15 days

Jewels of the Adriatic

Jewels of the Adriatic

The walled city of Zadar

Venice - the 'City in the Sea'

Lake Bohinj and Triglav National Park

Pletna boat ride to St Mary's Church on Lake Bled

UNESCO World Heritage-listed Plitvice Lakes National Park

Ljubljana’s Old Town

The Adriatic island of Hvar

Roman Emperor Diocletian's former palace in Split

Medieval town of Motovun

Lokrum's gardens and beaches

Monastery of Saint Mary on Mljet

Ancient Roman city of Salona

Old town centre of Rovinj

Cycling on Mljet Island

Trip rating
  • Your journey down the Adriatic coast begins in Venice and finishes in Lord Byron’s ‘pearl of the Adriatic’ – Dubrovnik. In between you’ll have time to relax on the chic and ancient islands of Hvar and Mljet, while the sublime surrounds of Lake Bled are, in their way, unrivalled.

    Itinerary

    Day 1 - Venice

    Welcome to Venice! You may arrive at anytime today as there are no activities planned. You will meet the rest of the group and your tour leader on the morning of Day 2 so the day and the evening are yours to explore this beautiful city. Whilst at your discretion,we recommend arriving and departing by train where possible within Europe due to this method of transport's minimal carbon emissions. We recommend arriving early to make the most of your time here. You may choose to take a boat tour or a gondola ride on the Grand Canal, pass under the Rialto Bridge and admire some of the city's many monuments from the water. We also recommend a walking tour to discover the highlights of the city, some of which are hidden away in the silent backstreets. The iconic Venetian experience is to walk around St. Mark's Square and visit the wonderful St Mark's Basilica, with its incredible undulating floor. Nearby are the Doges' Palace, Accademia Bridge and the Bridge of Sighs. There are numerous museums to visit such as the Accademia, which is the main repository for famous Venetian artists such as Titian and Tintoretto, and the Peggy Guggenheim Museum, which houses her lifelong collection of mainly 20th Century art, which include works by Picasso, Chagall and Pollock. You can also take an elevator to the top of the Campanile (Bell Tower), where you are greeted with panoramic views of the island and the entire Venetian Lagoon. Venice is also all about mysterious, quiet alleys and sleepy canals, and you should not be afraid to lose yourself on your walks of discovery. With so much to do, you may even decide to arrive a few days earlier to make the most of this great city which is like no other in the world.

    Antico Portego Hotel or similar

    Day 2 - Venice - Ljubljana

    We meet our tour leader and the fellow travellers this morning at approximately 9.30am for a pre-departure meeting at the hotel reception. We then farewell Venice and Italy and travel to Ljubljana, Slovenia's cosmopolitan capital. On the way we stop and visit Postojna Cave. We will have some free time for lunch before exploring the cave. A network of 20 kilometres of passages, galleries and chambers, it is the largest classic karst cave in Europe. In 1872 railway lines were laid in the cave and electricity arrived in 1884. Today we begin your visit aboard the cave train; the electric lighting allows you to admire the size and splendour of the underground world, where the geological past is recorded in a unique manner. Visitors to the cave are dazzled by a wealth of speleothems: calcite formations, stalactites and stalagmites abounding in a variety of shapes, colours and age. The constant temperature in the caves ranges from 8 to 10° C. Our guided visit lasts an hour and a half and in the afternoon we continue our drive to Ljubljana. Ljubljana is a city full of style and sophistication, a treasure-trove of history, monuments, churches, museums, and great restaurants. Ljubljana's Old Town consists of three main squares: Mestni trg, Stari trg and Gornji trg. The Town Hall is located at Mestni trg. It was built in 1584, and then rebuilt in 1718. Ljubljana's old city centre is renowned for its unique architectural appearance and most houses in the Old Town are from the Baroque era. On a guided tour, we will visit the Ljubljana Castle, the Town Hall and Cathedral of St. Nicholas and the Dragon Bridge. We'll also pay a visit to the open market under the arcade. This evening is at leisure to unwind after our long and rewarding day of travel and to enjoy Ljubljana by night.

