Autumn in Slovenia and Croatia

As the summer heat begins to lift and trees are embellished with luscious hues of red, amber, orange, pink, and magenta, autumn in Slovenia and Croatia is simply alluring. Start off with Ljubljana – one of the upcoming global green destinations to watch out. The crystalline waters of Lakes Bled and Bohinj are framed by brilliant shades of verdant autumn trees in the middle of Julian Alps, while the Plitvice Lakes are undeniably a polychromatic feast for the eyes. Take pleasure in the wine and gourmet paradise in Istria and your magical autumn escapade with cultural Zagreb.

Day 1: Arrival in Ljubljana

Upon arrival, you will be met and privately transferred to your hotel in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Just a short walk from many of the city’s sights, you will spend your first night at Hotel CUBO. A little historic building in the heart of Ljubljana, it is now a fresh contemporary hotel priding itself on providing an impeccably intimate travel experience.

The perfect base for exploring the beauty of Slovenia, the vibrant city of Ljubljana is one of Europe’s greenest capitals. Ljubljana is a delightful concoction of Italian Baroque, Art Nouveau and Habsburg-inspired architecture, marked with the indelible stamp of beloved architect Jože Plečnik. Where its willow-fringed banks are lined with attractive riverside cafes, the Ljubljanica River divides the city’s charming old town from its bustling commercial hub.

Stay: Hotel CUBO

Day 2: Ljubljana to Lake Bled

After breakfast, embark on a tour of Ljubljana’s old town. Walking through a lattice of cobblestone streets and arched alleys, your guide will outline the city’s fascinating five thousand year history. Beside the politically significant Town Hall in the ancient Town Square, Ljubljana’s finest cultural cornerstones feature Plečnik’s architectural masterpieces – from Križanke open-air theatre, the Napoleon monument, Central Food Market, Prešern Square, Congress Square to the famous Three Bridges, each is a modern work of art.

No trip to Ljubljana is complete without cruising its waters. Operated by the young team at Laker Craft, board the handmade solid larch and oak wood boat and marvel at the old town’s major sights from a unique vantage point. 

Privately transfer to Lake Bled thereafter, where you will spend 2 nights at the historic Grand Hotel Toplice. One of the most luxurious hotels by Lake Bled, the hotel has hosted no lack of eminent guests during the political and military hustle and bustle over the past 160 years. Recently restored to its former glory, appreciate majestic views of Lake Bled from your traditionally designed room.

Stay: Grand Hotel Toplice

Day 3: Lake Bled and Lake Bohinj

After breakfast, let the resplendence of Lake Bled and Lake Bohinj enchant you. Much like a gleaming piece of glass reflecting vivid autumn colours, carve ripples across the crystal surface of Slovenia`s largest glacial lake on a private electric boat ride. Teeming with native aquatic life, the clear blue waters of Lake Bohinj is home to species of brown trout, European chub, Arctic char and the common minnow.

Head up the majestic mountain of Vogel in the heart of Triglay National Park by cable car, where you will enjoy a rustic homemade lunch.

Among bucolic green pastures, small farms and quaint towns, sail through the emerald waters of Lake Bled, passing dense gorgeous mountainous areas thick with pine forests and colourful fall foliage. Blend into the stunning natural surroundings on your traditional Pletna boat ride to Bled Island. Perched atop a steep precipice, the picturesque Bled Castle features an impressive museum collection narrating the history and cultural developments of medieval Bled.

Spend your evening at leisure.

Stay: Grand Hotel Toplice

Day 4: Lake Bled

Enjoy a day of leisure at Lake Bled.

Stay: Grand Hotel Toplice

Day 5: Lake Bled to Rovinj

You will be privately transferred from Lake Bled to Rovinj after breakfast.

Located on the western coast of the Istrian peninsula, explore one of the most romantic towns on the Mediterranean on a private city tour. A modern town in touch with its rich archaic traditions, it encompasses an active fishing port that still retains the lively convivial spirit of a small Croatian fishing village. Given the abundance of fresh produce hauled ashore daily, Rovinj is undoubtedly a fish lover’s haven. Major historic highlights in the heart of Rovinj include the elegant 18th-century Saint Euphemia Cathedral and the adjacent 60-metre high Venetian-style bell tower for marvelous views.

Spend the rest of the day at leisure.

