Day 6 of 9. Sea and Mountains
Split - Trogir - Zadar - Plitvice (lakes) ☾ 295 km
Program: visit and time in Trogir and Zadar
Breakfast. Possibly free time in Split in the morning. We leave for Trogir, a city located about 30 kilometers to the west. This island settlement stands out for its beautiful Romanesque churches, complemented by remarkable Renaissance and Baroque buildings from the Venetian period. The most famous attraction in Trogir is St. Lawrence’s Cathedral, whose western entrance is considered a masterpiece of the Romanesque-Gothic style in Croatia. Walking tour and free time in the Old Town, which was declared a World Heritage Site.
We then follow the itinerary on a road parallel to the coast until we reach Zadar, a cultural town of Croatia. Here, the elongated islands look like forward defense lines in the Adriatic Sea. Walking tour of the oldest city in the country, admiring the original Byzantine Church of St. Donatus, the Roman Forum and the great St. Anastasia’s Cathedral, of Tuscan influence. Possible detour to the ingenious Sea Organ and return to the old town discovering the Land Gate, Five Wells Square and maybe checking the marketplace. Time to have lunch.
Afterwards, we continue the route inland, arriving in the afternoon at Plitvice Lakes National Park, with a size of almost 300 km² and protected by UNESCO since 1979.
It is a mountain and forest area surrounding an interconnected system of 16 lakes, continuously supplied by streams and groundwater, separated by natural barriers but communicating through waterfalls. The water, of beautiful and different colors, descends an altitude of 133 m from south to north, and each lake flows into the next until the Korana river rises, below the last great waterfalls. Overnight accommodation in the area. The next day, we will explore on foot this privileged place organized into 7 visiting routes.
Optional: 2 EXTRA DAYS, SLOVENIA.
DAY 1 EXTRA. Slovenia, a fairytale country
Plitvice (lakes) - Postojna (cave) - Predjama Castle - Ljubljana ☾ 315 km
Program: visit Postojna Cave and Predjama Castle; arrival in Ljubljana
Breakfast. We leave towards the north and begin a new stage of the journey entering the small idyllic country of Slovenia. We arrive at Postojna Cave around noon and visit a fantastic underground world with galleries, rooms and passages. Train ride and guided walking tour, admiring the stalactites, stalagmites and other formations of this natural karst-type monument. Then we continue nearby, having time for lunch and visiting Predjama Castle. An apparently impenetrable medieval fortification, built in the opening of a cave, on a peak of 123 m. We learn about the history of Erazem Lueger, the Slovenian “Robin Hood”, discovering a picturesque and intriguing castle. In the afternoon, we follow the route to the capital, Ljubljana. Overnight accommodation and some free time in the city.
The previous day's program will be different: you go directly from Split to Plitvice Lakes National Park and visit it the very same day. In the morning of the first optional day to Slovenia there wouldn’t be enough time to visit the Park.
If you don't want to miss the visits to Trogir and Zadar, an extra night will have to be spent in the lake area (subject to availability).
DAY 2 EXTRA. Slovenia, a fairytale country.
Ljubljana - Lake Bled - Vintgar Gorge - Ljubljana ☾ 315 km
Program: visit Lake Bled and the Vintgar Gorge; free time in Ljubljana
Breakfast. We leave in the morning towards the Alps and arrive at Lake Bled, iconic for the beauty of Slovenia. The mountains in the background, emerald-green waters, the church spire on an island, all make up a postcard image that lingers on in memory. Get the best view over this glacial lake, from the medieval castle built on a cliff, or cross the lake to the island, in a traditional “pletna” boat. Free time to enjoy this wellness place, have lunch, and taste the delicious “kremšnita” dessert, a puff pastry with custard cream and chantilly. We then continue to the nearby Vintgar Gorge and leave the car to walk over wooden bridges and galleries that allow us to accompany the Radovna River. The gorge is the path the river opens between vertical rocks resulting in a series of waterfalls, ponds and rapid waters. During the hike, we find the arch of a stone bridge crowning the path at a 33 meters height, while the end of it rewards us with a beautiful 13-meter waterfall, called Šum. In the afternoon, we return again to the Slovenian capital, Ljubljana. Overnight accommodation and free time in the city.
The next day replaces Day 7 of the standard program (which can be seen below):
Next day. 2 capitals of the former Yugoslavia
Ljubljana – Zagreb ☾ 145 km
Program: visit Ljubljana; visit and free time in Zagreb
Breakfast. In the morning, we visit the quiet and elegant Slovenian capital (approx. 2 hours). On a walking tour, we admire Prešeren Square, after the name of the romantic poet, crowned by a muse in the monument placed here in 1905. It is bounded by the pink Franciscan Church and several imposing buildings such as the Art Nouveau styled Hauptman House and Urbanc House, and extends across the river by the Triple Bridge. The architect of the bridge was Jože Plečnik, who remodeled the city in the 20th century and gave its name to the Central Market, also his creation and the next visited attraction. We then continue with Saint Nicholas’ Cathedral, in baroque style but completed by a bas-relief from the 20th century at the entrance, telling the history of the country, and we arrive at the Town Hall, a 15th century building with Venetian influence. The surrounding square is marked by the beautiful Robba Fountain, known as the Fountain of the Three Carniolan Rivers. In the second part of the tour, we arrive in Congress Square by the slender Cobblers’ Bridge, not before admiring the National University Library, in a unique style, and the University itself, headquarters of the Holy Alliance Congress in 1821. Possible cruise after the tour, grasping the rhythm of the city with its castle dominating the old quarter from the top of a hill. The Ljubljana River runs through the heart of this green city, completing its life and identity.
Time to have lunch and we continue in the afternoon with our route returning to Croatia and its capital, Zagreb. Accommodation check-in and free time in the city. In case you arrive earlier in Zagreb, the city tour can take place this day. Otherwise, it will be organized the next morning.
This day is followed by the last 2 days of the standard program(day 8 and 9, see below).