    Hotel Cubo or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch

    Day 3 - Lake Bohinj - Lake Bled

    This morning we drive to beautiful Lake Bohinj and have some free time to enjoy the amazing area. The lake is the largest permanent and natural lake in Slovenia. It is 4350m long and 1250m (N-S) wide, the deepest part of the lake is 45m. The lake was formed by a glacier and today its main feeder is the lake of Savica. Along the northern part of the lake are several underwater springs - the most well known is the karst spring Govic. We take a cable car to the top of Mt Vogel where we are greeted by magnificent views of the entire region. Its then on to Bled. With immense natural beauty, Bled, together with its surroundings, ranks among the most beautiful alpine resorts. It is renowned for its mild, healing climate and thermal lake water. On arrival we'll enjoy lunch at a local restaurant and then embark on some sightseeing including a visit to the Old Bled Castle with a Pletna boat ride to the island on Lake Bled where we can visit St Mary's Church. Tonight we stay in Bled.

    Hotel Jadran or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch

    Day 4 - Motovun - Rovinj

    We farewell Slovenia this morning and drive to Motovun, one of the most interesting towns of Croatia. Motovun is situated on the top of a cone-shaped hill, 277 metres above sea level, amidst the romantic and natural diversity of the bountiful Mirna River Valley. It is the one of the most beautiful medieval towns in Croatia's Istria region, with houses scattered all over the hill. The town grew around a core settlement surrounded by well-fortified walls and its name, of Celtic origin, comes from the word 'Montona', which means the 'town on the hill'. The medieval charm of the town remains through its well preserved architecture. Whilst in Motovun we sample some local delicacies of the area by indulging in some wine and truffle tasting. After some free time for lunch in Motovun, we travel on to the romantic Croatian town of Rovinj, one of the best kept towns on the Adriatic Coast. Among its qualities is the beautiful, architecturally intact old town centre, with a relaxed Mediterranean feel. Jules Verne, the father of science fiction, in search of unique places for his novels, chose Rovinj as a setting for some chapters of his novel 'Mathias Sandorf'. Just as he was, many a writer has through the centuries been equally enchanted by Rovinj and its beauties. Whilst in Rovinj we pay a visit to St. Euphemia church. Tonight is at leisure in Rovinj.

    Hotel Park Rovinj or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 5 - Plitvice Lakes National Park

    Today we will visit one of Croatia's most beautiful sites - Plitvice Lakes National Park. This spectacular national park lies halfway between Zagreb and Zadar. The park was given UNESCO World Heritage status 20 years ago and comprises of 19 hectares of wood hills that surround 16 stunning turquoise lakes, all connected by a series of waterfalls. The area is populated by deer, bears, wolves, boars and some rare bird species and the thick forest vegetation of beech trees, fir spruce and white pine adds another element to the park's beauty. We have free time for exploration and lunch. All trails in National park are well marked so it's difficult to get lost but please follow the national park rules which your guide will outline to you. In the late afternoon we transfer to our hotel located in the Plitvice Lakes area.

    Hotel Degenija or similar
    Breakfast | Dinner

    Day 6 - Zadar

    After breakfast, we drive to the walled city of Zadar. For centuries Zadar was the capital city of Dalmatia and today the main city of northern Dalmatia. A city with a rich heritage of world importance, visible at every step. We take an afternoon sightseeing tour of this splendid walled city and see the Roman Forum built in the 1st-Century and St. Donatus' Church which dates back to the 9th-Century is the most famous medieval basilica and trademark of the city. We will also see the reconstructed Romanesque St. Grisigono's Church from the 12th-Century and the St. Mary's bell tower from the year 1105; the St. Anastasia's Cathedral from the 13th-Century; the People's Square with the City's Lodge and Guardhouse from the 16th-Century, as well as the mighty fortification walls with first class Sea(farer's) and the Land gates from the 16th-Century followed by the Three and Five Wells Squares. There is also an opportunity to visit the Gold and Silver Museum. We then transfer to our hotel on the outskirts of Zadar and the remainder of the day is free.

    Hotel Mediteran or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 7 - Zadar - Free Day

    Today is a free day in Zadar. There is so much to see and do in this harbour city, the hard thing is deciding what to choose. There are a number of excellent museums to visit including the Museum of Church Art, the Archeological Museum and the National Museum. Your tour leader will be able to offer you suggestions.

