Croatia and Slovenia Luxury Tour

A 7 day trip to Croatia & Slovenia 
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Do you long to experience the past with the luxurious comforts of the present day? Do you dream of exploring antiquity's hidden gems while discovering the modern pleasures of cosmopolitan cities? Then there is truly only one destination for you: for nowhere does history mingle with the now quite so gracefully as in Croatia.

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General Information

Photos
The Old City of Dubrovnik is an UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its well-preserved fortress walls.
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Pula, Brijuni, Ljubljana, Groznjan, Venice, Roc, Hum

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

DAY 1: ARRIVAL PULA AIRPORT (closest) – ZAGREB AIRPORT (cca. 4 hours driving) – VENICE AIRPORT (cca. 4 hours driving) – LJUBLJANA AIRPORT (cca. 2,5 hours driving) 

Depending on your arrival flight, meet your English speaking driver at the airport for a private transfer to your exclusive Villa Gigi.

Upon arrival, welcome dinner at the Villa.

INCLUDED

  • Private transfer with mini-bus
  • Overnight exclusive
  • Villa Gigi Welcome dinner 

DAY 2: PULA & BRIJUNI (FULL DAY)

This morning, after meeting with your guide, you will transfer south along the coast and to the historic town of Pula – a 3,000–years-old city located at the southernmost tip of the Peninsula. Pula became famous under the Romans during the 2nd Century BC, and became an Episcopal seat during the 5th Century. It was sacked by the Ostrogoths but regained power under the Byzantines as a naval port during the 6th and 7th Centuries. It fell into decline until the Austro-Hungarians gained power and established their naval fleet here. The ancient barracks of the Austro-Hungarian Empire still house Croatia’s naval forces.

The town’s most famous landmark is the Pula amphitheater. One of the largest surviving Roman amphitheaters in the world, it was once the scene of bloody gladiator fights. Today it is Pula’s main cultural outdoor venue and is known for its music and film festivals.

From here you may continue walking along the fragments of the ancient city walls, which were built by the Romans in the 1st and 2nd Centuries and still survive today thanks to the fine craftsmanship of the Roman masons. Along the way, you will come to The Hercules Gate, one of the only surviving entrances to the Old Town of Pula, with its magnificent example of Roman architecture dating back to the 1st Century. As you pass under the enormous entrance, pause for a minute directly beneath the graceful arch to look up and see the symbol of the eagle killing the serpent etched into the stone. In the afternoon, you will transfer to the town of Fazana, from where you will board a private local motorboat which will take you to the Brijuni archipelago.

The Brijuni archipelago is made up of 14 islands, some of which have been inhabited since Paleolithic times. In Antiquity and the Middle Ages, the islands were mainly known for their quarries, the stone of which was used to build many of the buildings and bridges in Venice. Later, the Austrians fortified some of the larger islands to support their naval base in Pula. It was not until the 19th century that the islands’ potential for tourism was realized. A Viennese entrepreneur bought the whole archipelago and developed an exclusive resort with hotels, restaurants, a casino, and a marina which became the playground for European and American celebrities and aristocrats. After the Second World War, Josip Broz Tito, the leader of communist Yugoslavia, declared the island a restricted zone and made it his summer residence. It was only after his death that the Brijun Island was opened to visitors as a national park. The whole island is traffic-free and a great place to explore on foot or a golf cart. Bikes can also be rented on the spot and paid for locally. The cost of a golf cart rental is included in your program.

On the western coast of the island, you may see the extensive ruins of a Byzantine castle complex as well
as those of a Roman villa from the 1st century. You will also see the fenced-off White Villa – a former Venetian residence which was restored in the early 18th century and again in the 1950s to become the summer mansion of Marshal Tito during his reign as the president of the former Yugoslavia. Tito used this villa to receive various foreign dignitaries and delegations and many formal receptions and important events took place here. Among the island museum’s best exhibits is the ‘Tito on Brijuni’ which features a huge collection of photos of the former Yugoslav leader and offers an insight into the life and political career of this still beloved by his former subjects Communist dictator.

Optional lunch at the terrace of the hotel restaurant Neptun/Istria. 

  • Licensed English speaking guide full day up to 8 hours
  • Mini-Bus coach for the day up to 8 hours
  • Entrances Pula
  • Motor boat charter Fazana – Brijuni national park – Fazana as per itinerary
  • Entrances Brijuni national park
  • Licensed Brijuni guide up to 3 hours
  • Electrical golf vehicle up to 3 hours (4 vehicles will be needed) per vehicle
  • Overnight exclusive Villa Gigi

DAY 3: SLOVENIA VISIT OF LJUBLJANA; PREDJAMA CASTLE & POSTOJNA CAVE (FULL DAY)

This morning, after again meeting with your guide and driver, you will transfer north and across the border with Slovenia.

Your first stop today will be Ljubljana. There you will be met by your local Slovenian guide for a walk through the Old Town district to take in the city’s ambience influenced by centuries of Latin, Slavic, and Germanic cultural influences.

