Tour description

CROATIA SMALL GROUP TOUR

Experience the Croatian lifestyle with a small group tour! Croatia forms a meeting point between the Mediterranean and central Europe,and between the Alps and the Pannonian Plan.Its relatively small territory is made up of a wide variety of landscapes.A stunningly beautiful country, it has re-emerged from the difficult years of conflict and regained its role as a popular holiday destination.

Travel to Croatia with its idyllic climate, archaeology treasures, dramatic vistas and hearty cuisine that embodies all things Croatian. On this small group tour journey, you’ll delve into one of the most fascinating and coveted countries in Europe. A wide variety of landscapes can be found in Croatia,from wild uninhabited craggy gorges to steep river valleys and a stunningly beautiful indented coastline stretching into the lower Adriatic,dotted with hundreds of islands. A plateau stretches from the Istrian peninsula towards Gorski kotar and ends in the hilly vine-growing region of Zagorje. For centuries Croatian art has combined elements from eastern and western Europe.The coast was ruled by Venice for 400 years,and between the Middle Ages and the 17th century,Croatia was in regular contact with the other side of the Adriatic. Italian artists came to the islands to work,and the Dalmatians crossed the sea and brought Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance styles back to their country. Croatian architecture, like its art, has also been influenced by Croatia’s position in Europe.Secular and religious buildings display a fusion of elements from nearby Italy and Germany and other forms originating in the Byzantine or Slavic works.

We have a real passion for Croatia and look forward to sharing it with you !

Read what our friends say about this fantastic croatia tour


CROATIA SMALL GROUP TOUR HIGHLIGHTS & INCLUSIONS: 12 DAYS/ 11 NIGHTS

  • Guaranteed departure group travel: small, friendly group limited to 12/14 participants only!
  • More than 15 included sightseeing tours & cultural experiences
  • Discover the best of the “City of the thousand hearts”-the stunning Zagreb
  • Visit Varazdin, the former capital town of Croatia which today is a true baroque gem
  • Discover Trakoscan, the most romantic castle in Croatia
  • Sample a variety of Croatia’s top-quality wines
  • Get to know some of the most representative Croatian dishes, their tradition and preparation
  • Take a walk through the historical city centre of Ljubljana to explore all the major sights
  • Ride the funicular to reach Ljubljana Castle
  • Explore the most visited European cave system-Postojna Caves
  • Included regional meals: All breakfasts, 5 dinners,2 lunches (main meals include wine, mineral water, local coffee or tea only)
  • Exceptional English speaking tour director, experienced to accompany you throughout your journey
  • All entrances to main Croatian sites are included
  • All transportation on tour, via private air-conditioned 21 seater minibus
  • Included gratuity for city guides
  • All transfers while overseas; baggage transfers & porterage
  • City tour with local guides in 
  • City taxes and service charges at all hotels and restaurants are included
  • No hidden extras
  • Arrival & departure: September tour will begin with transfers from Zagreb airport to the hotel and end with a transfer to the airport in Dubrovnik from your hotel at scheduled times
  • Early arrival/Late stay options: We recommend arriving a day or more prior to tour start.We’ll be happy to make these arrangements for you.
  • Activity level: Light/Moderate
  • Terms & conditions/Single supplement: (View Here) and FAQ View Here)
  • Trip Interruption and Cancellation insurance is not included. We highly recommend Travelex-Insurance.com to protect your vacation.
  • Purchase of European Travel & Health Insurance is strongly recommended.We highly recommend Travelex-Insurance.com to protect your vacation
OUR UNIQUE ACCOMMODATIONS

DAY-BY-DAY ITINERARY

 

CROATIA & SLOVENIA SMALL GROUP TOUR ITINERARY

SMALL GROUP TOUR FROM ZAGREB TO DUBROVNIK

Day 1: WELCOME TO ZAGREB-THE NATION’S VIBRANT CAPITAL

Arrive at Zagreb airport and travel to the city center for a three nights stay at the central “HOTEL LE PREMIER” or similar,close to the city’s architecturally treasures. This evening enjoy an included dinner in a local restaurant.Overnight in ZAGREB

