Multi-Day Tour | Independent, Locally Hosted, Private

Essential Croatia (14 days)

Exeter International

Zagreb, Croatia To Dubrovnik, 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 your hotel in the center of the city.


While it has only been the political capital of Croatia since 1991, Zagreb has long been a cultural and artistic confluence of Eastern and Western influences. 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 Kaptol and Gradec.  Today, Grad and Kaptol together form the Upper Town, or Gornji Grad, and is the historic Old Town of Zagreb, while the Lower Town, or Donji Grad, on the plains is more chic and contemporary.

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.  


Begin your tour 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 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.


Later, your guide will take you to visit the Mimara Museum with its extensive collection of art from around the world, chronologically arranged from prehistory to the 19th Century. 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.


Exeter International Extraordinary Experience

Today, you will have a private tour of the Mimara museum’s extensive collection of art from around the world with a museum curator. The works of art are chronologically arranged from prehistory to the 19th Century, and housed in this 19th century neo-renaissance palace.


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.

Day 3
Zagreb, Croatia
Rovinj, Croatia
Villa Bled Breakfast

This morning, your driver will meet you for your drive west from Zagreb 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 an amazing spa and gorgeous pool.  The adjacent park offers bike rentals as well to aid in your enjoyment of this gorgeous area.

Day 4
Rovinj, Croatia
Monte Mulini Breakfast

This morning, your driver and guide will meet you in your hotel lobby to explore some of 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 became famous under the Romans during the 2nd century BC, and became an Episcopal seat 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 Austro-Hungarians gained power and established their naval fleet here.  The ancient barracks of the Austro-Hungarian Empire still house Croatia’s naval forces.  Pula is also the administrative capital and an important educational center of the Istrian peninsula.


This morning, 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 best preserved 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 B.C. and 14 A.D., which is dedicated to the goddess Roma and the emperor Augustus. Continue to the City Hall, with its blend of architectural styles. Its construction lasted from the 10th to 11th century, spanning a vast range of architectural syles from Romanesque to Renaissance. Pass through the Hercules Gate and the fragments of the city walls, as well as the Forum, the central square of classical and medieval Pula.  


Later, you may want to visit the Church of St. Francis and the Franciscan monastery that is adjacent to it. The Franciscan monastery in Pula, as in other parts of Croatia, is still in function.


As you descend down towards the waterfront, you will come across the Basilica of St. Mary of Formosa. Today all that remains are fragments of the once large basilica of Byzantine design. Off to the side of the Basilica you will see the Arch of the Sergii. Smaller than the Hercules Gate, the arch is distinctly Corinthian in style.


Across the street and at right angles to the Basilica is the sight of the original barracks of the Austro-Hungarian naval forces. Today, the buildings are still used by the Croatian naval forces. Walking along the waterfront you will come to the main Cathedral of Pula. The church was rebuilt on several occasions and what stands today is a graceful Renaissance building that overlooks the Adriatic. A few steps from the Cathedral you will walk into the main square of Pula, distinctive by the prominence of one of Pula’s finest examples of Roman architecture—the original temple dedicated to Romae and Augustus.  Dating back to the 1st Century, the temple is distinguished by its graceful columns and carved capitals. Close by, is the Town Hall, another beautiful example of Renaissance architecture.


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.  


Return to Rovinj where your guide will also give you an overview tour of the city.  Rovinj is at its most charming at dusk. Your guide will take you to visit the Church of St. Euphemia. The Venetian Baroque structure dominated the Old Town center of Rovinj and is dedicated to St. Euphemia, the patron saint of Rovinj. The rest of the evening is at your leisure.


Day 5
Rovinj, Croatia
Monte Mulini Breakfast

The interior of Istria is very different from its coast. Your first visit today is the artist colony of Groznjan.  This hilltop town was all but deserted after WWII until being revitalized as a place for artists.  This 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 springing into view.  Motovun is an excellent example of the ancient townships that dotted the Istrian peninsula. It’s worth the long trek up to the top of the hill.  Motovun is a medieval city that dates back to the 12th century, which remained intact owing to their hill-top locations and walled fortifications.  


Later you will continue your tour of Istria with a visit 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 in the interior of the Istrian peninsula.


Exeter International Extraordinary Experience

Today you will have a private wine and olive oil tasting at one of the private family vineyards in Istria.

Day 6
Zagreb, Croatia
Rovinj, Croatia
Esplanade Hotel Breakfast

This morning, depart on your 3.5-hour journey with your guide and driver for your visit to Plitvice Lakes.


