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Slovenia, Croatia & Montenegro: The Adriatic Coast

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13 days From £3,210 £3,060 per person
4.0 stars(45 reviews)
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Join us on a voyage of discovery into magical southeast Europe as we uncover the natural beauty of three historic countries – Slovenia, Croatia and Montenegro

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Save up to £150pp on selected 2024 Europe, British Isles and Cruise holidays, when you book by 10th May 2024.

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Mobility Rating 3

2024 Tour code: CSG24

About the tour

Discover stunning natural wonders and idyllic historic towns on a fantastic adventure to the three former Yugoslavian countries of Slovenia, Croatia and Montenegro.

Unwind at gorgeous Lake Bled, with free time to embark on a gondola trip to the romantic island church, take a charming rail trip into the magical Postojna Caves, and sail over to the laid-back island of Hvar on the Dalmatian coast.

Delve into the capital cities of Slovenia and Croatia during guided tours of pretty Ljubljana and historic Zagreb.

Take a tour of the well-preserved walled city of Dubrovnik, known to many as King's Landing from Game of Thrones, and enjoy the beautiful Bay of Kotor with a visit to the Montenegrin town of Kotor and a cruise to Our Lady of the Rocks.

Unforgettable Experiences

Spend three nights at fairytale Lake Bled
Spend three nights at fairytale Lake Bled
Stay amongst the gorgeous scenery of Slovenia’s beautiful Lake Bled in a hotel overlooking the lake, its imposing castle and gorgeous church on an island, and savour local flavours during a tasting on a visit to a beekeeper.
Uncover the delights of Ljubljana and the Postojna Caves
Uncover the delights of Ljubljana and the Postojna Caves
View the attractions of lovely Ljubljana on a tour of the impressive medieval fortress and decorative bridges, before enjoying a magical train ride into the huge Postojna Caves.
Discover Zagreb – Croatia’s charming capital
Discover Zagreb – Croatia’s charming capital
Dynamic Zagreb is a wonderful and surprising city. The historic, walled Upper Town is explored on a guided tour, while there is the opportunity to visit the touching Museum of Broken Relationships.
Marvel at the natural beauty of the Plitvice Lakes
Marvel at the natural beauty of the Plitvice Lakes
Experience the UNESCO-listed lakes and waterfalls on a guided tour of one of Croatia’s most-visited destinations, taking in the spellbinding majesty of the Veliki Slap waterfall which includes a drop of 200 feet.
Sail to the Dalmatian island of Hvar
Sail to the Dalmatian island of Hvar
Croatia is renowned for its attractive islands and we cruise to the delightful Hvar for a tour of its idyllic towns and countryside.
Explore the historic towns of Dubrovnik and Kotor
Explore the historic towns of Dubrovnik and Kotor
Experience the real-life King’s Landing from Game of Thrones – the incredibly well-preserved walled city of Dubrovnik – and explore the beautiful Montenegrin city of Kotor as well as a cruise along the Bay of Kotor.

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 – London to Munich: First Class to Bavaria

We gather at London St Pancras International this morning as we set off on an amazing adventure to three wonderful countries on the Adriatic coast. We travel in Eurostar Standard Premier Class to Brussels, before journeying to Munich in First Class. The route passes through rolling wooded hills on its way from Cologne to Frankfurt before heading through the old Swabian towns of Ulm and Augsburg. Look out for Ulm Minster enroute as its spire is the tallest in the world.

On arrival in Munich tonight, we check into our 4-Star hotel just a short distance from the main train station and have our first dinner together. Located within sight of the Alps, lively and historic Munich is one of Germany's best-loved cities.

Includes
  • Dinner
  • Eurostar Light Meal
Day 2 – Arrival in beautiful Bled

With free time to explore Munich this morning, you could admire the Bavarian city's charming main square, Marienplatz, home to the Neo-Gothic Town Hall and the famous glockenspiel. Near the square is the Church of St Peter, Munich's oldest parish church, known locally as 'Alter Peter' (Older Peter), with its eight clocks decorating the exterior.

