Multi-Day Tour | Independent, Locally Hosted, Private

Essential Croatia - Northern Croatia, Istria & Slovenia (9 days)

Exeter International

Zagreb, Croatia To Zagreb, Croatia

Valid for Departures Now Through: 31 Dec 2018

Itinerary

DAY LOCATION(S) HOTEL MEALS DESCRIPTION
Day 1
Zagreb, Croatia
Esplanade Hotel None

Afternoon arrival into Zagreb. Your driver will meet you outside of customs to transfer you to the historic Hotel Esplanade, in the center of the city. The Esplanade was originally built by the Orient Express Train Company for guests to overnight as they traveled between Western Europe and Istanbul. After a careful restoration, the hotel is back to its original splendor but with all modern day luxury amenities added. Staying here is a true treat and a journey back in time.

While it has only been the political capital of Croatia since 1991, Zagreb has long enjoyed the influence of both the Eastern and Western culture. In medieval times, Zagreb consisted of two separate towns, Kaptol, the religious center, and Gradec, the commercial hub. The river Medvescak in-between the two towns was often the site of fierce battles between them. Today, Gradec and Kaptol together form the Upper Town, or Gornji Grad, which forms the historic Old Town of Zagreb. The Lower Town, or Donji Grad, on the plains is more chic and contemporary. Don’t worry, your guide will help you understand all this and even assist with pronunciation!

Day 2
Zagreb, Croatia
Esplanade Hotel Breakfast

This morning, your guide will take you to Gornji Grad (Upper Town) for your tour of the historic heart of Zagreb. The best way to get around the Old Town is on foot, so wear your most comfortable walking shoes. If you happen to be in Zagreb on a Saturday, you will find a bustling market square – full of locals out shopping and socializing.

Begin your stroll with a visit to the Dolac, the open-air fruit and vegetable market in Old Town and the Church of St. Mary and the towering spires of St. Stephen’s Cathedral, the most prominent landmark on the city’s skyline. As you approach the front of the church don’t miss the ornate sculpted doorway. The Cathedral contains the tombs of the most important personalities in the history of Croatia including Ivan Mestrovic, the famous Croatian sculptor. While in the Old Town, don’t miss the historic stone city gates and the booming cannon of the Lotrscak Tower! Before leaving the Upper town, stop by the 17th century church, dedicated to St. Catherine.

Step inside the Mimara Museum’s extensive collection of art from around the world. Your guide will help bring to life some of the extraordinary pieces of the collection. Objects on display include an awe-inspiring collection of European artists, icons from Russia and the Middle East, magnificent carpets from Turkey and Morocco and several other artifacts from places as far reaching as India and South America.

At the end of the day, enjoy the charming ambience of the cobble-stoned streets of Lower Town (Donji Grad) full of boutiques, cafes and bookshops. You might want to explore a bit

more on your own with a visit to the quirky Museum of Broken Relationships. delve into Croatian art at the Croatian Museum of Naive Art.

Note: All services today are on foot. Please wear appropriate footwear.

Day 3
Ljubljana, Slovenia
Zagreb, Croatia
Vander Urban Resort Breakfast

This morning, depart with your private driver to Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. Upon arrival in Ljubljana, your guide will meet you and will take you to explore the old mediaeval city with its numerous historical monuments and a dominating old castle, and the world’s second oldest philharmonic society where Gustav Mahler started his career!

Your tour will start off in front of the Baroque Town Hall building, the seat of the municipal government with famous Robba Fountain next to it, and continue across the lively fruit, vegetable and flower market designed by architect Joze Plecnik, past the Cathedral of St. Nicholas. Cross the Dragon Bridge, an Art Nouveau masterpiece adorned with dragons, the symbol of Ljubljana, and stroll alongside the Ljubljanica River to the centrally located Presernov Square.

The remainder of your afternoon is at leisure to enjoy the convivial café atmosphere of Ljubljana.

Note: If you would like a countryside base instead, the itinerary can easily be modified to base you in the town of Bled, right on the shores of Lake Bled.