Today, you will visit the beautiful Plitvice Lakes where you will have a chance to explore this UNESCO World Heritage site.  Your guide will meet you upon arrival and will guide your journey through this extensive park.


In the National Park lie sixteen breathtaking lakes, interconnected by a series of waterfalls, over an area of 300 square kilometers, whilst the lakes join together over a distance of 8 kilometers.


After you finish your visit, return to Zagreb.

Day 7
Split, Croatia
Zagreb, Croatia
Hotel Park Breakfast

This morning, depart on your 4-hour journey with your driver to Split.


Split, the second largest city in Croatia, is a busy maritime and shipbuilding center, but also the home of the Diocletian Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site complex built in the 3rd Century and covering a considerable area in the heart of the old town.


Enjoy the afternoon at leisure.

Day 8
Split, Croatia
Hotel Park Breakfast

This morning, your guide will meet you in the hotel lobby to take you for a walking tour of the Old Town.  


The Diocletian Palace, facing onto the Split harbor, is one of the most impressive Roman architectural monuments and is protected as a UNESCO Heritage Site. The Roman Emperor Diocletian, noted for his persecution of early Christians, was supposedly a native of nearby Salona before rising through the military ranks and getting appointed as emperor by his legions.  He ruled for 20 years before abdicating and retiring to this palace. After his death, the palace was gradually abandoned until the 7th century when refugees from the surrounding areas, fleeing foreign invasions, sought shelter within the palace’s protective walls. In the following centuries, the castle’s population outgrew its capacity and the town sprawled outside the walls. Nowadays, Split is a major port and industrial center, as well as a perfect base for day trips to many nearby attractions.


You will have the chance to wander around the more than 200 buildings within the boundaries of the Diocletian Palace complex, many of which are still homes, while others house cafes, restaurants, and shops. Like a typical Roman fort (castrum), in its original form the palace had a roughly square layout and was surrounded by a thick wall with gates and watchtowers. Some of the best-preserved sites you can visit are the Vestibule, the Temple of Jupiter, the Peristyle, and Diocletian’s Mausoleum – now the Cathedral of St. Dominus.  


Exeter International Extraordinary Experience

Later today, your guide and driver will take you on a private visit to the gallery of Ivan Mestrovic - the most celebrated Croatian artist of the 20th Century. Even as a youngster in rural Croatia, Mestrovic demonstrated a unique talent for molding clay. This talent was later honed in Zagreb and Vienna from which emerged an exquisite artist whose brilliant creativity translated itself into sculpture. He was a colleague and friend of the famous French sculptor August Rodin in Vienna. During World War II Ivan Mestrovic was imprisoned but later freed when the Vatican intervened on his behalf and he later came to the United States to teach and create until his death in 1962. He is buried in a mausoleum that he designed himself. The artist was known for immortalizing womanhood in pieces such as Maternity and the History of Croatia. The gallery in Split was the original residence of the artist.


This afternoon, your driver and guide will take you a short distance outside of Split to Trogir - a treasury cove of cultural and historical monuments dating as far back as the 4th Century BC.  


Set on a small island just off the mainland, Trogir was first settled by the ancient Greeks, before falling under the Romans and later the Byzantines. Destroyed by the Saracens and abandoned in the 12th Century, thanks to its strategic location the town was soon revived and became an artistic and cultural center under the Austro-Hungarians and later the Venetians. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Old Town is surrounded by a fortress wall with two gates and is connected to the mainland with a bridge.  


As you enter the fortified town through the Land Gate, you will stroll along its narrow streets, flanked by ancient stone houses. We suggest that you do not miss St. Lawrence Cathedral, built over the remains of an older church destroyed by the Saracens. The main entrance is through a magnificent Romanesque portal, carved by the Dalmatian sculptor Master Radovan in the 13th Century. Just to the right of the main entrance stands a beautiful Venetian bell tower from the 15th Century.  


Your guide will also show you the Gradska loza (the Old City Hall) from the 15th Century, the city walls, and the Kamerlengo Castle, which was once the residence of the Venetian governor. The palace’s large courtyard is nowadays used for open-air theater performances and concerts. On the sea-side of the island, you may see the Sea Gate, which was built in the 16th Century, and the nearby old fish market, located in an open loggia, surrounded by a colonnade.  


Enjoy some time at your leisure to browse the small shops and cafes in Trogir, before heading back to Split and your hotel.

