NATURAL RETREATS TOUR
10 DAYS / 9 NIGHTS (days are flexibile for private tours)
Zagreb - Plitvice Lakes - Zadar - Kornati islands - Krka waterfalls - Skradin - Split - Omiš - Cetina river canyon - Hvar - Ston - Trsteno - Dubrovnik
This tour will discover you the most beautiful nature sights of Croatia – one of the ecologically best-preserved parts of Europe. From north to south, this little country offers plenty of nature parks, lakes, rivers, canyons and islands. Plitvice Lakes National Park is one of the most beautiful world's natural wonders which turquoise blue lakes you will never forget. Visiting one of the most indented island groups on the Mediterranean – Kornati National Park will make you feel like modern Robinsons. Dive into nature! Enjoy boat rides on Dalmatia's rivers Krka and Cetina on which shores some of the oldest towns are nestling. Explore the old trails of Hvar island that lead to amazing views of archipelago. And, in the end, like icing on the cake, you'll soak up outstanding beauties of The Pearl of the Adriatic – Dubrovnik and surrounding islands.
o Explore 16 crystalline lakes that tumble into each other via a series of waterfalls and cascades in PLITVICE LAKES NATIONAL PARK.
o Admire the most dramatically rugged coastline of KORNATI NATIONAL PARK.
o Visit a magical place of waterfalls and gorges, with the river gushing through a karstic canyon 200m deep – KRKA NATIONAL PARK.
o Enjoy a boat ride on CETINA RIVER at the foot of Dinara – highest Croatian mountain.
o Get to know old villages of HVAR island that offer some breathtaking landscapes and panoramas.
o Hop on a cable car to Mt Srđ and admire astonishing views of the Pearl of the Adriatic – DUBROVNIK.
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. Our suggestion is to take a stroll through Maksimimir Park, the biggest park in Zagreb and a protected forest located just 10 minutes’ ride from the city center. Overnight in Zagreb.
DAY 2 ZAGREB – PLITVICE LAKES – ZADAR
On this day, we head for a true natural wonder – 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 3 ZADAR – KORNATI ISLANDS NATIONAL PARK – ZADAR
Today head for another national park that’s a little different from Plitvice Lakes, but nevertheless beautiful and unique. Hop on a boat and head for a full day group tour of Kornati islands National Park. The islands of Kornati are the island paradise, an archipelago with the highest density on the entire Mediterranean, exceptional because, with their raw beauty, they remained intact of the development of the modern time. During the tour, you will have the opportunity to enjoy spectacular views of the islands and the Adriatic, enjoy swimming and sunbathing on hidden beaches and explore natures untouched by human hands. Throughout the tour drinks are served (water, juice, wine) and lunch is included. Enjoy your day on the boat gliding on crystal clear Adriatic, feel the sun on your face and the wind in your hair and explore the islands of Kornati. After you have retuned to Zadar and disembarked the boat, time at leisure to enjoy the evening in Zadar. Overnight.
DAY 4 ZADAR – KRKA NATIONAL PARK – SKRADIN – SPLIT
We say good by to Zadar and head towards Split, but not until we stop at another natural wonder – Krka National Park. Named after the Krka River, the Park covers an area of just over 142 square km and includes two thirds of the river itself. Krka River has seven impressive waterfalls along its course but the two most famous are Skradinski Buk and Roški Slap. Both cascading waterfalls are composed of travertine barriers and are undoubtedly one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Eastern Europe – comparable only to those that grace Plitvice Lakes. The shine of the sun on the crystal-clear water, the lush green vegetation and the sight of the waterfalls will make your stroll through the park a memorable one. And the best part is – you can swim in the lake next to the waterfalls (something you can’t do in Plitvice Lakes). All this will make you fall in love with this paradise on Earth. While strolling through the park, make sure you hop on a boat and glide your way on the clear water to Skradin, a beautiful and charming little town on the shores of Krka river. Enjoy a relaxing walk through the town, sample some fine cuisine in one of its restaurants or just enjoy the charm this little town offers. After this memorable day in Krka National Park, head back to Split and enjoy the rest of the afternoon. Overnight in Split.
DAY 5 SPLIT – OMIŠ – SPLIT
Today we visit the town of Omiš, an hour away from Split. Boasting its history as being the hub of pirates’ activities whose ships were a long-lasting symbol of courage, retaliation and strength in the past centuries. Omiš is situated at the mouth of Cetina river whose relentless flow over the years has cut into the stone creating a beautiful canyon. After your short stop at Omiš for sightseeing, head for a boat trip through the Cetina river canyon absorbing wonderful views of a variety of flora and fauna. After your boat trip down the Cetina river canyon, disembark the boat at Radmanove Mlinice, a restaurant hiding in nature. The restaurant is an oasis of freshness, relaxation and natural beauty that attracts a lot of tourists during the season. Enjoy a wonderful traditional lunch called “peka”, slowly cooked lamb under an iron bell, a Dalmatian specialty. After lunch, meet your driver and head back to Split. The tour can be enriched with a zip line adventure over the Cetina canyon or a rafting experience on Cetina river. Upon arrival, have the rest of the afternoon to relax and enjoy Split. Overnight.
DAY 6 SPLIT – HVAR
On this day, catch a catamaran for the sunniest island in Croatia, the lavender island of Hvar. Upon arrival, head towards your hotel to check in and relax. We suggest you spend the afternoon exploring Hvar or take a water taxi to the nearby Pakleni Islands, a gorgeous chain of wooded isles which stretch out immediately in front of the town. A popular getaway for locals and tourists alike to escape the crowds in the town. Spend your time swimming and sunbathing on beautiful beaches or enjoy lunch or dinner at one of the restaurants serving traditional Mediterranean cuisine. Overnight in Hvar.
DAY 7 HVAR
Head for a tour and spend the 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. After the tour, head for dinner at a family estate of one of the best olive oil producers in Croatia in Vrisnik. Dinner takes place at the olive oil grove house. All the herbs and vegetables used in the preparation of your meal are locally grown and each is planted and cultivated on sustainable and environmentally responsible principles. Head back to the hotel and overnight.
DAY 8 HVAR – SPLIT – STON – TRSTENO – 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. Here hop on a boat that will take you on a boat tour of the oyster farm beds and sample the freshest oysters you can find – picked right from the sea. Your host will share with you the secrets and the history of oyster production in these parts. After the tour of the oyster beds, disembark the boat on a private island and enjoy a traditional buzzara meal made from mussels, local herbs and domestic wine. After lunch, head towards Dubrovnik. On the way to Dubrovnik, stop at Trsteno Arboretum. Enjoy stroll through this oldest Renaissance garden in Dalmatia filled with exotic plants and trees. The beauty of the Arboretum captured even Hollywood as it was chosen to be the filming site of the world-famous TV series The Game of Thrones. After a stop at Trsteno, head towards Dubrovnik. Upon arrival, enjoy the rest of the evening. Overnight.
DAY 9 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 Dubrovnik’s Old Town, the lush green beauty of the forest covered island of Lokrum and the mesmerizing shimmer of the Sun on crystal clear Adriatic. After the tour, we suggest you take a water taxi and visit the island of Lokrum. Reputedly the island where Richard the Lionheart was shipwrecked, this densely forested island is a popular getaway from the crowds in the summer months. Spend the afternoon strolling and exploring the island and many of its sights like botanical garden, church, fort and lots more. Return to Dubrovnik and overnight.
DAY 10 DEPARTURE
Meet your driver, head towards the airport and say goodbye to Croatia.
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