Bled is a postcard-perfect lake with an island in the middle and surrounded by the soaring peaks of the Julian Alps

Photo: Zdenek Matyas
See more photos

Tour Croatia & more trip

The best of Croatia and Slovenia, Dubrovnik to Ljubljana

Spend a week exploring some of the most popular sights of Croatia and Slovenia from the bottom to the top! Enjoy the Croatian coast while driving through enchanting scenery as it changes when entering inland. The blue sea is replaced by rolling hills and emerald waters of the Plitvice National Park. You’ll visit the most interesting cities in Croatia and get a taste of Slovenia through the magic that is Lake Bled.

This lovely 8-day itinerary will show you a quick glimpse of all the beauties Croatia has to offer. You’ll visit the baroque and renaissance buildings of Dubrovnik’s Old Town, the imposing defense walls and glittering saltpans of Ston and the Roman- and Venetian-influenced city of Split. Admire the captivating beauty of Krka and Plitvice Lakes National Parks feast of straight-from-the-sea fare in Zadar, and discover why the capital of Croatia, Zagreb is so popular. Hike, row, or swim in Lake Bled to take in its enchanting beauty, and finally, join a walking tour of the always elegant Ljubljana. This trip will be dynamic and yet relaxing, but most of all, it will leave you wanting more. 

Trip highlights

  • Explore the marble streets and baroque buildings of Dubrovnik’s Old Town
  • Enjoy the views over the Adriatic and historic saltpans from the parapet walkway in Ston
  • Tour the famous Diocletian’s Palace in Split, dating back to the 4th century
  • Roam Zadar’s storied alleyways before listening to its famous Sea Organ
  • Row a boat to Bled’s fairytale chapel in the center of its namesake lake

Trip availableJAN-DEC
Duration8 days
Suitable for4-8 people
SupportPartially guided
Languagesende
Price per personfrom 778.00 €
Great for
  • Urban population
  • Middle-aged people without children
  • Seniors
You’ll be accommodated in
  • 3-star and 4-star hotels and resorts
Trip designer Anna Maria Frid
Trip designed by Anna Maria Frid

Avid skier and swimmer, fluent in 5 languages. She spends most of her free time trekking, skiing, cycling, ice skating or simply walking through the woods.

Activities are taking place in Croatia and Slovenia

You are about to visit various cities, nature parks and regions in two Central European countries. Here you can learn a few basic interesting facts about each of them.

Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik is one of the most beautiful stone-built cities in the world. An important maritime port and a one-time state, it has always been a cultural metropolis. More than a thousand-year history is reflected in every part of the town. As one of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Dubrovnik owes its special charm to the historic monuments which testify to its rich history. Dubrovnik is also full of vivid cafes, boutiques and local curiosities, nestled in the intricate network of the cobblestone streets.

Split

Split is the largest city on the Croatian coast, and yet it has preserved the relaxed lifestyle of the Mediterranean. You are expected to take it easy here since some call it “The craziest city in the world”. The city grew around the palace of the Roman Emperor Diocletian which had been built almost two millennia ago. The historic centre of Split, built entirely from white stone, is a UNESCO World Heritage site, but the ancient landmarks are a normal backdrop of everyday life - they are not enclosed or set up as an archaeological site.

Zagreb

Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, boasts typical Central European architecture: cobbled streets, impressive public buildings and well laid out greenery. It is a top sight for its wealth of museums, restaurants and nightlife. The Upper Town has delightful hilly narrow streets with cafes, shops and bars filling the 18th-century buildings. Here you'll find the towering Zagreb cathedral, the Dolac market with a panoply of fresh, local produce and the City Museum for a glimpse of Zagreb's history.

Ljubljana

Ljubljana (pop. 293,000) is one of the smallest European capitals. It’s never crowded – but also never boring. 50,000 university students give it its youthful appeal, and as an economic and cultural hub of Slovenia, it has a lot to offer to locals and visitors alike. The city tour begins in front of the Town Hall, takes you through the historical city centre, whose unique architecture is the legacy of the Baroque and Art Nouveau periods and, most notably, the work of the famous 20th-century architect Jože Plečnik.

