ON THE TRAILS OF UNESCO TOUR
11 DAYS / 10 NIGHTS (days are flexibile for private tours)
Zagreb - Pula - Rovinj - Poreč - Opatija - Plitvice Lakes - Zadar - Šibenik - Trogir - Split - Hvar - Ston - Dubrovnik
This tour lets you experience the best of Croatian heritage sites, 7 of which are listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Starting in country’s capital, scroll through Zagreb’s cobbled Upper Town streets stopping at one of many museums. Heading southwest, get intrigued by the beauty of Istria, visiting some of Croatia’s greatest architectural buildings. On your way to Dalmatia region, witness nature’s turquoise gem – Plitvice Lakes. What makes Dalmatia so special is the richness of nature intertwined with history of beautiful cities such as Zadar, Šibenik, Trogir and Split. Their old towns with over 3,000 years of existence let you discover Croatia’s cultural identity. Islands like Hvar aren’t just the elite vacation spot, but also the keepers of ancient ways of land parcellation. The southeast part of country, as a cherry on top, reveals the exquisite and one of Europe’s breathtakingly beautiful historic cities – Dubrovnik.
o Visit the 6th largest surviving amphitheater in the world located in PULA.
o Stroll through the cobbled streets of Mediterranean jewel with Venetian past – ROVINJ.
o Be amazed with a unique example of early Byzantine art - Basilica of St. Euphrasius in POREČ (UNESCO).
o Hike between 16 turquoise lakes, waterfalls and cascades in PLITVICE LAKES NATIONAL PARK, Croatia’s absolute highlight (UNESCO).
o Admire Croatia’s most significant architectural creation of the fifteenth century - St James cathedral in historical ŠIBENIK town (UNESCO).
o Walk through the picturesque gem with more than 2,300 years of history, the city of TROGIR is a unique representation of Greek, Roman and Venetian influences (UNESCO).
o Revive the third century AD stepping inside Roman emperor Diocletian’s Palace in SPLIT which served as a residency of the world’s most powerful man (UNESCO).
o Visit the sunniest place in Croatia, the lavender island of HVAR which is hiding the 2,400 years old best-preserved Greek parcellation of land on the Mediterranean – Stari Grad Plain (UNESCO).
o Explore DUBROVNIK– the pearl of the Adriatic, guarded by its medieval walls wandering through the streets with Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architecture (UNESCO).
DAY 1 ARRIVAL TO ZAGREB
As you arrive to Zagreb airport, meet your driver and head for a quick and comfortable transfer to your hotel in Zagreb, check in at the hotel and have some leisure time. Overnight at the hotel in Zagreb.
DAY 2 ZAGREB
On this day, get ready to be enchanted by the medieval stories as you pass by the Gothic Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, the Stone gate and the Tower of Lotrščak. Be sure to visit Dolac farmers market, Zagreb’s colorful fruit and vegetable market that attracts traders from all over Croatia and enjoy the refreshing mixture of smells and colors, the Museum of Broken Relationships, a unique museum dedicated to the mementos left after the end of a relationship that struck a chord with the public and became an instant success or take a bus ride to the Mirogoj cemetery, one of the most beautiful cemeteries in Europe designed by Herman Bole in 1876 dominated by the majestic arcade topped by a string of cupolas that looks like a fortress from the outside, but feels calm and peaceful on the inside. While walking through Zagreb’s Upper and Lower towns, you will be amazed at it’s 900-year history peering from every corner. After this amazing exploration of Zagreb, enjoy what’s left of your time sipping coffee in one of the many charming cafes or have a traditional lunch and sample some great Croatian cuisine. Overnight in Zagreb.
