Our Adriatic adventure explores Europe's "new frontier" — and it offers rich rewards. You'll meander from pristine hill towns to sun-soaked islands, lacing together the best destinations in this diverse corner of Europe: Slovenia's Ljubljana and fairy-tale Lake Bled; Croatia's seaside Rovinj, waterfall-laced Plitvice, historic Split, Hvar Island, Korčula and picture-perfect Dubrovnik; and an enlightening visit to Bosnia-Herzegovina's once-war-torn town of Mostar. Along the way, your Rick Steves guide will bring you intimate encounters with European cultures that mainstream travelers often miss. Join us for the Best of the Adriatic in 14 Days!
You'll get all this!
- A small, friendly group of 24-28 people — half the size of most tour groups
- Full-time services of a professional Rick Steves guide and local experts who will make the fascinating history, art and culture of the Adriatic come alive for you
- All tours and admissions — at no extra cost — covering at least 16 group sightseeing events • Ljubljana walking tour • Bled Castle • Kobarid Museum tour • Istrian wine tasting • Pula Amphitheater tour • Rovinj visit • Opatija visit • Plitvice Lakes National Park walking tour • Split walking tour • Diocletian's Palace tour • Hvar visit • Korčula orientation • Mostar mosque and walking tour • Stolac visit • Republika Srpska visit • Dubrovnik walking tour...and more
- All group transportation from Ljubljana, Slovenia to Dubrovnik, Croatia
- 13 nights accommodations in memorable, centrally-located hotels
- All breakfasts and half your dinners
- All tips for guides and driver
- Free stuff including Rick Steves' Croatia & Slovenia guidebook, map, moneybelt and earplugs
- Guaranteed tour price, locked in the moment you make your deposit
- Optional single supplements — this tour has a limited number of private rooms for solo travelers for an additional fee
- Tour alum discount of $50 for each tour you've taken prior to 2013
- 50% discount on a consulting appointment with our in-house experts to assist with your pre- or post-tour travel plans
- Flexibility should you need to transfer, or cancel/interrupt your tour
- Fine print: You are responsible for the cost of your drinks and free-time sightseeing. See our Tour Conditions Agreement for important details regarding everything listed above
- Light = 2-4 miles of mostly level walking throughout the day.
- Moderate = 2-6 miles walking throughout the day with some hills and stairs.
- Strenuous = 2-8 miles walking throughout the day with lots of hills, stairs and uneven terrain.
Day 1: Welcome to Ljubljana
We'll meet at our hotel in the pretty Slovenian capital city of Ljubljana around 5 p.m. After an orientation walk through our university-area neighborhood, we'll enjoy getting acquainted over dinner together. Sleep in Ljubljana (2 nights). No bus. Walking: light.
Day 2: Architectural Riches of Ljubljana
Today we'll take a walking tour through the heart of Ljubljana, including the colorful riverside market, the playfully Art Nouveau Dragon Bridge, and the town's lively main square dedicated to Slovenia's greatest poet, France Prešeren. We'll also enjoy seeing and hearing about the architectural adventures of native born architect Jože Plečnik along the way. The afternoon and evening are yours to wander around this lovely city, try one of the outdoor cafés along the river, and maybe hike up to the castle to enjoy the city view. No bus. Walking: moderate.
Day 3: Slovenia's Lakes and Alps
A short drive into Slovenia's Julian Alps brings us to the azure jewel of Lake Bled. We'll take in the panoramic view from Bled's hilltop castle, then leave you with free time to stroll around the lakeside town, or maybe hop aboard a boat to the chapel-topped island. After lunch we'll have a scenically-winding, mountain-pass drive to the breathtaking Soča River Valley, where we'll enjoy dinner of local delicacies together. Sleep in or near Kobarid (1 night). Bus: 6 hrs. Walking: moderate.