Krka National Park

The Krka River is a natural and karst phenomenon. With its seven travertine waterfalls, it was proclaimed a national park in 1985. Due to its special position and the mosaic distribution of various types of habitats, it is characterized by exceptionally rich and varied flora and fauna.

Eight hundred and sixty species and subspecies of plants have been identified within the territory of the Krka National Park, including several endemic Illyrian-Adriatic species. The National park is also famous for ancient churches and even older roman-time archeological site in Burnum, former Roman Legion camp and town.

Plitvice

A soothing feeling of peace and tranquillity will surround you as soon as you arrive to Plitvice. Release your inner explorer and see for yourself why Plitvice Lakes have found their place on UNESCO's World Heritage List. A wide variety of plants and animals can be found in this national park. It is a truly unique place with extensive flora and fauna, which are protected and endemic, and it is also home to the "Gospina papučica" or "Lady's Slipper", the most beautiful orchid in Europe.

Bled

The ninth‐century Bled Castle is the oldest in Slovenia, perched precariously 130 meters (426.5 feet) up on a rocky precipice overlooking the lake of the same name among the peaks of the breathtaking Julian Alps. Built as a stronghold for the aristocratic bishops of the Brixen dynasty to defend their territories from attack, its fortified Romanesque walls and ramparts today hide a largely 16th‐century Renaissance castle built after a devastating earthquake in 1511 destroyed the previous building. It is centred around a pair of courtyards, constructed in an enticing jumble of red‐roofed wine cellars, forges, servants’ quarters, mansion, a stately knight’s hall and a chapel swathed in frescoes.

Day-by-day itinerary

DAY 1

Welcome to Dubrovnik!

Welcome to the “Pearl of the Adriatic”. Upon your arrival at the airport, you’ll transfer to your hotel for check-in. Despite being tired from the journey, you’ll likely want to get out and explore. Can’t-miss activities include riding the cable car up to Srđ Mountain to take in the sunset over the nearby Elafiti Islands, visiting Lovrijenac and Bokar fortresses, and walking along the smooth, limestone-paved streets of the historic Old Town.

A piece of history, Dubrovnik is one of the most ancient fortress cities in Europe. And while there's evidence of settlements as far back as the Byzantine era, this area only came into its own as an important power since the 13th century due in part to its strategic coastal position. Dubrovnik's long and storied history is told in its beautiful Gothic, Renaissance, and baroque churches, monasteries, palaces, and fountains all found within its imposing fortress walls.

After spending some time getting to know the city, duck into one of Dubrovnik's many wine bars to relax. It's a good plan, as there's no better manner in which to celebrate your first day in Croatia than by enjoying a glass of white or red wine as the sun goes down over Dubrovnik's Old Town. For dinner, you can choose from a number of great restaurants.

DAY 2

Walking Tour of Dubrovnik

Make sure you fill up for breakfast as you will be doing a lot of walking today!

The walking tour route takes you around the Old Town via Onofrio's Fountain and up Prijeko Street to the Old Port - the key to Dubrovnik's trading and maritime success. Along the way you will pay a visit to St. Saviour's, the grandiose Franciscan and Dominican church, and see wine-producing vines believed to be more than 100 years old.

Ships from Dubrovnik were renowned throughout the Mediterranean and galleons from the Republic could be found in navies across Europe and beyond. These ships were built and loaded in the legendary Arsenal, which is another stop on the tour. Once in the "Old Port", your guide will relate the intriguing stories of the famous Quarantine and the nearby fortresses of St. Luke and St. John as well as fascinating legends about the Church of St Blaise, the Cathedral, the Rector's Palace, Sponza Palace, and Orlando's Column.

The rest of the day explore Dubrovnik and its surroundings on your own, or simply enjoy the nearby beaches. Come early evening, you can get stunning panoramic views over the city and the Adriatic by taking the cable car up to Srđ Mountain before descending back.

DAY 3

Dubrovnik to Split via Ston

After breakfast, you’ll pick up your car rental and set out this morning to transfer along the coast to central Dalmatia and to the city of Split. En route, you'll stop at the edge of the Pelješac peninsula to spend a little time in Ston.

