Our tour departs South Africa on 05 May and flies on Turkish Airlines via Istanbul to Ljubljana in Slovenia where 3 days will be spent exploring this vibrant city with a day excursion to Postojna, a series of subterranean cave systems with levels of underground galleries.
From Ljubljana we’ll head north to Bled for 2 days. With its placid lake, fairy tale island church, clifftop castle and surrounded by high mountains, Bled is a scenic feast for all the senses.
Travelling towards the Adriatic coast we’ll visit the Lipica Stud Farm, famous for its Lipizzaner horses bred here since 1580. Established by the Habsburg Archduke Charles of Styria, the Lipica Stud Farm crossed Arab and other imported horses with local steeds, resulting the the uniquely graceful white Lipizzaner. Ther breed found favour with the prestigious Spanish Riding School in Vienna and has since been considered an aristocrat in the equine world.
We’ll spend two nights in Piran on the coast. A jumble of pastel-coloured houses on a small peninsula, medieval Piran is coastal Slovenia’s most charming town. While here we will take a day excursion to Venice to visit the Murano glass factory and St Marks Square.
The itinerary then proceeds via the historic town of Pula, best known for its magnificent monuments from the Roman era, and nearby island, Brijuni, proclaimed a national park in 1983 to Rovinj, originally a port built by the Romans. Rovinj was ruled by the Byzantines and Franks from 1283 to 1797 and then passed into Venetian hands. Dominating the town from its hilltop location is the 18th century cathedral, dedicated to the third century martyr St Euphemia. From Rovinj we’ll continue on to Opatija for overnight.
The following day, we’ll continue on to the picturesque Plitvice Lakes National Park in the heart of Croatia where we’ll spend a night. Founded in 1949, the park is covered in lakes and forest and has been on the UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979. It is particularly known for its spectacular waterfalls. There are 16 lakes within the park, each offering eye-catching scenery. We’ll explore the Upper and Lower Waterfalls. The forests along the shores of the lakes are home to some of the largest European species of animal including wolves, lynx, foxes, wild boars, bears, roebucks, wildcats , otters and badgers.
Making our way further south, we’ll spend 3 nights in Dubrovnik. Located on the Adriatic coast, the city of Dubrovnik is renowned for the beauty of its monuments and its magnificent walls. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Dubrovnik has been restored to its former glory after the siege in the 1990’s by the Serb and Montenegrin forces.
From Dubrovnik, a day excursion to Montenegro is included. Famous for its idyllic Adriatic coastline, this small and newly independent country has Venetian-flavoured, fortified towns which line the coast while national parks protect the best of its abundant and largely unspoilt natural beauty.
En route to the island of Korchula, we’ll visit the little village of Ston where we’ll taste local fresh oysters and continue on to the peninsula of Peljesac for wine, cheese and prosciutto tasting. We’ll take a ferry across to the old walled city of Korcula, birthplace of the great explorer, Marco Polo and here we will spend the night.
Crossing back to the mainland, we’ll visit Trogir, one of the best-preserved medieval ports along the Adriatic coast. We’ll spend one night in Zagreb before returning to South Africa on 21 May, arriving in South Africa the following day.
I will be accompanying the group from South Africa and professional local guides will be escorting the group from arrival in Ljubljana through Slovenia, Venice, Croatia and Montenegro. This will be a unique and unforgettable experience for every member of the group.
Since gaining independence Slovenia, Croatia and Montenegro have opened up and now lure visitors with breathtaking coastal and alpine vistas, splendid national parks, romantic and historic towns, great food and wine, and rich cultural traditions shaped by sometimes violent, sometimes peaceful foreign influences. We do hope you will be able to join us as we explore three of Europe’s youngest democracies.