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Slovenia Croatia Bosnia 16 day Small Group Tour
This Grand Tour is a bit like the “best of” old Yugoslavia fit into 16 days. This small group tour of Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and a touch of Montenegro has the obvious tourist ‘hits’ like Dubrovnik, Split and Lake Bled. And with our tours, there always a good selection of places that are left off many other tours but quite deserving in their own right. The amazing countryside and mountain villages in Bosnia, the wine and food of Slovenia or the crooked alleyways in Rovinj usually end up on guests’ favorites places of the tour.
Four Countries to Discover — Take a walk atop the 80 foot high walls of Dubrovnik, situated on Croatia’s Adriatic coast. Glide across the beautiful fairy tale setting of Lake Bled on a wooden gondola. Discover the Oriental atmosphere and authentic artisan shops of Sarajevo’s Turkish quarter. Visit the charming old towns of the Venetian empire in Istria’s Rovinj and Montenegro’s Kotor and Perast. Enjoy both culture, history, food, wine and nature on this Grand Tour.
Local Flavor — We’ll be staying at private farmhouses and pensions located in lovely countryside villages, where you’ll be treated like family. Our generous hosts will provide home-cooked dinners and breakfasts including fresh cheeses and in-season vegetables, local wines and regional specialties. Local guides will provide us with their personal and unique perspectives. This tour has a mix of hotels, pensions and farmhouses that are centrally located and all en-suite. From a three-star hotel in Trogir and a great little pension in Sarajevo. to private apartments in Dubrovnik and a wonderful farmhouse in Slovenia’ Karst region, guests are treated like guests not tourists. Select group dinners are all handpicked and represent good value and quality. Guests are free to choose from the normal menu not a restrictive tourist-menu.
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Welcome to Slovenia
Arrive in Ljubljana and transfer to your lodging. Guided walking tour of the city and welcome dinner at a traditional Slovenian evening featuring live Slovenian music, folklore show with costumes and dances from different regions of Slovenia and a 4-course meal. D Overnight: Ljubljana, Slovenia
Ljubljana and Lake Bled
First part of the day will be at your leisure to explore Ljubljana. Perhaps visit the castle, browse the outdoor market along the river, take in a museum or just people watch along Preseren Square. Then we will head to Lake Bled we’ll visit its castle perched up on a cliff top. Bring your camera to capture superb panoramas of the lake with its island and Baroque church. Lunch is at a traditional farmhouse in a small rural village where the proprietor makes her own Slovenian cakes, strudel, soft cheeses, herbal liqueurs and beer! She also has a great ethnographic museum of items her family has collected from the past 100+ years! After lunch a visit to local beekeeper to learn about importance of beekeeping in Slovenia and tastings of honeys. Gondola ride out to Bled island in late afternoon before returning back to Ljubljana. Dinner on your own. B, L Overnight: Ljubljana, Slovenia
Slovenian Culinary and Wine Experience
Depart Ljubljana and as we head to the beautiful terraced hills of Goriska Brda we will visit the Predjama Castle en-route. This 16th century castle that clings to limestone cliffs and has a rich history, including folklore about the Slovenian Robin Hood who once lived there. Arrive into Brda at the only walled medieval town left to get to know more about olive oils and the traditional foods of Slovenia’s culinary capital. Hop across the border into Italy and fall in love with the laid back riverside town of Cividale, which captures the charms of Tuscany towns but without the tourists. Back in Slovenia, enjoy a delicious five-course dinner paired with local wines at Kabaj Winery. Overnight at winery/B&B in Brda region. B, L, W, D.