Day 9
Split, Croatia
Hvar, Croatia
Hotel Park None

This morning your guide will meet you for the short stroll to the ferry port where you will board one of the scheduled high-speed catamarans to the Island of Hvar.


It is believed that the Hvar Island has been inhabited since Antiquity. In the 4th Century BC, Greek settlers founded a trade colony here and called it Pharos (the Greek word for lighthouse). Later, as part of the Roman province of Dalmatia, the island was called Fara. When the Slavs settled here in the 7th century, they started calling the island Hvar. In the following centuries, Venetians and Habsburgs sought to control the island because of its strategic location, fertile soil, and secluded harbors. Nowadays, Hvar is one of the most visited destinations on the Dalmatian coast, which is undoubtedly influenced by its fabulous location and the fact that it has the highest number of sunny days in the year on the Adriatic coast, but also thanks to the island’s long tradition culture and the arts.


You will arrive on the island and to the town of Hvar.  Through the course of history, Hvar Town has been a melting pot of cultures and influences and is still bursting with history, art and culture, and the home of Europe’s oldest municipal theater, which was built in the early 17th century over an arsenal in a peace-making attempt by the then ruler of Hvar.  


You may start from Hvar’s main square, right next to the harbor, which is dominated by the Renaissance Cathedral with its distinctive bell tower dedicated to St. Stephen. The square is surrounded by buildings dating from the 16th – 17th centuries when the town was an important Venetian trading and seafaring center. Also in this part of town, you may wish to visit the Benedictine Convent, where the nuns spend their lives praying and weaving elaborate laces from the fibers of the agava plant. The convent’s museum shows some delicate and intricate lace designs, some dating to the late 19th century.  


To the north of the main square and towering over the town, you may decide to explore Hvar’s fortress, which is known as Spanjola as it was partially built by Spanish engineers.  The steep hike to the very top of the fortification is well worth it for the beautiful views over the bay. As you continue your walk south of the harbor and along the row of cafes and bars to the other side of the town, you will come to the Franciscan monastery and the exquisite Church of Gospa od Milosti (Our Lady of Charity).  The still functioning monastery dates back to the 14th Century when it started as a hospice for ill sailors. Its museum houses a collection of works by Venetian and Croatian artists, including a magnificent 17th-century painting of the Last Supper by an unknown artist, as well as coins from as early as the 4th century BC and Greek amphorae.  


This afternoon your driver will meet you so you can explore more of the island as you make your way across the island to Stari Grad.


Exeter International Extraordinary Experience


Begin with a journey just outside the city to the small coastal town of Jelsa and a visit to the family winery of Tomic – one of the most famous wine producers in all of Croatia.  You will enjoy a private tasting of wine and locally-produced olive oil.


Later continue to the town of Stari Grad. Literally translated, Stari Grad means “Old Town” and the name could not be more appropriate as this UNESCO protected settlement is believed to be the oldest in Croatia. Stari Grad charms the visitor with its authentic Venetian port town ambience as sailing and fishing boats dot the long sheltered bay which leads to the very center of the town and the main square surrounded on both sides by historic buildings. Your guide will take you around the main square and will point out the 17th-century St. Stephen’s church and the Bianchini Palace which now houses a Nautical Museum including finds from the original Greek settlement of Pharos.



Next, your guide will take you to the Tvardalj Castle - the fortified residence of the famous Croatian Renaissance poet and philanthropist, Petar Hektorovic, which has been preserved and now houses an ethnographic museum. Your guide will also take you into the fort to admire the beauty of its Renaissance garden and seawater fishpond, built in the 16th Century. You may also stop at the Dominican Monastery, which was founded in the 15th century and, after being destroyed in an Ottoman attack a century later, was rebuilt and fortified and now houses an extensive library and an art collection.  


At the end of your day, board the ferry with your guide for the two hour journey back to Split.  Stroll back to your hotel and the remainder of your day is at leisure.

Day 10
Dubrovnik, Croatia
Mostar, Bosnia And Herzegovina
Split, Croatia
Villa Dubrovnik Breakfast

This morning, your private driver will meet you in the hotel lobby continue south along the Dalmatian coast toward Dubrovnik.  You will crossing the border into the now independent country of Bosnia-Herzegovina, which, together with Croatia, was once part of the Yugoslav Federation.  


Early this afternoon you will reach Mostar - the unofficial capital of Herzegovina, which is situated on the Neretva River and is the fifth-largest city in the country. Mostar was named after its famous UNESCO-protected Old Bridge (Stari Most) and the towers on its sides, knows as the ‘bridge keepers’ (mostari). Before its destruction during the Bosnian war in 1993, people from around the world used to come to see the 500-year old bridge, a trend which now continues after it was rebuilt in 2004 and again connects the banks of the Neretva River.  


