You are here

15D Croatia & Italy - Adriatic treasures

Duration: 15 days / 14 nights

From medieval Dubrovnik to eternal Rome, this classical tour takes you through the most beautiful and historic cities in the Adriatic region. Stroll stunning Stradun street in Dubrovnik, enjoy truffles and oysters in Istria and sip on a coffee by the 1,700-year-old palace of Emperor Diocletian. Admire beautiful Tuscan basilicas and discover the piazza where Siena’s famous horse race is run. Whisper your wishes to the Trevi Fountain and allow yourself to dream of returning to Rome!

DON’T MISS!

Motovun: Sip a ‘biska’ brandy while admiring the stunning views over the Mirna valley from this hilltop hamlet
Zadar: Listen to the sea organ as waves gently roll against marble steps with hidden tubes that emit harmonic sounds
Rome: The spellbinding views over the Eternal City from the St Peter’s Basilica dome viewing platform

For more information, please contact your tour designer, Vera Drobnić 

Route Highlights

  1. DUBROVNIK
  2. KONAVLE VALLEY
  3. PLITVICE
  4. OPATIJA
  5. ISTRIA
  6. ZADAR
  7. SPLIT
  8. RIVER CETINA
  9. ANCONA
  10. PERUGIA
  11. ASSISI
  12. TORGIANO
  13. FOLIGNO
  14. AREZZO
  15. FLORENCE
  16. PISA
  17. LUCCA
  18. SIENA
  19. CHIANTI
  20. ROME
TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

Dubrovnik: Protected by medieval walls, the historic capital of the Republic of Ragusa is crammed with palaces and churches
Plitvice: Croatia’s first national park boasts 16 emerald-green lakes linked by the waterfalls and surrounded by thick forests
Rovinj: A picture-postcard town occupying a tiny peninsula criss-crossed by vaulted winding streets
Split: The city that grew out of the vast palace built 1,700 years ago by Roman Emperor Diocletian
Perugia: Transport yourself back to the Middle Ages as you stroll along the timeless beauty of the Corso Vannucci
Florence: Behold Brunelleschi’s Duomo in the city whose very names evokes the grandeur and sophistication of the Renaissance
Pisa: Contemplate the Leaning Tower and visit the breathtaking Romanesque cathedral
Siena: Explore the maze of medieval streets crammed with palaces and churches
Rome: Wander through the ruins of the Forum, visit the Colosseum and admire the riches of the Vatican Museums

Itinerary

DAY 1 // DUBROVNIK

Arrival at Dubrovnik Airport for meet and greet by Gulliver Travel guide and transfer to your hotel. Welcome dinner in a local tavern. 

Overnight stay: 
Dubrovnik
Board basis: 
Half-board
DAY 2 // DUBROVNIK – KONAVLE VALLEY (30km – 0.5 hr)

Surrounded by ramparts and fortresses, the well-preserved Old Town of Dubrovnik is a treasure trove of architectural and cultural masterpieces, earning it the accolade of being declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit the Franciscan Monastery, which features one of the oldest continuously functioning pharmacies in Europe, and the Rector’s Palace as well as many other sights that will make you feel you have travelled back through the ages. Enjoy free time for lunch in the Old Town before an afternoon visit to the lush Konavle valley, where the traditionally minded inhabitants have preserved many old crafts and skills. Try and make silk thread out of a silkworm cocoon or spin the millstone as generations before you have. Dinner at one of the valley’s many rustic farms is an excellent conclusion to the day. 

Overnight stay: 
Dubrovnik
Board basis: 
Half-board
DAY 3 // DUBROVNIK – PLITVICE (470km – 7 hrs)

Head north along the Adriatic coast road towards the pristine Plitvice lakes, admiring the rugged Dalmatian landscapes that have inspired so many legends. Listen to these romantic and heroic tales before stopping at a picturesque village to feast on a delicious home-cooked lunch in a typical tavern. Arrive late in the afternoon to the Plitvice Lakes National Park and enjoy a memorable photo opportunity at the highest waterfall in the park. 