You may start off in front of the Baroque Town Hall building, the seat of the municipal government, highlighted by its clock tower and the inner courtyard surrounded by pillars and arcades. You will continue to the Town Square, where you will see the famous Fountain of the Tree Rivers, which was originally designed in the second half of the 18th Century by the Italian Baroque sculptor Francesco Robba and became his most famous work. The figures with vases represent the rivers Ljubljanica, Krka, and Sava. Robba was inspired by Bernini's Fountain of the Four Rivers on Piazza Navona in Rome.

Just steps away from the Town Square, you will see the Cathedral of St. Nicholas – a popular landmark. This Baroque church was designed in the early 18th Century by a Jesuit architect to resemble a Latin cross. The interiors still contain much of the original Italian Baroque decor and frescoes. Left of the main altar, you can see the distinctive chair designed by Joze Plecnik - a famous Slovene architect who practiced in Vienna, Belgrade, Prague and Ljubljana. Plecnik transformed Ljubljana through works such as the Church of St. Francis, civic improvements including new bridges, the waterfront and the banks along the River Ljubljanica, as well as major buildings such as the monumental University Library.

Next, you may take the funicular which will take you to the top of Castle Hill. The Ljubljana Castle offers some great views over the city and the surrounding countryside. The castle was first mentioned in 1144 and was later enlarged and completely surrounded by a wall with towers and a drawbridge. Gradually losing its strategic importance in the area, the castle began falling into disrepair. In the early 20th Century, the castle was redesigned partially and used as a prison and a military stronghold. Since the 1970s, long and extensive renovation works have been underway.

Back in the Old Town, you may continue across the Dragon Bridge - an Art Nouveau masterpiece adorned with dragons and the symbol of Ljubljana, and stroll alongside the Ljubljanica River to the centrally located and bustling Preseren Square. It is named after Slovenia’s greatest poet who also wrote the lyrics to the national anthem. A statue of Preseren with a muse above his head is situated in the center of the square. On the south side of the square, the Ljubljanica River is crossed by the city's most famous bridge – the Triple Bridge, designed by Joze Plecnik, who added the side spans to the already existing central part of the bridge.

After taking some free time for independent exploration or lunch (lunch not included in the price of the tour) you may continue taking a short drive along the meandering mountain road to Predjama castle – a true masterpiece of medieval architecture. The castle was built under a natural rock arch high up a limestone cliff overlooking the valley. The first castle was actually a small fortress deep inside the cave to make it more inaccessible and easily defended. Over the centuries, the original Gothic castle was redesigned and reshaped many times, gradually moving away from the cave. The present castle was thus called Predjama, meaning ‘in front of the cave’.

Your next stop today will be the Postojna Cave – the longest cave system in Slovenia and one of its top tourist sites. The Postojna Cave has been attracting throngs of admirers from all over the world for over two centuries now. You will be able to visit this extraordinary cave and its curiosities with your guide and discover its unspoiled beauty. The Postojna Cave features an underground train, so you will be able to admire the sheer size and the powerful charm of its subterranean world, resplendent with huge stalactites and stalagmites forming some extraordinary shapes.

Arrival back to Istria in late afternoon hours.

  • Licensed Istrian English speaking guide throughout the day
  • Licensed local Slovenian English speaking guide in Ljubljana up to 4 hours Entrances Ljubljana including funicular
  • Entrances Predjama castle and Postojna cave
  • Coach mini-bus for the day as per itinerary
  • Overnight exclusive Villa Gigi

DAY 4: GROŽNJAN – MOTOVUN – LIVADE BIKING TOUR INLCUDING TRUFFLE HUNTIN DEMONSTRATION (FULL DAY) 

Meet your licensed English speaking guide and driver at the Villa for a transfer to Groznjan, an ancient town in northwestern Istria, fifteen km from the sea, takes great pride in its wealth of tradition heritage and natural beauty, all of which is ennobled by art. Today, numerous cultural and historical landmarks serve backdrops for cultural manifestation and entertainment.

It is here where your bike tour will start... you will find a diversified road and path network that leads to some hidden nooks of central Istria. It is an area out of the usual tourist drifts, away from crowd and stress, with hamlets cast about in a landscape and old small towns on tops of the hills. Who would say that there is such a treasure of fresco colors made by medieval masters in those small village churches, or such a fine vine poured in cellars; that even the underground hides so eye-pleasant secrets.

Today’s biking tour will end in Livade, a small town in the valley of the River Mirna, at the edge of the Motovun Forest, the best known location for truffles in Istria. Today Livade is a centre for gathering and distributing this expensive mushroom, which grows underground. You may use the chance of exploring the truffle taste in one of the local konoba’s in Livade. After a tasty lunch, do not miss the chance of finding out how truffles are being cultivated and found.

The culinary chefs agree upon one thing only: the truffle should be placed at the very top of the gastronomic delicacies list. And after all, what is a truffle really? Perhaps an odd looking potato-like bulb of highly unpleasant smell, but once you get used to it and its culinary uniqueness, you become a true and eternal admirer. Use the exceptional opportunity of having a private demonstration of truffle hunting...meet the hunter and his dogs.

