Day 1: Depart U.S. for Zagreb, Croatia

Day 2: Arrive Zagreb After a connecting flight in Frankfort, we arrive in Zagreb and transfer to the Esplanade Zagreb Hotel

Day 3: Zagreb We visit several museums and churches, and walk around the center of the city,

Day 4: Zagreb Day trip to Samobor.

Day 5: Zagreb This morning’s tour of the Croatian capital by coach and on foot reveals a gracious city of culture and hospitality. We visit Mirogoj Park Cemetery, known for its arcades and sculpture; then continue through Old Town with a visit to St. Stephen’s Cathedral. After calling on the colorful Dolac open-air market, the remainder of the day is at leisure and we visited several more museums and walked around town. Tonight we enjoy a welcome dinner. 

Day 6: Zagreb/Ljubljana, Slovenia Departing by coach this morning, we arrive in the Slovenian capital in time for lunch on our own. An afternoon walking tour reveals the heart of this friendly mid-sized city of romantic bridges, ornate façades, pedestrian zones, and abundant parkland. We explored the old down and dined tonight at Hotel Cubo in Ljubjana.

Day 7: Ljubljana/Lake Bled. Slovenia This morning we visit Bled, Slovenia’s popular resort town whose namesake lake is the stuff of fairytales. Sitting in the foothills of the Julian Alps with a medieval castle perched above its emerald-green waters, Lake Bled draws visitors and locals alike. We tour the castle then enjoy a leisurely boat ride around the placid mile-wide lake. After lunch together at a lakeside restaurant, we return to Ljubljana with the remainder of the day at leisure, during which we explored the old town area. 

Day 8: Ljubljana/Postojna/Opatija, Croatia En route to Opatija today, we stop to explore Postojna Cave, the almost 13-mile-long karst cave system where an electric train takes us deeper than is possible in any other cave in the world. Then after free time here for lunch on our own, we crossed the border into Croatian and continued on to Opatija, the seaside resort where Habsburg princes once vacationed. Upon arrival, we explore the “Opatija Riviera” on a walking tour of this modern-day resort town nestled between green forested hills and the cobalt Adriatic. Our hotel is the Amadria Park Hotel Milenij on the beach in Opatija.  We dine together tonight.

Day 9: Opatija/Istrian Peninsula Today’s tour of the Istrian Peninsula reveals the multicultural roots of this alluring spit of land jutting into the Adriatic. At various times a vassal of Venice, the first Austro-Hungarian Empire, Fascist Italy, the Yugoslav Federation, and finally, Croatia, Istra, as it is known, boasts an interesting history, mild Mediterranean climate, lovely scenery, and good wines. Our first stop is in the port of Pula, where we visit the well-preserved remains of a Roman amphitheater (c. 177 CE). Next is Rovinj, a charming old Venetian port where we are free to explore on our own and perhaps enjoy lunch at an outdoor café. After returning to Opatija late this afternoon, we dine together tonight at a local restaurant. 

Day 10: Opatija Today we visit nearby Mošćenice, a one-time fishing village that now draws visitors to its tranquil port and beautiful pebble beaches. After lunch together, we return to Opatija where the remainder of the day is at leisure, during which we walked around town and dipped our toes into the Adriatic Sea.

Day 11: Opatija/Plitvice Lakes/Trogir We travel south this morning for an excursion to Plitvice Lakes National Park. Famed for its string of 16 turquoise-colored lakes connected by a series of waterfalls and cascades, separated by distinctive travertine deposits, and surrounded by dense forests, Plitvice counts as one of UNESCO’s first natural sites and Croatia’s largest national park. Late afternoon we depart for Trogir, arriving early this evening in time for dinner at Hotel Trogir Palace.

Day 12: Trogir/Split/Hvar This morning we walked around the old town, then traveled to Split, the main city of the central Dalmatian Coast and home of the third-century Diocletian’s Palace. As we see on our guided tour, the palace, and eventually its ruins, formed the historic heart of picturesque Split. After time for lunch on our own, we board a ferry for the two-hour cruise to Hvar, “queen” of the Dalmatian islands. Upon arrival we travel by coach to lively Hvar Town, where we spend the next two nights. We dine tonight at a local restaurant just a short walk from Adriana Hotel Hvar, on the inner harbor.

Day 13: Hvar With captivating natural beauty and a strategic Adriatic location, Hvar has prospered since antiquity. We discover some of its charms this morning, first with a walking tour of Venetian-tinged Hvar Town then with a walking tour of nearby Stari Grad, one of Croatia’s oldest cities and where we also have time to wander on our own. Then we visit a local winery for a tasting and lunch. After lunch, we walk around Hvar on our own.

Day 14: Hvar/Dubrovnik We continue our journey south today, leaving Hvar for the mainland then traveling along the scenic Dalmatian coast to popular and beloved Dubrovnik. After reaching Hotel Rixos Libertas late afternoon, we enjoy dinner there this evening. 

Day 15: Dubrovnik Today we discover the city whose ancient walls have withstood both time and tide for hundreds of years. We begin with a walking tour around the city walls, whose original ramparts and bastions date to the 12-th and 13-th centuries (Dubrovnik itself was founded in the 7-th century). Then we continue through the Old City, paying a visit to the Franciscan Monastery and stately Baroque Cathedral (c. 1672). We also see the Treasury, whose gilded shelves and historic relics sit behind locked wooden doors; and the Franciscan monastery with a 14-th-century pharmacy. This afternoon is free to explore on our own, during which we visited the Rectory museum, several churches and explored the old town.  We had dinner at 360 Restaurant in the Old Town, a one-star Michelin restaurant. 

Day 16: Dubrovnik Today is free to explore on our own.  We walked the city walls, toured the Maritime Museum and Ethnographic Museum, and took the cable car to the top of Mt. Srđ and visited its War Museum. From the medieval Old Town to the contemporary city with its Mediterranean accent, Dubrovnik offers discoveries aplenty. Then we enjoy a small group highlight as we set out late this afternoon for a farewell dinner with a local family whose home overlooks Dubrovnik. Our menu features produce from their garden, homemade olive oil, and local wine. 

Day 17: Dubrovnik/Frankfurt/San Francisco. This morning we transfer to the airport to go to Frankfurt.  In Frankfurt, we take the subway into the city to visit the Städl Museum and walk around the old town and center of the city.  Then we fly to SFO.