Thursday, 19 October 2017 12:59

SCENTS OF CROATIA 2018 – departure Zagreb

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DAY 1 ZAGREB 4*
Enjoy a welcome at the Zagreb airport and a transfer to the hotel in town where you will stay for the next two nights. Refresh and relax before your welcome meeting at the hotel at 7pm. Overnight in Zagreb.
DAY 2 ZAGREB – TRAKOSCAN CASTLE – VELIKI TABOR CASTLE – ZAGREB 4*
Start your day with a guided stroll around Croatia’s largest city, wandering its historic Upper town and the modern Lower town. Zagreb charms with green parks and open-air terraces, quiet courtyards and bustling streets, and landmarks like the Church of St. Mark with the colorful roof, the Cathedral and the National Theatre. After the walking tour, enjoy watching the dreamy rural sceneries replace the image of the bustling capital as you travel to Zagorje. This bucolic landscape of slopes dressed in vineyards is home to many castles. Trakošćan, one of the best known and most attractive ones, is an estate with roots dating back to the 13th century while your second stop, Veliki Tabor, showcases Renaissance at its best. In between, enjoy a typical lunch at a traditional restaurant. Feeing royal, return to Zagreb for an overnight stay.
DAY 3 ZAGREB – FUŽINE – OPATIJA 4*
After breakfast, head southwest from Zagreb to a Croatian gem still hidden off-the-beaten-path. Gorski Kotar, the region backing Kvarner Bay, is a pristine mountainous jewel, with evergreen woods and beautiful lakes setting scene for lovely outings in untouched nature. You will travel to Fužine, a small lakeside village where you will peek in the cave Vrelo and stretch your legs in a stroll around the lovely Lake Bajer. Delve into the local specialties like venison at the famed restaurant Bitoraj, and then continue to the seaside Opatija. The grand dame of Kvarner is your destination for the night. 
DAY 4 OPATIJA – MOTOVUN – BUJE – ROVINJ – OPATIJA 4*
Sitting like a gateway to the Istrian peninsula, Opatija is an ideal starting point for a day of discovering Croatia’s largest peninsula. Sometimes referred to as the Croatian Tuscany, along with its heritage, Istria is famed for tasty bits like truffles, wines, olive oils and such. Start in Buzet with Istrian salami and homemade brandies, then make your way to Motovun, the mystic home of the truffle. In Buje, enjoy a fantastic meal accompanying the local craft beer San Servolo. For the grand finale, venture out to the colorful Rovinj and as you admire its narrow streets, romantic seaside, and sky-high tower of St. Euphemia church, walk it all off. Return to the graceful Opatija for the night.
DAY 5 OPATIJA – PAG – ZADAR 4*
After breakfast, it’s discovering one of Croatia’s most special foodie islands, Pag. Stretching parallel to the coast, Pag is a rather rocky landscape known for winds and salt which nuance its every flavor. Thanks to the combination, even the grazing grass tastes different here, translating to remarkable dairy products, and especially the cheese. Savor the best of it at Sirana Gligora, an internationally acclaimed and award-winning cheese factory. Then head back to the mainland to the town of Zadar, your final destination for the day. As the sunset colors the horizon, savor your first seafood dinner on this foodie escapade and spend overnight in Zadar.
DAY 6 ZADAR – KRKA NATIONAL PARK – SPLIT 4*
One of the most memorable moments on your journey from Zadar to Split is stopping to visit the Krka River National Park. Sometimes called ‘the little Plitvice’, Krka is nothing short of stunning. As you stroll around the forested paths, explore the history of the region dating back to the first Croatian kings. Take a boat to Skradinski Buk, a mighty waterfall which thunders so loud that for a moment, you will not hear your thoughts. Early in the afternoon, refresh with a typical local lunch in a traditional konoba restaurant and then continuing the drive. Take one more break to visit the charming Trogir. Split’s petite neighbor is also UNESCO-listed for its fortified maze of stone alleys which holds some of the most impressive Renaissance landmarks in the country. Stay overnight in the largest coastal city in Croatia, Split.
DAY 7, SPLIT 4*
All about its seafront promenades, long coffees and white stone from the neighboring island of Brač, Split’s urbanity developed from its present day historic core, the immense palace intended for the retirement of the Roman Emperor Diocletian. The theatrical open-air Peristyle, the immense temple of Jupiter, the Cathedral of St. Domnius, each one of these is a chapter in the story of Split. Your guide will tell you everything about this centuries-long journey from a palace to a town, leaving you ample time to explore the vibrant café and shopping scene of Split on your own. Complete the day with an afternoon tasting of olive oils and wines, two essential ingredients of every meal on the coast. Enjoy an evening at leisure and an overnight stay in Split.
DAY 8 SPLIT – STON – DUBROVNIK 4*
After breakfast, head down the coast to Croatia’s southernmost gem - Dubrovnik. Enjoy the rhythm of the Adriatic islands lining up against the horizon as you drive by. Half way, divert to Pelješac peninsula, the wine empire of the south. Delve into the essence of the region in a wine tasting in one of the small, family-run local wineries, then stop in the tiny town of Ston. At the very entrance to the peninsula, sitting beneath a dramatic curtain of very long walls, Ston is the kingdom of delights: potent wines, salt from the historical salt pans and freshly harvested oysters are everyday treats here. An ideal place for a seafood lunch, Ston is a stop foodies will long remember! Reminisce during the remaining drive to Dubrovnik and then enjoy a dinner and the evening on your own. Overnight in Dubrovnik.
DAY 9 DUBROVNIK 4*
Whether you know it as the Pearl of the Adriatic or the King’s Landing, Dubrovnik is sure to enchant as soon as you pass its immense stone gates. Between the medieval walls and baroque facades of its Old Town, turn corners to find stunning palaces, longstanding monasteries and revered churches interwoven with glorified movie sets and lively piazzas. The stories of your expert local guide will bring to life the town’s glorious history as a merchant force and an independent Republic. After the tour, head out to the Konavle region that has fed Dubrovnik throughout all these centuries. This serene fertile land surrounded in rugged hills is today a heaven of rural households which still upkeep their ancient traditions. At one such place, you will enjoy a honey tasting. Then, the grand finale: the traditional peka dinner, an ancient way of preparing meat and potatoes still favored today in many Croatian households! Dobar tek! Overnight in Dubrovnik.
DAY 10 DUBROVNIK 4*
After breakfast at the hotel, take a transfer to Dubrovnik Airport (or another hotel/accommodation in Dubrovnik).


