Croatia - The Dalmatian Coast: A Journey Through the Centuries

From the first human settlers of the Stone Age to the great Roman Empire, to the kings and queens of the medieval age, Croatia has persevered. This landscape is covered in monuments from nearly every era of human history and in each city you might wander from a Roman street to a medieval church before stopping off in a trendy modern bistro for your afternoon coffee. This whirlwind tour visits over a dozen major locations in Croatia where you will witness fairytale forests dotted with medieval castles, sparkling streams, and gushing waterfalls. You’ll take idyllic sails on crystal clear waters into forgotten coves and grottos and stop for tastings and conversations with locals in vineyards. Come to this bridge between past and present, where you’ll learn and experience the storied heritage and current culture of Croatia.

Degree of Difficulty - Three Paws

Moderately Active. May involve some moderate hikes in forests and nature reserves, getting in and out of vehicles and rocking boats, and walking in uneven pavement in archaeological sites, in some cases in extreme weather conditions, heat, high elevation and humidity.

Weather Reports - When To Go

With its typical Mediterranean climate, the coast has hot, dry, and sunny weather during the winter and relatively mild winters, sometimes wet. Continental Croatia is cold int he winter - October through April and it snows often. The coast is stunning in May/June and September which is shoulder season and the crowds are sparse. High season (July/August) has the best weather and where our program visits, you're almost guaranteed a sunny and beautiful time.

Days 1/2/3 USA/ZAGREB

Arrive in Zagreb, the ancient capital of Croatia, where people have lived and thrived for over a millennium! You’ll transfer to your hotel where during your welcome dinner you’ll learn about the adventures to come. Next morning, you will partake in a cornerstone of modern Croatian culture – enjoying a cup of high quality coffee in the oldest coffee shop in Zagreb which overlooks the iconic statue of Ban Jelacic. Enjoy a guided morning stroll through the city’s many avenues and boulevards as you hear the fascinating stories about Zagreb’s heritage. The afternoon will be at your leisure to explore the city’s many offerings before rejoining the group at dinner for a meal in Zagreb’s oldest restaurant, with a menu based on recipes from the 15th and 16th centuries. HOTEL DUBROVNIK. (Meals Aloft, D; B, D)

Day 4 ZAGREB/ZAGORJE

Travel to the enchanting forest of Croatian Zagorje, a hilly retreat of streams, vineyards, and castles that come together like the ultimate living fairytale. Walk through the stone halls of Castle Trakošćan, a 13th century castle rumored to stand on the site of an ancient fortress by the same name. Your guide will take you back in time to the days when noble families conducted their reigns from behind these walls. Afterwards, sample the taste of simpler living as you visit a local farmstead for a locally sourced and prepared meal before returning to Zagreb for the night. HOTEL DUBROVNIK. (B, D)

Days 5/6 ZAGREB/PLITIVCE LAKES NATIONAL PARK/POREC/PULA/MOTOVUN

Leave Zagreb behind and travel to the National Park of Plitivce Lakes, a stunning natural trove of sixteen lakes, interconnected by a series of sparkling waterfalls. The park itself is comprised of deep woodlands, inhabited by a variety of wildlife including bear, wolf, boar, deer, and several rare bird species. You’ll be led through the serene glades and glittering falls by a local guide, who will tell you which of the falls is rumored to grant the wishes of those who stand beneath. Enjoy lunch with your group before continuing onto Poreč. Next day, visit Pula, the largest port in the region of Istria and a beautiful open bay into the Adriatic Sea. Surrounded by green countryside and coastal resorts, this location truly has something for everyone, from ancient ruins to magnificent beachfronts. See one of the best preserved Roman structures in Croatia, a 2,000-year-old arena with one of the largest intact amphitheaters on Earth. Spend your afternoon in Motovun, a paradise for truffle hunters and their charming pigs where you’ll be treated to an authentic cooking class and a truffle tasting, deep in the forest. HOTEL GRAND PALAZZO. (B, L; B, D) Leave Zagreb behind and travel to the National Park of Plitivce Lakes, a stunning natural trove of sixteen lakes, interconnected by a series of sparkling waterfalls. The park itself is comprised of deep woodlands, inhabited by a variety of wildlife including bear, wolf, boar, deer, and several rare bird species. You’ll be led through the serene glades and glittering falls by a local guide, who will tell you which of the falls is rumored to grant the wishes of those who stand beneath. Enjoy lunch with your group before continuing onto Poreč. Next day, visit Pula, the largest port in the region of Istria and a beautiful open bay into the Adriatic Sea. Surrounded by green countryside and coastal resorts, this location truly has something for everyone, from ancient ruins to magnificent beachfronts. See one of the best preserved Roman structures in Croatia, a 2,000-year-old arena with one of the largest intact amphitheaters on Earth. Spend your afternoon in Motovun, a paradise for truffle hunters and their charming pigs where you’ll be treated to an authentic cooking class and a truffle tasting, deep in the forest. HOTEL GRAND PALAZZO. (B, L; B, D)