Day 2: ZAGREB WALKING TOUR & CROATIAN NATIONAL THEATRE                 

Art, culture and a vibrant cafe’ scene are the keynotes of this easy-going Central European metropolis.Close in style to Vienna and Budapest,Croatia’s laid-back capital city is very different to the Mediterranean flavoured towns of the Adriatic coast.Embark on a tour of this fascinating city that has marked the intersection of Eastern and Central Europe for more than 1000 years.Begin on the city’s central square, perpetually busy with pedestrians and passing trams.From here it is a short walk to the Neo-Gothic CATHEDRAL and then the DOLAC MARKET,one of Central Europe’s most colourful collections of fruit and veg stalls.Stroll up RADICEVA STREET to the atmospheric UPPER TOWN, a well-preserved Baroque quarter where the church of St Mark’s is a popular landmark. After an included street food experience in a cosy wine bar, we’ll visit the CROATIAN NATIONAL THEATRE, completed in 1895, a blend of Neo-Baroque and Rococo.The interior is richly decorated with works by Croatian and Viennese artists.The remainder of the day is at leisure for more personal discoveries.Overnight in ZAGREB

Day 3: BAROQUE VARAZDIN & TRAKOSCAN CASTLE

Today’s drive takes you to visit the nearby ZAGORJE REGION,a hilly region filled with Medieval and Renaissance fortresses and numerous Baroque castles all blending into a memorable, romantic landscape.With more than 50 castles, some with most mesmeric parks, this is one of the richest regions in the whole of Croatia! Here we will visit the charming so-called “Little Vienna” of VARAZDIN,a city of baroque, young people, music, flowers and bycycles, including the 17th century SERMAGE PALACE, displaying Croatian, international old masters and modern paintings.We conclude the visit by discovering the romantic TRAKOSCAN CASTLE, where you can enjoy the surrounding nature and a picturesque lake.A rustic lunch is included today in the heart of Zagorje paired with well-known local wines.Overnight in ZAGREB

Day 4: HIGHLIGHTS OF ELEGANT LJUBLJANA & ITS CASTLE

A paradise of snow-capped peaks,turquoise rivers and Venetian-style coastline,Slovenia enriches its natural treasures with harmonious architecture,rustic culture and sophisticated cuisine.Today’s journey takes you to explore the vibrant capital of Slovenia,LJUBLJANA and one of Europe’s best kept secrets. A youthful city, Ljubljana is known for its university, green spaces, Ljubljanica River which winds through the old town.Upon arrival,meet your local expert who introduces you to this quaint town,nestled gently along the banks of the river, bringing to life the works of Slovenia’s greatest architect, Joze Plecnik, the impressive City Hall,the magnificent Cathedral of St.Nicholas,the outdoor markets, and the Ljubljana CASTLE which houses an interesting multi-media historical museum.We’ll be staying for the next two nights in a charming boutique hotel. You are free to discover more of the colorful winding streets and local shops, or maybe a walk through the Tivoli Park, take a boat ride or simply watching the world goes by. Dinner is included in a local bistro boasting Slovenian cuisine with Slavic, Mediterranean, and Germanic influences.Overnight in LJUBLJANA

Day 5: GLORIOUS LAKE BLED & JULIAN ALPS

With its emerald-green lake,picture-postcard church on an islet,a medieval castle clinging to a rocky cliff and some of the highest peaks of the Julian Alps and the Karavanke as backdrops,BLED is Slovenia’s most popular resort town whose namesake lake is the stuff of fairytales. Bled’s beauty and its warm waters were well known to medieval pilgrims who came to pray at the island church;the place made it into print in 1689 when Janez Vajkard Valvasor described the lake’s thermal springs in “The Glory of the Duchy of Carniola”.BLED CASTLE is perched atop a steep cliff more than 100m above the lake-a medieval fortress with towers,ramparts,moat-sand a terrace offering magnificent views.The smallish 16th century Gothic chapel contains paintings of castle donor Henry II and his wife Kunigunda on either side of the main altar.The Castle houses a museum collection that traces the lake’s history from earliest times to the development of Bled as a resort in the 19th century.End the visit with a lovely ride on the lake in PLETNA, a traditional gondola.Return to Ljubljana for an afternoon at leisure. Overnight in LJUBLJANA