Delight in an urban chic retreat at Lone Hotel for 3 nights. A unique seaside hotel nested in the forest park of Zlatni rt, sit out in your balcony for spectacular views of nature. With an emphasis on interesting and functional spatial design, arrangements of mirrors and glass walls frolic among wood and stone elements provide a cozy contrast to the easy black and white walls.

Stay: Lone Hotel

Day 6: Rovinj

Have a hearty breakfast before an exciting hour of truffle hunting deep in the forest. Fret not if the mottled or cream-coloured fungi remains elusive. Savour the deep musky flavour of prized truffle in a myriad of unique combinations at a nearby shop:

– Olive oil with white truffle
– Cow and goat cheese with truffles
– Cream with Grana Padano cheese and white truffle
– Mushrooms and white truffles cream
– Tartufata and mushrooms with black truffle
– Olives with black truffle
– Tomato with black truffle

Cleanse the intense flavours of your truffle feast with arguably the best Moscattos from Kozlović winery. Popularly aged in Acacia barrels instead of conventional oak, this is a delectably sweet variety of wine a perfect complement to the spellbinding season of autumn.

Stay: Lone Hotel

Day 7: Motovun & Grožnjan

Visit the rustic hill towns of Motovun and Grožnjan on a full day tour of Istria. With their early beginnings as fortified settlements nestled atop a hill, you can still admire the remnants of their old city walls continuing to encircle them today.

Overlooking the Mirna river valley, step through the stone gateway complete with carved Venetian stonework inside the archway into the town of Motoyun. An old medieval town established on the site of the ancient city of Kastelijer, stroll atop the solid city walls that provide gorgeous views over the valley beyond the terracotta-tiled roofs below.

Continue to Grožnjan, the hidden gem of Istria that answers to its sobriquet “town of artists”. Its name may sound dramatically similar to grozan (Croatian for “awful”) to the unknowing ear, but the town of Grožnjan is nothing short of picture perfect. Its walls, old churches and forts cleverly interweaved between stone streets and city squares tell a riveting story of Grožnjan’s history through the ages. Lined with kaleidoscopic iron-wrought doors, little numbered houses and rugged stone benches, art galleries and ateliers are found in every narrow street – a pure delight for culture lovers.

Stay: Lone Hotel

Day 8: Rovinj to Pula & Opatija

Privately transfer to the southern tip of Istria after breakfast, where you will receive a private tour of Pula. The history of Pula dates back to pre-historic times, and the abundant remains of Roman, early Christian, Venetian and Napoleonic eras are telling of the city’s intriguing history. Boasting a long tradition of winemaking, fishing and shipbuilding, Pula has been standing as Istria’s administrative centre for eons.

The Roman Colosseum is a monumental landmark not to be missed. The sixth-largest Roman amphitheatres erect amongst the surviving 200, its outer walls are one of the best preserved – one can imagine the crowd’s exhilaration during events in Roman times with much ease. Pula is also home to one of the best complete Roman monuments outside Italy. Dedicated to the first Roman emperor Augustus, the splendid Augustus Temple is definitely worth a look. One of the most eye-catching monuments in Pula has to be the Arch of Sergii. Originally part of the old city gate, its lavishly ornamented arch of triumph commemorates victory at the Battle of Actium in 31 B.C.

Travel to Opatija by private transfer. Set at the foot of Učka mountain range, immerse in the vast cultural presence in the city of Opatija. A captivating synthesis of classy sophistication and breathtaking Adriatic sea views, this is where the nobles and aristocrats of the 19th century reveled in moments of peace and quiet from the chaotic daily politics in the court. Gracing postcards and photo albums around the world, you can finally catch a glimpse of the iconic Maiden with the Seagull by the waters of Opatija. 

Tonight, you will stay at Hotel Milenij. Situated by Slatina beach and Lungomare seafront promenade, you will never be far from the buzz in the town centre. Apart from relishing fabulous sea views, you can expect nothing but the highest standards of hospitality from one of the most innovative hotels in Croatia.

 

Stay: Hotel Milenij

Day 9: Opatija to Plitvice Lakes National Park

Make your way from Opatija to Plitvice Lakes National Park after breakfast by private transfer. Its lakes crash and tumble into an invigorating cascade of waterfalls, set in the embrace of dense woodland in Croatia’s largest national park. Granted UNESCO World Heritage status since 1979, the 16 interconnected lakes range from incredible hues of azure, green, grey to blue, depending on minerals and organisms traversing the sensitive travertine barriers. An astounding collection of geological features, Plitvice Lakes National Park is bound to mesmerize in any season.

