The Balkans… Three Decades After…
Serbia, Bosnia, Croatia, Montenegro, Slovenia and more…
Led by native born Tahija Vikalo
June 20 – July 2, 2018
Includes round-trip air to the Balkans

 

Sarajevo, Bosnia

     Yugoslavia was formed as one country following World War I. A combination of numerous Slavic entities, the creation of one country whose name derives from the Slavic words “jug” (south) and “slaveni” (Slavs) seemed to have an uphill battle of developing as one country, from the start.
     A region shared by various ethnic and religious groups, a region pulled apart and long fought over by various outside powers, Yugoslavia seemed to have its greatest hope of surviving as one country while under the rule of Marshal Josip Broz Tito in 1963, when the nation changed its official name to Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Under Tito, the divisions within the country seemed to be held in check. The country reached a pinnacle of world attention in 1984 when Sarajevo played hosts to the Winter Olympics. The historic city surrounded by mountains and a mixture of Muslims, Croation Catholics and Serbian Orthodox Christians appeared to be a city whose diversity, charm and beauty made it a new destination for travelers. The late 1980’s saw student demonstrations take place in Yugoslavia which eventually led to the fall of its political patron, the Soviet Union and the 1990’s saw the Yugoslavia highlighted in the Winter Olympic turn into a near decade long battle ground that saw ancient ethnic and religious rivalries resurface into a civil war in which thousands of “Yugoslavs” killed, maimed, forced to flee their homes and eventually, the country broken into a variety of new countries representing the various factions.
     Today, with the guns silent, but many wound still unhealed, the former Yugoslavia is again being developed as a destination. With its beautiful mountains, Adriatic seaside resorts, diverse architecture, delectable cuisine and ancient history, this special Iconic Journeys Worldwide tour program lets visitors enjoy the attributes of the regions, discovering the new countries that have developed out of the warring 1990’s and discovering the welcome of a land that has retained its natural beauty and traditions of hospitality.

Wednesday, June 20 – departure from USA
Depart from the United States for Belgrade, Serbia with Air Serbia on a non-stop, overnight flight from JFK airport.

Thursday, June 21 – Arrival in Belgrade, Serbia
Iconic Journeys Worldwide (IJW)’s local representative will meet you at the airport in Belgrade, Serbia to assist with transfers and baggage handling. Enjoy an expedited early check-in and luggage delivered directly to your room at your hotel in Belgrade center. Refresh and relax in your hotel or explore on your own. Meet the group in the hotel lobby and sip on cocktails as you get to know one another. Afterwards, we will walk to Skadarlija, a section of old Belgrade that is home to great restaurants and exceptional entertainment. Dinner includes Slivovitz and food accompanied by local beer and wine specials. Delight in the fun and entertainment of live music as you dine. After dinner enjoy a short walk back to the hotel. Overnight in central Belgrade. (D)

Belgrade pedestrian area

Friday, June 22 – Belgrade/Novi Sad-Tivat-Belgrade
Begin the day with meeting your tour guide in the lobby. Today we will take an enjoyable city tour of Belgrade. One of the most important prehistoric cultures of Europe, the Vinča culture, evolved within the Belgrade area in the 6th millennium BCE. In antiquity, Thraco-Dacians inhabited the region and after 279 BCE, Celts conquered the city, naming it Singidūn.   It was then conquered by the Romans during the reign of Augustus and awarded city rights in the mid-2nd century. It was next settled by the Slavs at the end of the 6th centuries and changed hands several times between the Byzantine Empire, Frankish Empire, Bulgarian Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary before it became the capital of Serbian King, Stephen Dragutin (1282–1316). Belgrade served as the capital of Yugoslavia from its creation in 1929 to its final dissolution in 2006.  Belgrade, with a population of over 1.25 million is today the political, economic and cultural center and capital city of Serbia.

Geographically speaking, Belgrade is in the crossroads of many cultures and nations.  Thus, it is no surprise that Belgrade has been invaded and destroyed many times. The Ottomans designated Belgrade as the seat of the Sandzak of Smedervo, and the city frequently passed from Ottoman to Habsburg rule, causing the destruction of most of the city during the Austro-Ottoman wars.

