Experience the cultural highlights of four countries on this two-week trip across the Balkans. Start on the Bay of Kotor in Montenegro, then travel north up the coast into Croatia for tours of Dubrovnik and Split. Hop over to Bosnia and Herzegovina for a quick spin around Mostar's vibrant bazaar, then continue to Croatia's Istrian peninsula to see the ancient wonders of Rovinj and Pula. You'll wrap up in Slovenia with a boat ride across Lake Bled and a food tour through the elegant capital of Ljubljana.


  • Cruise across the Bay of Kotor with a private full-day sailing trip
  • Discover the Roman marvels of Diocletian's Palace and Pula's Arena
  • Cycle through the Istrian countryside around Rovinj
  • Venture inside the soaring Postojna Cave to learn about Slovenia's karst landscape
  • Meet the famous "white dancing horses" of the Lipica Stud Farm

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Kotor (Montenegro), Free Time to Explore Kotor
Day 2 Full-Day Sailing Excursion on the Bay of Kotor Kotor
Day 3 Transfer to Dubrovnik (Croatia) via Perast & Our Lady of the Rocks Dubrovnik
Day 4 Walking Tour of Dubrovnik, Visit Lokrum Island Dubrovnik
Day 5 Transfer to Split via Mostar (Bosnia & Herzegovina) Split
Day 6 Walking Tour of Split, Half-Day Tour to Klis Fortress & Trogir Split
Day 7 Transfer to Plitvice Lakes via Šibenik, Gourmet Experience at Local Winery Plitvice Lakes
Day 8 Walking Tour of Plitvice Lakes National Park, Transfer to Rovinj Rovinj
Day 9 Half-Day Trip to Pula, Cycle the Parenzana Trail Rovinj
Day 10 Transfer to Bled (Slovenia) via Škocjan Caves & Lipica Stud Farm Bled
Day 11 Discover Bled Town & Traditional Boat Ride, Visit Kranjska Gora Bled
Day 12 Transfer to Ljubljana, City Walking Tour & Afternoon Food Tour Ljubljana
Day 13 Postojna Cave & Predjama Castle Tour, Free Time in Ljubljana Ljubljana
Day 14 Depart Ljubljana  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Kotor (Montenegro), Free Time to Explore

Hike up to the St. John Fortress for views like this over the Bay of Kotor
You could hike up to the St. John Fortress for views over the Bay of Kotor

Welcome to the Balkans! You've landed in Montenegro, where a private driver will be waiting to make the 90-minute transfer from Podgorica Airport to your accommodation in the medieval coastal town of Kotor. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was built on a sloping mountain and abounds with Venetian palaces and Romanesque churches.

The rest of today is yours to explore as you wish. Wander the well-preserved Old Town, then ascend the ancient city walls to reach the St. John Fortress for more sweeping views over the Bay of Kotor. In the evening, stroll along the picturesque waterfront, where you'll find cafés and seafood restaurants.

Day 2: Full-Day Sailing Excursion on the Bay of Kotor

Private Full Day Boat Tour of Boka Bay
Sail around the Bay of Kotor with a private boat for the day—stopping at highlights like Mamula Island

Embark on an enchanting half-day sailing adventure in the breathtaking Bay of Kotor—sometimes called Boka Bay—today. Venture down to the Kotor Marina, where your vessel and captain will be waiting to take you on a full-day private sailing trip around this hidden jewel of the Adriatic coast.

From the water, you'll see the medieval walls of Kotor, pass the picturesque town of Perast, and gaze upon the iconic islands of Gospa od Skrpjela (better known as Our Lady of the Rocks) and St. George. Don't miss the captivating Mamula Island and the curious Blue Cave, a must-see with its deep blue waters illuminated by sunlight. As a private tour, this excursion is entirely customizable, allowing you to tailor the aquatic adventure to your preferences.

