1 Welcome to Zagreb.
Transfers to your hotel depart from Zagreb airport at 11:30 and 14:00. Relax and settle in or perhaps head for the romantic chestnut-lined Stross Promenade for your first views over the city. At 17:30, join your Travel Director for a Welcome Dinner with the opportunity to get to know your fellow travellers over a pleasant evening with wine. (DW) Stay: Sheraton Zagreb Hotel.
2 Zagreb’s Twin Towns.
Join your Local Expert to explore the two-tiered capital of Croatia. Drive through the squares of the Lower Town, Donji Grad, designed to give a sense of grandeur. See the Mimara Art Museum in Roosevelt Square and continue to Ban Josip Jelacic Square en route to the cathedral. Board the city's funicular to the medieval Upper Town, Gornji Grad. It's a network of little streets, stretching between the Kaptol and Gradec hills. View the former Presidential Palace, Stone Gate, St. Mark's Church and the Lotrščak Tower. The afternoon is at leisure. Relax and enjoy your hotel's amenities or perhaps take an Optional Experience to the Zagorje region to learn about the local traditions and visit the house of Marshall Tito? (B)
3 The Postojna Caves and On to Belle-epoque Opatija.
Venture into Slovenia to visit the world-famous Postojna Caves. Step aboard the cave train and descend into a subterranean world of stunning stalactites, stalagmites, columns and curtains. Marvel at the five-metre tall Brilliant, the cave's most beautiful stalagmite. Return to Croatia where your hotel is in the Belle Époque seaside-resort town of Opatija, nestled at the foot of Mount Učka. Take time to stroll by the luxurious villas along the tree-lined seafront promenade. (B/DW) Stay: Remisens Premium Heritage Hotel Imperial, Opatija.
4 Discover The Jewels of Istria.
Cross the heart-shaped peninsula to explore the Jewels of Istria with your Local Expert. Visit the well-preserved first-century arena at Pula, scene of brutal gladiatorial battles in Roman times. Continue to the charming old town of Rovinj, rising directly from the sea. Wander through the cobbled streets lined with tempting shops, pastel-coloured bars and sidewalk cafes. (B)
5 Pristine Plitvice National Park.
Enjoy the scenery of the Adriatic coast in the morning - journey past sparkling deep blue seas, studded with rocky islands, before heading inland to visit one of Europe's great natural wonders. Zig-zagging timber footbridges will lead you through the blue-green beauty of Plitvice Lakes National Park, a scenic wonderland of 16 interconnected lakes, flanked by waterfalls and primeval forest. (B/DW) Stay: Hotel Lyra, Ličko Petrovo Selo, Plitvice Lakes.
6 The Dalmatian Coast to Split.
The green forests of Plitvice Lakes National Park give way to pebble-dashed shores lapped by turquoise waters. Witness a dramatic change in landscape, as you travel through Mediterranean olive groves on your way to Trogir, founded by the Greeks in 3rd Century B.C. Admire the cathedral and Renaissance Čipiko Palace before continuing to the historic port of Split. In the evening, don't miss the opportunity of dinner in a traditional konoba. (B) Stay: Hotel President Solin, Split.
7 Island Hopping to Hvar.
The Roman Emperor Diocletian built his palace here and today it forms the nucleus of the Old Town in Split. A Local Expert will lead you through the labyrinthine streets to see St. Duje's - originally Diocletian's Mausoleum - and the Temple of Jupiter, which today is a baptistery, as well as the Golden Gate. Continue your venture underground, to explore the cellars. Your island-hopping adventure begins here. Cross the azure waters of the Adriatic to spend two nights on Hvar, famed for being the sunniest island in the country and boasting an interior dotted with lofty mountain peaks and aromatic ﬁelds of lavender. (B/DW) Stay: Hotel Amfora, Hvar.
