Welcome to Vienna! The Austrian capital is a charming European city with impeccable Baroque architecture and a rich history. Consistently named one of the most livable cities in the world, Vienna’s atmosphere and culture adds to its charm.
After arriving in Vienna, we enjoy a welcome dinner at a local restaurant together with our fellow travelers and small group tour leader.
We begin exploring Vienna this morning after breakfast. Our city tour takes us through this magnificent city as we admire its Baroque architecture including a visit to St Stephen’s Cathedral. Here, we step inside the Romanesque and Gothic cathedral known as the mother church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese and learn more about its significant history.
After our city tour, we learn about Austria’s snow globe industry with a visit to the Original Viennese snow globe factory and museum. Invented over 100 years ago in Vienna, the family business continues to produce its traditional snow globes that were first manufactured in 1920. At the factory we enjoy a demonstration of the company’s manufacturing process and have the chance to purchase our own snow globes before returning to the city center for an afternoon of free time.
We meet back up in the late afternoon to hop on the city’s expansive Ringstrasse tram, the circular boulevard that runs around the historic Old Town. Our ride allows us to take in the Christmas lights of the city before we enjoy our first Christmas market of the tour. Sip on mulled wine and take in the enchanting sights of the market – from the lights, the decorations, the stalls and of course, the Christmas tree!
We cross the border today into Slovenia. It may be small in size, but Slovenia is packed full of charming cities with stunning architecture and friendly locals. After breakfast this morning we travel to Slovenia’s Maribor. Here, we enjoy a walking tour through the city making our way to the oldest vine in the world. The vine has remained firmly in the ground of Maribor for more than 450 years. We taste some wine before continuing towards Slovenia’s capital, Ljubljana.
This evening we enjoy a visit to Ljubljana’s Christmas markets before enjoying free time for dinner.
Ljubljana, an increasingly popular destination for travelers to Europe, is ours to explore today. We begin with a morning of sightseeing that allows us to see some of the city’s best attractions including the Central Market. We catch a ride on the funicular that takes us from Krek Square to the Ljubljana Castle. Once at the Castle, we enjoy sweeping views over the city below.
Lake Bled with its serene, sapphire-toned lake, charming villages and alpine fresh air is our destination this afternoon. We enjoy free time to pick up some lunch, enjoy a walk around the stunning lake and visit the local Christmas markets before returning to Ljubljana to enjoy our evening at leisure.
The Croatian coastal town of Opatija is our destination today. Once a hotspot for the Austro-Hungarian elite during the Austro-Hungarian Empire, today Opatija is a picture-perfect coastal town on the Adriatic Sea.
We begin our travels to Opatija after breakfast this morning. En-route, we stop at Slovenia’s Postojna Cave system, one of the country’s most magnificent sights. Thought to be nearly 12 million years old and created by the Pivka River, 12 miles of tunnels, caverns and passages create a labyrinth for us to explore. Upon arrival in Opatija, we enjoy an early evening walking tour of the city, making a special stop at Choco World for a chocolate tasting.
We continue along the Croatian coast today, making our way to the country’s largest coastal city Split. We depart Opatija after breakfast and make our way to Zadar. Here, Roman ruins and medieval churches meet bustling cafes and picturesque views. We have some time to ourselves to enjoy the city and a bite to eat for lunch before a guided city tour.
We arrive in Split in the early evening with time at leisure.
We embark on a city tour of Split this morning where we witness the influence of the Roman Empire in this region. We visit one of the world’s most impressive Roman monuments, Diocletian’s Palace before viewing Jupiter’s Temple, the Peristyle and St Doimus Cathedral.
For lunch today, we travel to the Stella Croatica village where we enjoy a 3-course meal of Croatian Christmas dishes. With a motto “tradition does not mean to look after the ash, but to keep the flame alive”, our small group connects with the proud cultural heritage that is passionately coupled with a modern twist.
This afternoon we travel to the nearby city of Trogir. Situated on a tiny island, surrounded by medieval walls, Trogir is a UNESCO World Heritage-listed site. We embark on an early evening sightseeing tour of the Old Town and cathedral before making our way back to Split for the rest of the evening at our leisure.
[Breakfast and Lunch]
Our final destination is Croatia’s capital Zagreb. The cultural, scientific and economic center of the country, Zagreb is situated between the slopes of the Medvednica Mountains and the northern bank of the Sava River.
We make our way from Split to Zagreb after breakfast, stopping along the way at Plitvice Lakes National Park. Renowned for their range of distinctive colors from azure to green, grey or blue, the cascading sixteen lakes formed by runoff from the mountains are a stunning sight to see. We enjoy a walk of the upper lakes before lunch at a local restaurant.
We arrive in Zagreb in the early evening and enjoy free time for the night.
[Breakfast and Lunch]
We begin our day today with a guided city tour of Zagreb. The tour includes views of St Mark’s Church, St Catherine’s Church, the Parliament and Government Palace. We tour Zagreb Cathedral, whose twin Gothic spires stand out against the city skyline.
We discover the craft of Croatian gingerbread making today. Inscribed in 2010 on the Representative List of the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, Croatia’s gingerbread craft is steeped in tradition. We learn about the craft while decorating our own love heart shaped gingerbread, the most common shape made in Croatia.
We enjoy free time in the afternoon where we can explore more of Zagreb, including the city’s charming Christmas markets. This evening we enjoy a group farewell dinner together.
[Breakfast and Dinner]
Our tour concludes after breakfast this morning. We bid farewell to our new friends and to the charming wonders of Austria, Slovenia and Croatia.
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