Belgrade was again named the capital of Serbia in 1841, yet Northern Belgrade remained the southernmost Habsburg post until 1918, when the city was reunited. As a strategic location, the city was battled over in 115 wars and razed to the ground 44 times.

Serbia as an independent nation today, is divided about evenly in its plans for the future; half of the population wants to join the EU while the other half prefers its closer ties to Russia. Serbia and Russia have been close allies for centuries, sharing a common religion (Eastern-Orthodox Christianity), a common root language (Slavic), and a shared alphabet (Cyrillic).

During Communist rule, Tito enforced the use of Latin and Cyrillic scripts simultaneously throughout Yugoslavia and today there is a mixture of both; half of printed material is in Cyrillic and half in Latin script. This similarly applies to road signs, names of companies and shops, and other print media. In many instances they are shown in both scripts.

After our informative Belgrade tour, we will take a half-day excursion to Novi Sad, approximately one hour from Belgrade.  Lunch will be at Petrovarazdinska Castle, which offers a spectacular view of the Danube. After lunch, we will make out way back to Belgrade to collect our baggage and head to the airport. We take a 45 minute flight to Tivat, Montenegro, where we will arrive and transfer to our hotel in Budva. Dinner and night activity on your own. Overnight in Budva, Montenegro. (B, L)

 

View over the Bay of Kotor in Montenegro

Saturday, June 23 – Budva-Montenegro-Dubrovnik, Croatia
Today we will enjoy a sightseeing tour of the Montenegro Riviera. Montenegro, a small nation squeezed between rugged mountains and the peaceful Adriatic Sea, became an independent country as a result of the breakup of the former Yugoslavia. Tall mountain ranges on some areas of its coast sprout at almost 90 degrees from the Adriatic. There are narrow scenic roads carved in these mountains, which offer spectacular views, but can be very dangerous at times; in some sections, only one car can pass at a time

The history of Montenegro begins in the early Middle Ages.  The area of a former Roman province of Dalmatia forms present-day Montenegro. From 15th to 19th century the rule of the territory of Montenegro was divided between Ottoman Empire and Venice. In 1918 Montenegro became a part of Yugoslavia.  In 2006, Montenegro declared its independence.

The Montenegrins and Serbs share a common language, religion and alphabet. Today, Serbia and Montenegro seem to drift in different directions. Montenegro hopes to become part of the EU and NATO, while Serbia is divided on this issue. Montenegro even adopted the Euro as its official currency. There are virtually no industries or manufacturing in Montenegro, making tourism the main source of employment and revenue.

We begin in the seaside resort city of Budva. This city is 2,500 years old, which makes it one of the oldest urban settlements on the Adriatic coast. Budva is the center of Montenegrin tourism and known for its well-preserved medieval city walls, sandy beaches, and exciting nightlife.

Next we will travel to Aman Sveti Stefan, a small islet and super luxury hotel resort. At one time, the islet housed a small village until it was turned into an upscale hotel during the Tito regime. This resort was a favorite destination for the rich and famous from the 1960s to the 1980s. Formerly an island, it is now connected via a narrow causeway to the mainland.

We then visit Porto Montenegro, a luxury yacht marina located in the UNESCO protected Bay of Kotor. Porto Montenegro was built on what was once the Arsenal naval shipyard, which was decommissioned after the breakup of Yugoslavia and the Yugoslavian Navy disbanded. Today it hosts berths for hundreds of yachts and boats, luxury residences, retail outlets, and a plethora of restaurants and various other entertainment and sports amenities.

The next stop will be the ancient city of Kotor in the heart of Kotor Bay. Kotor is beautiful old walled city and favorite stop of many commercial cruise lines. After brief stop in Kotor we will circle scenic Bay of Kotor practically to he Croatia border.

Depart Montenegro and after crossing the border, we will stop in Lovorno for home hospitality in a small village retreat where we will be treated with an unforgettable traditional Croatian dinner.