In late morning, we walk from the hotel to the station to board the First Class service through the Austrian Alps into Slovenia. Travelling through the Salzach Valley in Austria, impressive and rugged ravines open up on to scenery of lush meadows and rolling hills. Crossing into Slovenia, we are greeted by an idyllic rural landscape of charming chalets and verdant forests, before arriving in Bled.

A short coach transfer takes us to our 4-Star hotel. With a wellness centre and thermal pools overlooking the serene turquoise waters of Lake Bled, our hotel is a great place to unwind and soak up the wonderful views of this spellbinding part of the world. This evening, we enjoy dinner together in the hotel.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 3 – Exploring breathtaking Lake Bled

Today is a free day to take in your wonderful new surroundings at leisure. Looking on to overlapping forested slopes of the Julian Alps, the focus of this exquisite lake is its delightful island. You might like to take a gondola ride out to the island and visit the Church of the Assumption of Maria. There has been a church on this island for more than a thousand years, although this Baroque one was constructed in the 17th century. Inside, there are some remarkable frescoes, a gold altar and a 'wishing bell' inside the belfry that you can ring to ask for your dream to come true.

Perched high above the lake is the resplendent castle, which dates from the 11th century. With its white walls and terracotta towers, Bled Castle looks every bit the fairytale medieval castle. Its ramparts and terrace offer great views of, not only the lake, but the Julian Alps towards Slovenia's tallest mountain, Triglav. The museum houses a collection of artifacts from Bled's history, including armour and weapons.

Around the edge of the lake shore there is a three-mile circular walk that provides a gentle way of viewing the castle and island - or alternatively you could take the small tourist train. As one of Slovenia's biggest tourist attractions, there is a quiet bustle to Bled as visitors paddle or swim in the lake, or just take in the gorgeous views around the lake.

You are free to find dinner on your own today. The local cuisine blends central European, Italian and southern European food, with seafood, pastas, polenta and spicy Balkan sausages all popular.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 4 – Ljubljana, Slovenia’s charming capital

Ljubljana is one of Europe's smallest capitals but does not lack charm or beauty. We travel by coach to this thriving city that is quickly becoming a must-visit destination. A tour guide introduces us to Slovenia's capital, starting in Prešernov Square in the heart of Ljubljana. The historic centre is lined with Art Nouveau and Baroque buildings with ornately decorated façades and arched entrances.

One of the most popular attractions is the Triple Bridge (Tromostovje). Three pretty arched bridges span across the gentle Ljubljanica river, connecting Prešernov Square to the picturesque historic centre. Nearby is the Dragon Bridge (Zmajski most), on which stand a number of dragon statues. We are given a tour of both as well as the medieval fortress. Set on a high in large grounds, Ljubljana Castle has stood here since the 11th century and is now a symbol of the city and Slovenia itself.

There is time to explore over lunch, perhaps enjoying a slice of the popular Slovenian cake, potica, in the expansive gardens of the Tivoli Park.

In the afternoon, we are taken by coach to the hills around the small town of Postojna, where we delve into the subterranean wonderland of the Postojna Caves. A popular tourist attraction for more than two centuries, the world's first cave railway was installed here in 1872. We take a magical ride on a charming train through more than two miles of this jaw-dropping and mysterious underground landscape. A guided tour of the cave system follows as we marvel at the stalactites and stalagmites that have created some fantastical monuments. Look out for an 'olm' - these aquatic salamanders are a symbol of Slovenia, and the Postojna Caves are one of the best places to view them.

We return to our Bled hotel in the early evening and enjoy dinner together.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 5 – A taste of honey and onwards to Zagreb

This morning, we visit a local beekeeper in a nearby village. In an area where there's a buzz about all things bee-related, we learn more about the native Carniolan bee and how its honey is used in all sorts of ways; from insomnia cures to massage oils. We also enjoy a tasting of the sweet produce, along with a glass of honey liqueur.