Here you can trek one of the longest defensive stone walls in Europe (originally built to keep predators away from the town's saltpans) and discover the importance this area held in the 14th century. Once in Ston, you’ll embark on an oyster tasting experience, a unique gastronomic attraction. Sailing in a boat you will enjoy the untouched natural beauty of the protected eco system of Mali Ston bay. The entire experience also has an educational character since the guides will gladly share their knowledge and experience about the process of cultivating oysters & you will enjoy in tasting of world-famous oysters, just taken out of the sea, on a floating dock in the middle of the oyster farm. The tour starts by boarding on the boat where you will be welcomed with homemade aperitive & sweets. While sailing to the oyster farm an appetizer will be served. Once on the farm you will enjoy in tasting oysters and after the tasting, lunch will be prepared with mussels caught from Mali Ston bay in white wine sauce. All the preparation will be made in front of you and this way you will enjoy in a unique and unforgettable gastronomic experience in the middle of oysters farm on the floating bar.

When you're ready, continue your journey up the coast and further north to your final destination, where you'll check into your hotel and settle in before taking the rest of the afternoon to wander Split's historic center.

In the evening, take a stroll along Split's seafront Riva to admire the views over the Adriatic. 

DAY 4

Split to Zadar, E-Bike Tour & Krka National Park

Today, you'll spend time exploring the Adriatic coast as you make your way from Split up to Zadar. On your way, you'll break up the trip with a visit to Krka National Park, stopping first in Skradin. A romantic Mediterranean town with narrow cobbled streets, passages, arches, and stairs, it is best known as the gateway town to Krka National Park, though it's home to notable archaeological sites within the local vicinity. Cycling around the Krka River National Park is breathtaking. There is hardly a better way to discover the park than by cycling. The trail will take you through the protected nature rich with history. Your first stop will be at Lake Visovac where a boat will take you to the small island of the same name. Situated on that islet is a Franciscan monastery. You will visit the museum and learn about the interesting history of the area. On your way back you’ll stop for a swim at 44 m (144 ft) high Skradinski buk waterfall. Swimming under this impressive waterfall is surely an experience you will never forget. When you finish your tour in Skradin, where you started, you can stay in Skradin for a bit and explore or simply make your way towards Zadar.

A historical center of the Dalmatian Coast, Zadar is famous for its picturesque coastline full of islands and vibrant blue waters, as well as fresh seafood and unforgettable sunsets (Alfred Hitchcock is on record saying they're the best in Zadar). Take the rest of the day to relax and explore. Perhaps stroll along Zadar's Riva, a wide ribbon of stone paths that runs along Old Town’s waterfront, where it comes alive at night with vendors and Dalmatian a capella groups (Klapa) that serenade the passersby, including folks on yachts who dock there.

DAY 5

Zadar to Plitvice Lakes National Park

After breakfast and packing up your belongings, you'll drive to Plitvice Lakes National Park, the first Croatian national park—and one of the most popular parks in the country.

Plitvice Lakes National Park is Croatia’s natural masterpiece, gorgeous at any time of year. A must-visit for any traveler to Croatia, the UNESCO-protected park is comprised of an exquisite collection of 16 glassy emerald green and blue travertine lakes, more than 90 cascading waterfalls that seemingly cover every corner of the park, and numerous caves. Beech and pine forests surround the terraced lakes and are home to extensive wildlife.

Here, an expert local guide will lead you throughout the park along the wooden paths and bridges to show you the most impressive points of interest and explain the significance of its history and natural features. After your tour, you will have some free time to continue exploring.

DAY 6

Sunrise at Plitvice Lakes, Transfer to Zagreb

After enjoying a leisurely morning in Plitvice, carry on your way north, venturing farther inland to Croatia's capital, Zagreb.

Settle into your hotel before venturing out to your Private Zagreb Pedi Tour. The PediCab is a fun and eco-friendly way of exploring the city without having to do much, just sit back and relax.

Your well informed local pedicab driver/guide will take you on a ride through Zagreb`s top attractions while showing you the most important sights placed on Kaptol, Gornji grad (Upper town) and Donji grad (Downtown) such as Zagreb Cathedral, Dolac open market, Parliament, National theatre, many museums, but also giving you tips for the best coffee & ice-cream, local food or popular night spots and music venues.

