This fast-paced trip ticks off the cultural highlights of three Balkan countries in just one week. Starting in Slovenia, you'll explore the capital of Ljubljana and take a day trip to the famous Lake Bled before crossing into Croatia. Wander around the incredible Plitvice Lakes National Park en route to coastal Split, and explore Diocletian's Palace before crossing into Bosnia and Herzegovina, where Sarajevo and a culture shift await.


  • Explore the sights of Ljubljana, Slovenia's charming capital city
  • Take a day trip to Lake Bled and row out to the famous island
  • See the beauty of Plitvice Lakes National Park with a private guide
  • Visit Split and Trogir on Croatia's postcard-perfect Dalmatian Coast
  • End in Sarajevo with an enlightening tour of the unique European city

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Ljubljana (Slovenia), Explore the City Ljubljana
Day 2 Day Trip to Radovljica & Lake Bled Ljubljana
Day 3 Transfer to Split (Croatia) via Plitvice Lakes National Park Split
Day 4 Split Historic Walking Tour, Half-Day Visit to Trogir Split
Day 5 Transfer to Sarajevo (Bosnia & Herzegovina) Sarajevo
Day 6 Sarajevo Walking Tour, Time at Leisure in Sarajevo Sarajevo
Day 7 Depart Sarajevo  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Ljubljana (Slovenia), Explore the City

The capital's romantic city center
The capital of Ljubljana has a romantic city center dotted with its signature dragon statues

Welcome to the Balkans! You've landed in Slovenia's capital, the charming city of Ljubljana. Check into your hotel, then use the rest of the day to explore this lively city. Saunter down the main street along the banks of the Ljubljanica River, stopping in whatever small boutique, outdoor café, or wine bar terrace strikes your fancy as you breathe in the fresh air of one of the continent's greenest cities. A classic European castle, parks, and churches are all on offer as you wind your way around town by foot or bicycle.

Enjoy the colorful streets and Prešern Square, pass by the Three Rivers fountain, visit the Cathedral and Franciscan Church, and enjoy river views from the Dragon Bridge. Do as the locals do and enjoy potica cake and coffee at the Petkovšek embankment, the most popular riverside promenade in Ljubljana. You'll notice the legacy of modern architect Jože Plečnik around the city at worthwhile stops such as the National Library, Central Market, Triple Bridge, and Plečnik's own home-turned-museum, all under the watchful eyes of the city's many signature dragons.

Day 2: Day Trip to Radovljica & Lake Bled

Glide across Lake Bled in a traditional pletna boat to visit its famous island

No matter the season, Lake Bled is spectacular. This picture-postcard lake, with its solitary island, is one of Slovenia's main attractions, so naturally, it's on your agenda. After breakfast, meet your driver and guide and make the 45-minute journey to the lake. En route, you'll pause in Radovljica, a medieval Slovenian town which has a moat and views of the Karavanke and Julian Alps. The town is known today as "Sweet Radovljica" (Radol'ca) thanks to a tradition of beekeeping and, more recently, it's chocolate industry.

After Radovljica, continue toward Bled. Located in the Julian Alps, Bled Town is one of the best-known places in Slovenia. Explore the center with your guide, hear about its legends, discover hidden corners, and learn about Slovenian cuisine. Then, you'll board a pletna, a traditional wooden boat, and cross to Bled Island, where you'll visit the church in the middle of the island and hear the story about the wishing bell on its tower. After, enjoy free time to stroll by the lake or try a traditional cream cake called kremšnita. Later in the afternoon, you'll transfer back to Ljubljana for the evening.

Day 3: Transfer to Split (Croatia) via Plitvice Lake National Park 

Plitvice Lakes National Park
Explore the surreal beauty of Plitvice Lakes National Park with a private guide

Join your guide for the journey across the border into Croatia today, splitting up the six-hour drive with a stop at the UNESCO-listed Plitvice Lakes National Park. A must-visit at any time of year, Croatia's most popular national park is home to a collection of 16 glassy emerald green and blue travertine lakes, more than 90 cascading waterfalls that seemingly cover every corner of the park, and numerous caves. The terraced lakes are surrounded by beech and pine forests and are home to extensive wildlife.