Days 7/8 POREC/ZADAR/KORNATI NATIONAL PARK

Journey to the ancient city of Zadar, built in the center of the sea. For 3,000 years, through times of bounty and times of war, people have called Zadar home. See the monuments that express this city and its many rebirths from its birth, 400 years before Christ as a settlement of the Illyrian tribe. Today you’ll tour a city that includes wonders from the sea organ – a modern artistic installation that creates music from the motions of the sea, to the St. Donat’s church and the streets built by the settlers of the ancient Roman Empire. End your day with a wine tasting and dinner as you discuss all you’ve seen. Next day, explore one of the most unique parks in the world – the Kornati National Park, an archipelago consisting of about 140 different islands and islets. Swim in coves and hidden bays through crystal clear water, stopping only to lunch in a private location accessible only by boat. BOTIQUE HOTEL BASTION. (B, L)

Days 9/10 ZADAR/ETHNO LAND DALMATI/SPLIT/TROGIR/HVAR/PAKLENI ISLANDS

As you drive to Split, stop at Ethno Land Dalmati for a wine-making demonstration from the locals where you sample their prosciutto and wine. Continue on to the city of Split, a bustling cosmopolitan center of culture and heritage where trendy modern shops and cafes live alongside grand museums and ancient ruins. Head out to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Trogir, an island settlement from the Hellenistic period that is considered a pinnacle example of urban continuity throughout the ages. Its beautiful Romanesque churches are complemented by the outstanding Renaissance and Baroque buildings from the Venetian period. Next day, stop by the Palace of Diocletian, another UNESCO site and the filming location of much of the Great Pyramid of Mereen in HBO’s Game of Thrones. Afterwards, board your private boat to Hvar, where you’ll visit their local winery for wine and food tasting before sailing onward to the main town center for more sightseeing on an island that has known human habitation since the Stone Age. Spend the early evening sailing around the Pakleni Islands before returning to Split for dinner. BOTIQUE HOTEL LUXE. (B; B, D)

Days 11/12 SPLIT/STON/DUBROVNIK/ELAPHITI ISLANDS

Journey to Dubrovnik, stopping at Ston, not on the tourist map, to view the old stone houses and longest fortifications in Europe. Dubrovnik is home of the world famous fortifying city walls that have stood in protection of the city since the middle ages. Next morning, tour the Old Town which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and some of the key Game of Thrones locations that make up King’s Landing and the Red Keep. In the afternoon, set sail to the Elaphiti islands, an enclave of paradise in the sea with olive groves and sandy beaches perfect for wandering or relaxing. A special group dinner will be held tonight in Konoba Dubrava. VILLA ARGENTINA. (B,L; B,D)

Days 13 DUBROVNIK/USA

Board your flight back to the USA today, holding tight to the monuments and wonders you discovered during your enchanted stay in Croatia. (B, Meals Aloft)

POST EXTENSION TO MONTENEGRO

Spend two nights in magical Montenegro. Tour medieval and ancient ruins and cultural landmarks, from palaces, to theaters, to places of worship. Enjoy intimate visits around Kotor, a city that in itself is a UNESCO World Natural and Cultural Heritage Site. Explore monuments that epitomize the styles and happenings of almost every century from the dark ages to today. You’ll also visit Cetinje, a place of jaw-dropping scenery and profound religious significance, where you’ll see monasteries, villages, and sacred relics.

Prices starting at $1,295. For further booking, date, and pricing info please contact info@classicescapes.

Does not include international or domestic flights. Prices are based on 10 or more travelers, and are subject to change.