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The Adriatic Experience

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Essential tour of the Adriatic

A driving trip created for the independent traveler. Move freely around Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia-Herzegovina exploring the gems of the incredible Adriatic. Travel by car, avoiding the crowds on trains and buses. See the sights at your own pace. No group tours. An itinerary exclusively for you and your travel companions.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Zagreb

Arrive in Zagreb, the capital city of Croatia. Pick up your rental car at the airport and make your way to your downtown hotel.

Ease into the afternoon with a leisurely walk in the city center admiring the elegant Habsburg era buildings reminiscent of Vienna. Wander through the colorful and pedestrian-friendly streets of the Lower Town (Donja Grad) lined with eclectic shops, aromatic cafés, antique and vegetable markets, and a string of parks and manicured gardens referred to as the Green Horseshoe.

Overnight at a 4-star hotel in Zagreb.

Day 2: Zagreb to Ljubljana

After breakfast take a stroll in the historic Upper Town (Gornji Grad) to discover the most important monuments of Zagreb from the Middle Ages to the time of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. At the heart of the city you’ll find St Mark’s Square surrounded by beautiful 14th and 15th century buildings as well as the historic St. Mark’s Church. See St. Catherine Church, the Cathedral with its distinctive twin spires, the fortified Lotrscak Tower, and the Croatian Government Palace.

Zagreb is often called the city of museums as there are more museums per square foot here than anywhere else in the world. Among the most noteworthy ones are the Archaeological Museum, Croatian Museum of Naive Art, Museum of Illusions and the gruesome, but very interesting, Tortureum.

Leave Zagreb and head west to Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia and one of the best kept secrets in the travel world. This picturesque place that translates to ‘beloved’ is one of the greenest and most sustainable capitals in Europe, home to the unique Triple Bridge designed by the famous 20th century architect Joze Plecnik, the elegant Tivoli Park, the imposing Ljubljana Castle, an old central market and many wonderful historic buildings housing excellent restaurants and independent boutique stores.

Overnight at a 4-star hotel in Ljubljana.

Day 3: Lake Bled - Postojna - Lipica

Spend a day in the lush green Slovenian countryside. If you’re an Alpine enthusiast, drive out to scenic Bled with its glacial lake and picture-perfect island in the center. Soak in the amazing views from Ojstrica, visit Bled Castle built on a sheer cliff above the lake, hop on a boat to the island to visit the church, or simply relax on the beach.

Visit Postojna Cave, one of the biggest in Europe and home to the largest troglodytic amphibian in the world, the spellbinding olm that can live without any source of food for over 10 years. A visitor train takes you through the beautifully ornate caves where stalagmites and stalactites form fascinating ice formations. A short drive from the caves is the imposing Predjama Castle built into a sheer cliff over 800 years ago, a fascinating fortification with a network of secret tunnels telling the story of rebellious knights.

Equine lovers are in for a real treat, for the white Lipizzaner horses come from Slovenia. The Lipica Stud Farm offers a wonderful opportunity to learn about the Lipizzaner pedigree. Walk or take a carriage ride around the farm, home to some 300 horses, or watch an official horse training accompanied by music.

Overnight at a 4-star hotel in Ljubljana.

Day 4: Ljubljana to Zadar

Depart for Zadar on the Dalmatian Coast. This ancient town with a history spanning nearly 3000 years is the oldest continuously inhabited Croatian settlement. It was founded by an indigenous tribe, urbanized by Romans and transformed by Venetians, Austrians and other conquering empires. The highlights of the city include the Cathedral of St. Anastasia which holds the relics of the saint, the Church of St. Donatus built on top of the Roman Forum, and the Land Gate, once the main entrance to the city and the masterpiece of a 16th century Venetian architect.

Overnight at a 4-star hotel in Zadar.

Day 5: Zadar to Dubrovnik

Drive south along the coast towards Dubrovnik as you discover two fascinating UNESCO World Heritage Sites along the way.

First, in Trogir explore the ancient walled town built on the principles of a Hellenistic and Roman City. Next, in Split, one of the most charming cities in Croatia, visit the impressive Roman edifice  known as Diocletian’s Palace, climb the bell tower over the Riva and enjoy the panoramic views of land and sea, take a walk in the Old Town (Vocni Trg), and rub the big toe of the remarkable statue of Gregory of Nin for good luck.

Overnight at a 4-star hotel in Dubrovnik.

Day 6: Dubrovnik

Spend the day in Dubrovnik, nicknamed the Pearl of the Adriatic for its beautiful coastal scenery and well-preserved medieval Old Town. Take a cable car to the top of the city for spectacular views, and explore the fortress. As you stroll the historic city center, marvel at the impressive Pile Gate, walk down Stradun Street, see the Franciscan Monastery and the Spoonza Palace. It is where much of the Game of Thrones series was filmed. The Rector’s Palace is one of the main attractions, a former political building for the Rector of the Republic of Ragusa and later for the Minor Council. Be sure to climb up and walk around the town walls. Dubrovnik is entirely surrounded by fortified walls built for the purpose of keeping invaders out and protecting the city from the forces of the sea.

Overnight at a 4-star hotel in Dubrovnik.

Day 7: Dubrovnik to Mostar

Leave Dubrovnik and head back north, passing Neum and the Neretva River Delta making your way to Metković. Once you clear customs continue to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Make a stop in the fortified village of Počitelj, unique for its oriental architecture reminiscent of the Ottoman Empire. Typical public buildings, such as mosques, Turkish baths, madrasas, hamam and han dot the village together with colorful pomegranate and fig trees. The beauty of Počitelj attracts artists from all around the world.

Continue your journey to Mostar, home to the iconic Stari Most, an arched stone bridge built across the Neretva River during Ottoman rule. Listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, the bridge became a symbol of Bosnia and Herzegovina and it’s one of the most photographed sites in the region. Diving into the river from the top of the bridge is a popular sport among locals. Mostar is a lovely place to discover, from its coppersmith workshops and oriental rug stores to the lively restaurants and artisan boutiques.

Overnight at a 4-star hotel in Mostar.

Day 8: Mostar to Zagreb

Make your way back to Croatia taking the inner highway to the spectacular Plitvice Lakes National Park. Explore at your leisure this natural wonder comprising a series of natural dams, interconnected lakes and waterfalls. A nature lover’s paradise, the park is crisscrossed by miles of trails and enchanting wooden bridges that bring you into the cool, green forest and up close to the crystal-clear lakes and misty waterfalls.

Enjoy a last night out in Zagreb. At sunset, just before sitting down at your favorite dinner spot, follow the two lamplighters in the Upper Town on their quest to light up the 200 antique gas lanterns, one lamp at a time.

Overnight at a 4-star hotel in Zagreb.

Day 9: Return Home

Drop off the rental car at Zagreb airport. Depart home.

Book this itinerary for $1,200.00/person.

Pricing is based on double room occupancy. Other options (i.e. single supplement, family rates) are available on request. Rates valid for travel in 2021. Trip is customizable for an extra fee.

Package includes:

  • 4-star accommodations with breakfast
  • Rental car with basic insurance and tax
  • Emergency customer support
  • Driving directions
  • Restaurant recommendations

Package does not include:

  • International airfare
  • Travel insurance (highly recommended)
  • Personal expenses
  • Entrance fees to attractions
  • International driver’s permit
  • Optional car rental extras (additional insurance, GPS)
  • Parking fees, tolls, fuel

Payments

  • Deposit 35% of total – paid at booking
  • Trip balance – 60 days before travel date

Cancellation and Refund Policy

  • Cancellable and refundable up to 60 days before trip start date
  • Refunds are subject to 10% administrative fee