Day 3: Transfer to Dubrovnik (Croatia) via Perast & Our Lady of the Rocks

Perast is a charming town that gives you access to the only human-made island in the Adriatic

After breakfast, a private driver will collect you for a transfer to Dubrovnik, which includes crossing the border into Croatia. En route, you'll enjoy a scenic drive around the Bay of Kotor before stopping at the charming village of Perast, which feels like a little piece of Venice on the Adriatic. Explore its cobbled streets and picturesque small squares, and don't miss taking a boat ride to Our Lady of the Rocks, the only human-made island on the Adriatic (which you'll have spotted from your sailing trip yesterday). Once in Dubrovnik, check into your hotel, then enjoy the afternoon at your own pace.

Venture beyond the Old Town seeking sun at one of Dubrovnik's nearby beaches, or hire kayaks and paddle around the imposing City Walls. Alternatively, you might like to join a "Game of Thrones" tour and go behind the scenes at locations featured in the popular series. Come early evening, you could hike up or ride the cable car to Mount Srđ for panoramic sunset views over the city and Adriatic. Make a dinner reservation at Panorama Restaurant, or ride the cable car back down for dinner at one of Dubrovnik's great restaurants.

Day 4: Walking Tour of Dubrovnik, Visit Lokrum Island

Explore Dubrovnik's Old Town and its towering city walls with your guide this morning

This morning, you'll set out to explore your surroundings on a private guided walking tour of the city. Entering the medieval Old Town through the 16th-century Pile Gate to uncover centuries of the city's rich history as you listen to stories of local life and legends and of the importance Dubrovnik once held in the era of the Republic. This 90-minute walk includes highlights such as Onofrio's Fountain, the 15th-century Rector's Palace, Luza Square, the Church of St. Blaise (St. Vlaho), and the café-lined streets of Brsalje Street.

The afternoon is yours to explore. You might like to visit Lokrum Island, located a short boat ride from Dubrovnik's Old Town. This car-free nature reserve makes a peaceful escape from the city. Take a 15-minute cruise from the port out to the small island, which offers beautiful beaches, scenic lookouts, pine forests filled with peacocks, and an internal lagoon. This blue-green lagoon is super salty, making it easy to float!

Day 5: Transfer to Split via Mostar (Bosnia & Herzegovina)

See why Mostar is known as "Where East Meets West" as you stroll through its Old Bazaar

You'll turn today's journey to Split into a full-day adventure by crossing briefly into Bosnia and Herzegovina. A private driver will take you over the border to Mostar, a historic city where time stands still. You'll have free time to walk across the UNESCO-listed Stari Grad (Old Bridge) and through the Old Town. Visit the Koski Mehmed-Pasha Mosque and climb its minaret for unparalleled views. Wander the colorful and lively Old Bazaar to discover Bosnian culture and shop for souvenirs. Find somewhere local for lunch before joining your driver and heading back toward Croatia's coast.

After two hours driving north, you'll reach Split, an ancient coastal city founded 1,700 years ago by the Roman emperor Diocletian. His fourth-century Roman palace complex, Diocletian's Palace, forms the medieval streets that wind through Split's pedestrian-only center. Check into your hotel, then set out to explore the unique Old Town with its galleries, boutiques, cafés, and bars. In the evening, the UNESCO-listed site comes alive with restaurant terraces spilling out across marble squares and along the seafront Riva.

Day 6: Walking Tour of Split, Half-Day Tour to Klis Fortress & Trogir

Explore the ancient Old Town of Split with your guide this morning

Split is the second-largest city in Croatia, and life in this dynamic ancient port revolves around Diocletian's Palace, one of the best-preserved Roman buildings in the world. Enjoy a two-hour walking tour with an experienced local guide this morning and see life in Split through the eyes of a local. Venture back in time with thrilling stories about the emperor Diocletian and his palace. Then, discover how tradition is mixed with the present as you stroll through the buzzing streets of the city center.

This afternoon, take a private half-day trip to nearby Trogir, an ancient city set on a tiny island that acts as a stepping stone between the mainland and 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 views. You might even be serenaded by the local a cappella groups called klapa along the way. On the return journey, detour to the impressive medieval Klis Fortress, then enjoy a free evening back in Split.

