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  • Slovenia & Croatia: Alps to Istria
Overview

From the mountains of Slovenia to the sparkling seaside of Croatia's Istrian Peninsula

Slovenia and Croatia — two of the more gorgeous of the Balkan nations — together create an extraordinarily diverse itinerary unlike any other.

On this epic hiking adventure, we take full advantage of the changes in landscape, each country’s shared yet distinct history, and the outstanding culinary traditions and gastronomic delights found from the Alpine meadows to the sparkling Adriatic Sea and everywhere in between.

Opportunities for adventure are limitless. We begin our Slovenia tour at the picture-perfect Lake Bled, where we set out on thrilling hikes into the remote corners of the Julian Alps, a mountain lover’s paradise. While touring Croatia, we venture into Istria, a beautiful peninsula beloved by Europeans but little-known by outsiders. Although ancient Greeks and Romans were first enchanted by its natural beauty, Istria was conquered in turn by almost every military power traversing southern Europe. Its cross-cultural heritage is visible in every corner of life.

Join us as we meander through quiet mountain villages, summit Alpine peaks for panoramic views, and explore the scenic coastline of the Adriatic.

Boundless Journeys specializes in all-inclusive active adventures around the world. If you’re keen to plan your next mountainous adventure, explore our Europe hiking tours.

 

What Our Guests Have To Say About This Tour

Phenomenal on many levels

★★★★★
5 5 1
This trip was phenomenal on many levels. The guides were knowledgeable, helpful and made the trip. This was a great combination of culture, cultural experiences and great outdoor scenery. Just enough hiking, just enough culture. Truly a memorable experience.

Unexpected Gem

★★★★★
5 5 1
Croatia was as lovely as everyone says. But Slovenia was the unexpected gem. Uncrowded, gorgeous mountains and alpine lakes, old cities, storybook turquoise mountains streams, excellent food. Outstanding and well educated guide Domen gave us an informed appreciation for the complicated history of the region. Our group was congenial, respectful, well traveled and educated, and fun loving. Lots of funny stories over lots of good food.

Wonderful Adventure!

★★★★★
5 5 1
Wonderful Adventure!

We had a perfect trip

★★★★★
5 5 1
I think the entire group felt that what made our trip so special and memorable was our guides. They were outstanding! I never felt like this was "just a job" to them but they were our new friends, showing us places that they love. Domen and Luka were extremely knowledgeable, kind, enthusiastic, competent and they took care of every detail so that we had a perfect trip. The saddest part about the trip being over was leaving Domen and Luka! Everyone on our trip remarked about how much they loved and appreciated our guides.

The experience was terrific

★★★★★
5 5 1
First time on a guided tour and the experience was terrific from the scenery to the guides to our fellow travelers. I couldn't have put together a hiking trip like this on my own.

A fantastic combination

★★★★★
5 5 1
This trip was a wonderful opportunity to experience both Slovenia and Croatia. Boundless Journeys has combined what would be great individual trips into a fantastic combination that has you waking up with excitement of what is to come. Our guides (Domen & Luka) were professional and passionate about their homeland which added to the experience.

Trip exceeded expectations

★★★★★
5 5 1
Trip exceeded expectations in all respects. Can't possibly offer too much praise for Luka and Domen: they made it great. The way they accommodated weather, special requests, etc. was so professional. We were lucky in that the entire group all got along really well: no cliques and good variety of personalities.

Excellent company

★★★★★
5 5 1
“Excellent company which I am already referring friends to. I hope to travel with Boundless Journeys again soon.”

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Itinerary &
Accommodations

Itinerary & Accommodations

Day 1

Arrival, Velika Planina & Ljubljana

  • Activity Overview: Hiking & walking
  • Activity Level: Easy to moderate
  • Activity Length: 2-3-hour hike, 3-5 miles

Welcome to Slovenia! Meet your fellow travelers and guide in the lobby of Hotel Cubo in Ljubljana, Slovenia's hip and happening capital. This is the "new Old Europe," where the 21st century mingles comfortably with a rich blend of cherished tradition and historic architecture. With its artsy bohemian vibe, many have compared Ljubljana to Prague, minus the crowds.

