Dalmatian Isles, Croatia & Slovenia

Package Includes

  • Small groups of 10-18 travelers guaranteed
  • International flights NYC-Dubrovnik, Venice-NYC
    Other departure cities available. Click on date of departure for selection and prices
  • Airline taxes & fuel surcharges
  • 12 nights in First Class accommodations that evoke the local character
  • Hotel porterage
  • All transfers and sightseeing per itinerary in modern air-conditioned vehicles
  • 25 meals: 12 breakfasts, 6 lunches & 7 dinners (including a home hosted dinner, and welcome & farewell dinners)
  • Bottled water during sightseeing excursions. Water, coffee, and tea with all meals. Beer and wine included with dinner
  • Services of local English-speaking tour manager throughout
  • Comprehensive, guided sightseeing and entrance fees per itinerary
  • Active itinerary with unique cultural features

Tour Highlights

  • Thanks to our small group size of 10-18 travelers, we can get to the heart of our destination, visit places that other tours miss, and get to know the locals.
  • Share a meal with a Dubrovnik family as guests in their home.
  • Journey to the village of Cilipi, where we witness traditional ways and taste local wine.
  • Get a seaside view of Dubrovnik’s towering city walls as we take a motorboat to an unforgettable dinner on Jakov Beach.
  • Explore the magnificent Dalmatian Islands of Korcula and Hvar.
  • Visit a family-owned tavern on Hvar, where local fare and the music of Dalmatia are on the menu.
  • Hike the bucolic trails around Plitvice’s lower lakes, a network of 16 terraced basins.
  • Board an authentic pletna on Lake Bled, a unique rowing boat used for generations.
  • Stop at the Sheppard Museum in Bohinj, where farm-fresh cheeses are ripe for our tasting.

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    DAY 1, Saturday - Depart the USA
    Depart the USA for Dubrovnik, Croatia. Your overnight flight includes meals, drinks, and in-flight entertainment for the journey

    DAY 2, Sunday - Arrive in Dubrovnik
    Upon arrival in Dubrovnik, transfer to our hotel. You’ll have the balance of the day to rest or explore on your own. This evening, join your fellow travelers for a welcome dinner. Then perhaps you’ll stroll to the charming St. Saviour Church
    Overnight: Grand Villa Argentina or Excelsior, Dubrovnik
    Meals: Dinner

    DAY 3, Monday - Explore Dubrovnik
    Dubrovnik stands as one of Europe’s most beautifully preserved medieval cities, surrounded by ramparts, watchtowers, and the azure Adriatic Sea. Within its walls, we spend the morning exploring a treasure trove of rich history, admiring the Rector’s Palace and touring the Franciscan Monastery, home to a 30,000-volume library and a 14th-century pharmacy. Then, enjoy stunning views of the Old Town – and the Adriatic – when you walk along the city’s fortress wall. This 1¼ -mile stroll around Dubrovnik’s perimeter offers a breathtaking perspective of red-roofed stone buildings and ancient, narrow alleys. Later, we visit a local artisan to learn about traditional craftsmanship that still thrives today. We end our day as the guests of a local family who have invited us to join them for a home-prepared dinner
    Overnight: Grand Villa Argentina or Excelsior, Dubrovnik
    Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

    DAY 4, Tuesday - Visit Village of Cilipi/Enjoy Dinner on Jakov Beach
    This morning, we drive south to the tiny village of Cilipi. Local traditions hold fast in this rural outpost, and we’ll visit with locals and learn about their customs and handmade embroidery. The countryside hamlet and its winery offer the perfect setting for lunch, complemented by a tasting of lovely vintages. Later, weather permitting, we embark on a small motorboat for a thrilling ride along the dramatic city walls of Dubrovnik. Our destination is Jakov Beach; many claim that the loveliest views of the city can be had from its pebble-and-sand shores. Our three-course dinner here, complete with fine Dalmatian wines, will be a meal to remember. After, our boat delivers us to the old city port and there’ll be time to explore the ancient city by night
    Overnight: Grand Villa Argentina or Excelsior, Dubrovnik
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    DAY 5, Wednesday - Ferry to Korcula
    After breakfast, we ferry to the lovely Dalmatian Island of Korcula, birthplace of the legendary explorer Marco Polo. We arrive in time for lunch, then walk to its Romanesque-Gothic cathedral, with stunning Adriatic views. The rest of the day is free to discover this pretty island town on your own. Your Tour Manager can point out a dinner spot where you can try local seafood specialties
    Overnight: Hotel Korkyra, Korcula
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