DAY 3 ZAGREB – PULA – ROVINJ
We say good by to Zagreb as we head towards Istria, the region of Croatia that caries the title “the new Tuscany”. Your first stop is Pula, the biggest city on the peninsula. Stroll through this ancient town and learn about its long history dating back to Roman times. Visit sites like the remains of the Hercules temple, Forum Romanum with Augustus and Roma Temple and its most recognizable landmark, the Roman Amphitheatre. A huge and truly magnificent structure, the Arena, as the locals call it, is one of the best preserved amphitheaters in Europe. Built as a stage to host gladiator battles, it’s now Istria’s most recognizable tourist attraction that serves as an entertainment hot spot during summer months where some of the best music performers held concerts like Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin, David Gilmore of Pink Floyd and many others. After the walk through Pula’s history, travel to Rovinj, the most romantic city in Istria. Described as “a bit of Venice spilled on a hill”, this stunner of pastel colored houses, polished stones and clear blue water, will make your stay in Rovinj a memorable one. As you walk through its narrow alleyways and courtyards, you will find lots of restaurants, bars and shops filled with people enjoying the charm and the hospitality of Rovinj and its local population. Overnight in Rovinj.
DAY 4 ROVINJ – POREČ – OPATIJA
Today we head towards Poreč and the first UNESCO protected site on this tour, the Episcopal Complex of the Euphrasian Basilica. The basilica, atrium, baptistery and episcopal palace are outstanding examples of religious architecture, while the basilica itself combines classical and Byzantine elements in an exceptional manner. The basilica is a great example of an early Christian episcopal ensemble that is exceptional by virtue of its completeness and its unique Basilican cathedral. Walking around the basilica will surly take you back to the early years of Christianity and religious worship. Afterwards, head towards Opatija, one of the oldest tourist destinations in Croatia. Tourism in Opatija dates back 170 years as it was used as a resort for the Austro-Hungarian elite during the days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire as evidenced by the many handsome belle-époque villas that the period bequeathed. Overnight in Opatija.
DAY 5 OPATIJA – PLITVICE – ZADAR
On this day, we head for another UNESCO protected site and the most beautiful destination Croatia has to offer – the Plitvice lakes national park. The first Croatian national park and a UNESCO World Heritage site, Plitvice lakes offer its visitors a blend of vivid colors, sounds and smells that are spectacular and memorable. Its 16 cascading lakes and numerous waterfalls make up one of the greatest wonders of the world. Surrounded by high wooden mountains and fed by many small rivers, the lakes are a mesmerizing view of green and blue accompanied by the thundering sounds of the many waterfalls that connect the lakes to create a true paradise on Earth. Enjoy a relaxing hike through the park, take in the sights and the sounds that it offers and complete that with lunch at the park’s restaurant to round up this perfect day of exploration of this great natural wonder. After Plitvice lakes, continue towards Zadar. Zadar and it’s 3000-year history has a lot to offer. 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. It’s not too crowded, it’s not overrun with tourists and its two unique attractions – the sound-and-light spectacle of the Sea Organ and the Greeting to the Sun – need to be seen and heard to be believed. Overnight in Zadar.
DAY 6 ZADAR – ŠIBENIK – TROGIR – SPLIT
Today we visit two UNESCO protected sites, the St James cathedral in Šibenik and the old town of Trogir. The Cathedral of St James in Šibenik bears witness to the considerable exchanges in the field of monumental arts between Northern Italy, Dalmatia and Tuscany in the 15th and 16th centuries. With its pale stone dome rising above the city like a gargantuan crocus bulb, Šibenik’s magnificent Cathedral exerts a dominating presence over the huddled buildings of the Old Town. Combine the visit to the cathedral with a stroll through its medieval heart, stone labyrinths of steep backstreets and alleys and you will have a truly memorable visit of this medieval town. Continue towards Trogir and its UNESCO protected old town. Called “the town museum”, its entire old town core has been protected by UNESCO and you will immediately see why. Trogir is one of the most seductive towns on the Dalmatian coast with its old-town cluster of palaces, belfries and cobbled alleys. Gorgeous and tiny Trogir is beautifully set within medieval walls, its narrow streets knotted and mazelike. It’s fronted by a wide seaside promenade lined with bars and cafes, and yachts in the summer. Trogir is unique among Dalmatian towns for its profuse collection of Romanesque and Renaissance architecture (which flourished under Venetian rule); this, along with its magnificent cathedral, earned it World Heritage status in 1997. After exploration of Trogir, our trip takes us to Split where we will spend the night.