Day 4
Ljubljana, Slovenia
Vander Urban Resort Breakfast

This morning, meet your driver and guide for a day trip to the charming towns of Bled and Bohinj. Once you arrive, we suggest a morning stroll to the picturesque Lake Bled and a boat ride to the baroque Church of Virgin Mary that stands on an island in the middle of the lake.

Next, your guide will take you to explore the beautiful Bled Castle. In 1004, the German Emperor Henrik II gave the Bled estate to Bishop Albuin of Brixen as a gift. The building was expanded and fortified since then and today there are several buildings that make up the castle complex. The most interesting of them is certainly the chapel on the upper courtyard, which was consecrated to the Bishops St. Albuin and to St. Ingenium. It was built in the 16th century, and was renovated in the Baroque style around 1700, when it was also painted with illusionist frescoes. Today the castle is preserved as a museum, where you will be able to see various exhibits depicting the history of the region.

Proceed to the beautiful Bohinj region that is divided into the Upper and Lower Bohinj Valley. There are twenty-four typical Alpine villages in these two valleys. In the Upper Valley by the lake, visit the gothic St. John the Baptist Church with well-preserved frescoes from the 15th and the 16th centuries. The journey continues with a cable car ride to mountain Vogel (5000 feet), from where there is a wonderful view of the Lake Bohinj and the Julian Alps. Return to Bled through the scenic Lower Valley.

Day 5
Istria, Croatia
Ljubljana, Slovenia
Monte Mulini None

This morning, your driver will meet you for your journey west from Ljubljana into the Istrian Peninsula. You will arrive into the beautiful coastal city of Rovinj and the remainder of your day is at leisure.

The facilities of your hotel include a wonderful spa and a gorgeous pool. We suggest that you stretch your legs with a bicycle ride through the countryside, as the adjacent park offers bicycle rentals and the views are stunning.

Day 6
Istria, Croatia
Monte Mulini Breakfast

This morning, your driver and guide will meet you to explore the Istrian peninsula. Today you will drive down the western Istrian coast along the Adriatic Sea to Pula, at the southernmost tip of the Peninsula.

Pula is a story of fortunes gained and lost. It gained fame under the Romans during the 2nd century BCE, and became an Episcopal seat of power during the 5th century. It was sacked by the Ostrogoths but regained power under the Byzantines as a naval port during the 6th and 7th centuries. It fell into decline until the AustroHungarians gained power and established their naval fleet here. The ancient barracks of the Austro-Hungarian Empire still house Croatia’s naval forces.

Upon arrival, your guide will take you on a walking tour of Pula. You will start at the historic center of the city at its most famous landmark, the Pula Amphitheater, which dates back to the 1st century – one of the bestpreserved Roman amphitheaters in the world. Today it is Pula’s main cultural venue and is known for its music and film festivals.

Continue to visit the Golden Door at the Temple of Augustus, built between 2 BCE and 14 CE, which is dedicated to the goddess Roma and the emperor Augustus. You will also see the City Hall with its blend of architectural styles, the Hercules Gate and the fragments of the city walls, as well as the Forum, the central square of classical and medieval Pula.

As time allows, you may wish to enter the Archaeological Museum of Istria, which contains several exhibits from Neolithic times to the medieval period of objects found in Pula and the surrounding areas.

Day 7
Istria, Croatia
Monte Mulini Breakfast

The interior of Istria is very different from its coast. Your first visit today will be the artist colony of Groznjan. This hilltop town was all but deserted after WWII until being revitalized as a center for artists. Groznjan is also a favorite of musicians, as the International Cultural Centre of Young Musicians has its seat here. You will have time to wander the twisting streets, filled with shops from local artisans, or perhaps to take in an impromptu music or drama performance in the main square.

Riding through the rugged and hilly terrain you will come to the medieval ruins of the town of Motovun, which suddenly springs into view. Motovun is an excellent example of the ancient townships that dotted the Istrian peninsula long ago. We think it’s worth the long trek up to the top of the hill, so eat a hearty breakfast! Motovun is a medieval city that dates back to the 12th century, which thankfully remained intact owing to its hilltop location and walled fortifications.