After a warm welcome and trip briefing, we drive 45-minutes to the valley of Kamniska Bistrica, a magnificent glacial valley at the foot of the Kamnik and Savinja Alps. We take a short gondola ride up to the Velika Planina high mountain plateau. Here, we hike among traditional wooden huts, shepherds, and cows. You may feel as though you are in the The Sound of Music listening to cowbells against the picturesque backdrop of limestone peaks and flowerstudded alpine meadows. On our way we stop to meet our friend, Fani, and savor the taste of her local cheeses, buckwheat mush, herbal teas, and local brandies.

We return to our hotel in Ljubljana early afternoon to refresh before a guided walking tour of Ljubljana's old city center. We finish our day with a welcome dinner at one of your guide's favorite local restaurants.

Accommodations
Hotel Cubo

Hotel Cubo
Ljubljana, Slovenia

Located in a historic building, Hotel Cubo lies in the center of Ljubljana and provides all the services of a large hotel, but with a distinct, intimate atmosphere. Spacious rooms are decorated with modern, plush furnishings.

Day 2

Lake Bled

  • Activity Overview: Hiking & walking
  • Activity Level: Easy to moderate
  • Activity Length: 2.5 hour hike, approximately 4 miles

Today we leave Ljubljana and head towards the Julian Alps. Our first stop is the iconic Lake Bled, one of Europe's most scenic spots. Its glacial waters are surrounded by forest and soaring mountains, and its tiny islet — the only natural island in Slovenia — is marked by the storybook bell tower of its medieval church. We take a walk around the lake and a traditional pletna boat to the islet. From the middle of the lake, we have beautiful views of the medieval Bled Castle perched high on a rocky lakeside precipice.

After a delicious signature Slovenian meal, those who wish can hike to the Ojštrica Viewpoint for unrivalled views of the lake and the Julian Alps.

Later today, we continue to Bohinj Lake with its picturesque collection of alpine villages. Here, we check into our elegant lakeside hotel overlooking Mt. Triglav, Slovenia's highest peak.

Before our evening meal, we meet with Katica, a friendly and enthusiastic local resident, for a cooking class and dinner together.

Accommodations
Hotel Bohinj

Hotel Bohinj
Bohinj, Slovenia

The newest accommodation on the lake, this 4-star hotel was designed with nature in mind, from the soft, pine wood room interiors to the views of the lake and mountains. Amenities include a wellness center and onsite restaurant.

Day 3

Mt. Vogel & Lake Bohinj

  • Activity Overview: Hiking
  • Activity Level: Easy to moderate
  • Activity Length: 3 hours, 4 miles; additional optional lake walk, 1 hour

This morning, a short gondola ride delivers us to the Vogel Plateau in Triglav National Park. Around us, hulking massifs pierce the sky and wild blueberry bushes and pristine alpine tarns cover the plateau above Lake Bohinj. Our destination is the summit Mt. Šija (6,342') where we have spectacular views of Mt. Triglav (9,400'). We savor a hearty picnic lunch in this beautiful setting before returning to the valley.

Once we reach Lake Bohinj, those who have the energy may choose to join an additional easy hike along the lake. Alternatively, you may enjoy a swim or just relax at our hotel, situated on the shore.

This evening, dinner is on your own at your leisure.

Accommodations
Hotel Bohinj

Hotel Bohinj
Bohinj, Slovenia

The newest accommodation on the lake, this 4-star hotel was designed with nature in mind, from the soft, pine wood room interiors to the views of the lake and mountains. Amenities include a wellness center and onsite restaurant.

Day 4

Sleme Viewpoint, Vrsic Pass, & Bovec

  • Activity Overview: Hiking
  • Activity Level: Moderate
  • Activity Length: 3-4 hours, 3.7 miles

After breakfast, we depart Bohinj and drive through the mountains toward the Italian and Austrian borders, stopping briefly in Kranjska Gora, a ski resort town which hosts the annual Alpine Skiing World Cup. We admire the crystalline waters of the Pisnica River and encircle the picturesque Lake Jasna.

We continue to Vrsic Pass along one of Europe's most scenic mountain roads originally built as a supply route during World War I. Today, it is a boon for trekkers eager to explore this remarkable landscape. From here, we set out on foot past larch trees and tiny ponds to Sleme Viewpoint, which overlooks huge walls of solid limestone.

After a lovely picnic lunch, we continue our drive to the emerald Soca River Valley and Bovec, the adventure capital of Slovenia. Here, we settle into our refined boutique hotel.

Tonight, we enjoy dinner together in town.