Upon your arrival in Mostar, a local guide will meet you and will take you on an overview walking tour of Mostar’s Old Town. You will, of course. walk along the Old Bridge and to Mostar’s cobbled Ottoman Quarter, which houses the city’s artists and craftsmen, as well as beautiful 16th – century mosques, museums and cafes. It is believed that before the Ottomans occupied this region in the 15th century, Mostar was only a small settlement with a suspension bridge over the river. Thanks to its strategic location, Mostar soon became an important Ottoman military and administrative center. In the following centuries, the town grew and prospered from the trade with the nearby Dubrovnik. This is the period when many of the Islamic structures like mosques and madrasas were built.  At the end of the 19th century, the Austro-Hungarians briefly annexed Bosnia and Herzegovina and some examples of Viennese architecture still can be seen around the Old Town. The city was badly damaged during the 1990s military conflict and suffered immeasurable architectural destruction. Although most of the Old Town is now rebuilt, some rubble and ruins are still to be seen.  


Continue this afternoon with your journey to Dubrovnik.  Upon arrival your driver will take you to your luxury hotel – the newly renovated Villa Dubrovnik.  The remainder of your evening is at leisure.

Day 11
Dubrovnik, Croatia
Villa Dubrovnik Breakfast

This morning, your guide will meet you at your hotel for an overview walking tour of the historic center of Dubrovnik, which is protected as a UNESCO Heritage site.  


You will start at the Ploce Gate (East Gate), one of the two extremities of the walled city. As you descend down the stone steps of the fortification, you will see the old Harbor Front of the city overlooking the Adriatic and the islands off the coast. As you continue, you will come to Dubrovnik’s main square - the Loggia Loza, situated at the eastern extremity of the Stradun – the centuries-old promenade which runs through the walled city from East to West. Interestingly, the Stradun was once a marshy canal separating the Ragusa Island from the mainland, which was later filled in and paved. The Loggia square is at the heart of Dubrovnik, and is surrounded by its most important and historic buildings.  


You will visit the Church of St. Blaise with its distinctive baroque façade. On the main altar stands a statue of Dubrovnik’s patron saint made of gold plated silver and holding a model of the city from the middle ages.


Next, you may step into the Rector’s Palace. The Rector was the highest authority in the city and his palace now houses the Museum of Dubrovnik. Over 15,000 works are on display documenting the economic and cultural history of the city. Next door to the Rector’s Palace is the ancient town hall which today houses the National Theater of Dubrovnik. You may also visit the Sephardic Synagogue, the second largest in Europe!


Today, your guide will also take you into the Dubrovnik Cathedral and its treasury famous for the ancient relics including a fragment of the ‘true cross’ on which it is believed that Jesus was crucified. The treasury also houses a collection of gold and silver artifacts and sacred objects. It is said that the English King Richard the Lionheart was shipwrecked nearby on his return from the Third Crusade so he built the original cathedral on this spot to thank God for his salvation. This old Romanesque cathedral was unfortunately destroyed in an earthquake four centuries later and the current cathedral was erected in the Roman Baroque style.


This afternoon, you will also visit Dubrovnik’s Sephardic Synagogue, located on Zudioska (Jewish) Street just off the Stradun. The synagogue was established in the 15th century, survived earthquakes and wars, and is still in service today. Its simple Gothic exterior is in remarkable contrast with the Baroque interiors featuring arches, spiraled columns, and a delicately carved wooden ark. The ark, together with precious ritual objects and 13th - and 14th – century Torah scrolls brought from Spain after the expulsion, were saved during the Second World War by a local family which used underground passages to smuggle them out of the synagogue. Some of these ritual objects are now displayed in a small museum under the temple.  


You will also visit the museum in the Franciscan monastery of the “Order of Minor Friars” (Ordo Fratrum Minorum) which includes one of the three oldest pharmacies in Europe, still serving customers. Part of the Franciscans’ mission was to take care of the health of the local residents, so they opened the pharmacy in 1317 and it has been in operation ever since. The monastery contains numerous medieval pharmacists’ tools and medical books which belonged to the English kings’ physicians, as well as 10th-Century manuscripts.  


If you are interested, you may take a walk atop the fortress walls surrounding the Old Town. Just over a mile long, this stroll usually takes about an hour and will help you get your bearings and enjoy the splendid views of the historic Dubrovnik and the sea. The fortification includes several bastions, the tallest of which is the Minceta Tower, located just near the Pile gate in the north-western part of the town.  


