Pictures: 1) Split old town, 2) Dubrovnik, 3) Bay of Kotor, 4) Island of Our Lady of the Rocks, Perast, 5) Sveti Stefan.
Tour itinerary Venice to Budva
|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 – Goriska Brda – Kobarid – Soca Valley – Bovec – Julian Alps – Lake Bled.|
|Day 3||Lake Bled – Bled Castle – Vintgar Gorge – Bohinj Valley – Lake Bohinj – Radovljica old town – Lake Bled.|
|Day 4||Lake Bled – Ljubljana – Postojna Caves – Predjama Castle – Slovenia/Croatia border – Buzet.|
|Day 5||Buzet – Istrian hills – Motovun – Rovinj – Buzet.|
|Day 6||Buzet – Hum Village – Rastoke Village – Plitvice Lakes National Park.|
|Day 7||Plitvice Lakes National Park.|
|Day 8||Plitvice Lakes National Park – Trogir – Split (old town & Diocletian’s Palace).|
|Day 9||Split – Ston – Dubrovnik Riviera – Cavtat.|
|Day 10||Cavtat – Dubrovnik (old town & city walls) – Cavtat.|
|Day 11||Cavtat – Croatia/Montenegro border – Bay of Kotor – Perast – Island of Our Lady of the Rocks – Kotor old town – Budva.|
|Day 12||Budva – Cetinje (the “Old Royal Capital” of Montenegro) – Lovcen National Park – Budva.|
|Day 13||Clients make their own airport taxi/transfer arrangements to nearby Tivat 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 Lake Bled (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 entering Slovenia we leave the motorway and 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 3: 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 4: Lake Bled to Buzet (Istria, 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 to visit two of Slovenia’s 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. Our onward journey takes us over the border into Croatia where we overnight at the old hilltop town of Buzet, the so called “Capital of Truffles”.
Day 5: 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 6: Buzet to the Plitvice Lakes National Park (Croatia)
Our first sightseeing visit of the day is located just around the corner from Buzet, the village of Hum which as well as being a delightful spot, 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!! From here our journey takes us away from the coast and towards the hinterland of Croatia, heading initially to 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 7: 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 8: Plitvice Lakes National Park to Split (Croatia)
We spend the morning heading back down towards the Adriatic coast where we will make our first main stop at Trogir, with time for sightseeing and lunch, before arriving at nearby Split. The old town of Trogir is a UNESCO World Heritage site, built on an island connecting the mainland with the island of Ciovo with two bridges. We will have plenty of time to explore here at a leisurely pace, through the narrow cobbled alley ways and along the vibrant harbour front. Shortly after arriving in Split we will meet our local city guide who will take us on a guided walk around the old town and the Diocletian’s Palace. Split provides a fascinating mix of styles which are a legacy of Roman and Venetian times, combined with a splash of the Austro-Hungarian era, and the modern day influences of contemporary life in Croatia’s second largest city. The Riva Promenade is the place to be seen during the evenings, where the locals enjoy socialising and sipping drinks under a patchwork of colourful cafe bar umbrellas. We overnight in Split.
Day 9: Split to Cavtat (Dubrovnik Riviera, Croatia)
Today we head further south, taking in some of the most attractive sights of the Dalmatian coastline. Shortly after taking the motorway for the first part of our journey, we cross the border for a brief incursion into Bosnia & Herzegovina and its one and only coastal town Neum. A little further down the road and already back into Croatia we make our first sightseeing break at Ston, famous for its old town walls, local vineyards and oyster beds. If seafood and wine are your thing, lunch in Ston will be a wonderful experience. From here we head down the coastal road along the so called “Dubrovnik Riviera” where the views across the azure blue Adriatic sea and the nearby islands are stunning. We conclude our day just the other side of Dubrovnik at the charming seaside resort of Cavtat where we overnight. As an alternative option for this day, we can take you on a different route to Split through Bosnia & Herzegovina to visit the historic town of Mostar, a UNESCO world heritage site best known for its old town bridge and its involvement in the Yugoslav war.