Accommodations
Hotel Soca

Hotel Soca
Bovec, Slovenia

The boutique Soca Hotel, with only 20 rooms, is located in the heart of Bovec. The carefully chosen location impresses with its attractive views of the peaks that surround valley and offers you a relaxing retreat from everyday life.

Day 5

Soca Trail & Kobarid

  • Activity Overview: Hiking
  • Activity Level: Easy to moderate
  • Activity Length: 3.5 hours, 6 miles

Today, we head into the northern reaches of the Soca Valley to an area called Trenta. This region is awash in both beauty and history. During World War I, the Italians and AustroHungarians battled at the Isonzo Front, loosely defined by the waters of the Soca River (known as the Isonzo River in Italy). Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms vividly depicts the events that unfolded here. This farming area is also known for its cheese and is home to some of the best Slovenian producers. Nestled at high altitudes, pristine grazing areas make for a top-quality cheese! We hike on the Soca Trail to discover these remote cheesemakers, learn about their craft, and do some grazing of our own as we sample their products.

In the afternoon, we drive to the nearby village of Kobarid to enjoy a private tour of the award-winning World War I Museum to learn more about the area's turbulent history.

This evening, we are treated to dinner at a wonderful local restaurant, Hisa Polonka, where we experience traditional Slovenian flavors with an imaginative flair.

Accommodations
Hotel Soca

Hotel Soca
Bovec, Slovenia

The boutique Soca Hotel, with only 20 rooms, is located in the heart of Bovec. The carefully chosen location impresses with its attractive views of the peaks that surround valley and offers you a relaxing retreat from everyday life.

Day 6

UNESCO Skocjan Caves & Rovinj

  • Activity Overview: Walking
  • Activity Level: Easy to moderate (involves 500 steps, mostly downhill)
  • Activity Length: 2 hours walk through the caves, 2 hours guided walk in Rovinj

We start the day with a 2-hour drive to reach the Slovenian Karst, where water carved and shaped rocks and stones into a unique and iconic landscape of the subterranean world. The Slovenian region of Karst lent its name to all of the karst-like landscapes and phenomena across the world. To date, more than 11,000 caves are officially registered in Slovenia, and speleologists discover new caves every year. Only about 20 of them, however, are open to visitors.

We explore the UNESCO heritage Skocjan caves — an impressive natural phenomenon of global significance as the largest known underground canyon in Europe!

After a picnic lunch, we continue our journey south towards Istria, the heart-shaped peninsula at the northern end of Croatia's coast surrounded by the Adriatic Sea. Picturesque rolling hills and fertile plains attract culture and food focused guests to hilltop villages, farmhouse restaurants, and excellent wineries.

Our final destination today is Rovinj, one of Croatia´s most attractive coastal towns. This area has been inhabited since prehistoric times when Histrian tribes traded with Etruscans on the Italian peninsula and Greeks further south. Rovinj prospered under the Venetian Republic, which is reflected in its architecture. After five centuries of Venetian rule, Napoleon seized the region only to lose it to the AustroHungarian Empire. With arrival of Austrians, tourism came to Rovinj as wealthy barons invested in railroads and built glamorous seaside villas. One of them, Georg Hutterott, made sure to include tree-lined pathways and landscaped meadows, which is now a protected park called Punta Corrente (Golden Cape), a beautiful natural attraction. After checking in to our seaside design accommodation, we walk through Punta Corrente, and then continue to Rovinj Old Town where wemeet our local guide for a city tour. This area is topped by the church of St. Euphemia from where we enjoy the best sunset views.

Tonight, enjoy dinner on your own. You will find various types of restaurants in Rovinj, from simple pizzerias, and small mom-and-pop eateries, to fine dining establishments. Be sure to ask your guide for recommendations!

Accommodations
Hotel Lone

Hotel Lone
Rovinj, Slovenia

As a 5-star Design Hotel, Lone features an impeccable blend of luxury, beauty, style and cultural heritage. All well-appointed rooms have balconies featuring either sea views or views onto the Golden Cape Forest Park. Amenities include a spa, pool, and restaurant.

Day 7

Truffle hunt & Rovinj

  • Activity Overview: Walking
  • Activity Level: Easy
  • Activity Length: 1-1.5 hours truffle hunting through the forest, 2 hours park and city tour forest, 2 hours park and city tour

After breakfast, we delve deep into the forest on a truffle hunt with a local Istrian family that has been hunting here for three generations. We join them for a foray and walk, learning about this skill. Of course, our experience wouldn't be complete without sampling all kinds of truffled goodies; including cheeses, spreads, jams, and even chocolate.