For dinner, we will be guests at a family dinner. This will be a unique experience as you will witness an old, almost forgotten, traditional Croatian way of cooking.  Food preparation takes place “ispod peke”, or, on an open fire. You are more than welcome to assist in food preparation. Enjoy welcome drinks, home-made cordials and spirits, and an opportunity to pick your own fruits and vegetables from the garden for dinner. Appetizers like home-made cheese, dried figs, and prosciutto will be served, while the main course is cooking on the open fire. Delight in a fresh, fire-roasted meal as your Croatian family regales you with stories of their culture and people.

After dinner we will continue to Dubrovnik, a drive of around thirty minutes. Upon arrival, you check in at our beautiful boutique 5-star Hotel…More (pronounced: mo-reh)

Hotel More is set on a steep cliff just above the blue water of the Adriatic and resembles hotels on the Amalfi Coast. During the construction of the foundation of the hotel, the crew stumbled upon a large underground cave. Instead of destroying it, the chief architect went back to the drawing board, altered the plans, and incorporated the cave into the hotel structure. Today, this is one of the most unique and most popular bars in Dubrovnik. Everyone comes here to have at least a look, as well as a cocktail or two. Overnight in Dubrovnik, Croatia. (B, D)

 

Visiting the area of the Rector Palace in old town Dubrovnik

Sunday, June 24 – Dubrovnik
Start your day with a leisurely champagne breakfast at the hotel’s beautiful restaurant overlooking the Adriatic Sea. After breakfast, our local tour guide will take us to the old walled city of Dubrovnik for two hour comprehensive city tour. We will visit all major attractions including the Old Pharmacy (the oldest in Europe still functioning), Franciscan Monastery, Rector’s Palace, Second Oldest (after Prague) Jewish Synagogue and other attractions. After the city tour we will climb on Dubrovnik’s popular cable car to the peak of Mt. Srdj. From these greats heights, enjoy a panoramic view of the city and the entire Dubrovnik Riviera. It is truly a breathtaking sight and a great photo op. The remainder of the day is free for you to enjoy Dubrovnik on your own. Our local colleagues will be on hand to assist with any special inquiries, attractions, dining suggestions and reservations.

Dubrovnik, the “Pearl of the Adriatic”, is arguably the most fascinating city in the region, one of the top ten destinations in Croatia, and a line item on countless bucket lists. It is a magnet for Adriatic cruises, and it is not unusual during peak season to see 5 or 6 ocean liners anchored outside the city. The sight of these magnificent vessels against the stunning backdrop of Dubrovnik and the sparkling azure sea reflects the covers of millions of postcards.

During the centuries when Venice ruled the Mediterranean Seas and controlled great swaths of world trade, Dubrovnik, at the time known as the Republic of Ragusa, was an independent Republic and rival. While it competed with Venice, the two never raised arms against each other, and were in fact trading partners. Venetian influence can be felt in Dubrovnik’s monuments, churches and public buildings.

The entire Old City has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, preserved with almost all its original buildings. Its city wall, 15 ft. thick and over 25 ft. tall, is topped by a 1.25 mi foot path. Enjoy unforgettable views as you walk above the city’s orange-tiled roofs and narrow streets, with laundry flapping in the breeze. Another option is to take a cable-car ride up to the top of Dubrovnik hill for breathtaking views of the city below, enjoying the crayon-colored boats in the harbor and the nearby islands on the Riviera.

Dubrovnik is a pedestrian zone, and its heart is full of attractions, perfect for leisurely exploration: city squares, old buildings, churches, museums, galleries, boutiques, cafés and charming romantic spots. Modern Dubrovnik may have expanded beyond the walls, but there are still about 5,000 residents living within the Old City. Their lifestyle is casual and friendly as residents talk to each other across the stone balconies of their sturdy houses, older than any building in America.

Among the attractions in Dubrovnik’s Old Town is the Jewish quarter with one of the oldest synagogues in Europe. Evidence shows Jewish presence in Dubrovnik  dating back to the late 13th century. Following 1492, when Jews were expelled from Spain, the population of Jews increased, as some who left Spain settled in Dubrovnik as well as well as  other areas controlled by the Ottomans.

