Discovering The Balkans
An incredible programme combining two must see travel experiences in the Balkans - do one, or both, the choice is yours - as we set off to Travel the Dalmatian Coast and Experience the Blue Danube!
Part 1: The Dalmatian Coast:
May 2023, 10 Nights / 11 Days, Venice to Budapest
Visits: Venice Opatija, Split, Dubrovnik, Plitvice, Ljubljana, Lake Bled and Budapest
Part 2: The Blue Danube
May/June 2023, 8 Nights / 9 Days, Budapest to Bucharest
Visits: Budapest, Kalocsa, Osijek, Belgrade, Svishtov, Rousse, Silistra and Bucharest
Part 1: Dalmatian Discovery
Day 1: Venice (D): Upon arrival in Venice, cruise by private motor launch to your superb hotel for a two night stay. Tonight join your fellow guests and Tour Director for a sumptuous dinner.
Day 2: Venice (B): Appreciate the wealth and power that pervaded this city state in times past during your walking tour, which includes a visit to the stunning Basilica of San Marco. Then be ensconced in the romance of the city, during a gondola ride and glide under ancient bridges among magnificently beautiful canals.
Day 3: Venice > Opatija (B,D): As you leave Italy behind you’ll journey to Slovenia and visit its greatest tourist attraction – the Karst Caves at Postojna. Continue to the Croatian seaside town of Opatija your base for the next two nights.
Day 4: Pula > Rovinj > Opatija (B): Today you’ll visit the historic towns of Rovinj and Pula. Starting in Rovinj, join your local guide for a walking tour. Later, visit a local farm and learn about everyday life in Croatia, while tasting some of the sumptuous local produce. Your journey continues with a visit to the charming town of Pula, known for its mild climate and home to many ancient Roman buildings, including the well-preserved Roman Arena.
Day 5: Opatija > Split (B,D): Drive into the very heart of Dalmatia, to the city of Split, beautifully set against the Adriatic Sea and stay overnight.
Day 6: Split > Dubrovnik (B): This morning our expert guide will reveal the ruins of the massive Imperial Palace of Diocletian, constructed in 293 AD. You’ll also visit the church which is thought to be the oldest in the world, and is still used for services today. This afternoon, leave Split behind and journey along the Mediterranean coast to Dubrovnik. Check into your hotel for your two night stay.
Day 7: Dubrovnik (B,D): The walled Old Town of Dubrovnik is a World Heritage-listed Site and has remained largely unchanged since medieval times. Take a guided walking tour and marvel at Onofrio’s Fountain and the Rector’s Palace. Freechoice: Let your local guide show you the best views of the city with an active walking tour of Dubrovnik’s medieval ramparts. Alternatively, take a scenic journey through the pretty countryside and visit the Konavle villages and the town of Cavtat. This evening, visit a local farm house where you’ll meet the owners and taste their delicious homegrown produce during a mouth-watering dinner.
Day 8: Dubrovnik > Plitvice (B,D): Travel inland and enjoy the astonishing natural scenery of the Balkans, heading towards the World Heritage-listed Plitvice National Park. Tonight, you’ll stay in the heart of Plitvice, in a beautiful natural setting.
Day 9: Plitvice > Ljubljana (B): This morning, tour the sublimely beautiful World Heritage-listed Plitvice National Park. Wander along meandering pathways to view a series of emerald green lakes, stepped and linked by impressive waterfalls. Your next stop is Slovenia and its lively capital Ljubljana, where you’ll enjoy two nights.
Day 10: Ljubljana (B,D): Start your day with a guided tour of Ljubljana, to see the Opera House, National Museum, Franciscan Church and St. Nicholas Cathedral.Step back in time and take a traditional Pletna boat to the beautiful island sitting in the middle of Lake Bled. Visit the historic Church of St. Mary with its famous wishing well where you can ring the bell for good luck.
Day 11: Ljubljana > Budapest (B): This afternoon, embrace the beautiful and historic city of Budapest where your journey concludes. Please schedule your onward flight from Budapest to depart after 7.30pm.
Part 2: Blue Danube
Day 12: Budapest (D): Board your Scenic Space-Ship. At tonight’s welcome reception, raise your glass to the wonderful cruise ahead.
Day 13: Kalocsa (B,L,D): Located on the Great Hungarian Plain, Kalocsa is one of the oldest towns in Hungary. Today you will have the opportunity to witness a traditional Puszta horse show. Be greeted by the horsemen of the Puszta region where this type of activity has been practised for centuries.
Day 14: Osijek (B,L,D): Freechoice: Explore Osijek on a guided city tour or, if you’re the more active type, you could take a blissful guided bike ride through Osijek’s countryside.
As a Scenic guest, you’ll be invited into the home of a local family for a traditional home-cooked meal and the chance to discover what everyday life is really like in Croatia. With great food and wonderful company, this is a rare opportunity to meet people who understand the local way of life intimately.
Day 15: Belgrade (B,L,D): Freechoice: Enjoy an in-depth tour of one of Europe’s oldest capitals, Belgrade, including a visit to Tito’s Memorial, or take an orientation tour of Belgrade and see the highlights of the city before enjoying time at leisure to wander this beautiful city. Alternatively, choose a guided bicycle ride or for a true insight into everyday life, take a walk through the city with a student or journey to Sremski Karlovci, where you can wander the town with our experts and marvel at the many beautiful Baroque elements. Enrich: Visit the largest orthodox temple in the Balkans, St. Sava and enjoy a choir performance in the Temple Crypt.
Day 16: Iron Gates (B,L,D): Relax and admire the spectacular scenery as you cruise through the Iron Gates, a narrow gorge that the Danube has carved out between the Carpathian and Balkan Mountains. A magnificent setting for a cruise and the natural border between Serbia and Romania.
Day 17: Svishtov > Rousse (B,L,D): Freechoice: Discover the Byzantine gem of Veliko Tarnovo and the World Heritage-listed village of Arbanassi. Alternatively, stay on board and enjoy the trip towards the Bulgarian town of Rousse, where you’ll be treated to a guided sightseeing tour.
Day 18: Silistra (B,L,D): Freechoice: Discover Silistra Fort during an active walking tour or take an excursion to Varna on the Black Sea coast. Alternatively, visit a local village and a primary school, and learn about life in Bulgaria.
Day 19: Giurgiu > Bucharest (B,L,D): Bid a fond farewell to your crew as you disembark your Scenic Space-Ship and travel to Bucharest for an overnight stay. Freechoice: Explore Bucharest and learn about its communist past including a tour of Ceausescu’s Spring Villa, or tour the Village Open Air Museum.
Day 20: Bucharest (B): After breakfast, transfer to Bucharest airport for your onward flight. It may be the end of your cruise, but there are many wonderful memories to look forward to.