Overnight stay: 
Dubrovnik
Board basis: 
Half-board
DAY 4 // PLITVICE – OPATIJA (180km – 2.5 hrs)

Situated high in the mountains, Plitvice is the oldest national park in Croatia and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This natural wonderland boasts 16 crystal-clear lakes, which are linked to each other by 92 waterfalls pouring over travertine barriers. The lakes are renowned for their distinctive colours, ranging from azure to green and grey to blue. Take a scenic stroll in the park, crossing little wooden bridges or rowing across the largest lake by boat. Beyond the exceptional beauty of the lakes and waterfalls, there is rich plant and animal life and the fresh mountain air. There is some free time for lunch before continuing to Opatija, a picture-postcard Adriatic resort famed for its Lungomare promenade and parks resplendent with blooming camellias. 

Overnight stay: 
Opatija
Board basis: 
Half-board
DAY 5 // OPATIJA – ISTRIA (220km –3.5 hrs)

Popularly known as ‘the magic land’ because of its pretty hilltop hamlets and historic coastal towns, Istria exudes charm at every turn. Explore the narrow cobblestone alleys and squares of Rovinj, a timeless town with a venerable Venetian heritage. The streets are alive with the sounds of chatter and laughter in winter as much as in summer and all seem to lead to the beautiful baroque Basilica of St Euphemia, which dominates the hill in the centre of the town. Wander through the vaulted streets or maybe find a perfect souvenir in one of the numerous shops and galleries. Take to the road for the brief drive to Porec, crossing the fjord-like Lim canal on the way. This historic town is packed with architectural gems but the jewel in the crown is the breathtaking Byzantine Euphrasian Basillica, whose golden mosaics are as dazzling today as they were in the sixth century. In the afternoon, head inland to the hamlet of Motovun, which crowns a hill overlooking a verdant valley. You can almost smell truffles at every corner of this village virtually untouched by the passage of time and you can’t leave without trying a ‘biska’ brandy before returning to the hotel. 

Overnight stay: 
Opatija
Board basis: 
Half-board
DAY 6 // OPATIJA – ZADAR – SPLIT (400km – 6 hrs)

Follow the road south to the ancient city of Zadar and explore its well-preserved old town, which is situated in a peninsula facing the Dalmatian island of Ugljan. This maze of narrow alleys and squares has the look and feel of a Mediterranean city: the streets are paved with gleaming white stone and high protective walls – with some sections dating to Roman and early medieval times – running alongside the harbour. Enjoy a fascinating city tour with a visit to the Silver and Gold of Zadar exhibition before continuing to Split. Is there a better way to get to know the country than by mingling with locals? Dinner in one of the many taverns offers an unbeatable opportunity to meet some and you can walk off the calories with a guided stroll along the Riva, the city’s famous seafront promenade. 

Overnight stay: 
Split
Board basis: 
Bed & breakfast
DAY 7 // SPLIT AND RIVER CETINA (125 km – 2 hrs)

As Croatia’s second city and as the economic and administrative centre of Dalmatia, Split is packed with historical and cultural attractions but none more so than the massive palace of the Roman Emperor Diocletian. A native of Dalmatia, Diocletian began to build the palace in this bountiful bay in the late third century. After his abdication, he retired to this opulent retreat, which is a city within a city. A guided visit of the palace and Diocletian’s mausoleum, now converted into the Cathedral of Saint Domnius, will reveal the true scale of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Enjoy a brief scenic drive south to Omis, a fishing village hemmed in by rugged mountains. Omis is where the emerald green River Cetina, which is framed by imposing karst banks, flows into the Adriatic and was historically a ‘pirates' nest’. Savour a tasty lunch in this dramatic location and return to Split in the late afternoon, where you have free time before boarding the ferry (not included) for Ancona in Italy. Overnight in the ferry.

Overnight stay: 
Ferry to Ancona
Board basis: 
Half-board
DAY 8 // ANCONA – PERUGIA (140km – 2.5 hrs)

Dock early in the morning at the port of Ancona and transfer inland to Perugia. Discover this immaculately preserved medieval city with a walking tour, taking in the Corso Vannucci, the Palazzo dei Priori (external view) and the Fontana Maggiore. 