Dining suggestions will be provided. Overnight in Dubrovnik. (B)

 

Monday, June 25 – Bosnia and Herzegovina
After breakfast we will depart for Mostar and Sarajevo. After about two hours driving from Dubrovnik, we will cross into Bosnia and Herzegovina.  From the road leading from Dubrovnik to Mostar you will see scattered medieval fortresses and city walls along with impressive examples of classical Ottoman architecture.  The influence of Ottoman culture appears gradually more evident not only in the building style but also in the cuisine and other artistic expressions and everyday life.

After the Ottoman Empire gained control of the area of today’s Bosnia and Herzegovina in the 14th century, large numbers of the local population accepted Islam. Prior to the coming of the Ottoman Empire and the religion of Islam, the majority of population of this area belonged to the Church of Bosnia. Calling themselves Bogumils (literally: “dear to God,”) this church was declared heretical by the Christian authorities. In the recent years, UNESCO recognized the necropolises of Bogumils as word heritage artifacts. You will be able to see these monumental tombstones throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In addition to the Muslim and Christian populations, there was once a significant Jewish population in Bosnia Herzegovina that was welcomed and sheltered after their expulsion from Spain.  During the war from 1991-95, many Bosnians of all faiths were forced to seek refuge in different countries throughout the world ; Jewish families were able to immigrate to Israel, and today there are few of the original families left.

On the way to Mostar we will stop in Pocitelj (pronounced: po-chee-tel-yee), a medieval fortified town and later on an Ottoman settlement in the Neretva River valley. Once an important medieval strategic location, trading post and overnight stop for caravans moving goods between the Far East and Europe, Pocitelj is now home to many artists from around the world seeking unique settings. Because of its beauty and importance, Pocitelj is designated as a UNESCO world heritage monument.

After short stop and photo op, we will continue to Mostar. Mostar was built by the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century. The old, one-arch stone bridge over the River Neretva was considered by many to be the bridge between the East and the West, after which the city got its name derived from the Slavic word “most”, meaning “bridge, and “star,” meaning “old.” The world famous bridge was designed by Mimar (architect) Hayrudin, a student of the most famous Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan. This bridge has stood as a symbol of the city for centuries and endured many wars. Unfortunately, during the last war in 1991-95, the bridge was completely destroyed, Following this enormous shock to locals, the UNESCO and other world organizations stepped in with funding.  All of the original stones were brought up from the bottom of the river and used to restore the bridge to its original glory.

We will first take a walking tour of this beautiful city that is floating between past and present with its maze-like cobble stone streets, vibrant artisan shops, and ice cold blue-green Neretva river.  Following sightseeing, we will enjoy a lunch in a typical Bosnian restaurant. After lunch we continue to Sarajevo, about a 2 hour drive. Afternoon arrival in Sarajevo. Refresh and relax at the hotel. Dinner and evening activity on your own. Dining suggestions will be provided. Overnight in Sarajevo, Bosnia. (B, L)

 

Mostar bridge, Bosnia

Tuesday, June 26 – Sarajevo
After breakfast, we will have a full day city tour of Sarajevo. Sarajevo came into being as the meeting point between East and West in Europe. This area has been inhabited for more than 4000 years. One of the oldest Neolithic settlements was excavated in Butmir, one of the suburban areas of Sarajevo.

The area of Sarajevo was later inhabited by Ilirian tribes followed by the establishment of a Roman Empire outpost. The remains of Roman culture can still be seen at Illdza, where they built thermal healing spas and residential villas, and to this day the area remains known for its spas.

The valley of Sarajevo belonged to the county of Vrhbosna during the medieval period and the town itself is referred to by the same name. The only remains from the medieval period are the Bogumil tombstones, that can be seen in the city itself and remain dotting the tops of surrounding hills and mountains.

The Ottoman Empire established the city of Sarajevo in 1462. . The name Sarajevo is derived from the Turkish word “saray” (city). The Ottomans developed the city with large investments and special care; by the 16th century Sarajevo had became one of the largest, most prosperous, and most beautiful cities in the Empire that spread over three continents. It was a bustling city filled with public baths, inns, shops, schools, mosques, churches and synagogues.