Just some steps away from the largest waterfall at Plitvice Lakes National Park, spend the night at Ethno Houses Plitvica Selo. Tastefully designed with exclusively natural wood and stone materials, vintage-style handmade furniture and subtly hued fabrics, relax in the warmth of your calming abode.

Stay: Ethno Houses Plitvica Selo

Day 10: National Park Plitvice Lakes to Zagreb

Privately transfer to Zagreb after partaking in breakfast at the hotel. Rivaling the seductive charms of Vienna, Prague, Budapest and other Central European capitals, the medieval architecture and cobbled streets of Zagreb overflow with unparalleled Old World charisma. With more museums per square foot than any other city in the world, Zagreb is a fantastic treat for history buffs as the “city of museums”.

A close network of narrow streets stretching between the hills of Kaptol and Gradec, the thousand-year Upper Town plays host to the Presidential Palace, the emblematic St. Mark’s Church and the Croatian parliament on St. Mark’s Square. In stark contrast to Upper Town are the airy streets, spacious squares and wide boulevards of the 19th-century Lower Town. Occupied by a series of shops, restaurants, cafés, theatres and parks, admire the fall foliage as you venture along the Green Horseshoe in the heart of the modern Lower Town.

Spend 2 glamorous nights at Esplanade Zagreb. Exquisitely designed in an eclectic fusion of Art Deco and Art Nouveau and modern styles, the hotel tingles your spirit in the heart of the city. Renowned as the centre of Zagreb’s social life, its long history of immaculate personalized hospitality has flawlessly welcomed numerous distinguished guests.

Stay: Esplanade Zagreb

Day 11: Zagreb

Head out and explore Zagreb in its dazzling autumn glow at leisure.

Stay: Esplanade Zagreb

Day 12: Departure from Zagreb

After breakfast, you will be privately transferred to Zagreb Airport for your international flight home.

Itinerary

Duration Description Overnight
Day 1: Arrival in Ljubljana Hotel CUBO
Day 2: Ljubljana to Lake Bled Grand Hotel Toplice
Day 3: Lake Bled and Lake Bohinj Grand Hotel Toplice
Day 4: Lake Bled Grand Hotel Toplice
Day 5: Lake Bled to Rovinj Lone Hotel
Day 6: Rovinj Lone Hotel
Day 7: Motovun & Grožnjan Lone Hotel
Day 8: Rovinj to Pula & Opatija Hotel Milenij
Day 9: Opatija to Plitvice Lakes National Park Ethno Houses Plitvica Selo
Day 10: National Park Plitvice Lakes to Zagreb Esplanade Zagreb
Day 11: Zagreb Esplanade Zagreb
Day 12: Departure from Zagreb

Inclusions

Included

Accommodation with daily breakfast:

  • 1 night in double room Hotel Cubo 4*, Ljubljana
  • 3 nights in double room lake view Hotel Grand Toplice, Lake Bled
  • 3 nights in premium room Hotel Lone, Rovinj
  • 1 night in standard sea view room Hotel Milenij 5*, Opatija
  • 1 night in deluxe double room Ethno Houses
  • 2 nights in deluxe double room in Hotel Esplanade 5*, Zagreb

Private transfers in a Mercedes E class as per itinerary:

  • Venice airport to Hotel in Ljubljana
  • Hotel in Ljubljana to Hotel in Lake Bled
  • Hotel in Lake Bled to Hotel in Rovinj
  • Hotel in Rovinj – Pula- Hotel in Opatija
  • Hotel in Opatija to Ethno Houses Plitvica Selo
  • Ethno Houses Plitvica Selo to Hotel in Zagreb
  • Hotel in Zagreb to Zagreb airport

Private tours as per itinerary:

  • City tours with private guide: Ljubljana, Zagreb, Pula, Rovinj
  • Full day tour of Istria
  • Lake Bled tour
  • Truffle hunting and wine tasting tour
  • Entrance tickets for National Park Plitvice Lakes
  • Entrance tickets for Amphitheatre in Pula

All taxes and VAT

Not Included

  • International and domestic airfare
  • Personal expenses
  • Visa fees and/or visa authorisation
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Other expenses not mentioned on the itinerary
  • Travel insurance (please note that travel insurance is mandatory for all Lightfoot Travel holidays).

Map

1 - Ljubljana 2 to 4 - Lake Bled 5 to 7 - Rovinj 8 - Pula & Opatija 9 - Plitvice Lakes National Park 10 to 12 - Zagreb