Overnight stay: 
Perugia
Board basis: 
Half-board
DAY 9 // PERUGIA – ASSISI – TORGIANO – FOLIGNO (115km – 3 hrs)

Visit ancient Assisi just a short drive away from Perugia and explore this small town with a big reputation for religious architecture. See the vast Basilica of St Francis, which is so large that it is split into upper and lower churches, and decorated with frescoes by renowned artists such as Giotto. Then explore Assisi itself with a walking tour of the town that gave the world St Francis. Admire the Piazza del Comune, where you’ll find the elegant Palazzo dei Priori and the remarkably well-preserved Roman Temple of Minerva, and the nearby Basilica of St Clare and Cathedral of San Rufino. Take to road again, passing through the rolling Umbrian countryside on the way to Torgiano, where you visit the town’s wine museum and enjoy a wine tasting session. The afternoon is spent touring the old town of Foligno, taking in sights such as the Piazza della Reppublica, which features a number of medieval and Renaissance palaces, including the Palazzo Trinci, where the Pinacoteca and the Archaeological Museum are located. 

Overnight stay: 
Perugia
Board basis: 
Half-board
DAY 10 // PERUGIA – AREZZO – FLORENCE (170km – 2.5 hrs)

Visit the city of Arezzo and explore its historical core, which radiates from the medieval Piazza Grande. Admire religious architecture such as the Basilica of St Francis and the cathedral, and the nearby city hall, one of a number of magnificent medieval palaces in the centre. Take a break from the road and enjoy a truly Italian experience with lunch in a farm right in the heart of the Tuscan countryside. Arrive in Florence in the afternoon and get your bearings with a walking tour of the city, which includes a guided visit to the cathedral, admiring the interior of Brunelleschi’s Duomo, Giotto’s belfry and the baptistery with its bronze doors. (The baptistery and the dome are closed on Sunday afternoon. Headsets are compulsory for the guided cathedral visit.) Continue through the Piazzale degli Uffizi to enter Piazza della Signoria, a splendid ‘open-air sculpture museum’, overlooked by the famous Romanesque Palazzo Vecchio with its 94-metre-tall tower. Shortly afterwards, arrive at the picture-postcard Ponte Vecchio, the romantic ‘Jewellers’ Bridge’ over the River Arno that is one of the symbols of city. 

Overnight stay: 
Florence
Board basis: 
Half-board
DAY 11 // FLORENCE – PISA – LUCCA – FLORENCE (200km – 4 hrs)

Tour Tuscany in a day with visits to Pisa and Lucca, taking in the top architectural and cultural attractions in both these historic cities. In Pisa, discover the Piazza dei Miracoli, where you can contemplate the exterior of the Leaning Tower before entering the beautiful baptistery and the cathedral, which is an unrivalled masterpiece of Romanesque architecture. Lunch in a Pisan restaurant before afternoon departure for Lucca to explore its medieval heritage. Stand in Piazza San Michele and admire the intricate beauty of the Romanesque Church of San Michele in Foro, wander further and see the Cathedral of San Martino, where the famous tomb of Ilaria del Carretto is located. Behold the beguiling Basilica of San Frediano, which features a large golden mosaic on its façade, and catch an external glimpse of the ‘tree-topped’ Guinigi Tower. 

Overnight stay: 
Florence
Board basis: 
Half-board
DAY 12 // FLORENCE – SIENA – CHIANTI – ROME (350km – 5 hrs)

All roads lead to Rome but not without a few intriguing stops along the way today. Visit sensational Siena, strolling through the narrow medieval streets, admiring splendid palaces and the magnificent cathedral, both the exterior and interior, including the awe-inspiring Piccolomini Library. Pause at the adjacent Museo dell'Opera Metropolitana for an external view before concluding the guided tour at the Piazza del Campo, where the world-famous Palio horse race is run. Wine tasting in a Chianti winery. Arrival in Rome. 