    DAY 6, Thursday - Ferry to Hvar
    This morning, travel back to Korcula town and sail by ferry to the mainland. After lunch at a local restaurant in Ston, drive north along the beautiful Adriatic coast to the small town of Drvenik. We embark on a ferry to the island of Hvar, rated as one of the world’s Top 10 islands by Conde Nast Traveler magazine. With its dramatic karst landscape, rocky shores, lavender fields, and pristine beaches, you’ll quickly understand why. Dinner is on your own tonight
    Overnight: Riva Hvar Yacht Harbour Hotel, Hvar
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

    DAY 7, Friday - Explore Hvar/Visit Local Tavern
    Today, discover the treasures of Hvar on your own. Perhaps you’ll relax on one of the island’s beautiful beaches. Board a boat to the Pakleni Islands, just off Hvar’s coast, where secluded coves make for fine snorkeling and swimming. Or indulge in a spa treatment at our hotel. This afternoon, we visit a family-owned tavern. The owners have invited us to join them for delicious local fare and traditional music – perhaps some klapa, a form of a cappella singing
    Overnight: Riva Hvar Yacht Harbour Hotel, Hvar
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

    DAY 8, Saturday - Ferry to Split/Discover Diocletian’s Palace
    After lunch, we ferry back to the mainland to explore Split, Croatia’s grand 1,700-year-old city and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. On a walking tour, marvel at its rich culture and Renaissance and Gothic architecture. At the heart of its waterfront is Diocletian’s Palace, the third-century “retirement home” intended for the Roman Emperor of the same name. We’ll admire its lovely peristyle courtyard, Cathedral of St. Domnius, and Roman temples. Many of the palace’s structures were built with the gleaming white marble quarried from the nearby island of Brac
    Overnight: Park Hotel, Split
    Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

    DAY 9, Sunday - Browse Morning Market/Tour Plitvice Lakes/Transfer to Istrian Peninsula
    Greet the day among Croatian vendors setting up shop at Split’s lively market. You’ll find locally grown fruits, vegetables, olive oil, and wines here – as well as clothing, bags, and trinkets. Perusing these stalls is a great way to strike up a conversation or two! Later, we drive to the magnificent Plitvice Lakes National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. These 16 terraced lakes descend 300 feet in 4 miles down a wooded hillside via a series of waterfalls. After time to explore, we continue to seaside Opatija, beautifully sheltered between the Gulf of Kvarner and Ucka Mountain on the dramatic Istrian Peninsula
    Overnight: Hotel Astoria, Opatija
    Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

    DAY 10, Monday - Explore Istrian Peninsula
    The Istrian Peninsula’s landscapes call to mind an unspoiled Tuscany. Roman ruins and ornate Venetian architecture echo the civilizations that once thrived here. We begin with a city tour of Opatija, strolling the famed Lungo Mare, or seaside promenade, where the graceful sculpture “Maiden with the Seagull” gazes into the gulf. We’ll also see some of the city’s famed 19th-century villas. Continue to Pula, a treasure trove of the Roman Empire. We’ll pause to marvel at its enormous first-century amphitheater, among the sixth largest surviving structures of its kind. In Porec, visit the Byzantine Basilica of Euphrasius, home to finely preserved Christian mosaics. Then, we explore the charming, narrow streets of Rovinj, a lovely resort town. Our next stop, Motovun, appears before us like a fairytale village on a hill. This medieval town is surrounded by forests fertile with truffles and mushrooms, and by vineyards that produce famed Istrian wines. We’ll sample some of this land’s fruits during a stop at a wine cellar and olive oil factory
    Overnight: Hotel Astoria, Opatija
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