Following the hunt, we stop in the medieval town of Grožnjan. Having been ruled in succession by the Republic of Venice, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Napoleonic France, Italy, and then Yugoslavia, it has a rich history. In 1965, painters and sculptors in Grožnjan took advantage of a state-funded program to restore old houses into studios and galleries. It is now a colorful, creative community filled with musicians and artisans in the summer.

We walk the streets of town and a short section of the Parenzana Trail, where the narrow-gauge railway line once connected Trieste in Italy with Porec (Parenzo) in Croatia. Along the way we stop at a local olive oil producer for a tasting. Istria is among the coolest regions in the world where olive trees grow giving the oil a unique color and pungent taste, and recognition as one of the world's leading olive oil producers.

We return to Rovinj in the afternoon for some free time, and another opportunity to choose from one of the many restaurants in town.

Accommodations
Hotel Lone

Hotel Lone
Rovinj, Slovenia

As a 5-star Design Hotel, Lone features an impeccable blend of luxury, beauty, style and cultural heritage. All well-appointed rooms have balconies featuring either sea views or views onto the Golden Cape Forest Park. Amenities include a spa, pool, and restaurant.

Day 8

Brijuni National Park

  • Activity Overview: Walking
  • Activity Level: Easy
  • Activity Length: 2-2.5 hours, 4-5 miles

Following breakfast, a short ferry ride brings us across the channel to the scenic Brijuni National Park made up of fourteen islands and islets. Among them, Veliki Island stands out as the most fascinating and is where we enjoy our walk. Along the way we encounter 130-million-year-old dinosaur footprints, ruins of a Roman villa, and a 1,600-year-old olive tree. In the 19th-century, an Austrian industrialist built the first hotels on the island, and shortly thereafter, Viennese psychiatrists were sending famous patients there for rest and relaxation The list includes James Joyce, Gustav Klimt, and the Archduke of Austria. When this region was part of Yugoslavia, President Tito made Brijuni his official summer residence and entertained over 90 heads of state and celebrities such as Che Guevara, Sofia Loren, Carlo Ponti, Elizabeth Taylor, and Richard Burton.

Once we encircle the island on foot, we take the ferry back to the mainland. En route to Rovinj, we stop at the Meneghetti Estate for a wine tasting. Terra Rossa (The Red Land of the Meneghetti vineyards is cultivated in an ecologically sustainable manner with a deep respect for nature. Along with regional wines, they also cultivateinternational varieties reflecting the unique terroir of this region.

This evening, we gather for a celebratory farewell dinner at an exquisite restaurant in town.

Accommodations
Hotel Lone

Hotel Lone
Rovinj, Slovenia

As a 5-star Design Hotel, Lone features an impeccable blend of luxury, beauty, style and cultural heritage. All well-appointed rooms have balconies featuring either sea views or views onto the Golden Cape Forest Park. Amenities include a spa, pool, and restaurant.

Day 9

Departure

Today we bid farewell to the Istrian Peninsula with a morning transfer to Zagreb Airport (3-hour drive). Please schedule flight departures after 2:30 p.m.

Please note that this is a typical itinerary, and actual activities may vary due to weather conditions, local events, and to allow serendipity to play a hand in your experience. Accommodations are as outlined in the itinerary, although we reserve the right to change these or the order visited should the need arise.

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Dates &
Prices

Dates And Prices

2024
Trip Length

9 Days

Trip Dates

Sep 1-9, 2024

Sep 15-23, 2024

2024 Land Cost

$6,895 Per Person


Single Supplement

First two reserved:$695

Additional:$1,195

See single supplement policy below.

What's Included

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT: Accommodations are based on double occupancy. A single supplement is paid by participants who specifically request single accommodations, subject to availability.

Single Supplement for Scheduled Group Departures. If you reserve at least 120 days prior to departure, you may be eligible for a reduced or free single supplement. This is generally limited to the first one or two solo travelers to reserve, and the reduction is outlined in the pricing for each trip. Free or reduced single supplements are not combinable with other offers or promotions.

If you are traveling alone and wish to share accommodations, we will try to match you with a roommate of the same gender. If you reserve at least 120 days ahead and request a roommate but one is not available, you will receive a $500 reduction from the standard single supplement (unless otherwise noted in the detailed itinerary for your specific trip).

