Duration: 15 Sep 2017 - 30 Sep 2017
Price: $3600 USD
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Our Grand Tour is a bit like the “best of” old Yugoslavia fit into 15 days. This small group tour of Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and a touch of Montenegro has the obvious tourist ‘hits’ like Dubrovnik, Split and Lake Bled. And with our tours, there always a good selection of places that are left off many other tours but quite deserving in their own right. The amazing countryside and mountain villages in Bosnia, the wine and food of Slovenia or the crooked alleyways in Rovinj usually end up on guests’ favorites places of the tour.

Four Countries to Discover — Take a walk atop the 80 foot high walls of Dubrovnik, situated on Croatia’s Adriatic coast. Glide across the beautiful fairy tale setting of Lake Bled on a wooden gondola. Discover the Oriental atmosphere and authentic artisan shops of Sarajevo’s Turkish quarter. Visit the charming old towns of the Venetian empire in Istria’s Rovinj and Montenegro’s Kotor and Perast. Enjoy both culture, history, food, wine and nature on our Grand Tour.

Local Flavor — We’ll be staying at private farmhouses and pensions located in lovely countryside villages, where you’ll be treated like family. Our generous hosts will provide home-cooked dinners and breakfasts including fresh cheeses and in-season vegetables, local wines and regional specialties. Local guides will provide us with their personal and unique perspectives. This tour has for a mix of hotels, pensions and farmhouses that are centrally located and all en-suite. From a three-star hotel in Trogir and a great little pension in Sarajevo. to private apartments in Dubrovnik and a wonderful farmhouse in Slovenia’ karst region, guests are treated like guests not tourists. Select group dinners are all handpicked by us and represent good value and quality. Guests are free to choose from the normal menu not a restrictive tourist-menu.

 

      • Soak in the charms of Rovinj and Trogir on the Adriatic coast
      • Relax in the cafe culture and lively outdoor markets of Ljubljana – Slovenia’s art nouveau-rich capital
      • Discover the rich history of the region, from Diocletian’s 1700 year-old palace in Split, to the dervish houses and crumbling fortresses of Bosnia’s Herzegovina region
      • Enjoy the flavors and special recipes during a five-course dinner and wine tastings in Goriska Brda, Slovenia’s premier wine region
      • Explore the underground caverns and secret passage ways in the Skocjan caves and legendary Predjama castle
      • Savor the wines, prosciutto and traditional foods of Slovenia’s Karst region
  • September 15th – 30th, 2017 (guaranteed departure)

    June 2nd – June 17th, 2017

  • $3600 USD

    10 dinners, 5 lunches, 12 breakfasts, 15 nights lodging at boutique hotels and B&Bs (all rooms en-suite), 2 wine tastings, tour guides, private transport, airport transfers and and entrance fees as per itinerary (except those listed as optional).

  • Kabaj Morel Wines ranked in Top 100 Wineries in the world

    Dubrovnik’s cable car from travel blog

    Charms of Montenegro’s Bay of Kotor

    Culinary treats in Bosnia’s capital

Itinerary

DAY 1: Welcome to Slovenia

Overnight: Ljubljana, Slovenia

Arrive in Ljubljana and transfer to your lodging. Guided walking tour of the city and welcome dinner at a traditional Slovenian evening featuring live Slovenian music, folklore show with costumes and dances from different regions of Slovenia and a 4-course meal. D

Day 2: Ljubljana and Lake Bled

Overnight: Ljubljana, Slovenia

First part of the day will be at your leisure to explore Ljubljana. Perhaps visit the castle, browse the outdoor market along the river, take in a museum or just people watch along Preseren Square. Then we will head to Lake Bled we’ll visit its castle perched up on a cliff top. Bring your camera to capture superb panoramas of the lake with its island and Baroque church. Lunch is at a traditional farmhouse in a small rural village where the proprietor makes her own Slovenian cakes, strudel, soft cheeses, herbal liqueurs and beer! She also has a great ethnographic museum of items her family has collected from the past 100+ years! After lunch a visit to local beekeeper to learn about importance of beekeeping in Slovenia and tastings of honeys. Gondola ride out to Bled island in late afternoon before returning back to Ljubljana. Dinner on your own. B