    Hotel Mediteran or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 8 - Sibenik - Salona - Split

    After breakfast, we drive to Split and en route we will take a few interesting stops. Our first stop is at the town of Sibenik where we visit the St Jacob's cathedral. After some free time for lunch we drive to Primošten; one of the most famous and picturesque small towns on the Adriatic. Its stone houses, churches, narrow alleys and lanes around the town’s old walls represent the perfect harmony between past and presence. Our next stop is the city of Salona (or Solin) where we explore the sites of this ancient city before making our way to the city of Split, Croatia's second largest city, located in the heart of the Dalmatian coast. We settle into our hotel and then enjoy a group dinner together.

    Hotel President or similar
    Breakfast | Dinner

    Day 9 - Trogir - Split

    This morning we embark on a sightseeing tour of Split with our local guide. The city dates back 1,800 years to the time when the Roman emperor Diocletian built a monumental imperial residence for his retirement years. Within this palace grew a city, which UNESCO has proclaimed a World Heritage Site. Today the fortified camp is an intriguing warren of narrow cobblestone streets, where pre-Romanesque churches exist alongside Gothic chapels and a multitude of historical museums. We enjoy a half-day walking tour exploring Diocletian's Palace, which was built in 295 AD and constitutes the heart of the city. Very much a living monument, it is framed by four gates - the most famous of which is the Golden Gate. In front of it stands a statue of 10th-century bishop Grgur Ninski, who once opposed the pope and introduced the Croatian language into his services. Sculpted by another of Croatia's favourite sons, Ivan Meštroviæ, this statue is considered a symbol of Split. Peristil Square is where Diocletian used to deliver his speeches and the nearby mausoleum of the Roman emperor was transformed into the Cathedral of St. Domnius, famous for its bell tower. In the afternoon we visit Kastel Luksic's 16th century castle and take a drive to the town of Trogir, where we enjoy some sightseeing. Trogir with its condensed contours situated on a small island seems to be a castle on the water with the prisms of its towers and crystal of its bell-towers. We visit the cathedral where we can see the famous monument, a Portal of Dalmatian masonry made in the 13th-century. We return to Split for the evening.

    Hotel President or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 10 - Hvar

    We have an early start this morning. After breakfast we transfer to the Split port for our early ferry to Stari Grad (old town) on Hvar island. Hvar is an incredibly green island, resplendent with fields of lavender, heather and rosemary. Stari Grad means 'Old Town' and sometimes goes by its old Greek names, 'Pharos' or 'Faros'. We enjoy a walking tour of Stari Grad, then transfer the archetypical Dalmatian village of Jelsa. Jelsa is surrounded by pine forest and wonderful beaches. It was once one of the most important maritime centres of the Adriatic with a large shipbuilding industry. We walk inland from Jelsa, through a picturesque landscape of olive groves, vineyards and lavender fields to the town of Vrboska. We get to enjoy some wine tasting along the way. From Vrboska, we transfer by vehicle to Hvar town where we have some free time for lunch before we embark on a walking tour through this charming town. Hvar is a historic icon with palatial Gothic buildings and evocative marbled streets that hark back to a different age. We stay overnight on this wonderful island.

    Hotel Amfora or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 11 - Prapanto - Mljet Island

    After breakfast, we catch a ferry back to the mainland and drive along the Peljesac peninsula to Prapratno where we take our evening ferry to Mljet Island. On arrival in Mljet we transfer to our 'feature stay' hotel located in an idyllic location nestled on the shores of Pomena harbour. Tonight we enjoy a late dinner together. This scenic spot is our base for the next two nights.

    Hotel Odisej or similar
    Breakfast | Dinner

    Day 12 - Mljet National Park

    Mljet is one of the most beautiful and natural islands in the Adriatic. Over 72% of the island is forested and half of it has been declared a national park. Today we enjoy a day of activity including cycling, walking and canoeing. In the morning, we take a short walk to the spot where we pick up our bikes. We ride around the natural salt water lake of Veliko Jezero, the bigger of the two lakes of Mljet. We transfer across to the islet of St Mary (Sveta Marija) where we enjoy lunch and then have some time for our own discoveries. The island is home to a 12th-century Benedictine monastery, which you may wish to explore. Returning o the mainland, we cycle to the smaller lake of the island Majo Jezero, where we have the opportunity to canoe and swim on the lake. After our full day we walk back to our hotel on Pomena where we have a relaxing evening and enjoy the fabulous scenic location of our hotel with perhaps a refreshing drink before dinner (Cycling: approx 15km).