With the weakening of the Ottoman Empire, Bosnia and Herzegovina was next annexed by the Austro-Hungarians (the Habsburgs) who ruled Sarajevo from 1878-1918.  The Austro-Hungarians had a strong influence on the city’s architecture, culture and cuisine that can be seen to this day. Recognizing the area’s wealth of natural resources, the Austro-Hungarians developed industries, such as the mining of ore and coal as well as timber from the dense forests.  Accordingly, they also developed infrastructure, roads, and the first railroad in Bosnia Herzegovina. On June 28, 1914 shots were fired at Austro-Hungarian archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife on a bridge in Sarajevo as their motorcade was crossing. This incident set in motion one of the biggest human tragedies of the 20th century: World War I.

In 1984 Sarajevo, which is surrounded by beautiful mountains with ski slopes, hosted the 14th Winter Olympic Games and became for a month the center of the World. Unfortunately, less than ten years after the Winter Olympics brought world attention to Sarajevo, the city and its residents suffered one of its biggest tragedies. During the Civil War of 1991-95, the city was under siege for many months.  Bullets and grenade marks can be seen to this day on many buildings and sidewalks.  Yet today, Sarajevo is a city rebuilt to revive its past glory and at the same time take its historic place as a modern, vibrant cultural center whose theaters are crowded and many remarkable pieces of art continue to be created. It is a peaceful city characterized by many different religions coexisting within a relatively small territory for which it is called Europe’s Jerusalem.

After a full day of touring the city of Sarajevo and the surrounding area, enjoy dinner at one of the authentic restaurants at Bas Carsija, and immerse yourself in the bustling evening among artisan shops, open air performances, cafes and the aromas of Sarajevo delicacies. Dinner suggestions will be provided. Overnight in Sarajevo, Bosnia. (B)

 

Wednesday, June 27 – Sarajevo to Spit
Along the way we will stop at numerous sites of fighting in the last war between 1991-95. We arrive in Split in the early afternoon and check in at hotel Jupiter located in historic Diocletian’s Palace. After check-in we will take a two hour walking tour of this fascinating Palace that was also a site of many scenes in the popular HBO series “The Game of Thrones.”

Splif is the economic, political and cultural center of Dalmatia, the Croatian province embracing the shores of the Adriatic. It is best known for its architectural treasure of Diocletian’s Palace. Roman Emperor Diocletian built the massive palace in preparation for his retirement in 305 AD. It lies in a bay on the south side of a short peninsula running out from the Dalmatian coast, four miles from Salona, the capital of the former Roman province of Dalmatia.  The Palace is one of the most famous and complete architectural and cultural features on the Croatian Adriatic coast. As the world’s most complete remains of a Roman palace, it holds an outstanding place in Mediterranean and European culture and is designated as a UNESCO world heritage site.

Dinner and evening activity on your own, with suggestions provided.  Our local colleagues will be on hand to assist with dining and other information. Overnight in Split, Croatia. (B)

 

The Diocletian Palace in Split

Thursday, June 28 – Split- Plitivice – Zagreb
Depart from Split to Plitvice Lakes National Park, a drive of about two hours. Spend three to four hours of sight-seeing in the lake region. Enjoy a light lunch in the National Park.

Plitvice Lakes National Park is truly a unique gift of Mother Nature to Croatia. This beautiful national park is made up of a chain of sixteen pristine lakes, set above each other and connected by spectacular waterfalls and cascades. They are all nestled in an untouched natural setting in thick woods abundant with flora and fauna.  This site is visited often, as it is one of the most acclaimed national parks in Europe and protected as a UNESCO world heritage natural monument. As there is no vehicular traffic allowed in the park, be prepared to walk. The walking paths, small wooden bridges and boardwalks are well maintained. This is one of the ten “must see” attractions in Croatia and in Europe.

After 3-4 hours sightseeing at the lakes, we will continue to Zagreb, arriving late afternoon.

We will check in at the boutique hotel Astoria and relax until about 6:00PM.