    DAY 11, Tuesday - Tour Ljubljana, Slovenia/Transfer to Bled
    We cross into Slovenia this morning and stop for a tour of its capital, Ljubljana. View its vast open-air market; the baroque-Venetian City Hall; Robba’s Fountain, inspired by Bernini’s Four Rivers Fountain in Rome; the Triple Bridge, which connects the old and new cities; and the Parliament. Continue to Bled, situated on the pristine shores of Lake Bled in the spectacular Julian Alps. We’ll explore Bled Castle, perched on a cliff overlooking the lake. Later, stroll through the old quarters of Radovljica, a small medieval town. Dinner tonight is at Kunstelj, a warm country inn popular with locals. Hearty Slovenian fare with wine rounds out our day
    Overnight: Grand Hotel Toplice or Vila Bled, Bled
    Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

    DAY 12, Wednesday - Visit Bled Island/Countryside Drive to Bohinj
    We start our day on Bled’s spellbinding lake aboard a pletna, a traditional rowing boat. Our destination is the tiny island that adds such charm to this vista. The island’s church is home to a wonderful art collection. Later, we drive through gorgeous landscapes and through typical Slovenian villages to Bohinj, an alpine resort town nestled amidst dense woodlands. A stop at the Sheppard Museum gives us a farm-fresh taste of locally produced cheese. We return to Bled in time for dinner on your own
    Overnight: Grand Hotel Toplice or Vila Bled, Bled
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

    DAY 13, Thursday - Explore Venice
    We transfer to Venice this morning, once the center of an empire that oversaw the entire Adriatic. We arrive in style:starting with a boat ride to the Island of Murano, known throughout the world for its glass manufacturing industry, then continuing by boat along the famed Grand Canal, lined with elegant palaces and bridges. After lunch on your own, enjoy a walking tour of Piazza San Marco, with time to visit the Basilica and view the Doge’s Palace, Bridge of Sighs, and campanile (bell tower). After time on your own, gather with our fellow travelers at a fine Venetian restaurant for our farewell dinner. After, take some time for one final stroll in this most romantic of cities
    Overnight: San Cassiano Ca’Favretto, Venice
    Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

    DAY 14, Friday - Depart for the USA
    After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight home
    Meals: Breakfast

    Dates & PricesLand OnlyAir & Land
    Dates & PricesLand Only
    Dates & PricesAir & Land
    This package is currently unavailable. Please check back later or call Discovery Tours for more information.

    Click a date to book online.

    *Not Included:
    Prices do not include optional tours, and gratuities for guides/tour managers. Land only prices do not include arrival/departure transfers.

    Additional Information:
    Jun 15 departure will be accommodated at the Excelsior, in Dubrovnik and the Vila Bled in Bled.

    Sep 28 departure will be accommodated at the Excelsior, in Dubrovnik.

    Nov 2 departure will be accommodated at the Hotel Milenij in Opatija.

    Sep 21, Oct 12 & Nov 2 departures will be accommodated at the Hotel Bonvecchiati in Venice.

    Entry Requirements:
    Passengers traveling abroad require a passport valid for six months beyond their travel dates. All travelers are responsible to check if a visa is required for all countries on their itinerary. For visa information, check our Visas page.

    Is This Trip Right for You?

    This is a moderately active trip. Our small group covers a lot of ground each day, and we spend 4-5 hours on our feet during tours. The pace is moderate, with 3 one-night stays, 3 two-night stays, and 1 three-night stay. Some of our tours require walking over uneven surfaces. This tour is not recommended for people who have difficulty walking or who have heart conditions.

    Getting Ready to GoAbout Your FlightsArrival and DepartureAccommodationsAt Your Destination

    Know Before You Go
    Although most of the planning and preparation is taken care of for you, there are still a few things you should know and some details you should take care of to ensure your comfort, safety and peace of mind. Please review the following information before your departure to ensure that any surprises along the way will only be pleasant ones.
    Getting Ready to Go
    Passports and Visas
    It is each traveler's responsibility to have a passport valid for at least 6 months after the date of travel and a visa if required. Please check the information at www.gate1travel.com/visas.aspx for the specific country/region you are visiting for more details. IMPORTANT: Passengers who are not U.S. citizens must check with the respective consulate or a visa agency to determine what personal identification is required. Passengers who enter, leave and then re-enter the same country on their itinerary should check if they require a double-entry visa. Passport applications are available at most U.S. Post Offices, as well as at regional Passport Agencies. Passengers requiring visas, whether obtained in advance or locally upon arrival, should ensure that their passport has unstamped visa pages.