In the afternoon, we travel to the railway station to join a train bound for Croatia and its capital, Zagreb. This vibrant city nestled below Medvednica mountain is our base for two nights. Wonderfully compact, the city's old centre is split into the Lower Town - filled with splendid architecture and peaceful parks - and the Upper Town, a charming area of attractive streets.

Located near to the train station, our hotel is a short walk to the old town. We check-in in the early evening, before heading out to a local restaurant for dinner.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 6 – Uncovering the Croatian capital

We get to know Zagreb better today on a guided tour, taking in the sights of the Upper Town including the 13th-century St Mark's Church. With its colourful tiled roof showcasing the coat of arms of the Kingdom of Croatia, Slavonia and Dalmatia, as well as the city of Zagreb, the church sits in the middle of St Mark's Square next to the Sobor, Croatia's parliament building.

With free time afterwards to explore independently, the Upper Town is full of interesting sites, from historic palaces and towers to more curious attractions. One such is the Museum of Broken Relationships, a surprisingly touching commemoration of heartbreak. Featuring a collection of items from real failed relationships and explanatory notes from their owners, it was created as an art project by Olinka Vištica and Dražen Grubišić in 2006 to offer an opportunity to overcome the emotions of a breakup through creativity.

If you would like to uncover the Lower Town, you could get there by funicular - at 216 feet long it is the world's shortest. The journey takes just a minute but does bring you out in the centre of the Lower Town, close to the city's main square, Ban Jelačić Square, and the bustling Ilica street. Extending northwards from the square is Tkalčićeva Street, a historic, winding street that today is full of restaurants, cafés and bars, where you could enjoy a meal and a drink this evening.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 7 – Free morning in Zagreb and travel to Plitvice

With a free morning in the Croatian capital, you might like to wander through the many verdant parks in central Zagreb or visit the impressive cathedral. The twin-spired Gothic church shines golden in the sun and its treasury contains religious art from the 11th century onwards. One unexpected aspect of the cathedral is the chandeliers which used to hang in a casino in Las Vegas. The casino owner was looking to auction them to the highest bidder, until a Croatian casino worker (at the request of his mother) asked if they could be donated to Zagreb Cathedral. The owner agreed and only asked for pictures of them hanging in place as payment.

Zagreb is bursting with excellent and interesting galleries and museums, including the 80s Museum which recreates life in the former Yugoslavia, and the Croatian Association of Fine Artists located in the striking, circular Meštrović Pavilion.

In the early afternoon, we travel by coach through the beautiful rolling countryside of Croatia to our hotel near the Plitvice Lakes National Park. Located in the small village of Čatrnja, our 4-Star hotel was built in 2018 and provides fitness and spa facilities. We check in for an overnight stay and gather for a meal this evening.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 8 – Spectacular Plitvice Lakes National Park

A highlight of any trip to Croatia awaits today as we enjoy a guided tour of the famous Plitvice Lakes. A UNESCO-listed collection of 16 crystalline turquoise lakes interconnected with plunging waterfalls and surrounded by 116 square miles of verdant forest, the lakes are Croatia's answer to paradise. The cascading Veliki Slap waterfall, with a drop of 200 feet, is simply stunning, as gushing streams flow down multiple levels and from many directions, creating a primeval and majestic landscape.

This is the country's most popular tourist destination and is home to rare animals including indigenous bears, deer, wolves and wild boar. There are also 1,267 varieties of plants - including 55 varieties of orchid and rare plants such as spurge-laurel, leopard plant and heartleaf oxeye. The north-western section of the park is of particular interest to horticultural enthusiasts, containing fir and beech trees believed to be up to 700 years old.

Afterwards, we visit a local restaurant for a three-course lunch of traditional Croatian food, before before a coach transfers us to Split. Croatia's second city lies on a peninsula jutting into the Adriatic Sea, and our hotel is on the edge of the city centre. With a wellness centre and restaurant serving local and international cuisine, it is an ideal base for our two-night stay in Split.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch
Day 9 – Cruise to the Dalmatian island of Hvar

After breakfast, we take a cruise from Split to the delightful island of Hvar. Sailing through the Dalmatian archipelago, passing close to the islands of Šolta and Brač, we arrive on Hvar and embark on an hour-long guided tour. This charming old port town is a feast for the senses, surrounded by pine-covered hills, vineyards, olive groves and lavender fields.