The remainder of your afternoon is at leisure.  You can stay in the city to enjoy the shops and cafes or return to your hotel and indulge in the spa.

Day 12
Dubrovnik, Croatia
Villa Dubrovnik Breakfast

This morning, your driver and guide will take you further south along the Dalmatian coast and to the town of Cavtat. This historic town dates back to the 6th Century BC and was first a Greek colony and later a Roman town called Ephidaurum. When Slav tribes invaded the area in the 7th century, the local population sought refuge up the coast where they established Ragusa, which later expanded to become today’s Dubrovnik.  Today, Cavtat is one of the most charming towns on the coast and retains a small town laid back ambience. Of historic interest here is the Baltazar Bogisic Collection which includes many fine paintings and works of art and is housed in the 16th century Count’s Palace. You will also see a Franciscan monastery from the 16th century and a monument designed by the famous sculptor Ivan Mestrovic.  


You will continue your tour of the southern Dalmatian countryside and the region known as Konavle. This is Dalmatia at its most traditional, where people still maintain the old customs and authentic costumes and cultivate olives and vineyards.  


Exeter International Extraordinary Experience

Today you will visit the winery of Niko Karaman, a local enologist who is quickly making a name for his tiny operation.  He’s known for dry wines and exquisite sweet Prosek (dessert wine) that he makes from rare indigenous grapes.  His wines have already been awarded the title of World’s Best Dessert Wine in 2009.


Later this afternoon, your driver and guide will take you back to Dubrovnik.  The rest of the evening will be at your leisure.  

Day 13
Dubrovnik, Croatia
Kotor, Montenegro
Villa Dubrovnik Breakfast

This morning, after an early start at 9:00 AM, your driver will take you to the southernmost tip of Croatia where you will continue across the border into Montenegro which used to be a part of the former Yugoslavia but has been an independent country since the referendum in 2006. The country's name, meaning "Black Mountain", probably dates back to the era of Venetian hegemony over the Adriatic coast in the middle ages.   Once you are at the border, your Montenegrin guide will join you for the day.


Your first stop today is the port town of Kotor. Located at the head of a deep fjord, Kotor’s fortified Old Town was strategically built at the foot of a high cliff and is nowadays protected by UNESCO. The fortified Old Town bears similarities with the one in Dubrovnik, but is smaller, less crowded, and more idyllic. The best way to explore this very compact part of town is to simply allow yourself to get lost in the maze of narrow streets and small squares and to wander around admiring the historic buildings.


A good place to start is the Main Gate which once led directly to the bay and where ships used to tie up, have their cargo and papers examined, and pay taxes. Right next to it, the Square of Arms is so called because one of the buildings surrounding it used to house the Venetian Arsenal. Nowadays, it is ringed with small shops and cafes.  


Continuing your walk south, you may stop to visit the Catholic Cathedral of St. Triphun, which was originally built in the 11th Century, but was later reconstructed several times due to the damages caused by earthquakes. Its Romanesque-gothic interiors feature 14th Century frescoes, vaulted roofs and a gilded-silver iconostasis. The remains of St. Triphun – Kotor’s patron saint, are also kept here. If you are interested, your guide will also take you to the small Maritime Museum, housed in an old aristocratic mansion, which includes an armory, a collection of model ships, traditional costumes, and the coats of arms of Kotor’s ruling families.  


Time and fitness permitting, you may consider climbing the 1,500 steps of Kotor’s old fortress walls on the hills above the town. The fortifications were started in the early middle ages by the Byzantines after expelling the Goths and were later expanded by the Venetians. Throughout the centuries, the city survived many attacks and was successively controlled by Bulgarians, Serbians, Venetians, Ottomans, and Austro-Hungarians. Nowadays, the impressive city walls stretch some 3 miles from the waterfront to the steep cliffs above the town, range in thickness from 5 to 50 feet, and offer some of the best views over the Old Town and its surroundings. There are several access points to the fortress walls, so one does not necessarily have to walk their entire length.  


Later today continue toward Lustica village, approximately 45 minutes away from Kotor.


This afternoon, you will continue your trip back to Dubrovnik and your hotel for an evening at your leisure.

Day 14
Dubrovnik, Croatia
None Breakfast

You will check-out from your hotel and meet your driver in the hotel lobby for the transfer to the airport for your onward flight.

