Arrival at Ljubljana, transfer airport-hotel. After a light lunch departure for a city exploration on foot, passing all major monuments (Parliament, Plecnik library, Maltese school, Ljubljanica embankments, city hall, the cathedral, the market and the Preseren square.
We finish with a lift ride up to the castle, looking over the town.
Meal and overnight at the hotel
In the morning excursion to the Julian Alps, Bled lake and the town (60 km).
Bled is a beautiful mountain lake resort, which became also known as a spa, but on the other hand also its natural character was preserved. In the middle of the lake you’ll find the only natural island of Slovenia (including the coast line) and on the island is the most famous church of the country with its wishing bell. The only way to get there is by traditional flat bottom boats called “Pletna”. On a rock cliff overlooking the lake, there’s an old castle, offering magnificent views on for instance the highest mountain peak of Slovenia, the Triglav.
In the afternoon return to Ljubljana, a bit of free time and a private dinner on oe of the terraces along the river.
Overnight at Ljubljana
Departure from Ljubljana towards Zagreb (140 km, about 2 hours driving)
Guided tour of Zagreb, this capital has a pleasant “upper quarter” or also known as “Old Town” with St Marcs cathedral, the parliament in the old “Ban”palace, etc. The connection with the more spread out and more modern shopping area of the “lower quarter” is made by a century old funicular or by a pedestrian street full of restaurants, cafes and bistros. First part of the tour is by bus through the lower part of the city center, potentially including a visit at the especially looking Metrovic pavilion (modern art gallery, is worth the stop for the building itself and for the exhibitions inside), then we continue towards the upper town for a guided walk and a bit of free time to have a stroll by yourself.
Departure from Zagreb and continuation towards the KVARNER coast and it’s main town RIJEKA, arrival at the hotel and dinner, overnight, maybe a small walk along the seaside.
Plitvice lakes excursion
Another phenomenal nature day with this time the lakes of Plitvice, protected by UNESCO (175 km). We have to drive towards the border with Bosnia, where this valley with a system of 16 lakes, which are cascading one into the other through beautiful waterfalls, is situated. An easy hike takes you along and over the azure blue water and, if the weather conditions are favorable, the crossing of the largest lake with an electric powered ferry boat is another unforgettable experience.
Dinner and overnight at the hotel at Rijeka
ISLANDS GOLI, CRES, RAB, LOSINJ, PAG
Today we plan a cruise at sea.
With more than 1000 islands, the coast line of Croatia is a miracle of nature. The sea and the islands are an inherent part of the culture and outlook of the country. From Rijeka we drive by bus towards the port of Jablanac, where we board a cruise boat (reserved privately for our group, bt with space for 120 passengers) which will take us on a trip between and towards the above mentioned islands. We set foot on solid ground on two occasions to stretch our legs: a first time at GOLI, formerly a prison island for political opponents of dictator Tito, nowadays abandoned but queerly interesting. The second stop at Rab, one of the most beautiful islands of Croatia with an ancient, very nicely preserved, fishermen’s village as its capital. Grilled meal on board with meats and fish, salads, homemade bread and wine.
Slovenian and Italian Istria
Departure in the morning for the beautiful Habsburg seaside residence Miramare, world famous for the stays of empress Sissi and also the original residence of Ferdinand Maximilian of Austria and his wife Charlotte of Belgium, later to become the imperial couple ruling over Mexico.
After the castle visit short transfer to Trieste, which used to be a free city state up to just after the second world war. We make a short walk over the main squares and through the main streets and then there will be free time for lunch. On the way back we stop at KOPER, the largest and only harbour town of Slovenia as the historical city center is certainly worth a small guided stroll. Also a degustation of the very fine and unknown wines of the region at the local wine growers cooperative Vinakoper is possible. Especially the ancient European grape varieties such as Malvasia and Refosk are grown here, this in contrast with the well known French varieties, (which were re-imported from America after the vine catastrophe at the end of the 19th century).
Overnight and dinner at Piran
Departure for Ljubljana airport and return home