Published in Zagreb

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TOUR HIGHLIGHTS:
Unesco heritage sites:
• Historic City of Trogir (1997)
• Historical Complex of Split with the Palace of Diocletian (1979)
• Old City of Dubrovnik (1979)
• Plitvice Lakes National Park (1979)
Capital cities:
• Zagreb (Croatia)
• Ljubljana (Slovenia)
• Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
• Beograd (Serbia)
Natural sites:
• Lake Bled
DAY 1 Wednesday ZAGREB; D
On the first day of the tour, an organized transfer will bring you to your hotel from the airport or your accommodation in Zagreb. Enjoy a day of leisure, followed by a dinner and overnight stay in Zagreb/Zagreb area.
DAY 2 Thursday ZAGREB – BLED B, D
In the morning, enjoy a guided encounter with Croatia’s largest city. With an air of a true European capital, Zagreb charms with its baroque facades and spiffy towers, green parks and open-air terraces, quiet courtyards and bustling streets. Between its historic Upper town and urban lower town, spot landmarks like the Church of St. Mark with its colorful roof, the Cathedral and the National Theatre. As the morning sets into the afternoon, head out to the contrasting, tiny, fairy-tale like Bled in Slovenia. Surrounded in lushly forested Julian Alps, Bled graces the shores of the glacial lake Bled, an idyllic corner of the world accentuated by a graceful castle perched high up on the rocks and a serene island topped with a church steeple floating in the lake’s center. Dinner and overnight in Bled/Bled area.
DAY 3 Friday BLED – LJUBLJANA – PLITVICE; B, D
New morning, another capital city. Today, visit Ljubljana, the petite, charming and quaint heart of Slovenia. Life here revolves around the river Ljubljanica, crisscrossed by romantic bridges and loomed over by the medieval Ljubljana castle perched high up above the town’s cozy center. After sightseeing with an expert local guide, enjoy a scenic drive through the countryside of Slovenia and hills Croatia to the region’s most popular natural gem, the Plitvice Lakes. A guided walk around the wooden pathways unveils an amazing world of 16 cascading lakes interlaced with over 90 stunning waterfalls, bound to mesmerize you in any season. Enjoy a dinner and overnight stay in Plitvice area.
DAY 4 Saturday PLITVICE – ZADAR – SPLIT; B, D
As the rugged hinterland sceneries slowly melt into the spectacular blue of the Adriatic Sea, you will be travelling to Zadar, Croatia’s up-and-coming coastal gem. In a guided walking tour, explore its Roman roots, pre-Romanesque highlights and tumultuous WWII period, before continuing to Croatia’s second largest city, Split. All about its seafront promenades, long coffees and white stone from the neighboring island of Brač, Split’s urbanity developed from its present day historic core, the immense palace intended for the retirement of the Roman Emperor Diocletian. Your guide will tell you everything about this centuries-long journey from a palace to a town, leaving you ample time to explore the vibrant café and shopping scenes of Split on your own. Dinner and overnight in Split/Split area/.
DAY 5 Sunday SPLIT – DUBROVNIK; B, D
Head down to the far south of Croatia to discover its marvelous gem - Dubrovnik. Whether you know it as the Pearl of the Adriatic or as the King’s Landing, the Old Town is known to enchant every single visitor who makes it past its immense stone gates. Between its medieval and baroque facades, you’ll spot corners, stairs and alleys today known as the set of HBO’s popular Game of Thrones. The guide of your walking tour will tell you all about the town’s glorious history as a merchant force and an independent Republic, but will also share a few present-day gossips! Continue getting to know Croatia’s marvel on your own, perhaps even enjoy a swim beneath the mighty walls. Dinner and overnight in Dubrovnik/ Dubrovnik area/.
DAY 6 Monday DUBROVNIK; B, D