Day 6: POSTOJNA CAVE & CHARMING OPATIJA

En route to Opatija today, we stop to explore POSTOJNA CAVE, the almost 13-mile-long karst cave system where an electric train takes us deeper than is possible in any other cave in the world. Then after an included lunch in a local restaurant, we continue on to OPATIJA, the seaside resort where Habsburg princes once vacationed.Spend the next two nights at the lovely boutique hotel “HOTEL AMBASADOR” or similar. Overnight in OPATIJA

Day 7: PEARLS OF THE ISTRIAN RIVIERA: PULA & ROVINJ

Discover the richness of the Istrian Peninsula with its Italian and Croatian influences. The Istrian Peninsula, nestling at the Northern end of the Adriatic Sea, and the islands that tumble down the Kvarner gulf are some of the most sought-after holiday destinations in Europe. Standing at the southern apex of the Istrian peninsula, the ancient port city of PULA is dominated by the 1st century Roman ARENA, that stands in its centre, one of the largest surviving amphitheatres in the world. You’ll be able to go beneath the arena floor to see the actual passageways and rooms where gladiators and their foes, including wild animals, awaited their turn in combat. Our tour also takes us to the picturesque Venetian-style coastal town of ROVINJ, with its well-preserved medieval centre, quirky gallery, and romantic feeling. Explore the town on your own and perhaps enjoy lunch in some of Croatia’s best restaurants. Dinner is included this evening in a local bistro. Overnight in OPATIJA

Day 8: THE MAGIC OF WATERFALLS IN PLITVICE LAKES,UNESCO TROGIR & CHARMING SPLIT

Returning to the mainland,scenic roads wind their way over the Velebit mountain range, a dramatically dry and rocky place on its seaward side,lush and forested further east.On the far side of the Velebit’s main ridge lies the stunning UNESCO PLITVICE LAKES NATIONAL PARK, known as the “Falling lakes”, a frothing sequence of waterfalls,lakes and streams.Walkways weaver their way around the water,while trails lead into the wilder,woodland parts of the park in the surrounding hills.After time on your own for lunch,continue to the town of TROGIR, a beautiful tiny island treasure declared a UNESCO World Heritage. Trogir’s roots are Greek, not Roman like Split, and its crown jewel is the spectacular 13th Cathedral of St. Lawrence. Its daring portal, carved in 1280 is just a precursor of the wonders inside.Late afternoon,we depart for SPLIT where we spend the next two nights at a central hotel. Overnight in SPLIT

Day 9: UNESCO HERITAGE OF SPLIT-THE PALACE OF DIOCLETIAN                               

Welcome to SPLIT, one of the oldest cities in this historic region.Explore ancient Diocletian’s Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which the emperor chose as his retirement home because of the area’s spectacular beauty. Your special tour also takes you into the mysterious passages in the lower levels of the palace’s massive structure — Game of Thrones fans will recognize this site as one of the show’s filming locations! You’ll have the balance of the day free to explore Split on your own.Dinner is included this evening in a local restaurant.Overnight in SPLIT