Day 3: History, Nature and Wine

Overnight: Goriska Brda, Slovenia

Depart Ljubljana and enjoy a scenic drive up and over Slovenia’s Julian Alps. Gorgeous and stunning views as we travel over the highest mountain pass and head down into the emerald green Soca Valley. Brush up on your World War I history as we visit the award-winning in Kobarid. It was here in this area that Hemingway documented his WWI experiences in A Farewell To Arms. Arrive in Slovenia’s most picturesque wine region of Brda and enjoy a delicious five-course dinner paired with local wines. The variety of culinary traditions (Slovene, Friulian, Habsburg) have intertwined on this strip of land, giving Brda cuisine its special touch. After the meal we will tour the family’s wine cellar and learn about wine making traditions and methods including the use of amphoras. A unique amber wine is produced after the juice spends 11 months next to the skins inside the amphore. Their winery was recently put on the list of 100 best wineries in the world by Wine and Spirits Magazine. Overnight at winery/B&B in Brda region. B, D

Day 4: Slovenia’s amazing Karst underworld

Overnight: Karst region, Slovenia

Guided tour and delightful nature walk around Stanjel, the region’s most captivating hill town. Carriage ride at Lipizzaner horse farm in Lipica. Lunch in the tiny village of Hrastovlje and then a visit to the 12th century Church of the Holy Spirit. This fortified church has wonderfully colorful frescoes depicting the Dance of Macabre. Visit to the amazing underground world of Skocjan caves featuring the largest subterranean cavern in Europe. A traditional home-cooked karst dinner awaits you at our pension tucked away in the village of Tomaj. The Skerlj family offers up mouth-watering prsut, pastas and fresh vegetables with a good dose of local Teran wine. Save room for their honey ice-cream. B, L, D

Day 5: Experience Croatia’s Istria region

Overnight: Karst region, Slovenia

Full day excursion to the Istria region of Croatia. First a visit to the hill town of Groznjan which was once nearly deserted but now it’s a thriving place with artists, artisans and cafes. Next we will have a guided tour of Porec with its rich 5th century basilica covered in golden mosaics. Then onto Rovinj, the most charming Adriatic seaside town in Istria. A guided walking tour will take us around Rovinj. This seaside town with a Venetian past is hands down Istria’s most charming. Leisure time to explore art shops & galleries and browse the outdoor market or get lost in a labyrinth of narrow cobblestone streets. Head back to Slovenia and late dinner (8pm) at farmhouse. B, D

Day 6:  Welcome to Sarajevo

Overnight: Sarajevo, Bosnia

As we head to the airport we will visit the Predjama Castle en-route. This 16th century castle that clings to limestone cliffs and has a rich history, including folklore about the Slovenian Robin Hood who once lived there. Flight to Sarajevo with arrival by 3:30pm. Guided walking tour of this historic city and dinner with your local Bosnian guide. B, D

Day 7: Exploring Sarajevo at your leisure

Overnight: Sarajevo, Bosnia

All day at your leisure to explore Sarajevo. Browse the art galleries, old Turkish quarter, master craftsmen shops and outdoor cafes while soaking in the rich history and culture. You can visit the tunnel museum from the 90’s war or hop on a tram in Sarajevo and head out to nearby Ilidza Park and enjoy a nice stroll or carriage ride. Ask your Bosnian guide for suggestions. B

Day 8: Into the highlands of Bosnia

Overnight: Mostar, Bosnia

One of our most unique excursions on the tour, a visit to the highland village of Lukomir. It is the highest and most isolated village in Bosnia (1500 meters).Traditional dress, the occasional turban and fez are still worn.We will first visit with the local villagers before heading off into the canyon to witness Peruc waterfall and the amazing Rakitinca Canyon. Lunch will be served on a high ridge with stunning views of majestic mountains. Travel on to city of Mostar in Hercegovina region, dinner there. B, L, D