You can choose to spend a completely leisurely day or embark on an optional day excursion to the island of Korčula. A blend of lush forests, Venetian heritage and unique wine sorts, the face of Korčula island remains its acclaimed Korčula Old Town. Get the story on its intricate design, impressive lion statues, Gothic facades and medieval dances as your guide swirls you around the cobweb of stone streets to highlight the favorite local stories and legends. Enjoy a stroll on your own and perhaps a snack before sailing back to Pelješac peninsula and visiting a local winery to sample the region’s signature jewel! After the end of your tour, enjoy a dinner and overnight stay in Dubrovnik/ Dubrovnik area/.
DAY 7 Tuesday DUBROVNIK – MOSTAR – SARAJEVO; B, D
Hop across the border to Bosnia and Hercegovina and delve into the region’s Ottoman heritage. Get the introduction at the town of Mostar, where the remarkable 16th-century, UNESCO-listed, stone Old Bridge spans the river Neretva and the gap between Mostar’s Catholic and Muslim communities. The maze of cobblestone streets on the shores, the sweet aftertaste of sugary Turkish desserts and the bitter power of its coffee mark each Mostar experience as thoroughly memorable. Keep the sentiment, as visiting the country’s capital of Sarajevo is bound to have a similar effect. Having thrived as the peaceful crossroads of cultures for centuries, Sarajevo endured a horrifying siege during the 1990’s conflict and is today reinventing itself. Still, the same warm hospitality of its people remains its key trademark in the present day. Explore the capital of the country in a walking tour and then enjoy a dinner and overnight stay in/around Sarajevo.
DAY 8 Wednesday SARAJEVO – BELGRADE; B, D
A new day, a new country. Today, set off to Belgrade, the capital of Serbia. Just short of the border, take a break in Zvornik, a charming little town on the banks of the river Drina, the natural border between the two countries. Today is the day of important river encounters, as Belgrade sits at the spot where rivers Danube and Sava come together. Belgrade thrives and pulses. Spread out beneath the immense and historic Kalemegdan fortress, the town is modern, large, lit up, and bustling. You’ll hear all about the gipsy songs of the river banks as well as the town’s role as the seat of the Yugoslav government in you walking tour and afterwards, enjoy a dinner and overnight in Belgrade.
DAY 9 Thursday BELGRADE – NOVI SAD – OSIJEK/VUKOVAR; B, L
Following the blue Danube, arrive to Novi Sad, an unexpectedly charming and charismatic town. A transit city, it weaves together eras, styles and expressions into a single, alluring projection, with a number of historical and cultural sights that even larger cities have difficulty matching. From the imposing fortress to the churches of numerous denominations throughout the old town's pedestrian zone, your guide will introduce you to all the ‘must see’ locations. Later, continuing to Ilok in Croatia, stop at the wine cellar called Iločki Podrumi (Ilok Cellars) and then for a traditional lunch. In the afternoon, en route to Osijek, visit Vukovar, Croatia’s 1990s city-hero and still a major river port. Overnight in Osijek or Vukovar.
DAY 10 Friday OSIJEK/VUKOVAR – ZAGREB; B, L
Set amid endless plains, intensely yellow corn and sunflower fields, on the bank of Drava river and inhabited by people who are not afraid of spices, Osijek is expressive and unsurprisingly, very Baroque. The city tour of Osijek explains its title as the region’s unofficial gastro capital, but also its main landmarks, the Cathedral and the Tvrdja (Old Fort). Drive a bit and then compare Osijek to another Slavonian jewel, the town of Djakovo. Just one view of its brick towers and the Cathedral dome echo welcome to each one of the visitors. As you circle back to Zagreb, round off your travels with a visit to the Ethno Village of Stara Kapela to enjoy a lunch (no drinks included) of the products from the Slavonian soil. Overnight in Zagreb/Zagreb area/.
DAY 11 Saturday DEPARTURE; B
Departure transfer from the tour hotel to Zagreb airport or hotels in Zagreb.

Published in Zagreb