Let's Split for Venice
A chunk of Croatia, a slice of Slovenia and a pinch of Italy – what a trifecta. Wander through Roman ruins in Split, soak up the sublime scenery of Plitvice Lakes National Park, explore Ljubljana’s castles and be enchanted by Venice.
Day 1 - Split
Dobro Dosli! Welcome to Croatia.
Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6:00pm on Day 1. You can arrive at any time during the day as there are no activities planned until this important meeting; please check with the hotel reception where and when it will take place, or check the reception notice boards. If you can't arrange a flight that will have you arrive at the hotel by early evening, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
If Dubrovnik is considered the heart of Dalmatia, Split is certainly its soul. Situated on a small peninsula on the eastern shores of the Adriatic Sea, it's the second largest city in Croatia.
Split grew out from Diocletian's Palace and you can almost see it evolving in a multitude of different ways right before your eyes. Some cultures might have made the palace a museum but the city of Split has always been a dynamic, vibrant place and the palace houses many businesses as well as being home to locals. You can get lots of local interaction in Split, such as at the fish market on Marmontova or the markets just outside the palace walls.Dujam Hostel or similar
Day 2 - Zadar
Travel by local bus northwest to Zadar (approx 4 hrs), enjoying the wonderful scenery of vineyards, olive groves, bays, beaches, steep cliffs and islands along the way.
Zadar is located in the middle of the Dalmatian coastline and is a buzzing cosmopolitan city and port with a splendour of Roman ruins and churches intermingled with some great cafes and restaurants. Enjoy an orientation walk around the city.
Perhaps visit the pre-Romanesque Church of St Donatus. The church was built by St Donatus of Zadar in the 9th century in a circular shape, with a high roof. Because the acoustics are so great, there are often musical concerts held within and it's often considered a cool and peaceful sanctuary in the middle of the summer heat.
Pull up a chair, grab a coffee and mingle with the student population of this university town, all within reach of the impressive remains of the huge Roman Forum, founded by Emperor Augustus in the 3rd century.
The Sea Organ and nearby solar powered Sun Salutation is an architectural marvel of more recent times. Tubes underneath marble steps are lapped by waves from the sea, creating a haunting melody.
Enjoy some local food and drinks. Ozujsko pivo is a light beer with a very pleasant taste, just a little bit bitter, with a rich flavour. Afterwards, treat yourself to a gourmet meal at a contemporary Croatian restaurant. Try lamb in red wine, 'njoki' with Dalmatian ham and rocket salad or opt for the popular choice of fresh fish: tuna carpaccio or a fillet in scampi sauce. Also try the famous liqueur, Maraskino. As early as the 19th century, this unique drink was a favourite at European courts (London, Vienna, Moscow) and has been produced in Zadar since 1821.Boutique Hostel Forum or similar
Day 3-4 - Plitvice Lakes National Park / Zagreb
Travel by bus to Plitvice Lakes National Park.
Plitvice Lakes National Park is a misty Eden of endless waterfalls and spectral blue lakes. Fed by the Bijela and Crna (White and Black) Rivers, the waters tumble from a high, tree-lined ridge down through the valley and skirt dense forests of beech, spruce and pine, teeming with abundant wildlife. A series of wooden walkways pass over the landscape, ensuring that there is as little impact upon the park as possible.
The lakes, which are also fed by underground springs, are divided into upper and lower lakes. The upper lakes are contained within dolomite cliffs, where the rushing water deposits minerals onto mosses and algae and forms travertine, a porous limestone rock. Weaving in and out of the karst, the rushing waters drop dramatically down to the lower lakes, with enchanting forests, grottoes and steep cliffs.
This continuous interplay of water, rock and plant-life creates the wondrous, dynamic landscape of Plitvice Lakes, changing the colours of the waters from azure to bright green, to deep blue and grey. Look to the canopy for over 120 species of birds, including hawks and owls. Butterflies hover through the trees and patches of whitebeam, hornbeam and flowering ash transform the park into a riot of colour in the autumn.
Even amongst this pristine natural beauty, the Plitvice Lakes are shadowed by the region's history. The 1991 civil war erupted here after rebel Serbs took control of the park's headquarters, holding the park for the duration of the war and devastating infrastructure, though leaving the natural landscape intact.
Continue bus bus to Zagreb and take an orientation walk where your leader will point out local amenities and attractions you might want to visit. Zagreb is the capital of Croatia and has a very charming old city complete with cobblestone streets and medieval buildings. Check out both the upper town and the lower town to explore the city's culture and sample some of the local food and drink. There are also a number of museums to explore focusing on art, history and archaeology.
The tallest building in town is the Gothic Zagreb Cathedral, with iconic twin spires that can be seen from virtually everywhere in the city. The city's central point is Ban Jelačić Square, which is surrounded by many structures that reflect different periods of Zagreb's past. One of the more unusual places you could visit is the Museum of Broken Relationships, which documents the history of failed relationships and unrequited love!Chillout Hostel or similar
Day 5-6 - Ljubljana
Travel by train (2.5 hrs) to Ljubljana (pronounced 'Lyub-Li-Yana'), the cosmopolitan capital of Slovenia.
Known as ‘Europe in Miniature’, tiny Slovenia has a huge heart and a wealth of diversity. The soaring Julian Alps capture a touch of Switzerland, the radiating coastline oozes Mediterranean charm and Bled’s sweet island church appears to have come straight out of a fairytale. There is plenty of action for adrenaline junkies, from cycling, hiking and skiing, to canyoning, caving and boating. For those who prefer a slower pace, just sit back and take in the postcard-perfect views.
Located in the centre of Slovenia, Ljubljana is a city full of style and sophistication, a treasure-trove of history, monuments, churches, museums, and great restaurants. In your free time you can visit Ljubljana Castle, the Town Hall, Cathedral of St. Nicholas, Dragon Bridge or the open market under the arcade.
Alternatively, there may be time on your second day here to take a day trip to Bled. With a stunning lake, a glorious castle, an island that holds a gateway to wishes and a bevy of exhilarating outdoor activities, Bled is the true delight of Slovenia.Hostel Celica or similar
Day 7-8 - Venice
Travel by bus (3.5 hrs) to one of the world's most unique cities - Venice.
A grand city of canals, Venice is built over a hundred small islands connected by 400 bridges. Still rich with artistic masterpieces, modern Venice combines history with contemporary life through food, performance, art and architecture.
Use your free time to explore Venice. The best way to do that is by foot, taking in all the famous sights - the Grand Canal, the old-world shops of the Rialto Bridge, the Palace of the Doge (ruler of Venice), the Piazza San Marco and its golden Basilica, and the evocative Bridge of Sighs. Wander the narrow, cobblestone streets and spacious piazzas and cross the hundreds of tiny bridges. There are shops, markets, galleries, churches and stunning buildings around every corner.
Venice is home to the iconic Rialto food markets, which have been trading for centuries, and one of Italy’s foremost wine-producing regions, best known for varietals including Bardolino and Valpolicella.
Be sure not to miss trying the popular dessert tiramisu - sponge cakes soaked in coffee and arranged in layers with mascarpone cheese - which is the speciality of this region.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.Hotel Mondial or similarBreakfast
What to Know
Tour leader, accommodation, transport and sightseeing where specified.
- International flights, airport transfers, departure taxes, visas, insurance (compulsory on all trips), meals (except 1 breakfast in Venice), any optional tours or activities during free time, camera fees, excess baggage charges, tips and items of a personal nature.
Trip Dates and Prices
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