Day 7: Transfer to Plitvice Lakes via Šibenik, Gourmet Experience at Local Winery

Famous faces on exterior of St. James Cathedral
Look for the famous faces on the exterior of St. James Cathedral in Šibenik
Plan your trip to Croatia
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

You'll end today in Plitvice Lakes, making two special tops along the three-hour private transfer. Pause in the coastal town of Šibenik, a lesser-visited gem founded by the Croat king Petar Krešimir IV in the 11th century. Home to impressive fortresses, music festivals, and medieval gardens, the town's enormous and impressive St. James Cathedral is a must-see. Don't miss a stop at St. Michael's Fortress, a medieval stronghold that dates back to the first mentions of Šibenik. Today, it's a beautiful spot to view the city from above.

After, head toward a family-owned winery for a food and wine pairing. You'll taste wines made exclusively from the indigenous grapes of the Skradin region, as well as liqueurs made with high-quality grape brandy and wild foraged fruits and herbs. As you enjoy the local food and fine wine, you'll hear about the winemaking philosophy and explore the vineyards. Then, return to the road until you reach Plitvice Lakes. Check into your hotel and enjoy a quiet evening.

Day 8: Walking Tour of Plitvice Lakes National Park, Transfer to Rovinj

Plitvice Lakes National Park
Plitvice Lakes National Park is a wonderland of lush greenery and vibrant pools

Plitvice Lakes National Park is Croatia's most beloved natural wonder, gorgeous at any time of year. This UNESCO-protected park is a must-visit for any traveler to Croatia, with its 16 glassy emerald green and blue travertine lakes, more than 90 cascading waterfalls, and numerous caves. The terraced lakes are surrounded by beech and pine forests and are home to extensive wildlife. A local guide will be waiting to lead you on a walk along the park's winding boardwalks, sharing the best sights and explaining the significance of its history and natural features.

After exploring the park, a private driver will transfer you 3.5 hours west to Rovinj, a small jewel on the west coast of the peninsula of Istria and one of Croatia's most renowned centers of gastronomy. Check into your hotel, then set out to explore. Walk through the narrow streets and visit the Church of St. Euphemia, the defense walls, and the town clock. Wander along the colorful Grisia Street, where you might meet local painters. End the day with a delicious seafood dinner by the waterfront.

Day 9: Half-Day Trip to Pula, Cycle the Parenzana Trail

Pula, Croatia
The coastal Pula Arena is a Roman amphitheater dating back to the first century

This morning, you'll meet a private guide for a half-day adventure to Pula, the largest town in Istria. Located 45 minutes from Rovinj on the peninsula's southern tip, its strategic location means Pula has been occupied throughout the centuries by everyone from the Romans to the Allied Forces in World War II. Beyond its beautiful beaches and harbor, it's most famous for its Roman amphitheater, the Pula Arena, dating from the first century. Make a beeline for the arena, which is one of the 10 largest colosseums the Romans ever built.

After lunch, return to Rovinj and set out for an active adventure. Step into the saddle of a bike and follow your cycling guide along the Parenzana Trail. This famous trail was once a railroad connecting the town of Poreč in Croatia with Trieste in Italy. Today, the scenic route takes you through charming vineyards, fields, olive groves, and tunnels. Soak up small-town scenery as pedal along, hearing fascinating stories about the local inhabitants from your guide.

Day 10: Transfer to Bled (Slovenia) via Škocjan Caves & Lipica Stud Farm

Lipica Stud Farm
Lipizzan horses are actually born dark and lighten over time to reach their famous shade of gray

Wave goodbye to Croatia when a private driver collects you for the 3.5-hour journey into Slovenia to reach Bled. Along the way, you'll stop at Škocjan Caves, a UNESCO-listed underground attraction. These Slovenian caves are a classic example of the region's famous karst landscape, created by erosion of the porous limestone terrain. You'll start at the Globočak Collapse Doline and continue toward Tiha Jama (Silent Cave), pass the Great Hall, and into Šumeča Jama (Murmuring Cave), where a river passes one of the largest underground canyons in Europe.