Day 4: Crossing Paths with Hemingway
This morning we'll tour the local museum, learning about the WWI years when soldiers (including an ambulance driver named Hemingway) faced incredible hardship in the mountains around Kobarid, described in "A Farewell to Arms." We'll enjoy a local-style lunch together, sampling the tasty prsut (prosciutto), naturally cured by the Bora winds. We'll then follow Slovenia's small slice of Adriatic Coast on our way to the rolling hills of Croatia's Istrian Peninsula and the hill town of Motovun. Sleep in a former castle in Motovun (2 nights). Bus: 4 hrs. Walking: strenuous.
Day 5: Istrian Peninsula
We'll spend our day exploring the Istrian Peninsula, studded with Roman ruins, Venetian architecture, and a landscape evocative of pre-tourist Tuscany. We'll time-travel to Pula's 1st-century Roman amphitheater with a local expert, then set you free to enjoy the seaside town of Rovinj. Hang out by the harbor, or walk the art-lined streets to the church of St. Euphemia and learn the surprising legend of how the saint's sarcophagus got there. Tonight's dinner will be an open-roasted feast in the tucked-away town of Brtonigla. We'll return to our Motovun hotel tonight, stuffed and happy. Bus: 4 hrs. Walking: strenuous.
Day 6: Opatija and Plitvice
Today we'll stop in seaside Opatija, where you'll have time to wander amidst its beautifully manicured parks and Belle Époque villas along the Kvarner Gulf, before heading inland to the deep greens and blues of Croatia's water wonderland and one of Europe's premier nature preserves: Plitvice Lakes National Park. We'll have dinner together and sleep in the National Park, surrounded by the quiet of nature (1 night). Bus: 5 hrs. Walking: moderate.
Day 7: Lakes to the Coast
You'll have all morning to hike along rustic boardwalk trails connecting the idyllic forests, travertine stone cliffs, clear blue lakes and gushing waterfalls of Plitvice Lakes National Park. We'll learn how the park is creatively managing to protect its delicate environment, including the use of electric trams and boats. After a lunch break, we'll drive along the Dinaric Alps to the Dalmatian Coast and the not-so-sleepy seaside town of Split. This evening we'll walk to the walls of the Roman Emperor Diocletian's palace, and enjoy dinner together in a cozy, family-run konoba. Sleep in Split (2 nights). Boat: ½ hr. Bus: 5 hrs. Walking: strenuous.
Day 8: The Roman Heart of Split
We'll get introduced to Split with a walking tour through its Old Town — including remains of the Roman Peristyle, the unusual Cathedral of St. Dominus, and Jupiter's Temple — all of which lies within the walls of the despotic Roman Emperor Diocletian's immense palace. The afternoon and evening are yours to enjoy Split's museums including the sculptures of the world-class Meštrović Gallery, or relax with an espresso along the waterfront promenade. No bus. Walking: strenuous.
Day 9: Dalmatian Island-Hopping
After breakfast we'll board a boat bound for the Dalmatian island of Hvar, where you'll have free time to climb atop the fortress and explore the quaint old harbor town, fast becoming a ritzy haunt of Europe's jet-setting class. We'll end our island-hopping day in the more relaxed island town of Korčula, where we'll sleep (2 nights). Boat: 3 hrs. Bus: 1 hr. Walking: moderate.
Day 10: Island Relaxation
Today you are free to wander the narrow cobbled streets of Korčula's medieval quarter, poke around its Cathedral of St. Mark, and imagine the tales its Venetian villas could tell. This could also be a fun day to go for a swim, snorkel, or rent a boat. We'll dry off and regroup for a little happy hour together late this afternoon. No bus. Walking: light to strenuous (your choice).
Day 11: Eye-Opening Bosnia-Herzegovina
We'll begin our day with a short ferry ride back to the mainland and then cross the border into formerly war-torn Bosnia-Herzegovina. We'll enjoy lunch set in the backdrop of a 14th-century Ottoman village before making our way to Mostar, a town that serves up a fascinating blend of south Slavic, Ottoman Turkish and Mediterranean cultural traditions. Before dinner together, our local guide will take us on a thought-provoking walk and teach us about war and the siege of Mostar in the 1990s. We'll visit Mostar's rebuilt Old Bridge, the Kujundžiluk bazaar and a traditional mosque. Sleep in Mostar (1 night). Boat: ½ hr. Bus: 4 hrs. Walking: strenuous.