Single Supplement for Custom Tours. Custom Tour prices are generally based on two or more participants; therefore, single supplements for “solo” Custom Tours will vary and are available upon request.

What To
Expect

What To Expect

Physical Activity

Boundless Journeys' trips are designed for energetic and flexible individuals who like to be active and have a spirit of adventure and a positive attitude. This trip is rated 2+, easy to moderate, on a scale of 1-5 (with 5 being the most strenuous). The walks and hikes on this trip range from 1-4 hours. The terrain is mixed, with both gradual and steep sections encountered on most days on unpaved paths and trails, with minimal vehicle support.

Meeting Point

Departure Point

Traveling To and From

Most Convenient Arrival Airport:
Ljubljana Joze Pucnik Airport, Ljubljana, Slovenia (airport code LJU)

Meeting Time and Place:

Your guide will meet you on Day 1 of the tour in the lobby of Hotel Cubo at 9am.

Most Convenient Departure Airport:

Zagreb Franjo Tudman Airport, Zagreb, Croatia (airport code: ZAG)

Departure Time and Place:

There will be a group transfer to the Zagreb airport arriving at 11:30 a.m. Flights should depart no earlier than 2:30 p.m.

Weather

As we will be journeying through two regions, each with its own microclimate, you can expect the weather to be variable throughout your journey, especially when in the mountains and at higher elevations. Therefore, dressing in layers will be essentialto your comfort. Rain is possible at any time in the Alps, and weather conditions can change rapidly, so having rain gear on hand is advisable. At the same time, the sun is strong at higher elevations and along the coast, and thereforeadequate precautions should be taken to prevent sunburn, even on cool, sunny days.

Bovec

June

High: 74
Low: 54

September

High: 70
Low: 51

Ljubljana

June

High: 73
Low: 52

September

High: 69
Low: 49

Rovinj

June

High: 77
Low: 66

September

High: 73
Low: 63

Zagreb

June

High: 78
Low: 60

September

High: 71
Low: 56

Cuisine

The experience of Slovenian cuisine is inseparably connected with the concept of gostilna restaurants, traditional places to enjoy good food and wine often serving dishes prepared with old recipes using local ingredients. The Slovenian countryside is dotted with small family farms, and food ingredients are relatively healthy and often organically grown. Slovenian wines, meanwhile, can enthuse even the most demanding connoisseur. Our evening meals are enjoyed at our hotels, or at some of the best restaurants in the area.

Traditional Croatian cuisine reflects diverse cultural and geographic influences as a result of access to the sea and fertile farmland, as well as foreign occupiers who imported their flavors and recipes. Freshness and simplicity best characterize coastal Croatian cuisine. Main meals typically start with prsut and paski sir (thinly sliced dry-cured ham and sheep milk cheese), often scattered with olives. As you might expect, fish is common, usually grilled with olive oil. Garlicky seafood stews and roasted pork are seen on many menus as well.

Guides

Featured Guides

About Our Guides

With a Boundless Journeys guide, your experience is that of friend and local adventurer. We believe strongly in working with local guides, experts in the areas to which we travel, and they hold the keys to unlocking the hidden delights of your chosen destination. Although you will never know they are at work—the mark of a truly great leader—our guides make magical things happen and add a dimension to your trip that you could not experience on your own. Over the years we have forged bonds with some of the best guides in the world, and we typically work with a small team of guides in each region. You will be informed of the guide for your trip one month prior to your departure.

$6,895 / person* *airfare not included
9 Days
Reserve This Tour
  • Departure Dates: Sep 1-9, 2024
    Sep 15-23, 2024
Extend This Tour Complement this tour with other journeys

Slovenia & Croatia: Alps to Istria

Slovenia and Croatia — two of the more gorgeous of the Balkan nations — together create an extraordinarily diverse itinerary unlike any other. On this epic hiking adventure, we take full advantage of the changes in landscape, each country’s shared yet...

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Activity Level 2+ Easy to Moderate

Easy to moderate walking and hiking, 1-4 hours per day (2-6 miles).

Read about our Activity Levels
  • Group Size: 4-16 Guests

Make it Your Own!

This trip can be your own adventure by taking over one of our scheduled dates, or we can request a fresh one.

Prefer a Custom Tour?

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