See the best of the Balkans in two weeks with this highlights tour. You'll tick off Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro, zipping between bucket-list destinations with private transfers. Boat to Bled Island and venture into limestone caves, then taste truffles in Istria and see the waterfalls of Plitvice Lakes. Wander through Diocletian's Palace in Split, eat your way across Sarajevo on a food tour, savor a traditional dinner in Dubrovnik, and end on the UNESCO-listed Bay of Kotor.


  • Venture underground to discover Slovenia's soaring karst caves
  • Learn about truffle hunting on a family estate in Istria, known as "Croatia's Tuscany"
  • Taste traditional specialties on a food and culture tour of Sarajevo
  • Climb to Kotor's clifftop fortress for views over its UNESCO-listed bay

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Ljubljana (Slovenia), Free Time to Explore Ljubljana
Day 2 Transfer to Bled via Radovljica Bled
Day 3 Discover Bled Tour & Island Boat Ride, Visit Vintgar Gorge Bled
Day 4 Transfer to Rovinj (Croatia) via Postojna & Škocjan Caves Rovinj
Day 5 Half-Day Trip to Pula, Free Time in Rovinj Rovinj
Day 6 Explore Istrian Hill Towns & Truffle Lunch, Transfer to Plitvice Lakes Plitvice Lakes
Day 7 Plitvice Lakes National Park Tour, Transfer to Split Split
Day 8 Split Walking Tour, Half-Day Visit to Klis Fortress & Trogir Split
Day 9 Transfer to Sarajevo (Bosnia & Herzegovina) Sarajevo
Day 10 Sarajevo Food & Culture Tour Sarajevo
Day 11 Transfer to Dubrovnik (Croatia) via Počitelj, Mostar & Blagaj Dubrovnik
Day 12 Dubrovnik Walking Tour, Konavle Region Culinary Experience Dubrovnik
Day 13 Transfer to Kotor (Montenegro), Explore Perast & Visit Our Lady of the Rocks Kotor
Day 14 Hike to St. John Fortress, Depart Kotor  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Ljubljana (Slovenia), Free Time to Explore

The capital's romantic city center
The capital of Slovenia has a romantic city center that's easy to walk around

Welcome to the Balkans! You've landed in Slovenia's capital, the charming 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: Transfer to Bled via Radovljica

Discover Bled Town and Enjoy Pletna Boat Ride
Bled Island is one of Slovenia's most famous sights

Say goodbye to beautiful Ljubljana when a private driver collects you for the 45-minute journey north to Lake Bled this morning. No matter the season, this picture-postcard lake with its solitary island is a sight to behold. En route, you'll stop at Radovljica, a medieval Slovenian town with a romantic moat and views of the Karavanke and Julian Alps. The town is known today as "Sweet Radovljica" (Radol'ca), thanks to beekeeping and chocolate traditions. Enjoy a traditional Slovenian lunch, or meet a beekeeper to learn why Radovljica is the world capital of apiculture.

Return to the road until you reach Bled Town. Located in the Julian Alps, surrounded by clear turquoise water and topped with a fairy-tale hilltop castle, Bled is considered one of the most beautiful places on Earth. Check into your hotel, then go for a relaxed stroll by the lake. You could visit the oldest castle in Slovenia to enjoy dinner with stunning views over Lake Bled and Bled Island.

Day 3: Discover Bled Tour & Island Boat Ride, Visit Vintgar Gorge

See more of Slovenia's unspoiled nature with a trip to nearby Vintgar Gorge

Awake ready to explore more of Bled today with a private 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 kremzšnta. After the two-hour tour, return to Bled Town for a leisurely lunch.

In the afternoon, you might like to take a trip to Vintgar Gorge. Just a 10-minute taxi ride away, this is one of Slovenia's greatest natural gems and a must-visit when in Bled. Created by the Radovna River carving through the hills, you can traverse the gorge's series of pools, rapids, and waterfalls via a winding wooden boardwalk. Return to Bled and choose a cozy spot for dinner—for a memorable experience, climb to the hilltop medieval castle and enjoy Slovenian specialties with views over the lake.

Day 4: Transfer to Rovinj (Croatia) via Postojna & Škocjan Caves

Slovenia's natural splendors exist beneath the surface, too, at Postojna Cave

Today, you'll journey south into Croatia to reach the coastal town of Rovinj, a three-hour drive away. En route, your driver will stop at two extraordinary Slovenian caves: Postojna and Škocjan. At Postojna, you'll take a 90-minute tour of the natural underground masterpiece, including an underground train ride, to view its magnificent cavern halls with hundreds of stalactites and stalagmites. You'll also visit the nearby Predjama Castle, the most famous and largest cave castle in the world. Perched in the middle of a 400-foot-high (122 m) cliff, venture inside to explore its fascinating history.