Then, you'll visit the nearby Lipica Stud Farm, an estate with more than 400 years of history breeding the famous Lipizzan horse. Here, more than 300 gray Lipizzan horses enjoy more than 740 acres (300 ha) of green space. Take a guided tour, catch a riding demonstration, or enjoy a carriage ride through the grounds. Continue onto Bled, one of the most beautiful places on Earth with its shimmering turquoise lake, towering mountains, and fairy-tale castle. Check into your hotel, then take a relaxed stroll by the lake. Visit Slovenia's oldest castle and enjoy dinner with stunning lake views.

Day 11: Discover Bled Town & Traditional Boat Ride, Visit Kranjska Go

Take a traditional pletna boat to Lake Bled's famous island church

Rise early to explore more of Lake Bled today with a private guide. Hear about its legends, discover hidden corners, and learn about Slovenian cuisine as you get an introduction to the town and its history. 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 local cream cake called a kremzšnta. After the two-hour guided exploration, return to Bled Town for a leisurely lunch.

This afternoon, you might like to visit the nearby town of Kranjska Gora, an idyllic place of pristine nature, alpine air, and beautiful views over Triglav Mountain and its surrounding lakes. Near the town center, find Jasna Lake, one of the most amazing spots in Kranjska Gora. The lake, with its emerald color and crystal clear waters, feels straight out of a storybook. Take a relaxing walk around the water, or pause for coffee with views over the lake. If you're looking for something more active, take a hike or hop on a bike to explore farther afield.

Day 12: Transfer to Ljubljana, City Walking Tour & Afternoon Food Tour

Spot the dragons on your walking tour of Slovenia's capital

Enjoy a slow morning in Lake Bled before a private driver collects you for a one-hour transfer to Ljubljana, Slovenia's charming capital. On arrival, you'll meet a local guide for an immersive walking tour. Start in the Old Town, where you'll find the Ljubljana Cathedral, Town Square, and the Triple Bridge. Pass through the central market and enjoy a walk along the river toward Ljubljana Castle. The castle is protected by a dragon on top of the spire, a symbol of Ljubljana you'll find throughout the city.

This afternoon, you'll taste your way through Ljubljana's Old Town along with a local foodie, who will share stories of the people, architecture, history of the Slovene nation, and—of course—regional and national gastronomy. During the food tour, you'll taste nine traditional dishes from all parts of Slovenia, along with four types of local wine. You'll get to learn about Ljubljana's history while snacking on the country's favorite treats and dishes. After the four-hour tour wraps up, you'll have a full stomach and be ready to explore more of the city at your own pace this evening. 

Day 13: Postojna Cave & Predjama Castle Tour, Free Time in Ljubljana

Postojna Cave
Postojna Cave is the largest show cave in Europe and is filled with amazing stalagmites

Get an early start today to turn your attention to Slovenia's rugged and beautiful Karst region, where you'll visit Postojna Cave. You'll take a 90-minute tour of the subterranean wonder, including an underground train ride, to view its magnificent cavern halls and learn about the cave's unique karst topography—like dangling stalactites and rising stalagmites. After, visit nearby Predjama Castle, a medieval castle built right into the mouth of a clifftop cave. Perched in the middle of a sheer 400-foot-high (122 m) rock face, you can venture inside to enter the medieval world.

Return to the charming capital of Slovenia in the mid-afternoon and enjoy the rest of the day as you please. Stroll around and feel the relaxed atmosphere of the colorful streets and Prešern Square. For a local experience, pause for a potica cake and coffee on the Petkovšek embankment, Ljubljana's most popular riverside promenade. It's the final evening of your trip, so make sure you have a dinner reservation to celebrate your two-week Balkan adventure coming to a close.

Day 14: Depart Ljubljana

Enjoy a final walk around Ljubljana this morning before your flight

It's time to say your goodbyes to the Balkans. If you have time before your flight, take a walk along the riverfront and soak up your final moments in Ljubljana. When the time is right, a driver will collect you for the 30-minute private transfer to Ljubljana Airport in time for your flight onward or home. Safe travels!

More Great Croatia Itineraries

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


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Map of Cultural Heritage Tour of the Balkans - 14 Days
Map of Cultural Heritage Tour of the Balkans - 14 Days