Day 12: Rural Herzegovina
Today we'll take a long and scenic country drive through untouristed Herzegovina on our way to Dubrovnik. En route we'll stop in the town of Stolac to see the medieval Stećci tombstones that dot the fields. After lunch together we'll drive through the predominantly Serbian Republika Srpska region, stopping at the Tvrdos Monastery to learn about the Orthodox religion. After we arrive at our hotel in Dubrovnik, your guide will orient you to this Pearl of the Adriatic and set you free to sample the local cuisine and do a little exploring on your own. We'll sleep outside Dubrovnik's old city wall in the Lapad district, right by the sea (2 nights). Bus: 6 hrs. Walking: moderate.
Day 13: Dazzling Dubrovnik
We'll begin our day with a walking tour of the architectural treasures within the 800-year-old city walls of Dubrovnik, long ago its own republic and a rival of the powerful Venetians. We'll learn about the city's dramatic history — including the siege of 1991 —as we tour its traffic-free promenade and Roman Baroque cathedral. Then you'll be free to roam this stone city and its walkable walls that seem to have sprouted up out of the sea. Tonight we'll have a feast of local specialties together as we share travel memories and toast new friends. Živjeli! No bus. Walking: strenuous.
Day 14: Tour Over After Breakfast
Your guide will help arrange affordable taxi/shuttle rides to Dubrovnik's airport, 40 minutes away. From there, you can fly to Zagreb and other European cities. Do viđenija!
Itinerary specifics subject to change.
Rick Steves tours are physically active!
This is an integral, essential part of the Rick Steves tour experience. On our Best of the Adriatic in 14 Days tour — among other things — you'll need to happily...
- Carry/roll your luggage over uneven pavement (several blocks possible) and up stairways to reach your hotel; then up several flights of stairs to reach your room.
- Be on your feet, walking and standing for up to four hours, indoors and outdoors, in all weather conditions.
- Sleep with street noise and no (or weak) air conditioning.
- After orientation and transportation lessons, be able to navigate towns and cities on your own.
- Travel on a bus without a toilet.
We've put together some specific information on what you should know about this tour before you go. You'll also find more general information about "Getting Ready for Your Tour" on our Tour FAQ.
Sightseeing On Your Own
If you arrive in Slovenia before your tour begins, use Rick Steves' Croatia & Slovenia guidebook to get oriented. Ride the public transportation, try out a few words of Slovenian (although many locals speak English well), and get over your jet lag with fresh air and exercise.
Here are suggestions for sightseeing in Ljubljana that we will not be doing as a group (see your guidebook for details): Plečnik House Museum, Slovenian Ethnographic Museum; Contemporary History Museum; funicular to the Ljubljana Castle for the great view of town; antique-browsing at the riverside flea market.
If you are staying after the tour, a day trip to Montenegro can be arranged through the hotel. Your guide can help you with this during the tour.
Most tour members arrive a day or two before the tour begins — and those who don't, wish they had. This allows you ample time to get over jet lag and make the most of the first few days of the tour.
There is more than one way to get to and from your tour. We recommend talking to your travel agent about "open jaw" airline tickets (flying into and out of different cities). Ljubljana's airport, Aerodrom Ljubljana (LJU), is about 14 miles from the city center. See www.lju-airport.si for details. Most major airlines serve Ljubljana, but you can also look into Adria Airways, EasyJet and Wizz for alternate one-way jaunts. Ask your travel agent or check Rick's list of European budget airlines.
There are also several trains arriving each day from major European cities, such as Munich, Vienna, Venice, Budapest and Zagreb; details can be found at www.slo-zeleznice.si. Read Rick's Guide to Eurail Passes and decide if your travel plans merit a railpass (or contact our Rail Department for advice at email@example.com or 425/771-8303 ext. 214).
Since the tour ends in Croatia, you may find that flying in and out of Zagreb may be a better value, as many flights out of Dubrovnik airport require a connection through Zagreb. This option requires connecting to Ljubljana by train, and then flying from Dubrovnik back to Zagreb.