Day 10: MAGICAL HVAR-THE ISLAND OF SUN, WINERY VISIT & PRIVATE BOAT TO DUBROVNIK

After breakfast today, we’ll spend the day exploring one of the Mediterranean’s most celebrated islands. We’ll start by taking a speedboat to the lavender-covered HVAR, one of only three European islands included in the World’s Ten Most Beautiful Islands List.Upon arrival, we’ll take a guided tour of Hvar’s Old Town, then we’ll have time to explore the island: we can enjoy the many secret beaches and coves, walk up to the medieval castle overlooking the town, walk among the lavender fields and olive groves below the castle and right outside the town’s medieval gate, spend time in a café people watching or shop for unusual jewelry, lavender and olive oil for which Hvar is famous.Then we visit a local winery for a tasting and lunch.We continue our journey by private boat to the popular and beloved historic walled-city of DUBROVNIK for the last two nights at a central boutique hotel. Overnight in DUBROVNIK   

Day 11: WALKING TOUR OF DUBROVNIK’S OLD TOWN 

George Bernard Shaw was so enchanted by this beautiful city, about which he said “those who seek paradise on Earth should come to Dubrovnik and see Dubrovnik”, as well as famously describes it as “the pearl of the Adriatic”.Dubrovnik is a stunning city with its amazing Old Town, which became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979.Today we discover the city whose ancient walls have withstood both time and tide for hundreds of years. We begin with a walking tour around the city walls, whose original ramparts and bastions date to the 12th and 13th centuries (Dubrovnik itself was founded in the 7th century). Then we continue through the Old City, paying a visit to the stately Baroque Cathedral (c. 1672), the Treasury, whose gilded shelves and historic relics sit behind locked wooden doors; and the Franciscan monastery with a 14th-century pharmacy.The afternoon is free to explore on your own,allowing time to browse, getting to know better this magical city. In the evening celebrate your Croatian adventure with a unique dinner sharing travel memories and toasting new friends. Overnight in DUBROVNIK

Day 12: GOOD-BYE CROATIA

Morning transfers at scheduled times to Dubrovnik airport.Combine our Croatia small group tour with flagship Small Group Tour to SICILY

TOUR PRICING & AVAILABILITY

2024 TOUR PRICE: € 4,800           SINGLE SUPPLEMENT: € 800  Currency Converter   

Prices are per person based on double room occupancy for 12 days/11 nights

REVIEWS
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Another Incredible Tour from Aldo!

Rated 5.0 out of 5
20/10/2023

This is the third tour that my wife and I have taken through Secret Italia Tours; the first being a private tour of Tuscany and the second a small group tour of Puglia. They were incredible, and consequently, since my wife had wanted to visit Croatia for a very long time we booked this Small Group Tour of Croatia, a very wise decision. Seven nights in three cities; the Capital city Zagreb, Split and Dubrovnik, as well as a day trip to Hvar, and the Plitvice Lakes National Park. During this vacation we were provided with a private tour in each city. Each guide was knowledgable, personable and on time, and each of these experiences was very enjoyable. The hotels were top notch, and the included breakfasts delicious. Lunches were also included during at least two of the tours. One of the high points was the included dinners. In each city Aldo finds the perfect restaurant. For us this included a Michelin Star venue at the Vapor Restaurant in the Bellevue Hotel, Dubrovnik. There was a wine tour on the Island of Hvar which included more great food as well as the tasting of a number of wines. (I might add that all of the pours were significant). Croatia boasts excellent wines which are not exported to the US due to a simple lack of available product. As stated previously, on our final evening in Dubrovnik we enjoyed a seven course tasting dinner complete with seven wines at the Hotel Bellevue, where we stayed. The dinner took place outside on a beautiful patio overlooking the sea. We were served by Petra, the sommelier and Mario, who actually runs the restaurant. I should also mention Antonio, Mario’s assistant, and Victor who I go to know from breakfast, as well as our drivers Patrick and Buje.

This was just a remarkable trip. How Aldo manages to create such amazing adventures is hard to ascertain. The hotels, restaurants, tours and tour guides, as well as the nuts and bolts of moving from city to city, are all done seamlessly. There is absolutely nothing for you to do but relax and enjoy the experience.

Thank you Aldo, once again.

Richard Sheridan