is possible to attend mass here and see where Our Lady ‘appeared’.  

Or, for a Croatian gourmet immersion head to the Peljesac Peninsula and the small fishing town of Ston. Taste the oysters, which are a local delicacy, at lunch in a typical Dalmatian restaurant and sample some of the regional wines before visiting a famous winery where two varieties are produced.      
Hotel Excelsior (Deluxe Odak with Sea View & Balcony) | Meals: B

Day 9: Dubrovnik.

Discover why Dubrovnik is one of the most enticing destinations in Europe on a walking tour of the pedestrian-only old town. With its intact medieval walls, sublime location and World Heritage status, Dubrovnik is a true jewel of the Adriatic. Stop by the Franciscan and Dominican Monasteries, the Rector’s Palace and Dubrovnik Cathedral with time at leisure to further explore. This evening why not take the cable car up Mt Srd for jaw-dropping views and a sunset aperitif.      
Hotel Excelsior (Deluxe Odak with Sea View & Balcony) | Meals: B

Day 10: Dubrovnik - Elaphite Islands - Dubrovnik.

Pack your togs for a day on the water. Cruise by private boat to the Elaphite Islands, a picturesque archipelago comprising 13 islands, islets and rocky outcrops. The fragrance of thyme and rosemary mixed with laurel, cypress and pine fills the air and you’ll stop at three of the largest islands: Kolocep, with its dense pine forest and charming fishing village; Lopud, famous for its Franciscan Monastery, the beautiful Gjorgic-Mayneri Park and stunning Sunj beach; and finally, Sipan, the largest, whose hillsides are dotted with summer villas, Renaissance churches and Baroque chapels.      
Hotel Excelsior (Deluxe Odak with Sea View & Balcony) | Meals: B

Day 11: Depart Dubrovnik.

Transfer to the airport for your onward flight.       
Meals: B

Show Full Itinerary
Preferred Accommodation

Preferred Accommodation

This journey features the following Preferred Accommodations:

Vestibul Palace, Split

Best of the Balkans: Slovenia to Croatia

This boutique hotel is located in the heart of Diocletian’s Palace between the emperor's chambers and the emperor's square 'Peristile'. T ... Read more

Esplanade Zagreb Hotel

Best of the Balkans: Slovenia to Croatia

Built in 1925 as a glamorous stopover for passengers on the Orient-Express, the elegant Esplanade is unquestionably Zagreb’s most upmarke ... Read more

The Grand Union Hotel, Ljubljana

Best of the Balkans: Slovenia to Croatia

The Grand Union Hotel boasts lavish Art Nouveau architecture and a prime location in the heart of the Slovenian capital. A landmark bui ... Read more

Hotel Excelsior, Dubrovnik

Best of the Balkans: Slovenia to Croatia

Hotel Excelsior with its 158 rooms is just a short walk from the heart of the ancient city of Dubrovnik. The rooms and suites are tastefu ... Read more

Journey Dates & Prices

As this suggested itinerary can be personalised to your specific requirements, it is not available for online booking.

Depending on your preferred dates and arrangements, final pricing will vary from low season to peak season travel.

Please call A&K on 1300 851 800 or send us a booking enquiry to book this journey.

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