DAY 7 SPLIT – HVAR
Today explore another UNESCO World Heritage site, Historical Complex of Split with the Palace of Diocletian. Walk inside Diocletian’s Palace, once the summer residence of the Roman emperor Diocletian and you’ll see bars, restaurants and shops thriving amidst the atmospheric old walls where Split life has been going on since the 4th century. Various cultural monuments like Renaissance Prokurative Square, noble family’s palaces, churches, galleries and museums are all ready for your exploration as you stroll around this 1700-year-old town. In the afternoon, catch a catamaran for the sunniest island in Croatia, the lavender island of Hvar. The town of Hvar is a unique fusion of luxurious Mediterranean nature with rich cultural and historical heritage. Walking through the narrow streets of Hvar, you will immediately be enchanted by its history and popular sites like the old town, the Cathedral of St Stephen and the oldest municipal theatre in the world. Overnight in Hvar.
DAY 8 HVAR ISLAND TOUR
On this day, catch a catamaran for the sunniest island in Croatia, the lavender island of Hvar. Spend a day exploring the island making numerous stops along the way including small places and villages like Sv Nedjelja, a small village situated on the sunny southern slopes of the island offering breathtaking landscapes, scenery and panoramas, Jelsa with its maze like old quarter of ancient alleyways and of course Stari Grad and its UNESCO protected site, the agricultural Stari Grad Plain. Stari Grad Plain is a cultural landscape that has remained practically intact since it was first colonized by Ionian Greeks from Paros in the 4th century BC. The original agricultural activity of this fertile plain, mainly centering on grapes and olives, has been maintained since Greek times to the present. The landscape features ancient stone walls and trims, or small stone shelters, and bears testimony to the ancient geometrical system of land division used by the ancient Greeks, the chora which has remained virtually intact over 24 centuries. Overnight in Hvar.
DAY 9 HVAR – SPLIT – STON – DUBROVNIK
Today we leave the island of Hvar and head towards Dubrovnik. After a pleasant catamaran ride back to Split, head towards our en route stop at the town of Ston, a small, but packed with history little town. The first thing you notice is its old walls, a system of fortifications originally 7 kilometers long, making them the second biggest wall fortification in Europe. Often named “the European wall of China”, they stood the test of time and since the 14th century dominate the Ston landscape and attract tourists from around the world. Along its old walls, Ston is also known for its salt (the oldest in Europe!) where salt production has been going on unchanged since the Roman times and Ston oysters, a delicacy known around the world. After Ston, head for an hour long drive towards Dubrovnik where we will spend the night in excitement of tomorrows exploration.
DAY 10 DUBROVNIK
Regardless of whether you are visiting Dubrovnik for the first time or the hundredth, the sense of awe never fails to descend when you set eyes on the beauty of the old town. Indeed, it’s hard to imagine anyone becoming jaded by the city’s marble streets, baroque buildings and the endless shimmer of the Adriatic. Named “the pearl of the Adriatic” by lord Byron, Dubrovnik hides a treasure trove of old houses, spectacular monuments, churches, museums, bars and restaurants all defended by its massive old walls fortification system, inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. These ancient city walls have protected a civilized, sophisticated republic for centuries. System of white stone walls constructed by forts, bastions, casemates, towers and detached forts 1.940-meter long dominate the city making it the most recognizable landmark of the city attracting tourists all over the world. Round your tour by visiting the Rectors palace, the cathedral and its rich treasury or by taking a cable car ride to Mt Srđ for breathtaking views of the old town and we’re sure that Dubrovnik will not leave you wanting.
DAY 11 DEPARTURE
After breakfast, meet your driver and head towards Dubrovnik airport for your flight out.
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