Later your guide will take you to Livade, the small village in the Istrian countryside famous for being one of the best-known truffle regions in Europe! White Istrian truffles are among of the most expensive mushrooms in the world, and truffle harvesting is a local tradition. We highly recommend stopping for a truffle lunch here; make room in your luggage for truffle oil to take home!

Exeter International Extraordinary Experience

This afternoon you will be invited to a private wine and olive oil tasting at one of the private family vineyards in Istria.

Day 8
Istria, Croatia
Zagreb, Croatia
Esplanade Hotel Breakfast

This morning, depart on a three and a half-hour journey with your driver to Plitvice Lakes, one of the most unspoiled natural parks in Europe and UNESCO World Heritage site. Within the national park lie sixteen breathtaking lakes, interconnected by a series of waterfalls, over an area of 70,000 acres, whilst the lakes join together over a distance of five miles.

A local park guide will meet you for a tour of this highlight of Croatia’s natural beauty. After exploring Plitvice, return to Zagreb for your last overnight.

Note: Today’s touring involves walking over uneven surfaces. Please wear appropriate footwear.

Day 9
Zagreb, Croatia
None Breakfast

Meet your driver for your transfer to the airport to meet your departing flight.

Alternatively, if you don’t intend to continue to Zagreb, this itinerary easily combines with an exploration of Dalmatia, to give you a taste of the entire country of Croatia.

Tour Features

Experience(s)

Experiences have not been selected at this time

Description

A sample itinerary for FIT touring in Northern Croatia, Istria and Slovenia

About Us

For 25 years, Exeter International has established itself as the leading deluxe specialist operator to Central and Eastern Europe, Russia & Central Asia. We use our intimate regional knowledge and expertise to create unique, often limited access travel experiences. Our multi-national, multi-lingual specialists craft authentic insider experiences, created with imagination. When you book with Exeter International you can expect the top guides in each city pre-reserved weeks in advance, matched to your preferences. Our specialists have also been recognized by the Conde Nast and Travel & Leisure top agent list since their inception.

Insider Tip

Contact your Virtuoso Advisor for more information.

Terms & Conditions

Visas & Passports

 –Russia requires visas of United States citizens and Exeter International will arrange for the invitation required for a visa upon

booking. Each traveler will be responsible for one passport photo, a completed visa form, one photo copy of the information pages of his/her passport, the invitation, and the visa processing fee. If the traveler would like, Exeter International will obtain all visas at additional cost. Each traveler is responsible for his/her own passport, which must be valid for six (6) months after the completion of the participant’s tour. Exeter International is not responsible for the refusal of a visa to any traveler by any consulate. In the event of visa refusal, any and all expenses/cancellation fees shall be borne by the traveler.


Payment Policies - Deposit Requirements

Small Group Tours - Deposits ($500) per person, for group tours are accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis and are non-refundable and nontransferable. We will hold your reservation for one week after you book your tour without a deposit. Some special programs (cruises and trains) may have different deposit policies.


Independent Programs -

 A 10% or $250 per person (whichever is greater) non-refundable deposit is required to confirm an independent travel program. No Services are confirmed prior to deposit being received.


Payment Policies – Final Payment

Final payment is due 60 days prior to the commencement of travel. If final payment is not received 60 days prior to departure, your reservation will automatically be canceled. Some special programs (cruises and trains) may have different final payment policies.


Prices and Services – All taxes are included in program prices.


Payments –

Payments must be made in Tampa, FL to Exeter International at least eight weeks prior to departure and are accepted by check, cash or credit card. We accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover Card for credit card payment. Please note that payment for any services a traveler wishes to add once travel commences must be made in United States Dollars to the Exeter International local representative. We cannot accept personal checks or travelers checks overseas.


Hotels –

The tour cost assumes double occupancy in all hotels. Single supplements will be calculated based on exact dates of travel. We reserve the right to substitute hotels of equal or superior quality.