Tonight, we have a special dinner for you at Zagreb’s Puntijar Restaurant, one of the most popular local restaurants and favorite of locals. This restaurant has been in the same family for many generations and the present owner-chef Mr. Zlatko Puntijar, owns a small Cooking Museum with one of the largest cookbook libraries in the world. The library includes the smallest cookbook barely one square inch in size, dating back to the early 20th century. The museum has also houses a collection of menus from restaurants all over the world dating back to 1800’s. At the restaurant cellar, loaded with wines from various parts of Croatia they perform ceremonial opening of Champagne bottle with a sword, a spectacle that everyone will remember.

Dinner at this restaurant is “tapas” style . You will have a chance to sample many local Croatian specialties. Everything is paired with local wines and the entire dinner is unique experience and lots of fun. Return to hotel Astoria after this fabulous experience.  Overnight in Zagreb, Croatia. (B, D)

 

Friday, June 29 -  Zagreb-Opatija
After breakfast we will take a walking tour of this vibrant city and Croatia’s capital. Zagreb, “Little Vienna”, Croatia’s capital, has always been a political, economic and cultural center of Croatia. Today, it is a vibrant city with streetcars running in every direction. Even the historical Upper Town (Gornji Grad) on the hill is served by cable street cars. The population of Zagreb is about 750,000 people. It is highly regarded as one of the cleanest and safest cities in Europe.

Of the highlights are several galleries and monuments you can walk to: the exceptional Mimara Museum, which houses a comprehensive collection of the classics by Velasquez, Monet, Ruben and many masterful artists. One of the best museums of Naïve Art is located in Zagreb with the works of every major Croatian naïve artist. Croatian naïve art originated near Zagreb when uneducated peasant farmers ventured into the craft. The Museum of Contemporary Art and Museum of Museum of Broken Relationships are newer institutions well worth visiting. Don’t miss the Trg Bana Jelacica (Main Square), City Cathedral on main square, Farmers Market adjacent to Main Square, Upper Town and the National Opera & Theater with the Ivan Mestrovic sculpture “Well of Life” in front.

We will grab a quick lunch before check-out and departure to Opatija (pronounced: oh-pa-tee-yah). Zagreb-Opatija ride is less than 2.0 hr.

Opatija is probably the most elegant resort town on the entire Adriatic. It used to be the winter playground of European nobility in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. European royalty and aristocracy congregated during the winter months at the little resort town that resembled Monte Carlo, known for its mild climate and spas, which claimed to treat many illnesses. Anyone of the elite in Europe at that time had traveled to Opatija. Many hotels, villas and mansions that were built to house Habsburg nobility are still accommodating thousands of tourists in Opatija every year. The entire Opatija Riviera is lined with small resort towns nested on steep hills where the mountain Ucka (pron: ooch-ka) and the Adriatic Sea meet. Some of the best restaurants and eateries in Croatia are found on the Opatija Riviera. Opatija is a starting port for many small cruise ships in the Northern Adriatic and is the launch pad to numerous islands in the Kvarner Bay. Opatija is one of 10 “must see” places in Croatia. Overnight in Opatija. (B)

 

Opatija, Croatia

Saturday, June 30 – Opatija – Pula – Motovun – Potonja – Ljubljana – Bled
Pula is the largest city here and also the site of the best preserved Roman amphitheater in the world. Romans, during their reign over the Mediterranean area built about thirty-five amphitheaters, most of which were completely destroyed. The Pula Coliseum (Arena) is the best preserved with only a few missing stones from its colossal walls, which nearly uphold the whole structure. There are still many events that are being held there, including the annual Croatian summer film festival. One of the beautiful islands near here is Kvarner Bay. There is another isle called Goli Otok (Denuded Island), which used to house political prisoners. Briuni islands are also a short boat ride from Pula. After Pula we will continue to Motovun, Central Istria.

Motovun is a small scenic town perched on the top of a hill in the heart of the Istrian peninsula, Croatia’s “Tuscany”, known as the newest truffle capital of the world, being that it holds a world record for the largest white truffle ever found. Vineyards, orchards and olive groves are an essential part of this natural backdrop as well, truly resembling Tuscany, Italy.