    Trip Preparation
    A little pre-planning can make your trip go a lot smoother. Several weeks before your trip, make a list of what you will need to take with you. Make sure your personal documents (passports, visas, driver’s license) are in order and that you have enough prescription medications to last through the trip. We suggest that you make photocopies of passports, visas, personal ID and any other important travel documents and pack them separately from the originals. Pack a list of medications including dosage and generic names. If you lose the originals while traveling, you'll have copies for easier reporting and replacement. You may consider bringing a small supply of over the counter medications for headaches and/or anti-diarrhea pills (especially when traveling outside of the USA and Western Europe). We recommend that you pack a portable alarm clock. Avoid placing valuables such as cameras in your checked luggage. Airplane pressure can cause similar pressure in your body, most notably in ears, as well as liquid tubes and bottles. Your physician can suggest medication for decongestion. As for the liquid containers, we suggest that you squeeze out excess air from those containers and place into Ziploc bags to catch any leaks.

    Cell Phones & Calling Cards
    You may wish to carry a cell phone while traveling. Check with your cell phone provider if your phone will work in the destination(s) you are visiting. U.S. service is dominated by the CDMA technology standard, while most of the world uses the incompatible GSM standard. Some U.S. providers do offer GSM, but you may incur high international roaming fees. With GSM, however, you can often choose to have your phone unlocked and then add a local SIM card for lower fees. If you can access the Internet as you travel, you can take advantage of email or a Skype Internet telephone (VOIP) account for the best value. Alternatively, you may investigate renting a cell phone before you leave or buying an inexpensive phone locally.

    When calling the U.S. from a foreign country, you may also use a prepaid calling card; normally, the only additional charge (besides the prepaid long distance charges) is a local fee of a few cents and possibly a connection fee if you are using your card at your hotel. It is best to check with the hotel’s reception desk prior to making phone calls to avoid unexpected charges.

    Making Telephone Calls from One Country to Another
    When dialing a number from one country to another, you should proceed as follows: dial your country's Exit Code + destination Country Code + Phone Number.
    For most countries, the exit code is 00. Exceptions include the USA and Canada (011), Hong Kong and Cambodia (001), Australia (0011), and Russia (8 Pause 10*). For Brazil, please consult with the local telephone company. If the international number you wish to call starts with a 0 (zero), you must drop this starting digit when dialing the number.

    Wireless Internet Access
    Passengers traveling with WiFi enabled devices (such as a personal computer, smartphone, tablet, or digital audio player) may be able to connect to the internet via a wireless network access point (or hotspot). WiFi access in hotels and/or cruise lines often involves a fee which, in some cases, can be very expensive. Availability of WiFi varies by country, hotel and/or cruise line. Even if WiFi is available, signal strength is subject to local conditions and not guaranteed. Internet availability on cruises is unpredictable due to the ship frequently changing locations while sailing through multiple countries. Passengers requiring internet access may seek out internet cafes or may be able to locate free WiFi hotspots such as libraries or coffee shops. Hotspots can often be located and planned in advance via an online search. Planning ahead may help avoid unnecessary fees.

    Staying Healthy While Traveling
    All travelers should familiarize themselves with local conditions, such as high altitude or required immunizations, which could affect their health. We recommend you consult with your personal health-care provider, the Centers for Disease Control (www.cdc.gov) and/or theWorld Health Organization (http://www.who.int/en/) for their recommendations.

    There are several easy steps you can take to stay healthy while traveling which may help prevent contracting an illness while away from home.

    • Watch what you eat. Try new foods in modest quantities, and depending upon your destination, you may want to avoid street foods, salad bars, raw vegetables and fruits, unless they have thick peels like bananas or grapefruit.
    • Stay hydrated. Drink bottled water and avoid consuming ice cubes made with tap water.
    • If you have allergies to foods, medications or insect bites, or have any other unique medical issues, consider a medical alert bracelet and/or a physician’s note detailing required treatment should you become ill.
    • Wash your hands regularly and carry hand sanitizer.
    • Where appropriate, pack sunscreen and insect repellant (for both active and warm destinations).
    • You may also want to bring a small first-aid kit with bandaids, antibiotic cream, pain killers, bug bite cream, digestive aids like antidiarrheal or anti-bloat medications, antacids, and cold medicine. This is in addition to any prescription medications which should be adequate for the entire trip.

