Excursions and visits whilst in Croatia
Take a day to visit Pula, once an important Roman port, with many remaining examples of Roman architecture. Amongst the finest is the remarkably well-preserved Roman amphitheatre, which dominates the city centre and acts as a venue for summer concerts and festivals. Later take a boat out to the Brijuni Islands, once President Tito’s private residence. Take some time to enjoy the island’s pleasant interior and its beaches before enjoying a freshly prepared meal and returning by sea.
A tour of Plitvice Lakes takes in the best viewpoints and boardwalks, including an electric boat ride around the lakes and a ride on the park’s panoramic train. Follow the boardwalks between the Upper Lakes (Gornja jezera) and the Lower Lakes (Donja jezera), then climb up to the most dramatic viewpoint—a lookout over the limestone canyon of Veliki Slap, meaning ‘big waterfall.’ Whilst summer can be busy, spring and autumn offer spectacular seasonal colours and winter is particularly dramatic.
Spend a day driving through the beautiful countryside of the Istrian peninsula visiting many of the small hill-top towns scattered throughout this region. There is much cultural heritage in these ancient stone villages, with defensive walls and high watchtowers. Take time to enjoy the atmosphere and indulge in a beer or glass of wine in a café, whilst admiring the views over olive groves and vineyards. The picturesque nature of these small communities lends itself to some great photography.
Just 50 years ago, this fragrant island accounted for 8% of the world’s lavender production. Sadly, economic hardship and forest fires have decimated that lavender industry, but Hvar’s lavender story is a fascinating one. This seasonal tour (lavender is in bloom usually from late May until mid-July, best in late June to coincide with the annual Lavender festival). The walk will include a tour of Velo Grablje, one of Dalmatia’s most atmospheric villages, followed by lunch or dinner, complete with a capella traditional Dalmatia singing.
Just an hour away from Split. Krka National Park is famous for a series of seven waterfalls. You can enjoy swimming in the lower lake in the crystal-clear water as the Krka Waterfalls is the only National Park in Croatia where swimming is allowed and then explore the falls by wooden walkways. Explore the Park further by visiting Krka’s ethnic museum, stone houses, a watermill and the first hydroelectric power station in Europe.
Ston is an hour’s drive from Dubrovnik, at the base of the Pelješac peninsula. The main feature of the town are the extensive defensive walls. At 5kms, the longest defensive structure in Europe. Built in the 14th and 15th centuries as additional fortification for the Republic of Ragusa (Dubrovnik) and to protect the lucrative salt pans in the area, the walls also consist of three fortresses and several towers. Ston is also renowned for the locally farmed oysters, which you will have an opportunity to taste.
From Dubrovnik, drive to Pelješac Peninsula and take a short, guided tour of Mali Ston. Visit an oyster farm by boat. Continue to visit three family-owned wineries on the peninsula. There are presentations and tastings of local wine, liqueurs and olive oil. Return via Ston and a guide tour of the city. Later try some of the famous seafood at a local restaurant. On the way back call in at Trsteno Arboretum, created in the 15th century by the Gozze family, who requested ship captains to bring back seeds and plants from their travels.
An hour’s drive from Varaždin is the Krapina Neanderthal Museum, one of the most modern museums in Central Europe. Some nine hundred human fossil bones were found in the cave's sandstone deposits. This is the largest collection of Neanderthal people collected at a single locality. The bones belong to the remains of several dozen individuals, from 2 to 40 years of age. Enjoy the many multimedia components, as well as the very special architecture. Paths connect the museum with the excavation site on Hušnjakovo hill.
20 minutes’ drive north of Rovinj is one of the most beautiful natural treasures of the Istrian peninsula, Lim Bay, part of the 35 km long Lim Valley (Draga), that stretches to the centre of Istria. The Fiord itself is longer than 10 km, 30 metres deep and its widest part around 600 metres wide. From both sides steep hills rise, where there is evidence of Illyrian forts. Because of underwater sources of fresh water, it is well-known for fish and oyster farms (oysters, mussels, gilthead and sea bass).