8 Exploring The Island of Hvar.
Enjoy a full day at leisure, as you explore the hidden coves, secluded beaches, old monasteries and villages of Hvar. Perhaps stroll around seaside Stari Grad, known for being one of Europe's oldest towns and a UNESCO World Heritage Site? Maybe visit the local museum with its impressive collection of archeological finds dating back to Greek antiquity or enjoy fresh seafood at a local restaurant? You could even see the glitz and glamour of Hvar Town with its yacht-lined marinas, famous for being the trendy playground of the rich and famous. (B)
9 On The Trail of Marco Polo to Korčula.
Cruise back to the mainland and continue your journey to the island of Korčula, known for its grace, history and rich culture. The perfect place for relaxing, the island is filled with quiet coves and small beaches that dot the southern coastline. This evening, delight in Croatian fare at a local restaurant. (B/DW) Stay: Hotel Liburna, Korčula.
10 Captivating Korčula.
In the morning, join a knowledgeable Local Expert for a walking tour of the Old Town. Marvel at spectacular views of the mainland as you stroll towards the main square of Korčula where the Cathedral of St. Marc dominates the ancient skyline. Hear about local legends and history from your Local Expert, stopping by the Town Museum, the Bishop's Palace with its treasury collection and the Town Hall. Visit the ruins of the house where - according to local legend - Marco Polo was born. The rest of the day is at your leisure to enjoy the narrow streets, beautiful churches and magnificent palaces of this charming medieval town. (B)
11 Dubrovnik, Pearl of The Adriatic.
Journey to the beautiful southern slopes of the Pelješac Peninsula. Should weather permit, cruise the tranquil waters of the bay of Mali Ston and admire the surrounding untouched natural beauty, as you enjoy a glass of traditional Croatian brandy. Stop at a shellfish farm and meet Tomislav, a local oyster farmer, to learn about the cultivation and harvest of oysters. Enjoy a delicious Sea-to-Table tasting of the fresh shellfish, accompanied with a glass of wine.
Continue to the walled town of Dubrovnik, 'paradise on Earth' according to George Bernard Shaw. Join a walking exploration of the city, guided by a Local Expert. Get a glimpse into local life, as you explore the stone-paved streets inside the 16th century bastions of the Old Town. Walk past Onofrio's Fountain, see the Old Jewish Quarter and the synagogue, and marvel at the grandeur of the cathedral and the Franciscan and Dominican monasteries.
With the rest of the day at your leisure, perhaps enjoy the luxuries of the five-star Hotel Dubrovnik Palace, your home for the next three nights. Located moments away from the Adriatic with spectacular views of the Elafiti Islands, your hotel provides exclusive access to a private beach. In the evening, there is the option to enjoy dinner at a family home in a local small village. Meet the family who will explain how they make olive oil using an antique olive oil press, before savouring a freshly prepared meal served with wine. (B/MT) Stay: Hotel Dubrovnik Palace.
12 Optional Montenegro Experience.
Spend the day at your leisure or enjoy an optional visit to Montenegro, travelling along the coast to the pretty port town of Kotor, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A photographer's dream, capture one of the most beautiful parts of the bay and learn about some of the compelling history of this area. Return to Dubrovnik and enjoy an evening at your leisure. Perhaps start at a trendy wine bar, followed by dinner at a romantic sidewalk cafe? (B)
13 Dubrovnik At Leisure.
Make the most of a day at leisure in the Pearl of the Adriatic. Relax by the pool, shop in the markets or perhaps take the opportunity to visit Cavtat, one of the most enchanting seaside resorts in Croatia? This evening, should weather permit, you're invited to embark on a dazzling cruise around the fabled bay of Dubrovnik. Gaze out at views of the glistening Adriatic and the mighty city walls rising straight from the cliffs before your cruise moors in the Old Town Harbour. Start your Celebration Dinner with the national favourite drink, a glass of grappa. Savour authentic flavours of local specialties washed down with locally produced wine. (B/DW)
14 Dubrovnik Airport.
Your journey draws to a close after breakfast. Departure transfers arrive at Dubrovnik airport at 05:00, 09:00 and 11:30. (B)