After, continue to Škocjan Caves. This UNESCO World Heritage site is very different from Postojna. Inside, you'll find a dramatic canyon and an underground river carved into Slovenia's porous limestone karst landscape. Finally, you'll reach Rovinj, located on the Istrian peninsula. Enjoy a relaxing afternoon in one of Croatia's centers for good food. Walk through the narrow streets, follow the historic defensive walls, see the town clock, and stroll along colorful Grisia Street, where you might find an open exhibition of local painters. Stop for dinner in one of Rovinj's world-class restaurants before calling it a night.

Day 5: Half-Day Trip to Pula, Free Time in Rovinj

Explore Rovinj's romantic Old Town, which juts out from the mainland on a peninsula

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, one of the 10 largest colosseums the Romans ever built.

Plan your trip to Croatia
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Return to Rovinj and enjoy the rest of the afternoon at leisure. Located on the west coast of the Istrian peninsula, this picture-perfect seaside town is an ideal place to unwind. The romantic Old Town occupies a small peninsula that protrudes into the Adriatic Sea. Twisting cobblestone lanes, polished by millions of footsteps, weave through the dense space where laundry crisscrosses overhead. Visit the St. Euphemia Church—the highest point in the city. Completed in 1736, you can climb the church bell tower for phenomenal 360-degree panoramic views.

Day 6: Explore Istrian Hill Towns & Truffle Lunch, Transfer to Plitvice Lakes

The idyllic medieval town of Motovun, Istria
See why Istria is called the "Croatian Tuscany" as you explore medieval hill towns like Motovun

Today, you'll venture inland and east to Plitvice Lakes National Park, turning a three-hour drive into a full day of adventure across Istria. This region is often called "Croatian Tuscany," thanks to its picturesque medieval hilltop towns, forests, and vineyards. Your first stop is Motovun, a sleepy village located atop a 909-foot (277 m) hill. Within the medieval city walls, find buildings of Romanesque, Gothic, and Renaissance style, all in a beautiful location with views over the Mirna Valley. Your second stop is Grožnjan, another medieval hilltop town surrounded by terraced olive groves and vineyards.

Once an important stronghold for the Venetians, the town's importance declined with the 18th-century collapse of the empire. Today, Grožnjan is popular with artists and their galleries and studios. For lunch, you'll visit a family estate for a special truffle lunch. Meet a truffle hunter to hear how truffles are found, prepared, and served. You'll snack on homemade cheese with truffles, truffle oil, and truffle honey, as well as truffle frittata (scrambled eggs with truffles), which you'll help prepare. The family will share local wines and brandies before you continue to Plitvice Lakes.

Day 7: Plitvice Lakes National Park Tour, Transfer to Split

Plitvice Lakes National Park
Croatia's largest national park is home to spectacular waterfalls and lakes, and diverse flora and fauna

Plitvice Lakes National Park is Croatia's natural masterpiece, gorgeous at any time of year. A must-visit for any traveler to Croatia, the UNESCO-protected park is home to 16 glassy emerald green and blue travertine lakes, more than 90 cascading waterfalls, and numerous caves. This morning you'll explore the park with a local guide, wandering wooden boardwalks as they show you the most interesting places and explain the significance of its history and natural features. You'll admire the unspoiled beauty and learn about its extensive wildlife.

After the visit, you'll transfer three hours south to Split, the second-largest city in Croatia and the largest on the Dalmatian Coast. Split's UNESCO-protected Old Town is set within the walls of the ancient Diocletian's Palace, one of the best-preserved Roman buildings in the world. Check into your hotel, drop your bags, and set out to find some fun. In the evening, Split's Old Town comes alive with restaurant terraces spilling out across marble squares and along the seafront Riva.

Day 8: Split Walking Tour, Half-Day Visit to Klis Fortress & Trogir

Explore the heart of Split and learn about the Roman emperor Diocletian as you wander his palace

Split is a dynamic and ancient coastal city founded 1,700 years ago by the Roman emperor Diocletian. Learn more about Diocletian's legacy on a private two-hour walking tour with an experienced local guide. You'll see life in Split through the eyes of a local and venture back in time with thrilling stories about the emperor 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, you'll take 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 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 9: Transfer to Sarajevo (Bosnia & Herzegovina)

Sarajevo Old town
Sarajevo is one of Europe's most fascinating cities, with a unique cultural and religious history

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 extraordinary city has a beautiful setting and a rich and complex history that reflects the cultural and religious 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 Baršćaršija to enjoy a traditional Bosnian meal and taste delicious sweets inspired by Middle Eastern cuisine at local pastry shops. 

