12 Days Iconic Croatia – Castles & Medieval Towns
Zagreb – Zagorje region - Istria - Plitvice Lakes – Zadar – Šibenik – Split – Ston – Dubrovnik
Croatia is a country lavishing with beauty from the inlands to its shorelines. Ancient church towers line the sapphire expanses of the Adriatic and the rolling hills are dotted with the emerald green of lush trees. Croatia's Istrian Peninsula, in the northwest corner of the country, is an inviting mix of pungent truffles, Roman ruins, striking hill towns, and pastel coastal villages, with a breezy Italian culture Boasting a historic old town of Roman ruins, medieval churches, cosmopolitan cafes and quality museums set on a small peninsula, Zadar is an intriguing city. Croatian Food. Ston is a small coastal town on the Peljesac peninsula with medieval walls that encircle the town itself. It is here that the best oysters in Croatia come from.
Day 1 | Zagreb Arrival (-)
Upon arrival to Zagreb airport, our driver will meet you and transfer to the hotel right in the city centre. Zagreb is a wonderful central European city, a blend of Viennese and Hungarian architectural styles and a Metropolis of a human scale. Often overlooked by travellers, Zagreb could easily surprise you as one of the highlights of your trip. It is the relaxed atmosphere and immediacy of enjoyment of life that make all the difference.
Depending on time of your arrival, meet your private local guide and discover the town by walking through its bustling downtown streets. Visit the Cathedral, the Stone gate, St. Mark’s church, the historic Upper town, the colourful grocery market, the Central Square and lively Tkalčićeva Street with its numerous charming cafes and restaurants. Zagreb hosts excellent music and street art festivals in Spring, Summer and Autumn, whilst during the Winter it is awarded as The Best Advent festival city in Europe.
Day 2 | Zagreb (BLD)
The region north of Zagreb is called Zagorje. It is an area full of gently rolling hills, with vineyards stretching as far as the eye can see. Zagorje is full of picturesque churches, mansions and castles, making the whole scenery very bucolic and peaceful. Explore the most famous of all Zagorje castles, Trakošćan. Originally a small medieval observation fortress, it was turned into a castle for noble families. Stroll through Trakošćan’s ethereal music salon, be wowed by the impressive weapons collection, and relish the integral architecture and décor of the noble estate. Continue your tour down the baroque and rococo lane, in the lovely town Varaždin, the best preserved Croatian example of those lively times and a historical nucleus of Croatia. Your stroll through Old Town will include baroque facades, parks and palaces, and the tour’s highlight – Old Castle – an old feudal fort. Free time for lunch. Return to Zagreb in the late afternoon.
Day 3 | ZAGREB – ISTRIA – ROVINJ (BLD)
Drive through Istrian hinterland and visit its villages situated on the top of the hills and small churches with medieval frescoes and taste some homemade food and taste excellent local wine – magic charm of Istrian inland should leave you breathless. Drive to Grožnjan, – the town of artists and music and Motovun, indubitably the most famous Istrian medieval hilltop town. Arrival to Rovinj in the late afternoon. Take a stroll around the city in the evening. We have a few great recommendations for restaurants.
Day 4 | ROVINJ – PULA – ROVINJ (BLD)
Enjoy the walk in Rovinj along its narrow medieval streets lined by art galleries. The town is dominated by the St. Euphemia’s Church, that keeps relics of the saint and presents one of the most beautiful Baroque achievements in Istria. From the church plateau there is a wonderful view of the open sea and numerous islets in the distance. In the afternoon drive to Pula and visit of Arena – one of the best-preserved amphitheaters from Roman’s time.