Day 9: Historic Mostar

Overnight: Mostar, Bosnia

Guided walking tour of Mostar, the former oriental trading center of Herzegovina, home to the famed 16th century stone bridge spanning the Neretva River. Next we’ll visit Blagaj and see Ottoman house that onced functioned as a Dervish monastery. Next to this house is the source of the Buna Spring, pouring out of a cliff wall.We’ll enjoy a lunch at a local fish restaurant before gathering our energy and doing a 1hr hike to the top of the cliff where we encounter grand views of Herzegovina and remains of a 13th century fort built by Duke Stjepan. Dinner in Mostar. B, L, D

Day 10: Hidden Treasures of Hercegovina

Overnight: Podvelez, Bosnia

Busy day of sightseeing. First off the Oriental hill town and art colony of Pocitelj.Then time to enjoy the Kravica waterfall, a wonderful, green oasis in the rocky Hercegovinan landscape. We take a 1 hour boat ride and have lunch at Hutovo Blato, a great place for nature and bird watching. At the end of the afternoon we slowly wind our way back via Radimlja ,with its beautiful Christian Medieval tombstones, to Podvelez village above Mostar with home cooked dinner at guesthouse. B, L, D

Day 11: Introduction to Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast

Overnight: Trogir, Croatia

On the way to our hotel in Croatia (about 2.5 hr drive) we will stop by for a tasty lunch and wine tasting in Etno Village Medjugorje in Hercegovina.The restaurant is located in the centre of the village, perfect for enjoying the uniqueness of its food and wine, and especially for its unique varieties of Zilavka and Blatina. Enjoy the charms of little Trogir, a small island connected to Croatia’s mainland by a short bridge.A local guide will show your around the town and its stunning 12th century cathedral. Dinner at the best restaurant in town. B, L, D

Day 12: Historic Diocletian’s Palace

Overnight: Trogir, Croatia

First part of day at leisure in Trogir. Optional visit to Krka national park with cascading waterfalls and lush scenery easily enjoyed on wooden walking paths (approx. 20€ entrance fee). Then visit to Split, Croatia’s 2nd largest city and main port. Our guide will show you around the old town and focus mostly on the remains of Diocletian’s palace.This was built by Roman Emperor Diocletian in the 300 AD. Much of it is still intact and the rest of Split’s center has been built around it. Those interested in art should pay a visit to the Ivan Mestrovic museum/gallery, Croatia’s most famous sculptor. B

Day 13: The Pearl of the Adriatic

Overnight: Dubrovnik, Croatia

Gorgeous drive down the Dalmatian coast.A short stop to see the towns of Ston & Mali Ston, once important for their salt production.The walls surrounding Ston are the longest in all of Europe. Enjoy a coffee and cake in Mali Ston before heading on. Late-afternoon guided walking tour of Dubrovnik, a magical walled city with a rich and important history. Heavily touristed but much less so when the day trippers leave around 4pm. Our local guide will take guests for a great dinner after the tour. B, D

Day 14: Journey into ancient lands of Montenegro

Overnight: Dubrovnik, Croatia

A very scenic drive around Montenegro’s lovely Bay of Kotor (dramatically situated below fjords) leads to the alluring Venetian town of Perast.A short tour of the maritime museum and church will be followed by a boat ride out to Our Lady of the Rocks church, situated jewel-like islands in Kotor Bay. A tour of walled town of Kotor, including the Cathedral of St.Tryphon. Return to Dubrovnik in the evening.

Day 15: Dubrovnik at your leisure

Overnight: Dubrovnik, Croatia

All day at your leisure to see Dubrovnik.Take an unforgettable walk along its 80 foot high walls. Other sights include the Dominican and Franciscan monasteries, Lovrijenac Fortress and Rector’s Palace. If you take the cable car up for great views of the city there is also an excellent photo gallery regarding the 1990’s war in a nearby museum. For nature over culture, escape the crowds with a trip to nearby Lokrum island. Short ferry rides start at the old town harbor.

Day 16: Tour Ends —  transfer to Dubrovnik airport for your flight home.