Overnight stay: 
Rome
Board basis: 
Half-board
DAY 13 // ROME

Travel through the ages of the Eternal City with sightseeing tours dedicated to Rome’s baroque and classical heritage. A local guide will accompany you on a pleasant stroll through the city centre, visiting the Trevi Fountain – where you can ‘ensure’ your return to Rome by throwing a coin into the water – and the Column of Marcus Aurelius. See also the palaces housing both the parliament and senate, the Patheon and Piazza Navona, where Bernini’s famous Four Rivers Fountain is located. Board a coach and head to Piazza Venezia to begin the tour of Ancient Rome. Admire the classically inspired Altar of the Fatherland, dedicated to King Victor Emanuel II and the unknown soldier, before continuing by foot to the Capitoline Hill, the most sacred of ancient Rome’s seven hills and now the site of the City Hall. Michelangelo designed the square’s current layout five centuries ago and his creation remains a perfect example of Renaissance harmony and sophistication. From here you have fantastic views of the Roman Forum and Colosseum. Stroll over to the Forum for an exhilarating experience walking among the ruins of the triumphal arches, the basilicas and the temples while learning all about the historical and political significance of the Forum. What may at first appear to be random relics will come to life during your walk through the heart of ancient Rome. The tour concludes with a visit to the Colosseum, perhaps the most recognisable monument from the ancient world. Admire its architecture and learn all about its gory history. 

Overnight stay: 
Rome
Board basis: 
Half-board
DAY 14 // ROME

Devote a day to the world’s greatest collection of antiquities with a tour of the Vatican Museums. Among the thousands of works on display in the 54 galleries are the famous sculptures of Laocoön and His Sons, the Raphael Rooms (part of the private apartment of Pope Julius II) and the sublime Sistine Chapel frescoes by Michelangelo. The tour continues in St Peter's Basilica, the beating heart of the Catholic Church. This vast and awe-inspiring temple is rich in decoration, history and art. Among its many treasures is the moving Pietà by Michelangelo. Please dress respectfully so no shorts and shoulders and knees must be covered for visits to the basilica. 

Overnight stay: 
Rome
Board basis: 
Half-board
DAY 15 // DEPARTURE

Transfer to Fiumicino Airport.

Included

Tour guide:

  • English-speaking guide throughout the programme in Croatia and tour leader as per itinerary in Italy

Accommodation:

  • In Croatia, staying 3* or 4 * hotels on a half-board basis
  • In Italy, staying in 3* or 4* hotels, on a double room and half-board basis (six dinners with three-course meals – drinks not included) except one night in Florence and one night in Rome

Meals:

  • Welcome dinner in Dubrovnik, dinner in a Konavle valley village, lunch on Day 3, dinner in Split, dinner in River Cetina
  • Lunch in a farm in Tuscany (three-course meal with quarter-bottle of wine and 500ml of mineral water)
  • Dinner in a typical restaurant in Florence (three-course meal with quarter-bottle of wine and 500ml of mineral water)
  • Dinner in a typical restaurant in Rome (three-course meal with quarter-bottle of wine and 500ml of mineral water)
  • Modern air-conditioned coach as per itinerary

Entrance fees and activities:

  • All entrance fees as indicated: Franciscan monastery with the Pharmacy and Rector’s Palace in Dubrovnik, silk presentation in the Konavle valley, Plitvice Lakes National Park, Euphrasian Basilica, Silver and Gold of Zadar exhibition, Diocletian’s Palace and cathedral in Split, boat tour on the River Cetina; wine tasting in Torgiano, wine tasting near Siena, visits with official local guide mentioned in the programme, headsets during the visits to Florence, Pisa, Lucca and Rome, admission to the Wine Museum of Torgiano, admission to the cathedral and baptistery in Pisa, admission to the cathedral in Siena, admission to the Vatican Museums, admission to the Colosseum and the Roman Forum

Not included

  • Ferry from Split to Ancona
  • Beverages and drinks during half-board
  • Meals, other than specified in the itinerary
  • Porterage and tips
  • Everything not clearly mentioned in ‘Included’