We explore the gorgeous town of Hvar with Venetian-style buildings standing square on the picturesque harbour. Away from the shoreline, rustic cream-coloured stone houses reflect a time of grandeur and importance, while a fortress with a storied history clings to the hillside. There is time to wander round this beautiful town independently after the tour, strolling through narrow lanes bedecked by colourful blooms.

Alternatively, pop in to one if its many excellent restaurants for a lunch of local delicacies such as grilled seafood or black risotto with a chilled glass of the treasured local wine, Prč, before returning to Split in afternoon. There is time today to explore Split at leisure, uncovering delights such as the incredible Diocletian's Palace, the 4th-century Saint Domnius Cathedral or its noble squares.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 10 – Historic Makarska and arrival in Dubrovnik

Leaving Split this morning, we travel by coach down the Dalmatian coast to the old port town of Makarska. This charming coastal town is dominated by the monumental mountains standing behind it. The craggy karst rocks of the Biokovo range run along this coast, and the highest peak, Sveti Jure, is close to Makarska.

Due to its long history, modern-day Makarska perfectly blends ancient port with thriving beach resort. Originally an Illyrian port, it has since been ruled by the Romans, Venetians, Ottomans and French. There is free time over lunch to either visit the 17th-century Franciscan monastery or stop for something to eat at one of the lovely waterfront bistros.

Continuing down the delightful Adriatic coastline, we arrive in the historic city of Dubrovnik in the early evening. As one of the most beautiful cities on the Adriatic, Dubrovnik has long attracted tourists to its incredibly well-preserved Old Town and the shimmering coast. Recently, it also represented King's Landing in the TV series Game of Thrones.

Dubrovnik's beauty and appeal remains undiminished, and there is some free time this evening to get acquainted with our new base after we check-in to our hotel overlooking Luka Gruž harbour. Dubrovnik is famed for its seafood, so you might opt for finding a local restaurant serving tuna, swordfish, cuttlefish or octopus.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 11 – Montenegro and the Bay of Kotor

Dubrovnik may already be a well-known tourist destination, but its near neighbour down the coast is very much up and coming. Montenegro is a land of epic beauty and incredible history but, until recently, has largely been off the tourist routes. We travel by coach to the old city of Kotor, driving round the expansive Bay of Kotor, backdropped by the elemental crags of the Balkans.

The shimmering blue waters of the large fjordlike Bay of Kotor contrast exquisitely with the green and grey of the imposing mountains, while huddled towns dot the shoreline - many with churches dating as far back as the 9th century.

We arrive in historic Kotor, a gorgeous walled town of well-trod tiled pathways, narrow lanes and ancient buildings. A guide introduces us to Kotor and its incredible history as we explore the medieval fortified town and its sights of significance, including the Cathedral of St Tryphon, the twin Romanesque towers of which rise high against the mountainous backdrop.

After some free time over lunch, we set sail on the Bay of Kotor to visit Our Lady of the Rocks. Legend has it that this tiny, artificial island was created after a sailor found an icon of the Madonna and Child on a rock near this location. Each time he passed, he laid another rock in the bay. Over time, a small island emerged from the sea and a church was constructed. Today, the quaint church contains a venerable 15th-century icon of the Virgin Mary by Lovro Dobričević. We explore the island and church before cruising back to Kotor and making the return journey to Dubrovnik, where we have the evening to spend as we wish.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 12 – Dubrovnik: The ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’

Today we take the short journey to Dubrovnik's Pile Gate, where a guide meets us for an informative tour of the breathtaking Renaissance port known as the 'Pearl of the Adriatic'. The city's Old Town is UNESCO-listed, and you may recognise some of the terracotta streets and buildings from the many films and shows that have chosen this magnificent setting as a backdrop, particularly Game of Thrones.

