Pictures: 1) Lake Bled, 2) Plitvice Lakes National Park, 3) Dubrovnik,4) Split, 5) Pula Roman Arena.
Tour itinerary start & finish in Venice
|Day 1||Flight arrival into Venice Marco Polo airport, clients make their own taxi/transfer arrangements to the nearby airport hotel.|
|Day 2||Venice airport hotel – Italy/Slovenia border – Smartno, Goriska Brda (optional wine tasting).|
|Day 3||Smartno, Goriska Brda – Kobarid – Soca Valley – Bovec – Julian Alps – Lake Bled.|
|Day 4||Lake Bled – Bled Castle – Vintgar Gorge – Bohinj Valley – Lake Bohinj – Radovljica old town – Lake Bled.|
|Day 5||Lake Bled – Ljubljana – Slovenia/Croatia border – Rastoke Village – Plitvice Lakes National Park.|
|Day 6||Plitvice Lakes National Park.|
|Day 7||Plitvice Lakes National Park – Hum – Buzet.|
|Day 8||Buzet – Istrian hills – Motovun – Rovinj – Buzet.|
|Day 9||Buzet – Croatia/Slovenia border – Postojna Caves – Predjama Castle – Piran.|
|Day 10||Piran – Slovenia/Italy border – Trieste – Venice airport hotel.|
|Day 11||Clients make their own airport taxi/shuttle arrangements to Venice Marco Polo airport.|
Day 1: Arrival to Venice (Italy)
Welcome to Venice. You will arrange your own private taxi/transfer or hotel shuttle to your nearby airport hotel. Recharge your batteries in the relaxing surroundings of your hotel before the start of our tour the following day. Or if you have a morning flight arrival, you could make use of your spare time by taking the local bus or a private taxi into nearby Venice which is less than half an hour away. Venice can be explored quite easily on foot from the drop off point at the Piazzale Roma, and the water bus “vaporetto” offers a convenient way of getting around the network of canals to visit the most popular attractions.
Day 2: Venice to Smartno village, Goriska Brda region (Slovenia)
After a leisurely breakfast, our first full day of the tour begins. For the first couple of hours we take the motorway from Venice to the Italy/Slovenia border to get some quick mileage under our belts. Shortly after crossing the border we leave the motorway and head for the region of Goriska Brda, one of Slovenia’s most beautiful but lesser known regions. Often referred to as the “Tuscany of Slovenia”, the picturesque landscape is characterised by gentle rolling hills, carpeted with vineyards, cherry orchards and quaint hilltop villages. We will take a road tour of the region with numerous photo opportunities and in the afternoon you have the option to visit a local winery for wine tasting in a relaxed and informal atmosphere. You don’t need to be wine expert – just sampling a few wines and enjoying the local hospitality in rustic surroundings is what it is all about here.
The rest of your afternoon and evening is at leisure and Smartno village has some very good restaurant options where you can indulge in the delicious local specialities.
Day 3: Smartno, Goriska Brda to Lake Bled (Slovenia)
Today we take the back roads towards the Julian Alps region and Lake Bled. Our route takes us through some wonderful scenery, including Goriska Brda, the Soca Valley – “the Valley of the Emerald River” – and the Predel mountain pass. We will also break the journey at Kobarid (in Italian “Caporetto”) where we will visit the renowned First World War Museum.
From here we continue on our way through “Hemingway Country” to the alpine activity resort of Bovec for another short rest stop before we make our way over the mountains to Bled where we overnight.
Day 4: Triglav National Park (Slovenia)
Today we get to explore some of the most popular highlights of the region, plus some more off the beaten path locations, at a nice easy going pace. We begin the day at Bled Castle which stands majestically on a large rock face above the lake with stunning views of the surrounding panorama.
Our journey continues into the Triglav National Park where you will enjoy a walk through the Vintgar Gorge, where the white water of the River Radovna carves its way through a steep canyon. Our road trip continues upwards into the foothills of the Julian Alps through the forests of the Pokljuka Plateau, and downwards to the unspoiled Bohinj Valley, where its quaint villages appear to have been stuck in time for a couple of centuries.
At Lake Bohinj we will make numerous photo stops and there will be an opportunity for a lunch break here. In the afternoon we can offer you the option to take the cable car up to Mt.Vogel where the mountain views are simply breathtaking, before we head back out of the national park to visit the old medieval town of Radovljica.
Here we will take a stroll through the historic main street where the 18th century buildings are adorned by colourful frescoes, before heading into the charming Gingerbread Museum to learn about one of Slovenia’s oldest country traditions. Overnight in Bled.
Day 5: Lake Bled to the Plitvice Lakes National Park (Croatia)
Our day begins with a visit to Slovenia’s elegant capital city Ljubljana. We will enjoy an easy going walk around the city centre and the old town of Ljubljana which is largely pedestrianised and has a very laid back feel. Highlights of our visit will include Congress Square (Kongresni Trg), the Triple Bridges, Preseren Square (Presernov Trg), the Cathedral of St.Nicholas, the open air market and the Dragon Bridge. We continue with our road trip heading south east to the Slovenia/Croatia border, making our next sightseeing break at Rastoke, – “the village of waterfalls” – where we will have plenty of time to stretch the legs and to take lots of photographs no doubt, before concluding our day in the Plitvice Lakes National Park where we overnight.
