Day 1 - Tuesday, April 17:
Early evening departure from Toronto to Munich with Lufthansa Airlines. Dinner and a light breakfast will be served on board.
Day 2 - Wednesday, April 18:
Morning arrival in Munich and connecting flight to Zagreb, arriving in late morning. Here a private coach will be waiting to take us to Plitvice National Park
(140km), considered to be one of Europe’s most beautiful and interesting landscapes, featuring a rosary of sixteen lakes in the midst of a beautiful forest complex; this area has been a national park since 1949 and was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979, described as follows: “The waters flowing over the limestone have, over thousands of years, deposited travertine barriers, creating natural dams which in turn have created a series of beautiful lakes, caves, and waterfalls; the forests in the park are home to bears, wolves, and many rare bird species." Dinner and overnight in the 4-star Hotel Ethno Houses Plitvica Selo
, situated near one of the entrances to the National Park.
Day 3 - Thursday, April 19:
A full day of relaxed sightseeing in the Plitvice National Park, including touring by coach and a boat tour, as well as some leisurely hiking, e.g. to view the waterfalls. Dinner again in our hotel.
Day 4 - Friday, April 20:
Today we motor for a total distance of about 200km through Croatia’s rugged interior, stretching along the Bosnian border, via towns such as Gracac and Knin, to the beautiful Dalmatian Coast. Our destination is picturesque Sibenik, the oldest Croatian town on the Adriatic Sea, ruled for many centuries by outsiders such as the Venetians and the Austro-Hungarians. Dinner and overnight in a 4-star beachfront hotel a few miles away from the city centre, the Amadria Park Hotel Jure
Day 5 - Saturday, April 21:
Morning tour of historic Sibenik and its fortresses, noble residences, monasteries, and churches. The absolute highlight is the late-medieval Cathedral of St James
, a UNESCO World Heritage Site whose architecture and sculptures, a fusion of Gothic and Renaissance architecture and art, reflect influence from Northern Italy and as far away as Tuscany. Time for lunch, individual exploring, and shopping before we return to our resort hotel to relax and or enjoy a walk along the beach – and/or a traditional glass of the famous local plum brandy (šljivovica) in the bar? - before dinner.
Day 6 - Sunday, April 22:
Full-day excursion to two nearby UNESCO World Heritage Sites. First, Trogir
, a quaint coastal community with ancient Greek origins and plenty of medieval, Renaissance, and baroque buildings. Second, the ancient city of Split
, with its magnificent seafront and ruins of the palace of Roman Emperor Diocletian, built around 300AD. Return to Sibenik - along the scenic coastal road - if time permits! - and dinner in the hotel.
Day 7 - Monday, April 23:
Departure from Sibenik after breakfast. We motor through beautiful Adriatic coastal as well as inland scenery to the Italian border and to the city of Trieste (415 km), where we will stay in the first-class Hotel Urban, featuring very modern interior design in a building dating back to the 18th century, but built on Roman ruins of the 1st century; the hotel
is centrally located in the Old Town (Cittavecchia) and only a few hundred metres from the waterfront and beautiful Piazza Unità. Trieste used to be a major “centre of literature, music, art, and culture” when, until the end of WW I, it was part of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire; today, the city is a delightful and fascinating fusion of Italian and Eastern European architecture and atmosphere, and a magnificent window on the Adriatic Sea. Dinner in the hotel or in a typical ristorante.
Day 8 - Tuesday, April 24:
Morning sightseeing tour of Trieste, with sights such as the old town, the Austrian Quarter, the Roman Theatre, the Lighthouse of Victory, Miramare Castle, San Giusto Cathedral and Castle, and the Mercato Coperto Market Hall. The afternoon is free to explore the city on your own, shop, visit museums, etc. No group dinner this evening.
Day 9 - Wednesday, April 25:
Full-day tour of the nearby scenic Pula Peninsula
, jutting out into the Adriatic Sea and belonging mostly to Croatia, featuring a magnificent coast and highlights such as Porec, home to yet another UNESCO site, the 6th-century Euphrasian Basilica complex with its Byzantine mosaics, and the ancient Greco-Roman town of Pula. Today, group lunch OR dinner.
Day 10 - Thursday, April 26:
Side-trip to the archaeological area and the Patriarchal Basilica of Aquileia
, terminus of Antiquity’s Amber Road, linking the Adriatic, and the Mediterranean Sea in general, to the Baltic Sea, one of the largest and wealthiest cities of the Roman Empire, destroyed by Attila in the 5th century, another UNESCO site. We also visit Udine, the charming capital of Italy’s Friuli Province, before returning to Trieste in late afternoon via an area where many battles were fought between Italian and Austrian troops in WWI. No group dinner this evening.
Day 11 - Friday, April 27:
Departure from Trieste after breakfast. Today we will cover a distance of about 120km as we cross into Slovenia and ascend the limestone plateau known as the Karst (Carso in Italian). Visit to the Škocjan Caves
, one of Slovenia’s UNESCO sites. Then we continue to Ljubljana, the Slovenian capital. Dinner and overnight in the centrally located 4-star Hotel Lev
Day 12 - Saturday, April 28:
Morning sightseeing tour of nearby with focus on the attractive old town; highlights will include the major squares with their fountains, statues, and imposing buildings such as city hall and the Slovenian Parliament, Triple Bridge and Dragon Bridge, the Open Market, and Ljubljana Castle, high on a hill with superb views of the city. Then we take a side-trip to nearby Bled, an exquisite resort in the Alps, nestled on the shores of a lake surrounded by towering mountain peaks. After our visit and a boat tour on the lake, we return to Ljubljana. Today, group lunch OR dinner featuring Slovenian specialties in a typical restaurant.
Day 13 - Sunday, April 29:
This morning we leave Ljubljana, cross back into Croatia, and motor to Zagreb (200km), where we check into the first-class Hotel Dubrovnik
, located on the main square. Afternoon sightseeing tour of the upper and lower towns of Croatia’s capital, with sights such as the imposing Cathedral, St. Mark’s Church, the Old Town Gate (now a shrine to the Virgin Mary), and Tito Square, followed by free time. Final group dinner in the fine restaurant of our hotel.
Day 14 - Monday, April 30:
After breakfast, short transfer to Zagreb Airport and return flight to Toronto with Lufthansa, via Munich. Arrival in Toronto in the early evening.