Transfers & Vehicles –

Exeter International will supply its travelers with personal transportation to and from all train stations, airports and ports, as described in the tour description. Baggage assistance is included for one piece of luggage per person, but tour participants should be prepared to handle their own bags at certain times during the tour. Please read carefully the Exeter International Travel Tips publication. We cannot guarantee air-conditioned vehicles in some cities. Touring and transfers will be by regular 4 passenger cars unless you have specifically ordered a

luxury car for your tour.


Scheduling –

Please note that due to circumstances beyond the control of Exeter International, the tour may not be deliverable exactly as described (i.e. theater scheduling, hotel occupancy, etc.), BUT Exeter International will substitute scheduled or advertised events, hotels, and restaurants with alternatives of equal or greater value and quality. All hotels, restaurant and airline space is subject to their management’s approval. Exeter International will make every effort to guarantee this package as is, but conditions will sometimes mandate minor changes to the program. Reservations are nontransferable.


Expedited Services

Expedited Bookings –

All bookings confirmed less than six weeks before departure will require expedited procedures. The cost for expedited

bookings is $250 per booking.


Expedited Documents –

If final travel documents are required more  than four (4) weeks in advance of the departure date, a $50 expedited documents fee applies to the booking. If overnight delivery of documents is required at any time, a fee of $35 will be applied to the booking.


Itinerary Changes –

Once a group or individual travel itinerary has been confirmed, an amendment fee of $100 per revision will be charged. The traveler will also be responsible for any additional expenses that may be incurred due to a voluntary itinerary change.


Cancellation Policies –

Up to 8 weeks prior to departure: Deposit is nonrefundable 8 weeks to 14 days prior to departure: 50% cancellation fee 13 days or less prior to departure: 100% cancellation fee Reservations made at Russian and non-Western hotels are nonrefundable within 30 days of departure. Travelers are liable for airline and hotel cancellation fees as stated in their agreements. For all cruise and train bookings, please refer to the cancellation policies outlined in the specific Terms & Conditions for that program. All cancellations must be received in writing. If Exeter International must cancel your trip, you will be fully refunded.


Guaranteed Departures and Small Groups -

All Exeter International tours are guaranteed departures unless specifically noted with a minimum group size in the tour description. In small groups (less than 8 guests), the guides will act as the tour mangers in each of the cities. For all groups larger than 8 guests a tour manger will meet the group upon arrival in the first city of the tour and travel with this group throughout the duration of the tour. Certain events and meals may be changed slightly for small groups, as described in the brochure.


No Smoking –

 For the enjoyment of all passengers, smoking is not allowed on Exeter International buses and cars or while the group is together on tour or at meals.


Insurance –

Exeter International highly recommends that you purchase travel insurance for your trip. This may be purchased directly through Exeter International or through your travel agent.


What is included –

Your tour includes everything that is specifically stated in the tour description. Breakfast (usually buffet) is usually provided daily; lunch and dinner will be provided only as stated in the tour description. Meals always include tea and coffee. Alcoholic beverages and mineral water are not included in meals, unless specifically noted. Visa fees are not included in tour prices.


Exeter International’s Responsibility –

Exeter International reserves the right, but is not obligated, to not accept or retain as a tour passenger any member whose

condition or physical needs or conduct impede the operation of the tour or affect the rights, welfare, or enjoyment of the tour’s other participants. A refund of the unused portion of the tours is the limit of Exeter International’s liability if such a person is asked to leave the tour.

Exeter International acts only on behalf of hotels, restaurants, train lines, boat lines, its owners, operators or contractors (all herein called contractors) providing services in connection with Exeter International’s tours. In the absence of negligence on Exeter International’s part, Exeter International is not responsible for personal injury or property damage or loss arising out of the act or negligence of any direct air carrier, hotel or other person rendering any of the services or accommodations offered herein. The traveler agrees to the foregoing, and also agrees that Exeter International will not be or become liable or responsible for any loss, default, or injury of any person, company, or other legal entity engaged to supply the same. Exeter International accepts no responsibility for losses or expenses due to delays or changes in air or other services, sickness, weather, strikes, hotel overbooking, social and labor unrest, terrorist activities, war, quarantine, or any other causes, actions or omissions, or conditions over which it has no control.