Upon arrival, a local guide will be waiting to lead you through the park's main highlights, sharing the significance of its history and natural features as you walk along its winding wooden boardwalks. Afterward, you'll get back on the road and continue south to Split, the second-largest city in Croatia and gateway to the sun-drenched Dalmatian Coast. Its crowing jewel is the vast UNESCO-listed Diocletian's Palace, a fourth-century haven for the eponymous Roman emperor. Founded 1,700 years ago, his well-preserved palace has been transformed into the heart of this buzzing coastal city.

Day 4: Split Historic Walking Tour, Half-Day Visit to Trogir

Trogir is a tiny ancient city set on an island just off the mainland
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This morning, you'll explore Split's Old Town with a private guide. Over two hours, you'll tick off all the key sights, including the Cathedral of St. Dominus, the Piazza, and Peristyle Square. Admire the 3,500-year-old sphinxes that Diocletian brought back from Egypt, and hear about the city's fascinating history from your guide. If there's time following your tour, climb the Romanesque bell tower of the Cathedral of St. Dominus—considered the oldest Catholic cathedral still in use—for stunning vistas over the city and Adriatic. 

This afternoon, you'll join a private half-day tour to nearby Trogir, an ancient city set on a tiny island that acts as a stepping stone between the mainland and the much larger Čiovo Island. Visit the Garagnin-Fanfogna Palace and the Cathedral of St. Lawrence, and admire Radovan's 13th-century Romanesque Portal and its bizarre creatures. Climb the ramparts of the 15th-century Kamerlengo Fortress for a bird's-eye view of the island. On the return journey, detour to the impressive medieval Klis Fortress, then enjoy a free evening back in Split.

Day 5: Transfer to Sarajevo (Bosnia & Herzegovina)

Stop for a traditional Bosnian coffee as you wander Sarajevo's historic bazaar

Wave goodbye to the coast when your private driver arrives for the four-hour transfer to Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Nestled in a valley surrounded by mountains, this interesting city has a beautiful setting and a rich and complex history that reflects the cultural diversity of its people. It still bears the scars of the Bosnian War in the 1990s, evident in the rebuilt structures alongside reminders of the conflict.

Sarajevo is often called the "Jerusalem of Europe" as this city is a place where Jews, Christians, and Muslims coexist, creating a unique cultural and religious life with links back to the Ottoman Empire. The afternoon is yours to start exploring at your own pace. Take a stroll around the Old Town, or visit the old bazaar of Bašćaršija to enjoy a traditional Bosnian meal and taste delicious sweets inspired by Middle Eastern cuisine at local pastry shops. 

Day 6: Sarajevo Walking Tour, Free Time

Sarajevo Old town
Sarajevo's Ottoman-era Latin Bridge was the site of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand

Meet your local guide and prepare for a journey into the turbulent past of Sarajevo. You'll start back at Baščaršija, the old bazaar, and find out about the traditional crafts still produced by the local artisans here. Visit the city's most important sights, like the Husrev-beg Mosque and the Catholic Cathedral, and stop on the Latin Bridge, where Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in 1914, sparking World War I. Hear stories about the former Yugoslavia and how its people live today, and learn about traditional cuisine and where to try it. You'll leave with suggestions for local restaurants before parting ways.

This afternoon is yours to explore the capital independently. You might like to stroll along the Miljacka River or enjoy a slow and relaxing break at one of the many cafés that line its banks. Keep exploring history at the Sarajevo War Tunnel Museum, which provides a poignant glimpse into the city's wartime experiences. For a panoramic view, stroll to the Yellow Fortress and enjoy the breathtaking scenery of Sarajevo nestled between the hills. End your final day in the Balkans with a night at the Sarajevo National Theatre, or treat yourself to a special meal to celebrate the end of your trip.

Day 7: Depart Sarajevo

Take a final stroll through the peaceful morning streets and squares of Sarajevo

Your weeklong Balkan adventure draws to a close today. After breakfast, a private driver will collect you for the short transfer to Sarajevo Airport. Safe travels onward or home!

More Great Croatia Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Croatia? Check out these other Croatia itineraries, explore different ways to spend a week in Croatia, or discover the best time to visit Croatia.


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Map of Balkan Cultural Discovery Tour: Slovenia, Bosnia & Herzegovina & Croatia - 7 Days
Map of Balkan Cultural Discovery Tour: Slovenia, Bosnia & Herzegovina & Croatia - 7 Days