    Hotel Odisej or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 13 - Dubrovnik

    We take an early morning ferry back to Dubrovnik city and transfer to our hotel. Once settled we embark on a half-day sightseeing tour of the amazing Stari Grad (Dubrovnik's compact Old Town) with our local guide. This walled treasure is often referred to as the pearl of the Adriatic and is surprisingly tiny in size - encompassing less than 400 metres north to south and 600 metres across within its protective walls. Stari Grad dates back to the 7th Century AD when residents in the area fleeing invaders, found the rocky promontory a safe haven. At one point in time Dubrovnik became a great maritime power in the Adriatic, rivalled only by Venice. Despite some damage inflicted during the conflicts in 1991 the city has now been restored to its former glory. On our tour we visit the Franciscan monastery, Rector's Palace and take a walk on the City Walls. The remainder of the afternoon and evening is free to wander around at leisure, but there is so much to see here that it is easy to just wander around the streets at your own pace. This evening why not dine alfresco at one of the enticing terrace cafes or foreshore restaurants and watch the sunset behind the old city walls.

    Hotel Ivka or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch

    Day 14 - Lokrum - Dubrovnik

    This morning we travel by boat to the island of Lokrum, which is situated off the coast of Dubrovnik's old town. Famed as a quasi 'botanical garden,' with a collection of exotic and Mediterranean plants which are awaiting our discovery. Lokrum is also strewn with many golden sand beaches popular with the locals. We also visit the ruins of an old Benedictine monastery and enjoy great views looking back across to Dubrovnik as well as Napoleon's fortress. We return by boat to Dubrovnik at around lunchtime. The afternoon is at leisure and tonight we enjoy a final night out on the town with a farewell dinner.

    Hotel Ivka or similar
    Breakfast | Dinner

    Day 15 - Dubrovnik

    Our trip ends after breakfast this morning. Those wanting to extend their stay can arrange additional nights' accommodation at the time of booking. From Dubrovnik it is easy to take a bus or ferry to other Croatian cities as well as some international destinations. There are also regular domestic flights to Zagreb to link up with international connections.

    Breakfast
  • What to Know

    What's Included

    • The services of Peregrine's expert English-speaking local tour leader.
    • Visit to Old Bled Castle with a Pletna boat ride to the island on Lake Bled to see Mary's Church.
    • Sightseeing tour of Dubrovnik’s Stari Grad with a local guide
    • Exploration of UNESCO World Heritage listed Plitvice Lakes National Park.
    • 2 nights 'Feature Stay' in a hotel on the shores of Pomena harbour on Mljet island.
    • Wine and truffle tasting in the medieval town of Motovun.
    • Walking in Mljet National Park and Hvar Island
    • Cable car to the top of Mt Vogel.

    Not Included

    • International flights
    • Arrival and departure transfers
    • Departure taxes
    • Visas
    • Travel insurance (compulsory on all trips)
    • Meals (where not listed as included in the itinerary)
    • Optional additional tours or activities during free time
    • Tips
    • Items of a personal nature
  • Map Itinerary

  • Past Travellers' Ratings & Comments

    At the end of each trip, we ask our travellers to provide feedback. We publish the positive, negative and neutral feedback on this page to give you an overall idea of what to expect on this trip.

    Jewels of the Adriatic

    Ian - New Zealand, 13 May, 2012
    5
    Overall Rating

    This was our 3rd Peregrine tour and all three have been memorable experiences. Having relatively small numbers and good tour leaders made this tour another worthwhile holiday.

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Trip at a glance

Trip Code PEJA
Group size 4 - 16
Start City: Venice
End City: Dubrovnik
Style: Small Group

What to know

This trip can be enjoyed by just about anyone with a reasonable level of fitness. You will meet your tour leader on the morning of Day 2.

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