Additional Terms – Venue for all claims or disputes shall be exclusively in Hillsborough County, Florida, whose Courts, using Florida Law, shall have exclusive jurisdiction. Damage claims against Exeter International shall be limited to the value of the particular item in dispute and not for any incidental, consequential, or special damages. Exeter International assumes responsibility for representations it makes, but not for those made by others and including, but not limited to, any employee of Exeter International or independent travel agent. Payment for reservations on any Exeter International tour shall constitute consent to all the provisions in the General Information and Conditions published herein and is binding on all tour and travel participants.


All tour prices include the cost of planning and operations and are based on the tariffs, fuel costs and exchange rates in effect November 1, 2009 and are subject to change without notice at any time prior to payment in full of tour services.


Exeter International, Inc. is a Florida corporation, licensed, registered and bonded in the State of Florida for the sale of travel products and services.



The trademarks VIRTUOSO, the Globe Swirl Logo and SPECIALISTS IN THE ART OF TRAVEL are registered trademarks of Virtuoso, Ltd. Virtuoso, Ltd. has a U.S. copyright registration for the Globe Swirl Logo, ©2000. All rights reserved. Virtuoso CST#2069091-50. California CST# 2069091; TA# 808 - Registered Iowa Travel Agency; Washington UBI # 601 554 183. Registration as a seller of travel does not constitute approval by the State of California.
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Reviews and Recommendations for Exeter International

95%

of 23
guests
recommend


Virtuoso Verified Traveler

All reviews are from confirmed guests sharing exclusive insights

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Highly recomended

By: KandeeB


Reviewed on: 06 Jun 2013

Exeter International was staffed with first class personnel from the drivers to the EXTRAORDINARY guides through out the trip. The vehicles used to transport us were luxurious. The hotels were commensurate with the level of quality expected by the cost and located in the most advantageous sites. Totally organized and stress free experience.
Travel Advisor:  Brigitte Feinberg
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Great high-end travel company

By: Not provided


Reviewed on: 23 Aug 2013

Does superb job for demanding high-end travel Customized travel with excellent guides and programs. You pay but you get what you pay for.
Travel Advisor:  Leah Bergner
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Highly recommend

By: Jean


Reviewed on: 01 Oct 2013

Exeter was very well organised with very good guides and drivers. Our requests were responded to with professional speed. Some of our hotels could have been better. But we understand that they were the best available. We would have no hesitation using this agency again and recommending them to others.
Travel Advisor:  Nancy Yale
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Pampered Travel

By: KandeeB


Reviewed on: 07 Nov 2013

Exeter provides luxury travel with all the hassles and worries removed. The quality of their drivers and guides is first rate. From the minute you arrive until your final departure you are in excellent hands. The itinerary is well thought out and provides many special visitations not offered to other tourists. I have heartily recommended Exeter to several people without any reservation.
Travel Advisor:  Brigitte Feinberg

Recommended

By: Jean


Reviewed on: 13 Jun 2014

We have used Exeter on a prior trip and were equally happy with them this time. We did have a Russian Visa situation which could have been serious, but was resolved quickly.The guide spoke very good English and was knowledgable in history and art along with the local architecture. The driver was also very safe in a chaotic traffic system.
Travel Advisor:  Nancy Yale

highly recommend

By: BB


Reviewed on: 22 Jun 2014

Travel Advisor:  Rochelle Lieberman

Highly recommended

By: Mkt123


Reviewed on: 11 Jul 2014

We were connected with local English speaking guides and drivers that gave us an inside view of each country we traveled to. The experience was priceless.
Travel Advisor:  Martha Rhodes

Oustanding Guides

By: J & W


Reviewed on: 15 Oct 2014

All of the services provided by Exeter were truly outstanding. The hotel accommodations were excellent. The guides were extremely knowledgeable and well organized. The drivers were prompt and courteous. The suggestions for restaurants and additional things to do and see were very good. The printed booklet of helpful hints and language support was a nice bit of support for travelers who are visiting countries for the first time.
Travel Advisor:  Sara Krutsinger