We will also experience and take a truffle hunting safari. Afterwards we will have a truffle lunch with cooking demonstrations. After the truffle lunch we will continue to Postojna, Slovenia (pronounced: po-stoy-na) and visit amazing underground caves.

Postonja Caves are one of the largest underground caves in Europe. It is so huge that a small electric railroad system was constructed in it to assist the flow of spectator traffic. Impressive collections of stalagmite and stalactite images and sculptures created by crystallized limestone are another example of Mother Nature working wonders.   One hall is so enormous that it is used as a concert hall with full-fledged, efficient audibility, without any amplifiers. The tour through the caves includes an aquarium with some olms in it. Underground temperatures can be quite chilly and even though blankets can be rented from vendors, warm clothing is recommended.

The waterfront and river flowing thru Ljubljana

After Postojna, continue to Bled via Ljubljana. Brief stop and city tour of Ljubljana before continuing to Bled. Ljubljana , a “little hidden jewel of Europe” as dubbed by one European travel magazines, is stunning and vivacious. We will spend at least two hours on a walking excursion and several hours exploring it on our own. Ljubljana is a mid-sized city whose stunning architectural splendor is comparable to Prague. By comparison, Ljubljana is a secret gem, without the mass of tourists. The antiquity of Ljubljana has been influenced by geography: the landscape is marked by scenic castles and mansions, old homesteads and village churches, notable for their wealth of artistic treasures and countless natural wonders. Ljubljana boasts one of the world’s oldest philharmonic civilizations. Each year it hosts over 10,000 cultural events, from prominent musical, theater and art events to alternative and avant-garde events, notably including fourteen international festivals. Continue to Bled (about 1.0 hr. drive) and early evening arrival in Bled. Dinner on your own tonight. Overnight in Bled, Slovenia. (B, L)

Sunday, July 1 – Bled-Julian-Alps-Triglav-Bohinj-Bled
After breakfast, we will take a tour of this breathtaking Alpine resort town and its surroundings.  The Julian Alps are southern addition to Alpine system with captivating beauty. We will visit also Triglav National Park, the highest peak in Slovenia so symbolic that is engraved in Slovenia’s flag. Thereafter, we will visit Lake Bohinj, another Alpine jewel in Slovenia. After a full day of exploration, we will gather for a leisurely dinner at one of local restaurants serving Alpine and Slovenian delicacies. Schedule permitting, we will be joined by Bled city Mayor.  Overnight in Bled, Slovenia. (B,D)

Monday, July 2 – Departure
After breakfast check-out and transfer to the Ljubljana airport for return flight home. (B)

 

 

HOTELS

BELGRADE, Serbia: Square Nine
http://www.squarenine.rs/

BUDVA, Montenegro: Avala Villas & Resort
http://www.avalaresort.com/avala/

DUBROVNIK, Croatia: More
http://www.hotel-more.hr/

SARAJEVO, B & H: Bristol
http://www.bristolsarajevo.com/

SPLIT, Croatia: Jupiter
http://www.lhjupiter.com/en/hotel.html

ZAGREB, Croatia: Astoria
www.hotelastoria.hr

ROVINJ, Croatia: Angelo D’Oro
http://www.angelodoro.com/

BLED, Slovenia: Villa Bled
http://www.bled.si/en/

 

Cost per person: $8,450., based on double occupancy and including international round-trip air on Serbia Air from JFK. 

Single supplement of $1,500.

 

What is included:
• All hotels with breakfast and meals included, as indicated by B, L, D, entrance fees at sites noted on itinerary, water with group sit-down lunches and breakfasts, English speaking guide and private vehicle and driver.
* All flights noted during the tour
* Round-trip air from JFK to Belgrade and return from Ljubljana, Slovenia

 

What is NOT included:
* For those wishing to book their own air, please deduct $1,250.
* Gratuities to guides and drivers
* Alcohol, additional beverages and any items of a personal nature.

 

TO REGISTER OR FOR INFORMATION

For additional information, contact Iconic Journeys Worldwide at;
info@IconicJourneysWorldwide.com or 888-474-5502.