DAY 7

Zagreb to Lake Bled, Walking Tour of Ljubljana

If there was ever a morning worth getting up early, this is it! We can even arrange for some lunch boxes at the hotel if you don’t want to waste any more time than you have to. Your 2-hour drive will take you west to cross the border into Slovenia to the fairytale shores of Lake Bled, with a quick detour to Ljubljana, where you will pick up your guide for the day.

Bled, this postcard-perfect lake with an island in the middle and surrounded by the soaring peaks of the Julian Alps is one of Slovenia's main attractions. If you're up for a hike, you can choose from a variety of trails through beautiful gorges or to scenic viewpoints. The craggy walkways and waterfalls of the popular Vintgar Gorge are just 2.5 miles (4 km) from town.

You can also climb up to Bled Castle and tour its smithy, wine cellar, and printing press before enjoying a traditional meal in the restaurant, or row or paddleboard across the placid waters of the lake. If you decide to go to the fairytale island at the lake's center, climb up the church's 99 steps, where legend has it the ringing of the bell can grant your wishes. Then, cycle your way through typical Slovenian countryside, or simply sunbathe on the lakeside with a slice of the famous Bled cream cake at the Park Hotel or Slascicarna Zima bakery.

In the afternoon, you'll circle back to Ljubljana to check into your accommodation. Your guide will wait for you to give you a tour of the dynamic capital. Explore the lively city center and saunter down the main street along the banks of the Ljubljanica River, stopping in whatever small boutique, outdoor café, or wine bar terrace strikes your fancy as you breathe in the fresh air of one of the continent's greenest cities.

DAY 8

Depart Ljubljana

It’s time to say goodbye to Slovenia!

Savor one more local breakfast before you head out to the airport where you will return your car.

Make sure you arrive at the airport at least 2 hours prior to your departure. 

What's included?

  • Private transfer from Dubrovnik airport to the hotel
  • 2 overnights in a standard double room in a 4-star hotel in Dubrovnik with breakfast and tourist tax included
  • Half-day Dubrovnik walking tour on Day 2 with English-speaking guide
  • Car rental from Day 3 to Day 8
  • Visit to the Ston saltpans on Day 3 with wine, oyster tasting, and lunch included
  • Entrance fee to the Ston City Walls
  • 1 overnight in a standard double room in a 5-star hotel in Split with breakfast and tourist tax included
  • Full-day E-cycling activity on Day 4 with English-speaking guide, equipment, and entrance fee to the Krka National Park included
  • 1 overnight in standard double room in a heritage hotel in Zadar with breakfast and tourist tax
  • Half-day guided tour of the Plitvice National Park on Day 5 with English-speaking guide
  • 1 overnight in a standard double room in a 4-star resort in the Plitvice Region with breakfast and tourist tax included
  • Half-day Zagreb pedicab tour on Day 6 with English-speaking guide
  • 1 overnight in a standard double room in a 4-star hotel in Zagreb city center with breakfast and tourist tax included
  • Full-day private tour of Lake Bled and Ljubljana on Day 7 with English-speaking guide
  • 1 overnight in a standard double room in a 4-star hotel in Ljubljana with breakfast and tourist tax included
  • Trip preparation fee
  • VAT 

What's not included?

  • International airfare to and from Croatia/Europe
  • Meals and services other than specified in the itinerary
  • Gas expenses, highway tolls and parking fees
  • Personal expenses
  • Travel insurance
  • Gratuities (tips are always appreciated but not mandatory) 

Reductions and supplements

  • For 3rd person on additional bed on request
  • For Children additional bed on request
  • For single room on request

Ask about availability & get an offer

What happens when you request an offer?

1

We will double-check availability and make reservations for your rooms, restaurants, guides etc.

2

With reservations confirmed, we will prepare the best offer possible in regard to your arrival date & party size

3

You will get the offer via e-mail, along with the payment options. Feel free to request further customisations!

Would you like to be the first to know about our new trips and special promotions?