Day 5 | ROVINJ – NATIONAL PARK PLITVICE LAKES (BLD)
Visit to Plitvice lakes national park, listed by UNESCO as World Natural Heritage Site. Walk along sixteen beautiful crystal blue and turquoise lakes, cascading over travertine barriers into spectacular waterfalls. The park is renowned for exceptional beauty of its lakes and waterfalls, rich plant and animal life, contrasting colours, forests and the pure mountain air. Boat and park train rides are included in the visit. Continental area of Plitvice Lakes differs greatly from the coastal region; it is of cooler climate, lush green forests, mountainous architecture and gastronomy. It is a perfect getaway to cool off from the hot seaside. Spend the rest of the day in the comfort of your hotel.
Day 6 | NATIONAL PARK PLITVICE LAKES – ZADAR (BLD)
Drive to Zadar. Explore the historical center with the local guide, along the Kalelarga street, among old residential palaces, Byzantine St. Donat church, Five Wells square, until you reach city’s curiosity, a sea organ played by the rhythmic movement of the waves and sun salutation. Free rest of the day. Spend it visiting the Museum of ancient glass that has the most outstanding exhibit and the greatest collection of ancient glass in this part of Europe. Also, there are plenty of interesting restaurants that we can recommend going to.
Day 7 | ZADAR – ŠIBENIK – SPLIT (BLD)
While the Croatian city of Šibenik has a rich recorded history dating back to the 11th century, much of what has been preserved in its historic Old Town district was built in the 15th and 16th centuries. Visit Šibenik’s Cathedral of St. James, now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the architectural highlights of the Dalmatian Coast. We suggest you climb to St. Anne’s Fortress, Šibenik’s oldest defensive structure that dates back as far as medieval times and soak in the spectacular views over the city and the Adriatic Sea.
Continue the drive to Split. Upon your arrival, settle in your centrally located hotel. After a short fresh up, meet your local guide in the hotel lobby for a private city tour. Explore the Roman Emperor’s palace still inhabited for over two millennia, antique and medieval renaissance palaces, city squares, the Cathedral, Jupiter’s temple, and the popular seafront promenade.
Day 8 | SPLIT (BLD)
Free day to enjoy the city on your own. There are plenty of other activities to do in Split while on your own. Enjoy the view from the Marjan hill, visit fine art or archaeology museums or learn to play the local beach ball game “picigin” on the most famous beach Bačvice. Also, you can visit one of the islands nearby – Brač Island or go on a speedboat day tour to Hvar Island.
Day 9 | SPLIT – STON – DUBROVNIK (BLD)
Drive along Adriatic coast toward Dubrovnik. Stop in Ston, a small town with the longest stone city walls in Europe (5,5 km in length). Possible oyster and wine tasting in a local restaurant. Arrival to Dubrovnik city center in the afternoon. Meet your expert local guide and spend the day touring Dubrovnik’s amazing Old Town – a UNESCO World Heritage site. Admire the magnificent curtain of walls, marble streets and baroque buildings that exude a pearly light in the Adriatic sun. Walk the main pedestrian thoroughfare, Placa, with its melange of cafés and shops. Take in the artistry and history of the numerous churches, monasteries and museums showcased in this beautiful city.
Day 10 | DUBROVNIK (BLD)
Free day at leisure. There are many other activities to do in and around Dubrovnik: Enjoy the bird’s views from the funicular reaching the mountain over the city; Half day speedboat tour to Elaphite archipelago; water sport adventures; Quad ATV adventures; Paddle the sea kayak to Lokrum island.
Day 11 | DUBROVNIK – ZAGREB (BLD)
Free time until private transfer to Dubrovnik Airport. Flight back to the capital and free rest of the day.
Day 12 | ZAGREB departure (B)
Private transfer to Zagreb Airport. “Doviđenja” until we see you again!
• All private transportation and transfers
• All Accommodations on twin share including daily breakfast
• Lunches and Dinners as per itinerary
• Personal Private English Speaking Guide
• All entrance tickets for sightseeing except optional activities
• 1 way domestic flight ticket Dubrovnik – Zagreb
• International airfare,
• Travel insurance
• all alcoholic and other beverages,
• All personal expenses
• Optional activities
• Resort/hotel facilities and activities