Day 10: Sarajevo Food & Culture Tour

Food & Culture Tour of Sarajevo
Stop for a traditional Bosnian coffee as you wander Sarajevo's historic bazaar

Glimpse another side of Sarajevo when you meet your local guide for a special food and culture tour this morning. Together, you'll navigate historic streets to taste delicious traditional specialties, both sweet and sour, and learn more about the city's history. Try fresh baked goods and local produce at the market, wander the colorful stalls of the central bazaar, and fall in love with the diversity of Sarajevo and its food.

After the 2.5-hour food tour, spend the rest of the day exploring Sarajevo's rich history, diverse culture, and scenic beauty. Stroll along the Miljacka River, visit iconic sites like the Sebilj and Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque, or dive deeper into history at the Sarajevo War Tunnel Museum. Wander through charming streets, shop for local crafts, and try the traditional ćevapi (grilled sausages) for dinner. Wrap up your day with a scenic hike to the Yellow Fortress for panoramic views over Sarajevo.

Day 11: Transfer to Dubrovnik (Croatia) via Počitelj, Mostar & Blagaj

Stari Most and surrounding Mostar
You may see people diving from Stari Most bridge into the river Neretva

You'll turn today's journey to Dubrovnik into a full-day adventure across Bosnia and Herzegovina. A private driver will first stop in Mostar, a historic city where time stands still. Here, you'll meet a local guide and walk across the UNESCO-listed Stari Most bridge and through the Old Town. Wander between the Franciscan Monastery, Kajtaz House, and the shops and restaurants along Kujundžiluk Street, and stop for a taste of true Bosnian coffee. Find somewhere local for lunch before continuing to nearby Blagaj with your driver.

This small, historic village sits at the Buna River's spring, where in front of towering cliffs stands a beautiful 16th-century tekija, a Dervish monastery from the Ottoman period. Take a few photos, and after a short break in Blagaj, continue through a picturesque delta of the River Neretva to your final stop, Počitelj. Take a solo walk through the cobbled streets of this medieval Bosnian town and admire historic forts and Ottoman structures from the 15th century. Finally, you'll arrive in Dubrovnik in time for dinner.

Day 12: Dubrovnik Walking Tour, Konavle Region Culinary Experience

Seek out lunch in Dubrovnik's Old Town, where you'll find fresh seafood and squid ink risotto

Set out to explore the "Pearl of the Adriatic" on a private guided walking tour of the historic center. 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.

Treat yourself to a luxurious seafood lunch in the Old Town, then use the rest of the afternoon to relax. In the evening, you'll be whisked out to a family farmhouse in the countryside. Meet your hosts and learn about regional gastronomy and Croatian culture and history. You'll help pick fresh vegetables and prepare a four-course Croatian dinner. When it comes time to sit down and taste your efforts, you'll get to pair each dish with homemade wines. Živeli!

Day 13: Transfer to Kotor (Montenegro), Explore Perast & Our Lady of the Rocks

Time at Leisure - Suggestion: Explore Perast & Visit Our Lady of the Rocks
A view of St. George Island from Our Lady of the Rocks island near Perast

Check off another country on your travel bucket list when you cross the border to Montenegro. This tiny Balkan nation borders Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina to the south and is known for the beautiful beaches and medieval villages that dot its Adriatic coastline. A private driver will collect you for a transfer to Kotor, where you'll settle into your hotel and head out to explore.

This UNESCO World Heritage Site is built on a sloping mountain and abounds with Venetian palaces and Romanesque churches. Among the highlights you'll see are the well-preserved Old Town and its city walls, and the 12th-century Cathedral of Saint Tripun. You could also organize a scenic drive around the Bay of Kotor to the enchanting village of Perast, which feels like a little piece of Venice on the Adriatic. Learn about its history through local stories and legends, and don't miss taking a boat ride to Gospa od Skrpjela (Our Lady of the Rocks), the Adriatic's only human-made island.

Day 14: Hike to St. John Fortress, Depart Kotor

Scenic Views of Kotor
Hike up to the St. John Fortress for views like this over the Bay of Kotor

It's your final morning in the Balkans. If you have time before your flight, lace up those sneakers and hike to the St. John Fortress for fantastic views over Kotor's Old Town, the Bay of Kotor, and the surrounding mountains. It's a challenging hike that takes around 45 minutes to complete as you climb 1,300 steps to reach the top. Worth it? Absolutely. From the top of the fortress, you'll be rewarded with surreal panoramic views that belong on a postcard.

Return to town and sneak in a final coffee overlooking an ancient square before a private driver collects you for the short drive to Tivat Airport in time for your flight. Safe travels!

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Map of Ultimate Balkan Highlights Tour - 14 Days
Map of Ultimate Balkan Highlights Tour - 14 Days