Across the Russian Far East

By: Judee 544


Reviewed on: 30 Aug 2015

Everything was perfectly planned and resulted in a wonderfully exciting trip with all of our interests and needs taken into account. going on such an adventurous and challenging trip, so far away when one is no longer young could have been quite difficult, but instead was nothing but a fabulous experience. Wonderful guides and wonderful experiences on the Trans-Siberian Express and the cities of the Russian Far East, and a lovely hotel at the end in Moscow.
Travel Advisor:  Vivian Rubenstein

Excellent Russian Trip

By: Roger


Reviewed on: 09 Aug 2016

Exeter provided all of our guides and support for a 9 day family trip to Russia - very well informed, personable guides and smooth transportation. We were a bit hesitant to go to Russia but highly recommend - the trip of a lifetime !
Travel Advisor:  Tony Huffman
Not Recommended

Germany

By: TheGrapevine


Reviewed on: 14 Feb 2017

Take out trip insurance - not going to bash - but you get the idea.....
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1st Class

By: Carlos Gavidia


Reviewed on: 08 Mar 2017

From the beginning to the end this organization really surprised me! From getting our travel visas for Moscow to every detail of the tour pick up transfers and tours through the city were perfectly executed
Travel Advisor:  Nancy Yale

Uzbekistan

By: Podge84@aol.com


Reviewed on: 14 May 2017

Exeter was excellent with tour logistics and great guide. Seamless trip.
Travel Advisor:  Britt Gerber

Great planning and service

By: WWII And Cold War History


Reviewed on: 25 Jun 2017

Exeter planned an excellent two week trip for me and my three teenagers. We went to Poland, Germany and Amsterdam. We focused on WWII and Cold War history. The plan was thoughtful and well paced. When I had questions Exeter staff responded promptly. A very good experience.
Travel Advisor:  Josh Friedman

St. Petersburg Tour

By: B Snead


Reviewed on: 18 Jul 2017

Our driver and guide could not have been better. Polite and accommodating for the three days we were in St. Petersburg. We saw a lot of attractions, got some behind the scenes tours and were able to access some sights prior to the general public. I would use Exeter again without hesitation!
Travel Advisor:  Deborah Barth

Guide

By: Hodges


Reviewed on: 17 Jul 2017

Exceeded all expectation. Super cost effective to compared to Oceania.
Travel Advisor:  Deborah Barth

Germany & Russia

By: Oz


Reviewed on: 19 Jul 2017

I strongley reccomend Exeter for shore excursions. Their staff and vehicles were first class, and the value was tremendous. We never felt uncomfortable or worried about being back to the ship on time. True professionals.
Travel Advisor:  Deborah Barth

Great tour

By: mt


Reviewed on: 25 Aug 2017

Knowledgable, efficient and friendly tour operators!

Baltic Cruise

By: Roger


Reviewed on: 17 Sep 2017

Fantastic tour service. Their guides and drivers were outstanding. Guides all had an excellent knowledge of the city and the history. We are very pleased that Ralph recommended Exeter. When comparing notes with others that had used the tours supplied by the ship, we learned that we had seen and accomplished much more than they had. Our guides were able to make special arrangements that others could not. Will always use Exeter when it is available
Travel Advisor:  Ralph Iantosca

Great tour

By: Ann


Reviewed on: 26 Sep 2017

Everything was wonderful. Very nice guide and well informed about the places we visited.

Exeter International

By: Goodwitch


Reviewed on: 02 Oct 2017

All guides were great and expedited airport service was fantastic
Travel Advisor:  Joanne Smith

St Petersburg

By: Swan


Reviewed on: 06 Nov 2017

Absolutely fabulous
Travel Advisor:  Sherrie Coffey

Custom Guided Tour

By: JJ


Reviewed on: 18 Dec 2017

The tour guides and drivers were outstanding plus. They were very personable, always early, and their local knowledge was excellent. All of them were eager to please and all adapted to the changing crowd situation caused by weather, national holiday, or political meeting.
Travel Advisor:  Eleanor Hardy