Discover the beauty of Croatia and Slovenia on this luxury driving holiday
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History & culture | Natural world | Self-drive
This 11-day driving holiday takes in the best of these remarkable neighbours, from the magical tolling bells of Lake Bled and the Tuscan feel of Istria to the medieval towns of Split and Dubrovnik and the watery wonderland of Croatia's Plitvice Lakes.
Day by day itinerary
Arrive in Ljubljana, capital of Slovenia, collect your hire car and make your way to Bled, a picturesque town on the shores of Lake Bled in the foothills of the Julian Alps. We recommend taking one of the traditional wooden boats known as pletna across the lake to Bled Island, where moss-covered stairways lead up to the Baroque Church of the Assumption. Legend has it that those ringing the church bell will have their wishes come true.
Stay: Hotel Park
A worthwhile stop on your way to Opatija are the caves at Postojna, which stretch for more than 20km underground. Opatija itself runs along the Croatian coast, its forested hills sloping down to a sparkling sea. It was a favourite resort of the Viennese elite during the days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and many of their grand residences are still standing tall.
Stay: Hotel Bevanda
Take the day to tour Istria, Croatia's heart-shaped peninsula below Trieste in Italy. Highlights include Porec, Rovinj and Pula on the coast, and an interior known for its hilltop towns and acclaimed gastronomy, starring truffles, wild asparagus, excellent olive oil and award-winning wines.
Stay: Hotel Bevanda
Head south down the Dalmatian Coast to Zadar, whose traffic-free old town has a wonderful collection of old Roman ruins, marble streets and medieval churches. It's not all ancient history though. Modern attractions include one of Dalmatia's best markets and the unusual Sea Organ, a system of pipes carved into marble steps that lead into the sea, which whistle gentle harmonies as the sea pushes air through the pipes.
Stay: Hotel Kolovare
Continue along the coast to tiny Trogir, which brims with Renaissance and Romanesque architecture and has one of the loveliest cathedrals on the Croatian coast. Then continue to Split, whose star attraction, Diocletian's Palace, is a vast open-air museum and one of the most imposing Roman ruins in existence.
Stay: Hotel Marmont
When it comes to the 'pearl of the Adriatic', as Byron called Dubrovnik, it's hard to imagine anyone becoming inured to the city's marble streets and melange of cafes, museums, churches and Baroque buildings. Be sure to walk the old city walls, which offer wonderful views of the shimmering Adriatic. Or perhaps take a boat trip to the pristine Elaphiti Islands, whose turquoise waters offer excellent swimming and snorkelling.
Stay: Grand Hotel Park
Drive north into Bosnia & Herzegovina, aiming for one of the Balkans' most iconic sights, the stone arched bridge at Mostar. The bridge dominates the town and admiring it from different angles as you drift between bars and restaurants along delightful cobbled streets is one of the highlights of any stay here.
Stay: Hotel Mostar
Today you'll reach the star of Croatia's national parks, Plitvice Lakes, where wooded hills enclose 16 stunning lakes, staggered like terraces and linked by a series of boardwalks and waterfalls.
Return to Ljubljana for a final night, perhaps stopping en route in the Croatian capital of Zagreb.
Stay: Hotel Radisson Plaza
Return your car at the airport in time to catch your flight home.
Any element of this itinerary can be adjusted to suit your needs. Just contact us to find out more.
11-day tailor-made holiday from £1,025 pp incl. flights
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