From captivating Lake Bled in the Slovenian Alps to the sun-gilt towns of the Dalmatian Coast, immerse yourself in the history, culture, and natural beauty of Slovenia and Croatia.

Starting at: $6,384 * Includes airfare, taxes & all fees Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Lake Bled, Slovenia  Dubrovnik, the Pearl of the Adriatic  Main Square, Ljubljana, Slovenia  Roman amphitheater in Pula  Roman temple in Pula  Walkway through Plitvice National Park  The Pakleni Islands near Hvar  The captivating setting of Hvar  Aerial view of Split, with the remains of Diocletian's Palace  Section of Diocletian's extensive palace in Split  Architectural details, Split  The harbor in Split  Fort and Old City of Dubrovnik  Old street at dusk, Dubrovnik  Lively street in Dubrovnik  Iconic harbor of Dubrovnik

Pearls of Croatia and Slovenia

15 days from $6,384 | includes airfare, taxes and all fees

From captivating Lake Bled in the Slovenian Alps to the sun-gilt towns of the Dalmatian Coast, immerse yourself in the history, culture, and natural beauty of Slovenia and Croatia.

or Call 855-330-1542

SPECIAL VALUE

This tour is specially designed for a small group of 16 to 24 Smithsonian travelers and offers outstanding travel value. Prices include airfare, airline taxes, fuel surcharges, and departure fees.

Overview

Poised on the Adriatic Sea where the Balkans meet western Europe, Croatia and Slovenia are at the crossroads of history and culture—influenced by empires from the ancient Greeks to the Habsburgs. Discover relics of the past among the effervescent modern-day cities of Zagreb, Ljubljana, and Split; and explore fabled resort towns on Lake Bled and the Opatija Riviera. Experience the unique heritage of the Istrian Peninsula, and venture to natural wonders such as Slovenia’s Postojna Caves and Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia. Along the way, visit six World Heritage sites, including the fertile plains of Hvar and the walled city of Dubrovnik.

Highlights Include

  • Lake Bled: In the fairy-tale Alpine setting of Lake Bled, tour Bled castle and enjoy spectacular views during a boat ride on the lake.
  • Historic Cities: Immerse yourself in the vibrant open-air markets of Zagreb on a city tour, then discover the World Heritage-listed heart of Ljubljana on a walking tour, encountering the stunning architecture of native son Jože Plečnik. In Split, encounter another World Heritage site: the extensive 4th-century remains of Diocletian’s Palace.
  • Natural Wonders: Venture into a fascinating labyrinth of subterranean tunnels and cathedral-like chambers on a train ride through Slovenia’s Postojna Caves.  Then discover an ethereal web of waterfalls and lakes on a guided walk in Plitvice Lakes National Park—another World Heritage site.
  • Istrian Peninsula: Stay in the Habsburg retreat of Opatija, at the edge of the Istrian Peninsula, and set off to discover the historic ports of Pula and Rovinj, variously ruled by the Venetians, the Habsburgs, Yugoslavia, and others. Enjoy a special visit to an family-owned olive farm for a tour and tasting.
  • Trogir, Hvar, and Dubrovnik: Delight in the many treasures of the legendary Dalmatian Coast. Stay within the medieval walls on the tiny island of Trogir, a World Heritage site. Ferry to Hvar for two nights in storied Hvar Town and cross the island to Stari Grad for a guided tour.  Cap off your journey in Dubrovnik with a guided tour of the Old Town, a full free day to explore on your own, a sunset cruise around the walls, and a festive farewell dinner in a family home.

Itinerary

Days 1 & 2 — Depart the U.S, Arrive in Zagreb, Croatia

Depart the U.S. on an overnight flight and arrive in Zagreb . Transfer to your hotel and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.  

Day 3 — Zagreb

Begin the day with a tour of Croatia’s gracious capital city. Stroll through the Old Town, stopping to see Zagreb Cathedral, and experience the lively bustle of the Dolac open-air market, where vendors sell fresh produce and local handicrafts such as baskets and lace. Continue to lovely Mirogoj Cemetery, known for its architecture as well as sculptures by leading Croatian artists. The rest of the day is yours to discover the city as you wish. Tonight gather for a welcome dinner.  (B,D)

Day 4 — Ljubljana, Slovenia

Travel into Slovenia today and arrive in Ljubljana in time for lunch on your own. On an afternoon walking tour, discover the many charms of this small city, whose historic center was designated a World Heritage site. Examine the innovative designs and urban planning of Slovenian architect Jože Plečnik, whose graceful bridges cross the Ljublijanica River, and admire the city’s blend of architectural styles—from baroque to Art Nouveau to modernist. (B,D) 

