Just a generation ago, Slovenia and Croatia’s Istrian Peninsula were part of Yugoslavia. Now, they’re two of the great under-the-radar screen destinations in all of Europe. These unspoiled next-door lands sit right at the top of the Adriatic Sea just east of Venice. The scenery is so insanely perfect that you don’t want the walks to end. Think vineyards rolling into olive groves sweeping to the Adriatic and mirror calm mountain lakes reflecting snow-capped Alps. Can’t you see yourself, eating an apricot plucked from the orchard of a limestone farmhouse…chatting with a shepherd…sipping the local Malvasia wine before another forkful of truffled gnocchi? The Romans called this region Terra Magica and even now there are strong traces of Italian culture in the food, scenery and everyday life. Travel experts love to say that these lands are “like Tuscany 30 years ago.” We think Istria and Slovenia are even better…the rare kind of destination just about guaranteed to give you the unforgettable thrill of discovery.
We meet in Ljubljana. On foot, we'll enjoy a private guided exploration of the Ljubljanica River and Old Town. The next morning, you will take a scenic to drive to Lake Bled, where you'll explore 15th-century frescoes. Later this afternoon you will follow our guide along mountainside trails to the remarkable Vintgar gorge. You'll discover series of rapids and emerald green pools, and beautiful views of Šum Waterfall .
DAYS 3-4 - ROVINJ
A brief drive takes us from Slovenia to Croatia. After a coastal walk, friends treat us to an olive oil tasting at their mill. Rovinj (3 nights) is a gorgeous town on a teardrop of land. We approach it the best way—via footpath—before checking into our hotel overlooking the sea. Our friend Simona fortifies us with a cappuccino for a glorious stroll from Montizel (Monticello in Italian) past fig orchards, vineyards, and walled towns. We’ve also negotiated a visit to the Brijuni Islands, formerly the private retreat of Yugoslavia’s president. We’ll explore the Roman amphitheater at Pula and enjoy a tasting at a winery overlooking the Adriatic.
DAYS 5-7 - OPATIJA / ZAGREB
En route to our seaside villa in Opatija (2 nights), we’ll have lunch in a charming village and take a dip in waters clear to depths of 40 feet. After a ferry ride to Kosljun Island, we’ll follow scenic footpaths through lush Mediterranean vegetation to visit a 15th century monastery and a chance to meet with the monks. On our final day, we enjoy a guided visit of Zagreb before we part company in the afternoon.
Starting Point:Ljubljana – 2:00 pm – Lobby of Grand Hotel Union
Ending Point:Zagreb – 3:00 pm – Zagreb city center
Why Choose Classic Journeys
Travel + Leisure has named Classic Journeys the #1 World's Best Tour Operator multiple times and says, "Classic Journeys provides unbeatable access to experiences around the globe." Here's what that access means for you.
- Experience the world on foot and at eye level. Each day, join your guide on the most cinematic footpaths in the region.
- Exceptional full-time local guides who become your well-connected friend. Our amazing guides are with you throughout each day of the tour, share their lifelong connections as well as engaging anecdotes about the history and culture of the region.
- Small groups that provide you unrivaled access. An average of fewer than 10 guests per departure means we can offer you special access to sites like Stonehenge so you experience the stone circle when it's closed to the general public, a guided visit to Zion Narrows that other companies cannot arrange because of larger group sizes, and vineyard walks with a count and countess in Tuscany.
- Award-winning hotels are waiting for you at the end of every day. Luxuriate in the finest and most distinctive accommodations in the region you're exploring, including rainforest lodges, 16th century villas, and award-winning properties that show up on World's Best and Gold lists.
- Eat like (and with) the locals. Food is a foolproof way into the hearts, homes and history of the places you visit with us. From gourmet picnics to coveted local restaurants, our meals offer you opportunities to explore native food traditions and fine dining.
- Handcrafted itineraries with all activities included. With our long-term friendships, we know our walking tour regions more personally than anyone else. So you get thoughtfully curated itineraries that combine explorations of the villages, organic farms, archeological sites and the people who know them best.
- Sustainable travel that supports the places you're visiting. We put our local currency into the pockets of the people who live where we travel. It's your guarantee that you'll have authentic, up-close experiences on your trip. Best of all, our person-to-person approach helps sustain their ways of life.
Dates & Prices
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Select our “Family Departure” to travel with other families.
- All breakfasts, 1 lunch and 5 dinners
- Full-time experienced guide(s) who are with you throughout the trip, handle behind-the-scenes logistics and are there to help with anything
- Admissions to tastings, historic sites and other scheduled events as noted in the detailed daily itinerary
- Gratuities for hotels, meals and baggage
- All land transportation during the trip
Above & Beyond Benefits
Privileged Access Events
- One-of-a-kind access to remarkable people, places and activities arranged just for you.
Wine on Us
- In many regions, we uncork wonderful local wines at every dinner, compliments of Classic Journeys.