Dubrovnik, Croatia to Budapest | Tucan Travel | Update: After almost 35 years of sending travellers on spectacular adventures around the world, Tucan Travel is no longer in business. Here’s the notice. We’re leaving this description up for the time being because it was an awesome trip and may give you an idea of how to do this independently or with another operator.
The Balkans, and Eastern Europe in particular, continue to rank among the fastest growing destinations on the continent—still newly opened, still adapting to the 21st century. All this makes the area fantastic travel and exploration. This approx. two-week journey by train, minibus taxi and ferry begins in Dubrovnik—the ancient city in Croatia that houses some of the best preserved Roman ruins—and includes spots along its stunning Adriatic Coast (Hvar Island and Split, with Diocletian’s Palace) and Zagreb. You take in cool Sarajevo and historic Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ljubljana in Slovenia and iconic Budapest in Hungary. Along route you visit palaces and cityscapes, national parks, pristine beaches and waterfalls, and Slovenia’s tranquil Lake Bled.
Day 1 Dubrovnik. Welcome to Croatia! Your tour begins with the Pearl of the Adriatic, the UNESCO World Heritage-listed walled city of Dubrovnik.
Days 2 & 3 Sarajevo, capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Spend 2 days exploring Sarajevo, with its museums, cobblestone streets, cafes and history that’s both ancient and contemporary, uplifting and tragic.
Day 4 Mostar. Famed for its outstanding natural beauty and charismatic vibe, Mostar lies on the Neretva River. See its famed bridge, wander the bazaar, stroll along the river to see Ottoman architecture, take a taxi Blagaj Tekke Monastery. Have dinner overlooking the river.
Days 5 & 6 Hvar Island. Part of the Dalmatian islands, Hvar offers Venetian architecture, a waterfront promenade, and the 13th-century-built Hvar Town, which is a maze of cobblestone streets and squares bordered by al fresco cafes and restaurants. Take a boat tour, explore villages of Stari Grad and Jelsa, see Vrboska and Brusje, visit wineries and eco-villages. Lots of optional activities, too.
Day 7 Split, Croatia. Travel by ferry to historical coastal city of Split, built around the remains of the Diocletian Palace that dates to the Roman era. Wander Peristil Square, where you can see an Egyptian sphinx brought from Egypt by Roman Emperor Diocletian. Another sphinx lies near St. John’s Church, which was originally a Roman temple.
Day 8 Plitvice National Park, Croatia. Explore Plitvice National Park, a beautiful reserve with 16 spectacular lakes surrounded by forest—a highlight of any trip to Croatia!
Day 9 Zagreb, capital of Croatia. Established as two fortresses on two neighbouring hills in medieval times, the city has withstood numerous invasions and upheavals to grow into a prosperous centre of industry. See Ban Jelacic Square, Zagreb Cathedral, openair markets, historic Upper Town with its palaces, monasteries and churches.
Days 10 & 11 Lake Bled, Slovenia. We stay in Bled, a magical town about an hour and a half from Ljubljana, set near an emerald green lake.
Days 12 & 13 Ljubljana, capital of Slovenia. Take a guided city tour. Learn about the history, architecture and legends of Slovenia, visit the Old Town, eat at riverside cafes, see Habsburg and Baroque architecture, enjoy vibe of Ljubljana’s student population.
Days 14 Budapest, capital of Hungary. Train ride through eastern Slovenia to Hungary. An evening to explore this ancient city that straddles the Danube River. As next day is depart day, Tucan Travel recommends you extend your trip to more fully explore Budapest (this is an extra cost).
Day 15 Depart Budapest (or extend your tour/take a later flight).
A few highlights
- Visit Bosnian city of Mostar, where the famous “peace bridge” once stood and symbolized unity between the the Christian west bank and Muslim east.
- Swimming off the coast of Hvar.
- Indulge in the student-influenced Ljubljana, with its famed Dragon bridge, Tivoli park, city museum and grand castle perched atop an awesome hill.