There's a rich array of charming and picturesque buildings - from the world's oldest arboretum to one of the continent's oldest pharmacies, dating back to the 14th century. The looming parapets of this historic destination have seen their share of hardship over the years, most recently the tragic bombardment of the city during the Croatian War of Independence.

We have entry to the 14th-century Franciscan church and monastery complex, as well as the Baroque cathedral that includes artworks by Titian.

Your afternoon is free and might like to take a walk along the ancient walls or take the ferry across to the forested island of Lokrum, where you can visit the Benedictine monastery and botanical gardens. This evening we gather at a local restaurant for our final dinner together.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 13 – Homeward bound

We bid farewell to Dubrovnik today as we transfer to the airport ready for our flight back to London Gatwick. As we fly back to the UK, we can look back on this fantastic adventure and the spectacular sights we have seen.

From the fairytale delights of Lake Bled and the natural beauty of the Plitvice Lakes to the laid-back charms and intriguing history of the Dalmatian coast, the three countries of Slovenia, Croatia and Montenegro have provided us with plenty of unforgettable experiences that we can treasure after we say goodbye to the fellow travellers with whom we have shared these memories.

Includes
  • Breakfast

Additional information

Please note

While every departure of this tour will feature the same excursions, the order may differ from that shown above.

Departure times

Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular holiday with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.

Hotels

Rikli Balance Hotel

Rikli Balance Hotel, Bled

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Hotel Palcich Plitvice, Čatrnja

Hotel Palcich Plitvice, Čatrnja

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Hotel Lapad, Dubrovnik

Hotel Lapad, Dubrovnik

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Art Hotel, Split

Art Hotel, Split

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Canopy by Hilton, Zagreb

Canopy by Hilton, Zagreb

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Doubletree by Hilton, Zagreb

Doubletree by Hilton, Zagreb

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Sheraton Zagreb Hotel, Zagreb

Sheraton Zagreb Hotel, Zagreb

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Trains

Eurostar
ICE Train
InterCity

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Upgrades

Flight upgrades
London Hotels
UK rail connections
Door to door luggage service

Reviews

4.0 stars4.0 / 5 · 45 reviews

  1. 5 stars
    (18)
  2. 4 stars
    (14)
  3. 3 stars
    (10)
  4. 2 stars
    (1)
  5. 1 star
    (2)

G May

4 stars

Submitted 24 Oct 2023

Week constructed full on tour which we feel would have benefitted by one full day free after about 1 week of holiday.

Collected by Trustpilot

Richard Winterton

4 stars

Submitted 22 Sep 2023

Magnificent scenery, lakes and waterfalls. Interesting old towns. Excellent leader in Alex. Some missed train connections and long coach journeys. Hotel meals pretty ordinary.

Collected by Trustpilot

John M

4 stars

Submitted 22 Sep 2023

On the whole an excellent trip, marred only by the unreliability of the German Railway System and its inability to provide up-to-date information to travellers about delays and the changes to the schedule.

Collected by Trustpilot

P Jackson

3 stars

Submitted 21 Sep 2023

They were very good but have drop their standards since 2012

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Bob Cornell

5 stars

Submitted 15 Sep 2023

Although we had a few hiccups at the start of the tour, including cancelled trains, we really enjoyed our trip. Slovenia is beautiful, especially Lake Bled and the Postojna caves were just amazing. We were lucky that the weather was warm and sunny, after some early rain, which enabled us to take full advantage of any free time we had and explore on our own. It is a busy tour and you certainly need stamina if you want to experience all that the area has to offer. Lastly I need to mention our tour leader Jane who was exceptional. She kept calm under pressure when needed and was supportive and reassuring at all times.

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Hugh

4 stars

Submitted 15 Sep 2023

Great holiday, what Great Rail provided was excellent. Only problem was that due to train delays, ferry cancellations, etc., a lot of our free time was lost. +

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