Day 5 — Ljubljana and Lake Bled

Nestled among forests in the Julian Alps, Lake Bled has become a symbol of Slovenia. With a medieval castle perched high on a bluff at the water’s edge and a tiny island hosting an postcard-perfect church, the lake is the stuff of fairy-tales. Travel to the town of Bled and tour the lakeside castle. Then enjoy a scenic boat ride around the lake, taking in views of the surrounding peaks. Return to Ljubljana, where the rest of the day is at leisure. (B,L)

Day 6 — Postojna Cave and Opatij, Croatia Croatia

Venture into Postojna Cave, a vast karst cave system that stretches almost 13 miles. Board an electric train for a journey deep into the tunnels and chambers of the cave. After free time for lunch on your own, continue on to Opatija and enjoy a walking tour of this seaside resort that was once a favorite among Habsburg princes. Admire elegant Belle Epoque architecture on a walking tour of this modern-day resort town nestled between forested hills and the cobalt Adriatic. Dine together tonight. (B,D)

Day 7 — Opatija and Istrian Peninsula

Spend a full day discovering the unique culture and culinary traditions of Istria, a Croatian peninsula that has, over the centuries, been part of the Venetian Empire, the first Austro-Hungarian Empire, fascist Italy, and the Yugoslav Federation. With its mild climate, historic towns, and rolling vineyards, Istria is a delightful place to linger. In the port of Pula, explore well-preserved remains of a second-century Roman amphitheater.

Continue on to Rovinj and immerse yourself in this charming old Venetian port where you will have time to explore its narrow lanes on your own and perhaps have lunch at an outdoor café. Then enjoy a special visit to a family-owned olive orchard where fine oils have been produced for generations. Walk through the grove to see centuries-old trees, learn how the oil is produced, and enjoy a tasting accompanied by local charcuterie and cheeses. Return to Opatija late this afternoon, and dine together at a local restaurant. (B,D)

Day 8 — Opatija Riviera

Follow the Opatija Riviera to the medieval town of Moscenicka, a fishing village now known for its beautiful pebble beaches. Explore the fortified old town, set on a hill above the sea, and take a stroll on the beach or the waterfront promenade. After lunch together, return to Opatija, where the remainder of the day is at leisure. (B,L)

Day 9 — Plitvice Lakes and Trogir

Travel south this morning to the World Heritage site of Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia’s largest national park. Here, in the middle of thick forests, 16 turquoise-colored lakes are linked together by a series of waterfalls and cascades, which ripple over distinctive travertine banks. Follow elevated walkways across this wonderland of water and geology on a guided tour. Late in the afternoon, continue for the tiny walled island of Trogir, arriving in time for dinner at the hotel. (B,L,D)

Day 10 — Split and Hvar

Start the day with a tour of nearby Split, the largest city on the Dalmatian Coast and home of 4th-century Diocletian’s Palace. On a guided tour, discover how the remains of the palace complex came to form the historic heart of this picturesque city. After time for lunch on your own, board a ferry for the two-hour cruise to Hvar, “queen” of the Dalmatian islands. Upon arrival, travel by coach to lively Hvar Town, your home for the next two nights. Dine tonight at a local restaurant just a short walk from the hotel. (B,D)

Day 11 — Hvar

Blanketed with fields of lavender and rosemary, Hvar is a fertile island with a rich history. Olives and wine have been produced here since the era of the ancient Greeks, and numerous empires—from the Romans to the Venetians—have left their mark. Get acquainted with this enchanting island on a walking tour of Hvar Town. Then cross the island to Stari Grad, one of Croatia’s oldest cities, and enjoy a tour and free time. Visit a local winery for lunch and a tasting before returning to your hotel in the heart of Hvar Town for an afternoon and evening at leisure. (B,L)

Day 12 — Hvar and Dubrovnik

Return to the mainland by ferry and travel along the scenic Dalmatian Coast to the medieval gem of Dubrovnik, stopping for lunch along the way. After reaching your hotel late in the afternoon, gather for dinner in the evening. (B,L,D)

Day 13 — Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik's ancient ramparts have withstood both wars and natural disasters since they were first built in the 12th and 13th centuries. Start your walking tour of this World Heritage site atop the remarkably well-preserved city walls. Then continue through the  Old City, visiting the baroque Cathedral of the Assumption and its Treasury, home to a trove of reliquaries and artwork, including an altarpiece by Titian. At  the Franciscan Monastery, see a 14th-century pharmacy that is still offering traditional treatments today. After time at leisure this afternoon, gather for a sunset boat cruise around the city walls. (B)

Day 14 — Dubrovnik

Enjoy a full day to experience the "Pearl of the Adriatic" according to your own interests. From the medieval Old Town to the contemporary city with its Mediterranean ambiance, Dubrovnik offers plenty to explore. Late this afternoon, gather for a special farewell dinner at the home of a local family. With views over the Old Town, sit down to a festive meal featuring produce from the family’s garden, homemade olive oil, and local wine. (B,D)

Day 15 — Depart for the U.S.

This morning transfer to the airport for your return flights to the U.S. (B)

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)