Nature, History and Culture
Head into the emerald green Soca Valley. Brush up on your World War I history as we visit the award-winning in Kobarid. It was here in this area that Hemingway documented his WWI experiences in A Farewell To Arms. Easy half hour walk to beautiful Kozjak waterfall, tucked away from the crowds. Visit to Stanjel, the region’s most captivating hill town. A traditional home-cooked karst dinner awaits you at our pension tucked away in the village of Tomaj. The Skerlj family offers up mouth-watering prsut, pastas and fresh vegetables with a good dose of local Teran wine. Save room for their honey ice-cream. B, L, D. Overnight: Karst region, Slovenia
Experience Slovenia’s Karst and Istria regions
Visit to the amazing underground world of Skocjan caves featuring the largest subterranean cavern in Europe. This Lord of the Rings type of atmosphere is a favorite with all our guests. Lunch in the tiny village of Hrastovlje and then a visit to the 12th century Church of the Holy Spirit. This fortified church has wonderfully colorful frescoes depicting the Dance of Macabre. Guided tour of Slovenian seaside town of Piran packed with Venetian architecture, narrow side streets and artisan shops. Dinner back at our farmhouse. B, D. Overnight: Karst region, Slovenia
Welcome to Sarajevo
Depart farmhouse and take late morning flight from Ljubljana to Sarajevo (1 hour flight). Afternoon guided walking tour of this historic city and dinner with local Bosnian guide. Explore the city’s rich history spanning Ottoman times, the Habsburgs dynasty, eruption of WWI (Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated here) and the brutal war in the 90’s. Welcome dinner after. B, D. Overnight: Sarajevo, Bosnia
Exploring Sarajevo at your leisure
All day at your leisure to explore Sarajevo. Browse the art galleries, old Turkish quarter, master craftsmen shops and outdoor cafes while soaking in the rich history and culture. You can visit the tunnel museum from the 90’s war or hop on a tram in Sarajevo and head out to nearby Ilidza Park and enjoy a nice stroll or carriage ride. Ask your Bosnian guide for suggestions. B. Overnight: Sarajevo, Bosnia
Bosnian Mountain Life
One of our most unique excursions on the tour, a visit to the highland village of Lukomir. It is the highest and most isolated village in Bosnia (1500 meters).Traditional dress, the occasional turban and fez are still worn.We will first visit with the local villagers before heading off into the canyon to witness Peruc waterfall and the amazing Rakitinca Canyon. Lunch will be served on a high ridge with stunning views of majestic mountains. Travel on to city of Mostar in Hercegovina region, dinner there. . B, L, D. Overnight: Mostar, Bosnia
Historic Mostar and Blagaj
Guided walking tour of Mostar, the former oriental trading center of Herzegovina, home to the famed 16th century stone bridge spanning the Neretva River. Next we’ll visit Blagaj and see Ottoman house that onced functioned as a Dervish monastery. Next to this house is the source of the Buna Spring, pouring out of a cliff wall.We’ll enjoy a lunch at a local fish restaurant before gathering our energy and doing a 1 hr hike to the top of the cliff where we encounter grand views of Herzegovina and remains of a 13th century fort built by Duke Stjepan. Dinner in Mostar. B, L, D. Overnight: Mostar, Bosnia
Hercegovina to Montenegro
Busy day of sightseeing. First off the Oriental hill town and art colony of Pocitelj. We travel to eastern Bosnia and visit an ancient Orthodox monastery that makes beautiful wines and enjoy a tasting there. Lunch in Mediterranean town of Trebinje. Cross into Montenegro and arrive in beautiful Bay of Kotor and lovely small town of Perast. Take small boat out on the bay to the island of Our Lady of the Rocks and visit its beautifully decorated church. Dining options at hotel and other spots with views of surrounding fjords along Perast’s waterfront.. B, L, D. Overnight: Perast, Montenegro
Kotor & old Royal Capital of Montenegro
Guided tour of walled town of Kotor along the Bay of Kotor. Amazing views as we snake up the stony mountains of this country to a cafe viewpoint. Tour of Montenegro’s old Royal capital of Cetinje. Dinner at rustic agroturism in a secluded spot. B, D. Overnight: Perast, Montenegro
The Pearl of the Adriatic
Late morning arrival into Dubrovnik. Guided walking tour of Dubrovnik, a magical walled city with a rich and important history. Heavily touristed but much less so when the day trippers leave around 4pm. Our local guide will take guests for a great dinner near the Jesuit Monastery. B, D. Overnight: Dubrovnik, Croatia
Dubrovnik at your leisure
All day at your leisure to see Dubrovnik.There are many options to choose from. For those who enjoy Game of Thrones, we can arrange a GOT tour (Dubrovnik stands in for King’s Landing). Unforgettable walk along the city high walls or other sights include the Dominican and Franciscan monasteries, Lovrijenac Fortress and Rector’s Palace. If you take the cable car up for great views of the city there is also an excellent photo gallery regarding the 1990’s war in a nearby museum. For nature over culture, escape the crowds with a trip to nearby Lokrum island with an easy ferry ride from the old town harbor. B. Overnight: Dubrovnik, Croatia
Historic Diocletian’s Palace
Beautiful drive up Adriatic coast with stop in old salt flats around walled town of Ston. Continue on up to Split. Our guide will show you around the old town and focus mostly on the remains of Diocletian’s palace.This was built by Roman Emperor Diocletian in the 300 AD. Much of it is still intact and the rest of Split’s center has been built round it. Those interested in art should pay a visit to the Ivan Mestrovic museum/gallery, Croatia’s most famous sculptor. Arrive into Trogir in early evening. Dinner at best restaurant in the city. B, D. Overnight: Trogir, Croatia
Relaxing in Central Dalmatia
Morning walking tour around Trogir. Rest of the day at leisure here. Some optional day trips can be booked through the hotel such as sea kayaking, sailing (both weather dependent) or a visit to Krka national park with cascading waterfalls and lush scenery. B. Overnight: Trogir, Croatia
Tour Ends — transfer to Split airport for your flight home.
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