Tour Features

Experience(s)

Experiences have not been selected at this time

Description

A sample itinerary for FIT touring of Dalmatia (Croatia & Montenegro).

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

96%

of 32
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

Well run independent travel to Russia

By: Susan and Murray Morrison


Reviewed on: 18 Jun 2018

From getting visas for us to planning a private visit to Russia for us, Exeter International was top notch. No detail was overlooked. The guides that Exeter provided were outstanding, spoke fluent English, had a good grasp of Russian history and were willing to accommodate our every interest. The guides were truly experts about their cities: museums, palaces, and surroundings. In addition, the guides were friendly and helpful. Exeter ran a well organized, well thought-out tour of Russia for the two of us.
Travel Advisor:  Nancy Yale

Family time and fun

By: Jane


Reviewed on: 27 Jul 2018

My experience with Exeter was positive. The drivers were on time and very courteous. There was water in the cars for us. They had information to offer as we drove to destinations. They were accommodating to our schedules and were very helpful if we had questions. We missed walking around the interior of a famous church due to the day the tour was scheduled. There were services going on and we could not enter. Another tour was partly taken up by a long walking tour to get to a castle. I would have rather spent time inside the castle. We had to exit with the guide and missed a lot of interesting things. Too bad we were not allowed to stay inside on our own to see more.
Travel Advisor:  Stephanie Miller Murphy

less common places tour

By: ssunsfanatic


Reviewed on: 26 Jul 2018

good tour to less visited places in Bergen. We had been to the more common tourist sites.
Travel Advisor:  Leah Bergner

Central Europe

By: Tour of Central Europe and QM2 to NYC


Reviewed on: 26 Jul 2018

Vienna, Prague, Krakow, Berlin, Hamburg. Wonderful hotels, wonderful guides, wonderful restaurants. Not one single mistake or hiccup. Exeter does an outstanding job.
Travel Advisor:  Brigitte Feinberg

St. Petersburg

By: SandStar


Reviewed on: 06 Aug 2018

We had a wonderful trip. Hotel was excellent. They were able to accommodate our special requests and schedule. We highly recommend the local guide, Anya, who was extremely knowledgeable about local and Russian history.
Travel Advisor:  Linda Zelisko

Exeter tour guides

By: smcknight


Reviewed on: 06 Aug 2018

We had basically positive experiences both days we toured with Exeter guides. The first day there was a little too much emphasis placed on taking us to "gift shops" and expecting us to buy tourist trinkets. The heat and the crowds may have been easier to bare if we had gone to the Hermitage in the early morning instead of wasting 45-50 minutes in a trinket shop. The second guide was very professional and led us seamlessly through Catherine's palace and the palaces on the canal in St. Petersburg.
Travel Advisor:  Joanne Meyer

Every detail was perfect!

By: Beth


Reviewed on: 31 Aug 2018

Exeter was a joy to work with. Our drivers and tour guides were helpful, friendly, and very knowledgeable. I traveled with my 13-year-old daughter, and our tours were uniquely tailored to interest her. I had heard horror stories about obtaining Russian visas. Not for us! Exeter took care of everything, and quickly. I loved the custom packet that they sent me in advance of the trip. It listed our itinerary in detail, helpful phone numbers, restaurant recommendations, and travel tips that were specific for our destinations. I would enthusiastically recommend Exeter for travel planning.
Travel Advisor:  Andre Koester

St. Petersburg tour

By: Rocky Mountain Flier


Reviewed on: 31 Aug 2018

Becky recommended Exeter International for my party of four. We all agreed after two full days of touring with our guide and driver that we would not have wanted to see St. Petersburg any other way. Our guide was excellent and very informed and we liked the driver too. We were able to avoid the long lines and were admitted to areas of the palaces that other visitors would never have the opportunity to see. We invited her to join us for lunch on both days whereby we learned even more about St. Petersburg.
Travel Advisor:  Becky Sullivan

Exeter/Norwegian Tour

By: Lien


Reviewed on: 21 Sep 2018

Exeter (Jody Ricottone) coordinated my recent sole tour of Norway. This involved guides in three cities, hotels in those cities and in two fjordside locations, trains and ferry, rental car and other transfer arrangements. I was very pleased with everything, including that Jody paid close attention to what I wanted and was responsive to my requests. Her recommendations and examples of somewhat similar sole tours really assisted me in my planning. The entire trip went off without a scheduling hitch, and introduced me, as I had wished, to Norwegian sites and experiences I never would have seen or had without Jody's good work.
Travel Advisor:  Wanda Worsley