For links to helpful rail and air websites, go to www.ricksteves.com/plan/links and look under "Transportation."
Prior to your tour departure, you will receive detailed directions on how to get from the airport to your first tour hotel, as well as contact information for your first and last hotels in case you wish to book pre- or post-tour hotel accommodations.
If you need more information about additional European travel or for specific questions about your tour, contact the Tour Department at 425/608-4217 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
See a chart with monthly rain and temperature information for this tour.
While it is important to pack light, there are some items we'd like you to consider including when packing for this tour. If you are planning on taking a dip in the Adriatic Sea, you may wish to pack a swimsuit and perhaps a lightweight microfiber towel. Also consider some good water shoes, as the Adriatic seabed is lined with urchins that can be prickly pests.
For ideas on what to pack, check Rick's Packing List and our Women's Packing List.
Tour Guide Raves
"Marijan was exceptional. If Rick Steves ever retires, Marijan would make a wonderful replacement! He is exceptionally clear and knowledgeable; warm-hearted and generous; enthusiastic and fun to be with. The breadth and depth of his cultural knowledge are amazing. You are especially lucky to have him working for Rick Steves Tours."
— James in Vermillion, SD
"Tina was top-notch. We couldn't have asked for a more well-prepared, fully informed, caring, and thoughtful leader. She was responsive to tour member needs, had great insights and advice, and made everything flow seamlessly."
— Colleen in San Francisco, CA
Favorite tour memories from recent alums:
"There are so many — the riverside of Ljubljana on Sunday afternoon, the sparkling Lake Bled with its fairy-tale castle, the incredible views from Motovun. Standing on the terrace of the Hotel Kastel with a glass of chardonnay, basking in the glow of the sunset, with unbroken vistas of hills and villages. There was also the unexpected delight in the incredible color of the Soča River and its beautiful valley. Due to the limestone of the area, the rivers and streams are the most amazing cyan color."
— Kathleen in Mesa, AZ
"Mostar and the rest of Bosnia-Herzegovina was the highlight of the trip for me. It is different than any other part of Europe I have been to. Visiting this area is like stepping back in time."
— Cynthia in Calgary, AB
"One of my favorite memories is our two night stay in the hill town of Motovun. When we climbed the long road to the Kastel Hotel I felt as if I were returning to my own castle. I never tired of looking out from any vantage point at the panoramic spread below."
— Cathy in Largo, FL
"The Plitvice Lakes National Park and Lake Bled were so gorgeous!!"
— Barbara in Dallas, TX
To see more comments on Rick Steves' tours, read through our tour member reviews.
Videos & More
This region is rich in history, art and culture. To help you get the most from your trip, we've put together this collection of travel resources from Rick's TV shows, radio interviews and articles, as well as recommended books, films and music.
Rick Steves' TV Clips & Shows
(For more Rick Steves' TV clips on this region, visit Rick on YouTube.)
- When Father Was Away on Business (1985)
- Underground (1995)
- How the War Started on My Island (1996)
- No Man's Land (2001)
- Border Post (2006)
Rick Steves' Radio Interviews
(For more radio interviews on this region, see Rick's Audio Europe™ files for iPod, PC & MP3.)
Rick Steves Audio Europe™
- Dreamy, romantic contemporary music: Oliver Dragojević Gibonni; Goran Karan
- Alpine folk: Avsenik; Gorenjski Muzikantje
- Pop: California; Tabu; Tinkara Kovac
- Industrial rock: Laibach
Rick Steves' Articles
(For more articles on this region, see Rick's Best Destinations.)
- Rick Steves' Croatia and Slovenia
- Central Europe: Enemies, Neighbors, Friends — Lonnie Johnson
- A Traveller's History of Croatia — Benjamin Curtis
- A Farewell to Arms — Ernest Hemingway
- Black Lamb and Grey Falcon — Rebecca West
- Café Europa: Life After Communism; How We Survived Communism and Even Laughed; The Balkan Express — Slavenka Drakulic
- Croatia: A Nation Forged in War — Marcus Tanner