    Notice on Aircraft Cabin Insecticide Treatment - Please note that some countries may require aircraft cabin insecticide treatment for in-bound foreign flights. A list of such countries is available at: http://www.dot.gov/office-policy/aviation-policy/aircraft-disinsection-requirements.

    Climate & Clothing
    Italy - Spring and Fall: 55-75°F; Summer: 70-85°F; Winter: 40-55°F. Bring comfortable walking shoes, a sweater, clothes you can layer and an all-weather jacket. On cruises, informal dress is the general rule though on formal nights, a cocktail dress for women and a suit or coat and tie for men is required. Some religious sites may require modest dress to enter (no shorts, short skirts, or sleeveless tops).

    Italy Average Temperatures: http://www.gate1travel.com/weather/europe/default.aspx#italy-weather

    Slovenia - Spring and Autumn: 40–65°F; Summer: 55–75°F; Winter: 20–35°F. Bring comfortable walking shoes, a sweater, clothes you can layer and an all-weather jacket. Some religious sites may require modest dress to enter (no shorts, short skirts, or sleeveless tops).

    Slovenia Average Temperatures:http://www.gate1travel.com/weather/europe/default.aspx#slovenia-weather

    Croatia - Spring and Autumn: 40–65°F; Summer: 65–85°F; Winter: 30–45°F. Bring comfortable walking shoes, a sweater, clothes you can layer and an all-weather jacket. Some religious sites may require modest dress to enter (no shorts, short skirts, or sleeveless tops).

    Croatia Average Temperatures: http://www.gate1travel.com/weather/europe/default.aspx#croatia-weather

    Book & Film Recommendations
    Many of our guests enjoy reading about their destination - either in advance of their trip or while traveling - as a way of adding context to their visit. Whether reading a traditional guide book, learning about the history and culture, or simply enjoying a fictional novel set in the destination, a good book can add greatly to your experience. Similarly, a good movie set in your destination helps set the mood before you travel. We asked our Tour Managers and staff to recommend books and films which past guests may have enjoyed. The following does not constitute an endorsement of any authors, books or films listed, it is merely a collection of guests’ recommendations.

    ITALY: Books
    Venice Is a Fish: A Sensual Guide by Tiziano Scarpa
    Venetian Legends and Ghost Stories: A Guide to Places of Mystery in Venice by Alberto Toso Fei
    The Lost Army or Empire of Dragons or The Ides of March or Tyrant by Valerio Massimo Manfredi
    Secrets of Rome: Love and Death in the Eternal City or Secrets of the Vatican by Corrado Augias
    Four Seasons in Rome: On Twins, Insomnia, and the Biggest Funeral in the History of the World by Anthony Doerr
    La Bella Figura: A Field Guide to the Italian Mind or An Italian in Italy by Beppe Severgnini
    Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy or In Tuscany by Frances Mayes
    A Day in the Life of Ancient Rome by Alberto Angela
    The Little World of Don Camillo by Giovanni Guareschi
    Caesar: Life of a Colossus by Adrian Keith Goldsworthy
    The Stones of Venice by John Ruskin
    The Garden of the Finzi Continis by Giorgio Bassani
    The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi
    A Room with a View by E.M. Forster
    Inspector Montalbano novels by Andrea Camilleri
    The Leopard by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa
    The Agony and the Ecstasy: A Biographical Novel of Michelangelo by Irving Stone
    Roma: The Novel of Ancient Rome by Steven Saylor
    The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant
    Italy for the Gourmet Traveler by Fred Plotkin
    The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare
    Why Italians Love to Talk About Food: A Journey Through Italy's Great Regional Cuisines, from the Alps to Sicily by Elena Kostioukovitch
    Michelangelo A Tormented Life by Antonio Forcellino
    Medici: Godfathers of the Renaissance by Paul Strathern