Day 6: Plitvice Lakes National Park (Croatia)
This day might well end up being the biggest highlight of your trip, or certainly it is likely to be right up there. We will take you on an expertly planned guided walk of the park to ensure that you experience all of the most attractive parts with the most beautiful views.
The park is set in an area of extensive forest and woodland, with sixteen lakes which are interconnected by numerous waterfalls and streams. The scenery is breathtaking and the photo opportunities are limitless. Overnight in Plitvice.
Day 7: Plitvice Lakes National Park to Buzet (Istria, Croatia)
From the “hinterland” of inland Croatia we head back in the direction of the Adriatic coast to the region of Istria, where we visit the village of Hum. As well as being a delightful spot, Hum has achieved fame in the Guinness Book of Records as “the smallest town in the world”. We will take a short walk around the village (it doesn’t take long!!) and you might also want to sample one or two of the local speciality products such as the “mistletoe brandy”, for medicinal purposes only of course!! There will also be time for a late lunch in the village “Konoba” before we conclude our journey just a few miles away in Buzet, the so called “Capital of Truffles”, where we enjoy the rest of the day at leisure and overnight.
Day 8: Istria (Croatia)
A day exploring “Croatia’s Tuscany” with its lush green rolling hills peppered with attractive hilltop villages, and a picturesque rocky coastline lined by mediterranean pine forests.
Our first highlight is the medieval village of Motovun, perched up high on top of a hill. We will take a walk up into the heart of the village from where we can explore the cobbled streets, ornate squares and the old “city walls” which provide some amazing views across the region.
From here we head for the coast and the town of Rovinj, arguably the most attractive Venetian legacy on the Istrian Coast. A guided walk here will include the harbour front and the lower and upper parts of the old town, which contain a honeycomb of narrow cobbled streets. An optional visit to the Cathedral of St.Euphemia and its bell tower – the second tallest in the entire Adriatic – is available. Overnight in Buzet.
Day 9: Buzet to Piran (Slovenia)
This morning we cross the border from Croatia back into Slovenia to visit two of its most popular visitor attractions, the Postojna Caves and Predjama Castle. The Postojna Caves are the second largest cave network in the world and the sheer scale and variety of cave formations is remarkable. Predjama Castle, built in front of a steep rock face and in front of another cave, provides another dramatic sight to behold. In the afternoon, we head back to the seaside to Piran, the most attractive town on the Slovenian Adriatic. Here you can enjoy the rest of the afternoon and evening leisure to explore the narrow cobbled streets, ornate squares and the attractive harbour front. An outside terrace table at one of Piran’s numerous promenade restaurants will give you the perfect opportunity to enjoy the sunset and to gaze across the sea towards the Croatian and Italian coastlines.
Day 10: Piran to Venice, featuring Trieste (Italy)
After a nice leisurely breakfast we make the short journey to the historic old city of Trieste, just over the border from Slovenia into Italy. You will enjoy several hours at leisure to explore the most elegant parts of the city and the promenade, adjacent to Trieste’s main focal point – the Piazza Unita d’Italia. With plenty of time also for lunch and perhaps some shopping, we will reconvene in the afternoon to make the couple of hours journey to your Venice airport hotel.
Day 11: Departure from Venice airport (Italy)
Sadly, it is time to say farewell as you depart from your airport hotel and make your own way by taxi or shuttle to Venice Marco Polo airport, located 5 minutes away. Alternatively, if you decide to prolong your stay in nearby Venice, there are easy connections by local bus or private taxi to the Piazzale Roma in the heart of the city.
Our hotel selections have been cherry picked over many years of experience, and we continuously review and refresh our first choices for the most attractive properties offering the best value.
Your hotel accommodation will provide you with an optimum balance of hotel comfort, friendly service and great value for money. Here are our first choice hotel selections at each overnight location.
|Venice airport hotel||Hotel Annia Park or similar|
|Lake Bled||Hotel Penzion Mayer or similar|
|Plitvice Lakes National Park||Hotel Degenija or similar|
|Istria (Buzet)||Hotel Vela Vrata or similar|
|Piran||Hotel Piran or similar|
In the event that we are unable to secure the rooms at our first choice hotel properties, we will arrange the closest possible alternatives in consideration of the hotel star rating, the style of the hotel and the room rates.
Entrance fees at visitor attractions:
Your entrance fees are included at the following visitor attractions.
Slovenia: Bled Castle, the Vintgar Gorge, the Gingerbread Museum at Radovljica, the Postojna Caves, Predjama Castle and the First World War Museum at Kobarid. Other visitor attractions in Slovenia which are not included but can be arranged on request include the Mt. Vogel Cable Car at Bohinj, the Škocjan Caves and the Lipica Estate (home of the Lipizzaner horses).
Croatia: The Plitvice Lakes National Park, the Walls of Motovun.
Other visitor attractions in Croatia which are not included but can be arranged on request include the St Euphemia Cathedral in Rovinj, the Euphrasian Basilica in Poreč and the Pula Roman Amphitheatre.
In addition to the general guidance and recommendations provided by Graeme, your personal driver and tour manager for the entire tour, you will enjoy the services of a local guide at the Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia.