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. Walk through the Old Town, which was declared a World Heritage Site, and possibly enjoy some free time too. 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. Walk through the center 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; free time 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 is going to be different: we 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. A quick stop in Zadar can be made on the way, while Trogir must be visited the day before, prior to the arrival in Split.
DAY 2 EXTRA. Slovenia, a fairytale country.
Ljubljana - Lake Bled - Ljubljana ☾ 110 km
Program: Ljubljana city tour; visit Lake Bled; free time in Ljubljana
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.
Right after, we leave 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 the 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 (optional entrance), or cross the lake to the island, in a traditional “pletna” boat. Free time to enjoy this wellness place, have lunch, and maybe taste the delicious “kremšnita” dessert, a puff pastry with custard cream and chantilly.
Return to Ljubljana in the afternoon. Overnight accommodation and free time. Optional river cruise observing the rhythm of the town and its castle dominating the old quarter from the top of a hill. The Ljubljanica River runs through the heart of this green city, completing its life and identity.
The next day replaces Day 7 of the standard program (see below):
Day 9 of 11. Croatia's capital city
Ljubljana – Zagreb ☾ 140 km
Program: city tour and free time in Zagreb
Breakfast. Possible free time in the morning and we continue with our route returning to Croatia and its capital, Zagreb. City tour, overnight accommodation and free time.
This day is followed by the last 2 days of the standard program (see below).