Today you will have a special demonstration by a local farmer with his sniffer dogs who will explain how the truffles are harvested and being accompanied by Nikola and his dogs you will try your luck in finding truffles as well.

Did you know that a white truffle (Tuber magnatum Pico), of 1.31 kilogram found by Giancarlo Zigante in the River Mirna valley on the 2nd November 1999, is recorded in the Guiness Book of World Records.

  • Coach Mini-Bus for the day according to the itinerary
  • Licensed English speaking guide for the day according to the itinerary
  • Private biking tour
  • Private truffle hunting demonstration
  • Overnight exclusive Villa Gigi

DAY 5: Venice Italy (FULL DAY)

Depending on the date of travel, you may decide to have a full day Venice tour via catamaran line (cruise duration 3 hours) or via your private coach bus (duration of the drive cca. 4 hours).

Arriving in Venice, you will be met by your licensed local English speaking guide for a walking tour of Venice.

Venice is called La Serenissima, "the most serene," a reference to the majesty, wisdom, and monstrous power of this city that was for centuries the unrivaled mistress of trade between Europe and the Orient and the bulwark of Christendom against the tides of Turkish expansion. "Most serene" could also describe the way lovers of this miraculous city feel when they see it, imperturbably floating on its calm blue lagoon. Built entirely on water by men who defied the sea, Venice is unlike any other town. No matter how many times you've seen it in movies or on TV, the real thing is more dreamlike than you could ever imagine. Its landmarks, the Basilica di San Marco and the Palazzo Ducale, seem hardly Italian: delightfully idiosyncratic, they are exotic mixes of Byzantine, Gothic, and Renaissance styles.

Shimmering sunlight and silvery mist soften every perspective here, and you understand how the city became renowned in the Renaissance for its artists' rendering of color. It's full of secrets, inexpressibly romantic, and at times given over entirely to pleasure.
You'll see Venetians going about their daily affairs in vaporetti (water buses), aboard the traghetti (traditional gondola ferries) that carry them across the Grand Canal, in the campi (squares), and along the calli (narrow streets). They are nothing if not skilled—and remarkably tolerant—in dealing with the veritable armies of tourists from all over the world who fill the city's streets for most of the year.

Return to Istria in later afternoon hours or if taking the catamaran in early evening hours (cca. 20:00)

  • Catamaran VIP tickets Porec – Venice – Porec
  • Licensed Istrian English speaking guide throughout the day
  • Licensed local English speaking guide in Venice
  • Entrances in Venice
  • Overnight exclusive Villa Gigi

Day 6: Private half-day tour to Roc Buen Fresco presentation

In the center of the north Istria, 348 meters above sea-level, in the midst of natural beauties, a small town of Roč rises, located 10 kilometers from Buzet. The town was founded in ancient history. It started as an Illyrian settlement, then became a Roman castrum surrounded by numerous small settlements. Today's outlook of Roč dates from the times of Venetian rule. Roč which has become a destination for many visitors, tourists and those enchanted by history, Glagolitic script, and the beauty of the hill below Ćićarija descending through the valley of Mirna towards the warm sea, is keeping up with contemporary events.

With this valuable painting technique on lime mortar, historical architecture was adorned, especially sacral objects. Today we can enjoy its uniqueness in the atmosphere of frescos studio under the guidance of fresco artist Mr. Hari Vidovic.

Presentation “buon fresco” takes aaprox. 30 minutes. It contains short introduction into fresco art in Istria region, demonstration of fresco technique and (according to agreement) painting trial on fresco lime.

NOTE: IT IS ALSO POSSIBLE TO ARRANGE A BUON FRESCO WORKSHOP – DURATION 3 HOURS

After the presentation, we will continue toward Hum.

Hum is a town in the central part of Istria, northwest Croatia, 7 km from Roč a hillabove the Mirna valley. The elevation of the town is 349 m.

This small fortified habitation has maintained all the features of medieval urban architecture and organization. It has a population of only 17 people but is officially a town, and is the Guinness World Record holder for the smallest town in the world.

It is in the smallest town in the world that we will have lunch in a small tavern Hum. Humska Konoba
(Hum tavern) is located in the heart of Istria in Hum - the smallest town in the world. Opened in 1976 at the place where the old inn was located.

It is decorated in typical Istrian style, built of stone and wood, which fits perfectly into the setting area. As for the deals it is a typical Istrian cuisine.
Some dishes are served on wooden platters which gives them originality.

  • Coach mini-bus for the day as per itinerary
  • Licensed English speaking guide for the day as per itinerary
  • Buon Frsco private presentation
  • Overnight exclusive Villa Gigi

Day 7: Istria departure

Depending on your flight, meet your English speaking driver for a private transfer to the airport.

Coach mini-bus for the departure transfer 

Price

Price 

Please inquire for a custom quote. The price is customized based on final hotel choices, travel dates, and other custom preferences.