Day 10: Dubrovnik (Croatia)
The so called “Jewel of the Adriatic”, Dubrovnik will take your breath away. Yes it is likely to be busy when we visit and some might say that the rapid growth of tourism here is taking its toll on the old town. But Dubrovnik still manages to deliver the “wow factor” and few visitors leave disappointed. From nearby Cavtat we will travel by pleasure boat directly into the famous old port of Dubrovnik. Here our local city guide will meet us for a guided tour around the old town and city walls, taking in the most popular visitor attractions plus a few hidden nooks and crannies, offering an insight of real life through the eyes of a local. The panoramic views from the city walls across the roof tops and beyond will for sure be another major highlight of your tour experience. Optional visits to the Cathedral of the Assumption and its treasury, the Franciscan Monastery and the Mt.Srd cable car can be arranged. Your afternoon is at leisure, where you can spend some more time exploring Dubrovnik, before taking the return boat back to the relative peace and tranquillity of Cavtat for our second night here.
Day 11: Cavtat to Budva (Montenegro)
A new day begins with a new country as we cross the border from Croatia into nearby Montenegro. Our journey takes us around picturesque the Bay of Kotor where the rugged “black” mountains appear to dip their toes into the Adriatic sea. This stunning coastal landscape is enhanced further by numerous fishing villages that line the bay, characterised by beige stone walled cottages, with colourful window boxes and terracotta clay tiled roofs.
We make our first sightseeing stop at one such village, Perast, where we will take the short boat ride over to the Island of our Lady of the Rocks. According to the legend, in the year 1452 an icon of the Madonna and Child was found by locals, mysteriously washed up on to a single rock in the middle of the bay. Recognised as a sign of divine protection and good luck, local sailors took an oath to show their gratitude for each safe return, by laying more rocks on the same spot in the bay. Over time this eventually created an island where a beautiful church was also constructed. The custom of throwing rocks into the sea here is maintained by the locals to the present day.
We continue around the bay to the historic old walled town of Kotor for a lunch break and a guided walk, before concluding our day in Budva where we overnight. Our hotel accommodation is located in the most attractive part of Budva, directly facing the seafront and adjacent to the marina and old town.
Day 12: Cetinje and the Lovcen National Park (Montenegro)
As well as being a rather attractive market town, Cetinje is the original “Royal Capital” of Montenegro and boasts a number of cultural and historical buildings, including several grand palaces, state embassies and the National Museum. Our local guide will introduce us to the main sights and explain the historical background to one of Europe’s smallest and most intriguing countries. The second part of our day takes us back to nature as we venture up into the hills and mountains within the Lovcen National Park, where we will enjoy some dramatic panoramic views across the region. On a clear day it is possible to see as far afield as Skadar Lake, the largest fresh water lake in the Balkans, and over the border with Albania.
Day 13: Departure from Tivat airport (Montenegro)
Sadly, it is time to say farewell as you depart Budva and make your own way to Tivat airport, located just 20 km away. The journey time by taxi is between 20 and 30 minutes but we recommend that you allow some contingency time to ensure that you arrive at the airport on time for your check-in. The desks are normally open two hours in advance of each scheduled flight departure.
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|
|Istria (Buzet)||Hotel Vela Vrata or similar|
|Plitvice Lakes National Park||Hotel Degenija or similar|
|Split||Hotel Marul or similar|
|Cavtat (near Dubrovnik)||Hotel Cavtat or similar|
|Budva||Hotel Budva 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 Walls of Motovun, the Plitvice Lakes National Park, the Cellars of the Diocletian’s Palace in Split and the Dubrovnik City Walls.
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, the Pula Roman Amphitheatre, St Lawrence’s Cathedral in Trogir, the Cathedral of St Domnius in Split, the Walls of Ston, Dubrovnik Cathedral, and the Mt. Srd cable car in Dubrovnik.
Montenegro: The Island of Our Lady of the Rocks in the Bay of Kotor and Kotor old town.
Other visitor attractions in Montenegro which are not included but can be arranged on request include the National Museum of Montenegro in Cetinje and the Kotor City Walls.
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 local guides at the following locations in Croatia and Montenegro; the Plitvice Lakes National Park, Split, Dubrovnik, the Bay of Kotor, Cetinje and the Lovcen National Park.